Summary: Kurogane has lost the stability in his life that kept things into a balance. Fai has escaped from what causes fear in his every moment. Matched up to complete each other's needs, their ideas and wants differ greatly, but each with an emptiness to fill, they complete each other.
Disclaimer: CLAMP owns TRC, not little old me.
Some Background Info: This story supposedly takes place in 1920-30 England, where the police department consists of pairs, an officer, who deals mainly with physical combat, and their assistant, usually a magician, who can take out an enemy while they aren't looking. More background on Fai's needs will be revealed, as well as Kurogane's odd attachment to Tomoyo. Read and Enjoy!
The girl ran around the corner, her feet ignoring commands to be careful in the icy chase. The culprit was getting away. She rubbed her freezing palms together as she sprinted, attempting to charge up any magic she could muster. One successful bolt could catch the man. She knew her partner was right on the enemy's tail, hounding him and making him careless. He wouldn't be looking to dodge an attack, he'd be looking for an escape. It was a perfect combination. Everything she and Kurogane did was a perfect combination.
She rounded another corner, she saw the robber, Kurogane clearing away from him so that Tomoyo could send a bolt straight into the man's back. She rubbed her palms together once more before thrusting them forward and letting a considerable bolt loose. She barely had any strength, and the rebound from her attack sent her flying back ward, before getting her ankles caught on the rough ice. She twisted and spun across the street, slamming spine first into the curb of the opposite sidewalk.
Instantly, her neck ached, and her head pounded. She heard footsteps running toward her, lifting her up, and pulling her high in the air.
"You got him, Tomoyo. He's being cuffed as we speak. Are you okay?" Kurogane asked.
Tomoyo went to open her mouth and say she was fine, but the lack of movement from her mouth told her that she clearly wasn't. She tried again, and her lips parted slightly, but only a puff of air escaped, and nothing more.
"You aren't okay, then. We're getting you to the doctor right away. If you were running low on fuel you shouldn't have shot that blast. Why would you do that?"
Tomoyo took in a deep breath, managing to say one word.
Long, pale fingers brushed over bare, pale skin. The blonds' hair stood on end as the larger man slid his coat off. The larger, dark haired man chuckled deeply as his younger prisoner trembled nervously. He brushed his fingers over the blonds' face, then down his thin shirt, attempting to slide it off.
"You're nervous, Fai...I thought you would have been accustomed to this."
He stroked Fai's arms until he reached the chains that connected him to the cool, concrete wall. Fai gasped, attempting to back away from Ashura, but there was nowhere to go. There was never anywhere to go. He closed his eyes, hoping not to see the man before him.
"Come now, Fai. We've been doing this for years, why can't you like it just a bit for once?"
"P-Please don't..." Fai whispered in fear.
Ashura backed away slightly, inspecting Fai's trembling expression, his head turned to be as far from Ashura's as possible, his eyes closed. He laughed in the blonds' discomfort. He quickly grasped Fai's face, sliding his tongue across his jaw bone.
"I'll be right back, after I get something to eat. Think of me while I'm gone," Ashura smirked before going back to the stairs that led to the main part of his house, leaving Fai in chilling silence.
It was time. There had been one thing that Fai had that Ashura hadn't yet revealed. He had been working on the chain on his right hand for months, and it was practically ready to break. He sprung his leg up and shattered it, holding his raw, pink wrist to his shirt. He brought the weak hand to his left, rubbing them together, making the magic charged and static on his palm. He took in one last deep breath before holding his right hand to the left chain, and letting it evaporate.
He look sorrowfully at his body. He was nothing but skin and bones, his skin a ghastly grey-white, his wrists practically worn down to the bone. He attempted to jog to the window, but his legs could barely carry the light weight of his sickly body.
He rubbed his palms together once more, this time channeling the energy to the window across the room. It disappeared quickly, and Fai began to weakly make his way to it. He heard Ashura sit down for lunch.
I have time...
The window was high off the ground, and Fai knew he had no way of lifting himself to its height. He worked the same disintegrating magic down the wall, giving himself a large doorway into the snowy air.
Tears welled in his eyes as he felt snow prickle against his skin for the first time in five years. His lips were blue, his eyes purple underneath. He knew he had no money of any sorts, and no way to eat, but he had the magic, and that was enough to make his new life.
He looked back at the mansion he had stepped out of, before grinning solemnly and moving forward.
"Injured?" Kurogane asked, fiercely.
"Yes. She can barely moved her body, and her spine is fractured. She has a minor concussion, and multiple other broken bones. We'll be lucky if she even recovers, let alone comes back to be your partner. You'll have to find a replacement magician," the doctor snapped.
"Tomoyo, can you speak?"
The dark haired girl turned her head painfully to look her partner in his crimson eyes, before letting his lips part slightly.
"I...can't...return," she uttered in broken gasps.
