Fan Fic: Shatterheart

WARNING: This page contains unmarked spoilers for Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle.

Shatterheart by Tonight's The Night is a Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle Alternate Universe Fic. The story begins in the Infinity arc where Kurogane, Fai, R!Syaoran and Sakura are trying to make a living to eventually earn Sakura's feather and process the aftermath of Acid Tokyo.

It's going badly as Syaoran is ostracized by the group for his clone's actions and is only tolerated at best and actively shunned at worst. Disheartened by their antipathy, he hides in his room to avoid them and only comes out when they are all asleep, for chess games or to fulfill basic needs.

During a food run, Kurogane acknowledges Syaoran, engages in conversation, and shows concern for Syaoran's health in his gruff way. Syaoran tries to get Kurogane to keep talking to him, only to quickly to lose his attention. Desperate for any sort of reaction, Syaoran impulsively kisses Kurogane only to massively piss him off. Syaoran runs away when Kurogane accidentally injures his shoulder in retailation.

After Syaoran gets strangled in a chess match due to the injured shoulder, Kurogane realizes that he hurt Syaoran. Kurogane realizes that their little chat was Syaoran's only positive interaction with any of the group in months and the kiss was a desperate cry for attention.

Kurogane vows that he will help Syaoran out of his downward spiral to make up for how he treat him.


  • Above the Influence: Even though they had already started a sexual relationship, Kurogane refuses to respond to a drunk Syaoran's advances and just puts him to sleep.
  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Because of C!Sakura's emotional distance and disappearance, Syaoran falls in love with Kurogane. While Syaoran still loves Sakura he feels guilty for wanting to be with Kurogane more.
  • Abuse Mistake: Fai walks in on Kurogane and Syaoran passionately making out. Since he doesn't know that Syaoran is a consenting adult, Fai assumes that Kurogane is molesting him.
  • Accidental Truth: When Cassie mocks Syaoran's hero complex, she unknowingly guesses the truth.
    Cassie: You got a princess waiting for you in a tower? Have lots of magical adventures with your friends? Explore foreign territories and overthrow cruel regimes?
  • Adaptation Expansion: The character-driven Infinity Arc and Nihon Arc lasts 80 chapters and 50 chapters, respectively. In comparison, the action-heavy chapters are pretty short.
  • Adult Fear: Fai is on a rare outing with Syaoran when Syaoran is kidnapped while trying to get some space. Syaoran is tortured by serial killers while Fai and Kurogane pray they find him in time.
  • After-Action Patch-Up: Kurogane treats Syaoran's injuries after he gets jumped by a gang on his way home and after the disastrous chess finals.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: After they escape Celes when Kurogane cuts off his own arm. The group and Tomoyo's ninjas race to transport him to Shirasagi Castle to treat his wounds.
  • All for Nothing: Syaoran attempts to reach out to others, endure his friends' apathy, learn not to isolate himself in his room, and find some happiness for himself. Then he backslides when Kurogane ends their relationship when he becomes too attached, and Syaoran is more miserable than before.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: Syaoran is offered therapy and counseling by the hospital for the PTSD caused by his torture. He declines on the grounds of not wanting to explain dimension travel.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Kurogane often gets angry and frustrated when Syaoran doesn't care of himself or when Syaoran becomes afraid of him.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: When Fai's curse activates and he tries to kill Syaoran and Kurogane after mortally wounding Sakura, Syaoran confesses his love for Kurogane thinking they are about to die.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Kurogane kisses Syaoran on his face and neck after they become Friends with Benefits.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Syaoran does this in hope to not anger his teammates.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: After Syaoran recovers from his hangover, he asks Kurogane if they did anything while he was drunk because he remembers throwing himself at him and asking for a goodnight kiss. Kurogane takes the question a personal offense that Syaoran believes that he would take advantage of a drunk person and things quickly go downhill.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Kurogane asks Sakura why she never calls Syaoran by his name and calls him "This Syaoran."
    • Its more of an Armor Piercing Answer but...
    Fai: What does this Syaoran like?
    Kurogane: Well for one, he'd like it if you'd drop the 'this Syaoran' bullshit and just called him by name.
  • Awkward Parental Substitute Son Bonding Activity: Fai tries to make up for his previous negligence of Syaoran by teaching him how to bake and going book shopping with him. Syaoran doesn't enjoy it in the least because he realizes that Fai is only humoring his attempts to fit in and Fai's niceness feels extremely forced.
  • Awful Truth: Syaoran tells Kurogane that his wish enabled Fei Wong Reed's plans, one of which caused the destruction of Suwa and the death of Kurogane's parents in a failed attempt to recruit him. Kurogane gets so angry that he abandons Syaoran so he wouldn't be tempted to harm the boy.
  • Bad Dreams: Syaoran already had bad dreams caused by his regret, but they get worse when he later develops PTSD after being tortured.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Syaoran is drawn to Kurogane and later initiates a relationship with him because he was only one to show any concern for him. Initially, Kurogane is the only one to show him any kindness and realizes that Syaoran is different from his clone.
