The insane musings of the authoress:Ah, and now the true ending of 'Glass Roses'. After this epilogue, I will well and truly have said goodbye to this fic. And yes, I am crying already.
'Glass Roses' had its first birthday yesterday (it was published January 1st 2004, and I posted this epilogue on January 2nd 2005). It's hard to believe that it's been a year since I started it. ((Sniffle)) My baby!
I originally planned to have a two or three-part epilogue, but then I didn't : -) And so, this is what you get. I hope you like it.
Disclaimer:CCS is not mine.
For:Everyone who ever reviewed 'Glass Roses', or put it on their favourites list, or in their C2 archive. For anyone who read silently, without dropping a line. For anyone who passed it time and time again, then finally read it. For anyone who came on this journey with me, no matter how small a part they played.
For anyone who wondered what the title had to do with anything : -)
And, of course, for Lily.
Glass Roses (The Epilogue of Snapshots)
"Are you still working on that photo album, Tomoyo?" Eriol asked his wife teasingly. She looked up from it and smiled at him.
"I'm afraid so - but I'm enjoying it," she answered.
"I can't believe you brought it along to our picnic, 'kaa-san!" Ten-year-old Hina said, laughing. Tomoyo smiled at her daughter.
The sun shone down on them as they sat on the hilltop that Tomoyo and Eriol had sat on all those years ago to watch the sunset.
"It means a lot to me," she answered. "I've been meaning to organise these photographs for… Forever, it seems."
"Ever since they were taken," her husband suggested.
She nodded, that smile still present on her face. The look in her eyes was soft when she happened upon a photograph she particularly liked.
"Look, Eriol!" she said excitedly, eyes still on the photograph. It was from their wedding eleven years ago, he noticed. They looked so young and happy… In fact, no different from how they looked now. Tomoyo, at least, didn't look a day older.
"Is that from your wedding, 'kaa-san, 'tou-san?" Hina asked excitedly, getting up from her seat at Tomoyo's feet to look at the shot. Tomoyo laughed and ruffled her daughter's hair. Hina promptly scowled and flattened her black hair down again - she hated it when her mother did that!
"It most certainly is," Tomoyo said softly. Hina studied the photo and named the people in it in turn.
"Look, there's Uncle Touya and Uncle Yukito, Aunt Sakura and Uncle Syaoran, Grandmother Sonomi, Grandfather Fujitaka ((1)), Aunt Nakuru and Uncle Ichiro, Aunt Isabelle and Uncle Rai, Yamazaki-san and Chiharu-san, Naoko-san, Terada-sensei and Rika-san… And, of course, the bride and groom."
All of them were standing outside the church, laughing - a gust of wind had just blown up, and the women who were wearing hats had their hands on their heads to keep them there. Tomoyo's veil was streaming out behind her, and her hair was everywhere, a few strands even touching Eriol's face beside her, like long, floating ribbons.
"It's really a great photo," Tomoyo said, smiling. And it was - everyone looked so delighted to be where they were, and the shot looked so informal and natural, as the photographer hadn't warned them that he was going to take it.
"You two look so happy," Hina said, her eyes crinkling in a smile. "But then, I suppose you had a lot to be happy about - you almost didn't make it that far, after all."
She stretched out on the grass at her mother's feet.
"Oh, tell me the story again," she said in a soft, pleading voice as her eyes closed and she laid her head on the grass. "It's so romantic…"
"Again? But I'm sure you've heard the story -"
"Ten times," Hina interrupted and she sat back up again to grin at her mother. "But I never tire of it."
Tomoyo heaved a sigh that pretended to be long-suffering.
"Oh, all right. Though it hasn't changed since the last time I told you it, I'm sure," she said.
"Well, you never know," Hina replied, shrugging as she carefully laid herself back down on the grass. "You always add a few things in each time - you tell it slightly differently every time you tell it."
"Do I?" Tomoyo asked, sounding surprised. She turned to her husband, silently asking for confirmation. She received a grin in response. Tomoyo rolled her eyes good-naturedly and began.
