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28 April 2011 @ 08:14 pm
Ah, McDonalds, my old friend...  
Story: Black cat, white mage - Part 5
Pairings: Kurogane/Fai, Sakura/Syaoran, Yukito/Touya, the usual suspects.
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Kurogane continues using bad words, and now it's Fai's turn to do the same.
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: Well, I'm going away with work for the weekend, and I don't know if I'll have any internets. So have an extra-long part, in which the nicknames are cavity-inducing (literally), religion is discussed, metaphores are strange (and possibly feral), and we find out more about Kurogane's past. Cut quote from "Athanasia" by Oscar Wilde. 

***:


 

“Yoo-hoo, Kuro-peach, it’s time for you to wake up!”

Kurogane opened his eyes to find the brainless outlaw leaning over him with a wide, smug grin tugging on his lips. He wasn’t wearing the large leather coat – which looked like it had been the result of the mass-slaughter of a whole herd of cows – yet. Instead he wore a fine black silk shirt which clung to his skin in a far too eye-catching way, and for a moment Kurogane forgot to be angry and simply stared. If you looked close, you could see that the shirt was patterned in different shades of black – if there was such a thing – and when he straightened up Kurogane could clearly see it riding over a nipple and-

-and then his brain came back to life, and so did his anger.

What did you just call me?” he growled viciously, and he knew the fury was disproportionate to a silly nickname given him by a feeble-minded criminal. For one weak moment, he’d looked at another man like he’d sworn he never would again. Didn’t he know where that got you? Hadn’t he learned his fucking lesson?

Fai’s eyes widened for a split second, and he’d clearly registered that Kurogane’s reaction wasn’t only about the nickname, but then he just smiled even wider, if such a thing was possible. “What, doesn’t Kuro-sugar like his nickname? Kuro-bonbon? Kuro-with-cream-on-top?” The last atrocity was presented with a lascivious wink, and made Kurogane blush far down on his neck. He saw Syaoran closing his eyes in horror – and was that a prayer he was mouthing? But he didn’t rise to the bait, because there was no better way of proving that you liked fucking men than to loudly deny it at every slight suggestion, joking or not.

“Idiot,” he grunted instead, getting to his feet and shouldering past the skinny little twit. “Anyone save some breakfast from Syaoran?”

“Kurogane,” the young man said plaintively as Little Cat giggled and handed his father a slice of cheese, a chunk of fragrant bread and an apple.

“You eat like a gods-damned horse, kid,” Kurogane replied without remorse, peeling the wax off the cheese. “Don’t know where it all goes, ‘cause you sure ain’t getting any bigger, and you’ve been going at it since you were fourteen.”

“How old are you?” Little Cat asked the boy politely, conveniently blind to his furious blushing and the way he was trying to fry his adoptive father into silence with his glare.

“What? Uh. Uhm. Eighteen. Eh. I think.”

“You don’t know?” she asked, looking fascinated. As Syaoran muttered something almost indecipherable about being an orphan, she smiled widely at him. “I don’t know how old I am either,” she confided in an extremely audible whisper. “Fai thinks I must’ve been about three years old when he found me, so that’d make me fifteen, and of course we celebrate my birthday on the day he found me. That’s the same birthday as the little princess that went missing, apparently. How old were you when you came to…?” She nodded at Kurogane, who was wondering if teenage girls needed to breathe at all.

“Twelve,” Syaoran said, looking slightly dazed by her smile, or possibly just by the overwhelming flow of words.

“Oh. Oh, shit, I’m sorry,” she said, reining herself in and looking more somber. “Were you… uhm, were you in an orphanage before then?”

Syaoran suddenly looked like a cornered animal, and as such he was probably likely to lash out at the slightest provocation, and he really seemed to like the girl… Kurogane sighed, getting to his feet and interrupting their conversation by saying, “Right. We really should get the red-painted fuck out of here before that Lord Whatever manages to find some competent fighters. Kids, pack yourselves up. Don’t leave any knives around, princess; someone could sit on ‘em. Syaoran, if your blade still has so much as a damn speck of blood on it by lunchtime, I’ll smack your ears off. Idiot, where are we going next?”

