you to take it. Take my power, then."
gaze that had been so unruffled, like the surface of smooth, flat clouds, was
troubled now. "Touya, you--"
help you, right? I don't want my friend to disappear."
won't be able see your mother anymore..."
gaze was steady. If it meant his friend -- this person, someone special
to him -- wouldn't fade away and become nothing but a dream in the hearts of
those who'd loved him, he could give up his 'power.' He didn't need to
see Okaasan to know she was always near them and filled with love.
right." Touya smiled to reassure
the stately, grave figure. It fell at the corners when Yukito's sunny
expression failed to answer. This person was Yuki-but-not. "I
was the only one who could see Mother anyway."
him for a moment longer, the pure violet moonlight of his eyes fixed. He
seemed to be measuring up his decision and making sure of it. A cascade
of starlight hair rippled around him with his nod; the color of Yuki's fair
hair, but there was so much more of it. "You..." The
stern mouth firmed into a considering line. "Thank you."
thinking to lift a hand then clenching it at his side. "Yue, protect yourself."
...Protect my most important person.
I'm late!!" Kinomoto Sakura gave her hair a quick brush, snatched
her backpack up from its corner, and waved to the little yellow creature seated
on the floor. "Kero-chan, have a good day!"
The great and magnificent Beast of the Seal, Kerberos, was currently in his
'cute' form of a small, winged animal -- rather like a stuffed toy. He
punched a few more buttons on the Playstation controller then looked up, dismay
crossing his tiny face. "Wahh! Wait, wait up! Today is
the picnic in the park, ain't it!? I'm comin' with ya!" Small
white wings flapped and in seconds he had zipped out the door just before it
closed, moving to catch up and bury himself in Sakura's backpack.
Kero-chan, you shouldn't! What if someone sees--"
voice trailed off in the distance.
The room was
silent and still.
For a few
moments, at any rate.
desk drawer slid out unpowered by anything but sparkles. In a moment, the
glowing Book rose up from the drawer, a stylized sun on a doubled golden chain
girdling the front, the gilded lock snapping open. Kerberos was absent
from his guardian stance on the cover.
The Clow Cards
had come out to play.
willowy creatures poured from the cards, wisping through the room and settling
on every available surface. [The Flower] stroked [The Dash]'s tiny
catlike head and big ears; [The Twin]s settled on the window seat and giggled
together. [The Big] and [The Little] occupied the bed, leaning against
one another. All the human-type cards assumed shape and took up whatever
space was available. [The Firey] and [The Windy] looked expectant.
It was [The Voice] who spoke up first.
is not happy," she said, speaking with Tomoyo's voice, sounding sad.
[The Dark] agreed. "Kerberos-sama has adjusted, he loves Lady
Sakura; but Yue-sama is not happy."
I know why," [The Light] put in, leaning towards [The Dark] with a knowing
smile. "Yue-sama has absorbed the power of Lady Sakura's brother,
with his consent."
the humanoid cards exhaled. This was significant to all of them.
think Yue-sama may have feelings for Lady Sakura's brother?" [The Shot] spoke in rough dialect, leaning
up against the wall, arms crossed.
A small smile
touched [The Mirror]'s mouth. "There is only one way to find
implication sunk in. They would find
out if they took action. This sparked a furious babble from all attending
cards. "But Kerberos-sama--" "We'll be
punished!" "But Lady Sakura
would--" "We'll be caught!" "Oh, we shouldn't!"
lifted a finger, and everybody was hushed.
won't find out!" [The Firey] said brashly, once they had recovered from
the effects of the card's power. "They are gone for the day."
[The Wood] was
nodding. "Yue-sama is unhappy, and if we don't find a way...Lady
Sakura will have trouble with Yue-sama, when she most needs him."
agree," [The Light] said, and her words put a seal on the discussion.
letter?" Yukito echoed the underclassman. His expression was
confused as the girl continued to hold the envelope up, bowing till bangs
obscured her face, letter in its heart-stickered envelope held up as an
would, please!" the girl repeated, lifting the envelope higher.
