Notes and Disclaimers: This story is entirely dedicated to Janice, my cosmic younger sister. She said that there wasn't enough Yue/Clow ff out there - this isn't one either, but it's for her anyway. ;-) I admit to taking a few artistic liberties with the end of the story, but am unrepentant.
The characters are owned in their entirety by CLAMP, Kodansha, NHK and other corporate entities. This is in no way meant to be an infringement on their copyright.
This story contains shounenai that is, love between men, of a mild but persistent variety. If this offends, you may want to bail out now.
If you like this story, please let me know at email@example.com
The Shadow of His Wings
"I can clearly remember the first time I opened my eyes. My understanding was that of a child, of course, for that is what I was. I could see the room in which I lay, but had no understanding of the symbols drawn around me, nor of the objects that lay upon and over me. There was a man who stood by my side and though I instantly knew him as my master, I had no way to communicate this understanding. I blinked at him, hoping that my gaze would say what I could not.
"He spoke to me - I was amazed at the music in his words. That was all I could understand, you see - I had not yet been taught language. But tone is universal, more than that, it is eternal, and his voice rang with a depth of beauty that echoed the music of the stars. Once again I wished I could tell him my thoughts, but I could do no more than take the hand that he offered and allow him to pull me upright from the table upon which I lay.
"That was the first time he touched me.
"I followed this man, my Master, from the room - I would have followed him until I returned to the aether from which he had drawn me, until I collapsed on these strange appendages I had been given, but that was not to be my fate. He took me into another place, speaking to me all the while. There was a word that repeated over and over in his speech. I took it to be my name. "Yue." Later he told me of its meaning, of the symbol I had been born under, of the powers it invested in me, but that day it was merely a syllable of enormous importance. Yue. I had a name.
"Days passed and I learned as a child does, of objects, and actions, and at last, ideas. I finally had words to tell my Master what I thought, what I did - what I desired. By then, however, I chose to hide my truest desire from him. Not out of a need to deceive, indeed I find it difficult to deceive; being born under the Moon as I am, my whole being cries out against deception. It was not that simple. I did not tell my Master of what I desired, for I had also learned that humans frowned upon such ideas. I simply wished to spare him from the grief, or disgust that he might feel. Instead I served him. I served him with all my heart, as though that would be a sufficient measure of my love. And in truth, for some time it was.
"I was not entirely alone, as you know. My Master had many companions, magical and earthly, and his house was not dark and empty, but full of life, aglow with lights and laughter. It was a beautiful time - I in my innocence and youth, my Master in the fullness of his powers, Kerberos gamboling about as if he were a kitten...it truly was a wonderful golden time.
"Night follows day, my Master would tell us when we became impatient. Night follows day. And so it did. We continued to study and serve, honing our skills, understanding our roles. While watching the sun set, we enjoyed the spectacle so much we never noticed the darkness creep up to join us. But join us it did. Slowly, darkness became as much a companion to us as light had been in my youth. Kerberos did not notice for a long time, for he is born under the sign of the Sun and brings his own light...but I was born under the Moon and have no light of my own. I can but reflect that which outshines me. Thus it was that I learned of the darkness that eclipsed my Master, as my own light dimmed.
"I went to my Master, intent on asking him about myself. It was not a sudden decision - I agonized over it for days. I did not wish to be a burden to him, or a source of concern. I could see that as a man, my Master had many responsibilities that drew upon his reserves. As a magician he had many more responsibilities, but I did not yet understand that. So I went to him, concerned only with my well-being.
"I found him alone in his sanctuary, as he was wont to be when he needed solace or peace from the world. More and more he withdrew, and although his house was not as full as before, he did not lack happiness - I know this for certain. That he might have been lonely I had considered, but he denied this. He did not seem lonely. And I did not, to my regret, I did not trust myself enough to understand my intuition.
"I found my master weeping. I had never seen tears and stood, paralyzed with this new sensation, one I had not yet experienced. Pity froze my limbs and kept my tongue still. I watched my Master cry until he fell asleep where he sat. I did not understand - I could not. I was not human. My emotions were those of a child, or animal. I was, am, not a subtle creature - I was created to serve, not to love.
"While my Master slept, I crept over to where he laid, reaching out to touch him, but could not. His touch had been mine frequently, a stroke on the cheek, a finger running through my hair - I longed for these things, but did not think it my place to ask for them. I was his creature, he was not mine. I had no claim on him. So I stood and slunk away to nurse the doubt in my own heart.
