His Only Princess
Fai D. Flourite stared up at the sky with a solemn eye. It was a warm summer night with stars scattered on the dark blue sky.
He was suddenly grateful for his lightweight clothes from the last country that they visited. His expression saddened. He was alone in a strange and wonderful new place. Sakura, Syaoran, Kurogane and Mokona were nowhere to be seen. It was not the first time that they got seperated on arrival but it was the worst.
He didn't want to imagine what would happen if Sakura got seperated from any of them.
The blond wizard went to sit on one of the strange contraptions on the park. It was an odd but colorful little place where a gigantic bird-like animal reigned over a score of little ones. He deduced that it must be a play area for children because there was no way that an adult would fit into that.
He wrapped his hands around the cold metal chains that held the seat upright. The seat swung forward a little. He smiled; he experimented by stepping backwards a few steps and letting go to experience the thrill of the swing.
"Where am I?" Fai murmured to himself. He was swinging back and forth in a comfortable rhytm. There was nothing that was like the swing in his world. Sitting on it made him feel relaxed and carefree.
The vampire slash mage sighed.
"The strange presence was here!"
Fai's senses went on alert. He sat up straighter and his whole body tensed. To fight or to flee, he was ready.
A small animal with white wings flew into the clearing. It had dark beady eyes, a tufted tail and a loud voice. He looked at it, interested. It spotted him immediately. He had the vaguest feeling that he'd seen it before.
The blond was quite surprised when it transformed into a huge winged dog with flashing golden eyes. He wasn't shocked to know that such a small animal could possess large amounts of magic. It might be small but it was terribly mighty.
"It came from there!" It tilted its head towards his direction. Fai turned his gaze to the two people it was talking to. His heart stopped.
Two girls had slowed down just behind the winged dog. One of them caught his eye immediately. She was wearing a strange costume that reminded him of Sakura's clothes when they first met. His eye widened when she met his gaze. Short brown hair and emerald green eyes were warm and familiar features in the same face. He didn't want to believe it. She looked like a younger version of Princess Sakura!
"It's him!" The huge dog growled. "I can sense magic all over him."
Fai recovered from his shock. He smiled innocently at the little girls. The only way to survive his situation was to be friendly. He didn't want to scare the little girls at all. "Good evening."
The green-eyed girl clutched a cute magical staff to her chest. A star flanked with white wings sat atop a pink staff. He sensed powerful magic emanating from it. When his eyes moved away from the interesting scepter, he immediately noticed her equally pink cheeks.
"Good evening, sir," the dark-haired girl said pleasantly. "Are you lost? Can we help you?"
He recognized the pretty young lady who spoke. She looked like Tomoyo-hime with her violet-blue eyes and dark gray hair.
That's a surprise, he thought with a smile, waiting for Kurogane. "How can you tell?"
"Your clothes are different," she replied matter-of-factly.
Fai laughed merrily. "Yes, I am a traveler. Where am I?"
"You're in the town of Tomoeda. I'm Daidouji Tomoyo," the violet-eyed beauty smiled charmingly "and this is my best friend,
Kinomoto Sakura. The magnificent winged animal is Keroberos."
Ah, familiar faces indeed. "I am Fai D. Flourite. You can call me Fai."
"You're a mage, aren't you?" Keroberos growled. "What do you want from my mistress?"
The blond wizard smiled with a touch of enigma. He didn't want to give himself away so easily. But he had to admire the magical guardian's reckless courage. Keroberos looked ready to fight to the death for his young mistress. So this Sakura also possessed magic. He didn't ask right away but opted to wait for them to tell him. "I am a traveller," he repeated.
The winged dog transformed into a bright yellow toy. It stared at him warily before assuming sitting position midair.
"Would you like to spend the night with us?" Tomoyo asked pleasantly, as if she was merely asking him to stay for tea. "It gets very dark and cold."
Fai looked at them thoughtfully. "Are you sure? I am a lost traveller and a stranger at that..."
