Author's note: This fic contains naughty bits and fully deserves the M rating. Please click the back button if this does not interest you, thank you!

The Last Vestige

Throughout their travels across the varying worlds, Kurogane had gotten used to the many different species that populated them. Creatures with tentacles for legs and pincers for arms, creatures that were covered in bristling spines, or that had more than four limbs, or creatures that were a bright pink (Sakura had loved those); creatures with three eyes, or four, or a hundred. He was used to the many different species they encountered and, while Syaoran might coo over them from a biological standpoint, Kurogane didn't really care so long as they weren't a threat.

These creatures however mystified him. If Fai didn't seem to know what they were, he would have sworn they were some mad wizard's experiment. Why else would a horse develop a vicious two foot spear in the centre of its forehead, if not for some magical attempt to create jouster's horses with inbuilt lances? Not to mention the brilliant white - impossibly white, despite the dirt and dust of the forest - coat that made concealment impossible. Their weapon was unwieldy and impractical, but the whole two foot spear part had him keeping a wary eye on the creatures as they made camp. Naturally, his companions were completely useless.

"Wheeee~ pretty ponies, pretty ponies!" Mokona cried, bouncing off their backs. The gleaming white horses - there were five, standing around the perimeter of the camp but not coming any closer, to Kurogane's relief - just flicked an ear at the pork bun's antics.

"They're clearly magical," Syaoran said, peering at them intently. "I wonder if they're sentient."

"I doubt it," Fai said, smiling. He was curled up on a log near the campfire, as far away from the horses as he could get. "Their magic seems focused in their horns, at any rate."

"So long as they don't try anything," Kurogane said, glaring at their unwelcome audience. The lead horse - a shining specimen maybe seven hundred pounds of muscle - tossed its head as though it understood him, the white horn bobbing pointedly in the dark. "I'll keep watch tonight."

"I don't think that's really necessary," Fai said carefully, feeding the last of the twigs into the fire. "Besides, one of us is going to have to fetch wood, eh, Kuro-sama?"

"It's my turn, isn't it?" Syaoran asked. "You and Fai-san did the wood-gathering last night, in the steam world."

Kurogane cleared his throat and pointedly did not meet Fai's eyes at this, because he just knew the idiot was beaming at him. They had set out to get fuel for the fire, alright, but they had taken a damn sight longer than they needed to because Fai had looked at him a certain way and then they had been kissing and if Syaoran hadn't come looking for them it might not have stopped there, and damn the wizard anyway for being so enticing.

Things had been so fragile between them for so long since Tokyo, and while they might have made their peace in Kurogane's home world, they were still working out where to go from here, with many sly, and thoughtful glances exchanged between them. Kurogane couldn't deny he was attracted to the wizard, but there had never seemed to be an opportunity to do much about it.

"I think you should stay here, Syaoran-kun," Fai said lightly. "I think I know quite what these creatures are, and they're no threat to you."

"To him?" Kurogane said, narrowing his eyes. "You implying they're a threat to you and me?"

"You, no," Fai said carefully. "Me... perhaps."

Huh. Kurogane glared out at the horses, which put their ears back and stamped their hooves uncertainly. Must be something to do with the magic, or the vampirism maybe. "We'll both go," he said abruptly. "If you're sure the kid's safe, I'll go with you."

After all, that was what they were - partners, looking out for each other. Someone had to watch Fai's back, and it might as well be Kurogane.

The forest at night was usually a different creature to the forest by day, but not this time. Maybe it was because two of the horned horses had followed them from the camp, and in the moonlight their white coats shone so brightly they illuminated the surrounding area, a pale silver glow that painted everything in shades of grey. Fai didn't seem overly concerned by them, despite his words, and his boots crunched over dead leaves with no regard for stealth as he wound his way between the trees, his breath puffing out between his lips in a wispy cloud. Kurogane followed him much more silently, switching his gaze from their path to the beasts behind them.

"Kuro-sama, stop being so touchy," Fai said cheerfully, bending down and picking up a thick branch. He broke it in two and examined the wood critically before tossing it back where he'd found it.

