Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Clow, there lived a princess who was cursed to love a wandering man. The wandering man had sealed his own destiny many years before, setting into motion a chain of events that erased his parents and rendered him a living paradox, doomed to traverse dimensions to avoid upsetting the delicate balance of the universe.
Miraculously, and after many years, the wandering man was able to right his many wrongs, giving bodily form once more to the parents who birthed him and securing his place in the living world once again. Across these many years, the princess – a good and kind girl – had waited patiently for his return, and it was not long after that they were married.
This is not their story. (Their story, dear child, would leave you reflexively covering your eyes for fear of their loss, or at the very least clutching at the last threads of your sanity wondering what in the world just happened, and is better saved for when you are older.)
This is the story of their child; a great and mighty princess in her own right, whose arrival into this world signaled the stirrings of a new disturbance in time and space…
Syaoran paced. In his own mind, this back and forth, forth and back flitting across the narrow confines of the hallway was a flourish of manly, grunted exhalations and perfectly timed footsteps. To everyone else present, it appeared to be less of a display of masculinity and more an exercise in ensuring he did not wet himself in anxiety.
"That's not going to make the baby come any faster, you know," the crown prince Touya muttered from his crouch just outside the princess's door. He spoke with the calm collectedness of one who had already lived through many such trials, even as he shaved away the final nub of fingernail remaining on his right hand with his teeth and swallowed it whole. "You're making the entire kingdom nervous."
"That's my wife," Syaoran spat back at his brother-in-law, watching the other man's Adam's apple bob up and down as the unseemly ungual appendage slid down his throat, "And your home-grown choking hazards are the only thing making anyone here nervous," he nodded over toward Yukito, who was busily rocking back and forth in his own small patch of hallway and quickly draining the contents of a very expensive bottle of whiskey.
Touya's lip twitched. "Yuki…"
"What?" Yukito's eyes went wide, "Is it time? Do I need to…" His gazed darted to the door and he swallowed thickly.
"No," Touya said very patiently, "But I think you should put that down before it's time to bless the baby. You're going to forget the verses at this rate."
"Oh," Yukito seemed to consider this very carefully as he set the bottle down, "How…how will we know when it's time…?"
"I think," Syaoran said slowly, and snatched the bottle from Yukito's feet, "That you should just know, right? You're the priest and all…" He took a long, shaky sip and stared intently at the door.
"What kind of stupid logic is that?" Touya snapped and wrenched the bottle from Syaoran's hands, "How did you even manage to get my sister into this state? Did you just know to put tab A into slot B, or did she accidentally sit on your special sock?" He tipped the bottle backwards and took a long, thirsty pull, "God, please, please tell me she sat on it…"
"To-ya," Yukito laughed and crossed the hallway to crouch next to the troubled prince, "Now who's being nervous?" He ran a soothing hand through Touya's hair and chuckled to himself. "I do think I'll head in there now, though," he said with new resolution, "It sounds like things are progressing."
Touya and Syaoran snapped to attention at this. "How can you tell?" they demanded in unison, then instantly turned to bare their fangs at their unwitting chorus.
"Well," Yukito shrugged, "I don't believe I've ever call anyone a 'fobbing sheep-biting clotpole' with so much venom before."
So it was that the first ripples of unrest were felt, right there in the corridors of Clow Palace on the day of the princess's birth. With the men of the palace all in a dither over the impending the delivery and the lady herself very much indisposed thereby, the stirrings of discord went largely unnoticed (save for one rabbit-eared sage, who, most unfortunately, misinterpreted the rumblings as indigestion and resolved simply to eat more fiber). The disturbance continued, unchecked and unseen, mounting and spreading cracks throughout the fabric of space and time itself.
And into these cracks, the roots of an unholy alliance – seeded from the very source of discord itself – crept, forcing their walls wider and reaching ever-further into the great beyond…
Syaoran clung to Touya. Touya clung to Syaoran. Together the two men screwed up their faces and braved the onslaught of insults and blunt objects hurled toward the door. Of all past battles fought and won, this was surely the most terrifying either of them had faced, as even the best of all outcomes would leave them up to their elbows in spit rags and soiled nappies.
