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TRIGGER WARNING: CHARACTER DEATH

Come on, skinny love, just last the year

+

Kurogane woke slowly.

“Kuro-pon,” Fai tapped him on the shoulder, solemn as he had been for the past few days, “Tomoyo will be arriving soon, you should get up…”

Ah, Tomoyo. If there was any a time he didn’t want his little sister around the house, it was now. After all: if she and Fai weren’t ganging up on him, they were usually not in the same room.

“Seriously Kuro-wan, she’ll be here in a few hours and you smell…”

Kurogane swatted Fai away and rolled out of bed. Like it had for Fai, a heavy weight had recently settled in Kurogane’s chest, making it hard for him to even follow his daily routine without prompt from others.

Ugh, Tomoyo.

He loved her, of course he did. But neither him nor Fai had tidied the flat in days, and on top of that Fai probably wouldn’t cook tonight either. Tomoyo would be a good guest but even Kurogane knew that mess and no dinner would be toeing the line, even with someone as lenient as she was.

Fai’s arms wrapped around Kurogane’s waist from behind. He had lost so much weight recently that he may as well have not been there at all.

“Can you cook curry for us tonight?” he asked over his shoulder. Fai’s dull blue eyes looked away.

“It looks like rain… Maybe you should collect Tomoyo-chan from the train station.”

A look outside proved the blonde right. The sky was dark and overcast.

Perfect weather for a funeral, he supposed.

+

Kurogane was regretting ever inviting his sister to stay the second he saw her.

She was the same as ever. Long hair, wide-eyed, questionably fashionable, trailing one of those little wheeled suitcases behind her like they did in the cities these days. He caught her attention with an unenthusiastic wave and, as soon as she saw him, a small, pitying smile appeared on her face.

As if Kurogane’s mood wasn’t sour enough. At least Souma wasn’t with her this time. He supposed that was an added bonus: putting up with the old hag was not on Kurogane’s agenda for this particular weekend.

“It’s been a long time, brother.” Tomoyo greeted, her voice soft and gentle, “I really wish my visit was on better circumstances… how are you?”

Kurogane shrugged, not offering to take the burden of the small bag from her. “I’m fine.”

Pitying Smile was back, Pitying Eyes in tow. Kurogane averted his gaze. “We should get going. It’s gonna storm.”

Luckily, the first drops didn’t fall until they were back at the flat, after which there was a dash for the doors as the heavens opened on them.

Tomoyo didn’t mention the filthy state of the small flat, but Kurogane still had to ignore her gaze as she scanned the dusty surfaces, dirty dishes and grit-covered windows. He knew he and Fai had surrounded themselves in mess, and he hadn’t done anything about it but he still felt awkward enough about it that he didn’t want Tomoyo to make a comment. For once, she thankfully seemed to know what he wanted, or didn’t want, her to say.

That wasn‘t entirely true, he supposed. Tomoyo always knew. It was just that she sometimes (often, in fact) chose to ignore Kurogane’s preferences and carry on with whatever she had thought to say, usually with a hidden spark of amusement and teasing in her pale eyes.

There would be no teasing today.

+

It wasn’t until after she had gone that Kurogane noticed that Tomoyo had cleaned the flat a little. All the surfaces had been dusted and polished down. They didn’t gleam with their cleanliness, and in his grief, this was the only thing that kept them under his radar, but Kurogane knew this wasn’t because she hadn’t been bothered to do them properly.

The stack of dishes in the sink were still sat there.

A note in the cutlery drawer.

Manual labour is a good distraction. The dishes would be a good place to begin. T.

+

“What are you wearing to this funeral?”

“…I hadn’t really thought about it….”

Fai nodded. “It’s western style, like he would have….” he trailed off. “Wear something black.”

Kurogane did not answer, and Fai crawled over to him. The blonde kissed Kurogane’s temple; a ghost of a touch.

“You’ll be okay.” Fai murmured, and Kurogane hoped he was right.

+

Kurogane sat through the god-awful funeral, focusing on anything but the coffin, anything but the flowers, anything but the other mourners. He looked down at Fai, sat next to him, and the blonde was smiling sadly.

Kurogane reached for the blonde’s hand.

It was cold.

Fai leaned closer to him and whispered in his ear; “Syaoran-kun is still courting Sakura-chan, it seems. I’ll be so happy when they get together, I’ll be like a proud parent.”

Something in Kurogane’s heart twisted and he took a shuddering breath, before nodding along.

He really hated funerals… Luckily it was closed-casket, the victim inside crushed almost beyond recognition…

He felt a light touch at his cheek and looked down at his other side. Tomoyo was looking up with concern, her thumb tip wet. She silently handed him a soft handkerchief and Kurogane was glad, for the first time, for the presence of his troublesome little sister.

+

“Thank you for this weekend, brother. Are you sure you don’t want me to stay a little longer?” Tomoyo asked as Kurogane helped her down the stairs with her bag.

“Yeah, right. Let me have my peace, woman.”

Tomoyo smiled and hugged him tight, barely coming up to his chest.

“Take care of yourself.”

“You too, brat.”

“I left the urn at yours. I know you wanted me to take it but…” she paused, choosing her words carefully, “you knew him better. It should be you that makes this decision.”

Kurogane could only nod his head.

She stepped onto the train just before the doors closed. Just like that, she was gone again, and Kurogane couldn’t help thinking that it bothered him more than it ought to.

+

“What are you gonna do with it?” Fai asked Kurogane.

They sat in the sitting room, staring at the urn as if it would jump out and tell them what to do with it. It wasn’t ornate or beautiful as some urns tended to be. Kurogane found the very thought distasteful; he would rather remember the beauty of the person and not of their tomb.

He knew without asking that Fai shared the same view.

Kurogane turned his head to look at the blonde.

“What do you think we should do?”

“I think…” Fai said slowly “that this is your decision alone… Tomoyo can’t make it for you, and neither can I.”

As clearly as if Fai had given him direct orders, Kurogane knew exactly what to do.

+

It was a long journey, and many people stared at him, the man with the urn, and some people (most probably Shinto people) stared at him in disgust.

They did not matter.

Kurogane stood on the cliff top and the wind whipped at his clothes and hair, the urn stood at his feet.

“What do I do?” he asked Fai, met in response with only a shrug.

Kurogane hesitated a minute and then knelt before the urn, taking the lid off.

“I chose here because… most of all, you wanted to be free…”

Preferring to do it manually, he scooped a handful of grey, powdery ash, letting some slip through his fingers before casting it to the wind, where it kept its mass for less than a second before scattering out to the sea.

Kurogane carried on with his task until there was nothing left in the urn. He scrubbed his eyes with the heels of his palms and stood again, looking to sea as if the pointless ritual would bring him back.

He felt a touch at his shoulder and looked back at Fai, catching only a glimpse of blonde hair before the hallucination disappeared completely.

Kurogane picked up the urn, turned around, and returned home to his tiny little flat, knowing that it would never again be filled with Fai’s laughter.

+

Pour a little salt, we were never here

Date: 2012-08-11 08:32 pm (UTC)
tsubasafan: buddha_loves_me (unicorn death)
From: [personal profile] tsubasafan
;w; I'd forgotten about this fic.

May 2015

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