Fay smiled to himself as he saw the first rays of sunlight peek over the horizon, the orange beams catching the tops of tall sunflowers and glinting from the glass of the worn blue truck that sat, unused, in the yard. The sheepdog dozing in the back of the pickup quirked her ears briefly before nuzzling her two puppies closer and falling back to sleep. He could see birds swooping in the distance, and if he listened close enough, he could hear the squawks of their offspring, all of them unbothered by the sudden light, which was strong enough to blind but still soft enough and warm enough to comfort.

Fay shivered in awe and drew his arms closer around himself, his wide blue eyes holding such childish wonder at the summer dawn. He leaned forward, nearly pressing his face flat against the glass for a better look. He would have opened the window, but then Kurogane would have grumbled and growled and made such a fuss over it, so he decided that, maybe this once, he would let things be peaceful.

Soon the light was inside the room, travelling slowly down the wall. Fay shifted slightly at the end of the bed, enough so that when the light drew level, it would not disturb the sleeping ninja. Upon Fay's insistence, they had pushed the bed up so that it was directly beneath the window. However, said window wasn't sealed properly and freezing night wind kept coming in through the gaps, so Kurogane had switched the covers around, meaning their feet were at the window instead.

Fay didn't mind.

He leaned closer to the window and pressed his palm to the chilled panes, lips parting slightly in wonder as the breeze teased stray pieces of hay and dust in the yard, enchanting them to dance around in circles before falling back to the ground to rest.

Fay felt a tug at the hem of the large shirt he'd worn to bed and he looked over his shoulder at Kurogane, whose red eyes were open but still blinking sleep away, a silent command held in them. Fay grinned and flopped backwards onto the bed, scrambling back under the covers after discovering just how frigid it was in the room when you weren't bathed in early morning sunlight. Kurogane, still only half conscious, didn't grumble when the lithe blonde snuggled up to him.

When he was sure the ninja had fallen back into his dreams, Fay slithered out from under the duvet and tiptoed carefully over to the pile of clothes that Sorata and Arashi had provided them with, which were dumped over the back of a beaten old loveseat. He shook the hay off of them and pulled them on quickly, taking longer with the strange shoes.

'Where do you think you're going?'

Fay paused, halfway down the ladder out of the room, and rested his arms on the floor.

'The animals look hungry. Does Kuro-daddy want to come with me?'

'Isn't that the farmer's job?' Kurogane said, raising an eyebrow.

'Well, yes,' Fay agreed, resting his chin on his folded arms, 'But it's unfair that we get free bed and board from them wherever we meet them. Besides, the animals look so cute!'

Kurogane sighed, throwing the sheets off of himself.

'Where the hell are my clothes?'


'Don't they have mothers to do that?'

Fay laughed and held the wriggling lamb closer, feeding it with a bottle of warm milk. 'If they did, do you think I would be doing their job?' he asked rhetorically, trying to nudge the other hungry lambs away from him with an elbow, 'Come on, Kuro-ram! They won't bite, and I can't feed five at once.'

Kurogane grumbled but took a seat all the same, looking only a little uncomfortable when the attention of the other four lambs averted to him and they all trotted over at once.

'That's not fair!' Fay gasped, 'they just pushed their sister out of the way!'

'Survival of the fittest.' Kurogane said with a shrug, helping the first lamb into his lap. Later, when he thought Fay wasn't looking, he gave the only female lamb a little extra milk.

Fay smiled but didn't comment, replacing the water in the trough instead.


'Kuro-moo!! HELLP MEEEE!!'

Kurogane looked up from the fence he was reinforcing. Fay was scrubbing a short-ish, fat animal rather roughly with a sponge. The animal itself didn't look too bothered, and just batted its ears and tail around to swat the flies away.

'…What are you doing?' Kurogane asked slowly.

Fay looked at him for a second before stating, that obviously, he was washing it because it was dirty. Then it was Kurogane's turn to stare, until he realised Fay was utterly serious.

'…You are kidding, right?'

'Don't be stupid, Kuro-tail! How else will Daisy be all clean and pretty?'

Kurogane couldn't decide whether he should ask the mage why he named the animal or whether he should point out that cows were naturally that way. He chose to save himself the bother and returned to his own task.

'Seriously, Kuro-pon, they won't come off!'


'Don't go any faster!'

'I can't stop, Kuro-hedge!'

'Squeeze your thighs--'


'—and push your ass down!'


'What's Fay-san doing?'

Kurogane turned to Sakura, who was watching the blonde ride further into the distance. The ninja smirked sadistically, saying that it turned out Fay's world didn't have horses.

Sakura blinked.

'Will he be okay?'

Kurogane tried to look as serious as possible before replying with a 'Sure he will,' but he was secretly hoping the man would break his jaw or something. At least it'd shut him up.

When they'd sorted the idiot mage out ('-You have to actually hold the reigns, stupid.') Sakura informed them that Mokona had sensed her feather somewhere in the sunflower field and that she and Syaoran planned to go look for it after dinner. Kurogane didn't see the point in tagging along (what could pose a threat in this place? A rabid mole?), but the blonde insisted, and so after a hearty meal of what Kurogane called giblets (sending Fay into such a hysterical fit of laughter that he was still giggling long after they'd washed the dishes), Fay hopped into the driver's seat of the red jeep Sorata said they could use, the others joining him warily.

Two minutes later, a white-knuckled Kurogane forced Fay away from the steering wheel.

'Which way are we going?' the ninja grumbled when they came to a fork.

Syaoran and Sakura said 'right'. Unfortunately, they managed to say it at the exact same time Fay and Mokona cheered 'left!'

Needless to say, Kurogane went right.

Half an hour later, it seemed like they were going in circles.

'We've been here before, Kuro-daddy… there's a sunflower on the side of the—'

'There are sunflowers everywhere; this is a sunflower field.' Kurogane snapped, for what he hoped was the last time.

'STOP!' Mokona screeched, and Kurogane instantly slammed his foot onto the brake pedal.

'What is it now?!'

'Moko-chan just wanted the kitties to cross the road unharmed…'

Kurogane hissed a breath out, pinching the bridge of his nose. He held his open palm out to Syaoran, who obediently handed over the map.

'Hyuu' Fay "whistled", a hand above his eyes, 'This field goes on for-ever!'

'Get back in the jeep, shit-for-brains.'

X o X o X

'You know, you don't have to be so rough all the time.' Fay pouted that evening. They had managed to find the feather not long after Kurogane figured out where they were going.

Upon arriving back at the farmhouse, the kids had gone to bed, and for some reason Fay had climbed onto the roof of the converted hayloft that he and Kurogane shared.

Seeing the blonde mop disappear up ladders and through windows, Kurogane had, naturally, followed for fear that the careless mage would slip and break his neck.

'But, I guess that's just like Kuro-gruff, right?'

Kurogane was leaning against the chimney and, as always, Fay was leaning against him. It was one of those moments where everything just felt intimate and right. Which is why Kurogane didn't reply to Fay's comment with anything more than a kiss to the temple.

'I like this world,' Fay replied softly, equally unwilling to ruin the moment, 'it's warm, and peaceful. It's a shame we're leaving tomorrow.'

Kurogane hummed in agreement, which Fay took as a signal to continue.

'I like the work too, I guess. These hands,' he turned his pale hands palm upwards, studying them, 'I never thought they could sustain life… even when they've caused so much death…'

Kurogane was silent, hesitating slightly with his question, 'We're never gonna get a straight answer from you, are we?'

Fay smiled and stared up at the sky, where the double-moon shone down at them.

'We'll see, Kuro-sama.'