Five dead kisses, lying on the floor
One kiss to tell it all and then a thousand more

His mechanical arm had not given him the same pains when it had shattered as a flesh and bone limb would have, but the root-like connectors that had allowed him to use the piece of machinery as an extension of his body hadn't exactly weathered the violent shocks very well, and had needed to be cut, dug and dragged out of his shoulder one by one. Add to this all the other abuses he had suffered, and Kurogane was hardly in any better shape the day after their return to Clow - the restored Clow - than he had been upon his return to his home country a scant couple of weeks ago.

The wizard had come out of it a bit better, the kid even more so, and the princess had been nearly unscathed. Physically, at least. Kurogane was thankful that they were all doing well, but he got a bit surly when he was ordered to stay quietly in bed for no less than ten days to let his body recover from the battles and surgeries it had undergone. While there were physicians to attend him and medicines to heal him, Clow was not Piffle with its advanced technologies or Nihon with its powerful restorative and regenerative magics. Time and nature had to fill in and do what the healers could not, and that meant Kurogane had to be patient.

It was not so bad as he'd darkly predicted to himself, nor did he break himself out of his own sickroom after only three days, and these things were due to the wizard imposing a confinement on himself to the very same room. The blonde forbade all interruptions save for such necessary visits as healers come to change dressings, servants carrying in the next meal, or Sakura and Syaoran and Mokona, and even these last were only allowed in on the condition that Mokona burp up a small but fine bottle of alcohol each time she came to visit. The blonde even politely kicked the king and queen away from the door, asked them not to come again until Kurogane was better recovered, and somehow made it sound as if it were out of concern for them instead of a selfish desire to keep Kurogane all to himself.

All this was rather impressive, but the wizard's initial entrance into his room had started off less than auspiciously.

Battered and bruised and still seeping blood from a dozen open wounds, Fai staggered in, leaning on the princess of all the undersized people in the country and Kurogane nearly came off his bed in concern that the two blondes were going to topple over and crack their heads open on the floor. With an additional influx of healers surging into the room after the foreign prince and desert princess, practically buoying them up and along with chatter and anxiously fluttering hands, the room was suddenly full to bursting and yet all that Kurogane could hear was his own thundering pulse, and all he could see were two feverishly bright, glittering golden eyes fixed on him.


He hauled himself up into a seated position and swung his legs over the edge of his bed, more to get attention than anything, and when one of his own healers squawked in alarm and dashed over to protest any movement, he grabbed the man by the throat and dragged him in close.

"How much blood can I lose right now without dying?" Kurogane rapped out, voice taut and tense, red eyes still locked on his wizard's - his vampire's, gods damn that Witch - desperate gaze.

"Wha- None!" the startled physician choked out, but Kurogane growled and gave him a quick shake. His bound and bonded Predator was halfway across the room now, shaking and pale, so pale and fuck they hadn't even thought about this possibility.

"HOW MUCH?" he roared, and this time he tore his gaze away to burn a vicious hole right into the now-terrified healer's head. The man gaped and then raked his wide-eyed gaze over Kurogane's form, stammering to himself while rapidly calculating his patient's weight, the amount of blood he'd lost already, the hours since surgery, and other things that tested the ninja's nonexistent patience.

"A...a liter. Maybe!" The healer's voice pitched higher in a confused panic, having no idea why his patient should be asking such a question with such a look in his eyes but knowing that no good thing could be at the source.

"It'll have to do," the ninja muttered, more to himself than the healer whom he threw away from himself, clearing the path between the bed and the starving vampire as best he could. The princess' voice, startlingly clear and commanding, did the rest. He saw the blur of bodies part from between them to give him a clearer look at that drawn, desperate face and clenched his jaw at what he saw.

Starving, and so afraid. Not of dying of thirst but of being unable to control it. They both remembered the vampire's first feeding and he saw in the blonde's stricken look that he was afraid of this being his last, and Kurogane shifted his eyes to the princess instead. She was already looking at him and though this one wasn't the princess they'd traveled so long with, she had dreamed and she had seen and she had been there with them, with Fai, and understood.

