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In Any Other World, Tsubasa Side
By Memory Dragon
Warnings: Some fluffiness between Kurogane and "Syaoran." Oh, and cliff hangers. Did I mention those? Be prepared for lots of them.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tsubasa or xxxHolic, nor do I make any claim to. Nor can I claim the lyrics from the song "Any Other World" by Mika. Just borrowing it, since it goes so well with the fic.

Tsubasa Side: Prologue
xxxHolic Side: Prologue  

Chapter One: Village of Women

“There’s no escape,” Syaoran said with a sigh after he surveyed the cell for what felt like the millionth time. Kurogane grunted at the assessment, not at all pleased either. Mokona and the princess were being held separately from them, which worried Syaoran to no end. He could only hope that since they hadn’t been harmed, the princess and fur ball would be alright as well.

The guards out side were too numerous to fight against, even if Syaoran and Kurogane had been armed. It was like they were a huge threat to these people, even though they had just arrived. That and...

“Kurogane-san?” he asked hesitantly, not sure if the older man wanted to converse. He still wasn’t technically part of the group, after all... If the ninja took any notice, he didn’t show it. Instead, he motion for Syaoran to continue. “Did you notice that there only seem to be women here?”

Kurogane grunted an affirmative. “All the warriors were women. There were also no men in the village we passed through when they brought us here two days ago.”

Syaoran paused again, for what he had in mind had to do with his ‘other.’ A touchy subject to say the least. But Kurogane would probably notice if he tried to omit certain parts and-

“If you’re going to say something, say it.”

“Eh? But...”

Kurogane’s glare silenced his half formed protest. Rather than further annoy the ninja, Syaoran decided to just come out with it, as ordered. “The other Syaoran heard something like this place... A civilization called the Amazons made of only women. But that was supposed to be a myth...”

He barely noticed the ninja’s mouth twitch at the mention of his ‘other,’ but it was enough. It still hurt to see it. Kurogane was getting better at hiding it, or he was already so tense with worry about their missing comrades that there weren’t many more muscles that could be tensed. It was a fifty/fifty chance either way. But when all one can do is watch, one becomes very observant. Syaoran had watched Kurogane long enough to know what to look for.

“What did they do to the men?” Kurogane asked, trying to mask the discomfort in the cell.

Syaoran looked away into one of the candle’s lights. Its soft light that highlighted the pain brought on by his identical face also flitted across the cave that made up the cell they were in. It was suddenly much more interesting to him that the current direction the conversation was going. “They didn’t generally respond well to men. It ended in the slaughter of one group or the other in most stories,” he heard his own voice say, feeling a little distant.

This thrilled Kurogane to no end. The ninja’s mood had been sour to being with, but now his glare was out full force. Syaoran had to remind himself that the ninja wasn’t mad at him. “Then we make sure it’s them, not us, if it comes to that.” Syaoran pulled his attention from the shadows of the rocks to see Kurogane looking at him appraisingly. “You still have that sword that you can make appear?”

Syaoran crushed that hope swiftly. “I’ve tried, but none of my magic seems to be working. It’s like something has sealed my magic off.” He looked away, once again feeling guilt. He hadn’t even noticed when it had started.

Kurogane wasn’t annoyed like the younger boy thought he would be. Instead, he stared intently at Syaoran with a intense gaze. He couldn’t even begin to fathom what Kurogane was thinking. “I’m sor-”

“Oi.” Kurogane cut him off before he could finish. “Don’t apologize.”


Once again, the ninja’s glare silenced his protest. Syaoran looked away, slightly ashamed and confused. He could sense Kurogane was angry about something and he was the reason, but he couldn’t figure out why. He heard an exasperated sigh and movement from that corner of the cell, but still didn’t look up.

Until, that is, Kurogane’s fist came straight down on Syaoran’s head.

“Ow!” Syaoran’s hands flew up to his head as he yelled, looking up in surprise. It had been a good, solid whack, even if it probably wasn’t enough to do any actual damage.

“That was for being stupid and still acting like you were apologizing.” Kurogane stated, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. He was well aware of Syaoran’s astonishment, but continued on in a level voice. “Don’t apologize for something that’s not your fault. It’s annoying.” He gave the kid another glance of reproach.

Maybe he hadn’t learned his lessons through the other Syaoran as well as he thought. “Kurogane-san-”

“Both of you, follow me.” The order was given by a beautiful woman with long blue hair and sapphire blue eyes that sparked with annoyance. She wore blue armor over a light Hellenic tunic clasped with beautiful ornaments over her shoulders. A jeweled rapier in the shape of a dragon hung at her waist, the same deep blue as the jewels of the tiara on her forehead. She held authority in her stance and voice that compelled Syaoran to obey. But he felt a strong hand on his shoulder, pushing him back down where he sat.

