Author's note: ...and this was supposed to be a fluff fic. Guess that didn't happen, huh? Plus, it's longer than I expected, too. . Anyways. ^^ R&R and tell me what you think -- it's my first CCS fic.

Nocturne


So hush was the night that one naive or otherwise inexperienced in the ways of the world and the world's beauty would have assumed that it was peaceful rather than oppressive. If one was to look upon the purples and blues of the dark, half mooned sky it would be hard to notice simply that there was not much variation in color, the backdrop like a smudge of dirt against more dirt upon a palette of nothing but dirt again, over the wounded color of a bruise. The only difference of color to be found was the rim of white around the pale sickle moon, half gray, half marbled, covering up a tinge of sickly jealous green, and misted over by wisps of fickle clouds wandering aimlessly across the darkened sky. The streets themselves glistened as if wet with a fairy dew, but there were no fairies here, and once you took a closer look the wet was just a splash from a puddle that remained from yesterday's gray rain. Had there been music to set the scene it would have been low, soft, the notes far from memorable, the melody depressed and alone. Nothing seemed alive in all the world, for there were no lights flickering in windows, no laughter coming from half opened doorways, not even the bark of a stray dog or the clatter of an alley cat as it forced its way into a half-open trash can down a sidestreet.

The squeak of Yukito's bicycle wheels was far from conducive to alleviating the sudden glum mood that had settled over him, as if he'd been caught in a cobweb, and hadn't yet broken free of its shadowy grayness. The moon followed him as a ghost would, each whisping cloud tendril reaching out to him in this haunting from the sky and brushing over the back of his neck, so that he shivered occasionally.

"Someone," he murmured to himself, "must be walking over my grave, ne?" He had spoken to no one but himself in the hopes of lifting the silence, slipping into its cracks and rendering it powerless against the potency of his own few words. But in the wake of the sentence his voice merely echoed weakly off the air and was swallowed up moment's later into it, leaving him just as powerless and more alone than he had been to begin with. In the almost stagnant sky the moon winked down upon him as if once, they had been good friends, laughing together over immortal jokes throughout cloudless nights. Now, it seemed as if the moon were laughing at him, at some fall from grace, at his futile, teenage helpless, at his minute and ant-like position, trapped, on the ground. Yukito blinked golden eyes owlishly up at that pale form in unspoken question.

:Why are you laughing at me?:

Perhaps he had done something wrong once along the proverbial way to inspire such emptiness inside himself, to inspire such loneliness in the sinking of the sky as it draped down upon him. Where was it, he wondered behind his glasses, and why was it that he could not remember? There was hunger in his heart which echoed the hunger in his stomach, ungiving and unrelenting and threatening to break free like a waterfall behind a damn, a beast locked away in a cage, one day soon, but not yet. Meanwhile, he had only to wait, as his grasp upon reality slipped and slid, and the tired shell of his body faltered under the pressure, helpless and afraid.

But he would not voice such queries. They could only be seen when one watched him turn his pale face to the equally pale face of the moon, and allow his eyes to show what it was he was asking of the voiceless specter curving with deathly accuracy, a slice in the anguished darkness of the sky.

:I remember being closer to you than this.:

But the moon held no comfort, and the moon held no reply. Beautiful it was but friendly it was not, far from the curve of a chesire cat's grin, far from the friendly smile of the sun's rayonnement, far from anything but the shiver of a dark night and the weeping of the stars' myriad of forgotten lover's.

:I remember when I was like you. And there was something, someone else. The sun.:

But the moon was a chest of unlocked, untold secrets, unmoved and masked, passive in the solemn dark. Perhaps, if there had been sunlight to ease its troubled soul. Perhaps if there had been another, not just the darkness, and the refuge of its own frail clouds like angel wings wrapped around it's slim, feminine body.

:...I think.:

He turned the bike and wheeled towards the place called home through the darkened streets, the only sound he could hear his feet upon the pavement, the spokes of the bicycle wheels catching in the air and whirring arhythmically as they disrupted everything and nothing all at once.


~*~

There was no reflection in the mirror.

To see himself Yue must kneel down by a lake and watch his likeness tremble in fragility, just as the moon would do, looking down upon the world, the tide it pulls over the oceans, from its steeple place on high.

