A/N: Finally done with this: the FINAL CHAPTER!! Now that I look back over it, I realize that I was rather cruel to Kurowan in this one, even more so than in the last one, I think. It turned out way longer than I had anticipated… I hope it doesn't make your brain rot out of your head.

Chapter 4: The Dance of the Phoenix

True to his earlier decision, Kurogane was doing everything in his power to ignore/avoid Fai while they were at school. He was careful not to hang around the gym for even one second longer than necessary, chose a new place to eat his lunch every day and completely avoided the hallway that contained the chemistry teacher's classroom. It actually worked fairly well and Kurogane noticed, with no small amount of satisfaction, that it was bothering Fai quite profoundly. The magician pouted cutely the whole time throughout the train rides to and from school in response to Kurogane's avoidance and doubled his flirtatious efforts during the time that they were together.

To tell the truth (which he had absolutely no intention of doing), Kurogane found himself rather enjoying this setup. Not only didn't he have to worry about being embarrassed by Fai's antics at school but the mage seemed determined to make every moment they did have together count. He became even more like an incessantly chattering shadow than usual when he joined up with Kurogane outside the school so that they could go home together.

As much as he loved the new arrangement, however, it definitely had its setbacks. For one thing, he was running out of places to spend his free moments between classes and during lunch breaks since he had to find a new one every time. When he first started to run low, he had assumed it would be no real problem and that he could just rotate between the ones he had already used. Boy was he ever wrong about that.

It had been a very close shave during one lunch hour when Kurogane plowed his way through the crowded halls (those damn students had given him so much crap that he wasn't even careful not to squash them anymore) toward one of his previously-used hiding places and found the blond already there waiting, looking around hopefully. With cold fingers of terror clutching at his pounding heart, Kurogane hightailed out of there as fast as he could before Fai noticed him, mowing down students in his haste to escape.

Thinking that perhaps it had just been a fluke, Kurogane headed for one of his other old hiding spots. He just about pissed himself when, to his bewilderment, he poked his head cautiously into the room to make sure it was empty of blond chemistry teachers and again found Fai there waiting for him. Nearly having his second heart attack within a span of five minutes, Kurogane dashed out of there again and ended up taking refuge on the remote corner of the roof so far away from the gym that he had been late for his following class. It was almost as if Fai was able to lock onto his DNA signature once he had been somewhere and used it to track him. It was really kind of creepy.

In spite of all the precautions he took to display apathy toward Fai while they were at school, Kurogane still didn't manage to completely avoid making an ass of himself. One day, after school was out, Kurogane had accidentally reached the tree where he and Fai always met to go home first. Without thinking, he had just waited for Fai to get there. Again, big mistake. Fai had bounded out of the building like a child and ran toward the tree. When he saw the ninja already there waiting for him, his eyes had grown wide with surprise. That was when Kurogane realized his error. Oh shit. A huge smile spread across his face and Fai sprinted the rest of the way to the tree where he promptly tackled him, knocking them both over backwards into a snowdrift.

"Ow! What the hell was that for, you stupid bastard?!" Kurogane roared, trying to pry the magician off of him, though he was unsuccessful.

Fai lay on top of him, hugging him tightly, giggling joyfully. "Kuropun waited for me! How sweet!"

Flinching as he felt snow slide down his collar, Kurogane propped himself up on his elbows and glared at his colleague. "Well, I wasn't going to leave without you."

As soon as the words left his mouth, he realized that he'd been stupid again and he closed his eyes in frustration. Oh, double shit. Fai's eyes sparkled happily as he clung to the ninja's coat, nuzzling his warm cheek against Kurogane's neck.

"Of course not," he whispered. "Kurochii would never do something like that to the one he loves."

Before Kurogane could bite his head off for saying such a disgusting thing, the front door of the school swung open and the unfortunate language teacher who always seemed to witness Fai's unabashed affection for the gym teacher at precisely the wrong time walked out. His eyes grew round with horror when he saw his two co-workers lying in the snow, one straddling the other's hips, and his mouth fell open. He hadn't even managed to choke out one word of a stunned apology before Kurogane cut him off.


The language teacher hurriedly lowered his eyes and shut his mouth, his face burning brightly as he scuttled away. Fai said nothing and just watched the whole show through his heavy-lidded, amused blue eyes, clinging onto Kurogane like a baby koala. The swordsman hissed in aggravation as he flopped back into the snow again, his cheeks also red. He had always assumed that having to deal with kids all day would be the worst part about teaching but it turned out that he had been wrong again; it was actually the other teachers you had to worry about.

Kurogane tilted his head, frowning as he listened to the odd noises that were coming from the apartment next door to his. Fai had been known to make strange sounds at times but this was weird even for him. First there had just been the sound of water running which had been normal enough but then there had been a sudden pop and a clang, followed by a startled sort of squeal, some scampering around, a series of crashes, a cry of panic, some more scampering around, all of this accompanied by a chorus of ominously rushing water. It took quite a lot of self-control but Kurogane refrained from getting up to investigate; somehow he got the distinct feeling that he didn't want anything to do with this.

The rushing water continued for several minutes, continuing to serenade other noises such as some indistinct though somewhat distressed chattering, some eventual footsteps and a knock next door as someone presumably arrived to provide Fai with some much needed backup. The water stopped soon after that, though it was followed by an ominous silence. Kurogane started when he heard a knock on his own door. Heaving a sigh, he reluctantly rolled off the couch where he had been reading one of his manga magazines and went to answer the door. Fai stood there, wearing a sheepish grin and a pair of blue pajamas and clutching a pillow in his arms. One side of his head was wet, the soaking hair clinging to his cheek making him look even more pathetic.

"What the hell was going on over there?" Kurogane growled suspiciously, looking down at the wizard with disdain. "Sounded like freaking world war three." (He knew there to have been two previous world wars, thanks to the short time he had spent as a history teacher. Apparently that job hadn't been completely useless; he had needed it so that he could learn about the two world wars and thus have something to compare the noises coming from Fai's apartment just now to. Thank you, God).

"Actually, I had a bit of a problem with my sink," Fai replied with a lopsided grin, blushing slightly. "One of the pipes burst so I had to call the landlord. Luckily, he said he'd be able to fix it but suggested that I find somewhere else to spend the night."

Kurogane groaned and banged his forehead against the door frame. He knew where this was headed.

"So…" his grin widened, "I thought maybe Kurowanta and I could have a sleepover party!"

"No," Kurogane said flatly. He now considered the topic closed and so began to close the door but Fai quickly stuck his arm in its path to prevent Kurogane from shutting him out and wormed his way in through the gap.

"Yaaay! Thank you, Kuromin!" he cheered. He stood on his tiptoes to give the ninja a kiss on the cheek and then dashed away before Kurogane could catch him and throw him out.


