Disclaimer: All Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle characters are (c) CLAMP.

Title: Reciprocal
Rating: PG13
Pairing: Fye x Kurogane
Warnings: Some language.
Spoilers: Kurogane's past and Ch 120 .
Status: In Progress
Word Count: 3,710
Summary: Parental roles will switch to Syaoran and Sakura when Kurogane and Fye are both turned into children! A feather may appear in more than one way, when reciprocity takes place.

Reciprocal

Ch. 2 Vanilla Flower

The town had sprung into life as soon as the warm sunlight touched the town's rooftops. People began crowding the once dormant and quiet streets, breaking through the calm and silence the night had offered. The sound of flutes and drums and guitars coming from the street bands permeated through the alleys and the market place, easing the atmosphere. The scent and aromas of recently made, warm bread, pastries and soup, invaded the air. Chimneys exhausted white smoke from the rooftops, fireplaces kept homes and stores warm and secure from the biting cold outside. A new day had begun and the town was open and running for its daily routine

Red eyes looked hungrily at the food display from the windowpane of a coffee shop. Wonderfully looking items like: cupcakes topped with white whipped cream and neatly cut and arranged strawberries, croissants filled with marmalade or chocolate and more goods. Said items drew the small ninja there with and empty stomach and a watering mouth.

Kurogane's forehead rested on the windowpane, hands on either side of his head and against the clear glass that kept such small and at the same time such great boundaries that came between him and glorious food. He did not recognize the edible items being displayed as if they were works of art, which was not far from the truth judging by the way the food was decorated, but the scent of food called his growling stomach forth.

"Mokona is hungry, too." The creature began with a small voice but did not go unnoticed by the ninja, for it was perched on his shoulder.

Kurogane nodded briskly and groaned when his stomach demanded sustenance yet again, making it loud and clear so his host couldn't miss it. There mere sight of food was enough to rouse the hunger to its fullest.

Syaoran watched the two; Sakura and Fye close behind him. The brunette felt guilty because they couldn't afford a slice of bread. He knew it wasn't his fault, but having it now that the princess and himself were the two adults in charge, he couldn't brush away the need to give the two children what they needed. Fye and Kurogane would always make sure that that the princess and he wouldn't lack anything.

Especially Fye. Always telling 'Kuro-daddy' what they needed to buy, where to find it and how much money it'll cost. Even in the darkest times, Fye will always find a way to solve every problem with the brightest of smiles.

Syaoran's lips curved into a small smile, remembering the better times when their group was still intact by the crude play of destiny. Fye will always be stuck in the kitchen, and it seemed like he enjoyed it quite a bit, cooking amazing dishes and pastries. Forcing sweets down Kurogane's throat and earning him the rage of the ninja who would always chase after him with sword in hand.

Kurogane will always do most of the heavy work, of course. You will never find him behind the kitchen counter with a spatula in hand and wearing a pink, frilly apron. No sir.

He said he'd rather "kiss the mage", which he immediately took back when Fye took it for granted and tried reaching for Kurogane with pursed lips.

In one of the previous worlds, an industrialized city they weren't quite fond of remembering, Kurogane had worked almost thirteen hours a day at a building site. It seemed that that world was going through some rough times. There were no jobs, the pay was ridiculously low and because of the same, obscene amounts of people would line up in the streets in order to get food.

At that time, all of them were forced to work double, but it was Kurogane who got it the worst. He would always come back home filthy and sore with grime and dirt covering his clothing and skin.

Fye will always wait for Kurogane. Once he came back, he would serve him quite the generous amount of food, which was something to worry about, having it that the group just had barely enough to feed the five of them.

The problem wasn't Kurogane's amount of food, but Fye's.

It never occurred to Syaoran that the mage was giving Kurogane his own meager portions. Worried, the boy spied on him from time to time, knowing it wasn't right but wanting to know how long did he go without eating. It was only a matter of time.

He cursed his silence that day. It was a cold night and work had been canceled because of a terrible snowstorm. They were stuck and with barely any food. Fye could not hold any longer and collapsed when he was sweeping the floor. He was ill for the rest of the time they spent there until they found the feather and moved out.

"It was all for the sake of the children", Fye told Kurogane once he woke up, a smile on his pale lips.

In that world, even with it's harsh conditions, the two adults always made sure they didn't go through hunger or cold. They really lived up to Mokona's 'mommy and daddy' endearing nicknames, because they really were like parents to them. That's why Syaoran wanted to repay and give them as much dedication and effort as the two adults gave them.

Even if he wasn't 'their' Syaoran, he felt as much necessity to correspond to their kindness. He had seen their lives through his clones' and knew them as much as the other Syaoran did. He had a different connection to them… but it was a connection nonetheless.