"You said they were potentially dangerous," Kurogane reminded him with a scowl. One of the horses was moving away from its sibling, flanking them, and Kurogane put a hand on the hilt of his sword.

"They're curious," Fai corrected, shrugging off his cloak. "Hold this for me; I'm going up that tree."

"Tch," Kurogane said, taking the cloak with narrowed eyes and watching as Fai reached up and caught a low branch, pulling himself up onto it. "They're horses. What's there to be curious about?"

"Us," Fai called down. "New humans, in their forest! Do try to be nice, Kuro-sama, they were here before us."

Keeping a hand on his sword, Kurogane settled with his back to the tree, scowling at the giant horned horses. They were pacing from side to side nervously, and he kept his hand on his sword as wood rained from the trees, Fai stripping dead branches out of its canopy. The horses danced away from the falling wood, and keeping half an eye on them Kurogane stepped forward to begin collecting it.

"Kuro-sama," Fai called, amused. "There's one behind you."

There was indeed. A third horse had slipped silently into the area somehow, and Kurogane tensed, his palms tingling with the urge to draw his sword. The creatures were much too quiet for how large they were, but even in silence he should have sensed their auras... He backed warily away from the newcomer, only to receive a sharp nudge from behind, and he spun to see the first two had approached. Their hooves on the leaves made no sound at all.

"You said they had magic in their horns," Kurogane said, standing very still and letting his hand creep toward his blade. They had to be smarter than they looked, if they had waited for Fai to disappear before approaching.

"They're not going to hurt you, Kuro-sama," said Fai, sounding faintly exasperated. "Leave the sword alone, you'll upset them."

"Easy for you to say," Kurogane replied through gritted teeth. The horse that had nudged him pressed its nose against his chest, whuffling curiously at his clothes; the other was attempting to sneak up on his side and Kurogane turned awkwardly to keep it from getting behind him.

"I told you, they're curious," Fai said, and Kurogane spared him a glance. He was sitting atop one of the branches, his long legs hanging over free air and one hand wrapped around another branch to keep his balance, and his tail of hair was dangling down as he peered intently between the gaps in the canopy at Kurogane. "They won't be dangerous unless they think you're going to attack them. Keep calm and pet them, they'll be fine."

"What are they?" Kurogane asked, scowling at the one on his left. It lowered its head and bumped its muzzle against the elbow of his metal arm, its horn bobbing as it did so, and whickered softly.

"They're unicorns, Kuro-slow," Fai replied. "In a lot of places they're considered quite special. I've only seen them in picture books. They look so pretty..."

"If you want to admire them you can come down here instead," Kurogane growled. "They won't fucking leave me - HEY!" This was addressed at the third unicorn, which had shoved at his behind with its nose; he spun around to glare at it and it blinked its blue eyes at him innocently. Kurogane snarled in response and shoved at it with both hands, pushing it back a step, and turned to try the same with the other two. "Why won't you - fucking things - take a hint?"

Fai sighed heavily, and a moment later the unicorns scattered as he dropped out of the tree, landing neatly beside Kurogane on the balls of his feet. Kurogane glared after the creatures and edged cautiously closer to the wood the wizard had tossed down; Fai helped him pick it up, and he couldn't help but notice every time the blond got near one of the creatures it moved away, as though Fai projected some kind of invisible 'do not cross' circle extending six feet around his person.

"Why won't they approach?" Kurogane asked curiously as Fai pulled a length of twine from one of his pockets and they bound the wood together.

"Oh," Fai said airily, "They're famously not able to tolerate certain... people. I happen to be one of those people. For some time, actually."

"Huh," Kurogane said, and lifted his head to watch the unicorns. They were attempting to sneak around Fai's barrier to get to him again, he was fairly sure of it, and aimed a ferocious scowl at the nearest one.

"It's a shame," Fai said wistfully. "I would so love to be able to see them up close. Their coats are supposed to be very soft."

