Author's Notes: The song Yukito sings is ‘Flow, my Tears’, a famous English song by John Dowland from around the 1600’s. I don’t know an approximate date for when Clow lived, but assuming Clow would have been a cultured and literate man, I chose a song that was old and yet popular enough to still be widely known in later centuries. The Card that Sakura changes was the ‘Flower’ card. She makes nadeshiko flowers to decorate a present for her grandfather.
Shadows of the Moon
Sakura, thankfully, is not sick for long. There is no reason why I should have worried – it is merely a side-effect of her body’s shifting balance of power. Nothing like the wasting illness Clow had. But still, for my new Master to fall sick . . . it reminds me all too painfully of things I want but don’t want to forget.
I know what sadness is, I know what it is like to feel content. But so rarely do I show emotion, even more rarely do I smile. Kerberos often teased me, trying to draw some more warm reaction – very rarely did he succeed.
Clow was the only one who could make me show emotion. All my smiles were because of him.
All my tears as well.
I haven’t cried since that night. Smiles – I don’t even remember the last one. They died along with Clow.
Yet Yukito can still manage to smile, even though he is sick, even though he is scared because he doesn’t know what is happening to him. Even though he is beginning to sense that there is nothing he can do to save himself, and soon will never see him again.
He still isn’t sure of what he feels for Touya. I’m still confused.
Clow was – is, my most special person. Nothing will change that, and I will never let go of it. So then, why do I feel this way to my – Yukito’s best friend?
I don’t want to hurt him. I don’t want him to worry about me.
Yukito smiles so that Touya will not worry.
There was something special about today, Yukito was certain. It had something to do with people giving each other chocolates – he had seen dozens of prettily wrapped boxes being exchanged between girls and boys that morning. But he couldn’t for the life of him remember what the occasion was.
His memory, it seemed, was getting worse. However he was feeling a little better today, relatively. He still felt tired, but not so much that he couldn’t connect with what was going on around him. It was more like the lethargy one felt when slowly coming awake after a deep sleep.
Except for the fact that Yukito didn’t feel he was going to wake completely.
It would seem that Sakura is becoming used to the latest developments with the Cards. It is a good sign, but it can only last for so long. Sakura shines at the center of a complex web of Power, the Cards she has made her own so far tied to her by glowing threads. But it is a very delicate balance. My position is, at the very best, precarious.
And if Sakura changes another Card, I could fall.
Yukito yawned as he sat under the tree, waiting for Touya to join him for recess. He didn’t have to wait long; the rustle of branches in front of him was all the warning he got before his friend stepped into the clearing. The silver-haired boy smiled. He knew he should get up to greet Touya, but at present it required too much effort, so he remained where he was seated.
"Is something the matter?" Yukito asked curiously. Touya had an exasperated expression on his face.
"It’s Valentine’s Day," Touya said in a voice that should explain everything to Yukito. Yukito didn’t get it.
"Valentine’s Day?" he repeated. His hazel eyes went wide. "Oh, so that’s what today is!"
"You forgot it was Valentine’s Day?" queried Touya. "I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s only the girls who give chocolates anyway. And it’s damned annoying."
Valentine’s Day. Traditionally, the day when girls give presents to the ones they love. Usually chocolates – I wonder what that tastes like.
What would To-ya say if I made him chocolates?
Yukito smiled tiredly. "So how many girls have tried to give you chocolate this year?"
His best friend made a face. "Don’t ask. I’m sick of saying, ‘Thank you but no thank you.’ They just don’t get the picture."
Yukito laughed softly. More late autumn leaves feel down, blowing between them. "What a waste of perfectly good chocolate," he joked. "Would you eat mine if I made you some?"
Touya looked at him, startled.
Did I –Yukito, go too far in suggesting that, even as a joke?
Seeing the expression on his friend’s face, Yukito tried to laugh his comment off. "I’d better not give you Valentine’s chocolates," he said. "Your fan club might jump to the wrong conclusion."
Something stirred inside of him as he said that.
Would that conclusion really be so wrong?
Touya looked at him strangely, as if trying to determine exactly what Yukito was thinking. Whatever conclusion he came to, he chose not to say.
"Oh yeah, before I forget," Touya said, changing the subject, "Sakura wants to give you something. Again. Wanna come over to my house after school?"
Yukito looked up and smiled. Sakura-chan, the closest thing to a sister he ever had.
And another person he was slipping away from.
Time . . . it is running out for me all too quickly.
Yukito sighed and closed his eyes. It would be so easy to sleep . . .
