When Fai comes to his senses, he cannot tell what he feels first. It could be the stiffness of his limbs, or the grogginess, or the dull pain behind his eyelids, or the heat.
Fai does not remember the last time he felt warmth, let alone heat . This temperature is something he doesn’t think he’s ever experienced before. His uncovered face feels cool, not cold. His clothes feel almost as light as the scrap of cloth he had been wearing in the tower, but the frost isn't biting at his skin. The sheets draped around him are thin, nothing compared to the thick blankets he had been able to sleep under when he was still allowed to live in the castle of Valeria. Yet he is warm.
Just where on earth is he? The very last thing he remembers is a tear in the sky and a hand pointing at him, asking him whose life had more worth, his or Yuui’s.
It was Yuui’s. He had chosen Yuui.
I must be dead, then, Fai thinks, tension leaving his body. He had always believed that the twins of misfortune did not have a place for them in heaven, but that may have been wrong. The warmth alone feels like paradise.
He lets himself relax, swallowing the uneasiness away. Huh, his mouth isn't dry. Somehow that feels more foreign than anything else surrounding him.
Fai wonders how Yuui is doing. Hopefully he’s not feeling too lonely. They may not have been able to make it out together, but his brother deserves every bit of freedom and happiness he can attain. Fai wonders how happiness feels. Probably like those quiet nights in the castle in which he and Yuui furrowed under the same blankets and slowly drifted to sleep as they held each other’s hands. If Fai had ever felt happiness, then it was in those moments where Yuui’s warmth and steady breathing made him feel like he was someplace safe, someplace where misfortune wouldn’t follow.
Before the valley and the tower, Yuui had always been the first one to sleep and the last one to wake. Even now, Fai can almost hear his breathing next to him. It’s funny, the memory is incredibly distant and yet the sound is clear and vivid. Though the breathing sounds off, somehow, and a quiet mumble suddenly disrupts it.
Yuui did make small noises in his sleep, but the voice Fai just heard was much, much lower than that of his brother’s. Fai tenses up.
Slowly and with great effort, he blinks his eyes open. It takes a while for his vision to adapt to the darkness around him, but he can make out a high ceiling illuminated by pale moonlight. The architecture and colors of it are foreign to him, and he frowns. The boy lets out a quiet exhale before turning his head to the side, and his breath catches when he sees a slender frame leaning against the side of the bed. He can barely make out the silhouette of the person’s shoulders and back, but what he can see clearer than crystal is pale blonde hair.
Fai knows there are other blonde people, of course, he has grown up in a castle full of light-haired nobles. The person sitting on the floor looks bigger than he has ever been— ever remembers being, and yet.
The boy has seen the world through curtains of that same shade of blonde for more years than he can count. But it’s impossible, truly impossible.
“Yuui?” He whispers almost inaudibly, his tongue heavy in his mouth.
The figure stirs and turns. The moonlight illuminates soft features and unmistakable blue eyes.
I shouldn’t know this person , Fai thinks as the pair of eyes staring at him widen and start watering.
But he does. Oh, he does.
Two large, shaky hands gently grasp one of his own, and the man— yes, the man —before him brings Fai’s bony fingers to his lips as if to kiss them. He sobs before he can do it, and tears start flowing.
“Fai…” Yuui whimpers, and Fai can’t even begin to question why his twin looks like a grown-up before tears start clouding his own vision.
Yuui is living in a dream and he absolutely does not want to wake up.
Everything after Infinity just feels unreal. Ashura’s wish granted by hands other than his own; hands that have spared him from having to end his father’s life. Kurogane’s complete acceptance of everything he is and has ever been, and the sincere love, pride and devotion in those red eyes he has learnt to love so much. The witch’s assurance that Fei Wang Reed had no need of using Fai as a hostage anymore, not when it was clear that Yuui would fight as hard for his princess as he would for his brother. Tomoyo’s assurance that, in the future they were walking towards now, Fai would still live.
Kurogane telling him he’s worth much more than an arm, and Yuui believing him.
Losing his daughter.
Flirting with the ninja in the middle of a timeless battlefield, desperately trying to forget the fact that what little he has left of their broken little family, he could lose in a matter of seconds.
Losing his son.
Finding everything he never thought he would find again; his other daughter and his other half, hugging them both close so he may never lose sight of them again. Their heartbeats are steady, and Fei Wang Reed is gone. Yuui feels safe for the first time in his life, and then Fai wakes up and calls his name.
Everything, all of it, is unreal. Yuui feels so much that he could cry, but Clow is a stupidly hot country, and he sweats all the tears away. He worries that the heat will hurt Fai, whose body has never known anything other than unforgiving cold, but Fai says that he loves it, that he thought himself in heaven when he had just woken up.