"Felt like an ordinary horse to me," Kurogane grunted, and Fai tossed him a bemused glance, hefting the wood over one shoulder. He bowed to the horses, a graceful courtier's bow that would make grown woman blush (and made Kurogane want to touch him, an impulse he manfully resisted) and took a step away from Kurogane.

"We should get back," he said, cheerfully. "Poor Syaoran-kun must be getting swamped by now."

Kurogane didn't move. Something was nagging at him, and he wasn't... ah. "The kid's a mage," he said. "If they're avoiding you because of your magic, why wouldn't they avoid him?"

Fai lifted his eyebrows, smiling knowingly. "Kuro-chan, wherever did I say it was my magic that made them avoid me?"

He replayed the conversation and had to admit the mage had a point, damn him. "Fine then," Kurogane said. "What is it about you that they don't like? If it's not the magic, then what? The vampirism? Your hair colour? Help me out here, wizard, 'cause I don't get it."

This seemed to resonate with Fai, who paused, looking thoughtful. "It's... tricky," he said, carefully.

"I'm listening - would you fuck off!" He fended away a curious unicorn, elbowing it in the chest; it flicked its ears at him and nuzzled at his hair, and he punched it in the nose. It made a wounded, almost sad noise and retreated, its ears flicked down like a dog and its head hanging; Kurogane fisted his hands on his hips and glared after it. Served it right.

"Whatever it is you did to make them hate you sounds like a really good idea right now," he said, shifting closer to Fai as another one approached, and Fai pressed a hand over his mouth and turned away in an ineffective attempt to hide his laughter.

"Oh, Kuro-sama," he said, "Only you would be this outraged at being popular with unicorns. They're drawn to a certain kind of... um, energy, I guess is the best way to put it, which is what you have."

"What kind," Kurogane demanded, and glared at another one of the goddamn beasts as it meandered toward him.

Fai sighed deeply, like he knew whatever he was about to tell him was going to go down poorly, and said, "It's a long story, and it involves high-level magical theory you don't have the time to learn or the patience to care about, but to sum it up, Kuro-sama, they like you because you're a virgin."

After a lengthy silence in which the only sound in the clearing was the wind, Kurogane said, "huh."

"Sorry," Fai added.

"So, this -" Kurogane gestured at the unicorns, who were still trying to edge up to him without actually getting too close to Fai - "is all because I haven't had sex?"

"Yeah," Fai said.

"Huh." Kurogane eyed the creatures. "Syaoran's gonna have a field day trying to explain that one."

"We - that is, magicians - think it has something to do with how they perceive the world," Fai said, backing off a few steps as one of the unicorns dithered at the edge of his barrier. "It doesn't make sense, biologically speaking."

"They're big damn horses with spears growing out of their fucking heads," Kurogane said. "Nothing about them makes sense. Fuck off!"

"If you keep hitting them you'll upset them," Fai remarked.

Kurogane growled at the nearest unicorn, which was backing away from him after an elbow to the side of its neck. "I'm already pretty fucking upset, I don't really care about them," he said, and Fai huffed out a soft, amused breath.

"Well, you'll have to put up with them," he said. "There's not a whole lot else you can do."

Kurogane paused and glanced at the wizard, who was adjusting the firewood. "Yeah, there is," he said, slowly.

"Hmm?" Fai looked up, and whatever he saw in Kurogane's face made him freeze, his mouth hanging open in a ridiculous expression Kurogane would be sure to remember the next time the mage needled him. He closed it very slowly only after several seconds had passed. "Kuro-sama," he said, weakly. "It's just a mild inconvenience, you don't know what you're asking -"

"Seems fairly straightforward to me," Kurogane replied, dodging aside from an attempted nuzzle and kicking the unicorn's shin. Despite himself he could feel heat rising to his face, and made his voice extra-gruff to compensate. "Either you fix the thing that's luring them to me, or I guess I start swinging away with my sword."

"You wouldn't really," said Fai, and then hesitated. "Would you?"

"Maybe - get the fuck out!" he roared, his voice sufficient enough to pin the unicorn's ears back and send it skittering backward and a few steps, where it stood with its legs splayed out and its head down, watching Kurogane warily. Fai swiftly moved into Kurogane's shadow, and the other two beasts backed off as well.

