Author's Notes: Aiyaaa this is my first yuri fic, no to mention my first
CCS fic, so please be gentle! I'm so glad you took the time to look at my
humble fic, though! If people know me at all, it's usually for Sailor Moon
fanfics... I hope I don't shock anyone. ^^; That said, this is a slightly
dark Sakura/Tomoyo fic, but I promise it has a happy ending. *sniffles*
Nothing less than Tomoyo deserves!

Enjoy, and please send feedback,

DISCLAIMER: This fic involves two beautiful women. These two beautiful
women love each other-- if you have a problem with that, you need to
evolve, or at least get out of this fic. ^_~ Love is not a dirty thing.
Remember, only you can stop bigotry! ^_^

This fic is rated PG-13-- not for sexual over tones, but for violence. I
promise I won't blind you. REALLY. ^_^

Date Begun: December 13th, 2001
Date Finished: July 3rd, 2002

Conjure Me 1/1
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory

DECEMBER 5th 2009

 They walked hand in hand; though hers was cold as ice to him and she found
his to be uncomfortably sweaty. Heat rising from a swamp, ready to smother.
Her hands were strong, well formed and colored like light brushing against
a peach. Capable. Somehow, Sakura felt all that go away, when he wrapped
his calloused fingers around her hand; she thought perhaps he was drawing
the magic out of her, a little bit at a time. That was silly, of course;
they were just holding hands. Boyfriend and girlfriend, walking out under
the cold winter stars as their breaths released in little clouds. Snow
whirled about, caught in her auburn hair and pressed against her red coat
with the golden buttons. She laughed and, taking the opportunity to
disengage her hand, ran ahead, twirling when she reached a fork in the
path. Head tilted back, she opened her mouth like a child waiting for a
spoonful of powered sugar. The moon was a pale sliver, the delicate
crescent of a fingertip.

 Tomoyo blazed before her eyes, an inadvertent thought, but somehow more
real. The moon was a bright distant point of light in her best friendıs fey
eyes. She thought about last night, Tomoyoıs soft, cool hand in Sakuraıs
own, smiling as they turned and turned, making the world move on their own
axis. Then, rather than falling apart, they had pulled together and sunken
to their knees in the soft snow. Hands coming together, Tomoyoıs face
pillowed on Sakuraıs shoulder. And then, for some reason, Sakura buried her
face in her best friendıs hair, lost in an endless river of ebony and

 ³Hoe,² a soft, incredulous breath, coming in time with the color rising to
her cheeks. She realized belatedly that she had been standing still for
quite some time, and now Syaoran stood ahead of her waiting. Flashing him
an apologetic smile, she hurried to catch up. A cloud draped itself over
the moon, making the shapes in the park less familiar. When Sakura was
close enough, Syaoran took her hand again.
 ³Letıs do something different tonight,² Syaoran suggested, turning to
Sakura with eyes that looked empty in the moonlight.
 ³Nani? What do you mean?² absently, she looked at her watch. The hand and
shadow fell to nine oıclock.
 ³I donıt know,² he said in a tone that meant he did, ³Do you want to come
to my apartment? You could  call your dad, tell him youıll be a little
late.² There was something, something in her chest, dark and slithering.
She didnıt know what it was.
 ³Alright,² her voice was quiet. They continued in a different direction,
still holding hands.
 She was sixteen years old.


 Tomoyo walked carefully in the snow, feeling transported. Trees rose
against the star-filled sky, looking like twisted, polished question marks.
Not even the lights of the city could change the strange, alien feeling
that dipped like a scythe against her ribs. The people sharing the sidewalk
seemed somehow more removed, colorless almost,  though she told herself
that was only her loneliness seeping through. It bled like that, spreading
outward like a flower, anti-survival, pulling thorns inward. Shivering,
Tomoyo pulled her coat and moon-spangled scarf closer. Her dress, long and
red velvet, brushed against the backs of her legs, in time with the soft
click of her shoes. That was the rhythm, sudden and very overwheliming:
click - clack, click- clack, click - clack. Up beat, down beat. She paused,
oblivious to the pedestrians that pushed around her. Slim, china-white
fingers pressed against her temples, massaging there for a moment before
she continued onward. She thought about Sakura; Sakuraıs hair sliding
through the brush, Sakuraıs slim shoulders encased in green that matched
her eyes. Sakura, smiling, saying she had a date with Syaoran tonight, but
tomorrow she would take Tomoyo down town and theyıd have fun shopping.

 Yesterday with Sakura, walking through a corridor of ebony trees, snow
dripping off their branches like strings of glass beads. They had not
seemed like question marks then, but rather totems raised for Sakura,
supporting a palace that had never been built. The wind had moved around
the two of them like a river current, rising against Tomoyoıs cheek bones--
a longed-for touch-- pushing the clouds across the moon and then away
again. Sakura had turned towards Tomoyo, smiling, her emerald eyes like the
depths of the ocean in the darkness. Glory had pushed up through Tomoyo
then, sung in her veins, and as always there was no where for it to go. It
cycled through her, refined each time it passed through her heart, the same
as the blood in her veins. Her throat tightened miserably, all the words
that tangled there seemed stupid and inexpressive. Sheıd searched Sakuraıs
face for understanding, some hint of... there were no words for what she
was looking for. Her hands had gripped Sakuraıs and then, by some unspoken
agreement, they began to turn, round and round, never getting anywhere, but
pulling in towards each other. When they fell to the ground, Tomoyo had
laid her head on her friendıs shoulder, gripping the other girlıs coat with
hands that felt like they would break.
 Sheıd said, ³Sakura...²

 ³Silly, jealous girl,² she murmured to herself.  She forced herself to see
Sakura, happy and smiling on her wedding day, veil thrown over her face
like whatever it was that kept her from seeing the truth.  Syaoran would
stand just-so beside her, not smiling because he never smiled, but still
looking like he was happy, looking like he would take care of Sakura. And
herself, somewhere in the background; the one who organized everything, the
one who wiped tears off Sakura's face when she said she was scared and
didn't know if she could go through with the wedding. Always, Tomoyo held
this vision out to herself, but whether it was a promise or a threat even
she didn't know. Presently, the wind pushed the snow against her in a gush,
like the tiny frozen wings of butterflies. Tomoyo breathed deeply, and the
pinch of the scythe became just a little bit stronger.


 Her coat was tossed haphazardly in the easy chair, her shoes --black
patenleather with dainty straps-- sat patiently like twin dogs beside
Syaoran's thick sneakers. Sakura saw none of these things, but later she
would remember the placement of everything in the room as one remembers the
stillness of the world before a tornado. She waited for the windows to blow
inward, glass shards like knives ready to cut to the quick. Instead, the
color simply drained from the room; no more blue sofa, brown coffee-table,
green carpet, black-yellow-brown-blue-red pictures of relatives from China.
Only Syaoran's hands retained their color, looking somehow like menacing
claws as they hang suspended before her chest.
 "Ano..." he said, and his hands shook with the words. She realized she
hadn't been looking at his face. How strange this felt, like someone else's
life. He wanted her to say something, but there didn't seem to be anything
inside her anymore-- not even a voice. Wasn't she supposed to feel like she
was flying, like she was going to come apart if he didn't touch her and
kiss her? Wasn't that in all the movies and the books and the pictures of
pretty shoujo heroines in the final panels of manga? This was it, the rose
petals would fall across the screen, the hero and heroine would tumble
gracefully onto the bed, like dancers. Perhaps, she thought, it takes a
little while to build up. So she lifted her lips like she did when she
smiled and nodded her head. He moved his fingers to the neckline of her
dress-- the pink one with the red ribbons that Tomoyo had made-- and
carefully slipped a button loose while he made a little breathy noise that
sounded like "Sakura" or the brush of dried leaves on cold stone.

 Tomoyo had laid her head on Sakura's shoulder, lips pressed into Sakura's
scarf as she breathed words there. There was something rhythmic to it, an
ancient chant, and Tomoyo's body had moved with it, arms snaking around
Sakura's waist.
 "Daijobu?" Sakura could not remember asking the question, but a small
flower of warm air bloomed in the cold, and Tomoyo's body stiffened, so she
must have said something like that.
 "I want to tell you something," Tomoyo had said, "I want to..." Her breath
had shuddered, even as Sakura stroked her hair, "but I can't."
 "Naze?" a little broken word. Tomoyo slipped gracefully from Sakura's
arms, her violet-ebony hair falling about her like folded wings. She smiled
and it looked painful, and her body was like something that could not be
held. Fragility. There was steel underneath, though; it was the color of
Tomoyo's eyes. She offered her hand, white as the moon on snow, and helped
Sakura stand.
 One of them said, "let's go get something to eat"; as if nothing had

 Now they were moving towards the bedroom, Syaoran lifting Sakura into his
arms. Her legs were polished and long-- too long, apparently-- and she had
a hard time shifting her weight against Syaoran's chest. He was down to his
boxers, she clad only in the creamy silk shift with its lace of growing,
virginal flowers.


 Tomoyo tested out a smile, looking at the reflection of her face in the
display window. Behind her ethereal image, there cookies, pies and delicate
pastries, festive and brightly lit. The smile faltered, then died
altogether as Tomoyo attempted to brush away the warm image that rose like
a seductress from a bed of silk. Her mind held out the possibility,
impossibility, of a table spanned with candles and good food, set before
herself and Sakura as they reclined in one another's arms. Her mask
crumbled momentarily, her mouth pouted and her eyes closed to hold back
tears, but it was gone so quickly that Tomoyo was able to tell herself it
hadn't happened. Her heart fluttered weakly within its cage, its protests
lost as she pushed the thoughts from her mind. Things that happened without
Sakura were in parentheses, and there for didn't count. Instead, Tomoyo
turned on her heel and headed into the shop, entering with the cold breeze
as her fanfare. She didn't even noticed as her blood ebbed more slowly in
her veins.


 It took only three of Syaoran's heavy steps down the hallway and they were
there, poised in the threshold of his room. She tried to smile up at him,
but he wasn't even looking at her, and when he tried to move he ended up
ramming her hip into the doorframe. Now he was looking at her, lukewarm
brown eyes narrowing in concern. Sakura bit her lip so hard she tasted her
own bitter wine, but muttered a 'don't worry' to his apology. He put her
down on the bed, moving her legs so that they were uncrossed, situating her
like a china doll. His hands, big, calloused and sweaty, reached for the
hem of her slip, lifting it ever so slightly before she cried out.


 "Can I get you something, miss?"
 "Just a cup of tea, with honey, and..." Tomoyo raised her hand
instinctively to cover her mouth, then coughed delicately into the white
fabric on her palm. She put her hand down quickly, "and a few of those
chocolate chip cookies." The tea was in a little china cup lined with gold,
the cookies laid on a paper doily; three of them. Syaoran and Sakura and
Tomoyo. She carried them carefully to a little round table, crossing her
legs as she sat, trying to quell another cough. Raising the cup to her
lips, she thought of a dress design like poetry, seams fitting together in
careful black, green and gold, silently complimenting the depths of
Sakura's shadowed, jungle eyes. Another idea swept away the last, this time
a great embroidered gold dragon curling about Sakura's neck line. The
images were vivid, making her fingers itch, so that Tomoyo did not see the
blood she coughed up into her glove.


 Syaoran's eyes were narrowed until it looked like he couldn't see anything
at all, but Sakura kept her face determined and her hands hard as she
loosened his grip on the slip.
 "Something wrong?" His words were blunt, cutting.
 "Iie..," Sakura shook her fire-brown locks, "but we can do..." there were
words for it, of course, but she somehow couldn't bring herself to use any
of them, "without taking this off."
 "Alright," he said, and she smiled because she somehow wanted to protect
herself from him. In the next moment, she turned her lips down, remembering
the long monologues of praise in the romance novels-- how the heroine
wanted her man to have everything of her, that she wanted to share with
him, her whole self. She couldn't hold onto it, any of it, so detached was
she. Syaoran took off his boxers, dropping them beside the bed; she slipped
off her underwear then tossed them, trying to be decadent, to celebrate her
loss, and the white scrap of cloth flew through the air like a kamikaze

 'Someone', Tomoyo thought suddenly, wildly, 'is ripping me open and sewing
me back up'. An ill tide rose in her being, so swift and powerful that all
at once she couldn't remember what it was like to not have pain. There was
pain, everywhere, the bright, functional needles of a sewing machine.

 His breathing was the sound of metal on metal, sword on sword. Sakura
moved backwards, feeling the pillows pressing into her back, hands offering
her up for sacrifice. Syaoran's nails were rough on her skin, cutting
without leaving a mark. Now the pillows would give way no more and her head
was pressed against the merciless wall. She had a sudden, insane image of
her mother like this: cornered and crying inside.
 "This isn't it," Sakura imaged her saying, her long hair moving to cover
her body in vain, "this isn't, isn't it."

 She was being pressed in the gears, drawn out like a piece of thread and
pinned down again and again. Tomoyo's pretty, gloved hands rose, like the
fluttering of doves wings, to touch her burning cheeks. She felt the damp
palm of her right fingers, looked down to see them colored in red. As if
Sakura had kissed them with lipstick, her traitorous mind supplied. A sound
devoid of happiness burst from Tomoyo's lungs; she laughed because she knew
she was dying, knew that Sakura would never touch her and now and forever
there was really no chance. Strange, how she'd never really admitted it.

 Sakura said the words, over and over; "this isn't it, this isn't it". They
were heavy on her tongue and quick to fly, she was crying without shedding
any tears.
 Syaoran said, "I'm not going to hurt you." As if he hadn't already.

 Tomoyo's laugh rose, filled the small cafe until she felt the gazes of
strangers slithering over her body. Biting down on her lip and swallowing
her voice, she tasted her own blood and a touch of the ocean. Salt water;
her tears. Fingers, stained and trembling felt against her face as though
she was a blind woman. The world blurred and blurred with her pain (God,
she didn't even know what was happening), and at last the beating of her
lungs forced her to open her mouth. Tomoyo coughed, and blood fell from her
lips like grotesque rain.

 Now the glass did break; windows pushing inward like bubbles released from
a child's summer hand. The shards flew wildly, vengeful faeries, and Sakura
reared back, watching Syaoran lift his arms in defense. She slipped past
him like she was made of nothing.
 "Tomoyo," she whispered, so pained that she could not remember ever having
happiness. The new red kisses of blood on her skin and the crimson river
falling between her legs did not concern her, instead she raised her hands
to hold the emptiness tearing through her body like a tiger; she looked in
Syaoran's dull brown eyes and saw fear there.
 'You!' she wanted to scream, to pour accusation on him, but Sakura was too
full of her own sick guilt to blame anyone else. Instead, she turned and
fled, silken camisole moving against her body like a dozen concerned hands.
Down the stairs, her bare fee pounding mercilessly until they were too numb
to feel the cold as she ran into the winter night. It was as if someone had
taken her hands, was leading her, and indeed she ran with them
outstretched, ignorant of her final destination. The star-key dropped
against her chest in time with her heart beat, ringing against her ribcage
with finality. Then her hand was on a cold metal bar-- she was pushing open
a glass door and hurrying into a place filled with bright lights and the
sound of Tomoyo dying. Pushing through the crowd with hands that chilled
all she moved aside, Sakura saw her best friend laid out of the blue and
gold and white pattern tile, a sprawled and broken china doll. She was on
her knees without thinking about it, Tomoyo's pale form closed within her
arms. The still girl stirred, turning her wide snow-touched star-light eyes
on the Card mistress,  and Sakura almost cried; for Tomoyo's face was
filled with joy at seeing her.
 "Sa..." Tomoyo's labored breathing swallowed the rest of the sound. Her
eyes slipped closed momentarily as sheer red flowed to her lips. They were
in a sea of red, Sakura realized, their blood mingling and staining
everything around them.
 "Tomoyo-chan," Sakura managed, holding the other girl's delicate fingers.
"Don't die," she said the dark-haired girl's name over and over again, as
if the chant could call her back into her body. "I'm so sorry. I was trying
to be something I'm not...," Sakura breathed in her tears until her throat
hurt with them, "Forgive me, I'll make it up to you."
 "I told you to," Tomoyo's smile was pale as coral, but it was real; the
pieces of Sakura's heart dove in their own suicide to realize just how much
of a facade her friend's happiness had been. In death's gentle embrace, her
eyes were filled with unconditional love, "I said to Sakura-chan, 'Li-kun
loves you'. It's my fault." The words buried themselves in Sakura-- it was
the truth when neither of them knew it. Tomoyo's soft, cool hand was
against Sakura's cheek, and then tracing softly over her lips. "And I," she
managed to raise her head, lips so close to her friend that he Card
mistress more felt the confession than heard it;

 "And I love Sakura."


DECEMBER 6th 2009

 It was snowing again, falling through the window and collecting in
Sakura's lap. She knelt in her pajamas on the window seat, watching the
moon move through the clouds and feeling the cold slowly work is way into
her veins. The light behind her was dim, coloring her room a brown antique
photo; and the shadows seemed to move when they thought she wasn't looking.
 "Sakura," Cerberus' two fine saber teeth lodged in her shirt, trying to
pull her away from the window; she only loosened his grip and absently
stroked his golden coat, barely registering sensation. A soft knock at the
door; no response, then a shaft of light annihilating the darkness.
 "Imouto-chan..." this from another voice, and Sakura raised her head just
barely to meet her brother's gaze. Touya held the phone in his hand,
towards her and away from him. "It's Sonomi-san. She wants to talk to you."
Sakura allowed the phone to be placed in her still hands, her green eyes
like emerald windows that had been pulled tightly closed against the world.
"Ano..." Touya said, "Syaoran was here, earlier. I told him to come back
 For a moment, Sakura moved her lips without sound, before her voice
sounded like the high string on a cello-- sweet, but strangely low. "When
he comes again," she seemed ageless, eternity shivering by the window,
"tell him he knows why I will not see him, and shall never see him again.
Tell him I give him no blame, that it is not his fault. Tell him, also, to
go home and marry Meiling, that he might keep his honor and make her
happy." She turned her hand away, gazing at he bright round buttons of the
telephone, before raising it to her ear. Touya stood for a moment, stunned
by the chill in his little sister's eyes and voice, before pressing his
wide hand against her shoulder and retreating.

 For a moment, there was only breathing on the line.
 "Konbanwa, Sonomi-san," Sakura said, pressing her free hand to her mouth,
swallowing sob after sob.
 "Oh, Sakura-chan," the voice of Tomoyo's mother was soothing and
discomforting at once. "I wanted to ask you, could you... would you please
speak at Tomoyo's funeral tomorrow?" Tears came like static on the line,
"She did love you so... I think it would make her happy."
 "Of course, Sonomi-san," Sakura drew in a breath that caught in her
throat, "I would be honored. Tomoyo is..," her eyes closed to combat the
truth, "was so... very precious to me."
 "Hai," they were both crying now, words distorted and raw, "There are
things here I think she would want you to have."
 "I can't take anything from you, Sonomi-san," Sakura said honestly, her
hands fisting in Cerberus' fur. The seal beast rested his head in her lap,
making small feline noises of comfort. "Tomoyo was your daughter-- you
should have her things."
 "But she would have wanted you to have something," Sonomi insisted, "She
cared about you so much." Sakura felt sure she'd been cut, sliced from
breast bone o navel with hurt. <What can I say?> she wondered. She wanted
to tell Sonomi the truth, to say, 'it is my hand that caused your
daughter's death-- it was I who loved her, and with my unconscious magic
bound her to me. It was also I who betrayed her with another, and killed
her.' Sakura strained her eyes in the dim light, focusing on the row of
dolls near her bed. She gazed at an ebony-haired, silken-bronze clad doll
with a suddenly watery memory of a smile; the doll has been a gift from
 Drawing a breath, she whispered into the phone; "I will take only what you
want me to have."
 "Thank you," said the older woman, "Sakura-chan, if you need to talk, I am
here. When my Nadeshiko died, I should have liked to have had someone to
confide in... I am here if you need me."
 Sakura bit her lip, "You are in so much pain, and yet yu're trying to ease
mine. I hope I can return the favor."
 "Just go on to be whatever it is Sakura is destined to be," the tiny,
disembodied voice entreated, "Tomoyo-chan wanted to see you shine."
 It was a while before Sakura could speak past the blinding agony, "I will.
I promise. Good night, Sonomi-san."
 "Good night, and thank you," the other voice returned, before the air was
still and dead. Sakura held the phone in both hands, looking down into
Cerberus' deep brown eyes.

 "I did kill her, didn't I, Kero-chan?" Sakura's voice was soulless.
 "You didn't mean to," the seal beast insisted.
 "No," a sigh, "Everyone said to me, 'Syaoran loves you', and so I thought
I must love him too. I wanted so badly not to disappoint anyone. But..."
Sakura flung the phone away, watching it slide across the hard-wood floor
and spiral there. "I loved Tomoyo. I *love* Tomoyo," she breathed in the
present tense and all the hope it held. "I never let myself realize, I was
so scared of disappointing everyone."
 "You were given a power you don't understand," Cerberus pointed out, "How
were you to know that your love for her bound you together?"
 "I'm the one that cut the cord! Why did I go with Syaoran?" Sakura reached
blindly for the doll Tomoyo had given her, "The whole time I was there, I
knew everything was wrong. If I had left, or said no, Tomoyo-chan would
still be alive." Slowly, Sakura climbed to her feet, approaching her desk
on shaky legs. Her hands traced the rich cover of the book of Clow, and
Sakura Cards resting within.  "Now I see why Clow wanted to be rid of this
power." Her hand reached for the small over-head lamp as she opened the
book, eyes roaming over the beautiful illustrations of power; all beautiful
lines and careful coloring. The thought was so sudden that Sakura stood
with the force of it, feeling the world fall away beneath her feet. "Clow
cheated Death," she murmured.
 "Hai," said Cerberus without thinking. A low tiger chuckle emerged between
his teeth, "Death came to see Clow, once or twice. Knocked on the door--
nice and polite," he smiled at the memory, "but Clow was the most powerful
sorcerer ever. He only died when he was tired of his power." The seal beast
gazed at Sakura, suddenly aware of the present, "The most powerful
sorcerer, save you of course."
 "I had never thought about living forever," Sakura's words drifted, "or
close to forever, anyway." She turned the pages of the book, faster and
faster until it was the sound of birds rustling. With awe, she touched over
the beautiful faces of the Light and the Dark, "I can save her."
 Cerberus stared at his Mistress for a moment, before venturing, "You'll
have wait, a very long time."
 "I can learn to wait," Sakura murmured. Her hand was on the key, which
swiftly became her staff; she was bounding towards the open window. Her
toes touched the windowsill and she leapt out into the night with the Fly
card giving her staff wings. Raising her eyes to the moon, Sakura cried her
happiness. Tomoyo had waited so long for her, without ever expecting
fulfillment-- could not Sakura do the same?

 The mortician had curled Tomoyo's hair loosely, draping the deep lavender
near the girl's neck to cover the scars from the autopsy. Reverently,
Sakura touched the corpse's pale cheek, feeling the void left by Tomoyo's
soul. Without the shimmer of the girl inside, the body was husk, a poor
imitation. With a hiss, she bit her lip, remembering what the doctors had
officially reported. A rare disease-- the collection of blood in the lungs.
Tomoyo had drowned to death in her own blood; but the doctors didn't know
the real reason why. A sob locked in Sakura's throat; Tomoyo didn't look
like she was sleeping, or even alive at all, only empty, empty. Moving the
lid of the casket away, Sakura reached for her key.
 "Oh key that holds the power of the Stars," she chanted, hanging ont the
words with her sanity, "reveal to me thy true form. By the pledge between
us, Sakura doth command! RELEASE!" The breeze settled, and Sakura felt
oddly alone-- always, Tomoyo had been by her side, taping and observing her
magic. Swallowing her sickness, she lifted the first of the cards.
"CREATE-- make for me a box worthy of holding Tomoyo's heart!" A deep
breath, and she set the new silver chest aside. "FREEZE-- keep Tomoyo's
body young forever!" Finally, she raised her right hand high, "SWORD!"
 With her eyes firmly fixed on the empty visage of her beautiful best
friend, Sakura lifted the sword.
 "I love you, Tomoyo."
 And she drove the blade in next to Tomoyo's heart.


DECEMBER 5th, 2109
Tomoeda, Japan

 Once, the area had been the site of an amusement park in bright colored
plastics, with children laughing loud into the wind. Before that-- though
no one in Tomoeda had a memory extending that far-- an old, towering
mansion had rested on the land. Now both were long gone, bull-dozed in turn
for progress, and for some twenty years, wild vines and trees had retaken
the place. The earth easily forgets humanity. In recent years, it had
become the site of a new building project that had the citizens of Tomoeda
talking; even the children that climbed the old and faded King Penguin had
whispered amongst each other.  Gradually, a house seemed to grow from the
ground; yellow, with a porch that circled it and turrets as fine for any
castle. It became the home of a rich young heiress by the name of Kinomoto
Sakura, and if there had ever been another young girl with bright green
eyes, a cheerful spirit and whispering brown hair... well, there was no one
around to remember her. She looked not a day over sixteen, this young
woman, though she insisted she was twenty-two, and as far as anyone knew,
she lived in the house by herself. Sometimes, people said they heard voices
drifting down from the house, but that was just talk. At first, the towns
people  resented Kinomoto-san in a way, but she gave generously to the
drill team and cheer-leading club at the elementary school, and she seemed
to love the town as much as they did. Gradually, she became a regular
fixture, and people felt free to wave or greet her on the street. However,
only children really seemed at ease with her; perhaps because, despite her
powerful baring, she was still so much a child herself.

 It was there on the calendar in thick, neat Kanji, some of it spilling
over into the next neatly lined square.
 "December 5th," Cerberus read what his mistress had written, standing on
his hunches to see, "Tomoyo died. Please come back, Tomoyo." The name was
in friendly Hirigana, a little school-girl style heart draw cradled in the
'to'. "Todays the day," he said, padding across the kitchen tile towards
his companion, "Think she'll realize it when she wakes up?"
 Perched on a stool near the counter, Yue tossed a lock of moon-white hair
and snorted, "Of course she knows, my furry friend. As if she hasn't been
watching the calendar like a hawk."
 "Hai, hai," there was a flash, and Cerberus flitted into his smaller form,
alighting on Yue's shoulder. "I'm just a little worried, though. She hasn't
even mentioned it."
 Yue rolled his eyes, "This is a very big thing-- very personal. She's
probably nervous. I think maybe we should..."
 "Ohayo, Yue-san," the Card Mistress' voice rang clear in the cool winter
kitchen. She smiled just a little bit, standing in the doorway with the
rainbow lights of the sun catcher playing over her body. With a practiced
air, she plucked Cerberus from the air, "Ohayo, Kero-chan." Ignoring the
looks her friends gave her, Sakura padded towards the cupboard, pulling on
her silken pajama top. Cutlery and china began to chime together-- the
sounds of breakfast being made.
 "Ohayo, Sakura-sama," Yue offered, stretching his wings and barely
managing not to over turn the stool. "Kero-chan and I were just talking. We
thought perhaps we would let you have the house to yourself today and check
out the old haunts-- the temple, the park..."
 "Hey," Kero back stroked in the air, "As long as we buy some of that
really good Pocky from the corner store, I'm happy." Yue batted at him
absently, watching as his Mistress turned away from the oven.  There were
tears back-lighted emerald by her eyes, just barely swimming over her
 "Arigato, Yue-san," her smile was gentle and thankful, "That's very kind
of you."
 "Don't mention it," Kero accepted the small pancakes Sakura offered out,
"It was my idea." Expertly, he dodged Yue's hand, holding out a slice of
pancake to the young man.
 "I detest food," Yue returned, before turning back to Sakura, "Anyway, I
think we'll go right now." Sakura nodded softly and watched her two
companions drift out into the hallway. A moment later, she heard the door
close, and her body slumped against the counter. Gathering her strength,
she moved to sit at the table, picking at her food with a hopeless,
disinterested chop-sticks. Around her, the world was a comfortable new day
yellow-- outside the window, the sun touched the morning sky opal, and the
bare trees rose beautiful. Finally, Sakura pushed herself away from the
table and moved towards the back door on unsteady legs.

 Outside, the winter are was crisp and real on Sakura's skin-- she breathed
and watched small white air-flowers bloom. Trotting down the cobble stone
path, she moved into the green house, her hands touching lightly on the
roses, nadeshikos and lilies that grew there. In truth, she felt a little
silly, a little too much like Eriol-- living in her mansion house and
playing the recluse. She loved the people of her home town and tried to
mingle with them when she could, but they always seemed a little wary. As
she plucked a yellow rose to match the morning, Sakura supposed she didn't
blame them. She had left scarcely a year after Tomoyo's death, wanting her
memories of home to be pleasant, and not back-dropped with odd glances and
whispers of suspicion as she failed to age or change. She returned only
briefly for her father's funeral, and then for Sonomi-san's and, in the
mean time, she traveled. She had been to London, to New York, Paris and
even back to Hong Kong for the wedding of Syaoran and Meiling's
grand-daughter, Shaiming. Staying in one place for very long was never an
option, but she grew to enjoy the different landscapes of her life, all the
while longing for the day when the mystery aboard each boat or train or jet
she took would not be "who is that pretty young woman?", but "did you see
that beautiful pale woman and her friend? I wonder who they are". In a way,
she feared her hundred years of living would make her feel separate from
Tomoyo-- put distance between them, that they would no longer be able to be
friends. Still, the words of her gentle best friend ("There is no one I
want to be with more thn Sakura-chan") would come to her at night, and she
would dream of adventures for the both of them. Tomoyo had always seemed
ageless-- perhaps she and Sakura had finally caught up.

 Smiling lightly, Sakura carried her armful of flowers back to the house,
waving at the young school girls as they passed.
 "Ohayo, Kinomoto-san!" one voice raised itself above the rest, and the
owner lingered by the hedge.
 "Good morning to you, too, Asahi-san," Sakura greeted, patting the girl's
ebony braids with affection, "How are you?"
 "I'm fine," Asahi chirped, her lop-sided red winter coat making her look
like a robin, "You look very happy, Kinomoto-san. How are you?"
 "I'm well," Sakura felt a slight blush, "and I am happy. A friend of mine
will be returning today. It has been a long time since I've seen her."
 "Really?" Asahi enthused, "Can I meet her?"
 "I hope so..." Sakura looked away, "though perhaps she may not want to
stay. I have wronged her in the past, and hope to make up to her."
 "Why didn't you see her earlier?" the younger girl inquired.
 "Ah," Sakura laughed, mostly at herself, "We've had to wait-- I do miss
her so much."
 "Well," Asahi pressed a finger to her lip, considering, "Even if my mother
says you are strange, Kinomoto-san, I don't see how any one could not like
you. I am sure your friend will stay!"
 "Thank you, Asahi-san," Sakura murmured, selecting a yellow rose and
several small white flowers from her load. "That makes me feel a lot
better." Handing the small bouquet over the hedge, Sakura suggested, "Why
don't you take these to put in your class room. It'll help brighten up
 "Thank *you*, Kinomoto-san!" Asahi clasped the blooms to her heart, "It's
the last day before break! I can't wait! Winter break is magic!" With that,
the young girl turned and ran pell-mell down the street, pausing at the
corner to look back and wave.
 "Don't forget to button your coat!" Sakura called after her, "It's cold
 "Look who's in their nightgown!" Asahi shouted in return, giggling. Their
laughter rang the bare tree branches.
 "Winter break is magic," Sakura murmured, sobering. Turning, she went back
into the house, knowing she could not make herself wait any longer.

 In Tibet, Sakura had met a young woman who painted other people's sadness,
so that they might look at it objectively. The Card Mistress kept her
painting in a large, unused bedroom, mounted over a table on which stood a
fine silver box. The canvas was coated with both longing and beauty; it was
a portrait almost identical to Tomoyo, a young woman with long
black-lavander hair standing by a window, cloak wrapped around her and
gazing out to the winter sea. There were other things Sakura kept in the
bedroom as well. A video camera, tapes, sewing supplies, and stacks upon
stacks of journals and sketchbooks-- those things given to her by Sonomi
after Tomoyo's funeral. Without realizing she was crying, Sakura placed the
flowers in a vase on the nightstand, smoothing the coverlet on the bed.
There were fine velvet draps over the windows, rows of beautiful dolls on
the wall, waiting for an owner. On the dresser, there were baubles of every
kind, jewlery and trinkets selected for someone special. All these things,
Sakura had collected, always thinking of Tomoyo-- and yet, now all she
wanted was to run through the street with her friend, to play ring around
the rosy in the park and fall down upon each other.

 "Oh, key that hides the power of the stars," Sakura began, lifting the lid
of the silver box and gazing in on the thing preserved so perfectly in ice.
A heart, the most perfect one-- for it was Tomoyo's. "I call upon Dark and
Light, I call upon Life! Give form to the woman who's heart has waited so
long! Give life to someone who was robbed of it so young! I call upon the
heavens-- once more give body to the spirit of Daidouji Tomoyo!"

 There was a moment when the room seemed terribly vacant-- as void as the
corpse Sakura had watched buried so long ago. Then, an impossible breeze,
brushing her short hair against her chin, and... Tomoyo. The pale girl
stood still and bare, marveling at her hands, her long arms; her hair moved
about her like a thing alive. Someone gasped, someone else cried out--
Tomoyo's gray gaze met Sakura's own.
 "Sakura-chan," Tomoyo's voice was clear and distinct, a perfect crystal
note, "You brought me back. Your magic," there was a smile, and that joy
Sakura thought she'd never see again-- Tomoyo was happy to see her! "I
didn't think... after I told you..."
 Sakura swallowed painfully, "Tomoyo-- it was my fault... it wasn't just
your love, it was mine!" Tears now, ringing with laughter, and still they
stood apart. Neither dared to touch the other, each watching, each sure her
hand would find a ghost. "My love tried to keep you with me. I was
 "I wanted Sakura-chan to be happy," Tomoyo confessed, " I thought Syaoran
would do that for you."
 "I know," Sakura reached out her shaking fingers, finally tangling them in
Tomoyo's soft hair, "It's okay. Even I didn't know what I really wanted."
Stepping forward, Sakura stood in the circle of Tomoyo's open arms,
bringing her mouth close the other girl's ear to deliver the words. A
whisper, "I love you, Tomoyo. Maybe we won't always be happy---"
 "I have only wanted Sakura to be happy," Tomoyo cradled the other girl's
cheek, "but I would be happy, sad or anything in between with my Sakura."
Embracing the other woman, Sakura began to cry in earnest, pressing her
lips to Tomoyo's stainless palms.


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