Disclaimer: I don't own CCS. I never have and I never will. However, I do own this plot, so please! No taking!

Summary: Doomed to spending life with two faces, Kinomoto Sakura doesn't experience happiness very often. By day, she spends life as a human. By night, she becomes a phoenix. All seems dim, but there's always hope... right? **AU** ~Chapter 1: Kaze's Disappearance~

Notes: Um... okay. Some of you are going to shoot me for not updating Wishing Well and Footprints in the Sand. Sorry! *ducks flying objects* But this idea has been rolling around in my head for the longest time and if I don't get it down on paper soon, it won't be there anymore! I swear, I'll update the other two soon! I promise! I just had an inspiration flash and I've been able to write well for the past few days, so I'm furiously writing the next chapters. Footprints in the Sand is a random fanfic that I'll update when I have nothing better to do, and when I can write humour, because that's pretty much what it is. Wishing Well, well that's more angst/action more than anything. Anyhow, new chapter!

Rising of the Phoenix: Melody

A swish of a cloak quickly followed the noises of the currently scared girl. Her fearful eyes darted to all cracks and crevices that she might be able to escape through. Being so small, she should be able to get through them. She was hardly able to move much because of the crowds that bustled around her. Coming to the city had been a terrible mistake. She was going to pay for it dearly.

If only her guardians were here... Amber, the young girl that now protected her, had fabled powers, powers that most people never dreamed of having. She only had one purpose for them though, to protect the phoenix of the tower.

At first sight, this young girl didn't seem like much, but that was not to be misled. Amber, why, she could bring a hundred men to their knees with a simple glance. She was absolutely brilliant at mind control, and her father, the man who had protected the phoenix before her, had taught her all that he had known. It was a blessing to be of his blood. The one thing that surprised her the most was easily the fact that this phoenix, the sacred phoenix of the tower, was a young girl.

As a baby, she had always watched the phoenix sleeping; her eyes wide open with awe. She'd yearned to fly, and wondered what it would be like to be this phoenix. Her father had told her that the life wasn't all that great, but still, she had wondered. She knew the legend of this phoenix, everyone did, but it didn't really explain the phoenix's presence on this earth. Everything had a purpose, as Amber was currently finding out.

She had discovered her purpose, protecting the phoenix, but she yearned to explore the world. She was bound to her duties; it was in her family's blood to do this. The very protecting powers from her ancestors flowed through her veins. For as long as she could remember, they had been protecting her, even after her half-transformation.

Clow Reed, easily the most powerful sorcerer of all time, had cast a spell, granting one of the phoenix's wishes, or part thereof anyway. He had cast a spell that would let her become human, as long as the sun was shining, with her phoenix powers suppressed. However, when the sun set, she became phoenix again. It was nearly twilight now, and Amber was keeping a close eye on what was going on. Even one sign that showed that they were going to harm the phoenix-girl, and Amber would be down there faster than the speed of sound.

One of Amber's abnormal gifts included that of the ability to turn herself into light and travel at over 300,000 kilometres per second. She never travelled anywhere that she didn't have to and the phoenix was meant to be kept in sight at all times, so that was what she did. A drink of water would have been nice right about now, but she didn't have time to go get one. Too much to do. Amber cracked her knuckles and smiled in anticipation of the coming battle.

She hadn't fought for a while, and even though the guards were a pitiful challenge, they were still fun to play around with for a time. Call it fun, call it amusement, she really didn't care. She enjoyed the fights, and it was one of the advantages of being a guardian for such a sacred creature. There was always someone trying to capture the phoenix. The fights had been quite meager lately, so Amber was getting quite bored.

A flick of her hand and they were slammed against a wall, instantly falling unconscious from the impact. No challenge... not the best way to start a fearful reputation... but it had its merits sometimes. Amber guessed that she could call them target practice, after all, that was what she used them for.

Not many of them wanted to find her now, the majority of them were probably wanting the glory and credit for killing the great guardian, Amber Sazaki. That wasn't gonna happen, not ever. Besides, if it did, that phoenix had no hope of surviving. The phoenix was bound to her blood. It had been that way from the very beginning and she wasn't about to change that.

