Better Than Drinking Alone.

Clow always favors the piano before the booze when he's sad. Yuuko observes the sharp lines of his profile as his fingers dance without troubles through the keys, eyes closed, face expressionless; she lets whisper of the smoke curl around her like a caress, sharing the ache he feels through his music.

"You knew what was going to happen." She says. She's not accusing, she's not saying it to try and sooth him. She's stating the facts, perhaps hoping that if she repeats them enough they will lose meaning and Clow will stop feeling heartbroken.

She knows how to deal with a happy Clow, with an obnoxious Clow, even a melancholic Clow. She yet has to see an angry Clow, or learn how she should react when Clow lets himself be vulnerable.

"I know." Clow answers, and it's still heart breaking. Yuuko takes another drag and leans over the cushions, so that only half of his face is seen.

She knows that music sooths him in the same way that cooking or sewing does, because it took him years of practice to be good. He wasn't born talented on either of those, and so they're not a burden to him.

He has never told her when was it that magic became one for him. They might have known each other for what seems an eternity, even if physically they've not met each other for long, but Clow is very careful with whom he shares his past, even if she's the only one with whom he shares his visions of the future.

"I should be the one mourning her." Yuuko says, if only to try to get him to smile again. As annoying as he is when he's smiling, she can't tolerate when he's not. "Few women that don't fall for your 'charm', and this happens. I'll be the only one left at this rate."

"Of course you will, dearest." Clow looks at her and he seems so old, suddenly, his eyes exhausted that Yuuko worries. Then Clow smiles, just a little, but it calms her. "It is a shame that you and Madoushi never met. I think you would've liked each other."

Yuuko knows for a fact that they wouldn't, but she won't say that to Clow. There are few precious things he doesn't realize, and she treasures those bits of information that escape his Sight. Instead she huffs and rolls her eyes. Clow's attention goes back to the keys, even if he hasn't stopped playing.

"You hoped to change how things would go." Yuuko clicks her tongue and lets the smoke do a circle. "Really, you're getting soft in your old age. You better than anyone should've known how impossible it was."

"I hoped something would happen to prevent things, yes." Clow smiles again but it's not his smile. Something that broken shouldn't belong to him. "I hoped that Madoushi wouldn't cause herself this."

Once she sees his eyes, Yuuko stops her first answer, that had been about Clow just being sore about the fact that a beautiful woman hated him, but by the look in his eyes he really cared for her, the soft hearted fool he is.

She sighs.

"You should've made a wish."

"If I had, it wouldn't have been a surprise for it to come true, my dear." Clow smiles at her softly, a hint of his usual self showing. The music was doing its work, so she huffs, rolling her eyes and leaning over the cushions again. "You can't blame and old fool for that."

"Oh, yes, yes I can. And will." But she doesn't say anything after that. Clow's piano is a little bit less somber, and Yuuko wonders if he is feeling better or if he's just playing pretend for her sake; probably a bit of both, she realizes.

"Would you give up magic if you could?" She asks then, thinking about the guardians Clow loves so much, about his cards, about Soel and Larg. Her question startles Clow and he stops playing; Yuuko takes notice of her small victory.

"If you had asked me a few decades ago, I would've said no." Clow answers. His fingers go back to the keys of the piano, breaking through the afternoon like sparrows. Yuuko watches him in silence for a few moments before she stands up and looks towards the garden.

"And now?"

The music doesn't pause, but Clow does; when he answers, he sighs. "It'd take me longer to answer 'no' again."