Konnyonachiwa! Welcome to today's episode of LEAVE IT TO KERO-CHAN! I'm your host, the most awesome Beast of the Seal, Sun Guardian of the Clow-Cards-now-Sakura-Cards, magnificent, handsome, ultra cool Dr Kero T Beros (Ph.D, MSc, BFA)* and this is the How To Catch A Moon Guardian Special!**
'Course, by 'a' Moon Guardian I really mean my Moon Guardian (the other one is thankfully Suppi's problem) so the first thing I have to ask is: you sure? Because yeah Yue's pretty and powerful and a unique magical creation but just so you know, he's also Difficult. Like, very. In the 'this way up contains expensive breakables handle with care' sense. I've known him for centuries so I'm not kidding when I say he's hard to get close to ...
They hadn't seen much of Yue lately, Kerberos realised. Not that he was admitting to miss the uptight, moody Moon Guardian, oh no, Kerberos was just well, wondering. Happy as he was with their new life he and Yue had been created together, lived together and lost together so it was only natural that he'd notice if something was up, and what he had noticed was that unless Sakura was in danger the Moon Guardian never appeared of his own accord. Sure the Snow Bunny was fine but it wasn't the same – trying to think about how Mr Permanently Cheerful And Hungry fit with the frozen sourpuss true form made Kerberos's head hurt – which was why every so often Kerberos would pick a fight with him. It annoyed Sakura to no end but it was the only way to get Yue to show his face and socialise.
There would have been less to worry— wonder about if Yue came out more around Sakura's older brother. Unfortunately not only was that not the case Yue actually seemed to be doing the exact opposite. Like this time. Yukito had eaten the pudding saved for Kerberos (totally unintentionally, Sakura hadn't told Yukito about it when she said to help himself to the fridge but that was beside the point), Kerberos kicked up a fuss as soon as he found out causing Yue to appear to haughtily defend Yukito which then meant Kerberos also had to transform so they could yell properly at each other until the kitchen was thundering with How Could You It's A Crime Against Humanity You Lump Of Rock and That Was My False Form Idiot Besides It Wasn't Labelled You Have Only Yourself To Blame and Excuses Excuses It's Just Like That Time In Stonehenge When You Said You Didn't See Me After Icing My Tail which was about when Sakura and Touya stepped in. Sakura yelled at Kerberos, Kerberos contritely went back to small (which in no way diminished the size of his pudding hurt), the Niichan headed over to Yue (really, the Kinomoto siblings had their routine down pat when it came to breaking up Guardian fights) and Yue—
Yue, well. He froze, for starters, froze and stared at Niichan not soft and goofy like the Snow Bunny but like a rabbit in headlights. It was curious enough for Kerberos to tune out Sakura's telling off (other than her promise to make more pudding) and watch with narrowed beady eyes. Touya raised an eyebrow at Yue. "Long time no see. Think we can settle down and talk this out?"
Yue didn't answer. Touya's face darkened and he reached out, but the moment his hand made contact Yue flinched and pulled wings over himself to transform leaving Yukito standing blinking in disorientation. "Wh—?"
Kerberos watched Touya sigh in that barely restrained frustrated way he did when coaching Sakura in math. "And he disappears again. Welcome back, Yuki."
"Ah, okaeri To-ya! What did I miss? Yue's retreated somewhere inside our head..."
There followed Touya's usual dot point summary to bring Yukito up to speed whenever he came back. Kerberos couldn't help but contrast how easy they were together with how Touya treated Yue. Disapprovingly contrast. Yeah, the Moon Guardian was prickly and standoffish but still that didn't justify the Niichan—
"Kero-chan! Are you listening to me?!"
Kero turned away from the Niichan and Snow Bunny being Oh So Subtly Affectionate with each other, wry smiles and touches and all. "Eh, Sakura, you were sayin'?"
Which started the kitchen commotion all over again, ended only when Fujitaka came home with five puddings he just Happened to buy on the way. Living with magic users had advantages like that, and pudding as far as Kerberos was concerned made everything better – with the exception of Yue, obviously.
Kerberos wondered if there was anything he could do about that.
Okay, so you're sure. What do you need to catch this Moon Guardian? Well, it helps if you're tall dark and handsome and you should make sure you have a good hair brush on hand but as far as essentials ... magic power (obviously), determination, a thick skin, and lots and lots of patience ...
"So, uh, how's things?"
