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In Any Other World, Tsubasa Side
By Memory Dragon
Warnings: I guess I'm sort of bastardizing Fai here... Really, I do love him. He's just a little touchy during this time period... ^_^;;; Don't hate me for it? There's also a fair bit of Mokona fluff. Don't say I didn't warn you...
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 Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3
xxxHolic Side: Prologue Chapter 1  Chapter 2 Chapter 3

Chapter Four: Neverland's Medallion 

“That was a stupid thing to do!” Umi yelled at both Syaoran and Hikaru, who both stood with their heads bowed humbly. “You’re too reckless!” she continued, point to Hikaru. Her finger then moved to Syaoran. “And you’re still wounded! You’ve probably just made the wound worse now!”

Once Syaoran had regained consciousness, they had returned to find the village in chaos. Umi had been the first to spot the returning pair and took them both aside to tend their wounds. Of course, she lectured them like children the whole time she did this, occasionally prodding a wound to make her point.

Kurogane and Ascot both passed by at one point, leaving the two of them to their misery. The ninja had answered Syaoran’s silent pleadings with a stern glare before walking off. Ascot, on the other hand, stayed around to snicker at the two of them behind Umi’s back. Finally, after dressing both of their wounds, Umi left them with one final warning. They were to stay put or else, and Ascot was going to watch over them to make sure they didn’t try anything.

Syaoran breathed a sigh of relief along with Hikaru as Umi left the room with just as much energy as she started. “Is she-”

“Always like that?” Hikaru finished for him, laughing and nodding. “Umi-chan was just mad that we took it on by ourselves. I think everyone was worried.”

“You bet they were! Ascot chimed in, sitting across from them. “Umi-sama and that ninja were just about to head a search party for the two of you! I think the only one who wasn’t frantic was that ice princess of yours.”

“Ascot!” Hikaru chided. Syaoran managed a weak smile. It was true that Sakura had locked herself away from all of the others, especially himself. It was painful to watch, even though she wasn’t his Sakura. They were both too similar for him to not care about her.

Perhaps it was because he was reminded of his predicament, but Syaoran had to force himself to speak next. It was hard, having a voice now. In some ways, just watching had been easier. “You were raised here, Ascot?” he asked, changing the subject.

“Yeah. Umi-sama found me when I was four. Hikaru-sama and Fuu-sama have helped look after me too.” Hikaru beamed down at the child, and Syaoran once again wondered what sort of upbringing this child must have had.

“Where will you go once you become too old to stay?” He asked, curious. What was the age that Kurogane had said? Ten years old, then they had to leave this country. Ascot couldn’t have too much longer here. Hikaru tired to motion to tell him not to ask, but it was too late. The question was spoken.

Ascot’s fists balled together and he stood up quickly. “I’m not growing up! I don’t want to leave!” He yelled. Hikaru held her hands up and made some soothing sounds, but the child was not easily calmed. “That’s why I found this medallion!” Ascot pulled the golden chain around his neck and thrust the medallion at Syaoran, as proof of his triumph.

Syaoran studied the medallion’s intricate pattern. It reminded him of one of Sakura’s feathers. After a moment of surprise, he looked up at Ascot in excitement. “May I?” he asked. Ascot nodded, confused. He carefully turned the medallion over and found writing on the back. He could barely make out the words. He recognized some of the writing from the studies of his ‘other,’ however.“Do you know what it says?”

Hikaru shook her head. “We’ve all tried to read it, but no one can make it out. All we know is that it’s connected to the legend of eternal youth. It’s worked the past several years, anyway. Ascot hasn’t grown any older.”

Again, Syaoran was surprised. He glanced at the child, finding Ascot positively beaming about it. “I found it! Umi yelled at me for looking for it, since I got hurt. The cave was really spooky too, but I found it!”

Syaoran went back to the back of the medallion, studying the words to see if he could make any of them out. “Sealed away... Forever youthful... Those that take...”

“Eh? You can read it?” Hikaru asked, excited about the possibility.

Syaoran nodded, slightly embarrassed. “Sort of. I’ve seen writing like this before. The words are so faded though that it’s really hard to make out. I can only get fragments.”

“That’s so cool!” Hikaru said, jumping up in enthusiasm. It just made the red spread on his cheeks. “Where did you learn to read it?”

Ascot was the one who saved him from having to come up with an answer. The child urged him to read the rest. “What else does it say? There’s more, isn’t there?”

“Yes,” he said politely, peering at the words again. “Sealed terror... I can’t make the next word out. Broken... Price for immortality.” Syaoran shook his head, wishing the words weren’t so faded. “That’s all I can make out.”

