Location: The floating castle of Shirasagi, high above the northern Pacific Ocean.
Sweat ran down Fai Fluorite's brow into his one good eye, blurring his vision. It had to be sweat because Kurogane would punch him if he realised that Fai was crying for him.
They had barely made it off of mad Captain Ashura's massive submarine, the Celes, with their lives, and it had taken nearly all of what little magic remained in Fai to hold the nuts and bolts of the vessel together long enough for Kurogane to get Sayoran and Sakura off safely aboard the Mokona.
Fai wiped his eye as he worked, assembling the tools of his trade. Stupid Kurogane, coming back for him. Stupid Kurogane slicing his stupid arm off when it became wedged in the airlock when he came back.
The Princess of the floating castle, Tomoyo, had used her not inconsiderable skills to staunch the bleeding and stave off shock, but Kurogane was a warrior, and with only one arm...
Fai clenched his fingers around the sprockets and cables set out on the table. If there was any justice in this world, there would be enough magic left in his body to pay back stupid Kurogane.
Kurogane sat in his rooms, watching the clouds slide by around them, pink white like the sacred cherry tree at the center of the castle. He could still feel his arm... phantom pain, Tomoyo had called it. But it had been worth it. It had been worth it to awaken to find Fai curled next to him on the futon, clutching his skinny body to Kurogane's remaining arm.
"Kuro-stupid." He turned at Fai's voice and scowled. The mage looked like hell.
"Hey. I'm fine. You should get some sleep." He grumbled and pat the cushion next to him.
"I brought you something." Fai scratched through his gilded stubble, and set down a wooden box. "Open it."
It was an arm, gleaming brass and bronze, some delicate parts coated in gold to prevent corrosion at the joints. Spidery runes covered almost every centimeter of surface. "I thought your magic was failing." Kurogane said, glancing back up at the mage. The smaller man's once sky-blue eye was a sea green. "Fai..."
"I won't die from this. But you have to let me do this. You've done so much for me." Fai didn't look at him, but rather the arm.
(I killed your beloved adoptive father. I let your brother's body sink to the bottom of the sea. I had you turned into a vampire to save your life. Yeah. I've done quite a bit.) Kurogane thought, but only grunted in response. "You don't.."
"I do. Now shut up." Fai said sternly, and placed his fingertips on the cool metal. The components had formed themselves together by the force of his will, the will of the last Valerian brassweaver mage, and now the arm rose from the box, hair-fine cables snaking out to bury themselves in Kurogane's flesh.
It hurt, but not as much as Kurogane expected, and after an uncomfortably squirmy moment, the arm settled and the phantom limb suddenly became real again. There was the soft sound of gears as he flexed his fingers. "Not bad. You..." But the words died in his throat.
Fai's eye had turned golden. "Fai?"
Fai touched his own face. "I'm so glad." He said, smiling the first true smile Kurogane had seen in.. perhaps ever. "There was enough left."
When Kurogane reached out to touch Fai's cheek, wet with tears neither one would ever acknowledge, and felt the warmth through his metal fingertips, he was glad as well.