Author's Notes: I don’t think Yue even notices yet, but he’s worried about hurting Sakura. So much for not caring. One point of angst that won’t really come up until later on, is that everyone cares about Yukito, not Yue. Yue is seen by the children as someone who will assist them in any problems; he’s not a friend the way Kerberos is. The problem with these fight scenes is that they probably won’t make too much sense to people who have not read the manga. But I’m assuming that everyone has . . . if you haven’t, I’m sorry if my descriptions aren’t as clear as they are in my other stories. And after deciding that duty is the best thing he can live for now, Yue suddenly realises that he can’t do anything. Poor thing.
Shadows of the Moon
The more I think about what to do about Sakura the less certain I get. If I tell her the truth I will hurt her. I f I wait to tell her I will hurt her. Either way, the child Mistress of the Cards will not fare well. I know in the long run it is probably better for me to speak up now, lest she lose any chance of finding one she truly loves. But me being me, a cowardly creature afraid of his own feelings, cannot do it.
I have a duty to protect Sakura from anything that may cause her harm. But does that also include protecting her against herself? She tries so hard to please Yukito, giving him cakes and presents as wordless proof of her affection.
How would she feel, knowing she has lost to her elder brother?
Yukito hummed to himself as he cleaned up the dishes from his large dinner. He could see the full moon shining from behind the clouds in the early night sky. It was starting to get cold nowadays, so he had on a V-necked jumper over his shirt – absently he pushed the sleeves up again as they slid down his slender arms dangerously close to the water in the sink. Going through the usual daily routines of house chores was making him feel better after that day at school.
Indeed, things had not gone well. He hadn’t managed to complete the physics test that morning, handing it in with the last five questions unanswered. The annoying thing was that he knew that he could do them given the chance. It is just that his mind had felt so foggy that trying to put tension and vectors and what not together had been like trying to swim through quicksand. And that afternoon he had had another fainting spell. Yukito hoped that he hadn’t frightened Sakura’s friend when he had fallen over suddenly.
But while Yukito had gotten over those enough to put them out of his mind so that they didn’t worry him anymore, the fact that Touya had left him and gone off with Akizuki that afternoon still bothered him.
He didn’t know why.
Yukito sighed, silvery hair falling into his glasses as he bowed his head over the sink. His headache was coming back. Slowly he forced his head up and looked out the window. The pale moonlight cast its light over the garden, making all the colours seem washed out. It was pretty, but even that seemed lukewarm at most. Strange, because Yukito had always found that he was more active and awake during the period of the full moon.
What was happening to him? Was he sick?
The sound of the doorbell brought him out of his introspection. Who on earth could be calling at this hour?
Quickly he wiped his hands dry and pressed the intercom on the wall. "Yes?"
Somewhere on the other end he could hear muffled whispers. "Um, um . . . it’s Sakura."
Sakura-chan? Yukito smiled happily.
"I’ll be right there!"
Immediately he took off his apron and hastily made his way to the door.
Why is the Card Captor here? I stretch out my senses as Yukito unlocks the door . . . Sakura is not alone. Kerberos’s sunny aura is easily evident, somewhere behind the hedge it seems. And Tomoyo is also present.
Sakura and her retainers. Have they found another strange occurrence and are asking for me to come and help them?
Yukito opens the door. Sakura stands on the doorstep looking extremely embarrassed. She’s dressed in an ensemble for winter – black coat and skirt with knee-high shoes, plus gloves and a hat all decorated with tartan around the hem. It doesn’t look like one of those ‘battle costumes’ Tomoyo usually thinks up. It looks more like Sakura is going out to a dinner or a party or a –
Or a date.
I sigh. So she’s not here to see me. She’s here to see my false form.
"Good evening!" says Yukito with a dazzling smile.
Sakura turns a pretty blush pink. I see that she’s holding a carefully wrapped bag in her arms. "G-g-good evening!" she stammers in reply. Hastily she shoves the bag forward. "Here!"
Another present. I would groan and hold my head in my hands if I could. Not that I don’t like being appreciated, it’s just that it’s not a good thing to encourage Sakura anymore.
Yukito leans over to take it. "For me?"
Sakura wordlessly nods. Maybe I should decline it. But I don’t want to hurt her feelings.
"Can I open it?" Yukito asks.