"Well, I first met your father when…"
Eriol let his wife's voice fade into pleasant background noise and, unintentionally copying his daughter, lay down on the grass himself. Then he thought of something, and eased himself back up onto his elbows.
"I'll keep going with sticking those photographs in," he offered his wife. "You can take a break and concentrate on telling the story."
Tomoyo smiled, looking relieved.
"Thank you. Here," she said, and hefted the album and the many photos on to his lap.
Eriol opened the album as Tomoyo resumed the story. It really was a beautiful thing, given to them by Nakuru and Ichiro for their eleventh wedding anniversary yesterday. That, actually, was the reason that they were having the picnic today - to celebrate their eleven years married.
Tucked inside a flap on the inside of the front cover was a note written in Nakuru's scrawling script - For all the memories you almost didn't have. Happy Anniversary. Nakuru and Ichiro.
Then he flicked through the pages that his wife had already filled - she seemed to have been putting the shots in chronological order, from least recent to most recent. The first picture was a shot of the four of them (Isabelle, Nakuru, Tomoyo and Eriol) in the bakery.
(A.N. They had been able to have everyone in it as they set the camera up on a tripod then pressed that button that takes the shot after a time delay, so that you can dash into the frame.)
He guessed that it had been taken not that long after he had met Tomoyo. God, they all looked so young! And they had no idea what fate had in store…
The next shot had been taken with Tomoyo's digital camera, as it was a picture of the portrait he had painted of her that day on the hilltop so many years ago. It had been digitally resized so it wasn't even blurred.
The third shot was a stolen one of Isabelle, as she was busy baking at the time. She looked so funny, flushed with the heat of the oven and covered in flour!
Then a picture of Nakuru and Isabelle standing, smiling proudly, and looking down at a cake that Nakuru had helped to bake (and, considering Nakuru's incredible hopelessness with flour, it was quite an achievement.)
Then, another shot like that one, except this one had Tomoyo and Eriol in it as well - they were eating slices of the cake. They were all giggling, as Eriol had made a joke, and Tomoyo had frozen with a forkful of cake half-way to her mouth, her mouth a perfect 'o', and her eyes wide with suppressed laughter.
The next shot was one that Eriol had stolen of Tomoyo when she was sleeping. It was taken at the time they had gone to see the sunset.
There were a few shots that Eriol had taken - Isabelle, Nakuru and Tomoyo together outside Tomoyo's house; a stolen shot of Tomoyo by herself, standing at the counter of the bakery, looking dreamily into nowhere (she hadn't known he was there at all).
Then, a picture of just Tomoyo and Eriol standing on Tomoyo's doorstep, taken, Eriol was fairly certain, by Isabelle. A second shot of Tomoyo and Eriol at the bakery, standing together behind the counter.
Another shot with just Tomoyo and Eriol, a stolen one, probably taken by Nakuru, of the two of them just walking and talking together on a crisp Fall day, piles of golden leaves around them.
Then another shot at the bakery - this time, Touya was there too, as it had been taken when Tomoyo, Eriol, Nakuru and Touya had come back from the airport to tell Isabelle about all that had happened. The five of them were looking into the camera, almost giddy with happiness. The ring on Tomoyo's hand seemed to have caught the light just right, as it was simply a large, flashing sparkle.
Then a couple of shots of Tomoyo and Touya together, taken by Eriol himself that same day. Tomoyo was looking up at Touya in the first shot, and they both looked quite serious, like they were discussing something.
Then, in the second, Tomoyo was in Touya's arms and they were smiling, Touya's chin resting gently on the top of Tomoyo's head.
Then a shot of the happy couple, taken by Nakuru. They were holding hands and blushing - probably at a comment Nakuru had made. Then there was a shot he was certain neither he nor Tomoyo had given permission for, as they were kissing in it. Probably Nakuru again.
Then a group shot of everyone at the Daidouji Christmas party - actually, there were two, and they made him laugh at the contrast in them - the first one had obviously been at the start of the party, as everyone was smiling and standing in a very orderly fashion.
In the second, however, everyone was sprawled all over each other and giggling maniacally. They were draped gracelessly over a couch and spilled onto the floor when they ran out of room on the enormous couch.
