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23 April 2011 @ 11:01 am
This fic is holding my brain hostage...  
Story: Black cat, white mage - Part 2
Pairings: Kurogane/Fai, Sakura/Syaoran, Yukito/Touya, the usual suspects.
Rating: PG-13
Warning: Uhm, Touya mentions his ass?
Summary: A lost princess. A mage running away from his past. A crippled warrior doing his best to forget the man he used to be. And a young man carrying a terrible curse. All of them are inevitably drawn into an adventure where love might save them... or doom them.
Note: THIS CHAPTER TOOK ME FOREVER TO POST SOB. Anyway, this is the chapter in which the kitties appear, Touya has inner RAEG, and we meet one of our antagonists. Cut quote from "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll.

***

 
Little Cat fell asleep quickly, warmed by the fire and calmed by the fact that their last heist had been so very successful. There was going to be no sleeping under the stars with the frost creeping over their blankets this winter, no worrying about her father because she couldn’t help noticing how he kept giving her almost all the meager food there was. They were safe for a while, and Little Cat slept better for it. Her father, watching the restful smoothness of her forehead, vowed to himself that he’d try to keep it this way.

He wondered what the people who used to know him would say if they saw him now. He’d given up on his luxurious, flamboyant clothes in favor for a more somber garb that better suited his lifestyle. Pure white didn’t do very well for someone who relied on hiding in shadows. He also wore his hair longer and braided, to keep it out of his face. The difference wasn’t huge, because the flaxen mess of it seemed to rebel against all constraint and defy all laws of gravity and common sense, but at least he’d made the effort. He smiled a bit more seldom, but when he did, the smile was usually more genuine. And of course, he no longer used magic unless he had no other choice, which meant the blue was slowly fading from his eyes.

Nowadays, whenever he had a chance to look in a mirror, he saw the green color they’d been meant to be. The color he remembered seeing when he looked into his brother’s eyes. The color of Fai’s eyes.

That’s what he called himself nowadays. Yuui was a name fraught with death and pain and guilt, so instead he’d taken on his dead twin’s name. Another pointless gesture in a series of pointless gestures, none of which would ever bring his brother back.

He shook his head, dismissing these thoughts with a cynical smile, because they wouldn’t bring Fai back either. Nothing would, so dwelling on it was pointless.

As if she could sense his distress, Little Cat extended a hand toward him in her sleep. He’d noticed that the girl sometimes seemed to know a lot more of what was going on in his heart than he was trying to let on. There really was something strange about her, something special, although he still wasn’t quite sure what.

He wondered a bit wryly what the people he used to know would say about her. What would they say about the little stray cat he’d picked up on the way? What would they say about his adoptive daughter? About his partner in crime? About his sudden and unexpected raison d’être?

Yuuko would no doubt say that it was no coincidence that he’d found her in the middle of the forest, all those years ago. That it had been inevitable that he’d heard her cry and decided to go investigate. But she would probably say that his decision to pick the girl up, to comfort her and take her with him… this decision had been entirely his own. And then she’d smile that smile at him which suggested that she knew more than he did, that she always had and always would, but she would do nothing to change what would happen. No matter the outcome, she would just watch, because that was her job.

He wanted to hate her for it. One day, he’d learn how to.

For now, he would pity her instead.

He sat up a bit straighter and stretched. This particular area was too unsafe for both of them to sleep at the same time, so it wasn’t good to get too comfortable. If he fell asleep on his watch, they might be robbed of their newly acquired booty, and that would mean having to start out from scratch – and that was if they were lucky. In the case of a robbery, it was just as likely that they’d never wake up again. And even if things didn’t turn out quite so grim, he was sure that Little Cat wouldn’t pass up on such an excellent opportunity to tease him endlessly. Sometimes, he really thought he’d taught her too well.

Then again, he was quite proud of his handiwork with her. If you disregarded his magic – and most of the time, he did – Little Cat was every bit as dangerous as he was. Maybe more, because no one seriously believed that her pretty little face and petit frame belonged to a lethal fighter. She was small, and her reach was limited, so he’d taught her to throw daggers – and the sharp edges of her knives also served very nicely to make up for what she lacked in strength. His preferred method was simply to clobber people over the head with the plain wooden staff he carried. But of course, what they both did best was not to hit others – it was to avoid others hitting them.

