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Sweet Little Lies

Sweet Little Lies

By: Memory Dragon
Summary: Kurogane had never thought he would become drinking buddies with a white manju bun. He had never thought of a lot of things, actually... Kuro centric, no pairings.
Disclaimer: Tsubasa Chronicles belongs to Clamp. I don't own it and make no claim to. Nor do I own the song, Little Lies. That belongs to Fleetwood Mac.
Warnings: Regular spoiler warnings apply. If you haven't read the infinity arc, expect spoilers. And if you haven't read 125 and up, don't bother, lol. Oh, this fic is also kind of dark. Don't say I didn't warn you. No pairings.  Also, despite the title, not a song fic.
Time Line: A little bit after Kurogane gets Syaoran drunk and passed out on the couch during the infinity arc.

~

If I could turn the page
In time then I'd rearrange just a day or two
Close my, close my, close my eyes

But I couldn't find a way
So I'll settle for one day to believe in you
Tell me, tell me, tell me lies

Tell me lies,
Tell me sweet little lies
Oh, no, no you can't disguise

~

Kurogane poured the last of the alcohol they had bought from this dimension into his cup. The empty second bottle he had started that night was put aside, useless now. He held the cup up to his lips, letting the fiery liquid burn down his throat. It wasn't particularly good alcohol, but it did the trick.

His free hand fell to his side, absentmindedly running his hand through the mop of brown hair of the boy that had passed out beside him. A good kid, much like the other one. A little bit more awkward and very unused to having a voice of his own, but still a good kid. It helped thinking of both of the Syaorans separately. Helped ease some of the betrayal that Kurogane felt every time he saw that face. Because it was unfair to hold this kid responsible when he had already paid such a heavy price.

Mokona stirred in its sleep as one of the ice cubes shifted in Kurogane's glass. The little white manju-bun was snuggled up against the boy, providing what comfort it could. Kurogane had never thought he would become drinking buddies with some sort of weird animated talking plushie that was about the side of his hand. He had never thought a lot of things, actually... But Mokona was the only one around who could hold it's liquor. The only other person might have now refused to drink anything that wasn't blood red.

He took another drink from his glass, savoring the last cup he'd get this night. He thought about the two upstairs, behind the closed doors. The princess was getting just as bad as that mage, hiding everything she did from the rest of them. And she was just as bad at concealing it. Kurogane wished he could have gone back to the times when he would have just let it all be. The secrets had annoyed him, yes... But he generally wouldn't have given it a thought much past that.

Now he worried over everything. Worried about how much longer their ragged group could cling together before they all shattered. Worried over how the new Syaoran couldn't find his own place among them. Worried over what the princess was locking away from everyone else. Worried about what would happen if Fai refused to drink his blood. But most of all, he worried about what would happen if he ever met the person that killed his mother.

The witch had said it herself. To save Fai's life would have been far too great a price for him to bear. To give life was a very expensive thing. Both giving life and taking it away, as he was learning. Was it Sakura's tears on that day that made him think of such things? Or Fai's own nearness to death?

He closed his eyes as he took another drink. It was painful, hearing his real name escape Fai's lips. Yuuko, of all people, had warned him of the possibility that Fai would resent him. The warning still hadn't softened the blow. Funny, considering that's really all he had wanted all a long, was for Fai to use his correct name. The irony of it cut him more deeply than any weapon he knew of could.

Was that how the kid felt when Sakura woke up in the Hanshin republic? When she asked who he was, even though he had known it would happen? Or was it his own personal hell to remember that one blue eye staring back at him, unforgiving? Unrelenting, as the mage drew out each syllable. Hearing his name was worse than if Fai had punched him. Even real anger would have been better than smiling resentment. And every couple of nights, he had to force himself to submit to a vampire's hunger. Kurogane wondered if the mage knew just how humiliating it was to hold himself so completely defenseless for those moments. Probably not. The new Fai would take a bit more pleasure in those moments, if he did.

He didn't know why, at first, why that one phrase had hurt so much. It took Kurogane several bottles of booze and contemplation to figure it out.

He had just wanted to be forgiven. Forgiven for keeping Fai alive, even when the mage hadn't wanted to live. Kurogane had, somewhere along the line, put his trust in Fai. He just hadn't wanted Fai to disappear. Was forgiveness another wish that had too high a price as well?

A bitter laugh escaped his dry throat before he could stifle it. A quick glance down at the two sleepers told him that the noise hadn't woken either of them. Kurogane was losing his control, nearing the limit of how much alcohol he could drink but... There was only half a glass left. Wouldn't be right to leave off like this, either with the drinking or his thoughts. So the ninja continued where he left off, taking another drink to ease his mind.