"You're going to have to stay," he said to her, low and quick, and she nodded.

Five more paces, and the vampire would be on him. The ninja was lying across all the sheets and too tired to shift himself, so he reached up and ripped down one of the gauzy bed-curtains that hung next to him, the metal circles it had been suspended from ringing and shimmering overhead as he wadded up the material next to him. He was covered in bandages but he might very well need more.

Four more paces. Kurogane shifted back against the pillows piled high against the headboards, and he distantly heard the slam of the doors closing after the fleeing healers with a heavy sort of finality.

Three. Even as Fai shook his head in terrified denial, those trembling hands were reaching for him.

Two. It's going to be okay, he promised silently.


His world contracted into a bright ball of pain and then exploded outward, all his nerves going supernova as his vampire quite literally fell upon him. The blonde was slender but still six feet tall and sleekly muscled; his weight was considerable and full half of it landed on the ninja. There was hardly anywhere that he wasn't wounded, and as he felt stitches give way and cracked bones creak, Kurogane had a sudden, unpleasant mental image of a ripe plum bursting under pressure. He was crushed back into the pillows by the impact and then hauled up out of them by desperately clutching hands raking at his scalp, neck, shoulders, upper back; anywhere Fai could get purchase. Almost before he could register the sob breathed hot against his neck, there were two fangs piercing into him, tearing his neck open and letting life flood hot and sweet and salty into his Predator's mouth.

His eyes had slammed shut against the pain, but as he crushed the groan that had escaped him between gritted teeth, he pried his lids open and sought out the princess. She hovered there by his bedside, arms still outstretched as if waiting for her once-knight to return to them. Kurogane was clutching the blonde convulsively to him as if there were some danger that the vampire might escape, but he carefully unclenched his hand and gave it to the girl instead.

There was no way to measure how much blood he was losing in those deeply drawing sucks and gulps followed by shallow little gasps and moans, so Kurogane focused on the cold slowly creeping up his limbs and the dizziness closing in on him. Fai was hot against him, practically burning through the bandages and clothing to sear his skin wherever they touched, but the chill was inexorable and moved steadily into his core. It grew harder to focus on staying focused, so Kurogane bounced his attention around a bit, first nuzzling into that fluff of golden hair tickling at his cheek to catch a whiff of that snow-and-spice scent that still lingered under the dry desert air and cloying tang of bloodied salves, and then paying attention to the way the trembling in that slender body pressed to his started to recede as the vampire grew fixed on his feeding, the greedy suckling at his neck growing less urgent, less frantic.

One corner of his mouth quirked up a bit as Fai gave a deeply contented hum, like a low purr, while shifting his arms to cling instead of claw.

Truth be told, he'd felt a faint tinge of regret at the thought that there would no longer be this tie between them. There were other bonds, of course, and ones less unnatural and unhappily forged, but this was still a part of who and what they were to each other while they traveled, and he'd been illogically loathe to give it up. Bloodletting held no joys for him and honestly it was an annoyance to have to worry about the mess - Fai never spilled a drop; that was only Kurogane bullying the blonde - and yet there had been pleasure in it too. Not in the pain, but in the contact. The union.

When he closed his eyes, the wizard burned brighter and hotter than ever in his field of vision, and he could see himself in those bright whiplash flares and crackling sparks. When he closed his eyes, he could see them in him and he exulted in it. With his eyes open, he could see his Predator draped over him or surging up under him or straining against him, but with his eyes closed, he could see the two of them together.

Kurogane's eyes drifted shut, and the princess let fall the hand grown lax between her fingers.

Struggling up through layers of sleep, the ninja hazily felt himself jostled about and tried to growl irritably at being so rudely awakened. He didn't quite manage to wake entirely up to deliver that wordless threat, but he did peer blearily from under one half-raised lid, and saw something rather odd. The princess and idiot were probably drunk again (Outo? no, that was so long ago) for they were wrestling like children right in front of him. The little girl had jumped on her knight-errant from behind and seemed to be trying to haul him over backwards. Stupid, thought Kurogane chidingly. All that weight on her and she'd just be pinned, but there she was, with one arm hooked around the wizard's throat and one pale hand covering the man's mouth. Bright red ribbons trailed from her fingers and Kurogane wondered where she'd gotten them (wrong, they're mine, that red is mine), but dozed off again before he could ask or even think to kick them off of his bed. (...bed?) He would yell at them later.

