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[personal profile] caffeine_buzz
Title: Pastoral
Fandom: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
Rating: M
Pairings/Warnings: Sex, AU, KuroFai. And also sex.
Summary: AU. Kurogane had always been perfectly happy working with the horses and never being bothered by a soul...until the day he met a stupid blond shepherd.
Notes: De-anoned fic for the kink meme, because I...actually kinda really like how this turned out and wanted to post it proper. Original prompt for a medieval-ish KuroFai set during peacetime with the two in non-fighting occupations and I had an idea and then...yeah.



The first time Kurogane met the shepherd it was early in the morning on a clear summer day.

His routine had always been the same. Each morning he would lead the six horses out of the stables one by one and follow the winding path to the wide fenced-in pasture that sat behind the great manor house. Then he would go about the rest of his duties for the day, mucking the stalls, grooming and feeding the horses, taking some horses along the path to pasture and others back to the stable, often bringing about one or more of the horses should Lord Clow or one of his family members wish to go riding. And every night he would follow the winding path one last time and take the last of the horses back from the pasture to the stables until all were safe for the night before returning to his makeshift living quarters in the room above the hayloft.

Lord Clow’s manor house was surrounded on all sides by thick forest. The house was so large that Kurogane rarely ever even saw any of the servants who worked on the side opposite the stables. The land owned by Lord Clow was even larger, encompassing not only the house, the pasture behind it and the woods that encircled it but also the hills that could be seen rising up in the distance beyond the forest. The entirety of Lord Clow’s land could be traveled by way of a single well-worn path, which led through the woods to the front gate and then looped around the house, past the stables and the pasture and back through the woods behind the house to beyond where Kurogane had ever bothered to travel.

It was this path that Kurogane followed each day with the horses. The landscape of the house was such that there was a point just before he reached the pasture where the path ran through a single gap between woods and fencing. The gap was only large enough to accommodate at most Kurogane, a single horse and possibly a foal. This might have been a hindrance if he ever ran into any of Lord Clow’s other workers who might have blocked his way but in all his years of working at the manor house he rarely to never ran across anyone walking along the gap. In fact, he often saw very little of anyone in his days working at the stable. Lord Clow would show up often enough, of course, accompanied occasionally by his wife or by his daughter Lady Sakura, but beyond that most of Kurogane’s days passed with only the horses for company. Which was fine enough for Kurogane, who was perfectly happy to spend his time in solitude rather than be bothered by the chattering of unwelcome visitors.

That changed the morning he was taking Lady Yuuko’s mare and its brand new foal (and Kurogane’s new seventh charge) out to the pasture in the morning light. Kurogane was leading the jet-black mare down the path, her little gray foal stumbling along behind, when suddenly he was aware of a pile of fluffy shapes standing in front of him right where they completely blocked the gap. As he got closer he was able to make them out clearly: a small brigade of sheep milling about along the path, all white coats and black eyes and insistent curious noises. The mare snorted, clearly no more impressed with the sudden sheep roadblock than Kurogane was, and the horseman patted her nose to calm her.

He hadn’t even known Lord Clow had sheep.

“Ah, are we in your way?” A cheerful voice floated over to him and the sheep parted slightly as a tall man wound his way through them to stand in front of Kurogane.

Kurogane rarely interacted with most of Lord Clow’s other servants, but still he was certain that he had never met this man. He would have remembered the pale blond hair, the stupid smile and the piercing blue eyes. The man was dressed in a long sky-blue cloak that reached to his ankles and he held a wooden shepherd’s crook in one hand.

“You’re blocking the path,” Kurogane said irritably. “Who the hell are you? This is private land.”

“I know,” the man said, smile never faltering. “Lord Clow hired me.”

“Since when does Lord Clow keep sheep?”

“I wouldn’t know at all.” The man shrugged. “I was hired last week, to replace his Lordship’s old shepherd.”

“What happened to the old shepherd?” Kurogane eyed the man suspiciously. Now that he thought about it he did have a vague recollection of a time shortly after he’d been hired, when Lord Clow had introduced him to the rest of the staff. There had been an old man in tattered brown clothes there who Kurogane had seen very rarely afterwards.

“He was eaten by wolves.” The blond’s smile remained bright and cheerful, but there was a shadow in his voice. Almost as soon as Kurogane noticed it the darkness was gone, replaced by bland helpful cheer. “So here I am. Lord Clow owns the hillside down at the very end of the path, beyond the pasture. I’m just taking the sheep there. The other shepherd used to take them before the sun rose, but that’s just so early.”

“Well, do it earlier than this next time, you idiot,” Kurogane stated. “I have horses to take care of. I can’t waste time waiting for your stupid sheep to get off my path.”