There was a brief creaking of springs from the other room as Fai blatantly ignored his protests and jumped into the swordsman's bed.


"Good night, Kuropan!" Fai called.

After much deliberation, internal struggle and stomping around like a spoiled child, Kurogane decided to spend the night on the couch since Fai clearly was not going to be moved. Maybe he could wait until Fai was asleep and sneak into his room, scoop him up and move him to the couch and recapture the bed for himself. Yeah, he thought slowly, the scenario already beginning to unfold in his head. Yeah, that'll work…If Kurogane hadn't been so worried about redeeming his badly-bruised ego, he might have stopped to consider the amount of accomplishment he had had recently in predicting things, realized that he had an approximate success rate of negative nine and simply decided to remain on the couch just for that one night. But, blinded by his pride, Kurogane returned to his magazine, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

After much deliberation, internal struggle and little pirouettes around the room, Fai decided with mild disappointment that he might as well go to sleep since Kurogane was clearly not going to join him. Although… Fai mused hopefully, perhaps Kurowanko will wait until I'm asleep and then sneak in to cuddle up next to me. The mage rocked back and forth, hugging his knees and giggling excitedly. That sounds like something Kuronta might do. He's such a cutie, the way he's too shy to do sweet things outright and always tries to disguise them. With one last giggle of anticipation, Fai crawled under the covers, wrapping the sheets tightly around his slim frame. Something about having them so close to him was soothing. It was their scent, he realized. He loved that scent, Kurogane's scent. He smiled serenely as he settled into the bed to wait.

The warrior stifled a yawn as he glanced up at the clock. It was midnight; surely that idiot was asleep by now. Kurogane rose from the couch and did a few stretches to wake himself up before commencing operation "Capture the Bed". A cold sweat broke out on his forehead as he crept towards the bedroom door. At least Fai had left it partially open, thereby saving him the tension of having to risk waking him when he eased it open.

Once he was inside, he paused nervously, tilting his head to one side as he listened carefully for any signs of life. He noticed with disbelief that his whole body was trembling and he would have laughed scornfully at himself if it weren't so imperative that he remained silent. Kurogane had never gotten this nervous when he was sneaking into a castle for an assassination attempt, yet here he was creeping into his bedroom to move a ditzy, skinny blond to the couch so that he could retake possession of his own bed and he was shaking like a leaf.

In his defense, the ditzy, skinny blond he was extracting from his bed was an insanely cute ditzy, skinny blond. Wait, what?! No!! Kurogane scolded himself furiously, resisting the extremely overpowering urge to smack his head against the wall with difficulty, his cheeks glowing almost brightly enough to illuminate the room. He had meant "insanely powerful"! Fai had shown frequent evidence of overwhelming magical prowess so it was only natural that Kurogane was a little… Oh, forget it. Just forget it.

The ninja focused his attention once more on the task at hand; there was no time for screwing around. This was serious business. Kurogane stopped, frowning questioningly through the darkness. Now that he was paying attention, he noticed that Fai was actually making quite a bit of noise and he reprimanded himself angrily for not noticing immediately. He approached curiously, cautiously. The blond was turned on his side, his back to the ninja, stirring restlessly under the sheets. Really, "stirring restlessly" doesn't quite do justice to what Fai was doing; if Kurogane had ever seen the movie The Exorcist, he wouldn't have been terribly out of line in comparing Fai's movement to the demon-possessed girl's, although that might have been a slight exaggeration.

But that wasn't important now. What was important was the fact that this behavior wasn't normal and that meant that Fai was either having some kind of seizure or one hell of a nightmare. Concern swelling uncontrollably in his chest, Kurogane rushed to Fai's bedside and grabbing the magician's shoulder, preparing to turn him over and see what was wrong with him. That was when he noticed the singing. At first he wasn't sure if that was what he was hearing but as it grew slightly louder his suspicions were confirmed. His mind was so blank with shock and confusion that he couldn't do anything but sit and try to make out the words.

"Waiting for tonight, oh-oh, when you will be here in my arms! Waiting for tonight, oh-oooh, I've dreamed of this love for so long! Waiting for tonight!"

What…the…fuck…? Fai rolled over to face Kurogane at last, a huge grin on his face and threw his arms around the gym teacher's shoulders. "Yaaaay! Kuromyuu is here! I was worried for a minute that you might not come!"

Kurogane's mouth opened and closed several times like a fish out of water while Fai cuddled him in a manner that could almost be considered aggressive.

"What…What the hell were you doing just now?" he managed finally.

"Hmm? Oh, well, Kurorin was taking a long time to come snuggle with me and I had to entertain myself while I waited so I decided to sing a song," he chirped joyfully.

Again, what the fuck? Even though Fai had answered his question, the explanation made absolutely no sense to Kurogane's numb brain.

"…Then…what the hell were you squirming around like a moron for?"

"Hee hee! That was my air guitar!"

Kurogane was frozen for several more seconds in disbelief and repulsion before he silently scooped Fai into his arms and straightened up.

"Where are we going, Kurochuu?" Fai asked excitedly. "Is it a fieldtrip?!"

The ninja said nothing as he hauled the chemistry teacher into the front room. When they stopped moving, Fai tilted his head curiously.

"Hmm? What are you doing, Kuropu?"

He left Fai in suspense for another twenty seconds before literally throwing him down on the couch and making a mad dash for his bedroom, slamming and locking the door behind him. Fai let out an indignant noise of disbelief, tearing after him and tossing himself against the closed door.

"Kurowanwan! You big meanie!" he pouted. "I've been waiting for you all this time so that we could snuggle and this is how you treat me?!"

A loud, hard bang like a shoe being thrown at the door startled the wizard badly, causing him to scramble away from the door.


"Pooooo…" Fai whined, dragging himself back to the couch and dropping onto it.

Although he was certainly disappointed that things hadn't gone as he had hoped, he couldn't help giggling to himself. Kurorun is so cute when he's angry! And at least I got him to hold me! With these two things to console him, Fai pulled the blankets up to his shoulders and went to sleep without any further complaint.

A recent addition to the rather lengthy "Things that Kurogane Hates with Every Particle of His Being" list was mailboxes. He had never had any experience with them prior to coming to this world but they had, as far as the ninja was concerned, completely shredded any chance of a friendly relationship with him by delivering him that cursed letter about him having to teach a certain class the previous week. It was a shame that he hadn't had a chance to experience a mailbox outside his current situation because sometimes they contain exciting things like candy or toys or even love notes. Since inanimate objects, unlike skinny blond wizards, are completely indifferent to a person's decision to bear a grudge against them, Kurogane chose to express his hatred of them by refusing to check his own ever.