Even Amber's younger brother, Satu, protected the phoenix... when he felt like it. That wasn't often though and Amber pretty much always was left with the job. The phoenix was always getting into trouble, particularly in her human form, and that wasn't such a great thing.

Amber shook her head. She had to concentrate. As a human, the phoenix was very fragile. Worse still, she became partly mortal. If she were struck in any place, aside from her heart, with a physical attack, she would heal. However, if she were hit in the heart by an arrow, a spear... she would die. It was that simple.

Amber had seen the girl leaving the tower that morning, and she had followed her to this city. It didn't take long for her to reach the city, even if she had to cross the Harisryu region. All she had to do was think of her phoenix form and she was able to fly as fast as her inner phoenix counterpart. It was quite hard to maintain the speed at most times, but she tried.

The guards advanced on the phoenix-girl, their swords extended, their faces hard, and their emotions in check. They couldn't afford to lose this girl again, or they would lose their jobs. She'd been causing too much trouble for them lately. Stealing food... they knew that she had only been giving it to the poor, and it was such a shame that they had to kill someone so young, but an offence was an offence, and stealing was one of them.

"Come here," one of the guards said, "and we won't hurt you."

Amber felt that it was time to intervene. She stood up, her brown eyes narrowed, hard and icy. Her stare was as cold as the unseasonal snow that sparkled around them. "Phoenix, stay there," she stated before gracefully jumping from the building that she was perched on and landing on her feet. "Now, which one of you loons wants to lost first?" Amber asked.

"Phoenix?" one guard muttered and turned his eyes to look at the girl that they had been chasing. How could she be the sacred phoenix? She was just a normal human, or was she?

"Three on one isn't fair," Amber said. "Especially when the girl that you're contesting with is just a human."

"And what about you?" another guard asked. "Aren't you just a normal human like us too?"

An evil smile came over Amber's face. "As a matter of fact, no, I'm not. I'm the guardian of the phoenix of the tower in Harisryu region."

"Harisryu region? The desert region?" the same guard asked.

"I owe you a few claps. You know your geography. I'm surprised that someone with your brains and status would know something like that." Amber put her hands on her hips and cocked her head. "And it ain't often that anyone surprises me. You should count yourself lucky. You did good."

"Coming from the guardian of the phoenix, that must be a good thing."

"Yeah, it is, but I'm afraid that I'm gonna have to kick your ass now." Amber smiled and got herself back in a fighting stance.

"Why?" the guard asked.

"Because," Amber replied, "you endangered the life of the phoenix, and anything that endangers the life of the phoenix also endangers my life."

"Shit," one guard mumbled.

"We're dead," another said.

"Yeah," the other agreed. All three were shaking.

"This should be easy," Amber mumbled to herself. "I've fought tougher people than this. It should be like taking candy from a baby."

Amber put both hands out in front of her; air swirling between them until it became a churning ball of wind. She lurched it to the ground and Amber was suddenly suspended in mid-air. For moments, time passed as she glowed a radiant shade of cyan. The guards were too stunned and awed to move.

Amber emerged with wings of cyan and hair the colour of sunlight. An old-style robe covered her body. A brown rope wove its way through the robe and it was tightest at the waist, to keep the robe together. The robe was made of a light material that fluttered in the breeze. It had obviously been worn many times and the edges of the robe were beginning to fray. Amber had to repair them; she hadn't done anything much about her clothes in a while.

The majority of her hair was loose, although some of it had been wound into braids. It didn't look too bad; she couldn't be bothered doing much with it. Her brown eyes still gazed down on the guards below. It would be a shame to take them out, but what had to be done had to be done. It wasn't her best day for fighting, but she was still willing to give it a shot in any case.

Her smile grew into a smirk as she regained control of the ancient magical powers that ran through her blood so freely. She flexed her right hand, looking at it happily as she felt herself connecting with the magic again. Her smile widened as she saw her hand glow. The power became somewhat of an addiction sometimes and that was why she did not want to transform very often. She did not want to become dependent on her magical power to get her out of tough situations.

She had to learn to rely on herself, but today was a day that warranted the use of magic, because at any given moment, the sun would fully set and the phoenix's identity would become known. Amber knew that she had to finish this quickly. She only had a couple of minutes left before the phoenix's transformation began. She could not allow that to happen. She could not allow them to be seen. It was now or never. This probably wouldn't take very long anyway.

