Kitsune Bi - An xXxHolic Fan-Fiction
By Ookami Kasumi

All characters property of CLAMP
Warning: Mature (NC-17) - Yaoi content, adult language, mild violence

Chapter Seventeen

Kimihiro proudly pushed the serving cart up the hallway. Multiple trays of neatly rolled sushi, cleverly cut sashimi, and flower carved vegetables rattled next to plates of inarizushi, covered bowls of soup, and flavored rice balls, plus their accompanying sauces and sides. He also had a long-necked, clear glass pot of heated sake, a pink ceramic pot of sakura flower tea, and a tall pitcher of chilled barely tea.

He rolled the cart into the main room and stopped by the low but broad teak table, and began to set the table for four, plus Mokona. The dish set he'd chosen wasn't the absolute best from the treasure room, but the dishes were by no means unimpressive. The pink and blue swirled glazing on the deep green went well with what he'd prepared.

The feast finally set out to advantage, and the heavy sitting pillows placed just so, Kimihiro marched over to the sliding doors that opened onto the garden. He grabbed hold of the handles. With brute force, and more than a little grunting, he hauled two of the heavy doors to the right, and two to the left, opening the room to the afternoon air, and a gentle breeze.

Out on the grass and under a massive blue bamboo parasol, Yuuko sat in her favorite wing-backed wicker chair with the bunny-eared Mokona perched on her shoulder. She held court in long flowing layers of robes of red, black, and violet with orange clouds and fluttering black butterflies moving across the fabric. Her broad obi sash was dark gold patterned with more moving clouds and black butterflies.

To her right, seated in a heavy dark wood throne was the Duke of this particular corner of Hell, Az. He lounged against one arm of his chair in a full-skirted black frock coat that seemed to swirl with red smoke. Beneath the coat was an electric blue waistcoat with twinkling stars closed with silver buttons. Froths of black lace framed his throat and spilled out from under his broad coat cuffs over his hands. His knee breeches were flat black with silver buckles at the sides of the knees, his goat legs freely exposed and crossed at the ankles.

Flopped on his belly before both of them on a broad red pillow was a young man in a white yukata, a summer weight robe, decorated with long green talks of bright orange tiger lilies that waved back and forth as though they felt the breeze. At his waist was a narrow sash of bright green. Long loops of silver bells dangled from the sash. Three fluffy black tails tipped in white waved casually behind him, and tall triangular black ears rose to either side of the long silky black hair bound into a neat tail that spilled across his back.

Clearly, General Osusuki had arrived, and made himself comfortable. He was showing an unsettling amount of well-formed leg while he was at it too.

Kimihiro couldn't hear anything of what they said, but their laughter carried. Apparently they were enjoying themselves under the odd red sky of Az's little corner of Hell.

Standing on Yuuko's porch and facing the garden, Kimihiro cleared his throat and called out to them. "Lunch is served!"

Yuuko squealed and lifted her hands in open delight. "Finally! I'm starved!"

On Yuuko's left, Az rose from his heavy throne and turned to his right to gallantly offer Yuuko his hand.

Yuuko accepted and elegantly rose from her wing-backed wicker chair.

The fox general rose from where he lounged on his plush pillow to place himself on Yuuko's right side.

The three of them strolled casually to the porch, alighted the stairs then rushed to the table to descend upon the waiting feast like a pack of starving wolves. Chopsticks were brandished then food was snatched from platters to plates to be gobbled with open greed.

Kimihiro pushed up his smock sleeves to serve.

Briefly, the general's gaze settled on Kimihiro's bruised wrists. Just for a moment, the fox frowned, his gaze narrowing and his tall black ears lowering. A moment later, he turned to laugh at something Yuuko said.

Self-conscious, Kimihiro pulled his sleeves back down to cover the marks.

Unfortunately, Kimihiro barely had a chance to eat much because he was sent back to the kitchen to make additional food and fetch additional bottles of sake, wine, and tea more times than he cared to count.

He was forced to defend his plate from Mokona's pilfering on several occasions until he actually got up and chased the little black beast around the table, to everyone's entertainment, and his embarrassment.

Stymied by Kimihiro's staunch defense of his food, Mokona pouted for all he was worth. "Stingy!" Mokona then promptly pillaged someone else's plate, which very nearly started an all-out food-fight.

Kimihiro was not looking forward to the clean-up.

- xXx -

At long last, every last morsel was devoured.

Kimihiro collected the last of the plates and returned with a pot of sakura flower tea and a large tray of Japanese sweets made into the forms of fanciful flowers.

Yuuko leaned back on her pillow and moaned. "I am so going to miss the taste of my Watanuki's food while he's gone!"