The unearthly white Moon Guardian barely looked at him. The two of them were standing by the King Penguin watching over Sakura as she investigated some curious Magical Probably Not Dangerous But It Doesn't Hurt To Be Careful mystery involving a scooter, a megaphone, and an animated dinosaur costume, with Tomoyo as usual recording the whole adventure for posterity. "What are you talking about?" asked Yue, bored.
"Nothin'. Or at least nothin' important. Just wondering how you are, that's all."
The expression on Yue's face flickered suspiciously. "Why?"
Kerberos rolled his eyes beneath the head guard. "Because I'm curious, you long haired dolt! Sheesh, do I have to explain myself for everything?" Yue didn't respond, instead watching with arms folded as Sakura summoned the Shadow Card to track something. "Also ... we don't seem to talk much nowadays."
There was a short heavy silence. "Did we ever talk much?"
Kerberos snorted. "We certainly talked more than this."
"Hmpf. We were living in the same house then."
"Yeah, how did we manage that without knocking the place down like you did with the conservatory?"
"That was your fault for using my hair as a cat toy."
"Because you'd been holed up in the library for days! You would've started to grow mould if I hadn't got you outside!"
"I didn't ask for your concern."
"Na, you just suffer in silence bringin' gloom and doom putting everyone on edge. Which brings me back to the first question – how's things with you? You and the Niichan, I mean."
It was impossible to miss the way Yue tensed at that. "It's none of your business."
"Aw, c'mon, you can tell me. Everything okay? Niichan and the Snow Bunny are obviously tight but how do you fit in?"
"Is he nice to you?"
"...not nice then?"
"Do you talk to him?"
"...uh huh. I'd say I ain't surprised but last time I saw you with him you weren't just your usual charmless self you actually seemed kinda freaked—"
"Get back here!"
Something green zoomed past the King Penguin quickly followed by a flying Sakura who in turn was followed by Tomoyo running with her camera. Sakura was dressed in a fox-themed outfit so cute it was cavity inducing and the green thing was a dinosaur on a scooter holding a megaphone. Yue and Kerberos wordlessly watched them go. There was a tanuki grinning out from between the dinosaur's jaws.
Kerberos eventually gave a cough. "Think it's one of Eriol's?"
"No." Yue's voice was incredibly unimpressed. "Other than the fact that Clow's reincarnation is back in England, even he isn't this weird."
"Personally I disagree with that assessment but— h-hey, where ya going?!"
"My presence isn't necessary for this," said Yue maddeningly from beneath his wings. "As a fellow beast you are eminently suited to handling a cosplaying tanuki."
"Oi, Yue—!" Too late, the Moon Guardian's wings sealed together and began to glow. Kerberos practically screamed in frustration. "For cryin' out— I'm tryin' to make an effort here, you could at least acknowledge me ya stupid bleach-brained sleepy-headed—"
"Eh? Why am I in the park in the middle of the night?"
"...why do I bother."
He doesn't make things easy. He'll never tell you if something's wrong unless he's literally about to disappear, and if you guess he'll never tell you if you're right. You gotta figure it out for yourself, which is easier said than done ...
Sakura turned big green eyes on Kerberos as he sat (in small form) on her desk. She had just finished her daily phone call to Hong Kong and the Li kid, a quarter of which was a gushy exchange of I Love You/Me Too and You Hang Up First/No After You, and higher brain function hadn't kicked back in yet. "What did you say?" she asked.
"You heard me. What's your Niichan like?"
"... You've lived in this house with my family for three years and you're just asking that question now?"
Sakura gave him a litany of descriptions that started with Big Meanie Who Still Teases Me, got briefly stuck on Pigheadedly Stubborn (Especially About Syaoran), took a turn into Strong Hardworking Smart And Good At Everything and after a detour via Most Popular Boy At School But People Don't Know He's Taken finished up at Annoyingly Over Protective But That's Because He Cares. "At the end of the day," added Sakura happily, "underneath the mean cool exterior Oniichan is a very kind person, and I love him lots."
Kerberos would have added Intimidating And Scary to the list of Touya's characteristics, but Sakura didn't need to know that. "Uh huh. And the Snow Bunny, what's your Niichan like with him?"
"Softer. Gentler. Particularly when he thinks no one's looking." Her smile was proud.
"What about with Yue?"
