Chapter 32 – Anytime in Between
Life is funny.
It really is.
Who would've thought that the man Fai had bumped into at a gas station one frustrating day would later become his boyfriend? One random encounter that lasted no more than five minutes would lead into something more, something amazing, something transforming.
It's ironic that the very same man ended up saving him from being run over by a car—another random encounter, which Fai was most grateful for in more ways than one.
Life must have smiled down at the two of them when it realized how compatible they were. It set the world in motion, finding the quickest yet most effective way of getting him and that man, Kurogane, together. Of course, this process didn't come without it's faults. When Fai was sent off to Japan, he had a frustrating time—unable to find a hotel for the first couple days and, to top it off, he had car trouble. Not only that, but in the beginning, after he'd met Kurogane, the two of them didn't get along at all, finding comfort in arguing about almost nothing. Along with the fights, Fai found himself becoming even more clumsy than usual—leaving his hotel keys, as well as his Identification card, at Kurogane's home when he tried to run away. Yet, if it hadn't been for this, Kurogane would never have come to his hotel room and asked him out for coffee. If it hadn't been for that, then he would not have experienced such an emotional growth over the following weeks, nor would he have gained a new home and new friends.
Although, the process that Life took in order to bring him and Kurogane together had been a struggle, it ended up being the greatest thing that had ever happened to him. And, even though, the process had nearly taken his life, and the life of his new boyfriend, that death-defying experience brought about a change in him. A change that he probably never would have gone through had it not been from the revenge-effort of Yuki Kano and her partner B.T..
Since the past few months, Fai had felt himself grow lighter and lighter each day, the emotional burdens he subjected himself to were slowly floating away from his shoulders. Each day, his mood would rise, his eyes would shine, his breath grew deeper, and his heart felt warm.
One's own happiness doesn't depend on someone else, or even something else, and Kurogane wasn't the one to make Fai happy, nor was it his circumstances that caused his emotional transformation. The circumstances, as well as the people he'd met, all helped bring about experiences that could, if taken in stride, bring about personal growth and a sense of one's own self. Before meeting Kurogane, Fai had been a person suffering in silence—hiding behind a smile and lies—yet, underneath all the suffering, underneath the pain and the defeat, was a caged animal waiting for the day he'd be set free. It was the strength he had inside, buried beneath the lies and weakness, caged by his fears—the rational and irrational.
It was released the day Kurogane questioned Fai's actions.
So, despite the struggles, the pain, and the tears he'd shed, Fai found himself unable to frown. Instead, a smile graced his face—a true, beautiful quirk of the lips—as he turned his eyes to look up at the man standing on his right, admiring the view of muscles and strength. Eyes traveling from that black hair, spiked and wild atop his head, to the deep-set eyes of fire that observed the world with a knowledge so great, down to those lips, pursed in the frustration of having Tomoyo trying to catch his photo every couple minutes, to that strong and prominent chin, then down to glance the expanse of his lower body, admiring the hard muscles that protruded his black t-shirt.
With a grunt of exertion, Fai leaned over and reached out, grasped the hem of Kurogane's shirt, and gave a sharp tug.
Turning curious eyes and a quirked brow, the younger man asked, "What?"
Fai pointed to his lips with a smile, "Come here."
With a roll of the eyes and a snort, Kurogane leaned down, settling his lips to fit against Fai's own. The kiss was short, but left Fai with a stomach full of butterflies and a heated flush across his cheek. Third kiss, Fai mused quietly, happily, as he glanced about the kitchen.
They were in Tomoyo's home, celebrating their release from the hospital, even though they'd been out for about a week now. Unfortunately, with all the time that had passed, Fai still didn't know what happened with all the money that vanished from his bank account. It was rather disappointing to know that he'd probably never see that money again, but it's not like he do much about it. So, despite that, this was still the happiest day of Fai's life because, not only was he going to be living with Kurogane (after he had his things shipped from his New York apartment), but he'd found that Sakura was safe and sound, and had been staying with Tomoyo the entire time he'd been hospitalized. Unfortunately, the girl still hadn't found her brother, but Fai was somewhat grateful for that. His family wouldn't be split apart yet, and on top of that, he'd been able to meet the boy Sakura had told him about. The boy she had a little crush on.
His name was Syaoran, and he was the sweetest young man Fai had ever met. He was polite, literate, athletic, respectful, and he spoke three different languages—Japanese, English, and Russian. He had deep, caring brown eyes and light auburn hair that was close in color to Sakura's. He was on the top of Fai's list of future husbands for Sakura. Syaoran just seemed perfect for the Princess, not only because of his wonderful qualities, but also because he and Sakura blushed whenever they accidentally touched hands with each other. It was adorable.
"Fai!" The voice of Tomoyo called out.
Fai turned his head in time to see the bright flash of a camera and groaned. His mouth was open and everything! He even had his eyes closed during that shot! He was sure that he looked like a dork in that picture. Hopefully, since Tomoyo owns a digital camera, he can convince her to delete that one in exchange for another one. Perhaps he could convince her if he allowed her a shot of him and Kurogane kissing. That might work.