Obviously, that one had been taken after everyone had truly got into the party spirit.
In between, there were a few shots of different people - Tomoyo and Sakura, laughing and hugging each other (but not drunk at this point), taken by Eriol. Tomoyo and her mother, deep in conversation (they hadn't known that Eriol was taking the photo).
A picture of Eriol telling a lie with Yamazaki while the ever-gullible Sakura looked on. In fact, Eriol was trying not to laugh as Chiharu strangled the other man.
A group shot of all the girls - Tomoyo, Sakura, Nakuru, Isabelle, Naoko, Rika, Chiharu and Sonomi, skilfully snapped by Syaoran. They were pouting for the camera and trying not to dissolve into fits of laughter - they all looked on the wrong side of sober by that point.
Then a shot of all the guys - Eriol, Syaoran, Touya, Yukito, Fujitaka, Terada, Yamazaki, Ichiro and Rai, who were all so drunk they were struggling to keep their eyes open, and most of them were wearing stupidly cheerful, 'I-am-so-hammered' smiles. Tomoyo, who had probably had a hard time not peeing herself with laughter at their expressions, had taken it.
Suddenly, Tomoyo said a sentence that snapped him back to the present.
"And Eriol and I watched the sunset on this very hilltop!" she was saying, eyes sparkling with the memory. Hina looked spellbound, hanging on her mother's every word, even though she knew the story so well she could recite it. Backwards.
"That's so romantic! That's why this is such a special place for you two, right, 'Kaa-san?"
Eriol chuckled softly and looked back at the photos.
Next were a couple of shots of Tomoyo, Eriol, Nakuru, Rai, Ichiro and Isabelle packing up Tomoyo's stuff into boxes so that she could move out of her little house and into the Hiiragizawa mansion.
Then a shot Eriol had sneakily taken of Tomoyo crying as she stood outside her house, looking up at it. She looked broken-hearted to be leaving it. Perhaps he had been wrong to take it, but shouldn't sad times be chronicled, just like the happy?
He remembered handing the camera to Nakuru for a second, and going over to talk to his fiancée. And, sure enough, there was a shot of the two of them talking. And then, a shot of Tomoyo finally smiling, wiping her eyes. Then another shot as Tomoyo threw her arms around him.
He had said that, since the house was paid off and entirely in Tomoyo's name, that they could just keep it. It wasn't costing them or anything, as Tomoyo didn't have to pay monthly, a rent or a mortgage (there was definitely something to be said for being rich.) She had bought it outright when she saw it, having the actual sum wired straight out of her bank account.
So, even though nobody lived in it all year round, the Hiiragizawas sometimes went and stayed in it for the weekend, just for fun. Also, when people from Tomoeda (such as Sakura and Syaoran, and, later, their children too) came to visit, they sometimes stayed in the house. It meant they could visit for days on end, without booking into a hotel or having to drive back and forth.
It also gave them more privacy than they would have if they stayed in the Hiiragizawa mansion.
Another shot, taken by Nakuru, this time of Eriol and Tomoyo standing together outside the Hiiragizawa mansion on the day Tomoyo moved in, arms around each other.
A picture from the next day, as Isabelle, Rai, Nakuru, Tomoyo, Eriol and Ichiro helped Nakuru box up her stuff so she could move in with Ichiro.
A picture from the end of that day, with Nakuru taking the last box away, and everyone else lying, exhausted, on the couch.
A snap of Tomoyo, taken by Eriol without her knowing, of her trying (not very successfully) to hang a pair of white curtains in their bedroom.
Another shot that he had taken, again of Tomoyo, and again without her knowledge. She was talking into the phone, hand bunched up in her hair as she stood. She was dressed in an old blue shirt of Eriol's that fell half-way to her knees. She stood in the hallway of their home, barefooted, cardboard boxes filled with her belongings surrounding her. He loved that shot.
Of course, a few seconds after he had taken it, he had put the camera down and, unable to resist, pounced on her, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her neck. Getting her so distracted that she had finished the call as quickly as possible with a few non-committal expressions such as 'uh-huh', 'yeah', 'whatever you think', and, when he hit the most sensitive point on her neck, 'mmm, Eriol…'
To which the person on the other end said, "oh, right, this is a bad time. I'll call you back later, Tomoyo-chan."
