A/N: This somewhat stems on from some of my ideas about the continuation of the manga. Not IC with any other story right now though, so although a lot of things are left up in the air, it is a stand-alone fic.

And for the length, I hesitate to call them "chapters". Will be updated weekly till completion; it's not that long.

The Wood Hunter

Part 1

'Yuuko-san?' Watanuki blinked at the ageless woman, arms laden with bedsheets. 'It's late; shouldn't you be getting to bed?'

The Dimensional Witch blew out another puff of smoke, staring into the night sky from her patio. 'I'm expecting someone,' she said, before reaching blindly for an empty bottle. Shaking it and finding nothing inside, she held it up to the high-school student. 'More sake.'

'Drinking so much is bad for your health,' Watanuki scolded, taking the bottle anyway. 'But you're never going to listen to me, are you?'

'Probably not.'

The black-haired boy simply sighed and headed back to the kitchen. 'And you'll be wanting more snacks too,' he mumbled, pausing at the door and noting the empty plate. 'And your guest –'

'Oh, he's not a guest,' Yuuko said airily, puffing out another ring of smoke. 'He's a customer…and let me assure you Watanuki, he's not someone you want the pleasure of meeting.'

Blue eyes blinked. 'Why?'

She turned to him with a smile. 'Care to find out?'

Yuuko really looked scary when she did that.

'Umm, no thanks,' the student mumbled, quickly seizing the empty tray and fleeing, almost tripping on the back step in the progress.

Yuuko watched him leave, before putting down her pipe and speaking to the shadows. 'He won't be back for awhile.'

The visitor stepped out of the darkness. Yuuko's smile became a little more genuine at the sight, even if the inner mask maintained its stoic appearance. 'It's been awhile, Sumeragi Subaru…or perhaps I should call you by your new title, Sakurazukamori.'

When the twenty-five year old remained silent, she tilted her head to peer at him more closely. 'I trust the Tree is well fed.'

'Yes,' came the monosyllabic and monotonous reply.

'You do not seem pleased,' she noted, before lifting the pipe to her lips once more. 'I cannot grant your wish.'

His eyes, one brown and the other blue, widened in surprise.

'You cannot offer the price for it,' the Dimensional Witch explained. 'Killing the Tree is no easy task; as the Sakurazukamori, you must know that Sakura trees, beyond its intricacies, are like any other trees. Their roots run deep into the earth. Their flowers spore and release new seeds that then grow into new trees.'

The mismatched eyes darkened in shade, but not in anger. 'It cannot be done?' Subaru asked, voice heavy.

'I did not say that.' Yuuko took another puff. 'I simply said you cannot offer the price. No Sakurazukamori can.'

There was silence for a moment, before the guardian of the Sakura spoke again. 'What price is that?'

Yuuko regarded him. 'I'm afraid I cannot tell you that.' She closed her eyes, before extending the arm that held the pipe. 'Would you like some?'

'I have no need for it,' the Sakurazukamori replied, voice heavy in emotionlessness.

The ageless woman smiled faintly at that. 'No,' she agreed. 'You have more power now than you wish and very few wishes at that to put it to.' She looks to the sky, then returns to the assassin before her. 'You had best leave,' she cautioned. 'Before my dear apprentice returns and notices the blood.'

'It is not the blood that worries you,' Subaru responded, but did as she asked.

'No,' Yuuko replied to the empty air and the faint smell of Sakura blossoms. 'It is your crying soul.' She closed her eyes. 'Even with this power, there are simply some wishes I cannot grant. As for others –' She looked up to the sky as Watanuki slid open the door once more. ' –they need to be requested by the right person.'

'Huh?' Watanuki blinked at her, tray and sake bottle in hand.

She grinned at him and took the bottle, before grimacing at the bitter taste that rolled down your tongue.

Watanuki looked unrepentant. 'You don't want to wake up with a headache in the morning,' he scolded, leaving again. 'And on that note, I'm going to bed.'

'My my,' she said quietly, but loud enough to be head. 'What kept you awake?'

'Mokona,' the boy scolded, and Yuuko laughed again. This wish, at least, she would see fulfilled.

And for the young onmyouji's sake, she hoped the right person would visit soon.