|Day Late Friend
Author: Lithium Amaranth PM
AU Kurogane hasn't seen Fai since High School. So many things have happened since then. So why does he have to meet him here again now? And why do these feelings return to him after so many years? Some things just don't change...even if you want them to.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Kurogane & Fai - Words: 3,724 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 9 - Published: 01-15-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7742973
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So Late! *sigh* I've done it again ^^" I missed Halloween, Christmas and New Years as possible occasions for fanfiction writing. *sigh* Well at least I haven't been gone for as long as last time. I do have a Halloween story in progress that I'll post when I'm finished (despite it being out of season XD) And I held off on posting this story because I felt the need to finish the Halloween Story first..you know...keep it chronological. But now that it's already mid-January. I doubt it will make much difference which I post fist. I 'll get to it when I get to it ^^
Alright! Enough rambling! This story isn't really "Christmasy" but it is set around the Christmas season. I was inspired by the song "Day Late Friend" by Anberlin, which is how this story came about. I rather like it and I hope all you kind readers do too! ^^ Enjoy!
Every damn store was closed.
Waiting until the last minute was never something he was known for, but he didn't think that of all people to forget a Christmas gift for, he forgot his wife!
Kurogane trudged through the layers of snow, soaking the laces of his shoes and the bottoms of his pants. The weather forecast hadn't called for snow until tomorrow…Christmas day. Had he known earlier he definitely would have worn boots to work.
Had he remembered to buy a gift for Tomoyo he wouldn't have had to deal with this much snow.
Kurogane cursed himself. She was beginning to get depressed lately because she thought he didn't pay attention to her enough. He was working damnit! It wasn't his fault that more students registered for Kendo at the dojo he taught at. The more students register, the longer hours he worked.
This incident certainly wouldn't blow over well if he didn't find her a gift soon.
Kurogane pulled on the door of the last store on the block. To his dismay there was a large CLOSED FOR THE HOLIDAYS sign on the door. He kicked at a nearby hydrant. Any store that would have had something for her was closed. Flowers, clothing, jewelry stores. All were closed.
He sighed harshly.
There was a corner market across the street. He ran a hand down his face. If anything, they might at least have some sort of candy she liked. At least she would have something, something that would get rid of the notion that he didn't spend more time with her because he didn't want to. Anything. He jogged along the crosswalk, keeping the wind out of his face. He kept his head low as he made his way toward the entrance. On his way in he felt someone bump shoulders with him.
"Sorry." he said hastily, not really looking at them.
"Kuro-sama? Is that you?"
Kurogane froze in the doorway. That voice…that name…His eyes were wide with disbelief. Old, forgotten memories rose up inside him. He suddenly felt his chest constrict with shock. Slowly he turned to the person he'd bumped.
Blonde, wispy hair longer than he remembered, tied back with string. Pale, clear skin reddened with cold, long slender body and limbs…and those eyes. Cerulean blue eyes shone in the outside light of the store.
"Fai?" Kurogane breathed. Fai smiled wide. He dropped his small bag of groceries and hugged the man.
"Kuro-sama! How have you been? I didn't think I'd ever see you again!" he exclaimed, giddy. Kurogane just stood there, still recovering from the shock of seeing this man again. Having nothing else to say, he blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
"It's Kurogane!" he blustered. Fai's eyes widened. Releasing the man from his grip, his body shook with laughter.
"Kuro-sama, you haven't changed at all." he chuckled. Kurogane opened his mouth to retort, then he stopped himself. He smiled.
"Even after all these years, you still can't get my name right…idiot." he said. Fai laughed. Somehow his eyes seemed even more brilliant than what Kurogane remembered.
"Wow, it's been a long time since someone has insulted my intelligence." Fai smirked. Kurogane rose an eyebrow in disbelief.
"Are you sure?" he asked. Fai grinned.
"Not the way you do. You really haven't changed Kuro-tan. Still as mean and cruel as always I see." he sighed.
"Not true." The taller man scoffed. Fai chuckled.
"And stubborn too." he smiled.
"Knock it off!" Kurogane complained. Fai laughed.
Huffing a cloud of warm air, Kurogane frowned. There was a comment lingering behind his lips. He knew he shouldn't say it. He knew that if he said it, he'd end up bringing up past events the were better left alone. He should just say Merry Christmas and leave…never to see the blonde again.
"Besides, I'm not the cruel one." he blurted. Fai's laughter stopped. Kurogane inhaled deeply.
He said it. And there was no way to take it back.
"I suppose so." Fai said, smiling sadly. An awkward silence passed between them. Kurogane felt the need to dismiss himself before he was drawn in to another conversation with the blonde. Screw the candy, screw Christmas. He should get back home to Tomoyo and forget this whole ordeal.
