Kurogane preferred to keep their relationship private, but made no efforts to keep it a secret. When he gave Fai a heated look and advanced on him in that knee-buckling, predatory way across the floor, or snuck a calloused hand under the wizard's shirt and growled against a suddenly racing pulseline, it was always behind closed doors. But if Fai succumbed to the whim to suddenly leap on his lover and deliver a kiss in front of a mortified Syaoran and a whistling Mokona, the ninja let the blonde get away with nothing more than a meaningless grumble or empty death threat.

He never let Fai hold his hand in public, however, and the wizard wondered about it for a while. He wondered, and theorized, and tried to content himself with everything else he was allowed to do while they walked to work or went shopping, like kiss and nuzzle and take shelter within the circle of the ninja's strong arm. Like a child obsessed with that one piece of sugar-ice that was being withheld despite having a heaping plate full of holiday desserts, however, Fai grew more obsessed with the one intimacy he was being denied.

One night, as they lay facing each other atop a tangled mess of sweat-soaked sheets, trying to catch their breath, Fai asked about it.

"Why don't you let me do this when we're out and about?" he queried softly, interlacing their fingers so that their hands were fitted neatly together, just as their bodies had been a few minutes ago. One dark eyebrow went up, barely visible in moonlight filtered through a veil of clouds.

"Can't protect you if you're tying up my sword arm," came the reply in a matter-of-fact tone, and Fai blinked, never having come up with that theory in all his puzzling and pondering. "Does it bother you so much?"

Fai considered this bit of information and the new perspective it gave him, then grinned and shook his head. It didn't bother him at all. It delighted him.