So far this strategy was serving him just fine. Since he had stopped checking that damn mailbox, he hadn't gotten a single annoying or pointless letter from the principal. Kurogane considered the battle between himself and the mailbox over, and himself the champion. His victory over the dreaded mailbox was the only thing that sustained him in this world of constant screwings-over and people whose sole purpose in life seemed to be to humiliate him. A month ago, he would have scoffed at the idea of finding solace in something as miniscule as defeating a mailbox but now he realized that it was completely necessary if he hoped to retain even a scrap of his sanity in this hellhole.

When Kurogane let himself into his office that morning however, he found a hot pink half-sheet of paper sitting on his desk. Immediately he felt an overwhelming sense of dread grip his insides. He was already anticipating the nature of the sheet of paper. Maybe if he ignored it, it would go away. He snorted dubiously at that notion as it crossed his mind; if that were true, he would have tried it on Fai ages ago. Knowing that it was pointless to postpone the inevitable, Kurogane grudgingly stepped forward and picked up the half-sheet of paper.

The writing that scrawled across it might as well have been Arabic for all he comprehended of it. But he didn't need to be able to read Scribblic to understand that this message didn't contain anything he would be happy about. Perhaps it was that stupid love-struck little winking smiley face that Principal Yuuko had drawn at the end, just before her signature, that tipped him off. The gym teacher was extremely tempted to crumple the note up, throw it away and just pretend he'd never seen it. But he was more of a man than that so instead, he heaved a reluctant sigh and went to hunt down someone who could read it to him.

Dear Kurogane sensei, the ominous letter began innocently, Our school's annual winter dance is quickly approaching and we are in need of chaperones (already Kurogane could feel the bile rising in his throat. Oh god, why did he get suckered into these things? Why?). I am aware that every member of the staff is busy with their classes but, as I am sure you understand, without chaperones the dance could not take place. Since there were no volunteers from any of the staff members to take this position I had no choice but to select a few teachers at random. It is my pleasure to inform you that your name has been chosen! The dance will take place next Friday at seven o'clock and will last until ten. It is a formal affair, so please dress accordingly. I knew that you probably wouldn't be too thrilled about this job so I took the liberty of choosing Fai sensei as a chaperone also so that you could have a bit of pleasant company. Even though the dance is intended mainly for students, teachers are encouraged to participate as well. The DJ always plays plenty of slow-dance songs! I wish you two luck! (Stupid love-struck little winking smiley face) Principal Yuuko.

As the office lady finished reading the cursed letter to him, Kurogane began to feel faint. He had always prided himself on being someone who faced his problems head on rather than running away like a sissy girl but for about the zillionth time since they arrived in this world, Kurogane sincerely wished that he could simply crawl into a hole and die. He had been the most feared assassin in all of Japan, dammit, and now he had been reduced to teaching sex ed classes and chaperoning elementary school dances. Kurogane had never put much stock into karma but he was starting to wonder if maybe the whole idea was for real after all. He didn't know what other explanation there could be for his recent extreme misfortunes but some unseen force was definitely chomping happily upon his ass and he really, really wished it would stop.

Fai stopped by his mailbox during the lunch hour to see if he had gotten anything interesting in there. At first he thought with a blow of disappointment that it might be empty but as he got a little closer, he noticed a half sheet of hot pink paper. It might have been the fact that hot pink tends to be a color that represents passion or perhaps Fai simply possessed a sixth sense but when he laid eyes on that paper, he just knew it was going to say something exciting. He snatched it out of his mailbox excitedly and stared at the jumble of Scribblic on it. Fai couldn't understand one word of it but there was a cute love-struck little winking smiley face at the bottom by Yuuko's signature and that, in his mind, confirmed all his suspicions. Excitement almost bubbling over, Fai ran off to find someone who could read the note to him.

It was bad enough that Kurogane had to show up at this stupid dance, stay the entire time, keeping an eye on a million little shits most of whom he'd never even met before but loathed deeply anyway, with Fai as his escort, but that stupid whore-bag of a principal had gone and declared it a formal affair. Kurogane was well enough accustomed to attending formal affairs since he had been a top member of the royal guard for the past how many years of his life; the fact that it was formal was not the part that bothered him. It was the fact that he currently owned a total of two sets of clothing, neither of which could ever be considered formal, which meant he would have to…go…shopping……

On the "Things that Kurogane Hates with Every Particle of His Being" list, shopping for anything that wasn't long, sharp and pointy and made for slaughtering things was definitely in the top ten range. It was so nasty and boring and time-consuming, not to mention expensive. It seemed to be one of his personal curses that no matter what world he went to, a large portion of the clothing was either too expensive, too sissy or didn't fit. The fact that Fai only shared one of these three problems (to give a hint, sissiness and fit weren't usually an issue) simply served to infuriate him more. Well, one thing was for sure: when he finally managed to scrape together enough willpower to force himself to go shopping, Fai would not be coming along.

Figuring that it was probably best to just get the agonizing task over with, Kurogane forced himself to get on the train and head for the nearest department store rather than having to dread it all week. He managed to sneak away from Fai when the chemistry teacher went to his own apartment for a moment to fetch a pile of worksheets for grading. He did experience a pang of guilt about that but he hurriedly stamped it out, determined not to feel anything favorable toward Fai.

Kurogane stood outside the towering department store, frozen in its large and foreboding shadow. Most of the people going into it were women, something which made Kurogane feel even stupider than he already did by just being there. Well, he was only drawing out the misery by standing out here. Squaring up his shoulders, Kurogane clenched his teeth and marched bravely inside. To his utter relief, he had just happened to choose an entrance right next to the men's department. The store was so huge he had been worried that he might have to ask an employee where it was.

Emboldened by his minor victory, he made his way over to the formalwear section. He had just begun to peruse the racks of clothing when he noticed something that made him stop dead in his tracks. Mere yards away from him, positioned against the wall beside the dressing rooms was a counter with a register on it and standing at the register, smiling pleasantly at him, was Tomoyo hime. Kurogane blinked several times just to make sure his eyes weren't playing tricks on him. No such luck; it was her alright. Or rather, this world's version of her, he corrected himself.

He barely managed to suppress a shiver as he remembered his Tomoyo hime's deep, insatiable passion for fashion, especially when she had some poor unfortunate soul in her evil clutches to try her designs on. The fact that this world's Tomoyo was also working happily in a department store suggested that this particular aspect had carried over to her as well. Well, maybe this was ok. As long as she stayed over there and he stayed over here, everything would be perfectly fine and dandy. Just stay where you are, Tomoyo hime, and everything will be—ohfuckshe'scomingoverhereshitshitshit!!

"Are you finding everything alright?" she asked sweetly. If Kurogane hadn't known her so well he might have even thought this a perfectly innocent question.

"Yeah, everything's fine," he said shortly, turning his back to her to signal that he didn't need her help. She walked around a rack of clothing to face him again, her smile as wide and cheerful as ever.

"Are you sure? You look a little bit lost."

"I AM NOT LOST!" he snapped.

