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24 April 2007 @ 09:24 am
 
Title: Sir Kurogane and the Green Knight
Fandom: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle & Medieval Literature
Characters: Kurogane, Fay, Tomoyo, Yuuko, Sakura, Syaoran, Watanuki
Prompt: For dev_chieftain's spring fairy tale contest. Original tale: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Word Count: 8,437
Rating: OT (for violence and much kissing)
Summary: Sir Kurogane has accepted the Green Knight's challenge, and now he must face the ultimate test of bravery and loyalty. However, it may be difficult for him to keep his promise as temptation is waiting for him along the way in Lord Fay's castle.
Author's Notes: Thanks to my beta, alys_wonder who encouraged me to write this.
Warnings: Fay and Tomoyo are married and it includes Kurogane/Tomoyo kissing, but the pairing is undoubtedly Kurogane/Fay


Fitt 1

The Christmas festivities were well under way at Camelot for a full fifteen days with much feasting and merry-making for King Syaoran, Queen Sakura, and the Knights of the Round Table. New Year’s was the greatest celebration of all with double the feasting and everyone exchanging gifts. Sakura loved the festivities and always used the opportunity to wear lovely costumes custom made for her by a lady from the north. Syaoran enjoyed the festivities as well; however, he was still young and restless. Every holiday, before he would join in the feasting, he needed to see or hear some adventure. While Syaoran went around to his knights and asked them for some tale of adventure, Sir Kurogane, who was considered too dangerous to be let out of the castle more than once a year, was forced to entertain Queen Sakura.

“Sir Kurogane, the next time my husband allows you out of the castle, you should go up north to meet my good friend Lady Tomoyo. She’s the one who made this dress for me,” she said, indicating the pink silk dress she was wearing. Kurogane looked merely out of courtesy; he had no intention of wasting his precious time fighting going north to meet some dressmaker. “She recently got married to a man I think you would have a lot in common with.”

“If the King would only let me outside once in a while, I would have an adventure to tell him and we could eat already.” There was far too little alcohol at their table for his comfort. At his remark, Sakura turned her attention to the knight on the other side of her, since she could not get Kurogane to be interested in her dressmaker’s husband when he was too busy brooding.

Syaoran made his way back to their table as the music stopped and the first course was served even though he had no intentions of eating it yet.

Just as the king made it back to his seat, the main door of the hall burst open and a great figure entered. He was tall, lanky, and slim in the wais. Overall, he was a fairly attractive man who looked damn good riding. Except, the man was completely green: his skin was green, his hair was green, his clothes were green, even his horse was green. Despite the odd hue, he was easily the most attractive person currently in King Syaoran’s court. The man’s eyes darted like lightning about the room, lingering on the King, Queen, and Sir Kurogane. Even though he had made a rough entrance into the hall, the man was unarmed, carrying only an ornate battleaxe in one hand and a holly branch in the other.

He greeted no one in particular, but looked haughtily over their heads and said, “Where is the King of this land that I might exchange a few words with him?” Riding up and down the hall, he looked over the knights and waited for one of them to answer.

Everyone was silent as they started at the man, including Kurogane, wonder what it could mean that the man had become such a color. Since they had never seen such a marvel such as that, they determined it was some type of magic.

Finally, Syaoran stood forward and saluted the Green Knight bravely. “Sir, you are quite welcome in my house. I am King Syaoran. Please, dismount, and join us for dinner. We can take care of business after the holiday.”

“No,” the knight said, waving the offer off, “I did not come here for dinner.” Kurogane felt like the man was staring directly at him. “It was you and your warriors’ reputation on the battlefield that brought me here today.” Kurogane decided the man was speaking specifically about him; he was clearly the greatest knight in the court. Sir Doumeki was the only one who came even close to his level of skill. “You can be assured by this holly branch that I came to you in peace.” That was rather disappointing; Kurogane had been looking for the opportunity to prove himself. “I have many weapons at home, but since I was not looking for a fight, I left them all there. But, if you are all as brave as people say you are, you will play a game with me.”

“If you’re looking for unarmored combat, you will find it here,” Syaoran offered, gesturing to his knights.

The Green Knight tossed his head and laughed. “No, I don’t want a battle. No one here would be able to defeat me anyway.” The man was far too cocky; Kurogane growled and reached for his sword. “Instead, I request of the court a Christmas game. If anyone thinks he is bold enough to strike a blow and take one in return, I will give him this battleaxe as a gift.” Intrigued, Kurogane loosened his grip on his sword. It was a very nice axe, proper for a man. “In good will, I’ll even take the first blow, unarmed as I am. If anyone is brave enough to take my challenge, seize this weapon, keep it as his own, and I shall receive his blow unflinchingly right here, provided you give me the right to deal and equal one in return. However, I will give him a year and a day before he has to withstand it.”

Nobody moved to take up the challenge; Kurogane hesitated because he was not sure if he had the patience to withstand an unarmed blow. The man looked around to see who would rise to the challenge. “Is this not Syaoran’s court known in distant countries? Where is all your bravery if you are made timid by my words?”

“Sir, I am the most untried knight in your court,” Kurogane said, rising to his feet and ignoring Queen Sakura’s protests. “Allow me to prove myself by taking up this challenge.”

“By all means, Sir Kurogane, do as you will.” King Syaoran leaned forward to whisper in his ear, “Just please try to strike one blow that will leave you waiting for your return for a very long time.”