And hung up.
"I always liked Sakura-san," he growled as he swept Tomoyo off her feet and into his arms. Tomoyo could only giggle as Eriol ascended the stairs.
"This is my favourite part!" Hina was exclaiming as, in the present, Tomoyo began to tell the part about the airport chase. Eriol smiled softly at his daughter.
That was the last shot that his wife had put into the album. The next pictures that had to go in were an absolute handful from the wedding. And so he got to work, placing them carefully. They were good shots of various people at various stages of the wedding, taken by various people. Even Tomoyo, tired of being the subject instead of the photographer, had wrestled the camera off her husband and taken a few herself.
There were a few that really stood out for him - one where he and Tomoyo were kissing at the front of the church (evidently the minister had just said 'You may now kiss the bride'), taken by Sonomi, sitting in the congregation.
A number at the reception, and one of he and Tomoyo having their first dance as a married couple. A group shot of the bride and her bridesmaids, then a shot of Tomoyo throwing the bouquet.
The next shot was very funny in Eriol's opinion - he had captured the moment after Sakura had caught the bouquet, and she and Syaoran were looking at each other, nervous but smiling.
(And, of course, as fate would have it, theirs was the next wedding Tomoyo and Eriol would attend.)
Then, of course, there were a lot of shots of the whole wedding party playing around on the lawn in front of the church and on the church's stone steps.
Then, after the fifty or so wedding photos that had to go in, there were a few of Tomoyo and Eriol in their house after the wedding. A photo of Tomoyo lying sprawled on their bed in her beautiful wedding dress, her inky-black hair contrasting sharply with the all white-bedclothes, so exhausted by the day that she was half-asleep.
Then, a photo he had never seen before - it seemed Tomoyo had taken it without his knowledge. He was lying, asleep in their bed, morning sunlight hitting his pale skin.
He assumed that it was the morning after their wedding, as he could just about make out Tomoyo's wedding dress in a heap on the polished, light-coloured wooden floor with his tux. He blushed.
Then another snapshot he had never seen before, this time of the view from the large patio doors that opened out onto a balcony in their room. The curtains had been hung (Eriol had had to do it in the end) and were thrown wide open, and the patio doors were open too. Tomoyo must have taken it that same morning, standing on the balcony.
The town looked truly gorgeous with all that early-morning sunlight. He could almost hear the birds singing, so vivid was the scene.
The next shot was of Tomoyo, Eriol, Nakuru, Isabelle, Rai and Ichiro all dressed up, as they had all gone out to dinner together to celebrate Nakuru and Ichiro's engagement.
Then some shots from Sakura and Syaoran's wedding - Tomoyo had been a bridesmaid, Eriol a groomsman.
Then a shot of Tomoyo holding up her positive pregnancy test and laughing joyously. In the next shot, Eriol had set up the camera appropriately so that he could join her, and they were hugging each other while jumping up and down. The camera had caught them, frozen in mid-air, whooping silently.
Tomoyo had been talking about their wedding when she suddenly remembered their picnic lunch and began handing out sandwiches and filling cups with orange juice for Hina and tea for herself and Eriol.
Eriol took his cup of tea and a salad sandwich, but kept looking at the pile of photos on his lap.
"How's it going, dear?" she asked. "You've seemed really absorbed."
Eriol finally looked up, nodding.
"It's really interesting to see all the things that happened to us."
The next shots were from Nakuru and Ichiro's wedding - Tomoyo had been three months pregnant when she was a bridesmaid for them, but she hadn't begun to show yet, as it was too early. Again, Eriol was a groomsman.
Then a collection of snaps from Rai and Isabelle's engagement party.
Then there was a shot of a heavily-pregnant Tomoyo, dressed again in that blue shirt of Eriol's. She was holding a hand to her stomach and smiling. Then, there was a shot of the two of them, Eriol's hand on her stomach, with the two of them smiling as the baby kicked.