She giggled, apparently unconvinced. "What's the occasion?"

"Look lady," Kurogane growled impatiently, "I don't need any help so just leave me alone."

"Well, alright then. But if you change your mind, I'll be right over there."

And then, to his amazement and delight, she turned and walked away. That was easier than expected. Feeling quite proud of himself, Kurogane went back to looking through the clothes. A few minutes later, he casually glanced in her direction, just to see what she was doing. He noticed with a start that she was still watching him closely, the same patient smile on her lips. Kurogane quickly looked away, his face reddening slightly. He was really starting to wish he weren't so tall; that way he could just sink down amongst the clothing racks and vanish from her line of sight. The ninja was so distracted by her watching him that he wasn't really even looking at the clothes, just piecing through them inattentively.

Five minutes later, Kurogane chanced another peek. He was dismayed to find that she was no longer there. Oh god, that meant she was loose somewhere. That was bad. Tomoyo was one person you had to be sure and keep an eye on at all times. A tiny bit of movement from the corner of his eye caught his attention and he turned. He just barely managed to bite back a yelp of surprise when he found her standing only a foot away.

"Come with me," she said with barely suppressed glee. "I have something that would be absolutely perfect for you." With that, she grabbed the protesting swordsman by the hand and led him away.

In retrospect, Kurogane decided that perhaps he shouldn't have been so surprised when Tomoyo dug a tiny remote control from the front pocket of her dress, pushed it's only button, causing a nearby wall to slide out of the way to reveal a dark entranceway and led him inside. He really shouldn't have been surprised when she clapped her hands and lights came on, illuminating a massive room filled will thousands upon thousands of pairs of outlandish clothing of varying levels of frilly- and pinkness. He should have had no reaction whatsoever when she called that she had snagged another victim and two other women appeared seemingly out of nowhere, squealing with delight. He should have actually anticipated that these other two women would be none other than Souma and the Amaterasu and that both of them would be just as enthusiastic about using him as a life-sized Ken doll as Tomoyo was. Unfortunately, all of these things came as a total shock to poor, unsuspecting Kurogane, who was now promising any existing deities that he would immediately shave his head and be a monk for the remainder of his life if they would simply deliver him from this horrendous evil. Apparently, however, any divine beings that happened to exist were plugging their ears and humming loudly in order to block out his desperate pleas.

"Ah, so you have to be a chaperone for a formal school dance? That's interesting; you don't strike me as the teacher type," Tomoyo commented.


"But that sure was nice of the principal to invite Fai sensei for you. Ooh, do you know what color her dress is going to be?! Then we could get you something that matched! That would be so cute!" she gushed.

The ninja's eye twitched. He knew that he ought to be thankful that Tomoyo had assumed that Fai was a woman but a rather disturbing image of Fai in a big poofy prom dress flashed across his mind and disabled what little capacity for optimism that he possessed. Then something occurred to him.

"Wait a minute… how the hell do you know all that stuff?!"

Tomoyo beamed, holding up a crumpled piece of a certain hot pink piece of paper for him to see. "This was in your pocket."

If Kurogane had been familiar with the song "Barbie Girl", he would now be able to identify with the line "You can do my hair, undress me anywhere". In fact, if Kurogane hadn't been so mortified, he would have actually heard the song playing in the background of Tomoyo's hidden torture chamber. Sadly, Aqua's masterpiece was drowned out by the delighted giggling of the three women who currently had him firmly in their grasp.

When Kurogane stumbled onto the train three hours later, his nerves were frayed possibly beyond repair. He was actually fairly satisfied with the outfit he had ended up buying; at least it wasn't pink or frilly and hadn't cost a fortune. But while the monetary price had been reasonable, the mental toll that the process of choosing it took on him was outrageous. Being repeatedly stripped and redressed in outfits of varying ridiculousness by three highly amused young women was not as glorious as it was made out to be. Kurogane was completely exhausted and wouldn't have been the least bit surprised if that experience had taken ten years off of his lifespan.

It was almost ten thirty when the ninja arrived back at his apartment. Had he been more awake, he might have been slightly perturbed by the fact that his door wasn't locked when he got there but in his current state, he really didn't give a shit. He soon discovered that the unlocked door was courtesy of a rather distraught Fai who was already there on his couch waiting for him. The moment Kurogane had closed the door, Fai pounced on him, knocking them both over backwards, and immediately began whining.

"There you are, Kurowanwan, you bad puppy! I thought you'd been kidnapped or had gotten lost! I was just about to put up lost doggy signs!"

"Shut up and get off of me," the warrior said shortly, pushing Fai away and getting to his feet once more only to collapse onto the couch.

"Where were you?" Fai asked with a small frown as fit himself into the small amount of sitting space that was left, squirming until his companion relented and lifted his head to make more room, resting it again in the magician's lap.

"None of your damn business," Kurogane mumbled, closing his eyes. He wished Fai would just shut his mouth and let him sleep.

Fai saw the bag containing the swordsman's new outfit sitting by the door and made a mental note to look through its contents later but at the moment, he was in the perfect position and didn't want to spoil it. He smiled serenely at Kurogane who was trying (and failing) not to fall asleep in his lap. Without one more word, Fai switched off the lamp on the end table beside him, grabbed a blanket that had been hanging over the back of the couch and draped it over him. Kurogane willed himself to stand up, kick Fai out of his apartment and go to bed but he simply couldn't muster enough energy to even move a muscle.

Maybe he could tolerate this, though, just for one night. After all, Fai was pleasantly warm and the way his slender fingers played through his hair helped soothe some of the anger and frustration caused by his recent experience at the department store. Once Fai was sure that the ninja was really asleep, he bent forward and placed a good- night kiss on his forehead. He slipped his hand into Kurogane's, delighting in the way that they seemed to fit together just perfectly, and then finally went to sleep himself.

The ninja knew when he awoke the next morning to find Fai curled up on top of him in a very catlike manner (and was that purring he heard coming from the magician?) that he should probably fly into a rage, grab him by his scruff and kick his scrawny ass out the door. He found, however, that he didn't particularly care. After all, what could either of them have done? Shift happened. But he was a little disturbed when he noticed the way one of his hands was resting comfortably on the small of Fai's back under the blanket they were sharing and the other had its fingers tangled in his silky blond hair.

Kurogane glanced over at the clock and groaned. Dammit, it was time to get up. And he wasn't going anywhere until he got this big kitty off of him. He brushed a lock of Fai's golden hair out of his face and instinctively began to tilt the mage's head back slightly, eyes focused on his beautiful lips. It wasn't until their mouths were just centimeters apart that he realized what he was doing and quickly recoiled, cheeks ablaze. What the hell? No, seriously; what the hell? What had he been thinking?! Oh god, that had been close. If Fai had awoken in time to witness that…

He looked at the clock again and growled slightly in frustration. They really had to get up now but he just couldn't bring himself to awaken Fai roughly when he was so peacefully snuggled against him. "Hey, wake up," he hissed, straightening up slightly. Fai frowned and moaned, clutching determinedly at the gym teacher's shirt. Kurogane sat up a little more and then tried again. "Wake up, I said!" he demanded, giving the blond's shoulder a little shake. Fai's sapphire eyes opened slowly and a smile began to spread across his face when he saw that the ninja was holding him.

