Author's Notes: Wow, biggest thing I've ever written. Semi 'in-jokes' abound when it comes to the music. Style points to whomever gets them without being told. You can e-mail me to find out what the nudgenudge winkwink is about. It's nothing big. Haikei will have a sequel. In fact, it's the first in a series/universe I'm calling 'Third Arc'. Cannon Manga and Cannon Anime have been smashed together to form the background of this piece. Elements of both are here. Deal with it.

Note to note: This fic IS finished...however, I have to post it as chapters due to size. Expect the next few chapters over the coming week. I'm doing a basic proof-and-edit as I post. Mistakes...ah, even the best of us make 'em.

Disclaimer: You can bet that if I owned CCS than none of this fic would be necessary. Don't sue me. Sue CLAMP!

Dedication: To Chelle-sama, for beta on this monster and it's monster sequel. And beta on the others in the Third Arc. You're the best. Now go finish a story for me.


'I'll write too.' ~~Tomoyo to Eriol. Vol. 12 part 5

* * * (The First Year After Leaving Tomoeda) * * *

The paper was smooth beneath his fingertips. A pale blue slip of paper, cool to the touch, that contained only a handful of sentences. Neat rows of Japanese characters marched over the page, as thought the writer had been a bit snappish, a bit exasperated, and a touch amused. It made him smile.

Haikei Hiiragizawa-kun, It began,

It has been just two days since you left Tomoeda and already I have cause to write to you. Li-kun has left for Hong Kong just this morning, he is uncertain of his return date. He told Sakura-chan that he loves her; Sakura-chan has not yet given him an answer to his feelings, though she is so sad that it is obvious she loves Li-kun very much.

Perhaps you could have given her a bit more warning than 'When somebody else close to you goes far away…' I most certainly would have appreciated time to prepare.

He was willing to bet Ruby Moon's entire wardrobe that she meant 'prepare my camera' and not 'prepare for a sad Sakura-san'. Sakura-san wasapparently more in love than they'd known. A smile flickered in his gray-violet eyes.

However, not all is bad news. Yamazaki-kun has been forced to curtail his storytelling without Li-kun to tease and Hiiragizawa-kun to encourage him. Chiharu-chan says that she can feel her blood pressure returning to a state more normal than has been in the past two years.


Daidouji Tomoyo

Eriol folded the letter, tucking it neatly back into its matching envelope; he laid it on the small table in front of his chair and then sat back and considered it, a smile growing on his face. The woman seated on the couch on the other side of the table sent him a quizzical glance.

"Is there something wrong, that Daidouji-chan has written so soon?" She asked. It made his grin widen.

"No, Kaho. Things in Tomoeda are well. Just a small matter she wished to attend to." He smirked. "If you'll excuse me," he rose, "I need to send her a reply yet today."

Mizuki Kaho smiled. "Tell her that I said 'hello'?" Eriol leaned over and kissed her hand.

"Of course."

* * *

The paper was printed, oddly enough, with Chibiusa. Tomoyo considered it and decided that Hiiragizawa-kun had most likely borrowed it from Akizuki-san; though he was certainly strange enough to have bought it on his own.

Haikei Miss Tomoyo-sama,

Tomoyo shook her head, curls brushing her cheeks. So, he was not going to be serious.

I see that poor Takashi-kun is suffering without my august presence, and Tomoeda along with him. You may tell him that in England it is customary to cut off all one's hair (including eyebrows and lashes) when one has caused a friend to suffer. And that if he does miss me, he would do the same.

I did not give Sakura-san any warning that it was Li-kun who was leaving because I wanted her to realize her feelings for him. I didn't feel that she could do that if she was already braced for him to leave. I also didn't realize that Li-kun had enough bravery to tell her how he felt before he left. The Clan is not going to like this news, since he is already engaged to Li Meiling.

That Li Syaoran was betrothed to Meiling-chan was not news. That his family would not approve of his feelings for Sakura-chan was somewhat unexpected. His mother had seemed very fond of her, the one time that they had met.

