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02 May 2011 @ 06:34 pm
/HAS INTERNETS AGAIN SCREAM  
Story: Black cat, white mage - Part 7
Pairings: Kurogane/Fai, Sakura/Syaoran, Yukito/Touya, the usual suspects.
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: More swearing, rape is mentioned, MORE GRATUITOUS ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
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: Part seven! In which Watanuki doesn't take a bath, a new threat is discussed, and some more backstory is revealed. Cut quote from "Oh snatch'd away in beauty's bloom" by Lord Byron.

 

***

 

The shock of Fai’s magic echoed through the world, and at the Circle, a lot of the more sensitive mages suddenly had to go and have a quiet lie-down. In the garden outside, a girl who hadn’t smiled for more than twelve years frightened her caretakers by suddenly laughing out loud. A small white creature, waiting patiently for its master outside Drottensburg, suddenly woke up as its eyes flew forcefully open.

In the private reception room of the Head Magician, Watanuki fainted, and was only saved the ignominy of taking an involuntary – and possibly fatal – bath in an ornamental fountain by the swift reaction of the royal attaché. Nobody knew exactly how he managed to hasten forward through the dense crowd surrounding Yuuko, but he did it just in time to catch the falling boy in his arms. Once he came to, Yuuko’s apprentice was less than grateful at having been saved by – so he claimed – the last person in the world he ever wanted any kind of physical contact with. His anger didn’t appear to concern Lord Doumeki very much, and once Yuuko had assured him that Watanuki was going to be fine, he left without another word.

“What happened?” Watanuki demanded, still glaring at the door through which the royal attaché had vanished. His familiar was tying itself in agitated knots around his arm, and he absent-mindedly patted the pipefox on the head.

“Yuui,” she replied simply, pouring herself a huge glass of something that looked like water, but Watanuki wasn’t fooled.

“You expect me to believe that was done by just one person? And what was that thing that happened just half an hour before? It almost blew my eardrums in!”

“It was done by just one person,” Yuuko confirmed, downing the entire glass with a faint grimace. “Yuui is exceptionally powerful – unnaturally powerful. He has more power in him than one person is made to have. The rate at which he generates magic is extraordinary, and he’s been keeping it all inside him for several years now. When he used his magic to protect himself now, the excess magic he’s been trying to keep inside him was let loose, and that’s what made you faint.” She massaged her forehead with a martyred expression. “My head is going to ache for weeks.”

“Nothing new, then,” Watanuki said nastily, slowly inching himself into a sitting position. His familiar made an indignant sound and tried to pull him back toward the pillow, but he paid it no heed. “And what was that thing before, then? That… that noise?”

“It wasn’t a noise,” Yuuko replied, pouring herself another glass of whatever was her poison at the moment, possibly just to tease her apprentice. “That was the power of Yuui’s little helper. I’d imagine there are very few people who noticed that. Her power goes too far beyond ordinary magic, and mages as a rule are very inept at perceiving what they cannot comprehend. I should be very much surprised if even Yuui noticed.”

“Mokona noticed!” Yuuko’s familiar exclaimed, bounding through the door and into his mistress’ lap. “Mokona felt the wings of fate!”

“Of course you did, my little darling! How about some schnapps?”

“The huh of the what?” Watanuki asked irritably, as Yuuko poured alcohol into the mouth of her familiar while making entirely inappropriate cooing noises.

“Wings of fate, my dear, wings of fate,” Yuuko said, as if she was talking about nothing more exciting or mysterious than the weather. “The girl’s ability to bend the world around her and help it take the path she prefers. It’s not terribly exact, of course, but it is terribly dangerous. No wonder the curse your brother carries activated.”

Watanuki immediately shot to his feet, but then staggered and had to sit down again. “What?” he demanded weakly. “My brother… you said… the curse…” His eyes widened, and a moment later he was throwing up in one of Yuuko’s large ornamental urns, while his familiar twittered anxiously and twined itself around his neck. The Head Magician watched him with one eyebrow raised, but without showing any other sign of displeasure.

“You really shouldn’t jump around after fainting like that,” she said, sounding amused more than anything. “If you can’t take care of yourself, maybe I should get get Doumeki to follow you around and make sure you do?”

“Please,” Watanuki pleaded feebly, for once not even flinching at the sound of Doumeki’s name. “Please, just tell me…”

“There isn’t much I can tell,” Yuuko interrupted, stroking Mokona’s ears thoughtfully. “The curse activated. As far as I can tell, it’s been doing it on and off these past fourteen years. He’s not in any danger from it… yet. All we can do,” she said sharply, as Watanuki once more opened his mouth, “is keep watch and see what happens next. Oh, and one more thing.”

