Beginning is easy, continuing difficult.
Amaterasu: the title bestowed upon the Empress of Nihon; the divine ruler, descended from the great Sun Goddess herself, who is worshipped and revered by all those inhabiting the country’s borders.
Kurogane knew her better as Kendappa, the nosy older-sister-he-never-wanted who couldn’t keep her hands off her girlfriend. He couldn’t count anymore how many not-so-discreet fondlings he had witnessed, how many dewey-eyed, longing-stares he had rolled his eyes toward, how many half-whispered confessions of love he had pretended not to hear…
It had been a startling, but not at all unwelcome surprise to find them both so…intimately settled – as comfortable without one another as with and free of the need to constantly reassure the other of their undying devotion. It had become unspoken.
Or perhaps it had just been the band of injured travelers that had fallen into their care that forced them into stricter roles. Or whatever. Kurogane tried not to think too hard on these things.
Kurogane has never figured out how someone who is capable of writing out such intricate, squibbly…things can be so bad with chopsticks. Especially after all this time, though he does have to concede that he’s the one who usually gets so fed up with the wizard’s half-assed attempts that he practically throws forks at him whenever they’re available. He no longer secretly believes that the wizard is doing it on purpose – though this doesn’t stop him from flinging the accusation along with the occasional scowl at the other – but he can’t help but feel slightly irked as he watches one stick sliding slowly past Fay’s knuckle as he tries (and fails) to pinch a dumpling. Sighing, he hooks his index finger around the chopstick and pulls it back into the crook of the wizard’s thumb.
“Hold it like a-”
“-Pencil,” Fay half-chuckles behind a half-smile, “Thank you, Kuro-sensei. My apologies – again – for being such a poor student.”
“Mmph.” He’d like to remind Fay that even school children have mastered eating utensils, but settles for taking a swig of wine from his cup. It’s a good decision; Sakura has undoubtedly brought out the finest of Clow’s reserves to celebrate their return and the crisp apple liquor is far more satisfying than any verbal sparring as it slides down his throat. He turns to offer his praise-
And stops, feeling a smirk creep across his face as he eyes the princess and the kid (Not really a kid anymore, he thinks, though Syaoran is never going to outgrow the term of endearment). They are completely engrossed in each other (again, he snickers silently) – much to the chagrin of the crown prince of Clow, who is staring meaningfully at their father, silently begging him to do something about the scene they’re causing – and moreover, completely oblivious to how far removed they are from everyone and everything around them. He’s…happy, really, to see them like this – despite the somewhat uncomfortable atmosphere – and even though he knows he ought to be scowling about the impropriety of it all, he can’t help but let his face relax into a quiet grin. The kid – Syaoran – spends far too much time on their journey mooning about with a wistful look on his face, burying himself in ancient literature and otherwise keeping himself as occupied as humanly possible, and Kurogane knows he is alone, even when surrounded by the wizard and himself. It’s become more obvious, lately, as they’ve all grown past the ages where pretending to be a traveling family might have been appropriate and Syaoran has taken to rooming by himself whenever possible. And so Kurogane looks away, happy to oblige them whatever bit of privacy they might find here, and turns back to the wizard at his side.
Fay is staring at the kids – the couple – with the same look of utter terror on his face that he’d worn that afternoon and Kurogane sucks in a breath, preparing himself for the inevitable parental rant that is about to come roaring out of the mage’s mouth and splatter gracelessly across the fancy dinner settings. (He’d been lucky this afternoon – lunch had been a surprisingly effective distraction – though he’s been trying to not think too hard on the occasional reemergence of that that stupid fake smile… ) He’s spared the embarrassment, however, by Prince Touya standing suddenly and proposing a toast to the travelers continued health and future safe returns. In truth, the prince looks every bit as flustered as the wizard, though his particular expression is laced with something far more venomous than Fay’s. Kurogane catches the high priest’s eye from across the table; Yukito winks and snickers silently, Kurogane only rolls his eyes. He’s more than happy to drink to this, though, and he has to admit that the faces the kids – dammit, not kids! – pull with their sudden jolt back to reality are priceless. So he raises his glass and drains the contents – hopefully they will find the blessings the prince wishes on them because lord only knows how long they have left on this journey.