The way he asked that made her blink. Twice. "Why wouldn't Oniichan be gentle with Yue-san?"
"He kinda has to be if he wants to make out with the Snow Bunny, right?"
Sakura turned pink. "That's unfair, Kero-chan," she said reproachfully. "Oniichan wouldn't— he knows Yukito-san and Yue-san are the same."
"See, I'm not sure about that. The Snow Bunny's sweet on him, yeah, but Yue, he's practically scared of your Niichan and I've never seen Yue like that before. Dunno what your Niichan's doing but if he's freaking Yue out, it ain't soft and gentle."
"Yukito-san and Yue-san are the same," repeated Sakura with that absolute certainty that made her Sakura. "It's hard to see if you think too much, but Oniichan—" The phone on her bed rang. Sakura went to get it, giving a parting smile to Kerberos on the way. "Oniichan will definitely make things work with Yue-san, you'll see. There's no need for you to worry, Kero-chan."
Kerberos twitched as she picked up the phone. "W-who said I was worried?!"
"Hello, Kinomoto resi— Syaoran-kun! But we just finished talking a few minutes ago, is something the matter? Meiling-chan told you off for hanging up first? Aha, she is very kind! Mm, I was missing you already too— no, I'm not busy, Kero-chan was just being silly about something—"
Kerberos sighed and gave up.
There comes a point with Yue where no matter how patient you are you're going to have to scream. Or punch a wall. Or maybe throw something at his glacial head. Don't feel bad about it 'cause I certainly don't, and if you need to rant I'll know exactly where you're coming from ...
"Oi, Niichan ..."
That was all Touya managed to get out before the Sun Guardian transformed and bowled him over. Kerberos leaned down so they were nose to nose. "Okay you big meanie, you listen up and you listen good. This thing you got going freaking Yue out better stop right now or I'm going to show you what it's like to live with a real monster you see what I'm getting at?"
Touya spluttered around the paw planted on the front of his blazer. "You—! Okay, one, what the hell are you talking about, two, why the hell are you ambushing me in my own room, and three, what the hell are you talking about!"
If Kerberos hadn't had his face set to Intimidating Snarl he would have preened. He had waited in hiding for Touya to return from school (today's whiteboard: Fujitaka away on a dig, Sakura at club, Touya on dinner duty) and despite his nervous impatience had managed to spring his attack perfectly (it probably helped that Touya no longer had magic but Kerberos liked to think he was Just That Awesome). "Aw, c'mon, Niichan, I know you ain't dumb. You think I don't see what you're doing to Yue? Yue may be as cuddly as an icicle but really, he ain't that frozen and unless you're me he ain't like Sakura fighting back when bullied either. You like the Snow Bunny better, fine, but at least consider Yue's feelings instead of being mean to him!"
For a long moment Touya stared at Kerberos. Then, grimly, his lips thinned. All at once one hand yanked Kerberos's paw aside while the other came up hard under his jaw snapping teeth together with enough force to make Kerberos's head ring. At the same time Touya brought his legs up to shove Kerberos backwards and aim a kick at his snout. Kerberos yelped as he was rolled onto his back and pinned down with Touya's knee grinding into his left wing. "Let's get one thing straight in your stuffing filled head, plushie," Touya said, voice low and angry. "I knew there was something more to Yuki the moment I saw him. I accepted it then, and I accept it now. I mean to keep him and by 'him' I also mean Yue because at the end of the day Yue is Yuki and vice versa. The last thing I want to do is hurt him though I may hurt you for thinking I would."
It took a while for Kerberos to shake the stars from his head. "Wait, so you don't think Yue's a third wheel?"
"You know how I feel about Yuki and I just said that Yuki and Yue are the same. Fill in the blank."
Kerberos did. Easily. "... Oh. Um. Right. Okay then." Touya rolled his eyes, and Kerberos couldn't stop himself from adding, "Y'know what happens when you suck icicles—" The eye-roll became a death-glare making Kerberos feel like he'd shrunk. "—I'llshutupnow."
"Che." Much to Kerberos's relief Touya got off his wing and flopped to sit on the floor with an exasperated scowl. "Stupid sponge-toy – I can't believe you'd think I'd treat Yue like that."
Kerberos rolled right side up almost whacking Touya with his wings in the process. "Well what was I s'posed to think! You're all gushy with the Snow Bunny but not Yue who's spooked around you, you tell me what's going on!"
"Like it's any of your business."
