Author's note: Yay! Part 3!!!! It's finally the end of the 3rd chapter!!! ...I'm sorry for talking as long as I did to write it. I said I'd take 4 days...
I think it's been a year. ;
I'm sorry. I don't think I'll ever be able to apologise enough. I have no idea when the next one will be done, either. It may take even longer. I hope you all aren't too angry with me. There'll be a lot of skips of time and switches of POVs in the story from this point on, so if you see ...... cutting a line through the page, it's a sign I'm changing the perspective or that time has passed.
Thanks to
cuenta and all those wonderful people who review. I love reading reviews; they make me feel all fuzzy inside.
Umm...aside from a little fluffy stuff every now and then, the real KuroFai stuff won't be happening for many chapters. It'll build, but right now it's barely fluff. Sorry about that. Tomoyo will often drift in and out of the storyline, what she says is often filled with hints of what might happen later, so yeah...Listen to Tomoyo! She knows all!

Disclaimer: I don't own any manga; let alone the wonderful works of CLAMP. One day I will write a manga, but it will not be Tsubasa. 'sighs'

Chapter 3: Travellers and their Reasons, part 3

Syaoran forced his eyes open and blinked around confused, as he glanced at the leaves around him. Seeing his movement, a nearby group of birds chirped and flew away.
Syaoran stared. Where was he exactly..?

Glancing down from the tree branch he had been sleeping in, he winced as the events of the previous night caught up with him. He glanced around and sighed.

Ryuoh had promised to come after him; but knowing Ryuoh, it could be days before he showed up. Time which Syaoran couldn't afford to waste.

After carefully making sure Hien was still strapped to his waist, he stood and hopped down to the ground. He scanned the area around him with magic.

Despite all the commotion he had coursed, it seems no one had followed him. At least, no one with magic he could sense anyway.

Gently he placed a hand on the tree that he had slept in (an oak) and thanked it for holding him all night. A rustling of tree branches made Syaoran smile.
Sure, maybe the tree couldn't hear him, but it was always nice to imagine it could. Besides Watanuki always said trees liked to be thanked and who knew, maybe it would pay off being nice to trees one day.

He glanced up at the sky and frowned.

True, he had escaped, but now what? Where should he go to look for Watanuki? Where did Yuko send him anyway? For some reason he couldn't remember the name of the town (most likely because Watanuki had been screaming about Yuko's alcohol addiction, and Syaoran had blocked his ears simply to avoid being deafened). He just hoped Watanuki and Ryuoh were alright.

He lent against the tree and sighed.

This was the first time he had ever been outside Fahren by himself and judging by how high the sun was, he had already wasted enough time as it was. He sighed and slumped slightly. If he didn't get completely lost within the first hour of walking, it would be a miracle.

A sudden loud wailing sound made Syaoran jump. Wincing as the sound grew louder, he realised with a shock that it was the sound of someone screaming. Instantly Syaoran ran towards the sound as fast as he could.

Just like Watanuki, Syaoran had always found it impossible to ignore someone else's suffering. Even the idea of someone being frightened or in pain and not doing anything to help them made Syaoran feel sick. It was just wrong somehow...

Syaoran gasped as he burst out of the woods and had to grab onto a nearby tree branch to avoid running straight over the edge of the rock face.

Still gasping from that small brush with death, he leaned over the ledge and gazed towards the source of the noise. Below him, a group of men stood in a circle, muffled shouting from each of them filling his ears. Syaoran stared in confusion.

Where was that scream coming from? Judging by the voice, Syaoran could have sworn it was a girl's voice.

A small flash of white made Syaoran blink.

Was that...a rabbit..?

Loud shouts form the men reached his ears. "Let go of her you idgit!! If you kill her, she'll be worth nothing!"
"Stop it, she's just a girl! Calm down! There's no point hurting someone without a profit!"

Syaoran's eyes widened as the rabbit creature opened its mouth and wailed as loud as it could in human tongue.

"Stop it! Please don't kill Sakura! Mokona needs her! Please!"

As tears spilled down the small creature's face, Syaoran saw why it was screaming. A brown haired girl about his own age struggled as a man held her off the ground by her collar. As small hands struggled weakly against the cloak's fabric, Syaoran realised with a stab of horror that the cloak had twisted around the girl's neck and was now choking her.

Syaoran raced into action. Leaping down the cliff-side, he pushed himself away from the rock to control his fall and lunged himself towards them. Swiftly, he smashed a kick into the sides of all three men and caught the wailing rabbit before it hit the ground. Landing another kick to the 'choking' man's stomach, he sent him flying.

Seeing that his opponents were out of the way, Syaoran looked down at the girl whose life he had just saved.

Pale, and still obviously disorientated, the girl's emerald green-eyes blinked at him blankly for a moment then focused sharply as the rabbit came into view. A relieved smile spread across her face.

Syaoran smiled in return, and turned back towards the now-assumed enemy.

"I would prefer it, if you would just stop this now."

Slowly the three men pulled themselves off the ground. The one who had been choking the girl snarled with rage.
"Who the hell are who?! Did you come for a beating as well?" Syaoran made no movements and continued to look at the man coolly.

Spitting, the man lunged forward as he drew a dagger from his pocket. Behind him, one of the men pulled out a pistol, and the third began to back away.

Closing his eyes, Syaoran breathed in deeply, ducked the swipe of the choking man's dagger and neatly disarmed him with one swift kick to the hand. The loud click of a gun-hammer warned Syaoran of the danger behind him. Swerving to the right, he winced as he felt a bullet graze the side of his face. Instantly a shout rang out from behind him, and Syaoran tripped and fell, face first onto the ground. Realising his danger, he rolled to the left as another gunshot blast through the air, the bullet thudding into the place where his head had been just moments before. There was a strange 'twang' sound and Syaoran looked up to see an arrow smash into the pistol, ripping it out of the man's grip.

Syaoran blinked in confusion for a moment then glanced back to see the brown-haired girl stamp a foot onto the dagger-man's back, a long hunting bow with a fresh-drawn arrow in her hands.

Behind him, the gun-man snarled with anger before spitting and running away.

Seeing that Syaoran was uninjured, the girl smiled warmly. The rabbit-like-thing (which had somehow made its way onto the girl's shoulder) smiled warmly and waved its little paws in the air. Syaoran nodded in thanks and turned back to glare at the last man, who had tripped over backwards and was now staring at the three of them in shock.

Unlike the others, Syaoran didn't feel the same intense feeling of hatred from this one.

Calmly he stretched out a hand and helped the man to his feet, and ignored the look of shock on the man's face. Bowing slightly, Syaoran looked back to the dagger-man and bit his lip as he realised the man's arm was snapped in two.

Damn... I must have kicked too hard...

"Umm...Would you like to take your friend away now? I don't sense any malice from you, so unless you do anything like this again, I don't see any reason to hand you into the authorities." Syaoran glanced back at the girl again and flushed with embarrassment. "Unless you want me to. Do you?" The girl shook her head then smiled; a slight blush tinging her face.

"No. It's alright. That one is the nice one. If you make him promise to keep this one in line," She kicked the dagger-man with the heel of her boot, "I'm sure that he'll be good. Right Moko-chan?"

