Author's Note: Based on the Christmas-themed artwork showing Fai holding a bouquet of flowers and calling out to Syaoran and Sakura, while Kurogane looks like he has a headache and is pulling Fai back with a hand on his shoulder. LOL


His first choice is easy; red roses are for passionate love, for fire and beauty and celebration. Six stems signifies how much the other man consumes his thoughts. He picks pink roses too, for the gratitude the mage inspires, and because they mean "warmth of heart" as well. Kurogane is not the same man he was when he started this journey, and the cheerful pink blooms are his tribute of thanks to Fai for helping him to become who he is now. Someone older, someone wiser, someone worthy to wield Ginryuu by more than just birthright and blood. Three stems signify a confession of love.

He needs something muted to offset this riot of color, something more sober to offset all this outpouring of affection. He adds three white lilies to the stems in his hand after some thought. One for the purity that somehow survived all of the prejudice and pain. One for the dignity and power shining through the fluffy facade. And one to pay homage to the majesty of who he was born, not just who he was made, because while it is the least important part of him whom he loves, it is still, in the end, a part of him.

The gifts are brought out before they all leave for a fancy dress ball that the princess had won tickets to, and for a half hour even the kids forget to be excited about the evening's entertainment in their joy over gifts given and received. Wrapping paper goes flying, hugs are given and gotten without any embarrassment, and Kurogane stores up the quiet contentment over this disorganized yet harmonious exchange. He's not looking forward to the glitter and noise of the ball, but it'll take more than a stupid party to pierce this comfortable warmth glowing in his chest.

He hands off the bouquet without a word, and true to his predictions Fai doesn't understand the subtle significance of the blooms. The language of flowers is something Tomoyo forced on him through long hours of attending her flower arrangement lessons, and he would have been surprised if it had proven to be a language common across worlds. There is no card either, but enough of his meaning must get through somehow, because for a moment Fai stills, all wide eyes and pinked cheeks, softly parted (kissable) lips but no words coming through, and then he breaks into a smile bright enough to nearly crinkle his eyes shut and Kurogane suddenly has an armful of suspiciously breathless wizard.

"Thank you." It's an airy whisper right by his ear, almost drowned out by the paper wrapped 'round the flowers rustling by their heads. Kurogane smiles too, in the crook of Fai's neck where it can't be seen, and goes to return the embrace but he's just a split second too late; the man whirls around and is all manic glee again, calling to the children to come and see the pretty flowers Kuro-daddy picked. With a long-suffering sigh, the ninja clamps a hand firmly down on one slim shoulder.

"Leave them alone," he grumps, grateful to see that the kid and princess did not even hear Fai's trilling and are still in their own little world, foreheads nearly touching as they try to talk and listen and admire all at the same time. Fai turns back around, laughing merrily and Mokona bounds by between them and the kids, making as much noise as she can with her songs and little party poppers, trailing whoops and confetti everywhere she goes.

It's noise and confusion and happiness and affection, and amidst all this joyful chaos there's a tiny pocket of air that seems magically quiet and calm. Fai steps right back in as if to renew his grateful embrace and somehow Kurogane can hear the mage's soft sigh of contentment despite all the background noise, and focuses easily on those soft blue eyes despite all the lights and colors constantly competing for his attention. "You're welcome" is the standard response for these situations, but–

"Thank you," is what he says instead; quiet, low, formal and precise unlike his usual terse thanks when he bothers to say such things at all. For everything, is what he thinks. For being you. For loving me. For letting me love you.

"Kuro-sama," is what Fai says back after a surprised pause; warm, wondering, a heart-breaking smile on his face and a new brightness in his eyes. And really, that says it all.