AN: This is a Tomoyo chapter, featuring Tomoyo and Maya, up on top of the clouds, happy happy joy joy. There's a couple really important things in this chapter. Promise. Is this the face of someone who would lie to you? *wearing an Eriol mask* I didn't think so *grinz* I don't own CCS, just my plotline and my OC.
Sakura cried. Li cried. Even Hiiragiziwa cried.
Everyone was crying for her.
And Tomoyo hated it.
She was standing alone at the moment on the cloud, the same perch she had occupied since her arrival. The cloud silk was soft under her bare feet, softer than a fleece blanket. She had long since dispersed with her shoes; they simply weren't necessary here. And besides, it was so much nicer to just walk around barefoot, feeling the clouds under her toes. It was glorious.
But she didn't really pay much attention to that right now. Her attention was wholeheartedly focused on the sight below her. Her mother and her closest friends crying over her as the cold, unforgiving rain poured down on them.
Tomoyo was numb. She didn't feel anything, and she was only vaguely aware of her surroundings anymore. Why was she watching this? Why was she subjecting herself to this?
Suddenly, she was aware of something on her face. Something warm and damp. And her eyes were damp, and they were burning like hell.
What the— she touched her cheek, and despite the fact that she already knew what was happening, she was still startled when her fingers came away damp. She stared at it in wonder and horror.
So engrossed was she in her study of her tears on her fingertip that she didn't notice that she had company. A watcher, still and silent, was standing a short distance away.
Maya tucked her hands into the wide sleeves of her fire colored kimono and followed Tomoyo's movements with her eyes. The child was upset, drastically upset. The angel almost smiled to herself at the thought. Tomoyo wasn't really a child—but then again, she wasn't quite an adult yet. And the dark haired beauty seemed far too heartbroken for a child. She truly was miserable here, torn away from her friends, her family, her home, and everything she had ever really known.
"Tomoyo?" Maya approached cautiously, trying her best not to startle the girl.
It didn't work too well. Tomoyo jumped as though someone had set off a firecracker under her, and whirled to face the angel; one hand instantly flew to her eyes, and she made a futile attempt to rub away her tears with the back of her hand. "Oh…Maya, hello. I was just…I mean, I was only—I didn't—"
But Maya had joined her at the cloud edge, and was now looking down at the scene below. It was a sight that would have broken far harder hearts than Maya's.
"Your friends again?" the angel said softly.
"Hai," Tomoyo said miserably. "Look at them! They're like this because of me!"
"Or rather, because of what happened to you," Maya pointed out gently. "Or perhaps it's because of the fact that they won't ever get to see you again." She paused, then murmured, "in person."
Tomoyo looked at her sharply. "Nani?"
Maya shook her head. "Iie. Later. But maybe you should leave your friends for the moment. All it's doing is upsetting you. Give it a rest, and try not to think about it for a while. It might help."
"I can't just forget them," the dark-haired teenager pointed out sadly, wiping a few more tears from her eyes. "I'll never be able to forget them and what I put them through."
"You didn't put them through anything. And I didn't ask you to forget them," the angel soothed. "I just said that it would probably do you some good to not watch for a while. Walk around, look around the rest of the Here-Above, maybe meet a few of the others."
Tomoyo waivered for a moment, then accepted, though almost grudgingly. Maya decided it might be wise to accompany her young friend on a tour of what she tended to refer to as the Here-Above.
And it became quite evident that Maya had been speaking nothing but the truth. The place was enormous, and seemed to have everything. They wandered past a large white building with pillars holding up the front—Maya dictated that it was a library, with literature from every author and era. An enormous brownstone—a cinema. Even a gargatuan amusement park, and a playground that seemed to go on for miles and miles.
"Where did all of this come from?" Tomoyo asked, staring at what looked like an enormous replica of King Penguin, one with children sliding happily down it.