I would not worry about the Li Clan,


As Li Yelan, Li-kun's mother, likes Sakura-san very much; it doesn't hurt that Sakura-san is a very powerful magician.


Hiiragizawa Eriol

P.S. Kaho-san says 'hello'. Ruby Moon would probably say so as well, but she is trying to stuff Spinel full of sand.

"Ohayou, Tomoyo-chan." Sakura murmured, sliding into her seat. "What is that you're reading?"

Tomoyo folded the letter and slipped back into the zebra-striped envelope in which it had arrived. "A letter from Hiiragizawa-kun. It arrived last night, but I was practicing for today's Maths exam."

"He wrote letters to us already?" Her eyes grew as round as saucers. "I didn't know we were supposed to write right away!"

"He wrote because I sent him a letter to tell him that Li-kun had left." Even as she said his name, Tomoyo winced. Predictably Sakura's eyes went sad.

"I should have written to Eriol-kun to tell him that. He told me to think about how it felt differently."

Tomoyo patted Sakura's arm comfortingly. "Hiiragizawa-kun understands that you are upset about Li-kun leaving. He is very much like your father, in some ways." This seemed to cheer her friend up. "And Mizuki-sensei says 'hello'."

"I should write to them both soon." Then, "HOE! We have a Maths exam today?"

* * *

"C'mon, Suppi…have a scone. They're not sweet, I promise! Eriol's had some, he can tell you!"

"Hah." Then, "Who's 'Suppi'?"

"Come down, Suppi-CHAN and have a scone. I baked them just todaaaaaaay!" Ruby Moon trilled hopefully.

"No. And don't call me 'Suppi'. My name is Spinel. Eriol, tell that Baka to back off!" He glared down at the 'baka' in question; "I'm not having a scone."

"Awww, Suppi-chaaaaaaaaan. Come to Nakuru-saaaaaaaan. Teatime is family time! Eriol," she wheedled, "tell Suppi to come down from the chandelier!"

Eriol smiled. And ignored his creations entreaties for help entirely.

"Eriol, the mail is here. You have another letter from Daidouji-chan." Kaho's brow wrinkled as she handed him the letter. "Are you sure that there is nothing wrong?"

He nodded, smiling slightly as he slipped the envelope from her hand. "Certain." He picked up his tea and took a sip as he opened the letter. And nearly choked laughing.

Haikei Hiiragizawa-kun,

I have not, and will not, tell Yamazaki-kun any such thing.


Daidouji Tomoyo

Enclosed was a page from an address book. A page with the addresses of both Takashi Yamazaki and Li Syaoran.

Eriol raised his cup as Kaho took her seat at the other end of the table. "A toast," he chuckled, "to Daidouji-san. Just as sneaky and twice as wicked as I am." He drank.

"You are endearingly strange, Eriol." Kaho told him as she drank to his toast.

Ruby Moon launched a teacup at Spinel. "Come down!"

* * *

Tomoyo looked at Sakura, daydreaming her way through PE. Though she seemed to be back to her usual, cheerful self, somebody who knew her well, somebody like Tomoyo, could see that Sakura was still troubled. Tomoyo made up her mind to talk to her after school.

"Sakura-chan? Do you want to walk home with me?"

"Gomen, Tomoyo-chan, I can't. I promised Chiharu-chan that I would help her think up a new cheer." Sakura told her happily. "We're going to be in the Cheering Tournament!"

"Yes, I know. Hmmm. Do you have a moment now?"

"I always have a moment for Tomoyo-chan!" She giggled. "What's bothering you?"

"More like, 'what is bothering Sakura-chan?'" Tomoyo told her, and watched the telltale way that Sakura shifted her eyes away as she answered.

"Nothing is bothering me. Only, I'm very busy."

"Sakura-chan, you haven't been the same, not really the same, since Li-kun left." Nearly two months ago, but Tomoyo didn't think that Sakura needed anybody else to keep track of the time that he had been gone.