Yukito took it
more to give the girl relief from her uncomfortable pose than out of any
right, I'll give it to him." He gave the girl a gentle smile as she
straightened, clasping her hands.
you very much," she said, bowing again, "I can't give it to Touya-san
nodded. "I understand." He kept up his smile even with a lump in
his throat. The girl was pretty, even though he didn't recognize her from
any of the swarm of underclassmen who vied for Kinomoto Touya's
affections. Of course, Touya never noticed any of them in return, but
that didn't mean some time...perhaps this time, Touya might recognize the name
and pen a different sort of reply. Yukito himself never knew any of the
girls who approached his friend, and Touya never seemed to know or express
interest in any of their classmates. But despite this, Yukito was acutely
aware of how quickly things could change. Touya was all for soccer and
part-time jobs now, but someday he might aim for a girl to fill his life.
So far, Nakuru
seemed like the most prominent girl vying for the position.
the letter into a pocket for safekeeping, Yukito hurried back to class.
It was a relief to no longer have to wake up open-eyed in strange places,
wondering where he'd been and how he'd gotten to wherever he was.
Well...it happened less than it used to, at any rate.
wonder over his heart aching at the thought of Touya with a girl. He knew
quite simply that he loved his friend and he had loved him for years --
existing without Touya was anathema. The thought of some other person
coming into that closeness he and Touya shared had never failed to raise odd
pangs in his chest. He treasured their
But he couldn't
say it. His love was a deep part of himself tucked away and since it
belonged to Touya, it wasn't Yukito's to speak of.
somewhere sneaking a snack?"
Touya's voice startled him as he returned to his seat. The
dark-haired boy's head was propped on one wrist, eyes angled to the window.
Yukito faltered, then recovered his smile. "I'm not hungry!"
blinked. "Where's my calendar? I've got to write this
down. A landmark occasion for you, Yuki!" He smiled, a light
breaking over his usually shuttered face.
swallowed at the familiar use of his name that always made his heart
thud. His fingers brushed over the dark fabric of his pocket.
please return to your seats." Sensei had re-entered the room.
"Lunch time is over."
eyebrows arched at him questioningly. "What?" he mouthed.
his head. Later. It could certainly wait. He didn't much care
politely to a cluster of girls from his class as they passed by the bike
racks. "See you later!"
Yuki..." Touya pulled his bike
free of the rack, popping up the kickstand. "Did you have something
to tell me?"
"Huh?" Yukito paused by his own bike, tugging at
one of his backpack straps. "Did I? Oh..." He
fumbled for his pocket, and the letter there.
half-turned, giving him a quizzical look beneath dark brows.
fingers clenched over his pocket. What if he did recognize the name on
the letter, this time? What if the look of puzzlement turned to surprise,
then a smile?
dark-haired boy made a woulf-ing
noise of astonishment as a body collided into him from behind, and a pair of
slender hands covered his eyes. "Guess who?" the girl trilled,
eyes boring into Yukito.
Touya gritted, not sounding particularly happy.
"Pin-pon!" Nakuru giggled, her covering hands sliding
down to turn into a chokehold as she glomped onto him.
Touya wheezed, "I need air."
sorry!" Nakuru released him and
took a step back, inching around until she faced Touya. Her glance
towards Yukito was cool.
his ground with a puzzled but determinedly cheerful expression. He didn't
know why Akizuki didn't like him; it wasn't like he was a rival to her. As far as he knew he wasn't even in the
running. But he and Touya were going to
the Kinomoto house for some after-school study, so there was nothing she
Kadowaki-sensei wants to see you." Nakuru clasped her hands together
and beamed up at him. "Right now."
sighed. "Hei, hei." He pushed his bicycle back into the
stand. "Yuki, I'll catch up to you later." He gave Yukito
a look of long-suffering resignation.
at Nakuru. The girl had some sort of homing instinct where Touya was
later!" she beamed.
"Y-Yeah. Later," Touya said weakly, then he
lifted a hand to Yukito in farewell. He
squared his shoulders and turned back to the school.
