Fandom: xxxHOLiC/Card Captor Sakura.
Summary: It had been long years since Yuuko had stopped making excuses for doing the things she did around Clow.
Notes: Inspired by that recent splash of Clow with his hair undone.
In a Winter Wonderland.
Her bed was still warm but very much empty. Yuuko opened her eyes slowly, trying to mitigate the headache that was ready to start buzzing on her temples and the back of her head, and for a moment she dreaded that Clow had been enough of a bastard to open the curtains for her to see 'the beautiful morning', and curse the gods that had made it so that the man never got hungover.
But no, her room was empty and mercifully dark. Yuuko's hand, still pressed to the sheets where he should have been, curled a little on the empty space and she tried to curl into the tightest, littlest ball of a person she could under the covers, doing her best to fall back asleep. It had been a good night with no dreams, even though the alcohol might have helped a little bit for that.
But when ten minutes passed and she couldn't fall back asleep and her headache kept on pounding, Yuuko realized it was a lost battle and she stood up slowly, reaching for her sleeping robe... which wasn't there.
She had but one moment of confusion before she just pushed the covers from her legs and stood up as slowly as it was humanly possible, taking notice that Clow hadn't left a glass of water on her nighttable. That, more than anything, confirmed that he probably had just woken up: if not, there'd be water and aspirins by her bedside and Moro and Maru would be up, cheerfully helping as Clow made an English breakfast, heavy on the fried food just to be a smartass.
Yuuko walked then out of her room, following almost without thinking about it the thread of magic that was so very Clow, the one he could never conceal even if he tried. She wasn't sure if she arrived where she did because of that leading her of it merely was because she knew him, and Clow was very much a morning person, for all that he was also a night one when it mattered.
She winced at the unexpected brightness, her whole garden covered in white, the first snow of the season. She shielded her eyes with her hand but there he was, sitting on her veranda, wearing her sleeping robe, his hair untied and falling over his shoulders, his profile highlighted by the early morning sun. He had just one cup of tea by his side, the steam barely visible.
Yuuko felt a shiver running down her back and her headache wasn't getting any better, so she walked towards him. She would have stomped, but she doubted that would help her hungover state.
“You're wearing my robe,” Yuuko muttered around a yawn and a wince, sitting by his side as close as possible. He was warm, at the very least, and it definitely was way too early to be up. Besides, it had been years since she had stopped making excuses for doing the things she did around Clow. With him, things just were, no questions and no explanations, for better or for worse.
“You're up early, dearest,” Clow muttered, and perhaps he was also half awake, Yuuko thought. His voice had been just a whisper, and while he didn't sound chipper, he didn't sound sad either.
His arm curled around her shoulders, friendly, and she felt his hand on her neck. His hand was cool, but Clow moved it carefully down the slide of her hair up the nape of her hair and Yuuko sighed, because it almost felt as if that was taking care of her headache. Which he could but he wouldn't and she was thankful for that. The small thing like that were important, and that was were freedom rested: not in what they could do but in what they wouldn't.
“You're up early,” Yuuko complained, just to say something. Her head was against his shoulder, and this close she could smell the lavender and opium of her robe and the witch-hazel from his cologne.
He didn't quite chuckle, and if not for the fear of the bright day making her headache worse, Yuuko would have opened her eyes to see his expression. His smile was in his voice but she was sure his eyes were probably distant, trapped in a different world.
“I dreamed it was snowing*,” was all Clow said.
There were several ways to answer to that. Was it a dream or a Dream? Had there been anyone else in his dreams? What color had the snow been, what else had there been inside his dream?
But he didn't sound particularly upset, which he would if it had been a bad dream, and he didn't sound as tired as he would if his dream had been extremely vivid. So Yuuko opted for the option that at the very least would most likely amuse him.
“I'm not working until after I've had breakfast and my head isn't killing me anymore,” she muttered instead.
Clow didn't quite laugh out loud, but she felt his laugh, gentle as a thought, with the way his chest trembled and the soft huff of breath from his mouth, and that was more than enough.
* In dreams, Snow can be a symbol of hope or a symbol of a wish fulfilled.