  • Bi the Way: Syaoran, as he loves both Sakura and Kurogane.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Fai and Kurogane track down Syaoran, break down the door and proceed to wipe out Syaoran's tormentors and their gang.
  • Bilingual Backfire: When Mokona gets too far of range for Syaoran and Kurogane to speak to each other, Syaoran tells Kurogane that he has a very nice voice and finds his native language pretty. At first, it seems that Kurogane did understand him, but turns out he didn't. Syaoran lampshaded that would be contrived for Mokona to go back in range just as he says something embarrassing.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Cassie, the female gang member. You can't get more evil than being a Serial Killer.
  • Bookworm: One of the few things that can get Syaoran out of his room is his love of books. Going to the library or to the bookstore is initially the only leisure activity for which Syaoran will leave the apartment.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Fai is right that Kurogane and Syaoran's relationship is codependent, that hiding the truth will and did hurt them in the long run, and that Syaoran is in love with Sakura. On the other hand, Kurogane and Syaoran are right that Fai has no right to butt in, as Syaoran is a consenting adult, and since he's not actually with Sakura, it's his business who he tells.
  • Break the Cutie: Events have not been kind for Syaoran.
  • Brick Joke: Kurogane always threatens to punch Fai, Sakura or Syaoran in the face for doing something reckless and life-threatening. When Kurogane recovers from blood loss caused by cutting off his own arm in Nihon, the first thing Fai does his punch him across the face.
  • Bridal Carry: Kurogane carries Syaoran this way when the latter is too injured to walk.
  • Broken Pedestal: Clone!Syaoran is disappointed and horrified when he finds out that Kurogane, his mentor and the man he looked up to, is in a relationship with his son.
  • Broken Bird: Syaoran is ostracized by his clone's friends for the clone's actions, imprisoned for years while the clone lived his life and lives with knowledge that he is indirectly responsible for his friends' tradegies and he doesn't know if the girl he loves is still alive. He slowly gets better over the course of the story after he is befriend by Kurogane.
  • Brutal Honesty: It's even the name of a chapter. When Kurogane realizes Syaoran has become too fond of him and started using him as a crutch he breaks to him the reality of their relationship. It's brutal, but it breaks up their relationship as intended. He later tells Fai that he said it because he wasn't sure of his own feelings and didn't want to lie about it.
    Kurogane: What's wrong is that you don't love me and I don't love you.
    • He does this again when he and Syaoran are discussing the practicalities of Syaoran's injuries.
    Syaoran: I don't want to be a burden to anyone but—
    Kurogane: But there's no changing the fact that you will be.
  • But Not Too Bi: Kurogane says that he slept only with women in Suwa offscreen, but in the story he has subtext with Fai and a romantic relationship with Syaoran. According to Souma, his longest romantic entanglement lasted twelve hours.
  • Call Back: A couple related to food:
    • When Syaoran is isolated by the group in chapters 1-4, he makes himself sandwiches because they are easy to make and keep fresh so he doesn't have to eat with the group. His friendship with Kurogane grows when Kurogane saves his sandwiches despite the fact he was angry with Syaoran. When Kurogane finally helps Syaoran through his Heroic BSOD in chapter 63, he makes a sandwich for Syaoran, who had been starving himself.
    • When Syaoran joins the group during mealtime for the first time, he endures an awkward and hostile spaghetti dinner with Fai and Sakura. When Fai and Sakura try to make amends to Syaoran after he is tortured, they both ask if he wants to have spaghetti and eat dinner with them, but he refuses out of anger.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Syaoran calls Fai out for his negligence, his Irrational Hatred of him and for destroying Syaoran's relationship with Kurogane when Fai tries to make amends.
    Fai: You can still talk to us...I'm not holding anything against you.
    Syaoran: I don't believe you.
    Fai: I don't want to you to think you don't have a support network. We—
    Syaoran: If I had a support network, then where were you after we landed in this world?
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Syaoran is accosted by a gang on his way home from the library, who attack him knowing that he's a chess player. They later kidnap and torture him for their amusement.
  • Chokeholds: Syaoran gets choked unconscious in a chess match when his opponent manages to get their rope across his throat.
  • Cloning Blues: The original angst for not being the clone.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Syaoran is tortured for sixteen hours by his kidnappers.
    • Agony of the Feet: Jet breaks Syaoran's toes with a nutcracker.
    • Eye Scream: Syaoran is threatened with this twice, either getting his eyes pulled by pliers or getting bleach poured into them.
    • Fingore: Syaoran gets his fingernails torn off by a pair of pliers.
    • Impaled Palm: Cassie impales Syaoran's hand with a thin sword.
    • Knee-capping: Gets his kneecap broken by Jet kicking it in.
