A/n: Just a little muse on what I thought Fay's 'second' curse was… except it takes place before we found out about the first. Deal with it.

Chapter 1: Heartbreaking news

Rushing around the town, the blond was worse than a five year old on sugar, even Mokona had a hard time keeping up with the young man as he sped through shops. When they had arrived in this world they had handed over previous coins to be converted into the right currency, and had found themselves quite well off. As a result they had been able to get a hotel suite with four rooms, which Kurogane had been thankful for, sharing with the kid and the mage often cramped his style and the princess seemed to sleep all day, they had also enough money for some decent clothes… cue Fay excitedly running around helping Sakura choose some very cute, if insanely lurid, and slightly OTT outfits.
"He seems… more energetic than usual." Syaoran said surveying his 'mother' figure. It was true, the sad mask Fay usually wore was almost constant nowadays, and it angered the warrior a great deal. The happier the blond acted, the sadder he was.
"There's something wrong with him." Kurogane said eventually. He had been surrounded by this Mamagoto(1) for a long time, and had learned to tell when they were lying, or at least hiding something, which with the blond was more often that not.
"Ne Kuro-rin doesn't Sakura-chan look lovely?" he asked, draping himself over Kurogane as he spoke. The ninja pushed him away abruptly, and with ease, he was quite a lot bigger than Fay.
"Yes she does, can we stop shopping now?" He grumbled without even looking at the girl. Syaoran's jaw was almost on the floor.

Sakura was modelling a red dress, it was a LITTLE too big for her, hanging off her poorly-defined curves like a curtain, but the white jacket, complete with angelic wings she wore open over it seemed to compensate for that. Her short hair was pinned back with a red beret, and Mokona peeked out of her handbag (also new and also red). The material for the dress looked surprisingly comfortable, the unusual heat of this world meant the clothes were made of lighter material than in most places, but for the men it was still stuffy and undesirable inside their clothes. Guys wore off the shoulder wrap around clothes, a little like togas, with belts. Kurogane had quite blatantly refused to wear a 'dress' and wore his hakama underneath it.
"Are you sure I look okay?" She asked nervously when they left. Syaoran nodded mutely and Kurogane grabbed him by the shoulders.
"C'mon you." He grunted, steering him around. Fay skipped beside them.
"We should get some food! But Sakura you should be very careful not to spill on that dress."
"I will!" she nodded furiously. "Be careful I mean."
"And Mokona will spill!" Mokona cheered. They came across a small 'peet-ser-ee-a' none of them could read the sign but knew it smelled nice, so went in. Sakura and Syaoran found seats for them while Kurogane and Fay went to get food. No sooner were they out of ear shot than Fay addressed him.

"Kurogane." It was a rarity he was called by his real name, and knew from the mage's tone of voice that he was for once in his life being deadly serious. "We need to talk." Was all he said. Kurogane gave a curt nod. "Not here, tonight. After the kids are in bed." Kurogane nodded again. And with that they ordered a strange messy food that looked like it had been run over with a steam roller a few dozen times.


"She sleeps like a baby." Fay said with a smile. He had just returned from checking on Syaoran, Mokona and Sakura. The only light on in the lounge was a very small electric lamp, that emitted and basked them in a yellowish glow.
"Don't say stupid things, babies wake up at all hours of the night screaming, she sleeps constantly. And no before you ask you can't adopt an actual baby. " Kurogane said, pouring himself a drink. There had been a rule instated somewhere along the journey that no alcohol was allowed near Mokona, Sakura or Syaoran, but he saw no harm in a drink after they had fallen asleep, he poured another glass and thrust it at the magician who sat beside him. Since his earlier announcement of wanting to talk, nothing had changed, in front of the 'children' (Kurogane was unsure how two adolescents and a thing counted as their 'children') he had acted bouncy and boisterous, so much so he'd even spilled his drink on himself, now however his serious face was back on. His elbows were on his knees and his eyes cast to the ground.
"Kurogane." He said again. Despite his frequent complaining at the stupid nicknames Fay gave him, Kurogane felt his insides twist at that name. It simply did not feel right, perhaps because of the icy tone of his voice.
"Hn?" was all he replied.
"I turn 21 in three days time." This came as no great surprise to Kurogane who had assumed him to be around 22 or 23, though they had never asked each other such trivial things. So he was a little younger than that…
"So?" Fay raised his head and drank deep from his glass.
"Sakura-chan and Syaoran-kun… Mokona too. How do you feel for them?" He asked randomly.
"What do you mean?" Kurogane asked, curious as to how, after not even half a glass he was talking apparent nonsense, cryptic circles that would make even Yuuko proud. His smile was back, Fay's trademark smile that hid everything.
"I mean if I weren't here, would you protect them?"
"Yes." He said very bluntly.