"I did this to her," Syaoran sobbed into his brother-in-law's neck as a particularly sharp scream rang against their eardrums and another bit of glass shattered against the doorknob.
"You did this to her," Touya agreed, sniffling and rubbing his nose against the fine silks of Syaoran's collar, "You dumb bastard."
"Just shut up and hold me till it's over," Syaoran demanded and clutched at Touya's cape. It was all so unfair that he be left here with only his arch-nemesis for comfort in a time like this. How was he meant to cope when the great dope was insistent upon insulting him through every muttered condolence? He was obviously distraught and in need of true comforting – after all, it was his wife just beyond the door, shouting and writhing in pain as the being she had single-handedly nurtured and carried for the past nine months destroyed her body on its way to greet the world. He gritted his teeth and sobbed woefully into the prince's embrace.
"Fecking rank, hell-hated codpiece!"
Touya wrenched his neck back to stare at Syaoran in both confusion and disapproval.
Syaoran sighed, "She learned that one from Fay."
"Oh." Touya patted him on the back lightly, but kept his expression fixed to radiate polite disgust. For the moment, the commotion beyond the door seemed to die down considerably and both men breathed a bit easier, even if they did not fully release one another from their awkward embrace.
"So…" Syaoran said, and stared at the ceiling.
"So," Touya agreed and whistled a tune.
"It's been nice weather, lately."
"Yes, hot and dry."
"Perfect for the desert."
Moments passed like hours; sweated beaded and dripped from the two men's faces to pool at their feet – a puddle deepening with anxiety-ridden second that passed. Silence crept, filling the corridor, until-
The door thwacked open, jolting both the prince and his hanger-on to attention (or, in the case of his hanger-on, jolting him into a position more firmly secured about the prince's torso and face). Touya quickly gave up trying to pry Syaoran away as the sounds of muffled crying were broken by the joyous announcement:
"It's a girl!"
It was with this announcement that the fabric of the dimensions began to shatter for, you see, the wandering man had succumbed to that familiar, centuries-old hubris that insisted that any man worth his salt produced only phallus-endowed heirs and had taken his wife's pleas to "Please name our child" to mean "Please name our child after your father/other self," and his suggestions of "Syaoli," "Syaolin," and "Syaolette" did not impress. The prince, called upon by his sister in case of just such an emergency, had been similarly blinded by his own desires for a nephew to toss around Ye 'Ol Tighly Packed Ball of Sand with, and the newly born princess was, tragically, left un-christened.
The elder princess – ever a paragon of level-headedness and virtue – expelled the foolish men from her chambers, though she did not (at this time) treat them to the thrashing they surely deserved. If they could not be trusted to name her child, then she would simply call upon her friends of old, who surely could. She would pass the news of her child's birth far and wide throughout the dimensions to those who had aided her other self in a journey long ago along with an entreaty to provide for a child a name that was befitting an heir of Clow.
But little did the princess know…
"It's all really for the best, you know," Touya mumbled and rubbed at his face. He didn't think he had ever heard his sister yell like that. "Your line hasn't had much luck with 'Syaorans' in the past. Or 'Syaolin' or whatever nonsense you came up with back there."
"Oh, like 'Touyako' was any better. Besides which, my name is Tsubasa…"
"So is hers," Touya snorted, "S'not like anyone actually addresses you by it, so you can skip noble 'named for my father' bit." He massaged his aching temples. Had she really needed to throw the vase at him? He knew pregnancy caused hormonal fluctuations, but that was all in the past now, wasn't it? Surely she would return to her sweet, cheery-faced self in no time-
"And stay out, you goatish fen-sucked pignuts!"
