Final Disclaimer: Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE is the creation of CLAMP. I'm just borrowing the characters a bit. Referred translations include – but are not limited to – Hemuloki scanlations (volume one), Del Rey translations (volume two and three), and those found at http: hyu.flaming-wookie. net/ (volumes four through eight).

Sacrifice -When the four companions find themselves in Kurogane's world, Kurogane finds himself torn between staying behind and the newly developing relationship between himself and Fai. (Kurogane x Fai)

This story is separated into two major parts, one vaguely detailing the circumstances that Kuro-tan and Fai-san got together (read: fluff) while the second part makes up the bulk of the story by vaguely detailing the mental conflict Kuro-tan goes through (read: lots of fluff with minuscule amounts of angst inserted in odd places to make it seem more realistic) when choosing between his home and Fai. I'm not really going to go into why they make the perfect couple and how great they are for each other because I feel this is one of the more obvious couples (read: I'm lazy) and it's really not necessary (read: really, really lazy).

But something I do have to babble about endlessly is how much I owe Cairnsy-san. Not only did she inspire me to write for this series – and to love it period – but she withstood my scatterbrained tendencies in order to beta this story and make it much better than I ever could make it. Thank you so much. :)

If you were to ask Fai exactly how it happened, you would probably be met by a large grin accompanied by an elaborate explanation. Most likely, it would have something to do with how he was simply too irresistible, and had consequently managed to seduce dear Kuro-tan in the manner of a snake charmer and a particularly poisonous and ill-tempered serpent. It was difficult but not impossible, and although it required a great amount of effort, the end result was certainly satisfying to say the least. Was it any wonder that dear Kuro-pipi had not managed to avoid falling for him, when one was as adorable as him?

This explanation, of course, was precisely why Kurogane preferred for people to ask him about it, although to be frank he would rather that they not ask in the first place. Besides, his explanation was a lot simpler – he had kissed the blond in order to shut him up. Quite honestly, if he'd had to hear that damned 'Nyaan, nyaan, nyaan!' again, he would have been forced to go to extreme measures by killing the mage. Seeing how that would lower his strength because of Tomoyo's curse, and not to mention completely traumatize their two younger traveling companions, he'd decided that it would be easier to kiss Fai instead.

He hadn't really expected Fai to kiss him back.

So whatever way you chose to look at it, their 'relationship' boiled down to being the wizard's fault, although neither bothered to deny that Kurogane was the one who had initiated the kiss. The dark warrior really had no idea why he had done something so extreme, especially since he spent so much time trying not to kill the other man. When murder had suddenly mutated into expressions of love, he wasn't really sure, but that was water under the bridge because before he could blink, Fai was kissing him with an intensity that was really quite startling. It was almost as if the mage had been expecting this for quite a while, and was now finally capable of releasing whatever pent up emotions he might have been holding back all this time.

It had not taken very long for their clothes to go away after that. A lamp followed shortly after, although later both swore that it was the other's fault (Fai, being the better liar, pinned the blame on the ninja), but it was quickly forgotten in favor of each other. Everything felt urgent and desperate, as if they had accidentally put this off for too long. The hurry was slightly odd for Kurogane, who had always expected a lot more of… well, anything really. He wasn't much of a romantic by any stretch of the imagination, but in a way he was somewhat old fashioned. He thought there would be talking beforehand, a grownup discussion of the implications of what they were about to do. Kind of a ridiculous concept, but when you were surrounded by a bunch of stuffy nobles who seemed to require written contracts for deciding where to stand, maybe it was to be expected.

But common sense tends to give way to emotion, and it wasn't long before Kurogane, grinning like an idiot, found himself on top of Fai. The room was dimly lit but he could see the blond's face clearly, and he saw nothing in it. No silly smile, no eyes half-lidded with secrets, no layers, and no hidden sadness. Just the human being, just… Fai.

He couldn't help but pause to take all of that in, and it was that pause that saved them both. Without it, he might not have been able to hear the footsteps quietly coming towards them, and luckily he had enough presence of mind to shove Fai off of him, hissing that somebody was coming. It didn't stop the blond from pouting like crazy, but as long as the idiot was getting his clothes on, he didn't really care.