    • Sadistic Choice: Cassie forces Syaoran to chose whether she will pluck out his eyes or his fingernails with her pliers. He picks his fingernails. Later her boyfriend, Jet, tries to force another choice by making him chose whether to get bleach poured into his eyes or down his throat. Fortunately, Kurogane and Fai rescue Syaoran before he is forced to choose again.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu:
    • Averted as Syaoran is easily overwhelmed when multiple assailants attack him at once, the first time causing him to flee, the second time getting him abducted.
    • Played straight with Fai as he defeats an entire gang by himself offscreen when Syaoran is rescued.
  • Crippling the Competition: While Jet and Cassie admit they kidnap and torture Syaoran for their amusement to his face, they admit their secondary reason is because Syaoran is part of a successful chess team. Since his team will be their opponents, they thought it worthwhile to cripple and eventually kill one of the players.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Syaoran tries to excuse his shoulder injury as something from the chess match. Since Kurogane saw that he was injured before the match, he realizes that Syaoran got it when he shoved him into the wall.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the manga.
  • Death Glare: Fai gives Kurogane a nasty one when he believes the latter has been molesting Syaoran.
  • Declaration of Protection: When Kurogane realizes that he's the only one willing to help Syaoran, he vows to protect him. The problem is that Kurogane's Hair-Trigger Temper ends up hurting more than helping.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Due to his past imprisonment and being shunned by the rest of the group, Syaoran becomes so isolated that he becomes desperate for any sort of affection or acknowledgement.
  • Did Not Get The Guy: Fai had been struggling with his eventual betrayal of the group and the exhausting effects of lying to everyone. By the time he comes to terms with his love for Kurogane, Kurogane has already gotten together with Syaoran and he has watch them became lovers.
    • After being gone so long, the actual Sakura finds out that Syaoran had already moved on.
  • Dissimile: When Syaoran looks at the mannequins in the clothing store:
    • Flowing dresses with sequined accessories hung from plastic dolls made to resemble the human figure, if that figure happened to be anorexic.
  • Doorstopper: is a whopping 160 chapters and counting. Word Of God explains that the Crack Pairing of Kurogane/Real!Syaoran needed a lot of build-up and background in order for the audience to believe that they could and would get together.
  • Dramatic Irony: Sakura expresses sympathy for Kurogane when she figures out that he's in love with someone, pushing him to confess his feelings because once they resume their travels he'll never see that person again and he will regret never telling the person. This is ironic on several levels as the person Kurogane is in love is Syaoran which Sakura doesn't know.
  • Drowning My Sorrows/Drowning Our Romantic Sorrows: Syaoran does this when Sakura cryptically releases him from his promises and rejects him and when Kurogane dumps him for the first time. In the latter case, he drank so frequently that Fai confronts him on it.
  • Easily Forgiven: Syaoran quickly forgives Sakura for shunning him and refusing to talk to him when she apologizes and admits that her reasons for behaving as she did were not good reasons.
    • Subverted with Fai. When his ultimatum forces Kurogane and Syaoran to break up, Syaoran refuses to have anything to do with him as he points out that it was due to Fai's coldness that he needed Kurogane in the first place. He eventually forgives and apologize to Fai later in Nihon country for his cold treatment of him.
  • Easy Amnesia: After suffering a blow to the head after a roof collapses on him, Kurogane loses his memory of the argument he and Syaoran had before the roof fell. It initially seemed it played this trope straight as Kurogane had no memory of his journey, but it's quickly subverted as he quickly regains his memory when he looks at Syaoran.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When Sakura eavesdrops on Fai and Kurogane discussing love, she gets the impression that Kurogane was in love with Fai.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When the gang members are introduced, they attack Syaoran armed with wenches and pipes when he's by himself and disarmed. They fight him, knowing that he's disarmed with the other members cheering for blood.
  • Evil Redhead: Jet, like Cassie above.
  • Fatal Flaw: Kurogane's anger often makes him ignore the consequences to his actions, limits his ability to empathize, and causes him to hurt people who he doesn't want to hurt. When necessary, he avoids confrontation altogether because he doesn't want to lose his temper, such as when he walks away from Syaoran after Syaoran admits that it's his fault Kurogane lost his family, rather than staying and potentially harming Syaoran.
  • First Name Basis: Kurogane makes a point in calling Syaoran by his name when they are alone. When he doesn't do this it tips Syaoran off that something is about to wrong.
  • Five Stages of Grief: The group embodies various aspects of the stages of grief:
    • Fai and Sakura represent Denial as they refuse to acknowledge Syaoran because doing so forces them to realize the clone's betrayal and the loss of their friend.
    • Kurogane represents Anger as he refuses to let himself to feel any sort of sadness and deals with it by getting angry.
    • Syaoran represents Depression as he mostly wallows in guilt and despair.
    • All of them eventually turn to Acceptance when they realize there's nothing they can change and trying would be too high of a cost.
