He comes home every night tired and dirty; sweat streaks the dirt on his head and shoulders. When he comes in the door he is stony-silent, and drops into one of hte rough-hewn wooden chairs. Fai - who has been working hard all day too - finds the energy to reheat Kurogane's meal, silent in the oppressive exhaustion. There is no fun in teasing someone who is too tired to so much as speak back.

They have begun a rutine of sorts. His hands, long and deft with a pen, instead press against the knotted muscles around Kurogane's neck and shoulders. He gets a grunted sigh in thanks as, full and relaxing, the warrior-turned manual laboror drifts towards sleep on their trundle bed.

Fai's blue eyes reflect the worry in his heart as they work just to stay alive day after day, waiting for any kind of news of their young companions. Mokona can't be far, because they understand each other and the people around them, but there are occasionally times when they cannot.

The cabin they are staying in only has two rooms - a kitchen and a bedroom. It is more of a shack than a house, but this world is poor and jobs are few; they are lucky to have what they do - food, water, and a roof to sleep under. Some of the men, backs bent prematurely from decades of hard work, have families of eight or nine relying on them for money. Feeding two is luxery by comparison. There is no free anything, no excess.

Time is spent sleeping or working. Food is eaten or given to one of the poorer families, or saved just in case. Money is hoarded. They have had sex twice since they got here, despite the fact that Fai's heart swells for his lover every day to see him work so hard. Both times were relevatory experiences of rough hands and slow, aching movements.

On the sundays off, they sleep in and make quiet plans over bad coffee that is more like flavored water; plans that make the assumption that the princess and the kid are still alive. The air above them is perminently blotting out the sun with the fumes from the factories, like the one that Kurogane is helping build.

Every morning that Fai wakes up, Kurogane's arm draped over his waist, he spends a few minutes with his eyes closed to be thankful that they are alive, and together. He then drags himself to his eternally sore feet, makes breakfast and Kurogane's bento, and then goes to the store down the street where he will work all day.