Dinner is finished with the usual ceremony and solemnity that usually accompanies meals in Clow, though Fay does his best to interrupt the quiet flow of the evening by shoveling bits and bobs of root vegetables that he’s declared unfit to consume onto Kurogane’s plate. Kurogane is sure the wizard thinks he’s being discreet – he’s making much less noise about the entire exercise than he normally does, at any rate – but they’re still earning a set of raised eyebrows from the queen. He elbows Fay beneath the table, but only receives a petulant “mmph” and an extra helping of steamed rutabaga for his efforts. Typical. His only relief is knowing that he’ll be able (and probably expected) to pawn off most of whatever they’re served for dessert on the idiot.
The conversation has moved onto something painfully boring regarding their irrigation system, but Sakura is jubilant about it – apparently this is the first major kingdom-wide project to fall directly under her control – and so he nods and encourages her in his own way (which he will likely be chastised for later tonight, for not being enthusiastic or peppy or whatever-flamboyant-adjective-the-mage-
He’s about to open his mouth and finally congratulate her on the project, but his lips are suddenly drawn into a tight line and his eyes cast irritably off to his side. There is a hand on his thigh, squeezing – groping – and working its way north with all the slipperiness of someone who practices writing out those damned squibbly…things on a regular basis. He breathes out a near-inaudible huff of disgruntlement and quickly reaches below the table to clamp his own hand around the explorer, but the wiry fingers slip from his grip; they’re there at the crease of his thigh, digging into his trousers, prodding ever further and poking into his-
He glares. The words “what the hell are you doing, idiot?” trace themselves silently across his taught lips, but Fay only grins manically back at him, and he wonders how this is the same moron who was so scandalized by the kids public display mere minutes before. He yanks the hand firmly away from his leg and is treated to an overly dramatic pout in turn.
Fay drains the last of the wine from his glass and quickly motions for a servant to bring him more. Instead of surrendering his glass to be filled, however, Fay simply excuses himself and removes the entire bottle from the serving tray to set at the edge of his place setting. Kurogane rolls his eyes and half expects this to be met with angry glares from the royal end of the table, but Sakura’s family members are far too used to Fay’s antics by now and only chuckle lightly. Prince Touya smirks at Kurogane and lifts his own glass to toast the wizard.
This is going to end badly, Kurogane realizes. (Or, if not badly, then at the very least with a massive headache for himself tonight and an even larger one for the mage in the morning – he can’t drink like he used to, though it doesn’t stop him from trying when the occasion arises.) Touya is now refilling his own and Yukito’s glasses and offering a bottle to his father, who is looking far too happy at the prospect. The legion of advisors and other officials lining the table take their cue from the royal family and start draining their own glasses; Fay is sipping down the remains of his latest glass – bottle still in hand for easy refilling – and leaning heavily against Kurogane in a way that suggests he is far more drunk than he ought to be. (Far more than he probably is, too, Kurogane notes with a bit of suspicion. Just what is he playing at tonight?) He allows it only because everyone else seems to be enjoying themselves, and well, he isn’t making too much of a scene (not yet, anyway) and sighs as he fills his own glass.
The next hour – two hours? three? – are spent prying wiry arms away from his neck, warding off wandering fingers from his crotch, and generally convincing an increasingly intoxicated wizard that he’s chosen the worst of all possible places to start acting like an over-sexed teenager. More than anything, he feels the sting of embarrassment creeping up from beneath his collar and washing out his expressions, choking off his contributions to what might otherwise be an interesting dinner conversation.
“You didn’t used to mind,” Fay hisses at him as he gives the wizard a hearty shove back onto to seat of his own chair, and Kurogane has to admit that he’s even more confused, now. He stares cockeyed at Fay for a moment before rolling his eyes and giving in – just a little bit – and allows Fay to drape an arm across his shoulders.
Fay is still clinging to him hours later when Kurogane hauls him off to bed.
Fay landed squarely on his ass and was more than a little surprised when he bounced, rather than crashed to the floor of the tent Kurogane had (almost recklessly) tossed him into. On second glance, he realized that it wasn’t a tent, per se, really more of an inflatable children’s toy – a bear-shaped orange monstrosity with jeweled wings – meant for jumping on and in, and certainly not the most discreet place Kurogane could have chosen at the moment. But then again, it probably wasn’t possible to get much more discreet in the middle of a beer festival that the entire town (and most of the neighboring towns) had shown up for. Besides which, the lights from the not-so-distant booths and tents played giddily across the canvas, throwing a bizarre mixture of yellow rays and black shadows against the floor and generally lending a dreamily pleasant atmosphere to the enclosure. Fay currently estimated their position (he wasn’t sure, he’d been hauled up by his button-holes and slung across the ninja’s shoulder –without even being allowed to finish his beer! – after one too many suggestive comments, gropes, or…something else – he was well into his seventh or eighth (or possible thirteenth or fourteenth – who was keeping count?) glass of the night and his Kuro-molestations were not really as coldly calculated as he normally liked) to be on the outskirts of the festival, and, judging by the décor, probably in the children’s section. The music and laughter continued off in the distance - a row rumble of a reminder that this is far from private. Not that he really minded – too much, anyway – and scrambled to kick off his boots as he felt the floor rising beneath him from Kurogane’s weight pressing down at the entrance, where he hastily tied the flaps together.
