Spoilers for DNAngel Vol.14 Ch.000: Argentine Special.
He liked the roof.
It was a nice place to sit and think. Even after dark the Niwa house tended to be unhappily noisy for his taste. Master Daisuke usually left, as the Phantom Thief, to steal artwork in the late afternoon. Towards dusk, when he returned, a great deal was made over the stolen artwork – this 'great deal' was usually made by the Mistress of the household, Emiko. This was the most painful part of the entire day for the person on the roof, because she tended to damage the artworks terribly while gleeing over them.
Argentine, butler by day, handy-man by night, had learned not to try stopping her rampage, because then, on top of being gleeful, she would become enraged, and would damaged the artworks still further.
He had also learned not to attempt fixing the items until just a few hours before sunrise and/or just after Master Daisuke had gone to school the next day. The traps the Mistress set for her son were usually so violent that they shook the whole house. Argentine had nearly cracked the Goblet of Golden Drink down the middle when she had sent a ton of lumber crashing down upon her son's bed at the crack of dawn. Argentine had also learned that the passages below the Niwa residence were also unsafe, as the Mistress had a penchant for flooding them. …It had taken him much effort to seal off the rooms with artworks in them.
Thus, it was only after all the traps of the night had been exhausted, and in the few hours after Master Daisuke went to school and before Mistress Emiko began preparing for his return, that Argentine had time to do as his new creator had instructed, and salvage the art pieces now possessed by the Niwa clan.
He had to admit he truly enjoyed fixing his fellow art pieces.
It was the most extraordinary feeling – that spark which rode up under his fingers when he found a fault in the work and soothed it; that pulse that struck up, and made him let go of a breath he didn't even know he'd been holding. It was exhilarating. He had lived with failure for so long… had tried to give life to one other art piece for so long…
Argentine sighed and tipped his head back to look at the sky. But right now, it was still night, and Master Daisuke had gone to bed, had already been roused by two different traps, and Argentine guessed that still one more would disrupt the night. It would not be safe to work now. Right now Argentine could have a few hours to try and sort through his very confused thoughts.
It was a very… strange feeling, being part of this clan. Stranger still were his relationships to the other members of the clan. The Mistress… well, Argentine had resigned himself to the realization that it was her nature to be loud, shrill, and thoroughly obnoxious. He also now knew she treated her own son as just as much of a collector's item as she did him, and that there was no point in taking the least bit of offence. He also knew that she had a good "heart," and this won her eternal respect in his eyes.
The Mistress's father, Master Daisuke's grandfather, was more tolerable than his daughter. However, he too could be a little… intense.
Master Koshuke, Daisuke's father and, from what Argentine had observed, the family researcher and scholar, was a very pleasant person. Calm, open minded and kind, he was often squelched under the dominance of his wife and father-in-law. Argentine liked to think that Master Daisuke took after him.
Master Daisuke too, was kind. Argentine rarely got to speak to him though, for the young master was constantly under pressure from either one family member or another. Or from the mistresses traps. Or the arbitrary assaults of his raucous love-life…lives. Yes, constantly under pressure.
Kokuyoku…Dark…Well, he harbored no love for Argentine, and that made sense enough. After all, Argentine had once kidnapped Dark's date, Harada Risa, and held her captive. Any time that Argentine did get with Daisuke was usually interrupted by Dark. Argentine could understand the Phantom Thief's protectiveness of his young partner. It was natural, given their history, but Argentine had a feeling that, more than out of any protectiveness, the Phantom Thief was simply bitter. This too, he supposed was understandable, though not pleasant to be subjected to day in and day out.
Master Koshuke had explained it as "You reap what you sow," and had told him that he should just have to wait it out. Sooner or later - Master Koshuke had confessed to it probably being later – everything would sooth itself out.
Well, that was all very well and good, but there was also the problem of the last and, apart from Argentine himself, the latest addition to the Niwa clan. Towa-san. He lulled his head back, and latched his unblinking stare onto the lamppost across the street. He ran a hand through his hair. She, like himself, was an artwork of the Hikari. She was the Guide of Eternity that had once been perched atop a light house for the better part of a century. And, while he could understand Dark's animosity, hers was a little bewildering. And there had been animosity… almost from the moment he had entered the household.