"Right!" Syaoran's eyes widened as the rabbit nodded and made a punching motion with its paws. "And if he ever does break his word, Mokona will blast him away with the Nica-cannon!"

The man looked up them all wide-eyed and nodded as walked over to his unconscious companion. Pulling him onto his back, he glanced around nervously and glanced towards the girl shamefaced.

"Sorry about all this miss. I' keep him in line. Though I doubt I can... Thanks for...sparing us all the same." Bowing, the dark-haired man glanced up at the girl one last time before sprinting away as fast as he could.

Syaoran watched him run off for a moment then turned as the girl's voice called out from behind him.


Sakura's heart pounded as her saviour faced her. Warm, amber eyes glowed as thick, almost shaggy brown hair waved slightly in the breeze.
Blushing slightly with what she was sure was a silly grin on her face, Sakura bowed deeply in thanks.

"Umm...if you hadn't come just now, that man would have killed me, which would have killed Moko-chan... Thank you so much for saving us. You were amazing!"

Instantly the boy's face reddened. "No. Not really. I just happened to be nearby. Anyone would have done the same thing."Sakura and Mokona both giggled as the boy waved his hands in front of him, obviously embarrassed by the comment.

Cheerfully Sakura held out her hand and grinned. "My name is Sakura. Sakura Kinomoto of the beast-tribe. Umm...are you travelling to the north?"

Kurogane sighed as he sat on the same bench the previous day, and tried to ignore the now, oddly silent mage.

After the three of them had argued loudly and pointlessly over what to eat for lunch, the group had finally decided on takoyaki (which gave Kurogane an intense feeling of déjà-vous) and Chii had cheerful jumped up off her seat exclaiming that she would be the one presenting them all with lunch.
Strangely it seemed that the mage had no over-protective objections (unlike himself) and had let the girl run off all on her own. Leaving the pair of them where they were now.

Kurogane shifted uncomfortably under the oppressive silence.

Ever since he had met him (less than 24 hours, but still!), the guy had been an incessant chatter-box.
To have him fall silent like this for no apparent reason was disturbing.

And no matter how much Kurogane tried to ignore it, the mage's behaviour reminded Kurogane of Tomoyo's.

The way he smiled. His pale almost snow-like skin. The way his eyes sparkled. Even the way he talked!

God, this is creepy! It was almost as if Tomoyo had a blonde male clone!

And what was that mage hiding? The way that guy lied while grinning all the time was beginning to make Kurogane's stomach crawl. Not to mention how curiosity.

Not that talking to the guy would help with any answers.

Talking to the mage would be like talking to a parrot. Sure, it might answer you, but the chances of it telling you anything of interest would be rather low.
But still! The curiosity was killing him!

He glanced over to the mage and frowned.

Maybe if he somehow tricked the mage in a conversation he would find out why Tomoyo wanted him to protect the two blondes.
Sure, her orders hadn't been specific, but he knew it had to be these two she wanted protected. Everything pointed to it, and it was typical of how things turned out with Tomoyo involved.

Besides, ever since the three of them had left the hospital, Kurogane had felt the familiar prickle of danger travel down his neck. And while that in itself wasn't that uncommon (he usually had to drive off about 7 assassinations away from Tomoyo each day), the fact that he'd only sensed it after the blonde woke up, was something to consider.

He closed his eyes against the sun's glare.

Well, it couldn't hurt to ask the guy a few things...

He turned and opened his mouth to talk only to find the mage had an identical expression on his face.

Blinking for a moment, the blonde stared at the swordsman in surprise then smiled. Kurogane felt his eye-brows twitch as he realised it was yet another fake.

"What was it you wanted to talk about Kuro-choppy?" The sound of interest in the blonde's voice caught the red-eyed ninja off guard.

"Didn't you want to talk about something? You had your mouth was wide open and everything."

The mage shrugged, his hair glinting brightly in the sun. "My question isn't that important. It can wait until you're done."

Kurogane glanced over to direction the Chobit girl had run off to.

"Aren't you worried about that little girlfriend of yours? From what I've seen so far, she isn't exactly the most complicated spell in the book and after yesterday, I would have figured you'd be super protective of her right now." Inwardly Kurogane kicked himself.

Of all the questions he could've asked to get information, he had to ask such a stupid one! Why?! This wasn't going to help him at all!

Trying not to growl at himself, Kurogane flinched slightly as the blonde burst out laughing. The ninja raised an eyebrow.

...Well that hadn't exactly been the reaction he'd been expecting...

"Forgive me for assuming that such a stupid mage might have a soul! You know, most people would actually think about what I said and get concerned about the little ditz, not laugh about it like it was the best joke they'd heard all year! Seriously, you have a really sick sense of humour, you know that?"

Under the warrior's annoyed scowl, the mage sobered. Smiling sheepishly, Fai ran a pale hand through his golden hair.

"Sorry Kuro-rin. I wasn't laughing about Chii being in danger or anything. I just found it funny how you made it sound like we were a couple or something."

"Aren't you?"

Kurogane mentally slapped himself as the words left his mouth.

Like he cared about this guy's personal relationships. Who the hell was he, bloody Shogo Asagi?

Fai grimaced and rested a hand on his knee. Kurogane realised with a hint of surprise that the mage actually thinking about the question seriously.

"No. Definitely not. That would be just...weird. Chii is more of a little sister to me than a potential lover." The mage began fidgeting with something on his coat.

Kurogane sighed mentally. Well...he'd started the conversation; he may as well finish it.

"She not your type or something?"

A cat-like grin spread across the mage's face. Eyes glinting wickedly, the mage traced a hand along Kurogane's arm. Red eyes scowled.

"Hmmm...Kuro-sama wants to know my type, huh? Hmm...I wonder..? Does he want to find out the hard way..?"

Kurogane batted the offending hand away and gritted his teeth with annoyance.

"No, I don't. So could you stop being such a twisted little freak and start at least pretending to be normal? Because it's really starting to bug me now."

The mage gave the warrior a disappointed look before pulling away, a hurt expression on his face. "Wai...Kuro-wanwan doesn't care about my feelings... What a mean puppy he is!" Kurogane glared.

Just great. He'd gone back to being stupid and annoying. Now he wouldn't find out anything. Maybe if he tried a different angle...

Kurogane watched as the mage pulled yet another fake grin.

"Hurry up and ask your question already before I decide to ignore you again. You had one earlier didn't you?"

Kurogane watched with interest as the mage looked up in surprise. Blue-eyes gazed into red for a few seconds then fixed themselves to the ground.


After a few more minutes of silence Kurogane felt his temper begin to snap.

"Well? Spit it out already! Why'd you clamp up like that? It's weird."

Fai smiled.

"Never mind Kuro-tan. It doesn't really matter. I was just thinking how cute you looked just then. Sort of...interesting... I guess. Oh dear... Kuro-sama is blushing now. Was it something I said?"

As the mage smirked, Kurogane tried to banish the man's words (and that blush) from his mind and out of existence.

Ok. That was really distracting...

Hearing the click of shoes against the pavement, Kurogane looked up just in time to catch the Chobit girl skip into view.

Bounding towards them, Chii beamed for a moment then passed them half a dozen packets of takoyaki. Taking a few off the girl's hands, the mage smiled warmly and Kurogane realised with a start that it was the first genuine smile he had seen from the mage all day.

