It was black.
Everything was black.
Everything was always black.
It was black with dark, it was black with cold, and it was black with tension.
A single, tiny, white light glowed in the far distance, past twists and turns around objects and obstructions that weren't there, up nonexistent staircases and across large, never-ending rooms in the darkness.
As he got closer, static crackled around him, making the hairs on his arms and the back of his neck stand on end, the frazzle of power and magic coursing dangerously through his hot veins.
He ignored the shrill screams that didn't happen, he ignored the faint gusts of wind that didn't shake him, and he ignored the thick smell of copper and death that didn't fog the air.
He did notice, however, when the floor seemed to fall away from him, and as he took another step onto the nothingness that was no longer there, and wasn't there to begin with, his heart jolted, and Kurogane awoke with a start.
X – x – X
Those dreams were becoming more frequent.
It was always dark, but there was always a light, and there were always obstacles.
Something in the room shifted in its sleep, and Kurogane jumped, his hand reaching reflectively for Souhi.
Realising that cutting Syaoran into tiny pieces would only result in more noise and scares, Kurogane instead placed the hand over his heart and took a deep, calming breath.
They had been travelling for months, probably a year or two now, judging by how much the kid had matured, and there had only been one constant.
His clothes had changed, his hair had changed, his attitude had changed, and even his fighting style had changed.
The only thing that remained a constant was the dark that greeted his sleep and the light that caressed and warmed his icy cold heart, and now Kurogane was not only curious but he was damn desperate to find out the meaning of the dreams.
He knew the dreams had a reason, for after all, there was no coincidence in this world.
He knew what was at the end of the halls and the staircases and the death, a large door.
He could never describe this door, because its appearance changes every time it is opened and its secrets revealed.
The first time he saw it, it was what he soon figured to be a hospital door.
He looked on as a woman with no face gave birth to twins. Twin brothers with no faces. He watched her scream, not in pain, but in realisation that there were two.
The doctors were talking, but he only ever caught vague words.
He didn't understand, but he assumed he wasn't being shown this to understand, but to know.
The next time he saw the door was a few months later, and the door looked elaborate and thick and beautiful, painted with characters of a foreign script.
The door opened to him, showing him two boys with no faces. The boys were embracing, talking with each other.
As always, the door disappeared, and Kurogane was unplagued with the darkness for a few months before being hurled into the world of the past, or the future, again.
A wooden door.
The boys with no faces.
The boys looked at each other, or at least Kurogane assumed they did, before tightly grasping their brother's hand with their own.
Then, a metal door with a barred "window".
The boys with no faces.
Rotting corpses and a single cell.
The faceless boy in the tower fell to the pit, where his faceless brother watched helplessly, screaming in silence.
Kurogane remembered that hand, but Kurogane woke up soon after.
Kurogane had seen so much of the surviving faceless boy. The boy had grown, and was now in a country with no name, with a king with no name.
The boy had no name. Not anymore.
The faceless nameless boy, now nigh a man, loved his faceless nameless king.
Kurogane was so curious, and was anxiously awaiting the door he so wanted to reach, the door that would hold the answers to the boy with no face and no name and no home.
The others in the group noticed it too, how Kurogane was antsy and snappy and nervous, checking the sky and his watch and the clock ever so often, tapping his foot impatiently on the floorboards.
He was bored. And nervous. And he wanted it to be dark outside so he could return to the dark inside.
He understood his dreams now even less than when he'd first had them, and had been confiding in Syaoran every so often, in an attempt to help clear his mind.
Which was why he was telling him now.
"What did they say again, Kurogane-san?" Syaoran pestered, easily as curious as the former ninja.
Kurogane remembered the last moments of the faceless nameless boy, as the fat hand with the fat finger pointed at him.
"He said…" Kurogane started, pausing to gather his thoughts… "They said the same things as they have before…"
Syaoran accepted the tea from Fai with a bow of the head before Fai went back into the kitchen to retrieve Kurogane's stronger, bitterer brew.
"'Together', 'save', 'live'?" Syaoran asked, sipping tentatively.
"There was this one word that the dead one kept saying, but I can make no sense of it…"
Syaoran watched him, encouraging him to continue.