He nearly jumped at the contact. The sensation of human contact was still one he was adjusting to, but it felt nice, he decided. Almost reassuring. Was this how his ‘other’ had felt in such moments? “Why should we?” Kurogane asked, his strong voice ringing defiantly throughout the cave. Syaoran shifted his position to one easier to move from, should fighting break out. He may not have his sword, but he was decent at hand to hand combat as well.

The young woman’s eyes flashed with anger. She drew her sword in a motion so quick that Syaoran didn’t doubt she could skewer him before he could have even made his own sword appear. He suddenly doubted how well he could fend her off unarmed. “How dare you-”

“Umi-san,” a soft spoken but authoritative voice called form outside of the cell. The guards were bowing, but the first girl held her position. “Please hold your temper.”

“But they are men that won’t take orders!” Umi? Was that this woman’s name? Syaoran stared at the blade still pointed at him and Kurogane. It was indeed a rapier as he had guess earlier, build for speed and rapid thrusts. He had seen something like it before on his travels, but nothing so finely made as this blade.

Movement came from the cave’s entrance, catching his eye. The candle light fell on a young woman dressed similarly to Umi, but in green instead of blue. A quiver of arrows and a bow were slung over her back in place of a blade, but he didn’t doubt she was just as deadly as the blue haired woman.

However, the candle light made her short blond hair and emerald eyes behind a pair of wide rimmed glasses much warmer than Umi’s. “They are servants to the princess. As long as she is our guest, we should not harm them.”

Syaoran and Kurogane traded glances. The ninja, though none to pleased with the prospect, gave a slight nod of agreement. “Please, what have you done with our princess?” Syaoran asked, a worried expression on his face. He pulled on his ‘other’s’ experience of spinning sincere lies. Not that he wasn’t actually worried about Sakura...

The young woman with glasses hid behind a guarded smile. She didn’t seem to trust them either, though she acted nicer. “Princess Sakura is our guest and is being treated well. We’ve been discussing what to do with you, but have decided to let you continue serving her for now. She insisted that your services were imperative.”

Umi shrugged, showing her opinion of that statement. But Sakura also seemed to have benefited from his ‘other’s’ lessons on fabrication... “You live only at the will of our tribe and the princess.” Umi said, sheathing her rapier. “We won’t tolerate any disrespect from men.”

Kurogane gave a huff of is own in reply, but when Syaoran bowed deeply in response, the ninja followed suit. “If you could take us to Princess Sakura, we would be grateful, my lady,” the teenager said, not raising his eyes.

“That’s why we’re here.” the blue haired woman snapped, but there was a slight hesitation in her voice. She was surprised at Syaoran’s politeness, but didn’t respond in kind. “Get up, and don’t even think of trying to escape.”

“What Umi-san means is to please come this way and we shall lead you to your mistress.” Umi glared at the blond haired girl, but said nothing in reproach.

Syaoran stood and the two men followed the women out of the cave. Syaoran blinked as the sunlight grew and shaded his eyes as they adjusted to the new found light. There were guards everywhere. All women, who wore various forms of the same armor that Umi and the blond girl wore. None were nearly as high quality as the two leading them, however, and all the women bowed as the small group walked by. He could only assume that it was not because of him and Kurogane. The looks that they received were openly hostile.

They were surrounded by tress at first, but soon the four of them reached a large clearing willed with stone buildings. There were, so far as Syaoran could discern, no men but himself and Kurogane in this small village. But the woman seemed happy, calling out to each other as they passed by, working on the chores of the home cheerfully as one long haired girl ran by hurriedly with a piece of bread in her mouth. Two small girls played with jump ropes, even in this heat. One of them sticking her tongue out at Kurogane as they walked by. The ninja, for his part, waited until Umi wasn’t looking to scare the girls away with a glare. He was far from happy with being paraded like criminals through the village.

Their high ranking guards lead them right up to the largest building with marble floors and stone pillars. Syaoran looked around in wonder. His other had seen such architecture before, but only in ruins. It was truly amazing to see the buildings in peek condition with its proper colors and-

“Though I am the princess of my country, I am equal to all woman there.” Sakura’s voice rang out with cold authority. They had just entered the building and Syaoran looked around for the source, but could see no one. The marble gave way two three separate hallways of different colors. Blue, green, and red were the most dominant and their guards motioned for them to follow the rose quartz path. “This is why I do not let other women serve me. I would not demean my subjects.”

