Fandom: Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE
Characters/Paring: Kurogane, Fai
Story Status: Complete
Word Count: 3,785
Summary: AU-Gen/Fluffy fic revolving around the story of Kurogane and Fai as childhood friends.
*no spoiler warnings
It was raining again. The third day in a row now, and the entire sky was covered in a stubborn, gloomy grey that seemed to show no signs of leaving. This was deeply disconcerting to the young boy sitting on the window seat with his forehead pressed against the glass. The amusement that had come earlier, when he had first discovered with each breath he exhaled, the glass before him would fog up, had all but left him now. He had wondered for a moment if that meant, whenever there was fog on the ground in the mornings, that it was just God breathing heavily on some strange glass he couldn’t see. He wanted to ask about it, but there wasn’t anyone around to ask today, so it was better to just forget about such things for now.
Instead, there he sat, watching the raindrops fall. Some of them would splatter against the window; he could hear them. Some of them would splash onto the sill; they were collecting in tiny little pools now. The rest either fell to the ground, disappearing into the sand, or joined their fellow drops of water in the sea. He also wondered if that was where the sea came from. If one day it has just rained so hard that all the little pools of water, like the ones on the windowsill, had kept growing and growing and growing until it covered the land. But there was no one to ask about that, either.
Ever since he had come to this land by the sea, he had many questions he wanted to ask. He supposed that was why he liked Fai so much. Fai always had such good answers.
“Why are the trees so tall here?” he could ask him.
And Fai would smile and say, “Because coconuts have milk in them and milk is supposed to make you tall.” And Kurogane knew that must be true because his own mother was always telling him to drink his milk.
“Why can we only see the moon at night?”
“Because Mr. Moon thinks the stars are prettier than the clouds.”
“Why do you have such light hair?”
“Because I was born in the daytime.”
“Does that mean I was born at nighttime?”
“I guess it must,” he had nodded.
Kurogane asked his mother about this; if he had really been born at nighttime, and she and looked at him curiously. But she had said it had been true.
She had run her fingers through his thick black hair that day and smiled at him softly. She told him that she was glad that he had made a new friend. She told him that he should always be careful if he and his new friend played too close to the sea. Told him that the two of them should always watch out for each other, because it was good to make sure your friends were always safe.
Kurogane had never had a friend before. He had to ask his mother what that word meant.
She had said that a friend was someone that you liked to spend time with. Someone that made you happy.
Kurogane asked if that meant his mother and father were his friends. She had laughed with such happy smile on her face when she said they would always be his greatest friends in the world. Kurogane had told her that he didn’t think Fai was quite the same kind friend to him that his mother and father were. She had smiled at him, kissed his forehead and told him that he would make many different kinds of friends in his life, and that it was a very nice, good thing.
The next day, Kurogane had asked Fai how many friends he had ever had.
Fai said that he couldn’t remember having any friends before, but Kurogane was certainly the best kind of friend to have as his first. Kurogane told him all about what his mom had said about being careful when they played by the water and that it was good to keep each other safe. If Fai hadn’t had any friends before, he might not know this, after all.
He told Fai that his mom had always held his hand if he got scared, and since Fai was his friend now too, it would be ok if Fai wanted to hold his hand when he got scared.
Fai had just smiled.
For a while, Kurogane poked at the window seat with his blue plastic shovel. During sunny days, he and Fai would play in the sand with their matching plastic shovels. Kurogane’s dad had bought them a few weeks ago and told him that they were good for making castles in the sand with. So, he and Fai had decided to make their very own castle, big enough for the both of them.
They had been working so hard on their castle for many days now. Sometimes, Kurogane would say that he didn’t think their castle really looked much like a castle at all. But Fai said that they weren’t finished with it yet and that real, stone castles probably didn’t look like castles until they were finished either. He also said that it was their own castle anyway, and they could make it look however they liked. Besides, neither of them had ever seen a real, stone castle before.
Kurogane thought they at lest needed a flag for their castle. And a password, just for safety measures. So Fai had brought an old towel from his own house, and smiled brightly when he told Kurogane he had designed the picture himself. Kurogane had never known anyone who could draw so well before.