'Kinda looks nice on him when the guy actually means it. Pity he doesn't look like that all the time.' A flash of irritation flashed through the ninja's mind.

Dammit! Why did he even care if the mage looked good or not? He looked at the mage and sighed.

Stupid rebellious brain...

Oh well. At the very least that conversation had proved the mage was good at avoiding questions. He was also really good at changing the subject if he didn't like it. That was better than knowing nothing, right?

Besides, if protecting these two was what Tomoyo wanted, and if that required him to watch that freak mage and learn all of the man's twisted little quirks, then he would do it. He sighed as he took another bite of his food and watched golden hair shine in the sunlight.

'That WAS what she wanted, wasn't it?'

"Amazing! It's so Amazing!!! Kuro-sama?! Have you ever seen so many books in one place before in your life?! Oh, right... Of course you have; you live here, I forgot. But still! This place is just so incredible! Wai~ I wonder if they have any books on magic... Even the mage temples back in Fe'ore didn't have this many!"

Kurogane stared as Fai ran towards the nearest books, babbling and twirling his arms about excitedly.

Sure, from what he knew of the mage's personality and from the obvious interest in books from both blondes, this reaction should have been expected.
But knowing something and then actually seeing it were two completely different things.

Kurogane grimaced as Fai turned back towards him; the man's eyes practically sparkling with joy.

"Kuro-rinta...I think I'm in love with this place!" Kurogane glared at him blankly.

"You're only in here after normal tourist hours because I was with you. So if you damage any of the books, I swear I'll go over there and kick your ass!" Ignoring him, the mage giggled manically and dashed towards a large pile of history books.

Groaning, the warrior turned and looked towards the smaller, slightly less-ridiculous looking blonde. Staring up at him wide-eyed, Chii gripped a picture book tightly to her chest.

"Will Kurogane read books with Chii while Fai has fun running around the aisles?"

Watery amber eyes looked up at him expectantly. Feeling a stab of helplessness, Kurogane sighed, reached over and opened page 1 of said book.

He was so doomed...

Fai smiled as he watched as Kurogane began reading along with Chi.

Despite how Kurogane yelled and snapped at him, Fai liked the irate ninja.
Even if the timing of his rescue of the two blondes seemed a little suspicious, he seemed nice enough.

Pity he hadn't asked why Kurogane had saved them. He'd thought about asking just before lunch...but in the end he had lost his nerve.

Fai sighed.

At least Kuro-pon wasn't the usual type. The teasing earlier had proved it. Even if he had lied in the hospital, he doubted the man would have lied about his 'intensions' towards the mage when Chii was clearly out of sight. People like that normally jumped at the first invitation while Kurogane had glared at him each time he'd brought up the subject.

Watching him blush had been fun though...

And judging by how pathetically he acted around the Chobit, Fai doubted he was one of them.

Those people. It wasn't likely that they had heard of yesterday's commotion...but if they did... Fai tried not to tremble.

If Kurogane was even half as good a fighter as his aura seemed to hint at, having him protecting Chii would take some of the load off his mind.

He sighed as he flicked through a book of white magic.

Healing magic. The one type of magic that he could never wield. Sure, there were lots of people who lacked the ability use such spells; but Fai knew it wasn't for the same reason as him.

Chii knew all about his past. It had been the first time he had ever met a Chobit, aside from his mother, and back then he hadn't known about their mind-reading abilities. And strangely, Chii didn't seem horrified by him.

But that didn't mean she understood the danger. And Kurogane knew nothing at all. Fai almost felt bad at getting the man involved, despite the fact it was a necessity. Of course, he'd feel even more guilty if the man died.

He flipped to next page and groaned with annoyance.

Thinking warped thoughts like this wouldn't do any good and was just freaking him out. Besides, for all he knew, those guys probably thought he was dead by now.

Hearing Kurogane's extremely annoyed voice read out the words from Chii's picture book, Fai smiled.

He really hoped those people wouldn't show up.

Syaoran smiled as Sakura sat down in front on him. The rabbit-thing, Mokona hopped onto the table and giggled.

It was amazing how fortunate he was sometimes.
After telling Sakura he didn't know where he was heading and that he was lost, Mokona had cheerfully announced that the two were heading towards the town of Clover. Which Syaoran luckily remembered was on the way to where Watanuki was headed. (He remembered that bit. Just not the rest of it.)

He smiled.

Not only had he saved someone's life, he'd also found part of Watanuki's trail. Not to mention it was nice to meet someone else from the beast tribe.

He glanced at Sakura's bracelet.
Unlike Ryuoh's bracelet which was made from bleached-white shark bone, Sakura's bracelet was made from antler and was varnished a dark, almost-ebony colour.

He wasn't surprised by how different the bracelets were; animal-tribe symbols often differed among families. What did surprise him was the amount of different symbols used on each slate.

One slate had a snake surrounded by leaves, while another had a bird pictured against the wind. There was even a tree!

Ryuoh had once told him that indented slates often showed the types of animals the owner could communicate with. And judging by the fact that every single slate of Sakura's bracelet was indented with different things, Syaoran wondered just how many creatures (and plants) she could talk to.

"Hey Sakura!" Syaoran looked up suddenly as he realised he'd been lost in his thoughts again. He felt his cheeks redden.

"What is it Moko-chan? Did the waitress come with the food already?" Sakura's big green eyes shone at Syaoran cheerfully. Syaoran shifted uncomfortably.

Seeing Sakura's eyes like that reminded him too much of Ryuoh. ...which was creepy, considering the first thing he'd thought when he saw Sakura smile was how pretty she was (something you really don't want to think about someone when you're comparing them to your best same-gendered friend). He blinked the disturbing thought out of his head as quickly as possible and once again tried to focus on the real world.

"Sakura still hasn't asked our hero's name yet." Mokona turned to Syaoran; flicked her ears forward and grinned evilly. "Sakura is normally loud but since she likes you she's gone all shy."

Both teens instantly turned a bright shade of red.

"Moko-chan!!" Huffing for minute at the small fuzz-ball, Sakura quickly remembered her manners and turned back to Syaoran, a light blush covering her face. "Sorry about that... but I would like to know your name."

Syaoran smiled.

"My name is Syaoran..." He scrambled for a false last name. "Lee. Syaoran Lee, of Fahren."

Sakura clapped her hands, her eyes shining with amazement.

"Wow! Syaoran-kun, you're from Fahren?! Is it true that Fahren has so many mages that there are lamps in the street that are powered just through magic? And that there's a giant magic bell that only rings during weddings and huge celebrations and glows? And that the castle there is made entirely of big heavy stone?!"

Syaoran nodded, slightly stunned at the girl's change in personality. Sakura was still 'wow-ing' and 'ohh-ing' when she suddenly paused, her cheeks pink.

"Umm...sorry about that... I only started my journey today so I'm still not sure how to behave outside yet... I'm still finding it strange not to be under trees."

Syaoran nodded in sympathy. "Please don't worry Hime, your behaviour is fine. I've also only been travelling for a short while so I'm finding things a bit strange as well."

Syaoran paused when he realised Sakura's eyes were wide and Mokona was hopping with excitement. He blinked with confusion.