That was followed by shots from Yamazaki and Chiharu's wedding, where Eriol was (again!) a groomsman, and Tomoyo was a simply radiant seven-months-pregnant bridesmaid.
Then there was a shot of Tomoyo standing, still very heavily pregnant, with her mother and Sakura. The three of them had their hands on Tomoyo's stomach, Sakura and Tomoyo wearing identical grins, while Sonomi's eyes looked misty. Actually, Eriol was fairly certain that he had taken that photo only days before Hina was born.
And, sure enough, he found the next shots were in the hospital, of Hina by herself, lying in her cot, Hina being held by her mother, Hina being held (very gingerly and nervously) by her father, with Tomoyo (who was trying not to giggle at Eriol's worried expression) behind the camera.
Then Hina being held by her grandmother Sonomi, and by her numerous 'Aunts' and 'Uncles'; Sakura, Syaoran, Yamazaki, Chiharu, Naoko, Rika, Nakuru, Isabelle etc.
Then, sure enough, shots from Rai and Isabelle's wedding, complete with a two-month-old Hina, dressed in a miniature little wedding outfit of her own. In some of the shots she was being held by her mother, a bridesmaid, but she was mostly being taken care of by Eriol, who had said he would have to decline their offer of being a groomsman so that he could hold Hina during the wedding ceremony.
Then, shots of a pregnant Sakura with Tomoyo.
The next few pages contained myriad shots of Hina as she grew – Hina playing with Sakura and Syaoran's twin girls, Nadeshiko and Sakura (Sakura had insisted on Nadeshiko, and so Syaoran was able to put his foot down and insist upon having a junior Sakura) when they were all quite young – Hina was about three and the twins around two.
Then shots of Hina baking in Chase Bakery with Nakuru and Isabelle, and a million other shots of her doing a million everyday things – like riding her bike, building a snowman with her father, gardening with her mother. These everyday shots were interspersed with shots of her birthdays – right from her first one to her most recent, her tenth.
The last shot in the album was the most recent shot of them – practically everyone they knew had come to the Hiiragizawa Mansion for Hina's tenth birthday party, and the last shot was a huge group picture. In the back row were the adults – Tomoyo and Eriol, obviously, along with Sonomi, Fujitaka, Sakura, Syaoran, Touya, Yukito, Nakuru, Isabelle, Rai, Ichiro, Chiharu, Yamazaki, Naoko, Rika and Terada-sensei.
In the row in front of the adults were the children – the nine-year-old twins, Sakura and Nadeshiko along with their younger brother, four-year-old Rei, Nakuru and Ichiro's daughter, six-year-old Alice and her two-year-old sister Risa. Then came Hina in the centre. On her other side stood Rika and Terada's three children – eight-year-old Kyoko, seven-year-old Miyaka and three-year-old Katsuya. Lastly, Rei and Isabelle's four-year-old daughter, Saki, was at the far end of the line.
Everybody looked happy in the photo – balloons were lying on the floor in the foreground, and the youngest child, Nakuru and Ichiro's two-year-old daughter, Risa, had had a sticky bow stuck to her head by one of the other children.
Hina had sparkly ribbons that had previously been around her presents tied to her waist-length black hair, and the pinks, purples, silvers and golds glittered among the blackness. The ribbon was also wrapped around her neck, where it fell in eye-catching ringlets to her bottom. She was laughing as Sakura jr. leapt on her back, piggy-back style.
Everybody was wearing one of those absurd party hats and smiling – they were all shouting something at the camera – probably 'happy birthday Hina!', echoing the huge banner that was behind their heads in the picture.
Eriol smiled as he remembered that day – it had been truly wonderful to get everyone together, and they had had such a good time. Eriol stuck the picture in its place and closed the album again. As he looked up and smiled at his wife and daughter, Tomoyo was telling the last sentence of the story.
"And that's how we ended up here!" Tomoyo was finishing. Eriol smiled as his wife looked up at him, a question in her violet eyes.
"I'm done," he answered, and the question in her eyes was answered. She smiled.
"Really? Well done! I could see you were working hard," she said. Hina looked excited.
"Does that mean I can look through them now?" Hina asked. Eriol nodded, smiling.
