The first time this idea came to her mind, she thought it was brilliant. No, it was SMASHING! It was fantastically cute, saccharine sweet, and more importantly, it was something that would annoy Li Syaoran till kingdom come and one that her best friend Kinomoto Sakura would NEVER consider a prank.

However, when she shared her winning gameplan (or simply, 'Plan', as she liked to call her breakthrough brainstorm) with her ever-devoted ally Kero-chan and the distant moon guardian Yue, she got a 'you-gotta-be-kidding-me' look from the two.

"Birthday present? For the brat? But didn't he just seal your video camera with a water incantation card two days ago?" Keroberos was referring to what Li did when she tried to videotape him as he was forced/cheered-on by Sakura to grab the microphone and belt out Frank Sinatra's famous song one fine day that the three of them went downtown.

"I had Sakura-chan undo the enchantment," she replied simply.

"Last week, he also called your early Sakura costume designs too girly," the yellow creature pointed out, determined to pinpoint the brown-haired male's glaring unworthiness to receive a gift from her.

"I already made a yellow shirt and orange jumpsuit for him, and I talked Sakura-chan into making him wear it for their date."

"Two months ago, he 'accidentally' contaminated Sakura with his cold virus when she was about to model for your online custom clothing store," insisted Kero.

"I made him model the clothes," she reminded the animal.

The sun guardian's petite form circled in the air several times, thinking of possible heinous crimes that the Hongkong brat may have committed, but none dawned in its recall attempts. In the end, it cried out, "AND… A-AND THE BRAT ATE THAT CHOCOLATE SANDWICH I WAS SAVING FOR DESSERT!"

"When was that?" Yue asked testily as Tomoyo proceeded to calm the distressed chocolate sandwich-deprived soul.

"LAST SATURDAY!" wailed his counterpart guardian.

"Didn't you just steal that slice from the pastry that the Mistress had originally prepared for the Clow Descendant?" pointed out the silver-haired male.

Kero sniffed delicately. "That brat stole what I stole. That qualifies as theft, if you ask me."

"…" Yue.

"Kero-chan, don't get so worked up," she said soothingly, stroking its wings gently. "I promise that you'll love the birthday gift I have in store for him."

The animal smiled weakly. "You'll give him a DVD set of American Pie 1, 2 and 3?"

"Much better than that." Her sugary smile, rarely displayed, made both guardians nervous. After their duties as Sakura's guardians seemed to be less urgent, the two had been asked by both the Clow Mistress and the Clow Reincarnation to look after Tomoyo instead. The order didn't come with personal reasons included, but they welcomed it.

A year or so had allowed the three of them to share an intimate bond unique from the one the guardians had with Sakura or Eriol. The two keepers concluded that while Daidouji Tomoyo had the kindness of Sakura and the sensitivity of Clow Reed, she had her own characteristics that until now remain an unexplained mystery for them… characteristics that people who knew Tomoyo would never think possible for her to be.

For instance, how many people knew that while Daidouji Tomoyo acknowledged the destiny that was SyaoranSakura, she was still facing a long weary path ahead of acceptance and living with that fact?

There were instances that they would watch her compete with him for Sakura's attention, or manipulate the naïve girl into something that would make Syaoran hit the ceiling immediately. They were harmless little stunts that aimed to manifest how she still held power and influence on Kinomoto Sakura until the present.

But in the end, they felt what Tomoyo felt: cute as they were, her little acts were but pitiful attempts to gain back what she didn't technically lost. As the raven-haired Daidouji put it, "It's a nice thought to share until the time comes for you to do it and share possession of the most important thing in your life".

For that, Yue considered her an unholy angel—innately good and selfless, but has her moments of playful mischief and occasional angst that teenagers of the modern society seemed to embrace so fondly.

On the other hand, Kero-chan deemed her as a mocha cake – bitterness sweetened, covered in sugar frosting that would invite anyone to indulge and get lost in. However, the icing was insignificant compared to the deliciously unusual tartly sweetness of what lied beneath the sugar frosting. Neither perfectly sweet nor perfectly bitter — just a flavor distinctly owned by this cake.

At this moment, the two were starting to see an unholy angel and a mocha cake smiling at them conspiratorially.

"My instincts tell me that the birthday gift was conceptualized without considering the preference of the recipient," said the moon guardian somewhat dryly.

"I'm not sure with what he meant," quipped Keroberos, "but I have a feeling that the brat won't like it." The animal chuckled gleefully. "I like it already, whatever it is, Tomoyo-chan!"

Encouraged by their apparent interest, she finally told them the ultimate ingredient needed by the recipe of her Plan.

"It is not going to work," Yue replied as she finished explaining the details of the operation. "You are better off hoping for the North Star to change its address than getting the Clow reincarnation to help you."

In contrast, Keroberos was speechlessly eloquent with laughter.

"Quit being pessimistic," said Tomoyo smilingly. "Hiiragizawa-kun is an approachable person… depending on the approach."

Kero snickered some more.

"I had been with him for centuries, and he would never be coaxed into doing something as frivolous as that. Master Clow Reed could act… a little… silly at times," admitted the lunar guardian grudgingly, "but he would not tolerate being an object of your lens for three straight hours just so he can annoy the Clow descendant."

"Why not?" she wanted to know.

"I am not in the position to elaborate," he replied simply.

She turned to Kero-chan for help, but the animal merely grinned sheepishly. "Yue's right, Tomoyo. And it's not because he respects the dignity of the brat."

A nod from her. That was a common knowledge among them.

"He would prefer to conceive the idea on his own, and then concoct an elaborate situation wherein you have to cooperate with him."

"Ego-tripping men," she sighed, shrugging.

Resigned affirmative nods from the guardians. Yue was quick to come to his former master's defense though. "He is the reincarnation of the most powerful wizard in the world, and yet his power is a notch below the Clow Mistress'. It is but understandable that he yearns to exert his old influence among his peers. Just like--" He stopped in mid-sentence.

Her lilac eyes twinkled. "Just like me." She held her hand up when he tried to speak. "Anyway, let me at least try, okay?"

Kero-chan looked thoughtful. "Seeing the brat squirm sounds fun…"

Despite his reservation, protectiveness still enveloped Yue's staid voice. "You and Master Clow Reed are not exactly intimate friends."

"More like casual acquaintances," she agreed. Their relationship was more of 'a friend of a friend', blossoming from the fact that they both care for the same person. But she, Daidouji Tomoyo, knew a challenge when she heard one.

She gave both guardians a promising smile. "You'll be my first audience once I finish the raw footage."


to be continued