"A Hime? How cool! Syaoran thinks Sakura is a princess!"Mokona waved her little paws and giggled as Syaoran's face flushed crimson red.

"No! I didn't mean to say that! It's just that you look like one! Or you remind me of one or something..." Syaoran felt his face grow hotter as he realised this wasn't helping his argument. He bowed his head down. "I'm so sorry...I said it by accident. I didn't even realise I'd said it until you pointed it out to me."

Sakura and Mokona smiled at each other as Syaoran lowered his head apologetically.

"That's alright Syaoran-kun. A friend of mine; one I'm looking for right now actually, he used to call me the exact same thing. He always said that even though he hated titles and that sort of thing, I always seemed to remind him of those brave princesses in the stories. It's actually kind of amazing you would say the same sort of thing!"

Mokona nodded in agreement. "If Syaoran wants to, he should call Sakura that. It sounds cool coming from him. After all, Syaoran did save Sakura like a shinning white knight!"

Syaoran couldn't contain the blush on his face as Sakura beamed at him. Instantly a wave of guilt struck him hard.

Admittedly, he had only lied about his name...but somehow, lying to this girl made him feel like the world was crashing down.

And it was so stupid to feel this way. The less she knew about him, the safer she was. With everything that had happened, it was very likely that Fahren soldiers were going to come after him. And with Yuko gone, who knew how they'd treat people they regarded as 'friends' of a traitor.

'No.' He thought as the waitress placed their drinks on the table. 'It would best for her if I leave as soon as possible. So that's what I'm going to do."

Sakura smiled as she watched Syaoran take a quick sip of his lemonade.

She really liked being around him. His hair, his eyes, his honesty and even the way he quietly gazed up into space every now and then, made Sakura's heart flutter.

It was similar to the way she had felt about Yukito back when she'd been about 10.
Just before her 11
th birthday, she'd had bravely asked to be alone with him, confessed her feelings, and had her heart completely shattered when he admitted to being in love with her brother.

She glared at her ice-cream toped chocolate drink.

No...That had not been a nice memory...though she had been rather happy when Yukito and Touya had hooked up.

But being head-over heels for him had sort-of been fun, and seeing as there was no ultra-cool, over-protective, boyfriend-stealing brother running around, Sakura was quite pleased with this development. Except...

Mokona glanced up as Syaoran got up and went to the counter to pay for their drinks.

'Except I still don't know where he's going, or if he'd let me go with him.' Thought Sakura gloomily. 'Maybe if he's travelling further north I can go with him...but if he wants to go south...'

She sighed, then jumped slightly as Mokona pinched her on the wrist.

"Ouch! Moko-chan! What was that for?!" Mokona looked up angrily at her mistress and sighed.

"Mokona was trying to talk to you, but Sakura's head was in the clouds. So Mokona helped bring it down!"

Sakura felt a bead of sweat trickle down the side of her face as Mokona's little glare continued.

"Sorry Moko-chan. What was it you wanted to talk about?" Mokona flapped her ears and smiled; Sakura instantly forgiven.

"Mokona was just wondering if Sakura is going to ask Syaoran yet."

Sakura looked at Mokona confused. Mokona looked up at Sakura in frustration and groaned.

"Did Sakura forget already? Rule #1 of the Beast-tribe: Pay back debts! Sakura and Mokona were both saved by Syaoran, so now Sakura and Mokona need to thank him somehow. Did Sakura's brain turn completely into mush when she went all lovey-dovey?"

Ignoring the comment about her brain, Sakura inwardly kicked herself. Hard.

How could she have been so stupid?! She'd been told only just this morning! But...if she needed to pay off a debt and didn't have any money...that meant she could stay near him! Actually she'd have no choice but to stay near him until she repaid him. But either way, that had to be a good thing right?


Mokona watched as Sakura's face as it changed from embarrassed to happy, to hopeful and slightly worried, then back to love-sick happiness again.
She twitched her ears forward.

'Yep. My human is definitely gone with the wind.' She glanced up as Syaoran returned to the table, and sighed when she realised Sakura was still in her 'floaty mode'.
Remembering pervious times Sakura had gone into 'floaty mode', Mokona decided to take matters into her own paws and bounced over to Syaoran's side of the table.

"Syaoran! Syaoran! Sakura wants to know what you need help with!"

Syaoran blinked confused as Mokona jumped up onto his shoulder and began to tug gently on his hair.

"What? Umm...why?" Sakura, hearing Syaoran's voice, instantly snapped out of floaty mode.

"It's...It's because! Umm...we need to repay all our...debts and you saved our lives and...We owe you..."

Mokona slammed a paw to her forehead as Syaoran calmly struggled to decipher what the green-eyed maiden was trying to say.

"And so you see...We need to stay around you until we can help you with something that's worth the equivalent of two lives. We have to repay the amount if there's anything you can think of, we'll help you with it!"

Syaoran bit his lips as Sakura looked at him determinedly. Instantly he shook his head.

"I'm sorry, but no. You two being alright is all I wanted in the first place and to ask for anything more would be selfish of me."

Sakura shook her own head and grinned.

"It's alright. It's part of the beast-tribe law. Mokona and I want to help you. Right Moko-chan?" The creature nodded firmly.

"Sakura and Mokona owe Syaoran two lives worth of debt. If Mokona and Sakura don't pay it back, then Sakura and Mokona will no longer be members of the beast-tribe and will eventually lose all our power... Then Sakura and Mokona won't be able to talk anymore and then Sakura would be sad."

Syaoran's eyes widened with confusion.

"Lose your power? You mean being able to communicate? But why?"

Sakura smiled warmly. "Because people can only understand other people when they listen to and put their trust in them. It works the same way for us too. The rules aren't 100% unbreakable...but if you never upheld them, how could you expect anybody to trust you? That's the reason why almost every beast-tribe person is a good person. Because if we weren't, we'd never be able to summon a thing, and therefore we wouldn't be the beast-tribe!" Sakura nodded as if agreeing with herself then turned to Syaoran, her eyes sparkling the same way Watanuki's did whenever he was cooking.

"And that's the reason we have to help you! Because you helped us! Nothing on Gaia could make us feel otherwise! We have to help you with everything we have!"

Syaoran slowly felt his resolve begin to shatter.

It was obvious that the two of them really wanted to come, and they might be useful at tracking down Watanuki...but! It was so risky. What if they got hurt or in danger because of him?!

He glanced back at Sakura's excited face while Mokona patted him on the back and giggled unsympathetically.

Syaoran slumped forward onto the table. He knew when he had been beat.

"And in the city with no people, I met the one just for me. And that person feels that I am the person just for him, not because of what I can do but because I am me. The End. Are you happy now!?!" Kurogane grumbled as he read the last few lines of the book to an enthusiastic, smiling Chii.

Chii nodded, picked the book off the ground and slipped it into what Kurogane now dubbed 'the borrow bag'.

"Yes. Chii is very happy. Chii is happy that Chii got to read books with Kurogane! Chii is a bit sad that Fai didn't read with Chii...but Chii is still happy!"

Kurogane winced as he heard the blond repeat that sentence for the 4th time in less than an hour. (And what's worse, she really meant it.)

He glanced back to the borrow bag and then to the also recently dubbed 'Return to where you got it from 'cause you don't want to read that. No, really you don't!' bag.

