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18 September 2009 @ 11:07 pm
To Oceansex, from Curious Robin  
Title: False Images
Author: curious_robin
Recipient: oceansex
Series: Cardcaptor Sakura
Characters/Pairings: Touya/Yukito(/Yue? no, not really, I tried!)
Rating: PGish.
Author’s Notes/ Warnings: So, for some reason I wanted to do Touya/Yukito but Yue wouldn’t get in the picture? (lol, you requested this pairing and then put as a squick ‘mutiple partners’, lol I was confused) Haha, well, I hope you like it anyway ~ <3 (this is actually much shorter than it was going to be!)

Yukito loved his grandparents in the sort of absent, taken for granted kind of way that came from few appearances and few thoughts on the matter. They were rarely ever home, and when they came the visits were unmemorable and fleeting; a touch on the shoulder, a shake of the head, the only sensations Yukito could recall afterwards, and they too would flicker away quickly. He had never felt the need to think about it, to wonder about his situation that was unusual if not implausible, and question why that seemed to be the only thing he ever remembered about his relatives, sense memories of vaguely fond presences, and why he couldn’t even accurately recall their faces the couple of times he tried.

It never seemed particularly worrying, however, and the issue was easily put away and forgotten anytime it ever came up. Yukito always reasoned afterward that there would always be a chance next time to see them, to know them a little better, remember them a little more. It didn’t seem to matter that that was what he always thought after the next non-existent visit.

Touya though. He remembered everything about Touya.

Yukito first met Touya through school.

Yukito had just transferred into school (when he was asked, he remembered telling his classmates that he was home schooled) and had been enjoying meeting everyone, cheerfully answering questions and laughing with the playful banter. Class hadn’t started and his new classmates had spread out throughout the classroom in groups: except one. One boy sitting in the back next to the windows had sat down and refused to move though he received a lot of glances, especially from the girls in the class. When Yukito had gotten a better look at him when the students around him had shifted he saw him staring out the window, arms crossed on the desk and head turned away, brows drawn down on dark eyes and a brusque expression on his face.

Yukito had politely excused himself from the chattering students and made his way over to the self-isolated boy. He had stopped in front of him and glanced out the window that had apparently held so much interest to the young man.

“Ah! The sakura trees are blooming wonderfully here, aren’t they?”

That was enough to draw him attention, and he turned his head away from the window, eyes going instantly wary when he saw Yukito. Yukito merely smiled back, waiting to see if he would say anything. The boy eyed him with guarded eyes for a long moment before glancing outside again at the sakura trees waving lusciously pink blossoms beside the school building. “Yeah…” he said quietly.

“Do you like sakura trees?” Yukito questioned.

The boy stared at him again, eyes still cautious. He seemed to be waiting for something, though what Yukito didn’t know. “…Not really.” He hesitated, Yukito blinking, slightly taken aback at the answer. “They just remind me of someone,” he admitted.

“Who do they remind you of?”

“My sister.”

“Oh really?” Yukito smiled, delighted. “Is she pretty and graceful?”

“No,” he stated bluntly. “She’s stupid-looking and a klutz. The only thing she has in common with them is her name. Sakura.”

“That’s a really harsh thing to say about your sister,” Yukito laughed. “It’s hard to imagine anyone with that name being like that. Not to mention, being your sister must mean she has plenty of wonderful qualities.”

The boy stared at him suspiciously for a minute before glaring out the window again, muttering, “She doesn’t get it from me.”

Yukito laughed again and sat down into the seat in front of him.

“I’m Tsukishiro Yukito,” he introduced, extending his hand in greeting. The boy looked at him in surprise which he quickly tried to hide. He stared at his hand and good-naturedly expecting expression and slowly reached out with his own to clasp his. Something flickered through his eyes when he did, but it was gone quickly and Yukito couldn’t place what it had been. “Kinomoto Touya.” The feeling that struck him when they withdrew hands he couldn’t identify either and it pulled oddly at his chest for a moment afterwards.

“How long have you been here?” The boy (Touya, Yukito remembered) asked casually, eyes flicking to the other students in the room who were staring in their direction curiously.

“Oh, I just started here. I was officially transferred in earlier today.”

Touya glanced sharply at him at that and, Yukito noticed, was narrowedly examining his classmates out of the corner of his eye. Yukito gave him a puzzled look and looked towards the other students as well. A couple of them waved and Yukito smiled and waved back, but there wasn’t anything odd that he could see. Yukito turned back to see that Touya was watching him, brown eyes intensely intent, no longer paying attention to anything else.

Yukito opened his mouth to say something, what –he had no idea, when the class bell finally rung, the students shuffling quickly to their desks and, feeling slightly distracted, he turned with the rest of the class to bow to the teacher when he walked in. When he sat back down, however, he felt a touch at the back of his head, fingers slipping through his hair, the lightest tug as it glided through the gaps between them. Yukito didn’t have the chance to look back before he was called up to the front of the class to introduce himself.

When he stood up there and gazed over the sea of heads to find one brunet one sitting in the back, next to the windows, he had found what he had wanted to day. Smiling, he said, “I am Tsukishiro Yukito. I am pleased to be here.”

He met dark brown eyes from across the classroom. “Please take care of me.”

Yukito found Touya later at lunch. He spotted him standing in line at the food stand, an ill-concealed annoyed expression on his face as several girls in front of him turned around and tried to talk to him. Yukito called and waved, jogging over as Touya turned his head at hearing his name.