“A price?” Fai asked, leaning in the doorway. Syaoran jumped, not having sensed the magician’s presence, too caught up in the discovery to notice. He met the single blue eye for a moment before turning away. “Doesn’t that sound familiar? Hikaru-sama, when did Ascot-kun get this medallion?”

“A couple years ago... You don’t think-” she stopped short, looking at Ascot with a worried expression on her face. “The wyvern came about the time you guys did! There’s no connection!”

Fai’s cold smile was unforgiving. “That is a magical instrument, used to strengthen seals. Without it, the seal would stay strong for a while. But slowly, over time, it would eventually become weaker and weaker, until even the slightest unbalance in the land would cause the seal to be broken.”

“I didn’t do anything!” Ascot yelled. “It isn’t my fault! You’re the ones that came here and woke it up!” He ran from the room, rushing past Fai before anyone could react.

“Ascot!” Hikaru stood up, distressed. “I’m going after him,” she said quickly, bowing to the others politely before rushing out after the child.

Fai stayed, regarding Syaoran. Under that cold gaze, the teenager shifted uncomfortably. He still felt responsible for that eye. “You seemed very natural, talking with them like that,” the mage said quietly. Syaoran looked up again, though he was still unable to say anything to that one-eyed stare. “Yet the moment I or one of the others come in, you become a ghost again. Why is that?”

The cold, polite smile wasn’t accusing him, but Syaoran could see the pointed cruelty behind the remarks. It was the same with his comments to Ascot. The old Fai would never have said that within the child’s hearing. It was like the mage was lashing out at everyone now, just so he wouldn’t be able to get close to them again.

“I...” he said, the words freezing on his tongue. Syaoran had to force himself to answer, feeling unnerved by how easily his vocal cords froze. “They don’t... know the other me.”

The mage’s smile flickered, so quickly Syaoran almost didn’t see it. It was some emotion that he didn’t recognize, though it looked dark. “I see,” was all Fai said. Syaoran tried speaking again, but couldn’t. The comfort the old Fai would have given was no longer forth coming. Syaoran realized that was almost as painful as the lies the mage told.

* * *

The next couple of days were quiet ones, allowing for everyone’s wounds to heal. Syaoran continued his daily warm-ups, sometimes with Hikaru joining him for a friendly sparring match.

Being around the others, however, still wasn’t easy. Since they were ‘servants’ to the princess, they also had to actively serve her. Syaoran most often got stuck on fan duty, waving a giant feathered fan to cool Sakura off. Fai took the job of a manservant, always staying close to the princess whom he viewed as his salvation.

Kurogane served as a guard and watch dog, which suited him just fine. Syaoran had the feeling the old Fai would have found another job for the ninja, but now... Now the mage avoided Kurogane as much as possible.

Being around Sakura was the hardest part for him. Especially when, like at the current moment, they were alone.

Syaoran continued to fan the princess as she sipped her tea. He noticed all the same problems she must have when looking at his face. Sakura had the same eyes, the same voice, the same gentle spirit, despite how she acted towards him now. But they were both fundamentally different in the same way.

She watched him carefully, like the moon peering through the clouds. They did not speak, however. He could not speak to her of the things he knew, and she would not open her mind up to him. It was a stale mate locked in heartbreaking silence and neither new how to break the cycle.

Mokona bounced in happily, breaking the soundless battle. “Sakura! Syaoran! Did you know? The people here say I look just like the creator of this world!”

It bounced up to Sakura who smiled at it. No matter which Sakura it was, Sakura’s smiles had the power to warm up the soul or break the heart. All her smiles had been of the latter lately. “The creator of this world looked like Moko-chan?” she asked as Mokona jumped up into her arms.

“Yup! Yuuko said she made us as replicas of a being that was super powerful!” Syaoran found himself smiling as Mokona did a spin in Sakura’s arms. It continued on animatedly. “Do you think that the being that created this world could be the same one that Yuuko met? Kurogane looked scary when I told him! Do you know what he said? ‘Ah? How can a white pork bun create a world!?’ Kuro-chan is so mean!”

Syaoran couldn’t help it. Mokona’s imitation of the dark ninja’s voice was so ridiculous that he started to laugh softly. Even Sakura’s smile became warmer, more like past times. The sound of his own laugh shocked Syaoran to the core. He hadn’t laughed since... But it felt so good that he didn’t stop.

“See? See?” Mokona said, bouncing from Sakura’s arms to Syaoran’s shoulder. “‘Syaoran’ can relax with us too! You’re still part of our group, right?”

The princess looked away quickly, but Syaoran was taken aback by the sudden admission. Had Mokona come in just for that purpose? “Thank you, Mokona,” he said, hugging it with a heart-felt smile. Even if the princess was acting cold again, it had been enough for that moment.