He put his thoughts aside and looked back at Sakura. The girl had not let go of the little mage since he broke down into heartbreaking sobs. Said child had not spoken, let alone uttered a word; although, he did weep in the princess arms with abandon. Small and scraped hands clinging to her clothing and his face buried in her chest.

Just remembering the sound of pain from the magician's sobbing made his heart cringe. He was oblivious of his past and what must've been so life scarring to leave him so broken, all he knew was that no fear or such painful cries should ever escape a child's lips.

He could do nothing to help Fye at the moment since the boy would cower away and hide behind Sakura every time he or Mokona tried to have a word with him. Kurogane was out of question. He must've been taken aback by Fye's accidental attack and refused to get too close in fear of getting hurt. Syaoran didn't blame him for it.

"I will find a job today," Sakura declared, smiling with encouragement.

"S-so that we can afford food and a place to stay," she blushed slightly and tried not to look Syaoran directly in the eye.

Her green eyes, once vibrant and full of life, were now dull and opaque. It was no doubt she was troubled; however, Syaoran will not ask, not yet. They needed time to understand and get used to the changes, now even more so with the two children. They needed their now-adults to help them get through these times.

The brunette shook his head slowly in silent disapproval.

"Please, don't. Let me find a job. The children need you the most." Syaoran said to Sakura, his eyes trailing down to look at Fye, who had a small hand clasping the princess' tightly and the other clinging to her dress. It was in such a fashion that, the small blond gave the impression that if he dared to let go she would disappear. His blue eyes averted from Syaoran's and hid behind the princess, who nodded in understanding to the boy's previous proposal.

"Kuro-pon, wait!"

The teenagers turned their attention towards the shop the small ninja had not long been staring at, only to find him digging small hands into pastries and other goods.

"K-Kurogane-san!"

It was ironic how inappropriate it must've sound to call the child by such formalities; however, old manners die-hard.

Followed by the princess and the mage, the teen entered the café in a hurry. Mokona was only looking on from his current spot on the ninja's shoulder. Kurogane's face was covered in chocolate and whipped cream, his fingers held the evidence of his much-needed crime.

"Oh."

The group turned in unison. Syaoran's heart stopped. A woman with long, black hair and kind eyes, stood quietly next to the door she just came through. The kind woman, who looked to be in her mid thirties, blinked at them, her eyes falling on Kurogane's guilty form.

Syaoran just about died when Kurogane caught, yet another muffin he tossed to himself, with his mouth in front of the shop owner.


"I see. So you're a traveling group?" The woman began, taking a small sip of her tea with ladylike elegance.

Syaoran sat across from the shop owner, who had generously invited them inside her home, which was annexed to the shop through a door behind the register counter. She had kindly offered them warm food and tea once a very shock-stricken Syaoran explained immediately what had happened.

"Yes, ma'am. Foreigners to be exact," nodded the brunette, sitting properly and almost stiff in his spot at the chair, as if the lady were interrogating him.

"My, it must've been a harsh trip. All of you look so worn out- and the children," her attention turned from Syaoran to the now sleeping boys, her eyes holding a gentle and endearing look.

They had been extremely lucky to come across someone so kind as Chitose. As soon as they explained to her why Kurogane had practically attacked her pastries, she did not judge them and offered her assistance. Syaoran, with a heavy heart, could not refuse such offer. Goodness knew how long it could've been before they settled down and ate a proper meal.

Kurogane now lay sleeping on the floor near the warm fire coming from the fireplace; Mokona lay close to him. Having a stomach filled with tea and deliciously warm food and pastries, both of them fell instantly into a comfortable and much-needed sleep. Sakura sat on a couch that was placed across from the fire; Fye's head rested on her lap and his body lay sprawled across the couch. The princess stroked his face and long blonde locks as he slept, half listening to the conversation between Chitose and Syaoran and half dozing off.

"We're deeply grateful for your kindness, Chitose-san. Please, if there's any way I could repay you, let me know." Syaoran bowed his head gently HavingH.

Chitose smiled warmly at the teenage boy, shaking her head slowly.

"It was nothing, Syaoran-kun. Think nothing of it, I am just glad that I could help you and your friends."

"Still-"

"Do not worry about it. I'm always happy to have such great company from time to time. If you still don't have a place to stay, please make yourselves right at home."

"I am indebted to you. Thank you again, Chitose-san."


The morning after Chitose took them in, the town opened it's eyes to a snowy morning. The houses and streets were powdered with soft, delicate and a pure ivory snow. It was a true winter wonderland. Kurogane could barely contain his excitement and soon after a warm and healthy breakfast, took out with Mokona to play in the snow.

"Wait- Kurogane-chan!" called out Syaoran, barely catching Kurogane by the back of his collar.