  • For the Evulz: While they do have a practical reason for kidnapping and torturing Syaoran, Jet and Cassie readily admit that they're doing it for the hell of it.
  • Foreshadowing: When Syaoran nearly gets run over by a car, he notes that a car accident would be a relatively quick death and he could have died in worse ways, like being tortured or impaled by a sword. He gets kidnapped and tortured in chapter 41 and rammed through his clone's sword in chapter 144.
  • The Four Loves: Syaoran desires affection and friendship at beginning of the story, Storge and Philia, while his relationship to Kurogane grows from lust to Eros. Fai eventually repairs his relationship with Syaoran and has Storge affection for him.
  • Freak Out: Syaoran tends to have these as a result of his PTSD.
    • When the act of simply going to the bathroom becomes a tremendous effort because of his injuries, Syaoran breaks down in tears when half-heartedly contemplating suicide.
    • Kurogane accidentally triggers one when he and Syaoran get into an argument over the latter shutting everyone out.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Tragically, Syaoran is only tolerated by the group because they need him and because they were close to his clone. Syaoran is very aware of this.
  • Friends with Benefits: Kurogane and Syaoran eventually become close friends and form an agreement to start having a sexual relationship. Kurogane does this to comfort Syaoran and initially believes that Syaoran understood that the relationship was temporary. It hits a snag when Syaoran starts to believe that Kurogane has feelings for him, which Kurogane tries to nip in the bud to no avail.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Kurogane grabs Syaoran's arm to force him out of his room when he refuses to eat or leave his room for four days. This ends up triggering a panic attack.
  • Get Out: Fai orders Kurogane out when he mistakes Kurogane kissing Syaoran for the former sexually abusing the latter.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Early in story, Syaoran tends to get jealous of the other's close bonds.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Kurogane has a temper.
  • Half Truth: When asked by Fai what he and Syaoran do when they aren't around Kurogane tells him that they "talk."
  • Hangover Sensitivity: After a night of drinking, breakfast time becomes a test of Syaoran's endurance and stomach.
  • Has a Type: When comparing Sakura to Kurogane, Syaoran notes he has a thing for people of higher status than him.
    • Kurogane seems to have a thing for male Broken Birds as seen with Fai and Syaoran.
  • Heel Realization: Fai has a gradual one after he confronts Syaoran on his drinking: he wants Syaoran to ask him for help but realizes due to his coldness he is the last person Syaoran would turn to. Kurogane points out that Fai treats Syaoran as if he's a ghost instead his own person, a problem not helped by the fact that Fai hasn't actually spoken much to Syaoran since Tokyo, which was several months ago.
  • Hikikomori: Syaoran hides in his room to escape the group's antipathy towards him, only coming out for his basic needs and chess matches. Kurogane slowly breaks him out of it.
  • Hollywood Healing: Averted as it takes several weeks for Syaoran's torture injuries to heal and he needs physical therapy to be able to use his knee.
    • Kurogane is bedridden for days due to blood loss caused by his self dismemberment. Even with Tomoyo's passive magic to speed up the healing process, it takes him a while to fully recover.
  • Hope Spot: Syaoran tries to keep his chin up and hope that Kurogane will rescue him when he hears footsteps. It turns out to be the other kidnapper, Jet.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Syaoran and Kurogane have a far more physical relationship than CLAMP's typical Chastity Couple.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Kurogane refuses to let Syaoran weather the pain and drugs his food with pain medication against his wishes. He later becomes angry and stubborn when Healer Hinata does the same.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Fai acknowledges that he is a massive Hypocrite when he tries to force Syaoran to tell Sakura the truth about his relationship with Kurogane when Fai himself has being lying to all of them the whole time.
  • I Lied: Fai says this phrase word for word when Kurogane passes his Secret Test of Character by vowing to leave if he finds out he physically injured Syaoran. Kurogane didn't take that he was lied to and played emotionally lightly.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: A common response to emotionally agonizing events.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Fai realizes that he loves Kurogane but knows that he can't do anything about it since Kurogane and Syaoran are already in love. Fai decides that he will be happy for them and give them his support.
    • Averted, when Sakura finds out about Syaoran and Kurogane's love for each other she is extremely upset and has a hard time accepting it.
  • I'm Not Hungry: Syaoran stops eating and leaving his room after Fai forces his ultimatum due to depression and anger with Fai
  • Ignored Confession: Kurogane deliberately pushes off Syaoran's growing romantic feelings for him in an attempt to keep their relationship as it was.
  • Implausible Deniability: When Fai and Kurogane confront Jet, who is about to pour bleach down Syaoran's eyes, he tries to deny it by saying:
    Hey man, this is a misunderstanding—
  • In Universe Nickname: Syaoran refers to his clone as "The Other."
    • Syaoran is sometimes referred to as "This Syaoran" by Fai and Sakura.
