Disclaimer: I do not own Card Captor Sakura

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Wolf of the Snow

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Epilogue:

The spring air was warm and fragrant; filled with the bitter-sweet tang of pollen and apple blossom, of apricot and dandelions and new grass peeking through the dark earth in shy dew- dropped crops.

Tomoyo dipped her brush into the bright blue paint pot, glowing with the others in the early morning light, and applied it to the canvas in soft, even strokes. She leant back in her chair momentarily, sweeping a dark curl from her face as she examined her art work. She then returned the brush to the blue pot and continued to paint.

It was Sunday morning and as usual, Tomoyo had taken the day off from work at Fujitaka Kinomoto's apiary and come to her best friend's orchard. The Li property was an enormous and beautiful one, situated on the quiet outskirts of the mountain and lined from one vast end to the other with tidy rows of citrus trees. There was a small, pretty creek running along the edge of their land where Sakura and Syaoran were known to disappear for hours at a time, sometimes to swim if the weather was warm, or else to sit on the loamy banks beneath the peppercorns and enjoy each other's company. It was during this time, left by the lovers to her own devices, that Tomoyo would do some painting.

Usually, Tomoyo would choose a cool place to set up her easel and canvas, perhaps under the verandah of the cottage near the vegetable patch, or in the wide dappled shade of a tree. Mostly, she would paint the scenery. Occasionally, either on a whim or through a sudden jolt of inspiration would she endeavor along the more fantastical path and paint from her imagination. Today was one of those days.

Once again, Tomoyo lay down her brush and examined her painting with somewhat satisfaction. She really liked this one; it was a lot darker in tone than most of her other works and had an almost surreal, dream- like quality. Essentially it was of a night time landscape; there was a kind of grey, craggy canyon, tree- lined and illuminated against a dark mountain backdrop in the pale light of the moon. In the foreground, so diminutive that it was barely noticeable… a graceful, majestic creature with fur as white as pure snow, stood gazing at the moon.

The Wolf of the Snow.

Tomoyo was just about to pick up her paint brush once more, when she gave a surprised start.

A small, curious face had appeared at the edge of her canvas, watching Tomoyo with bright turquoise green eyes. It was a little girl, probably no more than four years old. She had a cute dirt smudged nose and an unruly mop of chocolate brown hair that fell in soft bangs across her forehead.

Her name was Motoko.

"Hello there," Tomoyo greeted the child with a gentle smile.

"Hullo," sang the girl. She waddled cheerfully around to the front of the painting and pointed at the white creature in the foreground. "What's that?"

"This is a wolf," Tomoyo replied.

Motoko pressed her face closer to the painting, as if to inspect it in more detail before she furrowed her brow.

"It's the wrong color," she stated firmly.

Tomoyo stifled a chuckle, amusement twinkling in her amethyst eyes. "Haven't you ever seen a white wolf before?"

"No," the girl replied simply.

"Well, that's because this is a special wolf. It's magic."

Motoko scrunched up her nose with distaste and pouted. "I don't like wolves, they're scary and they have pointy teeth."

Tomoyo laughed at the comical expression on her face.

"Well that's true...But you know, they only show their teeth when they're hunting…or when they want to protect the ones they love."

The girl took a moment to think about this while she sucked on a piece of her hair.

Slurp, slurp, slurp.

The ends were now sticky with saliva.

After a while, the girl seemed to have come to a decision about something and shrugged her shoulders.

 "Well, I guess that's alright."

Just then, Motoko crawled up, somewhat clumsily onto Tomoyo's lap and leaned up against her chest. She stared at the canvas for a few minutes more before she suddenly reached over to the small table beside the easel and picked up a paint brush. She dipped it into the pot of pink paint and drew a kind of five pointed blob in the middle of the moon. Tomoyo watched quietly, apparently unperturbed by the fact that the four year old had just altered her art work.

Once Motoko had finished coloring- in the blob of pink paint, she sat back against Tomoyo and grinned somewhat proudly.