"Mm, I could get used to waking up like this," he grinned, lifting a hand to stroke the swordsman's face.

"Get off," Kurogane muttered, pushing Fai off of him and onto the floor so that he could get up and take a shower before it was time to go. Fai wasn't bothered by this somewhat rough treatment; the fact that he had already felt Kurogane's hand on his back and seen the way he had been blushing as he left the wizard behind more than made up for it.

The gym teacher released his last class of the day impatiently and made for his office to pick up his coat and bag. He jumped when the bell rang and had to stare at the clock on his wall just to make sure it had really happened. It was three o'clock alright. Kurogane blinked several times, hardly daring to believe what this meant; he had actually made it through one whole school day without being absolutely humiliated or experiencing some amazing stroke of horrific luck. This was a monumental moment. He could practically see the dark storm clouds parting to allow a bright ray of sunshine to beam down on him, could practically hear the chorus of angels beginning their joyous song.

Kurogane was so distracted by the dramatic scene that was unfolding in his head that he didn't even notice someone approaching his office. Not until they tapped lightly on his door, anyway. He started and spun around, though the angels continued to sing. When he realized who had come to visit him, however, the angels promptly stopped singing, did a swift about-face and took a shit on him. There, in his doorway, was the devil herself: Yuuko. Apparently his repulsion had shown on his face because she got a sinister glint in her eye.

"What's that face for?" she asked dangerously.

Kurogane decided to ignore that question and ask one of his own. "What the hell are you doing here?"

Yuuko smirked. "My, my. Aren't we testy?" She held up two sheets of paper for him to see. "These are the details for tomorrow night's dance. I want you to have one and deliver the other one to Fai sensei."

Kurogane's eye twitched at this abrupt demand, remembering his decision to stay well away from Fai at school. "Hell no. Deliver it to that bastard yourself."

The sinister gleam returned. "You'll deliver it to him now or I'll put you on cleanup crew after the dance as well."

Kurogane gritted his teeth, snatched the letter away from her and stomped off to deliver it.

Fai had just said goodbye to all his students, collecting their assignments as they went out the door. He counted them after everyone had gone and noticed he was missing one. Who could it have been? Everyone who had left had handed him one. A nervous clearing of the throat beside him caused him to look up quickly. Ah, there was his missing paper; one of his students hadn't left yet. Fai searched his memory for the boy's name and eventually recalled it: Kobayashi Koutaro. Koutaro was standing there, clutching his paper, looking timidly up at him.

"Did you have a question, Kobayashi kun?" Fai asked pleasantly.

"Er…well…it's more of a request," Koutaro said, now refusing to meet his eyes. "I…I was wondering if you could give me some advice…"

Fai beamed. He loved playing the advice columnist. "I'll do what I can."

"Ah…y-you see…there's…there's this girl I…well, I guess I kinda like her… and I wanted to ask her to the…d-dance, only I don't really know how to, so…" Koutaro stammered nervously, his face crimson. Fai's smile widened. This boy reminded him so much of Syaoran sometimes; it was amusing.

"Mm, might you be referring to Suzuhara chan?" he asked knowingly, laughing when Koutaro's head snapped up to finally look at him, his eyes wide.

"H-h-how did you know?!"

"Just a guess," Fai said lightly. Really, it would be more amazing if he didn't know. Koutaro and Misaki were just like Syaoran and Sakura; even a blind, anemic Chihuahua could tell that they liked each other. "Well my suggestion would be—"

Fai was cut off by the sound of someone storming angrily up the hall. He squealed with delight. The wizard would recognize that stomping anywhere. And what convenient timing!

"Hold on just one moment, Kobayashi kun. I think the person who can help us is just now arriving." He stepped into the hallway just as Kurogane was reaching his room.

"Kuropun sensei!" Fai cheered, latching himself onto the ninja's chest and cuddling him affectionately. "I'm so glad you showed up! I was just hoping that you'd be able to help me out with a bit of role-playing!"

Kurogane narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Huh? Role-playing? What the hell is that?"

"You'll see, Daddy," the blond assured him as he led him into the classroom.

Koutaro seemed terrified to see Kurogane there. He had no idea how his gym teacher qualified as "the person who can help us" that Fai sensei had referred to. The guy really didn't look like he wanted to help anyone do anything except perhaps to die in a very sudden and violent manner. But Fai sensei had never steered him wrong before so Koutaro prayed that the blond knew what he was doing and quickly bowed to Kurogane.

Fai laughed when he saw Koutaro's fearful expression. "Don't worry, Kobayashi kun. Kurowanwan sensei may have a mean face but he's actually quite sweet underneath."

"WHO'S SWEET?!" Kurogane snapped, swinging his fist at the wizard's face. Privately, Koutaro agreed with Kurogane on that one; he looked to be about the farthest possible thing from "sweet".

"Kobayashi kun wants our advice on how to best ask Suzuhara chan to the dance," Fai explained cheerfully. Kurogane glanced skeptically over at Koutaro but the boy carefully avoided his eye. "I thought we could act the situation out so he gets a clear picture of what to do. So I'll be Suzuhara chan and you'll be Kobayashi kun, ok?"

"WHAT?! WHY THE HELL DO I HAVE TO HELP WITH A STUPID THING LIKE THIS?!" the swordsman demanded angrily, his hands balling themselves into fists.

"Because it's a teacher's job to help their students out whenever they can, silly!" Fai chirped. "Ok, so you've got to show Kobayashi kun how to ask Suzuhara chan to the dance. Go ahead, Kuropin sensei!"

"How come I have to be the one to do all the work when you're the one who agreed to help?" Kurogane snarled.

Fai raised his eyebrows at the gym teacher. "Would you rather be Suzuhara chan?"

"NO WAY!!" he snapped.

"Alright then," Fai grinned. "Go ahead and ask me."

The chemistry teacher took a few steps back and then skipped over to Kurogane. "Good morning, Kobayashi kun! How are you doing?"

"This is stupid," Kurogane growled, trying not to blush.

"Good morning, Kobayashi kun! How are you doing?" Fai repeated a little louder.

Kurogane heaved a sigh, realizing that the only way he'd be getting out of this mess any time soon was if he just played along. "…'Mornin'," He mumbled, staring at his feet. In his head, the words "This is so freaking retarded" kept scrolling by.

"I'm sorry, what did you say?" Fai asked gleefully, leaning forward and putting a hand to his ear. "I didn't quite catch that."