Seriously, where the hell had that girl found all those magazines?! The Nihon library didn't even have a section like 'that' as far as he knew. Not that he'd ever for look for it if there was one.
And aside from that... What was with those picture books? Picture books were meant to be happy and cute and for little kids and stuff, not so bloody serious and depressing that you wanted to eat comfort food for a week! And
all the books she'd found had been like that! Well... maybe not the last one. But it felt depressing. And how did she manage to find so many like that..?

He looked at Chii, feeling a little disturbed as she cheerfully tried (the key word here being tried) to lift the books off the ground. A cloud of dust puffed up into her face and she sneezed, her hands cutely covering her tiny nose. She gazed up at him wide-eyed.

No...He wasn't going to think about it. Asking himself questions on how a girl like this had managed to find books like that would send him paranoid for sure.

Glancing at the clock, Kurogane stood up and looked around for the mage. After not instantly spotting him nearby giggling his head off, Kurogane swore under his breath and turned back to the Chobit, a bored look on his face.

"Well that's it for today kid. The Library will be closing soon so you should go and borrow those books of yours. I'll go look for that idiot of a mage." As Kurogane turned to walk down the nearest corridor of book shelves, a tiny hand gripped Kurogane's arm.

"Kurogane is going the wrong way. Fai is down that way." Kurogane glanced back as Chii pointed determinedly in the opposite direction. He gave the girl a curious look.

"How do you know? He might be up this way." Chii shook her head and pouted.

"No. Fai is this way. Chii can tell. Fai is Chobit like Chii, so Chii can feel it when Fai is nearby. Fai is happy too; he's read lots of interesting books and is planning on teasing Kurogane."

Kurogane's eyes widened as he registered what Chii had said.

No wonder the mage and the girl seemed close. Chobits could practically read one another's minds when they were in a close enough range. It all made sense now. Kurogane was suddenly filled with a strange sense of relief, sort of like the other day when he had realised that Ojiro Mihara was just a kid...

He instantly pushed that thought away from his mind.

Another quickly took its place.

"Hey kid." Chii smiled up at Kurogane. "If that idiot's a Chobit, then why are his ears normal like mine? I thought all Chobits had furry ears like yours." Kurogane waited as Chii suddenly seemed to take an intense interest with staring at the floor.

"Chii...was told once, a long time ago...that ears like Chii's are only on those of us who have full blood. Every now and then, a Chobit will leave the home and have a child with Chobit and human blood." Kurogane suddenly felt a wave of uneasiness at the way Chii had said the word 'human.

He watched as Chii lifted her head up and gave Kurogane one of the saddest looks Kurogane had ever seen.

"When the part human Chobits, the new ones, first appeared in the world, many humans were scared by them. Like Chobits, the new ones can feel the 'heart'," she pointed at her chest, "and can remember all the things they see. But unlike Chobits, they can't protect themselves from the attacks...and you can't tell just by looking who are the new ones and who aren't." Seeing that Kurogane was still following (well he was trying to anyway) Chii continued.

"So people used to attack those they thought were new ones. And most new ones couldn't live with the Chobits because they couldn't protect their minds from being seen and it scared them. Even now they can't. But now it doesn't matter anymore." Chii's voice suddenly lightened.

"Because now almost nobody hates us anymore. And people don't mind-control anymore, because it's against the law." Chii paused then looked at Kurogane as if she was telling him something extremely important. "But... Fai still can't stop Chii from seeing when Fai is nearby. Normal people can't be seen, but since the new ones have Chobit code in their minds, the data that they normally in-code into their minds so that no one can read it, is made into transferable data that others with Chobit code can read and when a person is a new one, they don't have the natural protection data that firewalls one data bank from another and protects the data from being corrupted, corroded or deleted."

Chii gazed up as she realised Kurogane had been completely stumped. Chii shook her head in sympathy.

"Chii doesn't really understand some of the words either...but when Fai met Chii, Chii knew everything Fai knew. Back then Fai was always scared. He's still scared a lot...but he sometimes smiles for real too so..."Chii looked at Kurogane hopefully. "Will Kurogane listen if Fai talks? Fai lies but at the same time he tells the truth. If Kurogane listens, Kurogane might understand. Chii can't really help because Chii already knows everything but not why. So can Chii trust Kurogane?"

Kurogane nodded slightly as Chii's hopeful eyes began to bore holes in his face. (Mentally. Not literally. That would be...weird.)

Unlike all of the crappy information he'd gotten off the mage earlier, this all seemed important somehow...especially the information about the lying.
Sure, he couldn't understand most of what she was saying, and all that stuff about encoding and firewalls just made his head hurt, but knowing that the Chobit girl knew the mage lied was interesting. What she said about the mage telling 'the truth in his lies' was interesting as well.

Kurogane groaned mentally.

Just great. He was going to be stuck trying to figure this out for ages, wasn't he? And then it would all turn out that Tomoyo had just wanted something stupid like a lock of the mage's hair or to dress up the Chobit in one of her special hand-made outfits. He growled at himself in annoyance.

Maybe Tomoyo would do that... But there was also the fact that she had been dead-serious when she had made him promise to do all of this. Tomoyo never joked about this sort of thing. He, of all people, knew that better than anyone.

Kurogane scowled and shook his head. Ignoring Chii's bewildered stare, he stamped towards the direction the girl had said the idiot was in.

Stupid idiot...Where the hell was the guy anyway? With the amount of time they were taking, they may as well have just gone to the front entrance and waited for him there.

Spotting a glint of gold in the distance, Kurogane sped up his pace. Behind him, Kurogane could hear the soft pattering of Chii's feet.

"Oi! Idiot! It's closing time! Finish up everything now!" Kurogane shouted and watched as Fai put down whatever book he was reading and skipped towards them, that stupid grin still stuck in place like glue.

"Awww! Kuro-rin came for me! I'm so happy I could just drop to the ground!"

Judging by how the twit was flailing around, Kurogane thought that it was definite possibility.

"If you do, I'm not helping you up again." Seeing the look of disappointment on the mage's face, Kurogane suddenly felt the urge to laugh, but resisted it as much as he could. He glanced down as Fai slumped to his knees.

"Kuro-wan is always so mean to me... Next he'll yell at me like it's all my fault for everything and will sulk just like the big puppy he is..."

Kurogane tried to ignore the small vein that was beginning to throb on the side of his head.

"Well if we get locked in here, it will be your fault. It's already 6:20, and I don't know about you, but I'd rather not fall asleep in a place so full of dust."

Fai smirked; a look that for some reason right now made Kurogane want to punch the guy's face in.

"It's all covered, Kuro-bonbon! I met the Librarian a little while ago, a lovely lady named Fuu, and she told me that she wouldn't lock the doors until we wanted to leave. She was wonderfully nice. She also mentioned that you come here often to borrow lots of books." Kurogane's face reddened as Fai flashed him the smile that just screamed 'I'm laughing at you'.

"I was rather surprised to hear that big, bad Kuro-chi was so studious...but I was even more surprised when I found out how many of those books he was reading were comic books. I rather like this series here..." Kurogane froze as Fai pulled out a huge list from underneath his coat. "It's 'Tsukiyomi Moon Phase', isn't it? I read part of that series at a temple a while ago. I'm surprised that Kuro-sweet is into such cute romance stories, but with the way Kuro-nan is kind and soft-hearted in real life, I guess I should have expected it. Though the perverted jokes the author makes may be the real reason he reads it..."

