Author's Notes: This isn't as light as I thought it would be, and it's not entirely from Fay's point of view. I don't think it really fits as 'the other half' of the first chapter. But it's in the same timeline, and it gives more of Fay's side of things, so I'm putting it here. I may need to do an actual multi-part TRC fic so I can do ficlets in chronological order. Not drabbles, mind you, I'm talking ficlets - 2000+ word oneshots. All these flashback references make me want to read the original scenes. Gotta write them if I want that.

Category: Anime, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Yaoi, TWT
Warnings: reference to sex, broody/Fay
Pairings: KuroganexFay
Author: Arigatomina
Email: arigatoumina (a) hotmail . com
Website: www . arigatomina . com

Do You Feel?

Kurogane was staring again. From the intensity, he had to be close, probably in the shadowed trees lining the edge of the lake, or perhaps on the path that led to the low wooden dock.

Fay gave a soft hmm and closed his eyes with a lazy smile. He knew the moment that gaze latched onto him. It was every bit as heavy and oppressive as the heat, and just as satisfying. Neither of them had spoken since the kids had gone for the day, but how that gaze kept finding its way back to him proved the other man was having second thoughts. Poor Kuro-rin really was far too sensitive for his own good.

Fay nestled his cheek more comfortably in his curved arm. His right hand dangled down until his fingertips touched the water below. He leaned closer to the edge of the wooden dock, his eyes easing open to glance over the ripples he'd made. As glassy and cool as the lake appeared, the water was warm and had just the faintest acrid taste to it. It seemed everything in this world was heated. And to think, Sakura-chan's home world was so hot it didn't even have lakes. He couldn't help but feel sorry for her.

Heavy boots tread through thickly humid grass behind him. Sensitive, Fay mused, because Kurogane was more than capable of moving silently when he chose to. He was sure it had to do with being a ninja, or shinobi, or whatever that lifestyle was that made the swordsman such a proud and stubborn person. And he was cute, too, thinking Fay needed a warning of his approach. He'd known it was only a matter of time before Kurogane would have to say something. That was the reason he'd encouraged Mokona to go with Sakura-chan, after all, so he'd have plenty of time to wait for Kurogane's sense of responsibility to win out over his stubbornness.

"You're going to burn," Kurogane muttered. His tone was annoyed, even resentful, as if he'd be held responsible. And he probably would be, knowing how quick Sakura and that talking meat bun were to believe anything the mage said. He stopped a foot from the pale body stretched out near the edge of the dock and scowled down at that blond head.

Fay pulled his hand slowly away from the water. His languid response made it blatantly obvious that he'd been enjoying himself. That, or he wanted Kurogane to believe he'd been enjoying himself. He propped an elbow beneath him, careful to keep from dripping water on the white cloak he'd stretched out on. Then he sent a beaming smile over his shoulder at the shadow-casting ninja.

"I'm more likely to melt than to burn," Fay said, in a lilting, careless voice. "It's a wonder Sakura-chan can walk so far in that heavy dress of hers."

"They live in a desert," said Kurogane. "You already know that."

Oh, yes, Kuro-rin was definitely torn between responsibility and stubborness, or maybe it was stubborn pride and guilt. Either way, Fay smiled wider and went back to watching the two suns reflect off the surface of the lake. The smaller one glowed blue, which was much prettier when seen on the water than in the sky. It didn't burn the eyes as much. He wondered vaguely if the people of this world knew what that was, that small blue sun that wasn't a sun, yet didn't give off the faintest hint of magic.

"I remember Syaoran-kun saying that," Fay agreed pleasantly, "but that doesn't mean I know. I've never lived in a real desert. Just the idea of humans living in a place with nothing but dry dirt all the time...it sounds like a nightmare to me. What would they eat? They'd have to be cannibals!"

Kurogane twitched at how happily that last bit was spoken. He just knew if the white meat bun had been there, the thing would be bouncing around and chirping 'cannibals - cannibals' in a similarly cheerful singsong voice. But since that particular nuisance was not there to take the mage's annoying comments and amplify them to being ten times more annoying, Kurogane managed to ignore the bait. Instead, he used his proximity to verify what he'd suspected from a distance. They'd been too reckless. Again. As always. The mage didn't have a lick a self-preservation in that fey head of his, but Kurogane had known better.

They'd been left behind repeatedly since reaching this world. Syaoran had located the feather that first day, or rather, the person holding the feather had located them. Now the boy was dedicated to watching while Sakura proved herself to the native woman, who, according to Fay, had enough magic of her own to not heed the feather's attractive lure. Rather than challenge her, the kid had taken his usual route of politely requesting the feather's return, with the threat of violence reserved only if the request were rejected.

