My first Tsubasa fic! Wheet! And it's a series of one-shots, so no one can complain about my writing it instead of updating multi-parters. ;p
Author's Notes: Possible manga spoilers. It looks like the anime skipped right over the Shara-Shura arc in the manga. You don't need to know all the details to
read this fic, just that the arc did happen in this timeline - between Outo country and the country with the race in the anime. Basic SPOILER: In the Shura /
Shara manga arc, the gang are taken to another world very suddenly and somehow Kurogane and Fay get dropped off six months before Syaoran, Sakura,
and Mokona. Meaning for six months they're waiting in a country that's in the middle of a neverending war - and without Mokona they can't communicate.
Kurogane sort of understands the language, it being close to Japanese, so Fay lets him do all the talking, they join the army, and they fight until the kids
eventually show up. The manga gives next to no details about how the two got along for half a year without being able to talk, but Fay is notably clingy
afterward when they switch worlds - so they don't get split up again. That's really all you need to know.
This fic was intended to be a introspective one-shot from Kurogane's point of view. But I have another unfinished one-shot from Fay's perspective that fits the
timeline very well, so I'm combined the two and turning it into a multi-parter. The first part is dark and angsty (Kuro-centric) and the second part is light and
playful (Fay-centric). I expect the second part to be done soon.
Category: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Yaoi, TWT
Warnings: reference to angst, violence, and lemons
Do You Love?
They weren't lovers. Kurogane didn't know if there was even a term for what they were. They were companions in their travels and they occasionally had sex,
but they weren't lovers. To have that word used in reference to them was perverse. There was no love in what they did, only frustration, need, and fleeting
pleasure. And there was guilt. For him, there was always guilt.
How was that fair? Why was he the one left with guilt?
Fay used him. The mage taunted him, encouraged him, and flaunted how easily he could get what he wanted from him. So why was he left with guilt for having
given in? It wasn't weakness on his part to accept what was offered to him. It was nothing more than need, convenience, a means of mutual release. They
coupled like animals because they were animals.
He'd never shied away from violence. He was a murderer. Bloodlust on a battlefield, crushing any who dared to challenge him...he'd thrived on it for so long.
Carnal lust in the bedroom should have been expected from him.
It had been expected from him. He'd had many lovers who'd encouraged him to use his strength, who'd chosen him because of his power and the danger he
embodied. It hadn't surprised him that Fay wanted him for the same reason. No, what surprised him, what left him filled with self loathing and that curdled guilt
was that he'd given in.
He couldn't explain why he felt guilty for giving in.
He'd tried to tell himself he hadn't done anything wrong because Fay was a man. His eager lovers in the past had been foolish women, who never realized he
was holding back, who were too stupid to be grateful that he held back for their sake. They'd never been on the battlefield with him, so they had no idea what
they were asking for when they encouraged him to let go. He told himself that Fay, being a man who'd fought at his side, knew exactly what would happen if he
were pushed too far. Fay had to know. Because even when he was hurting him, Fay kept pushing and pushing until he snapped. Fay refused to settle for
anything less than his full strength, drove him on until he released every bit of his raw, unfettered, lust. Fay wanted it, enjoyed it, and he wouldn't lie to himself
and say it wasn't pleasurable for him as well.
And still he felt like a monster. That first time, and every time since...the feeling was always the same. He'd learned to leave when they were finished, because
after a while he couldn't stand to look at him, to face what he'd done. Once he realized Fay wouldn't complain, didn't care enough to protest, it was almost
easy to leave him afterward.
And that made him feel just as bad. What kind of monster just left his...not lover, he couldn't call them lovers...his sexual partner, then...vulnerable and alone
like some thing to be used and discarded?
He'd never enjoyed sleeping with a woman after sex. He wouldn't sleep with her. But he'd hold her while she slept, or at least stay in the same bed with her till
she woke and was capable of going on her own. He didn't enjoy it, but he'd always done it because it was the right thing to do. It was the civilized thing to do.
But him and Fay...what they did, what he did...it wasn't civilized. So why should he care if he acted as much like an animal after as he did during?
He didn't know Fay liked to be held afterward. He'd assumed the man did, because he was the touchy sort. He'd tried to assuage his guilt by being gentle while
he slept, assuming the man would like that. He had reigned in his quick temper until Fay left the bed. Even when Fay woke and teased him, mocked him with
that infuriating smirk, he'd refused to rise to the bait and had been as gentle as he could because he'd thought that would make up for it. It wasn't even that
difficult to be gentle because he'd always been careful with his lovers. It was natural to do that for Fay as well, and he had done it because he thought the man
liked it. But he didn't know.