By the time Sakura stuck her head into their room, both were dressed – albeit a bit messily. He had to admit they would have made a pretty conspicuous pair if it hadn't been so dark, as Fai's complicated shirt still wasn't completely closed up and Kurogane's armor was more than slightly askew. Not to mention the fact that the flush on Fai's pale cheeks were remarkably evident, although he wasn't sure if that crimson had come from their prior actions or embarrassment at how close they had come to being caught by Sakura of all people.

Luckily though, Sakura didn't notice as she worriedly asked about the crash she had heard, and was either of them hurt? Before Kurogane could respond, the blond was grinning madly and explaining cheerfully that Kuro-tan had accidentally knocked it over when he had drunkenly mistaken it for a giant black cat (1).

He had to tell himself repeatedly that at the very least he liked Fai, and you technically were not supposed to kill the people that you liked.

She left shortly after that, apparently satisfied by Fai's cheerful reassurances and Kurogane's gruff agreement. She hadn't even asked them more than once as she usually did when one of them had gotten hurt, but Fai just gleefully attributed that to Kurogane's personality.

As soon as they were sure that she was gone, the warrior had turned to the mage and growled. Fai just smiled, called him Kuro-tan again, and curled up around him with a small, contented sound before murmuring a quiet good night. Before Kurogane had ample opportunity to argue, the blond covered his mouth with a quick, affectionate kiss before completely zoning out. How the blond managed to get so comfortable when armor was generally considered to be painful to lie on, he never would know, but that was the farthest thing on his mind. If anything, he was feeling almost… bitter, as one never would have been able to tell that just a few moments before, they had been about to make love with the one-mindedness of bunnies. And just as suddenly, just like that, it was as if nothing had happened. What had happened, exactly? Was it suddenly decided that all of this was a mistake, or was it the idiot's way of avoiding something he found uncomfortable?

Neither explanation pleased Kurogane, and so he found it difficult to lean back and just sleep it off. Instead, he sat there with his back as straight as a board, listening to Fai's quiet breathing and trying to figure out exactly what had happened.

Maybe the 'Nyaan, nyaan, nyaan!' wasn't nearly as bad as he had made it out to be. It was a part of Fai, and if he was really going to be stupid enough to continue down this path to romantic involvement, it was something that he was going to have to get used to eventually. In fact, it might even be one of those parts that he actually preferred because at least the little sound was pure idiocy, unfettered by hidden meanings and all those secrets he had come to loathe.

That was the only part of Fai that he wanted to change.

Without ever saying anything, Fai's face and actions spoke such volumes about the things that were kept hidden away inside, things that would one day become too much to bear. It would destroy him, if Kurogane did nothing, and perhaps that knowledge was what prompted him to action.

The smiles, the teasing, the stupid little nicknames, and the perpetual tendency towards acting like an idiot were all things that annoyed him, but they made Fai… Fai. It was the mysterious enigma who was becoming close to destroying himself that he couldn't stand, especially since he knew that such a personality should not have rightfully existed beforehand. He didn't know what had happened before with this Ashura person, but should that man ever come after Fai, he was fairly certain that somebody was going to stop breathing rather quickly should he have any say about it.

Laying one hand on the gold locks, he smiled – or grinned wolfishly, really. He had no idea where any of this was going, if it managed to go anywhere in the first place. It was quite likely that in the end, they might both regret it. Considering how often they were at each other's throats… well, really it was always him at Fai's throat, although in his defense it was always Fai who brought it upon himself anyway, it didn't really seem like they were the most compatible couple in the universe. Unlike the brat and Sakura who – despite having sold their relationship for the sake of her life – seemed to bring the best out of one another, they seemed to act against each other in order to bring out what they wanted. The blond would bait him in a strange attempt to get him to loosen up, and he in turn would pry the layers away and expose the mage for who he was. It was uncomfortable, to say the least, and to start something together would only bring that out in full force.

But… would it really be that bad, if that should be the case? He would no longer have to force those many cracks open, if Fai could learn to trust him enough to tell him what was going on. Right now, the cracks just kept building and eventually it would all break down if the wizard continued to ignore them instead of attempting to fix them and make himself whole again.

Ah, well. One step at a time, perhaps, was what they really needed to focus on. The things that he needed to do to save the mage would come slowly, but they required a certain level of faith that came with giving up a part of yourself to the other person before anything could really come out of it. For now, it was probably best for them to just sleep. Tomorrow they would be whisked away to a new world on the hunt for Sakura's feathers, and when night came, they could continue to figure things out. Hopefully then they would be able to have the grown-up conversation about whether or not they knew what they were doing, and where they wanted to go. And if they didn't, then… well, they would still have each other.