"Promise me?" Kurogane nodded and surveyed Fay with interest, though he knew something was going on in his mind, he would not pry, but since the mage had no apparent desire to speak, he had to try.
"If there's something on your mind, say it." He ordered.
"It's okay, with that promise I don't need to worry. When I'm gone you'll take care of them." Fay smiled sincerely and it caught Kurogane so off guard he nearly didn't take in what he had said. When it sunk in he glowered.
"Gone? You're going nowhere." He grunted firmly. The brief content look that had graced Fay's features was gone, he looked calm, but distant as though talking of something he'd overheard on the radio.
"I am. My life is at its ending." He said calmly. Kurogane faltered, gripping his glass despite wanting to throw it at the other man.
"Idiot." He mumbled. "Don't say such stupid things."
"It's true." Fay said slowly. "In a couple of days I will go to sleep, and not wake up. My lifespan ends in three days." He held up three fingers that cast a large shadow on the wall behind them, before taking another sip of his drink.

"You can't possibly know that!" Kurogane growled angrily.
"I've always known it. On my 21st birthday, the third of this month… 3:07am exactly the time of my birth I will die." His voice was still calm, and the lamps glow seemed to make the eerie conversation almost sickening.
"The hell!" Kurogane snapped, standing up so abruptly he knocked the table over.
"Kuro-pon please be quiet you'll wake the children." Fay teased. Kurogane reached down and grabbed Fay by the collar of his shirt, lifting the magician clear off his feet.
"What the hell are you talkin' about you're gonna die you moron!" He demanded angrily, though he was mad he kept his voice down, apparently he didn't want the minors to overhear this either.
"When I was a child. A curse was laid upon me." Fay said simply, apparently not bothered at being dangled above the ground by his taller companion. "A seal if you will, like the one on you." Fay reached his fingers up and trailed them over Kurogane's forehead where he knew Princess Tomoyo had placed a seal when she'd asked him to stop killing.

"I've always been aware of this, it's not something that particularly bothered me until I started this journey. But it doesn't matter, I can rest easy knowing you'll protect them on their quest. You're so brave Kuro-chu!" He cheered. Kurogane dropped the smaller man as though he were hot.
"You knew… you knew this whole damn time?" He asked quietly, but angrily.
"Yes, I didn't see the point in upsetting anyone, so I kept it to myself. I've written a letter to each of you they will be on my desk that night." He smiled. "Don't be sad Kuro-chan."
"Shut up." He snapped. "Just… just get out of my sight." Kurogane demanded, silently furious. Fay knew this was not the easiest time, he stood up and nodded.
"Goodnight…" He said, and left the warrior to his turmoil.

Magic. It had to be magic. Anything else and Kurogane knew he would have been able to point a sword at it and banish whatever threatened the ones he cared about. Over time he had gradually come to care for the Princess, the kid, the magician… hell even the white thing, and he knew he'd have laid down his life to protect them. That was what Tomoyo's lesson had been, true strength, defending those you love. However… magic was magic, and he was no magician. He saw no way he could change this prophecy and though the thought of the 'family' without Fay scared him, somehow the thought of life without Fay scared him even more.

A/n: Aww! Nooo! -hugs Fay- what's gonna happen to our favourite bishie!? This is a story with pretty magics in it… so don't despair. (1)Mamagoto Japanese family setting.