Fay hadn't said a word the first time he'd left him to wake up alone. He hadn't acted any differently. For all he knew, Fay didn't like to be held afterward. He
didn't like it, so maybe Fay didn't either. And if Fay didn't like it, he had every reason to stop doing it and no reason to feel guilty for stopping. He still did.
It was wrong to hurt him and then hold him like he hadn't. It was wrong to hurt him and then leave him like he hadn't. It didn't matter what he did afterward.
Nothing could change the fact that he hurt him. And that was wrong. He'd never done that to anyone. That was why they weren't lovers. Because a lover didn't
do that to his lover. A lover didn't provoke his lover into doing that to him. The entire thing was wrong and he knew that.
Why the hell did he keep doing it?
It had started in Shura, when he and Fay were separated from the kids and abandoned in a world where they couldn't communicate.
Fay not being able to talk should have been a good thing. He'd thought it was at first. The mage had jibbered at him just the same, but no one had any idea
what he was saying, so it was easy to ignore him. Kurogane had been occupied finding a place for them in the middle of a war, ensuring housing and food -
and a suitable occupation as soldiers - while they waited for the meatbun and the kids to show up. Unlike many of the others, that world had been perfect for
him, full of challenging enemies, competitive allies, and enough violence to keep him satisfied through the long wait. He'd been in his element, at home with the
soldiers who spoke a language close enough to Japanese for him to communicate.
He hadn't paid attention when Fay stopped following him around, aside from being glad the stupid mage was no longer drawing attention to himself with his
pale hair, willowy figure, and constant smiles. Their first month, Kurogane had been forced to protect the fool more times than he could count. It had taken a
handful of beatings before the men stopped offering him things in exchange for a few hours with his pretty little 'camp follower.' So he'd been glad when Fay
started sticking to their tent when they weren't fighting the opposing army.
It was less troublesome. He'd gotten very tired of yelling at a seemingly bewildered Fay for taunting the soldiers with his careless attitude and simpleminded
smiles. Fay seemed incapable of learning the language and Kurogane hadn't been able to convince the others that his companion wasn't the mentally
challenged bed-warmer he appeared to be. Even Fay's superior skill with a bow and arrow didn't change the fact that he babbled meaningless sounds every
time he opened his mouth. The men resented Kurogane for flaunting Fay and refusing to share. To them, there was no reason a man would keep a pretty
companion too dumb to speak unless it was for sex. Fay's natural behavior ruined any attempt Kurogane made to convince the soldiers he wasn't what he
looked like. So it was good that Fay stayed away from them.
Kurogane hadn't been the least bit suspicious. Well, maybe a little, but he'd been too grateful to worry about it. He'd always known Fay was serious behind
those fake smiles of his, so it was nice to see him drop them. He was finally acting like a normal person. He continued to smile on the battlefield, but it was a
dangerous, taunting smile that left his enemies in fear of more than his perfect aim. The men noticed the change as well because they began to avoid him as
much as he avoided them. The offers stopped, and Kurogane assumed they'd figured out the danger gleaming behind that idiotic front.
He stopped watching him. He didn't notice when Fay began spending more time on the practice range than he did in the tent. He wouldn't have cared if he had
noticed. When Fay wasn't acting like a careless fool, he was more than capable of taking care of himself. He didn't need a bodyguard. Kurogane ignored him.
He kept right on ignoring him until one of the men suggested Fay switch squads so he wouldn't have to limp back to Kurogane's tent at night. They'd made a
reputation for themselves by then, him and Fay, as the strongest members of Yasha's clan. The sudden suggestion had been so similar to the original
harassment that Kurogane had been furious. It didn't help that the man who suggested it was a comrade of his, someone he'd sparred and drank with enough
for the man to know better. Then he found out why that had started up again. There were rumors.
He refused to believe them. Fay hadn't behaved any differently around him. He didn't move like he'd been attacked. He certainly didn't act afraid, of any of
them. There was only one person in any world Fay was afraid of, and Kurogane was sure he'd notice if that ever changed. So he decided the rumors had to
be false. What they were whispering couldn't have happened. Even Fay wasn't a good enough actor to hide something like that. There would be marks,
winces, maybe a return of that desperate smile the mage used as a shield between his emotions and the world. There would be clear signs, and Kurogane
would have noticed.
