BALANCE: A TRC fic by Meg
for the community 3measures on LJ


1. camera obscura

He learns about her through him. Kurogane doesn't say much but what he says tells the story; this princess is sharp and brilliant, beautiful and the center of everybody's life because she can't help it, any more than Kurogane can help loving her. Whatever other forces have made Kurogane, the princess is near the top of the list. He lives through her.

He says, Do you think she'll like me? and Kurogane snorts - what he means is, I don't think you'll be able to help yourselves.

2. "in thunder, lightening or in rain"

She's waiting because he promised to return. He always keeps his promises, if he can and even if he can't. She wants to meet the others but most of all she wants to meet the mage who isn't one anymore. She owes him for taking care of Kurogane. She wonders if it was instinct that made him understand that as much as Kurogane needs someone to look after, he needs someone to make him feel more. If he's mad at you, he's with you, he's paying attention.

She wants to meet him because she thinks they will understand each other.

3. depth perception

Sometimes Kurogane's vision wobbles a little, like how Syaoran's must, his perspective gone briefly wrong. It's not he sees her in him but sometimes they're so much alike, and then he realizes how different they are. He wants to be strong for them. The funny thing is that they don't need him to be strong. They're strong enough without him. So do they need him? He has to be stronger than them.

He wants to be needed and this is the only way he knows how.


4. gangland

Back in the place where he was from what he really did was make sure people understood what the king wanted. There are three hundred documented ways of killing someone with ice magic .Four hundred and eight-seven ways to kill someone with fire magic. Two hundred and twelve of killing them with thunder magic. He can recite them all, like a mantra.

What he wants is a world where he never has to remember them, but even in a world with Kurogane and his princess, he doesn't think that's going to happen.

Maybe, he thinks, maybe it's different when someone stands beside you. One on each side, balanced.

5. poison ivy

It's an itch beneath her skin, a feeling that there's something not wrong, but not right. His presence around Kurogane makes her feel like something is unbalanced, not working like it should. It would be better if she was there, she thinks. It would be better if they were balanced.

He's dancing around singing leaves of three let it be and she thinks, no, you don't understand. Even poisons have their use. We will be your antidote.

6. the sphinx's riddle

He smiles like a sphinx, like the princess smiles, and that drives you up a wall because you are, at the bottom of things, someone who gets annoyed with mysteries and doesn't like puzzles.

You aren't angry at him for hiding his secrets but you're annoyed. The princess has her secrets because that is what the princess is. You don't expect the princess to explain things to you because she walks in the mysteries.

Stop it, you want to say, stop being such a fucking mystery, and then you wish again and more sharply that the princess was with you because she could unravel him as delicately as a snarl in the silk she embroiders in and all you can do is cut open his secrets and smiles and watch the bits fall down onto the ground.


7. a crowd

He's standing and watching Kuropyonpyon have a screaming fit at a girl about half his size and maybe a quarter of his weight, all Goddammit, Princess! and What the fuck were you thinking? and underneath it there's nothing but raw relief, so strong that Fye's kind of surprised that Kurogane isn't just picking up the girl and crushing her hard against him, burying his face in her hair and shaking like the way Fye knows he wants to.

He looks around and tries to figure out a way to slide out; three's a crowd, they say, and he's not going to come between them.

Where the hell do you think you're going, says Kurogane irritably.

Elsewhere? he says, trying to keep the bitterness out of his voice. He's given up the place he belonged in and he's okay with it, mostly. Mostly.

He's kind of not looking at them and he starts when a hand reaches up and touches his face. Her hand is cool and smells of incense and for one second he wants to lean into it; wants to hold it to his cheek and rest, just for a moment.

Dear Fye, she says, in her gentle voice, how happy we are that you have come with our Kurogane.

8. the measurement of life

She's spinning when they arrive; three-stranded silk. She sets aside the spindle and rises to her feet. She wants to run to them, to greet them with tears and laughter but she is the princess and she can't, so she listens to Kurogane saying I missed you, I missed you, I missed you while he yells his head off and looks at his companion.

He turns and meets her eyes for one second and she's suddenly so relieved she could cry all over again. We'll be all right, she thinks. I don't know what you're running from but we will be your hiding place. "This is your fate," she says, and his face eases from his smiling mask.

9. unfinished trilogy

So they're home now and Kurogane takes Fye around and shows him the compound where he was raised -- or what's left of it -- and Fye finally learns to use chopsticks efficiently, if not gracefully, and things almost quiet down except for the part where a guy comes after Fye and Tomoyo-hime has a chat with him that ends with the guy's balls being used to cover an exquisitely small copy of the Sutras she gives to Fye because Tomoyo-hime is also a nasty-minded bitch and he loves her and Fye loves her as much as he thought he would and she loves both of them because she's like that.

They're home now, and maybe someday he'll wake up without the need to sit beside the princess and watch her breathing beneath the exquisite embroidered robes of her bed, and maybe someday he'll be able to hold a conversation with Fye without him talking around things and driving Kurogane crazy, but he doubts it.

And this story will never end.