With a wolfish grin, Kurogane approached the Green Knight and took hold of the battleaxe. Up close, he could see that the man’s eyes were really blue, and he was smiling happily at the warrior. “What’s your name, good knight?” the green man asked as he surrendered the axe.

“My name is Kurogane, and a year from now, I will accept a blow from you with whatever weapon you choose.”

“Sir Kurogane,” the man replied with a gentle smile, “I am extremely glad that you are the one giving the blow.” Kurogane swung the axe around a few times experimentally. “Except there is one thing I must add to our game. You must promise that you will seek me out to receive your payment.”

“How am I supposed to find you if I do not know your name, your court, or where you live? Tell me and I’ll be there.” He really was not concerned with this portion of the game, as the knight had insulted his honor, and Kurogane was going to make sure he paid dearly for that.

“If you can fulfill your task, I will you my house, my home and my proper name, so that you can visit me and fulfill your promise.” He had no idea why the man winked at him. Wondering what Sir Kurogane would do, all the other knights were watching him intently. “Take up that axe and smite me.”

“Gladly.”

The Green Knight took his position, bowing his head a little. He pushed his lovely hair out of the way to expose his naked neck to the warrior’s blow. Shifting his grip on the axe handle, Kurogane lifted it up high and brought it down swiftly on the bare flesh so that the bright blade slashed through the man’s spine, severing it in two. The steel blade of the axe dug deep into the stone floor. The Green Knight’s handsome head flew from his shoulders to the ground and many knights kicked it as it rolled past. As Queen Sakura gasped, blood spurted from the man’s body, gleaming on his green clothes and the floor, yet the man did not fall. Instead, he sprang forward on limber legs and snatched up his head by the hair. That done, he leapt back into the saddle, seated as a man who had suffered no injury though he remained headless. The bloody body struck them all with fear as it held the head in its hands and turned it towards the King and queen. The eyes opened wide as it spoke. “See to it, Kurogane, that you fulfill your promise and seek me out until I am found as you have sworn before these knights here today. Make your way to the Green Chapel to receive a blow such as you have given today, or be called coward.” With a fierce jerk of the reins, the Green Knight turned his horse and rode out the hall, his head still in hand.

The King grinned at Sir Kurogane. “Thank you for showing me such a wonder.” Though he was astonished, he let none of it show for the sake of his lady whom he tried to comfort. “Sakura, please do not let this distress you.” He took her hand gently in his and patted it lightly. “The Christmas season was made for such sport.” Most of the knights had returned to their meal, unaffected by the blood except for those who were new to their ranks.

“But the same fate awaits Sir Kurogane,” Sakura said, not looking at the food on her plate. She looked as if she had no appetite left.

“Sir Kurogane,” King Syaoran said as the blood-covered knight resumed his place at their table, “you have one year to figure out how to survive getting your head cut off.” For his part, he was not looking forward to getting his head chopped off, and he cursed his ill luck and every magic user in existence. If only the bastard would have died, he would not have been placed in such a position.

Queen Sakura turned to him and placed her hand on his arm. “Sir Kurogane, I will not call you coward if you do no go to the Green Chapel.” The Queen might not, but he knew his reputation would be forever tarnished if he did not go.

“We have a year in which to discover a method in which Sir Kurogane may survive his ordeal,” Syaoran announced. “For now, let us enjoy the last of the Christmas Holiday.”

Fitt 2

Winter, spring, summer and fall passed, yet Kurogane had not ventured forth in search of the Green Chapel. He had tried in early summer, but King Syaoran employed thirty knights to prevent him from leaving. “I’m sorry, Sir Kurogane, but we cannot let you leave so early. You will create too much damage on your journey.”

Queen Sakura had spent the entire year pouring over the histories and every instance of beheading. By the time fall was well under way, she approached the knight slowly at midday in one of the dreary hallways. “I am sorry, Sir Kurogane, but I was unable to find any instances of someone surviving a beheading.” She extended her arms, took a step back, then stepped forward to give him a brief hug before retreating down the hallway.

King Syaoran had requested that the battleaxe be hung in the grand hall to commemorate Kurogane’s knightly prowess, so every time Kurogane sat down to meal, he was reminded of his impending doom. He could not avoid his journey, and the frost was returning to the land.

Two months before the appointed day, he felt he could wait no longer, and he approached the king one morning after breakfast. “King Syaoran, I request you allow me to leave tomorrow on my quest to find the Green Knight.”

The other noble knights then offered him advice. They were troubled that one as strong as Kurogane should go on the quest and receive such a terrible blow and never get the chance to fight back. He justified his journey by reminding himself that every man must someday face his fate, and he would be the man who would face it bravely.

He awoke early the next morning while the sun was still low in the sky. He called for his armaments and dressed himself in the costly armor the king had provided him with. Girded with his trusty sword, Ginryu, he looked very much the noble warrior. Before breakfast was served, he approached the king and his fellows to take his leave. The queen gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and wished him well on his journey. The other knights escorted him to his horse which they had elegantly dressed for him, gleaming gold embroidered into the saddle cloth. Once they had given him his shield, Sir Kurogane was ready to leave. He bid them all farewell, thinking he would never return again. At least he would no longer have to spend his days idle in the castle.

He set his spurs to his horse and went so quickly that sparks flew up from the stones. All who watched that handsome knight depart sighed from their hearts, but none more deeply than King Syaoran and Queen Sakura who knew it would be difficult to find that man’s equal on earth. A great many tears were shed that day as the eloquent man rode swiftly from the city.