More nodding. She reminds me of Clow’s distant nephew when she does that.
Sakura was shuffling nervously as the cloth fell away. Yukito’s eyes widened behind his glasses.
Oh wonderful. It’s a teddy bear, very similar to the one the Li boy had.
What is it with bears today anyway? The Li boy had one for someone, Sakura has one for Yukito and I think there were a couple of girls in class today who had teddies as well. Teddy bears seem to be special presents.
Special presents, for special people.
"Did you make this?"
"Y-yes . . . I’m not very good though."
"Thank you very much," said Yukito happily, cuddling the toy close. "I’ll treasure it always."
I look at Sakura as I hear Kerberos and Tomoyo talking behind the hedge. She stands before me with a dreamy smile on her face as she gazes at Yukito. She looks so happy, seeing that Yukito is pleased with her gift.
I remember how sad she was during the Judgement, when she found out that she had to fight her ‘special person’, and what the Disaster was. I realise that I don’t want to see that sad face again. A smile suits her so much better.
I just wish that she would smile like that at me, instead of at my false form.
Was it his imagination or could Yukito hear whispers from behind his hedge? He ignored at as he looked admiringly at Sakura’s teddy again. Of course, he remembered now that it was traditional for people to make teddy bears as gifts for people who were special to their heart. He felt very happy that Sakura held him in such high esteem.
Idly he wondered what would Touya do if Yukito were to make him a teddy.
Suddenly the teddy seemed to glow. Yukito stared in utter surprise as it began to levitate out of his hands. The light grew brighter and brighter – Yukito took a step back, threw up a hand to shield his eyes . . . and his mind went blank.
Quickly I shake my wings and hair free. It took a lot of power to force the transformation so quickly – I’m going to pay for this tomorrow I’m sure. But the sudden rush of adrenaline is enough to wake me up, causing the lethargy that has been the norm these last few days to disappear. And it’s a good thing too. Sakura’s teddy –
I blink and stare. The teddy has grown to titanic proportions, looming over Yukito’s house. Its smile doesn’t seem too friendly anymore. I take an instinctive step back, reaching out to bring Sakura with me. She’s standing there gaping.
"Look out!" I hear Kerberos yell. I risk a glance towards the hedge – he and Tomoyo have leapt out of hiding (looks like she did bring her camera after all). I feel a rush of wind – the teddy is coming towards us and is about to bring its massive paw down onto Sakura. She’s blinded by the debris that flies up from the ground.
Silly girl! Can’t she move? Immediately I spread my wings and swoop to grab her. Just in time too – I can feel the force of a near miss hard on my feet. Sakura latches her arms around my neck and I struggle to fly higher –
- she’s so heavy, or is it just me?
Blood rushes in my ears and the world swims before my eyes. No, not now! Why must this weakness strike now? Quickly, must find a place to land before –
- my wings disappear out of existence.
Even Sakura’s scream beside my ear as we fall out of the sky seems far away. Leaves and twigs whip against me as I plummet past them – somehow I don’t know how I think I manage to keep a hold on Sakura. My back hits a branch and breaks it off and a stabbing pain shoots through my body, I think I’m going to faint. Sakura, Sakura – somehow I twist myself so that I’m underneath her -
We hit the unforgiving ground with a thud that vibrates through my every being. Distantly I hear Kerberos yelling his little head off, Tomoyo’s high cries for her friend overriding his. There’s a weight on top of me – Sakura – too heavy, I can’t breathe . . .
"Are you alright?" I hear Tomoyo ask frantically.
Do I look alright? Wait – she’s asking Sakura, not me.
The weight shifts and suddenly I can breath again. I just lie there where I’ve fallen, squeezing my eyes shut as I try to keep from passing out completely. I’ve failed in my duty. I can’t help Sakura. I’m useless in this state.
"I’m ok!" Sakura replies, her voice shaken but otherwise steady. "Yue-san protected me!"
Yes I did. That’s my duty after all. To protect my master with my own life if necessary.
The darkness is relaxing. Maybe I should just let go . . .
No. A pair of small gloved hands is under my shoulders, awkwardly raising me into a sitting position. My head swims and I would fall back again if it wasn’t for Sakura holding me.
"Are you all right?" I hear her say.
What? I force my eyes open and look at her suspiciously.