-Or perhaps not. This was truly a travesty and was made not-at-all better by his impudent brother-in-law snickering into his hands. Touya's fingers curled into a fist. "This is all your fault, you know. Who knows what kind of ridiculous trash her friends are going to come up with! You know how they are – every time she talks to them, it turns into a trans-dimensional crash course in drunken idiotology! She's going to end up naming her 'Bacardi-nyan…'"
Syaoran swallowed thickly, knowing that Touya was not far off the mark – especially if Fay was in anyway involved. Unless maybe they drank too much to write legibly on the birth certificate…yes, that was a definite possibility… "But how do we stop it?" he wondered, knowing full well that he was powerless against Sakura's whims.
Touya stared at the floor for a long second, his teeth clacking back and forth in frustration. "Ah," he said suddenly and looked up toward Syaoran with a slightly maniacal grin, "That white thing still works, right?"
"White thi- You mean Monoka?" Syaoran said blankly, "As long as you haven't stuffed her and hung her above the mantelpiece I don't see why she wouldn't…"
"That was just an idle threat," Touya assured him and clapped a hand on his shoulder (this was a blatant lie – it had been a very active threat that had involved all manner of running and chasing and shouting of words that made most of the court blanche several shades of pale), "So let's go find it and call up your…friends before she does." He lifted his eyebrows meaningfully and breathed through his teeth.
This, Syaoran had to concede, was not a terrible idea. He only hoped Monoka would be amenable to the idea after finding herself on the wrong side of Touya's dinner knife on one too many occasions…
So this scheming duo did make their first move: a carefully plotted, but sloppily executed appeal to the famed rabbit-eared sage of Clow who, at that time, was busily downing a glass of antacid that was two sizes too big and refused their entreaties. Their second move was no more successful (though it was also no less successful, which only served to encourage them), and after the palace stores had been thoroughly depleted of both sweets and sake, they resorted to the less subtle, but more effective method of gently assuaging the sage with rope and dagger.
And though the light from the captive sage's jewel-encrusted forehead did glow brightly and happily against the bathroom mirror, the cracks in the fabric of space-time were forced wider by its magic and the discord was now able to flow freely through the passageways provided…
"Syaoran, do you have any idea what time it is?" Fay squinted at the duo through sleep-reddened eyes and an unruly nest of bedraggled hair. Syaoran wasn't entirely sure how this whole wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, interdimensional portal thingy worked, but it appeared to have manifested in Nihon somewhere within the confines of their bedroom (although he knew he could well have been wrong about that; he did seem to remember Nihon having rather a lot of long, flowing bits of material for decoration and it wouldn't have been that strange to find Fay wandering the corridors without a shirt...).
"It's three in the afternoon," a grumbly voice complained from somewhere off-screen, "Don't make like the kid's the one acting odd."
Fay pouted a bit at this, "You're still in bed too, Kuro-sama."
"And I told you this was a terrible place to set that damned portal thing up. I just – GAH – GIVE ME THE DAMNED BLANKET!" There was a loud shuffle and the distinct sound of ripping fabric before Kurogane's image (completely with Fay's fingers fisted into his hair) appeared on the mirror, desperately clutching a tattered sheet below his chin. His eyes narrowed as he focused on Touya, "It's you."
"LET'S just forget about all of that for the moment," Syaoran waved his hands ineffectually. He had no interest in rehashing the old debate of who had the bigger sword, or who could piss farther off the balcony, or who looked better in the thong…not when there were far more important things to discuss. "We need your help."
Fay raised a worried eyebrow, "Everything alright? Sakura's not having too much trouble with the pregnancy I hope?"
Syaoran and Touya glanced at each other. "Well, no, that's all…" he swallowed thickly, "That's all finished with now. We need help with a name-"
"Wait, what?" Fay looked confused, "You just told us about this last night, what do you mean it's all finished?"
"Hibbledy-pibbledy," Kurogane supplied helpfully.