"Mou, Tomoyo-chan…that was a long time ago. I'm fine. I'm going to be late meeting Chiharu-chan! Ja ne, I'll see you tomorrow, okay; you said you wanted to make a film, right?"

But she didn't wait to hear Tomoyo's murmur of assent or her 'goodbye'. This was the one-billionth time that Sakura had found a way to avoid talking about Li-kun or her feelings for him. Sakura was keeping her feelings most tightly bottled up and that was making her withdrawn and slightly depressed. Oh, not all the time, no, but enough to make Tomoyo worry. Unfortunately, Sakura-chan would not talk to her about this matter. There had to be something that she could do to help, the only problem was…what?

Tomoyo pondered the matter as she walked home. Her mother would be furious that she'd walked home alone instead of calling for the bodyguards, but it was almost impossible to think with them there; in part because they were very nice and liked to ask her about her day and her friends and if there were any boys. Boys. Li-kun. Sakura-chan.

Sakura missed Li Syaoran.

She would not write to him because she didn't know what to say to him.

He would not write to her because he didn't want to pressure her into giving him an answer.

They were both blind, as far as Tomoyo could tell. But neither asked Tomoyo for her opinion and Sakura bolted every time she brought up the subject. Li-kun was too busy being nervous and afraid, waiting for Sakura to answer him to listen to the basic truth Tomoyo had told him. Sakura had confessed her feelings, in her own way. Only, neither of them could see that.

She sighed as she reached her front door. As much as she disliked the prospect, it was time to pull out the big guns. She smiled suddenly as she stepped into the foyer. Who was she kidding? She liked pulling out the big guns. Pulling out the big guns gave her time to get her camera ready.

"Tomoyo?" Sonomi's voice rang out. "Would you like to have tea with me before I head back to the office?"

"Yes, Mother, in a bit. I have to do something first. It won't take long."

* * *

Eriol had sworn to himself that he wouldn't. Had sworn both as himself and as Clow Reed that, if given the chance to lead a semi-normal life, he absolutely would not. He paced in front of the windows overlooking the pond in the back lawns. A lone duck paddled about, then dove briefly out of sight.

He had promised himself.

Eriol stared down at the letter in his hand. No. Absolutely not. He'd promised.

Haikei Hiiragizawa-kun,

I would like to ask for your advice on a subject. Say you had a friend, whom you loved very dearly, who was very sad. Say also that you knew the reason for her sadness was that the person she loved most in the world was very far away. You know that for your friends happiness she needs to talk to her beloved, but your friend hasn't yet told her most special person her true feeling for them, even though he told her that he loves her. What would you do?


Daidouji Tomoyo

But it wouldn't really be manipulating would it? To help a friend? Three friends?

Just giving some harmless advice. Right? Not even meddling, really. Right? Right.

However, he knew Xiao-Lang. And he knew Sakura. There was no way to help them without…prodding. And he'd made a vow.

They were both unhappy. Tomoyo hadn't been able to help. He was fairly certain that he knew a way to get things moving in the right direction.

But the strategic pushing that would have to be done.

Well, it wouldn't be him doing it, would it? He would be here, far away in England and not anywhere near Tomoeda or Hong Kong.

Only, Tomoyo might not have thought of this course of action on her own. And Eriol didn't want to do any more manipulating. He'd grown sick of it when he was still a part of Clow.

But family was family and friends were friends and both Xiao-Lang and Sakura were part of his family. And Tomoyo was his friend. And really, she might miss Mei-Ling. Mei-Ling was her friend. Mei-Ling was his family. He'd just be helping his family.

Still, the whole thing simply smacked of machination and deception.

"Eriol?" Spinel sighed from his spot by the fire. "Just do it. You're going to anyhow."

Eriol glared. "No I'm not. I made a pact with myself."

"He's going to do it." Ruby Moon chirped. "He just wants to talk himself into it first.

Eriol increased his glaring. It had no real effect. He sighed.

"Ruby Moon? May I borrow some stationary?"