“Ohayo, Touya-kun!” Yukito smiled as he got into line behind him, Touya raising an eyebrow in mild surprise before grunting an acknowledgement. “Are you going to eat lunch under the sakura blossoms today?” Yukito had already received a couple lunch invitations, mostly from girls, and they had all mentioned having lunch beside the blooming trees. Touya shrugged, glancing at the rows of trees standing by the school where some students had already settled under them. “Maybe.”

“Oh, then you should come sit with us, Kinomoto-kun!” the girls offered excitedly behind him. “We know a good spot and we have plenty of room!”

Touya rolled his eyes and turned back with a thoroughly exasperated grimace. Yukito couldn’t suppress a small laugh at the look, settling too well on his boyish, brooding features. Touya shot him a look when he heard it and Yukito couldn’t hold back a smile for him at his suspicious attitude. “Touya-kun is really popular, huh?” he teased lightly.

Touya blinked, a quick, half-smile quirking his lips before he turned around hastily to deal with the eager girls vying for his attention, Yukito beaming at his back at the reaction.

Finally the girls moved off after purchasing their food and Touya was left in peace, though judging by the grumpy look on his face it hadn’t been soon enough. He stepped off to the side after he got his lunch and, to Yukito’s very warm pleasure, did not go off on his own but waited for him. Yukito was so happy about this that he did not notice the strange look the cart-worker gave him when he ordered 5 of each pork, curry, and pizza buns.

Yukito paid and grabbed the bags that were handed to him and rejoining Touya, beaming over his load again as he felt that warm lifting feeling in his chest rise. Touya eyed the big paper bags in his arms as he walked over. “Who are you buying food for?” he asked, frowning, his suspicious gaze turning to the other kids again. Yukito was still puzzled at the glances Touya kept giving the other students, but answered anyway, “No one, this is just for me.”

Then Touya stared at him oddly again, though in a distinctly different manner than he had previously. Yukito wondered if he really was that weird a person to Touya.

“You’re really going to eat all that by yourself?” he asked incredulously.

“Yes…why?” Yukito looked down at his purchases uncomprehendingly. Looking back up, he spotted Touya’s single white bag clutched in one fist and understood. Chuckling, he said, “Oh, I have a fast metabolism and have to eat a lot to keep up my energy.”

Touya, staring at the two heavy bags weighing down his arms, muttered, “What do you do that requires you to eat six times more than a normal person?”

Yukito, oblivious to the sarcasm, answered, “Nothing much really. I’m not part of any sports or athletic clubs or anything like that. Although,” Yukito added, brightening, “I am very good at kyudo!”

Dark eyes sharpened at the information, and Touya’s expression, light and relaxed, abruptly darkened, his mouth turning down into a frown. He suddenly wasn’t quite looking at him anymore and Yukito stared, concerned, at the transformation that had taken place. Eyes, darker even, distant, he replied, “Ah. I see.”

An awkward silence descended then that Yukito didn’t understand how it was triggered, and he struggled as the young man he had just met that day stared blankly away in another direction, to find something to say to stop the silence, to make up for whatever blunder he had committed to create it, but, again, he couldn’t think of what to say. Nothing came, and he stared down, silent as well, at the lunch rolls he had purchased wrapped in plastic and paper, still warm as he could feel with his hands.

He was tired suddenly. He didn’t want their conversation to end, but the longer it was quiet the more irretrievable it seemed, and he had wanted to be friends with him, a lot, even though they had just met he was tired

His stomach suddenly growled, deafening in the profound quiet.

Yukito jumped at the unexpected noise, looking down at himself with wide eyes and then lifting them to meet with the blinking ones of Touya. They stared for a second, and then Touya’s mouth twitched and Yukito started automatically laughing, which quickly turned into real laughter at the amusement that flooded those grave eyes that had been so sad a moment earlier.

Yukito was relieved, though he didn’t know why he had felt it so acutely in the moment Touya had relaxed and smiled again.

“You’re hungry, huh, Mr. Fast-Metabolism.” Touya smirked. “I don’t think you can eat all that stuff you bought. You might need some help.”

Yukito just laughed and smiled and followed Touya up to the school roof to eat lunch where they could observe the sakura trees from above, waving and shedding pink blossoms in the breeze that blew. Yukito ate all the lunch that he had bought and even had some of Touya’s third pork roll that he had given him with a shake of his head and a reluctantly impressed impression.

Some weeks later, after many regular lunch meals with Touya, a couple of girls had approached him in a class he didn’t have with Touya and thanked him for befriending him. They had said that Touya hadn’t spoken to anyone for a while till he arrived, ever since a favorite teacher of his had moved away earlier that spring.

Earlier than that, Touya had told Yukito a secret he said he had only ever told two other people.

“I can see spirits,” he said quietly, stretched out in the grass on a very bright day in late spring, staring up into the white clouds and sky as he announced it, in the same way he would have predicted the weather as fair tomorrow. Yukito, who had been absorbed in unwrapping a sticky sweet from it’s paper that he had discovered recently and had since become addicted to, looked up in surprise at the statement.

Touya flashed him a glance when he did then returned to staring determinedly up as Yukito looked at him with baffled eyes. Then, after a long minute had passed, Yukito shifted to lay down behind him, parallel, and stared up at the sky too. “You can see spirits?” There was a rustle, then an equally quiet, “Yeah.” Yukito watched the clouds change and drift across the bright blue.

