Been Alone All Along by: Ani
Chapter 1 – How Long
And he still couldn’t believe it. It all just sounded so odd, so fictitious; he couldn’t possibly believe it was true.
He had just watched in shock as the angel, Yue, turned into his Touya’s Yukito and the winged lion turned into that little orange plushie Sakura had become so attached to over the previous two years.
“That’s because when we split in two, I was the one who inherited the memories.”
But those words…
There were why he accepted it. Somehow, they had released something in his mind. That part of his past he couldn’t remember… had lost for some reason was suddenly returned, coming back to him in bits and pieces.
Most had been coming in dreams. He clearly remembered the end of Clow’s… his past life now. Cerberus’s confusion. Yue’s anger and disappointment. He even remembered creating them and the Clow Cards.
They’re Sakura Cards now.
Some part of him still felt guilty about it. Clow Reed could not handle the burden, how could he expect his only daughter to carry a load a grown man couldn’t tolerate. Every time he would feel like this, a voice would tell him, “Sakura is stronger than she seems, we must have faith. Even if it becomes too much for Sakura, all she would have to do is pass on the cards, just as we have.”
Two years ago, they had finally been passed on, and he had gained half his past powers. It had started slowly; seeing Nadeshiko and other spirits, being able to sense Sakura’s and Touya’s actions. But with Yukito moving in; both to be closer to his son and Yue’s master, something felt off… like he was missing something. The house was so much livelier than it had been in a long time: both his ‘sons’, his daughter and her guardians, her beloved Syaoran and Tomoyo were always around as well.
At first, he thought it was almost having his wife back. Nadeshiko would appear briefly, but he could only talk to her, see her. Having her back made him realize how long he had been alone in the world again.
But his dreams suddenly changed, showing him things that made him wonder what he was really missing.
They were Clow’s childhood.
She smiled encouragingly as he tried to move a bowl full of fruit across the table to her with his magic. She tried to smother a chuckle as an apple rolled from the top of the bowl onto the table. “You don’t have to try to do it by will alone Clow. You’ve just come to understand how it works, it helps if you channel it through your hands at the beginning.”
“Do I have to Deirdre?” a small child’s voice said as he raised one hand, the bowl slowly leveling itself out.
Deirdre’s smile changed from encouraging to caring. “No, you really don’t have to Clow. But you can see for yourself that it helps. It takes years of practicing, using this ability before you can move it as easily as your parents do.” He was taken in by the twinkle in her deep green eyes.
She chuckled at his sudden stare. “Now Clow, focus your energy and pull the apple to you,” she said, throwing a long red-brown braid over her shoulder.
He’d woken up with his cologne bottle in his hand.
The bus jerking to a stop in front of the university yanked him out of his thoughts. He absently got off, heading for the archeology building; smiling, nodding and waving at the students and teachers calling to him. He froze at the top of the stairs, surprised at the powerful magic he sensed inside. Following the aura stopped him just inside the Exhibition Hall.
He could only stare in shock at that long red-brown braid running down her back. She slowly started walking around the case, shaking her head in… disgust at what remained of an ancient puzzle box from the Edo period. “Oh great! Just like I thought it was,” she suddenly mumbled in English* before realizing she had company. She turned a quick glance to him before turning back to the puzzle box.
Deep green eyes… “Deirdre,” he whispered.
Fujitaka just stared as she circled back to the front of the display, mumbling curses and complaints under her breath. “Hmm, Kinomoto-san,” she suddenly switched to Japanese*, “I have to ask him about this.”
“About what?” he even jumped at his sudden reply.
Frozen in place by his words, she turned slowly to reveal a cautious look in those same green eyes… “Do you know Kinomoto-san?”
A few steps closer to her… and a strange feeling, almost a sense of recognition seemed to pass over them both. Trying to smile through his confusion, he answered her, “I am Kinomoto Fujitaka. I lead the expedition that recovered this whole showing. I was the one who found this box. What would you like to know?”
That cautious look returned as she turned from him to the box and back again. “Was the puzzle box found shattered like that?”
He heaved a sigh as he joined her by the display case. “Unfortunately, yes it was. The tomb it was in had been raided years ago. The robbers must have believed it was easier to break it open for whatever was inside.” He paused, catching her nodding at his words, “Why are you so interested?”
She turned to the case, carefully placing her left hand upon the glass, “Call it… professional curiosity. I know how hard it is to make puzzle boxes. To see one so old, so well crafted like this…”
He nodded slightly, “I know how you feel. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a class to teach in fifteen minutes.” He answered, turning towards the door.
Barely catching her wave him away, Fujitaka paused at the door, sensing that magic again. Turning quickly, he caught the faintest glimmers of magic off the puzzle box and the young woman. “Great! Now I’ve got to figure out what’s happened to the Clow Cards and worry about him,” he overheard her before she turned to the doors.
Heading into his office before she could catch him watching, Fujitaka tried to push these confusing thoughts aside so he could hopefully teach his classes.
Author’s note: I’m working off both the anime and manga, but mostly the manga. Mainly because I’ve got most of the manga and the aired epis and I don’t like how they edited them, aired them out of order. So all names, major plot points, etc, are going off the manga telling, not the anime one.
As usual, I’m working with the two things I don’t know why they were left hanging. So few people work with Fujitaka, so I’m gonna.
* if they’re talking in a different language, I’ll clearly state when they are and when it changes..
Chapter 2 – Broken Bits
A quick knock at his office door pulled his attention away from the papers he was trying to grade. “Come in.”
“Dad, come on, it’s time for lunch.” Touya called out as he opened the door.
