Yuuko watched as her as she moved across the shop with liquid grace. She would pause, run her finger lightly over one object or another, then move on.
Just as she had done many years ago.
“Watanuki isn’t here, but may I offer you some tea?”
The other her raised an eyebrow. “You can make tea?” she asked.
Yuuko smiled politely. “I can. Can’t you?”
Ichihara grinned. “Of course. It’s a rather simple process, don’t you agree, Yuuko?”
“Of course. Two spoons of sugar, correct?”
“However did you guess?”
Yuuko excused herself and went to the kitchen, grabbing the tea set that Watanuki had put together before he had left moments earlier. She picked it up and made her way back to the parlor where her guest waited.
“I hope that Earl Grey is acceptable,” she said.
Ichihara frowned. “That’s what he drank.”
Yuuko’s face was pleasantly blank as she poured their tea. “Would you like some milk to go with it?”
Ichihara scowled. “No, thank you.”
“As you desire,” Yuuko replied, pouring some milk into her own tea. She didn’t enjoy the British way of taking their tea, and had always scowled distastefully when Clow had mixed them, but it was necessary.
“Do you remember him?” Ichihara asked a moment later.
Yuuko sipped her tea, thinking about the question. “I remember him, but there are more important things that must be done. Wallowing merely cheapens the memories.”
Ichihara stiffened. Yuuko continued to sip her tea, remembering being in the chair Ichihara was in, remembering the thoughts that swirled through her head at the seemingly callous words.
“I see,” Ichihara said. “It’s all for a purpose, is that right?”
Ichihara placed her cup back on its saucer. “Then I shall take my leave.”
Yuuko stood and saw her guest out. As she watched Ichihara disappear through the gate, she looked at the sky.
“Even so many years later, you can still break my heart,” she whispered to the wind.
Then she turned and went back into the shop.