“What kind of spirits?” There was another rustle, but Yukito didn’t move, looking calmly up, blinking behind the flash of his glasses in the sun.

“…All kinds.” There was a pause. “Mostly ghosts of people who have died. But I’ve seen some things that definitely were never human.”

Yukito asked reflexively, “Like what?”

There was a definite shift this time, and Yukito tilted his head back to see that Touya had sat up and was leaning back on his arms, looking over his shoulder to watch Yukito’s face carefully. Yukito stared back with complete confidence and curiosity and he relaxed a bit.

“Weird things. Like giant oozing blobs and there things that look like clouds of black smoke with huge eyes that follow people around.”

“Really?” Yukito blinked, sitting up as well now so that he was facing Touya. “They do that?”

“Some of them do,” he amended, watching the interested look on Yukito’s face.

“Cool…” Yukito commented happily, thinking how neat it was that Touya could see things like that. Touya frowned, though, and shook his head a little.

“I don’t know about that. They aren’t particularly friendly looking and I think they do bad things to the people they follow.”

“Oh…” They were quiet as Yukito thought this over, starting to feel bad for the people who were followed by those things. It must be terrible to have bad things happen to you when you couldn’t see the things that were causing them. You couldn’t stop what you didn’t know about.

Yukito suddenly had a thought. “Do any of those things follow me?” Touya shook his head and Yukito let out a relieved breath. “I think they mostly only follow people who have some big problems, or something like that.” He looked at him intently for a moment. “They avoid you.”

Yukito hesitated, then asked: “Is that good or bad?”

Touya stared down at himself, brow furrowed. “I don’t know.”

They sat in silence for a little while before Touya spoke up again. “They aren’t always that obvious though. The non-human things,” he added, when Yukito gave him a confused look. “A lot of the time they can look like people or almost. Sometimes there’s something obviously off about them, like they’ve got the wrong head or limb, or they’re different colors like green and purple. Sometimes they don’t. Except for a few oddities, they look like normal people.”

Touya paused at that, so Yukito asked the obvious question, “So, then, how do you know that they aren’t regular people when you can’t see the difference?”

“I can always tell the difference,” Touya said seriously, his eyes meeting Yukito’s. “Even when it isn’t obvious by sight, there’s this…presence…” Touya stopped and scowled. “Aura…or something, there’s always this something that I can feel that lets me know that they aren’t human.”

“Like your ability to see ghosts,” Yukito connected, drawing a parallel. Touya shrugged, “I guess.”

“…Yukito.” He looked up from where he had been staring at the grass between his fingers in contemplation to meet Touya’s intense gaze. “Can you see spirits?”

“No,” Yukito answered truthfully, staring guilelessly into dark eyes. Touya’s brows drew together and he looked searchingly back.

“Then, how are you so calm about this? Someone tells you something like this and you believe them? Anyone else would have thought it was some big joke or that I was crazy by now.”

“I don’t think you’re crazy, Touya-kun,” Yukito said earnestly, staring into his eyes to show him that he meant it. “And you wouldn’t say all those things and then say that it was a joke. That’s not like Touya-kun. When Touya-kun says something with that serious expression on his face,” Yukito smiled gently, “then he is telling the truth.”

Touya blinked in shock. Yukito continued, “And if anyone else would have thought so after everything you told them… then I’m glad that I’m not like anyone else to Touya,” and at that time he had meant it.

Touya had just sat there and looked at him for a long time. When afterwards he had smiled and it seemed like the day couldn’t get any brighter Yukito was glad for all of it.

At first, Touya seemed to always be waiting for something from him. Then, gradually, he seemed to stop, regarding him with clear and present eyes, and a small smile.

Sometimes though, Yukito thought he sensed that Touya wanted to say something to him.

They went on a school trip that summer to the beach. Yukito immediately loved it there, the sand, the water, and the brightest sun that gave him a sunburn the day they got there. Yukito was endlessly grateful that he was in the same class as Touya and that they were paired together as buddies for the trip. They had already become close to inseparable in the couple months they had known eachother and Yukito enjoyed the opportunity of doing new things together at the beach. Touya had told him that he had been to the beach before but had admitted that it had been a long time ago, with only his baby sister and parents for company, so he hadn’t gotten to do a lot of the things they would be doing. Yukito had been so excited that he had eaten twice as much as he usually had the week before and had nearly drained all his month’s allowance. Touya had teased him that he had been storing up for the vacation, because he wouldn’t be able to eat the enormous portions he usually had on the camp’s rations.

The first couple of days had been very busy, between the class activities and the sports and games. Yukito had especially liked it when they were taken on a bird-watching expedition one early morning in the woods. He had been so enthralled with a bird’s nest that he had found, with its chirping babies and energetic parents, that he had almost missed lunch and Touya had had to trek back through the woods to find him.

One evening, after Yukito had left the cabin he was sharing to see if he could get anymore leftovers from the mess hall (he really was very hungry most of the time), he saw Touya (who had been missing earlier) standing out just within the grass that lined the beach, staring out into the dark ocean. Yukito had asked him what was wrong, but he had only said that he had thought he had seen something and told him not to worry about it.

