Disclaimer: Don't own it, don't care, enjoy.
Rating for: Slash Fluff, Dark and Dai.
His heart was pounding.
"Daisuke, tell me." Riku pressed. "You do know him, don't you… the phantom thief… You're connected somehow. You won't go out on the nights he steals, you show up wherever he's just been, Daisuke, what are you hiding from me?"
Tell her. A voice from within him prompted. Tell her and I'll leave. You'll finally be rid of me. You won't have to worry about changing anymore, Dark will be no more… Say it, Daisuke, "I'm Dark, the Phantom Thief…or at least… I was."
Daisuke swallowed. "Riku… I'm…" I'll leave. "That is, I mean… you may find it hard to believe, but I…" You'll be rid of me. "Riku, how would you feel about me if you knew that…" I'm Dark, the Phantom Thief… or at least… "I'm sorry!" He turned quickly, running away.
"Daisuke! Wait!" the girl ran after him, trying to keep up, but it was of no use. The boy was soon out of sight… as always. He'd been acting so strange lately and she had wanted so badly to know why, but now he wouldn't even talk to her, wouldn't even finish a sentence. She wiped the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand. "Stupid!" she sobbed. "Stupid Daisuke!"
"Man! You are a total wuss! Dark taunted from inside Daisuke's head. "She gave you the opportunity! All you had to say was one sentence, Daisuke. "I am Dark." That's it!
"Shut-up." Daisuke scolded, his cheeks red with embarrassment. "What brought this sudden change of mind about? Don't you realize that if she rejects you, you'll cease to exist? You'll die, Dark! Or maybe you're just sooo confident that she'd accept you. After all, who would reject the handsome phantom thief, right? Idiot! You didn't even think about it."
Dark was silent for awhile, probably angry, Daisuke thought. Served him right.
I can't die… you know. He finally replied.
"I didn't mean die literally, but… you wouldn't be anymore, Dark. Have you really thought about that?"
Of course I have! Dark snapped. I'm a lot smarter than you seem to think, Niwa!
"Oh?" Daisuke challenged. "And what if she did reject you? Then what?"
What does it matter to you? Dark returned the challenge snidely. You'd have everything you want, so what's your problem?
Daisuke flushed slightly. "I… well, I just, it's only fare that you should realize what would happen. I don't care."
The two were silent the rest of the walk home, and uncomfortably aware of each other's presence.
Daisuke dodged the usual snares and booby traps upon entering the house. "I'm home." He called, turning to head to his room.
"Welcome home, sweetie!" Emiko's voice called from the kitchen. "Dinner will be ready in about an hour, oh! And a note's been sent to the Iwagari museum, it seems there's going to be a theft around eight."
Daisuke groaned trudging up the stairs to his room and flopped down on his bed; another job. That meant relinquishing control to Dark once again. It wasn't that he hadn't grown used to the feeling of being a prisoner in his own head, and it wasn't that he didn't trust Dark… usually, but the Phantom Thief had been a bit more restless than Daisuke liked lately, and he hadn't been able to figure out why. He'd been taking inappropriate risks, especially when it came to Riku.
"Dark?" he called tentatively, wondering if the boy would respond. "Dark… if Riku rejected you… you'd disappear.
We've been over this. He replied testily.
Daisuke paused. "I know… it's just… why then? Why are you so determined to have her know? Wouldn't you rather wait until you're sure that she'll accept you?"
She won't accept me, Daisuke…not now, not ever, no matter how long we wait.
"Then… why do you want to… disappear?"
What's the point of existing if the one you love will never love you back?
Daisuke rolled onto his back.
"What do I think of Dark? I hate him! That pervert! I don't ever want to see him again! I absolutely hate him! …why did you want to know?"
That's what she had said… If she'd said that about him, it would have hurt too, he reasoned… but he wouldn't want to disappear, because- he stopped his train of thought. He didn't like where it was going. He had had to stop it from a similar path on more than one occasion. He would be daydreaming, or thinking about nothing, and suddenly he'd find himself wondering… if he really loved Riku, or if it was only because she loved him. Every time they were together, he felt like his mind was somewhere else. He couldn't kiss her or hold her hand, but that was because he was nervous, right? But then… he was beginning to feel as if maybe, he didn't even want to…
What are you thinking about? Dark's voice cut into his revelry.
