The Ballad of White and Pink
Pairing: Kurogane x R!Syaoran
Warning: Bad fluff and lame-ness. Also constant abuse of pinkness. This fic seriously makes me want to tear my hair out because oh God the fluff… OOC-ness can be expected too because… well, it's way too fluffy for a story as angsty as Tsubasa.
Rating: T for language and a kiss.
Word Count: 3473
Summary: In which Kurogane wears pink and dances with Syaoran (and Fay laughs at them).
Notes: This is for the sake of fluff because I'm writing way too much angst lately. Happy Valentine!
"What the fuck is that?"
Fay, who was expectantly holding out a pink tuxedo and an equally pink necktie to him, answered cheerfully, "Your outfit for tonight's ball. What's the event called again? Ah, right. Valentine"
"Oh yes," he nodded, the blinding smile unchanging, and held up that… hideous thing next to Kurogane's face. "See? The colour suits your eyes."
It was hard for the ninja not to curl his fingers around that flimsy neck and violently yank the other man back and forth. "Do you want to die, mage?"
"Whatever it takes for you to wear it," the blonde tried to imitate the brave, selfless look of martyrs in general, in which he failed spectacularly.
"Over my dead body."
The smile on Fay's face lost a little of its brilliance. "But Kuro-pon, this is for Sakura-chan's sake," he said - whined. Kurogane resisted an urge to scream at this display of unmanliness and satisfied himself by clenching and unclenching his fists instead. "We have to attend the ball, but only couples are allowed entry and the dress code is that one has to wear white while the other pink. And since we are a couple–"
"What couple? We're two fucking men."
"Oh, you're suddenly a damn woman now?"
The smile was still infuriatingly there. "I mean yes, we're men, but we aren't fucking," Fay replied, all too cheerful for a subject as serious – disturbing – as this. And of course then he had to mildly add, "For now at least."
Kurogane was a breath away from reaching for his katana when the mage shoved the tuxedo under his nose. "Do this for Sakura-chan."
"Why don't you wear it?" he bit out.
"It's your size."
"Why don't you ask one with your size?"
"There's no time, Kuro-pii," Fay's voice had risen another notch. "Oh, come on. I personally had it made and now you want to ditch my efforts?"
"I don't give a fuck about your efforts," the ninja growled. "I'm not wearing that thing."
The mage's face fell and for one triumphant moment, Kurogane let himself wallow in the sweetness of hard-earned victory. But good things never last long and this one was over all too quickly when Fay heaved a long-suffering sigh and started whispering to the general direction of the door.
"Kuro-sama is so stubborn. Poor Sakura-chan will have to fight for the feather alone tonight. Well, Syaoran-kun will be there to help her for sure, but what if something goes really wrong? They'll have no one to help them, but of course there's nothing we can do since we aren't going to be there. Oh well," he sighed, dabbing the corner of his eyes, and Kurogane swore that he saw tears. "I'm really sorry, Sakura-chan. It isn't that Mummy doesn't want to go. Mummy has tried his best, but Daddy just won't–"
The ninja wrenched the disgusting piece of – God forbid – clothing from the mage's hand and snarled, "Get out."
"Oh, Daddy! I know you won't abandon our lovely little da–"
Kurogane slammed the door on his face.
Damn him to hell.
Damn them all to hell.
One would think that silently suffering this mortal blow to one's masculinity was bad enough. After all, the great ninja Kurogane was wearing pink.
But no. It had to get worse, so much that 'worse' was too mild a word, much better used for describing things like fighting twenty-feet-tall monsters with bare hands or completely naked or something.
As it appeared, the entire ballroom had to be splashed and decorated in pink – and white. The guests all wore pink – or white. The food and drink all screamed pink – and white.
Kurogane was certain that the end of the world would appear less daunting compared to this.
He sauntered about the crowd, fuming in silence at the injustice of it all. Maybe his mood wouldn't be this bad if he wasn't wearing these apparatus from hell. Or maybe not. Any chance, minuscule as it might be, to find the night bearable had pretty much gone to hell when he had ignored Fay's suggestion for a dance. Which had resulted in the mage shrieking at the top of his lungs about cold heartless husbands who didn't care about their lovely spouse and wouldn't protect said spouse from many bloodthirsty men and women by not having this obligatory dance. How the latter could influence the former was unclear, but Kurogane was already too angry – and mortified – to notice this. He just pulled that poor excuse of a man to the dance floor and yanked him around in order to shut him up.