And of course, Yukito followed him inside, “Remember, you asked us to make sure you ate today, Kinomoto-san.”
He could only smile as Yukito stepped closer, two full take-out bags in his arms. Trying to clear space on his desk, a sudden flash of the past – Clow clearing room because Yue had brought him food – flashed through his mind. Chuckling briefly, he was reminded of his dream that morning.
“What’s so funny Dad?” Touya asked.
“It’s nothing Touya, really. I just got a glimpse at an old memory.” He replied, turning to help Yukito unload the food, “Apparently our other forms have done this before Yukito.”
Yukito paused briefly, turning a surprised look to both men, “Oh really.”
Before anyone could respond, another quick knock sounded. “Come in.”
That same red-brown hair and deep green eyes peeked into the room, “Fujitaka-san, I just wan- oh, I’m so sorry to interrupt you, I was just-”
“It’s quite alright Miss. I’m just having lunch with my family,” Fujitaka interrupted, standing and beckoning her to come in. Just catching the smile shared by Touya and Yukito, he turned to her, “Was there anything else I could help you with?”
She took two steps into the room, that strange feeling of recognition returning. Yukito’s gaze immediately snapped to her, his eyes shifting to an iridescent purple as she turned to him. A guarded, almost competitive look crossed her face before she turned back to Fujitaka with a smile. “No, no, that’s not it at all. I realize I wasn’t very kind or polite earlier, I just wanted to apologize for how I was acting,” she replied, bowing.
“No need to Miss…” Fujitaka said, waving his hand dismissively.
“Oh, sorry, my name is Samantha, Samantha Rutherford.” She introduced herself, bowing again.
“Really, there’s no need to apologize Miss Rutherford. I know how you feel, I was just as upset when we found the puzzle box at the site.” Fujitaka added, rounding his desk to approach her, surprised to see Yue’s eyes within Yukito’s face.
All of them caught the guarded look as it crossed her face again. “Yes, well to find such artistry, such craftsmanship as went into that box destroyed always gets me upset.” Samantha replied, turning back to the doorway, “Well, I did what I came for, so I’ll leave the three of you to your lunch. Til next time.”
With that, she left them staring.
“What was that all about?” Touya asked, his eyes never leaving Yukito’s face.
Yukito sighed, closing his eyes and leaning back into the transformation. “Something about that woman feels very… similar,” Yue stated coolly, his eyes turned to the closed door beside him.
“Similar, not familiar, Yue?” Fujitaka asked, confused at the guardian’s choice of words.
Yue nodded once. “Her aura feels similar. She has more magic than she lets on.” One delicate eyebrow arched upward. “Why do you ask?”
“This morning, and even just now, being near Miss Rutherford gave me a sense of familiarity, almost like I should know her from somewhere.” Fujitaka answered.
“What was all that about some puzzle box?” Touya asked, trying to change to subject.
Fujitaka nodded, sitting back at his desk. “There is a broken puzzle box in the new exhibit. When I arrived this morning, I’d sensed a powerful magic. I followed it to find Miss Rutherford circling the display case, mumbling in English about expecting it to be broken. She saw me coming and asked what I knew about it. I explained that it was found like that. I had to get to my first class soon, so I excused myself and left her there. I turned to look one more time, only to see faint auras coming from her and the box.”
Yue stood with one fluid motion, “I would like to see this box.”
Both Kinomoto men stood quickly in an attempt to stop the moon being. “Now isn’t a good time for you to be here Yue,” Fujitaka started, trying to alert the guardian without offending him.
Touya was a little more daring. Slipping around the guardian, Touya planted himself firmly in front of the door. Those purple cat eyes narrowed dangerously, “Move.”
Touya followed suit, his glare turning just as menacing. “Not until you become Yukito.”
Yue slowly raised an arm, holding his hand open between them. “I have your powers now. What makes you think I won’t go through you?”
Not batting an eye, Touya calmly folded his arms. “You wouldn’t do a thing to upset Sakura or Yukito,” he let the guardian finish the thought. “I know you see everything Yukito does, and with your little stunt earlier, you could tell us if this puzzle box is suspicious without completely transforming.”
Yue could only huff in disgust. “I don’t know what Yukito sees in you.” Before anyone could respond, he curled his wings around himself, transforming back.
“He does know, it’s what he sees too.” Yukito stated calmly, closing the distance and giving Touya a quick peck.
Fujitaka could only smile as he followed them, surprised and relieved that Touya could handle both sides of his unique relationship. Closing the Hall doors behind them, he turned to point out the box, surprised to find Yukito circling the display much like Samantha had. Joining his son, they both stood there and watched those misplaced purple eyes study the box. Soon an ominous black aura started pulsing slowly off the box.
About to ask, Fujitaka turned only to find Yukito staring intently at him. “What does this mean Yukito-kun?”
The young man turned back to the box. “The box is radiating many different energies,” their voices spoke in unison. “There is much anger and hostility, a burning need for revenge. The whole box was created by magic, a very powerful magic to contain a very powerful being.”
Touya jumped at those last words, “You mean this was a prison of some kind.”
Yukito turned back to them, usual golden eyes looking at them in concern, “Yes, and Yue believes whatever it is will set out for revenge now that it’s free.”
“ ‘very powerful magic’… whatever it was will probably go after Sakura now.” Fujitaka added, the realization scaring him.
Touya started as Yukito nodded slowly, “Sakura and the cards are now the strongest source of magic in the area, so whatever was imprisoned will likely go after her.” He said, turning to Fujitaka, “But it is also clearly hundreds of years old. And it’s somehow connected to Miss Rutherford… and you or your past.”
“Clow Reed.” All three said in unison.