“It was nice meeting you too,” the other man said, not missing a beat. He barely looked at the sheep as he began to walk back down the path, but somehow they all got into a messy sort of formation and began to follow him. The man stopped after a moment and glanced backwards. “I’m Fai, by the way. You are?”

“Kurogane,” the horseman said flatly.

“Right.” The shepherd nodded and beckoned his flock down the path. “Well, it was nice meeting you, Kuro-rin!”

“It’s Kurogane!” Kurogane snapped but the man never turned around, simply waving a hand at him as he disappeared down the path.

Kurogane tried his best not to think about the idiot shepherd for the rest of the day as he went about his duties. The sky was beginning to grow dark as he returned to the pasture to take care of the last of his charges for the day, an old gray gelding that had belonged to Lord Clow’s father. As he went to open the gate he saw a familiar line of white shapes moving past the fence.

“We meet again, Kuro-sama.” The stupid shepherd was leaning against the fence, the sheep happily swarming around his knees.

“Kurogane,” Kurogane said flatly as he led the horse out of the gate and onto the path, doing his best to ignore the other man.

“Whatever you say, Kuro-rin.” The stupid shepherd was following him now, skipping just a couple paces behind with the sheep trotting obediently behind. “Hey, do you always work this late? The sun’s nearly down. You should get to bed before dark.”

“That’s none of your business,” Kurogane snapped. “What the hell are you doing here, anyway? I never saw the old shepherd.”

“I’m bringing the sheep back, of course!” Fai said. “It’s really far to walk, so we have to start early. If it gets too dark the wolves come out.”

“There aren’t any wolves in Lord Clow’s forest,” Kurogane said. “Don’t be stupid.”

“If Kuro-tan says so,” the shepherd said, and Kurogane had the distinct sense he was being mocked.

“Whatever. Stop following me.”

“I’m not following you,” Fai said with maddening calmness. “I’m taking the sheep back. I just happen to be going the same way as Kuro-sama.”

“Would you stop calling me by those stupid names?” Kurogane growled.

“Why?” Fai looked wounded. “They’re cute!”

“No they’re not. Leave me alone.” They had thankfully reached the stables, and Kurogane didn’t hesitate to lead the horse inside and leave the annoying blond.

“Good night, Kuro-tan!” The shepherd’s voice floated over to him as he closed the stable door. Kurogane waited a moment, half-expecting the idiot to try and lead the sheep into the stables after him, but Fai seemed to have moved on. Kurogane sighed in annoyance and led the gelding to his stall, enjoying the relative silence of the stables and making a mental note to bring the horses out earlier the next day.

--

The next morning Kurogane was up almost before dawn. He finished his morning duties in almost record time and was taking the first horse down the path in the faint first light of sunrise.

He had just reached the gap when he heard a suddenly too-familiar ‘baa’ing sound from behind him.

“Good morning, Kuro-rin!” The shepherd was standing there behind him in his stupid cloak with his stupid sheep and stupid smile, looking perfectly awake and refreshed.

“I thought you didn’t get up early,” Kurogane muttered through clenched teeth.

“I just wasn’t tired this morning,” Fai said with a nonchalant shrug. “Kuro-sama is early, too. Couldn’t sleep?”

“None of your business,” Kurogane growled, turning away from him and leading the horse resolutely down the path. Fai, naturally, followed along behind him with the ever-present contingent of sheep in tow.

“The air is nice this morning,” the shepherd said happily from behind him. “Is it always this nice here in the summer? Not too warm and not too cold.”

Kurogane merely snorted in reply. Maybe if he ignored the idiot the man would go away.

“So how long have you worked here?” Fai asked, unerringly cheerful. “You seem like you know this path very well.”

“Seven years,” Kurogane said grudgingly.

“Wow, that’s a long time.” Fai clapped politely. “I’m impressed, Kuro-rin. I haven’t ever worked anywhere that long.”

“Because you probably annoyed all your masters and they fired you,” Kurogane muttered under his breath.

“Maybe.” He hadn’t thought the shepherd had heard him but the man’s reply was clear. Kurogane glanced back at him and saw the briefest of shadows pass over Fai’s expression again. Almost immediately the smile was back in place. “So I bet Kuro-rin knows the entire manor house by now.”

“Not really.” Kurogane turned away from him again. “I only take care of the horses. That’s my job. I don’t bother with stupid things that aren’t any of my business.”

“That’s my Kuro-sama,” Fai said sagely, nodding. “You’re not a person who does unnecessary things at all, are you?”

“You just met me yesterday,” Kurogane said irritably.