"And that's where you're wrong, 'cause I'm the Sun Guardian and Yue's, uh, one of the things I Guard. Not that I actually care," Kerberos added quickly, "it's just, y'know, responsibility and stuff and— what's so funny?!"
The smirk that had appeared on Touya's face was far too sharp. "Whatever. Fine, I'll tell you, but before that you need to answer one of my questions, deal?"
"...Deal." Folding his wings Kerberos drew himself to sit on his haunches so he could see eye to eye with Touya. "Shoot."
"Yue and Clow Reed. What was going on there?"
Kerberos's face fell; of all the possible questions that one hadn't been expected. "Aw, geez, really?"
"I need to know."
And he arguably had a right to as well, damn it. "... You can't tell Yue I told you, all right?" Touya inclined his head. "Okay, the short answer? There was nothing. Absolutely nothing."
"And the long answer?"
"...Yue wanted there to be something."
"Longer than that."
Kerberos grimaced, but Touya was giving that intimidating I Know What You Really Are Idiot look that so often made Kerberos sweat back in the day. "Yue, how do I put this ... he adored Clow. Would have done anything for the guy. Don't get me wrong, me and the Cards loved Clow too and not just because he created us, but I'd tell Clow to his face when he was being tricky while Yue wouldn't hear a bad word against him and give the kind of glances Sakura used to give your Snow Bunny. Never thought about it much then but later when I was here and met Sakura and her friends and just saw more of how other people lived ... out of all of us Yue was the one created to be the most human 'specially with his other form. If you think about it like that it makes sense for Yue to want and need things a human would."
Touya digested this with a surprising lack of surprise. "And Clow?"
"I told you already, there was nothing going on. Clow's our creator so it's like you and your parents y'know what I mean, and while Clow had a twisted personality it wasn't that twisted. If Clow knew about Yue - and knowing him he did - he never said anything." Touya seemed to contemplate this and had Kerberos had human form he would have raised an eyebrow. "Worried?"
Touya shrugged. "Not as much as you'd think. Yuki chose to be with me and I don't think that'd be possible if Yue was unwilling, so I don't care about Clow any more than Yuki cares about Kaho. But it's good to know."
There was something in that which filled a few more blanks in Kerberos's head. Carefully he cleared his throat. "Ah, putting aside how massively weird it is for me to talk to the Snow Bunny thinking he's s'posed to be Yue on sugar and sunshine, but if you say that Yue and the Snow Bunny are the same and the Snow Bunny chose you, wouldn't that mean Yue ...?" Touya stiffly gave an infinitesimal nod. "... Right. And that would mean Clow is no longer ...?" Another nod. Kerberos felt like he'd struck a Tetris winning streak. "But Yue being Yue all this is probably freaking him out which is why he's all jittery and he's definitely not the type to say anything about how he feels and probably even thinks either he'll get between you and the Snow Bunny or he's just setting himself up for a world of hurt because you like his other self and not him—"
Touya gave a short dark laugh. "Too bad you couldn't figure all this out before knocking me over."
"Oh pfft, my genius doesn't just switch itself on when you want it. You should feel privileged to see it in action for your relationship counseling—"
"Don't flatter yourself plushie, I'm only putting up with you because I'd rather eat dirt than go to Hiiragizawa." Still Kerberos kept preening and Touya sighed. "So? What's the best way to get Yue to listen?"
"Listen to what?"
Flat look. "You know what I'm talking about."
"Um, actually I don't. Really, I don't."
Touya rolled his eyes. "I wanna tell Yue everything's okay. Problem is whenever I try to he runs off and turns into Yuki. Yuki's working on getting through to Yue but it's not like he's aware of Yue the same way Yue's aware of him, so right now I'm kinda stuck. You've known Yue the longest, what's the best way to get him to listen to you?"
"Uh, depends. How polite do you wanna be?"
The look on Touya's face was almost priceless. Widely Kerberos grinned.
When all else fails, be prepared to take drastic action. Like, physically. Whether that means yanking his hair or throwing him down or something else it's up to you. Don't worry about hurting him cause he's tougher than he looks, and really when he's being That Difficult I'd say the ends justify the means ...