"Are you all right?" she repeats. I look at her closely with foggy eyes. Is it my imagination or does she look . . . worried?
". . . . yeah," I say slowly, despite the fact that speaking makes my ears ring.
"Really?" Sakura says insistently. I lift my head to see her better from behind a curtain of white hair. "Really and truly?"
What is this? You’re my master, you don’t need to worry about me.
" . . . Really," I reply with as much reassurance as possible. That tone of voice doesn’t feel natural, it comes out almost suspicious. Which I am.
Suddenly she smiles at me. Not the small childish smile, but the dazzling one with her whole heart. The one she usually reserves for Yukito.
"I’m glad . . ." she says. Her voice is gentle. She really means it.
I’m rather taken aback.
I want to ask her – did you really mean it that night on the Final Judgement when you said you wanted to be my friend? But then she reaches a hand inside her coat and brings out her Key. The beautiful smile on her face disappears to be replaced by a determined look. She steps away from me and holds the Key on her outstretched hand as Tomoyo comes to take her place supporting me.
"Key that contains the power of the stars!"
"Reveal thy true form before me!"
You can do this.
"By our contract, thus I, Sakura, command you!"
I know you can.
Magic streaks in as if from the silver lights in the sky above. The Key glows, expands and hovers in the air before Sakura. She spreads her arms wide as if to embrace the Staff.
Her Staff. Her magic
Her magic that I can’t use.
"Kero-chan!" Sakura darts a glance behind her at me, Kerberos and her friend. "Protect Tomoyo-chan and Yue-san!"
Tomoyo-chan and me? I need protecting now? I glare at the little stuffed toy floating in the air in front of me. I don’t need anyone’s protection, least of all from Kerberos.
I watch as Sakura raises a card high. Magic seems to rise from her hand up the thin card and it glows like a star. Suddenly I feel drained . . .
"It changed again!" yells Kerberos.
What? I weakly raise my head – yes, the Sun Guardian is right. Again, Clow’s symbol has changed subtly. A Star now dominates with the Sun and Moon depicted on either side of the picture – it’s the ‘Jump’ card. It’s Sakura’s card now, using her own magic.
And me? She can’t afford to spare me some of her power – I hold a hand to my head and try to shake the dizziness away. It doesn’t work.
I close my eyes to shut out the sight of Sakura bouncing around like a grasshopper, agilely dodging the bulkier giant teddy’s blows. I can’t help her.
"Are you all right?" I hear a sweet voice ask.
I don’t answer.
Crashes, sounds of tile cracking against tile and destruction.
"It’s destroying Yukito-san’s house!" Sakura cries out from somewhere high above.
My house . . .
"How do I stop the bear?!"
I struggle to stand – my legs give out and I fall heavily onto Tomoyo. "Magic . . . magic is animating the bear," I gasp out. I hope Sakura can hear me. I cough and speak louder. "Find the . . . find the source . . . of the magic . . ."
Even speaking feels like I’m trying to move a house.
"That’s it!" yells Kerberos. "Find the source of the magic that’s manipulating the bear!"
Great. I’m even needing an intermediary to get my messages across.
"What’s a source?" Sakura asks frantically.
Tell me I didn’t hear that. Does she need everything explained to her?
"The point where the magic is strongest!" Kerberos replies.
I shouldn’t be so harsh. Sakura is only ten years old, not someone like Clow Reed.
I feel so weak.
I close my eyes and stretch out my senses. Even if I can’t fight, I can help Sakura locate the source of the magic. Somewhere, somewhere . . . everything is a blur, I can’t distinguish one aura from another. There’s Sakura shining like a star, Kerberos with the Sun, the bear . . .
Sakura found it first.
"Cut if off!"
Kerberos and Sakura work well together. I just sit here, leaning on Tomoyo doing nothing.
A rush of power from Sakura – again, I feel the weakness. I try to look up at the moon, the full moon, my symbol, my power . . . even that does nothing for me.
I’m falling and no one is even noticing.
Sounds of fighting – the wings on Sakura’s heels are a blur as she leaps from place to place sword in hand as she tries to cut the bear’s ear off. But you can’t change trajectory in the middle of a jump and the bear is moving with a slow grace despite its size. Everything must be considered – angles, velocity, height . . . Yukito learnt all of this for a physics test he didn’t even finish.