"Nothing." Daisuke quickly diverted his thoughts.
I know what you were thinking. Dark continued. That's a dangerous thing to think about…
"I don't know what you're talking about." Daisuke protested, feigning ignorance.
Oh, but you do. Dark continued. You're thinking about Riku and why your heart doesn't beat so fast around her anymore, and why you don't almost turn into me anymore, and you're worried because you're afraid that you - don't - love - her - anymore.
"Shut-up!" Daisuke clapped a pillow over his head, as if it would protect him from Dark's taunting, from Dark's voice, always in his head, always there, whether he ignored it or not, taunting… teasing… whispering…
Daisuke swallowed and felt a tingle in his cheeks. He stood up, briskly cutting Dark out of his thoughts, using a technique he'd only recently discovered, to keep his most intimate thoughts… to himself.
Hey! Dark protested. You can't cut me out! What are you thinking?
Daisuke wondered to himself if Dark's voice didn't sound a bit more… afraid than anything else. But why would Dark be afraid of what Daisuke was thinking? He decided to ponder that later when he had more time.
Seven-thirty… Only thirty minutes before the Spirit of Renai would be stolen. Thirty minutes before Dark would be in charge. But then, in a sense, Dark was always in charge. Because the way Daisuke felt… the truth of his feelings was-
I'm cutting you out. Dark interrupted Daisuke's thoughts quietly.
"What?" Daisuke blinked. "What do you mean 'cutting me out'?"
I'm not going to let you be conscious tonight… during this robbery.
"What!" Daisuke blanched. "You can't do that! You can't control me like that!"
You've been too grouchy lately. You'll only distract me from my work and get us caught. Dark continued, heedless of Daisuke's protests.
"Mom!" Daisuke yelled, running into the living room. "Can Dark… cut me out?" he asked, fear evident in his voice.
Emiko and Dai exchanged a glance. "Well…" she began. "He can… to a certain degree… it'll only be like your asleep, Dai, honey, it won't be anything serious."
Daisuke paused, his eyes widening. "Wait, you knew about this?"
She pursed her lips. "You have been a little… high strung lately, baby, and… we all think that, just for tonight, maybe you should let Dark handle things."
Suddenly, Daisuke felt his body lurch and his mind grow fuzzy. He hadn't felt like this since his early transformations. Dark was taking over.
The young man opened his eyes. The transformation was complete.
Emiko reached out a hand and brushed it tentatively through his hair, a sad smile on her face. "I hope you're right, Dark… for both yours and Daisuke's sake."
"Either way," He replied. "The curse of the Niwas ends tonight."
"This is unprecedented, Dark. I'll pray that your feelings are returned."
"Thank you… and if they're not it was nice to know you, Emiko." He smiled a bit sadly as well.
It was dark… pitch dark. Daisuke opened his eyes, at least, he thought he did, but he still couldn't see a thing. Dark? He called tentatively, but received no reply. Then Dark had really done it, he had cut Daisuke out. And Daisuke knew precisely what Dark intended to do. He was going to tell Riku.
No! Dark! Daisuke screamed, trapped in his own head. She would reject him. She would reject Dark and he would cease to be. Daisuke would wake up and Dark would be gone! He would never even speak to Dark again, he would have no say in the matter and he'd never be able to tell him the truth, to tell him what he'd only begun to discover himself.
"Daisuke is mine! You will not touch him!"
What had those words meant to him? More than the phantom thief could ever understand. He couldn't let Dark disappear, but what choice did he have? Dark loved Riku… and if she rejected him…
"What's the point of existing if the one you love will never love you back?"
Then what's the point of my existence! Daisuke demanded, his face wet with tears, or at least it would have been, if he had control over such things, but as it was, he felt as though he were being ripped apart by all the lies and all the truths that became lies in their untelling.
Dark! I don't want to exist without you!
Daisuke blinked. He was in his own room, lying in his bed. It was night time and the crickets were chirping languidly outside. He could hear the hum of the washing machine down the hall and the soft sounds of wiz snoring in his bed on the floor.
"What… the robbery…" Daisuke blubbered, his mind straining for understanding.