Sir Kurogane rode through the realm of England, finding no pleasure in his journey, oftentimes friendless and alone through the night. The food was terrible and his only companion was his horse. He kept traveling north and into the wilderness where few people lived. Every time he saw someone he asked if they knew of the Green Chapel. If they replied negatively, and they all did, he simply killed them on the spot and continued on his way. He traversed strange roads, all in search of the meeting place and found himself a stranger in distant lands. At every fork and river, he found an enemy facing him. These adventures mattered little to Sir Kurogane as he killed all his enemies with ease. He fought with dragon, wolves, wild men, boars, bears, bulls and ogres. Each of his adversaries fell with one swipe of his blade. Winter soon became his worst enemy, sleeping under icicles at night. Most nights he felt half-dead with cold and huddled up against his horse.

‘Til Christmas Eve he rode alone, and that morning found him in a dense forest. He knew he would freeze to death if he spent one more day out in the cold. He dismounted and held Ginryu out in front of him. “Father, I know I have failed you in my quest to become a proper knight, but please, I need your guidance now. Please, guide me to a safe place.” He allowed the sword to guide him, following where he felt his father’s spirit leading him.

Hardly had he taken three steps before he caught sight of a beautiful castle rising out of a moat. It was the most splendid castle he had ever seen, set on a meadow and guarded by a high wall. The castle shimmered and shone through the trees, and thanking his father, Kurogane set forth on foot, leading the horse to the drawbridge. He stopped and took stock of his situation. The bridge was up, the gates were bolted fast. Kurogane thought it would be very nice to spend the night in such an attractive place. A cheerful porter answered his questioning call, “Can you speak to the master of your house and ask him if I can lodge here?”

“Yes,” the porter answered, “and I can tell you that you are most welcome to stay as long as you please.” The man went away and speedily returned with many others to greet the knight. They lowered the drawbridge and let him through the broad gates. They helped him dismount and stabled his horse. They took his shield, sword, and armor and brought him to a chamber where a fire was fiercely burning.

The lord himself came down from his chamber to show his respect by greeting Kurogane. “You are welcome to do what you please with everything in my castle; all is yours.” The man surprised him by wrapping his arms around him and hugging him close.

“Thank you,” he said, awkwardly patting the man on the back. When the man pulled away, Kurogane studied the man who greeted him so openly and thought him fit to govern such a castle. He was only a little shorter than himself, in the prime of life with soft blonde hair. He had a gentle face and was noble in speech; characteristics which made him seem truly capable of being master of a castle with outstanding knights such as himself. The lord led him to a chamber and quickly assigned a boy to serve him for the duration of his stay. They led him to a fine bedroom with elaborate silk and fur coverings and appointed him with new clothes so that when he was dressed finely, everyone in the castle said that there was no one more attractive in all the land.

A chair was prepared for him in front of a smoldering fire, and a rich cloak was tenderly thrown about his shoulders by the lord himself. Once he was warmed and well-fed, the people of the court questioned him.

He admitted to belonging to Syaoran’s court and that he was indeed Sir Kurogane. When the lord heard who it was arrived at his castle, he laughed loudly, deeply pleased. He quickly moved to sit down next to the knight and introduced himself as Lord Fay. Unfortunately, he could not stay long because everyone in the castle wanted to make Kurogane’s acquaintance.

The lord took his leave briefly and returned with two beautiful women, both with long dark hair. The one was young and fresh, the other was mature and worldly yet still beautiful. “Kurogane,” the lord gave him another quick embrace upon his return, “there is someone I would like you to meet.” The younger woman favored him with a look, and Fay turned from Kurogane to take her briefly in his arms and kiss her respectively. “My wife, the Lady Tomoyo.” The name sounded vaguely familiar to him, but he couldn’t quite place it. After introductions had been made, the lord took great pains to ensure Sir Kurogane was amused with games until late into the night.

The next day, after the other Christmas guests had taken their leave and evening meal had been taken, Lord Fay took ahold of Sir Kurogane and led him to his own room beside the fire. There, he thanked Sir Kurogane profusely for honoring his castle with his presence. “As long as I live I will be the better because Sir Kurogane was an honored guest in my home.”

“Truthfully, sir, I should be thanking you, for one more night out in the cold would have found me dead. I am truly in your debt, but I fear I cannot stay more than tonight.” Lord Fay tried desperately to lengthen Sir Kurogane’s stay, but he always answered that he could not delay. Not quite defeated, the lord then politely enquired what pressing need drove him to travel all alone in the dead of winter. “You have right to wonder why I would spend my precious time outside the castle wandering aimlessly in the wilderness. My person has been summoned by New Year’s Day to a place I have no idea where it may be found. Therefore, tell me truthfully sir if you know the whereabouts of the Green Chapel and the man all of green who runs it. I need to be there on New Year’s Day, and must for that reason part your company, for I would rather be struck dead than fail in my quest.”

The lord began to laugh, and Kurogane fell silent, debating if he should kill the man and his followers before he left. “Now you must stay with me, and I will direct you to the meeting place at year’s end.” Fay laid his hand gently on his arm, and Kurogane glanced down at it briefly. “Worry no more about the Green Chapel’s whereabouts. Lie in bed quite at ease until late in the day and leave on the first to the year to do whatever you will there. The place is not two miles away, so stay until year’s end.” The man’s blue eyes were strangely compelling and the way he was leaning forward slightly and had yet to remove his hand aided his request.

“I thank you for your offer. I shall remain here at your wish and do whatever you ask of me.”

