I have been fascinated by Kurogane and Fai's side of the Shura arc ever since I read it, as I'm sure all KuroFai shippers are. xD So here's my version of events! I hope I don't write anything that's a canon impossibility, as it's been awhile since I read the manga. Note, however, that I'm ignoring Yasha's backstory as is canon to CLAMP's RG Veda, because this is a different Yasha. So I'm just making stuff up about him. xD I mean, Kurogane and Fai are the important ones here. : P

Anyways! Enjoy! TRC is not mine!

Chapter 1: Arrival

Day 1

The last thing Fai remembered of the Shara world was a vast opening in the sky and the feeling that there was something horrible and something powerful on the other side of that void. Then he and Kurogane had both been swept toward that gaping hole, a feeling exactly like when Mokona transported them to a new world. After that had been a brief period of darkness, and then he'd found himself lying in the long, uncut grass of a wild meadow, an endless field of stars above him. A fat, full moon shone in the center of the sky, a dark something floating near it, but what it was exactly, he couldn't see. Now that he was here, that feeling of dread he'd experienced was less, somehow; it was as though the feeling had diluted, and was now just a vague unease in his stomach that he could ignore if he wanted.

He sat up, blinking as his eyes adjusted to the dark. Kurogane was a few feet away, also picking himself up off the turf and standing, eyeing their surroundings. Fai slowly got to his feet and walked to stand beside his dark-haired companion, observing the new landscape.

Syaoran, Sakura, and Mokona were nowhere to be seen. Apparently they had not landed in the same place as them, once again. It was unsettling that they had been apart from the kids for so long. It could only be a matter of time before Mokona would be unable to transport both groups separately like this and they'd get left behind.

Looking beyond their immediate vicinity, Fai saw that the clearing they had landed in was ringed by trees. Mountains were visible along the horizon, as well as some smaller hills and cliffs at a closer distance. Then Fai's eyes swept along the edge of the clearing itself and he saw a tall tower very close by. Several smoke trails streamed from the area, evidence that people inhabited the building or the surrounding land. He knew that's where Kurogane would want to go first, as it was the most likely place to be able to meet up with the kids and Mokona. Fai looked up at him expectantly.

Just as predicted, Kurogane pointed in the direction of the signs of civilization. "Let's go towards that tower," he said.

Or that's what he should have said.

Instead of the words that Fai was expecting to hear, something strange came out of Kurogane's mouth. A weird combination of quick syllables, low and hard to distinguish.


Kurogane took off, cutting a swath through the overgrown grass with his long legs as though nothing unusual had passed. Fai went after him and grabbed his wrist, forcing him to turn around. He looked irritated as he faced Fai, waiting for an explanation. But Fai knew that he wouldn't be able to give him one, as he was starting to understand what was happening.

Kurogane opened his mouth and spoke again, that same fast, incomprehensible speech. It was obvious that he was scolding Fai, yet the mage couldn't understand a single word of it. He marveled at his fellow traveler, fascinated by this new development. Without really paying attention to what he was doing, he reached a hand up towards Kurogane's face, gently touching his fingertips to the lips that no longer spoke the same language as him.

Startled, Kurogane jerked his head away from Fai's touch and immediately began shouting what were probably his usual reprimands, so drilled into his head that Fai could almost hear them echoed in the unfamiliar words. But he just shook his head slowly as Kurogane continued yelling.

"I can't understand a word you're saying, Kuro-tan," Fai said with a laugh, knowing it would sound like gibberish to the ninja.

Kurogane stopped speaking abruptly and stared at Fai, his mouth hanging open. The almost comical bewilderment only lasted a brief moment before he apparently realized what Fai had already concluded, and closed his mouth again with a business-like snap. Quite simply, the others, or at the very least Mokona, were not near enough to them to bridge the language barrier. Fai shrugged his shoulders helplessly and looked at Kurogane, trying to ask what they should do.

Kurogane took a moment to think, his brow furrowed. He seemed to unconsciously open his mouth and speak a few words before he remembered that it was futile, shaking his head in frustration and sighing. He gripped Fai's shoulders and seemed to be steeling himself for a very painful game of charades when something else caught his attention. His eyes flicked to Fai's right, in the direction of the buildings they'd seen. Fai followed his gaze and saw people approaching slowly down the grassy slope, a group of three men holding large weapons, visible even at a distance.

The one in the center held a long, thin blade that gleamed in the dull starlight, while the two flanking him wielded wicked looking bows, drawn and aimed at him and Kurogane. As they drew nearer, it became clear that all three were wearing some form of armor, as though they were on their way to a battle; or just returning. The archers finally stopped at a distance of about twenty feet from the pair, while the third took a few steps closer. He opened his mouth and shouted a few short sentences that Fai thought hardly sounded like a friendly greeting. But of course there was no way for him to truly know. He sighed. How would they get out of this one?

