Sakura, her Lion and her Departing Friend

part 6

Sakura/Tomoyo, Sakura/Cerberus


They lay still for several minutes, gasping quietly.

"I...I've never done this before," Sakura confessed.

Tomoyo stroked her face. "Are you ashamed?"

Sakura shook her head.

"Good. You have nothing to be ashamed of." She touched Sakura's hip and waist in slow circles. Her hands moved ceaselessly, as if afraid Sakura would vanish if she let her go. "As a child, you were so cute. As a young woman, you are beautiful beyond compare."

"Tomoyo-chan...I wish you wouldn't idolise me so much."

"I can't help it, Sakura-chan. Why does it disturb you so? Don't you think you deserve such affection?"

" makes me uncomfortable."

Tomoyo laughed softly. "Forgive me, but I can't keep it bottled up inside. I've always wanted to show you how I feel. But I didn't want to make you guilty or unhappy. The most important thing in the world to me--"

Sakura silenced her with a finger to her lips. "Listen to me, Tomoyo-chan. My happiness is not complete unless you are happy too. I want you to concentrate on what makes you happy." She stroked Tomoyo's hair, allowing the long strands to fall through her fingers. "Are you happy with your film-making course?"

"Yes. I've learnt a great deal about how I can improve my films. There are so many advances being made in CGI and digital animation. I can't wait to put them in practice when I return to Tomoeda to film you."

"I want you to film other things beside me. I want you to be the best filmmaker you can be."

"Thank you, Sakura-chan. Of course I'll use other subjects, maybe even hire actors. I know you won't be available all the time. But filming you makes me happy." She took Sakura's hand and kissed it. "Must I give it up completely?"

Sakura sighed and snuggled closer. "No, you don't have to. I...I was afraid that you would be so entranced by your videos that you'd forget about the real me."

"I could never do that. Videotape will never do justice to the unique individual that you are." She caressed Sakura's bare breast. "Mmm. The only way to truly appreciate you is in person like this."

It was exactly the kind of appreciation she wanted, but she still had some nagging questions. " your bodyguards make you happy?"

Tomoyo didn't pretend to misunderstand. "She taught me how to appreciate and enjoy my body. I am grateful to her for her kindness. But I don't film her, and I don't make her costumes. She doesn't make me happy the way you do." She paused. "Would you like them to tutor you? If you'd like, I can ask--"

"No! You don't have to go to so much trouble!" The thought was too embarrassing, although it was very generous of Tomoyo to offer. But she didn't need them. Kero-chan had already shown her... "Kero-chan!" She bolted upright in the bed. "I left him starving outside with the Cards!"

"Kero-chan is here?"

"How could I forget all about him?" She stumbled out of bed. "I have to get dressed!"

"Wait. I'll help you." Tomoyo flicked on a bedside lamp to reveal a bedroom that mirrored the one in Tomoeda, with a double bed, a built-in wardrobe and a home-cinema set-up. She helped Sakura into a yukata, then put one on herself. Both of them rushed out on the balcony.

Cerberus rested on the chaise lounge, Sakura's backpack and staff on the floor beside him. He held a brown paper bag in his forepaws, and was tearing it apart with his teeth. A beef patty fell out, along with shredded lettuce, pickles and a sesame seed bun.

"Kero-chan! What are you doing?"

"Eating!" Cerberus gulped down the scattered scraps, along with half of the bag itself. Melted cheese covered his muzzle. "Tomoyo! How are you? Are you and Sakura touching each other now?"

Tomoyo laughed. "Lots and lots, Kero-chan."

"Very good. That was the entire purpose of coming here, wasn't it, Sakura?"

Sakura blushed bright red. "I...I can't believe you've made such a mess! We're supposed to be guests. Where did you get the food from?"

"I found it! I hunted it down with my keen sense of smell!" He pulled out a box of French fries and munched on them, his long tail lashing from side to side.