The woman agreed, providing Sakura could prove herself to the members of their tribe. What this entailed, exactly, Kurogane still didn't know. He and Fay had been rudely denied entrance to the village. The woman had taken one look at them and expressly forbid it. Whether it was their age, his eyes, or Fay's inherent magic that set her off was anyone's guess.

"Sit down, Kuro-lin," Fay hummed, without glancing back. "You're in my light. You said I looked like a ghost, ne?"

"So now you'll look like a lobster instead," Kurogane said, almost by reflex. "Real smart."

He hunkered down, but only so he'd be able to see the mage's eyes. It was obvious to him what Fay was trying to do, encouraging him to get so close. Just like he knew damned well the man hadn't stripped off his shirt in order to 'bathe in the suns' while they waited the day away.

"Just come out and say it, already," Kurogane muttered, staring askance at him.

"Hmm?" Aqua eyes peaked through thick black lashes, reflecting Fay's wide smile. "What do you want me to say, Kuro-pii? Fishing for compliments? How cute...! I didn't know you were so insecure."

Kurogane scowled at that teasing smile and resisted a sudden urge to shove the mage off the dock and into the water. It would be very easy to do with the way Fay was stretched out, only half a sideways roll from the edge. He probably would have done it, too, if it weren't for the murky brown bruises on the pale shoulder closest to him. He really should have known better. The mage looked like a heavy breeze could knock him over and the lack of so much as a grass stain on the man's bare feet proved he glided more often than he walked. As bruised as his arms were, Kurogane could just imagine what his hips looked like.

Those steely red eyes widened suddenly and darted away. Fay smothered a laugh into his curved arm. Kurogane's discomfort was so obvious he might as well have blushed bright red. So cute...!

He'd never get tired of teasing him, especially right now. In the space of a day, Kurogane had gone from being bold, angry, and hungry, to being confused, tentative, and quite possibly even more frustrated than he'd been last night. If Fay hadn't enjoyed tormenting him so much, he might have felt sorry for the man.

"Mou ii," Fay murmured into his arm. "I didn't complain and I don't plan to. It's just too hot to ruin the only shirt I have. I'd get all...sticky."

Kurogane twitched. Now he really wanted to shove the idiot into the lake. From the looks of the mage's skin, he was probably lucky he could even walk straight. Although, he had to admit the man had been as graceful and sleek as ever when he'd stretched out on his cloak, all creamy skin and shadowed bruises offset by snowy white cloth...

Kurogane growled under his breath. Any more thoughts like that and Fay definitely wouldn't be able to walk straight. Fucking self-destructive tease.

"You sit in the shade if you're hot, not the sun. Idiot."

"Kuro-rin, hidoi," Fay whined softly. With a pout, he dipped a hand in the water at his side and flicked droplets in Kurogane's direction. "I thought the lake would be cool. It's not my fault the water is so warm."

He gave a mournful sigh and nuzzled deeper into the crook of his arm, where the blue shine couldn't reach his eyes. There was no magic in that sun that glowed purple at night and never set, but it ached. He'd felt it from the moment they arrived. There was something wrong with how it remained frozen in the sky, shining down on them all heavy and sore, in a way that wasn't nearly unpleasant enough. And silly Kuro-rin thought it was his fault.

He'd let him keep thinking that. Kuro was less intrusive when he felt guilty. Less curious when he was being gruff and resentful. It was useful because Fay wasn't in the mood for banter, didn't have the energy to spend the day dancing around Kuro-rin's sharp verbal jabs.

They'd only be in this world another day or two at most. Whatever effect that blue sun had was a slow poison, nothing that would matter without prolonged exposure. It would take months, years even, before they were as darkened, crippled, and aged as that native woman with her core of magic she could sense but couldn't use. She'd immediately taken the kids into the shelter of the village, so it wasn't as if he were putting anyone in danger by keeping quiet. The sun wasn't having any effect on Kurogane, besides making him a tad grumpier than usual. Though, he had to admit, he was partially to blame for that.

Kurogane had finally broken last night, and the timing couldn't have been worse. He'd been far too mellow for far too long. Fay had tried to explain to him that all that frustration just wasn't healthy. Too much temptation could drive a man to madness. He would know. He was something of an expert on the subject. Put a hungry man in close daily contact with something he knows he can eat, but doesn't want to eat unless he has to, and by the time he gives in, well, it wasn't pretty. Messy, really. Whatever he gorged on was likely to come right back up. And then he'd still be starving, only he'd have nothing left to eat. Really, Kuro-rin should know better.

Not that it had been bad. What Fay remembered of it. Just messy. Awkward, even for them. The mood had been strange, just a little off, and he'd been too tired to try and fix it. He actually wondered if Kurogane hadn't purposely waited till they were in a world where he felt heavy and slow to try extending something better kept short and sweet.