"I have more Chibiusa aaaaaaand I have Neo-Queen Serenity and Chibiusa as Wicked Lady!"

"…You have Wicked Lady?"

"I used to have Tuxedo Kamen, but I used that to send a special letter to Yue-san."

"I don't think 'HA HA HA' counts as a proper letter, let alone a 'special' one, Ruby Moon."

"Eriol, perhaps you should buy your own stationary. You'll be keeping your fingers in this anyway."

"It does SO! I even used TWO stamps."

"No I won't, Spinel. It's just this one time. I won't need stationary."

"It's okay if he uses mine, Suppi. I'll just buy more. But not Usagi in her school uniform. It's ugly."

* * *

I would contact Li Meiling.

A short answer. Tomoyo thought about that. Perhaps he'd been very busy. Maybe he didn't want to help, but felt he had to, for Sakura. She frowned and tapped the letter against her hand. She didn't want to be a bother, and if he didn't want to be involved, and she wouldn't push him…when a smudge on the back of the paper caught her attention. Very tiny writing that informed her that,

Eriol likes to help and to make little plots. It's like a game. But he is afraid of manipulating people; he doesn't want anybody to be hurt. He wants life to be normal. But he wouldn't like ordinary normal.

Spinel Sun and Ruby Moon (Akizuki Nakuru and Suppi!)

She understood. Clow had been omnipotent. Eriol had been forced to maneuver Sakura into creating the Sakura Cards. He was tired of arranging things all the time. Of needing to arrange things. She could understand that.

I would contact Li Meiling…but why? She was in Hong Kong and Tomoyo doubted that Syaoran would discuss his troubles with Meiling-chan. Still, Meiling had known about his feelings for Sakura. She'd made mention of it once, as the two of them had stood by and watched Syaoran and Sakura capture a card. Meiling had known his feelings before he had.

And perhaps Li-kun was sad in Hong Kong.

Meiling loved him and would be sad with him. She would want to help. She'd want him to talk to Sakura and find out how Sakura felt. But Li Syaoran didn't want to pressure Sakura.

Tomoyo was already in contact with Meiling. She had been ever since Meiling had cried herself to sleep. And while they had talked about their feelings for Syaoran and Sakura, they'd never really talked about what Syaoran and Sakura felt for each other. Tomoyo had written several times, but e-mail was faster. Her content smile was edged with the thrill of the plot as she settled herself down with her laptop.

As she waited for the computer to boot up, she scribbled a quick note to Eriol and placed it on her dresser for one of the servants to take to the post box for her.

* * *

It was a strange letter.

Arigatou, Hiiragizawa-kun.

And lower down, nearly at the bottom of the page, in the smallest writing he'd ever seen,


Her name was signed with a hurried flourish.

"It's an odd letter, don't you think?" He asked the room at large.

"Another letter from Daidouji-chan?" Kaho questioned from where she sat grading papers.

"Hmm? Yes. She asked for some advice." He blinked at the letter again. "I think she appreciated it. She didn't say much. I wonder if she…"

"Perhaps Tomoyo-san was busy. She's a very clever girl, I'm sure she understood what your intention was with what you wrote. I'm certain she understood." Spinel winked at Ruby Moon behind Eriol's back.

Kaho watched them, but didn't comment.

* * *

Haikei Meiling-chan,

Tell me, has Li-kun been looking like this lately?

The words blinked at Meiling from her computer screen. She glanced around the computer center, her classmates all appeared to be very busy with the program they were supposed to be working on. She could help some of them, she knew, it would certainly qualify as extra-credit. And she did want to get better than full marks to make up for her Japanese scores. On the other hand, Daidouji never asked pointless questions.

She clicked on the link at the bottom of the e-mail. A picture of Sakura smiled happily at her. But her eyes weren't completely happy. It wasn't something you'd see unless you knew how to look for it. Unless you'd been seeing your beloved cousin wearing that very same look. She slid a sidelong glance down the row to where said cousin sat, his chin on his fist, staring at dust motes as they floated past. She hit the 'reply' button.