…Perhaps this was just his natural effect on women, he mused, thinking back to the vase of flowers his hostage had shattered against his head.
On reflex, he again ran a hand through his hair.
Towa-san was very bewildering. She said she despised him for being able to transform into a lizard, while she herself was a bird in origin – she called them "natural enemies." Rather than being glad of the extra assistance he could provide to her clan, she seemed to feel that he was replacing her, and that was a most foolish notion indeed.
After all – he looked down at his own custom made suit – I do not believe that the Mistress would go so far as to dress me in a frock and cap. …though anything is possible.
After talking to Master Koshuke again, he had learned a few tid-bits about women. For example, when he and Towa-san had first met, Argentine had been wrong to say he could be more useful to the Niwa's than she could be. True as the statement might have been, it was something one did. not. say. to a woman, and hope to survive peaceably. Master Koshuke had mentioned something about the 'no sex for a week' edict, which had confused Argentine, seeing as all creatures had a sex, whether female or male, and he did not understand how an edict, even a woman's, could revoke something as inbuilt as one's gender.
…Master Koshuke had not elaborated.
He had also not elaborated on what Argentine had done wrong in changing Ms. Harada's dresses when she showed such dislike towards them. He had simply labeled these questions as "things you'll understand when you're older."
…He was still very confused.
Argentine sighed. This night-time roof-sitting was proving to be of little use. He did not understand Towa-san any better now that he had before. He did not understand why she had such fierce animosity towards him.
He did not understand why, since his downpour of despair at losing Qualia, the first emotion he had become aware of was the slight thrill he got from nettling Towa-san. He did not understand why he enjoyed causing her fits of displeasure while he stood by, his face illegible.
He did not understand why, after this initial pleasure, he had begun to enjoy quite the opposite – allowing her to get the better of him in arguments, disputes and scuffles. He could not understand why, when only a few months before he had enjoyed watching her froth at the mouth, he now enjoyed watching her dance happily around the room, at his expense!
Argentine put a hand to where Master Daisuke had told him his heart was. He was most genuinely confused.
Most people would have started or at least blinked at such an outcry. Argentine merely turned his head a fraction. There, perched on the other end of the rooftop, was a pink bird.
"Evening, Towa-san," he said with a nod. Something inside him stirred. He wasn't sure what it was, but he felt that, perhaps, it was an anticipation of what Daisuke had once called fun.
The bird squawked in indignation. "San, San, SAN! I keep telling you, it's Towa-CHAN!"
"But we do not seem to be on happy enough terms for me to refer to you so affectionately." The moment the phrase was out of his mouth, he was a little flustered, and blinked. Was affectionately the right word? Should he have used informally? How strange… Such things as word choices would never have bothered him a few months ago.
There was the light tapping and scrapping of claws as Towa-san strutted across the roof toward him. "It has nothing to do with a- affection."
Yes, it must have been the wrong word to use, because Towa-san too said it with discomfort.
She ruffled her feathers testily. "Towa-san makes me sound so old! And Towa-chan is just so much cuuuter~" she cheeped.
"Towa-san, you are ninety-nine years old."
He blinked in mind shock at her when she squawked again – such a squawk! He would not have believed it possible of a creature so small.
Perhaps she was indignant about their differences in form at the moment? With a quiet 'poof' he smoothed himself out into the form of a lizard, and shrunk down closer to the roof.
She only squawked the louder. Then, in a flurry of feathers, she rose up and off the roof, dove down again, and pecked at him! On reflex he flicked out with his tail and whipped out at the offender. What had he done wrong now?! He caught her on the wing; she squawked out once more… and tumbled. He blinked, and shot out after her.
Two consecutive 'poof's punctured the night, following by a shrill 'eeep!'
"…You're rather noisy," Argentine commented matter-of-factly as he levitated some ten feet from the ground, holding Towa-san tightly in his arms. Both had returned to their human forms.
"Ah…ah… I thought you said you'd lost all of your abilities the last time you were revived!" she squeaked, clutching on to him and looking dazedly down at the flower patch below them.