Then the host seized him and set Kurogane close by his side. Kurogane had never met such an open man before, nor one who delighted in so much physical contact, thought nothing beyond proper courtly behavior. He found himself unable to return the cordial affection, though he courteously permitted it since the man had saved both his life and honor. The lord was very merry, like a man out of his mind who knew not what he said.

“You agreed to do whatever deed I ask of you. Will you keep that promise now at this very moment?”

“While I am in your house, I am sworn to do your bidding.”

The back of the man’s hand caressed the side of the knight’s face. “You have worn yourself out with your traveling, and then you have spent all night with me, unable to reclaim your spent energy. Tomorrow, spend the day here with my wife who shall be your pleasant companion throughout the day. At dawn, I shall rise to go hunting and pass the day in that manner.” Kurogane agreed to all to regain his strength; strength might be necessary in order to survive a beheading. “Further, let us make an agreement that whatever I catch in the wood shall be yours. Likewise, whatever you gain in my castle, you give me in exchange. Swear that we will make this swap.”

“I’ll agree to that,” Kurogane said, picking up his mug and toasting the other man. “I find your love of game intriguing” and so different from his own life that oftentimes lacked amusement.

“Then we are at agreement.” Lord Fay clicked his mug against Kurogane’s. While Kurogane was drinking, the lord surprised him by leaning over to kiss him affectionately on the cheek. Kurogane lowered his drink and temporarily refused to look at the man, unsure of what to make of that. “Each of us should retreat to bed now,” Fay said softly. “You need your rest, and I shall be rising at dawn.” As Sir Kurogane was escorted back to his room by torchlight, his mind was reeling and not simply because of the heavy drink.

Fitt 3

Lord Fay had risen and was outside preparing the hounds for the hunt well before day had broken the next morning. He and his knights were mounted on horse in the crisp air, mist forming from their breath. As the baying hounds were loosed and the trumpet sounded three times, he looked once towards Sir Kurogane’s window before turning to join in the hunt.

Deer fled at the noise, scrambling for the high ground, but they were turned back by the beaters. All except the stags were forced to turn back, which they let pass unhindered, for Fay had forbidden their deaths in that season. By the loud noises, the does were driven into the deep valleys. As they ran, they were pierced by the wide heads of arrows. They brayed as they bled and were slaughtered on the slopes, all the while pursued by the hounds who pulled down the ones that the arrows had missed. They tore down more deer than the men could count, and the lord spent the day in bliss, hunting until the dark of night, knowing Sir Kurogane was lying snug in bed, under a glorious coverlet and protected by curtains.

As Kurogane lazily dozed, he heard the door stealthily open. He raised his head and lifted the curtain to see the lady, looking lovely, creeping slowly towards the bed. He lay down again and shut his eyes, unwilling to leave his dream world for her. She silently approached him, slipped behind the curtain and sat down straightway on his torso. He would fare much better if he simply asked her what she wanted. He opened his eyes and glared up at her.

“Good morning, Sir Kurogane,” said the beautiful lady. “You are a deep sleeper indeed, if one can steal in here so unhindered. My husband will not be pleased. Now I fear I must keep you captive here unless the two of us agree on a truce.”

“Get off of me,” he growled, irritated with her for interrupting his pleasant dream.

“Sir Kurogane, you cannot be a truly honorable knight if you speak to all women in such a crude manner. I merely wish to speak to you about my husband who is far gone from this place.”

“If you remove yourself from my body, I shall graciously allow you to speak of your husband to me.” With a gentle smile, the lord’s young wife slid to the bed.

So they passed the morning discussing Lady Tomoyo’s husband, the lady taking great pains to highlight her husband’s virtues. On many occasions, she made mention of his attractiveness and his lively personality. She spoke so endearingly about him, but Kurogane had not the heart for it in light of the crushing blow he had to face.

Eventually, she seemed to grow bored with him and spoke of leaving. Kurogane agreed at once. “Before I leave, Sir Kurogane, it is courteous to give your lady a kiss.” Kurogane had not the opportunity to think about what the lady had said. She stooped down, took him in her arms, and gave the knight a chaste kiss. She left the room without another word.

Kurogane rose and dressed for the day. Then he spent the day with the ladies of the court, spending most of his time with Lady Tomoyo and her woman in waiting, Chii. Women were not the way he would prefer to spend his day, and their idle gossip grated his nerves.

Still, the lord was engaged in his sport, chasing the deer through the woodlands. By the end of the day, they could not count how many does they had killed when all the hunters regrouped. They gathered the noblest of the prey and sacrificed it in thanks for the bounteous hunt. Gathering the choicest of the remainder of the deer, they rode back to the castle, and Lord Fay and Sir Kurogane met joyfully in the hall.

Fay commanded his entire household to assemble and laid the venison on the table; with playfulness, he called Kurogane to him and pointed out the flesh he had brought back with him. “Does this please you, Sir Kurogane? Do I deserve your praise? Are you pleased with my hunting skills?”

“Yes,” Kurogane responded in an attempt to placate the man, “this is the finest meat I have seen for many years.”

“And I give it all to you, Kurogane, for it is yours by right under the terms of our game.”

“This is true,” Kurogane agreed, remember their conversation from the night before. “What I have won in this castle, I will honorably give to you.” He clasped the man in his arms and kissed him as pleasantly as he could. “I obtained nothing else; I give this to you freely and would do so if I had more.”

“That is excellent,” said the lord, “and I give you many thanks. Better yet would be if you were to inform me how you won that prize.”

“That is not part of our agreement. You have what is due to you and should expect nothing more.” The two talked for a bit in praiseful speech of each other; then went to eat the meat Kurogane dedicated back to the court.