And that was, at least, a start.

Mokona possessed a hundred and eight secret special techniques, among which included the famous – and much beloved! – techniques of 'total transformation' and voice imitation (2).

One of the lesser known abilities, however, was the talent of getting past locked doors, typically by way of window or a variety of other lesser-known entries. Syaoran, Sakura, and Fai rarely kept their door locked, but Kurogane – as suspicious as ever – always made it a point to keep the door to his room severely bolted.

Today was of no real exception. The door was locked, as usual, but Mokona decided to wake Fai up first. The wizard would definitely be able to get Kurogane up, no problem, and then they could be on their way to the next world. The prior day's mission had been successful, and another of Sakura's feathers had been found, but it had involved more than a few close calls than what anyone would be happy with. Nobody had been hurt badly, luckily, but everyone was exhausted and although their work was technically done here, Mokona had made the conscious decision to postpone the journey to the next world so they could get some rest.

The hotel they were currently staying in had been the nearest one, and by mere coincidence – as everything was when it came to Mokona, naturally – it just so happened to be the most expensive one in the district. They'd had just barely enough to pay for the four rooms, and Kurogane had growled and grumbled as Fai paid the large bill with an obscenely large smile.

They had gone their separate ways shortly after, Kurogane still muttering about the price while Fai just patted him on the back and pointed out that if worse came to worst, they could always sell the warrior for a hefty profit. For some odd reason, Kurogane had not been pleased, and he had chased the blond upstairs while waving around his unsheathed sword, leaving Sakura and Syaoran to stare after their two older and supposedly more mature companions.

What they had done after that, Mokona had no idea. He had assumed, as most normal people – and white talking manju buns – do, that Kurogane had eventually given up on trying to kill his somewhat-friend and retired to his room, locking the door securely behind him. Fai should have done likewise, except that the next morning, he was nowhere to be found in the fourth room.

Mokona had been surprised to enter the room and find that nobody was there. He was fairly certain that Fai should not be up yet, seeing that Sakura and Syaoran had been alone in the breakfast room and he hadn't passed the wizard on his way upstairs. In fact, the bed did not even look like it had been slept with, and the combination of all these facts were starting to worry Mokona greatly. Where could he have gone? What happened if something had happened to him? What if…?

With a speed greater than any white puffball should possess, Mokona sped off for Kurogane's room. Kurogane should be able to figure it out, and he didn't want to worry Syaoran or Sakura unnecessarily.

Unfortunately, he had forgotten that Kurogane's door was always locked, and this resulted in him running head first into a door that would not budge.

For a moment, he could only lay on the ground, completely dazed and ignorant of the stares he was starting to get from the other hotel residents who had been awakened by the impact of a furry bunny-like creature slamming into a door. Then, remembering about his one hundred and eight secret special techniques (breaking and entering being number seventy-three), he ran back into Fai's room and jumped out the window before bouncing his way onto and across the roof.

This couldn't be good, this couldn't be good! Fai, unlike Kurogane, was actually responsible, and Mokona was fairly certain that the wizard would inform them if he was going to go anywhere. Seeing that hadn't happened, it could only mean that something was wrong and Kurogane was being as irresponsible as usual by locking the stupid door! Didn't that man know anything about emergencies? What was he locking the door for anyway? They knew how to knock… well, except maybe for Fai who only knocked on Sakura's door. But that was a completely different story! And besides, wasn't locking the door a possible fire hazard!

With all those thoughts in mind, Mokona ended up making a less than grateful landing through the window. He barely managed to miss hitting a broken lamp, and landed like a pancake on the floor.

The room was quiet, with the exception of the sound of someone breathing. Or, as it quickly turned out when Mokona did an abrupt double take, several someones!

He had found the elusive Kurogane, as well as the elusive Fai. And they were in the same bed, sleeping together, looking… fluffy. That was, at least, the only word he could think of to explain it, especially with the way they were wrapped around each other. Both were sleeping sitting up, but Fai was using Kurogane almost as a make-shift pillow while the other man had an arm resting around the blond's shoulder. It didn't really look very comfortable, especially since the ninja was still wearing that silly armor, but both seemed to be sleeping soundly despite their position and the hard metal.

