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Here at yet another world— this one smelling of mud among other foul substances in a land that prospers with farming— a group of three mismatched travelers rise to their feet. In spite of a long and accosting drop from the sky, they smile and chat amongst each other.

A cheerful looking man despite the blood prominent on his white coat sleeve uses his arm to squeeze his female companion's wrist. She looks from him to stare somewhat wistfully at the other younger male with brown hair holding her hand firmly until he notices that he was still. A reddish blush works over his lightly freckled countenance as he lets go bashfully, apologizing.

The last member of their assembly has landed late, clumsily on his bottom with an fWOP!, and casts a particularly deadly glare at the bouncing ball of fur that had retreated from his lap to the safety of the smiling man's shoulder.

"You did that on purpose, you steamed piece of—!"

"— Aahhh...did Kuro-pii hurt his tushy?"

"SAY THAT ABOUT MY ASS AGAIN, YOU DAMN MAGE, AND I'LL—!!"

"Mokona, can you sense a feather nearby?"

"No...there isn't one that Mokona can feel here...but maybe that mob of villagers with torches coming down the hill can help us!"

"...? Syaoran-kun... I think they are very angry..."

"Uh oh...Kuro-myuu made the villagers suspicious of us."

"IF YOU KEEP CALLING ME THAT, I'M THROWING YOU AT THEM FIRST!!"

"Sakura-hime, please stay behind meeehACHOO!"

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The mob of villagers decided not to kill them.

Well... for now, anyway...

A very generous couple living outside the central parish (that was not a part of the mob) had offered their older sparser living arrangements weaved expertly from reeds as well as animal hides. It made for two separate huts for the weary and bizarre travelers as long as they stayed on the land. Fai supposes that it is more preferable to live on what the couple brought them for dinners then to have been imprisoned or burned alive with the village's menacing-looking torches.

"Oh!" Sakura murmurs sympathetically, alarmed as the blond man flinches out of his reverie.

"It is alright Sakura-chan; just loosen the bandage a little." He watches half-amused as Mokona hops up and down impatiently on the hut's fur rug.

"Fai-san is so strong! It must hurt a lot!"

"The wound's not very deep but better safe then sorry."

Fai smiles gently at his fervent nurse as the short-haired girl makes a sad effort of coming across as stern— the pulling of her eyebrows together only makes her appear as if in pain, and her lips pressing jointly looks more like a cute pout then a frown. Sakura finishes up tying the 'bandage'— a leftover shred of a shirt sleeve from Outo— and chides him, nodding her head firmly, "You shouldn't move that arm for today."

"I will not argue with you then." She returns the optimistic smile, tucking an oversize stand of her copper-colored hair behind her ear as she stands, he asks, "Are you going to give Syaoran-kun some hot soup for his cold?"

"Mokona will come with!" The tiny creature yells, nuzzling the girl's hands as Sakura picks her up and cradles her closely to her chest.

"Okay, Mokona." Her bright green eyes focus on the man relaxing on the rug. "You can rest Fai-san."

"Of course, and while you are gone, I can wake our lazy oaf of a Daddy." As if he could hear the mage, Kurogane shifts on his side of the sleeping mat, growling between noisy snores about annoying mages.

Once the other two exit the hut— Fai bites his lip mischievously and scoots slowly across the wicker-style floor.

"Kuro-waaaan." He tempts fate by poking the sleeping man in the side. "Wakey-wakey." When he only gets an irritated snort as a reaction, Fai moves onto his knees to lean. With his good arm he fingers a thick clump of black hair. He smirks. "Maybe a good morning kiss will break the spell."

"Tch. Touch me again and I will kill you this time." Kurogane mumbles, opening one drowsy red eye and rolling back over away from the blonde mage. Fai claps his hands, the sordid-sweet and plastic smile restored over his features.

"Hyuuu~! I didn't have to do anything this time!"

"You aren't supposed to be moving that arm. You promised the princess, didn't you?"

Vivid blue eyes dim momentarily as the accusation hovers between them. Instead of forcing to brighten his tone and insisting upon annoying his companion until he grew bored of it as he normally would, Fai says dismally, sitting back down, "It's not good for Sakura-chan to worry so much."

"Is it not good for her to worry or just worry about you?" The ninja sighs, heaving his body upright. "How about you let the girl decide for herself what she wants to do?"

