Syaoran cursed as tears fell from his eyes, the side of his fist slamming down on the ground. The portal was still closed in the alleyway and he didn't know how long it would be until Eriol opened the way again. He couldn't stay here, he couldn't see this place anymore. Never again did he want to come here, not with knowing that she was here and living the same life he was, with no hope of ever making anything better.
He hunched over on his knees, elbows holding up his trembling frame.
Please just let me go home. Let me go home to my own Meilin, to Tomoyo, Eriol. That damned stuffed animal, Yue, Yukito-san. Touya even. Anyone! Let me go home…
A hand closed around his shoulder causing him to stiffen and whirl on his knees.
Clow stood behind him, holding his staff comfortably. Behind him stood Yue and Keroberos, waiting patiently.
"I just want to go home," Syaoran whispered, fist lifting to swipe away his damned tears. He straightened, rising slowly to his feet. "It's all I want. I never came here to cause anyone any trouble-"
"I know it," Clow said simply and he took a step forward, lifting his free hand to the air before him in the alleyway. He dragged his hand sideways, as if he were running it over some kind of surface invisible to Syaoran's eyes.
"I sense my magic," he explained faintly, murmuring almost to himself. "Only…it's not mine, is it? It feels very much like my own but…splintered, perhaps? Yes, splintered. My magic but a bit of someone else's."
Syaoran swallowed, eyes averted. "In my world, you died. Your original form as Clow Reed. You were reborn, half of you as Sakura's father, the other half in this other person."
Clow nodded, hand still running over the air. "And you and this other me…we're friends, are we not?" he asked and he looked at Syaoran, a small smile lifting his lips.
Syaoran frowned faintly, still not looking at him. "As Sakura's father we are friendly. As Eriol all you do is piss me off," he said truthfully.
Clow laughed, a real smile that was so much like Sakura's father as opposed to Clow Reed. And he did the strangest thing then, admiring the air underneath his fingers. With a tilt of his head he closed his fingers into a fist and seemed to knock, his knuckles twitching against the space around him.
Syaoran stared at him as if he had lost his mind.
But before him, the air suddenly whirled, a whirlpool of air circling into a midpoint that opened up. Syaoran's jaw dropped open as the space in the alleyway suddenly became Eriol's basement, candles flickering, old books and tomes decorating the walls.
Eriol himself stood before the doorway, a small smile on his face. "You rang?" he asked Clow courteously, staff clutched in his hand.
Clow nodded, standing eye to eye with Eriol. "Indeed I did," he said quietly. "You would be…me?" he asked. "The half of me that pisses this young man off?" and he motioned toward Syaoran.
Eriol slid Syaoran a wry look. "I see I've already been introduced then," he smirked. He turned away for a moment and motioned toward Spinel Sun, who hopped up onto the altar with cat-like silence. "Spinel Sun, go and bring everyone down," he instructed.
The feline nodded faintly and his tiny wings lifted him off the altar, whisking him off toward the staircase and up toward the main floor.
Eriol turned back slowly, black robe whirling around his tall, slender frame. "And…Sakura?" he asked cautiously.
Clow glanced at Syaoran out of the corner of his eye, hesitating momentarily.
"She's not coming," Syaoran answered quietly and he straightened, composing himself. "I found her and she's all right here."
Eriol studied him, eyes narrowing the slightest bit. "I see…" he responded after a small second. "Well, it's fine. You got to see the world. Are you all right? The last time I saw you I was nearly killed by Yue's little shards."
"I'm fine," Syaoran nodded.
"Where is he?" came a suddenly angry voice from above and then footsteps came stampeding down the staircase, many of them. Touya appeared at the staircase, hunching down to look into the room and his eyes caught on his father's double standing in the portal. "Otou-san?"
Clow stared at him, lips parted. And for the moment all he could do was gaze at Touya as he came down the steps and further into the room. Behind him came Yukito-san, blinking owlishly. The gray-haired boy paused on the steps, eyes flickering from Fujitaka to Eriol to Syaoran and then stopping on Yue.
"Touya-kun," Clow whispered. A sudden smile broke across his face as he stared at his son, studying him in wonder. "How you've grown."
Touya stared at him, a frown creasing his brow.
But behind Clow stood Yue, eyes wide, form seeming to tremble. Clow took a step to the side and motioned for him. "Come, Yue."
The angel floated forth, pausing beside his Master and looking from Clow to Touya. Touya looked at him as well, glancing over his shoulder at Yukito who hadn't moved an inch. He dragged his eyes back, looking for the life of him quite confused.