After the evening meal was done, Fay and Kurogane sat together by the fire in the lord’s chamber, and they kept their glasses filled with rich wine. Sitting side by side so that their legs were touching, they agreed to renew their game on the following day.

“I hope that tomorrow’s sport will be as good as today’s,” Fay told him, caressing Kurogane’s larger hand lightly. Eventually, they parted ways, each going to his separate room.

By the time the cock crowed three times, Fay and his hunters were well under way. The hounds burrowed through the thorn bushes and found a fresh scent. They led the warriors to a cliff at the edge of a marsh. They had had to make their way carefully over the fallen rocks. The men made a circle around where they knew the beast to be hiding because of where the dogs were barking at. The men beat on the bushes to lure the beast out. A boar charged them, long since separated from his herd for he was massive and broad, greatest of all boars. Many men were dismayed when the boar knocked three of their number on their backs in one rush. The boar killed some of the hounds and wounded several men. Arrows hit him many times but were foiled by the thick skin, and all the spears splintered at the shaft. The men grew so afraid they drew back from him, but the lord on a lively horse charged the boar like the valiant hunter that he was, following the boar through the day.
While Fay was on the chase, Kurogane was happily in bed. Nor did the lady fail to visit the knight early in the morning. He was awake and greeted her gruffly at once.

“Sir Kurogane, you have forgotten already the lessons I taught you yesterday in courtesy.” He had remembered and had chosen not to act. “Do you not remember what I told you yesterday about kissing and the rules of polite behavior?”

“I have not done that for fear of how your husband would respond should the knowledge fall to him.”

“My husband would be disappointed in you for not giving me a kiss.”

He was resigned, bound by duty to her lord. “I am yours to kiss at will.” She gave the knight a brief kiss, and when she pulled away, they discussed love’s misery and bliss, with her making frequent references to her husband.

“I must wonder, good knight, how much you know of love play. My husband would be wanting to learn much from you.” He admitted to not knowing much in the manner of love, and she spent the morning instructing him in all ways of love talk. At mid-morning, she took her leave and kissed her guest lightly. Once again, the knight was forced to spend the day with the ladies while the lord raced tirelessly after the boar.

Eventually, the boar tired, ceased running, and made for the river to make its final stand, foaming at the mouth. Many tried to wound it from afar, afraid to get too close.

The lord, seeing his men circled around the beast, dismounted, unsheathed his sword, and strode forward boldly through the stream to the boar. The animal fiercely snorted at him so that many men feared for the lord’s safety. The boar charged him and the man took careful aim, thrusting his sword firmly into its throat, to the hilt, so that the boar’s heart burst, and the animal fell and was washed downstream. A hundred hounds dove into the water and dragged the animal back to the shore. The boar was carved up, and the hunters set for home, vainly attempting to keep up with their lord who thought it tedious until he saw Kurogane again and could claim his prize.

Fay exclaimed joyfully at the sight of Kurogane, and waited for the rest of the household to assemble before showing off the meat and relaying the boar’s size and savageness. Kurogane praised the other man’s hunting skills and declared that he had never seen such a huge boar killed before. “Kurogane, I give this all to you under the terms of our covenant.”

“By my sworn word, I shall give you all I have gained in return.” Kurogane cupped the man’s face in his hands and leaned down to give him a tender kiss. When he pulled away to signify the end of that kiss, he noticed the lord’s eyes were half-closed, and his lips were slightly parted. Moving his hands further back to tangle in the golden locks, he leaned back in for his second kiss, more passionate than the first, open-mouthed yet dry, moving his mouth slowly against the lord’s. Awkward silence descended upon the hall as the kiss lingered. Lord Fay loosed an audible whimper against Sir Kurogane’s mouth and his hands buried in the knight’s clothes. Kurogane only pulled away when he remembered he was doing this in a stranger’s court to a man he had only just made the acquaintance of. The lord tilted after him when he pulled away but quickly regained his balance, and Sir Kurogane dropped his hands. “And now I have given your due in the terms of our agreement.”

The lord seemed to attempt to whistle. “You are truly the best man I know.”

Supper followed and the lady bestowed much attention on Kurogane which made him angry that she should behave in such a way in front of her husband. When the merry-making of the evening was finished, the lord once again took Kurogane to the fireside in his room. There they had much drink and the lord mentioned repeating their arrangement on New Year’s Eve.

“I am sorry to take my leave,” he told the lord who was sitting so close he might as well have been in Kurogane’s lap, “but I wish to go tomorrow to meet my appointment.”

“Please, Kurogane,” the man wrapped his arms around him. “Stay one more day at ease in bed, and I promise you shall reach the Green Chapel before nine on New Year’s Day. Let us keep our contract one more day. Let us be merry while we can, for misery can be found whenever a man seeks it.”

Sir Kurogane agreed to stay and after some drinking the knight retreated to his won bed. Lord Fay finished his wine before departing his own room and entering his lady’s. Lady Tomoyo was hard at work on a new dress for her queen. Sitting down next to her, he kissed her lightly and threw his arm around her shoulders.

“Tomoyo, you are the most wonderful wife a man could ever ask for.”

“Sir Kurogane agreed to your covenant for the third day?”

“Yes,” the lord replied in a dreamy manner, “tomorrow can you try to do something more for him?”

“If I was unwilling to give my virginity to my husband, I doubt I will give it to some knight my husband fancies.” Not once had she looked up from her needlework. “I will try to get at least three kisses for you.”