Fay rubbed at his face and shook his head, “This is awfully bold of you, Kuro-sama,” he laughed, “It’s a kids’ toy!”
“It’s fine,” Kurogane insisted, and began unlacing the monstrous knee-high boots that covered him from toe to knee, “It’s closed.”
“Ahaha,” Fay laughed and collapsed backwards onto the inflated mat, “And I suppose everyone is pretty thoroughly intoxicated – the kids too, from what I saw! How devious of you.”
Kurogane’s eyes narrowed dangerously as he stripped away the boots and tossed them to the side. “Just be quiet,” he growled, and then, almost inaudibly, added, “And it’s sure as hell better than the stables.”
“Yes,” Fay agreed, spreading his arms out to the sides for support as the mat below him bobbed and waved with Kurogane’s shifting weight, “That horse really did like you too much.”
Kurogane’s hand pressed into the mat next to him, sending Fay’s head slipping down the newly formed slope to crash on top of it. “You were the one trying to feed it that damned pretzel,” he hissed. He was wearing that particularly feral look that generally indicated a need for less talking and more stripping, and as if to really drive that point home, he tugged roughly at the sleeves of Fay’s coat, attempting to free the wizard of its confines with sharp, jerky motions.
Fay laughed and squirmed beneath him, sliding his hips forward ever-so-slightly to straddle the knee resting between his legs as Kurogane loomed over him on all fours. He shirked his shoulders, wiggling himself free of the jacket Kurogane was having no luck removing, and flung the obstructing garment toward the corner of the of the tent. He grinned back up at Kurogane, “Well, if you would have let me have the roasted almonds, it wouldn’t have been an iss-”
Fay suddenly found himself wrenched upward, sitting atop the knee he had not-so-subtly been rubbing himself against only seconds earlier, his mouth too occupied by the twisted waltz Kurogane’s tongue led to finish forming his thought. There was one large hand at his back, dipping beneath the waistline of his trousers to free the tails of his shirt in one swift motion before creeping back up to brace his shoulder, and a second fumbling beneath his chin, loosing the tightly drawn knots of his bowtie. The tie fell away almost effortlessly, Fay noted with a hint of despair – he was wearing them far too often if they’re no longer producing the requisite amount of cursing with their untangling – he’d have to find something to replace them if that was the case…
His shirt fluttered free to join its discarded brethren, and suddenly the hand at his shoulders was gone, leaving him to flop back against the mat. Kurogane was on him again before the air beneath him recoiled and sent him bouncing back up, mouth hot and hungry and working a wet trail from his ear down to his collar bone. Fay hummed languidly and snaked an arm up to weave his fingers through black spikes as Kurogane descended his torso, and rasped out a breathy cry as sharp teeth closed around a nipple. He pulled roughly at the hair in his grasp in retaliation, and Kurogane let go with a snort, treating him instead to light nips down the side of his abdomen as his belt and pants were whipped away with all the delicacy of a gale force wind. Warm lips covered his cock, and, for the first time since he had landed in this golden monstrosity, Fay enjoyed the utter formlessness of the air mat below him as his back arched and shoulders pressed deep into its depths. His fingers played through Kurogane’s hair, the rough strands slipping around and within their creases as Kurogane rose and dipped, sucking a sharp spike of sensation upward and soothing it back down with a skillful tongue.
Fay moaned and strained to sit, but found it incredibly difficult with the give of the mattress counteracting his every movement. He looped his legs loosely around Kurogane’s waist, desperate for leverage, and finally managed to drag himself into a half-sitting position, balanced precariously back against his elbows. Kurogane’s gaze flicked up to meet his own as he sank down again, and Fay decided in that instant that the ninja was wearing far too much clothing. He slid his heels down from where they rested just atop Kurogane’s hips to hook them around the other man’s ass and flexed his knees, pulling forward fractionally against the billowing resistance of the mattress. Kurogane released him with a disgruntled “Mmph,” and cocked an eyebrow as Fay shimmied the rest of the distance beneath him, heels of his feet still digging into Kurogane’s ass. “Not enjoying yourself?” he grunted as Fay slowed to a halt.
