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In Any Other World, Tsubasa Side
By Memory Dragon
Warnings: Lots of action in this chapter. It's all rising to the climax, where things begin to fall. :wink: Actually, I had fun with the mostly vertical fight scene. It was a challenge. Oh, there's also a major cliff hanger. 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 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 
xxxHolic Side: Prologue Chapter 1  Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5

Chapter Six: Resolve and Hitsuzen

I tried to live alone but lonely is so lonely alone.
So human as I am, I had to give up my defenses.

“Didn’t get a lot of sleep last night either?” Hikaru asked him the next morning as Syaoran covered a yawn. Syaoran nodded sheepishly, shading his eyes from the sun as he looked back at the attack party. Hikaru smiled widely bounced around, making Syaoran wonder how much of her words were true. “I never sleep well when I know a big fight is coming up. Just thinking about it pushes my energy up too much!”

He smiled in response, even if that particular reason wasn’t the cause of his insomnia. Umi scowled from her spot in the shade. “Hikaru-chan, you’re awfully energetic for someone who didn’t get any sleep.”

“That’s cause we gotta protect everyone! That Wyvern won’t hurt anybody else!”

Umi muttered something Syaoran could barely make out. He caught the words “youth,” “energy” and “impossible” and decided she must be saying something about Hikaru.

Kurogane grunted from his spot under the tree. It was decided that the four of them were to act as bait this time, while Fuu and Fai acted as archers. Not happy that Syaoran was coming along, the ninja ignored most of the conversation.

It had only been a word from Sakura that Syaoran convinced the others to let him come. They had all been against it because of the Wyvern’s affect on him. However, Syaoran was the only one who could predict its attacks when it went below ground. That was an advantage they couldn’t pass up. And Sakura, with her stone-cold emerald eyes, told the others that Syaoran would be needed in this fight. No one asked how she knew, but he felt a little warmer knowing she believed he would come back.

Umi leaned against the same tree that the ninja sat under, though she made sure there was a decent amount of distance between them. A silent truce may have been called, but more than tolerate each other they would not.

Syaoran liked to think he was finally adjusting to the heat and humidity of this country. The heat of the Clow Country had been dry, but he could vaguely recall a few summers from his original home that were almost as humid.

It helped that he was sitting half way in the shade on a large root. Kurogane and Umi had agreed that he shouldn’t be directly in the sun. It was Hikaru that took up any number of positions, depending on where her energy burst took her. Currently, she was out in the grassy meadow, falling back on the grass happily. “Isn’t it great though? Once we defeat the monster, Ascot can stay! And Fuu will get to see Fer-”

“Hikaru-chan!” The small red head sat up, blushing as she apologized for saying something she shouldn’t have. Syaoran reflected that this ‘Fer’ person was more than likely the cause of the unexplained emotion he had seen on Fuu’s face when the cost had been named. Was that person-

Syaoran felt his body tense. He looked around, trying to find the reason. “Syaoran-kun, is something wrong?” Hikaru asked. Kurogane watched him from the shade, nonplussed. But he did move Souhi calmly to a more accessible position.

The teenager shook his head, unable to shake the feeling as well. “I’m not sure,” Syaoran said, trying to force his muscles to relax. “I just felt-”

A scream pierced through his brain as he heard the clash of metal. Kurogane was on his feet, defending against the Wyvern’s tail that had attacked from the ground. Umi was like a streak of blue lighting behind him, actively attacking as Kurogane blocked.

The red haired girl was joining into the fray seconds later. Syaoran was a little slower. The scream still echoed through his mind painfully. Almost before he had time to block, another scream and a sharp claw attacked, aiming at him.

Syaoran blocked it, though the force of the blow knocked him back as he staggered to his feet. Just barely... Another scream, this time from behind him. He’d never be able to twist in time-

Kurogane was there, holding off the creature’s head with Souhi. The ninja strained his arms and pushed the wyvern away. “Fall back!” he shouted to Syaoran, already engaged with the next lizard body part.

Umi appeared at his side, helping Syaoran to his feet. “Should have expected it to attack from the ground first,” she muttered under her breath. He stumbled as another scream rang through his head. The blue haired woman steadied him, putting his arm around her slim shoulders. Hikaru covered as they made their retreat.

The wyvern followed after them ruthlessly, however. It ignored Hikaru and Kurogane and kept trying to hit the two trying to escape. “It’s after Syaoran-kun!” he thought he heard Hikaru yell, but it was so hard to hear anything over that constant scream.

Before he could even comprehend what had happened, Syaoran found himself on Kurogane’s shoulder again. All three of the attackers took off running towards the rendezvous point, trying to avoid the deadly attacks aimed at them from the ground.

Ignoring the head ache that was pounding at his skull, Syaoran looked behind them since he didn’t have to watch where they were going. “It’s in the air,” his voice sounded ragged and uneven. Syaoran forced himself to take a few deep breaths to calm his heart. “Still following after us.”

Kurogane nodded, ducking under a low branch. They were almost to the cliffs again, where Fuu and Fai would be waiting with the arrow. The wyvern dived down through the trees, forcing them to scatter. Syaoran could hear the beast’s fury, most of which was directed at him...

At him? What had Syaoran done to incur its wrath? Come to think of it, the most recent attacks had happened when he was near. But he couldn’t figure out why it-

A picture of him that first fight in the meadow flashed through his mind. The wyvern linked its mind to his, so that it could have an easy kill. Kurogane taking away its prey and it was unable to break the link. It wanted the link cut! It was-

“Oi! Kid!” Kurogane’s voice reoriented Syaoran and he found that they had just made it to the cliffs. Fai started his rain of arrows on the wyvern to distract it from Fuu’s aim. Syaoran hadn’t even felt the difference of the cavern’s cool shade when they passed through it.

He slipped down from Kurogane’s shoulder, trying to get a better view of those higher up. “This won’t work,” he said softly.

“What do you mean, it won’t work?!” Umi asked. “Why didn’t you say so before, then?”

Syaoran ignored her. He put his hands to the rocky cliff and started climbing. But a steel grip on his arm stopped him from going any further. He looked over at Kurogane’s fierce gaze as the giant lizard shrieked its fury out loud, diving at the top of the cliffs. “It’s linked to me. I have to get up there and tell them.”

Anger filled Kurogane’s eyes. Syaoran had to force himself not to flinch away as the ninja’s grip on his wrist tightened painfully. He gazed back at Kurogane, unapologetic and unwavering. This was his resolve.

The ninja looked away first, his eyes moving to the fight above. “Be careful,” was all he said, growling softly as he let go of Syaoran’s wrist.

The teenager nodded as he started to climb again. It was hard going, especially with the wyvern swooping constantly overhead. When it saw him on the cliff side, the dragon went berserk. It immediately moved in for an attack.

Syaoran got to a small ledge just in time to be able to block an on coming blow with the sheath of his sword. To his great surprise, a man with long green hair and amber eyes slid down the side of the cliff towards him. Pushing off the beast with a mental scream of his own, Syaoran got a better look at the new man.

“You picked a hell of a time to go rock climbing, kid,” the man said, holding his very large crescent sword in front of him. From the x shaped scar on the man’s cheek and the stance he took, Syaoran concluded this person was well accustomed to fighting. He fended off one of the wyvern’s attacks with ease.

“What’s taking so long with Fuu-san and Fai-san?” Syaoran asked, dodging to the left as the dragon’s tail slashed at him.

“Fuu can’t get a clear shot.” Lack of honorific by the green haired man noted. Claw coming straight at him, also noted and blocked. Idea forming.

“Cover for me!” he asked hurriedly. The man acknowledged the request with a nod. If he was on friendly terms with one of the Amazons, Syaoran decided he must be trust worthy. The green haired man stepped in front and blocked the next onslaught of claws.

Clearing his mind of all thoughts and closing his eyes, Syaoran tried to pin point the dragon’s mind. It wasn’t a hard thing. The wyvern’s mind was a very large and frightening mass of emotions.