"Yes, that," Syaoran practically yelped before Kurogane could get into the real meat of what he thought of time-space travel, "Anyway, congratulations, you're uncles! Sakura and the baby are both healthy and well but, um, well…"
"A name?" Fay prodded.
"Yes, that. A name. She needs one. And we thought that you two might-"
"A girl! Can't we see her?" Fay frowned, "And where is Sakura-chan? Are you sure everything is alright there?"
"Yes, it's fine. It's just-"
"Oh," Fay's face fell, "You're sure we can't see her?"
"Not at the moment," Syaoran insisted, "You'll be able to see her later, I promise. It's just that right now Sakura is going to be contacting you about-"
"Well, that's no fun."
"She's going to be contacting you for help with a name and-"
"And you're afraid of what the idiot is going to come up with," Kurogane filled in.
"Well, not ex-exactly," Syaoran stammered, "I mean, I'm sure Fay could come up with some lovely names and all but…um…Fay?" The wizard seemed to have lost all interest in the conversation and had diverted his attention to something down camera.
Fay looked back up at him, almost sheepishly, "Sorry Syaoran, got a bit lost there. You were saying?"
"We were hoping you might consider putting your vote in for Syaoli Touyako," Syaoran blurted.
"Touyako Syaoli," Touya insisted.
"Whatever," Syaoran cut him off irritably and turned back to the images on the mirror. He plastered a hopeful grin across his face, "What do you think?"
"A name, you say," Fay said thoughtfully, still staring down camera and tugging at the sheet Kurogane was still clutching, "How about Pickles?"
"Or Baguette, or Zuccini, or Obelisk, or Hose-"
"Fay, I don't think-"
"Asparagus, or Eggplant, or Lolly, or-"
"I can't help but notice that these all have a certain theme to them."
"These are all perfectly good Celesian names, Syaoran," Fay said, still not bothering to look toward the portal, "It must just be Mokona's translate function."
Kurogane was beginning to blush and gape, and Syaoran was following closely in his old mentor's footsteps. "I, uhh…" Syaoran stammered as Kurogane's eyes rolled into the their sockets, "Maybe we should call you back?"
"Hmm?" Fay glanced back at them, "Oh, right. Um, well, we were kind of in the middle of something when you called…"
"You have no idea the extent to which that's coming across," Touya snipped, "Just keep it in mind, okay?"
"What in mind?"
"Nothing," Touya sighed and clapped a hand across his face and the tattered sheet slithered away and all the filthy perversions that had inhabited the dark corners of his imagination filled the mirror in gory detail.
"Um…Fay…" Syaoran whimpered, "You do know that we can see you, right?"
The wandering man and the prince, while mildly disgusted by the, well, naked honestyof this first contact, were not deterred from their mission as a whole. This was fortunate for them, as the wizard's sudden disinterest in anything not directly related to the act of procreation, recreation, or the squawking evidence thereof would prove to be the least of their worries (and less annoying than the incessant banging of the palace staff on the barricaded washroom door, demanding to know what they were up to in there). For, in the time spent arguing with the ninja and mage, the princess's own magic had spread word of her unnamed daughter far and wide.
Far enough and wide enough, in fact, to reach the ears of a distant shopkeeper and his, um, well child, you know how your parents love each other very much? Yes? This was nothing like that. Well, maybe a little bit…
Anyway, that's not really important. What was important was that news of the newborn princess's namelessness had reached the shop and the shrewd shopkeeper had already called together his circle of most trusted advisors to brainstorm.
"Mokona is still insisting on Sake."
"He always wants sake," Syaoran groaned and slapped a hand across his forehead, "Can't you just give him some?"
"No, no," Watanuki's image in the mirror chuckled and took a long drag of his pipe, "He means for her name. He's saying that since you bound and gagged his life partner that he should get the final word. An act of contrition on your part, you might say."