The next day, Touya had disappeared from the group before noon and Yukito had lunch surrounded by the rest of his classmates, worried. When the afternoon had finally dragged by and he still had not come back from wherever he had gone, Yukito began to grow anxious and, after having dinner at the mess hall and carefully packing a backpack full of food for Touya (he had missed two whole meals after all), he set out to look for him. He had checked the woods and wandered all over the beach before he drew near to the cave, hidden among the crevasses in the quickly dying sunlight. The teachers had pointed it out to all the students the first day there and had told them explicitly not to go in. They were told that there would be a night where they would be allowed to make a trip in to see the local shrine before they left, but not to explore it otherwise. Touya hadn’t seemed overly interested in it after the teachers’ announcement, but it was the only place nearby that Yukito hadn’t checked yet.

He walked the narrow trail that meandered through the weathered rocks, making his way to the cave entrance he had seen from shore. When he finally rounded the boulder that covered the pathway into view of the shelf that cradled the opening, he saw a figure standing inside the entrance, peering into its black mouth. When he called Touya’s name and the person jerked instinctively back from the entrance, Yukito gratefully hurried down the path to his friend.

When he came closer and could finally see Touya’s sharp features in the dim light, Touya shouted in a hoarse voice over the loud surf, asking what he was doing here. Yukito automatically pulled his backpack off and rummaged through it as he stepped up next to Touya.

“No one knew where you had gone and I was worried. I thought you might need some help. Here,” he said, pulling out a water bottle from the pack and handing it over to Touya. Touya took it without another word and gulped it down, gasping a bit after he had finished it and wiping his mouth. After he was breathing normally again and had given back the empty bottle, Yukito asked him what he had been doing all day that had kept him from returning to camp. Touya was silent for a moment, then sighed and scrubbed his forehead with his arm with a resigned expression.

“I’ve been trying to help someone out,” he said, glancing back at the cavern.

Yukito looked too and remembered that the teachers had mentioned something about a shrine. “Are they dead?”

Touya nodded, still looking towards the cave, his eyes trained to a spot slightly to the right of where the entrance hollowed out the rock. Yukito glanced there but, of course, couldn’t see anything.

After his confession some weeks earlier about his ability to sense and see spirits and other supernatural phenomenon, Touya hadn’t said much more about it. He didn’t seem to feel a need to share everything that he would see, though he did talk about it when Yukito asked him to. Mostly, Yukito got the feeling that his sight, having lived with it since he was born, had been such a given that it wasn’t abnormal for him, and he would only mention it when he saw something new or out of place (or was weirder than normal).

Yukito assumed this time that it was one of the latter to get Touya involved, and asked what he was trying to do. Touya turned to answer him, his eyes lingering for a moment at the same spot before swinging to him as well.

“There was a woman who died by some cliffs near here.” His eyes flickered to the side again. “Suicide. She’s been asking me to help her find some possession of hers and bring it back to this shrine to help her move on. She doesn’t know where it is though, so I’ve been combing the rocks from here to the cliffs where she said she had died. Still haven’t found it though.” He turned his attention to the backpack in his hands and pulled back a flap with a finger to peer inside. “What’s in here?”

“Food,” Yukito chirped, happy at the mere mention of it. “You missed out on the meals, so I thought you might be hungry.”

Touya blinked at him then laughed, Yukito standing cluelessly in front of him.

“I’m surprised there’s any left,” Touya teased. “I would have thought you would have gotten hungry halfway here and stopped for you eighth meal of the day.” Yukito, since he didn’t get enough food during mealtimes, often went and picked up something from the cooks or the convenience store down the road at periodic intervals throughout the day. Touya had taken to counting the number of times he did this and then naming his meals accordingly.

“Well, I did have an apple,” Yukito admitted. “And some oranges. And a peach too. But I brought a lot so there should be still plenty left for Touya-kun,” he said anxiously.

“Touya,” he said, lifting the bag from his arms and sifting through the contents. “You’d think after hangin’ around constantly for months and bringing me food you would have already said it by now.”

“Alright, Touya,” he said, quietly happy, knowing him well enough by now to take the statement as implied permission. Touya flashed him a quick smile then dropped down to sit on the bumpy rock, pulling out a wrapped sandwich and beginning to tear into it ravenously. Yukito politely sat down as well to watch him eat, Touya occasionally handing him pieces as he did. After about a minute Yukito noticed that Touya’s arms and shoulders were finely trembling, though his hands remained steady. Spotting the raised hairs on his exposed skin, Yukito correctly deduced the reason and pulled off his jacket that he had donned over a turtleneck to wrap around Touya’s shoulders. Despite the season, it could get surprisingly cool by the beach at night, and was actually cold on top of the rocks with a fine sheen of sea spray covering everything and chilling Touya’s skin under his fingertips. Touya shrugged himself under indifferently, looking him over once to make sure he was covered adequately without it, before finishing off his sandwich and reaching for another one.

After Touya had finished off most of the bag’s contents and had moved off, Yukito packed back up the rest and slung it back over his shoulders, walking over to stand next to Touya who was staring out over the ocean again as he munched.

“Are you going to look again tomorrow?” Yukito asked of his silent companion.

“No,” Touya said, licking his fingers of the last of his meal, “I’m going to find it tonight.”

“Touya– “ Yukito started, but stopped when he felt a hand on his head, Touya’s hand gently stroking his hair down over his eyes, hiding him from view. “I’ve gotta find it tonight. All the adults are going to freak out and punish me when I get back, and that’ll just make it harder to get away again. I’m going to finish this before I go back or I might not get another chance to.” He jerked his head back towards the cave, his dark eyes glinting with the angle of the moonlight. “She might be waiting to pass on for a long time yet, if I give up now.”