Yukito repeated. He managed a smile. He
didn't know how Nakuru always managed it, but almost every time she
interrupted, there was some legitimate excuse for Touya's immediate
departure. He lowered his eyes and
concentrated on freeing his bike from the rack. Afternoons with Touya were rare and precious; there was usually
soccer practice or one of Touya's part-time jobs to contend with.
When he looked
up again, Nakuru was still there.
"Yes?" Yukito did his
best to give her a guileless smile, but he knew it was an uneasy expression.
She was giving
him that narrow-eyed, sly smile.
"Good job," she said cryptically.
have gotten it first, but that doesn't mean things won't still be difficult for
you," Nakuru continued.
thoroughly confused. "What are you
her head. "Maybe you actually
don't know!" She dimpled, then
amazing. He'd never met a girl he
actually considered annoying before, but this one definitely tested the limits
of his patience. Touya didn't seem to
have a shred of tolerance for her, either.
he walked his bike for a few paces before getting on and wheeling out of the
said later, did he mean Yukito's house or the Kinomoto's?
Touya called out, toeing his shoes off in the genkan.
Sakura called back in the star-struck tone he recognized well. Yuki had gotten here first. Fortunately Kadowaki-sensei hadn't kept him
long, so they would still have time to study.
wasn't studying he really wanted to do.
But he had already used up his nerve in telling Yuki that he knew he
wasn't human; had known, in fact, since the first time their eyes met, and
their hands touched. And when Yuki
had... transformed...it seemed like Yue was the only one who remembered that
remembered soft lips touching his neck, a mass of silvery hair sliding over one
shoulder to brush against his chest, and a husky voice so like Yuki's, but
come try some of this cake your father left!
It's delicious!" Yukito
looked up as he came around to the living room. He lifted a forkful to his lips.
His friend was
still hungry a lot...but it wasn't as bad as it had been before. Maybe it took awhile for the power Yue had
absorbed to have an effect. He'd hate
to think it might have been for nothing.
No, not nothing. That look on
He sat with
them for tea and a little cake. No
sense in rushing things. It wasn't like
he'd actually work up the courage to say anything.
thanks for tea, kaijuu," Touya told her, patting his little sister on the
head. He could always count on her to
whip up something nice whenever Yuki came over. Everyone knew she had a crush on him except for Yuki
himself. She'd outgrow it some day, of
course -- he just hoped it wouldn't be for that Chinese gaki, instead.
"I am NOT
a monster!" Sakura fumed at
him. She jumped up and started clearing
dishes, giving him the glare that meant she was imagining growing tall --
towering above the treetops -- and stepping on him.
thank you for tea, Sakura-chan," Yukito said with a smile.
nothing!" Sakura picked up the
dish-laden tray. She blushed, looked at
Yuki, and on cue...hanyaaaan!
his backpack, giving Yuki a look.
"Sure!" Yuki retrieved his from beside the door.
Touya shut the
door behind them, as always. Before,
keeping his door shut had been a precaution to blurting out that he knew
something...and wanted to know more and didn't understand why Yuki had kept it
from him for so long. He knew Yuki
wasn't human and figured Yuki had known it, too. The thought that Yuki hadn't known himself had never occurred to
him. And the thought of speaking his
feelings, too, hadn't occurred to him before now. There were unsaid assumptions
in their relationship.
But now that
he knew about Yue, he had to do something.
He wanted it to be sooner rather than later.
first?" Yuki lifted the thick text
from his bag.
so," Touya agreed laconically. He
hesitated. "Yuki...did you have
something to tell me?"
There. Throw the ball in his court.
"Oh..." Yuki looked uncomfortable, and his hand rose
to his breast pocket again. It looked like he was clutching at his heart. "Yes...well, here." He pulled a little envelope from the pocket
and handed it over.
it over in his hands. "Love
letter." There was a heart sticker
on the back, holding the flap closed.
He had seen hundreds of them, since he was about ten years old. Maybe thousands. And the only two people he had ever cared about hadn't been, and
weren't, the type to send him a love letter.