“So I did,” Fai agreed breezily, not missing a beat.

The pasture gate came into view and Kurogane stopped himself from sighing in relief as he led the horse off the path towards the pasture. He didn’t so much as look back as he opened the gate.

“I’ll see you later, Kuro-tan!” He heard Fai’s voice but stubbornly refused to look back. Maybe the stupid shepherd would get the hint this time.

He didn’t. From that day on Kurogane found that no matter when he took the horses out, be it at dawn’s first light or near-afternoon, the shepherd was always there, either just behind him or just ahead, waiting at the gap with his sheep and his never-ending smile and his cutesy nicknames. The same happened each evening. No matter how early or late Kurogane went to the pasture to retrieve the last horse Fai was always there, walking nonchalantly down the path as if he hadn’t a care in the world.

“So what the hell do you do all day?” Kurogane asked him one day as he was preparing to head back to the manor house. Fai was leaning against the pasture fence with a lamb in his arms.

“Not much,” Fai said lightly. The lamb was chewing contentedly on his sleeves. “I just take the sheep up to the hills and watch them until it’s time to come back.”

“That’s all?” Kurogane snorted. “What the hell is Lord Clow even paying you for, anyway?”

“It’s not as easy as it sounds,” Fai said, giving Kurogane his best wounded look. Kurogane glared at him and the lamb took the opportunity to reach out and try to a take a bite out of Kurogane’s fingers. “Have you ever been up to the hills, Kuro-sama?”

“Of course not,” Kurogane said. “Why the hell would I ever do that?”

“Never doing unnecessary things, right,” Fai said with a laugh. “I knew Kuro-tan would say something like that. Haven’t you ever wanted to follow the path to its end?”

“No,” Kurogane said flatly. “It’s a pain as it is.”

“The path goes through the woods, you know,” Fai continued as Kurogane led his last horse onto the path. “Every morning and every night, I take the sheep through the woods to the hills. That’s why Lord Clow pays me.”

“Hmmph.” Kurogane shook his head. “Any idiot could do that.”

“I can’t leave too early or too late, and all must stay together,” Fai said, and the shadow was in his voice again.

“Your wolves again?” Kurogane shook his head. “Idiot. I told you. I’ve been here seven years and I’ve never seen a wolf.”

“But Kuro-sama has never followed the path to the hills,” Fai said with maddening calmness. There was a strange flatness to his eyes that Kurogane didn’t like, and suddenly he realized that the sheep which always seemed to follow so close at Fai’s heels were falling behind. The lamb in Fai’s arms had gone stock still. “There are many things in this manor house that Kuro-sama has never seen. Right?”

Kurogane went silent and looked away. He supposed the idiot had a point, but there was no way he was telling Fai that.

“Of course, nothing in the woods is half as scary as Kuro-wolf!” Fai added brightly.

“Don’t call people by stupid names!” Kurogane snapped. Fai laughed and Kurogane noted that the sheep had begun to follow close behind him again. The lamb was licking his hand.

“So do you sleep in the barn with the horses?” Fai asked him another day, when they were walking towards the pasture in the half-light of morning. “Ah! Is there a stall marked ‘Kuro-tan’?”

“Shut up,” Kurogane said, as if it had ever done him any good.

“Kuro-sama probably has his own water trough too,” Fai mused, ignoring him. “Because he won’t share. And you wash down with the water pump like the horses do. That’s why you always smell like horse.”

“You stink like sheep,” Kurogane muttered. “And I do not always smell like horse.”

“Always,” Fai said firmly. The horse Kurogane was leading nudged his arm and Fai laughed. “See! The horse agrees.” He patted the horse’s nose and Kurogane led it away from him as best he could along the narrow path.

“Stop infecting my horses with your stupidity,” he said firmly. Fai gave a fake-sounding whimper in reply.

“Kuro-sama is mean,” he stated. “I should stop talking to you.”

“I should be so lucky,” Kurogane said darkly.

“But you’d be lonely without me!” Fai said.

“I was fine before you came along,” Kurogane stated.

“Of course,” Fai said in that tone he always used when he was only agreeing with something because he thought it would pacify Kurogane.

“Where the hell do you sleep, anyway?” the horseman asked, changing the subject. He had been wondering about that lately.

“With the sheep,” Fai said blithely, and Kurogane couldn’t tell if he was being serious or not. He supposed the stupid shepherd was just teasing him again.

“Where does Lord Clow keep all these damn sheep anyway?” Kurogane wondered aloud. He had never even seen them until Fai arrived, but apparently Lord Clow had indeed been raising sheep for some time.

“The pens are on the opposite side of the manor house from the stables,” Fai said helpfully.