"This was not how I planned to do this," Fai said. Hesitantly he dumped the fire wood and pressed himself along Kurogane's chest, his arms rising until his hands rested on Kurogane's hips.

"Now's as good a time as any," Kurogane replied, keeping a watchful eye on the unicorns, and Fai snorted agreement and sifted his fingers through the short hair at the base of Kurogane's neck, forcing Kurogane down for a kiss.

It started out chaste - Fai establishing contact and grounding them both, his lips soft and gentle - but it definitely didn't stay that way for long. Kissing was something they'd been doing more and more of since they left Clow, and Kurogane found himself relaxing into it as it drew on, centered by its familiarity. He knew the hell-horses wouldn't approach Fai, and with Fai's tongue slipping curiously into his mouth it was easy to forget they were there. Fai was a lot of things, but good at kissing was the first and foremost of his charms.

He was aware of the wizard's hands moving slowly from his hips, one smoothing down his belly and the other sliding up his spine, curious and exploratory. In return he curled one hand around the jutting bone of the wizard's hip, resting the other on Fai's shoulder, and tipped the blond's face further up to deepen the angle of the kiss until he began to notice the pressing lack of oxygen. Fai was the one who broke it, breathing hoarsely and smiling, faintly smug.

"Tree," he said, firmly, and shoved at Kurogane's shoulders. "It's been raining, I'm not doing it in the mud, Kuro-desperate."

"Fine," Kurogane said, and bent down to kiss him again while Fai pushed them across the clearing until his back scraped against one of the tall, pale trees with smooth bark that Kurogane didn't know. His mouth was wet and hot on Kurogane's, tasted faintly of salt, and it was like yesterday all over again but this time Syaoran wouldn't come looking for them and Kurogane let his hands slide down to cup Fai's ass, rocking against him impatiently as the blond swore under his breath.

"We should," he gasped. "We should. Clothes, Kuro-sama."

"You first," Kurogane said, his gaze flicking to the unicorns standing around watching the pair of them uncertainly. Last thing he wanted was to be fending the fucking things off naked.

It took a bit of squirming to get Fai's pants off, mostly because Fai always wore such ludicrously tight ones. He wasn't wearing any underwear beneath them, and when Kurogane realized that his mouth went dry. Fai just took a step away from him and yanked his top off over his head, his hair sticking up wildly every which way, and then tossed it aside and stood with his hands on his hips and the proudest grin Kurogane had ever seen him wear, stark naked in the moonlight. He was already hard.

"You know," he said, sounding completely unperturbed despite the naked and the forest and the watchful eyes of the unicorns, "I had a plan for how I was going to topple you into bed the first time."

"You did?" Kurogane asked warily.

Fai nodded and took a step closer, his hands gentle and efficient on the lacings of Kurogane's cloak. "It was going to involve sake, good food, a big bed and a whole day, maybe two, where we wouldn't get out of said bed," he said, mildly. "This isn't exactly it."

Kurogane swallowed as the cloak came free, Fai folding it neatly and dropping it atop his own belongings. "I always figured we were going to do it somewhere like this anyway," he said quietly, and Fai glanced at him in surprise, raising his pale eyebrows. "All that - kissing, yesterday, and we're alone, and I -" - he made an uncertain hand gesture - "I don't know. I just figured we were going to, to, to do it for the first time outside."

Fai's lips parted slightly, his eyes flashing with surprise, and then he smiled. It was one of the warm, sweet smiles that he had begun using since Nihon, their first slow kiss on the tatami mats while Kurogane was still too heady with blood loss and relief to resist what he wanted. "Kuro-sama," he said, quietly, with so much riding on the words that Kurogane found himself swallowing, and then with a gleam in his eye he turned his head to their confused unicorn audience. "You lot should scram," he said, perfectly matter-of-factly. "He's not going to be for you any longer."

