I hardly dare to show my face again after such a long time... I want to apologise profusely for failing to update for months after a cliffhanger, you have the right to fry me if you want. I can tell you it's quite unlikely I'll update during the next 2 months as well...
But in the mean time, have this chapter. I am absolutely not planning to drop this story!


He could hear Sakura's whimpers. He could hear Syaoran's heavy breathing, the shuffling of the clone's feet and the rustling of the sheets as the wounded boy struggled.

He knew Syaoran was trying to fight the clone. He knew Sakura was wounded. He could smell it.

But he couldn't move. They were too far, too high up in the building. There was glass digging into his hands, but the pain didn't even register. He could practically feel his leg slowly straightening up after the twisted fall had broken it.

Why didn't I catch my fall?

His entire body convulsed and he retched. A heavy shudder travelled down his spine before he emptied his stomach from the blood he just drank. Slimy sour blood from Kurogane washed over the pale red splatters of his own, scattered among the glass.

What's that smell?

He heard a thump in the building and a half swallowed wail from Sakura. He tried to look up, but his body was too busy throwing up. By the time he was done, he knew the clone was gone.

This smell is not supposed to be on Kurogane's blood.

It was disgusting, but he still sniffed at what he'd just thrown up. He knew he'd had to go up and help Sakura, but something was terribly wrong with Kurogane's blood. The ninja might need him more than the princess right now. If he'd throw it up like that, whatever it was must be pretty bad. And the man had been looking rather off.

In fact, Kurogane had smelled off. He looked strange and he moved strange. But Fai had assumed it was the wound he had on his leg, and the stress about Syaoran had gotten to him. But as it appeared now, he'd gotten some nasty stuff into that wound.

...

He felt like throwing up, but he didn't want to. He was lying on the floor, how could he possibly throw up here? It would be a mess.

He slowly rolled over to his back, his head hitting the wall with a thump. The ceiling was moving about in strange wobbly lines and changing colour. Or was is flashing?

A light shape fluttered over him like a bird. A really fast fluttery bird, or maybe butterfly, or maybe bat. He turned his head and focused on the mage who had just passed over him through the door and was now yanking some pants he wore earlier out of a pile.

It was curious. Since when did vampires sniff pants?

"How did you get that wound?"

Kurogane didn't understand the urgency in the mage's voice. The wound was cleaned and bandaged. Nothing more to be done.

In fact, shouldn't they be worried about those kids instead?

"Kurogane, tell me how you got that wound!"

He blinked owlishly.

"Can you still hear me?"

Silly vampire. Of course he could.

Silly?

Ah, the vampire.

His head slowly rolled backwards while the bile rose in his throat, and he didn't quite see the flashy ceiling anymore when it turned black.

...

She could feel trembling fingers on her cheek, and the sharp edge of something heavy digging in her side. She felt like she was lying on the floor.

She was lying on the floor.

She shot up, scaring the brunette over her away with a small shriek. Her leg instantly burned and she gasped, her vision swimming and dotted with black. Syaoran made a jerky motion, dragging his splinted arm away from Sakura's side as he tried to balance back.

"S-Syaoran."

"He l-left."

Her eyes widened in surprise. She had meant him. She had meant to talk to him.

"No. You." She lifted a hand to touch his face, but he shied away.

"Ts-Tsu..." He broke himself off and bent over, hiding his face from her.

"Syaoran!" She leant towards him, trying to touch him, trying to comfort him. Why was he scared of talking to her? Why didn't he want to say anything?

Was he just about to say that word?

Pain shot through her leg as she shifted, and she felt something wet and warm. Ah yes. He stabbed her.

She cringed back and her fingers clenched over the flesh around the wound. Syaoran peeked up shortly at her movement and a heavy tremble shocked his body before he reached out for her again. His splinted arm slid closer involuntarily as he reached around to tug on a strap of fabric. She watched him in surprise when he pulled the fabric tight. He'd been bandaging her. But his mind was clear. He'd been touching her by himself, even though he was clear! He'd only hold her, only touch her with hesitation. He hadn't touched her this... functional? Intimately? Trustingly.

When she slowly touched the back of his hand to help him tie a knot, he allowed her without a start.