Kurogane would never be allowed to draw on the towels from his own house.
Sometimes he wondered what Fai’s house was like. If he had a big room full of toys to play with. If Fai’s mom had light hair too, because Kurogane’s own mom had black hair like he did so it only made sense. Unless Fai’s mom was born at nighttime, of course. But Fai didn’t seem to have answers for questions like those. Or when he did, they were very strange answers Kurogane didn’t really understand. So he didn’t really ask those kind of questions any more.
When Kurogane was not busy with his questions, he would listen. Fai liked telling stories – just like Kurogane’s mother would do sometimes, before bedtime. Sometimes he would tell stories about the people who lived in the sea and had fishtails instead of legs, or people who lived in the sky and slept on clouds and had wings like giant birds coming out of their backs. Fai said that a long time ago, people used to live in the sea and in the sky but now almost everyone lived on land. He also said that he thought Kurogane was probably most like the people with fishtails instead of legs because Kurogane was such a good swimmer, even though he had just recently come to the sea. He said maybe that was why his parents had brought him here.
Kurogane had told him that he was glad to have legs instead of a fishtail, and that he was also glad that Fai didn’t have wings: he was sure Fai would have been the kind that had the wings. And when Fai had asked him why he thought that, Kurogane didn’t really have an answer. Just that he was glad they both had legs and no wings instead. It would be easier to be friends that way, after all.
And Fai had just smiled.
He stopped poking at the fabric that covered the window seat with his shovel once he realized it was beginning to tear, because his mother would not be happy if she found out. He wished that it would stop raining. The more it rained, the more he realized it was making him sad. He wanted to be out making the castle in the sand, with the flag and the magical password. He wanted to hear more about the cities of fish-people under the sea and the people who slept on top of the clouds. He wanted to know what fog was. He wanted to know where the sea came from. He wanted go swimming and play “chase the waves.” He wanted all those things that he did while Fai was around. It was so lonely without him sometimes. His mother and father had left when the rain began. He hoped no one else had gone as well, but mostly he wondered when they would be back.
Sometimes, they went away. Most days they went away, in fact. But they always came back. His father said that they had to go to work. Work was what grownups had to do to make money. Money was what paid for things like food, and plastic shovels. Kurogane thought it might be nice to have money to buy things like shovels, or his own towel to try and draw on. But he would rather not have to go away for so long to get these things when other people could just give them to him just as easily, so he had never asked how much of a grownup he had to be before he would have to go to work also. That was a question Kurogane didn’t want an answer for just yet.
This time was different though, this time when they went away, Kanoe was not there. Kanoe lived nearby and was “put in charge” when Kurogane’s parents were not there. Not that Kurogane cared, because Kanoe was boring and liked to paint her nails and watch grownup movies on the television in the living room that Kurogane thought were boring and full of kissing. She usually didn’t care what Kurogane did as long as it did not interrupt either of those things, so Kurogane would go play with Fai on the beach instead. Plus, she always burnt his grilled cheese sandwiches and never cut off the crusts, which, Fai agreed, was no good at all.
When the gloomy grey of the outside world began to turn black, Kurogane began to get sleepy. He knew his mother would not be happy with him if she were to come home and find him in the front room still in his day clothes. Once it was dark, Kurogane was supposed to be getting ready for bed. Normally Kanoe had to bribe him with a candy to get him to do it, but she didn’t know that he just liked the candy. He knew where the night clothes were kept, so he put them on all by himself that night, even without the stupid candy from Kanoe.
He was sad that his mother wasn’t there to tell him stories before bed; sad that his father wasn’t there to lift him onto his shoulders and run around the house like he would do when Kurogane was good, cleaned up his plate, and didn’t make a fuss about taking a bath. Even though he thought baths were stupid on the days he had been swimming in the sea all day.
He figured Fai must have been right about his family coming from the sea and living with the people with the fishtails. Even when he didn’t want to be, they made him be around the water, it seemed. Maybe his parents secretly had fishtails and they weren’t telling him about it. Maybe the baths were just to make his own tail grow. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that though. Because that would mean that Fai would get wings soon. He didn’t know enough grownup words yet to say why it was he didn’t want Fai to have wings. Why he didn’t want a fishtail. He just knew that it would make him very sad.
