Counting the Days that Pass Me By.

The sky is very, very blue, spring chasing away what coolness remains of the winter. Yukito smiles to a nice, elderly woman who walks side by side with her grandson, bowing his head and watching them walk. It's the third time they've seen each other like this, and the first day he offered to help them with the bucket the grandson is carrying, but the woman had just smiled at him as she shook her head, saying that he should, too, spend some time with his own ghosts.

She's probably around To-ya's age, or perhaps a few years younger. Guessing humans' age has gotten to be so much harder, now.

So Yukito sits by the tombstones, three graves away from To-ya's, not daring to get closer. So far, some spirits have smiled at him but kept their distance, and Yukito appreciates the thought. The one ghost he would speak to is the one who has already moved on, and while he wouldn't wish for To-ya to remain in this world, trapped because he's worried, a part of him still wishes very much for that.

He doesn't have to look up when a black skirt blocks his view from To-ya's grave, unsurprised, also, by the girlish hands on not-girlish hips, or by Nakuru's voice.

"You're very, very, very predictable, did you know that?"

He manages to find a smile, somehow. "So you've told me."

She huffs before she sits by his side, shaking her head, still looking eighteen the same way he will always look. Yukito thinks of the days in which he was confused with To-ya's son by those that didn't know them, and he has to breathe in and out slowly to stop his chest from hurting so much.

"This isn't helping you, you know?" Nakuru asks, and it's a little strange that she's keeping her voice mostly low. Yue was sure that she wouldn't be able to be serious even if it was a life or death situation. "And you're making Sakura-san worry. And Kero."

Yukito wonders – and so does Yue – about the silent 'and' that Nakuru decided not to add, wonders if it was Eriol who sent her here, worried that Yue – him? - would break the same way Yue had done after Clow had died. If he must be honest, both of them are still surprised that they didn't.

But they can't, after all. They have to go and protect Sakura and her children – and grandchildren - because they promised.

"I know."

"So you're doing this just for the giggles?" Nakuru asks. She's being cruel on purpose, has seen her like this before with other people. Nakuru doesn't do subtle, a violent, chatty, whirlwind of hunter's moon, stalking, always changing. They've been good friends for over half a century, he and Nakuru, and Nakuru with To-ya for all that they kept on fighting, and he thinks that even Yue cares about her, for all that he will deny that forever.

It doesn't lessen the sting much.

"You have never lost someone like this," Yukito answers, surprised at his own harshness.

But somehow, that just makes Nakuru smirk, her stance changing, a subtle cocking of her head that almost makes him bristle. She's wearing black again, her hair down her back braided with a black ribbon, laces upon her chest that make it seem as if she had breasts, back to pretending she's a teenager, not like him.

He dresses like the old man he should be and the old man he feels like.

"It's not as if I've not thought about that, you know. Of course I've thought about it." Nakuru says, shrugging. "And Eriol didn't want to break my heart or Suppi's so he always told us that he was going to die, eventually, 'cause see, a lie doesn't help in this case. So yes, I will be sad when it happens, and I'll cry, possibly for days and days and my heart will break and I will miss him forever, and I know that nothing will ever be as good as it should and as fine as I know it could be. I know that part of me will always be thinking that things would be so much better if Eriol was still here... but that just means that I have to be there so that I can carry his name and everyone else's name, even if it gets to hurt so bad that I won't even want to have dessert."

Despite himself, he chuckles a little, but his eyes sting. He reaches for his glasses, taking them off, pressing the bridge of his nose with two fingers.

Nakuru's hand is warm as she holds his, long fingers entwined with his.

"'cause I've thought a lot about this, y'know. And while I don't envy you," Nakuru says, shrugging, twirling a strand of her hair. "I almost do."


"You were loved like this for all of a human's life," Her voice sounds wistful, now. Almost dreamy. It's making it hard for him not to get angry.

"You've never been in love."

"I so have!" She almost sounds offended, but then she shakes her head. "I've had boyfriends and girlfriends and I've loved some of them very, very much. But none of them were right. The fact that you found your intended and that you stayed together for all of his life... and I mean, probably more, 'cause Touya's stubborn, isn't he? And you're his most important person. Something as silly as dying is not gonna stop him from being with you."

"Too bad I can't do that, can I?"

She shrugs. "So you wait for him, 'cause sooner or later Touya'll come back. It might not be him completely, but the parts of him that you love? Those'll come back. Unless you think so little of what you feel for him."

Anger, again, but Nakuru doesn't let go of his hand, even as she stands up and pulls at it, making him stand up. They're the same height, Nakuru barely a little bit taller thanks to the shoes she's wearing, open ones that show her toes, her fingernails decorated with tiny little moons and stars. And her eyes have the kind of wistfulness that doesn't seem to belong with her before she leans forward, kissing him gently, just for a moment, but it's enough to shock him.

"To-ya loved you lots, and you loved him lots too," she says instead, walking him to stand in front of Touya's grave. "And you won't see him for a while, and that sucks, it really, really, really sucks, but you're not alone, and you have lots of friends and family that care for you, and you'll always, always, always have me around 'cause I promised Suppi that I'd be here no matter what, and if you wanna, I can make the same promise with you. It's okay if it hurts, and it's okay if you feel sad and it's okay to miss him, but if you start being stupid, he allowed me to kick your ass," she considers this for a moment before she brightens, turning to look at him. "On second thoughts..."

He can't help it: Yukito starts laughing, slapping a hand over his mouth because this is not the place to laugh, not at all, and he's not even sure if this is laughter because it makes his chest hurt. Nakuru looks blurry, and her eyes seem teary which don't make sense, but Yukito can't stop this, not even if he tries.

Nakuru hugs him them and he hugs her back, tightly, not saying a thing when he feels wetness against the skin of his neck, or the way the trembling is not only his.