Though these thoughts were strong in his mind, he couldn't bring himself to leave from that spot. He waited for the smaller man to say something else. Anything. He didn't have to wait long. Fai looked at Kurogane and flashed a smile. Kurogane narrowed his eyes. He was all too familiar with that facade. That dumbass grin he wore whenever he was trying to hide some sort of pain.
"Would you like to get a drink Kuro-tan? I know a nice bar around here and we can catch up there. I know I'd like to know what's new with you." he said. It would have been the perfect opportunity to just say no and head home.
"Sure." Kurogane replied. Fai smiled.
He led Kurogane a short way down the street. The bar wasn't far from the store or Fai's apartment according to the blonde. It was a low lit place called "Clover". Fai took a seat immediately at the bar and began talking up the bartender.
"Good Evening Caldina. Lovely as ever. I'm glad I caught you on your shift." The woman behind the counter smiled.
"Lucky me," she smirked "What can I get ya hon'?" she asked.
"The usual for me Caldina and Kuro-run will have…" he said turning to Kurogane. The taller man growled.
"It's Kurogane and I'll have sake." he said. Caldina nodded and disappeared to prepare the drinks. Fai smiled at Kurogane as he sat down.
"I'm sure you'll like the sake here. They make really good drinks and even good food! I've come here for dinner a few times and even brought dates." he chuckled. Kurogane ground his teeth. The idiot was dodging the issue…just like he used to.
"One Sake and one Clover Leaf." Caldina said, placing the drinks before the men. Kurogane nodded his thanks. Fai grinned at her.
"Thanks Caldina!" he said. The woman behind the counter winked at him.
"Anytime." she replied. Fai took a sip of his drink as she walked away. Kurogane just rolled the ice ball around in his sake glass.
"Ah! Even better than the last time! I love coming here during Caldina's shifts. She always makes the best…"
"Why did you leave?"
Kurogane interrupted. Fai paused. He chuckled humorlessly. Nothing ever slipped past Kurogane, no matter how much he would try to avoid him. Slowly putting his drink down he frowned. He toyed with the liquid in the glass before he spoke again.
"I was going to study abroad. What's so wrong about that?" he retorted. Kurogane gripped his glass tighter.
"You said absolutely nothing to me. You just up and vanished for a year. I didn't even see you again until High School Graduation." he said bitterly. Fai said nothing. Kurogane turned to him sharply.
"Why didn't you say anything to me? I thought we were friends. You didn't even try to contact me all the time you were in France. You completely fell off the face of the Earth!" he nearly shouted. The bar seemed eerily quiet. The few patrons that were at tables spoke in hushed tones. The music was soft and mellow, nearly wafting itself throughout the room.
Fai kept his gaze away from Kurogane.
"You still had other friends. I didn't think you'd notice." he replied. Kurogane's brow furrowed dangerously.
"Are you stupid! How the hell would I have not noticed! I'd known you for over 5 years! What kinds of friends would have distracted me from that!"
"Tomoyo!" Fai shouted, whipping his head and glaring at Kurogane. Kurogane fell silent. He stared at Fai bewildered.
"Tomoyo? I barely knew her at the time. What would she have to do with anything?" he asked. Fai's eyes glazed over with hopelessness. He sighed.
"Nothing. Just forget about it. It's in the past." he said, taking a sip from his drink. Kurogane turned around and drank his sake, waiting for Fai to fill the silence. The blonde smiled.
"So what's new? We haven't seen each other since High School." he said. Kurogane kept his gaze forward.
"I'm married now." he said. Fai nodded, seeing the ring on the taller man's finger.
"I see that. Tomoyo?" he asked. Kurogane hesitated.
"Yeah. Had the wedding last month." he said. Fai applauded, receiving him a glare.
"Congratulations! Looks like this will be your first Christmas together as a married couple. I hope you got her a good gift." he smirked. Kurogane groaned and downed the rest of his sake. Fai's smiled faltered.
"You didn't forget to get her a gift did you?" he asked.
"Another drink please." Kurogane called to Caldina. Fai chuckled.
"You really are something Kuro-sama." he said. Caldina placed another sake in front of Kurogane and watched him shoot it just like the last. She gave him a taller glass for his third. Kurogane glanced at Fai's left hand and found a gold band around the ring finger. He quirked his eyebrow.
"You're married too?" he questioned. Fai looked at him oddly.
"No." he said. Kurogane gestured to the ring. Fai followed his motions and understood. He smiled.
