Hopes and Starlight

Even though she ended up missing a week and a half of school because of her complicated birth and other matters, Tomoyo managed to continue her schooling. She healed quickly, much more quickly than normal, and managed a schedule with the others that allowed her to take off those hours to go to school. But she left only moments before school started and was home moments after it ended. It wasn't that she wanted to relieve Mistress who was given primary care duty during the day. No she just wanted to be with her child as much as she possibly could.

And the child was as perfect as her mother was, unbeknownst to both. She slept during the night lying next to her mother quietly. She never spit up. She rarely cried and she learned to smile beautifully quickly. Mother and child loved each other dearly and were best in each others company. But Tomoyo knew that time was coming for her to tell Hikari's father. And she knew when she had to do it was coming.

Winter break was coming closer and Tomoyo stressed that Mistress find out where Eriol was now. They worked their way through the rest of the school semester and Tomoyo made it through the exams she had to take due to her long absence. But she finished school and on that last day she packed up Hikari's baby bag and changed into one of her more formal black dresses. The one she had worn to dinner the night she had gotten her Silver Rain. She put on her long black hooded cloak and wrapped Hikari up in her snow white blanket, holding her extra close for warmth.

Tomoyo made her way down to the entrance hall where she smiled at everyone who had lined up to wish her luck.

"I should be back soon. I don't know what will be said or what will happen, but don't worry, I'll come back."

She smiled at them and then melted away silently in front of their eyes.

The three of them looked at the spot where she disappeared from with a kind of warm respect and fear. Because all of them knew that something momentous would happen today and they were afraid of what would happen at the end. But they all kept close to their hearts her promise to come back. For all of them knew as well as she that she was the Mistress now, the keeper of the house and the truest friend they all had. She would come back.

Eriol was walking down the long line of oak trees that grew on his property in northern England. He had come there only recently but already he felt like leaving. Everywhere he went he only saw her and it left him cold inside. Colder than the frost that bit at him now. It had been a year since she had left. A year in which he had barely held on to his sanity. At one point he even thought he had seen Silver Rain in the sky, but he put it down to the fact that he just wanted her too much.

He didn't even know what he would do if he saw her. She would probably not even recognize him since he was now in the body he most usually kept to, seventeen, the year he had learned to stop time. She must be seventeen now but he didn't even know her birthday. All that he knew is that if he didn't have her back soon he would go completely insane.

As he walked he saw to one side a woman of medium height wearing a long black cloak. The hood had fallen back to reveal raven black hair. His heart leapt when he saw the hair colour but soon he came to his senses. For no reason in the world would she come to find him. Nor would she be in the middle of northern England on accident. He sighed and turned to leave the poor woman in peace, but he had obviously made enough noise to attract her attention and she turned.

In an instant he froze in disbelief. She looked ten times more mature than she had a year ago but she was also that many times more beautiful. He couldn't believe that she was really here. He took a half step towards her and then another until he was finally only a few feet away from her.

"Tomoyo...," he began.

She smiled softly. And it wasn't a smile that accused him of anything. It was just a smile of greeting. Greeting a friend.

"Hello, Eriol."

"Huh...Hi. Why are you here? I mean not that I'm not glad but...I thought you hated me."

She gave him a half smile. "I don't hate you. At least not anymore. But I do have a very good reason for coming to find you, Eriol."

"You are going to forgive me?"

"A better reason."

"You will take me back?"

"Better," she laughed.

He raked a hand through his hair. "What?"

Skillfully she shrugged back the folds of her cloak. Underneath, huddling for warmth from the new cold blasting in at her she held a small child. "Her."

He looked lost. "Her..." Then suddenly a light dawned in his face. "She...she's mine?"

"Who else, you idiot?"

"Sorry. But...why didn't you tell me?"

"It took me a long time to forgive you. Then I decided that I wanted to do some things on my own."

"Is your Aunt Nadeshiko fine with this?"

"I've been living at the Boarding House."

"What?!" he nearly screamed causing Hikari to squirm.

"Shh...You'll wake her up. And trust me; she can be louder than you."

"Sorry. But, you've been living at the Boarding House? For how long?"

"Since February."