The crude shape was naturally out place; a bright pink something floating in the middle of the moon that contrasted strangely to the overall dark backdrop. The girl however, was quite pleased with her masterpiece.

"I drew a flower," she declared loudly, "so the magic wolf doesn't get lonely!"

Tomoyo blinked once. She stared at the painting with wonder and then down at Motoko.

Flower….

She turned back to the painting again.

 It was strange really. The longer it seemed she looked at that little pink 'flower'…the more it resembled…a cherry blossom.

A white wolf looking up at a little cherry blossom petal, floating in the middle of the moon…

Tomoyo decided she was being ridiculous. It's not like the girl knew…right?

Nonetheless, she reached down and kissed Motoko on the forehead, smiling affectionately.

"Thank you, it's perfect now," she whispered, brushing the shiny chocolate bangs from the girl's eyes.

Motoko sighed sleepily, tucking her head under Tomoyo's chin as the woman's arms came around her in embrace. After a moment or two, Tomoyo spoke again.

"Hey…would you like to hear a story about the magic wolf?" she asked gently.

Motoko's turquoise green eyes lit up with excitement and again, Tomoyo chuckled.

She waited until the girl had settled down in her lap more comfortably while she put the covers back on her paint pots to stop their contents from drying out. When they were both ready, she began.

"Aunty Tomoyo," Motoko murmured softly, "Will I like this story?"

The young woman smiled warmly as she reached out and gently stroked the girl's cheek.

She lifted her eyes momentarily, gazing out beyond the rows of citrus trees, beyond the orchard fence and rolling grey green hills to the mountains that loomed nostalgically in the distance.

"You know …I am most certain that you will."

~ fin ~

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Dandy Mandy:  WoooHOOooooOO!!! And we're done!!!

 I think the finale of 'Wolf of the Snow' deserves a kick-ass wrap party! Who's with me?!

Kero:   Ooh! Ooh! I am! I am!!

DM:     GYAA!!! Wh- ….Dude, what the hell are doing here?!!

Kero:   I heard the word "party", I envisioned "cake"!

DM: *sweatdrops*    You know, you're a fictional character- you can't just barge into the 'author's note' like you own the place!…How in the blazes did you even get in here?!

Kero:   Window.

DM:    What?  *confused*       I didn't leave the window open.

Kero: *nervous*          Uh yeah…heheh…about that….

*Dandy turns around in computer chair and inspects the bedroom window*

DM:     Arrrghhhh!!! YOU BROKE MY WINDOW!!! I'm gonna kill you!!!

Kero:   B-but the Card Captor Sakura fans! They'd be devastated! *sob sob* Oh great Dandy have mercy on me! I am but a humble guardian beast with an obsessive cake- fettish!!! Oh by the heavens I say…Woe is me!!! *wails dramatically*

DM: * sighs*   Drama Queen.

*dumps foot- high pile of blank cards into Kero's paws*

Kero:  What's this?

DM:     Now that you're here, you may as well make yourself useful. I need you to write out my 'thank- you' notes to some special people who made 'Wolf of the Snow' possible.

*Kero eyes the pile warily*

Kero:   Hmmm…yeah, alright. But there had better be a massive piece of Tira Misu waiting for me when I get done!!

………..

To:       Talker            heheangel kisses        Dragonstar03             Syaoranfan1

You guys were not only amongst 'Wolf of the Snow's  first reviewers but were the most diligent reviewers throughout the entire story! You were there for us from the start of story to the very end…Thanks for all the support!!

To:       Julia and Tania

Did you notice whom I named Sakura and Syaoran's daughter after? ^_^

You have always taken the time in your busy lives to offer advice, constructive criticism and give praise to my work. You are great writers, great friends and great fans of CCS. For that you will have my eternal respect.