Kurogane's eyes widened. He had never even thought of the possibilities of having to find another magician to replace his partner. He and Tomoyo had been working together for nearly five years, without error once. What had happened to make this mission her last, he didn't know. Everything was going normally. He would scare the enemy into making mistakes, and when they were looking away, Tomoyo would eliminate them from behind.
This time, her own magic was too much for her, and the icy street definitely didn't help. Kurogane threw a nearby table onto its side, the glass vase set on it shattering against the ground.
"This is your fault," he roared at Tomoyo. Her eyes widened, tears settling on her eyelid. "If you hadn't been reckless...you knew you were weak, yet you did it anyway! And now I have to find a new partner!"
"Your...new...partner," Tomoyo began before coughing. She gestured for Kurogane to come closer. "Protect...him."
"Him? How do you know it'll..."
"I...know..." she huffed, before coughing incessantly.
The doctor escorted Kurogane from the room, letting the nurses slip in, and closing the door behind them. He glared at the large officer before him, frowning.
"That scene you pulled in there is only going to make her condition worse, you know," the doctor snapped. "She's going to worry constantly. I just hope you visit often, because, if you don't, her anxiety may kill her."
Kurogane rolled his eyes, sweeping away from the doctor in a fit of rage, slamming shut every open door on his way down the hall and shooting murderous glares at anyone who even attempted speaking to him.
The large, dark officer watched the blond let off attack after attack, hitting the targets with perfect precision, and using almost no time to charge his attacks. The magician was unhealthily pale, and thin, his eyes dark, and his wrists a sick shade of pink, like they had been rubbed raw for years.
"He's not in a near good enough condition to do what Tomoyo and I did on a daily basis. He looks like he's going to fold in half if we aren't careful with him. Why on Earth would you even show him to me?" Kurogane huffed.
"Well, he's definitely an extremely skilled magician," one advisor whispered to the officer beside him.
"Not to mention his stamina, considering his state of health. Imagine the massive amount of power he'll possess once he's at full health!" a female advisor declared, staring intently at the blond.
"But he isn't at full health now. I don't approve."
"You have no choice," said a low, woman's voice from behind them.
Kurogane turned to look at his superior officer, Yuuko. She smirked, pulling her extremely long black hair into a ponytail. Her two small dogs yapped at her ankles, one black, one white. From what the large man had gathered, she called them both Mokona. Her bashful assistant, Watanuki, stood at her side, clipboard plastered to his chest.
"And why do I have no choice?" Kurogane sighed. He knew that he would be stuck with the sickly man.
"Because I have already rejected all other applicants, and hired him for you. I wasn't asking for your approval, Kurogane, I was only seeing what your first impression was."
Kurogane glanced at the pale man, still casting bolt of magic at targets. His light hair was coated in sweat, and his arms and legs were trembling. Yuuko motioned for an advisor to stop the man before he killed himself. She smiled with a fake sweetness at the battle worn officer, before departing, her long, eccentric skirt trailing across the grass.
"Come on, magician," Kurogane grunted.
Fai looked at his new partner cautiously. While others had been watching his purposefully over the top magic, this man had been watching his odd condition. He was more observant than Fai would have liked.
He slapped his cheeks and rubbed his arms roughly, attempting to bring some color to his pale grey skin. e ran his fingers through his sweat soaked hair frantically as Kurogane turned around.
"Just so you know, I'm not stupid. For whatever reason you don't want anyone to acknowledge the fact that you're death on legs, it's not my business. My partner will be back on her feet soon, and you'll be out. I will not refer to you as my partner, and I will not teach you any maneuvers. You will do as you're told, and you will stay out of my way as much as your weak little body can handle. Understand?" Kurogane explained coolly.
"I have one favor to ask of you. On our first mission, please let our enemy kill me. Obviously you're a good, strong man. Don't let someone like me hold you back," Fai smiled grimly.
Kurogane stared at his partner skeptically. It wasn't a method others had used to get on his good side before. Usually they tried to flatter him, or tell him all the great things they'd done, or something of that matter, but not the sickly magician before him.
"Obviously you were very attached to your previous partner. She'll be coming back soon I gather, so I won't interfere. I simply want to come to eternal rest. I thought, of all the officers I could try to join, you'd be the most willing to let a stranger go," Fai chuckled.
"That's right. I'll handle whatever we're up against, you just run and get in the way," Kurogane said darkly, testing the magician. If he were sincere in his belief, he would be surprised by Kurogane's automatic decision, if he was trying to get the large officer in trouble, he would act as if all was normal.
"So, you're still thinking about it then, Officer Kurogane...that is your name right? Obviously you haven't come to a decision that quickly, so it's alright, continue considering. I can make it look like there is nothing you could have done."