There weren't signs, but there were marks. Fay was a much better actor than he'd given him credit for. When the rumor came again, weeks later, Kurogane
decided to prove that it wasn't true. He knew Fay, knew the mage was girlish and soft despite his strange combat skills, or maybe because of them, maybe that
was what let him dance on air when he fought. He knew if anyone had hit him, done that to him, it would be written on his skin.
And it was. He'd cornered Fay in their tent and caught his hand. Those formerly blue eyes, now as black as his own, widened. Kurogane ignored his surprised
reaction. He didn't bother trying to explain with words. He just pulled Fay's loose sleeve back and looked at him. It was there, written in clear shades of pasty
yellow, ash green, and lavender gray, all over his arm. He knew then.
He was livid. He shook him and hissed curses in his face that he knew Fay wouldn't understand. Fay didn't need to understand the words themselves. No
language barrier was an excuse for this. Exhaustion, hunger, they didn't have to use words to express a basic human need. Fay didn't need to speak to ask
for his help. All he'd had to do was show him the marks and he'd have known exactly what had happened. There was no reason to hide it.
Why would he? Pride? Embarrassment? He was only one man. However powerful he was in his home world with that magic he claimed to have but refused to
use, he was still just one man. They'd been tossed into this realm together. Kurogane might not have liked him half the time, but he was still there with him.
They fought together almost every other night on the field. They watched each other's backs and moved as a pair. Even in the words before this one, he'd
protected him again and again. He hated that it was necessary, that Fay refused to use magic to defend himself and made it so he needed protection. But he
accepted it. He begrudged being forced into it, but he accepted it, and he'd protected him when he wouldn't protect himself. When he couldn't protect himself.
And this was different. If even half of the rumors were true, and they were, the marks attested to that, then Fay couldn't protect himself. Hell, even if he'd used
his supposed magic, it might not have helped him. These weren't just skilled soldiers and mercenaries. Compared to Fay they might as well have been a
different species. Every member of Yasha's clan, even the clumsy ones who did nothing more than watch the horses, they were all bigger than Fay.
He should have expected it. He blamed himself. But he blamed Fay, too, because he should have told him. The mage hadn't even hinted at it. He'd kept quiet
about it and let it happen a second time. And maybe more than twice. Because there had been rumors.
That was worse than anything because Fay sure as hell hadn't been the one to talk about it. They were bragging about it. Maybe everyone knew who they
were, everyone but him. Because no one would tell him who had started the rumors, and Fay refused to point the men out.
He'd tried to make him, had dragged him out and tried to get some response, a flinch when he saw one of the ones responsible, anything. And Fay had simply
looked at him like he was the crazy one. The men who were on good terms with them had the nerve to look bewildered by his behavior. He'd been humiliated
and furious and if he hadn't realized he was making a bigger bruise on Fay's wrist than the ones already there, he would have dragged him through the entire
camp and right on to the next one until he had a target to take his fury out on.
He finally let him go. He followed him back to their tent and glared for days, weeks, as Fay continued to act as if nothing had happened. His anger smoldered
and lashed out on the battlefield and off. The men avoided him, and they avoided Fay more than ever because now things were reversed. Where Fay had
followed him like a shadow in the beginning, now he was the one following. The suicidal idiot wouldn't tell him anything, and he wouldn't stay in their tent. He
followed him because he still didn't know where it had happened. When it had happened. Fay had always been in their tent when he came back in the
evenings. He'd been ignoring him so long that he had no idea what Fay did with his time.
He could have been going anywhere. It could have happened anywhere. So Kurogane followed him everywhere. The men noticed. They avoided them. And
the rumors stopped. With them went any chance of finding his targets.
That wasn't acceptable. He reigned himself in and allowed more distance between them. He'd stalked enemies before, hidden in shadows as only the best
could do. He let the distance widen until he knew Fay couldn't tell if he were being watched or not. If Fay couldn't tell, with all his uncanny senses, then no one
else could, either. He knew if he wanted to find the men, he'd have to catch them in the act.
Eventually, he did. He wondered for months after if Fay had even bothered to change his routine after the first attack. The mage walked the same path day
after day, and he didn't seem at all surprised to see the men who were waiting for him that day. There were four of them. Kurogane recognized two as
members of the eastern camp. He'd never spoken to them, but he'd seen them on the battlefield and acknowledged their strength. A part of him resisted the
idea that these two were the ones he'd been looking for because they were too skilled, too powerful to stoop this low.