Yuui doesn’t want to think about how easily his brother had accepted his own death, so he explains everything to him instead. He talks about Fei Wang Reed asking him to choose, and making sure Yuui would keep his end of the bargain by freezing Fai’s time and keeping him hostage. He talks about the curse he was allowed to remember, and the curse he was forced to forget.
A sad smile overtakes his features when he talks about Celes and Ashura. Fai’s brows furrow when Yuui gingerly confesses that he borrowed his name.
“But you’re you,” Fai says with an innocence to his gaze Yuui had lost ages ago. “You didn’t have to do that.”
Yuui smiles and tucks a long strand of hair behind Fai’s ear, leaving his hand there to caress a cheek that is slowly filling up with a chubbiness that should never have been lost.
“I decided I would give it back to you when I got you out of there,” he explains, tracing his brother’s cheekbone with his thumb. Fai leans into the touch, and Yuui’s smile widens. He knows how Fai must feel, receiving affection after all those years of solitude and suffering. Yuui had been touch-starved too. He taps Fai’s nose with one finger. “I’m even giving you a surname to make up for my inmoral thievery. You’re Fai Flourite now, rejoice!”
Fai’s frown deepens in childish confusion, and Yuui’s heart surges with fondness and protectiveness. Gods, he’s going to spoil the shit out of this boy. He’ll smother him with all the affection he is capable of giving.
“But that surname was given to you, not me.”
“We’re twins, silly,” he chides, huffing. “What’s mine is yours. Besides, Fai Flourite sounds way better than Yuui Flourite, so I’d say you’re on the better end of the bargain here.”
Fai can take as much of a joke as Yuui could when he first became the court magician of Celes, but Yuui doesn’t mind. If he had learnt how to smile in the midst of snow, loneliness and uncertainty, Fai can learn too.
So Yuui continues his soliloquy, not going into much detail concerning Ashura’s slow descent into madness. When he gets to his arrival at the witch’s shop, however, he brightens up so much that Fai startles, eyes widening. The loss still hurts more than he wants to admit, but he recalls the time he spent with the clones that had become his first children with fondness. He talks about Mokona, her infectious cheer and tells Fai how much he will love her. He talks about his Kuro-sama, how fun it is to tease him and how his frightening intellect and caring nature betrays his tough and brute exterior. He goes on in excruciating detail about all the worlds they visited and marvels at the looks of wonder Fai gives him. He skips over Yama though, because those six months belong to him and Kurogane alone.
He avoids some ugly details about Tokyo, Infinity and Celes too. He’s just gotten Fai back, and he doesn’t want him to know the most detestable parts of his brother yet. He’ll eventually tell him, but it’s just not right yet. He’s just not ready yet.
So Yuui talks at length about the intricate clothing of Nihon and the beauty of Shirasagi castle instead.
“Do you think I’ll be able to travel with you when I get better?” Fai asks with so much longing Yuui’s heart melts inside his chest. “See other worlds?”
“Of course,” Yuui whispers, putting both of his hands on Fai’s shoulders. “When you manage to stand on your own we’ll explore this palace, and when you manage to walk again, I’ll take you through town so you can see the market here— it’s so beautiful, Fai, you’ll love it. We have all the time in the world to see new things together, so we’ll explore it all.”
Fai’s lips quirk up in a timid smile, and Yuui has to hold back tears at the sight. How long had it been since he had seen that smile? Both twins had stopped smiling when they were so little, even before they were separated.
“When will I meet your friends?” Fai asks, looking both nervous and thrilled.
The only people that have been in this room of the palace are him and the queen. No one else was needed, since Yuui didn’t want to overwhelm Fai when he woke up and his own wounds were shallow enough that he could take perfect care of his convalescent brother. Queen Nadeshiko’s magic was as nurturing as her daughter’s, and as a medic she was as trustworthy as she was efficient, so she alone had been enough.
So far, Yuui has only left the room to bathe and to visit Kurogane (who refuses to accept the gravity of his wounds and is claiming to be going mad having to spend so much time in bed. If Sakura didn’t have the ninja completely wrapped around her finger Yuui would be much more worried, but she is supervising Kurogane’s recovery, so at least reluctant obedience is guaranteed). Asides from that, Yuui had never left his brother’s side, and he will not let anyone into the room until he thinks Fai is ready.
He seems to be now, so Yuui grins.
“As soon as you want,” he answers. “I’ll have a servant ask Sakura-chan if she wants to take over the queen’s medical duties for today, if you want to start from that.”
Fai nods, pursing his lips anxiously.
God, the sight of his only brother and his daughter interacting will probably be the cutest thing to ever grace the universe. He can’t wait.