AN: Okay, didn't get it up as early as I had hoped, but that's all right ^_^ I hope it is, anyway…actually, I went to post it, and found I had a slight problem with my Internet, so I had to go get that taken care of before I could update. So here it is now. Yay rah.

I touched on Sonomi early in the story, and then kind of forgot about her *sheepish* So now we're going to check back in and see how Tomoyo helps her mother. Yay rah. I don't own CCS.

Chapter Fourteen—Daughter

The house felt empty.

It was an enormous building, more of a mansion, but it had never seemed so vacant, so hollow.

Tomoyo slid along the empty hallways, a shadow amidst shadows. There was no one around—no servants, no business associates of the Daidouji Toy Company, nothing. It was like an abandoned mansion from the movies—the spirits of the past moved silently through hallways that echoed into eternity.

She shook off her feelings of revery and depression, and continued her noiseless movements. She had to find her mother.

But then she stopped dead in her tracks, no pun intended, and stared. Her bedroom door.

Her former bedroom, anyway.

The impulse struck, and she succumbed. She stepped through the closed door—in her current spirit state, she had the ability to pass through solid objects, which was a little creepy, to a certain extent, but it was also extremely convenient when she didn't want to overly alarm anyone.

Back in the room that for so long had been hers. It started an avalanche, released a whole slew of memories that she would have just as soon suppressed. Remembering what she had lost would send her right back into grieving, and she did not have time to grieve now. She had more important things to deal with at that moment.

After her loved ones were stable, she could mourn. Then and only then could she weep.

She glided through the doorway that led to her video room. Another waterfall of memories threaten to come crashing down and sweep her away, but she refused to let herself drown in the onslaught.

Instead, she walked around the movie room, letting insubstantial fingers run over tapes of events that had been recorded long ago. Well, in some cases it was mere months, but it still felt as though eons had passed since the images recorded onto those videos had been laid out before her trademark camera.

Footsteps near the door snapped her from her reminiscient state, pulling her back to her original intentions. Somehow, she knew who was standing beyond that engraved piece of wood. And suddenly, Tomoyo had an idea. A very good idea.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Daidouji Sonomi paused outside the door to her daughter's bedroom and stared at the door.

She had gone into her daughter's room only once since the news of the accident had come. She had gone in there to select an outfit for her daughter to be buried in, and the ordeal had left her in even more pieces then she had already been in. She had refused to set foot in the room again, and since that day, the only person to have gone in the room was a maid, to dust.

She would have to go in there eventually, to sort through Tomoyo's things. But right now, she couldn't. She just couldn't face it.

With a sigh and a heavy heart, she turned away and made to leave.

"Come on, say something!"

Sonomi froze and looked back at the door. There were voices coming from behind that door. That was the door that led to Tomoyo's room.

"Iie, I don't want to…" another voice replied to the first one.

She knew that voice.

Curiousity and something like terror overrode everything else, and Sonomi stepped over put her hand on the doorknob, and pushed the door open.

She froze, staring into the room she had gone out of her way not to enter for quite some time. Then, slowly, she took one slow step onto the carpet. Some impulse compelled her to turn and gently close the door behind her.

"You have to!" the voice persisted, and Sonomi followed it.

Slowly, she moved across the room, to the doorway that led into the cinema, Tomoyo's favored place of movie viewing. With one hand, she carelessly brushed aside the curtain that hung across the door and stared up at the source of the voices.

There was an image playing on the enormous cinema screen that Tomoyo had always used for viewing her homemade movies. Sonomi didn't really take time to wonder how in the world the screen had been turned on or the tape played. Her attention was on the images.

"Okay, okay," the girl on the screen laughed and flushed a little. She tossed her long dark mane of curls casually over her shoulder and smiled brilliantly at the camera. "Konnichiwa. My name is Daidouji Tomoyo, and today is my sixteenth birthday." She paused, then laughed again. "Okay, enough!"

"Iie, iie! You can't! Keep going!" the voice coming from behind the camera sounded suspiciously like Sakura, urging Tomoyo to say more.

"What should I say?" Tomoyo heaved an overly exasperated sigh.

"I don't know! Say anything!" Sakura's voice said cheerfully.

Tomoyo rolled her eyes, threw her hands in the air, and trumpeted, "Anything!"

"Not funny!" Sakura protested.

Sonomi slowly sank into one of the movie theatre seats that formed neat rows across the room, never once taking her eyes from the screen. She remembered that day, the day Tomoyo had turned sweet sixteen. There had been a party, with all her friends there. Everyone had been so happy.

"Okay, okay, I'll talk" Tomoyo's screen image laughed. "Well, I've been around for sixteen long years now, and I have to say, it's been an interesting life." She paused and turned around to take a mock-swing at Hiiragizawa Eriol, who was busily making faces in the background; then she turned back, face a little flushed from laughter. "I go to a good school, I have a group of awesome friends, and an awesome mom. My family. I mean, I just can't imagine being happier, if nothing changes. I guess Gershwin said it best. Who could ask for anything more?"

"Yay, Tomoyo-chan!" Sakura cheered from behind the camera.

"Okay, give me my camera back!" Tomoyo protested, reaching towards the screen. A second later, the camera moved in a pan of the room and focused in on Sakura, who was laughing her head off. And the film went on, with the rest of the party. The happiness, the excitement, and the way Li Syaoran somehow managed to end up with cake all over his face. There had always been suspicion of a prank, somehow, in that matter, but no one had ever been able to prove anything. Luckily, Sakura had been there to calm Syaoran down and keep him from harming Eriol, who he swore was behind it.

Through the whole thing, Sonomi's eyes never moved from the screen.

Tomoyo stood at the back of the room, just behind her mother, watching over Sonomi's shoulder. She had forgotten all about this tape, until she had come back into this room. But the minute she had seen it and remembered what was on that tape, she knew it was perfect.

It was happiness. She had been happy, right until the moment of her death. She wanted to be remembered in that light of happiness, rather then the circumstances that had taken her away.

And she hoped, desperately, that her mother would understand that. After all, Tomoyo was smart, and she was her mother's daughter.

Tomoyo reached out, towards her mother, and touched her shoulder. She let her fingers become solid for just a second, long enough for Sonomi to feel the contact before she fell back into invisibility. Then her arm slid right through her okaasan's back.

Sonomi spun around so fast that Tomoyo was surprised she didn't break her neck. Her eyes were wide, tear-filled, and alert as a watchdog. Those eyes darted back and forth, not missing anything. Only a hint of suspicion tinged the heartbroken expression in those eyes. Suspicion…and hope.

Tomoyo smiled, but remained invisible. She didn't know exactly how it would go over if she suddenly appeared in front of her already distraught mother. And besides, her okaasan was slowly realizing that her daughter was there already.

"Okaasan," Tomoyo whispered. A sound like the flutter of butterfly wings on the wind.

Yet Sonomi heard it.

She heard her daughter's voice, though the room remained hollow, painfully empty.

A single, genuine tear rolled down the mother's face.

Maybe Tomoyo wasn't completely gone after all…

Maybe…

AN: Yay rah, another [successful] chapter. I think there's going only going to be three or four more chapters to this fic. Yes, I know I haven't gotten to the ExT part yet. It's coming! I promise! Just not in the next chapter. *readers feel the urge to throw many, many bricks at the author*

Next chapter, I might bring Yue back into the picture. Key word: MIGHT. Haven't decided yet. Laters!