To:       Syaoran- Lover

Thank you for loving 'Wolf of the Snow' as I love it! Your reviews have always been long, enthusiastic and full of compliments! Trust me, my head is like, this big! *indicates wide circumference around head* lol. I hope I have given you something worthy of a place in your p.c! :D

To:       Little Wolf LOVER

You know, more than one person has told me of the fame of Little Wolf LOVER on ff.net… and I had absolutely no idea! I just knew that this person was a dedicated reviewer of 'Wolf of the Snow' and has never failed to praise and support it. If what everyone says is true, then I am truly in the presence of honor. Thank you so much for reading!

To:       ALL the REVIEWERS

(My sincerest apologies if I accidentally left anyone out or misspelled a name. It took me more than forty minutes to alphabetize everyone and my eyes are giving out! O_o)

AsIaNbAkA,   anderson,   angel of light and darkness,  Angel of the Wolves, AnimeObsessionFantasy,   anjuliet,   AnOnYmOuS,   Anonymous T,   Aymie16,   azn- kitties,     belle,   Black Spark,  blah,   bubble-b-sweet,   Catrina4,   cats_4_wang,  cheryblosom,       cherryblossom91, Cherry Blossom 312, Cherry Jade, CheeryWolf, Cherrybee58,   Cherryblossom-crystal,   cherryblossomprincess,   cherished dreams, cherrixwolf,        chibiruka,   CoOkiEZ_N_CrEaM,   Crazy- cherry,   Crimson Phoenix Tears,   Crystal- Faerie,   dagger,   Dark Chyld Sorceress,   demi- kaijuu,   Digidynasty, Dragonstar03,   Elizabeth,   emily, Ethereal Silent Soul,              EvilAngel995, FaLLeNxLuV, Flora,   fruitz- kandi,             GodsGirl7,   h2omelonnga,   heheangel kisses,   Hikaru Ayumi, Hououza,   Incessant Escapist,   Inuyashachic515,   Itoshii Kaosu Megami- Kouseki,   jello,   Julia and Tania,   Kali Kamiya,   kantomon,   Kari Hiiragizawa,   kawaii~miko,  kawaii neko,   Kawaii – Syaoran,   kelandry,   Kella4,  Kitty,   Kllr Whal,   kura- chan, kute-lido-azn,   KYA,   L,   li- sakurashowron,   lifeandfriends,   LiL DraGoNGuRL 28,   LiL DuDeTtE,   Lily, Lisa Oceans Potter  , Little Nakuru,  Little Silver Kitten, Little Wolf LOVER, maru, MeNtOmUnChKiN, Mickey, Midnight Banana Monkey, MimiGhost,   misakichi,   moonlight_jade,   mysterychick,   Mystic Moon Empress,   NaStUkO- ChAn,   Natalie, Night of the Raven,   nishikaze,   neofilly,   OnigiriMomoko, pink eternity,   prescience,   Princess Ren,    QTKawaii25,   Queen Persephone,  RainOwl, rainingstars,   reenas_as,   riceball1004,   Riley S,   Risa- sama,   Sakura Blossom-Cilla-85:P,   Sakura Cherry Blossom1,   SakuraDayz,   Sambony,   Sapphire Melody,   Season Sweetheart,   semper,   sharai,   SHERYL,   sheryl v,   shevonne,   Shima And Tempis,   Shimmerdream,   S.I.M5,   Skylover,  Skyout,   SpringbloomOpal,   stargirl,   starquestor, Sterling – Silver66,   svetlaella,   Syaoran - Lover,   Syaoransbear,   Syaoranfan 1,   Syaoyue,   T,   Tai e chi,   Talker,   The Hope,   tiff,   Time Warp,   tk,  Vanilla Moose 4132,   vnrose 04,   wai,   wallpaper,   WhiteLiliesWithAScar,   white- wings 01,   whiteil, winkie,   'who, what, when, where and w',   XxlycheexX,   yogurt,   yugi's dragon friend.

And finally, to anyone who ever read 'Wolf of the Snow' and gave it a chance… you are the very reason it exists.

Thank you for sharing the journey.

Love always,

Dandy Mandy

Xox

…..................

Kero:   Right. You owe me cake.