"I can’t reach!?" Sakura slices futilely down again at the peak of her leap, hanging weightless in the air –
The bear –
Before I can muster enough strength to shout, the bear slams its paw into Sakura, throwing her. Somehow she manages to twist in mid air so she lands on her feet like a cat on the roof of Yukito’s house. Who’s going to clean up?
"It’s no good!" I hear Kerberos yell. "You need ‘Fly’ and you can’t use the wings on the staff and use the staff as ‘Sword’ at the same time!"
I can fly. If I had the strength maybe I could carry Sakura to the point where she can cut off the bear’s ear, or even slice it off myself with an arrow of light . . .
The bear strikes again, bringing its paw down onto the roof where Sakura is. She jumps off just in time as the bear sends a shower of tiles into the air.
"Watch out!" screams Sakura.
Belatedly I look up. The roof tiles come towards us like hard rain. I force my legs to move and try to pull Tomoyo away – I’m not moving fast enough, Tomoyo will get hurt and there’s not a thing I can do about it –
Sweeping white wings enfold us, the tiles striking the feathers harmlessly and sliding off like water. I struggle to stand and turn – Kerberos is there in all his glory as the Sun Guardian protecting Sakura’s friend and me.
He’s never had to protect me before.
"Aren’t you going to thank me?" he growls, Kansai accent thick.
I glare at him. "Don’t push it."
Kerberos grins. "You’re welcome."
Really, he is just too much sometimes.
Where is Sakura? Is she alright? I work myself free of Kerberos’ wings and search the area. She’s kneeling on a nearby roof – all the lights of that neighboring house are out, thank goodness, the last thing we need is to take care of a group of gawking civilians here in this mess as well. Her pretty clothes are torn but she looks unhurt. She holds a card close to her heart and shuts her eyes. It’s almost as if she’s praying.
What is she praying for?
I gasp. Like a newborn butterfly Sakura shrugs off her coat. A pair of glowing white wings emerges from her back. They stretch wide as if tasting air for the first time. They lift Sakura into the air – for one second she floats, eyes closed like an angel. The wings beat once, twice, then in a regular rhythm as they carry her high.
She used ‘Fly’ on herself.
And that leaves her free to use ‘Sword’ on the staff.
Once she has both ‘Fly’ and ‘Sword’ the battle is quickly over. Sakura soars into the air, sword raised aloft – then like an eagle she dives and in one swift motion, slices the ear of the titanic bear off. It falls, trailing stuffing and –
And a card.
Once the magic is gone, the bear shudders. It freezes and with a low hum that makes me clench my teeth it shrinks as rapidly as it grew. It falls to the pavement, one arm out-stretched, a toy thrown aside. Tomoyo picks it up.
"Well done, Sakura!" Kerberos compliments.
I watch expressionlessly. I’m always watching nowadays. Watching Sakura, watching Kerberos. Watching the way Tomoyo does with her camera. Tomoyo has no magic. All she can do is bring her camera to look through.
And now that’s all I can do.
Sakura feet, dainty in their stockings, alight on the ground. Her sword morphs back into the Staff, though her wings do not yet disappear. Curiously she picks up the card.
"This is . . ."
Her eyes widen as the three of us, Kerberos, Tomoyo and I make our way over to Sakura. Tomoyo gives her the bear. The ear is torn.
"Your place is one bonafide disaster area," comments Kerberos, flicking a wingtip at Yukito’s house.
What? I shake off Tomoyo’s supporting arm as I stand. I am not an invalid. Even so, I hide the fact that I stumble over my own hair as my amethyst eyes sweep the area. The place is littered with debris, tiles scattered around the grass which is dug up showing dark earth beneath. Branches from the trees litter the ground making the garden one large obstacle course. The roof of the house is the worst – in some places it is bare of cover and I think I even see a hole somewhere.
"Don’t worry, Yue-san," says Sakura reassuringly. "We’ll help clean up-"
Suddenly she stops as she looks at her watch. "Ho-eeeee!" she wails. "I was supposed to be home ages ago! Onii-chan is going to absolutely kill me!"
"We’d better get going then," says Kerberos. He shuts his eyes and his wings sweep over him. When they pull back into nothingness, the Sun Guardian is back a little stuffed toy. "You don’t want your brother coming looking for you and asking questions."