Yuki said with a nod.
He chucked it
in the general direction of his bed. It
fell near the nightstand.
you going to open it now?" Yuki blinked.
shrugged. "No reason to."
don't know who it's from," Yuki tilted his head.
someone manage to look apprehensive and relieved at the same time? "No, I don't," Touya agreed. "Doesn't matter. I'll open it later and figure out how to turn
silent for a moment, processing this.
"How do you turn them all
"It's never easy turning a woman down. Sometimes they cry.
Sometimes they get mad. They
always ask why." He hated it when
they cried -- it reminded him of his sister.
And sometimes, they asked if he already had someone he liked. Touya was honest. He always said 'yes.' And
then they smiled bravely and told him they hoped his special person would
return his feelings, some day.
smiled. "You're so popular."
slightly. There was something Yuki
wasn't asking. Why did he turn them all down?
That was what Yuki really wanted to know. He may have given his extrasensory perception to Yue, but he
could still read his best friend. There
was nothing psychic about that.
"Well!" Yuki flipped open his book, shifting the
course of the conversation. "We've got a lot of homework."
finger-combed his bangs out of his eyes, and began to chew on his eraser. He was relieved the topic had changed, but
frustrated because he still wanted answers.
It was going to be a long study-session.
He woke from a
sound sleep, disoriented and adrift in his moon-washed bed. There was something nagging at the edge of
his brain. Touya sat up, pushing aside
the snarl of sheets that trapped his thighs.
He could feel something very familiar...and very nearby.
He pushed open
the window and leaned out. It was quiet
outside, except for the soft chirping of insects. Moonlight silvered over the yard, leaving a frosted-over
landscape. He rested his elbows on the
windowsill and examined the large tree beside their house.
you're there," he called out softly.
He was vindicated immediately.
Shadows didn't jump -- not by themselves, at any rate.
moment, a low voice answered. "How
did you know I was here?"
Wing-shaped blots of darkness rustled.
shrugged. "Not sure. I woke up and
forward and moonlight spilled over his features. He glowed -- not literally, but with an inner light. Beautiful.
"I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, considering your family; the
sister and the father...and you. With
so much power, I must not have taken it all."
his head. "That's not it." He
hesitated. I gave you everything.
"I think I can recognize what I gave you; it calls to me, even
though I don't have it anymore."
see." Yue drifted closer. His pale feline eyes were fixed on him.
"So..." Touya took a step back. "Are you going to come in, or
startled. Nevertheless, he settled on
the windowsill, wings folding gracefully as he squeezed them through the narrow
gap. "I don't understand
you," the ethereal being informed him.
snorted. "You don't understand me? Is that why you're here?"
Yue folded his
arms across the narrow chest and wouldn't answer.
and rubbed his sleep-tousled hair, messing it up a little more. "Great...I get to play guessing games
at midnight." That just gave him the urge to turn around and go to bed. And yet...and yet...Yue was here. That had to mean something. The mystery intrigued him enough to banish
you save me?" Yue said abruptly.
He thought he'd made it clear. "I
didn't want my friend to disappear."
He knew, somehow, that he'd come very close to losing him earlier in the
year. He didn't quite know how he knew,
but... Yuki would have disappeared
completely, and that wouldn't have been the only thing...
Yukito." The triangular face
tilted to the side, looking cold and pale.
scowled. "I mean both of
tightened. "I am not Yukito."
the same heart," Touya rejoined.
Yue stared at
him without speaking. It wasn't
precisely a friendly look.
Touya sighed again, running a hand through his hair. It was time to change the subject. "Will you tell me what's going on? I don't know -- Sakura won't tell me anything, but I know she's
been in danger. And you--"
can take care of herself very well," Yue interrupted him. With a toss of that silver-white hair, his
wings glowed, shrank, and disappeared.
He seated himself on the edge of the bed and folded his arms again. Touya stared. He hadn't known Yue could do that. "But if she is out of her depth, Kerberos and I are there to
Kerberos* Touya narrowed his eyes. For some
reason that name brought to mind Sakura's little winged stuffed animal.