  • In Vino Veritas: Kurogane notes that Syaoran is more open about his emotions and very affectionate when drunk.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Sakura, believing Kurogane fell in love with someone in Infinity, tries to give romantic advice and tells him to confess his feelings before it's too late. Since they will eventually leave Infinity and Kurogane intends to return to Suwa, he will likely never see this person again and will always hold regrets that he didn't confess. Since Kurogane is debating on his feelings on Syaoran, this gives him a harsh reminder that they will eventually be separated.
  • Instant Sedation: Fai casts a sleep spell on Syaoran so the latter wouldn't be in pain from his injuries while Fai and Kurogane transport him to the hospital.
    • He also does to Kurogane to force the latter to rest while they wait for Syaoran's surgery to finish.
  • Insult Backfire: When Cassie begins to torture Syaoran, there is this dialogue:
    Syaoran: You're sick.
    Cassie: Actually, I just got over a cold so I'm not sick anymore.
  • Internal Reveal: Kurogane and Syaoran evolve their friendship into something more physical/romantic twenty chapters in. Fai finds out thirty chapters later and Sakura finds out 140 chapters later
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Syaoran and Kurogane rekindle their relationship and share a passionate kiss when Fai walks in on them.
    • Invoked by Syaoran when a nosy healer interrupts his reunion with Kurogane. He decides to mess with both of them by undressing and giving Kurogane a passionate embrace to make the healer think she interrupted much worse.
  • Intimate Psychotherapy: Syaoran and Kurogane's temperaments improve and both get less depressed after they start turning to each other for affection. Subverted in Nihon, Syaoran tries tempting Kurogane with affection to get him to calm down. It ends in tears.
  • Irrational Hatred: Fai knows that Syaoran wasn't responsible for the loss of his eye, initially hated him for being indirectly responsible for his clone's Face-Heel Turn and because he replacing a formerly beloved friend. He slowly grows out of it.
  • It Meant Something to Me: Kurogane ends his Friends with Benefits arrangement when it becomes clear that Syaoran wanted more than what they were both ready for. He later realizes that he loves Syaoran when he hold him after they rekindle the arrangement.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Fai is being a massive hypocrite about it, he is right that Kurogane and Syaoran have an extremely codependent relationship and hiding the truth will only hurt them in the long run. He also points that regardless that Syaoran initiated the relationship, Kurogane is taking advantage of someone emotionally vulnerable and in love with someone else.
  • Jerkass Realization: Kurogane realizes that Syaoran didn't get his shoulder injury treated because he was afraid of triggering Kurogane's anger and he assumed no one would be concerned for him. This causes Kurogane to realize how badly he and the others are treating Syaoran so he vows to protect him and make an effort to help him.
  • Just in Time: Jet is about to pour bleach down Syaoran's eyes when Kurogane and Fai break down the door and beat the snot out of Jet and his gang.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: For Fai, they certainly do.
  • Kick the Dog: Kurogane does this several times in-story. First, after Syaoran tells him how his wish is indirectly responsible for the destruction of Suwa and the death of Kurogane's parents at his own emotional expense, Kurogane turns his back on him.
  • Kiss of Distraction: Exploited when Kurogane kisses Syaoran all over his face in a rare moment of playfulness to win a chess game that he was losing. It works as Syaoran completely forgets his strategy
  • Know When To Fold Them: When Syaoran decides to run when he can't convince the gang attacking him to stop and he gets outnumbered.
  • Lap Pillow: Kurogane makes Syaoran sleep in his lap after the latter wakes up from his nightmares.
  • Last Guy Wins: R!Syaoran is last person to join the group and is the most proactive in his pursuit for Kurogane's affections and ends up winning him over.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During a discussion about fate, Syaoran asks Kurogane:
    Do you ever feel like we're trapped in a book and that the author is just playing with our characters?
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: While he still opposes Syaoran and Kurogane's relationship, Fai starts taking Sakura out shopping when they want alone time.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Kurogane becomes the only reason Syaoran would leave his room and attempt to socialize with Fai and Sakura and becomes his source of emotional stability and comfort since Fai and Sakura shunned him. Deconstructed in that Kurogane realizes that Syaoran's dependency on him is unhealthy after Fai points out that Syaoran still remains withdrawn and actually gotten worse despite his efforts. When Kurogane ends their relationship in an attempt to get Syaoran to stand on his own, he relapses back as shut-in.
    • It turns out that Syaoran is also a crutch for Kurogane, as Syaoran is only one that he opens up to and let his guard down. Kurogane realizes this when he starts to miss Syaoran's physical and emotional intimacy.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Sakura never finds out that Syaoran and Kurogane are more than friends until chapter 160 Syaoran tells her himself after they both recover in Clow. She did not took it well when she found out.
  • Look Both Ways: Syaoran nearly gets run over by a speeding car when a pedestrian knocks him into the road.
  • Love Epiphany: Kurogane has one when Fai points out how depressed he's getting because Syaoran started to shut him out and how he cares more than he should if their relationship was only a matter of convenience.