Yukito sighed, and then nodded, understanding. “Then, I’m going with you, Touya.” Touya opened his mouth to argue but Yukito placed a finger over his lips to hush him, shaking his head. “They will have realized that I am gone too by this time. And I won’t be able to help you or bring you food afterwards, either. It’s better if we stick together and have two people looking and watching out for eachother. That way we’ll have a greater chance of finding whatever it is quickly and if one of us gets into trouble the other one can go back to get help.”

“I don’t know if I can find this thing, Yukito,” Touya confessed reluctantly. “We may be just staying out all night for nothing.”

“Then we’ll still be together and helping eachother,” Yukito said firmly, reaching forward to catch his wrist, smiling up at his skeptical face. “And plus, I’m pretty good at finding stuff when I want to. I think we can finish this before the night is over.”

They set out shortly afterwards, Touya leading the way through the brush on the bluffs’ edges, carefully placing his feet and snapping scratching branches off for Yukito who followed closely behind him. They went a long way before Touya finally declared that they were there, Yukito gazing over in awe at the extreme drop, many times higher than the rest of the coast they had passed. The waves crashed threateningly in huge plumes below against the rock wall, their spray only reaching halfway before fading back.

“I’ve been searching from here to that cave all day,” Touya repeated as Yukito looked in wonder on the forbidding scene. “There’s a steep trail on the other side that you can use to get down from. We have to be careful when we’re down there though. The tide’s come in and it doesn’t look as safe as it was earlier. Yukito,” he said, Yukito looking up at his name to meet his serious black eyes, “Are you sure you want to do this? This looks like it could get really dangerous.”

“If Touya’s going then I’m going too,” Yukito said earnestly, nodding. Touya looked like he wanted to disagree then sighed forcibly, jerking his head from side to side, and turning to find the track he had spoken about.

They had started down the trail, steep enough that they were almost sliding down on its angle, when Yukito remembered something.

“Why did you go looking back toward the cave?” Yukito spoke loudly over the rushing of the wind whipping through the vegetation tangled among the rock, Touya turning slightly to hear him, “Why didn’t you check on the other side as well?”

“The current,” he shouted back, scrambling down into a small tree growing at an angle out of an outcropping, clutching at its base as he leaned around to lend a hand to Yukito, pulling him to it so he could grab hold. They crouched there, hunched over, to talk. “It slants at an angle in the direction of the camp. I figured that if it had gotten washed away it would have ended up somewhere down there. I would have gone further and checked the beach, but I was pretty sure someone would have spotted me.”

“What did she say she had lost?” Yukito asked, suddenly realizing he had no idea what they were looking for. Touya said something, but it got lost in a gust that ripped through and thrashed the brush and branches of their tree, creating a terrifying moment where it seemed the slender limb would give out between it and the pressure of their combined weight. Thankfully, it died away again quickly with no permanent injury, and Touya was able to speak.

“It’s a necklace. Gold chain with three pearls hanging from it. She said her body was found washed up some miles from here, but that the necklace she had been wearing was missing. She thought it might have come off the time she jumped, but she isn’t sure and it could have been washed anywhere by now. It was a gift from her fiancée, who ran off with another woman on the night before they were supposed to be wedded.”

“How horrible,” Yukito murmured, feeling terrible for the dead woman. “Is that why…?”

“Yeah,” Touya confirmed, and they didn’t say anything for a while, the leaves shaking and the branched swaying and creaking in the steady wind coming off the ocean. Touya shifted his grip on the tree’s trunk and leaned forward as if getting ready to climb back on the track before he hesitated. “There’s something else…” Then he shook his head in a negative. “But I’m not sure it changes anything now. The main thing is that we have to find the necklace. And I’m not even sure that we can do that,” he added, frustrated.

“We will. I’m sure of it,” Yukito assured, reaching out to touch Touya’s cheek. “We just have to search these cliffs.”

“I already have,” Touya growled, his eyes narrowing. “And besides, it might not even be anywhere we could find it. It could be under 1,000 kilometers of water for all we know, which we don’t.”

“It’s here though,” Yukito stated calmly, soothingly brushing his fingers up and down his cheek. “I know it’s nearby. We just have to look again and we’ll find it.”

“So how do you know now,” Touya muttered, upset and uneasy. “You didn’t even know what we were looking for a moment ago.”

“I do. I just do, now. Just like Touya knows his things, I know mine.” It was true. As soon as Touya had described the necklace Yukito had known it was here, the certainty lodging in his chest like a stone. The rocks and water and darkness hid it for now, but like the bright crescent moon hanging alone in the sky overhead, sending its light seeping into everything below, Yukito was also certain that all they had to do was descend and they could find it. They only had to be there to see it.

Touya stared at him, frowning sharply, then grunting “Fine,” and crawling around him to get back on the path, Yukito drawing back his hand to let him pass. Touya had gotten a little ahead of him before he had managed to move from his perch.

Touya was still ahead when they made it to the bottom, or as close as it was safe to get. The pounding surf was much more impressive up close than before, the foam reaching many times their height before crashing back down again. Touya had stayed long enough to see that he was safely down before moving off to start his search right by the water, Yukito accepting that and moving higher up on the rocks to search parallel to him.