It was a good fight, just like old times, and it hadn't even taken long to get going. A couple of fly-bys past the Snow Bunny's head, a few snide remarks about moon cycles and mood swings, and before Kerberos could say pudding Yukito was Yue all white wings and long hair and bristling irritation. Of course that meant Kerberos had to transform too so they could take it up a notch with the Must Be That Time Of The Month If You're So Grumpy Oh Wait No You're Always Like That and It's Because I Have To Put Up With Your Ridiculousness You Gluttonous Idiot and Like You Can Talk Your Other Self Eats Like A Pig until the living room rang with shouts bringing Sakura stomping (from her bedroom in the middle of her Hong Kong call) and the Niichan running (from the front door having just finished work exactly as Kerberos predicted). As Sakura scolded him Kerberos carefully watched Yue do his quiet freeze-stare thing when Touya went over saying something about it being good to see Yue again and could they talk. For a moment it seemed that Yue was torn, but then predictably he closed his eyes and prepared to change—
"Oh no you don't."
Kerberos pounced. Yue went down flat on his back wings beating with enough force to blow the tea cups over. Sakura was aghast. "Kero-chan!"
"It's okay, Sakura." Ignoring Yue's indignant death glare Kerberos sat up, his hindquarters on Yue's waist and one paw pinning Yue's right wing as he turned to Touya. "Oi, Niichan, I caught you an angel so get over here!"
Yue struggled like a speared fish. "Kerberos, you—!"
Folding his own wings Kerberos twisted to face the downed Moon Guardian with a grin. "Just give the guy a chance to talk to you, okay?"
Yue's eyes widened with shock and no small amount of fear that only grew as a shadow drew over them. Calmly Touya knelt on the floor beside Yue's head. "Hey there," he said gently, and Kerberos could feel Yue straining to move his wings. "Just so you know, this was all the plushie's idea."
"Well you did ask for my help—"
Long fingers snapped and pointed between his eyes. "You, zip it," Touya ordered without looking up from Yue. Wisely Kerberos snapped his jaw shut and after a thought, meaningfully turned away from them as far as he could while keeping the still struggling Yue restrained. He kept an ear cocked at them, though.
Touya began to talk. Not the way Sakura talked to the Li brat which was cute and sweet almost to the point of being sickening, nor like overhearing Touya talk all casual gruff affection to the smiling Snow Bunny. No, this was a Talk, low and patient and intensely earnest about wants and why there's no need to be scared and places in the heart, with little of the frustration Keberos had seen earlier which was probably a good thing given Yue's current jitteriness. Honest, restrained but undeniable emotion that as he listened made Kerberos slowly fill with something so light he could have burst because damnit, it was about time the Moon Guardian got on the happily ever after train with the rest of them. Also Yue had finally stopped struggling. Kerberos wondered if the Snow Bunny had anything to do with that.
Touya finished talking. Yue didn't say anything nor could Kerberos see his face, but he could definitely feel beneath his paws the way Yue had tensed up so tightly he shook. Offside, Sakura had hands over her mouth and her eyes were huge. "So," said Touya. "Have I convinced you?"
The wing Kerberos was pinning down fluttered, just a little. "To-ya, I..."
That was as far as Yue got before trailing off. Probably he didn't know what to say, but Kerberos heard Touya sigh regardless. "Seriously, Yue, what else do I have to do to show you you're wanted?"
Kerberos rolled his eyes. "You have my permission to kiss him, you know," he said loudly.
Touya firmly didn't let Yue finish that thought.
"And mission accomplished," noted Kerberos to no one in particular. Satisfied, he stood and walked towards a very glowy Sakura transforming back to small on the way. Still on the floor together Touya and Yue didn't notice. "Just so you know, you owe me one, Yue."
Yue didn't reply. Given that his mouth was currently occupied beneath Touya's Kerberos hadn't expected him to. Quietly he and Sakura left the living room to give Touya and Yue some privacy and shut the door. As they went upstairs Sakura gave a curious look. "Did you plan all that, Kero-chan?"
Kerberos twitched in midair. "I, uh ..."
"I'm proud of you." Sakura's smile shone. "You're a good oniichan."
"Wh—! Hell no I just got sick of Yue being such a wet blanket all the time he really ruins the mood ya know what I mean and the kissing ugh I think I've lost my appetite—"
"There's cake from Tomoyo-chan in my room."
"... I claim first slice."
* Phenomenally Dashing, MasSively cool, Bonafide Food Appreciator.
** Only for use by Kero T Beros approved candidates. Anyone else who tries this on Yue I'll rip ya throat out.