They made a lovely, if unexpected team. Big Cat and Little Cat were pretty well-known in certain circles by now, as two of the best – if perhaps not the most subtle – cat burglars in the business. It had gone so far that people actually had tried to hire them for assassinations as well. But those missions Fai had flatly refused, and he hadn’t even told Little Cat about them. Maybe it wouldn’t surprise her, or even upset her, but he still didn’t want her to know. That much innocence he still wanted to grant her.

It was one thing to fight if you were cornered, if you had no other choice. Taking another’s life on purpose was an entirely different matter, and Fai had vowed never to do it, no matter how noble the cause. He knew far too well what happened when people started thinking that the end justified the means.

Besides, he had a good life. Why would he want to change it? As long as he kept moving, the people in the Circle of Mages wouldn’t be able to find him. Thanks to Little Cat, he was never lonely. There were times when he even forgot what he was, how he’d ended up on the roads in the first place; times when he thought of himself as an eternal drifter, born that way and destined to live out his days that way. In a way, it saddened him. But it also set him free, if only for a little while. 

 ~ * ~

It was amazing, Touya thought dully, how Lord Rondart’s soft voice could grate so in his ears, until he wanted to shove his fist down the man’s throat, and maybe that would make him shut up. He’d really thought the man was such a kind, unselfish fellow when he’d been introduced to him. He smiled all the time, was kind to children, never kicked the two large hunting dogs he kept, and donated large sums of money to the poor and destitute. He had a gods-damned orphanage named after him, for crying out loud. Touya remembered thinking, upon finding this out, that the man was almost too good to be real.

Well, he was. The more the prince saw of him, the more he was convinced that the man was a self-serving, scheming, manipulative bastard. It was the perfect disguise, he supposed. Being nice didn’t cost him much, and what he gained was everyone turning a blind eye whenever he did something that didn’t fit the pretty picture they had of the Lord in their heads.

“…and I have to say that the situations is, quite plainly, unacceptable,” he said with a apologetic little smile that Touya didn’t buy even for a minute. “You know there are always unscrupulous people ready to take advantage of a situation like this, your Majesty.”

What, you mean like you, you pompous little twat?
Touya thought bitterly, but of course he bit the words down. He didn’t want to make the situation any worse on his parents. Even if he’d never agree that this was his fault, because he knew he was doing nothing wrong, it was definitely his responsibility. This was no time to act like the spoiled, selfish brat that Rondart was implying he was with every word that slithered out of his mouth.

And he wasn’t the only one with that opinion either.

“I know of quite a few persons that match that description, yes,” Fujitaka said mildly, and Touya was pretty sure that it was meant as a jibe. At least he was aware of what kind of creep Rondart was, although he probably knew better ways of dealing with him than the ones Touya was currently devising in his brain for his own private enjoyment. None quite as satisfying, though, if Touya knew his father right. “But what are you suggesting we do about this, as you call it, ‘unacceptable situation’, Lord Rondart?”

“Well,” the man said, raising one eyebrow in a gesture that was too restrained to be an insult to the king’s intelligence, but only just. “There’s just one thing that can be done, after all.”

“The laws of this country,” Nadeshiko said softly, but with something like steel in her gaze, “state that every citizen is free to do as he or she wishes with their life, as long as they harm no one else. This includes princes, I’m afraid. I hope you are not implying that my son should be forced into something he has expressly refused to do?”

“Oh no, of course not.” The slimy bastard had the impudence to keep smiling. “I was merely hoping to talk some sense into him. No offence meant, of course, your Highness.”

No offence, my beautifully sculpted ass,
Touya thought poisonously, but he once more swallowed the words. “None taken,” he replied icily. “So what is your definition of ‘sense’ then, Lord Rondart?”

“You marry,” the Lord said simply. “No, listen,” he added when Touya opened his mouth, an angry retort on his tongue. “You marry some woman, whomever seems the most suitable, and you get at least one child with her. And then you can have as many male lovers as you feel like, and the country will be safe. Forgive me for speaking so bluntly, my lord, but you must agree that it would be better if we stopped walking on eggshells around this whole business.”