Thankfully, with a few combinations of threatening growls and equally menacing glares, he had managed to forgo the rest of the dances so far. The mistress of ceremony, however, was a very determined young woman who never gave up trying to pair him with somebody despite his hostile, bordering violent reaction at each attempt. The fact that she shared the same face – and voice and personality and hell, just about everything – with a certain sadistic princess from his country only boosted the degree of his violence. So far, he was still winning.
The long table in front of him was laden with various kinds of refreshments and Kurogane steeled himself to take a glass of not-so-pink beverage, whatever it was, before making another round about the room. He had come to the conclusion that to be always on the move considerably decreased the possibility of him being targeted by the evil princess-look-alike. Not completely, but at least he hadn't been harassed for the last two dances. For the life of him he couldn't understand why that woman didn't set her mark on someone less unwilling. Sakura, for example, would be able to appreciate her attention more than he ever could.
Then again, the princess never missed a dance. She was sufficiently busy as it was, with or without any external help. Kurogane was no connoisseur of beauty, but he could appreciate what he was looking at right now. She looked beautiful in that pink dress – at least the colour genuinely suited her – and her kindness made her unable to turn down anyone who asked for her hand for the next dance. And the next. And the next.
Kurogane tried not to think about the surge of protective jealousy which had risen in his chest at this. It was probably just the side effect of seeing too much pink.
Looking around once more, his gaze fell on Syaoran. And he had thought there was no one as miserable as him. The kid had been steadily refusing every offer for dancing except the first one with the princess, but he seemed to be getting quite an opposition this time. A man, about thirty or so, dressed extravagantly in an ensemble of white suit complete with cape and other whatnots, was talking animatedly to the boy. The sight of that man alone was enough to make Kurogane grimace, but seeing how close they were standing and the redness on Syaoran's face simply threw every coherent thought out of the window.
The same surge of protective jealousy lanced through him. Only sharper. Darker. Hotter. He had never suspected that overdosing in pink could affect him this bad.
Gulping down his drink, he slammed the empty glass down onto a nearby table and moved to approach the kid. The tiny, sensible part of his mind demanded what the hell he was doing. Syaoran was probably the last person in the world he needed to play hero for.
It didn't prevent him from stopping in front of them and making a good use of his extensive arsenal of glares and glowers. The man had the guts to return the hostile volley with a brand of his own for a few seconds, but then Syaoran moved closer to Kurogane and hooked his fingers around the ninja's arm, eyes carefully looking at the floor.
It was hard for him not to smirk. Which then became plain impossible when the obnoxious man's face turned into an angry shade of red. The fingers around his arm tightened marginally and this gesture was no doubt noticed because the man immediately stomped away, although not before throwing Kurogane a particularly nasty look. It made his blood boil again, but the unfamiliar weight on his arm kept him in check and he glanced down, finding the kid looking back at him, his expression unreadable.
"Thank you," the words fell quietly, quickly overwhelmed by the glory of violins as the dance drew to an end. Syaoran let his hand fall back to his side and Kurogane made a noncommittal sound before any part of his mind could deliver unacceptable comments over this unusual feat of altruism. He wasn't being nice. He was just…
The ninja repelled a violent urge to run to the door and save what was left of his dignity for probably the thousandth time since the night had begun. Clearing his throat, he looked at the kid again and asked, for the sake of keeping his mind occupied on another task, "You're not going to dance?"
Syaoran looked a little surprised by the question, but his answer was ambiguously short and definitely not answering anything. "Kurogane-san too."
"I can't dance."
"That is not true," the remonstrance was immediate. "I noticed that you danced with Fay-san."
Kurogane snorted, recalling the slapdash movements and hectic cadence. "If you can call that a dance."
"You were angry," the kid reasoned, face brightened by a little smile that made his stomach rebel wildly like he had just eaten something bad. "Maybe you can give it another try. Look, the next dance will start."
"My coming here in this stupid outfit is enough," the ninja growled, his eyes quickly taking in the preparation. Maybe it was time to recommence his guerilla tactics. Before that evil replica of a princess could find him among the crowds and renew her duress to make him participate in the dance.