"These are the people of the other reality," Eriol said to him. "Remember, I was explaining it to you?"
Touya nodded although it was obvious he was hardly paying him any attention. And very slowly, he lifted his hand and reached out toward Yue.
The angel stared for all of a moment before doing the same, lifting a slender hand and holding it out to the portal.
The surface of the portal shimmered faintly as they both touched it at the same time, rippling like a disturbed pond. But through the filmy veil that separated the existences they touched, fingers to fingers, skin to skin. Touya's lips parted, Yue staring in absolute wonder. And they stood there, separated by nothing but air and consequences. Clow stood smiling faintly, studying his son who was taller than him now, who had his mother's dark looks. But through the protective outside shone the strong young man who had been his son, so long ago.
Yukito came forth, standing beside but a little behind Touya, staring at Yue in amazement.
Yue looked at him, gray eyes softening a bit. He slowly lowered his hand, gazing at his false form. It was something he had never done and something he had never thought possible, especially since abandoning the persona of Tsukishiro Yukito upon Touya's demise.
You're…me," Yukito whispered.
Yue almost smiled, hooded eyes staring at him intently. "Yes."
Touya swallowed, hand dropping away as well. "What's going on here? Is…" he hesitated, looking at Clow, "is Sakura here?"
Clow looked toward Syaoran again who merely shook his head. "No, she's not here. She's alive but away. I just want to come home. I've been here too long and-"
He looked passed Touya as Li Meilin's shrieking form came stomping down the staircase, black pigtails flying behind her. "Syaoran! Where did you go? Are you ok?" She demanded, slender face pale as she skid to a sudden stop before the portal.
"Meilin," Syaoran smiled faintly. "I'm fine. Everything is fine. I just got held up here but everything-"
"And…Kinomoto?" she asked quietly, looking at Clow in wide-eyed interest but trying not to show it. She quickly averted her gaze as he frowned at her, seeming to recognize her. Syaoran looked at him as well, shrugging.
"She's my cousin."
Clow nodded as an indication that he knew and that he understood.
"What do you mean Sakura is away?" Touya asked, speaking over Meilin. "She's on vacation somewhere? When is she going to be-"
Syaoran's ears pricked up and he slowly turned upon hearing the familiar voice. Behind him everyone from his world craned their necks to get a better look, as everyone on the other side turned with him toward the mouth of the alleyway.
The green robe lifted around Sakura's long legs as she slowly came down the alleyway, green eyes frightened. Close behind followed Spinel Sun and Nakuru in their true forms, seemingly protective of her.
She paused several feet away, looking directly at Syaoran, almost oblivious to everyone but him. She stared at him uncertainly and then looked at her father who stood gazing at her tenderly. A small smile slowly lifted his lips and he nodded to her gently.
She smiled back faintly and reached out to him, burying her face into his chest as he embraced her tightly.
Syaoran stared at them both, lips parted in confusion.
Clow whispered something to her against her ear and she nodded, sniffling. He said something else and when she didn't reply he slowly pulled back and lifted his hands to grasp her face lovingly, repeating it as he turned her face to him.
Tears slipped down her face and she sniffled, finally lifting her eyes to him and nodding. His smile widened a bit but instead he merely pulled her close and brushed a feather light kiss to her forehead, running his thumbs over her tear tracks to wipe them away.
"It will be ok, for sure," he whispered and Syaoran recognized the phrase. Recognized it for it had once been Kinomoto Sakura's comfort, her spell. The Invincible Spell.
Sakura nodded once more, inhaling deeply and closing her eyes as he murmured small things. And he stepped away then, fingers leaving her face, trailing out of her hair. She opened her eyes as he did so, face sorrowful. When she looked toward the Guardians under her father she smiled sweetly, tears shimmering in her eyes.
"Sakura-chan," Keroberos said gently, hesitating.
"It will be ok," Yue said for him, still as stony as ever but nonetheless protective and caring over her.
She nodded at him and back at Nakuru and Spinel Sun before looking toward Syaoran. He stared back, frowning quite visibly now as she came toward him and reached for his hand. Wordlessly he allowed her to take it, questioning her with his amber eyes.
"I'm going with you," she explained in a shaky tone. "I understood at the end…I understood because no matter how much I cared for him, in the end he wasn't the one I had fallen in love with. Rather, only in the end was he. I understood before as well but when he died…I lost myself. And I was scared, Syaoran," she said, gazing at him and shaking her head, tears rising once more, "I still am. I don't want to be without you. Not now that I've found you again."