He glanced at Kurogane, expecting to see his face drawn in contemplation, coming up with a plan like he always did. But to Fai's amazement, there was a surprised look of recognition in his wide eyes. After a few seconds he hesitantly spoke back to the strange man, who seemed to understand him. At the very least, after Kurogane spoke, the three men lowered their weapons a bit. Then the man in the center sheathed his sword, saying something in a low voice. Kurogane grabbed Fai's wrist and led him forward slowly, still well aware of the two archers whose weapons were lowered now, but still drawn.

They stopped a few feet away from the men and Kurogane continued speaking with the man in the middle. Fai took the time to study this man, as the conversation went completely over his head, of course. He was tall, around Fai's height, and had long, dark brown hair pulled back and tied at the back of his head and flowing down to the middle of his back. He was wearing dark armor, the color impossible to distinguish by moonlight, over pants and a long-sleeved shirt, as opposed to his companions' long robes. His face, which relaxed the more he talked with Kurogane, had kind but cautious eyes. Eventually there was a pause in the conversation and he gave them both a small smile and seemed to ask Kurogane a question. Kurogane answered in the simplest way possible, a way that even Fai could understand.

"Kurogane." He touched his hand to his own chest. "Fai." He laid a hand gently on Fai's shoulder. He elaborated a little after Fai's name, gesturing to somewhere around his head.

The man in the center smiled at Fai. "Hiroto," he said slowly and clearly, following Kurogane's lead and pointing to himself. The two of them talked for a few more minutes, until Fai's head was practically swimming with the unfamiliar language so unlike his own. But whatever he told them seemed to please them, for they at once began leading the way back to their compound. However, they kept throwing the occasional sympathetic look over their shoulders towards Fai.

Fai had a guess as to what Kurogane had told them about him and his inability to speak, and it was more or less confirmed as they kept walking and Kurogane gestured that he keep his mouth shut. Apparently, he was a mute now. Or maybe just plain stupid. Either way, that meant he could leave all the diplomatic matters to Kurogane, which was probably a good thing.

It took only a few minutes for the small group to reach the buildings, which Fai now realized were a lot bigger than he'd first thought. There was actually an entire sprawling compound within the encompassing stone wall, as well as rows of colorful tents pitched outside the wall. The largest and tallest building, which Fai had been able to see from the field, looked to be made mostly of wood, about five stories tall, and incorporated an intricate, elaborate pattern within the roofs and gables. This central building was surrounded by courtyards, smaller buildings, walls and gates, all laid in such a way that it was impossible to directly access it. Hiroto led them through the maze with a familiarity that betrayed the extensive amount of time he must have spent there.

As they walked, they passed groups of men in armor huddled in patches of torchlight who stared at them as they passed. Fai became horribly conscious of how blonde his hair was among all the brown and black heads that turned to follow him as he walked by. He could practically feel their eyes on his back, even long after he passed them. He sped up to walk closer to Kurogane, but that couldn't stop the murmurings coming all around him, spilling from dark doorways and hanging in the air after him, comments and questions that would remain forever unknown.

Finally they reached the innermost courtyard, which seemed devoid of common militiamen, much to Fai's relief. The tall building was finally directly in front of them, but they were taken into a smaller, wooden hut set off to the side first. Their escorts left them with a few more words to Kurogane, who nodded and watched them leave without another word. After they were gone he let out a breath and his shoulders relaxed a bit.

Fai watched this silently, knowing that speech would hardly do him any good, waiting for Kurogane to explain. Despite his lack of evidence, he had unwavering faith in Kurogane; that he would be able to make him understand.

Eventually Kurogane turned to face him, a thoughtful expression on his face. He was probably wondering how best to go about it. Fai waited patiently during the moment of silence, studying the small, plain room while Kurogane organized his thoughts. When he was ready, he cleared his throat to get Fai's attention and opened his mouth. In the end Kurogane spoke only a single word, and as he spoke he raised his eyes to meet the mage's steady gaze.

"Yasha," Kurogane said. And just as he spoke the name of the god from Shara country, Fai gave a soft, involuntary gasp, startled not at what he heard, but what he saw.

The eyes that were staring into his were as black as pitch.

Hiroto-san is my OC. I hope we'll all grow to love him in time. xD

Okay, so after I already started writing this and had planned the entire fic, I discovered that there is a story called Yama Snippets by beenworkingonacoktail that seems similar to this. I was very disheartened, afraid I'd just come across as copying it; but I'd already put so much time in, I still wanted to go ahead. I read a little of this fic, (only because I didn't want the author's ideas to affect my writing, it seems very good) and I think that mine will be very different in a few ways.

So if you've read Yama Snippets, I'm not in any way trying to copy or improve that story, but merely trying to write my own version of events. Hopefully readers will be able to appreciate both stories separately! : )