Watanuki Kimihiro had been cleaning the shop all day. A hot summer day was supposed to be made of iced tea and swinging hammocks. It was supposed to be a season for fun and laughter and family outings.
He sighed as he carried a huge box to a corner of the room. Speaking of family outings, Doumeki Shizuka was in one. He was very happy, of course, to have him away from him. But he couldn't ignore the stab of envy in his heart.
Ever since he lost his memories, he wondered how he spent his summers.
Watanuki frowned at Mokona who was playing dangerously close to a crate of wineglasses. (Why Yuuko had them was a mystery. Why she even bothered to keep all of them was an ever bigger mystery.) "Stop jumping, meatbun."
The black-haired boy set down the box and practically ran across the length of the storeroom to catch the crate. Mokona jumped away to safety, giggling madly. "Will you watch it?" he growled as he slowly got to his feet.
"Mokona is not sorry because Mokona is just having fun!"
"I'm serving you for dinner tonight!" Watanuki threatened. The black plush toy merely laughed and went off to inspect a treasure chest. He settled the wineglass crate down on a relatively safe spot. The black-haired boy was just about to walk away when the hairs at the back of his neck stood up.
Curious, he looked around. The room was quiet and still, except for Mokona. Yuuko's storeroom was as large as a house with rows of shelves and piles of boxes. It was the room where she kept her treasures and junk until she needed them. He'd found several artifacts that he needed here before.
Watanuki frowned when he thought he heard someone calling him. It was a soft and quiet voice, like a lingering remnant of a whisper. The sound even had a lilting melody. Before he could walk away, it called again.
Used to supernatural phenomenon he looked around. It was never a good idea to ignore voices. Growing up with his unusual ability to see ghosts made sure of that. Though rather scared that someone had breached the shop's barriers, he took a deep breath.
"What's wrong, Watanuki?" Mokona asked, cheerfully jumping to his shoulder. "You look like you've seen a ghost!"
"I've seen a ghost before," he sighed "and it wasn't a very nice experience."
"Then what's wrong?" the curious kuro-manjuu cocked its head. Its two long rabbit ears twitched. "I see."
Watanuki shushed him. He picked up one of the magical staffs lying around before he started to tiptoe towards the source. It kept getting louder and louder. His grip went tighter. Mokona didn't make a sound either.
He stepped closer towards a dark corner of the huge bookshelf, arms raised. Then he stared as one of the books glowed.
Hypnotized he reached out his hand and it detached itself from the rest of the books. It was glowing like the sun; it was warm to his touch. The book shone for a moment before it completely disappeared.
Watanuki stared at it, mesmerized. "Sakura Book…" he murmured, reading the golden inscription. "It's locked."
"We have the key," Mokona jumped off his shoulder. It ran all the way to the other side of the shop, Watanuki at his heels. Then it stopped abruptly in front of a pink wand with a bright yellow star flanked by tiny white wings.
They both jumped.
Yuuko was standing behind Watanuki with a thoughtful expression. Her reddish-brown eyes glittered. He gulped. It was impossible not to feel frightened.
"It's yours then," Yuuko said very quietly. She reached out and took the star wand. It glowed before it transformed into a miniature version of itself. Watanuki realized that it was a key. "It's time to pass it on."
"I can't pay for it." Watanuki said, clutching the book and key.
Now that he had them he couldn't let them go. They were important to him. He knew they were. Though his memories were gone, his body remembered the warmth and the familiarity of these objects. It was scary to know that they were going to be taken back.
"It's paid for," Yuuko murmured as she stared at him.
Mokona whistled. "Watanuki must trust Yuuko. She knows best!"
"But who paid for me to have it?" He stared at the obviously magical items with surprise. His forehead creased. Yuuko's storeroom kept things to pass on to new customers who truly needed it. It was a cycle of give and take wherein the Witch of Dimensions could maintain the balance of the universe.
"Someone precious did," she replied coolly. It had been two years at least since that fateful visit of a beautiful woman. Her eyes were emerald green; her magic was the stars. She couldn't forget the words: "He's my son and he deserves this."
A son's birthday gift, Yuuko thought. The Sakura Book and the Sakura Key were not payment for wishes. They were gifts.
"Happy birthday," she said gently, turning around. They watched her walk away with wide eyes.
Watanuki stared down at the Sakura Book and Sakura key.
He realized that for the first time in many years since he met Yuuko she had decided to give him something precious: a gift. Respecting her decision, he didn't need to ask if he should pay it back. Their business was weird that way.
He smiled at the small fortune and the unexpected inheritance that he held on his hands. His mother still cared for him after all.