Krad slept, trapped within the Black Wings once more. A warped piece of art, twisted and ruined by the magic and greed of the Hikari family, it was still strong enough to hold the twin demons that resided within it. But it was not enough to seal them, not completely. And so, as Krad slept, he dreamed.

Satoshi, the human host whose very body had been promised to him by his covetous step-father, featured in many of his dreams, as he found himself wondering, for the first time, what the young man was doing now. When he had been merely a part of Satoshi's body and soul, he had seen nothing wrong with taking and using what was rightfully his. His host, his body, his everything. It was what Satoshi Hikari had been, and what he still was, if Krad was to be honest with himself. Even hiding under the alias Hawatari, the young genius could not run from his very bloodline, from his heritage, and so he had been saddled with a demon.

Daisuke Niwa was also in many of his dreams, particularly the ones that involved the past year with Satoshi. The two boys had been drawn to each other, even as their other halves had tried to destroy one another. Niwa was a protector and a nurturer, and he could not leave such a pitiful soul as Satoshi to fend for himself. And so, he had befriended the other boy, resisting all attempts to push him away. Even when Dark, and by association, Daisuke, had been hurt badly by Krad, as he wielded the Link Pin of Time, the other boy had tried to get closer to Satoshi. Even Dark had gotten nowhere with his host, as he tried to make Daisuke listen to reason and to avoid the Hikari's altogether.

Ah, Dark. The one being who featured more than any other in Krad's dreams. He wondered idly if Dark dreamed of him as well. Flashes and glimpses of a slender body; dark strands of black hair, gleaming purple in the moonlight; wings as black as pitch; and dark, gleaming eyes watching him. Always watching, sometimes in amusement, other times in anger, or in pain. Sometimes, though, there was an emotion within those carefree eyes that Krad could not name, and it irritated him.

It was those dark eyes that haunted him the most. Dark's eyes were so carefree, energetic and happy. In other words, eyes that were able to express all of those emotions that Krad had never experienced. He was seen only as a tool by the Hikari's, something to further their own goals, nothing more. Dark, on the other hand, was seen as family, as an essential part of the Niwa heritage. He was needed, and even better, he was wanted. Something that Krad had never been, that he could remembered. It made him so envious, sometimes, to see the Niwa's acceptance of Dark, and to know that if he wanted acceptance, it would have to be forced upon Satoshi, for the young man would never accept him otherwise, just as his forerunners would not accept Krad for who, and what he was – a magical being born from the Black Wings and the power of the Hikari bloodline.

And so Krad had tried to force Satoshi to accept him, and he had failed. The young boy had done everything he could to hold Krad back, from starving his body, to attempting to destroy the body that housed the magical being, not caring that it would kill him, as long as he took Krad with him. Again, it had been the Niwa boy that had stopped him, but something about that meeting had never left.

While Niwa talked Satoshi into living, Dark was fighting, but in his eyes was a silent plea. Krad hadn't understood at the time what he was trying to say, but now, with the same dreams repeating over and over in his restless sleep within the shattered Black Wings, he realized that just as Daisuke had been urging the young Hikari to live, so too was Dark encouraging him to live.

Feathers rustled briefly as Krad trembled, unable to wake up from this partial seal, but unable to sink into the oblivion that he now craved, either. An echo of feathers, and Krad felt himself growing still, listening. Even in this cursed partial slumber, he could feel the other presence that was suddenly closer, suddenly real. Dark was there beside him, his fingers rustling, too.

Frustrated, Krad wondered vaguely what the other magical being was doing there, but found that he couldn't really care. Until he heard Dark cry out, obviously not as trapped by the broken seal as Krad. A sudden twisting sensation, and Dark was gone again. Settling down, Krad drifted again, allowing the seal to pull him further under and back into his dreams. Unfortunately, it didn't last for long. With another pulling sensation, Krad felt the presence inside the Black Wings. His other half's presence had hidden it from Krad's notice before, but now he realized that Dark hadn't left the Black Wings…he had been taken.

Still unable to shed the seal that bound him, Krad could only wait. Magic crackled behind him before slicing into his back, and he cried out, the sudden attack weakening the Black Wings' hold on him. Paralyzed still, Krad could only cry out again as burning chains wrapped around his body, pinning his wings harshly against his back. A yank, and he was gone, torn abruptly out of the Black Wings. His scream of agony was cut short as he lost consciousness, completely unaware of who his attacker was, why it had chosen to take them, and what it planned to do with them.

~~o~~o~~

An unconscious demon tangled in its chains, the dark being chuckled. "Well, let's put you two back where you belong, and see what happens, shall we?" it asked, not really expecting an answer. It had been so simple to grab the demons from their broken artwork and drag them away, unable to fight or run from their attacker, caught in that half-aware state that the broken seal kept them in.

Moving swiftly now, the ancient artwork dragged its prize behind it, heading for a particular piece of art hidden in the basement of a family of art thieves. One demon had already been delivered to his destination, so now there was just this one to take care of, and then the chaos would commence. If it was lucky, the two magical creatures would try, again, to destroy each other. And this time, with their hosts older and stronger, they just might succeed. And then, finally, it would be free to do as it pleased.

The dark being stopped abruptly, finding amusement in Krad's groan of pain as the sudden jarring jerked his wings tight. Entering the newly unsealed artwork, it dragged the blond demon in with it. Watching, it was satisfied to see that the young Hikari male was still sitting with the unconscious Niwa boy, trying to figure out what was wrong with him. Fortunately, Satoshi hadn't risked moving his friend until the ambulance got there, unsure as to the cause of the other boy's current state.

With a rattle of chains, the dark piece of artwork activated the Hikari art it had unsealed only an hour before. Satoshi looked up at the glow, startled, but it was too late. With a sudden pull, Krad was thrown from the artwork and straight towards the boy staring at him in horror. Krad's instincts and destiny worked against them, as it had with Dark, and the magical being merged once more with his former host, who screamed in pain and denial as Krad invaded his body once more.

When the glow died, two unconscious men lay on the stone floor of the basement, and the dark being retreated. No doubt the Niwa female and eldest patriarch would soon seal this weak, useless artwork again with their pathetic powers, but it had served its purpose well. Now it would just sit back and wait to see what Dark and Krad would do with their second chance.