Haikei Daidouji-san,

They're both very timid, aren't they? But this is not the sort of thing to be done in a letter or a phone call—not that Kinomoto-san or my dear cousin would think of doing either of those things, oh no. What shall we do?


Li Meiling

Send. Things were going to get interesting. Or at least, she thought, glaring at Xiao-Lang, they had better.

* * *

Tomoyo nodded, satisfied as she read Meiling's latest e-mail. So, she had help. The only problem now, was a plan. It looked as though Meiling expected her to come up with one, which she really couldn't. That was why she had contacted Eriol and he had pointed her at Meiling. She pondered that. There was something he saw that she didn't. Some plan that Meiling would be a part of that she didn't know yet.

She sighed.

"This," She declared to her room, "would be a lot easier if Meiling-chan were here to brainstorm with instead of in Hong Kong." Which was too bad, Tomoyo generally missed the other girl's open candor. But Meiling was in Hong Kong and she had classes to attend.


Meiling was in Hong Kong now, but she had been in Tomoeda once. Meiling had made friends in Tomoeda. Friends that missed her, that she might be missing enough to come to visit when school was on break. Tomoyo tilted her head, thinking. There was plenty of room in her house for a guest or two. And Meiling had wanted to improve her Japanese, hadn't she? And didn't she once say that she had Japanese as a class in her school in Hong Kong?

Tomoyo pulled her laptop over to her bed.

Haikei Meiling-chan,

She began. Meiling checked her e-mail at school, in a class she shared with Syaoran. She would have to be careful. Li-kun did not need to be informed of matters any sooner than absolutely necessary.

Didn't you say recently how very much you've been missing all your friends in Japan and how you wished that you could come to visit us soon? I might be able to talk my Mother into letting you stay with us if you come to visit while you are on holiday from school.

* * *

Eriol paced.

He fretted.

He wondered.

And waited.

And waited still more.

Spinel watched with disinterest and a certain knowing smirk, Nakuru with outright amusement, both of which Eriol ignored with aplomb. Mizuki Kaho watched the scene unfold with a bewildered curiosity.

A week and a half after Tomoyo's letter had arrived Eriol began stalking the mailman.

Two weeks after it had arrived, Ruby Moon bet Spinel a weeks worth of cooking dinner that Eriol would crack within five days.

Spinel won the bet by three days, when, on the morning of the start of the third week Eriol suddenly stood up during breakfast and slammed his way into the study. Nakuru bolted after him.

* * *

Haikei Tomoyo-sama,

It has been three weeks, tell me what's happening!


Hiiragizawa Eriol

PS: Ruby Moon is sending a letter with for you to give to Sakura-san to give to Kinomoto-san for her. I believe it contains her undying affections and a promise to visit him soon, as he must be pining away with longing. Truly, Tomoeda suffers without us.

Tomoyo smiled as she read his letter. Then laughed aloud.

"Tomoyo-chan?" Sakura sat swinging her legs outside of Café Piffle Princess eating an ice cream and wearing a bemused expression. "Did Eriol-kun say something funny in his letter?" She took a bite and continued, "Mizuki-sensei says that he's been acting funny lately."

She smiled gently at Sakura. "He said something I think was funny." Sakura blinked. "He also said that Akizuki-san sent something for Touya-san." Tomoyo handed Sakura a pink and purple envelope. "Shall we take it to him now?"

Sakura grinned widely. "Yes. This morning he told Daddy that we had to have the walls soundproofed because all night all he could hear were monster noises!" She stomped one foot. "I hope Akizuki-san said she's coming to visit him tomorrow!" Tomoyo laughed again.

* * *

Haikei Hiiragizawa-kun,

Since you ask so nicely, I will tell you. There is going to be a festival in a month. Interestingly enough, the week of the festival coincides with summer break at Li-kun and Meiling-chan's school. Meiling-chan and I have decided that, since she misses Tomoeda very much, she should come to the Festival on holiday and stay with me so that she can walk to school with me and see all her old friends. Of course, she cannot travel alone and Li-kun also has friends here…


Daidouji Tomoyo

PS I believe that Touya-san received the letter and promptly stuffed it down the garbage disposal. Tell Akizuki-san to try again. And maybe not to use the word 'boy-toy' so often.

