The canon is a little uncertain here. Like I say later, it's meant to take place between Tokyo and the Infinity Arc, but I'm a little hazy on the events of both areas.
Oh, by the way, Lucied is my Tsubasa OC. Some of you have probably noticed that I tend to stick my OCs in here a lot. It's just because I wrote this when I wasn't intending people I don't know to read it. Sorry about any confusion there.
The wedding was winding down.
There had been the main ceremony, which had reduced Sakura to tears from her position beside the altar as a bridesmaid. Kurogane had maintained a rigid, respectful attitude while Syaoran had awkwardly tried to comfort Sakura from the audience. Lucied, looking rather out of place in a prim white dress, had simply tried to live up to her and Sakura's duties. Fai had rather enjoyed it. Mokona in his lap, he had watched the grace and beauty and dignity of the ceremony. He had never actually seen a wedding before, but everything Sakura had told him still had not prepared him. It had been a beautiful thing.
After that had come the "cutting of the cake". Lucied had felt that she rather deserved the cake after all the work they'd had to go through, and Sakura had gone to be polite. They had come back carrying four extra plates, distributing them to Kurogane, Fai, Syaoran, and even Mokona.
"Very sugary," said Lucied, dragging her fork out of her mouth and leaving it ringed with white icing. "Isn't it, Sakura-chan?"
Sakura nodded. "Yes it is, Lucied-san! Fai-san, Kurogane-san, Moko-chan what do you think of it?"
Kurogane, with a look of disgust, dumped his cake onto Mokona's plate. "Too sweet."
"Yummy!" chirped Mokona, inhaling his original piece before going to work on Kurogane's.
Fai thoughtfully ate around the frosting rose he'd received. They all knew he never smiled as much as he'd used to, not anymore, but the cake was good and he beamed. "Very nice! Thank you, Lucied-san and Sakura-chan!"
Lucied looked cheered, as she always did whenever Fai reverted to how he'd used to be. Sakura smiled as well, but that was still nothing new. It was only Syaoran she kept at arm's length.
Syaoran refused to look up at the two girls, but they could see he was enjoying the cake. "It's…very good. Thank you."
Lucied patted him on the head. "You're welcome."
"Yes, you're welcome," said Sakura, suddenly stony. She turned to Kurogane, and then tugged on his sleeve. Kurogane looked down at her, and Fai could see several things suddenly passing between them, unspoken but still understood.
"Pretty soon?" asked Kurogane.
"Yes," said Sakura.
"All right. Be ready."
Fai watched them thoughtfully as he took a seat in one of the hard plastic chairs provided for the guests. He was running out of cake, and it looked like he'd need to eat the rose soon.
It was hard to believe it had only been…he mentally counted to himself…a month since the old Syaoran deserted them. They'd spent that time here, ingratiating themselves with the bride and groom enough to warrant invitations. They'd come from a world of deserts and acid rain that had ripped their little band apart. He himself had developed a preference for letting his hair fall in front of his slit, yellow eye. Lucied, however, disapproved of this and would every so often brush his hair irritatedly back in place. Sakura had changed. He'd known she would. She was a little bitterer, a little more taciturn, and a bit more solemn. He'd known she would, but that didn't make it any easier. Kurogane was acting much the same, and that was one comfort. However, Fai had developed a talent for spotting acts, and Kurogane was playing his hard. Syaoran…he was trying hard not to think of him as "The Other Syaoran" but it wasn't easy…was also playing his role to the hilt, trying to fit in and fill the hole left by "The First Syaoran's" desertion. They were all taking it hard, especially Lucied. She had gone from her slow, quiet, thoughtful self into a cheerful, energetic peacemaker. Whenever tensions ran high, she would be in the middle, flapping her hands and going "Now, now, let's calm down" or some other soothing phrase. She'd floated before, gliding aimlessly through her life. Now, she practically bustled.
Fai knew he wasn't helping, but he couldn't shake the feeling of shame and guilt that had persisted since his failure to stop "The First Syaoran". There was so much they did not know, so much he should be telling them…
He was just licking the last remains of the icing rose off his lip when Sakura slid into a chair beside him. "Hello, Fai-san."
Fai smiled. "Hello, Sakura-chan. You looked very pretty up there."
