Sakura knocked on the door gently, Syaoran behind her.
"Fai-san?" She called. Silence answered her, and she looked nervously at Syaoran. "Fai-san? Fai-san, I'm coming in." Pushing the door open, her eyes widened when she saw her employer on the floor. "Fai-san!"
A couple hours later, Fai woke up in the hospital. Glancing around, he saw Sakura, Syaoran behind her. With a slight groan, he pulled himself into a seated position and smiled.
"Sakura-chan." He mumbled. Emerald eyes darted up to meet his sapphire, brimming with tears.
"Fai-san, what happened?" She asked. Fai looked up, seeming to stare at someone in front of him.
"I saw Kuro-min." He said softly. "And Kuro-chan said I could walk, and needed to get up." Syaoran frowned lightly and Sakura sniffed in confusion, trying not to cry.
"Fai-san..." She trailed off softly. Syaoran put his hand on her shoulder, and she started again. "Fai-san, Kurogane-san has been dead for at least five years."
"No." Fai said faintly, eyes not moving from their spot. "He was there." Syaoran motioned to Sakura that visiting hours were over, and that they should leave. Sakura nodded.
"We'll come back tomorrow, Fai-san." She promised. Fai waved them away dreamily.
"See you tomorrow." He said.
When they came to the hospital the next day, Fai was already gone.
When he was twelve, Fai broke his wrist.
He was running from his best friend, laughing hysterically, when he slipped and fell down the stairs. He landed on his hands and knees (surprisingly, like a cat) and put too much weight on his left wrist. It snapped and he crumpled, pulling the injured wrist closer to his chest.
"OI!" His friend yelled, coming to a stop next to him and pulling him up by his uninjured arm. Fai yelped when fingers touched his broken wrist. "Idiot." Fai managed a giggle.
"Daddy loves me anyway." He sang out teasingly.
"Will you stop with that and be serious for once?" Keeping his wrist close to his chest, Fai allowed himself to be pulled by the taller child.
"Are you saying you don't like me, Kuro-rin?" Fai asked, pretending to be hurt. It hid the fact that his wrist was in excruciating pain.
"It's Kurogane, dammit!" The other twelve-year-old flushed. "Get it right!" Fai just grinned at him.
"Oi, look at this one." Fai leaned over twenty-nine-year-old Kurogane's shoulder and frowned playfully at the image he showed the blonde.
"Why that one?" Fai asked. "You don't like this house?"
"I was just saying." Kurogane snapped at him, turning the page. Fai grinned, knowing there was no venom behind the words. "And besides, you were the one who said you wanted to move."
"I was joking, Kuro-tan."
"Kurogane." He corrected absently as Fai leaned down to kiss his cheek. "Well, don't say things you don't mean, idiot."
"You always take things so seriously, Kuro-sama." Fai muttered. "It's not healthy for you, I'm sure of it."
"You aren't healthy for me either." Fai laughed, but Kurogane shook his head. "I liked you better when you didn't talk." Fai beamed as he placed his chin on Kurogane's head.
Fai ignored the doorbell as it rang throughout the house. Most likely, it wasn't anyone important to him. He continued to stare listlessly out the window, playing with a tattered old doll.
"Fai-san." He blinked and turned his head to the side to his housekeeper. She was a pretty girl, with short brown hair that framed her face and big emerald eyes. "Syaoran-kun is here, so I'll be taking my leave. If it's all right with you, that is." She added hastily. Fai glanced outside again-sure enough, standing on the porch was the brown haired boy that stole the heart of his housekeeper. He turned to smile at Sakura.
"Go." He told her. "Live your lives together." Sakura frowned, hesitating in the doorway.
"You'll be all right by yourself, Fai-san?" She asked worriedly. Fai, placing the tattered doll in his lap, turned his wheelchair to face her and began moving across the room. She rushed forward, meeting him halfway. He reached, taking her smooth, soft hands in his old, wrinkled ones.
"Sakura-chan." He said softly. "You'll only live once. Go, have fun with Syaoran-kun. Besides," with a grin, he held up the stuffed doll. "Mokona can keep me company."
Fai rang the doorbell and waited, rocking back onto his heels. After a few seconds passed and no one opened the door, he rang the doorbell again. And again. And again. And aga-
"What do you want?" Kurogane roared at the blonde ten-year-old as he pulled the door open. Fai beamed at him, pointing at his missing top teeth. Kurogane blinked. "Those your first missing teeth?" Fai shook his head violently.
"I-I-I have n-n-n-no m-m-more b-baby teeth." He stammered out. He beamed when he realized his ability to speak properly was also getting better. Kurogane offered the other ten-year-old an encouraging smirk.