“Shut up, Kuro-tan,” Fay grinned and yanked his head down to kiss him again. He was generous enough to peel only one arm of Kurogane’s shirt away at a time, allowing the ninja to keep some semblance of balance as he did, but lost all patience as he tugged – or attempted to tug – the heavy black trousers down past Kurogane’s hips and resorted to clawing with both hands and even working a knee into the struggle. This ended about as well as expected, with the resulting scuffle sending shockwaves through the mattress and Kurogane dropping onto his belly to avoid being flung off to the side completely. Fay coughed and sputtered as the ninja landed – full force – on his chest, but was ultimately triumphant in divesting Kurogane of what little clothing he had left, and wrapped his legs tightly around the other man’s waist as they lay, stroking their groins together with the movement and earning a contented hum in return. Kurogane responded in kind by digging his toes into the canvas floor and surging forward slowly, his hips keeping a gentle rhythm of press and pull as his mouth found its way back to Fay’s ear to tease and nibble at its lobe.
Fay’s hands roved wantonly over Kurogane’s back as he arched into him, the skin smooth and slick with sweat and oil. His fingers traced light patterns over the peaks and valleys of rippling muscle, poking into the dimples at the small of Kurogane’s back, and trailing down over the taught lobes of the ninja’s ass, which he greeted with a sharp SMACK. Kurogane’s hips jerked forward with a start. “Bastard,” he hissed against the shell of Fay’s ear.
“You like it,” Fay grinned, but leaned his head back into the mattress, away from Kurogane’s, “Where’s my pants, Kuro-pon?” he mumbled absently.
Kurogane stopped moving altogether, “What?”
Fay mumbled something incoherent and groped blindly at the floor around them while Kurogane stared. “Aha!” he cried victoriously a moment later as he yanked the pair of trousers back toward them by a cuff. He fished through the pockets for a moment before producing a bottle of lubricant.
Kurogane smirked. “Planning ahead?”
“A happy coincidence,” Fay sang as he pooled a generous amount into his palm and rubbed his hands together, “Would you prefer something else? Because I can go buy some of those almonds you wouldn’t let me have earlier. Might be a bit sticky, though…”
Kurogane rolled his eyes and dragged one of Fay’s busily massaging hands down to wrap around his cock. “Don’t waste it.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Fay assured him, watching the subtle contortions of Kurogane’s face as he rolled and stroked his cock, laving it with the remainder of oil on his hand, “But I think… Up.” He tapped at Kurogane’s shoulder with his free hand.
“Huh?” Kurogane’s face contorted with confusion now.
“Get up,” Fay instructed, pushing fruitlessly, “On your back.”
Kurogane was somewhat loath to move, and even more loath to break the contact between them, but eased himself back on his haunches as Fay’s feet slipped away, then dropped to his back expectantly. Fay took his sweet time – snickering quietly at Kurogane’s impatient grunts – pinning Kurogane’s knees together with his own and running the palms of his hands up over his thighs, digging his fingers into the taut muscle along the sides as he eased his torso forward. It was difficult to keep from flopping over to one side as the floor shifted beneath him, and doubly so once he lifted one of his bracing hands to reach for the bottle he had dropped. He stared appraisingly at Kurogane for a few seconds as he fumbled, eyes narrowing in thought. He secured the bottle and deposited a generous blob across the crown of Kurogane’s cock, grinning wickedly as he quickly smoothed and swiped the lube along the shaft with a single finger.
He reached to the side again, but this time grabbed hold of his discarded pants and dragged them toward himself, completely ignoring Kurogane’s exasperated expression as he did so. He judged the distance carefully, then slung one leg up and over one of the rope supports helping to shape the monstrosity and gripped the cuffs tightly, hauling himself up hand over hand.
“What are you doing?” Kurogane demanded.
“I’d think that would be obvious, Kuro-buu,” Fay grinned as he shuffled his knees forward to straddle Kurogane’s stomach, still hanging from the trousers. He let go one hand and grasped Kurogane’s wrist, dragging it to rest at his hip. “Give me a hand here.”