"She read it?! Tomoyo-chan, sweet, innocent Tomoyo-chan read my letter to Touya-kun?"

Eriol glanced up at the girl hanging over his shoulder as he read. "I haven't gotten that far yet."

She waited impatiently.

"Well, it certainly seems as though she's had a look at the contents." Eriol reached over to Ruby Moon's desk, conveniently next to his own, pulled a piece of paper toward him, "Ruby Moon, should I be using paper that has Usagi and Mamoru kissing or do you think the wedding paper is better?"

"How could she?! Those were my private, personal thoughts. My deepest emotions poured out in ink! It was meant for Touya-kun's eyes alone! And I like the kissing one, so you use the wedding one."

"You sent the same letter, the exact same letter, to Yukito-san. And half the other boys you chased in Tomoeda." Spinel reminded her. "Use the kissing, the wedding paper probably isn't too appropriate."

"But that one had To-ya's name on it! Eriol, you tell wicked, spying Tomoyo-chan not to peek into my private affairs. Tell her she's too young to understand the love that To-ya and I share. Tell her she can keep her advice!" She flounced past Mizuki Kaho and out of the study. "Don't touch my kissing paper!"

"You might as well by your own stationary." Spinel said. When he got no reply he blinked lazily and settled into a patch of sunlight with a large book.

Eriol began to write.

Kaho stood in the doorway, brows drawn together. "Aren't either of you going to say something to Akizuki-san? She seems very upset."

Two heads cocked in unison, as though listening to something far away. Both heads shook. Eriol began to hum quietly to himself. A moment later Nakuru bounced back into the room.

"Here." Nakuru held out a yellow envelope with Touya's name printed boldly across the front. "Tell Tomoyo-chan I didn't use 'boy-toy' once."

* * *

Haikei Daidouji-san,

I just wanted to thank you very much for letting me borrow your copy of the performances at the Festival and Sakura-san's latest adventure. You sang very beautifully, as always. The tape will be returned to you shortly by return post. I hope you don't mind that I made a copy of it for myself.

I also wanted to say how very sorry I am about Void taking you and Li Meiling. I wish that I had recalled Master Reed's memory of her earlier.



Tomoyo ran her fingers over the last lines of the letter. Poor Hiiragizawa felt he was to blame for what had happened at the festival. In truth, she didn't remember anything after Void had taken her. And while it had been scary, she had known that Sakura and Syaoran would save them all. And Eriol was not Clow Reed. She certainly didn't expect him to remember details of Clow's life, especially not after having Sakura divide his powers so that he could be mostly normal.

She picked up her phone and hit the speed dial. A moment later and she had Sakura on the line.

"Sakura-chan? Do you blame Hiiragizawa for what happened at the festival?" She could hear Sakura's surprise radiate over the phone.

"Of course not, Tomoyo-chan! He helped us! He told me about the Void card and what she could do. He helped as much as he could!" A slight pause. "Do you think he was to blame? Because he wasn't, he even came all the way to Tomoeda to try to help us!"

"No, Sakura-chan. I know that he wanted to help more. I was just making sure that we felt the same way. I think that maybe Hiiragizawa blames himself for what happened. I thought I would write him a letter to say thank-you."

"That's a great idea, Tomoyo-chan! I didn't say 'thank you' at the tea-party because I just had too much to say to him and…Syaoran-kun was there and…"

Tomoyo listened with half an ear as she reread the last part of the letter. He had gotten there for the aftermath. He'd tried to get there earlier but, as he'd explained at the celebratory tea party, his publisher had detained him. Which was certainly exciting, as far as she was concerned. He had been working on a book about magic and the phone call and meeting that had kept him were his first contact with the people who would publish his book. Tomoyo understood business. Some things could wait and others couldn't. And Sakura-chan had managed fine on her own, with Li-kun to help her and Yue-san and Kero-chan to protect her.