“And what of the woman?” Finally, Yukito spoke up, his voice as soft and sweet as ever, his face carefully expressionless. But Touya, who knew what to look for, could see both his fear and his scorn quite clearly. “What kind of a life is that to sentence someone to?” Touya saw his mother nod, and his father’s eyes narrowed imperceptibly, and he could swear he’d never loved the three of them as much as he did now.

Lord Rondart smiled pleasantly at Yukito, but his voice when he spoke was pure poison. “I’m not sure I think it’s appropriate for someone who has self-interest in the matter remaining unsolved to participate in this meeting.”

“My lord, please,” Fujitaka injected with a wry smile. “If I was to dismiss everyone speaking out of self-interest from every debate in court, I’d have to send everyone out of the room, including my wife and myself. I’d say it is reasonable for Yukito to remain here, since the matter at hand concerns him as well.”

You’re one to talk about self-interest,
Touya silently seethed, glowering at the Lord. The only reason you are pushing for this, you vile little snake, is because if my father is overthrown, it would mean that you’ve been betting on the wrong horse this entire time.

“Very well,” Lord Rondart said with a shrug, as if he really wasn’t furious about the turn of events. “In any case, I will have to agree with the Venerable Brother that it would be a most unfortunate situation for the poor woman. But I ask you to consider what is most important. The potential unhappiness of one woman, or the welfare of thousands.”

Yukito’s cheeks colored, and Touya felt, if possible, even more inclined to wring the man’s scrawny neck. He’d used the old term used for priests on purpose, he knew he had. It was a nasty reminder that until a couple of years ago, all the priest and priestesses had been sworn to absolute celibate and chastity. Nadeshiko had put an end to that oppressive old custom, but not before Yukito had managed to break his vows with Touya more than a few times. But Lord Rondart couldn’t have known that, it was impossible. So he must’ve been guessing. But then again, did that really matter now? The pleased smirk that flitted over the man’s face said he’d seen Yukito’s reaction, and was storing away the information for later. The bastard.

“You mean to say that the ends justify the means?” Nadeshiko was saying calmly, raising one eyebrow in an imitation of the Lord’s gesture just a few minutes ago. “That’s a fairly bold statement, Lord Rondart.”

Rondart shrugged. “I am merely saying what needs to be said, your Majesty.”

“Well, that is truly admirable in that case,” Nadeshiko replied, and Touya was impressed by how truly nasty his mother could sound while still being every bit as lovely and charming as always. Slimy little fakesters like Rondart couldn’t hold a candle to her.

The king hid a smile behind a cough. “Indeed,” he agreed. “And we will give your words due consideration, Lord Rondart. Thank you for bringing your concerns to us.”

Rondart bowed silently, and then excused himself. At least you had to give that to the little pissant. He knew a dismissal when he it was thrown in his face. Fujitaka watched him go with a scowl, and as the door slammed shut behind him he sighed deeply. “I am sorry about this, boys.”

“Don’t apologize, father,” Touya said quietly. “He does bring up a valid point. Not about the marriage, of course,” he hurriedly added, when three pairs of eyes stared in sudden horror at him. “I mean about the unrest we’re causing. Something needs to be done.”

Yukito nodded in agreement as the king and queen glanced uneasily at each other. “It plagues my conscience too,” he said softly.

“Ah, boys,” Nadeshiko said softly, sadly. “You’re right, of course. But what can be done?” And then, softer still, so quietly that it wasn’t words so much as the shapes of words: “If only Sakura…”

There was nothing to say to that.
 

 
 
Current Mood: frustrated
 
 
 
Cloverfield: Jo and Megfieldofclover on April 23rd, 2011 11:14 am (UTC)
/stares

/stares some more

/giggles at the mention of Touya's beautifully sculpted ass

/goes back to staring

WQJH&%^&*UYFHHGW*^D(OIKHSJKD!!

What. How. HOW. How am I supposed to go on without the rest of this fic? How am I supposed to live, now that I have read this chapter, and there is no more of it???