Another flash of light came from behind and as he turned, Fai couldn't believe it when he saw her.
Standing just behind him and Kurogane, stopped in the entrance of the kitchen, was Yuuko. Adorned with a tight-fit red dress and leg-strap heeled shoes, disposable camera in hand, she glowed. Had he not been gay, Fai would have turned into a puddle of mush at the sight of her, for she was looking better than he'd seen her in years. She seemed happier, healthier, more confident, and much more of an alpha-female.
Something good must've happened to her.
"Yuuko!" Fai grinned, "I can't believe you're here! How are you? You look great!"
With a seductive smile, she chuckled, "I was fired. Best damn thing that's ever happened to me."
"I can't agree with you more." Fai laughed, reaching over to snatch Kurogane's hand and hold it tight to his chest.
Yuuko winked at him and another flash came from behind as Tomoyo captured yet another moment in time.
Once everyone had arrived, the party had moved itself into Tomoyo's backyard when the warm, welcoming sun freed itself from the confining blanket of gray clouds that were slowly vanishing from the sky, leaving cracks of a serene blue ocean above. The men ended up carrying a large table outside and placing it mid-center of the yard, before everyone gathered the food from the kitchen counters and laid it out across the top. Of course, since Fai was currently unable to stand more than five minutes, even after two months of therapy, he could do nothing more than watch, which wasn't that bad. He got to watch Kurogane move about, carrying the food rather than the table because he still had healing wounds in his gut, so strenuous activity was out of the question.
When all was done, everyone settled in a bout of normalcy. Tomoyo was practically clinging to Seishirou, trying to hand feed him some of the chocolate bits laid about the table, while Sakura and Syaoran had decided to walk over and speak with Subaru and Yuuko.
With a grin, Fai wheeled himself over to the group of four and glanced at Sakura, "I approve, by the way."
She blushed instantly, mouth open and closing like a fish, unable to produce words to describe her sudden, incapacitating embarrassment. Syaoran was in the same position, face red and hands trembling slightly on the plate of brownie in his grasp.
Yuuko chuckled at the children before smirking at Fai, "What's that?"
"What's what?" He asked, tilting his head in confusion.
"That." She pointed.
Fai reached to his cheek, rubbing, but felt nothing.
"Not there. Here." She reached out and poked his neck.
With a knowing look, Yuuko fished out a blue compact mirror from her black purse and tossed it into Fai's lap, watching as he flipped it opened and glanced at himself. He tilted the mirror, trying to get a look at what Yuuko was talking about and frowned. Fai noticed a small mark decorating his skin. It looked painful, but he felt nothing. No throb, no sting, no twinge. It took him all but a second to realize how he'd gotten it. He returned the mirror to Yuuko, expressing his thanks, before he reached his arms down to grasp at the wheels and pulled himself forward and away.
Leaving the group of people—Yuuko, Subaru, Sakura, and Syaoran—Fai wheeled himself over to Kurogane who sat idly in the outdoor rocking chair, legs pushing him back and forth. A look of pure annoyance glued to his handsome features. It had been obvious to Fai that Kurogane wasn't a fan of parties, much preferring the company of a few people rather than many. With a small grin, he made a note to have many parties in the future. It was always fun to annoy Kurogane.
"Kuro-puppy." Fai sang out, watching the mans dark brow twitch with irritation.
"You left a mark."
The mans head swerved to look at him, brows furrowing in confusion. Fai lifted a finger and pointed to the dark, purple mark on the side of his neck and the mans confusion faded immediately.
Fai huffed, rolling his eyes at the mans naivety, "It looks like a bruise."
"That's what it's supposed to look like." Kurogane answered, as though this were common knowledge.
Unfortunately, this wasn't common knowledge for Fai, and he was thoroughly confused with the mark. He wondered if it was something he should see a doctor about, even though he'd had enough of doctors over the past few months, "It is?"
Fai poked it, wincing slightly, "It looks gross."
"It's not gross." The man's eyes returned to his figure.
"Can I cover it?"
Kurogane looked thoroughly offended by this, "No."
Confused, Fai continued on, whining, "But it looks weird!"
"It's not weird."
"Yes it is!" He pouted, ignoring the look of annoyance on his boyfriends face.
"Just shut up, you're giving me a headache."
Fai pouted, "But Kuro-bu!"
Kurogane growled, forcing the rocking chair to move even faster, "Shut up!"
"Why can't I cover it?"
"Because I said so."
Like that's any reason, Fai mused, brows narrowing in a scowl, "But why?"
The rocking chair froze and feet clapped loudly against the cement, "Because I gave it to you."
I know you gave it to me, the blond rolled his eyes. He poked the mark again, staring into those deep, red orbs, "But it's a bruise!"
Kurogane growled, heaving out a sigh of frustration, "I told you, it's not a bruise!"
