The List Starts From Here

The good:

One, there was no loss of strength in his grip or his arm in general. He could still swing a sword with the same deliberate strength as before. Amaterasu herself had complimented him after a sparring match. A lesser man might have gloated or worse; Kurogane had instead just slung the practice blade across his shoulders and grinned till his face ached.

Two, the arm didn’t feel unnatural or uncomfortable — other than the vague pull where it attached to his shoulder, it felt like the flesh-and-blood limb had. To the touch, without any sort of skin covering, it was cooler than his skin, but warmed quickly enough, especially when being used as a pillow. There were mornings now that he could awaken and not even remember the loss.

Three (and this he’d never admit aloud), it was *proof* of what had happened — a symbol of the mad journey his princess had sent him on, and the things he’d learned along the way. There were faces in the palace now he didn’t recognize, but they looked upon him with respect, looking upon the arm like it was a badge of honor.

The bad:

He didn’t quite have fine motor control over the damn thing yet. The smilely bastard who’d transported it had assured him — several times — that it would function just like a normal arm once he was accustomed to it. And that was well and fine when all he had to do was grab a sword (and he hadn’t expected to miss Souhi more than his *own goddamn arm*, but there you have it) and hack his way through a crowd — but then there came things like meals, where the chopsticks would snap in his hands, or getting dressed and being unable to fasten his obi properly. It was getting to be annoying.

“Ahh,” Tomoyo sighed, one small hand to her cheek as she examined his torn clothes. “Kurogane, do I need to send you on another journey, just to learn how to take care of your things?”

He growled and slammed his open palm against the table; the wood cracked under the force of the blow. Tomoyo just blinked at him, unphased. Kurogane deliberately lifted his hand and set it aside, then scowled at her again. “I’m *being* careful. It’s just. Taking time.”

She sighed and clucked her tongue. “I’ll fix them this time,” she said, then pointed at him with her needle. It flashed in the sunlight, like the edge of a sword. “But really, Kurogane, you *must* learn more control! Do you understand?”

Kurogane sighed. He set his chin on his hand and turned his head to stare out the window. There was a flock of birds flying past, and he watched them crossing the expanse of the cloudless sky until they were completely gone from sight.

The embarrassing:

The look of surprise melting into laughter on the idiot’s face as he used his sleeve to mop his dripping bangs from his forehead. In Kurogane’s hand, the remains of the water-skin dangled limply (to help him learn control, Fay had said, to teach him not to squeeze so hard with his fingers when grasping things, only then the damn thing had just exploded at just a little pressure).

“I,” Kurogane said, with about as much dignity as he could manage, “meant to do that.”

“Of course,” Fay crooned. He used a dry section of his sleeve to dab at Kurogane’s face. “Kuro-sama is always so prepared and in control! Just because he made a silly little mistake means nothing at all, right, right …”

Kurogane growled. “You–”

“Don’t worry, Kuro-tan!” Fay shook his sleeve out again before throwing his arms around Kurogane’s neck and bowling them over to the bed. A wide grin crossed his face, fangs peeking out against his lower lip. His own hands, both of them cool to the touch, wormed under Kurogane’s robes and spread their fingers wide against his skin. “We have alternatives! I’ll make sure you get lo~ots of practice.”

“Idiot,” he growled. “I don’t need practice–”

“Hush, Kuro-tan,” Fay purred. He settled himself to easily straddle Kurogane’s hips, leaning over. “Lessons start now.”

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