Fai was watching him with a look on him that made Kurogane somewhat uneasy. It was like he was trying to make sense of him. Well, he was welcome to try. Fuck knew that Kurogane couldn’t figure his own damn self out most of the time. “Well, Lord Rondart has the support of the Puritan Church, so even though it’s the closest town, going to Drottensburg would probably not be a spectacular idea. The best idea would be to get to Libertarian town. The closest would be Queen Nadeshiko’s home town, St. Cattalina. It’s a bit of a trip, but I’m sure that a couple of fine men like yourselves will have no problems with that.”

Kurogane snorted. He’d been a soldier, after all, and the bastard could probably tell. And while Syaoran had never been on the roads, he’d been a street urchin for the gods only knew how long; he still wouldn’t tell. He’d be fine. However, there was one more thing that interested him in that harebrained rant, except for their destination.

“You’re one awfully well-informed criminal,” he pointed out suspiciously. “I can count the people I know who can remember which towns are Libertarian and which ain’t on the fingers of one hand. My left hand.”

Fai gave him a strange sideways glance, and while he was still smiling, there was some kind of edge to it. “I’m a thief, Kuro-candy, but that does not imply that I live under a rock. I like to keep track on what is happening in the world around me, and especially the doings of those self-important, sanctimonious – Little Cat, cover your ears – cunts in the Puritan Church.”

Oh. So he wasn’t a complete moron.

Little Cat had indeed covered her ears, although the use of it might be debated since it was her fake cat ears. She smiled beatifically when Fai raised his eyebrows at her. “You didn’t say which ears,” she proclaimed virtuously. “Besides, I already knew that word.”

Fai grinned. “Of course you do. I’ve no doubt you’ve known that word since you were five. You’re just supposed to pretend like you don’t. It’s called piousness.”

“You’ve got some dangerous views there,” Kurogane pointed out evenly, but with a reluctant smirk pulling at his lips.

“Oh, and I assume you’re a Puritan, since you’re clearly a military man. Everyone knows they control most of our armies, and so well too.” Fai spoke with a mocking smile and lofty tone of voice. “Especially since you’re a discharged cripple who nonetheless can fight better than most men, living on the generous veteran’s pension, I’m sure.” Those green eyes seemed, just for a second, to look right through him. But Kurogane returned that look without flinching. It wasn’t like Fai wasn’t more than he claimed to be too.

“Puritans can kiss my hairy asshole,” he said bluntly, which made Little Cat break out in a peal of giggles, and Syaoran had to sit down from laughing too hard. Fai’s smile was almost… proud, as if Kurogane had somehow exceeded his expectations.

“Well put, Kuro-peach,” he crooned, once more sounding embarrassingly suggestive, “but that’s really far too good for the Puritans, I feel. Now, my ducklings,” he continued, spinning around with his arms spread wide, oblivious to Kurogane glaring a hole in the back of his head, “you should listen to daddy. We really have to be far away from this city in the unlikely event that Lord Rondart somehow manages to develop some kind of semblance of a brain. Chop chop.”

 ~ * ~

As they walked, Fai kept watching Kurogane out of the corner of his eye. Dear oh dear. The man really was unfairly handsome. But if it only had been that, he would’ve been able to deal so much better. It wasn’t as if he wasn’t used to handsome men. The gods knew he saw one every time he looked into a mirror. But oh no. Kurogane just had to be perfect.

So maybe the swearing wasn’t exactly endearing, and all that glaring and growling seemed a bit excessive, but…

But the man was just so good. And not good as in good in bed – although he probably was that too, the utter bastard – but he really seemed like he was a through and through nice person. He tried to hide it by being ornery and close-mouthed, but the way he cared for that boy spoke of the kind of devotion that the uncivilized asshole he tried to play himself off as could never achieve.

He wondered what the story behind the two of them was. Twelve was quite an age for an adopted child, and it wasn’t as if huge brutes living on an army pension often took in kids to live with them. He didn’t know much about orphanages, except for what little Chii had told him – and right now, he really didn’t want to think about the one big regret he’d left behind. The point was that if Syaoran had come from one of those places, he would either have been a big-eyed, horrified little creature like Chii, or a right little beast. And how had Kurogane, of all people, even ended up in an orphanage in the first place?

