Rumbles in the Distance.
Thunder rumbles in the distance, a quiet intensity
I am willful, your insistence is tugging at the best of me
You're the moon, I'm the water
You're Mars, calling up Neptune's daughter
"Painting by Chagall", The Weepies.

It's three o' clock in the afternoon. Clow isn't sure how he knows it or why does it matter, but the knowledge moves sweet and slow through him, a lassitude in the air that is hard to understand, even when he isn't quite trying to do so.

It is also a dream. The certainty of that isn't one he's used to yet, dreams and future prophecies and nightmares still mixing up together, sometimes, perhaps forever. Clow he breathes in slowly and pushes himself up with his forearms, birds flying up into a sky that comes from a Chagall painting.

This amuses him, somehow, perhaps because the name comes from the future, perhaps not. When he stands up, the first thing he sees is the tree. It's an important tree and it's calling to him, so he walks towards it, wondering why it had called him.

Below it's shadow, a girl. Clow blinks and stops under the shadow of the tree and three steps away from the girl. Her kimono trails around her, butterflies almost fluttering on the breeze of this dream. She looks up and glares and Clow can't help but smile.

There are questions that need to be made and yet, he doesn't voice them. With the same certainity from before, he knows the answers will come.

"You're late," the girl says. She can't be older than five. Six, perhaps, and yet there's something that doesn't quite fit.

Clow smiles and sits down, even without her permission. There is a cup of tea waiting for him, and biscuits. The clouds on the painting-like sky twirl into spirals before they disappear.

"Am I?"

She glares again, picks up a tiny, silver spoon. She doesn't answer. Clow cocks his head to the side for a moment and he wonders about asking her name. He thinks about it for a moment but dismisses it as a foolish idea.

"You've decided to dislike me, then," he smiles, hands on the palms of his hands. The girl's spoon clicks against the porcelain of her teacup. "Because of my tardiness?"

"There is no reason for me to like you," she glares, a little. Clow thinks it's charming and his smile sweetens. "You have wishes but you won't make them."

"And yet, here we are," he muses, picking up a bisquet.

The little girl's glare intensifies.

"Exactly," she finally stops stirring her tea. She picks her cup carefully and takes a sip. "You make me lose my time. And you'll always do."

"'Always' is an awfully long time," Clow muses. He falls back unto his hands to let the dream-like sun wash over his face. It's almost, Clow thinks, as if he could reach and wrap long fingers around its yellows and reds and let butterflies sprout from there.

He doesn't reach for it.

By the girl's side, the blue of a moonlight field wrap around her dress and her hair and shoulders. Clow thinks that if he reaches for her hair, his hand will come back black.

When he does reach for it, but his fingers remain pale and clean.

"You'll always make me lose my time," the girl insists.

Clow decides to keep that as a promise. He picks up his tea and takes a sip.

"It's delicious."

The girl doesn't answer, her small hands on the porcelain of her cup. Clow looks up again, as the dark and day mix up. He looks at the doll-face of the girl besides him and he feels content. He moves to stand up but, before, he kneels by her side.

"I'll be sure to bring dessert next time," Clow offers. "It's only fair. Chocolate sounds good?"

He picks up her hand and he brushes a kiss against small fingers and he looks towards the girl, her name – one of many and among them all the real one, perhaps, a secret among secrets – on his lips.

"I'll see you soon, Yuuko-chan."

The girl huffs and doesn't answer. It doesn't matter. Her hand is warm in his.

Clow wakes up, thunders announcing a storm. His fingers are stained black from where he knocked the ink over the table.

He laughs.