I think "Chopsticks" should be Fai's theme song.
Note the second: How I spell Fai/Fye/Fay/Gay's name depends solely on my mood at the time. I'm getting better at that from fic to fic, though. In the meantime, humor me!
Note the third: I like Fai. A lot. No, like, a LOT.
by Mina Lightstar
They had been in Karain for barely a day; enough time to scout quickly for any signs of a feather, don the clothing of the locals, and find lodging. Fye liked to think them lucky to (so far) keep finding such hospitable hosts willing to take them in.
Syaoran was long gone from the dinner table. He'd returned to the room in which Princess Sakura slept. Sakura was in the middle of another bout of exhaustion, as often seemed to befall her since the scattering of her feathers and memories. Kurogane was still eating, more content now that he'd managed to fend off Mokona from his share, and Fye... Fye was staring at the bowl of rice before him.
Fye's first encounter with the tools known as chopsticks had ended with a very empty stomach. It had been immediately apparent that actually plucking food from your plate and keeping it plucked required a certain amount of skill.
That skill was something only Fye seemed to lack. Of all his companions, he remained the sole who couldn't seem to master the utensils. To add insult to injury, many of the worlds they'd traveled to while searching for Sakura's feathers were worlds in which chopsticks were used to eat.
Fye couldn't decide if it was irony or simple misfortune.
The rice looked delicious, which only disappointed Fye further. When he noticed he'd become the object of their host's interest, he smiled sheepishly. "Chopsticks are hard to use."
"You get used to it," Mika, their hostess, assured him. She was a plump, pretty woman who happened to be very maternal. She had taken to the young Sakura and insisted that the party of foreigners in the market rest at her home. "Don't worry, once you start practicing, you'll be a natural."
"Oh, but he's been practicing!" Mokona piped up, raising his head from inside the bowl he'd been given. To Fye's chagrin, the magical white creature started bouncing and gesturing wildly. "Fye's been trying to get the hang of chopsticks forEVER and he just can't!"
"At this rate, he'll never get it," Kurogane put in. "I'm not sure what he finds so difficult about them." This as the ninja plucked a small chunk of rice and shoved it into his mouth.
"Kuro-pin, you're so mean!" Fye flopped forward onto the tabletop. "How can you sit there and watch me struggle?"
"When you're acting ridiculous, it's surprisingly easy."
"Waah, Kuro-nin!" Fye sobbed. "I'm starving!"
Mika, having spent several hours in the trio's company, had quickly come to grasp how they behaved around one another. Naturally, she assumed the entire exchange was purely friendly banter. So she did nothing but smile at Fye's antics and made to rise.
"I'll leave you to the rest of your meal, and make up your beds." She cocked her head. "Fye-san, Kurogane-san, you two will be sharing, since Syaoran-kun seems bent on staying by Sakura-chan's side. If, of course, you don't mind...?"
Fye had been mourning another fallen lump of rice, but brightened considerably for the benefit of his audience. "Ye-es!" he cried, raising his chopsticks into the air. "It's more than fine with me!"
Kurogane grimaced. "You don't have to look so happy about it, fool."
"Ah, I knew it!" Fye drew back as if stricken. "Kuro-woofy doesn't like me, anymore!"
"I'll check on Sakura-chan, too," Mika said, giggling at their exchange. She took her own dishes from the table. "Syaoran-kun's been by her side almost since he got here." She clicked her tongue as she fussed, and left the room with a "Enjoy your meal!"
"At least we managed to get some food in him," Kurogane grumbled. "The kid should be used to this by now. She's just tired."
"He barely finished eating before he went back to her room," Fye added, balancing some rice precariously on the chopsticks with what most would call exaggerated care. "Sometimes he worries too much, but I understand him."
Kurogane finished the last of his dinner and set his dishes aside, but not before poking Mokona with one of his chopsticks. "You. Why don't you go keep him company? The princess is often exhausted like this, and it must be lonely just starin' at her."
"Oi!" Mokona cried, clutching his belly. "Kurogane is so bossy!" he added as he bounced away. "But that's okay! Because Mokona likes Sakura and Syaoran!"
Mokona's bouncing shook the table, and by extension Fye's arm. He lost the rice he'd been so close to acquiring. "Mou," he moaned, slouching in defeat.
"Why don't you just tip the bowl and shovel it all in your mouth, if you're so hungry?" Kurogane demanded, resting his chin on his palm.
"But I want to do it properly!" Fye protested. He pointedly tried again, but the rice wouldn't stick to his chopsticks the way its grains stuck together.
"You're hopeless," the ninja said. "And skinny enough as it is. Just tip the bowl."
"No, Kuro-nin, that's cheating!" Fye tried yet again, and from his peripheral vision could see how his persistence was irritating his moody companion.
"I can't believe you. It could not be a simpler skill to learn."
Fye pouted. "Well, if Kuro-chan thinks I'm so incompetent, maybe he can show me how to do it properly."
"Fine, if it will keep you from fumbling like a moron and embarrassing me, I will."
"Moron?" Fye echoed, putting on a hurt expression that he knew Kurogane wouldn't believe for an instant. "Kuro-ni, you're being awful today."
"Your fingers aren't even positioned right." Kurogane gestured to Fye's hand. "How do you expect to be able to hold anything with them?"
"I can hold them properly, though," Fye protested halfheartedly, wilting with both disappointment and embarrassment.
"But you don't keep holding them properly, and that's your problem." Kurogane picked up his own chopsticks to demonstrate. "Here, do it like this."
Fye tried to imitate, his hand feeling awkward all the while.
"Now, follow my lead." And with that, Kurogane reached over to grab some rice from Fye's bowl.
Fye copied him, but fumbled and didn't succeed. When Kurogane paused to sigh in what might have been disdain, Fye promptly dove in to bite the rice off Kurogane's chopsticks. "Ah, Mika-san's cooking is delicious!" he proclaimed around the mouthful.
Kurogane poked his hand.
"Ow!" Fye yelped, cradling it with his other. "Kuro-rin, you--"
"Shut up and stick your face in the bowl," Kurogane spat impatiently. "Tomorrow we'll make sure to eat something you can just stab."
"Really?! Kuro-woofy, you're so considerate sometimes!"
"Only if you stop bothering me."
"Does this mean you won't be sleeping with me, Kuro-pi?"
"Shut up, Fye."