Title: Nomen Est...
Characters: KuroFay, mentions of Tomoyo, Yuuko, and Ashura
Warnings: Acid Tokyo/Infinity/Celes spoilers, semi-explicit mentions of past sexxorz
Summary: Fay can't let a fight be a simple thing, and Kurogane takes a step over the line that goes too far.
A/N: Why do I do things like this to pairings I really like...?
So here they sat, just like always: Kurogane knelt on the mat with one sleeve rolled up so that the pale inside of his arm was exposed, and his other hand was wrapped in Fay’s hair, holding his head close. Neither spoke; all there was to fill the silence in this room was the sound of Fay’s breath, which was always audible in these moments. Funny– logically, it ought to be Kurogane whose breathing was heavy; Fay only looked small and willowy until you realized the volume of food that even a thin person needed to survive. The bite itself didn’t hurt, but even for someone who had spent his life being slashed at with swords, losing that much blood in one go left a queasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.
Funnier still, thought Kurogane, were the living dead supposed to breathe at all? He smiled inwardly; so maybe Fay was more human than he saw.
As warm breath tickled the inside of his elbow, he asked himself how he could possibly be enjoying this. For a man who had once focused every ounce of his energy on becoming the strongest fighter in all of Nihon, surely this ought not be the pinnacle of perfection– kneeling intertwined with this skinny little blond man. But of course it was, because for once in this repetition, Fay had come willingly; it was probably no longer actually necessary to hold mouth to arm.
What a relief that was: no more cajoling and blank looks, unhappy fanged grimaces and flat blue cat’s eye. (But there had only been one time during those infinite, Infinite nights when Fay had actually, truly protested drinking the blood. Kurogane had been sitting on the side of the bed; Fay was on the floor, and as he was pulled closer into the folds of the ninja’s clothes, he had whispered, “You know, Kurogane, there are so many better things I could do for you in this position.” –That was when he hit him.)
Life was apparently full of strange little curiosities– it seemed like he had turned his back for a second (and to think that at the time he himself had found it inexcusable.... But there had been Tomoyo-hime, the first person he saw when he regained consciousness, and she had been polite and pleased to see him, whereas the wizard had been curling in on himself for a long time), and when he looked again, Fay was smiling again already. That air of spiny frailness was gone; it seemed like at last he had gotten it through that thick blond head of his that he really was alive after all. Then, there was the first time in such a very long time that the name Kuro-sama had passed his lips. (Stupid cute honorifics– he hated them so much until he realized that they really had meant something after all, and by then it was too late.) And even to a man of practical opinions, it had been like the first flower of spring. It was spring in Nihon too; the servants slid open the windows of the palace, and in the clean air Kurogane wondered, Was this what a fresh start felt like?
And so now, as they sat in warmth and silence, he hoped. A few minutes later, he would think that perhaps that had been where he went wrong: he had dared to hope too much. Fay, it seemed, could never be too happy. By his own design, it did not suit him.
He almost felt tender too, when Fay’s teeth pierced his flesh and he worked his tongue across the bite marks. Like some bizarre form of a kiss, thought Kurogane, and realized that this was the first time he allowed himself to let this thought cross his mind– Why was that? They had never kissed. Why was he only thinking this now? In all of this time, they had never kissed, had never even come close.
It was always like this: the two of them fell into bed without affection, and Kurogane would run his lips across every part of Fay’s body but his mouth. And it hadn’t been long before he had realized that he only let him because he hated him; there had never been even a fraction of resistance when he parted those legs, but there had always, always been an underlying malice. And the shiver and moan that were invariable when Fay came– he had come to hate them most in the end; at last he despised each inch of the body he had once mixed blood with the vampire Kamui to save.
Now that things had changed, and the world had turned over into something other than darkness, the feel of this bloody almost-kiss was tantalizing. It was another paradox; surely a ninja shouldn’t be pleased to shed his own blood.
Drawing away now– but not too far, and that was a pleasant surprise as well, because before he had shrunk from every touch that wouldn’t end in misery for Kurogane– Fay wiped the last traces of crimson from around his mouth with the back of his hand. Before he knew what he was doing, Kurogane found himself leaning in close, until their faces felt like they were only a hair’s breadth away. But he found himself stopped by a hand pressed against his chest; he had almost forgotten how much force Fay could put into one little motion. In what must have been one of the most obviously fake nonchalant tones ever, that lilting voice asked, “And what are you doing, Kurogane?”
That pushed him back more effectively than the hand had done; it was almost an instinct. (Had she been here, the Space-Time Witch would have smiled her feline smile and made a quip about Pavlov’s dogs, even if it would have enlightened no one but herself.) In a second, all of it flowed back, everything that was Infinity. Now, they were no longer Fay and Kurogane; they were just a vampire and “E,” things that were no longer human. (Things that didn’t deserve the affection of an honorific, he was saying with just those four syllables.)
And Fay looked up at him, smiling slightly. Dammit, how he hated that smile now. And this was just like Fay: sharpening words and turning them into a weapon. Yes, Kurogane had tried for so many years to be strong, but he had never realized before that sometimes, it was easier to hurt someone with your weakness. (Fay didn’t want to be strong, did he? That was why he hadn’t objected to Ashura’s tattoo, not even when he must have understood what it meant– he was the exact right kind of person for it. All the thoughts of vampires and their “E” brought another to the surface: blood running from an empty socket and a man lying half-conscious on the bed while they all stood and watched and whispered.... Kurogane wondered if perhaps he was an easy person to torment after all.)
No, Kurogane told himself, not now. Fay didn’t get to win all the time, especially not when it meant losing in the long run, especially not now.... And Kurogane knew that he would regret this later, but by now he also knew that it would just be another in a long, long string of regrets. (And how dare Fay try to push him back into Infinity, as if that were his place, when he had so very many more shadows of his own that were just waiting to come and take him?)
It wasn’t being a vampire that made him one of the undead, not when Kurogane had seen that broken little boy who had died but didn’t rot beneath freezing water. (That ought to come to hurt Fay as well, right? It had certainly given Kurogane his own variety of nightmares; the last thing he wanted to think of when he bent his face between soft white thighs was that dead boy’s pitiful flat blue eyes and reaching, frost-bitten fingers– but he did now, every single time.)
So, now to answer that obnoxious question and wipe away the mocking little smile that came with it. (Oh, how badly Kurogane wanted to hit him, to see that stupid expression replaced with pain– but there was a better way to do that.)
What was he doing?
“I don’t know, Yuui,” he replied, and was glad to see how quickly that vicious smile fell away. Fay– no, Yuui, and maybe he ought just learn to live with that and move on– blanched. (As white as snow... Well, that was so much more than appropriate.) He stood up so quickly that he almost tripped over his own feet, and ran from the room. Kurogane caught a glimpse of his face as he went. He looked miserable. Like I care. (But he did, he did care, because at least this was satisfying in a way that nothing else he had done with the mage ever had been.)
But Kurogane had known that he would regret this later, hadn’t he? Later always came too soon. Following a half-heard sound like something from a wounded animal, he found him at last, curled in a ball in an unused room, arms wrapped around his knees and tears dripping down the side of his face. Beneath the whimpering and incoherent mumbling, Kurogane could make out a few words: apologies and the sound of a long-dead name. And the worst part was that he couldn’t even delude himself into believing that this was just another ploy to gain sympathy; even if he had no shame when it came to exploiting any of his other myriad weaknesses, somehow he couldn’t imagine the man taking that particular name in vain.
“Hey you,” he ventured, but got no response, just a shiver and little weeping sob.
And Kurogane realized another thing: the silly blond magician kept on straddling the line; he had just gone too far.