Fai was starting to lose his patience. The man just didn't get it, did he? A bruise or not, it looked gross! He wanted to cover it, he wanted to make sure he wasn't going to suddenly die of a disease thanks to that mans mouth sticking to his skin like a leech during their previous activity in Tomoyo's bathroom. During the party, the two of them excused themselves for a moment of privacy because Fai had accidentally spilled a glass of red wine on his white shirt. With so much concern for his shirt, Fai hadn't even noticed that Kurogane had other plans until the mans lips were on his own and, shirt forgotten, the two had a heated ten-minute make-out session before Tomoyo had called them out for some of her famous sushi a la carte, to which Fai politely passed, in exchange for having a small square of a chocolate chip brownie.
"Then what is it?" He asked, frustration beginning to flood into his voice.
"A love bite!"
Fai stopped, removing his poking finger away from the mark and gazed into his boyfriends face, watching everything moving behind those fiery eyes, catching sight of the many emotions flitting across his face in less than a second; fear, embarrassment, annoyance, love.
Kurogane stood from his seat on the rocking chair, hands coming up to wipe his rear in case dirt was clinging, and moved to make a clean getaway, heading in the direction of Tomoyo who was currently locking lips with Seishirou. Before Kurogane could get anywhere, Fai's hand shot out and snatched his own, keeping a firm grip. The man turned around to face him, his expression clearly asking 'what'?
With a small, honest smile, Fai grabbed a fistful of the black shirt, pulling his boyfriend down towards him. Their noses brushed softly, and Fai tilted his head to the side and let their lips touch.
The kiss was short, gentle and firm. It was beautiful and, even though they'd shared a many number of kisses during the day (13 in total, not that Fai was counting), this one was the sweetest of them all.
Kurogane opened his mouth to speak, to question, and Fai just smiled, "I love you too, Kuro-tan."
The words were like magic flooding between them, connecting them, holding them. Fai felt a growing portion of butterflies dance inside his stomach, cheeks heating up with a blush, and entire body shaking with anticipation. Kurogane's face grew red as well, but Fai couldn't tell if he was feeling those butterflies. He could be experiencing something very different, something so beautiful. With his first, true confession since their meeting, everything seemed right in the world. The voices of the people around became a soft, lulling song, and the birds tittering added more to the world, while the breeze felt like it was cleaning him of everything.
Fai watched as Kurogane moved quickly. Those large, warm arms pulled him out of his wheelchair and to his chest, holding him, and Fai returned the gesture, wrapping his limbs about the man before him, pulling him flush against his own figure. The heat they shared was almost too much, yet, it was perfect.
There was a flash of something from the corner of his eye. Kurogane pulled away from him immediately and growled at whoever disturbed their 'moment'.
As he was lowered into his wheelchair, Fai caught sight of Tomoyo, camera in hand, grin on her face, "So..." She began, "Whens the wedding?"
The blush that painted Kurogane's cheeks and the lack of rebuttal against the question forced Fai to smile. He already knew the answer to that question.
The answer was hiding in his chocolate fondants, which he made the an hour before the party. They were going to be tonights after-dinner dessert for anyone who wanted them. If all goes well, and Kurogane doesn't swallow the hidden ring in the special cherry-topped dessert, then he was going to ask to spend the rest of his life with him.
If all goes well, Fai thought as he smiled at the sky, it'll be the greatest moment of my life.
He started, not expecting to find Kurogane's face just inches from his own, "Huh?"
Kurogane smiled softly and knelt down on his left knee, grasping Fai's left hand in his own, placing a simple kiss upon his palm. Fai moved to pull the man into a loving hug, but was stopped—frozen in place—when a velvet blue box was pushed into his face. It smelled of roses and cakes, and all Fai could do was lift a cautious, questioning brow in response.
"I'm not good with words, so..." Kurogane stopped, brows furrowing as he tried to figure out the next flow of words to come from his mouth, "...so I...do you...damn. I—will you marry me!?"
There was a flash from the right as Tomoyo took yet another picture, catching their beautiful, special moment in time.
Forever frozen was the moment that Fai had thrown himself from the wheelchair and into Kurogane's arms, lips catching each others cheeks with an off-target kiss, and cherry-stained cheeks that seemed to glow in the light of the sun.
Before they pulled away, Fai leaned in closed to Kurogane's ear and whispered, "We missed", to which the reply was, "We'll have to work on our aim then, won't we?"
"Like on the honey moon?"
"On the honey moon," Kurogane agreed, smiling, "And anytime in between."
I hope the final chapter was worth the long wait!! It's shorter than the previous chapters, but I thought a long chapter would just be too much for the final one. Something short, sweet and to the point, something to conclude everything is what I wanted. I really hope it served it's purpose and was as enjoyable as the previous bunch of chapters, if not more so!
Thank you so much for the lovely reviews, they really helped me with ideas and fixing my mistakes! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Much love to you all!
I will be writing another Kurofai multi-chapter story, so look out for it! :D
Art by: Dragon Empress Aurora
Note - Get rid of the spaces and add the required symbols to view -- Fanfiction wouldn't let me post the links correctly.
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