Kurogane grunted before turning and motioning for the magician to follow him. Fai smiled, trailing at his new partner's heels. The less he talked to the officer, the better. The more he could get on his nerves, the more willing he'd be to let the blond slip into eternal rest, without any questions. How else was he supposed to escape the inevitable? Death was always the only answer. It was a lesson Fai had learned well.
"This is our house," Kurogane mumbled as they stepped out of the carriage.
Fai stepped out unsteadily, catching the side of the cart for support. Kurogane made no indication he had noticed, and continued walking up the hill. Fai chuckled to himself, bracing up and continuing to walk. He knew that the officer was aware of the difficulty Fai would face climbing the hill, yet he didn't assist the magician at all.
Kurogane stood, towering in the entry way to the home. He was clearly waiting for his unhealthy new partner to catch up to him. Fai finally reached the entry way, huffing and wiping sweat from his brow. He didn't need the officer's sympathy, though. All he needed was the officer's cold heart.
"This is your room on the left. Mine is on the right. If you come into my room, I'll skin you alive. There's money here in this room to purchase food. I'm going out, don't wait around," Kurogane shrugged, not once looking at his companion.
He slid out the door, walking into nowhere. Fai looked around the small house. His room on the left, he thought. He slipped inside, taking it in. How long had it been since he'd had a room of his own? It would pain him to let all of this go, but death was more inviting than life. Ashura would be looking for him, and he couldn't ever risk Ashura finding him.
He needed to leave the world of the living, and soon. His eyes slid from his own, blank, empty room to the door across the entry room, to the shut door on the other side. He was feeling awfully tired.
Kurogane pressed the door back open, after having visited Tomoyo. He was altogether disappointed that she had merely been sleeping. He had to tell her all about the trouble she'd caused by being injured, and the obnoxious partner she'd stuck him with. Speaking of which, the tall officer couldn't seem to locate the magician. It shouldn't have been too hard. In his condition, there was no way he could have left the house.
"Magician, where the hell are you?" he called through the house.
He opened the door to Fai's room, looking around. The bed was made perfectly, the lights off, shoes on the floor. He look truly baffled for a moment, before heat rose from his feet to his temples.
He stormed into his own room, to see the magician lounging across his bed, staring up at Kurogane.
"Oh, Kuro-puu, you're home!" he exclaimed cheerfully.
"If you value your life, you will get out..."
"Well, you see, I don't, really..." Fai chuckled.
Kurogane's anger settled for a moment, surprise waving over him. The magician was serious about dying. It confused him to no end how a human being could be so eager to end their only time on Earth. If he had been given the chance to become a magician for the government and salvage his disgusting life, he would've taken it and never let go.
Fai smiled before departing, as he passed his partner, he blew him a kiss, and began humming an oddly delightful tune. Kurogane slammed the door behind him, inspecting his room. All of his things had been cast around, and his bed was a mess.
A bird flew onto the officer's windowsill, a piece of tainted parchment in its petite mouth. Kurogane took it delicately before sending the bird away. He opened it cautiously, ensuring that Fai hadn't sent him some sort of practical joke. He was beginning to regret his position as officer more and more every day.
"Officer Kurogane and Asst. Fai, a report of a man with weapons and mal intent has been documented downtown on the corner of Fourth and Lilac. Please report immediately, and take care of things swiftly and with little damage.
Before Fai's name, Tomoyo was visibly scratched out. He had thought the letter would look unnatural with Fai's name on it, but Fai's name looked rather remarkable on a stained piece of paper. So naturally, Kurogane would never show it to the magician. No matter how 'natural' it looked, Fai didn't belong, and it would Kurogane's honor to let him fall.
"What was that, Kuro-rin?" Fai asked, peeking around the doorframe.
"Cut that stupid nicknames, magician. If you want to die so badly, we'll take care of that in a moment. We have a criminal to take care of. Make sure this is what you want to do. If you get yourself in a considerable amount of trouble, and suddenly have a change of heart, I'm not putting my own life in danger to save that pitiful mess you call yours," Kurogane said firmly.
"No changes in heart, whatsoever," Fai grinned.
- - -
The two made their way down the hill, Fai rambling on about an obviously fabricated childhood story. He referred to Kurogane with the incessant nicknames, driving his partner to insanity with each one. They got into the carriage, as Kurogane read the directions to the driver.
"Ah, you must be Officer Kurogane's new assistant, Fai?" the driver asked with a smile.
At his name, Fai's expression became solemn and chillingly dark, before flashing back to his normal smile.
"You got it, that's me," he chuckled.
Kurogane stared at the magicians face, watching for odd expressions like before, but there were none. Fai turned his head to catch Kurogane's stare in surprise.
"Oh! Kuro-puu, you flatter me. I'm not that beautiful," Fai said, batting his eyelashes.