"Omph!" said youngster looked up at his caretaker and furrowed his eyebrows. He was determined to go play outside, and he would not take a "no" for an answer; yet he was startled to find that that was not the teenager's intention.

Syaoran smiled at him and shook his head. He wrapped a scarf Chitose handed to him securely around the boy's neck and patted him on the head.

"There you go, now you are ready. Can't go outside like you were, those clothes fit too big on you. You could catch a cold."

Kurogane smirked and then nodded taking Mokona's small paw again and hauling him along as he broke into a run to have fun outside in the freshly fallen snow.

Syaoran, Sakura and Chitose smiled at the two when they started taking the snow in hands and threw it towards the heavens, creating a small snowfall around them that sprinkled on their heads and shoulders. Fye watched from his place on the table, silent and watching Kurogane and the creature play with freedom from care. His eyes trailed down to his hands on his lap. His ears only listened to their laughter.

For the rest of the day, Sakura and Syaoran helped around the shop. Tending to customers, cleaning and preparing new goodies, or even doing simple chores like receiving the customers or serving them tea and cake.

Chitose insisted that they were guests at her home, but the two teenagers were not taking her kindness for nothing in return. Chitose was a hard-working woman, and a very successful one amongst the customers too; the proper thing to do was to help her out in whatever sense she could need assistance.

The fact that they needed money to afford clothing suitable for the weather- and that actually fit on the new children's bodies- was also a must. They will work hard and relentless until they had enough for what was crucial.

Syaoran would help unload the milk, flour and sugar sacs and crates from the trucks that arrived early in the morning to supply the shop with more raw materials. He would also bus the tables and do most of the heavy work in the shop Chitose could not afford to do. Sakura helped Chitose clean, wait on tables and bake more cakes, muffins and whatever needed be for the costumer's demands.

It was hard work, but the teenagers found much more than economical support on Chitose- they found a place they knew they could be safe for a period of time. That was, until they could afford their own place, start looking for the feather once more, and find a way to restore Kurogane and Fye to their original shape.

Mokona remained by the children's side and made sure they did not feel too detached of their new surrogate parents. He made sure to provide good and fun company, as well as a lookout for troublemakers, like a certain young ninja was proving to be. That was if he didn't join the fun of pranks as well.

Unlike his counterpart, Fye was nothing to worry about for the moment. All he did while Sakura was busy at the shop was sit down by the window and stare into space. He did not interact at all with Kurogane or Mokona, not even when the small creature tried to approach the blond. It's as if his ears were deaf from any sound and his mouth was sealed from uttering a word.

Kurogane watched the seemingly mute, blond boy from the window outside. He would sometimes steal a glance or two whenever he could, but ducked under the window as soon as those sad eyes looked at his direction. He wasn't afraid of him anymore, at least not like when the boy displayed his potential so brutally on Mokona and Syaoran; however, there was this curiosity eating at him. He wanted to know more about him.

"Kuro-pin?" he heard the small creature whisper at him. Kurogane looked down at Mokona and smirked toothily.

Fye watched white doves fly across the window and disappear into the blue heavens. He wasn't really intent into any particular observation about anything that went in the town across that window, he only watched as people went on with their lives; children hugged their mothers or played with their friends, to which at some extent, he felt envious of.

Painful memories invaded his mind, flowing back and crashing into him like cold, stabbing water.

I want to die…I want to die. I want to die. I want to die.

But before I die. I want someone to-

"Hey."

Fye gasped when a voice cut his thoughts short, catching him off guard completely. Kurogane clasped his hands together behind his back and switched his balance from the back of his feet to the front in a swaying fashion. Face slightly abashed.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."

There was silence; Fye did not utter a word, only looked at the crimson-eyed boy. He did not give him enough attention or any kind of interest to memorize his name- or the white creatures. It wasn't like him anymore to be conversional to others or receive the same attention. Not after what happened.

"Say." Kurogane began, daring to look at Fye straight in the eye; a big smile crossing his boyish face.

"Want to come and play outside? It must be boring to be here all by yourself."

Fye blinked as if he did not understand any of the words the other boy spoke. Had he truly come up to him without persuasion from another to ask him to play? Why was he doing that?

Kurogane rose his eyebrow and cleared his throat.

"Uhm… My name!" he began again.

"My name is Kurogane. What is yours?"

Fye only looked at him, his eyes suddenly lowering slowly to stare at his hands, which were clasped tightly around the white robe he wore. He was afraid. Afraid of letting his heart warm to another and then suffer the consequences of his cursed life and be left alone once more. It was always painful to be left alone when you know of love. He hasn't felt that in a long time… and having the crimson-eyed boy offer his friendship so suddenly scared him.