There was definitely a story there. And the gods and their mothers help him, he was fascinated enough to stick around to find it out. As long as “fascinated” didn’t turn into “infatuated”, he supposed there was no real harm in it.

And then of course there was the price. The thing that meant he had to stick around for now. Because as long as he wanted to be able to use his magic – and they lived dangerously enough that he still wanted it to be an option, Ashura and his “intimate knowledge” of his magical signature be damned – then he had to pay. For everything. For what was given to him, he paid back. For what he stole, he gave. Not necessarily to the person he’d stolen from, but he gave all the same. That was built into the very fundamentals of magic. The power you took from someplace else had to somehow return there, and so every spell, every incantation, every rune had to be paid back later with your own energy. And if you were the kind of person who would take and take and never give back when it came to everything else in life, eventually the transaction would lose its meaning to you, and that was when you lost your magic. So you had to pay. Always.

And he wasn’t quite sure what would’ve happened back there if Kurogane and Syaoran hadn’t helped. He’d been careless, because he would never have imagined that an inbred little egotist like Kyle Rondart would actually bother with the two criminals who turned him down.

He must really want this poor Yukito dead badly.

“So, what was that whole business in the square about,” Kurogane, makeshift mind-reader extraordinaire, interrupted his thoughts. “Since we’re running away from that Lord too, I figure we’ve got a right to know.”

Did he have to make it sound like a threat?

And why in the name of the moon goddess did Fai like it?

“Lord Rondart approached me with a proposition,” Fai said, feeling Little Cat convey some residual resentment by glaring at him. He ignored it, because he still didn’t regret his decision. “He wanted a person dead, he said, and he knew that I and Little Cat were the best in the business. I informed him he was wrong, because we weren’t in that kind of business. He offered an indecent sum of money. I turned him down.”

“Who did he want killed?”

Ah, Kurogane. Already predictable in his way of always cutting right to the chase. “The current High Priest. The one all the Puritans are all so…” He waved his hand in the air, trying to find the right simile.

“The one they’re all pissing pebbles and salt over,” Kurogane supplied helpfully.

Eloquent, Kuro-honey. But yes, him.”

Kurogane let out a low whistle. “That’s some reputation you two’ve got, in that case. That’s one high-up target, and I can’t imagine he’d be easy to take out.” He frowned. “I’ve heard a bit ‘bout the man, but it ain’t much, really. What’s his name?”

My my, Fai thought, hiding his surprise as well as he could by not allowing his smile to falter. There’s something you really don’t want to remember, if you don’t even keep in touch with things like that. Now, what could that possibly be? “His name is Yukito,” he said, glancing sideways to see if the name perhaps rang a bell to the surly warrior. But it did more than that. From the looks of it, it tore down the whole bell tower and danced naked through the church. Kurogane stopped dead, his shoulders suddenly stiff, his one hand clenching and unclenching.

“Kurogane?” Syaoran asked anxiously.

“Shit,” the warrior said roughly. “But he’s just a kid.”

Fai raised his eyebrows. “Actually, I do believe he’s turning twenty-six. I do hate to disagree, but I’d hardly say he’s in his nappies, Kuro-currants. Very young to be a High Priest, mind. Chosen when he was just twenty-one, too.”

Kurogane just shook his head. “He was just a kid back then,” he muttered, and Fai wondered if he was even talking to them anymore, and not to the memory. “Sixteen years old, eating worse’n even Syaoran, glasses slipping down his nose all the ever-loving time. Always looked fucking miserable, too, as if he saw all the problems of the world just… laid out for ‘im, and he didn’t know where to start fixing it. Stupid boy.”

“How old were you then?” Fai asked casually.

“Twenty-two,” Kurogane replied, still distracted.

So you’re thirty-two? You’re well preserved, you alluring bastard. Well, so am I. Pickled, really, in my case. He held back an extremely inappropriate giggle, opting instead for watching Kurogane with concern.

