Spoiler Warning: This takes place shortly after the very end of the manga series, Cardcaptor Sakura.
Author's Note: This takes place in the same universe as my other CCSakura fics, "Dreams By Moonlight", "Festival of the Moon", "Master", and "Flying". However, it is not necessary to read those to understand this story.
For Wayens, because he read it first. :)
The Rabbit And The Moon
Always respect Clow's heir and her Guardians, his mother had said.
Lucky little squirt, his youngest sister had said.
Don't embarrass us, had said his eldest.
And with thus ceremony, he had left his home of a decade and returned to Tomoeda.
The park was just as he remembered it. The swings were still in the quiet spring air, and the children's slide threw off a sparkling glint in the late morning light. The bench underneath him was warmed with sunshine.
"Syaoran-kun?" The voice was at once familiar and unexpected. He whirled around, nearly falling off his seat. A long unseen face, round glasses and delicate bangs framing the silver eyes, looked down at him. "I thought it was you."
"Yu-Yukito-san." Syaoran flushed and stuttered for words, disconcerted by his own adolescent reaction.
He had forgotten the power of the Moon.
Seemingly all oblivious, Yukito moved to settle himself on the bench beside him. He rested the elbow of one long arm on the benchback and gazed at Syaoran with a curiously considering expression.
"You're here to stay this time."
"Y-Yes." It had been more a statement than a question.
"I'm glad." Yukito smiled, a kind but eye-squinting look that reminded Syaoran uncomfortably of Mizuki-sensei. He seemed to sober a bit. "Moving to Tokyo is a big step. You're very brave."
"I had motivation." He flushed again, hoping Yukito did not ask for expounding. He had known for a long time that Sakura was his 'Number One', but he wasn't one for talking about it.
Thankfully, Yukito only nodded. "Do you need any help? It must be a lot of work."
"No, that's all right," Syaoran hastened to say. "It's all been taken care of. The only thing left is to unpack the books."
"Do you mean Magician Clow's collection?"
"Yes, actually." It wasn't hard to guess that Syaoran wasn't carting Hong Kong romance novels back with him, but Yukito's suddenly sharpened gaze threw Syaoran off for a moment. "My family brought as much as they could of Clow's collections to Hong Kong with them. This was generations ago, but I'm sure it would still be useful reference. I brought back what remains with us."
"Yes, of course. I'm sure Sakura and the others will appreciate it."
Others? Fujitaka-san, perhaps, might take an anthropologic interest. Kero didn't seem the sort to enjoy reading too much. The Moon Guardian...? Syaoran didn't know Yue well enough to say.
"I could help you with those volumes," Yukito said.
"Oh, I wouldn't ask you to--" Syaoran paused in his refusal to the polite offer. The look on Yukito's face was disarmingly eager, and the pull of the Moon had become overwhelming. He hesitated and said instead, "I would very much appreciate that."
That afternoon, much to Touya's visible displeasure, Syaoran took Sakura out on a not-quite-date: dessert at the ice cream parlor three blocks away.
As they worked ecstatically through their orders, Syaoran ventured to ask, "Is your brother still, um, unhappy with me?"
Sakura rolled her bright green eyes. "Don't mind him. He's just in a bad mood today because Yukito-san didn't come over."
Syaoran stopped a mouthful of fudge half-way to his mouth. "Was that my fault?" He tried to remember if he'd said anything to Yukito today that might have been taken as an insult.
"Of course not. It's Kero's fault if anyone's. He and Yue had a fight, I think. I heard them yelling on the phone as soon as I got home."
Syaoran tried to picture the two Guardians speaking on the telephone and failed. His studying and training in the Lee clan had prepared him for all aspects of the Clow legacy except this. Luckily, the Guardians and Sakura seemed to be just fine with mixing old magic with the modern world.
"What were they fighting about?"
"Yue wanted Kero to come with him somewhere and Kero didn't want to. Something about dusty old things and it not meaning anything anymore anyhow."
In spite of her flippant manner, Syaoran could tell she was feeling out of sorts. Sakura, normally so open, wasn't looking Syaoran in the eye. He waited.
"They were fighting about something to do with Clow-san, I'm sure. They had to be." She pushed the remains of her parfait around in the cup. "They still miss him."