It was very hard searching in the dark. Despite the broken moon giving off enough light to almost make it seem like daylight to Yukito’s adjusted eyes, the weaker light still created a lot more shadows and he was never absolutely certain he wasn’t missing something hiding in the darker cracks. He looked over at Touya dozens of times, but he didn’t seem to be having anymore luck, and he was concentrating solely on the hunt rather than checking on Yukito, like he was doing to Touya. Yukito didn’t know exactly what he had done earlier to get the cold shoulder, but he still hoped that they would find the necklace soon so Touya wouldn’t have to stand in the spray for much longer.

They continued searching, even when Touya began to visibly tire and Yukito, though oddly energized for picking through a rocky beach in the middle of the night on much less food than normal, was beginning to feel the strain in his back, arms, and eyes. The terrain became much more difficult as they came under the imposing cliffs that they had espied from hours earlier, the rocky beach becoming less like a beach and more like a collection of huge boulders that they had to jump from one to another to progress. It had also become narrower, to the point that he and Touya were only searching a couple of meters apart from one another on different levels. Once, they had to cross over a sloping boulder together since further below had proven impassible. A hand pressed to his back when he had slipped once had left him feeling strangely hot and cold at the same time, especially when Touya still didn’t speak to him. It had only lasted a short time. By now they were both getting soaked by the mist and Yukito felt little else other than cold.

Numb and tired, they almost didn’t see the strange flash coming off the water.

They had almost stumbled together, stunned, having not bothered to separate after rejoining on the narrow pass, before they commanded their frozen limbs to clamber down to where they had spotted the light, getting more damp on the slick rocks. When they could see where they were, they realized that they were on the edge of a tidal pool, partially submerged now in the tide and filled with turbulent water. They couldn’t see anything underneath and clung there, uncertain but unwilling to move on when it was the only hint they had seen since they had started out.

Yukito saw another flash, soft and pale but bright, pulsing clearly under the water for a second before dying. He told Touya and though Touya said he hadn’t seen anything, they both knew that they would have to investigate now. Touya, of course, volunteered.

“I’m already soaked,” he reasoned, stripping off his shirt to give to Yukito. Yukito could see the goose-bumps even in the dark.

“I’m wet too,” he protested weakly, worriedly looking up at him, not taking the shirt he held out.

“Yes, but I am more so,” he replied calmly, acting like that statement made perfect sense. “It’ll make less of a difference if I go in instead of you.”

When Yukito still didn’t move, he sighed and added, “I’m only going to go in to take a look. If I don’t see anything then I’ll come right out and we’ll go back.”

“And if you do?” Yukito asked, finally reaching out to take the shirt he offered. It was completely drenched. It wouldn’t make a difference if he went in with it on or off.

“Then I’ll retrieve it as quickly as I can,” Touya said firmly, stepping down to stand at the very edge. Yukito watch as he dropped into the water, coming up to his waist in one step.

“Touya…wait –” He dived under and Yukito was left to watch the water, squinting uselessly at its opaque depths as he waited, dreading.

Long seconds went by, and just when Yukito was getting ready to jump in after him, he came up, gasping, hair plastering darkly to his pale face. Yukito hurriedly crouched at the edge, calling Touya’s name, asking if he was okay. Touya nodded shakily, still gasping for air.

“I-I think, i-it’s down t-there,” he said, his teeth chattering loudly. “I-I’m going d-down for a-another look.” And then the dark head was gone again, Yukito feeling something like panic squeezing at his throat.

This time he didn’t come back up. Yukito waited and waited and waited longer than he should have, past his last thread of hope, and then snapped. He dropped the shirt, waded straight into the water and dived.

He didn’t remember much else that night. He had confused memories of rocks, something glittering, Touya’s body dark, floating, and moonlight. Nothing else.

When Yukito woke up his head felt thick and heavy. His mouth felt fuzzy and when he tried to open it his lips pulled apart like they had been gummed together. His throat made a soft, indistinct noise and he tried to turn his head. He was stopped by a warm palm on his forehead.

“Don’t get up.” Yukito opened his eyes. It took him longer than usual to focus, but finally Touya’s concerned face sharpened into view. “To- “ He tried to say his name, but all that came out was an ugly sounding rasp. Touya quickly leaned over to the side and brought back a glass brimming with water, hastily tearing off the wrapper of a straw in his other hand with his teeth, before holding it out to Yukito to drink. Yukito sipped noisily, completely parched, trying to get up as much as he could in one breath. He quickly emptied the glass and Touya leaned back over to refill it.

They continued this process until Yukito felt like his mouth didn’t taste like chalk, requiring Touya to leave a couple times to refill the pitcher with the strict command to him not to move whatsoever. Yukito didn’t really feel like it anyway and was perfectly content to lay back and watch Touya hurry around with sleepy eyes. Strange, that he still felt so tired… and that Touya was going through all this trouble for him… When Yukito recalled what had happened he had to spend a moment piecing it back together in his head before Touya returned, this time with a full tray in hand.

Yukito sipped at another glass, and, feeling better and more aware, asked before Touya filled the glass back up again, “What happened?”

Touya paused at that, giving him an assessing look, before sighing and setting the glass back down on the tray. “We’re back at camp,” Touya stated, a little unnecessarily since Yukito could tell at least that much. “They got you a private cabin,” Touya elaborated a second later, “They didn’t want your appearance in the hospital barrack to frighten the other students.”