"But it looks good on you," Syaoran told him, his tone perfectly honest and with absolutely no string attached. It roused a different kind of irritation in him, something close to discomfort, or maybe embar–
No. No way. Anything but that.
"You want to die, don't you, kid?" he growled, his regular line of threat and yet his voice hitched slightly. Syaoran instantly looked apologetic.
"I didn't mean anything. It's just–"
The rest of his words were lost in the enthusiastic shouting erupting among the crowd as every source of light in the room gave way to total darkness. Kurogane blinked, his muscles tensing as hordes of nasty possibilities sprang up from every corner of his mind. One of his hands automatically grabbed the kid to make sure that he was all right, but before he could do anything else, a beam of light, strong and almost blinding, pierced the darkness and showered him with too much brightness at once that he could only repeatedly blink his eyes for a few moments.
"Congratulations!" the Tomoyo-look-alike suddenly appeared before him in the circle of light, bright and cheery and her sparkly white dress absolutely didn't help. Neither did her giggly voice. "The two of you have been chosen to lead this dance! Please step down to the dance floor!"
Kurogane let go of Syaoran's hand and glared at her. "I don't dance," he snapped, wishing that he had his katana somewhere nearby. It would have shut her up quickly.
"But it's the last dance before the main event," she told him, smile all innocent but suspiciously a little too wide. "I trust you will do this young man the honor?"
Whether said young man desired the 'honor' or not seemed to be completely irrelevant for her. But then he glanced at Syaoran and noticed how he looked a little lost and decidedly uncomfortable with the attention they were attracting, and somehow, that made his decision.
Oh, why the hell not.
After throwing the young woman a nasty look, he dragged Syaoran to the dance floor, pointedly ignoring all the clapping around them. It wouldn't do to cause a massacre before they got the feather. After all, this was just one dance, and then the main event would begin and the sponsor of this entire white-pink affair would reveal the grand prize for the night. They would win it one way or another – coercion was definitely included in the list as one of the possible techniques – and the princess would receive the feather and they would be off once more, away from any memory of pinkness and every bit of humiliation that came with it.
As simple as that.
Having made up his mind, Kurogane managed to restrain himself from murdering the conductor of the orchestra when a slow romantic music floated in the ballroom. Of all kind of music to play! He gritted his teeth and awkwardly settled a hand on Syaoran's waist. The kid, already blushing from ear to ear at this point, refused to look anywhere but at his feet as he held onto Kurogane's right arm, his height making it impossible to reach the older man's neck.
They started a clumsy rhythm, feet stepping one another, knees bumping, thighs brushing. Kurogane started to think that his earlier method with Fay worked much better. The boy clearly wasn't used to follow another person's lead, but neither was he in that matter, which doomed their whole effort to failure because hell would have to freeze over first before the ninja allowed himself to follow anyone's lead.
Stubbornness obviously wasn't a good partner to one another. And even if in the end Syaoran decided to back down from the competition, his body still wasn't used to move but the way it wanted to. This frustration was palpably shown on the boy's face as he continually tried to tune their movement with one another. Which was fruitless at best so far.
Kurogane inwardly sighed in relief when people stopped staring at them and began to crowd the dance floor to indulge themselves. He could feel Syaoran immediately relaxing under his arms although his concentration was still wrapped on the way their feet moved. It almost made him smile. Almost, because on the next second his eyes caught the sight of Fay grinning all-too-widely as he twirled about the room, conveniently paired with the princess who was smiling not-so-innocently herself.
He heaved a deep breath, suppressing homicidal thoughts. Not yet. They hadn't gotten the feather yet.
Kurogane looked down, at the kid who was glancing nervously at him after whispering the apology.
"What for?" he grunted. It should be impossible for his mood to plummet any worse than this, but hearing that one word from the kid somehow managed to do just that.
"You don't want to dance," Syaoran murmured, eyes cast down, looking entirely too miserable for someone whose greatest sin was wearing that white tuxedo and looking very good in it.
And he so hadn't just thought about that.
"And how can that be your fault?" Kurogane heard his own voice rising, out of either impatience or annoyance or frustration, he wasn't sure which.
The kid bit his lips. "Well, I–"
"Don't answer that," he brusquely cut Syaoran short, sensing the coming of a long litany of why he shouldn't exist or something equally absurd. The kid was very good at inventing things like that, especially since his guilt over the whole ordeal with his clone was still haunting him like a hungry ghost.
