DISCLAIMER: CCS and all its characters are the property of CLAMP.

Take Comfort

Ch1: Winter Heart

Once Touya had fallen into slumber, and Yukito had slipped away too, Yue's consciousness swam to the fore of the mutual body. Soundlessly, he transformed. At this moment, he could not bear Yukito's skin around him. His own skin felt too hot under the blanket, and he longed to flee from the dark bedroom, from Yukito's bliss and his own misery.

He would not cry. He would not allow himself. That part was over. But the cold space that was his heart ached with pain that was still too new. Years had passed since that day of snow and loss, but they were years spent asleep in the Clow Book, or later in a hazy dream that was Yukito Tsukishiro. To Yue, they were like months, and months compared to the decades with Clow were like days. So how could anyone expect him to be past his grief ?

Kissing -- it was just kissing: Touya kissing Yukito, Yukito kissing Touya, Yukito with his eyes closed and Yue seeing everything. Yue being held and not being the one held. Yue had been only marginally removed from the toothpaste taste of Touya's mouth.

Touya, sturdy and dependable, was Yukito's world. But Clow Reed had been the universe to Yue: companion, creator, father, confidant, and best friend. Yue brought his knees up to his chest, curling into a fetal position. He turned his back to Touya.

"Shh," came a sound like wings whispering. "If you move you'll wake him. Be still."

Yue's eyes flew open, and were filled with a sight so unexpected that the shock pushed his pain aside. Hovering above him, leaning over the sleeping Touya, was… well… an angel. Though she wasn't exactly an angel, Yue began to understand.

"Kinomoto Nadeshiko," he said softly.

This time it was the celestial woman's turn to look surprised. "You see me?" she gasped.


"You hear me too!" She smiled radiantly and gently brought her hands together over her heart. "My Sakura has gotten so strong!" Her smile faded somewhat at she turned back to Touya. "He can't see me anymore, but sometimes in dreams… ." She reached out to touch her son's face with an incorporeal hand.

"Because of me," Yue confessed. He wished that she had not come; he wished that she would go. Nadeshiko was too glorious, and her corona like summer light warred with the winter in his heart. She looked at him kindly. Just to avoid her beatific gaze, he carefully and quietly sat upright.

Nadeshiko looked on him kindly, but this was not the one she would have chosen for her son. She would have liked Touya to have children. She saw how he was with Sakura; she knew he could be a good father. And this young man had so many problems. Still, she was not choosing, Touya was, and she saw how her son's spirit calmed when he was with Yukito. This one, who was and was not Yukito, was Touya's choice, too. She told him so.

"Touya makes his own choices," she said. "Why haven't you learned to take comfort in them?" Her eyes, the vivid green that she had passed on to her daughter, met Yue's own deep violet, and she saw the bleakness behind them. "Why are you fighting against those who love you?"

"I am not Yukito," Yue tried to explain.

"Of course you are," said Nadeshiko with certainty. "Where else did he come from?"

"He's a lie," Yue hissed, louder than he had intended. Touya stirred in his sleep.

Nadeshiko's face was solemn with disapproval. As she shook her head slowly, Yue, who had never had a mother, was disconcerted with the shame that washed over him. "Do you even know what you have?" she said.

And then she giggled.

Yue marveled at how she sounded like Sakura, or rather, how Sakura's lauhg sounded like her mother's giggle. Both had a sweetness, a surety in goodness, that washed the world with beauty. Like their namesakes, they were both bright flowers of spring.

"You're too serious," she commented. "Like my Touya."

Yue drew back from Nadeshiko's hand as she gently reached to touch his face. His bare back came against the cold wall with a muffled thud. "Don't," he said.

The noise and sharp movement startled Touya awake. Speculation crossed the boy's features as he looked at Yue. "Yue," he said, more than one question evident in the single word. "Were you talking to someone?" he asked finally, after a long silence, choosing the simplest query first.

Yue's reluctance to answer was evident on his face despite his customary solemn expression. But Yue hated lies, so he answered, uncomfortably, "It was your mother." He took advantage of the moment by clambering out of the bed, though less gracefully than he would have liked. Touya had a quick incongruous image of Yue wearing Yukito's pajama pants before Yue flared his wings. He was hidden in a silver glow, and then there was Yukito again.

"To-ya?" he asked, looking disoriented. "Why was Yue here?"

Touya shook his head. "Yuki, he said my mother was here."

"Your mother!"

Touya scowled. "I wish he wouldn't leave every time without explaining things." The boy's scowl became an embarrassed smirk. "Well, I guess my mom knows about us, now." He smiled as Yukito snuggled up into his arms again. "And I had just fallen asleep, too," he added grumpily.

"I wonder why your mother was here?" mused Yukito sleepily.

Touya played with the long fringe falling into Yukito's eyes. "I think sometimes she checks in on us. She didn't always say."

Yukito looked into Touya's dark eyes. "Do you wish you could have seen her?"

"Yes," said Touya. Then he pressed a sincere kiss onto his friend's lips. "But I'm okay with it."

Touya considered his words as Yukito slipped back into sleep. He felt the weight of his own sleepiness folding over him, pulling him under as it pulled his eyes closed, but at the edge of it, the thought lingered. What he had said was true. He had not lost his mother, only his ability to see her when she was near, which in itself had been a rare occurrence. It was not the same as losing her again, he told himself, as the deep grip of sleep claimed him.