"I think its true Kuro-sama... you would make a decent father one day." The tinsel smile fades into something that must have been more reassuring to Kurogane, something more real and off-putting, "...if only you honestly cared enough..."

"And you would fail at it completely for being so self-centered and cowardly."

Fai understands that somehow, somehow this man knows him inside and out and he lets out a cruel bark of laughter, lying upon the ground of the hut. In the collection of the thick blue-dyed and white of his jacket, he stretches out, the muscles underneath his heavy silk shirt rippling fluidly.

"...I hate you."

And suddenly, his icy blue eyes shoot open upon the horrible realization that the spoken sentence rings true for them both.

The pale-haired man rolls onto his stomach and snatches the tattered end of his companion's cape hurriedly with his usable hand as Kurogane goes for the door; he stops mid-stride as tension builds around the neck piece of his weathered cloak. Fai bows his head forward, long strands of silvery blond slipping against his cheekbones.

"...."

The hut's door is flung open and shut, interrupting them.

A red-faced Sakura hurries inside, squeaking when she sees her friends and continues in a high pitch as she goes into the corner of the room, hanging her head down and bringing her fists to her mouth timidly. "Sakura-chan?" Fai recovers after a moment, letting go of the cloak. His venture carries no meaning to the girl as the squeaks lessen but her body begins to shake.

Blue and red eyes meet immediately, passing on the message. As Kurogane goes for the hut next door and Fai holds up a hand in surrender, edging for her; the hut door once again slams open and the dark-haired man dodges it at the last moment.

A very bare-chested Syaoran runs inside, hiking up his grubby dark green pants with one hand, and stammering nonsensically amongst "sorry's!". When Sakura glimpses up at him from between her fingers, the squeaks return full-force.

Kurogane sets a dangerous glare on the also red teenager who sneezes fiercely. "What the hell did you do to her, kid?" Fai slaps the back of his hand against Kurogane's shoulder mildly.

"Do you honestly believe that Syaoran-kun would do something so terrible to Sakura-chan? Syaoran-kun, where is Mokona?" The mage's eyes follows Syaoran's index finger to the furry creature bounding towards them through the high grass. "Mokona, what happened to Sakura-chan? Is she hurt? Did you find a feather?"

"No, no! Sakura was not hurt! She was very embarrassed!"

Kurogane scoffs at the creature leaping into one of Fai's arms. "What about it, meatbun?"

Mokona lowers her voice dramatically, "Sakura did not knock on the door when we entered Syaoran's room. She saw Syaoran...", an glow of pink passes over her white furry appearance, "...without his clothes."

From the corner of the room, a mousy hiccup of agreement sounds. Kurogane clears his throat uncomfortably, running a hand through his hair.

Out of nowhere, Fai bursts out into absurd laughter, falling to his knees. The rest of the occupants stare at him horrified as the blond man grips at his abdomen, still laughing; Sakura starts giggling nervously behind her hands. Fai cannot tell if the others have joined in and soon becomes numb to the feel of the reed floor pushed to his cheek, the pain in his arm drumming. Kurogane emerges in his line-of-vision alone, and he wonders vaguely how he had been arranged on his back in such a short time.

"How did...?"

"I sent the kids outside. You weren't responding to anyone in the last hour." Fai's blond eyebrows twitch upwards in confusion as the ninja covers his mouth with his right hand solidly, adding, "You are an idiot and you annoy me so much that I want to beat you. But if you start thinking you are worthless to everyone, you will never change for them."

At best it was a roundabout way of showing he cared. And of course, it falls on deaf ears. But selfishly, Fai doesn't mind if the charade stays.

To retaliate, the mage sticks out his tongue, licking the hand. Kurogane swears, pulling away and reaching for his katana.

"NOW YOU'RE DEAD!"

"Oh no! I've made Kuro-rin maaad~!"

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end.


Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles is not mine. Nopenope. All belonging to CLAMP. This is an older unedited piece. But I thought it was worth going up. And wow, something that wasn't heavily pair-based! I guess this was more me trying to write what would realistically happen between everyone. Yes, it is ridiculous and a bit sappy somewhere in the middle-- again call it one of my famous hidden scenes. Their unbiological family makes me so happy sometimes. As always I encourage reviews. Did you like it? Was I accurate? Let me know! ::offers cookies::