Understanding finally softened Kurogane’s face and he lifted his other hand to join the first at Fay’s hips. Fay dug his knees deeper into the canvas below as Kurogane’s palms smoothed firmly across his ass, his fingers dipping between and spreading his cheeks, all the while pushing down, down, down. Fay gasped and gripped more tightly at the material in his hands as Kurogane entered him and impaled him slowly, each inch slipping deeper with a delicious burn that singed straight to his breast bone. He allowed his shoulders to slacken as he seated himself, bearing down as much as he could to accommodate the whole of Kurogane within him and enjoying the sight of Kurogane’s head kicking into the mat and the feel of being so utterly joined and filled and oh god he wanted more-
With Kurogane’s fingertips digging into the flesh of his ass, he cycled his hips slowly, dragging himself laboriously forward and bracing himself against the shift of the mattress with the pantlegs. The fiery strain in his shoulders blossomed more with each thrust downward, contrasting sharply to the gentle play of fingertips roaming across his abdomen, his thighs, up across his chest. His abdomen tensed with every ticklish impulse, threatening to tip him completely, but he held tight to his support and brought himself crashing down harder, faster, riding more furiously even as the material dig into his fingers and threatened friction burns across the backs of his hands.
Kurogane’s hands gripped his hips with newfound ferocity as he sped their rhythm, their blunt nails scraped against his skin, hauling him forward, backward, up, down. The floor beneath them convulsed in earnest as Kurogane surged his hips upward to meet Fay’s downstrokes, sending the both of the rollicking upward and sideward and anywhere but where they intended to be. Fay gasped amidst the frenzy as a hand wrapped firmly around his cock and stroked, pulling his movements into a more gentle rhythm that slowed the bouncing but did nothing to quell the slow twisting of ice in his abdomen. He could feel it pooling, slowly building, threatening to spill over any second as he rocked and murmured incoherent nonsense. There was a sudden and forceful CRACK across his ass and, for a moment, he felt as though he might break as every muscle tensed and held, his vision blurred, a wave of cold washed him from head to toe.
And then the grip at his cock loosened and he felt Kurogane quake and shudder beneath him, some primitive, guttural curse eeking through his lips as his face contorted in ecstasy. Fay tensed and worked a final slow circle with hips, dragging the curse out as long as he could before he fell limp against the dangling trousers. Kurogane’s fingers were back at his sides, gently stroking oblique patterns there. Fay opened one eye a crack and flashed him a lazy smile. “Hi.”
Kurogane grinned stupidly. “Hi.”
Fay chuckled to himself and let go the cuffs, flopping down on top of Kurogane’s chest and burring his face in his neck. He stunk of musk and sex, and small rivulets of sweat rolled down from his hairline, pooling in the creases of Fay’s nose. He grinned and lifted himself onto his elbows to stare into Kurogane’s face. The ninja was still grinning like an idiot and Fay couldn’t help the smirk that crept across his face. “Must have been good if you’re this stupid afterward.”
“My toes are tingly.”
“Mmm,” Fay agrees. His were too, but it was a lot of trouble to talk just then and he’d already expended so much of his energy reserves just to produce that little jab. So instead he stared and grinned and kissed the tip of Kurogane’s nose, his fingers weaving into sweat-soaked hair all the while. Outside, the music was getting louder and the crowd more active, but Fay really couldn’t be bothered to care and slipped easily down to rest in the crook of Kurogane’s arm. His fingers traced ticklish lines across the ninja’s chest until met by mechanical ones and intertwined loosely.
“We should go find Syaoran,” Fay murmured after a few minutes have passed, “He’s probably looking for us.”
“I think he’s learned his lesson about that by now, don’t you?”
Fay frowns and swatted at Kurogane’s hand, “Don’t be awful.”
“I’m just being honest,” Kurogane yawned and rolls onto his side, tucking Fay’s head beneath his chin.
“We’re the worst parents, ever,” Fay groaned and huffed against Kurogane’s Adam’s apple
“We’re the worst role-models ever, then,” Fay corrected sharply and sighed, wondering if this is true. It probably was. “On the other hand, it would probably be worse if we fought all the time…”
“Can we not talk about Syaoran right now?” Kurogane groaned, his breaths growing steadily slower and more relaxed.
“Right,” Fay smiled, “I forgot, you’re still stupid.” He happily obliged and blew a stream of cold air against Kurogane’s neck, happy when the ninja broke out in goosepimples accordingly. They could find Syaoran later.
The sigil must be drawn thirty-six pargots in diameter and its protruding spearheads pushed outward from the inner margin of the circumference, without disrupting the uniformity of its width. These may be spaced at forty-five or ninety-degree angles, depending upon the size of the elemental the conjurer wishes to summon, spreading-
“I certainly hope that wasn’t the intended purpose of that spell.”