"That's good." He said.
"Who is it, Kurogane?"
"Oh! It's Fai, mom." He called back before turning his attention to Fai, offering the blonde his hand. "My mama just made cake. Want some?" Fai's eyes went wide and he nodded enthusiastically, grabbing the offered hand and running inside.
"Hi, M-M-Mama S-S-Suwa!" He cried happily. "L-Look, look!"
Sakura knocked gently on the door, hoping to not wake her employers.
"Come in, come in!" A cheerful voice called out. Smiling reassuringly, Sakura led her guest into the bedroom. One of her employers, a lithe blonde, was setting himself in the wheelchair that was by his bed. The other turned from the bed, blind red eyes glaring in the general direction of the door.
"Who's that there with you, Sakura?" He called out roughly, blinking.
"Kurogane-san, Fai-san, this is Syaoran-kun." Sakura said, pulling the boy forward. "He's asked me to dinner tomorrow night."
"Pleased to meet you." Syaoran said, bowing formally at Fai, then at Kurogane. Fai beamed.
"Hello, Syaoran-kun!" He said. "It's good to meet you. Come, come." Slightly confused, Syaoran moved towards Fai, but the blonde shook his head. "Not me, Syaoran-kun. Kuro-tan."
"Kurogane." The blind man corrected. "Come here, kid." Syaoran moved to stand in front of him. After a few seconds of blind groping, the elder finally found the younger's hand, and Kurogane shook Syaoran's hand firmly. "Nice to meet you, kid."
Seven-year-old Fai followed his neighbor to the school. Scowling, the other boy turned to him.
"Why are you following me?" He snapped, more annoyed than angry. Fai shrugged, smiling at him. The other boy's red eyes narrowed at him, before softening slightly as he sighed. "Come on, Fai." He reached out and grabbed the paler boy's hand, turning them around to go back to the house. "Let's go."
"G-G-G-G-G-G-Go w-w-w-where?" Fai stammered out. Kurogane turned to him with a raised eyebrow.
"Back home." He said. "Mama Flowright is probably worried about you."
"M-M-M-M-M-Mam-m-ma t-t-t-t-told m-m-m-m-me t-t-t-to g-g-go w-w-with y-y-y-you." Fai stammered slowly, trying to get the words out. Kurogane shook his head.
"Then to my house. Come on, Fai." Quietly, Fai accepted Kurogane's hand and allowed the other boy to lead him back home. Glancing back once, Kurogane sighed and turned to the blonde. "Don't cry, Fai." Sniffling, Fai looked at him pitifully. Glancing around to make sure no one was watching, Kurogane wiped gently at Fai's eyes. Fai sent him a half smile as thanks. Kurogane flushed. "Besides, you look better when you smile."
"Let's say you didn't lose your vision." Fai started softly. "And I, my legs. What would we do?"
"Probably the same." Kurogane said. "Granted, we'd probably be moving around a bit more and we wouldn't need Sakura around so much."
"That's true." Fai looked out the window. "Do you miss it? Seeing, I mean."
"Sometimes." Kurogane said. "But it helps me focus." Fai laughed.
"Focus?" Fai repeated, looking at Kurogane in confusion. "What on earth do you need to focus on?"
"Lots of things." Kurogane stated. Fai smiled when he felt Kurogane's annoyance, even though his head was on Kurogane's chest and he couldn't see the blind man's face. "I know when someone's in our room, no matter how quietly they enter. I can tell who it is, by their scentand their footsteps. I can-"
"So you'll always be my ever-loyal ninja." Fai interrupted with a smile.
"And you'll always be the damn annoying Mage." Kurogane shot back fondly, hand tangled in blonde hair.
Twenty-two year old Fai leaned against the bathroom door after he locked it. A few minutes later, there was pounding on the door.
"Open the door!" Kurogane yelled from the other side. "Let me explain-dammit, Fai, open the door!" Fai's ability to speak left him and he sank to the floor, sobbing silently. "Fai!" Fai shook his head, hands over his ears, ignoring the vibrating of the wooden door behind his back. A few seconds later, it stopped, and when he lifted his head, there was silence.
"Kuro-tan...?" He called softly, his voice hoarse, opening the door slowly. The hallways were empty, and Fai felt a sense of relief.
It was only a few minutes before the relief was replaced with terror.
"Kuro? Kurogane?" When his calls met with silence, Fai stumbled around the small house, eyes wide. "Kurogane? Kurogane?" His calls became frantic, his breath coming shallower, as he threw open doors to empty rooms. Within a few moments, he stood in his living room. Eyes wide with fright, breath coming in short gasps, Fai collapsed onto the sofa by the phone heavily.