The phoenix-girl stood there, her green eyes wide open with fear. She was grateful that her guardian had come to her aid, but she didn't want Amber risking her life. She always did that, and she'd always risked her life so many times before.

Amber's hands came together and then separated a few inches. A glowing ball of energy appeared between her hands. She breathed a sigh and let the energy expand and warble around between her hands for a couple of minutes, giving the guards a head start. The guards had taken off running down the streets with their swords still on the ground where they formerly had been. Amber watched them run and muttered under her breath, "Cowards."

She began flying forward at a relatively fast pace and she saw them duck around a corner, obviously hoping to lose her within the twisting and winding paths of the alleyways of the city. Not that that was likely to happen, but they could try. It would only make the pursuit that much more fun. She twisted her wings in the air and rotated her body to make it cleanly around the corner without crashing into anything. She was prone to doing that, she had been doing it a lot lately. That wasn't something that she liked to admit very much, she thought with a shaking head and closed eyes.

Amber was jerked back to reality when she crashed into a wall. A very unpleasant awakening, she thought. The guards were standing around the corner laughing as Amber pushed the bump on her head. The pain wasn't all that bad. She knocked her head all the time. It came from being clumsy at the worst of times. Amber grimaced at the guard and made a sarcastic face, mocking their laughing. The guards weren't offended in the least. Damn. She'd meant for them to be offended, but it hadn't worked. Darn. She had hoped it would.

She tossed the energy ball that was between her hands towards the corner and it made a big hole in the mudstone and shot through to the other end. Amber poked her head around the corner to see the three horrified faces of the guards. Ah... revenge was absolute bliss. She smiled, waved, and watched the three guards hightail it out of there. Should she stay or should she go? It wouldn't really be worth the effort, but it was still fun either way, no matter what she did. Amber had a strange sense of fun.

Her head extended a little further and she watched them run down the long street. She could easily catch up with them in seconds, but she was going to be nice to them now. It was only fair, and besides, she had already used her energy ball. Maybe she could create another one. Energy was quite easy to replenish. Injuries were more annoying to heal. Amber tapped her foot against the ground for a few moments while staring at the sky. She thought back to the phoenix. Wait! The phoenix! How could she have been so careless?!

The phoenix's transformation was due any minute now, and Amber had been caught up in fighting. Of all the stupid things to do... she didn't have much time now. She'd have to hurry. Amber didn't like using her light travel, but now it seemed like she would have to. She'd gotten herself into this... she was becoming so insolent now. She was meant to be a guardian for heaven's sake! A GUARDIAN! She should be acting more like what someone with her duties should have been. Oh the horror, what would her father say? Correction: have said. She kept forgetting... her father was gone now and it was only her, her brother, and the phoenix in that tower in the Harisryu desert.

Her brother would probably be causing lots of trouble right about now. She had to get back to Harisryu region as soon as possible. Oh damn... another trip for the light travelling...

Amber closed her eyes, calmed her breathing, slowed her heart rate and began to breathe deeply. It was a bit like she was meditating, it seemed that way, but it actually wasn't. Amber focused on the inner light that glimmered deep within her and she pictured it within her mind. She pictured herself submerging within the light, becoming nothing more than a spirit. Amber felt herself drifting off on a tangent with her thoughts sometimes, and she struggled to stay with her constant line of thought. She had to stay on track to become the light. There wasn't too much left to do now. All she had left to do was actually becoming the light. It didn't sound very difficult, but sometimes, things are harder than they seem.

All of a sudden, Amber's body disappeared and she transformed into a small cache of sparkling white light. She directed herself toward the guards: she had to wipe their minds of what the phoenix's human form looked like. Amber sped through walls, and the linen that hung up in the alleyways to dry. There wasn't far to go now. A simple glance behind her told her that they weren't behind and she knew that they were in front of her. Amber concentrated on becoming in her body again and her wish complied. She was back in her body within seconds.

Amber peeked her head around the corner and saw the shaking guards. An evil smile came across her face. "Hello," she said, her smile widening. Her delight only increased when she saw all three guards faint.