He gave Yue a
nod. "Thank you."
don't have to thank me," Yue returned, stiffly.
shrugged. "I know. I'm thanking you anyhow."
silence for a long interval. Touya
began to wonder what he was doing sitting up at midnight in his pajamas with an
open window, and a silver-haired beautiful angel who would barely speak three
words to him.
his own arms, feeling a shiver travel up his spine.
blinked. A white drape of cloth was
being offered to him. Touya looked at Yue and pulled the cloth, like a shawl,
over his shoulders. It tugged against
resistance and Yue blinked and shifted on the bed and Touya realized it was
still attached to Yue's clothing.
long time ago, there was a magician named Clow Read," Yue began, in even
back on the bed to listen to the tale.
Yue told him
about the magician Clow, the Cards he created, and the Guardians that were his
companions for a long time. Even in the
midst of his narrative, Touya knew Yue was holding something back.
finished telling him, they were silent again.
at him. "Have you always been with
frowned. "No," he
admitted. "I was sealed into him
some time ago -- around the time Sakura was born, I believe. Yukito was dying."
started. "He's always looked
fragile, but I never thought...What was it?"
accident," Yue replied, and that was all he would say.
silence. This was becoming awkward.
you come here?" Touya blurted out, at the same time that Yue looked up and
asked, "Why did you invite me in?"
They stared at
each other. Touya unbent slightly. "Because I wanted to."
brows rose. "Don't you have
need to think about it. "No,"
he said flatly.
maybe that's why you're here," Touya suggested.
Yue looked troubled. He stared at his
pale hands for a long time, and then an odd expression crossed his face. "...Perhaps."
the cloth from around his shoulders, folding it over one arm and handing it
back to Yue. "Thank you. I was..." Touya trailed off. He hadn't
exactly been cold.
stood. "I've kept you from your
fine," Touya said softly.
looking around his room. Abruptly he
stiffened and took a few short strides over to Touya's nightstand, where he
it?" Touya stood, too, confused.
holding the love letter envelope in one pale hand. "This is..." He
studied the envelope. "Yukito gave
this to you."
Touya agreed, eyebrows rising. Yue
looked puzzled. "It's a love
did it come from?" Yue was weighing it in his hand.
shrugged. "I don't know -- some
girl. I haven't opened it yet."
Yue set it
down, and looked at him steadily with those disconcerting pale eyes. "Who do you care for, Touya? It's not any of the girls who send you love
back. "I -- I think you
know." It was true, those eyes
for Yukito," Yue said slowly.
Touya said hoarsely.
Yue turned and
his white moonlight hair undulated between his shoulders, pooling past his bare
feet, as he moved towards the window.
Where are you going?" Touya demanded.
He confessed, and Yue walked out?
over his shoulder, face expressionless.
His wings unfolded in a soundless burst of white light. "You care for Yukito," he
repeated, as if that said everything.
Touya clenched his hands. "And you
have the same heart."
around in a single quick movement, violet eyes wide. Touya had managed to startle him again.
are you concerned about that letter?" Touya asked, after a moment of
hesitation. Now that he had regained
Yue's attention...he wasn't quite sure what to do with it.
The pale wings
stiffened. "Concerned?" Yue
repeated, sounding affronted. He
turned, feline-purple eyes seeking Touya's, then his expression altered to one
of those unfathomable looks. "It
was just...that kehai..."
Touya repeated, then shook his head a little.
That aura? "If I didn't know better, I'd say
you were trying to distract me."
platinum-fine brows contracted.
mind," Touya shook his head. He
felt tired. A painful thought had
touched him, that Yue would deny any attraction between them indefinitely,
based on one simple misperception.
say we have the same heart," Yue spoke slowly and carefully, "what do
you mean by that?"
frowned. It wasn't something he could
put into words, not so easily. Worse
than that, he wasn't a verbally expressive person, and he knew it. It showed in how he was with Sakura,
teasingly calling her 'kaijuu' but not meaning it as an insult. With Yue, though, he was afraid that saying
the wrong thing would have this beautiful creature slipping through his fingers
like that gossamer length of hair he'd love to touch...
