A/N: This story takes place after Daisuke's run-in with the Second Hand of Time, but before the final episodes of the anime. This is my take on how the series should have ended. Please note that I haven't read the manga, and so this story is based solely off the show. Happy Reading!

( ) indicates Dark speaking to Daisuke

I do not own D.N Angel, or any of its characters.

For everyone who watched the end of the series, and said; "Well. That just sucked, a whole lot."

"What's Past is Prologue"

-Shakespeare, from "The Tempest"

Daisuke had grown and gone through a lot in the months since his fourteenth birthday. Living the life of a teenage phantom thief tossed him into all sorts of situations, and he could recall more than a few that had left him staggering and emotionally shaken.

But he'd never anything like that before; never experienced such a raw and ripping sensation. When Dark had pulled him from his own painting, kicking and screaming and struggling all the way, he'd wondered if someone could die from a feeling so powerful. It had only gotten stronger upon exiting the world of the Second Hand of Time. He'd sat with his back pressed against a tree, and felt it rage in him like an animal, skittering its way up his throat and stomach with sharpened claws. It hadn't eased, hadn't calmed at all until he'd allowed himself to weep on Riku's shoulder.

Now he sat, perched on the edge of a giant wind generator that lifted him high enough to see the ocean. He'd sent Riku home, with a smile that he she knew she didn't believe, and soft reassurances of his well-being. He was alone, save for the one incapable of leaving his side. He watched the waves crash far below him, turned from blue to black by the night sky, and rubbed an absent hand over his stomach. The pain was gone, for the most part, but in its wake remained a horrible hollow feeling, as if the animal had scooped out his insides as it left.

He felt that grinding emptiness and wondered how long it would take for something to fill him up again.

(Hey, Daisuke. You're not still sad, are you?)

Daisuke answered Dark's question with a shrug instead of words. He pulled his knees up to his chest and crossed his arms over them, resting his chin on his pajama sleeve.

(Come on, don't be like that! You did everything you could. More than most people would have.)

"It wasn't enough," Daisuke murmured. "I painted and painted, but I couldn't save Miss Freedert's world. I should have done something else. I should have found a way."

(You're too hard on yourself. Lighten up, Daisuke!)

Daisuke shook his head. In his mind, he could still see Miss Freedert's eyes, so sad and yet so full of kindness and calm acceptance of her fate. He could see her, pinned to the ground by the ice that slowly wrapped its sneaky fingers around her, as she watched him, her only salvation, fly away and leave her behind.

"I can't."

Dark fell silent. He wasn't gone; Daisuke could still feel him in his head, a bubble of personality that seemed to rest at the back of his mind. When he spoke again, his voice was soft and somewhat gruff, because comforting people wasn't something Dark excelled at.

(She ended up with Elliot in the end, didn't she? So everything worked out all right.)

Daisuke shrugged again. Dark sighed. Even though he knew it wasn't really possible, Daisuke could almost feel his other half at his back, a warm and protective presence hovering over him.

(You can't save everyone, Daisuke,) Dark's voice was even softer now, and completely serious. All hints of his typical tough attitude were gone. (Not every ever-after is a happy one.)

"I know that."

(Then what's wrong? Something's still bothering you.)

Daisuke scraped his chin back and forth on the soft cotton of his sleeve as he continued to watch the waves.

After a moment, he said; "It's just something that Miss Freedert told me."

Whatever you do, Daisuke, don't let go of the person you really care about.

Dark caught the thought as it drifted across Daisuke's mind and examined it.

(I don't get it,) he said. (Why is that bothering you? The person you really care about is Riku, right?) Dark's voice slipped back into its hardened playfulness. (And judging by the way she had her arms wrapped around you earlier, I'd say you have nothing to worry about.)

"Shut up," Daisuke said, with a very tiny flame of his usual self. It sputtered out as quickly as it sparked. "I do care for Miss Riku."

(Then what is your problem?) Dark's voice was filled with exasperation now.

"My problem is that I care about more than one person, Dark," Daisuke shot back. "There are different ways to feel affection, you know." He shivered a little as a few flakes of snow slipped inside his shirt and down his spine. "There are people that I can already see walking away, and I want to follow Miss Freedert's advice, but I don't know how to make them stay."

Again, Dark went quiet, contemplating Daisuke's words. The redhead could almost hear his counterpart rustling his wings as he pondered.

(You can't stop some people from moving on, Daisuke,) Dark said finally. (I know that better than anyone. So maybe you shouldn't try.)

Daisuke shook his head.

"No, Miss Freedert was right," he said. "If you care, really care, about someone, then you fight to keep them with you." He reached up to brush away the snowflakes that were clinging to his face. "I just don't know which weapon to use yet."

Dark gave a little laugh, and Daisuke could see the image of him that he'd conjured up shaking his head.

(You can be so innocent sometimes,) he said. (Nothing stays the same forever, Daisuke. Eventually, things always change.)

"There are some things that shouldn't," Daisuke insisted with a hint of his old stubbornness. "Some things, when they change, should only change for the better."

(I guess that's something you'll figure out on your own.)

Daisuke and Dark both fell silent. The redhead watched the ocean waves a little longer, and ran over his own words in his mind. He knew that Dark would just start up the argument again, and so he kept them private, as far away from the phantom thief's personality bubble as he could.

He was right. And Miss Freedert was right. He just knew it. Dark just couldn't see it because he'd spent so much of his existence leaving people behind.

An idea, a thought, the very bare bones of a plan began to form in Daisuke's mind. Someone was leaving him, had one foot out the door already. He couldn't let them, had to find a way to keep them, just like Miss Freedert said.

A new resolve hardened Daisuke's crimson eyes, and took the first steps to filling the emptiness of his insides. Daisuke continued to watch the ocean, sitting in the snow that Dark insisted was a final gift from the girl he'd failed to save.