Whether the beasts obeyed or not Kurogane neither knew nor cared. Staring at Fai was better, and when the wizard stepped into the lee of his body, tugging him down for another kiss while his other hand began unlacing Kurogane's pants, he forgot the unicorns had ever been there at all.

"I'm not sure how far we have to go to fend off the big mean horses," Fai said, in a low voice, and Kurogane scowled at him. The blond smiled and pushed down on Kurogane's pants, freeing him to the chill of the night air, and slid a cool hand underneath his shirt, splaying his fingers out across the hard muscle of Kurogane's belly. His eyes were warm and bright with amusement in the night light, and Kurogane huffed out a breath, happy that Fai was taking charge. "Do you trust me?"

"'course I do," Kurogane said quietly. There had been a time when he would have said no, but that had been a long time ago, and the man standing before him was a different creature entirely. He reached out and ghosted his palms up Fai's bare shoulders, feeling the goose bumps dimpling his skin, and then, because it was a familiar thing, he tugged Fai close for a kiss.

It was a good kiss, well-practiced and just a tiny bit dirty. Kurogane took the lead and Fai let him, his fingers rhythmically stroking over his stomach, his other hand lowering to clasp his hip loosely, and then he jerked away to break it. He grinned at Kurogane, who swallowed. "Let me know if you want me to stop," he said, and then he pressed his mouth against the hollow point of Kurogane's collarbones, teeth nipping at his skin, and his hands pushed up underneath Kurogane's shirt, fingertips leaving cool trails across his skin. Kurogane tipped his head back, swallowing loudly, as Fai skated a thumb over the edge of one nipple, and gasped when Fai curiously repeated the gesture.

He had been half-hard since Fai had pinned him against the tree, but Fai's dexterous fingers on his nipples were helping him get the rest of the way there. He stifled a moan and spread his legs as far as his pants around his knees would let him, and he had just a second to notice the way Fai's eyes flashed with something he didn't recognize before the wizard's hand slid down his torso, quite casually, to massage his cock.

"Oh my," Fai said, grinning wolfishly, and opened his mouth to say something else when Kurogane, sensing that it would be an even more ridiculous nickname than usual or a comment on the size of his dick, shut him up with another kiss.

"So," he said, when they parted, keeping his voice low but flicking his gaze over Fai's shoulder. The unicorns were milling around uncertainly, all three of them watching him. "What did you mean you weren't sure how far we have to go?"

Fai licked his lips and smiled his knowing smile, the skin at the corners of his eyes crinkling. "Virginity is a very confusing term, Kuro-sama," he said lightly. "Let's try one thing and see if that works!"

Kurogane swallowed, but Fai was already moving, gripping his hips and sinking fluidly onto his knees. He was very pale against the forest floor, and his gaze was focused on Kurogane's crotch; his expression was intent, almost predatory, and it made Kurogane flush awkwardly. "Keep still," Fai admonished, and then he let go of Kurogane's hip with one hand and wrapped his fingers loosely around the base of Kurogane's cock, and Kurogane swore hoarsely and whipped his head back in surprise so fast he banged it against the tree trunk, which made him swear again. "Motherfucker," he growled, raising one hand to the back of his head, and Fai snorted.

"Hold still, Kuro-sama," he said, and Kurogane squinted down at him with growing alarm as he licked his lips and leaned closer and - was he going to...?

He was. He took the head of Kurogane's cock in his mouth without the slightest hesitation, his brows drawn together in a focused expression that made Kurogane moan almost as much as the heat and wet and soft around his aching cock. Fai sucked his dick like it was something he'd had a lot of practice doing, his tongue fluttering down the underside as his lips travelled the length of Kurogane's shaft, a blessedly tight ring that made him moan weakly and fall back against the tree, grateful for its presence against his back to support him.

If he'd known Fai could do this with his mouth he'd've insisted on it a long time ago, wrong time or interruptions be damned.