Why not, Daisuke? Dark repeated. Why wouldn't you want to exist… without me?
Daisuke groped for anything that he could remember or understand, anything that would make sense. How much had Dark heard? What should he tell him?
Please Daisuke… Dark seemed to be begging. The truth… why not?
Daisuke felt his face grow hot. He couldn't tell him! He couldn't say what he'd been thinking! How would he live with himself after admitting such a thing? He'd never get away from him, Dark would always be in his head, teasing him, reminding him of what an idiot he was and of what he'd said. But if he didn't… if he didn't say it and Dark left, then…
"Dark…" he began shakily, afraid he might pass out from the sheer terror of admitting. "I… I don't want to be without you because… I…" His heart was beating so fast. This was the feeling he'd been missing with Riku. His cheeks were burning. He squinted his eyes shut. What was the point? They could never be together anyway! "I love you, Dark!"
Suddenly, Daisuke felt himself changing a change more fierce than any that he had previously experienced. His heart was racing, he was sweating, he couldn't breathe! And suddenly… it had ended. He opened his eyes, but he was still himself. Somehow, the change hadn't happened.
"Dark?" he asked tentatively, afraid.
"Did you really mean that, Daisuke?" Dark brushed his fingers gently over Daisuke's cheek.
"Dark…?" Daisuke blinked. How could Dark be there? Was he dreaming? "How are…"
"Do you really… love me, Daisuke?"
Suddenly, realization dawned on the younger boy. Dark was there. He was really there, not in Daisuke's head, not merely borrowing Daisuke's body, he was there with Daisuke. He hadn't changed into Dark, and Dark hadn't disappeared. "Dark!" His hands roamed through the taller boy's hair and down his neck and shoulders, then back to his face. "But how! You're here! You're really here!" Daisuke couldn't stop smiling, couldn't stop the tears welling in his eyes, couldn't stop the way his breath caught in his throat, and suddenly, he dropped his hands, his face flushing in embarrassment for his own over forward actions. "Dark, how can you be here? How can I… touch you?"
Dark grinned, relief, joy, several thousand emotions playing across his face. He pressed his forehead lightly to Daisuke's. "You told me… that you… say it again, Daisuke, say that you love me." He pleaded in an almost childlike manner.
"But Dark, how-"
"Please, Daisuke? Won't you say it again?"
Daisuke flushed even deeper if such a thing were possible.
"I- I love you… Dark."
"That's how." Dark replied.
"What?" Daisuke blinked, not quite understanding.
"When the Phantom Thief's love is rejected, he will disappear. When his love is returned, he will be set free to love that person. You love me, Daisuke."
"Er… yes, but…" It was obvious the boy still wasn't getting it.
Dark chuckled, pulling Daisuke to him, nuzzling the boy's neck happily. "You love me, Dai, my love is returned."
"But… what do you-" Daisuke paused, understanding finally dawning on him. "Wait! You mean… oh my- you mean that you…? Dark…" he stammered, shyly wrapping his arms around the other man, "Do you… love me too?"
Hearing the words, Dark squeezed a little tighter, yearning for the feel of the other boy pressed against him. "Yah," he replied, "I do."
"But… but how, Dark?" Daisuke asked, clinging to the fabric of Dark's shirt as if it were the only thing keeping him grounded in the world. "The robbery, and Riku… what about the Soul of Renai?"
"There was no robbery, Dai… I'm sorry I lied to you. I just… I needed control, because I needed you to think I would leave. I wasn't sure how you felt about me, and well… I'm not as brave as you'd like to think. I couldn't go on not knowing… and, it's like I said, I'd rather not exist than have to exist without the one I love returning my feelings."
"But… but what about Riku?" Daisuke stammered. "I thought…"
"Ah, Riku… poor Riku…" Dark lamented. "The truth is, I never loved Riku."
"But you-" Daisuke began.
"I know." Dark interrupted. "I wanted her to love me, because I thought… if she would accept me, then at least I wouldn't have to leave you… but it wasn't long before I realized that sharing you would be even more unbearable. I thought… tonight will be it. I'll tell him how I feel, and if he rejects me, then I'll disappear, and I won't have to deal with it anymore, but if he accepts me… well, then I had no idea what would happen, certainly not this, but… I'm really glad it did, Daisuke…" The Phantom Thief ran his hands lightly down the other boy's sides. "I always wanted this… I always wanted to know what it felt like to hold you. I thought this was something I could never have. I hated it, Dai, when I first realized that I was in love with you. I thought I could never be happy again. As long as I have existed, I have never felt so helpless. I thought that the one person I had ever loved was the one person who could never love me."