He took a few
steps forward and Yue held his ground, watchful. Dark chocolate brown eyes met cool violet in a steady contest, as
if daring the other to look away first.
But Yue hadn't considered the fact that he didn't intend to make this a
Touya took the
remaining step and before Yue could glide back in recoil, he reached up to take
the pale sharp jaw between his hands, fingers splayed, bridging the inches of
difference in their heights. His mouth
closed over Yue's with soft finality.
beneath him was pliant at first -- out of shock, no doubt. Then it softened further, lips showing a
promise of parting...then Yue's mouth flinched beneath him and the smaller
creature was pulling away, jerking out of the loose clasp of hands on his
face. His pale eyes were wide and
blue-shot with shock, almost accusation.
"You--" Yue started, voice low and rough. His lips formed a narrow line. Without warning, he spun and unfurled his
wings, leaping into the night.
after him but he wasn't fast enough.
The moon guardian was gone. One
fist hit the windowsill with enough force to make him wince. "Dammit." Yue hadn't understood, after all. There had been something in his eyes that
said he might.
At least Yue
couldn't communicate Touya's mis-step to his alter ego. If that were the case, then Touya would be
on the outs with both flip sides of the person whose opinion mattered the most
he repeated, staring off into the evening.
He only hoped Yue would give him a chance to make it right.
Sakura sighed in her sleep, then turned over and began snoring faintly.
great Beast of the Seal, sweatdropped and scratched his round fuzzy head. For some reason he just couldn't get to
sleep. Then he felt a tingle along his
snapped up. "Yue?" he
whispered in disbelief. What was *that*
one doing here, this time of night?
Kero drifted up and over to the windowsill. He was treated to a good view of the silver-haired one flying
from Sakura's brother's window -- and he was flying fast.
Kero rubbed at
his beady eyes, then narrowed them.
he said finally.
A little smile
curled his lips. "Maybe now he'll
stop being such a stick," Kero harrumphed, drifting back to his miniature
bedroom in Sakura's desk drawer. He
fluffed his pillow. Yue had been deadly
serious for far too long – ever since shortly before Master Clow had passed
on. Perhaps now, that would change.
onto his tiny bed with a contented sigh.
"Hai." Kinomoto Fujitaka beamed, setting plates
down on the table. "Miso soup,
grilled fish, and rice."
traditional Japanese breakfast!"
Sakura beamed back, sliding into her seat. She touched the picture of Nadeshiko on the table. "Good morning, Okaasan. Itadakimasu!"
Touya mumbled something similar around a mouthful of
food, and stood. "Thanks for the
food," he said politely, and picked up his backpack. He pulled out the letter sticking out of the
top flap, intending to read it on the way to his bike.
"Hoeee! O-NII-chan!" Sakura wailed,
beginning to shovel in her own food.
"Why are you in such a hurry this morning?" She said this around a mouthful of rice,
bringing up her napkin to avoid spraying crumbs.
shrugged, contained the urge to smile, and headed for the door. "Saa.
Why are you in such a hurry, kaijuu?"
nothing, only blushed furiously crimson and kept packing it in. She wanted to meet up with Yukito on the way
to school, of course. He knew it and
was amused by it, she knew it and would never admit, and Yuki remained
grabbed his backpack and something fell from the top, where the flap wasn't
quite closed. "Huh?" Feet still moving, he walked outside and
stood by his bike, staring at the love letter.
What was the point? It would
just be another girl he had to meet and turn down, and whenever Yuki saw him
with one of those letters, his doe-like eyes were more determinedly cheerful
out the door, blades half-buckled around her ankles. "Hoee!" She screeched to a stop. She gave him a puzzled look, then an intent
one as she stared at the letter in his hand.
"U-umm, Oniichan...that letter..."
love letter," Touya said, exasperated.
