Rating: PG (drinking)
Warnings: Kurogane is kind of a mean drunk
Summary: written for the kuroxfai_pop group's first writing challenge: Characterization. The challenge was to swap around Kurogane and Fay's roles in a scene from the manga (or fanfic, etc). This takes place in Outo - instead of Fay getting goofy drunk, Kurogane finds himself under the influence and leaves poor Fay to put all the children to bed.
Also, let me take another moment to pimp the kuroxfai_pop group, because I think it has the potential to be lots of fun and produce more great writing! Come play!
“Does Souma really look like the Souma in Kurogane’s country?” Sakura looks far happier than Kurogane thinks she ought to as she asks this. She’d been there; she’d seen how startled he’d been. She seemed like an observant girl – how could she be so utterly nonchala-
“He was so surprised that he dropped Fay!”
“SHUT UP!” The princess he can forgive. The manjuu needs to be throttled.
And now the wizard is pontificating again, with that wistful little smile on his face that is so transparent that even the kids are looking at him with concern. Bah! He can remind them all he wants of how they’ll inevitably run into familiar faces, but he has NO idea. When he runs into whomever it is he’s running from…well, then Kurogane might have somewhat of an interest in what he has to say.
But for now, he knows there is a bottle of gin clinking around in that package that banged against his thighs the entire walk home from the bar, and he is going to enjoy it. He pours himself a glass – straight up – and storms out to the front steps to be alone with his thoughts.
The gin isn’t bad, though it has a duller flavor than he remembers and doesn’t burn his throat quite as much as he’d like. Whatever. It’ll take the edge off just the same. He downs the last of his glass and stares at the stars.
He can feel the heat pouring into his cheeks and pauses, lifting a hand to his face and staring suspiciously at his glass. What was in this stuff? He didn’t flush from drinking – TOMOYO – Tomoyo flushed from drinking and he laughed at her for it. Laughed long and hard and…
Damn it. Grunting, he gets to his feet and goes to refill his glass. The princess and the manjuu are already apparently hammered and dancing in circles while the kid stares in horror and Fay watches from his perch on the sofa with a bemused smirk. Not his problem. If the wizard wants to play Happy-Homemaker, the wizard can take care of the kids. He’s having another drink.
He checks the label on the bottle before pouring – just in case. It’s normal alcohol, for all he can tell. Eighty-proof is nothing he can’t handle. The flush was likely just from being pushed to his wits’ end. He’ll have to work on getting that under control in the morning…
He grabs the bottle and stomps back out onto the porch, making sure to roll his eyes at the liquor-fueled spectacle in the lounge as he sits.
He’s joined in short order by Syaoran, who, rather than attempt any sort of conversation, stares dolefully at his glass and remains silent. Kurogane sighs and swigs, sighs and swigs.
His fingers are tingling, and oddly enough, so is his tongue. The latter also feels slow and fat in his mouth and is for some reason completely incapable of keeping his teeth warm. He doesn’t know why his teeth should be cold in the first place, but he’s fairly certain that his tongue should be doing a better job of warming them up…
His tongue really is slow and fat.
“There are Kijis that can’t be defeated without a weapon. Can you…teach me how to use a sword?”
Kurogane squints and leans back to get a better view of the kid’s face. Him teach? He supposes he could, but that would all depend on the kid’s motivations… Oh, who is he kidding; the kid does everything for the damned princess. If there are kijis needing defeating and a weapon is what its gonna take then the kid is gonna find a way to get a weapon no matter what and he’ll probably just screw it all up if Kurogane doesn’t teach him but then again does it really have to be a sword...? “You just can’t say no,” he says at last.
“I mean; what are you doing?”
“This for. What are you doing this for.”
Stupid fat tongue.
“It’s for the sake of finishing what I’ve decided to do.”
“I s’pose I know a thing or two. You can…learn.”
“Thank you very much!”
“What are you doing?” his face is definitely warmer than it should be, and he doesn’t like the way his eyes won’t focus as he tries to follow the kid’s face as Syaoran dips and bows to the manjuu (of all people…things…whatever). “If you’re gonna do this, do it right. Ten laps around the block. NOW!”
“And if you’re going to whack something with that ladle, use the sharp end!”
He grins to himself as the kid takes off around the corner, feeling like a little boy who’s just done something a bit naughty and not feeling the least bit ashamed of himself. He refills his glass.
He tilts his head back and squints. Fay is leaning in the doorway, staring down at him with a half-smirk plastered across his infuriatingly, falsely, stupidly cheerful face. “What?”
“Aren’t you being a little hard on your new apprentice?”
“Psssht,” he waves his arm in a wide arc over his head, “He’s fine. S’good for ‘im. Discipline.”
Fay steps past him into the street, yelling for Syaoran to come back. He doesn’t for a long while, but when he does, it’s clear he’s made it around the block at top speed and possibly tripped over his own feet a few times. Fay grimaces and herds him off to bed.
Kurogane smirks. And blinks. Smirks and blinks. Tries to keep his left eyelid open. Fails. Chuckles.
“I think it’s time for Big Dog to go to bed.”
“Shouldn’t you be playing nursemaid to the princess?”
“She’s already in bed. Just like you should be. Come on now.” Fay loops his arm beneath Kurogane’s shoulder and hauls him up. Kurogane is slightly startled to realize just how strong the skinny mage is, but for some reason the world has decided to spin around his head and he’s too busy trying to blink away the streaking stars to comment. He stumbles, and is glad of the arm holding him up.
For a second, anyway.
“Get the hell off me,” he grumbles, pushing himself away and into the door frame. He rests here for a second, rubbing his temples.
“Kuro-tan is quite a light-weight,” Fay chuckles, jiggling the half-full bottle of gin in front of his own face, “Are you really this drunk?”
“’M not drunk,” he insists, shuffling back into the café. Just tired.” He collapses into a bar stool, arms crossed across the counter and pillowing his head.
Fay sniffs at his head. “Hyuu…nope. Kuro-pon is drunk. Smashed. Blasted. Shit-faced.
“You are a pain in my fucking ass!” Kurogane roars against the insides of his elbows.
“I know…” Fay says quietly. There’s a rattle from behind the counter, as if he’s moving things around the cupboards. “And you hate me, right?”
“Just shut up.”
“You’re a mean drunk, Kuro-rin.”
“No more alcohol for you, ever. You’ll scare the children.”
“I said shuddup…” Kurogane lifts his head, sniffing at the air, “What are you cooking?”
“It’s still last night.”
“No, it’s actually tomorrow morning,” Fay flips the skillet he’s holding over onto a plate and drops it down in front of the drunken ninja. “Eat.”
“Don’t want to.”
“Kuro-sama is also a very obstinate drunk.”
“If I eat it will you shut up and go away?”
“I’m already gone, Kuro-rin…” Fay trills from somewhere down the hall.
Kurogane stares at the plate of food, then back down the hallway. What the hell, his stomach IS feeling a bit acidic…
He wakes in the morning, still hunched over the café counter, to blinding rays of sunlight beating against his eyes and a handwritten note cello-taped to his face.
“Don’t let your student down.”