“What?” Watanuki mumbled, finally relenting to his familiar’s insistent tugging and getting back in bed.

“Well, Yuui did use his magic. Surely you know what that means.”

Her apprentice stared blankly at her for a long time, then he closed his eyes with a quiet groan. “Ashura.”

“Exactly,” Yuuko agreed. “Another player has entered the stage. And this one has been known to not play by the rules.”

~ * ~

“So… you’re a mage,” Kurogane said, watching Fai with a steely eye from the other side of their camp fire.

“Was,” Fai replied pointedly, avoiding the warrior’s gaze and staring out over the bleak moonlit landscape. Little Cat was huddling with a blanket around her shoulders by his feet, and he absentmindedly ruffled her hair. She made a very small sound and leaned her head against the side of his knee.

Kurogane snorted derisively, and Fai could feel his eyes on him, burning through his skin, eating through his defenses. “You don’t stop being a mage just ‘cause you ain’t using magic, any more’n you stop being a warrior just ‘cause you ain’t in any war anymore.” He spat expertly in the fire, and the flames hissed angrily in reply. “Were you planning on telling?”

“He never told me,” Little Cat said quietly, and Fai saw shock registering on Kurogane’s face before the customary scowl returned.

“I’m so sorry, kitty,” he replied, touching his daughter’s cheek with a gentle hand. “But… you don’t seem very surprised?”

She shrugged, smiling her soft little smile. “I always knew there was something big you were hiding,” she said with a small shrug. “And I always had a feeling there were… things you could do. Like you were… more, somehow.” She grimaced a bit helplessly. “I don’t know if I can explain it better than that.”

Fai shook his head in wonder. “If I hadn’t tested you for magic several times, I could swear there was some kind of power in you. But if it’s there, I can’t find it.”

Little Cat giggled, adding a log to the fire. “I’m just perceptive. You’re not nearly as hard to read as you think, father.”

Cheeky,” Fai mumbled, and then looked up at Kurogane, who was still glaring at him. “Yes, Kuro-cookie?”

Kurogane’s mouth tightened into a hard line, and then he looked away. “Tell me more. About… about what’s wrong with Syaoran, I mean. Ain’t never met anyone who could tell me anything. Some said he had the falling sickness, but I’ve seen what it looks like, and I reckon that’s a load of horseshit. They don’t get fevers from it.”

Fai’s heart softened at the frustration in the warrior’s voice. He could only imagine what that was like, being afraid for your child’s health, but helpless to do anything. Was that how his own parents had felt, as Fai had wasted slowly away to nothing? As Fai’s eyes turned inexorably yellow, the color of sickness, while his own shone bluer with every passing day? Was that what had driven them mad in the end?

He pushed the thought away with all the force he could muster, but from the way Kurogane was watching him now – intent and steady, making no secret about that he was trying to get through – something of it had registered on his face.

“I can’t say much,” he replied, stirring the fire with a stick in a transparent attempt to avoid Kurogane’s gaze again. “What I can say is that it’s definitely not any kind of illness. At some point in his life, someone put a spell over his right eye. They can control it at will, see what he sees, and also make him see whatever they want him to see.” He shivered at the memory of that strange power, lodged like a parasite within the boy. “But it’s more than that.”

“How?” Kurogane demanded, and something almost like fear grated in his voice.

“It wasn’t that… power, whatever it was, that attacked me. No one, not even the most powerful mages, can attack someone with that much power on a distance.” He fell quiet, didn’t know how to go on, but Kurogane understood.

“Syaoran did that?” His eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Fuck you, I don’t believe it. He don’t even know how to do magic.”

“True, Kuro-pie. He’s never been trained,” Fai agreed, smiling a bit wryly. “But he has the potential for it. He’s… very powerful. And whatever it is that’s controlling him, it has the ability to allow him to harness that power. It was as if… how do I describe it? For a moment, the thing inside him took away everything that was… well, Syaoran, and left only one single purpose behind. His whole existence was narrowed down to that single purpose, and he would do everything that was in his power to accomplish it. And since he perceived me as a threat, he tried to destroy me.” Syaoran had done more than that, in fact, but Fai didn’t feel like discussing that right now. Because the way the boy had tried to kill him had involved trying to take Fai’s magic for his own, and that came just a bit too close to his own past for comfort. And he wasn’t sure how Kurogane would react to knowing that the boy had, to a certain extent, not been entirely unsuccessful. A portion of the magical discharge when he defended himself had gone directly into Syaoran, strengthening the boy’s magic.