Growling, Kurogane gave the mage a glare that would have sent most people frothing at the mouth with terror. But the mage being who he was and not like most people, was unaffected and simply smirked in triumph. He then glanced past Kurogane and froze.

"Kuro-sama...Where's Chii?" Kurogane spun around as fast as he could without dislocating his legs. Behind him was nothing but an empty aisle.


Fai felt his blood freeze as Kurogane spun around and swore.

Chii was gone.

Glancing over at Kurogane annoyed expression; Fai wished desperately that he could react like that. So unconcerned and calm.

Normally he wouldn't have been worried. Actually, in this sort of situation, he was rarely worried at all. But something felt off... Maybe he was just still jumpy after everything yesterday. Yeah...that had to be it...

Kurogane's icy calm voice cut Fai out of his panicked state. He glanced at the man's red eyes and felt himself relax slightly.

"Mage. You said that you spoke with library lady earlier, right?" Fai was about to nod when he realised the ninja was thinking out loud. Something in the ninja's voice reminded Fai of a hissing snake. Or a dragon. Suddenly, he didn't feel relaxed at all.

"You said she spoke with you...did she say she was going to say hi to the kid and me at any point?"

Fai nodded, his breath coming out in steam. He glanced around. When had the temperature dropped? Never mind...that didn't matter right now.

"Yeah...she did. I told her you two were in the children's section. She said she was going to go right over there after she finished updating the stock list and she did that a while ago..." Fai's voice trailed off as Kurogane silently drew his sword out of its sheath, his red eyes fierce.

"Make sure to stick behind me Mage. I don't like this at all. If worst come to worst, you're to save that little girlfriend of yours and run. My Hime charged me with your protection so if either of you get hurt, I'll have to explain to a very pissed-off princess why the hell I failed. And I really don't want to do that, understood?"

Fai blinked as the ninja unconsciously answered the question he'd been thinking in his head for hours. Kurogane, who had walked ahead, looked back at him and snarled.

"Will you hurry up? There's something in here, I can't sense it properly, and if you don't hurry up then I'm going to leave you here!" Fai jumped as he scuttled forward.

Once he reached the ninja's side, Fai clapped his hands together and winced slightly as he pulled his mage staff out of his palm. Seeing Kurogane's eyes widen, Fai nodded weakly and grinned.

"Sorry Kuro-growl. I'm ready to fight now."

The ninja rolled his eyes before turning and flashing the mage a quick grin.

"Good. A powerless mage is even worse than a dead weight. Just don't get in my way."

Fai nodded. If he had any choice in the matter, he wouldn't be anywhere near the action at all.

Fai glanced around as the lights nearby began to dim.

Diming lights, freezing air...there wasn't any question of who it was now.

Fai looked towards Kurogane for what felt like the millionth time and tried to calm his nerves again.

It wasn't like he could help it; just being anywhere near where these people might have been scared the crap out of him. Being in a place where they were still there was terrifying! Hopefully the ninja hadn't noticed how scared he was, but even if he did, most likely he'd just put it down to nerves.

He glanced backwards as the lights finally gave out. Shadows obscured the ceiling and bookcases making Fai feel even more trapped.

He shook his head again and tried to focus on the positive side of things.

One up side was that this didn't seem to be the 'slaughter everyone in the village' type of attack. On the down side, what was going on?
If it was a sneak raid, why hadn't a sleep spell been cast? Or had it been cast and somehow repelled?

He watched Kurogane for a few moments and smiled as a wave of 'pure' energy rolled off him.

Of course... Kurogane was immune. If Kuro-puu had magical protection then this would make things a lot easier. Sure, he'd have to use a barrier or two if the enemy blasted at them but at least they would be safer from a mind attack.

A sudden sharp pain spiked though Fai's head. Gasping, the mage shut his left eye and grabbed Kurogane on the shoulder.

"They're up ahead...behind that door over there. They have a lot of magic operating and I think Chii's unconscious...I can feel her wavelength a little... Anyway, whatever it is that knocked her out is starting to affect me too, so you might not get as much help from me as you might like. Sorry."

Kurogane nodded and held his sword forward in a defensive pose. "You'd probably just get in the way anyway."

Fai tried to argue but flinched as the light-globe overhead exploded. Bits of stone and glass shattered downwards, and Fai winced as a sliver of glass sliced into his cheek.

Then the wave of magic hit him. Fai's eyes widened as he felt the magic run through him.

"Chii's magic..? But why!?" Ignoring Kurogane's shout of alarm, Fai lunged towards the door without a moment's hesitation.

That was definitely Chii's; that signature was undisguisable. But there was something so old and so wrongabout it now. What were those people doing to her?! He bashed through the door with a tackle.



Kurogane shoved the bookcase off his back; leapt to his feet and swore with the filthiest words known to man.

That stupid mage! What kind of stupid numbskull runs headfirst into danger when the bodyguard he had fricking payed for was trapped under a bookcase!?!
Odds were that the idiot hadn't even realised he'd left him behind. And where had that shockwave come from? There was no way that blast had been natural.
Kurogane winced as his teeth continued to buzz with the vibration.

He rushed into the cut-off room and ducked just a split second before blades of crystal thudded into the wall behind him. Rolling to the side, Kurogane glanced up and froze.

A piercing rainbow light shone outwards from Chii's body as she hung suspended in the air. Two gigantic wings of glowing with that same rainbow colour sprouted out from the girl's back as Chii's amber eyes gazed blankly into space.

Kurogane stared. What the heck..?

"Chii..!" Kurogane flicked his eyes to the right to see that the mage had been pinned against a wall, a hand gripped tightly around his neck.

His captor, a dark puffy-haired woman, looked at him briefly then turned to look at her partner, a girl with short brown hair. The girl held a strange machine and was typing away at what looked like hundreds of buttons.

"Yumi. Hurry up with the analysis of the subject, we don't have much time. Koryuu and I will deal with the unknown factor." Kurogane tensed. There were more of them?

A small 'thump' behind him was the only warning he had. Stepping a pace forward then turning around as fast as his legs could carry him, Kurogane slashed his sword down towards his new opponent; but had to change target to slash apart a blast of fire magic sent from the woman in black.
Momentarily distracted, Kurogane was then forced to leap to the side as long strangely-shaped blades lashed out towards his neck. A small trickle of blood began to trickle down Kurogane's forehead.

"Wow! For a human he's rather fast. And he looks so rugged! Xing-y~ I wanna keep him! But I guess that's not really allowed, is it? Oh well." The attacker, a man with long black hair slumped back gloomily.

Koryuu (or at least, the person Kurogane assumed was called Koryuu) stood blocking the doorway. Thick black hair and flashy black clothes certainly made the guy an eye catcher, but what immediately drew Kurogane's eye was the two gigantic bat wings spouting from the man's back.

No bloody way...

A bloody $%#ING cursed one! One of those disgusting evil monsters like the one that attacked the country of Suwa and had left the ripped-apart corpses of its citizens to rot! If it hadn't been for Tomoyo being there back then; gripping the back of his shirt and begging for him to not to fight... he probably would have died too.

