A Summer Night's Musings
By: 0oMoonCalfo0 (previously known as 3loodlust and threefold)
Disclaimer: Sadly I do not own CCS or any of its characters, though, trust me, I've tried. (And I have the Bishonan to prove it!)
A/N: Just a quick note before we begin. I love fics that showcase the sort of sibling bond between Kero and Yue, and am finding less and less stories around now-a-days that show anything involving poor Kero and his troubles or musings, most of all you see anymore are poorly written romances that go totally AU or OOC.( I hope I didn't go AU or OOC! Please tell me if you think I did.) This story, strangely enough came to one night as I found myself unable to sleep, and I just had to type it up, it was driving me bananas! So, enjoy the musings of my semiconscious mind! (There is a bit of implication of CxY in the past sequences and SxY implications in the rest of it, but nothing that you shouldn't be able to ignore.)
Italics with ' ' around them are Kero's thoughts.
The large section of plain Italics is flashback
A warm summer night, a gentle breeze wafts in through a slightly ajar window, dancing its merry way through the bedroom of a young teenage girl, Sakura Kinomoto, Master of the Clow. I guess you could call it a warm night if it pleases you, a dry sort of air, but I've felt warmer nights, dryer ones, memories from a different time, a different place…a different life it almost seems. It's nights like this where you find a one guardian beast, yours truly, suffering form an amnesia of sorts: quite unusual in my leisurely life, I assure you! However, despite my annoyance of finding myself, for reasons unknown (or at least reasons that I'm more than unwilling to admit!), unable to participate in one of my personal favorite past times, I find myself sitting here on Sakura's windowsill, feeling the dusty summer wind drift in. You can imagine my position!
Leaning against the cool glass of the window, the clock by my 'Master's' bed reads almost midnight, and I find myself unwillingly gazing up into the darkened sky above my head. It's almost depressing really, how blank and dead the night sky looks when the moon selfishly decides once a month not to shine its light. With a prang I feel my brother's aura wash over me, as any mention of the 'M' word usually does. A quite unwelcome image from many years past drifts wearily into my sleep deprived mind…
a wary young man… dressed in loose fitting, rather generic clothing in an attempt to blend in… his long silver hair drawn back into a tight three-stranded braid so as to make it appear shorter… The image appeared as if it were seen through a roaring fire, warped by heat. It seemed to play in a kind of slow motion as the figure within it stumbled, leaning foreword into a nearby tree for support.
He doesn't turn immediately at the sound of his name, but rather remains grasping at the tree trunk, his breath coming short. Slowly he turns ever so slightly to face his brother, his weight still against the tree; his skin flushed and reddened, his pale violet eyes distant and glassy.
"…Cerberus…" he whispers as those eyes flutter shut.
Snapping out of my trance, I find myself shaking my head furiously from side to side, such as one would expect from a large dog, as if the movement would simply cause the thought to just fall out one ear or the other and drift away. With a sigh I glance back out the window, and allow the memories to overwhelm me of another hot and dry summer, a very long time ago.
The exact year escapes me anymore, though I distinctly remember that it was the last summer I would ever spend in England, and whether or not the events that played out during it had to do with our rushed move to more temperate and humid Japan, I still do not know. It was the hottest summer I remember ever having to live through, the summer of the drought. The rains hadn't come in months, the ground was cracked and dry, the forest trees were drooping pathetically, and in the nearby village the crops were failing left and right; even the grass seemed to be sagging, brown and shriveled from lack of water.
I liked it.
The house we'd lived in at that time had once belonged to Clow's father; it was a fairly sizable home that showed the wealth of the family that had once resided there. It was situated on top of what could best be described as a small mountain, or else as a large forested hill. A small village laid a little ways off, at the forests edge where the land leveled out. It had once been Clow's daily 'ritual' to head down to the marketplace and retrieve what food and supplies he needed for the remainder of the day… Clow… that was the heart of the matter. Clow had long-since all but retreated into his little study at the far end of the house; it had started out as a gradual effect, with him merely spacing out once and a while, muttering to himself, but he slowly began to spend more time absorbed in his 'important work' in his study. Yue picked up the slack. He took over for Clow in many senses: preparing and feeding him all his meals, washing everything by hand since bubbles would only respond to her master. Sometimes, looking back, I think he was all that kept us going for quite some time, or rather, all that kept Clow from loosing his grip on reality altogether. (For he never had much of one in my opinion.) At the time, however, I had somehow been oblivious to my master's obsession…among other things… I was just happy to lie snoozing across the warm stone floor.