Fay looked up from the book he was frantically poring over to find Ashura hovering in the doorway of his chambers, grimacing at the remains of the bookshelf Fay had just relieved of its shelves. “Ahaha,” he laughed nervously, “No, I… I didn’t mean for it to do that.”
“You’re rushing through your studies again,” Ashura chided. He traced a scrolling message through the air, and before Fay was able to blink, had returned the shelf to its original state and alphabetized the books resting there. “You’re stressing yourself, I think. You’re constantly alone with your face crammed into a book – wouldn’t you be happier spending some time with others? Friends, lovers?”
Fay laughed at this and stared down into the pages of the book. He didn’t have time to waste with frivolities, never knowing when he would be called on to guide the princess of the desert. Besides which, he was perfectly happy with the company of Ashura and Fay and certainly didn’t consider himself worthy of more. And even if he were, Ashura was wearing that wistful smile once again – the one that he wore whenever speaking of love or lust or sex or anything that reminded him of General Taishakuten – and it broke Fay’s heart to see it. The general had reappeared recently after a conspicuous and lengthy absence, toting a child that looked suspiciously like the Queen and bore the Duke of Ostwald’s family name of Tennou. Boredom, Ashura had told him when he had asked, boredom and his own inability to keep the general satisfied.
It sounded ridiculous and, moreover, it sounded like a massive drain of energy and time – neither of which Fay could afford to spare. He laughed again, forcing the sound out from where it caught in his throat. “I think, Your Majesty,” he said calmly, “That relationships of that sort are a bit too expensive for my taste.”
The king regarded him sadly for a moment, but sighed and nodded in agreement, “That they are.”
“Headache” is not sufficient to describe the spiking flashes of pain flaring against Kurogane’s temples and sparking across his vision. He’s utterly exhausted after only a day in Clow. This is partially the fault of the wine, of which he indulged in more than his fair share of at dinner (after all, everyone else certainly was and damned if he was going to put up with being called a light weight), but it’s mostly the fault of the blond pile of sulk worming its way into the space between his shoulder blades. It’s angry and needy, and it’s driving Kurogane insane.
“Let go,” he insists, “I’m exhausted and I have a splitting headache.”
“But Kuro-rinta!” Fay whines, “We’re back in our own room and everything! And we’ve got all night and you said-”
“And then you got drunk and I got to carry you around. And now I need sleep,” he rolls over to stare into Fay’s pleading face, “So sleep.”
“But Kuro-rin,” Fay pouts again and snakes a hand between their bodies, dipping beneath the waist band of Kurogane’s shorts, “Look, you’ve got a half stack already… Wouldn’t it be better to-”
“No,” he grinds out between clenched teeth and plucks the hand away, “Now, good night.” He plants a rough kiss on Fay’s forehead and rolls back onto his side, breathing a sigh of relief as he feels the wizard slink back onto his own side of the mattress.
What the hell is with him today?
Never do for oneself what one’s lover can easily accomplish.
Thinking on it, he can pin point the exact moment he should have realized something was amiss. (That’s a rotten lie – he can’t put a date to it, but he can remember the events quite clearly.) It’s the middle of the night, the room is silent, and his bladder has somehow engorged to the size of a small melon. He tries to ignore it, tries to settle back into the sheets and drift back to sleep, but it’s an uncomfortable and, above all else, insistent need. He kicks off the blankets and scrambles to his feet, making a beeline for the adjoining bathroom before the cold can prick at his bare legs. It’s only after he’s closed the door behind him (and partially collapsed against the back of it) that he notices the steam rising from the shower and the splash of running water hitting the tiles.
He goes about his business, mostly oblivious to the noise and damp around him, and turns to leave again without disturbing whoever is showering, but, just as he grips the door handle, there is an unmistakable “Urrunfff” from the shower and he freezes in his tracks. Curious, and now quite certain that it is Kurogane behind the curtain, he draws the material back and is treated to an eyeful of sleek, dripping ninja. He’s leaning with one forearm against the tile wall, his shoulders tensed and back rippling, and breathing heavily enough to drive most of the steam away from his face. He looks incredibly sexy, and would look even sexier were it not for the white mess splashed across the wall and look of shame and embarrassment twisting his sharp features.
Fay chuckles, leans in for a kiss, and skips back to bed.
He hadn’t thought much about it at the time; it seemed like a perfectly normal thing to do.
He wishes he had.