Fai made a contented noise and Kurogane hissed as he bobbed his head down even further, the blunt head of Kurogane's cock hitting the back of his throat and Fai wasn't stopping and did he have no gag reflex? On second thought, Kurogane didn't even care. He wanted to touch Fai and so he did, groping out and laying a hand along one side of his lover's face, and grunted as he felt Fai's cheeks hollow with the force of his suction. He wondered if the tree was sufficient to keep him up.

He was dimly aware of the sounds he was making, but it was irrelevant and distant to the pleasure heading hungrily through his body, the fogginess at the edge of his vision as Fai worked his way up and down the length of his shaft, blue eyes narrowed and focused like this was a complex spell he was drawing in the air. His balls tingled and his belly writhed with short sharp shocks of pleasure, like lightning in his body; his nipples were hard as a rock and he was... Fai was... he was going to...

He shoved at Fai's head and, seemingly taking the hint, Fai backed off, his lips dragging deliciously along Kurogane's cock as he withdrew, and Kurogane had about a second to admire how flushed the wizard was before he was coming with a hoarse grunt, mostly missing Fai but managing to get splashes of the stuff across his mouth and chin. He threw his head back as he came, the edges of his sight misting out to white, and managed to knock it against the tree trunk again (Motherfucker!) before his knees finally gave out and sent him sliding toward the ground, the bark of the tree scraping rough friction burns against his back.

He was dimly aware of Fai saying something as he wiped splashes of semen off his face with the back of his hand, his gaze warm and blue eyes alight with a soft fondness, but he didn't really pay it any heed. He couldn't stop grinning. Fuck knew what they had been waiting for, but they were definitely doing that again, no matter what, and if the time wasn't right or Syaoran tried to innocently interrupt then well, he'd make time and the kid would get the damn message after walking in on them a few times. It'd be worth it in the long run.

"- wish I had a camera," the blond was saying, and Kurogane forced himself to focus. Fai was still hard, kneeling on the ground in front of Kurogane, dirt on his exposed legs and his face blissfully free. He looked debauched, but also sort of smug, like he'd gotten something he wanted.

Kurogane tried to rewind the conversation, to remember what he'd been saying, and couldn't do it; he settled for blinking at Fai owlishly. "Huh?"

Fai laughed and shook his head. "Nothing, Kuro-sama," he said. "Just saying you look very sexy like this."

"Mmm," Kurogane grunted. He could quite happily stay here against this tree, but Fai was... it wouldn't be fair to... "You need a hand?"

"Hah!" Fai's grin was infectious, and Kurogane didn't feel like denying that it was nice to look at, not now. Especially with his lips all pink from what he'd just been doing. Fai raised one of his hands and licked the palm casually, his tongue very pink and drawing a small noise from Kurogane that he definitely hadn't consciously made. "Thank you, but in your current state I think you'd crush me. I can take care of myself."

Sure enough he wrapped his saliva-dampened palm around himself, and as Kurogane watched he began to stroke, his mouth falling open unconsciously as the purpling head of his erection slid in and out of his fist. He looked pretty damn good, only half in control of himself, his eyes sliding shut and biting his own bottom lip, and Kurogane issues orders to his lazy limbs and managed to push himself upright off the tree trunk, seizing Fai's shoulder half for support and half for contact as he bent his head and pushed their mouths together.

It was a sloppy, stupid kiss, and there was a faint aftertaste Kurogane could only assume to be himself. Fai panted quietly into his mouth as he worked himself, but Kurogane found he didn't care. There had been other kisses, and there would be again. It may not have been quite what Fai envisioned, but it was pretty fucking awesome, and he inched across the forest floor and covered Fai's hand with his, helping his wizard bring himself off; Fai's eyes flew open and then he grinned, mischievous and warm and gods damn that smile made Kurogane's balls tingle even though it was too fucking soon to do anything again.

Fai came quietly which surprised Kurogane who had always, albeit privately, figured he would be a moaner. One moment their hands were moving together and Fai was panting softly into his mouth, and the next Fai drew in a hitched, shaky breath and Kurogane became aware of sticky wetness over his hand, the blond breaking their kiss and tipping his head back to bare the long pale line of his throat. His eyes were screwed shut and his lips were parted in a half-smile that suited him.