There was a choking cough from the other end of the room as a gust of dry wind blew in from outside, carrying with it a fair amount of loose dust that had broken away from the crumbling ground. I remember smiling to myself as I lay sprawled across the living room floor, napping in the sunlight. Yue hated present weather conditions, which, of course, only reinforced my love for it. He by far preferred the icy, wet days of winter, heaven only knows why! I never did understand Yue's logic (which in my opinion wasn't even worthy of that title), but this summer in particular seemed to bother him, most probably, as I stated before, due to the record heat, and general lack of moisture in the air. He seemed to have lost his usual gusto, and often times I had found him leaning against the door frame of one room or another, his eyes closed, gently rubbing his temples as if bothered by a sudden headache, or else melting like a candle left out for the night; and, though it pained me to admit it, I found it somewhat unnerving to watch, my normally fairly undisturbed brother wilting like the petunias Clow had planted in the front garden.
"Off to the village?" I had asked once Yue had regained himself, not even shifting in position to face him. "You know, I'm sure if you let it slide for a couple of days Clow'd come out once he got hungry enough." I chuckled at my own joke as I rolled over and opened my eyes to face my brother. He had his back to me, as I recall, his hair pulled back into a tight 4-stranded braid, which still left it almost brushing his ankles. He was wearing a set of Clow's old clothing which were slightly too large for him and hung somewhat loosely on his smaller frame. (His attempts at blending in with the 'normal' village folk.) The general atmosphere surrounding him made me chuckle into the floor yet again. This time Yue responded, and turned his head sideways to face me. I felt the smile slip from my face, easily as the dust outside had slipped from the ground, as I looked upon my sibling before me. His skin was flushed a blotchy pink color, his precious hair hung limply, and his eyes, which usually cut straight through me like hardened amethysts, appeared distant and glassy. Altogether it was a pitiful sight and enough, when he turned sharply back away from me, to compel this old couch potato to rise from my comfortable place in the sunlight and walk over to the table where Yue was collecting a large wicker basket to carry goods from the village back up the mountain in.
"Yue?" I remember asking timidly, my usual sarcasm long-since forgotten like my nap on the floor. "You alright? You don't look well." Gently I brushed up against him, quite like the oversized cat that, I suppose, I am. Even through the thickness of my long, golden top-coat, I could tell that something was amiss. "…and…jeez! Your skin feels hot enough to give Fiery a run for his money!" In one swift motion, I drew myself in front of him, blocking his path. "You have a fever, don't you?"
Yue merely brushed passed me toward the front door. "I don't get ill, Cerberus. Tonight is the new moon… and this heat is getting to me, nothing more." He whispered almost drunkenly back in my direction. Well, that was true, I thought, neither Yue nor I had ever gotten sick, and it wasn't unheard of for him to get much weaker this time of the month…especially in the summer. As he passed through the open doorway, however, he faltered slightly, and had to use the door's sturdy wooden frame to steady himself. Something like instinct struck me then, I believe– possibly the closest I had ever come to it at the time – and for a moment I felt like I should have called out to him; tell him he shouldn't be leaving the house. I admit to myself: I was worried about him. It was a long trip down the mountain, the narrow path spiraled through the woods, and the fading, waterless trees, I knew, would provide only so much coverage from the sheer heat of the sun's brutal rays. I was worried. I knew well the price that my little brother paid for his near-humanity; true, I had never known him to fall ill, and he seemed not to be plagued by human infirmities like Clow's poor eyesight, but if you cut him he still bled, if he were held underwater he would still drown, he was, for all intents and purposes, human, with all their vulnerabilities. And I knew that Yue was especially susceptible to heat. I was certain that his body temperature was higher than normal, and surely laboring in this weather could only make it worse.