Fay’s favorite part of Clow (apart from Sakura) are the night breezes. Crisp and clean, they’re strong enough to flutter the heavy curtains that open onto the room’s multiple balconies and waft coolly across the mattress, but usually not strong enough to disturb his sleep or chill him to the bone. Tonight, however, they’re more aggravating than anything else as they breathe wispily across him, tickling his nose and sending strands of his hair floating into the air as he lies sprawled out across the overly-pillowed mattress, staring blankly at the ceiling.
His eyes burn, his mind is racing; he’s had too much to drink and has now passed directly through the drowsiness into the aftershock insomnia and accompanying gut rot. There’s an incredible amount of room on this half of the bed, with Kurogane rolled onto his side at the opposite end and facing the wall, and he feels the vastness particularly acutely in the dark tonight. On a different night, he might roll over, fold himself to fit along the contours of Kurogane’s back, rest his cheek against his shoulder, maybe nibble lightly at his neck…
But tonight he’s still smarting from the sting of rejection – no matter how mild it may have been – and the distance between them seems insurmountable. He’s angry, mostly at himself, for letting things slip so far away from him, for becoming too comfortable, for being too wrapped up in…whatever the hell it is he’s been wrapped up in and not paying enough attention and – GAH.
He whips himself irritably out from under the covers and stands, raking a hand through his hair and yanking at the ends. His palms itch with the same frustration burns his eyes and tenses his shoulders and it’s all so much worse because he can’t help but look back at the bed and know that Kurogane is dreaming happily right now just by the way he’s breathing. And he knows he should probably just crawl back into the bed, shirk off the sting, and continue on as normal because that seems to be what is expected of him, but a million little warning bells are sounding in his consciousness, ringing with half-forgotten memories and disregarded warnings of dead men. He knows – he knows – this is Kurogane, goddamn it, and not some pompous, strutting general with an over-inflated ego and this is different but the feeling won’t shake out of his limbs…
He’s crossed the threshold to the curtains before he even realizes it and snaps them shut behind him. The balcony is eerily silent and the breeze is so much colder without the curtains trapping its harshness, but feels oddly refreshing as it whips through his hair and chills his skin. The air is thick as he inhales and cool as it flits down his throat fills his lungs; it feels substantial, like it gives him weight. Keeps him grounded. He leans over the railing to stare blankly at the town below. It’s cathartic – the city below is barely awake and few specks of light that do move, float with a dreamy cadence – up down up down, zig left, zag right – that he can follow without too much thought. An empty head really is best at times like these.
He knows Kurogane is standing behind him before the disgruntled cough even reaches his ears. “What are you doing out here, Kuro-tan,” Fay asks quietly, barely turning his head over his shoulder, “Can’t sleep without me?”
“You know I can’t,” Kurogane says simply and leans back against a pillar. He crosses his arms over his chest, staring irritably off into the sky, and mumbles, “Bed’s empty. Too damned quiet.”
Fay cracks a smile – the first in what feels like forever – and snorts. He’s an idiot, and he knows Kurogane would agree – he knows practically everything Kurogane would think – but that simple confession (the one that’s so like him and yet Fay is well aware that he’s the only one who ever sees this side of the ninja) feels as if it’s shattered the load he’s been carrying and the shards are sprinkling down around his feet and shining in the moonlight. He knows. He turns himself against the railing and leans back onto his elbow as a devious grin takes his face. “Did you need me to sing you back to sleep?”
Kurogane narrows one eye and sighs, “If that’s what it takes to get you to come back…”
Fay balks for a moment before laughing once again, “I told you, Kuro-sama, joking really doesn’t suit you.”
“Moderately reasonable indeed,” Fay smiles lopsidedly and picks at his fingernails. The creeping unease is pushing its way back up through his momentary peace and threatening to burst free all over again. He takes a deep breath and pushes off the railing, wobbling on his feet a bit as he draws up courage. “Are you…bored?”
“Hah?” Kurogane’s face is contorted into a glorious mess, the likes of which Fay has not seen in ages, “What the hell do you mean bored?”
“I-” he takes a step forward, clenching his hands into fists, “With me. With our…relationship. Bouncing around space and time and all that.”
Kurogane lifts an eyebrow and smirks, “Is this why you’ve been acting like a complete idiot all day?”
“I-” Fay catches himself, realizing this is in no way the response he had anticipated, “What?”
Kurogane rolls his eyes and closes the distance between them with two massive strides. “You,” he says slowly and shakes Fay’s shoulders, “Idiot. You think I’m bored because I didn’t want to indulge your groping fetish in front of the royal family?”
