Written for the dimension_shop fic exchange. On a clear autumn day in New York City, Fai watches and thinks. (Watch for a brief mention of mpreg, as that's what the requester wanted, but I swear it...
As wonderful as it was, the city was rather dangerous. Twice already there had been shootings near their apartment, waking them all up in the middle of the night and sending them all the floor when one of the windows had been shattered by a stray bullet. People here were strange, men even going so far as to lurk outside the schools, waiting to take a child away to do unspeakable things to the poor unsuspecting innocent one, according to the news reports. If it wasn’t required for them to attend, Fai was sure Kurogane would have pulled the children out of school after seeing that news report and insisted they either stay with an adult or inside the apartment at all times. That had been a scant three nights ago, and the paranoia still hadn’t faded away, if the intensity with which the ninja was watching their surroundings was anything to go by. It was rather cute, Fai thought, how unintentionally sweet he could be.
Stretching a little on his branch before settling into a more comfortable position, he wondered how long things would be this way. It seemed things had a habit of changing drastically from world to world as the situations of the inhabitants changed, at least as far as their abilities to get along went. He supposed that was only natural when four people lived so close all the time. Sometimes the worlds they landed on were peaceful worlds where everybody was happy and relaxed, lulled into a sense of security by the happiness of their neighbors and new friends. Other worlds were violent and war-torn, or had ridiculous laws such as requiring all adults over the age of 21 to be married. On those worlds the tension between them would be high, and everybody, even Sakura, ended up snapping at someone else at least once. It was a testament to the strength of the bond between them that nobody had come off a world like that dead.
Life like this was definitely better. Privately, Fai hoped they could stay at least a while longer. Both he and Kurogane had good jobs that weren’t too far from home or the kids’ school. Kurogane worked full time at a Japanese restaurant just around the corner. It wasn’t his favorite, but the hours and food were good, or so he said. Fai himself was working part time at the deli across the street a few evenings a week and watching their neighbor’s two kids during the weekdays. Little kids were interesting to work with. He found their wide-eyed innocence refreshing, and they were so well-behaved. Originally he hadn’t intended to do this long-term, but after finding out just how many sexual predators lived in their neighbor thanks to that “internet” thing, it was decided that it would probably be better if there was somebody at home with Syaoran and Sakura as often as possible. He didn’t mind. Of all the worlds so far, he felt best here. Everyone was happy and healthy, and really, wasn’t that what mattered?
Flipping over to hang by his knees from the branch, he plucked the book out of Kurogane’s hands. “Ne, Kuro-sama?”
The ninja looked a little surprised to see his book taken away. Fai grinned. It wasn’t often one got the chance to surprise the ninja. Kurogane turned his head to look at him. “What?” he asked, his tone irritated.
Fai smiled, hair not quite brushing against Kurogane’s shoulder. It hit the back of neck instead and the mage thought he saw the tiniest little shiver. “The park isn’t going to eat them.”
It looked as though he’d hit it right on the nose. Kurogane narrowed his eyes as though to ask how he could possibly know that before he snatched his book away. Flipping himself out of the tree, Fai settled next to Kurogane on the blanket, watching with a smile as Syaoran was tackled to the ground by the boys and given a good tickling. He drew his knees up to his chest and hugged them close, resting contentedly against the tree. There was just something about today, something about the air and the breeze and colors in the trees that made him feel relaxed and peaceful. It was unusual, and definitely a nice change.
“The air feels different today,” Kurogane said, eyes still keeping a watchful on their surroundings. Fai smiled to see they’d been thinking the same thing.
“It’s peaceful,” he replied. “Like for today, nothing bad could possibly happen.” The change in seasons was rather symbolic, he thought. So much had changed in their lives recently. He just hoped that unlike the fall, they weren’t slipping into a season of so much cold and emptiness. He’d had enough of that to last him several life times and never wanted to see another snow covered field as long as he lived, nor another man bearing false promises and an offer of new beginnings that would only cause despair. Fai had been through his winter already—he’d much prefer to skip straight into spring and enjoy the renewal of life and energy and hope that came with the budding plants and the baby animals. The sight of new life was enough to bring hope to any situation, for him.
He was sick of seeing death.
The joyous squeal of the two boys was enough to pull him from his thoughts and Fai looked up to see that Syaoran had fought his way out of the hold the kids had on him and instead pinned them down to tickle them, one under each hand. A smile curled the corner of his lip as he watched Sakura kneel down to help. One day, when they were older, they would both be amazing parents.
Would he ever be? The thought gave him pause. Once, a long time ago, he’d read in a book that it was possible to make a potion that would allow a man to get pregnant, but it had been years since he’d come across it. It was just as well, having a baby in the middle of a long and dangerous journey when they faced unknown enemies and unseen dangers would probably be a fairly stupid thing to do. There was no reason to create a child just to put it in danger. Children deserved to be loved and anyway, sometimes it was hard enough having to deal with Syaoran and Sakura seeing such harsh things.
Feeling eyes on his face, Fai turned to look. He was smiling, but his eyes held mixed emotions. “I’m fine,” he said, answering the unspoken question in those burning red eyes. “I’m just thinking a lot today.” Kurogane’s hand was warm under his own as he rested his hand on top of it. The man was so easy to read, sometimes. Communication had never been a problem, but Fai had long since learned that they seemed to talk best with the words they didn’t say aloud. The strong hand beneath his clasped his in its grasp. Fai smiled at its owner who rewarded him with a smile of his own in return. One day, perhaps, he’d talk to Kurogane about having a family, but for now, it was going to stay in his own mind. If they all lived through this, there’d be plenty of time for such discussions then, in the happy future they all hoped for.