"Hey, wait a minute!" I remember screaming as I ran across the yard to catch up with Yue, who was a fair ways down the front steps near where the forest opened up. I heard him mutter my name under his breath in an almost annoyed manner.
"What is it, Cerberus?" he asked weakly as I skidded to a halt before him, completely winded.
"I really don't think you should do this, Yue." I panted; it was for too hot out here to be running. "Not in this heat…"
Yue sighed, gently rubbing his temples. "If you ran all this way to tell me that," he whispered. "Then I daresay you wasted your breath."
"Yue, please!" I begged breathlessly, loosely grabbing hold of his long ponytail, the only thing within my reach, as he turned to leave. "You're not well, whether you like it or not, and I have a bad feeling about this whole business…"
Somewhat less gracefully than he normally would, Yue maneuvered himself form my less than solid grip and staggered his way back to the forest's edge. I watched as he walked drunkenly towards the browning trees, slowly vanishing from view behind them. An uneasy feeling was beginning to develop in the pit of my stomach as I lost sight of him. I really felt that something was wrong and would only get worse, but Yue was devoted to Clow…and nothing was going to stop him from getting to that village in the man's absence. Ignoring these troubling feelings, I merely sighed and slumped down on the grass. I was certainly not running all the way back!
This is pathetic!
I shove myself away from the window's glass and sit with my back to it, arms crossed. Here I am musing over a ridiculous time long since past! That was Yue's division, not mine, to wallow in the negativity of yesterday and present-day alike! I force myself away from my windowsill perch, and begin to float my way across the darkened bedroom to the warm soothing comfort of Sakura's bed sheets. Yet, comfort here I, for once, do not find. 'What's wrong with you Cerberus?' I find myself thinking indignantly. Casually my eyes wander the room and come to rest yet again on the slightly ajar window where the warm summer air is still drifting in.
"Yue…" I mutter, to myself, I guess, since I sincerely doubt that my slumbering 'Mistress' could have heard. Slowly I close my eyes in some feeble hope that sleep would take me as well, but it was not darkness that engulfed me, but rather the bitter scene still playing in my minds eye…
I can't recall exactly how long I laid there in the wilting grass by the wood's edge, the smoldering sun beating down (to the point that even I had to admit it was getting a little too hot!), but I believe I must have dozed off at some point, for when I awoke I noticed the sun had moved. It had been morning when I'd chased my little brother down the front lawn, the sun in the east, but now it was shining high above me, the sign that it was nearing midday. Yue never took this long returning from the village…My first thought was that this might be some sick joke of his, revenge for pestering him earlier in the morning, that he'd simply not woken me upon his return to the manor. 'He's likely trying to make me miss lunch!' I thought angrily... No, that couldn't be right. I took another glance up at the sun, as if expecting it to give me some sort of advice… needless to say… it didn't.
Something wasn't right:
It wouldn't matter if I had tried to murder him in his sleep, Yue wouldn't just leave me out here, baking in the heat like an over-sized loaf of bread; it wasn't in his nature. On the other hand, he should have been long-since back by this time of day. Slowly I got to my feet. Why my younger sibling hadn't returned wasn't what mattered right now, I decided, my instincts were telling me that I had to go off and find him, and this time I wasn't going to ignore them!
Cautiously I made my way in through the trees that lay before me. It wasn't my first time in the forest, I had followed Yue a short way in a few times before (Mostly because it annoyed him to some level, which is my fondest joy in life), but there seemed to be something ominous about the way the once lively trees now drooped and sagged all around me. As if to reinforce this thought, a decaying, brown leaf drifted down upon me from above, and beneath by feet I heard a twig snap… cleanly in half.
"Yue..." I called out, my voice shook slightly: something like fear seemed to be building up inside my chest. 'What reasons would I have to be frightened?' I thought furiously. Any minute now, I would turn a corner and there my brother would stand with some excuse of having gotten lost or something, prepared to chew me out for having tried to follow him. That was the way things always ended up, nothing ever happened to us. I reasoned.
Yue doesn't get lost.
"Yue?" I called again, tension beginning to build. The father I walked the more I seemed to notice the trees, usually so strong so sturdy, blossoming up to the sky with bright green leaves: untouchable– and now they were dried out, wilting…dying in this heat.
The horrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach was building up...guilt. Yue should have returned by now, if something happened to him…I should have made him stay home! I had known there was something wrong with him!
"Yue?!" I was beginning to feel like a foolish child who had stayed up too late listening to his father's ghost stories.
The wilting trees seemed to be leaning in farther and farther as I walked along, dried leaves and broken branches littering the ground.
"YUE!!!!" I screamed, taking off at a dead run.
I was running at my top speed now, by feet barely clipping the ground. I'll admit it; I was worried, worried that something horrible had happened to my little brother, my responsibility, while I was asleep. I knew there was something wrong when I met him in the living room…why had I let him leave? I was prepared to call out again to my sibling, in desperation… but instead I froze in my position.
He was leaning, his entire weight, against the trunk of a tree, gripping it tightly as if it were his lifeline. Judging by the contents of his previously empty basket, I assume he had made it to the village, but the trip seemed to have worsened his condition. His eyes were unfocused, almost delusional, and his breath, I noticed, was coming quickly, almost as if he had run the distance from the base of the mountain. (I wondered vaguely how he had made it back this far.)
"…Cerberus…" he muttered weakly. In a whisper of the wind, his eyes fluttered shut, his grip against the tree failed.
…A rush of air, a swirl of a cloak, brown leaves were sent flying, of a sudden a tall man, dressed in robes of black satin, stood amongst the trees, dwarfing Yue as he cradled the young guardian's unconscious form, preventing him from falling. He was like a dream to me, this savior, and for a moment I could not recognize him. So plainly I could see his long black cloak, his dark ebony hair, the light through the trees reflected against his glasses…but surely he couldn't be the man he appeared. In the blink of an eye, however, I seemed to regain my senses.
"Clow!" I yelled, relief washing over me trampling down the last of my previous hysteria. Surely now everything would be alright.
"I sensed something was wrong when the house grew so quiet." My master explained as he gently lifted my brother the remainder of the way into his arms. "How could I not foresee this?" he spat, more to himself than to me or my comatose sibling.
"What's wrong with him?" I asked somewhat desperately. "Is he sick?"
"In a way," Clow responded quietly. "He's not ill, so to speak…it's this weather, it's the time of month, it's everything that's been building up for so long…" Gently my master brushed a loose strand of Yue's silvery hair back behind his ear as he spoke "I believe he's become dehydrated in this drought… and constantly laboring in this heat…" the old sorcerer sighed. "…he's been overworking himself…This is my fault…" the last was barely audible, and, for a time, I thought I had imagined his saying it.
For a moment, no one spoke; Clow seemed to be carefully looking Yue over. I looked on with bated breath as he cautiously examined my little brother, as though searching him for any kinds of cuts or bruises. "He doesn't appear to be seriously injured…" he muttered, and I was suddenly struck with the feeling as if my master had forgotten that I was here. "But his temperature has risen…significantly…" The first note of real concern shook in Clow's voice as he spoke the last. I watched as he gently prodded the side of Yue's neck with slightly trembling fingers. For a moment all was silent…
Clow turned sharply to me, "Cerberus," he whispered, though his voice not entirely steady. "Can you fly him back to the manor through these trees?"
"Trees, is that what they're supposed to be?" I had responded, trying to laugh (and failing). "I think I can maneuver through them...or over them if all else fails." This time I spoke much more seriously.
"Then, I'll meet you back at the manor." He said quietly, "we need to get him out of this heat."
I felt Clow carefully lower my unconscious sibling onto my back and I cautiously took off from the ground, the trees did prove difficult to navigate around and a short way along I remember shooting thorough their leafless branches to soar above them. 'How could you do this to yourself, Yue?' I recall thinking to myself as I glided along. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach was returning, I could feel the sheer heat radiating off my brother's body, far worse even than he had been this morning, though, as I remember not a drop of sweat ran down his face, and against my back I swear I could almost feel the blood racing through his veins nearly as fast I against the wind. I had a bad feeling about this whole situation, most especially Clow's comment. 'This is my fault.' Well, perhaps that was true, I thought savagely, perhaps if Clow hadn't left to do his 'important work' night and day, then perhaps Yue wouldn't have worked himself to the point of collapsing. I shook these thoughts away from me, now was not the time to blame Clow, or anyone else, he had to focus on just getting back home.