The warrior gripped his sword so tightly it felt like his hand would bleed.

No. He had to remain calm. Flying into a rage wouldn't help right now. This bloodsucker wasn't the one that had been there that day. He didn't have blue and yellow eyes. He wasn't the one who had killed them. He had to be calm.

Releasing a breath he hadn't known he was holding, Kurogane opened his eyes and glanced towards the mage.

There was no way he was going to be able to take out a cursed one and a sorceress at the same time. And judging by the way the mage was still pinned to the wall, the woman was probably a cursed one as well. Maybe if the mage caused a good enough distraction-

"No! You mustn't! Chii mustn't let anyone read it!" Chii's scream cut through the air. Long black wires flew out from the brown-haired girl's machine and stabbed into the young Chobit's back. Then something like lightening zapped though Chii's 'wings'. Kurogane tried not to stagger as a wave of magic power that even HE could feel shot through him.

"CHII!!!" Shoving the black-haired woman back with a strength even Kurogane would have found hard to rival, Fai lunged towards Chii and gasped as the black-haired woman tackled him to the ground.

"Let her go! It's me you're after, isn't it?! Chii has nothing to do with this so please!" Kurogane felt his blood run cold at the desperation in the mage's voice.

What did he mean 'after him'? Had he known this was going to happen?!

"After you? Why would we be going after a little thing like you?" The male cursed-one gave Fai a pitying look before his eyes widened in recognition.

"Oh, it's you! The little runaway who got away from the big bad tower! What a surprise seeing you here; we all thought you'd died! Won't Kyle-sensei be thrilled to hear you're still around~" Still smiling coyly, the creature walked over to the cornered mage and flicked him on the forehead.

"Still, you're a lucky one. We aren't here for you this time. We're here for her over there." He gestured towards Chii with the flick of his wrist. "It's amazing just how much the higher ups wanted this little girl. Then again, since she's the one who currently holds the Tsubasa-"

Kurogane decided now was a good a time as any and lunged towards the Chobit, sword drawn. Glancing towards the cursed-one, he smirked.

Stupid. Forgetting about an enemy in mid-battle was a beginner's mistake.

Ignoring the shouts of surprise and shock around him, Kurogane swung his sword directly towards the cables, and flinched as Ginryu smashed into them, creating a shower of sparks.

Hearing a yelp from the mage, Kurogane turned to see Chii grab the wings floating out of her body and proceed to pull at them with all her might.

"Please stop Chobit-san! If you that then-!" The brown-haired girl cut off her sentence with a shriek as Chii ripped the wings out of her back. Kurogane tried not to trip as the power that had been pushing him back for the last minutes suddenly vanished.
Eyes dull again; the Chobit glanced blankly at Fai then threw the wings into the air.

There were audible gasps from all as the wings flashed for a moment before fragmenting into pieces which shot through the roof and disappeared.

Kurogane blinked as he realised a glowing feather was sitting his empty hand. He quickly slipped it into his shirt pocket before anyone spotted it.

"DAMN IT! Xingy!" Koryuu flashed the black-haired woman a look of panic. "How are we going to explain this?! Our only task was to collect the data and-"

"This is fine, Koryuu." The black-haired woman pushed herself off the blonde mage and stood, her black boot on his back. She glanced towards the brown-haired woman, unfazed.

"Yumi, how much data did you collect from the Tsubasa? Any information relevant to our requirements?"

Yumi shook her head. "I'm sorry Xing-Huo-sama... Most of the data was too encrypted for me to decode. If I had done it any faster, Chobit-san might have been suffered fatal damage... I found some data-logs but that was about it. Umm...what are we going to do with Chobit-san now? Can't we just let her go?"

Xing-Hou shook her head slowly and glanced towards Kurogane.

"We cannot afford to waste such a valuable specimen. Koryuu will take her. I will deal with the interferences."

Kurogane snorted. "Deal with interferences? Try dealing with this, lady!" Before even finishing his sentence, Kurogane lunged and thrust Ginryu forward; a splatter of blood hit his face.

Kurogane grinned. Now THAT was a good, clean strike.

"XINGY!!!" "XING-HUO-SAMA!" The other two screamed as Xing-Huo staggered back.

Withdrawing Ginryuu from the woman's chest, Kurogane shook his head and helped the still-stunned mage to his feet. Xing-Huo stared at them impassively as blood flooded out of her wound and began to form a large red puddle around her.

"That was well timed. It is unfortunate but I cannot allow you to recover the Chobit. Be prepared." As the sorceress's hands began to glow with energy, Kurogane found his limbs pinned to his side then gasped as he was blasted backwards to smash into the wall.

The warrior winced as his ribs snapped one by one. A loud 'popping' sound from his collarbone made his head spin as the power that had been constricting him began to pull away.

"Kuro-tan?!" Concern on the mage's face quickly turned to anger as he glared at Xing-Huo.

"Why did you do that?! I know how much power you have Xing-Huo! You could have just knocked him out! I won't forgive you for hurting Chii and Kuro-tan like this!" Kurogane's eyes widened as the mage literally began to glow with power.

Instantly a flurry of wind blasted into the room. Kurogane winced as the last bits of the ceiling above them cracked into pieces and was soon caught up in the mini cyclone. Well, on the bright side, at least the repairmen won't have to worry about any cave-ins when they try to fix this place up.

Feeling the air turn bitterly cold, Kurogane bit his lip and tried to pull himself off the ground until his head began to spin again. Biting back the nausea, he watched as the two mages battle.

Wind filled with icicles as long as spears slammed against waves of flame that shot out of the woman's palms. As the ice melted Fai pulled his arms back, then with his staff glowing made a pushing motion. Instantly the ice expanded and became a flying torrent of water with crashed into the flames with a crackling hiss.

A flicker of emotion flashed over Xing-Huo's for a millisecond but disappeared before Kurogane could identify it. Chanting a spell under her breath and thrusting her hand forward, Xing-Hou winced as a ball of purple lightening was conjured and blasted forwards. Seeing his danger, the mage quickly froze the water around himself like a shield. Upon contact with the ice, the ball of lightening phased out of existence.
Smirking, Fai laughed coldly for a moment then gave the sorceress a menacing look.

"Give back Chii now or I'll use my magic to crush your skull, Xing-hou. I'm not playing around anymore."

Kurogane felt a chill run down his spine at the tone in the spell-caster's voice. It wasn't so much the fact he was willing to kill someone he seemed to know that got to Kurogane as much as the cold indifference in the mage's voice.

Damn. Even I'm not that cold.

He glanced towards Xing-Hou and was unsurprised to see the woman unphased.

Well, if you aren't bothered by being stabbed in the chest then a simple threat of death isn't likely to upset you much either.

Xing-Hou's eyes suddenly focused on a spot above the blonde's head. There was a sudden crackling sound and Fai looked up only just in time to be thrown back by a blast of black light. As he smashing into a nearby pile of rubble, Kurogane could nothing but watch as Xing-Hou's back glowed for a moment before two black leathery wings grew out of it.

"Good bye, Fai. I suggest you leave here soon." The female Cursed-one then grabbed the brown haired girl and flew up. Koryuu who was holding Chii, grinned and followed as Xing-Hou flew out of sight.

