Title: It's a Wonderful Strife
Series: xxxHolic
Summary: When Clow contemplates death, Yuuko shows him the world without him.
Rating: PG-13
Author's note: Author's choice, author's choice, It's A Wonderful Life-style AU. There's a bit of Tsubasa mocking that includes spoilers.


Being an nigh immortal powerful ancient wizard wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and it wasn't the powers he minded so much as the clairvoicancy. Had he the power, he never would've developed that aspect of himself for while it was amusing to respond to Yuuko's insults before she said them, it did tend to get beer bottles thrown at his head. Not only that, it made things terribly tedious . Waking up only to know what he would have for breakfast, what every person would say to him, even what he would say back to them. It was like watching a film of his life, and every other life over and over until everything grew bland and scripted. Of course he could change them, but changing fate could have certain consequences and was not to be done lightly. A string here missed and everything might unravel.

So it was that Clow decided to die. It was not a secret, for going cheerfully about telling his magician compatriots "Oh, I think I'll go die like Yuuko told me to." This provided much amusement to him, so that he prolonged his dying merely to wait until a certain dimensional witch stormed at his door demanding to know why everyone now thought them married and were congratulating her on finally tying the knot with him.

And so it went, until one long night of pondering what he would do once he was dead (other than drink in some other dimension and send his reincarnations around to cause havoc, of course) when there was a wind and a great tapping at his window.

A voice, at once terrible and beautiful came out. There was the rattling of chains, ghostly, and ethereal.

"Clooow. If you do not change your ways you will be punished."

"Kinky. Still, it's the wrong story, m'dear," Clow said cheerfully.

He ducked at the precise moment an (empty, of course) beer bottle came sailing his way.

Yuuko appeared, clad in black lace dress, and looking her usual irritated self around him. My, she did look lovely when she was angry. He just couldn't help himself.

"Thanks for ruining my opening, you ass," she said.

"My pleasure," Clow replied with a smile. "You were saying, m'dear?"

"I was saying that I have a vision to show you of what will happen after your death. At least until you ruined my opening."

"Oh? Do pray tell."

Yuuko brought out a basin which she had hidden somewhere – where did she keep these things? Magic? Possibly her bra, for she could likely hide small planets in there should she wish.

Yuuko cleared her throat. "You're looking at my cleavage, Clow."

"Actually I was admiring your dress, though that might be mistaken as ogling your cleavage as that outfit reveals so much of it that it is hard to look at any part of your torso even in the most casual manner without somehow most accidentally stumbling upon your cleavage. You see, there is so very much of it that I'm sure peasant farmers in China have accidentally stared at your cleavage without ever leaving their country."

"Ha ha. You are ever so witty as ever," she said flatly, giving him a sound glare.

"I like to think so," he said with a satisfied smile.

Yuuko looked at her bottle, as if she contemplated throwing it at him even if it did waste precious wine.

"You don't want to do that. My wine cellar isn't stocked as well as it usually is. With me dying and all."

Yuuko sighed and set it aside. She cast her fingers over the basin and the water turned clear, and thus a future came.

First was a pleasant tale he already knew, and had planned. His daughter, simultaneously the cutest and most powerful magician around collected some cards while being oblivious to a chance at being a lesbian, but that missed chance for homoeroticism was quickly picked up by her brother. Later on she finally figured out that she loved that Li boy, who Clow might disapprove of, if he hadn't hand picked the boy and knew that he'd make her happy once he stopped being a little prat.

All this was very familar. He looked up at her. "I know all this, and I don't see anything too distressing."

"Keep watching," she said.

Then came another series. In this world people had long limbs, like spaghetti. He recognized his daughter, and son-in-law then a generic villain with generic motives who embarrassingly enough, was related to him. It was mostly happy, despite bouts of angst from the blond mage who also provided intense bouts of homoerotism. The blond mage had an aura that was like rain glittering thongs dancing to the music of Cher. There never was a moment that he didn't manage to gay up. And all this was quite amusing, in a droll way up until it fell off of a metaphorical cliff. Eyes were gouged. The mage randomly became a vampire, which he managed to gay up quite nicely. There were random betrayals and then the reveal that the daughter and her boyfriend were in fact, clones. Then there were clone verses and clones of clones and then the reveal that his son-in-law was in love with an alternate version of his mother. Oedipal, much? Then, it abruptly ended with little resolution.

Clow blinked. "That's ghastly storytelling. Were the authors on drugs?"

"Most assuredly," Yuuko replied.

"You know," Clow said thoughtfully, "You forgot a certain part of the aftermath of my death, I'm quite sure of it. Where is the image of you lonely and drunk in bed, surrounded by empty bottles attending to yourself without me there to help you–"

Yuuko grabbed the bottle and drank the remains. Clow smiled on as she threw it, and the glass shattered harmlessly against a barrier across himself, and then fell into a pile and reformed itself.

"Fine, you have convinced me. I'll stay. If only because you'd be ever so lonely without my company," Clow said.

"Actually, the thought of you dying is sounding better and better," Yuuko replied.

"You know, I wasn't entirely truthful when I said my wine cellar wasn't stocked. It's always stocked, even if I was to die tomorrow."

"I know," Yuuko said. "So let's drink before I am tempted to kill you myself."

"Ah, a good plan that," Clow said fondly. And as she bent, magically summoning the wine, managing to reveal even more cleavage, he thought that there were things worth living for after all.