Syaoran gazed at her, struck dumb.
"Can I go with you?" she asked him fearfully.
For a moment there was utter silence. Words were forming in his head but much too fast for him to spew them out. And he knew once he started trying to make words come out he would start stuttering and rambling. He just knew it.
Through the portal a hand reached out and smacked him upside the back of his head.
"Yes," the word suddenly came out and he instantly whipped his head to glare at the person who had attacked him.
As did Sakura, her small smile fading as she caught sight of Meilin. She stared, eyes widening.
But Meilin threw herself forward, coming clear through the portal even as Touya automatically went to hold her back. Sakura recoiled in fright but Meilin flung her arms around her, jumping up and down happily.
"Kinomoto! We missed you so much! Especially Syaoran! All he did was cry and cry and I was so mad at you for dying! Because you made Syaoran cry but now he's-" she peeked over her shoulder and came to a complete stop, "still crying!"
Syaoran looked from one girl to the other before gruffly looking away and clearing his throat. "No, I'm not," he said defensively even though he felt the warmth of tears in his eyes.
Meilin rolled her eyes and took hold of Sakura's hand, dragging her. "Come on! Your father is going to want to see you and Tomoyo-chan is upstairs-"
"Tomoyo-chan?" Sakura questioned, face paling. "I haven't seen Tomoyo-chan since…since…"
Clow suddenly reached out, grasping his daughter's elbow. As she came to a stop he asked with a gentle smile, "You'll come visit with your father when he's old and forgetful? And also Yue and Keroberos?" he asked playfully.
Sakura smiled widely, gazing at him. "Otou-san, I will visit whenever I have a bad day. A good day. A sad day. A happy day. A sleepless night. Anytime I can," she said quietly.
He nodded and released her elbow, stepping away.
"I'll have to teach you the spell," Eriol said teasingly as she paused before him. He held out his hand to her and as she took it, hand reaching through the portal, he bowed. "Hiiragizawa Eriol."
"Kinomoto Sakura," she said with a smile.
Eriol returned the smile. "I know you only too well," he said and he stepped away to allow her to come through.
Sakura did so, coming through and pausing as the effect slowly washed over her. Once she was steady she looked up toward Touya who hovered at her side. "Oni-chan," she said quietly.
He nodded wordlessly and leaned down to embrace her, one hand running through her hair as she sighed against him. He smelled like him, felt like him. Was in all ways him. Still comfortable as if his death had never even happened.
"Sakura-chan!" Daidouji Tomoyo's voice said, quivering slightly from the staircase.
Sakura looked up, pulling back a bit from her brother's embrace. "Tomoyo-chan?" she asked in surprise, face blanching. And then, "Tomoyo-chan!"
"Sakura-chan!" the pale-skin, dark-haired girl came running, long black curls floating behind her nimble frame. "Yokatta, Sakura-chan!" she cried, and she threw her arms around her, suddenly heaving breathlessly and crying against her.
Syaoran leaned a bit toward Keroberos, asking under his breath, "What happened to Daidouji-san in this reality?"
Kero whispered back, "She moved away once Sakura supposedly died. Sonomi-san couldn't handle her cousin's death much less Sakura's and she just packed her and her things up one day and left. She never said anything, not where she was going nor if she was ever coming back. And that was the last we saw of her and Tomoyo-chan."
Syaoran nodded, a small smile crossing his lips as Tomoyo wept against Sakura, as Sakura wept right back. And then Meilin was jumping at them and flinging both her arms around them, Tomoyo giggling and Sakura laughing as the three of them were thrown off balance.
"You almost knocked us down!"
"Are you saying I'm fat?" came the response in a snarl.
"You'll come visit as well?" Clow asked Syaoran, bringing his attention back to the matter at hand.
Syaoran nodded, straightening. "Yes, of course. I'll bring along Touya-kun as well, anyone you wish to see."
Clow nodded graciously. "Arigato gozaimasu."
And with that Syaoran turned and went through the portal, feeling it wash over him and only then realizing that he had done good this time. He turned as he came out the other side and he nodded to Clow, to Keroberos and Yue and Spinel Sun and Ruby Moon in the back. And as he turned to look at Sakura she reached out and dragged him into the embrace as well, the four of them laughing and talking all at once, Meilin's screechy voice above all.
"Syaoran cried for what felt like years!"
