Warning: Contains mild spoilers for Nihon Arc. And sexual content (of course!)

He had never actually laid on a bed like this before, even though he remembered what it felt like; low to the ground with a simple pillow cradling his head as the dull feel of footsteps in the hallway vibrated through the bamboo floor to reach him. And it was far more comfortable than he was expecting as well, which made the situation all the more strange. Then again, this particular bed probably was more comfortable than his jumbled memory seemed to recall; they were in a palace after all.

Memories: what a funny thing. It's all his life was about anymore; and the only thing it had been about for longer than he wanted to remember. Amber eyes stared at the simple ceiling of pale yellow wood, realizing the irony of such a thought and gave a weak smile.

He couldn't remember what his laugh sounded like.

How long had it been since he had really laughed?



He didn't know.

But it was better to not think about things like that. Better to remember that even while faded and blurred he could still recall the sounds of other's laughter: delicate and pure, forcibly kind, or briefly amused. Better to remember that he would hear them again, someday. Better to just think about tomorrow.

Gauzy white curtains hung about his head, and all around the room, making him feel as though he were still wrapped in a dream. They wafted slowly, back and forth on the soft breeze of the fading light. Moonlight would soon be caught in the fabric, filtered through layers of cloudy white to halo him in half-shadows. Everyone else would be sleeping still. He probably should keep sleeping himself, but there was some prickle on the back of his neck that told him to ignore his heavy lids.

It smelled like spring here; a fresh, clean spring of an untouched world they would want to sell in floral-printed bottles at the supermarket back home. Though, he doubted he ever could afford the price that could get him back there again.

But he didn't regret leaving. He regretted not leaving soon enough. Regretted being too young and too foolhardy at the time to not put an end to things before they began.

He was paying for his mistakes now. And having to look them all in the face every day reminded him of just that: none of them would be here if he had been stronger then.

But he was stronger now. And he had them. And they had each other.

At least he hoped that he had them. He still wondered what they saw when they looked at him. The face of their betrayer, or his own face: one that had been betrayed as well. Soft smiles and gentle moments reassured him now and again. A pat on the head. A touch of a hand.

He wished he knew what she thought.

He would have laid there thinking of her. Remembering her smile, her laugh, even though she had never truly smiled for him. Laughed for him.

That was why he hated mirrors.

But something stopped his thoughts: there was a tingle on the air. Familiar. Cool. A magic very few had ever truly seen.

The smell of blood.

There was no hesitation in the boy. He was on his feet in an instant and running for the door. He had felt that sensation, and held that sent in his lungs enough in the past few days to last him a life time. Something was wrong, and he was not about to lay around and do nothing.

"You shouldn't be out of-!" he practically knocked he poor girl over as he dashed down the hallway.

He hollered several apologies as he ran. Not once did he look back.

The palace was still very unfamiliar, but he knew it well enough to know. Tomoyo-hime had walked with him personally to point out everything to him. He and Fai had been the only two conscious since their arrival. But it was Fai he was worried about right now. That was his magic he had felt, pulsing through the air. It was gone now: no longer in use. But the sent of blood was heavy.

He had been expecting the worst, but what he found was heavily underestimated: mismatched eyes on his own mirrored face looking straight at him with a cold, merciless smile on taught lips; a single cheek smeared with red. His own heart dropped into his stomach, as though afraid to get any nearer to the place its half once dwelled.

"Leave!" he yelled straight at him the moment he found his voice. "There is nothing in this world that concerns you."

A quick, hallow laugh was the only response. Black, blood-stained boots took two steps straight forward and Syaoran wondered for a moment if he really appeared so old now. This person before him was no longer a child. And nor was he.

"Go away!" he warned again. It was only then he realized he was alone. Sakura was not there to hold them back this time. Fai was not there to get in their way. And Kurogane could not stop them.

The other only laughed. "I need more," was all he said. Another daunting step forward. But Syaoran held his ground.

"Go away," he said again, this time deeper; more demanding. He would not allow thatthing to come any nearer to the palace. It had already caused enough damage and this world would not become another ripple in the wake of it's destruction – Syaoran would make sure of that.

But the other just stood there, staring straight at him. Blue and amber scanning him; up, down, up, down. His own reflection sizing him up, making sure he was worthy enough to even consider letting live. Syaoran wondered if the other even knew him - his cold eyes held no hint of recollection.

"You'll do," he said flatly. Two more steps.

And still Syaoran remained.

"There is nothing here for you," Syaoran insisted, keeping his voice as level and calm as he could. But he could not deny his clammy palms and shaking knees. He blamed it on not being fully recovered yet. He was not afraid of him.

"I need more to find them. I have to find them. I must," the other droned on like an eerie, broken record. "You have more. Give it to me." Only half a moment passed before mismatched eyes narrowed dangerously as he licked his lips and lunged.

Syaoran had forgotten just how strong the other was. How he had no regard for his own pain. No concern for anything about him. And the two of them toppled over on to the grass there beneath the tress, legs kicking, arms swinging, only to land with a dull thud on the tall, cool spring grass.

He should have been able to throw him off. He knew he should have. So why were hands clasped around his throat? Why were the edges of his world clouded with grey as the world spun around faster than it should have?

Both hands locked around his prey's slender throat, he looked down at him with vague curiosity. This boy was not like that foolish blonde. There was magic in him, but he could not seem to find exactly where it was coming from.

Maybe if he just ate him piece by piece, he would find it.

But he was really going to have to put a stop to his prey's squirming. The boy below him kicking his legs and scratching at his arms in pathetic, futile attempts at freedom. There could be none of that.

