Author's Notes: This is an alternate universe, slight xmen references - instead of magic it's mutant powers. This is part of my Gmen-verse and is set alongside
Embracing Dreams.

Broken Wings

Part 1: Another bar, another look

"Who was that?"

Fay didn't look up from his drink. It was an accusation more than a question. There was anger and hurt, and a hint of suspicion because there always was.

Did you know him? You didn't, you didn't even know him. Or maybe you did, maybe you knew him too well. Because you haven't been here long enough to
know him any better. I know it wasn't Him. You wouldn't have done that, wouldn't still be here, if it were Him. So who?

They both knew he wouldn't answer directly. He never did. He kept his eyes locked on his drink, one finger sliding over the rim of the glass and writing slick
nonsense in the condensation. A slow smile spread over his lips and held firm, "No one you would know."

Silence. A few months ago he might have gotten a snort instead, maybe a growled complaint for being so evasive and careless. Now it was silence and heat.
He could feel the stare, burning eyes sliding over the back of his neck and peering through his loose bangs. He would have to meet those eyes eventually. Not
until he had a few more drinks, though. He'd waited for him. It was only fair that Kurogane wait for him in return.

Kurogane was going to sit down. Fay felt that and his smile lightened just a little. If he looked up now, that smile might have shown in his eyes. Just a little. It
was fair of him to wait in return, but Fay hadn't really expected him to. Patience was something they'd both discarded some time ago.

"You didn't take the flight," another accusation. "Why?"

Fay lifted his cup and took a long drink from the tiny double straws. Then he waited for him to sit. Kurogane did.

"It would have been inconsiderate of me," Fay said lightly, "to board the plane right as yours was landing. You might have thought I was avoiding you."

Surely that deserved a snort, a glare, the smallest hint of a growl. He received more silence instead. And he wondered if the game weren't too old, stretched
too thin, and finally ready to be snapped and severed completely. He wondered, but knew it wasn't true. Kuragane wouldn't have followed him if that were the
case. Maybe he was being so silent because part of him still hoped for an honest answer. Well, just this once, then.

"I missed you," Fay smiled into his drink.

"Liar."

The smile reflected in his sky blue eyes and he finally glanced up, up and over until he could see him clearly. Kurogane looked so tired, angry and stubborn,
but so very tired as well. He shouldn't hurt himself so much. Fay couldn't give him anything he needed. They both knew that. And yet here they were. Another
bar, another look, and there was nothing he could do to make it better.

"Did you sleep on the plane?" asked Fay.

A sharp immediate response, "Do you care?"

"I asked," Fay smiled. Such a silly question. They both knew it was. He'd always cared, they both had, cared far too much, and that was the problem. It was
that much harder to let go.

Silence, and then a quiet, "Who was that?"

"Someone far too interested in me," said Fay, as if he'd planned to tell him all along and just hadn't gotten around to it before. "Did you see the boy he had
with him?"

"Ah."

"So young and yet he's killed more men than you have. He was cute, too," Fay beamed, tilting his head so the smile was flirtatious rather than smug. "If I'd met
you at that age, I'd have kissed your cheek, too. There's no need to be so jealous about it."

Anger. Finally! Fay hid his relief in another long sip of his drink. He'd never known what to do with that delving silence. Those eyes looked too deeply into him
and it burned, itched until he couldn't hold still any longer. He didn't want to run away just yet. Because he'd missed him. He always did.

"The kid's not the one I was talking about and you know it."

"Oh," Fay blinked and looked up in playful surprise. "Did that bother you? I was only saying goodbye. He was very polite for a stalker, so it was the least I could
do."

More anger, confusion, and a hint of worry now creeping into those dark brows. Fay looked away.

He'd been worried as well. He hadn't known why that man was following him, watching him from a distance, and finally, approaching him with that child at his
side, a boy that reeked of death and danger. And pain and loneliness. He'd wanted to both run from the child and stay to offer what little help he could. In the
end he'd done both, he'd run from the first approach and stayed when they came looking for him a second time. He hadn't known why they'd sought him out,
but he knew He would never stoop to sending a child after him. And Kurogane, well, he always came himself. It had probably never even occurred to him to
send someone else in his place, someone Fay wouldn't recognize who could locate him before he was gone again. Fay liked that about him. Despite it all
Kurogane was endearingly naive at times.

"What did he want?"

"Powers," Fay shrugged, his smile easing back into place. "He could duplicate them by touch. The boy could as well, though he did it by sight. They picked me
out of a crowd, quite a surprise on my part. You know how I fancy myself as the sort who can disappear in public. And such scary talents they have, copying
powers. I'd hate to see talents like that fall into the wrong hands."

He gave a playful shiver that was half real. They'd scared him. He'd known as soon as he spoke to them that they didn't mean him any harm, but the blood was
still there, the possibilities. The boy must have already been in the wrong hands, at least once, and for some time, to have such a heavy cloud of death
around him. And the man...Fay had known the second they touched that he'd had nearly as many talents as him, possibly more. He'd given him something,
just to ensure he wouldn't follow him any more, but he'd picked the most harmless power he had. Something that couldn't be used to hurt. Something that
maybe, if the death came stalking that boy again, would protect them both. He'd given him a shield and he hoped, if things went well for them, the man would
never have reason to use it.

He'd given the power through a kiss because he'd felt Kurogane watching him from across the way. Kurogane knew that, of course. Fay had always felt when
those eyes fell on him, since the very first time they'd met. That was why he was so angry now. Fay preferred him angry when they met like this. Kurogane
knew that, too. It made things simpler when it came time to disappear again.

"Are you finished?"

So sharp with just a touch of impatience behind the heat. Fay wanted to shiver again but didn't. He played with his glass a moment longer before pushing it
lightly away. Money fell on the counter immediately, leaving him nothing to do but slip off the stool and meet those dark red eyes.

"Finished," Fay smiled with his eyes closed, "for now. I like this place. I might want to come back here some day."

He never would. Not to this bar, not to this city, and probably not to the country itself. And now Kurogane would know never to look for him here again.

A hand closed over his upper arm, being very careful not to tighten. Because Kurogane was still angry. He was always more careful when he was angry. Fay
smiled as he was guided out of the bar. To anyone looking on that hand was there to guide him in case he lost his way. Few would realize it was there to keep
him from escaping. Kurogane was nothing if not a quick learner.

"You could hold my hand instead," Fay murmured, easing into step with him and almost leaning into his side. Kurogane stiffened and shot him a wary look. Fay
gave a fond smile in return. "No one will notice us, Kuro-rin. You should know better by now."

A mocking snort. It made Fay's smile glint in his eyes. He preferred him angry when he had to leave him, but he loved him more when he was ruffled and
bristling.

"Unless there's another mutant stalking you," Kurogane scoffed. "We can't be the only ones here."

"Na, you're the only stalker I have at the moment," Fay smirked, leaning firmer into his side. "Lucky you. Now that you've caught me, whatever will you do with
me?"

Another silence, colder this time. Fay let his smile slip off his face. He knew that silence too well to play with it. He looked up and met Kurogane's steely gaze.

"Don't run from me." Please.

"I won't." I'm sorry.

The moment lengthened until he could smile again. It was a sad, bitter smile, but it was the only one he had to give. They knew it was a lie. He wished
Kurogane wouldn't ask so he wouldn't have to lie. But Kurogane always asked. There was nothing for it.

"I missed you," Fay said again, and the smile faded away. Believe me.

"Liar." I do.

.-.

PART 2

.-.

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