He gave her another quick kiss on the temple. “Since I have failed to completely gain his attentions, could you determine for me whether or not he has a love?” The lady assured her husband that she would. “Also, try to give him some keepsake to remember us by.” Again she agreed, and Fay too his leave from her with another brief kiss.

Kurogane slept all night, but Fay was up and dressed by dawn, eager for is hunt. The morning was bright, and all the hunters with him were cheerful though the lord himself fought a heavy heart. The countryside was dazzling, gripped as it was by the morning frost. At the edge of the woods, the hounds were loosed, and they soon caught the trail of a fox. The creature was tricky, doubling back through many a hedge, but the hounds stayed close on its trail. The crafty creature led them on a merry chase throughout the day while Kurogane lingered in recovering sleep.

The lady, well-dressed, entered his chamber and threw open the window. “Good knight, how can you sleep when the day is so clear and my husband is long gone on his hunt?”

He had been dreaming about the fate awaiting him at the Green Chapel, but the lady’s words brought him back to the present moment. They lady laughed and gave him a kiss, but his thoughts were with her husband.

“Sir Kurogane, you have insulted me with your lack of romantic advances.” The lady spoke boldly which momentarily slipped past the knight’s defenses.

“I am sorry, my lady, but it is for love of your husband that I have shown you no romantic interests.” His comment pleased the lady greatly, and she again laughed.

“I am glad to hear it, Sir Kurogane, but are you absolutely certain you have no lady love that prevents you from courting love?”

“In faith, lady, I have no love anywhere.” Nor did he have the heart for one, not with his forthcoming ordeal. Else there was someone in that very castle whom he would gladly make love to.

“Are you sure you have no mistress of any kind?”

“Not a one,” he replied quite honestly. The lady kissed him again. The one person he would give his love to he would not speak of love to for fear of breaking that gentle heart the following day. “Nor do I wish to seek for one,” though he would gladly take a certain lithe body into his arms had circumstances permitted.

“Before you leave, good knight, I would like to give you a parting gift. Please accept this belt as a gift from my lord and me.” She extended to him a green belt with gold embroidery.

“I cannot take your gift.” Besides, it would do him no good because he would have to give the belt right back to her lord.

“Sir Kurogane, this belt is magic and enables the wearer to survive any blow.” The knight realized that with that belt he might survive the blow from the Green Knight and return to claim his love. He accepted the belt from her and gave her thanks though she requested he not reveal it to her husband. Kurogane gave his word that the two of them were the only ones who should ever know about it. She gave him a third and final kiss before taking her leave.

How he wished he could stay in that shelter and let love come his way! The lord was still afield, chasing the fox he has been pursuing all day. The man caught sight of the fox and slashed at it with his sword. As the fox turned to escape, one of the hounds caught it in its jaws. Soon the entire pack was upon him, tearing at the crafty creature with enraged growls. The lord dismounted and grabbed the fox, lifting it above the hounds’ heads while they bayed around him. When the other hunters reached Fay, they stripped the fox of its pelt and set off for home as it was nearly night.

At last Fay returned to his well-loved home and found Sir Kurogane waiting for him by the fire. “Now my lord,” the knight said as he approached him, “I will first carry out the terms of our covenant.” The first two kisses were not unlike the kisses from the day before, the first chaste, the second passionate, though there was much more gravity and relish in these kisses. The third kiss was the most passionate and heartbreaking of all as Kurogane slid his tongue into the other man’s mouth, tasting the very depths of him. “There are my goods.”

“I am afraid my winning cannot compare. I spent all day hunting and caught nothing but this silly fox pelt. It is worthless compared to the precious things you have given me, three very good kisses.”

“Enough,” said Sir Kurogane, “I thank you for my prize,” and the lord related to him the hunting of the fox. Sir Kurogane and Lord Fay took as much joy of each other as they possibly could, both knowing tomorrow they must be parted for Kurogane to meet his fate at the Green Chapel. With many kisses he parted from the lord that night to rest in his bed until the next morning.

Once Kurogane had been escorted to his room, Lord Fay made his way once again to his wife’s bedchamber. “My lady, I am distraught.” She was sitting on the edge of her bed when he entered. He collapsed next to her and dropped his head into her lap. “Sir Kurogane is leaving me tomorrow.”

“Do not be sorrowful, my lord. Sir Kurogane has been very good to you in the time that he has been visiting.”

“Tomoyo, why is he leaving me tomorrow? I’ve been nothing but charming to him. Why does he not like me?”

Tomoyo stroked her hand gently through his hair. “He does like you, Fay. I have never kissed him near as passionately as he kissed you in return.”

“Truly?”

“Truly,” she reassured him. “I always kissed him quiet chastely, but you he kissed passionately on his own volition.”

“If he likes me so much why is he leaving me?”

“You know better than anyone why he must leave tomorrow,” she chastised lightly, removing her hand from his head.

“My dear, as always you are perfectly correct.” He rose and gave his wife a chaste kiss. “And now, I must go speak with Watanuki, for he is to lead our Sir Kurogane to the Green Chapel tomorrow.”

Fitt 4

As dawn approached on New Year’s Day, the north wind blew with malice, stinging the wild creatures and tormenting all outside. The wind howled through the valley, and Kurogane lay in bed listening to it. Even though his eyes were shut, he slept very little through the night. He got up quickly and by light of lamp readied himself for his ordeal. His armor had been well tended during his stay. He did not forget the lady’s gift, nor did he forget to think of her lord one last time. When he had buckled his sword on his hips, he was full dressed and hurried outside, unable to stay in that gracious castle a moment longer.