“The path circles that side of the house too,” Kurogane said slowly. “It intersects with this path just before the far end of the pasture.”

“It does,” Fai said, nodding.

“You bastard…” Kurogane growled. “Why the hell have you been bothering me all this time, then! You could get the damn sheep to the hills without ever so much as running into me!”

“But it’s more fun to go this way!” Fai said.

“Fun,” Kurogane repeated flatly.

Fai laughed at him again and Kurogane looked away. He was not getting used to the laugh, that was certain. He hated it almost as much as he hated that breezy smile and the stupid blue coat and stupid smelly sheep.

And the evening Kurogane went to retrieve the last horse and found that the shepherd was not waiting for him, he told himself that he didn’t care at all. He was certainly not getting used to the idiot following him around every morning and evening, talking and laughing and saying stupid things and insistently using all those ridiculous nicknames.

That evening the sky was dark, even though it was far too early for sunset. Gray clouds hung ominously in the air and Kurogane could smell the storm brewing. In the years Kurogane had worked at the manor house he had learned to spot the signs of a summer storm brewing early, and had learned the hard way that it was best not to be caught in it.

He went to the pasture earlier than normal, eager to get the last of the horses inside and safe before the rain began. Kurogane had expected Fai to be waiting for him when he reached the pasture, leaning against the fence like usual. Somehow the man always knew when Kurogane would be early or late, and always, always arrived just in time to walk back down the path together.

But this day the path was empty and the shepherd was nowhere to be seen. Kurogane gazed off towards the hills as he led the last horse out of the gate and told himself that he wasn’t at all worried. No doubt the shepherd had noticed the signs of the coming storm long before Kurogane had, and had led the sheep back early. Fai would probably be waiting for him in the morning, ready to tease him for being so slow to notice the storm’s arrival.

Kurogane had just returned to the stable and led the last horse into its stall when he heard the first rumble of thunder outside. He made certain the rest of the horses were comfortable before climbing the stairs back up to his room.

The room above the hayloft was fairly small but perfectly fine for Kurogane’s purposes. There was a good-sized bed in one corner and a large wooden chest in the other, along with a small lopsided table and a pair of wooden chairs. The size of the room had never bothered Kurogane, as he spent so little time there. He generally took his meals in the stable with the horses and washed up using the water pump in the back (which he also often used for bathing the horses, but he’d be damned if he admitted that the stupid shepherd had been right and he did bathe in the same place as the animals).

The room was normally lit by the natural light that came through the single window, but Kurogane also had a glass lamp for use at night. Through the window Kurogane could see the sky growing ever darker and he carefully lit the lamp before lying down on the bed and closing his eyes, listening to the wind howl outside. In no time he heard the sound of rain pounding against the window and the roof.

Kurogane was just starting to let sleep overtake him when the sound of the stable door slamming shut immediately shook him awake. He sat up and took a few tentative steps down into the hayloft, peering through the slats to the stable below. Something seemed to have woken the horses, who were making small sounds of agitation.

Taking the lamp in one hand, Kurogane slowly made his way back down to the stable. There was a pitchfork leaning against the wall and he took hold of it just as a precaution as he made his way towards the stalls. He doubted he’d need it, as Kurogane couldn’t imagine what stupid sort of horse thief would come out in this weather, but that was no reason not to be cautious. It was probably just one of the servants, who’d gotten caught in the storm and had ducked inside the nearest dry shelter.

As he got closer to the door Kurogane noticed that one of the stall doors was swaying just slightly on its hinges. That stall had been unoccupied for nearly a year and Kurogane approached it carefully, pitchfork in hand. He set the lamp down where he could see it and carefully placed his free hand on the stall door. In one quick motion he jerked the door open, pitchfork ready.

Wide blue eyes stared up at him from behind wet blond bangs, and Kurogane dropped the pitchfork with a sigh that was half irritation and half relief.

“You. What the hell are you doing here?”

“It was wet.” There was a choked note in Fai’s voice and something in it made Kurogane reach for the lamp again, leaning forward to get a better look at the shepherd squatting miserably in the stall before him.

Fai’s clothes were completely soaked and heavy with mud and rainwater. Water was dripping from his hair down his face, and there were dirty scratches on his cheeks. He was holding tightly to his staff and his hands were also caked with mud and grime.

“Why were you out in the rain, you idiot?” Kurogane asked as Fai stumbled to his feet. The shepherd seemed to be shivering slightly, as if cold.

“I’m sorry,” Fai said quietly, and Kurogane couldn’t help but be slightly taken aback at the sudden apology. “I didn’t – it was raining, and I didn’t know where else to go.”

