Characters: Clow and Yuuko
Phrase: #7. “The treasure is your enemy.”--Bel Canto, “Dewy Fields”
Synopsis: There was something slightly pathetic about living vicariously through other people's gifts and shocks.
Notes: Slight spoilers for HOLiC 133.
Yuuko was the first one to mention his birthday.
This wasn't surprising, in the strict sense of the word (and what was, these days?), but it was still a source of bemusement. The only reason why she even knew the date was a mere technicality; it had been quite obvious to her, who was used to figuring those things out, and then she had chided him for not being more careful. But that was all. He hadn't ever talked about it again.
In fact, he had spared no efforts to avoid the subject. It seemed pointlessly cruel. She never brought up the issue of his uncontrollable foresight; it was only fair not to remind her that she couldn't give freely.
... and there it was again. Yes, it was only fair. Always the same trap.
Yuuko enjoyed getting presents, of course – for the same reason, he suspected, that he enjoyed surprising people. They had fun, yes, but they were also aware that there was something slightly pathetic about living vicariously through other people's gifts and shocks. He never found something unexpected. And she never gave without receiving the proper price.
It might not be noticeable for those who didn't look for it – he was sure that his Guardians, and even the Mokonas, hadn't figured it out – but it was there nonetheless. She gave him presents for Christmas because she knew that he would do the same, and she gave him Valentine's chocolate with the excuse of certain very smart people coming up with White Day in a few decades, but birthdays didn't have that handy clause. Sometimes he wondered if putting up a large party with enough food and liquor would cover the price of a heartfelt birthday present. In the end, he hadn't dared to ask. He figured that would defeat the point anyway.
Still, she had brought it up this year. He had to celebrate it, she insisted on that; there had to be sweets and a cake and fun in general. She actually looked quite enthusiastic about it – he could tell that she wasn't pretending – so he had to give in. It was hardly an unpleasant request, after all, although he did wonder what had prompted it.
So now Cerberus lay asleep next to the fireplace after stuffing himself with snacks, and Yue was trying to keep Soel and Larg away from the already messy kitchen, and Clow and Yuuko sat on a windowsill staring at the chaos that his living-room had become. And even if she hadn't been able to give him anything, she looked quite content all the same. It was a mystery to him.
“Why?” he asked, unable to hide his curiosity. “Why did you want me to do this?”
“Because if there's something I can do,” she replied, still staring into the distance, “it's making sure that I don't make other people miserable just because they want to keep me happy.”
Clow didn't answer immediately, not because he was left without words, but because there were so many of them. I wasn't going to be miserable, he wanted to tell her. I know exactly how you feel: the gift is a curse, and the treasure is your enemy, and the power is a burden. You could never make me unhappy. So may things to say, and yet he didn't voice any of them. They wouldn't help. There was a much better way to deal with this.
“Thank you,” he said.
She didn't turn to look at him. But she did smile, and that was enough.