"Kyaaa, Kobayashi kun is a meanie!" Fai squealed, trying to look fearful but just looking highly amused instead. "I'm afraid! Boo hoo hoo!" He ran off, covering his eyes, continuing his fake crying. Then he dropped his act and resumed his normal personality.

"That, Kobayashi kun, is what you shouldn't do," Fai said. "So remember not to loose your temper if she can't hear you."

The mage then turned his attention back to Kurogane. "Now what kind of example was that, Kurochii sensei?! You're supposed to show Kobayashi kun how to ask her to the dance, not scare her away and make her cry!" Fai scolded, though it sounded considerably less strict than it should have since he was having difficulty suppressing his laughter. "Let's try that again. And remember, Kuronta, we're going to keep on doing it until you get it right so do your best, ok?"

Koutaro simply watched the two adults in stunned silence, his eyes round and wide.

Fai came skipping up to Kurogane again and said, in his best imitation of a young girl's voice "Good morning, Kobayashi kun! How are you doing?"

"…G-great. How 'bout you?" Kurogane replied through clenched teeth, being careful to speak loud enough this time.

The magician beamed up at him. "I was doing good, but now that I'm talking to you I'm doing even better!"

Kurogane nodded but said nothing else, unsure what his next line should be. Fai twirled a strand of hair around his finger, his smile as bright as ever. Eventually, when he saw that Kurogane was stuck, he said "So, you going to the dance tonight, Kobayashi kun?"

"Yeah, um…about that…" Don't blush, don't blush, don't blush, the warrior told himself sternly, though he could feel that his face was already blazing as though it was on fire. This was stupid. What was he getting all embarrassed for? It wasn't like he was actually asking Fai to the dance.

"Hmm? Did you have something to ask me about the dance, Kobayashi kun?"

"Would…would you wanna…g-go to that with me?"

Fai feigned surprise. "You're asking me, Kobayashi kun?"

"…Guess so."

"Oh, I'd love to! I'll see you tonight, then, ok? Good bye, Kobayashi kun!"

Fai became himself again, turning his smiling face back to the real Koutaro. "See? It wasn't that hard! Nice job, by the way, Kuropopo sensei! You played Kobayashi kun perfectly! I could practically feel your nervousness!"

"Hmph," Kurogane said sullenly, folding his arms. "Can we go now?"

"Hold on, Kuropiko sensei!" Fai cried. "We're not done yet!"


"Asking a girl to the dance is only half the battle," the mage said matter-of-factly. "You have to know how to act when you're at the dance, too. So why don't we give him some pointers on that as well?"


Fai put a finger to Kurogane's lips to silence him. "Shhh, it's quiet time now, Kurokuro."

Kurogane growled and took a chomp at Fai's finger but the magician pulled it away too quickly. "Ok, so now we're at the dance. Kuromun sensei has to ask me to dance and make it successfully through at least one song. Ready, Kurobun?"

Fai switched on the small radio that was sitting on his front counter and then took his spot at the ninja's side.

"Ooh, I love this song!" Fai gushed in his girl voice. "It's one of my favorites."

"Hm," Kurogane said shortly, not looking at him. Nothing happened for a moment until Fai spoke again, hoping to prod his reluctant partner into action. "Every time I hear it, I can't help but dance to it!"

"So….should we dance then?" Kurogane muttered.

Fai clasped his hands and looked up at him with large, starry eyes. "I'd love to!"

Koutaro seemed slightly bothered by what was unfolding before him but he was also entranced in spite of it. The whole time he watched these two in action, he wondered how in the world Fai sensei had managed to stay alive for any length of time when he kept on poking at such a vicious, snarling monster.

"Have you ever done a slow dance before, Kobayashi kun?" Fai asked.

Koutaro shook his head.

"Well, it's pretty easy. All you have to do is put your hands on her waist like this…"

Fai took Kurogane's hands and guided them onto his hips. "And she'll put her arms around your shoulders…" He demonstrated on the ninja. "Then you pretty much just sway side to side. You can move your feet too, if you want, but there's a risk of accidentally stepping on her toes if you do, so perhaps you should avoid it."

As soon as these last words had left his mouth, a gooey, bittersweet love song began on the radio. Even though Fai had just finished explaining the dancing process, Kurogane still wasn't really sure what to do so he just waited for the chemistry teacher to lead him. He gritted his teeth in frustration as he noticed that his hands had begun trembling slightly where they rested of Fai's hips and the blond laid his head against his chest. Fai also noticed Kurogane's nervousness and laughed.

"What the hell do you think you're laughing at, dumbass?" the warrior growled.

"You've never danced with anyone before, have you, Kurochan?" Fai asked in quiet amusement.

"Of course I have!" he snapped. "But not like this!"

"Oh really? Who have you danced with?"

"Well, Tomoyo hime hosted a lot of balls and since I'm her head bodyguard…"

"Tee hee! Kuronpyu and Tomoyo chan dancing? I wish I could have seen that."

"It was kind of weird though…" Kurogane muttered, "because she's a lot shorter than me."

"Hmm. Was there anyone else?"

"If another guy asked Tomoyo hime, then sometimes she'd make me dance with Souma…" A vein began throbbing on his forehead angrily as he remembered.

Fai giggled again. "Is this bringing back fond memories then, Kurotan?"

"Tch. No."

"If you're feeling brave, Kobayashi kun, you could even try to kiss her," Fai suggested brightly, turning Koutaro's face a brilliant shade of crimson at the thought. "It's not as hard as you think!" the magician assured him. "All you have to do is put your cheek against hers while you're dancing and every time you talk to her, let your lips brush against her cheek a little. If she's interested, she'll take the hint, if not, you can make it look like an accident. Here, I'll show you."

Fai couldn't quite reach the swordsman's cheek so he settled for his neck instead.

"Hey! What the hell are you doing?!" Kurogane asked nervously.

"You sure are a good dancer, Kobayashi kun," the magician purred, his lips grazing Kurogane's neck ever so slightly. "I'm so glad…you asked me to dance with you…"

Kurogane cursed himself, feeling his face start to burn more brightly, but for some reason, he just couldn't bring himself to push Fai away… If Koutaro's face had been red before, that was nothing to how it was now. He kept telling himself that the two teachers weren't going to kiss but with each passing second, he became less and less sure of that. Kurogane sensei's face was almost as red as his was and Fai sensei looked so happy in the gym teacher's arms. And then there was the fact that their lips were slowly drawing closer and closer together… Koutaro's brain nearly exploded. He shouldn't be watching this! They shouldn't be doing it and he definitely shouldn't be watching!

"K-k-k-karate practice!" Koutaro stammered, hurriedly averting his eyes. "I-I'm gonna be late! S-s-sorry! Thank you for your help!"

The boy bowed quickly and departed at top speed.

"Good luck Kobayashi kun!" Fai called after him.