"Oh yes," she answered sweetly "I feel like we've met before. If you attempt anything, we have excellent guards to come to our rescue. But Fai-san looks like a good person so we want to trust him."
Sakura turned bright red. She cast a questioning glance at her best friend. "Where would he stay?"
"I can stay for only a night," Fai volunteered gently. He would look for the others next morning.
Tomoyo beamed. "Since I'm sleeping over at Sakura-chan's, that's where we'll go."
Fai, Sakura and Keroberos stared at her before they burst out laughing. Tomoyo was such a smooth operator. If she was this cunning and charming, he could understand why Kurogane was smitten with his dark-haired princess. The mage was glad that he met them again.
"Let's go," Sakura whispered as she summoned the Fly Card. Beautiful white wings sprouted from her back. She flew upwards and opened her bedroom window very quietly. When she stepped on the roof, the Fly Card disappeared. She gestured to the others to follow.
Keroberos had transformed. He let Tomoyo ride his back. (She was the only one he'd allow.) After they had entered the wide bedroom window, they watched as Fai skillfully clambered and climbed the tree. He landed on the rooftop as silently as a cat.
His audience clapped with delight as he traipsed the short distance gracefully like a tightrope dancer.
"I'm sorry for intruding," Fai said with an apologetic smile. He plopped down the floor and looked around. It was a bright, cozy and cheerful room with soft yellow walls and blue accents. There was a comfortable bed with white sheets, yellow carpet, sturdy wooden desk and chair and a mirrored armoire. The cute little accessories and feminine things gave away the owner's sunny personality.
"That's all right," Sakura said as she sat on her bed. She crossed her legs. "I've had a lot of weird guests."
"Hey!" Keroberos yelled, affronted. She flashed a peace sign. He stared at the blond stranger apprehensively. Even though the young man looked innocent and naive, he could sense plenty of magic from him. But he had a different aura, an unknown power.
"Where did you come from?" Tomoyo asked as she searched for a comfortable spot on the carpet. Her violet-blue eyes were curious. "Guessing from your clothes, I won't say you're from our country. Or even from our world."
Fai wondered if this new world's Tomoyo possessed magical powers too. She hit him right on the mark. "Can I tell you a secret?"
The two girls nodded, absolutely determined to satisfy their curiosity. Keroberos stared at him.
"I'm from Celes Country," he said, smiling. "You are right. I am not from your world. I come from a different dimension. I am traveling with four other travelers to search for an important thing. As far as I know, I was separated from my companions. But because we can communicate, I can guess that they are near."
Sakura's eyes were as wide as saucers. "You have friends too?"
Fai laughed lightly. It was a beautiful sound, a lifting melody. "Yes. I was traveling with a brave and determined brown-haired boy, a sweet little girl, a tall dark man and a white animal with rabbit ears..."
"What are you searching for?" the Card Mistress asked.
"It's another secret, my dear princess," he said with a teasing wink. He couldn't resist calling her a dear.
"We can keep secrets," Sakura said in wheedling voice. He laughed again. She always won. "As you can see, we have lots of secrets."
The blond man looked at Tomoyo and Sakura. It felt weird to be around the younger versions of the people he loved. But it was a pleasant feeling that he basked in. He looked up and noticed that it was getting late. "I'll tell you a good story instead."
"That sounds great," Tomoyo said, her eyes dancing. She switched off the light and lamp. Only the moon lit the dark room. "Would you like to sleep on the bed?"
"No, it's all right. Princesses won't be so comfortable in the floor. I'll be fine," Fai said in a reassuring tone. Sakura gave a thick blanket for him to use before she lay down. The girls snuggled under the covers and stared at him expectantly. Keroberos curled up on Sakura's pillow.
He shifted to a more comfortable position. He took a deep breath. "Once, there was a princess and an ordinary boy. They were best of friends. The young princess was a loving and lovely girl. Because of that, the boy loved her very much. He loved her so much, he was willing to give away his most important possession so that he could save her..."