“Well when you put it like that it just sounds silly,” Fay mumbles, staring at the ground, “It’s not just that though. Recently…well, it’s not been recently, if you follow.”
Kurogane’s face wrinkles in a way that very much suggested that no, he didn’t have the faintest fecking clue what Fay means by that, but relaxes a moment later into a frown. “Can’t have been that long.”
Fay socks him playfully, “I’m telling you it has. And not that I mind – too much, anyway – but I worry that you’re drifting…”
“Tche,” Kurogane scoffs irritably, “Why would you- Why would I- Y-you’re an idiot.”
“So you keep saying.”
Kurogane exhales deeply and grips the sides of Fay’s head, pulling him closer to press his lips against the blond hairline. “But you’re my idiot,” he mumbles, “And you’ll be my idiot tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, so it’s not like there’s a burning need to…I don’t know…get it all out of the way at once. And,” he cranes his neck back to stare down at Fay with the scowl that always means that the words about to follow are never to be repeated in front of anyone else, ever, lest all involved parties be consumed by the wrath of an angry ninja, “I like it this way. It feels like…home.”
“You…” Fay closes his eyes and breathes deeply. He can’t handle this. He can’t handle…sappy Kurogane, even though the sentiment has hit home and what he would really like to do is burrow into the ninja’s chest and never leave. It’s not right, though, and he beats his fist playfully against Kurogane’s shoulder instead, “Who are you and what have you done with my cranky ninja? I don’t think I can trust a word you say, you lying cow. In fact-”
“Shut up,” Kurogane abruptly shuts down Fay’s growing laughter down with a fierce kiss, apparently intent on sucking every last bit of breath out of him. He looks appropriately pleased as Fay pants and gasps for air when they’re parted. “Are you happy?” he asks, seriously.
Fay nods and leans into his chest; burrowing was not such a bad idea after all... He is happy, he’s been happy, he’s mostly been afraid that he’s been blinded by his happiness. And yet, maybe it is time for a change… “I’ve been thinking,” he mumbles against Kurogane’s skin, “Maybe the next time we’re in Nihon… Maybe we could stay there longer.”
“We have to leave when the earring glows.”
“Well, Syaoran does…” Fay trails off as he feels Kurogane tense against him and wonders if he’s gone one step too far. He should know better – Kurogane won’t want to leave Syaoran on his own. They’ve all grown accustomed to being together over these past years and it would be far too difficult to separate. It was a stupid thought, after all; he’s not thinking clearl-
“We’ll talk to the kid about it,” Kurogane says quietly, “He’s gotten some good leads in the past few months – he might be able to do something with them. And then… He’s a grown man, after all,” he finishes dumbly.
“And all good children must fly the nest someday,” Fay agrees, “And leave their parents far behind…”
“Oh for the last-” Kurogane sighs, “Nevermind. We might as well be his parents anyway.” He rubs Fay’s shoulder a bit to roughly, and Fay’s wobbles from side to side across his chest. “Don’t go getting all sentimental,” he groans, “I said we’d talk to him. And this was your idea!”
“Sorry, Kuro-rin,” Fay chuckles, “Early-onset empty nest syndrome.”
“I think I’ll be fine,” Fay sings, smiling, and winds his arms beneath Kurogane’s shoulders.
“Good,” Kurogane smirks, “Now come back to bed. I’ll make it worth your while.”
“Hmm,” Fay grabs Kurogane’s hand and lifts the curtains that lead back into the bedroom, “I’ll come back to bed, but I think I feel a headache coming on.” He pulls back the blankets with a swish and flopps onto the mattress, dragging one arm up over his face in mock despair.
“Who said anything about your head?” Kurogane demands, stripping the blankets away from the bed entirely and dropping them in a messy heap on the floor.
“I have a cockache, too.”
“Liar,” Kurogane’s hand cracks loudly against the side of his ass and sends an excited shudder up his spine.
“And now that hurts, too,” Fay cries, sniffling, “All possibilities for sex are now off the table – all bridges crippled, all ports of entry closed. Please call again in the morning. Or maybe the morning after that. Or the morning after that ev-” He’s cut off midstream by a pillow thwacking down over his face, which Kurogane somehow manages to keep pinned down as he crawls onto the mattress. He releases Fay’s face a moment later, only to pull him bodily back against his own chest in a crushing embrace.
“Whatever, just take up space so I can sleep.”
Thank you for reading and please remember to vote here!