"Abilities?" he asked, as he smoothly glided back up to the roof. "Oh, you mean this levitation." He touched down and steadied himself. "I would hardly call this an ability. I am, if you recall, of the same nature as Dark and Krad. Flying is really second only to breathing. You won't expect a magic-gifted bird to include flight as one of its magical powers, would you?"
He was… enjoying himself. Standing here, with the night all around him, holding this strange woman in his arms, explaining himself to her… It was all rather pleasant.
She huffed. "Put me down now."
He blinked at her. He didn't really want to. "Why… did you become so affronted?" he said, stalling for time rather artlessly. "I thought that perhaps it was because I was in my human form while you were an a–"
"It's because you mentioned my age!" she shrieked – he was amazed at how much it could still sound like a squawk – and clambered out of his arms. Her cheeks were taking on a rather curious shade of red. "You never mention a lady's age to her if she's over thirty-two! Gah-"
In her excitement she had overbalanced, and again nearly fallen off the roof. Argentine threw out an arm and grabbed hold of her, so that she just leaned over the edge of the building. They were rather like a see-saw.
He blinked at her. "Oh." He would have to make a mental note and add this to the list of 'Things One Does Not Say to Women.' He pulled her back toward him. She stumbled, and bumped against his chest.
He liked that too.
"So," she said off-handedly, pulling away from him. She was doing that quite often this evening – pulling away from him. "What are you doing here?" she looked across the rooftops.
Argentine noticed that he was still gripping her arm. Again, something he found himself liking.
"I was thinking," he said, blinking down at her arm.
She snorted loudly. "Oh please, now that was descriptive!"
He frowned a little, still looking at her arm, until she pulled it out of his grip and, rather rigidly, took a seat on the roof. He sat next to her, and resumed looking at the lamp-post across the street. "Ever since Master Daisuke confirmed that I did have a heart, and ever since I came here, I have been very confused." Again, he raised his hand to where the organ in question was supposed to be.
His musing was interrupted by another unladylike, Towa-san produced, snort. "Well you certainly act as if you have a chip on your shoulder during the day! Not the least bit confused then, are you?"
He smiled a little. A thought struck him. "Why did you come up here?" He looked at her out of the corner of his eye. There was that peculiar shade of pink again. It was really rather becoming to her.
"I…I… I wanted to know where you'd skived off too!" she huffed.
This got his full attention. He leaned forward a little and turned his head more to get a better look at her face. "Oh?"
"Y-yes! I thought maybe you were trying to slack of, and leave all the housework to me again! And stop looking at me like that!" She grabbed hold of the back of his collar and pulled him upright again.
He coughed a little, tucking a finger into his bowtie to try and loosen it.
"You answered me frankly, so I feel that I must do the same," he said solemnly. "The reason I am confused is that… I cannot understand you." He paused. She did not even blink. He continued. "I feel that emotions in general are alien to me. …Until I came to the Niwa clan, was I only aware of such violent feeling as devotion and… and grief." He swallowed, testing to see if his collar was loose enough.
"And yet… and yet when I am around you, I feel that I am constantly being put through my paces. I feel… vexation, and annoyance, and joy, and amusement and… something so similar and yet so different to that which I felt before… I…"
He trailed off as he felt long nails biting into his cheeks. Towa-san turned his head directly toward her. It almost hurt to have his head turned that far to the side. She was pouting. At least, she was trying to. She was also trying to give him a critical glare. It was all slightly undermined by that attractive tinge of pink on her cheeks.
"You really are an idiot aren't you?" she asked.
"I was not aware of it until n-" She pulled his face toward her, making his neck groan in protest, and pushed her lips up against his.
She tasted of chocolates the Mistress kept on the kitchen counter, and of something he believed was called lip-gloss and of… and of…
It was so strange, this feeling rising up inside of him as he slowly shut his eyes. She was so different from Qualia. Qualia had been serine. This piece of art was loud. She squawked! Qualia had made him feel at peace. This piece of art made him feel as if he was going to pieces! And yet she was so… he supposed the only fitting word now would be…
His mind slowly blanked.
"…a…addicting…" he whispered when she finally let him go.
She blinked at him a few times in bewilderment. He raised his hands and buried them in her hair, and kissed her again. Addicting. It was very reluctantly that he finally let her pull away again.
