Title: Make the Most of It
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: PG for vampirism.
Characters: Kurogane and Fai.
Setting: Sometime after the Tokyo Revelations arc.
Summary: Kurogane has no intention of seeing his blood go to waste.
Disclaimer: They belong to CLAMP. I'm just playing with them.
Additional Disclaimer: This work is written purely as genfic. Please respect it as such.
Notes: A little extra treat for Kisuru in the 2016 Trick Or Treat Exchange. Her prompts included Fai's vampire-angst (my own favorite "Tsubasa" subject) and Kurogane getting injured, so I thought I might as well combine the two. The timeline of the manga doesn't really leave much room for any outside-of-canon world-hopping after Fai became a vampire, but for the purposes of this story, let's assume they did have a chance for this little side trip.
Of course it couldn't be some nice, normal world, where people were happy and safe.
It just had to be a world full of monsters—again—and the kindly village elder who welcomed the travelers to his hut just had to ask them for a little "favor" in return. A little favor that involved rooting out the nest of a particular monster in the nearby woods that menaced his people, and slaying it before it could spawn the eggs it was carrying.
Stumbling in the dark, his right hand pressed over a deep, ragged gash in his left bicep, Kurogane allowed himself to be hurried into the elder's hut. Drops of blood trailed after him, but at the moment, he couldn't muster up any great remorse for making a mess of the floor. Sakura was wringing her hands, while Syaoran shouted for the elder to fetch the local healer… but Fai was nowhere in sight.
Kurogane grunted under his breath. It figured.
Hastily Syaoran guided the warrior to a chair. Sakura was beside him at once, trying to wrap a cloth around his bloody arm. Kurogane grimaced and pushed her hands away as politely as he could, to grasp the staunching fabric himself.
"Get Fai," he muttered.
Syaoran's expression darkened, but he gave a single curt nod before he turned and went out, pulling the fretful Sakura after him.
Alone in the hut, Kurogane heaved out a breath, and took stock of his wound by the light of oil lamps. The bleeding had diminished just a little since the monster's talons carved into his flesh, but it was still flowing, already spotting through the cloth. It certainly hurt like hell.
He waited for a minute or two that felt entirely too long, muttering intermittent curses under his breath. At last, just when he was considering going to the door himself, it opened—and a familiar blond head uneasily poked into the room.
"Get in here," Kurogane snapped. "There's no sense letting all this blood go to waste while the elder is waking up his witch doctor."
Fai winced. However, he obeyed, quietly shutting the door behind him. His thin face was far less than eager as he stepped to Kurogane's side; but when the warrior lowered the bloodstained rag from the wound, he saw the way Fai inhaled a sharp breath and twitched.
That breath, Kurogane knew, was Fai picking up the scent of blood from his prey… and the twitch was a response to the feeling of his fangs extending. In the second before he averted his gaze, Kurogane saw the shift of his eye, changing from ocean-blue to luminous gold.
He usually hid the signs of his thirst just a little bit better.
Kurogane scowled at him. "Don't act so nervous. Just drink already, before I stop bleeding out."
Fai's lips twisted, a grimace of very human disgust and dismay that contrasted oddly with the gleam of animal hunger in his eye. It was a telling glimpse of the conflict within him. Refusing to use his magic in even the most dire of circumstances, forever keeping his secrets that Kurogane was sure they had still not seen the end of, the mage had always been a man of intent control and restraint; but now that he was a vampire, his mind was unable to deny the need of his altered body.
Slowly, with a shuddering exhalation, Fai bent his head forward. His eye drifted closed, and he began to lap the blood from Kurogane's wound.
At least he wasn't trying to balk at the offer of blood any longer… or perhaps his thirst at the moment was simply that great.
Dropping his head back against the chair, Kurogane let his eyes range over Fai's figure. Yes, he could see it now. There were several tears in his clothing: rustic native garments of wool and leather, such as the elder had provided to all four of the travelers for the monster hunt. With his newly superhuman ability to heal, Fai himself did not easily remain hurt long enough to bleed much, but the tinges of red that rimmed those holes proved the battle had even gone hard for him. Probably deliberately on the mage's part: knowing that as he was less vulnerable than his comrades, he could take much more damage than they without consequence.
Until afterward, that is. Until even he faced the need to replenish his strength—through nourishment that came in such a terrible form.
"…You know, you could be a lot more useful as a vampire," Kurogane rumbled bluntly, his eyes carefully directed away from Fai's attention to his arm. "If you won't use whatever magic you have left, at least now you have those claws to do something helpful with. The fight you put up against that creature was almost impressive."
A breath quivered out against his torn flesh. Fai's lips withdrew from the wound, and the mage turned his face away, with a barely perceptible shake of his head.
"It still wasn't enough," he whispered. "You were still hurt."
"Probably just as well. It saved me the trouble of having to cut my own wrist for once."
The flippant remark was a mistake. Fai shuddered at the reminder of the ongoing price Kurogane paid for his life, and his head sank down a little farther over his chest.
More angry at himself than at Fai, Kurogane hissed irritably. "Stop being so damn guilty, idiot. From the look of your clothes, you think I can't see how many hits you must have absorbed to shield the rest of us? Even the way you are now, that thing was too strong for any one person to take down by themselves—but we did it together. That's how it's supposed to work, Fai. So yeah, I'm delighted if you finally have a power that you're not afraid to use… but that doesn't mean it's a license to take everything on your own shoulders."
A startled eye glanced up at him, its yellow gleam fading back to blue once more. Fai's mouth bent into a thoughtful frown; and then, slowly, it curved up into a meager semblance of a smile.
Whatever Fai might have considered saying then, he never had a chance to speak. There was a tap on the door, and the village elder opened it to peer inside. The stout, hard-featured woman hovering behind him must have been the healer, judging by the glimpse of tools and bundles of herbs that protruded from her bag.
Fai pulled away from Kurogane's side. He nodded his appreciation to the two villagers as he passed them, but he paused at the doorway.
"You do realize, Kuro," he said softly, without turning. "Whatever strength I have to offer now… it really comes from you."
With that, the reluctant vampire slipped out into the night, leaving Kurogane so surprised and intrigued that at first he didn't hear the healer's gruff questions about his wound.
Through his blood, it was Kurogane who lent Fai the new strength he now felt free to wield for the protection of others. It was a way of looking at their current arrangement that the warrior had never considered… and the more he thought about it, the more it appealed to him.
2016 Jordanna Morgan