“But don’t the other women want to help you?” an enthusiastic and husky voice asked as they continued down the path. The group turned into one of the door-less openings to see Sakura sitting on a pile of pillows next to a much smaller and younger girl. The girl had a red version of the command armor, with long red braided hair and fiery eyes. The sincerity in her eyes held Syaoran in the start of the room. They were striking and full of passion.

Sakura was about to speak again when Kurogane strode forward. Much to the surprise of the three amazons and Syaoran, he kneeled in front of the princess and kissed her hand. “My apologies, Princess, for failing in my service to you.”

Thankfully, Syaoran’s feet moved quicker than his brain did. His mind barely processed what had just happened, but he was mirroring Kurogane’s actions and repeating the words only a few seconds later. For her part, Sakura looked every bit a queen. As he took her small hand to kiss, he saw that she looked lovely in the soft rose colored Grecian dress. She was adorned with a small tiara and various bracelets sand anklets, barefoot as she used to when she played about the palace in Clow Country.

It was then he heard Kurogane’s soft growl beside him. Well, that calmed his own thoughts immensely. Kurogane was still the same old Kurogane, even though he managed to control his temper a little bit more.

Sakura nodded aloofly and replied simply. Her voice held a quiet regal-ness that softened her appearance. “Your absence is forgiven, though you will receive punishment later.”

The red haired girl gasped and jumped up. “Please, it was our fault for detaining them! You shouldn’t punish them just for that!” Indeed, it was an odd thing for Sakura to say. Syaoran watched the one who looked so much like his own precious person carefully, unable to ascertain what she was leading to. The princess had a plan, that much was certain.

“Hikaru-chan!” Umi yelled sharply. There was something about the blue haired girl that reminded him of someone... A temper that was swifter than a storm driven river. He glanced over at Kurogane’s own disgruntlement and saw the similarity. Hidden dragons swam under those rushing waters that were swift in movement and grace. He kept the thought to himself, however. Syaoran highly doubted either of the two in question would have liked the comparison.

“Hikaru-san,” The girl with glasses said softly. “Wasn’t it you and Umi-san that had originally called for their deaths?” Syaoran felt a pang of worry for Fai as he drew the connections once again. Soft spoken reproach, yet comforting like a gentle wind... Just like the old Fai. There were obvious difference in temperament, but Syaoran was unsettled by some of the fundamental similarities that they shared with these three women.

Umi huffed again, clearly letting everyone know her opinion hadn’t changed. The girl named Hikaru flushed however. “Yeah, I know. But this was our fault, Fuu-chan! I don’t want them to be punished just because of us!”

Syaoran noticed with some small amusement that both Umi and Kurogane scolded at Hikaru’s change of heart. If they hadn’t been talking about how close he and Kurogane had been to death, Syaoran probably would have smiled. Fuu didn’t bother to refrain. Her smile was so similar to Fai’s old smiles, the kind that he gave before his ‘other’ disappeared. It almost hurt to see it.

“I will keep that in mind,” Sakura said, cold as a desert’s night and just as unforgiving in her current state. Syaoran recognized the emotion well enough, however. It was the expression of one who could not forgive herself yet. He knew it far too well...

“It’s their fault though!” Umi’s anger burst like an unchecked dam. She pointed at the two of them, unable to keep her temper back any longer. “These men are the reason that the monster awoke! They’ve disrupted the balance of the land and brought-”

“This is true,” Fuu’s soft voice cut through with enough force to silence Umi. The blue haired girl continued to scowl, however. “However, as Hikaru-san said, it is not their fault either. They did not know of the rules of this land and it was an accident that they even came here at all.”

“Accident or not-”

“Excuse me,” Sakura said calmly. Umi eyes flashed, but she gave a nod of her head to let the princess speak. “My servants coming into this land was what disrupted the balance and woke this monster, correct?”

“It’s just like we told you before, Princess.” Hikaru affirmed. She watched Sakura curiously. Syaoran suddenly understood what the princess had in mind. Did this mean Mokona sensed the presence of a feather near by?

“Then it shall be their punishment to destroy this beast. They are fully capable against such things.”

There were several moments of silence before Kurogane rose to his feet. “Your will shall be done,” he said, uncharacteristically obedient. Now they were talking in his language. Action.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Umi said, laughing nervously. “The Wyvern can’t be defeated by men. Besides, not only are weapons useless against it, it seals everyone’s magic!” Kurogane stiffened at this, coming to a conclusion he didn’t like in his head. Syaoran just felt relieved. Now, at least, he knew the reason why his magic wasn’t working. Hopefully Fai-

“Then they will find another way.” Sakura said. Her faith was the only thing that remained unbroken after the incident. Belief that didn’t waver in the face of her unknown wish.

