To Love & Be Loved

A/N – "To Love and Be Loved" is an excellent book by Sam Keen about the subject of love and loving. It inspired this fic as did the ship of Kurogane Youou and Fai Yuui de Fluorite. I own neither but am empassioned by both.

A/N – Tomoyo: "Fai, teach him to love, and you will be loved deeply." Tale of Kurogane and Fai starts at the point when Fai loses his eye. It skips through swiftly to the end of the series to look at what might occur… after.

Chapter 1 A – While You Were Out

The clone of Shyaoron vanished through a portal as Kurogane's long leg took the stairs four at a time to the bottom of what was a water reservoir. The true Shyaoron backed away, knowing he was a stranger to them all with a familiar face, one that just betrayed them. A beaten and bleeding mage lay sprawled, mostly unconscious, on the ground. His now ripped out eye bore just a bleeding socket. He coughed, spitting some blood.

Kurogane lifted the sweet form of Sakura into Shyaoron's arms. A firm glare that one step out of line would mean his death, served as his only warning. Shyaoron took the young unconscious girl up into the building, following in the wake of the residents, a wary and nervous Mokona now on his shoulder.

Kurogane carefully turned the blond mage over and checked for a pulse, expecting none. It was faint. He gathered the foolish mage into his arms and lifted. He carried Fai up, up into the building and into a room where the rest of his group gathered. This world's inhabitants knew so little of healing that Kurogane inwardly worried behind his dark stoic mask. Didn't he just have a conversation with the tall blond mage about caring for people? Did no one see how much he too cared? Everyone he cared about always left him, died, were killed, taken… somehow gone. Even now. The Shyaoron he had taken on like a younger brother or apprentice in the Way of the Sword, lost the essence of his heart and vanished from existence. The delicate flower of a girl lay faded in a bed nearby, possibly withering, likely will without her true Shyaoron. And now Fai, the mystery he has been struggling to know since they met, since he was first forbiddenly captivated, lay bleeding in his arms and barely breathed.

No one heard when he murmured into the bloody-sticky blond hair, "Idiot… why did you do that? You aren't supposed to throw your life away. Fai… Fai… please… don't leave me too."

Familiar faces, Sakura knew them as her brother and his mage. They were in most worlds they arrived in. And they were always together. They served as rudimentary healers here. One checking on Sakura and the other bandaging the immediate leaking empty eye socket of Fai. Kurogane refused to let Fai out of his arms just yet. Only when they bandaged Fai's other wounds did he release Fai to a bed. He remained sitting on the bedside though. The darker haired healer, if he could be called that, shook his head sadly. There was nothing more he could do. The message was clear. Fai was not going to make it.

His jaw clenched tight to maintain his composure as his heart hurt like it was being stabbed again and again. He moved the blond hair from Fai's face, exposing the bandages that were already starting to dot red as blood seeped through. He swallowed and adjusted his seating so he could hold the mage once more in his arms.

"L-let… let me… go… I want to… die…" The words slurred weakly from Fai's mouth. "If I die… the magic he stole from me will too. If I live, he will grow strong… dangerous. I'm sorry."

"NO! If you really want to die, then I will kill you myself! If you die now," Kurogane searched for something he knew the mage cared about, searched because he doubted that that thing was him. "If you die, Sakura will be very sad and miss you."

Relief came with the dimensional witch. Kurogane had a wish. That wish intensified as Fai's head rolled with his unconsciousness. He was dying. Kurogane wished for him to live. When the witch informed him that it was a wish she could not grant, he wanted to howl his hatred. But she made a hopeful suggestion. "Warrior, wish for the water for this world since I cannot grant the vampires any wishes. You will pay their price. And in turn, they can grant your wish." Kurogane looked at them with his ruby eyes.

He did not need to plead. They saw what few would understand. Kamui stepped forward, not wanting this to be his twin brother's potential second mistake. "I will grant your wish. I can make him a vampire. He will heal, quicker than normal. Doesn't mean he is invincible or immortal. He will age, slower than other humans. But he will live."

"Do it," commanded Kurogane, not caring what price he had to pay for Fai's life.

The witch stopped them, "The price. Warrior, you will pay the price. Since a vampire must live off of blood and would drink from the masses around him, you will become his bait. You will become the only blood he can drink. He will live only because you do. You will become responsible for what you ask to be created. If he is able to get back all his magic, the missing eye, then you will both be free of this bond. Do you accept this price? To be forever chained to him?"

