Ghosts in The Mirror (1/2)
Author: Atthla

Rating: P for porn and plotless-ness. You get the idea.

Warning: Spoilers up to Chapitre 177 (because I refuse to acknowledge 178 and 179)and well, pr0n. Also the dorkiness that is Syaoran. And I may or may not have lent him Kurogane's potty mouth.

Pairing: Clonecest. Technically, it's C!Syaoran x R!Syaoran (as shall be divulged in the second chapter) but I don't think there's any definite seme/uke role for them because… well, they're one and the same, aren't they? There's also a smattering of SyaoSaku to notch up the angst, and a tiny, little, minuscule bit of KuroSyao only because I can't deny myself the pleasure (and the angst. Just so. That pairing practically screams angst at me.)

Disclaimer: Not mine, because if it is, Sakura would be a lot less important and would appear MUCH less often, allowing more space for hot, heavy clonecest loving. Although I must admit that CLAMP is kind enough so far. Brandywine, on the other hand, is a definite rip-off from Lord of The Rings despite this fic having absolutely nothing to do with the phenomenal trilogy. I use the name only because Tolkien is awesome. Nuff said.

Word Count: 4265

Summary: Denial is always the worst combination of fear and need. Sequel to In The Still Watch of The Night. Clonecest.

Note: This mainly plotless story is a tribute to the awesomeness that is OVA 2. It's a continuation of my other clonecest fics. Which means that it probably won't make much sense until you've read its two predecessors: 'Burned' and 'In The Still Watch of The Night'. This story takes place in the same world as the latter.

Additional Note: I refuse to acknowledge everything that happens in Chapitre 178-179 (yeah, like I can do that for long). I felt like I'd just swallowed something awful after reading those two chapters. Let's just pretend that they don't exist. That said, enjoy the read.


For at least the thousandth time this morning, Syaoran found himself wishing that he hadn't gone after his clone that day in the burning village.

Of all the things to drive him to the brink of insanity, he had never really expected his other self as the one who finally carried out the whole deed. Sure, they shared this complicated relationship that would make every grown-up man clutch at the last straws of their sanity and scream on daily basis like some damsel in distress, let alone teenage boys growing up in a bloody aquarium, but he had always thought that the worst would be Fei Wong Reed. That twisted uncle of his was, after all, the source of practically every problem, fault, glitch, and dilemma that littered his desolate fifteen years of existence.

It used to be that simple – pragmatically speaking. His uncle was the big villain and it was his duty to prevent any of the old man's evil schemes from being successfully accomplished. That the mission would cost him every drop of his sanity was something Syaoran had never doubted from the start. He just hadn't expected that somewhere along the way, things would change so drastically that he had no choice but to question everything he had believed in so far.

Yes, everything.

It hadn't been difficult to think of killing the other boy not too long time ago. As a matter of fact, it had been his only intention when he had stepped down from that glass platform and asked for the Witch of Dimension's help. He must pay for his mistakes, the greatest of which allowing his twin to be born in the first place. He hadn't been strong enough to prevent it and there it remained, an unpaid debt, lingering, festering like an ugly, rotting wound.

But things steered from their intended course. It wasn't surprising now that he thought about it. Plans, no matter how well-plotted, tended to deviate in the most disagreeable ways. In the most inopportune moments. This wasn't an exception. He hadn't planned to be swayed by Sakura's desperate pleas. He hadn't planned to travel with this group. He hadn't planned to fill the painful gap his other self had left. He hadn't planned… for lots of things to happen.

After years of preparing himself – physically, magically, emotionally, and the last one was especially difficult – it was a rather anticlimactic conclusion for a supposedly glorious end. His clone, despite missing as integral a part as a heart to function as a normal human being, was still alive and kicking.


He honestly couldn't say what went wrong, or what had changed and when, if such was the case, it had occurred. It could be all those long years watching the world unfolding through the other boy's eyes, loving and hating the fact that a part of him was still able to enjoy many small fragments of happiness the rest had forfeited. His consolation, but also his own personal hell. The most vivid that Syaoran remembered was that he had spent every drawn breath trying to fortify his heart, because as much as it ached when he felt his clone smiling or laughing, this was the person he might have to kill once he had broken out of his confines. Pity wasn't something he could afford, affection even less, but he didn't really have any choice. All he could do was hope, that he would win the gamble, that his other self would be able to escape the tangled web of pain and betrayal fate had wound around him.