His horse was waiting for him and had been taken care of so finely that he was already eager to gallop. “May the lord and lady of this castle always have joy,” he said upon examining the horse’s coat. He vaulted on to his horse and waited for the man the lord had assigned him to follow suit. The drawbridge was lowered, the gates were flung open, and Kurogane and his lone guide set out high into the hills.

At sunrise, the guide requested that they halt. “We’re almost at that evil place that you have inquired after so diligently. Since my lord loves you so dearly, I ask that you avoid that place. The man that resides there is the worst in the world who deals terrible blows to anyone who passes his way. He is a pitiless man who never shows mercy. He seems to take the most pleasure in life out of killing others. Nothing will be able to save you from his terrible blows. Therefore, Sir Kurogane, for the life of my lord, please do not go there and turn away now. I shall never tell anyone if you chose to turn away and return to Syaoran’s court.”

“My thanks,” Kurogane replied grudgingly. “I must go to the chapel and face my fate.”

“Since you are determined, I must tell you I will not accompany you one more step. The Green Chapel is right over there.” The squire turned his horse and rode quickly away, leaving Kurogane alone.

The knight kicked his horse into motion and made his way down into a valley. As he looked around him, he saw no sign of a building and the land looked wild. Way off in a glade he saw something like a mound, a small hill on the back of a stream. Kurogane urged his horse to the mound and dismounted nimbly, attaching the horse’s reins to a tree. He walked to the mound and inspected it, wondering what it was. Somehow it still had splotches of green on it. “Is this the Green Chapel?”

With sword in hand, he climbed to the top of that place. A rasping sound filled his ears. “This must be my welcome. Sir Kurogane is here waiting! Let the master keep his affairs; let him do it now or never!”

“Wait, good knight, and you shall soon have all that I promised.”

The whirring continued for a while, then the Green Knight emerged from the rock with a new axe made especially for the dealing of the blow. He was dressed as he had been on their first meeting, still completely green. He walked grandly on the earth, and Kurogane greeted him with a frosty bow.

“I see you are a man of your word. You are indeed welcome to my place. We are in this valley by ourselves to settle the terms of our agreement.”

“I will stand still and accept whatever blow you give.” He bent his neck and bared the flesh on the back of his neck.

The man all in green raised his axe with all his strength and brought it down as if to kill the man. Kurogane glanced sideways at the battleaxe and hunched his shoulders to resist the blow. The other man checked the blow just in time. “You are no Kurogane who is reputed to be so bold if you flinch from fear. I never flinched when you attacked me.”

“I did not flinch,” he protested, and the Green Knight rolled his shoulders and re-readied the axe. “Now deal me my fate and witness how a true man behaves.”

The Green Knight swung the axe savagely, without harming the man for once again he checked his blow just in time. Kurogane had awaited it submissively. “Now you have found your courage, it is time for the blow.”

“You’re wasting your time,” Kurogane replied angrily. “I think you have frightened yourself with your words.”

“Indeed, this blow shall be the last.” He took his stance to strike, and Kurogane no longer had hope of rescue. He swiftly raised the weapon and brought the blade down into Kurogane’s bare neck, severing the skin so that blood fell to the ground.

When Kurogane saw his blood in the snow, he leapt away and drew his sword. “Do not dare try to attack me again or I swear I will pay it back. I have passively taken one blow for you, in keeping with the agreement made in Syaoran’s court.”

The Green Knight kept his distance and contemplated the man before him, seeing how brave and handsome he was standing there. He admired him very much. “Brave Kurogane, do not act so aggressively for no one has mistreated you or acted outside our contract. I promised you a blow and you received it. First I threatened you playfully and avoided cutting you because of the agreement we made on the first night when you faithfully kept your word and gave me your winnings. The other feint was for the next day when you kissed my lovely wife and gave me those kisses. It is my belt you are wearing that my wife gave to you. In truth, I arranged all of my wife’s meetings with you and sent her to kiss you. Truly, I have you the final blow because I knew you would never leave without upholding your word.”

The other knight stood speechless for a good while. “How did this all come to pass?”

“There is a woman in my court, the Lady Yuuko whom you met once, who learned her magic from none other than the great Clow that put your Syaoran on the throne. She gave me this ring,” the man removed a ring and was back in the familiar shape of Lord Fay, “and told me to wear this form and make a challenge at Syaoran’s court. She told me my destiny was with the man who accepted my challenge. I was glad you were the one who took the challenge because I remembered you from when you were squire to Lady Kendappa. I am sorry I had to trick you, but I knew no other way to gain your attentions.” All the pieces were starting to come together: the lord’s cordial affections towards him, the lady’s insistence in talking about her husband, her questioning of his love life were all in an effort to push his love towards the lord of the land. “I suppose in your distrust you shall now return to Syaoran’s court,” the lord said sadly.

“If you ask me to, I could return to your house in thanks for twice saving my life.” The lord smiled and stepped forward to wrap his arms around the knight. Kurogane again awkwardly patted him on the back, still unused to such open displays of affection. “Do you have a horse?” he asked upon the blonde pulling away.

He shook his head. “I took the shortcut which is impassable by horses.”

“I shall give you a ride back to your castle.” He led the man by the arm to his horse. He mounted and pulled the lord up behind him.