He spotted Syaoran, Lucied, Kurogane, and Mokona over her shoulder. They were all milling together, apparently trying to act normal. They were all failing.
Sakura gazed thoughtfully out over the reception room. Fai followed her gaze, tearing it away from the odd sight. "Ah, yes. They should be tossing the bouquet soon, hm?"
Sakura nodded slowly. "Yes. But…that's at the very end."
"Hm? What comes first?"
"Well…if wedding traditions are the same here as on my world…there's the dancing next."
"That should be nice," said Fai. He carefully made sure that Lucied was not looking his way, and then twitched a tuft of blonde hair so that it hung down in front of his yellow eye. Lucied didn't notice, but Sakura did. She took a deep breath. "Fai-san…"
But at that moment, the voice of the matre'd rang out over the floor, aided by a microphone.
"Ladies and gentleman, we would like to announce the start of the traditional father and daughter dance. By choice of the father of our honored bride, we hope you enjoy tonight's song 'Angel to Me'. Of course, all other fathers and daughters present are welcome to participate"
Fai inclined his head. Soft, beautiful music filled the room. He spotted the bride, this world's version of Primella, walking out onto the dance floor in the arms of the man who had given her away during the ceremony.
You'll always be an angel my darling…
You'll always be an angel to me…
Down from heaven you came…
And so it shall remain.
That you'll always be an angel to me.
The music had slightly entranced him, and so he did not notice when Sakura got to her feet and took his hand. "Come on, Fai-san!"
Fai blinked several times, looking up at Sakura. "Hm?"
Suddenly, Lucied, Kurogane, Syaoran, and Mokona were at his back.
"Father-daughter dance," said Lucied, heaving the man to his feet. She was assisted by Kurogane.
"And?" asked Fai blankly.
Syaoran shoved him forward, into Sakura's grip. "Well, we know you're technically the mommy…"
"But I can't dance," said Kurogane flatly, folding his arms.
It was at that moment that their plan became clear, and Fai shook his head frantically. "No, no, nooo…."
Lucied folded her arms, smiling slightly. "Yes, yes, yes."
"I can't dance either!"
"I can, Fai-san!" said Sakura happily, leading him out onto the dance floor. "Don't worry, I'll teach you!"
And, before Fai could protest further (although he knew it would do no good), he and Sakura were within the whirling, glimmering crowd of fathers and daughters.
As long as the stars shine above me.
As long as their shining on me…
"Sakura-chan…what is this about?"
Step, step, tap…Sakura was leading. She did a side step and twirled herself around Fai.
"Because, Fai-san…on this journey…you and Kurogane and Lucied…have been just like parents to me."
Fai was taken aback, but touched. He smiled, and on the spot improvised a step to the dance. It involved stepping forward and giving Sakura a tight hug, twirling her in place to make it look natural. "Sakura-chan…"
I'll love you so…
To me you are the most…
Perfect angel that I've ever seen.
"I know you feel guilty about what happened," said Sakura. They were apart now, held by one hand. "Fai-san. But you tried so hard, and you lost your eye trying to stop him. Please don't feel guilty. I'm the one who's sorry."
"Sakura-chan has no reason to be sorry!"
Step, step, twirl…
"You and Kurogane and Lucied said at the beginning that you had your own goals. But everyone was always trying so hard to find my feathers. And everyone got hurt trying to find my feathers…especially Syaoran…"
Some say dreams are only for dreamers…
I say they're here for me and for you.
"In the end…he left just to find my feathers."
Fai knew that "The Old Syaoran's" motives had not been so pure, but he still could not quite bear to tell her. "Exactly," he said instead. "So Sakura-chan should not be so sad. Syaoran-kun could not bear to see Sakura-chan so sad, especially if he was working hard for her. Remember…"
Twirl, part, come together again, step…
"Your smile is like food for a starving Syaoran-kun."
They turned to look at the edge of the dance floor. Kurogane was avoiding looking at the dance floor for more than a few seconds. Lucied, without a partner, was twirling and waltzing in place. Syaoran was watching them with interest, however, and as he saw them return his gaze he smiled nervously.
"But…" said Sakura, as the moment was gone and they twirled away. "…he's not…"
"He's trying," said Fai encouragingly.
And right here at this start…
With all my heart I hope…
That all of your precious dreams come true.