"I'm not feeling that contrite at the moment," Syaoran ground through his teeth. He could hear Touya choking on his tongue next to him at the mere suggestion that his "worst case scenario" might actually come to pass. "We were really hoping to avoid encouraging her future, uh, alcoholic endeavors by, you know, not naming her after alcohol."
"What's wrong with alcohol?" Watanuki wondered, his brows furrowing in thought, "Some of the most spectacular women in history have been alcoholics, you know. Some of the best looking too…" he tapped a finger against his chin, "I have to wonder if that's because all the alcohol leaves them with such nice, plump-"
"THAT' Sabout enough of that train of thought," Syaoran quickly interjected before the hefting motions Watanuki was making could get anymore graphic and Touya rose up to kill them all, "Don't any of the rest of you have ideas?"
"Oh, right," Watanuki waggled his finger and a scroll appeared before him and unwound itself into his lap. He squinted at it and turned it upside down a few times before sighing and turning back to Syaoran. "Well, it appears Doumeki's vote goes to Demon Slash."
"Yes," Watanuki wadded up the unrolled scroll and tossed it over his shoulder, "It's best just to ignore him; he's either making a terrible pun or wants rice balls for lunch and thought this was the best way to get my attention. Probably both."
"I don't get the joke."
Watanuki waved this away, "Puns don't translate well, I'm afraid. Anyway, I've already given my suggestion to Sakura. And while she didn't seem too immediately keen on naming the baby Yuuko, I'm certain will grow on her after some thought."
"Yeah, I'm not too sure eith-"
"And who knows?" Watanuki continued, eyes glazed over and not paying the least of mind to Syaoran, "Maybe she is Yuuko – reincarnated, I mean. Wouldn't that be wonderful?"
"I mean, I could finally get out of this godforsaken shop and, I don't know…do things again. It's a little bit stifling here, you know, with only that mook for company. Sometimes," he paused to cackle, "Sometimes I think I'm just going to go insane and- Hey Mokona, what does the flashing on your jewel mean?"
There was a muffled commotion off camera, which Syaoran attempted to interrupt at several points with well-wishes and goodbyes, but was bluntly ignored. Finally, Watanuki seemed to figure out whatever was causing the disturbance and shifted his attention back to Syaoran. "Sorry, seems we had another call coming in. Let me just see if I can…ah. There we go! Sakura, can you see everyone?"
"You conniving, gleeking, earth-vexing bum-bailies!"
The elder princess's battle-cry sounded the beginning of the first inter-dimensional war. The portals opened across worlds allowed the easy passage of the words of warfare. Shouts of "Pickles" flew across the abyss to strike etch disgust permanently across the faces of the men of Clow as screeching whines of "SAKE!" battered the eardrums and drove fear into the hearts of all who heard. The delicate strings binding together the whole of the universe began to unravel, releasing horrible tremors that drove everyone to their knees (except for the rabbit-eared sage, who was quite pleased to discover that she was not, in fact, suffering from indigestion). Hurricanes engulfed and flooded the coasts and big bits of shattering glass fell from the sky and smacked innocent bystanders in the head and-
"Uncle Yukito, that never happened."
"Ahaha," Yukito scratched at his head and closed the book in his lap, "Well, I suppose it isa bit of hyperbole. Still, it was quite a mess – naming you, Princess."
His niece shifted in her bed, rolling to look directly at him in the low lamp-light. "But it has a happy ending, right?" Her eyes were wide with concern – she was far too much like her mother in this respect.
He ruffled her hair and set the book on her nightstand. "Of course. That's detailed in the next chapter: Pies Thrown Through Portals Make People Do Strange Things; Or How Uncle Yukito Stole The Birth Certificate And Signed It While No One Was Looking. We can read that tomorrow, though – it's getting awfully late tonight and you," he paused to blow out the lamp, "Need to get to sleep."
"Alright," the princess sighed and snuggled under her sheets, "Good night, Uncle Yukito."
"Good night, Princess Sakura Pocky Kit-Kat Dango Ramune."
Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey bits courtesy of Doctor Who :P