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Fic: Starlight Now (3)

Title: Starlight Now
Characters/Pairings: FaiYuui, some KuroFai, mild KuroYuui, mentions of other characters
Rating: T
Summary: Yuui writes for a living to convince people of his dreams, but cannot convince himself to stop loving his apparently oblivious twin.
A/N: part 3 of the secret santa gift for Jo, although it’s no longer terribly secret, and I make a terrible Santa. I really ought to get cracking on this…chat are getting mean, and they took away Yuui’s peanut so they could enjoy watching him roll around on his lonesome in his little angstball. (You’re horrible people.)
Still ongoing. orz



*****

Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them.

                - T. S. Eliot, Burnt Norton



Fai wears a sour look badly, and he hides one even worse. It hangs over him peculiarly – Fai’s face is made for kindness rather than the strange mix of moodiness and longing that currently broods upon it; his smiles, the close-eyed ones with too-wide lips and deceitful edges sharp as a stiletto blade (less noticed, and therefore twice as deadly), are ones politicians would kill to display for themselves.

Fai lies, outright and by omission, about things little and big and always somehow close to his mind and heart. His personality seeps through the veneer he coats over himself regardless, small moments when Fai drifts away from the happier emotional spectrum – serious, pensive with drink and recollections that bring strange twisting smiles; stern, lecturing the more destructive children at the museum; sad, fingertips trailing over the information on new exhibits in quiet moments, lists of the dead , names and so many strings of numbers that try and fail to contain the magnitude of human suffering.

Fai comes in all the colours of the rainbow, all the jagged hues quite vivid behind the favourite colours he picks out to present stubbornly to the world. This is me, in every lie, but transparent as a window pane with its curtains not quite pulled all the way shut. Visible through the small spaces, candlelight in the dark.

(Idiot lantern.)

He drapes himself out on Kurogane’s sofa that evening and feigns pretty insouciance, tips back the last of his cheap beer into his mouth before letting the can join the small mountain he and Kurogane have built between themselves on the floor, aluminium and glass bottles. Neither of them are drunk yet – they can clear a bar of alcohol between them with very little assistance – but Fai has a languorous sway to his movements when he shifts, a troubled enough expression in his low-lidded eyes to remind Kurogane of the pitch and roll of a beleaguered ship at sea.

“Are you planning on staying here all night?” Kurogane asks him, neutral with a hint of peevish; Fai had followed him home like a stray cat after work, even more bedraggled and forlorn than he’d looked walking into the museum that morning with all the doom of the world worn like some gaudy tiara on his head. He’d offered no explanation but nonsense, and insults given to him were (and still are) met with unquestioning acceptance and fatality – Kurogane, preferring to be irritated by the (translucent) pretence of happiness than the maudlin woe, just lets him get on with it.

“Kuro-rinta wants to throw me out into the cold?” Fai pouts, pointing an accusing finger at Kurogane’s seat in the room’s sole armchair. The television’s light makes the shadow of his outflung arm terribly melodramatic, white-blue and grey-smudged since neither of them had bothered to switch on the room’s lights. “Meeeaaaan. Kuro-yun doesn’t know how to treat his guests at all.

“You have to be invited to be a guest,” Kurogane swipes the last full bottle of beer just as Fai’s hand drops meaningfully in the alcohol’s direction – Fai’s pout increases threefold, critical notes hiking up into the range of scandalised.

“Kuro-min is a terrible host!”

Fai gets a cushion tossed at his head. “Keep that up,” Kurogane tells him darkly, even as Fai removes tassels and synthetic down (a gift from Kurogane’s mother, one of many failed attempts at getting her son to try interior decorating of any sort) from his face, “and I really will toss you out on your dumb ass.”

It’s not like he has any reason to keep the idiot. Can’t the moron piss off back home to irritate his brother? His twin would probably bask in the attention.

Fai draws himself up, chin upright and all wounded dignity. They used to carve statues of these moments, David with the curling hair. “And after I carried all the alcohol in so that cold, cruel, lazy Kuro-ko could have something to drink whilst he watched his programme in peace -”

“It’s my goddamn alcohol,” Kurogane smashes the proclamation with a grouchy wave, necking some of his bottle just to spite his ‘guest,’ watch Fai’s eyes on his moving throat, “which you carried one room over.”

“One whole room more than you,” says Fai, and curls up on the sofa he’s claimed like a sulky cat.

They watch television. Kurogane finishes his beer in silence, and then fetches Scotch from the kitchen. Two glasses clinking with ice. Fai’s smile returns, and his fingertips are cold as the ice in his glass as he presses them to Kurogane’s arm, pulls the other man down possessively beside him to crawl into the hollow of his arm. Nurses his drink.

Kurogane doesn’t move. They watch television.