    • Syaoran has one when he trying to figure out his own feelings so he could find a self-help book that deals with the problem.
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: Kurogane is indecisive over his feelings for Syaoran until the latter confesses his love when he thinks Fai is about to kill them. This forces Kurogane to realize that he loves Syaoran.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: Jet enjoys it when he finally gets Syaoran to scream, while Cassie laughs when she coaxes some out.
  • Metaphorically True: When asked by Fai, Kurogane tells him that he and Syaoran talk when Fai and Sakura are out. This is true, but leaves out that they do more than talk.
  • Moment of Weakness: When Syaoran asks Kurogane if they did anything when he was drunk, the latter takes it as a personal insult to his honor and gets so angry that he threatens he could take advantage of him without alcohol.
    • When Syaoran tells Kurogane the Awful Truth at great cost to himself, Kurogane leaves him.
    • After getting pissed off at a Jerkass nobleman, Kurogane rapes Syaoran when the latter was trying to get him to back down.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: It doesn't bode well for Kurogane and Syaoran when Fai found out without knowing Syaoran's real age.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kurogane is horrified when he destroys Syaoran's trust in him by lashing out at him in anger and threatening to rape him.
    • Downplayed, when Fai acknowledges that his hatred is responsible for Syaoran's withdrawal.
  • Near-Rape Experience: Kurogane pins Syaoran down and implicitly threatens to rape him after Syaoran accidentally insults him by asking if Kurogane took advantage of him when he was drunk. Kurogane snaps himself back to reality before he goes through with it. This destroys Syaoran's trust in him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Fai forces an ultimatum on Syaoran and Kurogane to tell the truth to Sakura or break up what he sees as a dangerously codependent relationship. See Not Quite the Right Thing for the consequences.
  • No Medication for Me: After he gets injured, Syaoran refuses to take pain medication because the pills leave him drowsy and unable to focus. Kurogane refuses to listen to him and starts putting it in his food.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted, its offhandedly mentioned that Syaoran only left his room to go the bathroom when he was a shut-in.
    • Further averted as one of immediate problems of Syaoran's knee injury is that it's much more difficult for him to use the toliet since he can't stand or walk.
  • Nominal Importance: While the rest of the gang goes nameless, the leader Jet is named and is the one to beat up Syaoran. Jet's girlfriend goes nameless but is described as rather bloodthristy. They later gain importance and the girlfriend is named when they kidnap Syaoran forty chapters later and revealed to be SerialKillers.
    • Syaoran's physician, Dr.Yamura rises in prominence.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Has nothing to do with Final Fantasy XII or Fran's Limit Break.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Fai tries to make up his emotional neglect and ostracization of Syaoran by teaching Syaoran to bake and trying to bond with him. Fai's shift from cold to caring just comes off as off-putting and exhausting to Syaoran.
    • Fai forces an ultimatum on Kurogane and Syaoran to either break up their relationship or to tell Sakura the truth in hopes of ending what he sees as a dangerously codependent relationship or preventing Syaoran from hurting himself with constantly lying. This has consequences such as:
      • Tensions in the house imploding as Kurogane and Syaoran were the only things keeping each other relatively sane and happy and they end up more miserable than before.
      • Intensifies the severity of Syaoran's PTSD as now he can't turn to Kurogane, who was his only form of support.
      • Destroys Fai's chance of making amends with Syaoran for his previous coldness as this proves to be the straw that broke the camel's back and Syaoran decides that he'd rather starve and isolate himself than have anything to do with Fai.
      • Fai's relationship with Kurogane reaches a boiling point as Kurogane believes that Fai had no right to get involved and thinks him to be a massive hypocrite.
  • Not So Similar: It serves as turning point from acquaintances to friends when Kurogane tells Syaoran while he and his clone act similarly, Syaoran is more mature and acts more cautiously. Kurogane also notes to himself that Syaoran is more a bookworm and has a slower reaction time than his clone.
  • Older Than He Looks: Downplayed, as Syaoran has the appearance of a teenager when he's actually 21.
  • One Steve Limit: Enforced due to literary constraints. Syaoran's clone is always called "the Other" while R!Syaoran is Syaoran. When Syaoran and Kurogane find Syaoran's father in Fei Wong Reed's trap, the former is referred by his real name, Tsubasa, and the father is referred as Syaoran.
  • Only Friend: Initially Kurogane is the only person that makes an effort to see Syaoran beyond the sins of his clone.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Fai talks to Kurogane about Syaoran's increased withdrawal from the group and Syaoran nearly developing an alcohol problem, Kurogane notes he doesn't revert to his Stepford Smiler tendencies.
    • Syaoran gets so used to Fai's gloominess in the first half of the story, he freaks out when Fai smiles at him.
    • When Kurogane massively screws up with Syaoran during the Nihon arc, he turns to his friend Souma for relationship advice. She's so shocked that she just stares him for a minute.