"Kurosama!" Fai called as he walked through Kurogane's apartment door the following night. "It's almost time for us to go! Are you ready?!"

Kurogane stepped out of his room, fastening his cufflinks as he went. He looked up sharply when he heard a gasp from Fai. The magician was staring with wide sparkling eyes, one hand covering his growing smile of delight. Kurogane looked down at himself nervously, wondering if he'd done something stupid like forgotten to put his pants on. Everything seemed to be in place; his black dress jacket with its high Mandarin-style collar and scarlet lining was perfectly straight, its four ornate golden clasps, much like the one on Fai's shirt from his homeworld only not nearly as long and more decorative, were all fastened, exposing just a little of his white dress shirt underneath, and his long black pants were indeed present and its fly was securely zipped. When he found nothing amiss he turned his suspicious gaze back to Fai.

"What?" he demanded.

"…Kurowanko is so handsome!" Fai squealed, sprinting across the room to give the ninja a hug. "Just like Tomoyo chan said!"

"Wait," Kurogane pried Fai off of him. "What?"

Fai grinned, holding up a large plastic shopping bag. It looked suspiciously like the one Kurogane had brought his outfit home in. "I looked at the bag from Kuromin's suit and went to the same store to see if I could find something that would look cute with it. When I got there, I saw Tomoyo chan working there and she took me into her secret room and helped me pick this out!"

Kurogane's heart sunk. He hadn't seen that many manly outfits back in Tomoyo's secret room… what if Fai had gotten something stupid and pink? Or worse, what if he'd brought home a dress? Kurogane made a grab for the bag but Fai jerked it away.

"Ah, ah, Kurokuro," he scolded lightly. "No peeking. I'll put it on and then you can see."

Kurogane sat down on the couch to wait, which he did nervously (Please don't let it be a dress. Please, please…). Fai emerged several moments later, wearing his new outfit along with a brilliant smile. His looked exactly like Kurogane's only it was all white. The blond did a little twirl to show off every side of the suit. As much as Kurogane hated to admit it, Fai actually looked pretty decent. When he saw Kurogane checking him out, Fai's smile became coy.

"What do you think, Kuromyuu?" he asked.

"….Hmph," Kurogane grunted noncommittally, turning away.

Fai giggled, clapping his hands. "Hyuu! Kuropin approves!"

"I never said that!" the swordsman growled. Fai wasn't bothered; he could see Kurogane's ears turning red even though his back was to him. "Let's go or we'll be late and the stupid principal bitch will yell at us."

When the two of them got to the school, there were already students lined up outside the doors, waiting to be allowed in. Kurogane and Fai went in through the teachers' entrance, totally skipping out on the long line. If Kurogane had been a less mature person, he would have stuck his tongue out at the stupid kids who were out there, waiting in the cold; he was sorely tempted but managed to restrain himself.

The setup crew was just finishing a few final touches; moving chairs over to the ticket table, giving the dance floor a final sweeping and lowering the lights. They could see the DJ preparing as well, adjusting the volume to an obscenely loud setting. Kurogane thought that was pretty tricky of him. If the volume was turned up loud enough, no one would be able to tell if the music was crappy or not. Once the setup crew was satisfied that everything was ready, two brave members stepped forward to open the doors to the swarms of impatient children…

It didn't take long for the commons, where the dance was being held, to get very hot and stuffy. So many hot-blooded young bodies packed in there at once made it nearly unbearable. But Kurogane and Fai, as chaperones, had no choice but to stick it out. Kurogane scanned the dance floor carelessly and glared when he saw the language teacher on the other side of the commons, standing next to the pretty, young math teacher. He was talking to her but he had apparently also noticed Kurogane and Fai as he was sending frequent, wary glances their way. When he noticed Kurogane glaring at him, he started and quickly devoted his whole attention to his companion.

Fai tapped him on the shoulder and wordlessly pointed to a spot a few yards away where Koutaro and Misaki were chatting nervously, apparently waiting for a slow song to be played. Kurogane snorted and rolled his eyes but Fai seemed amused, as usual. Wondering just how much longer of this hellish nightmare he had left to endure, the ninja foolishly glanced at the clock. He nearly threw a temper tantrum when he saw that there were still three and a half hours remaining.

Just as he was about to start inching his way closer to the door so that he could at least get a breath of fresh air, he heard a child's voice nearby just barely rising above the roar of the music and he looked toward its source. There were two little girls that Kurogane recognized from class talking to Fai. At one point, the speaker pointed at him and then at Fai and he narrowed his eyes menacingly and folded his arms. Fai nodded a few times, and then laughed before straightening up to relay the message to the ninja. Kurogane tilted his head towards Fai so that he could hear more clearly.

"It seems we have some admirers, Kuropin!" Fai shouted. "The DJ promised these two that he would play a slow song next and they have kindly requested a dance with us!"

"Huh?!" Kurogane said, surprised.

"It's true! Seto chan wants to dance with me and Kizaki chan wants to dance with you!"

Kurogane glared skeptically down at his prospective dance partner but she didn't seem the least bit intimidated and simply grinned and waved at him. Both of them were so small, he didn't know how in the world the mage expected this to work; there was no way that Tamayo Kizaki could ever hope to reach his shoulders unless he was to kneel.

"Say yes, Kuronta! You wouldn't want to break Kizaki chan's fragile heart would you?!" Fai urged teasingly.

Kurogane let out a reluctant sigh, earning himself a clap of approval on the shoulder from Fai. The chemistry teacher bent down once more to tell the girls that they would do it. As soon as they had this all decided, the next song came on and it was a slow song, as promised. Kurogane looked uncertainly over at Fai who had already sprung into action. As easily as if the girl only possessed the weight of a feather, Fai lifted his dance partner, Ringo Seto, off of her feet and balanced her on his arm while taking her hand in his free one. Ringo giggled as Fai twirled around with her, her long curly hair swishing out behind her.

Tamayo continued to grin up at him expectantly. Gritting his teeth, Kurogane mimicked Fai, wondering if it was really ok for them to do this. The two of them and their young dance partners actually gathered a small group of gawkers. Not wanting them to get any ideas, Kurogane turned on his meanest glare on them and they quickly vanished into the crowd. Fai moved closer to him, wearing the type of smile that that always accompanied his teasing comments.

"Kurosama does know how to handle the ladies after all, hmm?"


"That may be so, but… I didn't actually believe you!"

Kurogane let out a sullen huff and turned his attention back to Tamayo, who seemed to be having quite a good time. He snorted; well, that made one of them, then.

Kurogane looked over at the clock for about the ten thousandth time that night, feeling he heart lift when he realized that there was only half an hour of torment to endure.

"Kurotan!" Fai shouted over the blaring music. "Let's go out to the courtyard ok?! It's too loud in here! My ears are starting to hurt!"

