Even the strong need to be weak sometimes. Spoilers for chapter 107 through 164 (current chapter as of 08/03/07) and extrapolation beyond.
It had made him weak. Kurogane had pushed it back for so long that when he finally allowed himself to feel it the emotion sank him into the couch and overwhelmed him for a moment. Safe at last, they thought, on this new world, he was finally awarded a moment of quiet contemplation. Memories of recent events sank in to his mind, and fear struck while he was unguarded.
Kurogane drank it away that night, so he wouldn't have to admit it was there.
The next time he felt it, they had landed in a new world, a place called Infinity. The broken group of travelers had settled quickly and uneasily into their new apartment, so distant from each other by now that Kurogane was almost always guaranteed time to himself while the others shut themselves away, lost in their own thoughts and worries. Occasionally, one of the kids-usually Syaoran-would come and talk to him. He worried they were all beyond help, and often wondered at first which of them would be next. Fear of losing another of the group they were trying so hard to keep together kept his guard up, and the ninja began to accept it as a helpful emotion. Fear kept him up later to watch over them while the children rested, fear kept him thinking and alert.
Fear made him worry they'd never get through this. Certainly things had improved. The kid and the princess would look at each other every once in a while now,though every glance held painful words they were too scared to say to the other. Still, it was better than Sakura's stone cold and painful silence and Syaoran's silent and somewhat hurt acceptance of her emotionless rejections. They'd be fine eventually, he knew. The kids were stronger than they knew, though vulnerable.
It wasn't them he was worried about.
Lately the mage had been quieter than normal, speaking only to the princess if he spoke at all. That stupid smile was still there, weaker and more transparent than ever before.
And then one night it vanished. Syaoran had passed out next to him on the couch, and the mage came out of Sakura's room looking so rattled it was as though he'd seen a ghost. Fai didn't speak a word to him, merely went into his room and locked the door tight behind him, refusing to answer to Kurogane's knocks.
He didn't see it again for weeks after that night, when they had barely escaped Celes with their lives intact. The mad king had been conquered and they were all free now, but worry still set in his mind as he healed.
His doubts were beginning to show up more and more often in his thoughts, as he had plenty of time to let his mind drift.
Then one day, they were all gathered in his room while his bandages were changed, and finally began to talk about the things that had happened together. Though the smiles were faint and their voices small and worried, the glimmer of hope he'd feared they'd lost forever had come back into their lives.
It seemed he wasn't the only one to realize it. The tension was clearing, and slowly their voices became stronger. They stayed up all night together, adjusting and healing, and by morning their voices were as they had been, and Syaoran had found his place with them. Dawn approached as they began to doze off, and as light's first rays struck the window and cast light across their sleeping figures, Kurogane finally felt that those he'd once feared lost had finally been restored to him.