Clow had beaten me back to the manor; I didn't bother to ask how. He carried Yue off to our bedroom and laid him gently on top of the sheets. He worked meticulously for a couple of minutes, carefully unbuttoning Yue's shirt, and laying out little packs of ice on either side of his young guardian's neck, on his chest, and across his forehead; in the far corner of the room, he sent the Windy card to keep up a flow of cooler air. I sat patiently and waited a long time before I tried to speak to my master again. I was hoping that perhaps if I let him calm down, he might give me a better explanation of what exactly was wrong with my little brother. ( he had never given me a straight answer, and it was weighing on my concerned mind.) Yue must have had a fever this morning despite everything he had said… his temperature was far higher than normal. 'Is that what made his collapse?' I thought worriedly ' could fever alone be enough to make him pass out? Or I there something Clow's not telling me?'
Clow stayed up the entire night, I think, gently cooling my weakened sibling's face with a damp fragment of cloth, and refilling the little ice filled pouches he kept pressed against Yue's skin. He appeared not to move much, except to occasionally run his fingers through my brother's hair, falling loosely from its braid. I remember thinking how strange it was to see Clow again, outside his study no less, he had stayed cooped up in there for so long. 'Well, look what it took to get him here!' I quickly pushed the thought from my mind, Clow was here, that was all that mattered. By the time evening fell, Clow had seemed to have cooled his faded charge's temperature back to normal, with only a little help from Windy's somewhat frigid breezes, (frigid in my opinion anyway) and when nighttime was truly upon us I could see, through the new moon's eerie light, his reddened skin had faded back to normal; he rested much more peacefully for the remainder of the night.
"I think he'll be alright now…" It was the first thing Clow had said since the forest, and caught me quite off-guard.
"So…what happened to him out there?" I asked timidly.
Clow sighed softly and mindlessly let his fingers wind through Yue's hair. "Yue isn't like you Cerberus." He started slowly. "You live in the kitchen, eating and drinking to your heart's desire…But Yue's only source of water is the humidity ion the air, and the time he spends at the river near the village. We're in the middle of a drought, Cerberus."
Clow still didn't seem to be making much sence, though this certainly wwas an improvement on the last answer he gave me. "So…he's dehydrated?"
"Yes. You of all people should now how poorly Yue's body reacts to heat. With out a way to cool himself, his body temperature has been rising. He's overworked himself in these conditions…he's made himself so ill…because I locked myself away for so long: Because I left the weight of my entire world on his shoulders….
… I'm so sorry, Yue."
For a few minutes all was silent, and I could swear that I could see a tear gently winding down my master's face as he held his unconscious guardian closely to him.
"He could have died…" he muttered.
The room seemed to be sliding in and out of focus, and as Clow continued to speak, I found my attention varying.
"But he'll be alright now…"
I could hear the words…but they weren't making sense anymore.
"…Everything will be alright now…"
The world was growing black.
I think I dozed off somewhere along the line, because the next thing I remember there was morning sunlight drifting in through the windows. Clow seemed to have at last left, and I could hear him banging around downstairs, I guessed attempting to remember how to make his own breakfast. 'I wonder if he can even find his way through the kitchen anymore.' I thought to myself, somewhat amused.
I turned slowly around, Yue seemed to be conscious at last, he was leaning against the headboard of the bed in a semi-reclining position, his right hand pressed against his forehead (he was obviously feeling the aftereffects of his record high temperature the day before), his eyes tightly closed. "What happened?" he muttered without facing me.
'You dehydrated, superheated, and collapsed against a tree like an idiot!'
"You ignored my advice." I answered, sarcastic tones in my voice. "Same as usual." Yue didn't respond, but rather sighed and continued trying to work away his headache.
He was quite an interesting sight to see now that I thought about it, his slightly oversized shirt was partly unbuttoned, he seemed to have a fine coating of dust from the broken ground he had been staggering across in the woods yesterday, and his hair, which had at some point fallen from it's unfastened braid completely, now cascaded wildly about him, stuck occasionally with dead leaves or twigs. I chuckled to myself quietly.