Could it be any wonder that he was cold, and that when his gray eyes focus upon anyone, including himself, it seemed as if he was looking down at them from along the long bridge of his proud nose? When you have controlled those things that return your image to your own eyes it is always hard not to become distant or cruel, or at least brittle with your own wounded self image, fed of intense pride.

The boy's house was silent and lonely. There was no one else other than him in it, and perhaps not even the boy and his silence, his owlish complacency, the gnaw of fear that clutched at his heart and lurked behind his eyes, is even truly there, as real as a ghost could ever be. The longer he must go on trying to keep himself from knowing the simple truth, the harder it will be when he becomes the very nothing of which he was made.

:But the boy has what you do not.:

Yue smiled his bitter smile and he kned its bitterness despite his inability to see it reflected in the smoothness of the unwarped glass. The mirror before him caught the light from the hallway behind him and he threw back his head, as if to laugh. No sound came out. There are things he was allowed to see and feel only through the boy's eyes, the eyes of his body and not the eyes of his spirit. Myopic eyes, hidden behind thick lenses, struggling to focus on even the simplest of shapes, long lashes fluttering behind the glass as he strained to make out the even simplest of sights. Even this shell of a boy child, even this husk of a creature whose sole purpose was simply to house Yue himself, was allowed the barest of emotions which years and layers of ice have seen fit to pilfer from Yue's own system. To say that he was jealous was to underestimate the deep rivers of bitterness that stemmed from the well of loneliness feeding misery through his system as veins would feed blood, pumped from his heart.

So there was, for example, the basest of sheer necessities, such as blood, in the mere mechanical body, but there was no blood in all of Yue's own marbled flesh, which was freezing to the touch.

As the moon, he was beautiful.

As a snow-rabbit, the boy was touchable, and beautiful in that availability, that accessibility, that closeness.

Statues entice no lovers. Juliets have their Romeos and the moon is left alone, though no less lovely, in the vast emptiness of their easily-bruised, too sensitive sky. Theories are born of philosopher's passions and standards are set so quickly by youthful idealists but neither have a warmth to share their empty bed at night.

He was filled with a bitterness.

:You are just a boy. If not for me you would not be walking this earth, breathing each childish breath, laughing each childish laugh, fearing each childish fear. You would not have a heart which could be crushed in puppy love and you would have no lips to be kissed, no eyes to be filled with his sight. There would be nothing of you. And yet you are reflected in a mirror. And yet your heart is filled with each perfect human emotion. And yet you have all that I do not.:

"Would you find me beautiful still?" He let his cool hand fall against the cool glass which held nothing, no comfort, no kindness, but no ill will. His voice echoed over the surface and was his only reply as it made its way back to his own ears, the ripples stones caused in skipping over the smooth, flat surface of a shallow lake.

:Do you think I would chose to feel the touch of another? Sakura's brother, his face moving close -- as if I should know by such touches the world is at ease, and I myself am safe. He knows it. He is allowed such comfort. And I am left wanting you again. As I always am.:

"What would you see me as? What would your wise eyes create of me, understand in me, heal me or absolve me of?" The glass shimmered as Yue himself shifted, so it was just a jangling of refracted light, not unlike a melody reflected in the air. So that was what he had become: the merest of shadows, intangible and fading fast with dusking evelight.

:Why have you abandoned me? I know of stories where the child has abandoned its parent, the creation rebelling against its creator, man defying his maker. But there was love. I loved you. And you loved me.:

"Clow--" There was a knock on the door. Yue heard it, deep within the silence of the night, and through also his own misery, the sound slipping oddly easily underneath his skin as the moon slipped into the sky and lodged there, implacable, suddenly irreplaceable.

"Yuki?" The knocking continued. Yue knew that voice but barely at all with his own ears, and thus it jarred his senses, angered his shattering spirit, the pieces which gouged his almost-numbed insides from deep within him. Someone coming to break into his silence, as if that someone was there for a rescue mission, an attempt to save him from the bitter poison of himself. But it was not for him that this goal had been set, as always for the boy with his soft smiles and his soft voice and his soft soul, and the equally soft love he inspired. It gouged deep into the aches of Yue's chest, where the heart had been, where the heart was cool and displaced now, set aside in preservation of ice.

