Promises to Keep, chapter 1
"Home for the Holidays"

"...And don't let her strain herself. She's not used to needing to be so careful, she thinks she can still save the world, I can't seem to get through to her that the rest of us can save the world for a while too and she needs to just rest right now..."

"I understand, Shaoran-kun," Yukito said, for the dozenth time in ten minutes, still gently smiling -- although both he and Sakura flinched a bit at the sound of wood snapping behind them, probably Touya's wooden cooking chopsticks suffering for his bad mood. Shaoran looked back towards the kitchen, and his eyes widened a little bit.

Sakura reached up and squeezed both of her husband's hands, and lent her voice to Yukito's attempts to gently coax the young man out and onto his plane before Touya got to take out his bad mood on the person most commonly responsible for it. "I feel perfectly fine! We're both perfectly fine. Go on; you'll miss your flight. I love you too, Shaoran, but you really do need to hurry..."

Shaoran still looked to Yukito for an assurance nobody on the planet could actually give him. "Should I tell Yue all this too?"

"We do talk occasionally, you know," Yukito assured him, his voice brimming with a mirthful delight that barely managed not to spill over into laughter. "Sakura-chan will be fine. If anything happens, Kero-chan will let you know. If anything serious happens, I'll come for you myself. That is -- Yue will. Go on. It's all right. It's just one week."

Shaoran looked at Sakura again, and heaved a huge sigh, and bent to straighten the blanket he'd tucked over her one more time. "I love you," he murmured.

"I love you too," she replied, smiling. "I promise I'll call if anything happens! Go on, love."

The second chopstick snapped in Touya's hands, accompanied by a wordless but very expressive growl.

"I'd hurry if I were you," Yukito told Shaoran confidentially. "You know To-ya and his sister complex-"

"I HEARD that, Yuki!" The pronouncement was followed by loud footsteps storming out of the kitchen.

"...See you next week!" Shaoran said desperately, and dashed for the door.

Touya, half covered in flour with a pair of broken chopsticks clenched in his fist, glared his frustration at the door that slammed behind Shaoran; then he transferred his glare to his utterly unrepentant lover. "...I do not have a sister complex! I didn't even strangle him the day I found out they... they were..."

Even two years later, he couldn't bring himself to say the words "having sex" in reference to his own little sister, no matter how married she was; Yukito burst into gales of laughter, and Sakura put both hands over her mouth to keep from joining him. Touya flung both hands into the air and stormed back into the kitchen.

"Oh, dear," Yukito said, wheezing with glee. "I think I'm going to be sleeping on the sofa tonight!"

Sakura wilted a little. "I'm sorry, Yukito-san -- I know I'm an imposition; I didn't want to interrupt your private time with oniichan, I really didn't. It's just that the doctor says I can't possibly travel to Hong Kong with Shaoran right now -- I'm so sorry..."

Yukito shook his head, and took off his glasses to scrub the laugh-tears from his eyes. "Don't you dare apologize! We both love you."

From the kitchen, Touya added, "And we're not about to let you spend the holidays all by yourself, even if you weren't almost big enough to burst with the junior monster!"

"Don't call my baby a monster!" Sakura struggled to untangle herself from the blanket and get up to scold her brother further; Yukito stilled her gently, both hands curved to the taut mound of her abdomen.

"It's all right, Sakura-chan. I promised you, remember? If anyone makes you upset, I'll beat them up for you! You sit right there and rest; I'll be right back."

Wide-eyed, because she wasn't entirely sure how serious Yukito was being, Sakura got as far as "Yukito-san--" before the slender young man stood up and pushed back his sleeves and walked resolutely into the Kinomoto family's kitchen.

"To-ya," he said, "you know how important it is not to upset Sakura-chan just now. I'm going to have to reprimand you."

"No, you're not."

Yukito crossed his arms. "Is that a challenge?"

"Nah, just an observation. Nobody called her baby a monster. ...Just a junior monster!"

"Oniichan!" Sakura wailed.