"That and nothing more."
Sakura huffed. Her 'thinking crease'
appeared between her eyebrows.
recognized that look. It usually formed
on her face a short time before she went dashing out the door, making some
trumped-up excuse or another.
"It's nothing," he repeated, and stuffed it into his
pocket. First Yue, now his sister, both
of them psychics. He had a bad feeling
He would read
until halfway through the mid-morning classes that he remembered the letter
crumpled into his pocket. Yukito had
gone to the bathroom and Touya was in danger of chewing his eraser right off,
in the middle of a typical, boring history lesson. He had already studied everything the book had to offer, so he
the letter from his pocket and looked around, trying not to act furtive.
staring right at him, eyes narrowed.
his head and placed the letter in the middle of his textbook, raising it up to
provide some sort of screen. He pried
up the heart sticker. He could still
feel Akizuki's eyes on him -- funny, he'd never noticed before how catlike they
He took the
letter out, trying not to let it rustle loudly. He felt like the entire class was looking, not just Akizuki. But he had to read the damned thing before
Yuki got back.
through it with a skimming eye, knowing the basic template already, needing the
most crucial piece - the name of the girl who'd written it.
curse stuck on his lips. Habit saved
him from committing a crime worthy of holding up thick books or pails of water
in the hallway.
into the seat beside him.
miss anything?" he asked with a smile.
his head with creaking slowness. His
impulse was to say, You missed quite a
lot, but he shook his head.
"N-no," he stumbled over the word. He was the one who felt like he'd missed something.
letter was from Yuki.
settled into his seat and flipped his text a few pages, catching up.
stunned. It was in Yukito's neat,
incisive strokes, no ink wasted. The
kanji at the bottom was his name. And
yet...although, perhaps that had been why Yukito had been so curious about the
letter, asking why Touya wouldn't open it right then. No, that was an impossible theory.
Yue would have
known about the letter...right?
had. Maybe that was why he had been
waiting, taking up a silent vigil outside Touya's room the night before. If he felt the same way as Yuki, and Touya
knew he must, then he would have been edgy, too.
had...how upset must he be, right now, with Touya's continued silence? Not mentioning the letter once...but Yuki's
attitude wasn't strained at all, his smile was as easy as ever, and it was
always clear to Touya when his friend was upset.
couldn't be from Yuki. Otherwise he
wouldn't have been discomfited, and hiding it very well, when he passed it over
to Touya -- and seemed relieved when the other boy declined to open it. Then again, maybe that did mean it was from
No. He stuck
by his original opinion. Yuki was the
one he cared for, and he was not the type to write a love-letter. It was trite and girlish.
So who, then,
was it from?
raised textbook, he pressed his lips together.
He had a feeling this had something to do with Sakura's cards. Both Yue and Sakura's reactions were a
wanted him to confess.
For the second
day in a row, Touya didn't have to work at one of his part-time jobs. He stewed all day as he wondered what to
do. He didn't feel like admitting his
feelings on the sole virtue of a pack of cards -- however special -- trying to
set him up. On the other hand, he
feared what they might do if he held out.
Least of all, how Yue figured into all of this. One way or another, he suspected Yue was
going to be hurt. He was so damned
And so damned
Yuki," he said out of the blue, as they left Seijou High that day.
around first, craning his head this way and that, and at one point nearly one-eighty
degrees. Akizuki was nowhere in
sight. "Let's go to my place,
Yukito agreed. "We don't have that
much homework, maybe we--"
have tea," Touya interrupted, already planning ahead. If they went straight up to his room, Sakura
would bring it up with sparkles in her eyes.
Then he could escape behind the door.
She would be disappointed, but only expected a glimpse of Yukito in
these cases -- and he wasn't taking advantage; she prepared the snacks
The house was
empty when they returned to the Kinomoto residence. A couple of steps inside revealed why. Their family whiteboard proclaimed that Fujitaka would be working
late, and Sakura had clean-up duties.
and felt self-conscious. Alone. They were alone in the house. He thought he could hear his heartbeat.