When it was too dark outside to see the rain, he went to bed. He wanted his mother to be happy that he was doing what he was supposed to do. He liked when she smiled when he did things that made her happy. Certainly this would make her happy.
He dreamt of a day with no rain. No baths. No burnt grilled cheese. He dreamt of a tall castle; a tall, sand-colored castle that had a huge white flag flowing in the breeze. But it was bigger than he had planned. It would hold much more than two people now. His mom was there. His dad. And Kanoe couldn’t get in because she didn’t know the password. And he and Fai ran around in the halls and played tag with a bunch of other children Kurogane didn’t really know. But he and Fai were the fastest. No one could catch them because they were so fast. And if anyone tried to catch Fai, Kurogane wouldn’t let them. And Fai would grab hold of his hand and they would run together and laugh. And his mom would smile at him.
It was a very good dream.
It wasn’t so rainy when he woke up. Where the sun was coming over the edge of the world, he could see bits of where the sky would turn blue once the sun was high enough. But there was so much red in the sky. Kurogane thought red was a fine colour, usually. It was the colour of certain flowers. The colour of his favourite juice. Apples were usually red. He had some shirts that were red. His mother’s lips were red. But there were other things that were red that were not so good. When he would fall and hurt himself, sometimes his skin would turn red. Blood was read. His father’s face got red when he was angry. Tomatoes were red - and they were disgusting. He was quite sure that the sky wasn’t red too often. He knew about sunrises and sunsets. He would have to ask Fai one day why there were so many colours to them, but he couldn’t remember a red sunrise before. For some reason though, he didn’t think this sunrise was like flowers, apples and his favourite juice.
So he put on some clean day clothes, even though had had really liked the ones he wore yesterday. But his mother didn’t like when he did that: wore the same thing twice, she always made him change.
He grabbed his blue plastic shovel, the one he had left on the window seat, and put on his pair of rubbery red boots that he was supposed to wear when the ground was muddy and wet. He knew he wasn’t supposed to go out in the rain. But maybe his mom wouldn’t know.
He liked his boots because they squeaked on the tile floor and they had a picture of a puppy on each of the soles. Kurogane had always wanted a puppy, but his parents said he couldn’t have one until he was a few years older. They always said that, and he was beginning to wonder if he didn’t understand the word “few” as well as he thought he did.
When he opened the door, things smelled funny. Like maybe his mother had left a cake in the oven for too long again. She did that once. She had been sick on the same day of his dad’s birthday. She fell asleep in the middle of the baking part and Kurogane had to wake her up because the whole house had started to fill with a thick black fog that smelled icky. He had been afraid.
She said it had been called smoke. He hadn’t known much about smoke until that day, but he learned quickly that he didn’t like it.
Outside smelled like smoke and the sky was redder than it had looked from his window.
He wanted his father. His father could lift him in his arms. Hold him. Tell him things were ok. His father was always good at making him feel better. Feel safe. But Kurogane didn’t know where he was.
Shovel in hand, he walked down the beach towards the only other familiar place he knew.
The days of rain had washed away a good portion of their work out to sea. Most of what remained of their castle was just the hallowed out hole in the ground they had spent three whole days digging.
Fai had found and crab in the sand and named it Clarence one of those days. Kurogane had never seen a crab before, and he thought Clarence was a funny name. But Clarence was a funny looking creature, too, so he thought it suited him.
He hadn’t really known what he would find there this time. Mostly he had just wanted to play in the sand. Work more on the castle. Hope Fai would come when the rain let up a bit more.
This was his first time out in the rain before.
The first thing he felt once he reached the castle was fear: a mess of blonde hair lay there in the hollow of their castle remains; tattered fabric in the same colours he had last seen Fai wearing, but now stained with splotches of red.
“F-fai?” he rushed to the boy and knelt at his side, trying to gently shake him awake.
Blue eyes slowly fluttered open. Dazed. Confused. The slender, smaller boy lifted himself off his sandy bed and into a sitting position. “Ku- kuro-ne?” he blinked. Sapphire eyes immediately filled with tears and he flung himself at the other boy and sobbed.