"Why?" Sakura asked after a big yawn.
Fai smiled at the adorable sight. He didn't have little sisters so he doted on Sakura. It was a nice feeling to tell bedtime stories and watch them sleep. He felt warm and loved then. "Because the princess had a curse engraved on her. The princess and the boy met with two other travelers who were in search of their own precious things. With a humorous little white plushie, they had a journey through several worlds where they met people, touched their loves and explored their realms. The wizard, the swordsman, the boy and the cute mascot loved the princess dearly. They'd do anything for her."
"She must be a wonderful person," Tomoyo murmured sleepily.
He watched the long lashes settle on the smooth cheeks. The dark-haired heiress slumbered peacefully. It left Sakura and Keroberos. The blond continued on his tale. "The great Witch of Dimensions helped them whenever she was needed. The boy grew up physically and mentally so that he could protect his princess. But the beautiful princess never remembered him because he gave up their relationship as payment. It was a sad thing that broke their hearts but they continued. That was the only direction that they'd go."
"Brave guy," the Card Mistress said, smiling a little.
"Amazing guy," Fai agreed "The wizard cared for the princess a lot. He protected her, served her and loved her very much. But he would rather step back so that the boy will have a clear path. He knew that the princess loved the boy too. He could never compete with that."
Sakura rolled on her side. She looked at him with understanding. He was surprised to see that wise and beautiful expression on her young face.
"Fai-san is a good person," she said simply.
He shook his head.
"I've done a lot of bad things in the past," the blond mage said quietly "but I am trying to change. I tried not to get close to them but I crossed the line that I made. They're my greatest friends now."
She didn't say anything, merely listened.
"When I smiled, I hid. So I always smiled around her." Fai gave her another one of his enigmatic smiles. It transformed his handsome face into a sadder but more beautiful image. "She will be my one and only princess."
"You must love her very much," Sakura said gently "and she must love you just as much."
He stared down at the carpet without saying anything. She noticed his strange expression and interpreted it correctly as a mixture of hope and despair.
"You know, I was in love with my brother's best friend too." Sakura confessed with a sigh. "I thought I loved him very much. He made me feel warm and happy. I was always blushing and smiling around him. But when I told him, he said that I loved him just like I loved my father and brother..."
She stroked Keroberos's fur with an affectionate grin. Their eyes met. "It was true but it broke my heart. Whenever I see him and my brother together, it stings but it goes away. Because I know that I gave him up so that my brother will be happy. If they're happy then I'll be happy. Tomoyo-chan taught me that..."
They looked at the slumbering angel together.
"Tomoyo-chan is a good girl," Sakura continued in the same tender tone "She thinks she's in love with me but I don't think so. But I am very glad that we're best of friends. She teaches me a lot of great things like acceptance and hope. If I can see his happiness every time then it'll stop hurting a bit everyday..."
"I hope so," Fai said thoughtfully. He gazed down at the Card Mistress with a serene smile. "It's harder if she's so close yet so far. The only way to show her that I love her is to serve her loyally. To deny myself for her happiness is the greatest sacrifice of all."
She reached up and squeezed his hand. "I know that she understands that."
"It might hurt but I'll bear it," he said wistfully. He lifted her hand and kissed it; his blue eye twinkled mischievously. "Because it will stop over time..."
Fai saw that she was fast asleep.
Just by looking at her, he guessed that she was twelve-years-old. He remembered asking Syaoran about the true nature of Sakura's soul. If all of the people that they'd met on their travels shared the same eternal spirit then he was sure that the Princess Sakura he knew was truly sweet-natured and innocent. Beautiful girl, he wanted to call her. She's the naive princess that he wanted to protect and serve.
He closed his eyes and tried to sleep. Tomorrow was a new day.
Letting go of her hand, he swore that he'd stay with her forever.