"Then I'll just have to give you a junior reprimand," Yukito replied, and jumped on Touya's back to try to get him into a headlock for a thorough head-scrubbing.

"Oi! Yuki, you -- let go -- hey --"

"Not until you apologize!" Yukito said, laughing.

Over the back of the couch, Sakura watched in wide-eyed bemusement as the tangle of her brother and her almost-brother-in-law staggered flailing around the kitchen; Touya stepped on spilled flour that made one foot slide, Yukito tried valiantly to catch them both before they could hit the floor and overcorrected, and Sakura clamped both hands over her eyes until the crashing and clattering and thumps were done and all that was left was a faintly whimpering giggle from Yukito.

"Sakura-chan," he called a bit breathlessly, "how do you feel about ordering in tonight? To-ya's treat, of course!"

"Why, you little--!"

"I think that sounds like a wonderful idea," Sakura said.

An hour and a half later, sitting on the sofa between two of her four favorite men on the planet, Sakura sighed when Yukito snuck another dumpling onto her plate.

"Yukito-san, I really can't eat another mouthful! My stomach's too crowded already." She put both hands down into the sofa and stretched awkwardly, trying to find a more comfortable position to rest in; her pregnancy made a snug mound curving the maternity dress Tomoyo had made for her, and she rubbed her fullest place in discomfort.

"Here, then," Yukito said, and perched her plate atop the convenient bulge of her belly, lending his hands to rubbing the round distension for her.

The plate wobbled when she giggled. "Yukito-san--!"

Touya rolled his eyes at both of them and rescued Sakura's plate from its precarious perch -- and ate the dumpling himself.

"To-ya!" Yukito protested. "That was for Sakura and her baby!"

"It's all right," Sakura said hastily. "I really would burst if I ate another bite!"

"Just wait a bit and you'll be hungry again," Yukito said, with the voice of experience. "That's why I made him order dim sum. You can snack on little things all evening rather than needing to eat everything at once. You need to eat for two, after all."

"Most people's concept of eating for two doesn't involve ordering two sets of everything on the menu, Yuki," Touya mumbled, still chewing.

Yukito said, "Be glad I'm not upsetting Sakura-chan tonight, or you'd regret that!" He was still massaging her abdomen gently; to Sakura's othersight, his hands glowed softly with power.

Sakura bit her lip to keep from saying so aloud. Not because of any lingering difficulties between Yukito and Yue -- as the years passed, the two of them had settled into an easier harmony within the body they shared; Yue had learned from Yukito what it was to know joy and laughter and love, and Yukito had learned from Yue what it was to accept inhumanity and the strength that was needed to bear his birthright. They talked with each other; sometimes Yukito's eyes would go unfocused, and then he'd mention something Yue had said, or sometimes Yue would close his eyes and lend Yukito his voice. Touya loved them both; but Yue tended to remain hidden through their day to day life, both because Yukito was easier to explain and because he found it restful to let Yukito's bright and cheerful personality shine its gentle light on the life they shared. But Touya had never regained the magic he had given away to save his beloved friend's life, and so Sakura tried not to mention magic in front of him when she could help it.

Instead, very shyly, she murmured, "That feels very nice, Yukito-san."

His smile held a bit of Yue's deeper knowledge in it; he heard what she wasn't saying, and replied simply, "I'm glad to help."

Touya shifted around, glared at the ceiling, scratched behind his ear, and muttered something incomprehensible.

Sakura blinked at him, and then at Yukito, who now had a purely human and rather impish grin on. "What...?" she asked.

Yukito simply looked at Touya with an expectant quirk to his brows. Touya held out for about thirty seconds, then surrendered to the pressure of those angelic eyes and the wickedly knowing glint in them. With his cheeks burning, Touya mumbled, "Me too...?"

"You too...?"

"Your big brother wants to know if he can touch the baby, Sakura-chan," Yukito translated, still with that irrepressible mirth dancing in his eyes.