Kurogane wasn’t used to being hugged by anyone other than his parents. But he knew they would have pet his hair and hugged him in return when he cried to them, so he did the same to Fai – patting his wet hair the colour of morning sunshine.
“Are you ok? Does it hurt?” Kurogane asked nervously. The red on his skin and clothes was beginning to really worry him. He had never seen that much on anyone before.
He felt him nod against his shoulder, but Fai did not answer. He only sniffled and continued to tremble.
“Maybe we should go somewhere else now. Do you want to come to my house?” he asked and tried to get Fai to stand up. He wasn’t really sure what it was he should be doing, but that seemed like as good of a thing to do as anything.
Once Fai was to his feet, he grabbed hold of Kurogane’s hand with his tiny fingers as tightly as he could without hurting his friend, and followed after him as closely as possible without tripping over Kurogane’s rubber, red rain boots.
There was still no Kanoe. No mother. No father. Just the empty house Kurogane had been alone in for over three days.
He hoped they would come back soon.
“Do you want some juice?” Kurogane asked him once they were both inside.
Fai shook his head and kept quiet. He was dripping wet. So Kurogane decided to go get him a towel, because Kurogane’s mom always made him get a towel when he was wet and walking around the house. Fai should probably have one too.
“Do you want to watch the dinosaur movie?” he asked, because he knew that Fai liked the dinosaur movie and maybe that would make him feel better.
But Fai only shook his head.
They took off their shoes, because that was what they were supposed to do when they were in the house. Kurogane went to grab some of the blankets they would use when it was cooler at night and he was sitting on the couch with his mother, and he gave them to Fai. It seemed like he was only sitting there for a few minutes before Fai was sleeping, buried beneath the blankets. Kurogane thought that might be because he had been sleeping on the sand, and that wasn’t very comfortable to sleep on. It was itchy.
He didn’t go to the window seat today. And he left his shovel by the front door, next to his boots. Today, he watched movies on the tv in the living room. He thought it was nice to be able to watch as many of them as he wanted. But he missed his mother. And his father. And everything had the faint smell of smoke to it now, and he didn’t like it.
Sometimes, when he thought about things like that – where his mother was, where his father was - it made him want to cry. But at lest Fai was with him now. When he woke up, maybe he could ask Fai about it. Fai always had answers.
But it was a very long time until Fai woke up. It was almost nighttime again. Kurogane told him that he had waited for him to watch the dinosaur movie, but that didn’t seem to make Fai as happy as he was hoping.
They ate cereal in the kitchen. It was the only food that Kurogane knew how to make, and his mom always bought him lots of different kinds because he liked having cereal for breakfast. She would let him have it every day as long as he also ate a whole piece of fruit as well.
After their dinner, Kurogane helped Fai put bandaids on his scratches and cuts. He had a bunch of them. Kurogane had never seen so many on one person before. And he knew Fai must not be feeling good because he wasn’t talking like he usually did.
Fai didn’t have any night clothes of his own, so Kurogane said he could borrow some of his. They could have a sleep over. But they would both sleep in Kurogane’s bed, because Fai was too scared to sleep by himself, and Kurogane knew that it was true, because he didn’t ever let go of his hand.
It took many more days for Kurogane to understand that his parents were not coming back, and that it was the smoke, the red sunrise, and the things that gave Fai is scratches were the reasons for this. It was almost just as long before Fai began saying much again; before he began to acknowledge Kurogane’s questions.
“What happened to you?”
“Do you know where my parents are?”
“Why is there smoke?”
But there were no answers Fai could give him this time. This time, they would have to find the answers together. But Kurogane knew that it was far better to learn new things together, with Fai, than without him. And he was pretty sure nothing in the world would change that answer.
I originally wrote a completely different ending where, when Kurogane actually finds Fai in the sand castle, the wounds Fai had were from where he tore off his own wings. But Kurogane did change and had to go into the sea. So Fai's stories were true. But it was kind of sad... so I didn't go with that one. But I have it, if anyone would like to read that one instead.