"Come here and sit on my lap – we'll look through them together," he said.
Hina rolled her eyes.
"Um, 'Tou-san, I'm ten years old. I am way too big to sit on your lap," she said. Tomoyo stifled a giggle. Eriol's expression was immediately mock-stern.
"Excuse me, young lady, but you are never too old to sit on your father's lap," he said in a jokingly ordering tone, and gestured for her to come over. Hina smiled immediately and went over to him, actually looking relieved. Tomoyo felt sure that she wanted to sit on Eriol's lap, really, but she wasn't sure if she should now that she was a whole ten years old.
Tomoyo watched, her eyes misting up as her husband chatted to their daughter, filling her in on the details about the parties she hadn't been to, as they were before she was born.
"And there's a picture of your mother when she was pregnant with you," he was saying as he pointed to the shot of a heavily-pregnant Tomoyo with Sakura and Sonomi. Hina's dark violet eyes, a mixture of the vibrant violet of her mother's and the dark sapphire blue of her father's, widened.
"Wow, she was as big as a house!" she exclaimed. Tomoyo giggled, then wiped at her eyes. Immediately Eriol looked up.
"Are you okay, Tomoyo?" he asked. Tomoyo nodded.
"Yes, it's just that… I can't believe I almost didn't have this," she said.
"Silly, huh?" she asked.
Eriol shook his head.
"No, I feel that way at the end of every day with you two. I just lie in bed and think about how lucky I am."
He smiled and, when he was convinced that Tomoyo had stopped crying, he went back to talking with Hina about the photos. Tomoyo continued to watch them.
When I lived at home in Tomoeda, I had a recurring nightmare. I would always be walking in a park, which was deserted of people. Suddenly, two girls would appear on the abandoned swingset. They would swing for a few seconds, watching me with oddly cold blue eyes, then they would look at each other and dismount together, much more smoothly than I would expect.
They would take each other's hand and walk towards me – they were dressed identically, but they weren't twins – one was blonde, the other had hair of the darkest blue-black. They would walk towards me, smiling, the blue eyes no longer cold, their identical little skirts swirling around their knees as they stepped together in identical little black shoes.
Then they would reach me. They would stop, and the blonde one would smile, her aquamarine blue eyes sparkling up at me. The dark-haired one would stand there, not smiling, her eyes blue like ice. She would watch me while the blonde one held her free hand out. Perhaps the childish beauty of her bewitched me, but I would always, foolishly, reach my hand out to receive the thing that she was holding towards me.
It was a rose made of glass, more beautiful than I had ever seen. I stared at it, not knowing how to say thank you to the blonde child, when she would smirk, her eyes draining of colour until they were the colour of ice, like her dark-haired friend. I would stare, confused, at the change in the blonde girl, when she and the dark-haired one would disappear suddenly.
Then I looked back at the rose in my hand, and it would shatter violently. The pieces cut scarlet gashes into my hands, and I would scream for someone to come to me, help me. Nobody ever came, and I was left to bleed.
When I awoke, I would cry and cry, without really knowing why.
The nightmares stopped when I met him.
"Actually, guys, I brought you out here to tell you some really big news," Tomoyo said nervously. Eriol and Hina looked up together, and the resemblance between them was suddenly striking.
"What is it, 'kaa-san?" Hina asked nervously. They both looked slightly horrified at the idea of important news. No doubt their imaginations were working overtime to produce horrible scenarios.
"Don't look so worried!" Tomoyo exclaimed, and they allowed themselves to relax. A little.
"I'm… I'm… Well, I actually don't know how to say this!" Tomoyo said, rubbing the back of her neck sheepishly.
"Out with it, Tomoyo!" Eriol barked, looking like he couldn't take any more suspense. Tomoyo had to laugh at his expression.
"Well… How would you feel about a new baby brother?" Tomoyo asked, her smile threatening to split her face in two. Hina let out a strange sort of a yelp as she leapt off her father's lap. Her eyes were two round, shocked saucers.
"Really, 'kaa-san?!" she exclaimed, hands clapped together. Tomoyo laughed.