Fay stopped and watched them surround him, and Kurogane thought maybe it wasn't them. Because Fay didn't look upset or worried. His entire demeanor
was too casual. He rolled his shoulders and stretched his arms as if it was nothing more than a sparring session. When one of them stepped toward him, he
raised a hand and the man immediately stopped, acknowledging it as a silent request to wait. They waited and watched as Fay undid his shirt halfway.
Kurogane was shocked. He hadn't even considered that the rumored attacks might have been welcome encounters. It was unthinkable. Even seeing how calm
and meticulous Fay's motions were, he refused to believe it. He'd never had all that much respect for the man to begin with, but this was just...too much. He
was disgusted and so furious he wanted to beat Fay himself. He might have done just that if he hadn't been afraid of his own anger. He knew that if he
stepped out of his shadowy spot he wouldn't be able to stop beating him until he was dead. He felt betrayed and so angry, but he knew he'd never be able to
live with himself if he did that.
Fay pulled a dark bundle from his robe and set it aside. Kurogane recognized it instantly. It was the same outfit Fay always wore when he practiced, on the
battlefield, and he'd even seen him sleep in it a few times. He'd always been secretly amused to note that no matter how rough the battle was, Fay managed to
keep his outfit from having a single tear. It was one of those quirks that made Kurogane roll his eyes, just one more oddity he'd come to expect from someone
as strange as Fay.
And now he was confused because Fay had turned back to the waiting men with that dangerous, taunting, smile of his. When they attacked, he struck back,
dancing and keeping that smile as if he honestly thought he could hold his own. Kurogane wondered if he'd jumped to the wrong conclusion and this was just a
private sparring session with overwhelming odds. He didn't know what to think. Fay was always with him on the battlefield, so he must have recognized the
same two he'd recognized. He had to know he didn't stand a chance against either one of them, certainly not both at once, and the other two as well, not
without a weapon, without anyone to watch his back.
They got him down and he struggled, lashing out as he was pressed into the ground. Their taunts drifted back to Kurogane and his anger returned in full
force. But it wasn't directed at Fay this time. Because he thought he understood Fay's twisted thinking. They were mocking him for being stubborn and
congratulating him for putting up a good fight. And that was all it was, a good, but inevitably hopeless fight. Fay had walked into it like he expected it because
he had expected it. He'd maintained his routine because if it didn't happen here, it would happen somewhere else. The only alternative was to hide in the tent
and never come out for anything but the battles. And he'd already done that for months. Maybe he even thought it was worth this not to be isolated from
If there was one thing Kurogane was sure of, it was that Fay didn't like to be alone. And he'd never seen him more alone than he was in this country. Fay
hadn't come to him for help because if he had, Kurogane would have forced him to stay in the tent where he'd be safe. Safe, but alone, because Kurogane
had given up trying to communicate with him almost as soon as they arrived. He didn't even look at him unless he had a reason to. Did that make it partially his
The guilt had started there and it didn't go away after he'd beaten Fay's attackers as close to death as he could without actually killing them. Fay looked so
surprised to see him there that he almost smirked despite himself. Then Fay smiled. It was that sweet lying smile he hated, but he hadn't seen it in so long he
was almost relieved by its return. He pulled the mage up and resisted the urge to shove him away when Fay glomped him with a soft babble of seemingly
happy sounds. He heard part of his name mixed in with what was no doubt teasing idiocy. Kuro was the only thing Fay said that he understood. But then, Kuro
was the only part of his name Fay had ever gotten right, even when they spoke the same language.
Fay pulled the dark outfit on over his torn clothing, so no one stared at them when they walked back. It wasn't until they were in their tent that Kurogane
realized the significance of that. He wondered if Fay had been carrying it with him every day since the last time, just in case it happened again, in case he
needed to hide the signs from him. The foresight in that was so twisted Kurogane found himself angry at him again. With the language barrier he couldn't even
explain to Fay why he was so angry, and that made it even worse. He wanted to shake him, to scream at him until he stopped smiling that fake smile and
explained what the hell was so wrong with his mind that he endangered himself like that.
He didn't scream because the words would have had no meaning to Fay, but he did shake him. Hard. And when that smile remained steadfast on Fay's face
and the mage turned away from him with an amused little laugh, he did more than shake him. He jerked him back around and shoved him up against the
support beam where he couldn't turn away. He cursed him and glared down at him. He couldn't understand why his size and raw fury didn't intimidate Fay at
least enough for him to lose that infernal smile. Fay pushed at his chest, but it was a boneless, playful motion with no intent behind it.