"Don’t fall asleep," he heard Touya chide. With great force of will Yukito kept his eyes open and moved to stand up. Touya took a step towards him, a hand outstretched – Yukito waved it away and tried to smile. "Ne, I’m alright, To-ya."
Touya didn’t smile at him.
I don’t need help. I don’t want him to worry. I can work this problem out myself.
"Can you manage, Yuki?"
I don’t need Touya’s help. I don’t need to take his power to survive.
This is what I keep telling myself. Maybe if I tell myself enough times I will believe it.
"Yuki, you are not alright," he says. He takes a step towards me.
"Really, it’s alright," Yukito says. He moves one foot – and stumbles.
Immediately Touya comes to help me up. "Yuki –"
"I don’t need your help!" I shout.
Touya stops. So do I.
Yukito stared at Touya, his shout dying away into the cold air. His eyes were seemed washed out in the wintery light. More amethyst than hazel.
What did he just say?
I have to take that back. I have to apologise.
But I can’t make myself say sorry.
I don’t know how.
A few tense, silent seconds ticked by, though they seemed more like hours. Touya’s blue eyes looked at him steadily, unreadable. Yukito gulped, something inside of him constricting.
"T-To-ya, I . . ." His words trailed off.
Still his friend looked at him. Yukito tried several times to speak, but whatever banality of an apology he thought up, they all died before he could give them breath. Yukito forced himself to meet Touya’s gaze, eyes wide and scared.
Abruptly, Touya turned on his heel to go.
"I’ll see you in class," he said curtly over his shoulder. Before Yukito could react, Touya left, leaving only the sound of his departure behind.
Yukito was too startled to react until it was too late.
Don’t leave . . .
Don’t leave . . .
I couldn’t say it. I couldn’t say that I was sorry.
It hurts. But I hurt him as well.
Why can’t I say it? Just one word, but it means so much. It is a difficult word to say.
For me, anyway.
Seijou High let out just after noon that day. Thankfully, the teachers had kept the class busy with numerous assignments and exercises, and so Yukito had little chance to deal with Touya. He sensed his friend’s blue eyes on him on him throughout the day, but was too ashamed to look back.
Yukito mentally kicked himself for not apologising. What was so hard about it? He had never found it difficult before, and yet for some reason today, when he most wanted to say it, something had been holding him back. Whatever it was, he promised himself, he would overcome it.
Because, he thought uneasily, time was running out.
Time . . . I have so little of it left.
And why is it only then that one learns to cherish what is left and spend it with the people he cares about?
I never had that chance with Clow.
He waited for Touya at the school gate, shifting uneasily from one foot to another as he leaned heavily against the wall. Again, his friend’s usual punctuality ensured that he did not have to wait long. Coming around the side of the building where the bike rack was, Touya slowly walked the bike towards where Yukito was standing.
The wintry day was cold, yet the sun still shone weakly, glinting off the silver metal of the bicycle. The light was swallowed by Touya’s dark hair, but it brought his features out in clear relief. Yukito was too far away to see his friend’s eyes, however from the set of Touya’s shoulders as he walked immediately brought to mind a set of clear, sapphire blue eyes in deep thought.
Yukito realised he was staring, and quickly dropped his gaze as Touya approached him.
"Hey . . . Yuki."
Yukito didn’t look up. "Hi . . . To-ya."
There was an uncomfortable silence. Then,
"I was wondering if you were going to wait for me," the other boy said softly.
Yukito took a deep breath.
I find it difficult to say that I am sorry.
Yukito does not.
"T-To-ya . . ." began Yukito hesitantly.
The other boy looked at him steadily. Yukito gulped and plowed on. "I-I-I’m sorry, To-ya, I didn’t mean – I mean, I don’t know what I said at recess, it’s just that -"
"It’s ok, Yuki."
Yukito started and jerked his head up. Touya had the faintest hint of a smile on his face.
"I know you haven’t been yourself lately," Touya said. His eyes were very blue. "I just want you to know that no matter what I’m here. And I’ll help you. But only when you want me to. Now cheer up. You don’t want Sakura to worry when she comes home."
Slowly, Yukito smiled.
I was never very good at saying sorry. But To-ya, like Clow, is all too ready to forgive me. Why?
Clow knew me better than I did myself. To-ya? What about him? Is he trying to tell me something?
Does he know who I am?
Can’t be. He wouldn’t be friends with someone who isn’t human. Only Clow accepted me for who I am.
The two boys made their way to Touya’s house. The trip took longer than usual, Touya riding more carefully with his still tired friend riding on the pillion seat. Yukito yawned, fighting an urge to rest his head on Touya’s shoulder and let the gentle movement of the bike lull him into an easy doze.