As far as Tomoyo could see, the only real tragedy had been not getting it all on tape. And Sakura had confessed her feelings to Syaoran! It must have been very romantic, she thought with a sigh.

"Tomoyo-chan?" She snapped back to attention. "What are you thinking about?"

"I missed capturing Sakura's first declaration of love." She told her honestly.

"Ho-hoeee! Tomoyo-chan!"

* * *

Eriol paced his study, a wondrous idea blooming in his mind. A book. Another book, and this one not about ancient magics. Something fun, fun to do and fun to read. He continued to pace, holding Yamazaki's letter behind his back in his clasped hands. Even though he wasn't looking at the letter, phrases kept leaping out at him.

"…five-hundred feet tall…" and "Hundreds of years ago, when the world was still flat…"

And it had been such a long time since Eriol had told any good whoppers. It'd been a while since he'd told any kind of story. Ruby Moon and Spinel were not nearly as good an audience as Sakura-san and Xiao-Lang. And he missed it. Kaho, he knew, didn't. As young as she acted she didn't really enjoy the fine art of storytelling with Yamazaki; she generally got impatient as he read off the stories his friend sent him, often correcting the details so that they were truthful.

And yes, it was a wild idea, this new book. And who knew if a publisher would even accept it, let alone if such a book would make any money. But oh, what a grand idea it was. Mind suddenly made up; Eriol threw himself into his desk, grabbing stationary as he went.

Haikei Daidouji-san,

I need your help, if you would lend it to me. I have an idea for a book. A new kind of book. A book of the stories that Yamazaki-kun and I tell. We have been telling them in letters ever since I left Tomoeda and now…now I want to put them into a book.

The problem is, I don't have anybody here to tell the stories too, so I don't know how good a book it would be. I would like for you to listen and watch what the others say when Yamazaki-kun tells our stories. Try to figure out which ones they like best, which are the funniest and which sound true. I would ask Yamazaki-kun to do it, but I don't want to tell him about this idea until I get some of the best stories written down and accepted by a publisher. Yamazaki-kun wants to go to Medical School and I don't want him to count on having income from book royalties from a book that might not ever go anywhere.

If it would be too much work, Daidouji-san, then you don't have to do it. I just really want to work on a fun project like this. If it ever got published, we could list you as 'editor'.



Eriol sat back and looked at his letter. It reeked of desperation. He frowned. "Ruby Moon! Come read this! Does it reek of desperation, or is it just me?"

* * *

Tomoyo stared at the two letters sitting on her bedside table. The handwriting and return address were the same. They were both from Hiiragizawa. But she'd never gotten two letters in one day before and only one had the usual striped envelope and polar bear stamp. The other…the other was a plain white envelope. The paper inside also looked to be plain white. And the stamp had a British Flag on it. Something, she thought, was wrong.

She opened the usual letter first, beaming as she read. A book with Yamazaki-kun was a lovely idea. She would help, of course. She would be honored to help them. She would be the first in line to buy a copy. Two copies, the smiled tugged at her mouth, one for Li-kun and one for Sakura-chan.

She wasn't a sensitive, like Touya-san, and she didn't have magic like Li-kun or Sakura-chan, she couldn't see what was hidden in magic or death or the super-natural. But the second letter felt painful and raw and scared just to hold in her hands. The first words leapt out at her.

Haikei Tomoyo-san,

Please, please can I call you Tomoyo-san? At least for this one night? I want a friend with me but I don't have any here in England and nobody here knows the truth about Ruby Moon and Spinel and me and Kaho is at home. And I know that she has to get her sleep tonight, that she has to go with on the class trip tomorrow, I know that but I wish she wasn't gone. I don't want to be alone. I want a friend. I want a friend to sit with me all night in this big, cold hospital. It's a hospital; it shouldn't be this cold. Ruby Moon will get cold. I should get her another blanket. She's hurt, she shouldn't be cold. I want her to wake up and talk to me. But the doctor gave her medicine so she would sleep.