"To-ya?" Yuki was at his elbow.
Yukito agreed. His glance was
lingering, a little worried. Distress
painted a crease between his eyebrows.
to say 'no, that's not what I meant,' because he had used the 'we need to talk'
tone of voice. But his cheeks were
burning too hard; he was afraid his voice might crack. They were alone in the house, and if he
listened hard he could hear the other's heartbeat. They went up to his room, and he closed the door behind them more
out of habit than anything else.
letter, isn't it?" Yukito's voice was muted. "You've found someone.
Someone you like. And that
person wrote you that letter."
looking at Yuki's bowed head, feeling surreal.
Now he knew for sure it hadn't been Yuki.
"Oh." Yukito's voice was small and muffled.
why I have to tell you..." His
throat stuck. He had to pry his lips
apart, moistening them with his tongue.
"Yuki...I...you...you're the one I like."
lowered head lifted, pale bangs obscuring the large round glasses. Then he was looking over into Yuki's sunny
blinked. He felt an odd
frustration. No, Yuki must not have
understood. He tried again. "Yuki, I really like you."
too," Yukito repeated.
The surge of
frustration welled higher. He had to
make Yuki understand. There wasn't
anybody else, even if Yuki hadn't
written the letter... "I love you."
He took hold of the slender, almost too-fragile shoulders in both hands.
were warm, and shining, and gentle. He
nodded. "I understand,
To-ya," he whispered. "I love
you, too." He bent his head and
when he lifted it again, a tear formed at the corner of one large eye, one that
wouldn't fall. Yuki's smile wobbled,
really...you really do?"
He lifted a
hand and brushed the tear away.
waiting for an answer, Touya tilted his head, making just the right angle for
two mouths to fit together. Then he did
it without thinking, the thing he'd most been wanting for a long time. It was the best kind of kiss, no clumsy
nose-bumpings, going on pure instinct and all the pent-up feeling he'd been
sitting on this whole time. Yuki's
mouth was warm and soft. The other boy
had taken a step closer and his lips were slightly parted.
It was tender,
and so incredibly sweet, that his heart ached inside him.
Yuki felt the
same as he did. That was the most
important thing. It was nothing like
the hasty kiss he had stolen from Yue the night before, but somehow he got the
feeling this made up for it, and this was how it could have been.
moved apart, Yuki was breathing against his lips, a warm sensation. They hadn't separated more than a millimeter.
I..." Yuki started, voice cracking, and he stopped. Tried again. "I thought..."
know." With a light touch, he
stroked the back of Yuki's neck. The
other boy shivered. Touya dredged up
the crumpled shape of the letter and passed it over without comment.
moment, Yuki looked up with confused eyes.
"I don't understand. I
didn't write this."
nodded. He'd figured as much. "It's all right," he said, taking
it back, placing it on his nightstand.
He wouldn't be surprised if it disappeared some time in the night. "I think someone just wanted us to be
honest about our feelings." All
right, he decided; he didn't care if the Cards had done it or not. He was happy with the result.
at the letter with a furrowed brow for a moment, as if he would protest or
pursue the mystery, then turned his face up again. The line of his mouth softened.
"To-ya," he said, and that was enough reason to bend his head
and pass his lips over Yuki's again.
A heart could
fly without wings.
doesn't matter," he whispered after a long moment. "It's served its purpose."
moment, he removed Yuki's glasses.
gentle and silver-laced, the full moon high in the sky and casting crisp
shadows where it could.
On the other
side of the window, Kinomoto Touya slept, sprawled in a relaxed pose on his
back with a tiny smile on his face. It
brought a tight feeling of hurt to the watcher's chest, because he remembered
that smile, but on another's face.
Yue had been
watching Touya sleep for half the night, and he didn't know why.
After a moment
he stirred on his perch, uneasy. He had
no right and no claim and, despite the strange behavior of Touya the other
night, apparently no cause. Yue had
pinpointed the source of his discomfiture.
outside, looking in.
silence Yue unfurled his wings, and disappeared into the night.