Author's Notes: I donít think Yue even notices yet, but heís worried about hurting Sakura. So much for not caring. One point of angst that wonít 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; heís not a friend the way Kerberos is. The problem with these fight scenes is that they probably wonít make too much sense to people who have not read the manga. But Iím assuming that everyone has . . . if you havenít, Iím sorry if my descriptions arenít 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 canít do anything. Poor thing.


Shadows of the Moon

Chapter Eight

By Leareth

       

Yukito does not sleep as peacefully as he used to anymore. He is worried about what is happening to him, the gaps in his memory, the unpredictable fainting spells. Usually he never worries. His nature leads him to believe that no matter what is wrong, it will all be right in the end. If his sleep is troubled, then it is serious indeed,

Unless it is my own depression and fear that causes him to toss and turn. I can feel that my face is pinched and drawn as Yukito lies in his bed Ė I concentrate on Ďtwonessí, separating myself a little more and he relaxes slightly, but not much.

He is scared. As I am.

Sakuraís power is not enough. I think even she is beginning to feel the strain of supporting the Cards with her own power. What if she gets sick? She is not Clow, she has not his power, his knowledge, his strength, way of thinking . . .

Clow . . .

I remember Clow as smiling. He was always smiling at me, even when I had committed some mistake I was convinced would make him hate me, he smiled at me, telling me it was alright.

He was smiling at me that last night. The night he died.

Clow.

Master, creator, friend, all these and more he was to me. My very life I owe to him.

I loved him.

And he died and left me.

I canít muster up the energy to fight off the melancholy that hits me. Perhaps if I had something to think about, something to do and distract me I would bear it, like I have done for so long. But not now. Itís all too easy to do nothing and let it sweep me under.

Do nothing. That seems to be the term to describe me. I havenít been doing anything useful lately have I. Sakura and Kerberos work perfectly well together without me. They have been a team for a long time.

And lately it seems that I am more of a hindrance than a help to them.

So they are my friends. Friends look after each other. But I donít want to be looked after. Iíve never had to be looked after Ė least of all by a child.

And Sakura cannot fill the void left by Clowís loss.

But Clow did not love me the way I want to be loved. Although I was happy when I was with him, when he was with me, there was always his plan, his ambitions for something . . . something I know not what.

I know that I was not part of it.

Iím not really part of anyoneís life am I. Not as myself anyway.

And with the way things are going, there wonít even be ĎYukitoí anymore.

       

There was no cheer in Yukitoís expression that fine autumn day. He had woken up no better than when he had gone to sleep Ė if anything he felt worse. Depression and melancholy had dominated his thoughts for reasons he did not know or understand, and seeing the state his home was in had not helped. He would have to do something about the roof as soon as possible Ė maybe call up a repairman or something. The garden he could clean up himself.

When he had the energy to do it. Which was not now.

Yukito yawned. The patterns of light and shadow cast by the leaves of the tree he stood under swirled in his eyes making him dizzy. Touya had gone off to a meeting again. He was supposed to wait for him outside the meeting room but after standing there for several minutes watching people go past him in the corridor he had suddenly felt an urge to walk, walk anywhere he didnít seem to care, as long as he was moving.

And by himself.

A dull pain Ė the headache was coming back. Again. That was the worst about this strange melancholy he was feeling Ė part of him wanted to be alone, far from everyone and brood. And yet even as he was walking through the buildings to the very outskirts of the school where the trees were, he wanted to go back to where everyone was. As a compromise between these two warring desires, he now stood beneath a tree in the corner of the school grounds at the back of the main building where few students ventured. Still close enough to hear the chatter and laughter of students in the main courtyard Ė far enough that he did not have to interact with anyone.

So confusing. He didnít understand it.

Shuffling his feet, Yukito leaned against the bark and did his best to fight the urge to sit down. If he did, he might fall asleep, so tired was he. His stomach growled Ė Yukito forced himself to ignore it. He had just eaten lunch ten minutes ago. A very big lunch too, much larger than he had used to have.

"No matter how much I eat Iím never full . . . and itís been getting worse."