“You walked all the way across the grounds in the storm?” Kurogane snorted. “You’re a bigger idiot than I thought.”

“I know.” Fai hands twitched nervously around the wood of his staff. Standing there with his wet hair and soaked clothes, the shepherd reminded Kurogane of the way Lady Sakura’s kitten had looked once when it had gotten caught in the rain. “I’m sorry, I should leave--”

The shepherd turned to go and Kurogane’s hand reached out to grasp Fai’s wrist almost before he realized it. Fai glanced back at him out of surprised eyes.

“It’s pouring out there, you moron,” Kurogane said. He sighed. “You’re soaked through. Come on.” He began to drag the shepherd back towards the stairs.

“Kuro-sama?” Fai murmured curiously behind him.

“I’m not sending you out there to catch your death of cold,” Kurogane stated, leading Fai up to the room above the hayloft.

“I thought idiots couldn’t catch cold,” Fai said mildly, but Kurogane noted the slight shake in his voice.

“You’d find a way,” Kurogane stated.

Once they reached his room Kurogane immediately sat Fai down on one of the chairs and began digging about in the wooden chest for something the shepherd could use to dry off.

“Only an idiot like you would cross the entire manor house grounds in a storm,” Kurogane muttered as he dug through the clothes and items laid haphazardly in the chest.

“It was the only thing I could think of,” Fai said quietly behind him. The shepherd was sitting hunched over on the chair, knees pulled up close to his chest, staff left lying on the floor.

“Why didn’t you just sleep where you usually sleep?” Kurogane asked sharply.

“There wasn’t room in the pen,” Fai said, as if that explained everything.

“The pen?” Kurogane turned halfway to look at him.

“I told you,” Fai said with a quiet laugh. “I sleep with the sheep.”

“You…” Kurogane stared at him. “What the hell? You were serious about that?”

“There was a cottage the old shepherd used,” Fai said. “It collapsed in a windstorm.” He gave Kurogane a crooked smile. “I lied about the old man. That’s how the last shepherd died, because the cottage collapsed. Lord Clow told me he could build a new one, but I didn’t want to be a bother.” Fai pulled his knees closer to his chest, seemingly trying to make himself as small as possible. “I don’t want to cause anyone trouble, so I told him I would be all right. The sheep usually sleep in a fenced paddock, and I just sleep between them. They don’t mind if I’m there.” He ran one hand through his wet hair. “There’s an indoor pen for when it rains, but there wasn’t room for me. It was too close there.” Fai laughed again and the sound somehow hurt Kurogane’s ears. “This was the only place I could think to go.”

“You sleep outside every night?” Kurogane somehow wanted to smack him. “Idiot. No wonder you stink like sheep.”

“Only in the mornings,” Fai said with a wan smile. “There’s an old chapel on the hills, abandoned, half-crumbled away. I have a change of clothes I keep there, and there’s a small pool there for me to bathe. There’s only three walls, so I can see the sheep. No one ever goes there but me, so it’s fine.” He shifted uncomfortably.

The air grew silent and tense between them, and Kurogane suddenly found himself having to try very hard not to think of Fai bathing in the open air, completely naked and wholly visible to anyone who might happen to be nearby.

He looked away to cover his sudden discomfort and pulled an old scratchy blanket from out of the chest, tossing over Fai’s shoulders.

“You’re shivering,” Kurogane said. “Take those wet things off.”

“I’m fine,” Fai said lightly, clutching at the blanket, but the shadows were darkening his voice again and the shake had not left it.

“Don’t argue,” Kurogane said sharply. “You’re filthy.”

“I know.” Fai looked down, pulling the blanket over his head. The sudden seriousness threw Kurogane off balance and he wasn’t sure what to say. One of Fai’s hands brushed against the blanket and Kurogane suddenly noticed the red stain that was left where Fai’s skin had touched it.

“You’re bleeding,” Kurogane said with some surprise, taking a step towards him. Fai pulled the blanket further over his head, obscuring his eyes.

“It’s not my blood,” he said quietly. “Mostly.”

“What the hell does that mean?” Kurogane muttered as he crouched down next to where Fai sat, trying to get a better look at the man’s hands. Fai pulled away from him, clutching at the blanket like a safety net, and Kurogane irritably pulled it away from him, tossing the blanket to the ground. He reached out and grasped one of Fai’s hands and the shepherd immediately tried to pull away.

“I’m fine.” Fai swallowed hard. “I should leave.”

“If you say that again, I’ll punch you out,” Kurogane said severely, looking closely at Fai’s hands. The shepherd’s palms were scratched underneath a layer of mud and dried blood, and Kurogane suddenly realized that mud wasn’t the only thing staining Fai’s coat. Now that they were sitting so close Kurogane could smell the blood on him.