Daisuke pulled back, examining Dark's softened features. "But you were wrong." He stated. "What if I hadn't been brave enough, Dark? What if I hadn't been able to say it? Would you have disappeared?"
"I… I don't know." He replied honestly. "But… I just couldn't wait any longer. Being near you, but not being with you, Daisuke…" He slid his hand down the boy's jaw, cupping his face lightly. "You… know what that's like."
Daisuke found himself caught up in Dark's eyes, eyes that he had longed to look into. He realized with sudden alarm that Dark was drawing closer. He could feel the other boy's breath on his lips, he imagined he could hear Dark's heartbeat and it was as fast and unsure as his own. He swallowed thickly and his eyes slid closed, seemingly of their own volition.
Oh my god, oh my god… His mind panicked frantically. This is my first kiss! But Dark hadn't come any closer. Daisuke began to worry. What was Dark thinking? Had he changed his mind, and then it hit him. This was the first time that Dark didn't know exactly what he was thinking. This was the first time that the Phantom Thief didn't already have everything figured out, and he was nervous! Dark was feeling unsure of himself, and somehow, that put Daisuke more at ease.
"Do it." He breathed, his eyes still closed. "Kiss me." And that was all it took.
Dark's lips brushed his, hesitantly. They were soft. Much softer than Daisuke had imagined, and he had imagined, he now could admit. They were soft and warm. Daisuke instinctively allowed his lips to part, inviting the older boy to deepen the kiss. His kiss was shy and inexperienced, and his mouth tasted warm and sweet. Through the foggy buzz in his head, Daisuke realized that he should be kissing back and did his best to get at least some semblance of a grip on his motor functions. He had never felt anything like this kiss before, physically or emotionally. He clung to Dark's shirt, afraid to let the boy slip away, reluctant to let the wonderful kiss end, but eventually, it did, as air, sadly, is a commodity all too important to carbon based life forms.
Panting and too shy to meet his companion's gaze, Daisuke stared at the rustled sheets beneath him. "Wow…" he breathed. "Oh wow… I never knew, Dark… that it could… that anything could feel like that."
"It… never has before." Dark replied, panting as well, seemingly in just as much shock as the less experienced Niwa boy. He glanced up mischievously, catching Daisuke's eyes. "Do you think it would… if we did it again?"
Daisuke flushed but didn't look away. "I want to… if you want to."
"Oh, I want to." Dark grinned, some semblance of his usual confidence returning. He pushed Daisuke back gently, lying atop him. The pressure of the other boy's body on his was comforting and welcome.
Dark trailed his fingers through Daisuke's baby soft hair, leaning in gently to place a chaste kiss on the boy's lips, then another.
Daisuke giggled. He couldn't help it.
"Don't laugh." Dark scolded him in mock-anger, then kissed him again.
Again, Daisuke giggled.
"I said don't laugh." Dark reprimanded.
"I can't help it!" Daisuke fought back his laughter.
Dark grinned. "Then I'll make you stop." With that, he brushed his lips once more over Daisuke's before deepening the kiss, sliding his hands up to Daisuke's wrists, pinning them above his head, all the while administering a much more skilled and practiced kiss than before. With his tongue exploring Daisuke's mouth, he elicited every little pleasured sound that he could before gently pulling back, refusing to relinquish the boy's wrists. "Well?" he murmured. "Is it still funny?"
"No…" Daisuke breathed. "Not when you stop."
Dark chuckled, finally letting the boy go and cuddling up beside him. "Dai… I won't ever leave you, you know. You lost the chance to get rid of me."
"Good." Daisuke buried his nose in the other boy's hair. "I don't like risky games like that."
"Hmmm?" The boy asked sleepily.
"Tomorrow, I'm going to kiss you until you forget how to breathe."
"Mmmm, okay." Daisuke replied, only half-listening.
"… I love you."