Midnight is made of tissue paper, easily torn through like the other early hours, one, two, three, lost in distraction. Kurogane snores through three am, flat on his back in his bed, green electric numbers flicking to 03:16 by his head when he suddenly isn’t asleep anymore.

“Kuro-kichi is a light sleeper, huh.” Fai says softly, standing in the bedroom doorway. The cotton sheets Kurogane had thrown over him when the idiot had fallen asleep sprawled out over the sofa are wrapped loosely around his shoulders, corners trailing the floor – he looks lonely, standing there, a pale wandering wraith with no home or safe harbour. It echoes in his voice, questions, a whisper-waver at the end. “It’s cold downstairs. Can I sleep with Kuro-sama tonight?”

The please is unspoken.

Kurogane looks at him – but after a few minutes grunts an assent, kicking back some of his own sheets so that the idiot can gratefully slide into the bed beside him, all shivering angles in the dark. His elbow digs into Kurogane’s side as he wiggles around getting comfortable, foot whacking Kurogane’s knee and hair tickling Kurogane’s arm.

Kurogane’s just at the point where he’s debating punching Fai in the head just to get the other to lie still already (even if it is in a coma) when the idiot finally sighs a heaving rush of breath  and settles, apparently having found the ‘perfect’ position to sleep in for the rest of the night. At last, blessed quiet –

And then, as Fai is so wont to do, the idiot opens his mouth and wrecks it all, dropping revelations between them that probably count as gifts of gratitude, where they’re concerned, peace offerings.

“Yuui’s mad at me,” Fai says, muffled with his face almost completely pressed into Kurogane’s pillow. (Kurogane hopes he smothers himself with it.) “Really mad. And I don’t really know why.”

“So ask him,” is Kurogane’s great advice, and he turns over, back to his guest – but not before reaching out with one hand to shove Fai’s face further down into the pillow, something like exasperated fondness in the curve of his palm. “Now go to fucking sleep. We have work tomorrow.”




You are inconstantly constant, always there, never all there. Do you even see where you’re going; are you even aware? I’ll walk behind you because it’s what I always do, and pick up the glittering pieces of you you always leave behind – you cannot be in two places at once, dearest, no. Your mirror tells you lies.

Break it.




[Yuui, Fai asks one day, sitting at the kitchen counter and drumming his legs against his stool legs like a child, wondering in the tone of voice that wonders why he wonders because he’s asking something oh so terribly obvious, even to him, Yuui, do you like girls?

And Yuui blinks, stares at him, halfway through pouring out two cups of black tea with the teapot fat and heavy in his hands. …Yes? Fai, you know that. Skirts and hips and the fall of their hair, softness both entrancing and bewildering – his first girlfriend at sixteen, a sweet Finnish girl who’d first kissed him into blushing outside of school whilst Fai whistled in the background. They’d dated, broken up amicably enough, and Yuui had left the country with his grandparents and Fai for pastures new.

So. Perfect enunciation. Determined blue eyes. You write your love songs for girls?

No –

Fai barely lets his brother breathe. So you like boys too?

No, Yuui says firmly, sets the teapot down with a determined clunk when Fai opens his mouth to interrupt again. No, I don’t like boys. He likes a man, a man with an adult’s mind and the heart of a boy, the careless cruelty and kindness of a young child. Just the one. (One’s enough.)

So who do you write them for?! Fai persists. And don’t say anyone – Yuui, you must write them with someone in mind, some sort of idea or – or something; they’re so-

Specific. Vague. Dreams and wonderings and that elusive idea that lingers just out of sight in the mind’s eye, the dusk-darkness before the dawn of understanding.

Yuui sighs. Someone beautiful. Unconsciously so. And – and they’re a little bit different, every time.]




Break it all the way, just this once and last time.




Fai dreams of a white arctic fox stepping through a snowstorm, silent footfalls eaten up by the endless flurry of snowflakes coming down, sharp and cold. Pointed ears cock when Fai calls to it, stands stuck in a drift and calls – dark eyes turn and look back at him for the longest time, understanding, before the fox turns away again, moves on again, padding away until its lithe form is lost in all the nothingness and white.

He wakes up clinging to Kurogane, with the irritated man attempting to pry Fai’s fingernails out of the skin of his arm. Fai makes breakfast to apologise and Kurogane complains about him stealing the kitchen, that the food is far too sweet, but he clears his plate regardless.

They go to work, and their co-workers spend the day giggling behind their hands about how Fai is wearing a shirt that is clearly not his own. Fai smiles and easily chirps that he’s just borrowed one of Kuro-tum’s – and gets dragged off by the scruff of his neck by said ‘Kuro-tum’, Kurogane red all the way up to his ears.

Kuro-sama is what he eats, it seems. (Fai inwardly resolves to make him breakfast again.)




