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Tea Times Two
by Fushigi Kismet

"Clow," Yuuko was saying as she slammed her empty sake-er, tea cup down on the table, "is insufferable!"

"Isn't he always," the other Yuuko said, pouring her counterpart another cup from the tea kettle and then adding a judicious taste of brandy (to give it more kick). "So what'd he do this time?"

"My. High. School. Cheerleading. Photos."

"You did that? Really?" There was an underlying current of interest and not a little amusement. "I could never see myself prancing around on a field with my skirt flying up as I cheered for a sweaty, lumbering bunch of men."

The other Yuuko raised an eyebrow. "From anyone else that would be derision but I'd like to think I know myself better than that. Anyway, you don't understand. Clow was the BAND LEADER."


"No, the steel drum band. Of course the marching band! Never mind, I forget sometimes that your life is hardly a mirror to my own. What did you do in high school again?"

"Camels," Yuuko said. "I think I was selling camels for a while with Count D. Delightful man, delicious stories, dreadful sweet tooth. We parted ways after we made a satisfactory sale of our own. It might have been nice to stay longer, but the camels smelled too much; I had to get away. If I recall correctly I opened my first shop in London right after that."

"That's right," the other Yuuko mused. "Was yours well-lit? Mine was dim as a tomb and smelled like all the dead pharaohs of the world had decided to molder in the basement."

"Funny. Mine smelled like gumdrops. But back to Clow-"

"Oh, let's not speak of it! How has yours been?"

"Quite dead. His reincarnation's a cheeky little brat who sends me gumdrops occasionally from overseas."

"Real-Drat!" the other Yuuko said as though an internal timer had just gone off, glancing at her watch. It was a watch from some shonen mecha anime and well-made. Yuuko kind of wanted it. "I've got a guest arriving in four minutes and Watanuki's still too green behind the ears to keep from saying something sadly unfortunate to her. Same time next week?"

"Your place?"

"Of course. But you can bring the gumdrops as payment."

She didn't explain further and Yuuko didn't ask. She merely saw her counterpart out that particular door. It was good she was gone. Sometimes it was possible to have too much of a good thing.

Yuuko stepped back into the other room through her curtain of beads and looked distinctly unsurprised upon seeing her guest. "Really, Clow, the Marching Band?"

He spread his hands in a shrug. "I was young. As I recall, the cheerleaders were hot."

"Of course I was," Yuuko said, frowning. Her eyes alighted on what looked like an old thin album in his hands. "Hey, are those the pictures! Lemme see!"

He handed the book over and watched her go through the pages.


"Not really. My," she said, pleased, "I don't disappoint, do I?"

"No," he said quietly. "You never do."