Fai seemed to realize that he hadn’t managed to fool Kurogane at all and gave the horseman a weak smile. His face looked far too pale in the lamplight.

“What the hell happened to you?” Kurogane asked quietly. The shepherd gave him another worthless smile and Kurogane thought that he really should punch him, just for the smile.

“It was my fault.” Fai turned his face away and his voice was flat. “I overslept. It was dark by the time I woke up and I still had to lead them back through the woods.” His hand clenched around Kurogane’s. “I knew better. I knew not to sleep so close to sun down. But it was too late when I woke up. We couldn’t stay on those hills all night. I had to lead them back.”

“And?” Kurogane prompted, not unkindly.

“Wolves.” Fai’s smile was a dead tree, all bare branches and worn bark. “I led them through the forest like I always do, but it was too dark. They didn’t keep together right, and I knew we were ringed on all sides. Then one of the sheep screamed.” He swallowed hard and went silent.

“It’s just a stupid sheep,” Kurogane said, and he wasn’t even certain if he was trying to comfort Fai or not. “Losing one shouldn’t matter.”

“I didn’t lose it then,” Fai said softly. “I chased the wolf away, but it was too late. The sheep was bleeding by then. It couldn’t walk right, but it kept trying to follow us and it was making the others nervous. I knew they would all panic if I didn’t do something.” He took a shaking breath. “I had to keep the flock together. So I went back to where the injured one was. It was bleeding all over and crying, so pathetically. There was no way of saving it and the wolves were all around. So I took hold of it and I…” Fai’s voice trailed off. “It’s not like I haven’t killed them before. Some of them always end up on someone’s table. But…not like that. I don’t like to--I don’t--not like that--” He was shivering violently now. “I shouldn’t have overslept. Lord Clow will be displeased. I can’t be a bother, I mustn’t cause problems for anyone, I can’t…”

“Shut up!” Kurogane’s sharp voice broke through his reverie and Fai stared up at him with wide surprised eyes. “What the hell are you talking about? ‘Can’t be a bother?’ What the hell is that? You made a stupid mistake. Don’t make it again. That’s all you should be worrying about.”

“That’s what Kuro-tan would do.” Fai lowered his head, water dripping off his hair onto the ground. “I’m not a person like that. I…I mustn’t ever…” He shook his head and lapsed into silence.

Kurogane stood and stared down at Fai. He hadn’t expected to be in a position like this. He just took care of horses. That was his job, it was all he knew how to do. Dealing with other people wasn’t something he was supposed to have to worry about.

Fai was still shivering with cold, and Kurogane found himself laying a hand on the shepherd’s wet head. Fai glanced miserably up at him.

“You need to get out of those wet clothes,” Kurogane said quietly.

“I’m all right,” Fai said, voice hollow.

“Stop that, or I’ll hit you,” Kurogane growled. “You’re not all right. You’re an idiot.”

“I know.” Fai gave Kurogane a strained smile as he pulled his wet cloak closer around his thin shoulders. “Kuro-sama…”

“What?”

“Is-is it all right?” Fai glanced up at him. “Is it all right if I stay here with you? Just for tonight?”

“If you have to ask, you’re a bigger idiot than I thought.” Kurogane knelt back beside him, prying the shepherd’s hands off his wet cloak, suddenly too aware of how close they were to each other. “Take that off.”

“I’m cold,” Fai said. His face was flushed with something more than cold.

“That’s why I told you to take those wet clothes off,” Kurogane stated. His face was inches from Fai’s now, and he wondered if Fai’s eyes had always been such a deep shade of blue.

He didn’t even see Fai move. It was only that one moment they sat there, face to face, and the next Fai’s mouth was on his, too-warm breath mingling with his own, tongues entwining together, hands running along warm skin and through wet hair and Kurogane’s head swam as Fai’s mouth moved eagerly against his.

Kurogane hadn’t expected this and until the moment Fai’s mouth touched his he hadn’t realized how much he wanted it.

Fai pushed up against him and Kurogane’s hands grasped the wet cloak, pulling it off with an almost frenzied strength and tossing it to the ground. They were both standing now, pushing up against each other, hips grinding together as Kurogane’s hands undid Fai’s belt. In a single move Kurogane removed Fai’s shirt, revealing the pale white skin beneath. Sweat and rainwater were running down Fai’s chest and Kurogane ran his tongue along the length of Fai’s skin, teasing lightly at his nipples. Fai leaned his head back with a soft sound of pleasure as he wrapped his arms around Kurogane, fingers traveling down the length of his spine with an almost practiced ease. Kurogane ran his tongue along Fai’s exposed neck and he could feel the heat between Fai’s legs as they pressed close together. He wrapped his fingers in the shepherd’s hair and pulled his mouth close in another kiss.

