When he heard her voice on the phone, he knew something was wrong. Her voice was still and serene, but he knew she had something vitally important to say, and somewhere in the back of his mind, he was terrified, because he was sure he'd heard that tone of voice once before, a long time ago.
He arrived late at night, but her husband let him in with a subdued smile. The husband's name, hair, voice, and even smile were unfamiliar to him, but he could still feel the power of the moon under it all, and was assured that it was still the same person.
"Shh," the husband said as they passed their son's closed door. "He's sleeping."
They climbed the stairs to the top floor, where she was waiting in an all-too-familiar chair, clad in a beautiful white dress that was just bordering on gaudy, giving away the identity of its designer. She also wore a sad smile. At her side crouched a winged lion, poking morosely at a tray of pastries with its claws. The beast was not smiling.
As he saw them, he felt his own wings burst from his back, and closed his eyes to block out the light. When he opened them again, he was his other.
"You can't," he whispered. He tried to avoid showing weakness to her at all costs, normally, but this was too much to go through again. He dropped to his knees at her feet and begged; "Don't do this to me again…"
"I'm sorry, Yue," she murmured, stroking his hair as he buried his face in her lap. "There's nothing I can do."
"When?" he choked hoarsely.
"Soon, I think," she whispered. "Both of us."
His head snapped up, and he gazed in shock at her, then her husband, whose look of sadness made him look more like himself than before.
"Both of you…? But your son – your sons!"
"They have their own destinies to fulfill," the husband replied, the sternness of the statement weakened by the quaver in his voice. "And other people who will care for them and love them."
"But," she said suddenly, "You have to let those destinies happen. If you or someone else tries to stop them, or help them… it will only hurt both of you more."
He nodded in sad understanding. Fate he understood all too well. "And the cards?"
"The same will happen as happened before," she said.
"Do you know who…?"
She smiled at him.
"You know I can't tell you if I do. But I'm sure whomever
Kero-chan chooses will take good care of all of you. You can trust in
He nodded again, as the lion curled up tighter, trying to look as small as it felt. "Is there… is there anything I can do?"
She clasped his hands in hers, and lifted him to his feet. "Live," she ordered him, staring into his eyes. "Keep living, and be happy. Don't force yourself to be alone, like you did before. You have someone to live for now. Someone who loves you as much as you love him."
He stared down at her in amazement, and he could see her brother's face mirrored in the stubborn expression, and he understood. "I will."
She pulled him into a tight hug, and he wrapped his wings around her frail body. Her tears soaked his clothing, and she told him, "Take care of my brother."
"I will," he repeated. "I will."
He hugged her back as tightly as he could, and when they separated, he hugged her unfamiliar husband too. It was awkward, they had never been that close, but he knew he would miss the boy who had once loved him. He nodded to the lion, which nodded back, and he left.
He flew to an alleyway near the train station he would need to go home, and folded his wings back to become human again. As a human, he collapsed onto the cold cement, his other's memories fresh in his mind, and he cried the way his other could not, sobbing and hiccupping, his glasses steaming up under the bright, full moon, and he mourned the coming loss of his mistress and her husband.
The loss of his friends.