For a while they sat there, Fai breathing heavily and Kurogane casting frantically around for something to wipe the semen spattered over his fingers on. Eventually he settled for the grass, distantly aware that in sex it was probably bad etiquette to clean your lover's bodily fluids off on their skin although really, it would probably serve Fai right. That done, he shook his head to clear the last of his afterglow away, and glanced up checking to see if the unicorns were still there. They were, but they had retreated practically to the edge of the clearing behind the tree line, their coats gleaming behind dark trunks. He thought about throwing stones at them, but decided against it.

Kurogane climbed awkwardly to his feet, hauling his pants up as he did so. His hands were steady as he laced them back up, and he cast a glance at the firewood, lying in a bale next to their discarded clothing. "We should probably get back," he said.

"I don't think I can stand," Fai said, muffled.

"Tch," Kurogane growled, but there was no heat behind it. Truthfully his knees felt kind of weak too, and he felt... good all over. Yeah, they were definitely doing that again. Mindful of Fai, a limp puddle near the base of the tree, he stretched, popping kinks out of his shoulders, and looked up at the sky through the gaps in the forest canopy; the stars were foreign here, but he thought the light level had changed. They'd been gone maybe an hour, tops. The kid would no doubt be worrying about them. "Oi," he said, nudging at Fai's ribs with his booted foot.

"Not moving," said Fai. "Kuro-grunter is so ungrateful."

Kurogane flushed and turned away, making his way to the heap of their clothes. His cloak was on top where Fai had tossed it, and he unfolded it and shrugged it on before reaching for Fai's clothing, his tight pants and his soft top. "Come on, mage," he said. "We need to get back."

"Mmm," Fai said sleepily. "Kuro-coitus has no concept of this basking in the afterglow thing, does he?"

"Maybe later," Kurogane said, and that got Fai's attention, alright; he rolled onto his belly and pushed himself up onto his elbows. "If you mean to keep that 'two days in bed' idea, we can do all the lazing about you want, idiot."

"Is that a promise?" Fai asked quietly, his eyes very warm, and Kurogane huffed out a breath and threw him his clothes.

"'course it is," he said. "You didn't completely suck." He was grinning, he knew, and decided against fighting it; Fai could have that effect on him. "Thanks for, you know. Getting rid of those things."

He gestured behind him absently, and Fai's face changed subtly; Kurogane had just a second to register that before he spun around and the fucking creature was right there, and it lowered its head and bumped at his shoulder with its muzzle, and the words Kurogane used then made Fai howl with laughter.

"I just fucking had sex!" he roared at the unicorn while Fai rolled around in the background cackling. "Why won't you fuck off?"

"Maybe we didn't have the right kind of sex, Kuro-virgin," Fai called back, giggling and Kurogane growled low and furious in the back of his throat. The unicorn blinked at him happily.

"Just how flexible are you guys with the whole concept of 'virginity'?" Kurogane demanded through gritted teeth, and the unicorn whickered at him helpfully. Fai was climbing slowly to his feet, his pale skin streaked with dirt, and the look on his face said this wasn't going to be forgotten anytime soon.

"Oh well," Fai said. "I guess we'll have to try a few more things then!"

"I fucking hate you," Kurogane told the unicorn, which whuffled at the join between his metal arm and his shoulder like a large dog, and pushed it away to stomp across the forest floor toward Fai.

"Lucky for you I'm a wizard," said Fai contentedly as Kurogane approached, and tilted his jaw up for a kiss, which Kurogane gave him grumpily. The unicorn was watching them with a mournful expression, its tail swishing from side to side. Kurogane narrowed his eyes at it.

"How so," he asked tightly, and Fai put his mouth right up against his ear, his hot breath ghosting out over the cool skin there and making Kurogane shiver.

"Because, Kuro-cranky," he murmured, "We're going to need supplies I can conjure to do this properly."

"Will it work this time?" Kurogane demanded, glaring at the unicorn, and Fai chuckled. "Or am I going to have to put up with these fucking horses all the time we're here?"