Mokona wasn't sure how long he spent watching them, but he was jerked out of his almost dazed stupor when he heard a sudden knocking on the door and Syaoran calling out, "Kurogane-san? Kurogane-san, have you seen Fai-san or Mokona? They're not in his room and they're nowhere in the hotel… Kurogane-san?"

He could see that Kurogane was starting to shift, muttering under his breath, although Fai apparently refused to be woken up before he had enough time cuddle time. And since he certainly didn't want Syaoran and Sakura to be worried, he decided that it would be best if he called out to them to explain the circumstances that the two older travelers had found them in.

"We're in here, Syaoran! Kurogane and Fai are sleeping with each–"

"What the hell are you doing here!" Kurogane roared.

For a moment, Mokona was truly afraid that Kurogane was going to leap up and try to eat him. He didn't think he would taste very good, especially raw, but that was how angry the warrior looked. Instead though, the black-haired man stayed put, as if afraid that if he moved he would end up dislodging... ah, so that's how it went.

Kurogane wasn't going to be moving until Fai woke up, and that meant Mokona could continue to explain to the others what was going on.

"I think they spent the entire night in this room, and now Fai won't wake up so Kurogane doesn't want to get up because if he does then he's going to wake up Fai and he doesn't want to wake up Fai so he's not going to move!" he happily bubbled without ever pausing to take a breath. There was a distinct vein throb developing on Kurogane's forehead, and his free hand was starting to make a definite grabbing-like movement, but still there was no attempt to get up and cause the bodily harm that was being so clearly promised.

There was a stunned silence coming from the other side of the door, and so Mokona decided to focus his attentions back to the people who were with him. Tilting his head slightly – or as much as one could tilt it without having a discernible neck – Mokona looked at the two and said cheerfully, "Nobody minds, Kurogane! I think we were all expecting it sooner or–"

"Uruse! (3)" the ninja roared, and Fai chose that moment to jerk out of his sleep to stare blankly at the other man.

"Bit early to be making a ruckus, isn't it Kuro-tan?"

"Don't call me that!"

"But I thought you liked it, nyaan?"

"I don't! I don't like any of your stupid nicknames!"

Before anybody could blink, the big teary eyes were back, "But Kuro-pipi!"

"I thought I just told you not to call me that!" Kurogane looked ready to grab Fai by the front of his shirt but before he could even get his hands moving, Fai had practically tackled him, wrapping long arms around the warrior's neck and wailing at the top of his lungs about the cruelty and cold-heartedness of a certain Kuro-kuku, and how he went through so much to be with him.

Somewhere along the ranting, most of which was incoherent anyway, Mokona had tried to escape. However, now that Fai was awake, Kurogane wasn't about to let the white manju bun escape without some punishment. Shoving the wizard off of him unceremoniously, the ninja got up and grabbed Mokona by the ears before he could jump out of the window to safety.

"And where do you think you're going?" he snarled above Fai's continued mock-wailings.

"Mokona is going to go find the others!" Mokona chirped merrily, and frowned slightly as Kurogane began to shake him madly.

"Like hell you are!"

"Language, Kuro-chan!" Fai sang, apparently over his crying fit. And as soon as Kurogane turned to glare at his lover, Mokona quickly slipped out of his slightly slackened grasp and jumped onto the window sill. But before he left, he couldn't help but look at the two and ask innocently, "Does this mean we don't have to pay for Fai's room now?"

The lamp went flying by his head. He got the message.


(1) If the first thing that comes to mind with the words 'black cat' is the adorable black kitty that Fai-san drew in volume five, chapitre 35, then you deserve a pat on the back (or a lobotomy… been reading too much Tsubasa? P).

(2) References to volume four and five. The voice imitation comes from chapitre 23, when Mokona imitates Kurogane's voice and tells Fai that 'Kurogane's so happy! heart' and later 'reveals' to the two that it possesses 108 secret special techniques which are all... well, secret. Later, Mokona uses 'total transformation' in chapitre 29, another of the 108 secret special techniques.

(3) Shut up!

Notes, notes… notes? What a cute concept!

So, as previously hinted as, lots of fluff. Next part we get into the meatier part with all the 'angst' and probably enough fun to spread throughout the entire group! I'm not really sure how I'm going to do it as of now, such as if it will be just one immensely long chapter or if it will end up being broken up into maybe two or three parts. I guess it depends on where natural breaks appear, if any, and so I'll leave that alone.

Hope you enjoyed :p