"Kerberos found me in the yard, sitting in the light of the moon. He asked me why I was alone and looked so sad. I stared at him in shock. I? Sad? Why should I be sad? I had all I could wish for. Although I told him that it was a trick of the light, he and I both knew it was a lie. That was the day my deceit began. I lied from that time practically until the very end.
"Like the child I was, I thought that my Master's unhappiness was in some way my fault. I sought to be the perfect servant from that day forward, anticipating my Master's needs, answering his wishes before he had even formulated them in speech. But every time he looked at me, there was a horrible emptiness in his gaze that haunted me. He began to look unwell, his cheeks becoming hollowed and his eyes dark and sleepless.
"Later I learned that he had, soon after my creation, been the subject of many magical attacks. Weakened as he was by my birth and that of Kerberos, he was hard put to defeat his opponents. The effects of these battles were only the beginning of his illness, but they sat heavily upon him.
"I tried to comfort him, but I didn't know how. Or, I should say, I knew how I wanted to comfort him, but could not bring myself to do so. And my Master grew sallower, weaker every day.
"It was a beautiful day when he called us, Kerberos and I, to attend him. His eyes shone as they had when I was born, his energy and purpose renewed. I rejoiced to see him this way and my own powers felt as they had not in many months. My Master told us that he had made an important decision - in fact, the ultimate decision of his life.
"His powers had grown too great for him to bear the burden much longer. There were too many who sought to defeat him, and the awful responsibilities of such power grew every day, bearing down upon him. He desired nothing more than release from this load. But before he left us, he desired to do one last thing - to ensure that he, and no other, would choose his successor. No challenge would decide the fate of his power, he would make sure of that.
"Thus were the Clow Cards born. And thus, my Master made sure that only he would choose the one who would succeed to his power. Kerberos was set as Seal Beast and I, I was to judge the fitness of the new master of the Cards. It was the final task he set me - and I vowed to fulfill it.
"It wasn't long after when he called us once again. My Master apologized to us, kissing us both, and telling us that he was sorry we could not be freed from his service. We both denied desire for freedom - serving him was a special pleasure that gave us more happiness than we knew what to do with. Nonetheless, he apologized. And he told us what he planned to do. To halve his power, imbuing two branches of his family with that power, that each might transmit this magic through his heirs, until his successor awakened. And he cried as he embraced us.
"With his tears in my hair still wet, he bade us farewell and made us leave him. That was the last time I was to have seen him. But...I could not go. I heard him begin the incantation and could not bear the thought of him, alone at his death. For the first time I went against his wishes, and reentered his sanctum. He lay there, thin, desiccated, but looking at peace. I reached out and held him, willing him to stay with me, and for the first and last time, crying tears of my own.
"One tear fell upon his face and his eyes opened. He asked me why I was crying, when he was so happy. I could not help it - I told him the truth.
" 'I love you, Master. Please don't leave me!' I cried and he saw that I meant it, not as servant to master, but as man to man. Terrible longing filled his face, but he shook his head.
" 'I'm sorry Yue. It is my fault that you love me too well. And I you. From the day you were born in my heart I have loved you, longed for you. So often I...'
"He stopped and closed his eyes. 'So often I have seen you silhouetted against the moon, and wondered what your kisses would taste like, whether they would be cold or warm. But,' and his eyes opened again, staring into my heart, 'that cannot be. It was not meant to be. Go, find happiness with another, since I cannot be your happiness...'
"His eyes closed again and like a shadow in the light, he simply vanished. I slept for a long time, drowning my misery in oblivion, until my new master awakened me. That story, you already know."
There was a profound silence in the room when Yue ceased speaking. Bird song was audible, and the sun shining through the window lit up the dust motes.
After a long while, Touya said, "Thank you for telling me this." Then he fell silent once again.
Yue shifted, then turned away from the window to face the young man. "I should thank you, indeed, I do thank you."
"Why? What for?" Touya looked slightly confused.
"Because," Yue took a step towards the tall brunet as he spoke, then another, "although you are not my Master, not Clow, I am no longer Clow's Yue. And maybe," his voice became softer, "maybe, we can find together, you and I, the love my Master and I were not able to have."
Yue stopped just outside of Touya's reach. His wings drew in around him and there was a swirling, as if of light in mist. The wings disappeared to reveal Yukito looking up at Touya with his characteristic smile.
Touya looked down at Yuki, and thought that if Yue's light was that of the moon, then Yuki was the moonlight reflected on fresh snow - softer, less bright, but more earthly and tangible. And with that thought he reached out and scooped the smaller man into his arms, pressing his lips onto Yuki's.
"Yes," Touya said, and saw Yue smile in Yukito's eyes.