That Sakura wouldn't have to lose her smile.

But he had lost. His clone surrendered to his fate, leaving the princess begging and crying at his feet, and despite everything Syaoran had done to arm himself against that kind of situation, it still hurt him. Immensely.

And then, of course, came the kiss. The intolerable, frustratingly inexplainable kiss, which regardless of the manner of its execution, had been his first, ever.

Syaoran wasn't exactly a romantic person – what chance did he have with romanticism anyway, after having practically no contact with anyone or anything but bubbling liquid for years. That was why, for the life of him, he couldn't fathom why it should matter. Why he was making a big deal out of a single kiss, first or not. Why, why, and oh why it should bother him to the point of losing hours of sleep when the taker – despicable, ungrateful stealer – had been his own self anyway.

All right, maybe that sounded wrong. And admittedly disturbing, but still. It shouldn't matter that much.

The kiss had been his first mistake. And most likely also the worst since it played as a prelude to a series of plights that only got worse with each occasion. The height of his stupidity so far was two nights ago, when his clone had stopped being his clone and become this enigmatic source of turmoil which made his body react very, very uncomfortably every time he as much as looked at himself in the mirror.

How very disturbing that was.

Syaoran was so angry at himself for letting it affect him, for giving in to something as base as lust when everything else had started to look up. Sakura had been able to smile at him – really him, not the mere shadow of his clone. Fay had been able to look at him in the eye for more than a quarter of a second. The world no longer seemed as dark as it had been and he had begun to believe that happiness, elusive though it might be, was not a lost cause in his case.

And yet he had yielded, so very easily, once the clone had touched him. Touched. Him. One touch, a thumb on his lower lip, and everything else had ceased to be important.

Yes, Syaoran was thoroughly livid.

It was therefore in this mood that he found himself walking down the streets of Brandywine, a busy little town the group had decided to settle in while they were looking for the feather in this dimension. The heavy morning bustles had calmed down to a steady hum as midday approached. Which was better for him because in addition to having lost sleeps since weeks ago, he practically hadn't had a wink in the last two days. Clamours and other raucous noises would only irritate him further in this state, and Syaoran really didn't need any more encouragement in that department. The glaring sunlight had already done the job well enough, he thought sullenly, shielding both eyes with one hand.

This felt more like a blind chase than anything. Mokona had announced that there was a feather in this world, but its exact location was hard to pin down. Sometimes it felt near, sometimes far, but before they could do anything about it, the presence had disappeared without a trace only to reappear on the next hour or so at the opposite direction, like it was constantly on the move. Their only hope was the rumour circulating among the town populace about a white ghost that was often seen by travelers at night. As far as they were concerned, it could be the feather.

How to find it, however, turned out to be a more difficult question to answer than they had expected. Each witness had glimpsed the 'ghost' on different locations to the others. They had checked every single place but found nothing helpful so far. It was almost like the feather didn't want to be found.

Mokona hadn't felt anything all morning, but Syaoran decided that he would take his chance and walk around the town. He really couldn't wait with his hands and feet idle, not if he wished to avoid any kind of thought related to his clone, no matter how distant or innocent. They seemed to occupy a large portion of his mind lately – especially the not-so-innocent ones – and right now he only wanted to get away as far as possible from them.

Which was a little difficult, seeing that he had come face to face with the actual subject of those thoughts himself.

Syaoran didn't even realize that he had stopped walking. Or breathing. Those eyes, blue and amber, literally nailed him to the spot. They stood rooted there, unmoved by the flood of emotions crashing against his senses. His entire concentration narrowed and focused on that figure standing under a tree at the other side of the street, identical to his own save for a pair of mismatched eyes that were looking straight at him.

Just looking. Not staring, because one needed some kind of emotion to stare and his clone had absolutely naught.

A very strange mesh of coldness and heat swelled in his stomach. It rapidly spread across every plane of muscle, nerve, down to the tip of his fingers, nails, everywhere. The other boy hadn't reacted to his presence, still casually leaning against the tree with both arms folded in front of his chest. He was dressed in the same black attire he had worn when they had fought each other inside the dream, only now there was a beige traveler cloak to tone down his sinister appearance. Syaoran felt like he was seeing a ghost, like every time he saw himself in the mirror, only this time it was real and try as he might, he couldn't look away.