  • "Open!" Says Me: When Kurogane and Fai finally track down Syaoran's kidnappers to their hideout, Kurogane punches down the steel door and the door crumbles.
    • Kurogane does this again when he breaks down Syaoran's bedroom door to force him to come out and get something to eat.
  • Original Character: Jet and Cassie and Doctor Yamura in Infinity, who has a counterpart named Hinata in Nihon.
  • Out of Focus: Like in Reversal Of Fate, Mokona has been demoted to background in story to act as a plot device or to give commentary. It turns her saying "Mokona hasn't done anything" in the climax of the Infinity Arc into Lampshade Hanging.
  • Papa Wolf: Once Fai gets over his Irrational Hatred of Syaoran, he becomes very protective of him.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Kurogane tells Syaoran that he will do anything for Syaoran to forgive him for threatening him in his Moment of Weakness. Syaoran decides to make Kurogane turn over his sword and makes the man tell him what he truly feels for him.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Syaoran's higher mental process have a tendency of shutting down when Kurogane kisses him.
  • Psycho Supporter: The female gang member Cassie is distinguished from the rest of the gang when she cheers for her boyfriend, Jet to smash Syaoran's head in.
  • Punch a Wall: Kurogane gets so angry when Syaoran kisses him that he punches a hole in the wall when he was trying to open Syaoran's bedroom door to force a confrontation.
  • Punched Across the Room: Kurogane punches Syaoran into the wall after Syaoran impulsively kisses him. Syaoran later does this to Kurogane in a deliberate Meaningful Echo.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Fai and Sakura ignore Syaoran's attempts to engage them during dinner, Kurogane calls them out on it.
    Kurogane: I'm done with you. I'm sick of this. I'm sick of the way you're sulking like there's nothing to salvage in this world, and I'm sick of watching this group fall apart.Whether you two like it or not, we're all on this journey. If you don't shape up, we're not going to be functional when we really need it.
  • Real Men Dont Cry: Deconstructed, Kurogane believes that he shouldn't cry so he would never show weakness and decides to get angry. Souma calls him out on it because he never learned to express his grief in a healthy manner, he doesn't know how to empathize with others. Since anger is his reaction to anything, he often does he immediately regrets.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Unless you are extremely skilled or powerful, you will lose when fighting multiple opponents at once.
    • After Syaoran is tortured, it takes weeks for injuries to heal, intensive physical therapy to get injured limbs working and takes even longer for the psychological scars.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Kurogane and Syaoran start as each other's Only Friend after they make the effort to understand each other. Then they become Friends with Benefits to provide emotional and physical comfort to each other. After breaking up twice and going back and forth on their feelings, they confess their love for each other after Fai nearly kills them in chess finals and they eventually become engaged in Nihon.
  • Releasing from the Promise:
    • Sakura tells Syaoran that she wants him to be free and he doesn't have to take care of her.
    • Syaoran tries to release Kurogane from their agreement when he believes Kurogane's doing it out of obligation, not interest. Kurogane is quick to show him otherwise.
    • Fai rescinds his ultimatum to make Kurogane and Syaoran tell the truth of their relationship to Sakura because he sees that it was making things worse for Syaoran.
  • Remember the New Guy: Parodied, Doctor Yamura/Hinata apparently has been Kurogane's primary healer in Nihon for years, but he never noticed her because he's a terrible patient and never listens to her.
  • Required Secondary Powers: While Syaoran knows how to fight through past training and his clone's memories, he has slower reflexes because he wasn't actually taught and he didn't gain the reflexes himself.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: After overhearing Fai and Kurogane discuss love confessions, Sakura concludes that Kurogane had fallen in love with someone.
  • Screw Destiny: R!Syaoran is literally destined for Sakura, by not being with her and loving Kurogane he is overriding his destiny.
  • Second Love: Kurogane becomes this to Syaoran.
  • Secret Stab Wound: Syaoran hides a hairline fracture in his shoulder which he got when Kurogane threw him into the wall.
  • Serial Killer: The gang leaders, Jet and Cassie brag that they had other victims before Syaoran.
  • Second Act Break Up: Kurogane breaks off their relationship when it becomes clear that Syaoran is taking it more seriously than they agreed upon.
  • Secret Test of Character: After Kurogane accidentally triggers Syaoran's PTSD, Fai tests how much he actually cares for Syaoran. He does so by telling Kurogane that he hurt Syaoran when he was trying to calm him down during his panic attack. Kurogane is horrified by the possibility that he did that he swears to walk out if he did. Kurogane passes to Fai's displeasure and the former is furious when he finds out that he was lied to.
  • Sex Equals Love: Zigzagged. When Syaoran starts to fall for Kurogane during their Friends with Benefits relationship, Kurogane breaks it off because he doesn't feel that way. Kurogane, to his horror, ends up developing feelings for Syaoran regardless. Justified because they had already formed intense emotional bonds before and after they started to sleep together.