“Was a pretty damn powerful Healer, though,” he was saying, still lost in thoughts. “So he wanted to go to the front and help out. Just ‘cause he could. Kid was an idiot, like I said. It was our job to protect him, too, so I got a pretty good look at him. Cried a lot, of course, when he saw all the shit no magic and no prayers in the world can fix. But he kept going. Kept asking ‘What can I do? What can I do?’ like a fucking mantra. And when he couldn’t do shit, he could at least take away the pain. Sat there and got himself covered in blood and shit and vomit, and he just kept doing it.”

You were supposed to protect him? Fai thought, genuinely shocked. But that would mean-

Kurogane finally snapped out of it, but there was something dark and hurt and furiousin his eyes. “Why in the twelve realms of hell does anyone want that kid dead?” he demanded, and Fai shook off the startling revelation Kurogane had just dropped on him, trying to form an answer.

“Well,” Little Cat injected timidly before Fai could, “they do say he’s the crown prince’s lover.”

Once more, Kurogane froze, and this time his eyes narrowed. Then he snorted explosively, shaking his head. “Should’ve known,” he muttered.

“Because he cried a lot?” Fai asked sweetly.

Kurogane sent him a withering glare. “Everybody cries out there. Everybody fucking should cry, or I’d say there was something wrong with ‘em.”

So you cried, Fai mused. I wonder over what. And I do note with interest that the way you said that makes it sound like you don’t think there’s anything wrong with men like Yukito. Men like me. “So why do you say you should’ve known?”

Kurogane started walking again. “All those letters,” he grunted. “‘My dear friend’ he used to start ‘em. Ain’t no man who calls his mate ‘my dear friend’ unless he means something else. It’s too fucking contrived.”

Fai had to concede that he had a point there. “Well, then, we’re clearly walking in the wrong direction,” he pointed out.

“What are you talking about, you damn ninny? St. Cattalina is this way.”

“Well, yes,” Fai agreed. “But over there…” He pointed in the direction from where they’d come. Little Cat caught on immediately.

“Over there is the capital! The castle! The actual cathedral of Anna-Metrushka. Oh, Fai, are we really? This is so exciting.” Since Fai was busy smiling at Kurogane, trying to get the man to catch his drift – his torrent, really, since he wasn’t exactly being subtle – she decided to give Syaoran a kiss on the cheek instead, possibly because she wanted to make him blush again. What a little minx she was turning out to be.

“What’s this fucking nonsense, idiot?” Kurogane demanded. “Drottensburg is the first stop on that way. You were right, it’s the last place we’d want to be right now. That shit-for-brains Fei Wang Reed has it in his fucking pocket, along with a lot of nasty men that’ll be looking for you and your little friend.” Was there a slight hardening in Kurogane’s already adamantine eyes when he mentioned the leader of the Puritan faction? It was hard to tell.

“Correct, Kuro-plum,” Fai agreed lightly. “But since we now know about Lord Rondart’s dastardly plans, it really wouldn’t be very chivalrous of us to just ignore it and be on our way. Someone should warn the High Priest.” He lowered his voice so neither Little Cat or Syaoran would hear him over the former’s excited prattle. “I’m sure they wouldn’t deny access to a former templar.” He watched the realization that he’d picked up on Kurogane’s little secret sink in. The warrior was glaring at him as if he was trying to call down the fire of the gods upon him. Maybe he’d actually been able to do that, once upon a time. “Are we going?” he suggested.

Without a single word – without so much as looking at Fai – Kurogane abruptly turned and started walking the other way. Fai saw Syaoran glance at him anxiously, and patted the young man lightly on the shoulder. “He’ll come around,” he assured him. “A lot of memories coming to life isn’t always pleasant.”

Syaoran gazed up at him with a very somber look in his eyes. “I know,” he said quietly. “That’s why I’m worried.”

Fai smiled gently. “That does you credit, Syaoran. But no one can protect a person from their memories, not even themselves. They’re just the kind of thing we have to deal with to survive. And I think your friend has it in him to cope better than he thinks.”

Syaoran thought this over, and then he nodded, a small smile touching his lips. “I guess you’re right. Thank you, Fai.”

“You’re welcome.”