“Are you-” Fuu began to say, but was cut off quickly as screaming was heard from outside of the walls. Syaoran jumped as an inhuman scream could be heard above all the others. It sent a chill down his spine. “The monster?”

“No,” Umi said, shaking her head worriedly. “That’s not how the wyvern sounds.” She had her sword drawn, ready for action. Kurogane cursed as his hand fell to the empty space at his hip where Souhi should have been.

Hikaru followed Umi’s example, drawing a very large broad sword from its sheath. She motioned for the princess to stay put. Fuu stepped to the side, allowing a female guard to enter the room. “Hikaru-sama! There is a demon outside that none of us can capture. It’s wounded several warriors already.”

“A demon?” Hikaru asked, taking charge. Syaoran was surprised to find that Umi and Fuu let the youngest take charge. Or perhaps Hikaru wasn’t as young as she appeared? “What does it look like and how does it attack?”

“It looks human, Ma'am. Male.” The woman glanced his direction suspiciously, but continued on. “He has one golden eye and pale blond hair. His hands are as long as claws and his teeth are-“

Kurogane dashed past everyone. Even Umi only had a brief chance to yell at him as he ran past. Syaoran’s heart began to race as he also got to his feet. But Hikaru stopped him before he could follow with hand on his arm. “You know this demon?”

“He’s not-”

“He has sanctuary under my protection,” Sakura said, still calmly sipping her tea. “He is like that now because he tried to protect something that was precious to me. My servants can calm his wild nature.”

“But they have no weapons!” Which wasn’t exactly their fault, but Syaoran didn’t point that out to Umi. She looked pissed as it was.
Hikaru looked from Umi’s glaring eyes to Syaoran’s desperate expression uncertainly. “Are you sure that you can do it?”

Truthfully, Syaoran didn’t know if he could do anything against a blood lusting vampire without his sword or magic. He still had his kicks, but against Fai they would be useless. “Yes,” he said, regardless, just wanting to be out of here. They heard another howl and a shiver went down his spine a second time.

“Then let’s go.” Hikaru let go of his arm and moved aside, allowing Syaoran to pass. His feet moved before he could think, passing through the building and outside as fast as he could.

The sunlight and heat hit him full force, but Syaoran’s attention was on the small circle of women just outside the building. The rest of the village looked to be in chaos. Half the women surrounding the ‘demon’ were already bleeding while others were trying to get the children and non-warriors away from the fighting. In the center of all the madness was Fai. He stood with a wild look in his single eye, blood dripping from his mouth as he looked around for the drink that would really satisfy the hunger he felt.

Kurogane stood opposite of the mage, silently taking in the whole situation. Syaoran ran over, closely followed by Umi and Hikaru. “Kid,” he said softly, “find something hard to knock that stupid mage out with if he tries to drink to much.”

“But Kurogane-san-” Syaoran gulped down the rest of his protest after the glare he received. Instead, he nodded uncertainly.

Kurogane’s attention turned back to the mage who was just about to bite another woman. “Oi,” he said loudly. Fai spun around at the sound of the ninja’s voice, woman still struggling in his arms. “She’s not the one you want. Or don’t you remember the last ten girls you bit?”

Fai’s eyes narrowed, hunting instincts guiding his eyes to Kurogane’s uncovered neck. He let go of the woman who quickly scrambled out of the way. Hikaru motioned for the guards preparing to attack to stand down.

Kurogane settled into a fighting stance as Fai slowly stood up. “Come and get me, you bastard.”


-To xxxHolic side

Memory: For those of you that aren't avid Clamp readers, Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu all come from Magic Knight Rayearth. They haven't really appeared in Tsubasa as of yet and I wanted to fix that. As the story progresses, there will be other MKR characters added to the mix, so be sure to watch out for them! And yes... I know I've made Umi into a bit of a bitch. I'm sorry, Umi fans. She is my favourite character too, if that helps? And she does have her moments later on.

By the way... I realized as I was typing how harsh the word 'clone' sounds. For some reason, I couldn't imagine the real Syaoran actually using the word clone when referring to the previous Syaoran. His 'other' sounds sort of awkward, but I think it makes sense. Hopefully, at least.

Quote of the Chapter:

"I can wholeheartedly apologize for not being at all sorry. And it really is the least I can do."
-April Winchell