"Stop it," he commanded, tightening his grip around that slender, smooth neck of his.

But that only seemed to encourage him.

"I said STOP!" he yelled.

Syaoran gasped for air, but nothing seemed to be coming. His vision was going blurry. But all he could think to do was try and push him off. He didn't have enough energy in him for anything more. He had no voice for spells.

"Stop!" the other growled, placing himself right on his prey's stomach to dig his knees into flailing arms.

There was a grunt of pain that came from him and a few more useless kicks before he finally stopped. Motionless below him Syaoran now lay and the clone gave a annoyed, chuckling sigh before rolling off the other and jumping to his feet.

There was no telling how long this would take, and he couldn't risk the attention of anyone seeing him. Normally, it wouldn't matter. He'd just kill them all. But that would put Syaoran in danger of getting killed as well. He didn't care. But unfortunately, stealing people's magic only works if the originator of the magic remains alive. That was the only reason he had let that stupid mage live. And It was the only reason his own weaker copy wasn't already dead. It really was bothersome, because it is much easier to steal things from those who are no longer alive.

Large, thick trees and the deep shadows of night would hide them just fine. He propped his amber-eyed reflection against a tree and set to work.For a moment, he just sat there, crouched before him. He could feel the other; the magic pulsating through him as though it were the very blood in his veins. His new blue eye was useful in all kinds of things such as this.

So why couldn't it tell him where the source of his power was?

Was it inside him?

If it was, how could he remove some of it and keep Syaoran alive?

Perhaps this would call for a closer look.

Syaoran smelled vaguely of sandalwood and lavender. The other of blood and sweat. And the unwanted copy found himself practically tingling at the sensation of the other's magic buzzing about them. He remembered how Fai had tasted; how every inch of him had screamed for more the very moment the taste of magic hit his tongue.

He'd have taken every last drop had that idiot ninja not interfered.

He'd destroy them both if they got in his way again.

That would come later though. For now, he was far more delighted with his new victim, and a vague smile tugged at the corner of his lips as he looked down at him, wondering what he would taste like.

Surely his creator intended this to happen. As far as he was concerned, Syaoran's powers were just as much his as they were Syaoran's anyway.

But where to start?

He grabbed himself a fist full of sandy brown hair and tilted the other's sleeping face up to him. It was no where, and everywhere all at once. And he couldn't stand it.

The smell of sandalwood and lavender filled his nostrils once again, and the tingle of magic ran up his spine like a winter chill. It was so close. He wanted it so bad. There was nothing to stop him from doing what he pleased.

The other's skin was salty but felt like licking the skin of an apricot. Not what he had expected, but it did not taste bad. The other cheek tasted just the same.

He saw a twitch in a single brown eyebrow. But he didn't care. There was more to be had and he licked his lips in anticipation.

The other's neck, red raw from his own handy work, was long and delicious. Saltier, softer than his cheeks had been.

Lips parted in a mumble. Syaoran was waking. But the other just saw them as something else to taste. Some way to keep him silent.

Instantly, amber eyes shot open in a panic. He'd have cried out if he'd been able but reflexes kicked in and he twisted his head violently away instead.

"Get off!" he yelped, trying to push him away. But the other had long thought of that and had him successfully pinned against the tree with both hands. And it seemed his shouting had only been a further invitation – a better opportunity to get at him.

Quickly growing annoyed with his squirming, the copied boy pressed further; deeper; shoving Syaoran into the tree as firmly as he could while continuing on with his exploration. His wicked tongue delighted in the new tastes. Syaoran was far tastier than he had been expecting and now more than ever, the other could feel magic pulsing through the air. He craved it. Wanted it. It had to be his.

But Syaoran did not seem to be to so willing to share.

Try as he might however, Syaoran could not escape. Hands that could have belonged to himself gripped him by the shoulders, holding him in place and pressing him into the tree that dug into the flesh of his back. Demanding lips overpowered him, and would not let him pull away. But soon he did not have to. Soon, they grew bored and moved elsewhere on their own; his neck; his ears; his collar.

He should have run the moment the grip on his shoulders lessened.

He didn't.

Instead, he staid pressed against the cherry tree as lips and that demon tongue traveled elsewhere. The top of his robe was shoved off his shoulders to hang from his waist by the single tied belt. His breath would catch in his throat. His knees shook again.

He wanted this to stop.

But he couldn't move. His legs disobeyed him. His arms didn't budge. Not even his own skin would listen as his face grew warmer and warmer still, and a curious tingle ran up his back and rang in his ears. All he could manage was a few half-hearted mumbles of refusal he couldn't even be sure came out in real phrases. But the other showed no interest in stopping. He wasn't even particularly paying attention to anything his prey was doing (or not doing, as the case was as well.) Just going along as things came to mind; nipping, biting, tasting new skin as he came across it. Not stoping to wonder if this was what he had really been after to begin with.

He didn't care.

He did not stop.

Not until he had gotten enough. Not until he was breathless from his own exploration. Not until he was buzzing with the new sensation of satisfaction and a predatory smirk slid across his face; his weaker self, useless and crumpled on the ground.

That must have been what he had come for. That had been far more delicious than stealing power from Fai had been. And he would leave the boy still in one whole piece to return to whenever he craved more.

Silently he faded away in the darkness, mismatched eyes fixed on the figure curled up and unmoving in the tall green grass and he wondered; when his mission was over would his creator would let him keep Syaoran for himself?

He hoped so.