Did he think this was a game?
He shoved him harder against the beam and hissed his name at him. It was the only word he knew that Fay would recognize, one that sounded the same no
matter what language they were speaking. And finally that smile faltered.
The response should have made him feel as if he'd won. Fay opened his eyes and looked at him, really looked. But the look was...
Suddenly he wished Fay would close his eyes and smile that stupid smile again. He'd wanted to intimidate him, to evoke a response, any genuine response.
But he hadn't expected Fay to look so surprised and...wary...? Had he actually scared him?
Fay was never afraid of him. He knew better. No matter how much he wanted to slice him open for tormenting him, he'd never done it. He never would. That
was why Fay continued to taunt him, pick at him, and drive him insane. Because he knew he'd get away with it.
So why was he suddenly staring at him like he'd been betrayed? He'd shook him a little harder than normal, but it wasn't like he'd actually hurt him.
Fay bowed his head and his slender shoulders shook beneath Kurogane's hands. The quiet laugh startled him so much that he tightened his grip instead of
jerking away like he'd intended to. Then Fay pressed closer to him and he realized what it was the mage had found so amusing. Sometime during his anger
and frustration, his body had reacted in a very noticeable way. Noticeable, especially with Fay's lithe form pressing up against him.
He was mortified. And yet...Fay eased closer until he was flush against him and he'd never wanted anyone so much in his life. He struggled with the need, his
body twitching like a bowstring pulled too tight. A hand slid past his chest and into his hair, and he found himself staring down at a familiar smile. It was that
liquid, dangerous, smile Fay wore on the battlefield. He finally realized why that smile seemed more natural than the fake happy one Fay always wore. It was
dark, knowing and determined, and bitterly, painfully, real. Suddenly he didn't think he liked it anymore.
Then Fay reached up and licked his neck, a fluid heat that arced up and ended just shy of his lips. He shuddered and almost crushed him in response, his
arms falling to pull him closer still. Fay's body writhed against him and he didn't care about smiles, lack of communication, or anything but the feel of it. He
pressed him up against the beam and devoured his mouth until Fay's hands pulled in his hair. He wanted to take him right there, but Fay whispered heatedly
and pulled his head back so he was looking over his shoulder. At Kurogane's bed. Even though Fay's was closer.
What had followed was a blur. He remembered parts of it like bits of a fevered dream. Fay had never stopped moving. He'd been careful at first. He was sure
he'd started out careful because he was always careful. But Fay had nipped at him and scratched him, taunted him with looks that left him infuriated even
without understanding the whispers, and then he'd touched him like no woman ever had and dared him with his eyes and he'd reacted violently. He'd reacted
just the way Fay had known he would.
Once he gave in, the taunting whispers stopped. Fay never made a sound. He remembered how Fay had looked as he arched up against him, his mouth open
in choked gasps, his eyes blurry and closed too quickly to read. He remembered wishing he would moan, whimper, anything to reassure him that those
expressions reflected pleasure and not pain. He remembered catching himself when he realized Fay was crying, and how those slender arms had pulled him
closer with a desperate strength he wouldn't have believed Fay possessed. Everything else was a haze of carnal violence.
He'd never fallen asleep after sex before that first time with Fay, and he never did again. But that time he had. He'd woken to find himself drained and stunned,
horrified even. Despite Fay's peaceful, sleeping face, he could see the damage he'd done to him. He'd never marked a lover before. He'd even drawn blood,
from the bite near his neck and from the entry. He'd never had a male lover before, but he knew how it was supposed to be done.
Had he not prepared him at all? He knew better than that. Yet he could barely remember anything that even slightly resembled foreplay. He knew he'd wanted
to touch and explore him. He still did. But he couldn't remember doing it. Everything he remembered was rough and desperate. He'd made him cry, Fay crying,
and he hadn't stopped. If it weren't for the sticky proof on their stomachs he'd never have believed Fay could have enjoyed anything they'd done together.
His guilt had been overwhelming then. He'd cleaned them up and lay there waiting for Fay to wake and watching the bruises form overnight. He'd held him,
thinking Fay would like to wake up like that, even if he were rightfully upset at him when he did wake. He started a list that night, one he built on over the next
few months, of all the things he had to talk to Fay about once the kids arrived and they could communicate again. Looking back, it was funny all the things that
had gone through his mind while he waited for morning. The extended silence had finally gotten to him and he'd unconsciously filled it with his own thoughts.