X – x – X
Kurogane lay awake in his bed, unable to sleep, and pissed off as hell.
It was that damn mage's fault.
They both spun around as they heard a stumble and a smash.
Fai was sat on the tea stained carpet, eyes wider and face paler, trying miserably to plaster a grin on in time.
"Silly me!" he giggled, "I'm so clumsy today, ne?
Kurogane couldn't get that helpless expression out of his head, and wanted desperately to pummel the idiot wizard for it.
Kurogane sighed and slouched over.
Even Mokona-lag wasn't enough to send him to the land of nod, it seemed, or he was just unused to having his own room.
Sighing, he remembered his mother's scent.
There was something so calm and nostalgic to it, he found himself nodding off in seconds.
He was entering the darkness, and everything seemed more real than ever.
Now, he could smell the blood. Now, he could feel the wind prickle his skin.
Now he could hear the bloodcurdling screams.
His eyes snapped open and he flung himself from the room and into the room next door in time to see the object of his annoyance sat upright, eyes wide and dilated, skin pale and sickly, a gloved hand clapped over his mouth, his shoulders shuddering with silent cries.
Instantly, Kurogane gathered the shaken man into his arms and held him tight, comforting and protecting at the same time.
When he realised what he was doing and with who, he didn't care, for Fai was sobbing quietly into his collarbone.
He stroked the golden locks that seemed to hang limp from Fai's head and hummed soft 'shhh's.
He didn't know when Fai fell asleep, and he didn't know when he himself fell asleep, all he knew was he was there again. In the blackness.
The ivory door was open and he stepped through without caution.
He was in a large hallway made of white marble that shone with light and was stained red with blood and littered with corpses of men, all of them killed brutally without second thought.
He walked past, his sight only in front of him. He knew a battlefield when he saw one, but the light was beckoning him.
After what seemed like hours, he came to a large room with a circular pool in the middle. A girl with long blonde hair and cat ears stood off to the side fretfully.
There was a splash and a pale hand extended from the pool and grabbed the side, before the hand's owner hauled himself up and over the side.
He was dripping wet, and he had no face.
The girl rushed over to him.
"Did you make him sleep, my king?" She asked, handing the man his clothing.
"Yes." The faceless man replied, with a sad voice that Kurogane only vaguely recognised, "This is the only way I can."
"What will you do now, Fai?"
There was a glint of light and Kurogane shut his red eyes from the glare. When he opened them, the faceless nameless boy had a face and a name, and was smiling wistfully at the pool he'd just emerged from.
Fai fastened his first coat.
"I can't stay here any longer…" he replied with a tired sigh, "Maybe… not even in this world."
The girl looked confused.
Fai smiled down at her, "I mean this dimension."
"I …. Don't understand."
Fai smiled wider and nuzzled the cat girl, cooing.
"For you, Chii, that's alright." He suddenly straightened up, "Ah! I'm almost out of time!"
"Chii?" the girl, Chii, said.
"I have to be on my way."
Fai paused, and his smile seemed more forced than ever as he looked upon the pool once more, replying in a whisper; "Some place with no Ashura-ou."
Kurogane was yanked from his dream, or rather, Fai's memory, and blinked his eyes.
It was still dark, but morning was on the horizon.
And he felt like he'd been awake the whole time.
He looked down at Fai, who was staring at the floor, but was still curled up in Kurogane's arms.
He seemed to notice that Kurogane was awake, however, and looked up, a small smile on his lips.
"Don't." Kurogane scolded.
"Don't what, Kuro-pon?" Fai teased, lapping up more of Kurogane's warmth by folding himself into the black cloak he had seemed to unfasten.
Kurogane sighed, inwardly finishing the sentence.
Oh well, he knew Fai knew what he meant.
"You saw, didn't you."
It was more of a statement than a question, and Fai was staring, unsmiling at the rug they were sitting on.
"How did you—"
"I've been having the dreams too." Fai replied.
"Don't be," Fai shook his head, "It's in the past, there's nothing you can do."
They sat in silence for a few moments before Kurogane could work up the courage.
"So… who's Yuui?"
Based the Yu-Gi-Oh song. "Ashita Moshi Kimi Ga Kowaretemo"