But then someone bumped against him from behind, shaking him out of his trance, and Syaoran did the only reasonable thing he could think of.

He turned around and ran away.


"He's here."

The dim light in their small rented room flickered slightly, as if affected by his solemn, quiet announcement. Kurogane's shoulders had gone rigid and his hand gripped the door handle tightly before letting it go to look back at him. His eyes were smoldering red, demanding explanation from the boy sitting on the farther bed.

"You met him? When?"

A light night breeze, coming from the half-opened window, wafted across his skin and Syaoran felt his fingers dig into the edge of the mattress. "This morning."

"And you're only telling me now?"

It sounded like an accusation, but he couldn't find it in himself to be offended. It wasn't as if he had withheld the information for any malicious intent. He only wished to spare the princess the pain. Her reaction to his twin's appearance, be it in the dream world or real, hadn't stopped haunting the recesses of his mind. And no, it had nothing to do with the bitter feeling that rose in his chest every time he caught her looking at him and yet not looking at him. He just hated to see her like that – heartbroken, in tears, begging for love that wasn't even there.

"I don't want her to know," he murmured, voice quieter than a whisper, blander than the infinite silence flattening the night. "But I think Kurogane-san has to."

Kurogane was silent for a long moment. Syaoran briefly wondered if the older man heard everything he had left unsaid. Maybe he did. The ninja was uncanny like that. He looked like he didn't care, but the things he noticed far surpassed that of the rest of the group combined.

"It wasn't the first time you'd seen him in this world, was it?"

Although he was somewhat hoping that Kurogane wouldn't notice that one. He glanced up, more than a little wary, and knew at once that lies were as good as useless.


The ninja exhaled loudly through his nose and Syaoran thought that he could hear all the frustration and irritation directed at him in that short, sharp sound. He lowered his face, determinedly looking at his feet, and wondered silently where he had messed up. Or where his twin had messed it up for him.

There was the familiar spark of anger again. And then the guilt. A bottomless ocean. Deep. Overwhelming. A place he had gotten too used to, so much that any intrusion on this sacred ground – or private hell, because that was what it essentially was – made him flinch.

The touch was solid, but almost gentle in a way, and it stubbornly stayed there on top of his head despite his involuntary cringe. Syaoran looked up through slivers of dark bangs which had fallen over his eyes, at the tall silhouette towering over him, and found himself engulfed in a certain memory. Painful, intangible in the blur of alcoholic haze and cold haughtiness of Infinity. It felt like centuries ago, but the hand, hard and callous, calmed him like it had once, pulling him away from that vast black nothingness, back to reality.

"I'll tell the mage to stay close to her," the ninja said, voice and eyes heavy with something Syaoran could almost identify as grudging compassion. "Just get some sleep. You look like hell."

He tried to smile, but the effort dissolved like grains of sand sinking into water, and so he settled with a quiet nod. When Kurogane had disappeared behind the door, he lowered his head onto the pillow, listening to the steady rhythm of distancing footsteps. The part of his head where the older man had put his hand on still tingled slightly.

Syaoran wasn't sleeping. He was drifting in that desolate, colourless realm of half dream, with most parts of his awareness still very much active. They took note of every sound, flash, motion, but didn't process any – just took in and filed it away in some old, rusty drawers inside his mind. The lure of sleep was strong, but his body was already too familiar with every step of the opposite procedure that resisting had become a matter of habit.

The silent minutes dragged on for a few moments, none of them blissful but at least comforting enough. Shapeless thoughts kept milling about in his head and he let them pass, a mute spectator chained to the back seat. It felt like everything he had done his entire life. Watching. Regretting. Doing nothing.

He didn't respond at the first sign of disturbance in the air. Things always seemed stranger from behind this curtain of half sleep, and Syaoran did what he had always done, sensing and dismissing them right away. They didn't disappear, but it wasn't until his bed made a loud protest against the arrival of an additional weight that everything made perfect sense to him.

Syaoran felt his heart stop beating, constricted by panic. His eyes flung open and he found the mismatched pair which had haunted him all day long looking down at him. They were almost glowing in the wash of pale light coming from the only lamp in the room, as if mocking him, and this sight violently broke him out of his stupor. Growling, he tried to get up, but his clone beat him to it and had pinned his waist down with his own weight before the original could even blink.

