I joined the 10_random prompt community on livejournal and the prompts I received were so nice I decided to write them as a chronological sort of fic; just a drabble from nearly every world from the beginning, in modern Tokyo, to Nihon. And so, here's the first. The following ones will be longer.

Castles in the Air

Prologue: Ancient Magic

The courtyard smells like power. Ancient magic, used and reused; a recycling ground for spells and treasure. Fai can feel the power tingling in his fingertips, the roots of his hair. Even though the buildings that surround the shop are new in their shining glass and metal, tall and faceless and modern, the shop is old. Very old, and concealed beneath the facade of an empty lot.

Or perhaps the building itself is the facade, a magical construct that exists only in the minds of the needy. And that would make Yuuko...

The rain streams down and the thought slides away from him like the water slides from his hood, slipping against his waterproof cloak until it comes to rest in a puddle by his feet. He knows he should be listening to the Space-Time Witch, whom he came all this way (used all this magic, a guilty voice in the back of his mind reminds him) to beg a favor from. But his eyes keep straying to his new companions - the boy and girl behind him; he is crouched over her like a protector, a guardian. And the man to his left. Always the man. Always Kurogane.

(The name tastes strange in his mouth, hard syllables interspersed with soft; dark and rich.)

His childish wish - to return to his home country.

Fai's childish wish - to never go back.

Perhaps, he thinks as he glances from Kurogane, clutching his sword like a lifeline, to the boy, clutching Sakura like his last hope, the least childish of them all is the boy. The youngest.

This is hitsuzen, Yuuko is saying. The oldest magic of all. Fate.

Yes, Fai thinks, looking at Kurogane. Looking at Sakura and Syaoran. The Mokona is opening its mouth to take them to a new world and his back feels light without the weight of his tattoo; his magic feels loose and free and ready to snap.

He looks at Kurogane again, gripping his forearm now he has given up his sword. The man's eyes are narrowed, nervous.

Fai feels free for the first time.

Yes. Fate.