"You ok back there?" asked Touya, turning his head around slightly.
Yukito smiled. "Yes." Their little disagreement had been put behind them and all was forgiven – of course he was fine. "Yes," he said again.
Seated as he was, he couldn’t avoid feeling his friend smile. Yet there was a tightness in Touya’s muscles that hinted that there was still something not right.
"Is there something wrong?" Yukito asked curiously.
Touya sighed, braking gently to a stop at a crossroads. "One word. Akizuki."
Yukito felt an unexplainable twinge of apprehension at the girl’s name. "What happened this time?"
"This time she ambushed me with a bag of Valentine’s Day chocolates as I was going back to class after we . . . well, you know." Touya nudged the bike forward again, and quickly got off the subject. "Anyway, this time she jumped out of a second floor window at me."
Second floor? How on earth did Akizuki manage that?
I knew there was something about that girl – person that wasn’t right.
Yukito slung his schoolbag into a more comfortable position as Touya turned into his road. The sakura trees were bare. "Second floor?" he repeated, blinking. "Wow. She’s really keen on you."
"Can’t say I feel the same about her," grumbled Touya. "She’s loud and silly and a general annoyance. And . . ." He trailed off, voice becoming thoughtful. "There’s that other thing too . . ."
Yukito looked at his friend’s back. "What other thing?"
They came to the Kinomoto’s house and Touya stopped the bike. "Nothing," he said, dismounting. He held the bike steady as Yukito got off. "C’mon, I’ll get you something to eat. Sakura should be back in a little while."
It was a bit longer than a little while before the light soprano ‘Tadaima!’ was heard at the front door. Yukito, seated at the table while Touya was getting drinks, didn’t even need to get up to greet Sakura as she ran like a miniature whirlwind into the dining room, still wearing her school hat and bag.
"Welcome back, Sakura-chan!" said Yukito, turning towards her with a big smile.
The girl’s face took on a dreamy blush. "Tadaimaaaaaaaa . . ." she repeated happily as she looked at him.
Sakura . . . please don’t. You will only get hurt.
"I heard from To-ya that you had something for me," said Yukito as Sakura took her hat off.
"Uh . . . uh huh!" The ten-year old, still blushing, placed her bag on the floor and rummaged through it. She brought out a wrapped and beribboned box. Shyly lowering her eyes to her feet, Sakura held it out to Yukito. "Here! It’s uh . . . chocolate."
Yukito took the present from her, delighted. "Wow!" he exclaimed, carefully undoing the ribbon.
Sakura gazed at him, her eyes soft.
Chocolate. On this day. Valentine’s Day.
What do I do?
Touya chose that moment to reappear, carrying three drinks on a tray like a waiter in a restaurant. "The monster made it, so be careful. You never know what she put in," he warned his friend, smirking.
"What did you say?!" snapped Sakura, changing from a sweet girl to the cute monster her brother teased her about being.
"That’s not true," said Yukito in the girl’s defense, opening the box. On a bed of soft tissue sat a large chocolate in the shape of a heart. Written in white icing was, ‘To Yukito-san, from Sakura.’
Yukito smiled. But he hesitated in picking it up.
I can’t refuse, it will hurt her. But should I accept it? Encourage her feelings for me?
I stare at the heart-shaped chocolate. From Sakura.
When I disappear, she will cry.
But at least I won’t be around to see it.
Yukito gently picked up the chocolate. Breaking off a small piece, he ate it thoughtfully while the Kinomoto siblings glared it out.
"It’s delicious!" he said happily. He ate some more and closed his eyes.
Sakura looked at him. Seeing Yukito’s smiling face, she sighed happily.
I can almost see love-hearts popping into existence above her head. Touya looks at his little sister and rolls his eyes.
Did I do the right thing?
I don’t know. But I know that I am glad that, for this moment at least, I have made Sakura happy.
Yukito stayed at the Kinomoto’s house as long as possible before their father came home for dinner. Not wanting to be an inconvenience, he insisted on going home at that point. Having failed to convince his friend to stay, Touya settled for walking Yukito back.
It wasn’t that Yukito hadn’t wanted to stay. Spending time with two of the people he cared most about was one of his greatest pleasures. But more than that, he felt as if he wanted to grab onto the moment and hold onto it forever, before it slipped away. Because it was slipping away more and more quickly. Another part of him, however, feared being a hindrance to his friends, and once he felt that it was time, he left.
At least Touya was still with him.