  • Shower of Angst: Kurogane does this when he realizes that he's extremely angry at Syaoran for kissing him and horrified that he's attracted to the latter.
  • Single Guy Seeks Good Man: Kurogane likes that Syaoran is better person than him and admits that it's one of his most attractive qualities.
    I love you because when you vow to protect someone, you don't screw it up every five minutes like I do. Because when the people you care about treat you like shit, you still love them. Because when you see a total stranger in trouble, you don't even have to think before you help them—you just do it. You could be ugly, or incompetent, or stupid, and I would still love you because you're a good person
  • Sleep Cute
  • Slipping a Mickey: A benign variant, when Kurogane laces Syaoran's food with pain medication to force the latter to take his medicine.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: When Syaoran finally returns to Clow, his house is completely unfamiliar to him. He realizes that it doesn't feel like home because his friends are his home.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Sakura is extremely cold and distant to Syaoran and can seem downright emotionless at times because of her hurt over Clone!Syaoran's betrayal. Her sweeter side starts to resurface when Syaoran start making an effort to connect and being called out on it only to melt when Syaoran is kidnapped and tortured, causing her to realize she could have permanently lost him.
  • Super Senses: Fai's vampirism gives him super-hearing and an enhanced sense of smell, which become very important when Syaoran is kidnapped.
  • Tame His Anger: A good part of Kurogane's Character Development is him trying to learn how to control his Hair-Trigger Temper as he realizes that having anger as a first response to something bad hurts more than helps.
  • Tap on the Head: Kurogane punches Fai out cold when the latter lies to him about hurting Syaoran. Fai's quick recovery is Justified by his improved healing abilities.
  • Tempting Fate: Syaoran tempts it when he thinks nothing will go wrong in the final chess match. Lampshaded in the author's notes as "Things Fictional Characters Should Never Say."
  • They Do: Syaoran and Kurogane get engaged in Nihon.
  • Torture Cellar: Syaoran wakes up in one and it becomes a very long night for him.
  • Tranquil Fury: Syaoran is very calm and extremely angry when Kurogane apologizes to him for actions.
  • Tsundere: Kurogane can be abrasive and belligerent but slowly develops a gentle side which he only shows to Syaoran.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Jet and Cassie are gang leaders that torture and kill their victims together.
  • Uptown Folk: Syaoran notes that both his love interests are of high status: Kurogane is nobility and Sakura is royalty.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Syaoran tries to overcome his shut-in behavior and make an effort to interact with Fai and Sakura to gain Kurogane's approval. Syaoran even lampshades it.
    This can't be healthy. There's no way I'm this desperate for approval.
  • Welcome to Hell: The female gang member, Cassie sarcastically welcomes Syaoran to her Torture Cellar.
  • Wham Line: Kurogane begins to realize that they had taken their relationship too far when Syaoran confesses to him:
    Syaoran: I thought that you might love me a little.
  • Wham Episode: First, it starts out with Fai's attempts to bond with Syaoran to make up for being a bad friend and Syaoran hating it the entire time to point of ditching him the first chance he got in the bookstore. Then Syaoran is jumped by the gang that attacked him earlier in the story and kidnapped. The gang's leaders turn out to be a pair of serial killers who nearly torture him to death while Fai and Kurogane frantically search for him.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Directly said by Syaoran, "It's only another chess match, what could possibly go wrong" The next chess match has him fighting a battle automata one-on-one and Fai's curse activates and he stabs Sakura.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • For Syaoran:
      • He is called for not telling Sakura about his relationship with Kurogane.
      • Kurogane later calls him out in Nihon for putting off his decision to stay with Kurogane or to continue pursuing Sakura.
    • For Kurogane:
      • He is called out by Fai for pursing a sexual relationship with Syaoran while the latter was emotionally vulnerable.
      • He is called for his Brutal Honesty when he turns down Syaoran's affections.
    Fai: I can see why Tomoyo cast you out. You're incapable of mercy.
    • Syaoran and Fai let him have it after he brutalizes Syaoran during sex when the latter tries to defuse an argument with Kurogane and a Jerkass nobleman.
    • For Fai:
      • He gets called out for shunning Syaoran.
      • He gets called for emotionally blackmailing Syaoran into ending his rekindled relationship with Kurogane by trying to get him to tell Sakura.
      • Kurogane and Syaoran are pissed when they find out he was going backstab them the entire time.
    • For Sakura:
    • She gets called out for not treating Syaoran as a non-entity.
  • Will Not Be A Victim: Subverted. Syaoran initially refuses his captors the pleasure of hearing him scream, but this eggs them on to amp things up until he does.
  • You Are Not Alone: Kurogane helps Syaoran at his lowest and tells him that his life does mean something to him.
  • You Must Be Cold: Kurogane gives Syaoran his coat after the latter goes into shock from almost being run over and because he didn't have a jacket.
    • When Syaoran is released from the hospital following his torture, Kurogane offers him his jacket only for Syaoran to refuse it in an effort to distance himself.