Disclaimer: The characters of Clover belong to CLAMP and their associates. In this ‘fic, only some of the minor characters with no names are of my creation. This fanfic is posted for non-commercial entertainment purposes only.Notes: This 'fic is a little depressing, and a little strange. The title is based on a fragment of 17th century English poetry by Henry Bold. The rest of the poetry is Shakespere's Sonnet 29. The story contains spoilers, and roughly follows the Clover timeline.
Summary: Lan reflects on his choices and his life as he's growing older.
To Make Much of Time
When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
and look upon myself and curse my fate...
Today is an anniversary, of sorts.
It marks one full year since I ran away from the research institute. ...Since I left A. I couldn't stay there any more. The Wizards think I left because I was afraid that A would kill me. But that just shows that even a Wizard can be wrong. The only ones in danger were our caretakers, who competed with A for my attention. I had to leave to protect them.
A knows this is the anniversary too. He still wants me to go back, to return to the institute, and to him. But I can't go back there now. The Wizards wouldn't allow it, even if that were what I wanted to do.
I stand at the window, staring out into the rain. This is my first anniversary. I will have five at most. Five years to live. It's not much to look forward to. But that was the decision that I made. The only decision I *could* make.
Gingetsu has come up behind me. He's been watching me again. "Do you want to go outside?" he asks, as he asked me once before.
To go Outside? I have no place out there. That world doesn't want me, doesn't need me. It would be better for that world if I didn't exist. It would be better if all Clovers didn't exist. "No," I say quietly. Gingetsu is silent for a moment, then he turns and walks away.
The rain patters on the roof, and forms a spiderweb of droplets on the glass. I know that A can hear the rain too. But because he is inside the research institute, he doesn't care that it is raining. He doesn't care about the outside world at all. That's why I can never go back there. ...Why I will never be able to see my brother again.
...Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, or that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy, contented least...
This is the second anniversary.
Two years have passed since I left the institute. The face I see reflected in the window glass has grown older than that. This is my curse, the curse that the wizards placed on me, because they are afraid. They fear having two Clovers together, and so they have placed a curse on me, and on Gingetsu as well.
Something in my chest tightens with guilt. It's my fault that things turned out like this. My fault that the Wizards could decide to kill him at any time. Gingetsu refuses to listen to my apologies. He says only that he made his choice...as I made mine.
Clovers are not allowed to have many options.
Gingetsu has been standing in the doorway behind me for several minutes now. "Do you want to go outside?" he asks at last. I still don't understand why he offers. Doesn't he know how dangerous it is for him if I say yes?
What is there Outside, anyway? My heart answers that there are many, many things. Mountains and oceans and other people...builders and artists and scholars. Here there is only the computer, a dim window to the Outside. That and a pile of the schematics and diagrams that have become my past-time, littered on the floor like old, dead leaves.
I can feel my lips twist into a sad smile. "No," I answer him in resignation. What would I do out there? See things and meet people, certainly. But all of those things are destined to become nothing more than memories, and even the brightest memories fade with time. It is far better for me to stay here.
That is what it means to be a Clover. To be alone.
Gingetsu is still standing there behind me. His presence reminds me that those thoughts are wrong.
Because of him, I'm not alone after all.
...Yet in these thoughts,
myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, --and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate...
This is the day of my fourth anniversary.
Maybe I will live to see another. It's more likely that I won't.
They say that the person whose love is strongest is the one who can love even knowing that the object of their love can't exist for very long. It must be true...to willingly open oneself to so much pain. Even A has given up on me by now. When I die, it will only be one last reason why the two of us will always be apart.
The rain traces long trails down the glass. Beyond it, people hurry about their lives, paying no attention to an old man gazing out a second-story window. The city is a beautiful place. I shall miss it...even though I'm certain it will not miss me.
There are footsteps on the tile floor as Gingetsu comes up behind me. He stands close, one arm reaching out to encircle my waist and pull me back against him. Some people fear to be near others who are growing old. They look into their time-touched features and see a reflection of what they one day will become. Gingetsu has never shunned me for it. Truly, his inner strength is amazing.
"Do you want to go outside?" Gingetsu asks, his breath warm against my ear.
I gaze Outside, to the world beyond the glass. ...And smile, my hand folding over Gingetsu's as I lean my head back against his shoulder. "No," I reply to him softly, and it is simple, utter truth. I've realized that there's nothing for me Outside.
Everything that's most important I've already found right here.
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