Wind is on the Face of the Water

Just after their arrival in Nihon, Tomoyo-hime prompts Fai to get his head sorted out about Kurogane. Drama with Ambush Romance, I-3, some spoilers

Pairing(s): Kurogane/Fai

Fai sat quietly by Kurogane and watched the faint glow of Tomoyo-hime’s hands on Kurogane’s mangled shoulder with blank eyes. Now and then he touched the hand locked around his arm. Even barely conscious, Kurogane had grabbed hold again as soon as they were settled in the palanquin. The confusion of those last moments in Celes spun through his mind’s eye over and over.

"Since when…" he whispered, not expecting an answer even if Kurogane had been awake.

And so he started when Tomoyo-hime murmured, "Probably since the very beginning."

The beginning? Fai shook his head. "But…"

Tomoyo-hime looked up, hands still busy casting healing, and smiled at him, sweet and kind and merciless. "Well, what did you think, the first time you saw him?"

It was a little hard to remember that now, after all the worlds, all the events, all the words. Her smile reminded him, though, and he answered slowly. "He was so stern and determined." As memory sped up so did his words. "So urgent, but only looking at one single goal. I wanted to—" he broke off sharply.

"To make him look at you?" Her eyes twinkled before she looked down at Kurogane again. "Do you think," she added, softly, "he saw you any less clearly?"

Fai chewed on his lip. He’d been surprised, more than once, by Kurogane’s perception, and he had to admit Kurogane didn’t say what he saw very often. "I… suppose not."

"He is a very kind man."

Fai bent his head. "I know."

"You’ve helped him." One small hand reached out and touched his cheek, asking him to look up. Tomoyo was smiling again. "Thank you."

For once glib words completely deserted him and Fai shook his head helplessly. Tomoyo-hime patted his cheek, serene and unyielding.

"Come along. As soon as this is bandaged it’s your turn."

Fai was rather afraid of that.

Fai washed slowly, being careful not to get his dressings wet. He didn’t want to give Tomoyo-hime another chance to tell him alarming things.

Had Kurogane really… cared about him… from the very start? Fai had thought that, kind as he was, Kurogane was still wrapped up in his own determination, his insistence on returning to his home. He’d taken "it doesn’t concern me" at face value, thought it was safe, right up until Tokyo.

In retrospect, that had obviously been foolish of him.

Even after, when Fai tried to make it safe again, to draw back—as well as possible while drinking Kurogane’s blood which, admittedly, wasn’t very—the stubborn man had refused to go.

Refused to let Fai go.

Looking back, Fai couldn’t lay his finger on any single moment, or even progression of moments, that might have told him Kurogane would do such a thing, make such sacrifices to save him. And that… that probably told him something in itself.

He stared down into the steaming water, wondering what he was supposed to do now.

"No, like this. Over that finger, and brace the inner with your thumb. Don’t hold them too hard or…"

The clump of rice Fai was trying to eat disintegrated and he sighed while Tomoyo-hime kindly didn’t laugh at him—at least not out loud. Perhaps it was just as well Shaoran and Mokona had fallen asleep before dinner and weren’t here to watch this. One more try. Ah, that was better.

"He’s very much like Sakura-chan."

Fai paused with his chopsticks in his mouth and raised his brows, trying to wordlessly convey the comparison between a small, laughing, bright-eyed princess and a large, growling, glaring ninja. Tomoyo-hime just smiled and sipped from her cup.

"They love the same way."

Fai swallowed and concentrated on capturing another of his unidentifiable vegetables and tried to keep breathing. The princess’ open-hearted love had been a benediction, making no demands of him, so freely poured out he could only do his best to aid her wish in return. To compare that to the quiet waiting that hid behind Kurogane’s growling and snapping made his heart skip in something like panic.

Tomoyo-hime gave him a long look and made a little hm sound. "Well." She smiled brightly, in a way that made Fai instantly wary, and picked up a carafe. "Shall we drink, then?"

"Ah. I wondered if you would be here." Tomoyo-hime stepped softly into the room and slid the door shut behind her.

Fai stirred in the dimness, where he sat watching Kurogane sleep. "I didn’t want to bring my misfortune on him, as well, you know" he said softly.

Tomoyo-hime stood for a long breath, looking at him steadily before she finally crossed the room with delicate steps and rapped him briskly over the head, making Fai start and duck.

Maybe it was some kind of national habit.

"Don’t be foolish," she directed. "Have you forgotten that I am a miko? I would know if you truly brought misfortune, and I say that you do not."


Tomoyo-hime shook her head, ornaments chiming. "You do not." Her firm tone brooked no hint of doubt and Fai subsided, flustered. He had never questioned that one thing; no one he really knew had. "Didn’t Yuuko-san tell you?" Tomoyo-hime asked, settling down beside him and smoothing the covers over Kurogane’s chest. "Everyone makes their own choices. It’s from those choices that inevitability flows, not the other way around."

Fai felt as though those small hands were turning his world end for end, and shook his head mutely. Tomoyo-hime sighed and reached up to lay her hand gently on his head.

"Yuui, royal prince," she said soft and clear, "Fai D Fluorite, Mage of Celes, it was not your fault."

The words rang through him like a bell and he lifted a hand, wanting to catch and hold them. She took his hand in both her own.

"Kurogane does not believe it was your fault either. You trust his eyes, don’t you?"

"Yes," Fai whispered. She had an answer for every fear, fit each one together as neatly as someone piecing back together a broken mirror, and the reflection she showed him was ragged but clear.

"You should sleep a little," she told him. "I’ll call you when he wakes." Her smile turned mischievous. "If you don’t know on your own, that is."

Fai’s mouth quirked wryly. Clearly he wasn’t going to win any argument with her tonight. "Thank you." Besides, he did want to speak with Yuuko; if Kurogane was this determined to protect Fai he couldn’t complain about Fai doing the same in return. He touched Kurogane’s chest one last time, feeling his heartbeat, and took that reassurance with him when he stood.


He paused at the door. "Yes?"

"Remember this. This time I will say ‘Welcome’. Next time, it will be ‘Welcome home’."

It took him a moment to clear his throat enough to speak. "Next time, then," he said, husky, "I’ll say ‘I’m back’."

The moonlight lit up her smile.


A/N: Personally, I felt that the transition from absolute despair in Celes to everything being hunky dory in Nihon was way too abrupt. This is one attempt to explain how Fai could have gotten from the former to the latter.