 


 
 
Current Mood: devious
 
 
 
Cloverfield: hit thatfieldofclover on April 29th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
/keysmash

/nothing but keysmash

Kuro and Yukito? That is the best friendship I never expected ever ever ever and I like it :D Also, I love that you used the word 'mate' to mean friend; it's the aussie in me, I can't help but feel a warm glow about that, because if anyone would subscribe to the concept of 'mateship' as aussies understand it (especially soldiers), it's be Kuro-peach.

Kuro-peach is now my new favourite, though Kuro-honey and Kuro-sugar come damn close and make me think of the candystore AU I really need to finish and I was all '♥♥♥' over Kuro getting... distracted upon waking up.

And I love Fai when he's being all sly and seedy and suggestive and and and catty and I sooooo want Kuro to catch his drift/torrent/flood, because you write so well and in your hands it'd be pure unf. Just UNF. /shivers pleasantly/

...I want to know who Kuro's past lover was. If it was Yukito I may spontaneously combust, but I may be completely barking up the wrong tree... but now the idea is in my head, I don't know if I want to come down /laviscous eyebrow wiggle/ because I lurve crack pairings if they're done well, and damn that'd be done well! /another laviscous eyebrow wiggle

Hnnnng. Please tell me you will mem this or post a master link in your journal or something because I feel the need to copy&paste into a big document so I can reread over and over again. And I think I'm going to trawl through the comm and do just that once I've finished typing this.

Also, this:

It wasn’t as if he wasn’t used to handsome men. The gods knew he saw one every time he looked into a mirror.

YES. THIS. ILU.

/hearts in eyes forever

♥♥♥
mikkeneko: i hate you guysmikkeneko on April 29th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC)
Kuro-peach is now my new favourite, though Kuro-honey and Kuro-sugar come damn close

I liked "Kuro-currants," personally.
Cloverfieldfieldofclover on April 29th, 2011 01:36 am (UTC)
appropriate icon is appropriate

Kuro-plum was good too :D
mikkeneko: i hate you guysmikkeneko on April 29th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)
This icon is always topical.
sweetjerry: Smack an emosweetjerry on April 30th, 2011 10:55 am (UTC)
That icon is the very essence of topical. And I'm very fond of Kuro-currants and Kuro-plum, personally xD
sweetjerry: Iphaelsweetjerry on April 30th, 2011 10:53 am (UTC)
HOLY EPIC REVIEWS BATMAN /falls over
SOB WHY SO ADORABLE? /ALL THE HUGS FOREVER AND ALWAYS

lol not that I'm an aussie, but I do have a feeling that Kurogane is a great believer in mateship ^^

YES PLEASE ON THE CANDY STORE. /fangirls you/ And Fai is nothing if not distracting AND I WANT TO KURO TO GET HIS DRIFT so that I can get to the smut. Honestly.

And believe me, the past lover/side pairing/whatever is even crackier than that. Or in my head it is, at least. It is WEIRD. It does, in a sense, have a bit to do with Yukito, but not like that. ALL WILL BE REVEALED IN TIME. And yes, I insist on being mysterious.

I was thinking of doing a master list and posting it on my journal, and then linking every separate part to it. Does that work, you think?

/sobcling of love
Cloverfield: Kuro-tan and Faifieldofclover on April 30th, 2011 11:22 am (UTC)
/fangirl lemur cling of squee

Yay~! I love the concept, it's such thing he would believe in lol :D

31,000 words and still no plot sob PLEASE LET HIM GET ON THAT DRIFT, LIKE A BOSS LIFERAFT, because yes. Smut. WANTS.

I'm looking forward to it; I love crack pairings, and I can't wait to see how you handle it :D

A master list would be awesome; that way I can peruse your links whenever I feel like it I may have this saved as a doc on my pc, but I still would spam this on teh interprons as well Also I have reread this so many times /dies of antici....pation for next chapter/

/cuddles like a mad thing

MOAR PLS NAOW??
sweetjerry: I'm your mansweetjerry on May 1st, 2011 08:33 am (UTC)
/snuggles

Bah. Plot? What is that? Porn is infinitely more important. And I will definitely let him get on the drift Fai as soon as I can. :D

To be fair, this crack pairing is here because it's the best way I could tie things together, but I rather like it now that it exists.