“No…” Yukito said slowly, “I mean, what happened last night?”

Touya looked him over with a concerned gaze when he asked that, his brow crinkling, a troubled look plaguing his expression. “You don’t remember?”

“I remember most of it,” Yukito corrected. “I remember finding you at the cave, climbing down the cliff, and finding the pool, but after I jumped in after you when you didn’t came back…” Yukito looked both perplexed and troubled. “I don’t really remember anything else.”

He was watching him with deeply concerned eyes when Yukito looked back, Yukito smiling to show that he was okay now. “I’m sure it was the shock of the water that had caused it, or maybe I had hit my head. It really was quite cold out there.” Suddenly Yukito registered a delicious smell wafting about and quickly located the source as the covered dish on the tray Touya had brought. “Is that breakfast?”

Touya blinked, then smiled crookedly, affirming that it was before standing up and fetching it from the end table, placing it down on his friend’s lap as he clapped excitedly. He lifted off the cover to see a stack of pancakes piled high, with condiment packages of butter and syrup arranged beside it. Yukito grinned happily and started inhaling the delicious food. Touya shook his head, grinning wryly, as he watched him. “I guess you must not be feeling too bad to be eating like that, huh.”

Yukito gulped them down in record time and looked around for more. Touya smoothly removed the tray, replacing it on the bedside table, and turned back to him. At the expectant look he received, he only chuckled. “I’ll make some more in a little bit.” His smile faded slightly. “You should know what happened first.”

He settled down at the end of the bed, his brown eyes serious again. Yukito leaned back into the pillows, hungrier now that his appetite had been wetted, but knowing from his expression that this was important. Touya took a deep breath, and then sighed it back out, pinching the skin between his eyes.

“First off,” he started abruptly. “It wasn’t last night. You’ve been asleep for a couple days since we got back.” He glanced at him concerned. “The teachers weren’t sure what to do since you weren’t released by you medical information to be taken to the hospital and they couldn’t get a hold of your grandparents to ask for their permission.”

Yukito nodded immediately. “They’re off on vacation right now. They don’t have cell phones so its almost impossible to get a call to them before they come back.”

Touya nodded back. “So they kept you here. I’ve been forbidden to go anywhere, so I’ve been taking care of you since we got back.”

“Ah, that’s right, how did we get back?” Yukito suddenly gasped, staring up at Touya in astonishment. “Did you carry me all the way back?”

“No.” Touya frowned deeply. “I was knocked out. I miscalculated the current and got brained by a rock. When I came to I found both of us lying outside the cave.”

They were quiet. Then, “Somehow, you managed to rescue me and get both of us from the cliffs back to the cave. And before dawn. The sun was just rising when I got us the rest of the way back to camp.”

“Or someone else did,” Yukito said quietly, thinking. When he noticed Touya’s slightly suspicious look, he smiled humorously. “I don’t think I could have done all that, and not even remember it. I don’t even recall getting out of the water. Someone must have saved both of us and took us back.”

“But we were alone when I woke up,” Touya said, eyes narrowed in thought. “If someone else had saved us, why leave us? Why bring us all the way to the cave, but not back to camp?”

“I don’t know,” Yukito said, shrugging. “It’s strange isn’t it. But unless the person who did it came forward, we have no way of knowing what their motives might’ve been.”

Touya huffed, annoyed. “I guess not.” He stood there, brooding, arms crossed, while Yukito picked at the sheets in his lap. He couldn’t stop thinking about how hungry he was. He guessed that was what happened when you were unconscious for two days. “So I guess we weren’t able to help that woman with her necklace,” he said sadly.

“Actually…” Yukito looked up at that. “I found the necklace lying right next to us at the cave. Whoever or whatever got us out and dumped us there also brought the necklace with them.” He shook his head. “Which makes even less sense.”

“Could the woman have done it?” Yukito wondered. “You told me before that you can sometimes touch the more human spirits.”

“Strong spirits can seem to physically touch people,” Touya agreed. “But unless the spirit was extraordinarily powerful it wouldn’t be able to touch someone without a gift to see them. It sorta goes both ways. Their ability to manifest physically depends on how sensitive the person is, except in special circumstances. But the fact that you were saved as well rules out the vast majority of spirits. Not to mention the fact that the ghost woman couldn’t muster the power to find her own necklace, a very important artifact to her. She definitely wouldn’t have had the power to do this.”

“Oh,” Yukito sighed softly. “Then I guess it wasn’t her. What did you do with the necklace?”

“I gave it to someone,” he said, sitting back down, glancing idly at the fan whirring softly overhead. “The rest of the students are going to the cave tonight, so I asked one of them to take it to the shrine and pray over it. Hopefully, it will be enough.”

“Touya.” He looked over to Yukito at his name. “What did you mean before that there was ‘something else’?”

Touya was silent for a moment, staring hard at the wood floor, before speaking. “The woman. She was pregnant. She hadn’t known, though, when she had jumped. But the guilt that she had not only ended her own life, but that of her child had been something else that had kept her from moving on. She hadn’t been able to find rest with that burden on her soul.”

“That’s terrible,” Yukito said faintly, looking at Touya with pity in his eyes for the woman. “How can she be released from that?”

“I don’t know,” Touya said honestly. “There’s no remnant of her child left that could have been given back as an apology, and the dead can’t make penance. The only way she would be is if she can forgive herself for her mistake.”