"No, this isn't a wedding ring. It might as well be though. It's a promise ring, for if there ever is a time we can get married." he said. Kurogane nodded. Same-sex marriage wasn't legal in this country and if he remembered correctly, Fai had only ever been interested in men.
"Married to who?" Kurogane asked, taking smaller sips of Sake. Fai chuckled.
"You remember Ashura? From school?" he asked. Kurogane thought for a moment.
"Vaguely. I remember I didn't like him." he said. Fai laughed.
"You didn't like a lot of people Kuro-sama." he said. Kurogane smirked.
"Then count yourself lucky." he replied. Fai looked away briefly. It was ridiculous that even at his age, he could blush this easily. He took a deep breath.
"Anyway, we ended up going to the same college and…now I'm living with him. We're not able to get married but we recently filed for a civil partnership and he gave me this ring to celebrate. Actually this is our first Christmas as a legally bound couple too." he smiled. Kurogane took another drink.
"Then what are you doing here?" he asked.
"What are you?" Fai retorted. Kurogane remained silent. Fai turned back to his drink which was nearly full. He took a healthy swig and let the alcohol rush down his throat. It was somewhat soothing. They both sat in silence for a while, listening only to the soft music and idle chatter.
"I am sorry." Fai began. Kurogane turned to him slowly. Fai was looking down at his drink again, a bit more relaxed this time. He smiled softly and looked up at Kurogane.
"For all the trouble I caused you, back then…I'm sorry. Thanks for worrying about me though. It's reassuring." he said, closing his eyes. He drank a bit more of his Clover Leaf, nearly emptying it. Kurogane nodded.
"It wouldn't have mattered how many friends I had back then, or whether I even knew Tomoyo or not. To be honest…the year before you left I was beginning to…I was…" Kurogane paused.
"I fell for you."
Fai snapped his head towards him. He stood abruptly, knocking over his chair and rattling his drink glass. He stared at Kurogane aghast. Kurogane looked at him confused and slightly embarrassed at his confession. Fai's lips moved vacantly. His mouth suddenly felt so dry it was difficult to speak.
"I-I felt the same way." he said. Kurogane froze. Neither moved until the quiet background noise suddenly seemed too loud. Fai looked away. Picking up his chair he let what just happen sink in. Kurogane emptied his fifth glass of sake.
"Then why did you leave?" he asked bitterly. Fai sighed.
"Because of Tomoyo." Kurogane gave him a bewildered look.
"I told you. I barely knew her then. Why would you leave because of her?" he asked. The smaller man shook his head.
"You say you barely knew her, but I saw you kiss her in the hallway." he said. Kurogane raised his eyebrow.
"When?" Fai sighed. He smiled sadly.
"Do you remember when I passed you that note in class the year before I left? I asked you to get out of your fourth hour for a few minutes because I had something to tell you. I was going to confess my feelings that day…" Fai paused, slowly turning the glass in his hands as he searched for he right words.
"…but when I walked around the corner, you were talking to Tomoyo. I was going to wait until she left so I could talk to you, but then she kissed you…and you never pushed her away." the blonde recalled. Kurogane's mind struggled to remember. When he did he gritted his teeth. He sighed harshly.
"I did push her away…but not at first. When she kissed me I thought I was wrong…that I didn't see you that way, so I didn't stop it. But I couldn't stop imagining your stupid face when I was kissing her so…I stopped." he said. Fai chuckled bitterly.
"It's kind of frustrating isn't it? To know that nothing happened because of a misunderstanding." he said. Kurogane sipped from his sixth order of sake while Fai finished his first. Kurogane rubbed his temples.
"Well, there's nothing we can do about it now. That was the past anyway. We've changed since then. Who knows if we even would have stayed together if we went out." Kurogane said gruffly. Fai nodded.
"That's true. I suppose we'll never know." Fai said. Kurogane nodded.
"Yeah." he said. Fai smiled, hesitating to say something.
"You have a point. You haven't changed much, but you're not exactly how I remember you." Fai said. Kurogane nodded.
Kurogane turned to him. Fai was staring back, sincere. He was right. Fai wasn't the man that Kurogane recalled either. No…he was more than that now. Emotions he thought had been dead and buried for years began to resurface. He drew his hand to stroke the side of Fai's face. The skin was smooth, taunt and as soft as a woman's, but this wasn't the same feel as Tomoyo's skin. Fai was different. Kurogane's heart raced faster from the simple touch of Fai's cheek than it ever did on the most passionate night with Tomoyo.