Kimihiro flinched, but only a tiny bit. Even though he'd eaten what he'd made along with everyone else, for some reason all memory of the actual flavor disappeared almost the instant he swallowed. It was one of the more unsettling aspects of his disintegrating memory.

Az leaned back on his pillow and moaned as well. "I am going to miss your Watanuki's food, and I've only had his breakfast and lunch!"

General Osusuki grinned, his bright blue eyes dancing, and the neckline of his yukata showing far too much of his muscular chest. "I got the chance to eat a full course dinner created by Yuuko's Watanuki. It was utterly magnificent."

Az scowled at the fox. "Not fair!"

General Osusuki nodded smugly. "I tell you now, that the feasts my chefs serve cannot even compare!"

Kimihiro smiled and nodded, bathing in the praise. "I'm very glad you enjoyed the food I prepared."

"So!" Yuuko smiled. "Now that we have all enjoyed our repast...!"

General Osusuki raised his hand. "I have a request!"

Yuuko snapped open a fan that matched her robes and smiled behind it. "Do you, now?"

The three-tailed fox turned to frown at Kimihiro. "I have only ever seen Watanuki in his school uniform or aprons. I should like to see him properly attired."

Az grinned. "I've seen him in a kimono." He winked at Kimihiro, quite obviously not mentioning that he'd seen Kimihiro in considerably less.

Yuuko lowered her fan. "Hmm..." She looked over at Kimihiro with narrowed eyes and a calculating smile. "My dear General, I do believe this wish can be granted." She smiled broadly at the fox. "If you're willing to pay the price?"

General Osusuki tilted his head and playfully mused for a moment then grinned at his hostess. "I do believe I can."

Kimihiro crossed his arms, lifted his chin, and spoke in his most formal manner. "With all due respect, I must decline."

General Osusuki's eyes widened and his black ears lifted. "Oh? And why is that?"

Kimihiro snorted. "Do you have any idea how difficult it is to wash dishes in the stuff Yuuko tends to have me wear?" He looked away and muttered. "Not to mention that if I dare get a single spot of dirt on her clothes, the gods only know what kind of crazy punishment chores she'll come up with."

Yuuko's smile broadened. "In that case, you may want to hurry up and get to washing those dishes because I fully intend to have you properly attired before the night is done."

Kimihiro moaned in defeat and covered his face with both hands. It was then that he finally remembered. He put his hands down and turned to his employer. "By the way, Yuuko, have you or Mokona seen my glasses?"

Yuuko stilled utterly, the smile evaporating from her face.

General Osusuki frowned, one ear tilting back. "You wear glasses?"

Kimihiro turned to look over at the general. "Of course. I was wearing them when I met you for the first time, at the kitsune oden cart. Don't you remember?"

General Osusuki frowned. "I do remember when we met, but you weren't wearing glasses then."

Kimihiro frowned. But I was, I know I was! "I definitely remember wearing them when I served you and Yuuko-san dinner."

The general's frown deepened. He glanced briefly at Yuuko then looked back at Kimihiro. "I have never once seen you wear glasses."

Kimihiro tilted his head in confusion. "But...?"

Az set his elbow on the table. "I've never seen you wear glasses either."

Kimihiro's eyes widened. "That's...not possible! I was wearing them when you brought me here, Az-san!"

Az shook his head slowly. "I'm afraid you weren't."

Kimihiro shook his head. "I couldn't have imagined it...?"

Haruka's words from that morning's dream abruptly filled his mind. "When, exactly did you lose your glasses?"

Yuuko touched Kimihiro's sleeve. "Watanuki, you lost your glasses quite a while ago, in a dream."

Kimihiro stiffened, his heart pounding in his chest. "What...?"

Yuuko caught his gaze and held it. "When the two Syaoran-kuns stepped into Sakura-chan's dream, you told me yourself that the wind blew them right off your face, remember?

Az's black eyes widened. "He lost them in a dream?"

General Osusuki smiled at Az. "Watanuki is a dream-walker, though untrained, among other things."

The duke of Hell blew out a soft whistle. "Impressive."

Kimihiro looked away in thought. "I do remember that dream." How had he forgotten it? "So, why do I remember wearing my glasses, when I couldn't have?"

General Osusuki spoke to Kimihiro, but his gaze strayed to Yuuko. "Perhaps you've been replacing parts of your missing memory with the pieces you do have?"

Kimihiro turned sharply to Yuuko. "When exactly did I lose my glasses? How long ago?"

Yuuko held Kimihiro's gaze. "Three weeks ago tomorrow. You had that dream the same day we sent Kohone-chan to stay with Oba-chan, the fortune-teller."

Kimihiro felt ice water sluice through his veins. He abruptly stood on extremely stiff legs. "I- I'm going to go do the dishes. Now." He didn't quite run out of the room in abject terror, but he had to admit that he crossed the room and closed the sliding doors behind him with rather unseemly haste. He leaned against the closed doors and set his hand over his pounding heart.