I think I hit the boy who pushed her. I don't remember. My hands hurt so I think I did. He shouldn't have pushed her. Ruby Moon was only chasing him for fun. He could have said stop. She would have. She would have stopped if he'd told her calmly. He didn't have to push her. And that idiot shouldn't have been driving so fast! It's a school zone, not a racetrack!

He could have killed her. If Ruby Moon wasn't Ruby Moon, if it was just Nakuru on the outside and on the inside, she'd be dead. The doctor said she was lucky because she should have had a lot of broken bones and probably be dead. But he doesn't know that she would be, she would be if it weren't for the fact she isn't just Nakuru. She's Ruby Moon; my lovely, funny, chattering Autumn Moon. And she'd been so brave, Tomoyo-san. Clow's memories have been fading ever since Sakura-san sealed all the Clow Cards, but I don't think that he ever felt this scared or lonely or sad. I don't think he ever really faced death; somebody you love dying. I never have. Not me. And it was Ruby Moon.

She kept telling me that she was fine. That she was okay, but she wasn't Tomoyo-san. She wasn't okay. She couldn't move without hurting, I could tell. She was so tired and quiet and hurt. Tomoyo-san. She's hurt. I can't make it better, either. So I'm sitting here with her, because I can't do anything else. Kaho needs to be rested so that she can go on the school trip and I can't bring Spinel to the hospital because somebody would see. The nurses come in all the time. I don't want to be alone, Tomoyo-san. Please be my friend for tonight.



She put down the second letter with hands that shook. She was very, very certain that he hadn't thought before he'd mailed that letter to her. She couldn't imagine him pouring out his deepest fears and sadness like that, not in the clear light of day. Tomoyo closed her eyes on a swift stab of pain for him. It had happened days ago, she knew, but she couldn't help herself. He had been so lonely, so small and frightened and alone. She felt one quick flash of hatred for Mizuki Kaho, for leaving Eriol when he was so obviously upset. She sighed. Most likely only she, Tomoyo, had seen the depth of his emotions that night. She didn't know if he'd begged her to stay with him or not.

She'd have stayed, a part of her heart whispered, even if he hadn't asked. She'd have stayed with Eriol and his Ruby Moon. Who wouldn't have? Akizuki-san was such a bright, lively person, to see her quiet and still in a hospital bed was a travesty of nature. And Eriol was so alone in the world as it was. Tomoyo thought of the only time that she'd been so frightened, the time that Voice had stolen her voice. Mother had stayed with her. Had left work early and stayed home all the next day and the day after that. It had been, despite everything, one of the best times she'd known. Her mother had made tea and cakes and been a constant presence at her side. Tomoyo considered that for a moment.

She couldn't be in England. But Daidouji Toys had a branch there. She smiled, reaching for the phone. It was time to abuse some of her privileges. "Daidouji Toys, England? This is Daidouji Tomoyo. Yes. Yes. I need to schedule a delivery. Mm-hmm. For as soon as possible."

* * *

Glossary of sorts--you should know some of these words anyway.

Haikei: (as you may have guessed) Dear (so and so--letter address)
Keigu: Sincerely yours, (letter close)
Mou: Geez!
Arigatou: Thank you
Jaa: Well, well then
Anou: Umm, well, err, say...
Ja-ne: See you later
Gomen/Gomenne, Gomennasi: Sorry! (to varying degrees of remorse and/or politeness)
Hai: Yes, okay, sure. (Very mutli-use word ^.^)
Hoe: It's one of those things Sakura says. Actually, her dad has said it too. ^.^

The Autumn Moon bit? Akizuki can be translated as literally 'autumn moon'. Aki-autumn tsuki-moon. Naku-to cry or to sing (bird song) and Kuru-to come, to come to hand, to wind or reel in. Hence, 'his' chattering Autumn moon. ^.^