"He's eating a hamburger." Tomoyo crouched down to look him in the eye. "Did you buy this yourself?"

"Well..." Cerberus's ears drooped slightly.

"He didn't buy it. He stole it! Kero-chan, how could you?"

"That's not true, Sakura." Cerberus looked most aggrieved. "It was sitting on a table neglected and alone. I flew down and seized it for a worthwhile cause: my stomach." He burped loudly.

"Did anyone see you? Were you in this form? How are we going to explain you to anyone?"

"My cute form, of course! My true form is too big to escape exposure. I may be starving, but I'm not an idiot."

"We could say it was a UFO," Tomoyo advised them. "Many strange happenings are attributed to UFOs in America. No one will think anything of it." She patted Cerberus on the head. "I have more food inside. Would you like some dessert?"

"Yes, yes, yes!"


In Tomoyo's bedroom, they were fed a feast fit for a king with a sweet tooth: pecan pie and ice cream and chocolate cake and sticky date pudding and cheesecake. Tomoyo played the gracious hostess, cutting slices of each for Cerberus to gulp down at will, then helping Sakura to a serving of pudding. They chatted and laughed and argued well into the early morning.

"I don't know if I can come that often to see you," Sakura said. She took a last spoonful of ice cream and closed her eyes in bliss as she swallowed it down. "Maybe if I can organise myself, I can come once a month."

"Sakura-chan!" Tomoyo hugged her, then quickly composed herself. "I'd love to see you, as long as it doesn't interfere with your schoolwork. I know you must be very busy."

Sakura smiled. "It will be all right. I know I'll find a way."

Cerberus was feeling sleepy and full after three slices of pie, four slices of pudding, and two slices of cake. He yawned and stretched on the carpeted floor, then rested his head on his forepaws. "If it wasn't for me, we wouldn't have arrived here. Aren't you glad you came, Sakura?"

"Yes, I've very glad."

"She was mooning over you for ages," Cerberus told Tomoyo. "It was awful to watch. It was time for me to take action."

"So what did you do, Kero-chan?" Tomoyo asked.

Sakura blushed bright red. "He helped me decide what to do."

"I gave her a nudge in the right direction."

"What type of nudge?"

Cerberus's eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "Maybe more a lick than a nudge. "

"Kero-chan..." Sakura said warningly.

"Tell me more," Tomoyo said, a mischievous grin on her face. "What type of lick?"

"Hmm." Cerberus yawned again. "Like a cat with cream."


Tomoyo laughed. "I think it's so cute--the idea of you and Kero-chan together! Was he the one who showed you, like me with my bodyguards? Oh, I knew there was something different about you. You were much more assertive and bold. You must tell me what you did! I wish I was there to see for myself."

"Tomoyo-chan!" Sakura was so embarrassed she hid her face in her hands. "I...I don't know if I can talk about it!"

Tomoyo wrestled her hands away, still laughing. "If you don't tell me, I'll ask Kero-chan! Kero-chan, what else did you and Sakura do?"

The answer was a deep snore. They both peered over to check. Cerberus was fast asleep.

"He must be exhausted," Sakura said. "It was a very long journey."

"And you must be exhausted too. Maybe it's time we went to sleep."

They tidied up, taking care not to make too much noise. But the bodyguards probably knew, didn't they? All those times Tomoyo had snuck out to film Sakura sealing a Card...they were probably waiting around the corner, keeping a close eye on their mistress. They watched over Tomoyo in the same way Cerberus watched over her. And with her unflappable composure, Tomoyo had taken Cerberus's 'guidance' in her stride. She imagined trying to explain it to Syaoran or Yue, and the idea made her smile.

Later Sakura slept in Tomoyo's double bed, warm and snug in Tomoyo's arms. The curtains were not quite drawn, but there was still a sliver of moonlight coming through the windows. Briefly she thought of Yue and Syaoran. She still cared for them, and she still wondered about them. But thinking about them no longer pained her. She'd found her own special someone closer to earth.