In the room behind him, the fox general spoke quietly. "He is almost out of time."

Yuuko's reply was even softer. "I know."

- xXx -

Standing before the sink, Kimihiro blinked at the clean dishes and thoroughly scrubbed pots and pans resting on the wooden drainer sitting to the right of the sink. He couldn't remember washing any of them even though he knew for a fact that no one else could have. "Am I going insane?"

A sultry feminine voice spoke from the kitchen doorway. "You're going to be just fine, Watanuki."

Kimihiro turned to his employer with wide eyes, his hands gripping his damp smock, proof that he had indeed washed all those dishes.

She smiled. "Take off your smock and let's get you into something more suitable for negotiating with a heavenly general, ne?"

- xXx -

Kimihiro opened the sliding doors to Yuuko's main room and stepped aside.

Yuuko swept into the room with the whisper of heavy silk.

At the teak table, still resting before the opened doors to the garden, Az and General Osusuki leaned over a wooden Go board covered in black and white stones. They were quietly arguing strategy.

Yuuko turned to face her guests. "Gentlemen...?"

They both looked up from the game board.

Kimihiro stepped beside Yuuko. He wore a high-collared, long-sleeved, floor-sweeping Chinese coat of flowing deep black silk lined in scarlet. It was patterned with large scarlet, gold, and flame butterflies that slowly opened and closed their wings. Gold and scarlet piping trimmed the edges with gold and scarlet silk frog closures at his throat, across his right shoulder, and at his right hip. Beneath the coat he wore a high-collared scarlet silk shirt that went almost to his knees over straight-legged trousers of ink-black silk.

It was one of her favorite outfits to put on him, and Kimihiro had to admit, it was surprisingly comfortable to move around in. The moving butterflies were kind of spooky, but since everyone else was wearing moving patterns on their clothes, he didn't feel quite so odd wearing it-this time.

The fox general and the duke of Hell slowly rose to their feet, their eyes wide.

General Osusuki grinned. "Wonderful. He doesn't even look mortal."

Az frowned deeply. "Yuuko-san, are you sure this child is human?"

Yuuko chuckled. "My Watanuki is indeed, quite human." Her gaze drifted to the fox general. "And very mortal indeed."

Az tilted his head slightly to one side. "For a mortal human, he has some rather...otherworldly aspects."

General Osusuki nodded. "That would be because of the power he emits." He looked straight at Yuuko. "A power he needs to anchor then learn to control before it literally tears him apart."

Kimihiro fisted his hands at his side. This is it! He stepped forward. "Your honor, General Osusuki-sama, I would like to make a request."

General Osusuki looked straight at Kimihiro. "What is your request, Watanuki, Kimihiro-kun?"

Kimihiro gathered his courage. "I would like to accept your offer of training, under one condition."

A slender black brow arched over one bright blue eye. "And that is?"

Kimihiro lifted his chin. "That you leave Doumeki, Shizuka behind. I wish to go with you, alone."

Yuuko lifted her chin. "For a period of one full moon."

General Osusuki nodded to Yuuko then fixed his gaze on Kimihiro. He smiled broadly, showing his overlong canines. "Are you willing to be my lover during this period?"

Kimihiro held his gaze, but his hands trembled. That's He swallowed hard. "If that is what you require."

The general's smile eased, hiding his fangs. "If you are to survive, you need to anchor yourself to a realm-emotionally and physically."

Kimihiro nodded. He knew that much at least, though he wasn't quite sure what it actually meant.

The general clasped his hands behind him, his three black fox tails waving gently behind him. "You do have a firm anchor to this house, however the house is-" He glanced briefly at Yuuko. "-Unstable at the moment." He smiled gently at Kimihiro. "And though your emotional anchor to your home realm is strong, your physical connection is tenuous at best, even now."

Yuuko whispered at Kimihiro's side. "Your emotional connections are your feelings for the people you care for, and theirs for you."

Ah... Kimihiro nodded. That would be Himiwari-chan, Kohone-chan, Oba-chan, and Doumeki-to some degree.

General Osusuki nodded to Yuuko. "The problem is that you have a stronger connection to the dream realm than you do to your home realm. This is why you keep slipping into the dream realm."

Kimihiro didn't quite wince. He means Haruka-san, Sakura-chan, and probably both Syaoran-kuns too.

The fox general took a step closer to Kimihiro. "You also have an emotional connection to the spirit realm-my realm-that is quite strong."

Kimihiro nodded again. He means all my visits to the kitsune oden cart, I guess. Then there's the dream-seller, and the meetings with zashi warashi; the vestal sprite, and the ame warashi; the rain sprite. Oh, and the demon parade too, I suppose.