Then I will get right on it when I get home ^^ And fdhsghfså¨'löäökl /blushing forever and always/
Cloverfield: maid guitarfieldofclover on May 1st, 2011 08:37 am (UTC)
/snuggles back

It annoys me that I keep skipping the plot for the porn because without the plot the porn makes no sense! and lolololol, GET ON THAT DRIFT FAI LIKE A BOSS, KURO-PEACH :D

They have a habit of getting into your heart like that.

Yay~! I wish you godspeed, dear writer :D

/hugs of encouragement/
sweetjerry: Dangliessweetjerry on May 1st, 2011 08:42 am (UTC)
Winnest. Icon. Ever.

Haha, I have a lot of unfinished stories that are like that. One should simply add small notes between each porn scene describing what the plot is up to xD

Absolutely! I have this whole epic dramatic end scene in which that pairing plays a part already. Now, I just have to GET there...

And WAH, now LJ is being a cuntface mildly annoying when I'm trying to post. /deadeyes at/
Cloverfieldfieldofclover on May 1st, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)
Maid guitar! How can one go withoiut it? I'm actually depressed, because it's a gif, and it doesn't appear to work- you don't get to see the awesomeness that is a evil little cross-dresser rocking out on hir guitar-maid :D

I have a bunch of notes at the end describing the plot so I don't forget- but since it kind of plays out in my head like a movie, I'm not too worried about forgetting it lol. Though I am sorely tempted to just post my notes with it lol and save myself the trouble of actually having to write it- and yet at the same time I am anticipating getting my other projects done so I can concentrate on it XD

Woot~! /bounces like a sugar-fed mokona/ And ugh, I know how you feel, sometimes fics just do not want to let you get to the good bits! /shakes fist/ They need to invent software that just lets your ideas appear on screen, fully formed and all that jazz.

BAD LJ! NO BISCUIT! /smacks with rolled up newspaper/
sweetjerry: Still smartersweetjerry on May 1st, 2011 09:55 am (UTC)
Exactly! The world needs more of that kind of awesomeness in full motion!

Haha, yeah, I have a lot of really stupid notes (like "Fei is awful daddy. No one is surprised.") but I'm pretty sure I won't forget either. Although yes, when I'm trying to get to the good bits, I frequently wish I could sort of just copypaste that shit in and be done. Except they really wouldn't make sense, lol. So yes, that kind of software would be awesome.

Gah. Finally. LJ officially wants to make my life miserable.
Cloverfieldfieldofclover on May 1st, 2011 10:36 am (UTC)
/sees new chapter is up

/flees like a fleeing thing

(my notes tend to be more like "Saturday: Obligatory beach episode! Fai in teeny tiny shorts; disturbingly hot, Kuro gets flustered. Wet!sexy!Kuro in black boardies, Fai gets flustered. Sandcastles! Barbeque in the afternoon" to take a random example, lol.)
mikkeneko: pensivemikkeneko on April 29th, 2011 01:17 am (UTC)
Ooh. Quite a lot of connections suddenly come to life... Poor Yukito! I can totally get behind plans to try to protect him, or at least warn him.

I really liked Kurogane recounting his memories of Yukito on the front lines (totally not paying attention to what Fai would pick up from it.) Poor snow-bunny.

And so, Fai and Kurogane begin their courtship dance...
sweetjerry: In ur kitchensweetjerry on April 30th, 2011 11:06 am (UTC)
<3<3<3 on you.

The relationship chart I have in my head for this fic is... horribly tangled, to say the least xD But yes, poor Yukito, because soon he'll have a very dangerous assasin indeed after him, who has everything to lose if he fails /enjoys being overly dramatic and pretentious, yes/

Kurogane is such a sweetheart, although he should totally watch his tongue when Fai is around... (Oh for the love of double entendres...)

Dance/duel? xD
(Deleted comment)
CarmenWoods: wondercarmenwoods on October 26th, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
And when he couldn’t do shit, he could at least take away the pain. Sat there and got himself covered in blood and shit and vomit, and he just kept doing it.”

I wonder if Yukito took Kurogane's pain when he lost his arm? Or if instead that happened some other time.