He had wanted forgiveness for his parents death too. Not that he could have been able to stop either of their deaths at the time, but the guilt had still hung over him. Princess Tomoyo had been the one to give him the words he needed to hear that time. She had said it was alright, that he was forgiven. Then she smiled that sweet smile of hers and promised Kurogane that it hadn't been his fault. She had given him back his life, his sword... his reason to live. Back then, he thought the only person he would serve and protect was Princess Tomoyo. How foolish, that way of thinking.

Kurogane himself had changed too much since that time, because of the people he met on this journey. Both Syaorans, Princess Sakura, and that infuriating mage... Even the little white manju-bun. They were all part of his reason for living now. Those to whom he had to serve and protect, because they were people he cared deeply about. Except, he had failed the first Syaoran and was now doubting his ability to save the others. Or his own self for that matter. Sakura was fading farther and farther away from the rest of them, and the mage only spoke to Kurogane out of courtesy anymore. The new Syaoran was too foreign, yet too similar. Kurogane was at a loss of what do to, other than trying to find the bottom of this glass.

It was the easiest thing to do, Kurogane discovered. To take Fai's way out, that of a coward. Those sweet little lies... He could believe them after the underside of this bottle. Even if it were for just one day, to have those lies back...

Kurogane closed his eyes, trying to bite back the emotion that was filling him. Because that's all this journey had ever been, a lie. All of it. The old Syaoran's heart, the mage's teases, Sakura's happiness, even Kurogane's own feelings. Yes, he had lied to himself, saying he only lived to protect Tomoyo. Saying he wasn't going to get involved with anyone else... But by the time Kurogane had figured out how much of a lie that really was, it was already too late. The damage had already been done.

All the good changes were gone now. Both he and Fai had been changing because they met the two children. Kurogane was starting to learn care for others and the mage to let others care for him. But now the bad changes far out weighed what little distance they had managed to cover.

What was left now? A boy who didn't have a place, but still desperately search for one. A princess who couldn't accept either the old Syaoran's betrayal or the new Syaoran's arrival. A white manju-bun that felt more and more useless as one who comforts each day. A mage who's lies were no longer sweet half-truths but were now had a bitter and hurtful maliciousness that Kurogane wanted, desperately, to believe were just as false. And finally... a ninja who couldn't keep a promise and couldn't be forgiven.

There was only a little liquid left in the glass. Kurogane narrowed his crimson red eyes and grunted. Not even enough left for one more proper drink. He threw his head back and drowned the last of his self control with the final bit of self abuse. His throat burned as the liquid passed through, causing Kurogane to curse softly. He was no better than Fai, running away to the depths of the bottle like this. But he was still thirsty...

The ninja stood up. He was a little shaky, but not too bad considering that bottle he had opened up only after the other two had gone to sleep. Kurogane made his way over to the closet that held spare blankets. He didn't quite trust his legs to climb the stairs at the moment... But thankfully, like most advanced dimensions, the hotels here were all about convenience. He found what he needed and made his way back to the couch with a trip and a curse. Fortunately, Kurogane managed to get the blanket over Syaoran and Mokona without too much trouble. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite that drunk.

He paused, looking down at the two sleepers. Kurogane watched them, silent and unmoving for a few moments. His hand reached out on it's own, pushing aside a few strands of brown hair that had fallen in the kid's face, then giving Mokona a gentle pet on the head. The image of the Princess and Fai flashed through his mind. Would either of them get any sleep tonight?

Kurogane couldn't run away from all this. He could pretend for a little, while the liquor still lasted. But every night he came to the same conclusion. He couldn't run away, not now.

The old Syaoran had been the glue that bound the six of them together. With out the kid... if Kurogane ran now, the rest might as well just all fall apart. Besides, as tattered and torn as it was, he still had his pride. Continuously submitting to a pair of sharp teeth had taken it's toll, but he was still a ninja. His pride could not so easily be diminished.

He would stand by his decisions, regardless if it hurt the mage or anyone else. Regardless if he was never forgiven. Kurogane would protect the fragile flame, the arctic wind, and those broken wings... Even the little white manju-bun. He had made that promise long ago, to protect the ones he loved.

Kurogane would kill that person who had set all this heart ache and sorrow in motion, because he still couldn't grasp true strength as Princess Tomoyo wanted. Under these conditions, he wondered if he ever could. The ninja sat back down on the couch, glad to have something supporting him again. Just before he too, fell asleep while watching over the others, he made a second, drowsy promise.

He would get revenge. Because revenge was the one thing that Kurogane could cling to now that wouldn't change.

~Fini~

Quote of the fic:

"O alcohol, would you please forgive me?
For while I cannot love myself
I'll use something else

I thought that alcohol was just for those with
Nothing else to do
I thought that drinking just to get drunk
Was a waste of precious booze
But now I know that there's a time
And there's a place where I can choose
To walk the fine line between
Self-control and self-abuse
."

- Alcohol, by the Barenaked Ladies