"What are you doing back here, silly?" the blond asked, his words both confusing and astounding. While it seemed the man was trying to hold it back, there was no mistaking his joy at seeing the warrior. He was practically glowing as he trotted towards Kurogane.
Mokona leaped onto the blond's head, giggling, in turn causing the man to laugh. "Who's your friend, Kuro—"
"How do you know my name?"
Kurogane half regretted asking; all happiness rushed out of those silver pools, the slim body going rigid and pale. The warrior had only seen that kind of expression on a man who thought he was about to die. Slowly, the blond removed Mokona from him and set the creature on the ground, taking a cautious step backwards.
All heads snapped towards the disturbingly familiar voice.
It was like looking in a mirror for Kurogane.
There was another one of him, standing not too far away, his scowl melting into surprise after a moment. Short black hair, fierce albeit brown eyes, darkened skin – they were even the same height. A tense silence drew in around them, until Mokona broke in rather timidly;
"Umm, Mokona can explain."
Once again, the warrior was hard pressed not to skin the damn pork bun and turn the thing into a hat.
Though, really, most of the awkwardness came from preparing to listen to Mokona. The other Kurogane, taking in how mortally shaken the blond was, took to the stage and dismissed the crowd. Thankfully, there was little uproar, and soon the four of them were the only ones left in the area.
Then, there was a name problem. The blond, still rather distressed, had called out "Kurogane", and in the end got neither of the two men to help him – they'd both reacted, which resulted in a glaring contest. Not until the blond nearly fell over with another sharp exclamation of their name did the Kurogane from this world rush over to him.
For some reason, the other Kurogane felt an ache to know what was wrong. Was the blond that freaked out over there being two of them? Hell, if anyone should be upset, it was the warrior of this small gathering.
Because his guide had conveniently forgotten to mention that he could indeed run into himself in another world.
"I assume that goes for the statue-guy, too," Kurogane growled at the creature.
Mokona nodded somewhat anxiously. "Yes."
"No fucking wonder..."
"What 'statue-guy'?" gruffed the Kurogane holding a blond head in his lap.
The warrior folded his arms. "I'm looking for a guy that had a statue made of him. Looks damn identical to the guy you're coddling."
"Well this guy never had anything like that done," he barked back. "And screw off."
"Why did he become so sick?" Mokona asked sympathetically, gently nuzzling the blond's hand and getting an uneven pat in return.
"That's none of your—" he bit back a grunt as a bony elbow found purchase in the speaking Kurogane's gut. He rubbed at the offended spot as the blond levered himself into a sitting position.
"Kuro-meanie doesn't like to talk about himself, Mokona-kiwi," rasped the tenor, a weak smile over ashen lips as he continued to pet the creature. "Once, a long time ago, my Kurogane was badly hurt, and he lost his memory for a while."
Very silent by this point, the warrior Kurogane grimaced as his mind filled in the parts of the story the blond wasn't telling. The rueful shame he found in his other's eyes confirmed his thoughts. It had been a very rough time for both of them – during, as well as after.
"Your Kurogane just scared me, Mokona-kiwi." – A surprisingly apologetic look was sent Kurogane's way from tired eyes – "But it's okay now."
There was a weighing pause before the warrior cleared his throat. "One more thing."
Crouching in front of the blond, Kurogane drug his finger in the dirt, spelling out the three-letter name like he had done before.
Blinking, he lifted his head. "...you can read it?"
Blond hair swayed as the man nodded. "It's very similar to an old form of our language. It means 'penguin'."
"Not your name?"
The man shook his head this time with a faint laugh. "No. My name is Fey," he replied, leaning down to write it. "Pronounced almost the same way. You wouldn't use 'Fai' as a name, here."
Kurogane made an interested sound; he actually felt like he'd gotten somewhere, even if this 'Fey' wasn't the one he was after. At least this way, while he didn't mind before, he could actually put a sound behind 'Fai', maybe use it to his advantage should the man play hard to get. After another moment of contemplation, Kurogane straightened and nodded in thanks.