Syaoran pushed his ice cream aside completely and reached for Sakura's hands. "You don't need to replace him. You know that." That earned him a small nod. "Besides, Clow chose you. You're the best thing that could have happened for the Clow Cards and their Guardians. And to me."
Sakura stared at their joined hands for a moment before raising slightly dewy but happy eyes to his. The thrill that sent through him never got old. "Thanks, Syaoran."
That was all Syaoran ever needed to hear.
The next day, Saturday morning, Syaoran opened his door to Yukito in new blue jeans and a faded yellow T-shirt. He looked adorable and adult at the same time, and Syaoran felt his cheeks automatically redden. "Come inside!" he nearly shouted, in his haste slamming the door after Yukito's entrance.
Yukito, ever oblivious, merely took the time to look at the half-furnished living room they stood in. He put his hands on his hips in a business-like manner. "So, where are those boxes?" he asked, and Syaoran was happy to lead him to the study.
It was only later, fortified on all sides by the mountains of incrementally emptying boxes, that Syaoran ventured to ask, "Is everything all right with you and Touya?"
Yukito sighed and waved one hand in a gesture of tolerance. "He understands. He just likes to act jealous." He cocked his head. "How did you know we were planning to meet up today?"
"I didn't." Syaoran flushed again, wishing he could keep his foot out of his mouth for once. "You cancelled a date to come here?" Syaoran couldn't help but feel annoyed on Yukito's behalf. It was most certainly Yue who had wanted to see Clow's books, not Yukito. For all his power, Yue had a childish personality. He hid away when it suited him but exerted pressure on his 'other self' when he wanted something.
"Well, it wasn't exactly a date. I was planning to help him out at his new part-time job."
Syaoran wanted to protest still, but he subsided when Yukito showed no trace of resentment himself.
They had unpacked roughly half of the boxes, and Syaoran was beginning to sort them into piles, when he suddenly heard Yukito laugh. He raised his head over the stacks between them inquiringly. Yukito held up a thick hard-bound volume with a dark green cover. He pointed at the bottom corner of the spine.
"You see this warp in the binding here? Yue was reading it on the roof without Clow's permission, and Cereberus startled him by coming up behind. He dropped it three stories into the gutter." He chuckled. "Yue was so embarrassed."
"Did Clow punish him?" Syaoran asked, somewhat aghast at the thought of Magician Clow's priceless works falling to destruction so carelessly. And at the hands of Clow's own Guardians!
"Cerberus helped him hide it from Clow, but he teased him about it for weeks." Yukito stroked the vellum cover, and Syaoran imagined he saw his fingers glow for a second. He blinked, and it was gone, like an illusion of the light.
"That's all... hard to imagine."
"Is it? Why?"
Syaoran shrugged, unable to articulate a reply that wouldn't seem to insult Yue, and by proxy Yukito himself. "I guess, I just never expect the Guardians to act so..."
"Immature?" Yukito supplied. Syaoran, blushing for the umpteenth time that day, ducked behind a tall stack of references on Western magic.
When he felt comfortable enough to peek over them again, Yukito's gaze had turned thoughtful. "Clow raised them as his children, you know," Yukito told him. "So Guardians isn't all that they are. Just like any pair of siblings, they fight and disagree and get jealous of one another."
Even though Yukito no doubt knew better than anyone about Clow's life with his Guardians, it was difficult for Syaoran to imagine it. The Guardians of the Clow Cards, created by the powerful Magician himself... as children?
The way that they acted around each other, though... That was a pretty apt description.
Reminded of his conversation with Sakura, he asked, "Didn't Kero want to join us today?"
Yukito looked embarrassed. "Sakura and Tomoyo are baking cupcakes today. Yue thinks Kero refused to come because of that."
Something about the inflection of those words made Syaoran ask, "And what do you think?"
"I think... that Kero doesn't want to wallow in the past, which is what he thinks Yue is doing."
Syaoran frowned down at the stack of texts he was putting into order. "There's nothing wrong with visiting the past now and then," he said. It wasn't as if his family had preserved these volumes and hauled them twice across the straits for fun.
Yukito's answering radiant expression surprised and flattered him. "Exactly. More than anyone, I should know the value of history, since I don't have any of my own." Yukito waved one of the books to illustrate.
