A Special Treat
By: Koorino Megumi

Happy belated birthday to link no miko! I hope this made you smile.

This is pre-anime/manga and has no spoilers.

In a desert world, people naturally adored cold food, even when it didn't have the best flavor. But when the princess first tasted the new sugary, icy substance that the very nice man from a distant country had brought to sell, all she could think was that there was someone else, someone out there working hard under the desert sun, who needed to try it, too. Now.

"Princess!" the high priest cried as she hurriedly thanked the man and then took off running, "Where are you going?"

"Sakura!" came an annoyed yell from her brother at the same time. He probably knew where she was going.

But she ignored them both and kept running down the path, away from the foreign man with his foreign cart and tasty treats. She would have liked to give her precious person a treat that she hadn't already licked, but if she had asked for another, her brother would have known what she was up to, and that wouldn't have helped the boy get a treat at all! So maybe next time she could get something better for Syaoran, but for now, hopefully this would be enough.

Running through the town, she tried to use her free hand to pull her hood over her head, but it didn't seem to want to stay up. She cringed at all the people who stared at her and let out gasps as she rushed by, especially when some even let out startled cries of, "Princess!" But there was no helping it, and it wasn't as though the castle didn't already know she was out here. She would get scolded later for sure, but that wasn't important. What was important...

...what was important was the tasty treat dripping big white splotches onto the dusty sand around her. Startled, Sakura gave up on her hood and cupped her other hand around the cone with which she was holding the treat, trying to make sure its contents didn't spill over the side. She picked up her pace, dust blowing into her unprotected face as she made her way out of the town and toward the two towers rising up in the distance like graceful wings. He would be out here somewhere; she knew it! It would be nightfall soon, so they should already be making their way back. If she just hurried a little more, she would find him!

The people involved in the excavation were indeed going home, and it wasn't long before she began to meet some of the workers, headed through the sand with their hoods pulled up securely around their faces to protect them from the evening winds. Many of them stopped at the sight of her. "Princess!" They tried to tell her to go back or to offer to take her wherever she wanted to go, but she couldn't stop, even for help. If she stopped even for a second, the treat would be gone before she found him! So she kept running, watching as more and more white liquid fell from the cone and disappeared into the sand.

But then suddenly her search was over. There were two figures headed toward her now. The closer one was tall with large glasses under his hood that just managed to catch the light of the now-setting sun. The other was half his height, with a hand in his as he walked beside him. They both stopped short, although whether the man did so on his own or only because the boy had first, it was hard to tell. Sakura couldn't have cared either way. He was here!

"Syaoran!" She ran toward him, holding out the cone before her like a prize. "Look what I got, Syaoran! You have to try it!"

"Princess..." he breathed, and she pouted mightily.

"What did I tell you? Call me Sakura! Remember? Sa. Ku. Ra. You don't have to-"

They both gasped she tripped, losing her footing in the unstable sand, and in a second he wasn't holding his father anymore but instead had her in both of his arms.

But she was almost too distraught to notice. "Oh no!"

Sand was already beginning to blow over the remains of the tasty treat from where it had landed. There had been very little left to begin with--certainly not enough to save any now. It was pouring out of the cone and disappearing amongst the grains like so much water.

"Oh..." Syaoran let her go, kneeling in the sand beside the cone. "What was this?"

"Ice cream," the little princess sniffed, looking down at it sadly. She had failed! All that effort to let him try it, and she'd dropped it at the very end... "It's really good. I...thought you would like it..."

Syaoran frowned as he stood again, but then he paused to think, and his expression brightened just a little. "Thank you."

She pouted at him, confused, as she sniffled again and rubbed her nose. "For what?"

His almost-smile widened into a just-about smile. "For coming to see me."

He seemed so sincere about it that she smiled brightly back, ice cream forgotten just like that. "Let's go back together!" she declared.

He looked so happy at the thought that she positively beamed. "I would like to do that. Father...?"

Fujitaka smiled at them both as well. His warm smile always made Sakura happy, especially since it seemed to make Syaoran happy, too. "You two go on ahead. But wait for me when you get into town. I'll buy you something there."

Both the children's eyes widened at that. "Thank you so much!" Sakura exclaimed. And then she was running again, but this time it wasn't out of desperation. This time, she had Syaoran's hand in hers, and she was running because it was the best thing in the world to do. Even better than ice cream. And she realized, if she had gotten the cone to him, he'd have one hand busy and probably wouldn't be able to run now.

As he ran beside her, his expression the closest to a smile that it ever got, she decided she liked it much better this way after all.