Sakura's eyes widened, and she put both hands to her cheeks to hide the blushing; she couldn't form words to answer, just a few incoherent stammering sounds, but she nodded so vigorously that Yukito bit his lip to keep from laughing.

"I told you you didn't need to worry," Yukito said, which earned him a glower and a light cuff across the head.

"Who was worried?"

Still, Touya made a too elaborate business of being casual as he brushed his fingertips lightly over the soft fabric of Sakura's maternity dress, barely enough to ruffle it.

Yukito choked, wheezed, and managed to gasp, "I'm sorry, Sakura-chan," before he turned away and buried his face in both hands, his whole body shaking with the attempt to fight back gales of hilarity.

Sakura's face was a brighter pink than the bow in her hair; but she gathered together the nerve to place her hand over her brother's, pressing his palm against the mound of her pregnancy, because it was obvious he was intent on treating her like an eggshell on the verge of shattering.

Touya sat bolt upright, flustered. "Don't press so hard! Should you push like that? The baby--"

His voice cut off short, as he stared down at their intertwined hands upon her abdomen. Then his voice came back at twice the volume: "I told you not to push like that! What was that? Should I call the doctor? Yuki, stop laughing already and help me call the--"

Sakura couldn't help herself; she dissolved into giggles too, holding her brother's hand tightly. "No doctors...! I'm fine... that... that was just... kicking..."

Touya looked back and forth between Sakura, Yukito, and the alarmingly active bulge of Sakura's middle. "Kicking?" he repeated numbly. "...Doesn't that hurt? Are you sure you don't need a doctor? Dammit, Yuki, stop laughing already..."

"You're not making that easy!" Yukito gasped, clutching at ribs that were protesting their abuse. He took his glasses off again and rubbed the heel of his hand across his eyes, still shaking with the struggle not to simply fall over in hysterics; Touya made an irritated swipe at him, and Sakura caught his hand quickly, her cheeks still pink with embarrassment and suppressed amusement tangled in together.

"I'm just fine, oniichan. Trust me. I know my own body. I know my baby. We're both doing fine. Believe Yue-san if you don't believe me. That's why Kero-chan is with Shaoran; Eriol-kun says they'll both know when it's time. --Well, that and Kero-chan is easier to put in a carry-on than Yukito-san is! I've been taking care of the baby for months and months now; I promise I know what I'm doing. You won't hurt the baby just by touching. Really, you won't..."

Touya still looked at Yukito for confirmation; Yukito nodded a little, still grinning maniacally. "Who doesn't have a sister complex...?"

"Ask Yue," Touya growled, still as easily nettled by Yukito's teasing as Sakura was by being called a monster. "Does he think it's okay for her to just push people's hands into her stomach like this...?"

Yukito closed his eyes for a moment, holding an internal conversation, and then the corner of his mouth quirked as he looked over at Touya and Sakura's startlingly similar hanging-on-Yue's-answer expressions. "Yue says, and I quote, 'Tell him he hasn't hurt her; he'll know it if he does. He'll know because he'll be sleeping on the floor for the week and Keroberos will be tearing his head off shortly thereafter. Now let me go back to sleep.' I think he was having a nice dream..."

"That's not terribly informative, you know," Touya said, with half-lidded eyes.

"Here, silly," Yukito said, and took Touya's hand between his own; unselfconscious, he brushed a gentle kiss against the palm of his lover's hand, then smiled at them both. "Shall we help Sakura-chan be more comfortable?"

He placed Touya's palm high atop the mound of his sister's pregnancy and mirrored it with his own hand, so that their fingertips touched in the middle; then he guided Touya's hand into mirroring the tender massage he'd performed earlier, slowly rubbing down the distended curve, then trailing their palms out to her side and back up to the starting point, tracing a great gentle heart-shape with their hands. "The warmth and the pressure of our hands helps to relax her strained muscles," Yukito said, "and rubbing up her side helps counteract the strain of gravity at her waist and back, while rubbing down her middle helps encourage the baby to settle properly for birth. ...Or at least that's the way Cl-... I mean, Eriol-san explained it to Shaoran and Yue."

