DISCLAIMER: I don't own CCS or CLAMP. Characters used without permission.

DEDICATION: Oh, God. My father.

Sand Castles
by Ekai Ungson

"Congratulations, Li-san. It's a boy."

You can compare the feeling to getting hit by a ton of bricks. And then the shock fades in to an overwhelming joy I can't even begin to describe.

Daidouji--er--Hiiragizawa Tomoyo is jumping up and down. She hurls heself at Eriol with unerring accuracy. Touya breathes a sigh of relief and smiles at Yukito. Nakuru is also jumping up and down at a distance higher than Tomoyo's.

I can feel the pats on my back and the playful ruffling of my hair but I don't react. Instead I stand like an idiot in the middle of the hospital lobby with a goofy smile on my face.

"You can go in and see them now, by the way," the doctor added.

I was in the room faster than any known Dash card can take me.

Her smile is the first thing I see when I walk through the doors. Her green eyes light up. She's obviously weak. But she's happy.

"Syaoran-kun--" she calls.

She doesn't really have to say anymore, though. I hug her. Not as tightly as usual. I'd be willing to bet that she's pretty beaten up. I'm scared she might get hurt.

Instead she laughs and holds me tighter. "Syaoran, I'm not made of glass, you know. I won't break."

I smile weakly. "I guess not. You gave me quite a scare out there, little girl. When you decide to give birth next time, don't do it in the middle of a godforsaken traffic jam for crying out loud."

"I didn't worry a lot," she said. "I had big, strong Syaoran around, to carry me fifteen blocks all the way to the hospital."

"You're cute," I reply sarcastically.

She sticks her tongue out at me.

And then the door opens and a nurse walks in, carrying a bundle of blue blankets.

My breath gets caught in my throat, and my heart stops beating for three full seconds.

The nurse smiles and gives the bundle to me. "Your child, Li-san."

I swear, I can just begin crying right now.

The smallest little baby boy in all of Japan is given into my arms, and it just felt right to stand there and hold my son.

My son.

I feel the exact same way when I held Sakura in my arms in that elevator a few years back, when I had taken to heart that I was destined to care for her, to protect her, to love her.

In the same way I am destined to take care, protect, and love this baby boy in my arms.

And if I had purpose of life before, I now hold its very meaning.

I sit at the edge of my wife's bed. She's crying her eyes out, and laughing at the same time.

"Syaoran--" she whispers. "He looks so much like you."

"I hope he git your eyes," I reply.

"He did, koishii."

The nurse walks up. "What do you want to name him?"

"Kino," I answer automatically.

Sakura nods. The nurse retreats.

I give him up to Sakura. The perfect Kodak moment ensues. Tomoyo would love this.

But for now I want to sit alone and watch over my family.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Sakura is on me in a swirl of dust and laughter. I almost fall to the ground.

"What? What?" I ask in bewilderment.

"Kino-chan said his first ever word today! You HAVE to come see!"

My son? Talking? Already? Not a sight I want to miss. I run after Sakura.

And there he is, sitting on his playpen. His green eyes, the ones he got from his mother, light up in a grin.


This has got to be one of the greatest ever moments of my entire mortal life.

I gather Kino in my arms, laughing. Sakura doesn't seem to care.

And at this moment I thank all the gods for letting me stay alive to see this come to pass.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I'm reading the newspaper in the living room when Sakura screams.

"Syaoran--- SYAORAN! Oh, my God, Syaoran, Kino's WALKING!"

I look up. "He's WHAT?!"

I run up the stairs to see through the open door that my son, barely ten months, was really, truly WALKING.

Monumental, if you ask me.

I jump to remove every solid object in Kino's path.

His balance is a little off though, and he begins to fall.

And I catch him and deliver him safely to the waiting arms of his mother. Sakura hugs him.

And then Kino turns. "Up!"

I take him.

"I love you so much, you do understand that," Sakura gushes. "You're so reliable."

"That's me," I reply. "Reliable guy."

She looks up at me. "I know that look," she says. "It's the I'd-rather-die-before-I-let-any-of-you-come-to-harm look."

I nod.

She kisses me. "I love you."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I stand in a corner and realize with some surprise that three years have passed, three years since I held a newborn Kino in my arms.

Three years I barely noticed passing.

Kino is looking up at a hulking mountain of birthday presents. It's ridiculous. The presents are taller than the person given them to.

Sakura had been right. Kino looks like a mini version of me. Reminds me of myself as a child.

After two years I'll be teaching him sword art.

For now I'll leave him to his mother and his kanji. Nice to know my son gets to learn Japanese and not suffer my old dilemma of not understanding a whole lot of it.

Tomoyo is hovering around, videocam at hand, Eriol in tow. Touya is dressed as a clown. Yukito is organizing the games. Nakuru is wreaking havoc in my kitchen, and I can only pray that she was under Fujitaka-san's tutelage. May the hand of Nadeshiko-san guide him.

Someone grabs me from behind. I turn.


She smiles up at me. "I told you I went to the doctor yesterday, hai?" she asks. "I have some news."

"What?" I question. "Is this good news or bad news?" I worry.

"It's VERY good news," she answers, and proceeds in whispering it in my ear.

My jaw drops.

Sakura is pregnant.


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AN: Oh, gosh. I just loved writing this one. I do. I sincerely absolutely dooooo!!

Hoooooeeeee! @_@ ¬.¬ ^-^