"I…"

His lower lip trembled, and he shook his head, feeling the sting of unwanted tears in his eyes.

He knew. He knew that once that boy knew about him and what he was, he'd back off, just like everyone else. He will end up locked again because of a slip-up. He didn't want to be locked up again, alone, cold and hungry.

I want to die…

Kurogane gasped softly when he saw tears fall from that pale face.

"Hey…" he tried to reach to the blond with one hand, trying to comfort and sympathize with him. His small hand was slapped away harshly.

"Leave me alone!"

"Calm down, I was just trying to-"

"Leave me!!"

"But—"

The blond looked at him with angry eyes, tears streaming down his ever, blue eyes. This caught Kurogane off guard. Whatever did he do to cause such uproar?

The blond could not hold his gaze with those powerful red eyes. His lips trembled again, and he hiccuped, trying to speak, but no word came out of his mouth. His hands reached to his face, and once more, Fye broke down in sobs.

Mokona watched, ears lowered with sadness, his attention turned to Kurogane. He watched as the ninja looked at the weeping blond, hand still outstretched.

"Kuro-pon…"

"Fye-chan!" Sakura came rushing inside the room, reaching toward to embrace the boy.

Fye, however, trembled under her touch, wanting to push the girl away from him; however, even when he tried, Sakura held on tighter. It was too much for him to handle alone. He wanted to believe strongly that there was someone who would accept him for who he was and love him.

He just wanted to be loved. Was that such awful crime?

He continued to weep, confused and not knowing whether to push the girl away or cling to her for dear life.

"What happened?" asked Syaoran as he came across the door, followed by a worried Chitose.

"I just wanted him to play with me," answered a very serious Kurogane, head bowed and sad eyes.


Thick vapor filled the bathroom and kept the cold outside. After an hour of trying to soothe the child and cease his weeping, the princess took the boy in arms and took him for a soothing bath. The warm water did help calm the boy down.

Sakura finished rinsing his head from the bubbles and foam that gathered in his long, blond locks. The wonderful aroma of vanilla flowers invaded the room; Sakura thought that the aroma suited Fye. Vanilla was such a soft and sweet flavor. A beautiful and white flower- very rare to find, only could be bought from the importations from an allied country to Clow- at least that was what she remembers from one of her memories.

The child was awfully quiet. His cheeks stained with a faint blush from his previous weeping. It brought his beautiful eyes out even more. Such a gentle color that at the same time held such intensity and power. It was the color of mystery, just like Fye.

Sakura sighed and smiled gently, trying to speak with the child again.

"Kurogane-chan is a nice boy. I'm sure he didn't mean any harm."

There was such thick silence that could have been cut with a knife. Fye did not stir.

"Why did you cry, Fye-chan? Why are you always so sad and quiet? We love you very much and seeing you like this also hurts us."

Fye looked at the princess with curious eyes.

"…Love me?" he asked with a very shy voice, a mere whisper worn from hours of weeping.

"But, of course, my little one. You have such wonderful things to live ahead of you and share with others. I know you're a good child that has wonderful things to show us, so please don't be sad anymore. Syaoran, Moko-chan and Kurogane-chan are here for you."

"Sakura, too?"

"Me too." She smiled gently at him.

Fye looked down at the bubbles as if they could cleanse his tired and broken mind away from all the pain and memories.

"Come, now. Let's get you dressed before you catch a cold."

Fye nodded, and Sakura could have sworn she saw a small trace of a smile in his lips.

Sakura decided that Fye was indeed like a Vanilla flower. In order for the tree to bloom, one must fertilize by hand the small buds one by one for them to open up into beautiful blossoms. Like his heart, along with the help of his friends, Sakura was sure that together they will be able to reach his broken heart and pick up the shattered pieces one by one.

He just needed time to warm up to them.

Just like she did with this Syaoran.


A.N.:

I love vanilla. It's favorite ice cream flavor/ hand lotion/ perfume/Starbucks Vanilla Bean frapuccino and what not? My friends know I'm in the same room when they catch the vanilla scent. It's so sad it isn't funny anymore!

You have to admit that vanilla suits Fye just perfect! He is just as sweet!

This chapter came out better than what I expected. I hoped you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.

Poor Kurogane, he was only trying to make Fye happy. I bet his efforts won't go unheeded! Fye just needs a little bit of time, so don't worry, KuroxFye fangirls! There will be much more to come soon!

Next chapter:
Tomoyo will make her appearance! What will her role be?Kurogane and Fye get new clothes.
Sakura and Syaoran begin to understand each other a bit more.

Thank you so much for your kind reviews! Please keep it up, I love hearing what you think of the chapter and how the characters are being developed.

Until next chapter!
Elenath