Fai leaned into his touch, closing his eyes. These hands were different than Ashura's. These hands were strong and muscular, hands that made him feel safe and protected. Ashura's embrace was something so graceful and elegant it felt almost ghostly. This…this felt real. The rough texture of Kurogane's fingers was invigorating. Fai placed his hand on top of Kurogane's, stroking it. He couldn't tell if this heartbeat was his or Kurogane's. All things considered, he didn't really care. He opened his eyes.
Kurogane captured his lips in a passionate kiss. Fai gasped, pleasurably surprised. He closed his eyes again and wrapped his arms around Kurogane's neck. Kurogane moved his hand to tangle in Fai's hair, undoing the string that held it back.
Fai could feel his mind going hazy and his heart beat powerfully against his chest. He should have been too old for teenage-like sensations like this, but he reveled in every minute of it. Kurogane slipped his tongue between Fai's parted lips, bringing the blonde ever closer with his other hand around his waist.
The kisses became slower as they regained their breath. Fai's hands moved to cup Kurogane's face. When they parted, they simply stood there like that, not caring if other patrons of the bar saw them or if they were even there. They stood there panting, staring into each other's eyes.
They were broken out of their daze when Fai's phone rang. Suddenly anxious, Fai let go of Kurogane to answer his phone.
"Hello?" he answered.
"Fai, where are you?" Ashura's voice replied. Kurogane sat back down at the bar, attempting to ignore the other voice on the receiver.
"Ah, I was at the store. I stopped by Clover to pick up some liquor though." Fai replied. Kurogane chuckled. It wasn't a total lie.
"You've been gone for nearly an hour. I was getting worried." Ashura said. Fai smiled guiltily.
"I'm sorry. It took a while to find the things that I needed and Caldina just told me that they just ran out of the liquor I wanted. I was going to head home now." he said.
"Well, alright. It's gotten dark out now so be careful. Do you want me to meet you there?"
"No…that's alright. The apartment's not that far. I'll be alright. I'll see you soon Ashura." Fai replied.
"I love you."
"…I love you too." The click on the other end of the line signaled that Ashura hung up. Fai looked down.
"I have to go Kuro-sama." he said. He picked up the string that was in his hair and attempted to fasten it back into place.
"Do you want me to walk you back?" Kurogane offered, hoping to get some more time with Fai. Fai chuckled. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't risk Ashura seeing Kurogane. He told Ashura about Kurogane. No doubt if he knew that he ran in to him at the bar and had him walk Fai home instead of Ashura…he'd surely be hurt.
"No, that's fine. I'll be alright." he said. Kurogane looked away. Fai dug in his pockets to grab some money for his drink and set it on the bar.
"I'll see y…Goodbye, Kurogane." Fai said rethinking his words. Kurogane felt his chest constrict painfully at the sound of his full name. He heard the bar door open and the gentle wind blew in a bit of snowfall. The brief chill seemed to vitalize him. He sprung up, dropping the money for his own drinks next to Fai's.
"Wait!" he called. He ran toward the door to catch it before it closed. Somehow he feared that if he let it close…he'd never see Fai again. He caught his hand between the door and the frame. Throwing it open he went after Fai down the street. He grabbed his arm harshly, stunning the blonde slightly.
"When can I see you again?" he asked. Fai's eyebrows curved upward, conflicting emotions reflected in his cerulean eyes.
"Kuro…I can't…I…I can't do that to Ashura. I've already done too much." he said, taking his arm back. He was about to face forward when Kurogane blocked his way.
"I want to see you again." he insisted. Fai shook his head.
"I can't. Ashura doesn't deserve this…neither does Tomoyo-chan." he said. Kurogane looked taken aback. Fai chuckled.
"Don't tell me you've forgotten about her again." he joked. Kurogane's eyes narrowed seriously. He strode forward and captured Fai into another kiss. As much as knew he shouldn't, Fai gave in and kissed him back. This kiss was a bit more tame than the last, but was just as passionate…and full of painful longing. Fai grabbed Kurogane's hands as they kissed amongst the snow.
Each of them felt a cold, hard substance interrupt their fingers as they entwined them together. The feel of the hard metal, made their blood run cold. The rings weighed heavily upon their fingers. The load was so strong it weighted them to the spot where they stood…unable to move away.
Alright, I left it where it was because I couldn't see any other way to end this. There really was no happy way to end this fic without making it ridiculous…So I left it ambiguous! Also, about Kurogane's character…I know that the Kurogane in Tsubasa is loyal beyond all reason and wouldn't betray anyone he cared about no matter what…but this fic was based mostly off a song as well as AU which contributes to my reasoning why I have Kurogane acting like this.
I hope that's okay ^^' Well it's going to have to be because as sad as it is, I rather like this fic ^^ I just hope that you all will too!
Please Review! Criticism of any kind is welcome! ^^