He spoke aloud, more to bring the sound of voices into the shady grove, to hear something other than the chirping of birds or the rustle of leaves. It comforted him somewhat, to hear himself and know that he was still here. And it was easier to think aloud than in his mind. Because his mind . . .

"My memory hasnít been working well lately either. Itís really weird. I donít remember how lots of things around my house came to be destroyed, and I donít remember how the bear Sakura-chan gave me came to have its ear torn. Iím sure it was fine just the moment before . . ."

. . . teddy bears for special people . . . why canít I tell her like I did the boy?

"Now that I think about it, the boy had a teddy bear as well."

. . . at least he had someone else in his heart . . .

"I wonder who he was going to give it to . . ."

. . . what? No, no, no, this is not supposed to happen!

Calm. Get a hold of yourself, concentrate.

Separate.

       

Itís getting harder to do, this splitting of selves. It takes a lot of energy to maintain . . .

       

Without warning Yukito felt himself drooping. He leaned heavily against the tree-trunk, arms cradled over his stomach as if to hold himself up.

"Why . . ."

It would be so easy to sleep.

"Why am I so tired?"

The sun was warm on his face. Warm, like a blanket, or a hand caressing his skin. Soothing.

Yukito closed his eyes.

       

I fight the drag of slumber but the struggle only exhausts me further. Weíre close, too close still, and Yukito is bringing me down with him. Or is it me who is causing Ďourí downfall?

I donít know. I donít want to disappear.

. . . I mustnít sleep.

But I canít stay awake.

. . . what if I sleep forever and never wake up?

 

Someone . . . please, can someone wake me?

"Yu . . ."

A name.

He is calling me.

       

"Yuki . . ."

With a start, Yukito jerked awake. He blinked the last remaining vestiges of lethargy away, but it was only when he saw who it was who had woken him did the strangeness dispel enough for his mind to begin functioning again.

"To-ya," he greeted, forcing himself to insert some energy into his voice. He didnít want his friend to worry. "Is the soccer meeting over?"

Touya didnít return the smile Yukito was giving him. "Yeah."

       

Iím . . . glad heís here.

       

Yukito began to push himself away from the tree, relieved at Touyaís arrival. He wasnít too sure what had happened, and he was scared of finding out.

Without warning, a hand was firmly placed on the wood beside his head.

Yukito stared in surprise as Touya moved close to him, preventing any escape.

       

I canít move out from under that intense blue gaze. What is it?

"What?" asks Yukito.

Touyaís expression is deadly serious. "Whenever I try to talk to you something always get in they way," he says. Yukito stares without comprehension; I hold my breath. All those times that person has interrupted Ė will I finally hear what he is trying to say?

       

Yukitoís heart beat faster. He realised he was expectant Ė what was he expecting?

"Yuki, I donít know what you might think Ė" Touya caught himself. "No, you probably also donít know what to think."

The bespectacled boy blinked. What did Touya mean?

Yukito caught his breath as Touya leaned over, the barest space between their faces. He stared, eyes wide as the pair of sapphire blue orbs he knew so well bored into him, past his face, into his heart.

"I donít want you to disappear."

       

I . . . I . . .

I donít know what I feel.

To-ya, what did you just say to me?

"Iíll disappear!" Fierce tears. "A life without youĖ"

Gentle smile. "I donít want you to disappear."

To-ya.

Clow.

       

Yukito blinked, more confused than ever. For the briefest of seconds he saw someone other than his friend; a man, darkly handsome with long hair and glasses. But the expression of worry and concern remained the same. It was gone as quickly as it came, however, and Yukito wondered if it was his imagination, or his eyes as well as his memory was going.

"But To-ya," protested Yukito. "Why would I disappear?"

"Just listen to me," replied Touya, voice leaving no room for argument. He leaned closer, if that was possible, close enough that Yukito could feel the heat of his body through the school uniform. He had to consciously tell himself to start breathing again.

"Listen, Yuki. You are . . ."

       

To-ya, I . . .

       

"TOUYA-KUUUUUUUUN!!!!"