Kurogane thought too much. He was always thinking too much, even when he shouldn't have been thinking at all. Fay had known that, of course. It was one of the first things he'd noticed. Kuro watched when he didn't seem to be watching. He was concerned when he tried to appear impassive. And he was far too curious for his own good. Too interested in figuring him out. Trying to keep him at a distance was like trying to evade a wolf pack while carrying a fresh kill. The simplest way to handle it was to taint the meat and give some to them. It might fill their stomachs, but once the after taste kicked in, they wouldn't want to follow that scent anymore.

In some ways it worked on Kurogane, in others it didn't. For all his blustering, the big puppy was more a hound than a wolf. He didn't follow because of hunger alone. There was a sense of responsibility in there, almost as if he thought he was obligated to know and watch and approach. His purpose in life was to serve and protect his princess, and he'd transferred that onto the kids. Fay understood that. It was one of those things that made Kurogane so attractive. He adhered to his sense of responsibility all the while trying to hide behind an aloof, proud, and harsh facade. Just pointing out the effort he'd put into training Syaoran was enough to leave him blistering with embarrassment. He was adorable, really. Just the way he should be. What Fay didn't understand was why he felt the need to extend his responsibilities to include him.

It wasn't as if Kurogane liked him. From the very beginning Fay had done nothing but pick at him, tease him, treating him as a fond source of amusement. They were stuck together because they couldn't afford the price necessary to each get their own means of world traveling. Well, he could have paid a higher price, but he hadn't been willing to. Fate had tossed them together and Fay had every intention of making the best of it, to enjoy himself for however long it lasted.

Unlike the rest of them, he had no purpose. No one relied on him for protection - Sakura-chan had Syaoran, Syaoran had Kurogane, however much Kuro-wanko tried to deny that he was always watching out for him, and Mokona...well, Mokona was just about indestructible and would be going home to Yuuko when Fay died, or when the feathers were collected, if Fay ended up leaving them before that happened. If Fay had any use to the group, it was in lightening the mood, keeping the broody three from getting too deep in their own problems. So he flitted and smiled and went along for the ride, and he knew Kuro-sama was disgusted by his very existence. That was the way it should be with such polar opposites.

He'd been naturally surprised to find out that Kurogane was attracted to him, despite the fact that he embodied everything Kuro didn't. He hadn't just been surprised. He'd been thrown, disappointed, even. Anger and lust went hand in hand, but disgust should have made him more liable to ignore him than to want him. He hadn't considered the possibility, hadn't planned for it, and he'd been in no position to remind Kuro why he really didn't want to be at all attracted to him. And he hadn't been about to let the opportunity pass. It was a shame. Shameful on his part.

He didn't mind taking advantage of Kuro's stoic nature, that easily stoked temper of his, and the promise that his fury wouldn't really deliver the painful death it threatened if he managed to catch him. Not that he'd let himself be caught. That would spoil the game for both of them. Kuro wouldn't give chase if he had to admit there was nothing behind the threats and Fay wouldn't provoke if there was no guarantee of a fun response. There was no harm in the sport. Sex was different. There shouldn't have been harm in that, either, but he'd been afraid there would be. Because Kurogane thought too much.

He was like a suspicious old courtier reading hidden motives in every gesture, lies in every smile as if no one should pretend to be happy simply because it felt good to be happy. Fay had met his kind before. They didn't wear their pain for the world to see, but they expected everyone else to. As if it were a matter of pride to wrap one's self up in what couldn't be helped and never take what little pleasure was there for the taking. His smiles were a personal affront. Cowardly lies. They didn't understand and they didn't care to understand.

Fay had never tried to explain himself. He felt far happier with a smile than he would have wrapped up in a pain that couldn't be helped. Maybe it was cowardly to be selfish. He didn't mind that. If it didn't hurt anyone, didn't lead him to fail anyone who needed him, he didn't mind that at all. There was no harm in it. The problem with Kurogane was there seemed to be harm in everything he did with the man.

When he built a wall around himself, it made Kuro more determined to tear it down. He'd give him what little he could to explain why he'd never know more, and why he didn't want to know more, and Kuro took it as a sign to try harder, as if it were proof of eventual victory that Fay volunteered anything at all. And when he'd given in to the lust he'd seen in Kuro's eyes and left him resentful, with that bad aftertaste in his mouth, he'd somehow found even that a reason to redouble his efforts. The more he tried to push him away, the more Kurogane seemed dead set on finding a way in.

