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Nyctalopia

A Card Captor Sakura Fanfiction

~ Sequel to "Alter Egos" ~

mbsilvana@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: All hail CLAMP. Enough said.

Dedication: For Manon, part of the terrible trio of mods. Sorry it's not a Yami fic, but at least I know you'll read this.

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Prologue

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I wasn't really fond of the idea of returning to Tomoeda. Tomoeda held many memories for me, and memories were one thing I didn't like dwelling on. I wasn't, by nature, a person who liked to THINK on the past. I tended to charge forward into the future, and when confronted by things I didn't like, I ignored them.

Avoidance is a GREAT defense mechanism. I practiced it hourly.

It wasn't because I was stupid and denying reality - far from it. Clow Reed never would have created a stupid creation. I was smart, smarter than almost anything human, but intelligence doesn't equal wisdom. Eriol was always telling me wisdom comes with age, and frankly, I wasn't that old.

But I didn't think. If I thought too hard, my head started to hurt. So I left the thinking to Eriol. Or Spinel Sun. Or most recently, Kaho. Anyone but me.

Kaho and Eriol were a strange pair, but they... fit... for lack of a better word. Eriol wouldn't have been happy with a girl his own age, burdened as he was with the memories of Clow Reed. And Kaho had the strange ability to see people for who they really were, and wasn't concerned that she would have to wait for years until Eriol was old enough to pick up the sexual side of their relationship. I teased them about that constantly, but Kaho would just smile.

It made people uncomfortable that I was free talking about that kind of stuff, but I had little concern for social niceties. Manners and frivolities were things I used when I needed to, but they were like clothes, and just as easily discarded. I wasn't completely immoral, just unconcerned. I understood the necessity of proper behavior, but I didn't always follow it.

Eriol found me amusing, and that was what mattered. I was, after all, his. Above all, I had to please him.

Still, the relationship with Kaho was a bit strange. She was an adult, and mortal. Once I asked him why he didn't try to pick up a relationship with Yue. From the few stories I had been told, Yue and Clow had had something going on. That was part of the reason I didn't like Yue much - there were many, but the fact that Clow had once loved Yue in a way that he didn't love me made me jealous. Oh, and I was a jealous creature.

Eriol had been sitting in his large red chair, reading one of his books. He had whipped through his homework, as usual, in fifteen minutes and was now studying some dead language. I peered at the title and saw it was actually some kind of cookbook.

"Anything good?" I asked.

"Many things, but sadly I lack your skill in the kitchen. I might translate them and have you try one or two of them."

I laughed. I had a rough knowledge of languages, but my translations were always imprecise because I was impatient. I was good at many things, but I had never really mastered anything, because I was like a butterfly. I thought Eriol had chosen the right wings to give me, because I flitted from interest to interest, rarely displaying commitment to anything. Though those few times I really wanted something, I displayed a tunnel vision which was terrifying.

Or so I'm told.

Still, Eriol's modesty about his cooking was annoying. There was nothing he didn't do well, and I knew he was a better cook than I would ever be. "Eriol, why don't you make it yourself?" I asked.

"Because I can never put your feeling into it," he told me, shutting the book. "You always do everything with such passion... it comes through." He gazed at me fondly, and I felt myself glow under his praise.

Twirling around, I pulled him out of his chair and gave him a hug, much like an older sister would. He leaned into it, enjoying my touch, but I noticed he didn't fit into my arms as easily as he once had. He was starting to hit a growth spurt, but I was still taller. I was a bit nervous how he would look when he was an adult - it would be a relief when he physically appeared to be my superior, but a part of me would miss being able to cuddle with him.

I settled into the chair, still holding onto him, wanting to savor the moment. "You've grown so much," I told him.

"Things change, people change. It's the one constant in life. Nothing ever stays the same," he told me.

"I do," I replied.

His smile was sad as he tilted his head to examine me. "You may physically, but even you change in here," he told me, resting his hand against my chest.

Eriol's touch was warm through the light cotton blouse I was wearing. I could feel the steady thrum of my heart, realizing he was the one who had made it beat. "Did you change?" I asked. "From being Clow Reed?"

His smile faded. "I'm not him," he told me. "No matter how much Sakura or Yue may want me to be, I'm not. I'm Hiiragazawa Eriol, and this is my life."

"Is that why you haven't gone to Yue?" I asked.

Eriol's hand fell away from me, and I just stared at him as he laughed after a moment. "My curious, curious butterfly... you always ask what I don't want to ask myself." His hand picked up a strand of my hair and twirled it idly around his fingers, and I realized he wasn't seeing me anymore, but memories that weren't his own.

"There's a saying... we never stand in the same river twice. Even if we return to the same spot, the water around us has changed. We try to move downstream, and things are different there. So even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be able to reclaim what Clow had.

"But I don't. I want to walk my own path, and Yue was part of Clow's. I created my own guardians, who give me what I need in this lifetime. Ruby Moon and Spinel Sun, different and yet similar to Keroberus and Yue. None of you are the same, and yet..."

His hands slipped away, and he rested his cheek against my shoulder. "Sometimes I wonder why I tried to divert the stream onto the course I did. Kaho is my future, but I tried to tell Yue which way he had to flow..." Behind his glasses, his eyes fluttered shut, and he fell asleep. It was a curious moment, one that made me wonder exactly what he had done to Yue.

And if he had regrets. He had helped Sakura change the cards, but as Clow Reed, he had created them as his magnus opus, created Yue and Keroberus...

But that was then. This was now. The moment is never the same twice, was what he meant.

And things do change. The river of time flowed onwards, and you do return to certain parts of your life that you don't always want to be. The waters may have been different, but the scenery was the same.

When Kaho finished up her teaching duties, Eriol declared it was time for us to go back to Tomoeda. I pouted and complained about how I had just finished learning English, but Eriol said that if I really wanted, he could arrange for me to stay, but that he was going back. He had friends he missed, and he liked being around people who understood who he was.

"There's a nice university that has good professors - would you like to enroll?" he asked late one night when I had thrown a particular wild fit about leaving.

Eriol was my master; it was a stupid suggestion and we both knew it.

"Meanie," I said, scowling at him. "I'll start packing."

"Please. I would hate to leave you behind, and I think you'll find something worthwhile to keep yourself occupied," he told me. He gave me one those secretive smiles that everyone else found so infuriating but I just saw as part of his character. It was a mystery I would know the answer to later, and though I usually in on the secret, this time I had no clue what he was hinting at.

Having a seer for a master sucked sometimes.

In the corner, Spinel Sun watched us with those all-too-smug eyes of his, and I made a mental note to buy a pile of pocky as soon as I arrived. Spinel Sun had a little comeuppance due.

I let my doubts fade away. I would be going back to a place where I had failed, and it wouldn't be entirely pleasant. Still... it would definitely be worth going returning. The thing about Eriol was that he never lied; he may never have told the complete truth, but he never out and out lied. Eriol's glasses glinted in the light and I wondered exactly what the future had in store for me.

END PROLOGUE



Nyctalopia:

n : inability to see clearly in dim light; due to a deficiency of vitamin A or to a retinal disorder, also known as night blindness or moon blindness.



Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University