The phone was heavy in Daisuke's hand. His voice seemed as though it were hiding, only brave enough to poke its head out from his lips.
"Listen, Daisuke," Riku practically spat; she sounded vexed. "My sister has a question for you, but she refuses to ask you herself. She's being ridiculous."
"What's wrong?" Daisuke asked, the trepidation morphing into concern. "Is she okay?"
"Oh, she's fine. She's just fussing over her tarot cards again."
Daisuke couldn't suppress the chuckle that had bubbled up in his throat. She was still reading tarot. He shot a glance at Dark, who was watching from the stairway; although he was still unwilling to reunite with Daisuke's family, the sound of Risa's sister's name had inspired enough hope in him to at least get him out of the redhead's bedroom.
Riku's frustrated response startled Daisuke. "It's so stupid—she thinks Dark is back."
Daisuke froze. Risa knew? Could the tarot cards even tell her something like that?
Frantically, Daisuke looked at Dark again, meeting a gaze that was half as confused as his was horrified. There was a silence that seemed to press down on his lungs and incapacitate them; he could not speak.
Now there was a touch of poorly concealed worry in Riku's voice. "Daisuke? Say something. She's wrong, right? There's no way…"
Daisuke couldn't look away from Dark. He couldn't move. He saw Dark's lips moving silently, but he couldn't comprehend the words being mouthed.
"Daisuke, are you there?"
He had to say something. "I'm sorry, I'm here. I… I was laughing."
Finally, a start. Now he could respond.
"Laughing?" Riku asked; she sounded as though she knew the answer but had to hear it just to be sure.
"It was so funny—I had to cover the phone. There's no way that could happen, Riku. I explained it to you, didn't I? I love you—"
Almost instantaneously, an infuriated phantom thief was at Daisuke's side. In one single, swift motion, Dark ripped the phone from Daisuke's fingers and slammed it down on the table to his left.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" he shouted, much to the smaller boy's frightened dismay. "How could you lie like that? You can't just keep leading her on, Daisuke! Sooner or later, he's going to show up, and—"
A click that was somehow both faint and startlingly loud brought Dark to a screeching halt. Neither boy spoke until a shrill, jarring note began to pulse repeatedly from beneath the phantom's hand. Even then, it took them both a moment to realize that the source of this sound was the phone.
He hadn't hung up.
"Oh, no! Dark!" Daisuke wailed. "Why did you have to do that? She heard everything!"
"You were lying! Did you want to hold on to that… that farce this badly?" He seemed to spit the words, his tone indignant and contemptuous.
With scarlet cheeks and a wet shine in his glaring eyes, Daisuke cried, "Everything was perfect! Everyone was happy! That was the way things were supposed to be!"
"No, Daisuke. Everyone wasn't happy. You were miserable."
"I don't care! She loves me, Dark!"
The thief shook his head, a sort of angry calm about him. "That may be true. But tell me—would you rather know the truth, or just be told beautiful lies your whole life?"
For this, Daisuke had no reply. He wasn't sure.
"Either way, I can't let you keep this up. You've twisted your life up so badly, it's no wonder it took you so long to realize your feelings. There was so much deception in your life that you even fooled yourself."
Sourly, Daisuke retorted, "I never realized anything, Dark. You realized it for me."
"What else was I supposed to do? If I didn't tell you, you would have gone on in that sham you called a life and I would have had to pretend I didn't notice."
Again, Daisuke was left without words. He had lost this fight.
After an appropriately timed pause, he muttered bitterly, "I have to call Riku back and clean up the mess you've made."
"If you lie, I'll know."
Daisuke said nothing but kept dialing the Haradas' number. It had barely begun to ring when the call was answered; but the voice on the other end was not Riku's.
"H-hello?" the word came out strained and especially high-pitched.
"Risa?" Daisuke asked worriedly. Dark's expression became alert and full of concern, and suddenly he was listening twice as intently. "What's wrong? Are you crying?"
"Is it true? M-my reading… Did the cards lie to me?"
Though he had only just stopped, Daisuke nearly began to cry again. He felt so bad for her, he had to make her feel better.
"No, no, Risa, I'm the liar. I know it's confusing, but you were right, I promise. Dark is here."
There was a sound that seemed to be a combination of a gasp and an immensely relieved sigh; and then suddenly Risa was completely silent. The tiny sounds of her crying had ceased—as a matter of fact, Daisuke couldn't even hear her breathing.
Finally, she spoke; her voice, though bereft of tears, was hesitant and apprehensive. "Um… Daisuke?"
"Could I… talk to him?"
It struck him then that she was unaware of the new physical separation between Dark and himself. Another wave of sibling-like sympathy washed over him and he wanted nothing more than to make her smile.
"Of course you can, Risa. Well, wait, hold on—" Daisuke covered the mouthpiece of the phone and was about to ask when Dark interrupted him.
"Tell her to go up to the fountain. I want to do this in person."
Daisuke smiled and nodded as the phantom slipped away. Removing his hand from the phone, he said, "He's waiting for you at the fountain, Risa."
"What? But how… I thought you were the same… person?"
"It's a little hard to explain, but the curse has been broken. I really mean broken—it wasn't just suppressed this time. We're split."
Another gasp, this time infused with a bit of laughter. "Thank you, Daisuke! Thank you so much!"
"Wait, Risa—what about Riku?" Too late; there was the click. Daisuke sighed and placed the phone back on its base.
As Daisuke turned to return to his room, the doorbell rang as though on cue. He froze. He knew who it was.
Out of habit, though this time in a very reluctant way, he called out, "I'll get it!"
When he opened the door, he was greeted by some painful mixture of a punch and a slap to the face.
"Riku, I'm sorry—"
"Why didn't you tell me you were gay?"