This position, Syaoran reflected with growing alarm, was becoming increasingly familiar.

He felt helplessness clashing with vehemence in his chest, fear underlining everything. It was, he realized with some surprise that felt a hair's breadth too far, how the other boy had always made him feel. This incongrous mishmash. It didn't help that the clone's not-exactly-uncomfortable weight was making him think of things he really shouldn't be thinking in this situation. Or any situation at all in that matter.

But Syaoran had always been a rebel at heart. He didn't take things lying down, no matter what challenge they possessed. Gritting his teeth, he closed his eyes, channeling his entire concentration into one point, and on the next second, the room had glowed bright gold as a magic circle appeared on the sheet beneath them.

The succeeding scenes unfolded with uncanny precision, like pages of the same story being turned again and again. The familiar fingers. Pressing the exact same spots on his neck. He could almost feel the heat of fire as the memory rose unbidden in his mind.

"Do we have to do this every time?"

Apparently he wasn't the only one who remembered. Flickers of magic dying away, Syaoran opened his eyes slowly, pros and cons weighing every millisecond. The clone's face was perfectly blank, but he kept seeing that flash of surprise. The little crack he had managed to inflict on that solid, flawless mask two nights ago. And remembering how it affected him. How his whole body tingled with need. How good that slow, agonizing rhythm felt.

"What do you want?" It was worse than a whisper. A deaf person could pick up that he was losing the battle.

"What we haven't finished," the flat voice drawled, suddenly too close. The weight on his stomach slid lower as his twin bent down to claim his mouth. Syaoran could almost hear the gears in his brain screech to an abrupt halt.

He was losing. Fast. And almost immediately, the thought restored the rebel in him back to life. Breathing out sharply, he jerked his lips away and hissed, "Stop it."

The other boy did. For two seconds. On the third, he was back to the deliberate grinding they had left unfinished. Hips against hips. Things were coming back to Syaoran faster than a deluge. He couldn't suppress the gasp, and then the hitched edge of a moan. His clone started pressing more insistently and it was between don't and yes and don't and yes and he had given up before he could decide.

The escape felt horrible. It was cowardly, nothing to be proud of, but the feel of his twin's mouth on his rapidly eclipsed everything else. His ability to think was slipping. His control was slipping. Somewhere along the way, his legs came around the other boy's waist, drawing him closer, and he was lost in that sensation of sinking guilt and smoldering pleasure. There must be some code of unwritten law somewhere which publicly stated that to feel as good as this was wrong by some moral conception or others. Things like this shouldn't happen. It felt so good that it scared the hell out of him, but he couldn't stop falling and drowning and giving a part of him a little every time they rubbed and moaned against each other.

The friction was no longer enough. His hands, which had roamed all over the other's back, slinked lower, following the circle of his own legs to their glued hips. Syaoran suddenly decided that he knew what he wanted. His clone's eyes were glazed, little fire burning in them, and they flared to life when his fingers slipped in between heated skins and found what they had sought.

It wasn't emotion. Not in the heartfelt sense. It was nevertheless there and he realized that he needed to look at it. For some reasons, this need was stronger than the aching stiffness between his legs. His mind was in a blur. He pushed the constricting pants down and tried to focus on the way his hands worked. The grip of his fingers. The twist of his wrist. It was almost abstract the way such details fell into perspective. The hardened flesh was pulsing in his hands and every single pulse was mirrored on his twin's face. The rigid, impassive lines melted into something more intangible and yet more pronounced and the effect was almost breathtaking. The usually unsmiling mouth was slightly open, allowing sharp gasps to fall out not-so-quietly and paint the silence in the room.

It was the most gut-wrenching sight he had ever seen.

The feeling was awful and his heart felt like it was about to explode, but he was already too far gone to stop. The clone was still looking at him, the black fire in his eyes making him shudder. Hips were jerking fast into the tight ring of his fingers and Syaoran dimly realized that he was imitating the motion, seeking friction for his own unattended arousal through his pants. He wanted to touch himself, but for some unfathomable reasons, he couldn't stop pleasuring his other self.

Not when he looked like that. Not when that strained expression and the wet heat in his hands were the only real things in his world right now.