He looked like he was going to fall over. "You mean you were only gone for a little over a month?"

"Closer to two but...yeah."

He just didn't know what to say. He knew he should probably be angry that she kept such a big secret from him for a year. God a year that meant... "And what, she's three months old now, approximately anyway, right?"

"Yes."

"Why didn't you tell me when she was born?"

She blushed. "I didn't want you to come see me when I was fat and sweaty. Don't be silly. Besides I wanted to tell you like I am now. I would have come sooner but I had school."

"You went to school after you had our child?"

"I know, I'm a bad parent."

He put a hand over her mouth before she said anymore. "No, you are just amazing. I know you had help from Mei Lin but...seriously. You amaze me, Tomoyo. You always have. But...the question I have now is what do you want me to do?"

"You mean did I just come here to tell you?"

"Something like that."

She grew really quiet and looked down at their little girl. Then she looked up at Eriol with eyes of assessment. She took in the appearance she had only seen once before at the Halloween ball a year ago. Ironically it was the form that she began to always think of him in. Adding the ages and dividing by two almost. But it was his eyes that she looked at the most. The eyes that she had missed the most.

"I want you to be her father, Eriol. I want you to come home with us."

He looked at her. "Seriously? Are you sure?"

"Of course you idiot. I love you. So does she."

"You love me? And she...what is her name?"

"Hikari. And I always loved you. I thought I told you that."

"No. You never said the words before. I waited for them but they never came."

"I'm sorry. But I really do."

He grinned and hugged his family to him. And if anyone saw and thought that they looked like two teens that had become a statistic, well, they didn't care.

"Now, Hikari, I want you to spread these flower petals everywhere."

"Yes, Uncle Syao."

"Good girl, now go!"

At the wedding of Hiiragizawa Eriol –agreed upon by both as the better name for the time being- and Daidouji Tomoyo -who only reluctantly revealed her real name, and incidentally the fact that she was probably the wealthiest girl in Japan- there were a few odd things. The first was that though neither the bride nor groom looked any older than nineteen they seemed more ready for it than most thirty year olds. There was also the fact that there was a little two year old girl who called Tomoyo Mommy and Mikkoku Daddy even though there had never been any news of Tomoyo ever being pregnant. Or maybe it was the fact that the Maid of Honour was only twelve years old while the bride's maids, Mei Lin, Rika, and Chiharu, looked to be eighteen and twenty-five. Even more that while everyone knew Tomoyo, most of Tomoyo's guests hadn't known Eriol long, or why he looked a lot like the high school's teacher with the same name, though it was obviously impossible for them to be the same person. Right?

But no one mistook how beautiful the bride looked as she walked down the aisle in a long silver dress and veil which barely covered Tomoyo's black hair which was now nearly to her feet. Nor did anyone think it was odd that they wrote their own vows, or that they looked perfect together. Instead they wished them luck on their early marriage and toasted that they have a long and happy life together.

And only half of them knew just how long that life maybe.

"Sakura-chan, you are nineteen now. I think it's safe to say that you can marry the idiot if you want."

"But, Tomoyo-san, if I marry at nineteen people will think I'm copying you. No matter how long Syaoran and I have been together."

Tomoyo rolled her eyes. They were sitting together on the large balcony that looked over the gardens at the Boarding House. An outside observer might have been struck breathless at the sight, for it was awing. The two were almost painfully beautiful when they were by themselves, more so when they stood together. While one wore all pink and honeyed hair so pure it shone in its own light the other wore solid black and raven hair so long and dark it put the very night to shame. They looked like the queens nestled in their own world of fantasy and dreams.

Of course they also looked the same age. Tomoyo had stopped her aging process at nineteen and decided she quite liked the age. But everyone knew that even if she had let herself age normally she would be as beautiful as she ever was, if not more. But no one could convince her of that fact, nor would they.

"Sakura-chan, if anyone accuses you of copying me I will punish them severely."

Sakura laughed. "Yes, ma'am. Speaking of copying you, where is Hikari-chan?"

Tomoyo laughed. Their daughter had inherited the same dark colouring as her parents and, though her mother told her strictly that she didn't have to, would only wear black while she was in the Boarding House, like her mother.