"Watanuki, Kimihiro-kun, what I offer is assistance in establishing a strong physical anchor to my realm, the spirit realm. This is in addition to instruction on how to make proper use of your powers."

Kimihiro blinked. Powers-plural? As in; I have more than one?

General Osusuki set his palms on Kimihiro's shoulder. "To put this very bluntly, you are dangerously close to disintegration. Developing a physical connection to a realm you already have a strong emotional attachment to, such as mine, is the fastest way to build an anchor strong enough to keep you whole."

Fright had Kimihiro's heart pounding so hard he began to feel light-headed. His vision began to fog, and the sensation of the general's hands on his shoulders started to drift away.

The general's gaze narrowed sharply. "Crap, he's slipping."

Warm lips abruptly pressed themselves firmly to Kimihiro's.

Startled, Kimihiro opened his mouth to shout.

A hot, wet tongue surged past his lips to explore his tongue.

Suddenly, Kimihiro could feel strong hands on his shoulders in addition to supple lips, and the insistent tongue wrapping itself around his. His eyes opened wide.

Bright blue eyes in a beautifully sculpted face peered at him from far too close.

General Osusuki is...? Kimihiro gasped in alarm and inadvertently sucked in warm breath that wasn't his. In sheer reaction he reached up to clutch strong bare arms and the edge of a silk yukata.

The general pulled back, releasing Kimihiro's mouth, though not his shoulders. "Well, that seemed to work." He licked his lips and smiled.

Kimihiro reeled in shock. The general's strong grip on his shoulders was all that kept him from collapsing right there. He k-k-kissed me...?

General Osusuki looked over at Yuuko. "Do we have an agreement?"

Yuuko was not smiling. "I accept your payment and will grant your wish."

The fox general nodded once then reached down to catch Kimihiro under the legs to sweep him up into his arms.

Kimihiro clutched at the fox cradling him like a child. "Whoa, what...?"

General Osusuki looked Kimihiro dead in the eyes. "With all due respect, Watanuki, Kimihiro-kun, you are out of time. Do you wish to live?"

Kimihiro blinked. "I- Uh..." Well...? Do I want to live or not? Idiot! "Yes. Yes, of course I do!"

General Osusuki nodded then turned and strode across the room. He stepped down the porch steps to stand in the grass of Yuuko's garden and turned to face the house trimmed in gold crescent moons. "Thank you Yuuko, for granting my wish. I will take very good care of Watanuki."

Yuuko stepped down from the porch and smiled sadly. "I will see you one full moon from this one, Watanuki."

The fox smiled at Yuuko. "And he will see you one year from this full moon."

Kimihiro stiffened in the fox's arms. "A year? I thought it was only for a month!"

The fox grinned at the boy in his arms. "It is only a month-in this realm. In my realm however, time moves differently." His smile faded. "And as per your condition, I will leave Doumeki, Shizuka where he is."

Kimihiro swallowed. This was what he'd asked for. He did want to learn how to protect himself, and truthfully, he really didn't want to die. He nodded firmly at the fox general. "Agreed."

The fox leaned close to Kimihiro's ear. "Close your eyes. This will only take a moment."

Kimihiro closed his eyes.

Power swirled up around them in a howling maelstrom. There was a burst of light.


Yuuko stared at the empty grass where the fox general and Kimihiro had just stood. "Not quite what I'd hoped for."

Az walked to her side. "What had you hoped for, Yuuko-san?"

Yuuko set her hands on her hips and her mouth twisted into a grimace. "I had hoped Doumeki would build a relationship with Watanuki, not drive him away by acting like a complete domineering ass!" She sighed. "Though I do admit that the signs were there." She turned and strode back to the house. "Even so, Doumeki was my best bet for granting Watanuki's wish."

The duke of Hell's brows lifted over his black eyes. "What was Watanuki's wish?"

Yuuko smiled sourly. "To lose his ability to draw and see ghosts and spirits."

Az rolled his eyes. "I'm afraid that's probably impossible now. That fox will make damned sure that Watanuki develops into a powerful magician, likely a very powerful magician."

Yuuko huffed out a sour sigh. "Well, I did just send him off to the god realm." She lifted her hands to the sky and shouted. "Ahhh! Doumeki, you idiot!"

Az chuckled at her side. "I suppose this means you'll be reinstating the connection to that particular human realm?"

Yuuko smiled at the demon at her side. "Right after I grant your wish, my dear duke."

The demon bowed. "For which I shall be truly grateful."

Yuuko set one hand on her hip and tilted her head to the side. "But seriously, Azazel, did you have to fall in love with an angel?"

The duke of Hell sighed. "I didn't do it on purpose!"

Yuuko sighed and drew her long pipe from her voluminous sleeve. "That's what they all say."

- xXx -