The air became heavy. The small noises became desperate. The thrusts became frantic. He could feel the end approaching, grazing his skin, straining his muscles.

Syaoran thought that he was also coming when the other boy released all over his hands, eyes squeezed shut, mouth falling open to let out a deep-throated moan. It was like looking at himself, and yet not, and the conflicting emotions were horrible enough without the painful throb between his legs. Simple breathing, he discovered, had suddenly become a labour. The fact that the clone had slumped on top of him didn't help.

He could feel the slow passing of time, could feel it crawl on his skin like a bundle of thorns. The ceiling was unclear, streaked by dark strands of hair in front of his eyes and blurred by something else he didn't particularly want to know what. His hands were trembling so badly. It felt like a dream, some nightmare conjured by exhaustion and continuous lack of sleep. The sound of his twin panting against his neck was the only proof that it wasn't.

He wanted to scream. He wanted to hold the other boy closer, wanted to push him away, wanted to pretend that he didn't exist, wanted to pretend that he wasn't there lying on him and making him feel too much at once that things like common sense was only an echo of a distant past.

Complicated was no longer adequate to describe their situation. Horribly fucked-up would be more like it.

He closed his eyes and lay there unmoving, trying to block everything out. They were too sharp, too overwhelming. He barely twitched when his clone rose slightly from the bed and took his hands, slowly licking the digits to clean the mess he had caused. His tongue was warm and pliant and his lips were as soft as Syaoran remembered. He couldn't stop the shudder reverberating in his muscles, or the quiet whimper rising from the back of his throat as the slick tongue dragged across his palm. He was getting impossibly harder by the seconds. The veil of darkness over his eyes was the only barrier left standing and he was clutching at it like dear life. Biting the insides of his cheek so hard that he could taste the tang of blood. It was the only thing he could do to keep himself from giving in.

Or maybe he already did. One way or another. Either way, he realized that he was almost beyond caring.

Until something hot and wet engulfed his length.

Syaoran couldn't tell if the scream left his throat or not. He couldn't breathe, so maybe it didn't, but he was unable to do much to hold back the rest. They slipped past his lips in fragmented chains of throaty moans and ragged breaths as his twin's mouth gave his burning arousal its full, long-denied attention. His frenzied mind was repeating a string of mantra, desperately clinging to it because it was the only thing that stood between him and total abandon.

Fay-san's in the next room Fay-san's in the next room Fay-san's in the next room Fay-san's in the next…

The clone sucked him hard once and the jolt of pleasure successfully derailed his concentration. His mind practically went blank. Everything was too much, far too intense to make sense. He couldn't think, only feel and feel as the other boy's mouth deliberately tightened and released around him, again and again, making him writhe and trash wildly. His fingers were fisting the sheet and grabbing the mattress and the sounds he was making were impossible to mistake as anything but what they really were.

Syaoran tried not to look down because he knew he would climax as soon as he saw that familiar head between his openly spread legs. He was nothing but a crumpled mess of heat and need. The world ceased to exist. All he knew was that his clone was responsible for this blinding pleasure that felt so incredibly wrong and yet incredibly right at the same time. And that he was close. Too close. So close that his entire body was aching and screaming and he didn't know what he'd do if his twin didn't let him come in the next two seconds…

And suddenly it stopped.

The loss actually made him choke. Syaoran heard a groan of protest escaping his mouth and before he knew it, he had grasped at the other boy frantically. But the clone had already risen to his feet, out of his arm's reach. Almost white blind with fear and need and fury, Syaoran was all too ready to summon a bolt of lightning or two if that was what it took to force his twin finishing what he had started when his ears caught a faint sound. Heavy footfalls on wooden stairs. And sure enough, on the next second he could hear Kurogane speaking in a low voice to someone he didn't recognize.

Syaoran felt frustration burst inside him. That. Was. Fucking. Unfair.

He had no time to think. The voices were drawing closer, but when he looked around, still immeasurably, irrationally angry, the other boy was nowhere in sight. Of course. The coward. Stifling overwhelming urges to destroy everything around him, he grabbed the folded blanket which had fallen off the bed sometime during the heated encounter, and draped it over himself, feigning sleep as the door opened with a soft creak.

The next time they met, he was going to kill the clone.

To Be Continued


Please don't kill me. I promise I'll give Syaoran what he wants (eventually). No! I mean in the next chapter. Really.