"You look like McKinley's carriage after he got in that wreck last week." I commented, my usual good mood restoring now that I knew my little brother was alright.
Yue's eyes snapped open at my remark, and I swear that if looks really could kill, I wouldn't be here musing about this whole situation now. My siblings eyes bored into me, no longer glossed over as the had been the previous morning, but more like hardened amethyst...and steel...you know, very hard, solid,...devoid of all compassion...in a word... terrifying. (Which, if you've ever seen him angry, believe me it is terrifying) 'Nice to know he's feeling better.' I thought to myself.
"Come on, don't give me that look." I whined in attempt to lighten things up again. "You know I'm kidding." Yue merely glared once more at me, as though I weren't helping his headache any. "Besides," I added casually. "I deserve to land a few insults on you, Yue," I paused for a moment, deciding if I should speak my mind. "You had me and Clow scared half to death." I confessed sheepishly.
"Clow?!" Yue was suddenly very attentive, at the mention of his master's name the air in the room suddenly seemed to have turned to lead.
"Yeah," I responded, chuckling. "He ran halfway through the forest to find you when we didn't return to the manor." My brother turned abruptly away from me, his long curtain of hair shielding his face from view. I mentally slapped myself, how stupid must I have been to have mentioned Clow…and to laugh about it!
"Yue?" I pressed gently when he didn't turn back to face me.
Clow was always a touchy subject around Yue; his whole persona would change so quickly whenever I spoke of the Clow Card Master. I knew my younger sibling had his reasons, however, so instead of pushing the subject, I decided it better to walk away and leave him alone for a while. He did need to rest anyway. I slowly got up and turned to walk out the door.
"…He––he doesn't care…Cerberus…"
Spoken barley above a whisper as I was passing the hardwood doorframe, but even so, Yue's words cut cleanly across the silence between us. Taking one last glance at my little brother, I murmured equally as quietly: "You know…he stayed up the entire night." Then the door shut behind me with a bang.
Back in the present time, not a past long forgotten, Kinomoto Sakura slumbered away in her bedroom. The warm summer air still drifted in her window, though it was now open more than just slightly. There was the sound of a man stumbling about downstairs, but it was not Clow Reed, a man long since dead, but rather a fellow by the name of Fujitaka tripping over something in the dark. What there wasn't in the house was Cerberus, a one guardian of the Clow––or rather: the Sakura Cards. No, if you wanted to find me you would have to travel a few streets away, round a corner or two, and glance, in the new moon's dying light, up into a large oak tree. If you did all these things, then there you would find me, watching through one or the upstairs windows of the Tsukishiro household, watching as my brother and his other form, Yukito, slumbered, completely oblivious of me and my worries. I sighed softly, such that you couldn't have heard it if you tried before it was carried off on the winds. True, I didn't have much to worry about, the past was over with, Clow was gone… his presence could taunt Yue's broken heart no more.
Yet the past repeats it's self.
Another holds the cards, and, it seems, everything else that comes with it. Clow rejected younger sibling, I can only hope that Yue isn't so unfortunate twice, for I am beginning to see that there is one sad truth in being slightly older than Yue:
I'm never going to find peace of mind until he does…
…and that could take an eternity!
a/n: So, what do you think, my first Kero fic that doesn't fit under the humor genre. (FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) For once I didn't put any Japanese in, so I won't need to leave a translation for it at the bottom, but I do have one interesting side note: Yue had heatstroke for those of you that aren't very medically savvie, which is basically superheating due to dehydration and overexertion in hot weather. My logic was that since Yue never eats or drinks anything that if there wasn't any moisture in the air he could become dehydrated fairly easily, ands since he tends to push himself, as seen in the series, I figured that he'd be pretty vulnerable to heatstroke in drought type weather. I also don't see Kero being much older than Yue, just enough to guilt him into worrying.
Pleeeeeaaaaaase review, it is the elixir that keeps me going. (I'm a review vampire!! insert evil laughter) Or, if you prefer: Revew me and i'll stop bugging you and shut up...you know, since you just read an over 5,000 word fic and probably don't want to continue reading a maniac's boring ramblings. Yeah, you might want to review. (go on...press the little button...you know you want to...)