Just a thought that came to me while I was watching a firework display on the beach at the front of my house last night. How Fai might perceive something so normal to us.
Kurogane looked down at Sakura and Syaoran, both bundled up warm in the front garden of the house they were staying in while they were in this world. A jiggle in Sakura's hood indicated where the manjuu was.
"It must be going to start soon," Syaoran said as other people started to drift out onto the streets, all of them bundled up against the cold.
"Oh good," Sakura said, bouncing on her toes.
"Should someone go and get Fai-san? He wouldn't have been able to read the posters, and I don't think anyone has told him there's something special happening tonight," Syaoran asked, glancing back at Kurogane.
"I'll go, although given how much he loves childish things, he'll probably be out as soon as it starts," Kurogane sighed, rolling his eyes.
Heading back into the house, he found Fai standing in the kitchen, mixing something that looked suspiciously sweet in a bowl at the table.
"Oi, mage, why aren't you ready to go outside?" he asked.
"Why would I want to go outside? We've finished feather hunting for the day haven't we? Or is there a new lead?" he asked, not looking up from the bowl as he added something that looked like chocolate to Kurogane, confirming his theory that whatever was being made was going to be nauseatingly sweet.
"Come on, the show is going to be starting soon, and its right up your street, you love noise," he snorted.
"Show? Noise?" Fai asked, finally looking up.
"Fireyworks?" Fai asked in confusion, covering his bowl with a sigh and putting it out of the way so that he could come back to it.
"Well, whatever you called them in your world, come on the kids are waiting," Kurogane said impatiently.
The first firework went off as they passed the sitting room window on the way to the closet beside the door, the flare of colored light and loud explosion caused a completely unexpected reaction in Fai, stunning Kurogane. The mage yelled and dived away from the glass, his back to the wall, his eyes wide with panic.
"An attack, where are the children, we have to get to safety," he yelled at the startled ninja.
"What the hell are you talking about? The kids are outside of course," he growled.
"We have to get them, they'll be killed," Fai babbled, making a dive for the door.
Kurogane grabbed him, pulling him back, he wasn't going to let him go out there and freak the kids out while they were enjoying the show.
"They're fine, idiot, what the hell has gotten into you?" he demanded.
"Someone is attacking, Kuro-chu, the children," he whimpered, trying to pull away.
Kurogane realized that the mage was genuinely terrified about this, genuinely thought they were being attacked.
"Its just fireworks, they must have had something like this in your world," he said, pulling Fai back to the window as there was another flare and bang.
"Yes, people like me used it to kill," Fai spat, trying to jerk free.
Kurogane filed away that little snippet of information, now wasn't the time to pursue it, and it wasn't as if they didn't know that Fai's magic was battle magic, even if he had never really admitted anything about it.
"No, look out there Fai, no one is scared, it's just a show, just fireworks, no magic," he said quietly, holding the struggling mage firmly in front of him.
He could feel the thin frame jerking every time there was another bang, and the brightly colored sparks were glinting off glassy eyes, so he was fairly sure the mage wasn't listening to a word he was saying.
Finally he pulled him away from the window, tugged him over to the plush sofa and sat down, pulling the trembling mage down with him, so that he was sitting in Kurogane's lap.
"The children," Fai whispered miserably, hiding his face in Kurogane's shoulder.
"They're fine, I'm more worried about you," Kurogane sighed gruffly.
"Fireworks are just light and noise, they're only dangerous in the hands of certain morons who don't treat them with respect. No magic, at all," he said.
"Children would stand and watch the battles sometimes," Fai said distantly.
"Children would stand and watch, all they would see would be the lights and the noise, they wouldn't understand the danger, they wouldn't understand that they could get killed if they didn't run," he murmured.
Kurogane tightened his grip on the thin frame in his arms, his heart feeling like it was going to stop, unsure if Fai was telling him he had been put in a position where children had been killed.
"That was the only real bone of contention between me and Ashura in the early days; he would get so angry at me for risking myself to protect children that would, as he put it, be slaughtered anyway if the enemy we were fighting was allowed to win. Children soon learned the dangers of not running though," he said.
"The enemy had cottoned on that Ashura's most powerful weapon would endanger himself to save innocents. They targeted a school, a massive concentrated attack; they thought stopping it would kill me. They were nearly right, but it wasn't what they had hoped for. I wasn't in a position to stop their attack, the school, fifty percent of that village's children, were obliterated before I could get there to stop it. I lost control completely, my magic lashed out, killed every enemy mage, every enemy soldier, and then it started to turn on my allies too. Ashura put an arrow in my back to stop me; at that point he was even willing to kill me to stop me wiping out every living thing in the valley. It took months for me to recover, and by the time I did, the children had learned to run from the battles. Ashura never let me on the front lines again anyway, it was over a year after the healers had released me before I was able to draw a bow again, and a mage, no matter how powerful, who can only rely on his magic in a fight, is a liability," Fai said into Kurogane's shoulder.
The ninja rested his chin on top of Fai's head, he could still feel the mage jumping with every bang, suppressing the fight or flight response that was deeply ingrained in him. He held him tighter, sliding one big hand lightly up and down the mage's thin back.
"It will be over soon, these displays never last very long," he sighed, offering what comfort he could.
Fai curled up closer to him, keeping his face hidden and his hands over his ears, trying to block it out and focus instead on the warmth and reassurance of the strong arms holding him.
Kurogane was sitting alone on the couch when the kids trooped back inside, their noses, cheeks and ears flushed with the cold, and their eyes glittering with excitement.
"That was the best firework display I ever remember seeing," Sakura said, bouncing around with Mokona, who simply parroted 'best, best,' as they pranced.
"You didn't come back out, or bring Fai-san," Syaoran said, looking at Kurogane.
"He was too busy in the kitchen, he didn't want to leave what he was doing, and I've seen loads of fireworks, and it was nice and warm in here," he said with a shrug, intended to indicate the subject was closed.
Fai came out of the kitchen then, bearing a tray of steaming mugs, and if his eyes were a little red, and his smile a little ragged around the edges, no one mentioned it, although Kurogane did catch Syaoran glancing sharply in his direction. Kurogane bit back a growl, if he wanted to assume that Kurogane had upset Fai in one of their disagreements, then it was better than telling them what had really upset their 'mommy', and he wasn't going to say anything to change his mind.
He could smell yet more chocolate as Fai handed the mugs out, and glared habitually at the mage as he pressed the heated ceramic into the ninja's hand.
"Lovely, hot chocolate, thank you Fai-san," Syaoran said, going to hang his and Sakura's coats up before coming back to enjoy his drink.
Kurogane took a sip to appease the mage, and his eyes widened in surprise. Instead of the sickly sweetness this drink usually offered, there was a bitter bite cutting the sweetness, making the drink taste deep and rich and downright amazing. Looking at his mug, he realized that his drink was considerably darker than what was in the other mugs. Glancing back at the mage, he saw a small, honest smile curling around his lips, and grunted.
"Not bad," he conceded, knowing Fai would correctly translate that.
His lover's smile widened slightly, and he knew they both understood each other well enough for now.