Kurogane pushed up against Fai and together they fell back against the bed, Fai below and Kurogane above, and Kurogane bent down to capture Fai’s lips again as his body pushed up close against the shepherd’s.

“Kuro-sama…” Fai gave a soft moan as Kurogane moved against him, tongue and fingers mapping every inch of the shepherd’s exposed skin as Fai writhed beneath him. Fai’s hips bucked upwards and Kurogane could feel the other man’s hardness through the fabric of his pants. He grasped the waistband of Fai’s pants and pushed them down and away, revealing the shepherd’s hardened cock.

Fai gave a wordless moan of pleasure as Kurogane leaned down and took the shepherd’s cock into his mouth. Kurogane ran his tongue slowly along the length of Fai’s shaft and Fai bucked his hips upward, thrusting into Kurogane’s mouth. Kurogane could hear Fai making small wordless noises of pleasure and it only caused him to increase his ministrations, one hand running along Fai’s shaft as his tongue teased the head of Fai’s cock. Fai thrust under him again, back arched, and Kurogane could taste the faintest pre-cum leaking from the tip of the shepherd’s cock.

Kurogane took his mouth off of Fai’s cock and leaned back up to capture the shepherd’s lips again, his mouth still tingling with the taste of Fai’s seed. The shepherd’s eyes were shining with strain and need, and he gasped into Kurogane’s mouth as one of Kurogane’s fingers reached down into his opening.

“Please.” Fai forced the word out, all breath and want and the sound of it made Kurogane’s own erection strain painfully between his legs. Another finger joined the first as Kurogane used his free hand to undo his own pants.

Kurogane removed his fingers and took only a moment to position himself before thrusting inside Fai. At the first thrust the shepherd cried out wordlessly in something that sounded like pain and Kurogane hesitated, but Fai whispered something encouraging and he thrust again, harder and faster and harder again, and the painful cry turned into a wild moan that only made Kurogane want to push deeper, holding onto Fai’s legs to keep himself in position as Kurogane moved inside him.

He could see Fai’s face as he moved, cheeks flushed and eyes bright, sweat and rain everywhere, Fai’s face twisting in pleasure as he moaned softly with each thrust. The sight of it only made Kurogane move faster, feeling himself growing closer and closer to climax. Fai’s back arched suddenly as the shepherd came beneath him, eyes shut and mouth open in a wordless cry as seed spilled from his cock and Kurogane felt his own climax come in a rush of sweat and heat, biting his tongue to swallow his own cry as he emptied himself inside Fai.

Kurogane slid out of Fai and leaned up to kiss the shepherd’s lips. Fai responded with a weary sort of eagerness, eyes already half-closed. There was a worrying sort of resignation in his smile.

“If you apologize,” Kurogane said slowly, still panting slightly with exertion, “I will push you onto the floor right now.”

“Then I won’t,” Fai said with a soft laugh, one hand reaching up to push a few stray strands of hair from Kurogane’s face. Outside there was a far away rumble of thunder and Kurogane realized that he had even forgotten the storm outside.

“For once you actually shut up when I ask you to,” Kurogane muttered as Fai moved over just slightly to allow Kurogane to lay beside him. The bed was just barely big enough for two, and Fai wrapped an arm around Kurogane as he rested his head against Kurogane’s shoulder, laughing softly into the crook of his neck.

Kurogane’s own arms reached over to pull Fai close as his eyes slid closed, letting the sound of rain and Fai’s quiet breathing lull him to sleep.

---

Kurogane woke to the feeling of sunlight on his face. He blinked stupidly for a moment, about to raise an arm to shield his eyes before he realized that his arm wouldn’t move because there was a stupid shepherd lying on top of it.

“Move, idiot,” Kurogane muttered, trying to extricate himself from the tangle of limbs and sheets that he suddenly found himself in. “It’s morning. We have work to do, remember?”

“Mmm, ten more minutes?” Fai murmured drowsily. He opened his eyes slowly and gave Kurogane a tired smile as he wrapped his arms around Kurogane’s neck, pulling himself practically on top of the horseman. “Kuro-sama’s such a nice pillow, I’m so comfy…

“Get off,” Kurogane said severely. “Don’t you have sheep to take care of?”

“The sheep will understand,” Fai said confidently, kissing Kurogane’s cheek.