"You’re looking little better," noted Touya, running an eye over Yukito critically in the fading light as they walked.
"It hasn’t been so bad, this whatever-it-is," replied Yukito, hiding a yawn. That was true, in relative terms at least to some of his other days recently.
"Still," Touya said as they came to Yukito’s house, "maybe I should stay a while."
Yukito shook his head. "No, really, it’s ok. There’s no reason for you to stay–"
They came to the gate of Yukito’s house, and Touya stared.
"What happened here?" he demanded.
Yukito looked sheepish. He still hadn’t had the time to clean the place up, though he had made a half-hearted attempt at making the garden more presentable after that weird storm that had blown up the night Sakura had come to visit. That was what, nearly three days ago? Or maybe more . . . his muddled head couldn’t really remember.
"Uh, you know, that storm a few days ago . . ." he began.
"What storm?" Touya asked, opening the gate for them.
Yukito frowned. "The one on, uh, the one on . . ." He racked his minds for the day. "I can’t remember."
"Whatever happened, it made a hell of a mess," observed Touya, pushing a tree branch out of the way with his shoe. He glanced up at the roof. "Hit the roof as well?"
Yukito nodded. "I haven’t gotten around to fixing it up yet," he said. "It’s not that I haven’t had time, it’s just that, well, you know . . ."
"You’ve been feeling weird."
Yukito stopped and looked at his friend. They had reached the front door. "Yes," he admitted slowly. Suddenly he felt very tired. To cover it, he fumbled for his house key. Once he had it in the keyhole, he realised he was very reluctant to turn it.
Turn it, and say goodbye to Touya.
Stay . . .
Don’t leave me. Not like Clow did.
But I can’t say it.
Too late, he realised his hesitation was making Touya look at him questioningly. With a shaky smile, Yukito forced his hand to turn the key.
Touya’s hand closed on top of his.
"I’ve got an idea," said Touya casually. Yukito looked up at his taller friend, eyes as wide as a frightened animal. Touya gazed at him kindly.
Like someone else he had known . . .
"Why don’t I hang around a bit and we can fix things up?" suggested his friend. "I’m sure between the two of us we can get it done pretty quickly."
Yukito glanced at his messy front yard, the odd roof tile lying on the grass.
"Okay," he said softly. Gratefully.
It’s strange. It’s almost as if Touya knows what I want, and more than that, the feelings that prevent me from asking him directly.
Like Clow . . .
Does he know me so well? No, only Sakura, Tomoyo and Li know my – Yukito’s true nature. And I unsettle them. Two people – one that they know so well, the other a strange, unearthly creature – who aren’t really two people.
So Touya can’t know.
But whatever the reason, I‘m glad.
Yukito hung his apron up after clearing his dinner things away. As Touya had predicted, the two of them had managed to clear everything up in a surprisingly short amount of time, even with Yukito’s weakness hampering him. Touya had kept a careful eye on him, making sure that he didn’t over exert himself and insisting on being the one to climb onto the roof to fix the tiling.
Although Yukito found it strangely difficult to say so, he was thankful.
And now he was feeling well enough to sing softly as he prepared to retire upstairs for the night.
‘Flow my tears, fall from your springs . . . Exiled, forever let me mourn . . .’
He switched off the kitchen light, and the one in the hall. He went to the lounge.
‘Where night’s black bird her sad infamy sings . . .’
Yukito paused a moment to smile at the now neat garden outside, then put his hand on the light switch.
‘There let me live forlorn –’
Yukito stopped in his song. That song – the lyrics were . . . English.
He didn’t know any English songs. So why was he singing an English song as if it were a familiar tongue?
That song was one of Clow’s favorites. ‘Music is the expression of the heart and soul’, he told me.
Why do I sing it now?
Yukito stared at his hand. It was shaking.
"I don’t know myself anymore . . ." he whispered, frightened.
Suddenly the world seemed to swim before his eyes. His legs shook, unable to support him. Yukito feel to his knees, clutching at his head as a wave of pain rolled through his skull.
– another Card – Sakura changed another Card – I
"Who’s speaking?!" Yukito screamed.
Mercifully, he fell into darkness.
Another Card. Sakura changed another Card. With that change, the balance of power shifts too far, too abruptly.
And I begin to fall.
This development shouldn’t scare me so much. I knew this was going to happen.
But knowing and experiencing are two entirely different things.
Perhaps its only blessing is that I won’t have to worry who I am now. Because I won’t be around for much longer.
But . . .
All my friends.
And . . .
How ironic. When I wanted to disappear, I could not. Now, when I want to live, I am fading.
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