"What?!" Kurogane replied, also in a shout, which, like Fai's, hardly managed to rise about the throbbing speakers. "I can't hear you! It's too freaking loud in here!"

Fai laughed, taking the ninja's hand and led him out to the courtyard. There were a sprinkling of couples here and there, taking refuge from the painfully loud music and the intense heat of far too many people packed into one place but apart from that, the place was pretty much empty. As soon as he stepped outside, Kurogane felt for the first time in hours that he could finally breathe, though while he had been in the school he hadn't realized just how suffocating it was in there.

He followed the wizard away from the few young lovers whom they had joined outdoors to a slightly more secluded spot. Although they were now quite a distance away, the music coming from inside was so loud that they could still hear every word, though from where they were standing the volume was actually fairly pleasant. In Kurogane's opinion, this was the level it should be kept at inside as well. Growling, he put his hands over his ears.

"Argh, what a pain! Why did they have to have the damn music up so freaking loud?" he snarled irritably. "My ears will probably still be ringing a month from now!"

Fai laughed again, taking the ninja's arm. "Perhaps we should be thankful though, hmm? I mean, having the music up so loud also serves the purpose of lessening the atmosphere."

Kurogane looked at him. "What do you mean by that?"

"With all those young couples in there, in the dark, with romantic music playing… things might have been…taken to more extreme levels. Having the music up really loud like that kind of ruins the ambience. If it weren't for that, we'd probably have to be taking our chaperoning duties far more seriously!"

Kurogane snorted doubtfully, folding his arms. "Whatever."

Fai glanced up at the swordsman, studying his face in silence for a moment before replying. "Well, I know I'm grateful, even if Kuropin isn't. If we had to actually do our jobs, we wouldn't be able to spend time like this together…alone."

Kurogane cleared his throat uncomfortably, tugging at his collar a little. Fai noticed happily that he didn't pull his arm out of the wizard's grasp and he gave it a small affectionate squeeze.

"Ah, look!" Fai said quietly, looking up at Kurogane once more with a small smile on his face. "It's snowing! Isn't it pretty?"

Kurogane made a non-committal sound but said nothing, refusing to meet the blond's eyes. Fai wasn't sure but he thought he might have seen him blushing, and that caused his heart to lift even more.

"Mm, and they're playing another slow-dance song!" he added with a grin. He released Kurogane's arm and moved to stand in front of him, offering his hand with wide smile. "May I have this dance, Kurosama?"

The warrior growled and rolled his eyes, still not looking at Fai and instead glancing around nervously. Determined, Fai moved into his line of vision once more and again offered his hand. "Pleeeeeeease, Daddy?"

Kurogane huffed and puffed reluctantly, his blush deepening as he carefully made sure that there was absolutely no one watching them. At last, he took the magician's hand uncertainly, his own hand trembling just a little. A wave of pure ecstasy crashed over Fai at the gym teacher's acceptance and he looped his free arm around the ninja's shoulders, pulling him as close as possible. He couldn't prevent himself from giving a soft purr of approval as he felt Kurogane's arm slowly moving to encircle his slender waist. The chemistry teacher grinned into his dance partner's shoulder as he noticed how tense and nervous he was. He didn't care what Kurogane said, he was pretty sure that this was his first real dance ever.

"Don't be so tense, Kurochan," he cooed, his lips teasingly grazing Kurogane's neck as he spoke. "There's nothing to be nervous about."

Kurogane gave a dubious snort but Fai had felt the ninja pull him just a little bit closer after that and his smile returned in full force.

"This really is perfect, isn't it?" the mage asked. "It would be too cold to stay out here very long normally but since Kurokuro is holding me nice and tight, it's just the right temperature."

As he said these words, he continued to allow his lips to brush lightly against Kurogane's neck, hoping that he would get the message. Kurogane, for his part, was so nervous that he hadn't really been able to notice what Fai was trying to do. It took several moments for him to realize what was going on and it made him jump when it finally hit him. Hesitantly, he pushed Fai away just a little so that he could access his soft, pale lips, very slowly drawing closer until their mouths were just barely brushing. Fai stood on his toes so that he could press his lips against Kurogane's a little more firmly. Kurogane could feel nothing now but the deep, passionate warmth of Fai's kiss. He wished that they could freeze this moment in time and hold onto it forever.

After what seemed like a long time, though not nearly long enough, Fai pulled away, laying his head against Kurogane's again. The ninja noticed that the magician was shaking slightly, sporadically, and tried to get a look at his face, but Fai simply clutched onto his jacket, refusing to let him. When he heard a tiny sniffle, his suspicions were confirmed.

"Hey, are…are you crying?" he asked incredulously. His heart raced nervously, wondering if he had somehow upset the wizard.

"…No," came Fai's muffled reply.

"Tch. You liar!" Kurogane growled. He lapsed into a brief silence and then asked "…Why?"

Fai sniffled slightly again and hurriedly wiped away his tears before smiling up at the swordsman once more. But to Kurogane's surprise, the smile wasn't a forced one; it was completely real, one of the few that Kurogane had ever seen from him. Just as the swordsman had always imagined, that smile was heartbreakingly beautiful.

"I'm sorry, Kurosama," he said quietly. "It's just… there's something I've been looking for… for such a long time and now that I know for sure that I've found it…it makes me so happy…"

Kurogane stared at him in bewilderment for a moment, then snorted in disbelief.

"You idiot," he breathed, engaging Fai's lips once more.

Their kiss was rudely interrupted by a strange choking sound. Kurogane whipped around to see who had dared disturb them. If it was that fucking language teacher again… Lo and behold, who should the ninja find standing there but his and Fai's favorite co-worker? He stood there, his eyes and mouth wide open in horror, pointing a shaking, accusatory finger at them, sputtering stupidly. A vein began throbbing angrily on Kurogane's forehead. Without one word, Kurogane took off his shoe and whipped it at the language teacher, nailing him right in the face with such force that he was knocked over backwards into the snow..


Letting an irritated hiss escape from between his teeth, Kurogane turned his attention back to Fai, wanting to continue where they had left off. Fai was looking just a little surprised, momentarily speechless, though Kurogane didn't know if this was because he hadn't expected to see the language teacher there or because of the severity of his attack. When he finally got back his ability to speak, he said "But Kuropiko….isn't your sock going to get all wet now?"

Kurogane smirked as he pulled Fai close again for another kiss. "Maybe," he admitted, "but it'll be for a good cause."


A/N: So I was trying to figure out why I absolutely abhor my own writing style so much and I've managed to come to a few possible conclusions: 1) I make pointless stuff too long and drawn out and then skimp on the more important bits, 2) all of my fanfics seem to be almost exactly the same with a few minor changes, and 3) my wording is often needlessly complicated. So there are my theories… I'd like to hear everyone's feedback on this. Maybe then I can stop sucking.