"Thank you very much," Fai said smilingly. He was dressed in fresh clothes: blue sweater, jeans and old sneakers. His hostess had presented it with a smile. They used to belong to her older brother. It fit him perfectly. "I shall go now."
"I'm glad you stayed for breakfast," Tomoyo said to their new friend. She grinned as she held up her video camera. The fun and frolic they had been recorded on tape. It will be a part of her special collection of Sakura videos. "Keroberos can't be seen in the open but he said that you have to take care."
"Take care of yourself," Sakura murmured as she handed a paperbag that contained his other clothes. Her green eyes twinkled mischievously. "We also prepared a big lunchbox for your and your friends. I hope it's not too much."
Fai glanced at the huge lunchbox and chuckled. "It will be enough for four men with big appetites."
"You're like Yukito-san," the brown-haired girl blurted out. "It feels good to be around you."
"Same here," the blond wizard knelt down and patted her head. "It was my greatest pleasure and privilege to be friends with you. Take care, my princesses."
"Why do you call us that? We're ordinary girls," she said in a teasing tone.
"You both remind me of some people that I know," he replied tenderly "and you're not ordinary. I can tell."
They smiled as he kissed the backs of their hands. The mage got up and waved goodbye. "Take care of yourselves!"
Fai walked forward without looking back. He was scared that they might see the tears that welled up in his eyes. Their cheerful voices filled the air. It was the sweetest sounds in the entire world. He savored it and stored it in his memory. So that he would never forget their kindness.
As he rounded on the corner, he glanced to look at their silhouettes and waved once more.
"Fai!" Mokona greeted as it jumped up to him. He opened his arms and hugged the white creature. "We were so worried!"
"Where've you been?" Kurogane growled. He gave the mage dagger looks. "We looked all over for you. Kozo and I didn't get any sleep, inconsiderate mage."
"But we're glad that you're safe," Syaoran murmured for Fai's ears.
"Ah, you didn't have to worry so much Kuro-tan," Fai said airily as he patted the relieved Mokona. He tapped Syaoran's shoulder and laughed at Kurogane's angry expression. For once, he was glad that he loved them. He was very glad that they worried and fretted over him because they cared for him. His eyes landed on the shy Sakura who stood next to the furious ninja.
"We're so worried," Princess Sakura said softly. She turned gentle emerald green eyes to him. He felt his breath catch. When she reached forward to touch his hand, he remembered the little girl that he met and his promise. "Don't make us worry like that, please. We can't forgive ourselves if anything happened to you."
"Don't," Fai advised lightly. But his expression was serious. "I won't let it happen again."
"Make sure of that," Kurogane muttered under his breath. He glared at the mage. Fai beamed.
"Did you find any feathers?" the blond mage asked, curious.
Syaoran shook his head. "There are no feathers here."
"But there's lots of power," Mokona chimed in. "Lots and lots of it. I guess it mixes in with the feather's wave so I can't really tell."
"Should we stay here for a while?" Sakura asked, frowning.
"I don't think so," Fai said firmly "because I know there are no feathers."
"How can you tell?" The ninja asked darkly. "You didn't have Mokona."
"I have magic," said the blond merrily. "I can tell. Let's move on to the next world."
Fai wanted to draw their attention away from the world's mysterious powers. He was quite sure that it was not yet the right time to let Princess Sakura meet Kinomoto Sakura. If they were fated to meet as they were, they would. After all, there were no coincidences in this world because there's only hitsuzen.
"Hold my hand, Sakura-hime," Syaoran said tenderly. The princess tightened her hold on his.
His heart clenched but he breathed deeply to relax. It will hurt to love someone who already loves someone else but he will bear it. Because he understood that Princess Sakura was teaching him a lesson in her own way. To love fully and to not expect anything in return was a subtle way to remind him that he was still alive and he was still free to love and hope.
Moving to the next world was the next step.
Wherever she went, he will be there. Because he swore that he will love her forever.