He’d made sure that Syaoran would stay unconscious a little while longer, because he was pretty sure Kurogane would be suspicious if the boy opened his eyes and they were blue. The sleeping spell wasn’t harmful in any way – in fact, it counted as healing magic – nor was it very strong, and this was probably the reason the curse didn’t react to it. He’d sleep until the blue faded from his eyes, but Fai’s power would still be there, inside him.

Kurogane had been staring into the fire, an inscrutable expression on his face. Now he looked up, spearing Fai with eyes that matched the glow of the embers for intensity. “One more question, mage.”

Fai grimaced slightly at the new epithet, but didn’t mention it. “Yes?”

“That thing that was speaking with his voice… you’ve any idea why it was speaking in the Nihon tongue?”

Fai blinked. “What?”

“That… kind of echo thing behind his voice. It was speaking in the Nihon language.”

“Oh.” Fai pursed his lips, considering. “Well, that’s interesting. I never studied the language myself, of course, but now that you mention it…” He remembered hearing snatches of the strangely rhythmical language when Ashura was called to diplomatic meetings, when he was young and prone to listening outside doors. Not that he’d ever kicked that habit completely.

“I suppose that it must mean that the person controlling Syaoran is from Nihon. But to what purpose? ‘I needed a vessel’, they said… For what?” Fai leaned his chin in his hand, trying to make sense of it all, while Kurogane watched him intently – something that did nothing for his ability to think clear, curse the man. After a moment he sighed in frustration, shaking his head. “I’m sorry, Kuro-crumbles. I’ll need more time to think.” Another thought suddenly hit him, and he tilted his head, smiling at the warrior. “How did you know what language it was, by the way? Oh, but silly me,” he then interrupted before Kurogane even got a chance to answer, “Kuro-peach has been in the war, after all…”

Kurogane raised his eyebrows, looking like he was seriously questioning Fai’s intelligence. “You think you learn the language of the people you’re fighting on the battlefield? ‘Cause I can tell you, you sure as hellfires don’t. If you don’t count the words for ‘Fuck your mother’ and the general way of letting people know you’re in agony, which is pretty much the same no matter what language you’re speaking.”

“It was merely a guess, Kuro-tart, no reason to be like that,” Fai chided, pouting his lips expressively at the other man and causing him to grimace in disgust. Or maybe that was his reaction to the nickname. But he should be used to that by now, honestly. “So how did you learn to recognize it, then?”

“My mother,” the warrior replied shortly after a long pause, during which he once more seemed to attempt to pick Fai apart with his stare. “She was from Nihon.”

“A prisoner of war?” Fai inquired, curious. It was hard to imagine what other reason there could be for a woman to cross into what had been enemy territory for two hundred years, give or take a few truces which never lasted long. Of course, the two countries weren’t actively making war on each other all the time, but the enmity toward Nihon ran deep within Clow.

“A trophy.” Kurogane’s face twisted in an ugly snarl. “My father saved her from his own men. He was a captain, but when he saw what the men he’d trusted were capable of, he resigned himself from the army.”

Little Cat gasped, clapping her hands over her mouth, and both men stiffened in shock. Once again, they’d forgotten about her. Fai glanced guiltily down at his daughter. He’d assumed she’d fallen asleep.

“That’s horrible,” she said softly.

“Sorry, princess,” the warrior said gruffly with an apologetic grimace. “When you’re actually quiet, it’s real hard to remember you’re there.”

Little Cat looked at first like she couldn’t decide whether to pout or giggle, and so she opted for something in between, and smiled. “It’s fine,” she said. “Besides, it did end happily, didn’t it? Your father saved her.”

And to his surprise, Fai saw Kurogane’s face soften, just for a moment, into a small smile that was warmer than anything he’d seen from the harsh warrior so far. It was mesmerizing. “Yeah,” he agreed, and there wasn’t even the customary undercurrent of anger in his voice. “Father thought he’d smuggle her back into her own country, but mother wasn’t having any of that. She was staying with him, and he’d just better learn to be happy with that.” He chuckled quietly. “He didn’t mind very much.”

“They must’ve loved each other very much,” Little Cat said with a warm smile. “And you, of course. I’m sure they were wonderful parents.”