"Pork bun," he ordered. "Next world."
The other Kurogane snorted and stood, giving Fey a hand so he could do the same. Mokona stared pensively between the two parties, then scurried onto his Kurogane's shoulder. The creature must have waved, for the blond smiled airily and gave a little wave back.
As Mokona chirped and jumped, the sunset twisting out of view, the warrior heard Fey murmur affectionately;
"Stay safe, Kurogane."
"Ow! What the hell, don't hit me!"
"Kuro-Kuro is so foolish! He should not have wanted to move on from Fey's world!"
"There was no reason not to!"
"But we would have had a place to stay!"
"Oi, I have no problem with sleeping outside, it's you who's putting up such a goddamn fuss!"
Mokona blew a raspberry from his perch on the lamppost overhead.
Growling, the warrior barked, "Fine! Stay up there for all I care!"
He didn't get more than three steps away before the creature latched onto the back of the warrior's head.
"Yeah, I thought so. Don't pull my hair!"
The buildings here were massive, sleek and sharp, towering into the coppery clouds. A cool breeze threatened to prick up goose bumps on Kurogane's skin. It felt like it could snow, if it ever snowed here.
Everything was alive – the streets were packed with people, colored lights flickering all around like banners, the sounds of talking mixing with the lumbering purrs of the strange, self-propelled vehicles that passed now and again. Most of the people pushing around the warrior were short in stature, giving Kurogane an excellent view from which to study them. They had darker skin – much like his own – and the majority were brunettes, a few blonds here and there.
Those occasional yellow-topped heads reminded Kurogane of what had been on his mind after running into Fey. He knew now for certain that Fai had blond hair. The color would be a perfect counter-balance to those frosty eyes. Not to mention that he had found it rather attractive...
"Waa!" Mokona cried, getting tossed to the ground as the warrior stopped dead in his tracks.
All the gears in Kurogane's mind ground to a halt before they quickly backpedaled. No, no, no. Fai was just different, not attractive – positively not.
...Even if he was, the warrior didn't like men in that regard. No, nope, nuh uh. There wasn't an argument to be made here.
Gradually, the skyscrapers tapered down into smaller dwellings, the bustle of downtown quieting in the surrounding neighborhood. A group of children were playing with a ball in the middle of an empty lot, a few adults – probably parents – watching from the sidelines. Straying closer, Kurogane noticed that one of the kids was a blond, with a set of wide, stunning azure eyes.
"Adorable, aren't they?"
A woman smiled at the warrior, her own eyes a deep, royal blue. Curls of gold cascaded down her back and shoulders, twisting in the wind. She was at least two heads shy of Kurogane's height, requiring him to tilt his chin down to see her properly.
Giving a light nod, he glanced back towards the lot. "The small one yours?"
"Yes, the little scamp," she replied with a fetching laugh. "He and his twin brother get in such trouble."
The warrior blinked slightly. "He's a twin?"
"Mm, rare, I know, but it's been such a blessing, really." – Her gaze was far off and tender – "That's Yuui out there. Fai is inside with their father—"
Mokona bounced excitedly. "Fai is here!"
"I'm looking for someone named Fai, or an artist who created a statue with the same name," Kurogane explained at the woman's look of surprise. He growled towards the pork bun, "Except the one I'm looking for isn't two feet tall."
Another raspberry made the warrior huff.
"Ah, I see," she replied with an amused smile. "You looked like a traveler when I first saw you. Do you have a place to stay?"
The implied offer caught him off guard a bit, though he quickly recovered. "It's the thing on my head that's whining about it."
She giggled softly as Mokona hopped into her arms. "Perhaps we can see if there's anything we can help you with for your search?"
"Mama!" The blond boy raced over to them, a wide smile lighting up his young face. "Mama, who's this?"
"...it's Kurogane," the warrior answered. Looking at this boy was like looking at a mini form of the statue back home. Could someone have created said statue in the image of what they believed the twins would appear as later in life?
Maybe it couldn't hurt to stick around for a while.