Syaoran looked surprised and the fingers in his hand twitched ever so slightly. Kurogane stared back, unflinching, until a tiny smile appeared on the boy's face and it made his insides go watery.
"You remind me of my father, Kurogane-san," Syaoran said quietly, an unreadable look in his eyes as the light in the room lessened in intensity, casting a soft glow on his features. The ninja really didn't know what to say to that. Not only that it was the first time the kid had ever mentioned any member of his family, the thought of being compared to his father actually made Kurogane feel a little sick.
"He must be a good man," he said at last, if only for the sake of saying something. He really couldn't believe this. Making small talks was never his habit. Why this night included more exceptions than it should ever be possible was unknown to him, but he had this nagging suspicion that the pinkness of the entire situation must be responsible somehow.
"He was." That tiny little smile appeared again and Kurogane knew he hadn't imagined his heart skipping a beat. He growled silently in frustration. The person this kid had reduced him into.
They drifted into beats of silence, movement no longer a complicated pattern of footsteps – just listening to the music, moving against each other. When Syaoran suddenly looked down and rested his head on Kurogane's chest, it took him all his might not to push the kid away. It wasn't only a matter of invading his personal space. It was that knowledge of being compared.
"I'm not him," he croaked, the words scraping his throat like pins and needles all rolled together into a ball. He tried not to think about the painful prickle in his chest, or the faint smell of shampoo wafting up from the mess of brown hair on his chest.
"I know," the muffled reply was so softly spoken, an intangible note in it, something close to desperation. Kurogane found his arms tightening around the kid as the light dimmed even more, leaving the ballroom in a state of shadowy half-light. They stayed like that as dancing pairs swept around them, mere blurs and rustles now in the blooming darkness.
When Syaoran finally pulled away and looked at him again, it was with a determined face. "Kurogane-san is Kurogane-san," he said, voice equally firm and honest. "I never think of you as a replacement of my father."
"Good," the ninja growled and it might be that look on the kid's face, or the feeling of him slipping away from his arms, or something else entirely Kurogane didn't know and for now didn't care to know what, because he suddenly bent down, low enough to brush his lips against Syaoran's. The boy immediately tensed, probably shocked, but his arms came quickly around Kurogane's neck to anchor him down as he pressed their lips together again.
Kurogane was… lost. He knew that there was something else he should be thinking about because he was kissing a fifteen-year-old boy in the middle of a dancing crowd, but his mind couldn't seem to proceed any further past that point. His thought process simply stopped at how good that mouth felt against his – so sinfully hot and wet and soft and it was entirely too unfair that it belonged to a boy who had been locked in a tube for the better part of his life and thus depriving the world of something as good as that and… what the fuck was he thinking about?
Who the hell cared. He could always blame the pinkness if someone asked.
"Your father can't do that to you," he muttered when they had pulled apart, and watched Syaoran's face gain a shade of red, faint though it was in the muted glow shrouding the ballroom.
"I guess," the boy murmured and looked down again, avoiding his eyes. Kurogane was torn between being extremely amused and extremely frustrated. It wasn't as if he knew what to do or say in this condition, but they were saved from any awkward silence in-the-making when light suddenly flooded the room. It was then when he realized that the music had ended and the crowd was dispersing.
"It isn't the feather," he heard the princess's voice and noticed that she was standing with Fay not far from them. Her eyes were fixed on the stage where the mistress of ceremony was busily preparing for the main event, and at a silver crown sitting in a glass case, at the middle of the stage.
"Seems like we're back at square one," Fay said, sounding far too cheerful for someone who was supposed to be disappointed with the way their hunt had turned out. His eyes flickered to the ninja and that ever-present smile widened slightly. "Well, no. Not completely at square one, I see."
Kurogane didn't remove his hand from Syaoran's shoulders and stared back at the mage, daring him to say something.
And the mage didn't disappoint him.
"Well, Mummy doesn't mind to share if Daddy's sure he can make our sweet, adorable son happy–"
Fay was already at the door when Kurogane started running after him.
Don't ask me to explain where this came from. Please. I just want some fluff because every fic on this pairing seems to be either angsty or very dark.
Thank you for reading and please review.