[People, Yuui explains, fingertips still warm from pouring out the tea as he brushes back his brother’s fringe, tucks a long golden curl behind Fai’s ear. Fai is still wondering, still, with memories of words with missing melodies still caught in his mind and his eyes, those windows to the soul, have many aspects to them, that cannot be seen all at once, by one person. Because people can’t ever give all of themselves to one other person, however much they try, because people view other people different, weighed and valued – sometimes subconsciously - in their hearts.

Fai doesn’t like Yuui’s smile. People give as much as they can, when they want to. Isn’t that what love is?

Maybe, says his twin. Then – Please don’t play the violin today. I have a headache.

The house is quiet for the rest of the day.]




Yuui’s on the phone when Fai gets home from work, leaning against the kitchen counter with the wireless handset tucked under his ear. By the sound of half of the conversation he’s talking to his editor – Karen, high red heels and short red hair, as lovely as the time Fai had first met her, standing at the foot of the stairs in their home waiting for Yuui to come down so that she and him could go to dinner and discuss the progress of Yuui’s (then) latest book. They give me the quiet ones, she’d secretly conferred with a smile, charming when charmed. So I can be their complimentary va va voom.

There was something (nameless) of Yuui in the look behind Karen’s smile, so Fai had decided he’d liked her, kept to it. Don’t break my baby brother’s heart.

Yuui talks, an easy patter between friends, but his shoulders still hold the strain they’d done the day before as he’d walked away from Fai’s room, that rainy morning with no explanation. There’s something like the start of dinner on the bench – nothing special, Yuui hasn’t donned his apron with the flopsy-eared bunny in the bottom corner, but his wool jumper’s sleeves are pushed back to his elbows, the collar hanging lax around his bare throat and hem hanging long and loose over his hips and thighs. Old and comfortable – Yuui’s had that jumper for years, dark brown, soft and made for snuggling into, enough of a favourite for Yuui that it never truly loses the scent of his cologne. Worn jeans and a warm house in the winter, the lights on downstairs in the evening and Yuui utterly oblivious on the phone.

Yuui looks like home. Feels like home, when Fai pushes himself forward from the kitchen doorway with his heart choked up in his throat, wrapping his arms around his brother’s waist from the side and letting his head fall against Yuui’s shoulder and collarbone, smooth skin and soft wool.

Yuui stiffens, rigid, and Fai watches his twin’s pulse jump under his jaw. They don’t argue, not really, not like this, not enough to make Yuui suddenly a cold stranger in Fai’s arms, someone who pushes Fai away.

Fai clings tighter, stubbornly, suddenly afraid Yuui will push him away like he’d done the other day – but Yuui doesn’t, only shifting his position against the counter slightly to be more comfortable whilst talking to Karen. Doesn’t reach out to either return the embrace or tangle his fingers in Fai’s hair, as he so usually does when Fai, as he puts it, ‘decides to be a boa constrictor for the day.’

And that hurts, because when Yuui stops being the Yuui Fai’s always known, he knows absolutely nothing about his twin. And he can’t –

He can’t make things better, and doesn’t know if this Yuui will make things better either.

(Whatever things, exactly, are.)

He should’ve gone home with Kurogane again.

“I’m sorry,” he murmurs to Yuui’s skin instead, letting his fingers dig into the brown wool over his brother’s hips and feeling like a child. “I don’t know what I did wrong but I’m sorry I did it; Yuui, I didn’t mean to make you mad.”

“One moment,” says Yuui to the phone, and then presses the handset to his shirt to muffle the receiver. The buttons gleam beside Fai’s head – so he looks up, and Yuui’s doppelganger looks down at him, between familiar and strange. Yuui has a ring of shadows under his eyes. “That’s not your shirt.”

“Kuro-sama’s,” Fai explains, brief and quiet. Yuui still hasn’t touched him yet. “Are you still mad at me?”

“Myself, more than you.” The words are little comfort. “Do you want to go to a party?”

“With you?” Hope dawns anew.

“With me,” Yuui confirms, with the quirk of a smile at Fai’s slightly more hopeful lilt. The Yuui who kept Fai’s secrets from their guardians, who swore up and down that of course Fai couldn’t have been the one to break that glass/pull that prank/eat that last bit of cake, never; he’d been with Yuui all afternoon, and Yuui was such a good boy. Yuui didn’t lie.  “A publishers and writers gathering thing, four days from now.”

“Yes!” says Fai, and knows he’s smiling brilliantly – he would’ve agreed to have gone to the dentist’s to have all his teeth removed to make things better; a party is quite good in comparison. “Yes, I’d like to.”

