Author's Note:

This is the sequel to Of Origami Cranes and a Paper Heart, a KuroSaku romance started back in 2006 and completed around 2008. To returning readers and new readers alike, welcome.

A few words before we begin: yes, this is KuroSaku. That is indeed Kurogane and Sakura. This story starts off with the idea that Kurogane and Sakura have something going on between them; if you don't buy it or want to know how it happened, I recommend checking out OOC&aPH before reading further. Second, this will contain massive amounts of spoilers as the story progresses. The prologue you see before you is safe, but I would recommend reading as much of the manga as you can before wandering into further chapters. I will try to post notices before anything huge, but know that from here on out, your fate is in your own hands.

I hope you enjoy the show.

--cy.


He'd locked and bolted the windows, but at this point, what did it matter any more? The curtains were closing on this world, and that was that.

But why did he feel so ill at ease? Last night he'd had what had to have been the best night since leaving Shirasaki. Yeah, the kid and the mage were going to be problems, but he was a ninja. He was born to hide things under people's noses.

Still, something just didn't feel right.

The pork bun hadn't even given them enough time to sell the house or rent it out to someone, so Kurogane had assigned himself the task of securing entrance points in case of future use. He thought he'd seen the magician give him a strange look, like he was on the verge of saying something but then decided not to at the last moment. Kurogane frowned. What, that his locking the windows was useless? That, if everything went well, they'd never see this place again?

Hell, it wasn't as though he had a driving urge to come back. Seeing Tomoyo-hime fawning over Sakura all the time was just weird and made his stomach a little queasy. Yeah, he'd miss the dragonflies; he'd made himself scarce when the time came for Syaoran to talk to the guy from the parts shop about selling their models and had sulked on the roof, watching riders glide lazily through clouds while the transaction was completed. He didn't like not having a back-up plan, something for them to fall back on when everything went to hell.

The manjuu didn't even seem to be its normal annoying self. Granted, the kid had fed it all the clothes they'd bought from this world, which was a lot more than usual, as they'd been here a while and some of the proceeds from their dragonflies had gone toward purchasing a few more outfits to sell at the next world. They could always have Sakura gamble for them, but it was good to have a second option.

Just in case.

He latched the roof door behind him and scaled the outer walls of the house back down to the ground. What was wrong with him? His instincts didn't usually give him this much crap when everything seemed so solved: the saboteurs were caught, the feather was back--why the hell was he still feeling like something was waiting in the wings, something dark and sinister looming ahead in the not-so-distant future?

Kurogane tried to shake it off as he walked back to rejoin the others, but the feeling still nagged at him. Somewhere, a small voice told him, something is happening and it's not good.

"Kuro-myuu!" The wizard cried in mock distress, "We thought you'd never come out of that place! Moko-chan needs to take us to the next world and you go off gallivanting in deserted places. Why--"

Kurogane winced, trying not to listen anymore, and glanced at the others. Fai was affable as usual, spouting all kinds of nonsense about new places, and the princess seemed a little drowsy, but alright. Currently, she was snoozing against a tree. No one seemed to notice that this particular bout of sleepiness wasn't due to loss of her feathers but rather yesterday evening going late, though the kid seemed at least suspicious. Kurogane had to hand it to him. If you didn't recognize subtle changes in your charge's behavior, then you weren't guarding them well enough.

Something at his feet making noise jarred his reverie.

"Mokona has to get going! Everyone has to leave really soon!"

Fai laughed and patted the small creature on its furry head. "Of course, Moko-chan. Don't worry, we'll be ready in a little bit."

It nodded slowly, still not looking all that relieved. And for once, Kurogane echoed its feelings.

Wind erased their presence, and about as quickly as they'd entered the world, they'd left it. Somewhere, a man in black robes laughs, and somewhere else snow falls on a forgotten castle. A man struggles to overcome fate and another works to remove his curse. A princess sleeps and another sleeps without seeing, and slowly, the thread binding everything together begins to fray and the magic behind the props and scenes starts to unwind.

The man in black robes chuckles to himself once more, and turns from his gazing orb.

The curtains have closed on the first act.