"Well, I would hardly tell you if it wasn't true, would I?" she asked teasingly, as she poked a finger in Hina's stomach. Hina giggled.
"A brother… Wow. It'll be so cool to have a sibling to play with when Sakura and Nadeshiko and Rei and everyone else aren't around!" Hina said happily.
Eriol still hadn't said anything. His mouth moved soundlessly, and he kept coughing and fidgeting with his glasses.
"Are you okay over there, Mr Hiiragizawa?" Tomoyo asked him dryly, an eyebrow raised. He looked up at that moment, the sudden smile on his face so brilliant.
"That's… Wonderful. Truly wonderful. I don't know what else to say!" he said happily, getting up to join his wife and daughter.
"I know it'll be a shock having a baby in the house ten years after the last one, but we've got Hina to help us this time," Tomoyo said to him.
"I'm certain that everything will be fine. Fantastic, in fact," he said. "I've always wanted us to have another baby."
"I know, me too," she said. Then Hina turned to look at her mother.
"You're sure it's a boy, 'kaa-san?" she asked. Tomoyo nodded.
"That's what the people at the hospital told me, anyway," she said, her tone a little dry.
"Then what should we call it? I've always thought that naming it would be the most fun part of having a baby!" Hina said.
Eriol and Tomoyo laughed, and Eriol ruffled his daughter's hair.
"Well, you got your name because of what it means - 'Hinata' - sunny place," Tomoyo said slowly.
When I met him, I found a higher place, a better place, where the roses stayed soft and beautiful and scarlet, instead of turning to glass, shattering and slicing my fingers. All the beauty in this place was soft to the touch and attainable.
So when she was born, I knew, without a doubt, what her name should be. Because, after a long time of searching in the darkness, I have found a place where the sun shines.
"And, since I named you, I suppose it's only fair that your father names this little one," Tomoyo concluded. Hina made a face.
"If you don't mind, 'kaa-san, I have an idea," she said.
"Oh? Well, tell me!" Tomoyo said, smiling.
"Well, you were telling me the story of you and 'tou-san, and I realised that, really, it's all thanks to Uncle Touya that you're here, together, at all. So maybe we could call him 'Touya'," she said softly, as she stroked her mother's tummy, which wasn't even rounded yet.
"Hiiragizawa Touya," Tomoyo said slowly, rolling the words around on her tongue. Then she smiled.
"I like the sound of that," she said to Hina.
"Really?" Hina asked, sounding pleasantly surprised.
"What do you think, Eriol?" she looked up and asked her husband. But he was busy setting up their camera. He dashed over to them and said, "smile!" before the timer ran out and the shot was taken.
The most recent shot in the photo album is of absolutely everyone standing together in the hospital room and smiling. At the front of the shot is Kinomoto Touya, holding little Hiiragizawa Touya, and looking very proud.
On the back of the photo is scribbled, in a ten-year-old's handwriting, 'everybody we love in the hospital room just after 'kaa-san had Touya-kun. Taken by Hina very quickly because Touya-kun hadn't stopped crying since he was born up until this point, and if I hadn't moved fast, he would have started again, and he wouldn't have looked nearly as sweet as he does!'
A.N. This epilogue took me a long time to write. I mean, it took me a lot of hours. I actually began to regret ever saying I'd do an epilogue, as I hadn't realised just how many events I had to cover.
But I'm glad I did, because I really did have fun with it and there were a few loose ends I just had to tie up. The biggest thing I wanted to clear up was where the title tied in. Also, I wanted to include the little thing about how Hina (which is short for 'Hinata') got her name - I just loved the theory about Tomoyo finding her place in the sun after spending a long time searching in the dark.
Plus, I liked the idea of the Hiiragizawas calling their son 'Touya'. : -)
Can you tell that I'm trying to drag this author's note out so that I don't have to properly say goodbye to 'Glass Roses'? : -)
Anyway, in closing, I'd just like to say thank you to anyone who has read this far - I hope you enjoyed reading 'Glass Roses' as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Oh, and have a happy and peaceful New Year!
Shattered Midnight Dreams…zzz…
Because mine is a dream that was lost in a breeze…