Fai grinned, close enough Kurogane could feel it more than see it, and said, "You said you trusted me, Kuro-tan. I'm holding you to that."

Kurogane swallowed heavily, and felt a curious sinking feeling in his belly that was half nerves, half anticipation. It seemed apt. "Fine," he said, and really, that was all he needed to say.


The sky was pink by the time they returned to camp, and Kurogane observed that he had been right; the unicorns had more or less overrun it. They were still there, milling around the clearing or laying down near the smoldering remains of the fire, and he might have been worried for the kid's sake if Syaoran hadnメt been sitting calmly using one of the laying down unicorns as a book rest. The beasts climbed to their feet or moved away as soon as he and Fai exited the tree line, and Syaoran glanced up in surprise.

"There you are," he said. "You were gone a very long time, did something happen?"

Kurogane grunted. "Nothing important," he said. "Here."

He took a few steps forward and dumped the wood onto the ground near the campfire, and the unicorn Syaoran had been leaning against squealed indignantly and scrambled to its feet, tail swishing as it paced away from him cautiously. Syaoran stared after it, looking mystified.

"Success," Fai said cheerfully.

"Success? What's a success?" Syaoran asked, and then paused, his brown eyes sweeping over them. He bit his lip. "Kurogane-sensei," he said, cautiously, "What... happened to you two?"

"Nothing," Kurogane said, and inwardly cursed himself. "Why'd you care?"

"You both look like you... had an accident," Syaoran said, carefully, raising a hand to his brown hair, and Kurogane unconsciously mimicked him only to find twigs and leaves tangled in the strands. He shot a narrow-eyed glare at Fai, whose hair definitely was more mussed than usual, and the idiot just shrugged and smiled.

"We were sparring," he said.

"Oh," said Syaoran, and chewed his lip. "Just... those bruises on your neck, Kurogane-sensei...?"

Kurogane slapped a hand indignantly against his throat, and Fai beamed at the kid like it was something to be proud about. "My fault," he said. "Kuro-wrestler was letting me practice holds. I'm quite good at choke-holds now, I think!"

Syaoran looked dubious, but he nodded. "Err... okay," he said.

"We're very sorry we kept you waiting, Syaoran-kun," Fai said kindly. "But the unicorns kept following poor Kuro-bait around, and we were hoping the violence might scare them away. It worked eventually, but it did require several bouts. Poor Kuro-tan was quite tired out by the end."

"Like hell I was," Kurogane protested, and Fai waved a hand at him dismissively. "You were the one who wouldn't get off the floor the last time, moron -"

"Yes, yes," Fai said breezily, and Syaoran frowned at them.

"Why didn't you just ask them politely to stop?" he said. "It worked for me."

There was a pause, and then Kurogane said, icily, "It what."

"Whoops," said Fai, and Kurogane lunged for him across the camp, sending the wood flying. Fai squealed with laughter, dodging aside, and the unicorns lurking at the edge of the clearing scattered as Kurogane chased the wizard across the camp roaring mild death threats. Fai evaded him easily, still giggling. "Come on Kuro-pii, you can't deny my way worked too!"

"That's not the point!" Kurogane snarled, and Syaoran took a step toward them, looking lost. "When I catch you, wizard, I'm going to -"

"Fai and Kurogane are scaring the pretty ponies!" Mokona scolded, bouncing off Kurogane's head, and distracted he swiped at her, growling under his breath.

"Aren't you two tired of fighting?" Syaoran asked, anxiously. "You've been doing it for hours, surely you should rest."

Kurogane glared across the clearing at Fai, and sighed. "Fine," he said curtly. "We can put it off for tomorrow, anyway."

Fai grinned brightly, warm and real, and Kurogane realised he was returning it. Syaoran looked between them uncertainly. "Tomorrow?" he said, lightly. "Is that a promise?"

"Yeah," Kurogane said, "And this time I'll be the one setting the pace, idiot."

"I'd like that," said Fai, and if the look on his face sent lazy spikes of warmth curling through Kurogane's belly, well, that was no surprise at all.