“I shall send Watanuki to Syaoran’s court to tell them of your fate,” the lord said as Kurogane started his horse in a slow, leisurely walk. “Yuuko said that his destiny was in Syaoran’s court as well.” Kurogane was just glad that he was still alive and that he could return to the lord’s castle and claim his love properly. “Now that you have promised to stay, would you mind terribly if I call you Kuro-love?”

 
 
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
lynne_sama on April 24th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
Wow, that was strange! But truly great, though. I love the way you write it.
Caro-Caro-Seme-Sama <3caroline_chan on April 24th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
When I started it, I was like, "Oh, God why is this so familiar?" I knew it was based on a story for the competition, and it hit me that I had to read the original Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for my A.P. English class. x3 So, it was really cool to read a different rendition of it. :3 You pulled it off really well! It was so sweet. x3

Good luck with the competition. ^o^
E'ka: Rainekas on April 24th, 2007 08:19 pm (UTC)
I love Sir Kurogane and the Green Knight so very much.

And you should really thank alys_wonder for encouraging me to write it, because I originally was not going to enter the contest at all, and then I started talking about putting Kurogane and Fay in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
ユウイ: Kurogane/Faisnowaltz on April 24th, 2007 06:18 pm (UTC)
I think this is wonderfully written, I like it! And one of the best parts is that I'm not even squirmy about Tomoyo kissing Kuro, yay! *laughs*

Now that you have promised to stay, would you mind terribly if I call you Kuro-love?”
That's a perfect sweet ending =)

Good luck for the contest!
E'ka: Horitsuba Summer Rainekas on April 24th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
Whoot! I'm so glad you like it. I was a bit nervous that some people would be turned off by Tomoyo kissing Kurogane, but it was quite necessary for the story.

The ending was my compromise for not being able to use the nicknames throughout. For one thing, Medieval Fay would have freaked himself out had he randomly called someone Kuro-chan. And I'm not too fond of translating the nicknames because they sound weird after a while. Not to mention, Fay was trying to get Kurogane to stay, and calling him weird names was likely to have driven the knight off. Difference from Tsubasa being Fay didn't have to worry about Kurogane running off because they were stuck together. XD

Thanks!
rinnington: <3 (fay and mokona tsubasa)rinnington on April 24th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I seriously love this. I really love the Sir Gawain tale, and you kept the spirit of the story and the legendary quality so well, except you made it sexier and gayer. XD Kurogane and Fay fit the parts very well, and I love Tomoyo seducing Kurogane for Fay.
✩ Lex: Magic Touchsparkism on April 24th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
xD Oh man, that was the perfect last line.
The whole thing was absolutely lovely. ^-^♥
ariadnechan: kuroxfaiariadnechan on April 24th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
i really love it !!!!! and i'm very fond for this trio i want the of them be happy and kiss them all tougher and have a lot of smex in order to be happy ever after!!! (including Lady Tomoyo because she so sweet and deserve a trio)
lingoulingou on April 24th, 2007 10:26 pm (UTC)
Awwwww so cute!
The formal talk was a bit to get used to, but looooove it~~ :D This is a fun challenge!
youkohiei_fanyoukohiei_fan on April 24th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)
Yay! This is really good! I just read the original story in my AP class about a month ago and I couldn't wait for the lord/kissing scenes. ^_^
Wren: chibi kurofay awwwfengtianshi on April 25th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
This fic is worth the best and biggest AWWWWWWW ever! <3
The original Arthurian tale is beautiful and your piece makes it even better! Loved the way you kept the typical syntax of a knights tale (but the last sentence hit my heart badly! XD No, seriously...AWWWWWW!!!!<3) and the attention you gave to supporting characters (Queen Sakura is lovely and the WataDou hint at the end made me smile madly!)!

E'ka: Rainekas on April 25th, 2007 12:56 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. ^^ Comments like this really make my day.

Last sentence: I felt bad about not using the nicknames, but "Kuro-chan" just didn't work in the setting, and they're not as much fun in English, but I compromised and threw one in there at the end. ^^

Supporting Characters: This fic is my penance for tending to ignore them in my other fics. And I'm so glad people got the WataDou hint. I was afraid it was so far back in the fic that people might have forgotten that Doumeki was in Syaoran's court.
Robin  ☂  tell me a tall tale, go, shout it out: xxxholic - Rainbuddha_loves_me on April 25th, 2007 05:52 am (UTC)
I really have no coherent words. That was amazing.
And, the amounts of kissing truly made me a happy camper. :3
Ally.C: Tsubasa KuroFai Sword Pointgacktyougirl on April 25th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
*facepalms* I hadn't reviewed this! I really enjoyed it. You did well keeping up the medieval sort of feel. And the 104 hint makes me all sorts of squee <3
E'ka: Anti-Christekas on April 25th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
Bad cabin kitty, not reviewing all of your mistress' fics the instant they are posted. XD

The 104 hint was all for you. <3333
Ally.C: xxxHOLiC 104 Heartgacktyougirl on April 25th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
I am teh loved! <333

And I am updating HoriChron as we typeth.
E'ka: 104ekas on April 25th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
*coughs*About damn time

I mean, really?! That's wonderful!!! *huggles*

Bleh, I know you were busy with school work. I just couldn't resist. Forgive me.
Bree: miscraven_goth on April 25th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
xD Kuro-love. oh man, i am totally going to start refering to him as that ;D

twas an extremly lovely fic (literaly ;P)
herm_neferherm_nefer on May 22nd, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
YAY! I like it! In fact I enjoyed it more than the original. <3

I've read through all of your Hotsuba stuff so now i'm reading everything else. They are all <3s and yay. That's all.