“He’ll come,” Yuui tells the phone, bringing it back up to his ear again – and relaxes a little when Fai snuggles into him, pleased, loose and warm and happier. Yuui still doesn’t hug him but – but he’s soft again, and distracted. And that’s better than before, isn’t it? Much better. “Make sure there’s plenty of alcohol.”






- For those of you who haven’t read X: Karen Kasumi has the unfortunate habit of falling for quiet respectable men who happen to already be in love with somebody else. And she mothers the hell out of the emotionally-lost, wounded and generally somebody-killed-my-puppy-and/or-one-true-love-and-then-dropped-a-building-on-them characters. Whilst being badass. And her mother thought she was a demon, leading to a somewhat difficult childhood. Basically I think she has a lot in common with the Fluorites in their various incarnations, ok? Ok.


Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
eijentu
Jan. 11th, 2012 08:25 am (UTC)
YOU MAKE A WONDERFUL SANTA AND HERE IS A STARTLINGLY REALISTIC SANTA EMOTICON I HAVE FASHIONED TO EMPHASISE THE POINT:

*<|:o{]8

YES. IT'S SANTA.

Meanwhile, have I told you that I love this fic? EDITOR!KAREN! Old, comfortable house jumpers that always carry his brother's cologne, Yuui's first kiss while Fai whistles in appreciation, watching TV and not talking at all about the diminishing space between them, and Fai dreaming of arctic foxes and waking clinging to Kurogane for dear life.

ONGOING=YES!

/STILL SELFISH :DDD
shadow_of_egypt
Jan. 11th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
(Is the 8 in that emoticon his mouth or some kind of bow-tie?)

I like Karen, old jumpers are exceptionally nice to snuggle into, and there is no space between seasoned drunkards when there is alcohol on offer, none. I like to write about what people do when they're not doing something terribly momentous, because I think it's all the things you don't do and say in great epic stand-offs that sometimes matter the most.

/snuggles you, yes, selfish as you are
eijentu
Jan. 11th, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC)
SHACHA. WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU NEED TO ASK WHAT THE 8 IS? CLEARLY IT IS FEET.

IT'S FEET.

THESE THINGS MAKE ME INCREDIBLY HAPPY, AS DOES THE FACT YOU LIKE TO WRITE ABOUT PEOPLE IN THE MOMENTS IN-BETWEEN, BECAUSE I KIND OF LOVE TO READ ABOUT THOSE. <3

/SNUGGLES BACK WHILE BEING REMORSELESSLY SELFISH
shadow_of_egypt
Jan. 11th, 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
But - but - but where are his arms?! HE HAS NO BODY AND A GIANT HEAD.

THIS DOES NOT COMPUTE.
eijentu
Jan. 12th, 2012 08:13 am (UTC)
OMG SANTA IS A SINISTER FIGURE SHACHA. HE IS ALL WHISKERS AND GLINTING SPECTACLES AND CREEPING INTO CHILDREN'S HOMES, NOT TO MENTION HIS ENSLAVEMENT OF BOTH REINDEER AND ELVES.

IMAGINE WHAT HE MIGHT ACHIEVE GIVEN ARMS. DDD:
reikah
Jan. 11th, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
/makes all the jazz hands ever at shacha

ALL OF THEM.

oh, fai. ;_;
shadow_of_egypt
Jan. 11th, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
I feel I must inform you that limbs left unattended/flailed around in a strange manner and thus being easily mistaken for being unattended this close to a CLAMP fic may be in danger of being lopped off without prior warning.
reikah
Jan. 11th, 2012 05:08 pm (UTC)
BRING IT.
shadow_of_egypt
Jan. 11th, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC)
Bringing a Kurogane into this matter is just cheating. One of his limbs is already disposable.
konnichipuu
Jan. 11th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
THIS IS BEAUTIFUL! Entirely beautiful, and so, so sad... ;__;

I don't even know how this situation could be resolved without hurting someone... I loved the quiet scene in which Fai comes to Kurogane for comfort - all of it, but especially the moment he stands in the door frame of his bedroom. Poor Fai. Poor Yuui.

This story is plain amazing. I love your writing! AND LIKE HELL I MIND IT'S ONGOING! <3333 /loves on you like a mad thing
shadow_of_egypt
Jan. 11th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
Eveeerryyybody huuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrttttttsssssss~! *...can't remember the rest of the song so leaves it there* ;;; There's a resolution to this mess of sorts; not a perfect one by any means, but it shouldn't be too much of a pile of angst. Hopefully. If the characters behave as they ought to do for me.



...*chuu* Glad you're still liking it? =w=

Edited at 2012-01-11 05:26 pm (UTC)
konnichipuu
Jan. 11th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
"LIKE" IS NOT STRONG ENOUGH A WORD FOR THE LOVE I FEEL FOR THIS FIC! :DDDDDDDDD /HUGS YOU (ALMOST) TO DEATH
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )