Amber Eyes

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Disclaimer: I own nothing except for the plot!

Authoress Ramble: Welcome to my new story! It starts out very sad but leans more toward romance in the next couple chapters. I really hope that you enjoy reading this. ^^ And if you do, leave a review, I love reviews!

Note: If the Òs,Õs and ,s are not quotes and commas, go to View ------ Character Set in Internet Explorer and change it to Western (Mac)! Or change the character set some other way to fix it, itÕs possible!

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Sakura hummed cheerfully, slicing a thick, waxy dark green leaf with a sharp knife. Thick green liquid oozed slightly out of each new slice, staining the clean wood block that she was using as a cuttingboard. She was careful not to get any of the liquid on her hands out of fear that she might absentmindedly lick her fingers, for one reason for another. Videlroot was fatal when eaten, and it was better to be safe than dead.

Still, Sakura was not afraid. It seemed that nothing that grew from her motherÕs garden could truly be dangerous. Sakura smiled at the thought of her mother. The song she was humming was one that her mother had sung to her a thousand times in her childhood, a bedtime song that had always calmed her down and made her soul sleepy. It was a traditional song of the Forest, the home of her people, a song that compared a motherÕs love to the love of Mother Nature herself.

ÕSleep now, my baby
Stayed hushed now, donÕt cry
The wind in the willows weeps softly as I
For my baby and I, my baby ... Ô

As her motherÕs voice filled SakuraÕs mind, she too began to sing, quietly and softly to herself as a warm tear slid down her cheek, despite her content smile. SakuraÕs mother had died when was young, and she missed her terribly. She now played the role of mother in her family, to both herself and her younger brother, Toya. Toya was very quiet for a boy of only eight years, and Sakura sometimes feared that he would grow up with a cold heartÐuntil, that is, he was alone with her. Toya, with his dark, unruly black hair and rare smile, always seemed to brighten up in his sisterÕs presence. This seemed to be the case with everyone that knew and loved Sakura.

Sakura stared out the window as she continued to slice the videlroot leaves, smiling a little bit more when she saw her father kneeling down to work in her motherÕs garden. The family worked hard to keep her motherÕs memory alive, and that included tending faithfully to her garden. It was filled with blooming flowers now, it being the middle of Spring. The garden was overflowing with white roses and pink and yellow tulips, daffodils and buttercups, everything that her mother had loved. A section of the garden was devoted to growing herbs, everything from oregano and thyme to be used in cooking to herbs that were said to have healing powers, powers that were both magical and practical. Sakura smiled, remembering a hundred times when she had cut herself while playing in the Forest and her mother had laughed a little, pushing a cool leaf to her cleansed wound and singing to calm her tears. Only a few of the herbs in the garden were dangerous, like videlroot, ones that SakuraÕs father insisted they keep in the house just in case.

Sakura heard the door to her house suddenly slam, and she spun around in shock, knife in hand. Then, she breathed out and lowered her knife. It was only Toya, taking off his shoes.

ÒWhat are doing, Sakura?,Ó he asked, eying her cuttingboard.

ÒIÕm chopping videlroot for Father,Ó Sakura said cheerfully, her heart still beating fast. Toya looked intrigued, and she raised an eyebrow. ÒBut remember, donÕt touch!,Ó she added. Toya rolled his eyes.

ÒEveryone knows that videlroot is poison,Ó said Toya matter-of-factly, ÒExcept of course, the Wolves.Ó

Sakura paused, holding her knife in midair, as she had resumed slicing the videlroot. Were they the Ôjust in caseÕ, the ones for whom poison grew in their motherÕs garden? She reasoned that they had to be.

For a little less than a year now, a war had been raging between the kingdoms of Kaera and Li. Soldiers from the Li Kingdom had been slowly invading Kaera, the kingdom of the Forest, burning both trees and villages alike. Everyone in Kaera was in terror, for it was rumored that Li solders were heartless and brutal, murdering anyone they pleasedÐ men, women, childrenÐ for mere pleasure. The peasants of Kaera were simple people with simple roles in life, farmers and merchants, and were not prepared in the least to defend themselves from such cruel invaders. SakuraÕs village, Himemi, was lucky, for they were isolated high in the mountains, deep in the Sacred Forest, and had not even seen so much as one Li soldier. News traveled slowly in the mountains as it took a messenger a long time to get from one village to another, and they knew little about the WarÕs developments and the whereabouts of the Li army. This was a mixed blessing, because for some, knowing little meant less fear, and for some, like her Father, knowing little meant panic. Now, spears and arrows lined their shed in addition to peaceful shovels and hoes, and among blooming flowers grew videlroot.

Sakura frowned. The Wolves, as the Li soldiers were commonly called, had changed her home for the worst. She prayed silently to the Goddess that no harm would come to her little village, or her family.

ÒSakura, are you alright?,Ó Toya asked his older sister, who had suddenly grown very pale. Sakura snapped out of her dark thoughts, smiling sadly.

ÒOf course I am, Toya!,Ó she said, forcing a small laugh. ÒAnd youÕre right. A lot of the plants we can grow in Kaera canÕt grow in the Li kingdom, so they donÕt know about them. Like videlroot. And youÕre right,Ó she continued, ÒWolves donÕt know that videlroot is poisonous.Ó

ÒThereÕs probably too much blood on the ground there for anything beautiful to grow,Ó said Toya darkly, and Sakura frowned. What was this War doing to her sweet younger brother?

Sakura realized that she had finished chopping the videlroot, and she gathered the dark slices of leaves into a small bag, which she closed by pulling taut the string that was laced through its top. She tied the bag to her belt to give to her father later, tying it next to several other identical bags- one for cugari, a herb said to have strong healing powers, one for nighuia, a herb that Sakura used both for herself and in her brotherÕs tea to allow him to sleep when he had nightmares about the Wolves, a herb known as shamiku, used to make a tea that comforts, and then, finally, the videlroot. She had been chopping these herbs all morning.

ÒHey, do you know where I put my-Ó, began Toya, but was suddenly silenced when there was a knock on the door. Sakura smiled, eager to have a visitor, to entertain them and serve them tea and forget about the War that was as poisonous as videlroot to the heart. She walked through the kitchen and into the hall where shoes were kept, opening the door with a bright, albeit slightly fake, smile.

ÒHello,Ó said a deep voice, one with a thick accent whose original language was obviously not Kaeran. Sakura eyed him cautiously- he was a stranger, one with tangled black hair that fell nearly to his shoulders and narrow dark ruby eyes. There was dirt smeared across his face, and he looked as though he had just emerged from a long journey through the forest. Sakura thought for a moment that he was a messenger and was about to invite him inside when she noticed that his strange clothes were too heavy for a Kaeran man. There was so much dirt caked onto them that Sakura hadnÕt noticed immediately that his clothes were not clothes, but rather ... armor.

SakuraÕs eyes fell downward, widening in shock when she saw that he was holding a metal blade, a sword whose lower half was dripping in blood. She screamed, praying that her father in the garden would hear her as she ran back inside, grabbing her little brother and pushing him forward with her as she ran for the back door. She heard the man shout something in Lian behind her, then run inside after her. She heard the banging of many rushed footsteps, not just the ones of a single solider. A moment later, she felt a hard object knock her on the back of the head, the handle of a sword. She felt strong hands roughly grab the back of her dress and shoulders, shoving her to the side and onto the kitchen floor. She screamed again, a man holding her down by keeping a tight grip on her upper arms. She kicked and struggled, screaming, but it did no good.

She saw her brother just in front of her, being held down in nearly the same way, only that his small body was facing down, facing the floor, his back toward the ceiling. A Wolf was holding his thin upper arms down.

The man from the door was standing just inside the kitchen, smirking cruelly and eying his two new prisoners with darkness in his eyes. He said nothing, and suddenly there was silence.

