This was originally for a contest on deviantART to write or draw something KuroFay with the prompts "Life vs. Death," "Lies vs. Truth," or "Searching." This is mostly "Live vs. Death" here, but there's a lot about lies and truth too because hey, it's Fay. x3 This takes place in Tokyo, just after Syaoran runs off with Fay's eye. Oh, and don't read this if you don't want spoilers for Tokyo, heheh. Mkay, bye now!


"Why did you do it?"

Kurogane looked up, startled by this unexpected question. Up until now Fay had been, to the best of Kurogane's knowledge, asleep. Sakura and Mokona were upstairs, talking with Syaoran—only he wasn't Syaoran, not really. Though all of them knew that this Syaoran was the real one, all of them still felt tied to the clone instead, and in Sakura's case, still loved him. Kurogane was glad that Sakura was making friends with this new Syaoran, but at the moment, he didn't feel up to small talk himself. He was alone, the way he liked it, and even more important, he was making sure that Fay was okay. The magician had been through a lot—using his magic, loosing his eye, being forced into a lifestyle that fed off of human blood. After all that, Kurogane would rather let him rest. But now when the ninja turned around, Fay was sitting up in bed with a smile that Kurogane knew at once wasn't real. He hated it when Fay pretended.

"Why'd I do what, mage?" the ninja asked gruffly, meeting Fay's one good eye.

The magician calmly brushed a strand of blonde hair out of his face. "Why did you save me?"

Kurogane lowered his gaze, his voice little more than a mumble. He'd known this discussion was coming. The Time-Space Witch had said it would, after all. It irritated him how she was always, unfailingly right, but it didn't irritate him quite as much as Fay's faked happiness did. "You should be grateful I saved your hide, mage," Kurogane growled. "Without me, you'd be dead."

A real smile twitched at the corners of Fay's mouth. "Maybe I'd rather be dead, Kuro-puu. Did you ever think of that?"

Kurogane glared at him. "Don't say that," he snapped, his voice so firm that it made even Fay's grin falter. "Don't you dare say anything like that."

Fay shrugged. "What good do I do by being alive?" he challenged, his voice playful, but behind his words there was a grave sincerity. "If you'd let me die, my power would have died with me. Syaoran-kun…" Here there was a little awkward pause, both of them unsure as to what to call him. It still hadn't sunk in that Syaoran wasn't Syaoran at all. "…Syaoran-kun has half of my power. If you had let me die, you could find him more easily. You could stop him."

"No!" Kurogane stepped forward and grabbed Fay's shoulders in his strong arms, staring the magician straight in the eye. For the first time, Fay's false smile vanished completely. "You're the most selfish person in the world, mage," Kurogane snarled. "Do you know what your death would have done to the princess? She just lost the kid. How do you think she would feel if she lost you too?"

Understanding flashed across Fay's eye, and then pain. Strangely, he hadn't thought at all of the effect that his death would have on the others. He had thought for hours about how he could physically help their cause, but not of their emotional ties to him. "Kurogane…"

"You think you don't care about anyone, so you've deluded yourself into thinking that no one cares about you, either," Kurogane continued, his grip on Fay's shoulders tightening. It was if he was afraid that if he let go, he would loose him. "But you're wrong. You do care about people, and like it or not, people care about you!"

Fay tried in vain to shake himself from Kurogane's grip. "I thank you for that," he said seriously, all traces of his smile gone. "But I don't want anyone to care. I don't want others to be hurt because of me."

Kurogane rolled his eyes. "It's too late for that, mage. If you associate yourself with people, you affect them, no matter what." He glanced pointedly at the door, and Fay followed his gaze. "You can't make it so that the princess and the pork bun don't care about you just because you want it to be that way."

"But it would be better for Sakura-chan," Fay protested, "if she didn't care about me. Mokona too."

"You want what's good for the princess and the pork bun?" Kurogane asked, and when Fay nodded, the ninja snarled, "Keep yourself safe." Fay started to object, but Kurogane cut him off immediately. "Don't leave them like the kid did. As fake as you are, they need you, mage. Don't make me have given up my blood in vain." This was the first time Kurogane had mentioned it: even living, Fay would never be whole. A vampire, forced to live off of Kurogane's blood for all time. Who would want a life like that? It was a world-shattering sacrifice for both of them. And yet, even at that price, Kurogane had refused to let him die. "Can you do that, mage?"

Fay swallowed, but his face was determined. "Yes."

Kurogane released his grip. For once, he could tell that Fay was telling the truth. "Good."

Fay laughed gingerly and his hand once again sought a wayward strand of hair. "By the way, Kuro-rin," he remarked casually, his eye purposefully not meeting Kurogane's, "you still haven't answered my question."