Last night worried him most because it was far too late to stop. He needed that relief. Moments, just moments where he could do nothing but feel. Pain, pleasure, and no thoughts. No memories or worries, no consideration for the consequences of his actions. Nothing but skin and heat and Kurogane, who gave as much as he took because that was who he was. Followed by silence, a dreamless sleep, and days after where the slightest ache reminded him of how it felt to have everything washed away. It was powerful, but clean and simple. Or it should have been. With Kurogane nothing worked the way it should.

Why did he have to be so curious, to read deeper into everything? To think so much? To take something that should have been simple sensation and turn it into a display of emotions? Emotions he shouldn't have been feeling at all.

That Kurogane was starting to feel for him hurt. It was cruel and unfair. He'd spent his entire life waiting, hoping for something like that, someone who had no use for him but cared anyway, and to think he might have found it just when he couldn't accept it was too painful. He didn't want Kurogane to feel responsible for him, obligated to risk himself for his sake, to feel guilty for anything that concerned him. He didn't want him to worry, to care for, to feel for someone he didn't even like. It was too dangerous and unfair to him, to his princess, and to the people who were waiting for him to come home.

He wanted to pretend he'd imagined things. That the sun in this world was making him read too deep, like Kuro read too deep. That the long wait since their last encounter had just made Kuro want to draw things out a little more than usual. But he didn't think he could believe that any more than he could walk away. Because as many times as they'd been together, Kurogane had never touched him like that, looked at him as if they were doing something special and meaningful. He'd kissed his hair and the look in his eyes had made him want to push him back, push him away and just run until he couldn't breathe.

That was actually funny. Kuro-rin kissing his hair. He was almost tempted to ask him what he'd been thinking when he'd done that. It wasn't as if he could feel it. Kuro couldn't even pretend he'd missed his target because he'd been really deliberate about catching the strands and making sure Fay was looking at him. And that was where it wasn't funny at all. Deliberate. Too much thought. Emotional. Kuro seemed to think he was emotional during sex, but it was never deliberate. He just felt. That was the point. And that was the problem. Kurogane had made it clear with that kiss that he didn't just feel, that it was more than sensation. Fay had no idea what more there was, but he knew he didn't want to know. Because it was too late to stop.

He wouldn't seek him out anymore, but if Kurogane came to him, he wasn't going to turn him away. He couldn't. No more than he could stop smiling just so Kuro would have no irritation, no mystery to draw him closer with his puppy need to know things he was better off, safer off, not knowing. And maybe Kurogane was right to consider him a liar. Because if he were honest with himself, he knew he could have found a way to make Kurogane as indifferent toward him as Syaoran was. He still could. He didn't because it would be painful and he was too cowardly to hurt himself until he was in a corner with no other choice. He'd lose what little pleasure he got out of being with them, and he was too selfish to give that up even a day sooner than he had to.

So, really, he might as well make the best of it. He wasn't going to change, to do what he knew he should do. He'd just go on smiling and try not to make things worse than they were. A little emotional attachment just meant Kuro-chan would miss him as much as Sakura-chan would when they parted ways somewhere down the road. No reason to feel guilty over that. He knew he'd miss all of them more than they'd ever miss him. Except maybe Mokona. He could always count on sweet magical creatures to love him every bit as much as he loved them. Especially the ones that were practically indestructible.

Speaking of which...he should probably dress before Mokona and the kids came back. As fun as it was to pick on Kuro-rin, he didn't want Mokona accusing him of anything too explicit. Not in front of Sakura-chan. That just wasn't appropriate.

Fay stretched and grimaced playfully at the sticky sweat covering his skin. Kurogane probably thought he'd dozed off. Silly of him. They'd spent enough time together for him to know he never slept on his stomach, or anywhere without a solid surface at his back, be it a wall, a tree, or a big scowling puppy. He hadn't moved when Kuro covered him because - despite the pleasant ache bathing in that blue sun gave him - he didn't really want to be pink and blistered all week.

And this way he'd get to hear Kuro-rin gripe about his damp cloak smelling like sweaty Fay for the rest of the night. Fun! Maybe if he poked him enough, he'd finally snap and dump him in the lake. Yeah, he'd seen those sideways glares Kuro had been sending him earlier. Kuro had a lot of restraint the day after, especially when the kids weren't around. But all the frustration that came from resisting temptation just wasn't healthy. Besides, Fay looked forward to dragging Kuro-pii into the water with him. Before that, he'd ask him about that kinky hair fetish of his. That was bound to set things off nicely.

.-.

Notes: I found a Kurogane-Fay doujinshi that almost illustrates the sort of angsty smutt I referred to in the first chapter of this fic. You can see it on my website in the 'downloads' section. Just be warned that it's explicit and I don't have a translation for what they're saying.