Sakura nods. Then she turns to me apologetically.
"I’m so sorry, Yue-san." She truly does look regretful as she glances at the mess of Yukito’s house. "I would stay, but . . ."
I don’t want to hear. I don’t want to know. I shut my eyes and sleep.
Yukito blinked and rubbed his eyes. "Huh? What am I doing outside?" He looked in front of him. "Sakura-chan? What’s the matter?"
Sakura gripped the funny baton she was holding tightly, then quickly hid it behind her back. "Uh, uh, um . . ." She looked desperately around as if for help.
"You came to walk us to the gate as we were leaving," said Tomoyo smoothly.
"I did?" Yukito scratched his head, then changed the action to rub his temples. His headache had come back, worse than ever. And he was feeling really sore as well, as if he had been playing sport all day. "Funny, I don’t remember putting on any shoes . . ." He turned around to look back at the front door and his eyes widened in shock.
"What on earth happened to my house?"
Sakura gulped. Even usually calm Tomoyo looked slightly uncomfortable. "Umm, umm . . ."
"Was there a big storm or something?" wondered Yukito. "But none of the other houses are damaged . . . and it must have been a really fast storm, because you just came to give me a teddy bear, right, Sakura-chan?"
At the word ‘teddy’ Sakura’s eyes widened. "Teddy?" she squeaked. She whipped her head around to look at Tomoyo, nearly throwing the stuffed toy on her shoulder to the ground, a large sweatdrop on her head. "Um, um, I did but the ear’s torn so I’ll have to fix it first and-"
"The ear’s torn?" Yukito looked at the bear cuddled in Tomoyo’s arms. Sure enough, an ear was missing. "I didn’t know that. When did that happen?"
"Uh, uh, just now?"
"Just then?" Yukito scratched his head as he looked at his house. "Wow, that must have been one big storm then. Are you ok, Sakura-chan?"
"Y-y-yeah . . ." Sakura trailed off looking most uncomfortable. Suddenly she looked at her watch. "Oh!" she exclaimed just a bit too loudly. "I told Onii-chan that I’d be back right away!"
"Oh dear," said Yukito. He knew full well about his friend’s ‘sister complex’. "Then you’d better hurry home before To-ya comes looking for you."
"Y-yeah. Ja ne, Yukito-san!"
Yukito smiled and waved goodbye as Sakura dashed off, flying down the road as if she had wings, Tomoyo making a more graceful exit behind her.
As soon as they were out of sight, Yukito’s hand slipped off the fence. He sat down heavily on the ground and leaned his head against the gate breathing hard.
"What’s wrong with me . . ."
Tiredly he looked at his garden. Branches and tiles everywhere, his roof was badly battered – how on earth did such destruction happen to his house and he didn’t notice any of it? And he had been at home the entire time! How could he not remember such a thing?
Stirrings of panic began to grip his heart again. He couldn’t remember, he really couldn’t remember. And the teddy bear, he could have sworn that it had an ear when Sakura had given it to him.
The whole period from when he had opened the door to see Sakura to just then was a complete blank.
"Why can’t I remember anything?"
He leaned forward and leaned his head on his knees, silver hair tangled. And he was so tired, so tired . . . he felt like sleeping forever and never waking up.
Sleep . . .
It was only through strength of will than actual physical stamina that Yukito managed to drag himself to stand, make his way up the path, into the house and into bed without even changing his clothes or taking a shower.
So he slept, cold, hungry and strangely empty.
I did absolutely nothing in that fight. I was supposed to protect Sakura. Instead it was myself who needed protecting as if I was someone like Tomoyo. Sakura and Kerberos did fine without me. All I did was watch.
I made Sakura worried. She worries about me.
Like a friend.
Friend. So she was telling the truth.
Friends help each other.
But how can I help Sakura when I can’t even take care of myself?
I feel so weak. Tired. It would be no great thing to sleep forever and never wake up.
Would anyone miss me? Or would they miss Yukito?
I don’t want to disappear. I don’t want to die.
How can I survive? The moon is not enough anymore. Sakura is cannot spare anything for me, using the Cards as she does. What else can I use.
Only one other option exists. And that option is not an option.
I won’t hurt him. Not the first person I feel this way for since Clow.
Master . . .
I need you.
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