"And you believed him?" Touya asked.

"I don't know what the reasons are," Sakura said shyly, "but it does feel wonderful."

Touya glowered at the ceiling and then at his toes and grumbled something incoherent, but when Yukito let go of his hand, he kept carefully mirroring the pattern Yukito rubbed, so that they would trace both halves of the heart in unison. Sakura smiled at them both, delighted.

"Now if only Shaoran and Dad--" she stopped to yawn widely -- "and Tomoyo-chan could be here too..."

Yukito bit his lip again, a private glitter sparkling in his eyes. Touya didn't miss it, but he wasn't about to start a brawl across the bulge of his heavily pregnant and drowsing sister; he kept rubbing a dutiful mirror to Yukito's lead until Sakura let her head tip over against her brother's shoulder and her eyes drifted closed.

Yukito stilled their hands then, softening his voice: "Let's let her rest. Yue says she tires out so very easily now..."

Touya nodded, and caught Yukito's hand when his lover moved to tidy up the leftovers from their dinner order. "What was that look about?"

"What look?"

"That 'I know something you don't know and I'm enjoying every minute of it' look."

"Who, me?"

Touya picked up a handful of the newspaper and reached over and bonked Yukito on the head with it. "Spill it, Yuki. It can't be the brat coming back, they spent too long sapping over each other already, so what is it about Dad and Tomoyo-chan?"

"Your father's going to be at the archaeological conference until Tuesday, and Tomoyo-san has a design show in Kyoto on Thursday. You know that," Yukito said, working entirely too hard on the innocent-angel eyes.

Touya sighed quietly, mindful of Sakura's head on his shoulder, and said, "So what hellraising have the three of you plotted up for Wednesday?"

Yukito said, "I thought you said you weren't psychic anymore."

"Psychic or not," Touya said. "after spending this many years around you, Tomoyo-chan, and that Hiiragizawa kid, anybody with half a brain learns paranoia real fast."

"I don't know whether I should be hurt or flattered," Yukito replied lightly. "I'll tell you later, when we're alone."

"She's completely out."

"Yes, but her cards are always mindful of anything that could affect her," Yukito said, "and they're even more attentive than usual lately. Besides, I do intend to have you all to myself later tonight..."

"...With her room next door...?"

Yukito gave him a terribly patient look. "To-ya, your baby sister is twenty years old, and within a few weeks of giving birth to your first niece. There's no way she could have spent two years married AND gotten herself so very pregnant without learning at least a few of the basics."

Touya was too pinned to squirm the way he needed to; instead he just picked at the end of the sofa arm with a very, very nervous and agitated finger. "...Dammit, Yuki, there are things I just don't want to think about, okay?"

Yukito bent and kissed his cheek gently. "I know, silly. And it would be a bit cruel to remind her that she's alone right now. But there are quite a lot of rooms in this house which aren't next door to her bedroom at all."

Touya breathed a sigh of relief, and then blinked, and then glared at Yukito again. "You could have mentioned that part first, you know."

"But you're so cute when you're all riled up and fidgeting in embarrassment like that." Yukito grinned at his outraged expression. "And you're too conscientious a big brother to drop her on the sofa and chase me down for vengeance, too. Lucky, lucky me!"

He folded his hands behind his head and wandered whistling into the kitchen with the empty dinner plates, then started humming happily to himself as he drew water to wash them.

Touya glared murder at the contents of the coffee table, because nothing in reach was both solid enough to throw at Yukito's head and non-breakable enough to survive the impact with the ground when it fell after ricocheting.

Sakura shifted a little in her sleep, her brows quirked together in momentary discomfort; Touya patted her middle very gently, and started rubbing again. The baby shifted beneath his hands, settling more comfortably into the curve of her mother's body, and Sakura gave a small contented sigh and snuggled closer to him.

"...'m not a monster..." she mumbled in her sleep; Touya laughed softly and smoothed her hair.

"You'll always be a monster to me."