He opened his eyes to find himself still propped up against a mound of pillows, but with the bedding straight and smooth and all the bed-curtains properly hung once more. As he turned his head to glance around the silent, empty room, he could feel new bandages pulling at the skin of his neck. He also had six feet of lanky blonde curled up next to him, fair head pillowed on his thigh.

Not the worst way to wake up.

Fai's awakening was slightly less pleasant. Kurogane flicked him hard on the forehead and the blonde came startling awake. Surprise, irritation and realization chased each other across that sometimes-so-expressive face, and then contrition came crashing down over it all, and Kurogane sighed to see it.

"Kuro-sama..." Fai began, but the ninja cut whatever it was that was about to fall out of those pale lips right off.

"It's all right. I'm all right, you're going to be all right, and so are we," he said, and then mentally dared the idiot to make a fuss. He could see a hundred and one responses jostling for position in those wide eyes, blue again like the sky and sea and nothing in this world, and then snorted when the wizard just picked one word to respond with.

"We?" Fai repeated. Questioned. Teased. Asked.

Kurogane didn't even growl a reply; he just rolled his eyes and put the conversation into the ground by grabbing the man by the collar and swiftly hauling him in close for a kiss. Not the kiss he'd wanted to give him after Edonis, when he'd wanted to just show the idiot what he felt and what he wanted and what they could be. Not the kiss he'd wanted to give him in Yama, when he'd been uncertain but hopeful and wanting to ask with a soft brush of lips if Fai would be willing to start a new life, and with him. Not the kiss he'd wanted to give him in Tokyo, when he was afraid and trying to seal over all of the wizard's wounds with his own will. Certainly not the kiss he'd wanted to give him in Infinity; all lust and possessiveness. And not even the kiss they'd held back from sharing in Nihon, when they'd known and yet waited, not yet able to step over the edge they'd come to.

This was a kiss for now, for who they were and had become together. For what they wouldn't have been able to become without each other. Everything he'd ever wanted to're strong, you're brave, you're someone I can admire and I do, I'm watching and I'm listening and I'm here, I'm sure of you proud of you part of you, I see you know you need you love you want you have you...everything was in this quick, confident grab and drag and press of lips.

When Kurogane grabbed him, Fai's smile broke wide. When Kurogane dragged him close, Fai already had a hand splayed out on the sheets to support himself as he leaned in. And when Kurogane kissed him, Fai kissed right back, right away, and it was as if they'd been kissing for years already. No hesitation, no quick breath of surprise, no awkward bump of noses, no hasty clash of teeth. Neither a quick chaste peck nor a lustful, hungry devouring. They kissed, and kissed again, and by the time they parted Fai had squirmed in close to sit right next to him, practically leaning over into his lap and only still upright because he had a hand planted firmly on one of Kurogane's thighs. Or because the ninja had given in to his fixation with all that flyaway blonde hair and had a handful of it fisted firmly, keeping the other man close.

Kurogane took a breath and leaned back a bit, eyeing his wizard - his wizard - in an admittedly self-satisfied manner. He thought of saying something, but as he watched those blue eyes sparkling merrily at him he decided he'd already said quite enough, and drew the other toward him again. They kissed until the ninja got dizzy from a combination of lust and inadequate blood supply, then slept tangled together until the princess arrived with food, drink and a small huddle of master healers. Kurogane endured the healers while the blondes plotted together, and after Fai underwent a brief examination himself, the two began their convalescence together.

They traded a thousand kisses over the course of ten days, stopping only to sleep, let Kurogane eat and then Fai drink, and take turns terrorizing the healers with impatient glares while one or the other was having their dressings changed. Kurogane supposed he'd suffered worse confinements. Fai said he'd never been happier.