You'v given me new obsession, you wonderful woman you. /tears out hair/ More. More as soon as you are able. Please.

Little Cat stole my heart even asleep and the implication that she not only can but will kick ass and take names thrills me like you wouldn't believe and I want to hug Big Cat until he squeaks not purrs, that's Kuro's job and he probably has quite a ways to go until they get to that stage and and and I want to marry Touya's parents. Both of them. Probably while I am hugging Yuki like a madwoman and kicking Kyle in the face, because I can do this all at the same time.

/takes a breath

I love you.
sweetjerry: Can't fuck a dreamsweetjerry on April 23rd, 2011 12:22 pm (UTC)
håfhgåfhfähägljhkgöfll /MORE FLAIL/

Touya's ass is the pride of the kingdom, I'll have you know /sagenod/

Uhm. Uhm. Sorry? There will soon be a part three which involves ass-kicking, if that eases your pain a bit? /comforts with snuggles/ And you'll have to see the obsession-giving as me simply paying back in kind.

So, you will be hugging two people at the same time, marrying two other people and kicking one slimy lord in the face? I'd call that SKILL xD Also, yes, that is indeed Kuro's job, but it will take him a while to pull the sword stick out of his ass. Oh, and Fai is a bit of a twit too xD

/HUGGLES WITH LOVE
Cloverfieldfieldofclover on April 23rd, 2011 12:33 pm (UTC)
I bet it is, and I'm sure Yukito can confirm this, much to their people's delight /suggestive eyebrow waggle/

Never apologise, just more. Soon. :D

Multitasker, my dear, multitasker! Ugh, I can't wait for the developments, hngarfkgajhkl!!

/takes deep breath

/hugs you forever
Geo: Miharu (calm/thinking)ankou_chan on April 23rd, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
KITTENS <3
I love how you're introducing the characters in pairs, it links them all together nicely~
Enjoyed this chapter just as much as the last one, it leaves me with lots of questions!
I'm glad you got it up so quickly, excited for the next one~!
sweetjerry: Appreciationsweetjerry on April 23rd, 2011 12:26 pm (UTC)
CHOOSE LIFE. CHOOSE KITTENS.
Mwah, thank you <3 I sort of wanted the corresponding daddy-child relationships one after the other ^^
Hopefully it'll be questions I will be able to answer to satisfaction xD
/writes as if she had an angry dog Kurogane at her heels...
It's hard to dance with the devil on your back: TouyaYukiuakari120 on April 25th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

no one seriously believed that her pretty little face and petit frame belonged to a lethal fighter. She was small, and her reach was limited, so he’d taught her to throw daggers – and the sharp edges of her knives also served very nicely to make up for what she lacked in strength. OMGOMGOMG SAKURA THE KNIFE FIGHTER. *loves all over you* I am so in love with this characterization, and she hasn't even woken up yet! (Fai does her justice in his thoughts XDDD) THIS IS SO EXCITING!

No offence, my beautifully sculpted ass AHAHAHA!!! Ahem...I mean...no, never mind, it IS beautifully sculpted. (At least, I am going to imagine it is... >.>) I love Touya's inner monologue while dealing with Kyle - it's very, eh...colorful, but fitting and hysterically funny. His unspoken one-liners are gold XD

I am so excited for more of this!!
sweetjerry: I'm your mansweetjerry on April 25th, 2011 04:58 pm (UTC)
/drowns in love/
/rather likes it/

Oooh, I'm so glad. I was wondering at first if I was messing too much with her character if I made her a fighter, but wth, if Fai's the one bringing you up you can hardly help picking up on his general asskickery, right? ^^

And we all know it is an exquisite ass ^.~ And Touya is a very colorful person xD

/glomps
Mayoumayou on April 29th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
My statement is: I'm addicted and have to have more of this. Gladly there are some chaps left, which I'm going to consume now.

Like your writing stile.

sweetjerry: Not a pry barsweetjerry on April 30th, 2011 11:54 am (UTC)
Aww, YAY :D I will also continue writing with all speed and hopefully you won't run out ^^

dskhafkjsh <3 THANKS /blushes
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