Sakura caught ToyaÕs eyes. He was staring at her, his eyes wide with fear and panic. Sakura was scarcely able to breathe, her mind clouded with panic and helplessness.

ÒDonÕt worry, Toya, it will all be alright,Ó she said shakily, trying to smile, to comfort him. Toya said nothing, only continued to stare at her, his eyes still wide with fear, Sakura his only comfort. The soldier holding her down laughed, and she ignored him, pain spreading through her heart like videlroot through the blood. She prayed that her words would be true.

ÒSing,Ó Toya whispered suddenly. His eyes had grown dark, dark in the same way they became whenever Toya mentioned the War or the Wolves matter-of-factly, as though he had accepted him as fact. Sakura was suddenly twice as afraid as she had been a moment ago.

ÒDonÕt give up, Toya!Ó, she cried, lunging forward, the rough hands on her upper arms tightening. Her captor snickered behind her.

ÒSing,Ó he said said, softly, quietly, with so much sadness that Sakura was sure her heart was going to shatter. Every part of her screamed for her to comfort him, to hold him in her arms. She felt helpless, but she decided that she would continue to comfort Toya even now, when he needed it the most, when they needed it the most. Tears were sliding down her brotherÕs cheeks, something that Sakura had only seen Toya allow himself to do once or twice, when he thought of their mother.

ÒI love you, Sakura,Ó he whispered, so quietly had Sakura could barely hear him. Her heart tightened, contracted in heartbreak.

ÒNot yet, Toya,Ó she whispered, ÒItÕs not time for that yet, not ever ...Ó

She realized that she too was crying, tears falling off her face and onto the wood floor of the kitchen. Toya said nothing, tears falling silently from his eyes as well.

ÒSing,Ó he said a final time, and Sakura held back a sob. Her world was truly ending, right here and right now, her heart shattering as the world became blurred by her tears.

ÒI love too, Toya,Ó she whispered suddenly, quickly, as though rushed. ÒAlways.Ó

The soldier from the door stepped forward, and Sakura, seeing this, began to sing softly, her voice quiet and shaking.

ÔSleep now, my b-baby,Õ she began, watching as Toya slowly closed his eyes. ÔStayed hushed now, donÕt cry ...Õ

The Wolf took another step forward, his hand tightening its grip on the handle of his sword. He began to slowly pull it out, smiling.

ÔThe wing in the willows,Õ Sakura sang, tears blurring her vision, sobs threatening her voice, ÔWeeps softly .. a-as ... I ...Õ

The Wolf drew his bloody sword completely. Toya heard the blade being drawn but made no sound, only bowing his head further.

Sakura screamed, lunging toward him but being easily held back. ÒNo, stop, please! Please!!,Ó she screamed, tears staining her heart as they fell onto the floor of the kitchen.

The soldier stepped forward, raising his blade over her brother. Sakura screamed again for him to stop, but he didnÕt do so much as look at her. He only raised the blade higher as Sakura begged, screaming.

ÒPlease, stop, stop!!Ó, she screamed. Tears continued to fall silently from her brotherÕs eyes. ÒToya!Ó, she screamed. ÒToya!!Ó

ÔThe wind in the willows weeps softly as I
For my baby and I, my baby ...Õ
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To be continued in the next chapter. IsnÕt this so sad? ^^;; When I started this, I had a romance in mind, not such a sad death scene. I knew, though, that I didnÕt want to do one of those cutsy-predictable little fluffyballs of fanfiction that, while adorable, can get old. I wanted something with a plot, and so, I thought one up and here I am!

ItÕll get more interesting in the next few chapters. Syaoran will come into play soon, and then theyÕll be more romance and less sadness. I hope youÕre enjoying my little dark/AU/fantasy/angst/romantic ficcie!

If you liked it, or better yet, have ideas, then please leave a review! I love reviews! Reviews = writer faster! Hehe.

In the next chapter: what happens to Toya, SakuraÕs father, and Sakura, and also, enter Syaoran ...