Yukito stared as his friend literally jumped a foot into the air in shock when Akizuki popped upside down out of the branches above them streaming pinkish hair with the biggest smile on her face.

       

It is lucky for Akizuki that I am feeling so weak at present. Otherwise I cannot guarantee that Ďsheí will leave this grove unharmed.

But still . . .

       

For a split second Yukito had an urge to hit something. It passed, leaving him wondering just why he had such a violent impulse. It was totally unfamiliar to him.

He watched as Touya pulled himself together with several deep breaths, while Akizuki leapt out of the treeís branches to the ground with all the grace of a gymnast. She was grinning her head off as her eyes alighted on Touya.

"Whatís going on?" the girl bubbled. "I was just taking a nap Ė but then I heard Touya-kunís voice!" She laughed loudly and at a high pitch. Yukito winced. However, before any of the two boys could say anything, the school bell rang.

"Oh! Lunch breakís over," said Akizuki needlessly. She was looking very pleased with herself. "Youíve got duty, right?" she asked Touya as she sidled up to him still smiling, completely ignoring Yukito Ė again. "Youíd better hurry and see the teacher!"

Touya looked at her without returning the smile. "Akizuki," he began with evident patience.

"Na. Ku. Ru," corrected the girl, waving her finger about teasingly. "Ye-es?"

Touya seemed visibly trying to control himself. "Do you do this on purpose?"

"Do what?" Akizuki asked, the most innocent of expressions on her face.

There was a long sigh from Touya. "Iím going," he announced. Without a single glance behind him, he walked out of the grove.

"Righty-o!" chirped Akizuki, waving her arm around like a maniac. "See you in class!"

Yukito watched Touya leave. He felt strange.

       

Donít go. Donít leave. Not again.

I want to run after him, to get away from the one who has been almost actively sabotaging every moment between me and him. But before I can, the person turns and gives me a sly, smug smile.

I will not do anything to her. It is not right for me to lose control like this.

       

Yukito stared at the girl. Why had Touya left him? With her of all people?

Akizuki was looking at him with an expression he did not quite understand. She seemed almost . . . triumphant?

"I wonder if Touya-kun notices," the girl said thoughtfully. "But then again Ė you donít really understand anything, do you."

Yukito blinked.

"Ah well," Akizuki continued on maliciously. "The older one can never compete with the new, isnít that what they say?" She smiled, but not pleasantly as Yukito stared with a strange sensation in his heart.

"There is something I want from Touya-kun." The girl turned to go, long hair blowing about her face as she shot one last jibe over her shoulder. "So donít get in my way."

She walked off, leaving Yukito alone staring after her in shock.

He hurt.

       

I . . . I feel like I want to sink and go away.

Yukito has never experienced intimidation or teasing of the malicious kind from anyone in his life. It is new to him Ė and to me.

Akizuki Ė what in the world was that, that person talking about? Older? Newer? What is older than what?

And what does she want from To-ya?

The dream I Ė Yukito had, that one where he was late and came to the corner to find Akizuki and Touya together. In that dream, Akizuki did something to Touya. Something that hurt him.

Was that more than a product of my imagination?

What did Akizuki do?

Wait.

I know the answer.

Akizuki took a part of him. Akizuki took his power.

Akizuki hurt Touya.

Yukito is scared and confused as he begins to walk back to the school Ė I donít want to go. I donít want to have to go back to the classroom and face Akizuki. I donít want to face Touya and know that if I take his power so that I can live and fulfil my duty towards Sakura I will hurt him badly.

But perhaps it is just as well that Yukito goes to class. It will force me to stay awake rather than to sleep and disappear.

ĎI donít want you to disappear.í

Clow said that to me. He said it the night he died. At that time I wanted to disappear as well. If my master was to die, then I wanted to go. But he didnít want me to.

And now Touya doesnít want me to disappear.

For them Ė him, I will not.

But . . .

The sunlight is warm on my white skin Ė it does nothing for me. My power is the cold beauty of the moon. I look down at my feet as Yukito walks up the stairs, fifteen minutes late. I cast no shadow. The sunlight passes through me as if Iím not there.

Iím disappearing and thereís nothing I can do about it.


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