When he saw Yukito’s depressed expression, he lifted a hand to his head, brushing his hair to the side and leaning down to catch his eye. “Hey. There’s nothing more we can do for her. Besides, one release from a burden can lead to another. There’s a chance that she will forgive herself after she is no longer chained to her grief over her fiancée.”

“Really,” he said softly, closing his eyes as Touya’s fingers brushed through his hair. “I’m glad.”

They stayed like that for a while, Yukito with his eyes closed, lulled into a serene doze, as Touya’s fingers continued to roam over his scalp, growing heavier with peace and sleep.

“Yukito.” Yukito opened his eyes to find Touya much closer, his face right in front of him, with their noses almost brushing. Touya’s dark eyes were very solemn. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Yukito asked, startled. Touya didn’t move back.

“For dragging you into it, when I knew it could be dangerous,” he said, eyes unwavering, hand still and twined with the strand ends behind his ear. “You shouldn’t have been there.”

“Neither should have Touya,” Yukito said strongly, making Touya’s eyes widen. “But if you are going to do things like that, then I want to be there with you when I can.” Yukito gripped his other hand. “You shouldn’t do those things alone.”

Touya smiled, dark eyes warm, and Yukito felt an answering feeling. “Then I’ll try not to if you’re going to be tagging along anyway,” Touya said, half-teasing.

“Is that a promise, Touya?” Yukito asked, smiling.

“Yeah,” he said, grinning.

“I think you also made another promise earlier involving pancakes?”

“Yeah,” he said, laughing.

They sat together in the tree in the schoolyard, empty of everyone except themselves. Yukito had some chocolate that he was going through rapidly, and Touya leaned back on his branch, his eyes closed and his arms folded behind his head. It was peaceful, spring, the sakura trees having already bloomed and died again. Yukito had been happy to see the reminder of the way they had met come again, with Touya still by his side. And of his cute little sister, who really did remind him of the sweet blossoms, despite Touya’s claims to the contrary.


He turned at the nickname, blinking back at the light that sparkled through the leaves and his glasses.

“Yep?” he said, still munching happily on his chocolate. He had long since eaten all the Valentine’s Day chocolate that he had received this year (and Touya’s too), but eating that much at one time had left him with a craving for it that still persisted.

Touya looked at his steadily for a moment before snorting and looking away. “Nevermind.”

“What is it, Touya?” Yukito asked, curious. He got the distinct impression that Touya was uncomfortable now. “Nothing.”

Normally he would have dropped it, but something (perhaps the chocolate) had him keep going. “Is it about the homework we have?” Touya snorted loudly at that. “No.”

No, it wouldn’t be. Touya was smart and didn’t need his help, though they often studied together at his house. “Is it about one of your jobs?” Touya was always so busy with so many different things that Yukito was surprised sometimes that he ever found time to hang out with him in the first place. “Nope,” Touya said gruffly, folding his arms across his chest and looking away, his body language telling him to leave it.

Yukito ignored it. “Is it about someone?” Touya’s silence was a better affirmative than if he had spoken aloud. Yukito was delighted. “Is it about your father?”

“No,” he said determinedly.

“Is it about a girl?”

No,” he growled now, leaning farther along the branch as if to get further away from Yukito. “Is it Sakura?” Yukito smiled. “Your sister-complex?”

“Not even close,” he muttered, annoyed. Yukito leaned back, thinking.

“Who could it be then?” he mused, his hand to his chin. Touya looked at him as he stared thoughtfully at the ground with the remains of the chocolate wrapper still crinkled in his hand, a genuinely puzzled look on his face, and sighed.

“…Yuki. You’ve got leaves stuck in your hair again.” Yukito automatically reached up to pull them out, that had an odd habit of happening without him noticing, but was stopped when he felt Touya’s hand reach there first. He let his own hand drop as fingers ran through, catching small twigs and leaves, pulling them out and then returning again. Touya seemed to like touching his hair. Yukito never complained.

When it seemed he had gotten all the leaves out, his hand trailed through the strands, over his glasses and down to his cheek. “You got some chocolate on you too, Yuki.” And a thumb extended and swiped in from the corner of his mouth.

Yukito didn’t know what had happened next; time had skipped like an old record. But he remembered clearly Touya’s mouth pressed against his, his nose brushing his cheek, and his fingers in his hair. Everything that had come before that seemed unimportant.

When he moved away he didn’t go far, his face still close to his and his body radiating warmth that he still felt. Touya was smiling, his expression more tender than he could ever remember seeing it, his eyes blazing brightly at him. Yukito couldn’t look away.

“You don’t look surprised, Yuki.” Touya said, still smiling, though his eyes were puzzled as his head cocked slightly to the side. Yukito had lost his voice.

He found it a moment later. “I am. But…” –and his lips lifted– “Now I know what was on your mind. To-ya.”

He smiled and Yukito smiled back, his palm covering Touya’s fingers.
animegeek51: mokonalizzy61 on September 20th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
Really nice story. I always enjoy Touya/Yukito and this is a good one.
And I wonder where you went; wonder where you go.: Rejoice!curious_robin on September 27th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
I'm glad you think so! I'm thinking of revising this and expanding it sometime... I had a lot more planned but it was already going into 8,000 words so I decided that that was enough. ^^' Rather last minute too. I think I can make this a lot better with more time put into it.