"I know…" said Sakura, biting her lip. Then, she looked back up at Fai, suddenly stern. "Fai-san must try harder too!"
Fai cocked his head. "What do you mean, Sakura-chan?"
"Fai-san has been so depressed!" said Sakura accusingly. "Fai-san has no reason to be sorry!"
Fai smiled sheepishly, and then his face became solemn again. Sakura scowled indignantly. "Fai-san!"
"It's complicated, Sakura-chan."
"So what? If you have a problem, you should tell us! We're your friends, Fai-san! We all care about you!"
"I loved you the moment I saw you.
I loved you to this very day.
I'm so proud of you now.
I'd like to show you how
And hope I can show you one day…
"No matter what!"
No matter what, repeated Fai to himself, as he and Sakura briefly stepped away and apart from eachother. If only.
But Sakura looked over her shoulder, and she still had the same stern look on her face as she saw that Fai still looked solemn. He wondered if she'd ever known that it had started as an act. It had started that way, but it hadn't stayed that way. He really had been so happy with them…he still was, but so much had changed so quickly…
Suddenly, he beamed as they took each other's hands again. "Tell you what, Sakura-chan…"
Twirl round and round, step, step, step…
"If Sakura-chan can try harder not to be sad, I can try harder, too. Because your smile isn't just food for a starving Syaoran-kun. It's food for a starving Kurogane-sama, a starving Lucied-san, even a starving Moko-chan…"
Come apart, twirl in place, and come together…
"…even a starving Fai-san," said Fai quietly.
You'll always be an angel my darling.
You'll always be an angel to me.
Down from heaven you came
And so it shall remain.
That you'll always be an angel to me…
Yes you'll always be an angel to me…
As the last strands of the music faded away, Sakura stepped forward and hugged Fai. Fai grinned worriedly; clearly off-put, but hugged her back. "Now, now! We'd better hurry, or we'll miss the bouquet toss!"
"Yikes!" said Kurogane, glancing over his shoulder as the six of them slammed the back door of the church behind them.
"That…was scary," said Syaoran, sagging against the wall.
"Those ladies were mean!" said Lucied indignantly, examining the torn hem of her dress and massaging one ear. Sohma and Suzuran had been particularly fierce. Sakura had lost her corsage, one glove, and almost a large chunk of her hair to Informant-san. Lucied had almost cracked a tooth thanks to Arashi. The damage the two girls received hadn't been what had caused their mad dash for the door, though. Neither Lucied nor Sakura had caught the bouquet Primella had tossed over her shoulder. When the conflict had escalated to the point that bloodshed seemed imminent, a small white blur had come streaking through the air, and suddenly Mokona was waddling away, the enormous bouquet larger than itself clutched in both arms. Sakura knew that hadn't entirely been fair, but…
Fai reached inside the bundle of flowers, and came up with a triumphant whistle.
Unconsciously, the group flinched, but Sakura and Syaoran couldn't help but beam at the sight of the pure white feather Fai held up to the moonlight.
"Syaoran-kun, I believe the honor is yours?" he said, presenting the feather to the boy. Syaoran, however, shook his head.
"You do it."
Fai blinked, taken aback. But Lucied nodded encouragingly, and Kurogane just nodded. Mokona leapt onto Fai's head, tugging on his hair until the man came upright again. "Fai's turn, Fai's turn!"
Fai briefly considered dithering, briefly considered making some joke to push the spotlight away. But something inside him decided against it, because instead he smiled a true smile and turned to Sakura. "Very well then. Sakura-chan?"
Sakura nodded happily, and then took the feather from Fai's hands. Humming a song under her breath, she took the feather into herself and slipped into peaceful sleep. Kurogane caught her as she fell back.
Mokona began to glow, and rose into the air. Great, feathery wings emerged from its back. "Mokona Modoki is on the waaaaaaayyy…"
Lucied's pointed ears twitched, and she glanced at Fai, who hurriedly shut his mouth and smiled innocently. Lucied merely smiled back and looked away, giving Fai the opportunity to sing a moment longer under his breath before the little band was swept away.
He knew that he would do almost anything to protect the angel in the white dress in Kurogane's arms. There was still so much they didn't know. But maybe they needed to…
"I'll love you so…to me you are the most…perfect angel that I've ever seen…"