Kurogane grinned in reply. Fai, already trying so hard to stop his heart from melting, found that it was made just a little bit more difficult as the warrior leaned forward over the fire, scuffing Little Cat gently over the head in an affectionate gesture. She squeaked delightedly, swatting at his hand. “Silly girl. But yeah. The best parents are the ones that care for you, and that’s all that there is to it. Even if they ain’t married, or from the same religion… even if your parent happens to be an insane magician working as a thief, it don’t matter. As long as they take good care of you.”

“And he takes damn good care of me,” Little Cat said firmly, reattaching her cat ears while she grinned up at the warrior, who just shook his head and muttered something about believing in miracles.

Fai, stunned and confused and a little bit frightened, was nonetheless not so befuddled that he didn’t notice how the warrior had changed the subject. And he wondered, as he watched his daughter bicker playfully with alarmingly engaging warrior, how the story of his wonderful parents had ended. A woman from Nihon living with a man from Clow? It was like an epic, old-time love story. And if Fai remembered his classic literature right, those had a tendency of ending in tragedy.

 


 
 
Current Mood: blah
 
 
 
maijame: kurofamilymaijame on May 2nd, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
Oh my... oh my... you're pulling on my heartstrings big time with the Kuro-parents. I'm a big fan of them .. also of his father's retainer, whose name was never mentioned.

Lot's of explanations, that don't really explain what we REALLY want to know and mostly just uncover new questions, but for now, I'm just stuck on the last part about epic love story tragedies, because once upon a blue moon, I was actually trying to write something like that for them... just didn't work, because I couldn't find good names and shied away from killing them off for too long...

...beautiful chapter, I'm glad I noticed before going to bed! Lot's of nice possibilities for dreams. ^__^
sweetjerry: Iphaelsweetjerry on May 3rd, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC)
Yes! I totally fangirled that retainer like crazy! He was like... the epitome of awesome.

Ah, I'm far too fond of epic love tragedies. But I really hate killing characters, so I feel your pain ^^

Yay! If I bring nice dreams, that totally makes my day :D /hugs
Cloverfield: maid guitarfieldofclover on May 3rd, 2011 12:17 am (UTC)
/screams

/keysmashes

/screams and keysmashes

My brain looks like this at the moment: aghskdvcbfngagndgatsljdsjhgfxw75egxxjnzkjxgfw7^$UXvdsk!

KURO-PARENTS aieeeeeeee *_*

If I could love you anymore for mentioning them, I would and I do <3 <3 <3

And oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Syaoran, you poor boy, what demon sleeps inside your skin? And the thought of blue eyes for the little puppy chills me to the bone...

...and Fai is a lot more powerful than he is letting on, with a past he desperately wants to keep hidden and I love that not only is Kuro-cookie is seeing straight through him (his lies, his dodging and the shields he so carefully constructs), but dear little kitty is as well.

And on the subject of little kitty: WINGS OF FATE

/screams a little more

And a smiling, happy Kuro-peach is a charming Kuro-peach, and Fai is definitely feeling the tugging on those heartstrings... <3

/screams with joy at new chapter

(And Watanuki, saved by Doumeki, as always, forever and ever amen <3)
sweetjerry: In ur kitchensweetjerry on May 3rd, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
Awesome! Because there will be more mentionings in the next chapter and so clearly I will get more love! /hoards all the love/ Also, there will be all the fucking fanservice. Because I feel like it.

That curse thing is pretty fucking terrifying. Well, I think so. But I'm an utter wuss xD AND THE WINGS OF FATE SORT OF SCARE ME AS WELL SOB LMAO

Fai is inevitably fated to be looked through by everything when he tries to be emo and hide-y. Just like Watanuki is inevitably fated to be dashingly saved by Doumeki. Forever and always. Yep xD

/cuddles you close forever and feeds you smiling, happy Kuro-peaches

Cloverfieldfieldofclover on May 4th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)
I love you. Just putting that out there.

(Kuro-parents, Kuro-parents, I love them so hard, and that they will possibly get more screentime makes me go ajasdfghjkl in anticipation!)

I love how you're writing something that scares yourself. That is only a good sign XD (PSST IT KINDA SCARES ME TOO LOLOL MAYBE WE CAN HUNKER DOWN TOGETHER BEHIND THE COUCH??)

It is Watanuki's DESTINY to be saved by a dashingly daring Doumeki <3

/yaaaaaaay~~~! <3
Cloverfieldfieldofclover on May 4th, 2011 12:08 am (UTC)
ALSO FANSERVICE.

FAISERVICE. KUROSERVICE. FANSERVICE.

/hearts forever and unfs in anticipation
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