"I think she is with her father, or perhaps Syaoran-san. But they are supposed to be showing her how to find her symbol."

"You know, she is as powerful as the two of you, Tomoyo. And I'm not giving up my symbol to her. So I wonder what will happen."

"Maybe there is a symbol that someone forgot about."

"I wonder."

"But what did you mean speaking of copying you?"

Sakura blushed scarlet and turned away from her mentor. "Nothing."

Tomoyo almost died of laughter. "You...and Syaoran-san...does he know?"

"Not yet."

"How long?"

"Only a month."

"Ah then you can wait awhile to tell him if you want."

"Not as long as you did."

"Good thing, I don't think Syaoran-san would react as well as Eriol did."

"As I did what?" Eriol asked, as he came out onto the balcony with them, daughter trailing happily after.

"I'll tell you later, dear," Tomoyo said as she turned to smile at her daughter. "Well? What is it?"

"Look, Mother. I have a tattoo! And it doesn't hurt or anything!"

Tomoyo looked at her daughter's left arm and then at Eriol who was smiling mischievously. "Does it have a name, Eriol?"

"No, Silver Rain, it doesn't. I think we have done the impossible and brought out a new magick into existence."

"Maybe." She looked at the tattoo, a beautiful black bird, wings spread to meet on the other side of her arm, flying up towards her shoulder, with a silver teardrop in its beak.

"Can I name it, Mother, Father?"

"Not it, Hikari. It is like naming yourself. So choose carefully."

The twelve year old thought carefully and then answered. "I know, Mother. Since I am half of you and half of father brought together to be all me. Well then I am PheonixRain. Someone brand new."

"Perfect."

Over the next years Hikari and her parents moved around but often came back to the Boarding House where Sakura and Syaoran had stayed to raise their child after their marriage. But Hikari had kept to her small body, waiting for a day she knew would come. Tomoyo and Eriol thought it was kind of funny that their daughter seemed like anything but theirs physically. They looked almost like siblings when they all stood together, rather than parents and child, but no one minded. From time to time they would all change their own age, getting older or younger at will. And as time passed Hikari learned to love her parents not only as parents but as near equals, for no matter how new she was to the world, oddly the two still remained marginally more powerful than their daughter. And Hikari may never be as beautiful as her mother, but only her father would have noticed since neither thought they were even pretty. All in all their life passed peacefully and happily. Much like any other Immortal, which there are many of, more so than mortals ever begin to know.

And on the day of their twentieth anniversary they returned to the Boarding House to hold a party. Mistress welcomed them home with joy, since they had been gone more than they had been home in the past ten years.

"They didn't want to repay the favour and help us raise our child as we did theirs."

"Ha! Uncle Syaoran you didn't do anything to help raise me. You nearly got me killed more times than I can count."

"Ah but look. You grew up. Actually, no, you look like you haven't grown much at all since we last met. Why, let me see, thirteen?"

She grinned. "I have my reasons."

"You really are an idiot about some things, Syaoran." Sakura smiled at Hikari and winked. "He's in the other room."

The two sets of parents watched as Hikari ran into the next room. Tomoyo walked over to Sakura and whispered in her ear and Sakura nodded. Both giggled and knew that life might be a bit more interesting than it had been. And that they would be spending more time at the Boarding House. If Hikari permitted since she was old enough to live alone.

"Zhi Ye! I heard you got your symbol! What does your tattoo look like? Let me see."

The fourteen year old boy blushed. "If you want to see it, I have to take my shirt off."

"I've seen you naked before, this is hardly anything."

He sighed. "You know. You are like, seven years older than I am, Hikari. Why do you always look near my age when you come here?"

"I'll tell you in a minute. Now show me before I take your shirt off for you."

"Fine!" He unbuttoned it and slipped it down his arms until she could clearly see his upper right arm. Very similarly to his father there was a wolf crawling up his arm. But this time it was white and in its mouth there was a MoonStar.

"And what should I call you now?"

"Star Wolf. Now explain."

She smiled. "Because, Star Wolf, we are new in the world. Something that has never been seen. I think we should stick together."

"Good," he said. Then he leaned over to kiss her.

.