“Lord Clow won’t,” Kurogane said, trying to push him off to no avail. He hadn’t expected someone as skinny as Fai to be so hard to lift. Fai laughed and nuzzled closer to him. “Damn it, get off of me, you bastard!”

“That’s so mean, Kuro-rin.” Fai gave him a wounded look. “Kuro-sama’s such a beast, taking advantage of me and then trying to kick me out once he’s had his fun…”

“Who took advantage of who?” Kurogane said irritably. “You kissed me.” He gathered his strength and gave Fai a rough shove. Fai’s arms remained locked stubbornly around his neck and Kurogane only succeeded in pushing them both off the bed. They fell to the ground in a heap and Kurogane cursed as his shin rammed painfully into Fai’s abandoned staff.

Fai pulled away from him then, one hand reaching out to grasp hold his bloodied cloak that was still lying on the floor where Kurogane had thrown it the night before. He was still completely naked and he pulled the cloak closer around himself as if suddenly shy. Kurogane ignored him, standing up and going over to the chest to dig out some clothes.

“You’ll have to wear those,” Kurogane said, nodding towards the clothes Fai had been wearing the night before, still lying in a heap on the floor. “I don’t have anything that will fit you.”

“I have other clothes in the chapel on the hills,” Fai said behind him, voice suddenly subdued. There was a stupid look on his face again that reminded Kurogane of the night before, when he’d wanted to hit the idiot.

“That’s stupid,” Kurogane said, turning to face him. “Bring some back here. We’ll keep them here.”

“But I can’t--” Fai started and Kurogane cut him off.

“How thick is your stupid skull?” Kurogane said. “If I minded you having your stuff here I wouldn’t be telling you to bring it.”

“It’s all right,” Fai said, still sitting on the floor as he reached for his pants. “I can find a place by the sheep paddock to hide some spare clothes, you don’t have to--”

“Do I have to beat it into your brain?” Kurogane snapped. “I’m saying, I don’t want you to sleep with the damn sheep anymore. You’ll stay here.” Fai opened his mouth to protest and Kurogane glared at him. “And if you say anything about being a bother, this time I will hit you. I don’t give a crap about stupid things like that. It’s a pain worrying about you, so you’re going to stay here.”

Fai stared at him for a long moment and then finally a soft smile appeared on his face.

“When Kuro-rin says something like that so forcefully, I guess I can’t argue.”

“Damn right,” Kurogane stated, turning fully away from the shepherd as he began to get dressed. Somehow Fai managed to get his clothes on before Kurogane could even finish pulling on his pants. The shepherd touched Kurogane’s shoulder lightly as he turned to leave.

“I have to go get the sheep,” Fai said. “Will you wait for me on the path?”

“I have too much to do to wait around for an idiot like you,” Kurogane stated. Fai laughed again and Kurogane found himself thinking that it wasn’t so bad, hearing that laugh all the time, seeing that smile.

“That’s a yes, then,” Fai stated. “I’ll see you later, Kuro-rin!”

Kurogane!” Kurogane shouted at Fai’s retreating form as the other man skipped down the stairs. Only another laugh answered him and Kurogane hovered for just a moment at the top of the stairs, watching Fai disappear into the stable and out the door.

As he pulled on the rest of his clothes and began his own descent down to the stables, Kurogane thought darkly that his days of peaceful routine had definitely come to an end for good.

And even so, though he would certainly never admit it to the stupid shepherd, Kurogane wasn’t unhappy about it at all.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-03 04:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vampedangel14.livejournal.com
This was so cute and sweet. I can totally imagine Fai frolicking around the fields with the sheep XD

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-05 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caffeine-buzz.livejournal.com
When I read the prompt I swear the first that popped into my head was Fai surrounded by sheep XD I had to write this after that, it was too perfect.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-03 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mikkeneko.livejournal.com
I like the image of Kurogane as a stablehand -- it suits him. :D And the descriptions of the manor and surrounding lands just feels so peaceful.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-05 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caffeine-buzz.livejournal.com
I had a bit of trouble trying to think of a non-fighting occupation for Kurogane, but in the end I thought horses suited him too ^_^ It was nice writing something cute and peaceful for this pairing for a change.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-12 11:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eijentu.livejournal.com
I really enjoyed reading this over on the meme, and I love the fic you've got archived on FF.net too (which is actually what brought me here in the first place!). I hope you don't mind if I friend your journal for more wonderful fic and incredibly pretty icons? :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-13 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caffeine-buzz.livejournal.com
I don't mind at all :) I'm happy you think my journal's interesting enough to friend, heh ^_^

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-13 12:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eijentu.livejournal.com
Hee, lovely icons and lovely fic sounds pretty good to me! :D Thank you so much!

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