"Each person here has a different concept of what makes Heaven," Maya explained. "For example, these children need a place to play. It's what they want. So there's a playground unlike any other for the children here. Likewise, there are some who enjoy reading in the library, watching movies—you name it, it's probably here." At Tomoyo's stunned look, the angel laughed lightly; it sounded like silver bells. "This is Heaven, Tomoyo. A place of happiness."
"I'm not very happy."
"Yet. You'll find your happiness here soon, I'm sure."
"You said you were ten when you came here, right?"
"How is it that they are children, and you're…well, not?"
"I chose this. And there's nothing that says I can't act like a child," the angel's star-sprinkled eyes closed as she laughed again. "I've been known to build a mean sand castle."
Tomoyo was surprised to hear herself laugh slightly in response. It felt strange to laugh again.
They walked for a while longer in silence, and Tomoyo found herself actually beginning to relax as she took in her surroundings. This really was a wonderful place, and it really did have everything. She even stopped to gape at a waterfall along the way. At the bottom of the falls, she could see several beings—for she refused to call these etheral creatures people, as the word failed to do them justice—swimming and splashing in the sparkling waters.
But before she knew it, they were nearly back to her perch, as she liked to think of it. Her spot on the clouds, where she could sit and watch her friends and their activities.
Tomoyo dropped back to where she had been sitting before and stared silently at the Here-Below for a long moment before speaking. "Maya," Tomoyo began hesitantly. "There's something I've been meaning to ask you."
"Well…why do you have that outfit and wings, and I don't?" Tomoyo looked down at herself dubiously. She was still in the denim skirt and dark blue top she had been wearing on that day; her sandals had been easily kicked off to the side, where they lay all but forgotten. And she sure as heck didn't have anything large, white, and feathery sprouting from her back. It suddenly sounded like a very stupid question, but she was curious.
Maya glanced down at her kimono—bright red, with a beautiful floral design running up and down one side—and then flapped her wings experimentally, as though pondering the question before giving an answer; a shower of gold dust fell from the feathers. "To be truthful, Tomoyo, it's because there is still something you have to do before you can get your wings."
"What do you mean?" Tomoyo asked in confusion. All her life, she had always heard the little poem, Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. Apparently, that wasn't quite true. Actually, she wasn't even sure if she qualified to be an angel, even. There was still so much she didn't have answers for.
"You have to do something for someone before you can earn your wings," Maya explained. "You have to help someone in the Here-Below." She turned an unreadable look on her friend. "You are an angel, Tomoyo, but it's not quite official until you earn your wings."
"Who do I help? What can I do?" Tomoyo half-whined. "They can't even see or hear me! I can't even go down there?" She paused. "Can I?"
"Hai, you can. And when you are down there, you can be visible or invisible to whomever you choose. But I did not want to tell you that at first," Maya smiled. "It would have been much harder on both you and your friends if you were to immediately start appearing as a ghost, ne?"
Tomoyo nodded her understanding. If she had appeared as a spirit, Sakura probably would have keeled over from a heart attack on sight, and for all she knew, Li and Eriol might have gone ballistic and tried to hit her with magic or some such thing. "But who do I help? What can I possibly do for someone down there?"
"I know you will figure it out, dearheart," the starry-eyed angel smiled. Tomoyo was still always startled when she glanced into the woman's eyes. It was so hard to fathom that the starry night sky could possibly be written in someone eyes, as they were in Maya's.
Tomoyo pondered this a moment longer. She had to help someone if she wanted to get her wings…who could she possibly help, and what could she possibly do to help them? If she appeared to her friends, for all she knew, it could make things worse.
Maya studied the girl's face for a moment. Then she glanced back down to the Here-Below. "Do not worry. You will figure out a way. You will earn your wings. I have faith in you."
AN: Whew…been typing so much my fingers hurt as of late. I have my own opinions of what Heaven is, and I did incorporate parts of my ideas about it into this chapter. Candyland might not update for a little while after this. She's a little worn out from working on a huge update and from too much birthday cake.