"D-don't look at me like that, you silly little boy," she huffed breathlessly.
"Like what?" he murmured, fingering her hair. She had such lovely hair. Then, quite suddenly, his attention narrowed in on her hand. It was sliding back into his own hair. She was blushing.
That was it. That tint… she was blushing. "Like… like a child who just wants a toy all to himself, forever." She kissed him again, her fingers pulling at his straw-colored hair. "…just two liquid pools of wonderment…"
He smirked a little. "That's very poetic, coming from you, Towa-chan."
"Eh?!" She pulled away. And just like that the red tint wasn't blush any more. "Are you laughing at me, you reptilian- What did you say?"
"I said," he leaned back casually on the roof a little, "That's very p-"
"I mean my name!"
He smiled at her lightly. "Towa-chan."
There was a moment of silence. He studied her then, as she sat there flustered, sheepish… gorgeous. Yes, once again, that was the right wor-
"Eeep!" she squeaked, and lunged herself on him.
"Ughph!" was the only sound he managed as the giggling, squealing mass that was Woman knocked all of the wind out of him.
"Aww~" she snuggled up against him. "Aren't you the little romantic boy at heart~ Waiting until the perfect moment to call me Towa-chan! That's so cute! That's so- Eeek!"
The roof shook. A howl rang from the room right below them, and something that sounded suspiciously like a rockslide erupted underneath them. Argentine lost his place on the roof, and he and Towa-chan tumbled down and off the building! Again!
Master Daiuske's exasperated voice reached them now. "OKAY! That's THREE! NOW I can go to sleep! …GAH!"
Argentine smiled at the shivering form now clutching to his suit as he again hovered about ten feet from the ground.
"You really are very noisy," he commented, levitating them towards the front door now. He would have to go and use these last few hours before dawn to repair what he could of the artworks.
"Oh," she smiled up at him rather mischievously. She pulled herself up along his suit and whispered in his ear, "You have no idea."
He swallowed. Now… now for the first time in his life… he had the distinct sense that… that he was blushing.
…Well, the artworks could wait until after Daisuke went to school.
Though he was still rather confused about everything.
A Few Months Later
Daisuke sank into his seat with nothing short of soul-shredding exhaustion. With a loud 'thump' his head dropped onto his desktop and he became slowly aware of the growing pain in his forehead where it had met tabletop.
"Now that was profound," said a voice from above.
Daisuke slowly turned his head to the side to look up at a boy perched on the window-seat just next to his desk. Hiwatari Satoshi was a lean boy with light blue hair and eyes, and had been adopted to the name he bore. Originally his surname had been Hikari.
The Hikari clan was the Niwa clan's greatest rivals and worst enemies. In fact, even now, Hiwatari was the Police Commander entrusted with the capture of Dark.
All this being said, Daisuke and Hiwatari shared something of a tentative best-friendship. Both understood what the other went through for the sake of their clans. Both understood what the other went through… in defiance of their clans. They knew each other's pains.
And right now Hiwatari was giving the pretence of reading a book, and was not sparing one glance for the unhappy redhead Niwa.
"…" Daisuke groaned, facing back into his desktop. "Five traps in the night, one of which was three piranhas waiting for me when I tried to go to the bathroom!" he almost sobbed, ringing his own hair in frustration. "Then, when I tried to do it outside in a bush, there was an anaconda waiting for me! How did she even get that thing into the country!? And another thing…" He looked up at Hiwatari again, who turned a page of his book.
Daisuke looked at him for a few moments, thinking about how best to phrase his next question. …Hiwatari was a Hikari after all, and if the Niwa's were the master thieves, the Hikari's were the ones that had always kept them in business. The Hikaris had created all of the life-given art pieces Dark and the Niwas stole. Hiwatari himself had brought Argentine back to life, albeit without most of his original powers.
Another page turn.
If anyone would know… Hiwatari would know.
Daisuke put on the face of a man whom nothing could shock any longer. He would just ask directly, and take what came. "Can pieces of art bear children?"
Hiwatari slowly looked up from the book he'd been fixed upon. One blue eyebrow quirked of its own accord. "Excuse me?" It was rare for Daisuke to see Hiwatari that shocked… or confused.