=-=-=-=-=

The phoenix had long since changed into her nightly form when Amber got back. Amber's eyes narrowed. "You know that I told you to stay at the tower," Amber said. "Why didn't you listen to me?"

The phoenix flinched. She had been expecting something like this. There would be a time where her guardian's rage would just snap. She knew that her guardian had to put up with a lot of trouble from her. The phoenix decided to make a better effort next time so that she wouldn't be seen. She stayed silent.

"Oh, so that's how you're going to be, is it?!" Amber said again, more louder this time. "I don't want you leaving the tower again."

The phoenix opened her mouth to protest, but Amber cut her off before she could speak.

"You're lucky that you're not with Satu. He would have let you die. You know that don't you?"

The phoenix nodded, her gaze sinking to the ground.

"I expect better behaviour from you in the future."

"Okay..." the phoenix said in a barely audible tone.

Amber watched the phoenix for a few moments before speaking again. "Let's go then... Sakura."

+*~*+*~*+*~*+*~*+*~*+*~*+*~*+*~*+*~*+*~*+

"You'll never guess what just happened!" A young girl cried, running into the room.

"What is it, Kaze?" the girl's mother replied. She looked up from where she was reading a book and gazed at her daughter.

Kaze's eyes squinted as she tried to read the title of the book that her mother was reading, and then her face fell. Her mother had been reading that book for sometime over the past few days, and it was of that result that Kaze couldn't talk to her mother much anymore. It annoyed her a little...

"Again, what is it, Kaze?" her mother asked. She was getting a little impatient with her daughter, as she was nearly onto something with the phoenix mystery that was going around the town. There had been at least six sightings of the mystical bird that evening, and that was within half an hour. Think about how many unregistered sightings there would be. Maybe they could all be linked... it was exciting. If she could uncover this mystery, she would certainly go down in history. It was rumoured that the phoenix also had a human form, but there had never been any evidence to confirm this.

"I saw the phoenix today," Kaze said.

"You did, Kaze? Tell me, what did this phoenix look like?" her mother asked.

Kaze walked over to her mother's table and looked down at the book she was holding. "Um… it looked like..." she pointed to a picture on one of the pages, "that."

The mother's eyes widened. Her daughter, why, her daughter had seen the phoenix. "Kaze, was there anything else?"

Kaze's face scrunched up in concentration. "Um... yeah... there was also this girl, I think it was a girl, yeah, a girl with blue wings. I didn't see what she looked like much though. I was looking at the phoenix."

"Okay. Thanks, Kaze. You can go now."

Kaze's face fell. "Mum... um... can you play with me?"

"I'm sorry, honey, I'm busy. Tell you what, I'll play with you later, okay?"

"Like never," Kaze mumbled as she left the room.

=-=-=-=-=

"Mummy won't play with me anymore..." Kaze mumbled to herself as she threw herself down on her bed. "Stupid phoenix..." She buried her face in her covers and didn't bother wiping away the tears that flowed freely down her face. "That phoenix ruins everything..."

"You want to get rid of the phoenix?" a voice asked.

Kaze looked up from her covers to see a cloaked man standing in the corner of her room. With a trembling voice, she asked, "What do you want?"

"To help you," he replied.

"I don't need any help..." Kaze said. Her eyes were shimmering with tears, the fear evident on her face.

"Yes you do. You want to be rid of the phoenix so that you can see your mother again for what she truly is. You want your mother back, don't you Kaze?"

"How do you know my name?"

"I just do Kaze. Answer the question. Will you come with me or not?"

"No."

"Wrong answer," the man said as he walked forward and grabbed her arm in an iron-like grip. He pulled her towards the corner of the room.

Kaze's last cries before she vanished were, "Mummy!!"

Meanwhile, downstairs, Kaze's mother's head had jerked up as she heard her little girl's cries. "Kaze!" she cried while running up the stairs, only to find that when she reached her little girl's bedroom: Kaze was gone.

To be continued...

Well? Bad, crappy? Good? I hope it was okay. Chapters for Wishing Well and Footprints in the Sand will be up soon. Guaranteed. Anyhow...

Review if you want to.

--Kaiwawata