Anger pulsed the strongest of all. Anger at being sealed away. Anger at being woken up after so long. Anger at the foolish humans for stealing it’s eggs for some mating ceremony... Syaoran was so caught up with the rage of the beast that he nearly forgot his purpose. A marriage ceremony? Was that what caused the separation of women and men in this land?

Sensing interference, the wyvern reared back, aiming to go below ground. It woke him up mentally as he prepared his own attack against the monster.

Syaoran ‘pushed’ with his mind as hard as he could. He was glad to find the connection was two way. The dragon cried in pain this time, rising higher as it forgot its original plan in rage. The Wyvern’s eyes grew large as it prepared to throw itself at the small ledge to revenge its pain.

Fuu fired her arrow. It ran clear and true, straight for the monster’s left eye. But the monster closed its eyes a brief second before and it bounced harmlessly off as the dragon struck at the small ledge.

Hitsuzen. It was as Sakura said. Syaoran had a role to play in this fight that only he could do.

He and the green haired man both dove to opposite sides to avoid the monster’s jaw as it broke into the rocks behind them. Using the sliding move Syaoran had seen the man use earlier, he chased after the falling arrow.

He caught the arrow just before it hit the ground. Syaoran was thrown off balance as he barely avoided another attack from the Wyvern. It screeched, diving below ground and nearly making Syaoran drop the arrow in pain. But he held on to it and started running as fast as he could.

“‘Syaoran-kun’,” he heard to his right. He nearly stumbled over an unearthed root as he turned to see the vampire mage with his bow strapped to his back. Fai’s long legs easily caught up with him as they continued to run through the forest. Apparently, Fai was getting used to the heat too.

“I need to... get to its eye,” he said in between breaths, running closer to Fai in order to avoid a branch in his way. Fai’s golden eye conveyed agreement. They had only been running a few seconds more when a scream erupted in his mind.

The pain caused him to fall. There was no way to resist or prepare against the blinding pain of the screams. Slender hands pulled him out of the way as the wyvern’s tail just before it could hit him. Using his vampire strength, Fai was able to pick up Syaoran and toss him onto the back of the quickly emerging dragon. Fai quickly became a small dot among the trees, but not before Syaoran saw the hint of the mage’s old reassuring smile.

Syaoran held on to the place where the dragon’s wings met its back as tightly as he could, the arrow held between his teeth to free up both hands. Branches and trees battered against his body as the wyvern attempted to throw him off. Just as he was sure he wouldn’t be able to hold on any longer, the wyvern moved above the trees to try a new tactic. It started a straight upward ascension into the sun.

Though his arms ached from numerous scratches and bruises, Syaoran started to pull himself up the dragon’s elongated neck with painful care. Already, the air was getting colder and harder to breath. The wyvern’s neck was strong and guarded by sharp scales. His arms became bloody as he continued to climb.

It was the longest five meters he had ever had to crawl, with the wind constantly pushing him back down. Syaoran nearly slipped and dropped the arrow as he gasped for breath. But he held on, just barely reaching the dragon’s head.

Gathering his energy, he ‘pushed’ again with his mind. As he had hoped, the dragon’s eyes widened again and it stopped its beeline to the sun. it screamed as they both hung there in mid air. Syaoran grabbed the arrow from his mouth and stabbed the Wyvern in the eye.

The pain from the mental scream forced his tight grip on the dragon’s neck to loosen. But instead of falling, Syaoran watched in amazement as the Wyvern disintegrated into sparkling bits of dust. They were suspended in time and place.

The light grew so bright that he had to look away. When he could look back, he saw not a dragon but one of Sakura’s feathers glowing in front of him softly.

Floating towards it, Syaoran reached out until he could grab it. “A feather?” Was that what had caused the balance of this world to be so delicate that the women and men had to live separately? With the feather and the wyvern's hatred for the marriage ceremony that took its eggs, the monster must have tipped the balance of the land.

The feather’s glow dimmed and suddenly the air beneath his feet was no longer solid. Syaoran was falling.

-To xxxHolic side

Quote of the Chapter:

"The future has yet to be determined."