"I accept." He accepted without ever really truly understanding the consequences both good and bad of this, without really understanding what he gained (longer life and the ability to produce blood more swiftly than other humans) or the mixing of souls drinking could cause. "Whatever his past, he came to the witch for help. I trust him."

Shyaoron handed a black sash he wore to Kurogane, to later wrap Fai's missing eye.

So Subaru ushered everyone out while Kamui cut Kurogane's right arm with a vampiric talon. "No drinking from this arm, or it will hurt." He then cut his own wrist and allowed a few drops of blood to drop upon the cut he gave Kurgane. "Let the blood mix and be swallowed by him." The dark warrior did as instructed. Blood dropped upon Fai's lips, chin and into his mouth. His face twitched as more drops fell into his mouth and he swallowed by instinct. Kamui wrapped a quick bandage over Kurogane's wrist. "Now he will change. You will need to hold him down." He backed away to supervise the transformation.

Fai swallowed a few more time. His heart pounded hard and desperate. The strange blood burned down his throat and lit fires through his whole body. He writhed, contorting in agony. He arched in Kurogane's arms and his eye flew open. The blue winked out for a dark amber as the pupil slitted narrow as a cats in sudden daylight. He screamed. He screamed and writhed more. Kurogane struggled to hold him, keep him from accidentally hurting himself. Now and then murmuring between the screams, "I got you. Fai. I'm here. I got you."

Finally after maybe a horror filled twenty minutes, Fai sank to the ground in Kurgane's embrace. The amber eye resumed its normal sky blue before rolling up as Fai passed out. "It is done. He will live," Kamui declared as he opened the door. "Let him rest for now. He will need to drink every few days, unless he chooses to die by not drinking."

More gently than anyone would have expected him to be, Kurogane tucked Fai into the bed and wrapped anew the now scarring eye socket. Trouble brewed outside and the issue of the water for the reservoir was the next critical item on his agenda. "I still have much to ask him about, but it will have to wait."

Water and feather and a quest. Kurogane had to wait as all these happened. He waited, watching Fai. He cleaned him up, and dressed him in sturdy pants and a black turtle neck shirt that was given to him. He didn't bother to ask for a change of shirt for himself. His remained stained in Fai's blood.

An amber slit-pupil eye blinked a couple times as Fai awakened, mostly healed. Kurogane nearly jumped. He nearly jumped again when Fai spoke to him with his usual false smile, "Good morning, Kurogane." The blond sat up, testing his stability.

"Don't move," ordered Kurogane. He wasn't sure what kind of person actually awoke. The Fai he knew would never have called him by his full name. Fai always used annoying short versions he made up. This was a more serious Fai, with less masks. He didn't know how to deal with this new Fai as he briefly searched the amber eye, missing its blue hue, wondering if Fai did die and a monster instead was reborn. The smile, though, that was Fai's. To avoid giving awake how much he actually cared about Fai, he tossed him a blanket and left the room.

The dimensional witch appeared with Mokona's help. She wanted to speak to Fai about Kurogane. Fai explained how he said good morning and called him by his full name. He confessed how much fun it was to see him be all flustered by the nicknames. He confessed that he had never called anyone by little nicknames. His slightly shy smile belied his affection for the warrior, an affection he kept buried for the warrior's own protection. "He revived me when I did not wish it. For this I cannot forgive him. If I do, we'll just become close again." He wanted to protect Kurogane from the danger he was and the danger he could become. It was problematic caring for all these people he had been traveling with. Yet, deep down, he could not help it. He resented that he had to stay and rest while Sakura risked her life for part of a payment, for his own life. Deep down, he desperately wanted to care for them. He wanted them to care for him too, to love him. To love… and be loved. His only secret wish before ever he does die.

Calm, his blue seeped like water back into his eye, although sadness lay in its depths more clearly now without the usual shroud of mirth. When Sakura returned, injured, Fai ran to her. Her honest relief that she returned to him to find him alive, yanked his heart strings. She cared about him. He almost wept there, but for her… for her he smiled. The only form of healing magic that he knew he could actually perform.

To search on for Sakura's feathers, her memories. To search on for the other Shyaoron and Fai's missing magical eye. They agreed to travel together again.

For love… the love they had, the love they lost, and the love they hoped to find.