I woke up again, in the early hours of the morning. The sun had not yet risen but I realize she had woken me up. She was having another nightmare, calling out my name in the darkness of the night but I know it's not me she means when she calls my name. She still mourns his passing, has nightmares of killing her one true love. And I did what I always do. I rolled over and hugged her as she cried, and I listened to her sobs die off into sniffles and then I listened to her breathing as she drifted back to sleep and dreamt better dreams. Because I know she has nightmares of killing me. My twin is dead but he still lives inside her, always. He'll always be there. And it's a good thing because I think it makes her somehow love me more.
I proposed to her, finally. I didn't get down on bended knee or anything because she was sitting on me at the time; we were watching the sun set and the red streaks mixed with the golden yellow of the sun. I didn't want to always remember the sunset in a bad way even though, in a sense, sunset is associated with death the same way autumn is. The rays die and flow into the night. The leaves fade into those brilliant colors before turning brown and brittle. Whatever the case, we sat on the front porch of my house and I just pulled out the ring and looked at her. I figure if she said no then I had absolutely every single reason to hate the sunset. But she looked at me like I had lost my mind, which wasn't a good reaction to be sure, before pretty much having a heart attack and saying yes.
I give it about a year before we actually walk down the aisle. Meilin said she'd take care of the preparations but I don't trust her. Sakura trusts her perfectly well now although every once in a while she'll get this strange look in her eye when she looks at Meilin. I ask her about it but she says it's nothing, that it's something she has left behind. Anyway, the three of them, Sakura, Meilin and Tomoyo, are inseparable which in my opinion might not be a good thing because it's as if there was never a death and never a parting. I guess I should be damn happy but then the three of them start whispering and looking my way and I know I'm in for it later.
Touya-kun also seems to have it in for me. Something about a bachelor party and then he smiles really evilly at Yukito-san and Yukito-san goes, "To-ya," in his usual "Be nice to the poor boy," tone and Touya-kun stops. I think he should be happy I went and brought him back Sakura. I know her father was completely surprised to see Sakura alive and she never really filled me in on how she explained her return to him but his being half Clow Reed might explain it.
Either way, we have to go back to the other world to tell Clow that I'm marrying his daughter. She's taking Touya-kun along with the Stuffed Animal and Yue because she has the Clow Cards under her name again. I disagreed from the beginning with it but Eriol told me that this Sakura is stronger, both in spirit and magic. Perhaps because of everything she's gone through.
God help me, I love her.
And even though I never had the chance to know you I don't think you were ever really to blame for what happened. You just wanted your son to live up to his destiny and you did see it. I'm sorry it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to but if nothing else the Cards are also in my possession which is just as good as being Master of the Cards.
Well, time for me to go but I'll be visiting you shortly anyway.
Li Xiao Lang
Syaoran stepped away from his mother's grave, the white letter folded crisply and resting underneath a single, long-stemmed rose. It said on her gravestone that she had died half a year after Sakura had "died" herself. Beside her gravestone was his own gravestone, his double's name on it. The birth date was the same as his but as he stared at the death date he suddenly felt a release, knowing that the small detail was just one more difference between the two of them.
Beside him Sakura looked up at him and slowly took his hand, their fingers entwining. "Are you ok?" she asked him gently, studying him with wide green eyes.
He nodded at her, a small smile curling his lips. "Yeah, I'm fine. Better than fine. Don't worry about it. Let's go see your father."
And together they turned away from the tombstone, walking down the gentle slope of the hill. All around spring had come at last and the cherry blossom petals lined their way home.
~ FIN ~
Wow, took a while right? -_-'
Well there was a slight problem. I actually finished this chapter in late September but I didn't upload because I was offline for a bit. Then in October (my birthday month) I went to Mexico for a bit and when I came back my brother said he was fixing the comp for my birthday (not fixing it so much as adding to it to make it a better machine). Lo and behold, the motherboard fries and he orders a replacement only to have the company tell him (for like five weeks in a row) that they were sending it when they weren't. My brother finally threatened some legal action (Yokatta!!) and canceled the order and then finally ordered another one from a different company. It arrived, he fixed the machine and Aeslinn and I are now back online! Yay! Anyways, Aes also added a bit to her story (Past Mistakes. It's also a CCS fic) so she might be updating soon, too. *Catches Aeslinn nodding solemnly behind her* And I hope you all liked the end to the story. I had her help me with it a bit because the whole fic was dark and she was like, "Has anyone laughed at all in this stupid fic??" so…I had them laugh. ^_^;
Anyways, for all my readers, arigato!! Hope you enjoyed and I'll see what's next on my list… *Wanders off to download Gackt and Malice Mizer music videos*