A/N: This is based around the sixth omake in the manga, set before Acid Tokyo, in which the Tsubasa gang is stuck in a small wooden cabin in an unnamed world during a storm. Mokona claims that Yuko said it was good weather for telling scary stories and, for the rest of the scene, find the omake (mini-comic), known in the English translation as "Worlds of the Untold Stories", or something like that.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to CLAMP. Setting belongs to CLAMP. Story belongs to CLAMP. Dialogue belongs to CLAMP – you know, I'm starting to see a pattern here. But in-between bits belong to me.
It was a dark and stormy night. More stories should start like that, Fai thought. It was a good start, whispering of dark and ominous secrets and broken promises. But the fire was warm, and the lightning outside only served to accentuate the stories inside. Mokona's story had been a hiccup, or a giggle, a cute side note to the stories Fai could tell Kurogane had planned. He'd seen the light in the other man's eyes when Mokona had suggested the night's theme.
And when Syaoran told his scary story, which had started off so promisingly, it had simply served to show how dedicated the boy was to his profession. And since Fai was the one who had asked him if he had had any scary experiences, he hadn't been expecting any sort of goosebump-inducing tale. Admittedly, Syaoran probably knew a few scary stories related to archaeology, but he hadn't had that many scary experiences – so far, at least, or that he could remember. Or perhaps he had thought that a story that was too scary would have scared his princess. But that honestly wasn't Fai's business, and he couldn't get involved in any of their business while trying to get them to stay out of his. Well, he shouldn't, at least.
Anyway, there was a scary aspect to Syaoran's story. The boy's dedication to preserving ancient relics seemed a little frightening, to Fai. He'd never been that dedicated to anything – well, almost never, anyway.
He shut his eyes for a moment to get rid of pointless thoughts and heard Kurogane take up the storytelling mantle. So he'd been right, after all. The ninja did have stories in reserve. Apparently the court Kurogane had trained in was big on that sort of thing. The Japanese court with the fighters and the Empress and the Princess – from the way Kurogane talked about that court it sounded as though they had served in place of the family Kurogane had lost because of Fei Wang Reed. A huge, storytelling, cheerful but serious family.
The court Fai had…stayed in had been a little different. He pasted a stupid grin over his face, telling himself off for going off on such a self-pitying tangent instead of living in the now.
Then he saw Kurogane glare at him, and say, with a frown, "Well, what about you?"
Fai took a quick breath in and released the cheerfulness he'd been building up since Mokona had said "scary stories!". If he couldn't pull this off – but he could. He was sure he could. No-one but Mokona had caught him out yet – although Kurogane might have been beginning to get a hint – but Fai was sure that no-one could work him out.
Sometimes, even he couldn't.
He blushed stupidly and pointed to his grin.
"Hmm? Do you really want to hear it?"
"Do you really, really want to hear it?"
Fai stood wordless for a few moments until Kurogane looked disgusted and went on.
The funny thing was, his story would have been the scariest.
Stories are always scarier when they've happened to someone you know. There's that gasp of terror when you realise how close they might have been to being possessed by a ghost, or to being hurt, or to being killed, and then that moment where you begin to wonder how the experience might have changed them into the person who they are today, and then the relief when you realise that it might not have happened; that maybe it really was just a scary story, written and rehearsed just for nights like tonight.
The scariest stories happened to young children, children too innocent and defenceless to understand or to change the circumstances they were in.
The most chilling stories were set in horrific situations with isolated backdrops and scenery that was scary to even imagine.
The most horrifying stories had helpless characters, destroyed and insane and abused and scared and with lives ripped to shreds.
The scariest stories lasted for immeasurable years, decades, centuries, stretching onwards until time stopped mattering, or even existing.
A truly scary story could – would – change who you were.
Fai could have told them a scary story.
The funny thing, he thought, as Sakura told her story and he tried to pay attention, was how close what he'd just said to Kurogane had come to mocking that story.
But then again, that wasn't funny.
That was scary.