Nothing that morning was the way it should have been. He was uncomfortable. He couldn't have apologized, even if he knew how, because words were
useless. Hand gestures seemed moronic, and it was hard just to keep his temper. The way Fay reacted was wrong, from his clueless expression to the way he
cocked his head to the side and felt Kurogane's forehead, like he was the one with problems. Kurogane glared at the bruises and, with a smirk and a brush of
his fingers, Fay made him aware of the bloody scratches on his own back. Then he laughed quietly, patted his head, and left the bed to nap in his own until
breakfast. Kurogane was left growling under his breath and staring at his blanketed form with outrage and more than a little outright confusion.
He thought of a lot of things after that. He thought of even more a month later when a sack of crudely made sake led them to the same bed a second time. He
wondered how sex was viewed in Fay's world because Fay was treating him as casually as he'd treated those women in his own world. He wondered if all that
girlish romantic drivel Fay had spoken in Outo was as fake as those smiles he'd worn, because as overly friendly and tactile as Fay was with him, he wasn't
any worse than he'd been before. His list of things he wanted to ask him grew longer even as he realized he'd never speak half the things on it.
By the time the kids showed up, he'd figured a few things out. He'd realized, after seeing Fay knocked from his mount during battle, that Fay could have killed
those men. If they'd come at him with the intent to kill, rather than to use, Kurogane was sure he would have. He understood that Fay had killed before,
perhaps as often as he had, and that he was loathe to do it again. A part of him had to marvel at that, like his decision not to use magic, even if he didn't
agree with it. He also understood, when Fay came to him that night, that he was being used too much to feel as guilty as he did.
So many unspoken words and the first things they said to each other, once they realized the kids were close enough for them to communicate, were plans on
how to greet them on the battlefield. And once they were reunited and swept off to the next world, all those words seemed meaningless. Fay seemed to revert
to his old self without a moment's hesitation and Kurogane was almost relieved. The only thing that was changed between them was that they now knew each
other too well not to notice when the other was interested, and they were too close to the children to do anything about it without sneaking away like thieves.
If Kurogane had ever doubted who was in control, a flash of that knowing, simmering, smile reminded him. Perhaps if he'd spoken a few of those questions on
his list, things would have been different. He still considered asking, now and then, mostly when he found himself sneaking back to his own bed in the middle of
the night, torn between wanting to stay and wanting to get as far away as possible. He flipped from one extreme to the other and felt lost in his own mind. He
avoided Fay during the day, was harsher than ever in rebuking every gesture of friendship, all the while he spent his nights watching him wince from dreams,
all but desperate to reach out and comfort him. The next day things might be skewed entirely, with his temper mellowed enough to ignore the teasing
closeness until he could express his frustration in another of those rushed and silent encounters mere hours after the kids were tucked away for the night.
Their relationship was diseased, tainted like an infected wound. As long as Fay was in control, it wouldn't get better. He knew that, and he knew he was to
blame because he could have taken control from the very beginning. He still could. Something was holding him back and a part of him wondered if it was fear.
What they had now was so unnatural if they were separated they could walk away. They'd both benefit from walking away. How different would it be if they
were lovers, instead? Would Fay love him? If he did, would he be able to forgive himself for abandoning him and returning to his own world? He didn't need
Tomoyo or a curse to tell him that doing something like that would be as bad as killing him. He had the kid as a prime example of unrequited love and sacrifice.
If Fay weren't already broken, he would be once Kurogane got his wish.
He didn't consider how the inevitable separation would affect himself. As far as he was concerned, a part of him already cared too much, not just for Fay, but
for all of them. Even if he were there to see the final feather returned to Sakura, he'd miss them when he returned home. And knowing Fay would spend the
rest of his life switching worlds, alone, would nag at his conscience for years after. The guilt would never end if he had to deal with breaking his heart as well
as abandoning him. Because even as twisted as their relationship was, he had a horrible suspicion that Fay could easily love him. The smallest gesture of
honest affection might be too much. He'd seen it the few times Fay's mask had fallen. Whatever Fay's king had done to send him running for the rest of his
life, it wasn't enough to stop him from loving him. Fay had too much capacity for love and Kurogane didn't want any part of it.
Guilt was better. He still thought it was premature, since he hadn't done anything Fay hadn't taunted him into doing. He didn't understand why it was so
nagging and fresh. But he was familiar with guilt and he could live with it. He'd assuage it by protecting Fay and resisting him as much as possible. That was
enough. It had to be enough, because that was all he had to offer.