"More like disgusting," Kurogane retorted, sitting back in his seat. That wasn't a normal expression he'd caught, and he'd figure it out later. Or would he? He had to remind himself that this would be it. The last time he saw the blond magician.
Fai sat back as well, looking out the window. Sweat was accumulating at the base of his neck as he worried over his fate. It was his final decision, he reminded himself. He couldn't stay around Kurogane much longer either. The officer had seen his reaction to the driver's mention of his name. He couldn't let anything else slip up, or Kurogane's curiosity would prevent him from simply allowing the magician to die.
"Here we are you two!" the driver chirped, opening their doors for them.
"Thank you, sir!" Fai sang to the man.
"Any day, Fai!"
This time, Fai smiled and waved, not a single bad vibe escaping his body. He wouldn't give Kurogane the pleasure of knowing anything. He could have his partner back, and Fai could achieve what he'd longed for years.
- - -
After minutes of waiting for an appearance, a shrill scream pierced the warm afternoon air, making the atmosphere feel like ice.
Kurogane realized that Fai simply wasn't going to be able to keep up like Tomoyo did. He grabbed Fai's elbow, attempting to run forward, but Fai ripped his arm away with a yelp. The larger officer froze in his tracks, before bolting off on his own.
"If you want to get it done, you'll have to catch up. I'm not waiting for anyone," Kurogane called back.
Fai bit his chilled lip, watching the officer sprint ahead faster than any he'd seen before. It was obvious he couldn't catch Kurogane on foot. On top of that, it wasn't Kurogane he wanted to catch. He had let another piece of his image crumble with his reaction to physical contact.
He did have one thing other magicians didn't though. All magicians could deconstruct and send electric currents, but none that he knew of other than himself could reconstruct and make something out of nothing.
He rubbed his palms together rapidly, letting the reconstructed ground carry him over the building tops. He felt the energy draining from his core. If he planned it perfectly, he could land before his enemy, completely empty of energy. It would be an easy kill, and it would look like Fai was simply inexperienced, with no suspicion about his death.
He saw Kurogane hot on the man's tail. When the officer looked up, he was caught off guard at first, before realizing what the plan was. He gave an aggravated nod, pausing in his pursuit and letting the magician carry on forward.
As planned, Fai landed perfectly before the robber, with not even a drop of energy to move.
"I guess I'm out, then. No catching you, then," Fai smiled grimly to the thief.
The thief's color returned to his dirt-caked face, as he looked around in disbelief. He pulled out a knife, holding it close to Fai's throat.
"Where's your partner, magician?" he asked harshly.
"I suppose I told him I could handle this myself, my mistake..."
The thief smirked. He stamped down on Fai's legs, and felt the brittle bones snap. Fai yelped slightly, but knew that death would be his shortly. Just pressing through the pain a little longer would lead him to the eternal rest he wanted more than anything on Earth.
Kurogane leaned against a wall, his head throbbing from all the strange current events. Was he really with a different partner? Was his new partner really a frail young man? Was he really letting him just die?
Tomoyo's breathy words still echoed in the back of his mind. She had known who his new partner would be, she had indicated it was a male. And something about the last two words struck a gaping hole in his chest. Protect him...
"Dammit!" Kurogane muttered to himself, rushing around the corner.
Fai felt his other leg snap. All four of his limbs were shattered under the thief's boot. Finally, the filthy man leaned over the magician, knife glaring against his throat.
"I've always wanted to kill one of you bastards," the thief muttered. "I mean really kill you, not just stab you through the heart. I want you to feel it."
Fai closed his eyes. The pain was absolutely excruciating, ringing white hot through his aching limbs. He couldn't move, not at all. He didn't regret it though. He pressed any will to live from his mind. Please Fai...die happy.
Hot liquid splashed against his face, and his eyes sprung open. Kurogane was standing over him, casting the body of the thief off from his blade and away from them. He looked blaringly into the magicians eyes, the sun casting him into a silhouette.
Fai could do nothing but stare, wide-eyed at his partner, heart frozen, breath not coming to him naturally.
"W-Why?" he gasped.
"Because you have some questions to answer. No one as seriously screwed up as you gets to go on and die without telling me what the hell's going on, got that?" Kurogane chuckled, grabbing the magician by his shirt and casting him over his broad back.
"I didn't want this. I wanted to die back there. I was ready to die."
"Yeah, well, I guess that sucks for you, magician, because I wasn't ready for you to die, and you agreed that you do what I say. It was a pretty good go, though. I almost let you off the hook."
Fai smiled lightly, wondering what it was that changed his partner's heart back there, and if, maybe, his time to pass on hadn't come yet. He looked upward at the sky, wondering what it was the fates had planned for his miserable excuse for existence. He truly was a disgusting being, incapable of even dying.
Must I live forever with this weight on my heart, brother?
I hope you enjoyed chapter one. Please Read and Review, feedback is always helpful!