It rang and he jumped, answering it instantly.
"Kuro-tan?" He said shakily. "I'm scared...please come home..."
"Kurogane." Fai and Kurogane turned to the eighteen year old girl behind them. Kurogane blinked down at her.
"Souma." He said blankly. She grabbed his arm as he turned to leave. "What is it, Souma?"
"You haven't answered me." She told him, making him face her and crossing her arms. "Would you be willing to go on a date with me?" Fai, a few feet away, froze suddenly.
"No." Kurogane said firmly. Souma frowned.
"Please." She said. "One date. It's you rsenior year in high school, Kurogane, and you've never had a girlfriend or anything. Just this once, please?"
"You should, Kurogane." Fai called out suddenly. They turned to him, and Souma's face softened into a slight smile.
"Idiot." Kurogane breathed as Souma slipped away. Fai shook his head, lowering it so that his bangs hid his eyes when a tear slipped down his face.
"No, I..." He trailed off when Kurogane grabbed his wrist.
"Shut up." Kurogane instructed, pulling Fai into a quick kiss. "You still look better when you smile."
Sakura smiled warmly at Fai as she helped him into his chair.
"I swear, I will never get used to this thing." Fai smiled. Sakura giggled as Kurogane leaned in.
"Don't be a dummy." Kurogane snapped easily, and Sakura squeaked. Fai shook his head, sighing.
"Kuro-tan." He said scoldingly, wagging his finger. "It's Sakura-chan's first week here, remember? Curb your temper, Big Puppy."
"Will you quit with the names?" Kurogane roared, making Sakura squeak again. "Honestly, you'd think after at least six and a half decades you'd get my name right!" Fai waved assuringly at Sakura.
"Don't worry. Kuro-rin won't hurt you, Sakura-chan."
"Don't make such stupid comments, idiot Mage!" Sakura blinked.
"Mage?" She repeated curiously. Fai waved at Kurogane, laughing.
"Daddy loves Mommy, however much Mommy annoys the ninja."
Fai laughed, his arm around Kurogane's neck, pointing at things with his free hand. Irritably, the taller male attempted to throw him off.
"Act your age, idiot." He snapped. "Geeze, you'd think that you had never seen a carnival before or something."
"Ah!" Fai waved dismissively. "You're here to act your age, Kuro-rin. I wanna have fun!" Kurogane opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, Fai had dragged him to a booth, pointing at a white stuffed doll. "I want that one, Kuro-rin, that one!"
"Get offa me, idiot!" Kurogane snapped. "And what the hell is that thing? A pork bun?"
"No!" Fai laughed. "Silly Kuro-rin, it's Mokona! Mokona Madoki!" Kurogane rolled his eyes, but aimed carefully. With a practiced throw, Kurogane easily caught the toy and tugged. Fai cheered. "Woot! Kuro-rin is amazing!"
"Shut up!" Kurogane snapped, flushing. "And it's Kurogane!"
"Hello, my name's Reina." A blonde woman held out her hand. "My family and I moved next door just recently. This is my son, Fai." The darker haired woman opposite of her smiled.
"I'm Kani." She said, shaking Reina's hand firmly. "Come in, come in." Reina nodded.
"Come one, Fai, honey." The blonde boy followed his mother into the living room, where a small, black haired boy with red eyes was playing. Kani turned to them.
"My son, Kurogane. Kurogane," The boy looked up. "These people moved next door. Stand up and say hello-and be polite about it." He stood up, wandering over.
"I'm Kurogane." The three year old said, peering at the other boy. "What's yer name?" The blonde boy tilted his head to the side, smiling blankly, and Kurogane frowned. "Whatsa matter with him?"
"Kurogane!" His mother admonished, covering her eyes. "I'm so sorry." She told Reina. Reina laughed.
"It's ok." She kneeled in front of Kurogane, hands on Fai's shoulders. "Fai doesn't talk at all, but he'll play with you, if you let him." Kurogane looked him over before pulling him away from his mother.
"C'mon." He said. Gai followed obediently.
A few minutes later, as Reina and Kani talked over coffee, there was an outraged cry.
"Oh, Kurogane." Kani moaned as they moved quickly towards the living room where the boys were. "What's wrong, Kurogane?"
"He won't say my name!" Kurogane snapped angrily.
"Kurogane, Fai can't talk. Remember?" Kani said gently. Kurogane shook his head violently.
"Say it again!" He ordered angrily. His mother put her hands on his shoulders but he shrugged them off. "Say it!" He commanded. All eyes turned to Fai, who grinned brightly.
"K-K-K-K-K-K-Kur-r-r-ro-ch-ch-chan!" He said happily.