"What question? Why I didn't let you die?" Kurogane shook his head. "I thought we went over that. The princess and the pork bun adore you."

"Yes, you did say that," Fay agreed. "But…" Now it was Fay's turn to reach out and grab the other, only he took Kurogane's hand instead of his shoulders. Kurogane gave Fay an irritated look, but didn't pull away. Solemnly, Fay said, "That explains why Sakura-chan or Mokona would have saved me if they had the chance. It doesn't explain why you sacrificed everything to keep me alive."

Kurogane mumbled something incomprehensible. "I did it for the princess," he said finally, his voice devoid of all emotion. Fay gave him a shrewd look. "What?" snapped Kurogane, back to bitterness at once.

There was a twinkle in Fay's single blue eye. "You know how you say you can always tell when I'm lying?" he asked. "I can tell when you're lying, too."

"Goddammit, mage," Kurogane grunted. His voice sounded suitably irked, but was that a smile Fay saw on his lips? What was it doing there? "I should have known never to trust a magician."

"You should have," Fay teased, but his heart was suddenly racing. Kurogane trusts… me? Fay had gone completely out of his way so that no one he met would trust him. And now, here was someone who had invested everything in him, trusted Fay with his all, and Fay was happy? All at once, he started to doubt everything he'd ever known. Maybe he did care about Kurogane. Maybe he did want Kurogane to care about him. These thoughts scared him. He couldn't get involved!

"Mage?"

Fay abruptly dropped Kurogane's hand and stumbled backward, eye huge with terror. Kurogane stared at him. "Mage, what the hell are you doing?" Kurogane lunged forward, but Fay spiraled out of his reach, crumpling onto the bed in the corner with an expression of pure panic. Now Kurogane was the frightened one. "Mage, goddammit, are you okay?" he shouted, losing his head for the moment. Oh no. Oh no. Did he do something? Did I? "Tell me you're okay!"

Fay was trying not to cry. He didn't answer, because he wasn't even really sure himself if he was okay or not. Kurogane was standing in front of him, and suddenly he was seeing him in an all new light. The ninja wasn't someone to be avoided, someone to tease, someone to play with—he was someone Fay cared about. But up until now, Fay had been blind. It's funny how the loss of an eye had made him see.

And then Fay had another revelation. If he cared about Kurogane… did that mean that Kurogane cared about him?

"MAGE!"

He did.

"FAY!"

At the sound of his name, Fay jolted back to reality. He looked at Kurogane, and for the first time, he really saw him. Kurogane was a tall, strong man with dark hair and deep red eyes, and most importantly, a heart crafted out of pure gold. "Can I ask you something?" Fay suddenly requested.

Kurogane exhaled. Fay was okay. For a moment, it had felt like all the world was crashing down on top of him. He couldn't lose Fay. No matter what happened, no matter which Syaoran was real, no matter when Kurogane returned home or if he never did, he couldn't lose Fay. He knew that now. Voice heavy with relief, Kurogane said, "Yeah, sure."

But he wasn't ready for the question that came. "Are you in love with Tomoyo-chan?"

"Eh?" Kurogane's brow furrowed in confusion. "No, of course not," he replied honestly, though he couldn't for the life of him see where this was going. Maybe Fay wanted to stall. "I am eternally devoted to Tomoyo-hime, but I'm not in love with her, like the princess and the kid."

Fay couldn't help but grin. "Syaoran-kun would do anything for Sakura-chan," he agreed, momentarily forgetting the fact of Syaoran's departure.

Then there was a silence, as the true meaning of those sunk in on both of their ears. And both of them came to a conclusion that they had been aware of before, but barely. Now they knew it for sure. When you're in love with someone, you would do anything for them. You would risk your life to save them, because you love them.

Oh my god.

Kurogane was the first to break the silence by giving Fay a little awkward shrug. "I couldn't just let you die," he said softly, for once sounding very small.

"I think…" Fay took a deep breath in, and as he said the words out loud, he knew that they were true. "…I think that I don't want to die, either. Like you said, I wouldn't want to let Sakura-chan and Mokona down."

There was a pause. Then Kurogane said in a choked-up voice, "I'm glad."

Then Fay said, "I also wouldn't want to let you down… Kurogane."

Kurogane did something very out-of-character but hugging him.

And Fay did something out-of-character by hugging back.

When Sakura and Mokona returned with the new Syaoran—whoever he really happened to be—Kurogane was sitting at a desk silently polishing his sword while Fay was in the bed fast asleep. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But when Fay woke up, after he greeted each member of the group in turn, he met Kurogane's eyes, and for a moment, an understanding passed between them.

I saved you because I can't live without you.

I don't want to die because heaven would be hell… if you weren't right there with me.