“I still say we should eat the marshmallow with springs to make sure,” Umi said with a wicked gleam in her eye from her place in the door way. Mokona hid behind Syaoran, crying about how cruel Umi was. The blue haired woman came into the room, nodding to Syaoran and bowing in respect to the princess. “Princess, would you lend us your servants for a strategy meeting? And perhaps your pet for snacks?”

“How mean! Syaoran! Don’t let them eat me!” Syaoran smiled gently and pet Mokona with his free hand.

Sakura nodded her assent, but not a dismissal for Syaoran. “Have you come up with a plan then?”

Umi looked angry, but held her temper in check. “There is no plan. Fuu-chan has asked that the men join us to add to our discussion.” Hikaru had been right, Syaoran realized. The true source of her distemper was not that they were male, but that she herself was unable to do anything. He smiled reassuringly at Umi, though she simply huffed and looked away.

“Why not ask Yuuko! Yuuko could grant your wish!” Bouncing back from it’s hiding place, Mokona took the floor. “Yuuko could help!”


“The Dimensional Witch,” Sakura explained. “Yuuko-san will grant any wish for a price. She could give you a means to destroy the beast.”

Umi took all of that in, uncharacteristically thinking things through. The fact that Yuuko had been stated as a female probably helped things drastically. “How do we contact this Dimensional Witch?”

“Mokona can call her!” it pronounced proudly, bouncing happily in place.

Umi grinned, her humor returning. “I suppose that means we have to hold off on eating it.”

“Sakura! Don’t let them eat Mokona!” it cried, rushing back to the princess’ arms.

The blue haired woman smirked once more before turning to leave. “I’ll gather the others,” she called back over her shoulder. “We shall wait at your leisure.”

* * *

Once everyone had gather in the council room, the jewel on Mokona’s forehead lit up. Syaoran saw Ascot in the corner of his eye, trying to look in on tiptoe.

Yuuko appeared on the wall. She wore a low cut red kimono and her hair was piled on her head with two brilliant red butterfly clips. “Oh, ho. Having some trouble?” she said with a sly smile on her face.

Hikaru stepped forward, bowing in respect. “Yuuko-san, I am Hikaru of the Amazon’s country. We currently have a monster on our hands that we cannot defeat.”

“Oh?” Yuuko raised her eyebrow in a way that Syaoran had to wonder. Did she already know of all the details? “The balance of your land has been disrupted by the entrance of several men and a broken seal.”

Syaoran acted quickly, moving towards Kurogane’s side in case the ninja should say anything to blow their cover. Fai had gotten there first, however. The magician some how managed to refocus Kurogane’s anger on himself, though Syaoran hadn’t seen how. Yuuko’s eyes danced as she saw the scene but did not comment.

Fuu took up speaking for the group. “Princess Sakura says that you grant wishes for a price. What would the price be to kill the monster and realign the balance?”

Yuuko grew solemn, but Syaoran wasn’t looking at her. Instead, he tried looking around her, to see if a certain boy with oval glasses was behind her. He saw no one, however. Syaoran could only hope that person was doing alright and believe that he was trying his hardest.

“This is not one wish, but two. The latter of them is very expensive as well, not one that any one of you could afford. The payment would have to be spread out among your women, since they will be saved by this act as well.”

Fuu nodded, but said nothing. She waited for the price. “For the matter of the Wyvern, the person who originally disrupted the balance must pay.”

Fai smiled, his one eye holding a cold indifference. “What is the price we have to pay then?” he asked, motioning to Syaoran, Kurogane and himself.

There was something almost sad about her smile when she answered Fai, as if she had been expecting him to ask. “You are not the ones I meant. Your part will only be to help fight the monster, since you three were the ones to finally tip the scale.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Syaoran saw Ascot freeze in place. “To kill the wyvern and make it possible to restore the balance, first the one who weakened the seal must give up the seal’s source of power.”

“The source of the seal’s power?” Hikaru asked, looking crestfallen. “You mean the medallion that-”

“I’m not giving it up!” Ascot yelled before running from the room. The amazons traded glances as Kurogane grumbled. Sakura continued to gaze calmly at Yuuko, as if she had something else she wanted to ask the older woman.

“Do you mind if we call you back?” Fuu asked, a worried expression on her face. Yuuko bowed her head in ascent before flickering out of the link. Mokona’s jewel flickered once before turning back to normal.

Kurogane sighed, shifting Souhi’s weight to his back. “Let’s find the brat and get this over with.”

-To xxxHolic side

Quote of the chapter.

"The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter."
-Mark Twain