When he opened the door the cool air hit him and he was met with the narrowed brown eyes of Kinomoto Touya, known to Yukito's lips as To-ya-kun, something that choked in Yue's throat and made him feel thoroughly ill. He was silent, arms folded over his chest, and he showed to signs of his jealousy bread disgust as the ice of gaze met with the worried defiance of the dark-haired boy's own, and two elements battled as two dragons would, head to head, teeth to teeth, fire to fire.

"It's a bit late," Yue said at last, "shouldn't you be in bed?"

"He'll be tired tomorrow," Touya shot back, "and it will be your fault -- again."

"He would not be here, were it not for me. I would be more careful where and when I search for places to lay blame, were I you." As young and as impressionable, as young and foolish, as young and as in love. Were Yue any of that -- then he would not have waiting for the knock upon the door to be from Clow's own hand, for the body here, now, to be anyone but the persistently devoted lover of Yue's 'body.'

Touya's lip curled. Framed in the moonlight, he resembled someone Yue did not wish to remember. It made the hairs on the back of that cold, pale neck stand on end, something they did not do often.

"It would be best if you saw fit to take care of him," the boy said, with a volatile anger that spoke too quickly of his youth and inexperience, his childish and almost amusing desire to defend and protect by jumping headfirst into the situation. Kinomoto Touya was a calculating boy, but, as any child, or as any animal for that matter, when faced with danger he was all too eager to charge in at last, fangs bared, true colors shown.

"As I said," Yue said, with a proper chill that fitted his icy mood, "he would not be here, were it not for me. You are not one to instruct me how to conduct myself -- not over the sake of a boy who is not even real."

"He's more real than you are," Touya said with surprising civility and calm, so that it was more cutting than any anger could have been. They had never exchanged words such as these before, had always been polite, despite the resentment Yue harbored for Touya that he was not the blue eyes and warm smile of Clow Reed and the equal resentment Touya harbored for Yue, for all that he had done to the now-weary face of his best friend and childhood love. "He has my love and my protection, which is more than I can say for you."

The words hit home.

Wherever home was.

"Don't speak to me of love," Yue replied in a brutal voice, slamming the door shut and sliding the lock into place. The pounding on the door was ignored until it faded away, that pale body sliding like the tendrils of moonshine down the wall until he had curled himself into a tight ball in the corner, knees against his chest, wings wrapped around himself, white and soft and supposedly pure. They were sore replacement for another's arms, but there was no one to hold him now, and there was a fragile strength born of that, nurtured in his chest. The moon, in all its solitude, lasting ages, so far from the touch of each twinkling light beside it, so far from the comfort of each laughing cluster of stars.

:A child to tell me what I am. A child to tell me where I am lacking. A child to surpass me in wisdom, in love, in strength.:

So hush was the night that one naive or otherwise inexperienced in the ways of the world and the world's beauty would have assumed that it was peaceful rather than oppressive.

:You must have known I would have changed only for you, and for no other. You must have known that I would have loved only you, and no other.:

If one was to look upon the purples and blues of the dark, half-mooned sky it would be hard to notice simply that there was not much variation in color, the backdrop like a smudge of dirt against more dirt upon a palette of nothing but dirt again, over the wounded color of a bruise.

:So why did you go? Why did you leave me on my own, a shepherd to children, abandoned at last -- abandoned -- at last, alone?:

In that which may or may not have been the corner of Yukito's house but was certainly not the corner of Yue's own, the winged figure looked like a sliver of collapsed and broken moonlight, or an angel fallen from its cloud of comfort with no direction and no way home.

In the morning, Yukito would wake to a hunger he would not understand and a loneliness he could not explain, neither of which would he be able to console, not with food, not with words. In such a spiral he would think, I have lost my mind, until deep brown eyes would come like music to assuage his trembling spirit and soothe his weary soul, and Yue would watch untouched from behind his eyes that were not his own, with no familiar hands to bear the burdens of his aching mind.

It was a trade: a home Yue could not touch, emotions Yukito could not comprehend.

:A house divided cannot stand.:

The moon sang sweetly from just outside the window, fooling the passersby beneath into thinking it could ever be by human fingers touched.