Yue gave Yukito a past. Syaoran had never thought of it that way before.
Syaoran thought about his own life, steeped in the history of China and ancient magic and the legacy of Clow himself. He tried to imagine not having that, and it felt empty and oddly shallow.
Yukito smiled, looking a little sad. "I didn't have any family growing up. I mean, of course I didn't, but even in my false memories, I was an only child, and my grandparents were often not home. I suppose I can't help but wonder what it would have been like."
Syaoran tried to imagine growing up without the nagging, loud, colorful presence of his mother and four sisters. It didn't seem like Yukito had missed too much. His wistful expression said otherwise, though.
He didn't like the thought of Yukito being jealous of the Moon Guardian.
"You have a family now, don't you?" Syaoran reminded him. "Sakura and her brother, and Fujimoto-san. Kero's around, too," he added, so as not to seem rude.
"That's right. I do, now." Yukito's eyes crinkled in simple happiness.
They had just started to load the bookcases when Syaoran felt brash enough to speak again. He waited until Yukito was reaching for a top shelf, and he turned away and lingered over gathering the next armful of books to hand up.
"You know, I could show you..." He trailed off, feeling that was too presumptuous. "That is," he tried again, "since you're related to Clow, then you and I are sort of cousins. Distant, of course. Obviously, you're much closer to Master Clow than I am."
Syaoran risked a glance at Yukito. The tall, silver-haired boy was regarding him with rapt attention. Bolstered, Syaoran turned to look at Yukito as he said, "The Lee clan has lots of records about our genealogy and travels and research. There's loads of family history that I had to study, growing up. I could lend you some copies for you to read. If you like."
Yukito looked startled, then delighted. Then, something seemed to shift in the atmosphere, and for a moment, Syaoran could have sworn that it was Yue looking out at him with Yukito's gentle eyes. "Thank you," he said, the voice sounding the same but the tone...
Then, Yukito cocked his head in that guile-less manner -- and he was his innocent self again.
"Ah, yes, the books? I couldn't possibly impose. They're your personal family records."
"Well..." Syaoran wondered if he should inform Yukito that Yue had once again highjacked his body. Somehow, though, the intent hadn't seemed self-serving. Quite the opposite. He firmed his voice. "Yukito-san, I insist."
The glowing expression on Yukito's face was answer enough. Being Yukito, of course, he said, "If it truly wouldn't be a bother... that would be fantastic." Yukito bent forward to take the stack of books in Syaoran's arms. While their faces were close together, he added, "Thank you, cousin."
If Syaoran's face had been burning before, it was about to spontaneously combust now. "Thank-- I mean, no-- Ah-- You're very-- Um--"
Fortunately, the doorbell rang at that moment.
Syaoran jumped up as if electrified and practically fled away down the hall. Activating the security monitor, he saw a face beaming back at him that did nothing for his chagrine but exacerbate it. "Sakura!" He hurried to let her in.
Grinning in her sky-blue t-shirt and off-white overalls, Sakura made a show of flexing her arms. "We thought we'd come help out."
Syaoran looked up and down the empty outer hallway. "We?"
Kero popped out of the front pocket of Sakura's overalls.
"Sakura-chan! What a pleasant..." Yukito, coming around the corner, froze in mid-stride for a fraction of a second before continuing to them. Smiling gently, he bent down to look Kero in the eye. "Hello, Kero. I'm glad you could join us." He and Kero stared at each other, and Syaoran, more attuned to the feeling now, felt the brief surge in Yukito's aura.
A smile grew on Kero's little face, and he fluttered out and made a victory V. "C'mon, let's get this done before the cupcakes are all gone!"
Syaoran exchanged a look with Sakura. She grinned at him and then shot a look at Yukito who, to Syaoran's surprise, winked back at them both.
Dear Mother, Dear My Sisters,
I hope all is well with you.
Tomoeda is as lovely as before. Sakura and her family are well. They were thrilled at the materials that the Lee clan were able to provide. In fact, they already come of good use to us all here.
Clow's heir and her Guardians, aside from being fully capable of their posts, as I reported priorly, are well-suited for the modern age. I think Clow's legacy will live on well, and I am glad this humble one can have a part of it. I'm ever thankful for your approval as well.
Health, and fond wishes always,
Your loving son and brother, Syaoran