There was silence, then the mage staggered to his feet. And for only the second time in his entire life, Kurogane felt helpless as Fai let out a terrible pain-filled wail.


Bonus story:

Mihara Kingdom, Central Tokyo Athena Palace

Tomoyo stood by the edge of the balcony, a strange look in her deep midnight-blue eyes. After a moment, her eyes closed and began to sing. Souma closed her own eyes and listened intently.

Unlike Tomoyo's usual singing, the hime's voice sounded uncharacteristically sad tonight. Part of that was due to the song's tune but somehow Souma felt worried.

Finally as Tomoyo's voice trailed off slowly, the princess looked up at her over-protective ninja and smiled.

Souma frowned, as the smile, like the song, seemed sad.

She sighed inwardly. She always felt so awkward at times like this. Even Kurogane was better in these kinds of these moments. It wasn't like she was trained in this.
How could she help when even playing around with Ojiro-kun and Misaki-chi had failed to cheer her up?

Sure, she had been smiling the whole time they had been running around, but the minute the two children had left the room, Tomoyo's face had filled with the same level of gloom it was in now, and Souma had the intense sinking feeling that only a certain red-eyed ninja could dispel it.

"Souma? Were you listening?" Souma nodded as Tomoyo smiled and glanced up at the sky. After a moment she glanced back.

"Did you like it?"

Souma nodded reluctantly. "I liked the tune. But it struck me as kind of sad. What is it? The song I mean? I've never heard lyrics like that before."

"A prayer. It's a type of song sung in a northern desert nation called 'Clow'. In that country a person sings a prayer to ensure that loved ones return home after battle or recover from what ails them." Tomoyo's hand trailed along the banister. "Though there are times that can be considered a selfish desire..."Tomoyo trailed off for a moment then looked up into Souma's eyes with a frightening intensity.

"Souma. Am I a selfish person?"

Souma blinked in surprise. Of all the things she thought Tomoyo-hime might say...that really hadn't been on the list.

Seeing Souma's confusion, Tomoyo sighed and reached a hand out to catch a falling snowflake.

Wait?! Snowflakes? In this climate? Souma's eyes widened as more snowflakes began to fall from the sky. Glancing back at Tomoyo, Souma's eyes widened as she realised Tomoyo's eyes were watery with tears.

Tomoyo turned and smiled at her, a true smile etched onto her face.

"Everything here right now is just like my dream. Even the snow and the balcony are the same. That means that all of those people will meet, and so many things are going to happen...Big things, little things..."

Tomoyo looked down sadly as the snowflake in her hand melted.

"I hope Kurogane keeps his promises. It's his decision in the end, but I still hope he does. I at least want to meet the shadow or the wing-collector... I want to meet all of them actually. But...that may not be possible..."

Souma stared as Tomoyo suddenly chuckled, her voice breaking the silence that had suddenly fallen around them.

"I will just have to do everything I can. The same as I always do. If he decides not to return...I'll just wait for him anyway. The same way my Onee-san waits for her dear Souma to come home."

As Souma's face reddened, Tomoyo just smiled, turned back to the balcony and hummed, watching snow fall over a warm city.

Character list:

Chapter 5

Fuu: One of the three main girls in MagicKnightRayearth, Fuu is blonde, kind-hearted and very gentle towards others. Windam, the bird Kudan Fai uses in Tsubasa, is the wind god that is her partner. He he~ With that curled hair and those glasses, I couldn't help but make her a librarian~
She, Hikaru and Umi
are actually in Tsubasa, but only in chapters 222 and 223. Sorry I got the information with Umi wrong before; those chapters hadn't been released then.

Koryuu: A rather unknown character from a four book series CLAMP did called WISH. In it, Koryuu is the antagonist; a petty demon from the pits of hell, who shrinks into a chibi during the day before turning into his handsome human-sized self during the night. Despite being an 'evil demon', his constant badgering of the main character, the angel Kahaku, and his tendency to find almost all of the other characters (male and female) sexy, I honestly thought that Koryuu was one of the highlights of the series and ended up being my fav character in it. In this fic, Koryuu is a Cursed One, something which may be even worse than a demon. He never appears in Tsubasa.

Yumi Omura: Chii's main rival for Hideki's affections in Chobits, Yumi is a sweet-natured, brown haired girl with a severe inferiority complex when it comes to persocoms like Chii. Eventually falls for Ueda Heroyasu the baker (actually she fell for him ages ago and was trying to get over him) and is revealed to view Hideki as an older brother. In the fanfic, she is not a Cursed one though it seems she is with them willingly. Still retains her gentle nature but is much better with computers than she would normally be. Is never seen in Tsubasa.

World guide:

New Ones: The name Chobit clansmen use for half Chobit-half normal human people. Rare, and lack the Chobit ears. Extremely vulnerable to mind control and able to hear any sort of telepathy used within a nearby area. Often mentally unstable and always completely unable to protect their thoughts or memories from being broadcasted to any pure blooded Chobits they talk to.

Pure Bloods: A term used to refer to a non-human who has power and instincts as strong as his/her original ancestors'. Has little to do with a pure bloodline, though it must be noted that those with a pure bloodline are more likely to be Pure Blooded.

'Pure' Energy: A rare type of natural magic that manifests only in people with strong wills. It's basically a natural resistance to any kind of magical attack that isn't physical (think Doumeki from xxxholic). This protection can extend to people in very close proximity to the one who has it. Also allows the owner to use 'blasts' of this energy to hurt non-physical creatures such as ghosts, as well as cut heavily armoured monsters from the inside out. Unfortunately it also blocks most healing magic as well as weaker protection spells. Very few who have this magic are ever aware they have it.

Cursed Ones: Non-humans with amazing physical strength and brutal natures. Vampiric and able to use powerful abilities depending on the amount of blood they drink. Little else about them is commonly known. Basically seen as devils or demons.

Holy Ones: Heavenly non-humans with pure white bird wings said to protect the world from great misfortune. There are also legends that say drinking the blood of a Heavenly One will grant eternal life but to kill one will curse someone for all eternity. In the countries of Clow and Nihon there are records stating that like Cursed Ones, Heavenly Ones have been known to drink human blood, however, in their case the victim almost always dies. Viewed as powerful, vengeful angels.

(The information presented on both Cursed and Heavenly ones is only what the main characters would have heard or read about. It's not 100% accurate.)

Countries/Cities: Clover: A small town on the western border of Nihon. Commonly used as a pit stop for weary travellers. Where Sakura, Mokona and Syaoran are while having drinks.

Tokyo: Capital of Mihara. Has highly advanced technology but the castle is a European-style relic dating back centuries. Has a very warm climate. The castle is said to be protected by Holy Ones.

Clow: An ancient Kingdom to the far north-east that is identical to Clow country in Tsubasa. Because it surrounded by a barren desert filled with monsters, it is very rare for anyone to travel to or from it. Is known for its kind-hearted population and unique customs. It's said that anyone who has Clowrian ancestors will have abnormally powerful healing magic.

Fe'ore: A country to the West covered in snow and ice. Not many people live there, but most are mages and scholars devoted to research. Has many public libraries dotted around the place. Many unique plants grow there. Has no acting government or monarchy.