By: Starlight Rose

Disclaimer: Clamp's property, not mine. I'm poor.

Translations of Chinese titles:

Di di- little brother

Mei mei- little sister

Jie jie- older sister

Li Xiao Lang sat quietly in his room just looking idly about the room. This was the room where he had spent most of his life. He hadn't seen the room in months and now that he was back in it, he couldn't say that he missed it. Hong Kong had never really felt much like home to him despite the fact that his entire family lived there. The room and the town just seemed cold and impersonal. Except for a few small items the room could have belonged to anyone, but then he reflected so had his room in Tomoeda. So why did he miss that place so much? He knew it wasn't the room but the town and the people in it. In Hong Kong everyone is too busy worrying about himself or herself to worry about anyone else, even his family. Sure they loved him, but they never went out of their way to be caring towards him. They were too busy trying to mold him into the perfect leader. In Tomoeda he didn't have the legacy of Li Clan heir to uphold. Xiao Lang found himself thawing and for the first time in his life Xiao Lang had felt like he was cared for because he was himself, Li Xiao Lang, or Li Syaoran as they called him, rather than as Li Clan Heir. He wasn't just a title. The people there were friendly and caring enough to see through his cold exterior to see the lonely boy underneath. They had befriended him despite his attempts to push them away. Because of that Tomoeda was much more of a home for Xiao Lang than Hong Kong could ever hope to be.

Xiao Lang lay down on his bed and closed his eyes throwing his arm across his eyes. It had been almost a full twenty-four hours since he had last slept but no matter how weary he was sleep evaded him. All he could think about was that soon he could return to Japan. He could only stay a year, but he hoped that in that year he could accomplish what he was returning to do. Sadly he reflected all his hopes and dreams in the last eight years may be just that-hopes and dreams never to become reality. It had been eight years since he had seen Sakura, he reflected. Although he had never forgotten her, how could he be sure that she had not forgotten him? He wasn't, but that didn't matter. He had to try anyway. It was something he had aimed for and what Xiao Lang set his mind to doing he would put every last ounce of his soul into accomplishing. Last time he had been a coward. He ran and left before he could find out how she felt about him. He wasn't ready then to find out that she didn't love him back, but he was ready now. Now he could accept anything she told him and still love her. He would always love her. Living without knowing how she felt in return had been his greatest regret and he was not going to live his life with regrets.

The door to his room quietly opened and he sat up to look at the person entering his room. It was his mother. She calmly walked over to the bed and sat down beside him before saying, "I'm so proud of you my son. You have done so well these past eight years since your return from Japan."

"Xie xie, Mama." Xiao Lang replied quietly.

"Your grandmother told me your wish. Why do you wish to return to Japan?"

"I have some unfinished business in Japan." He replied evasively.

"Does this unfinished business have anything to do with the Card Mistress?" His mother asked him calmly. Xiao Lang looked up at her startled.

She smiled tenderly at him, "You're wondering how I know?" Xiao Lang just nodded his head. "I'm your mother. Although I may not act very motherly to you most of the time because I'm too busy turning you into a strong warrior and leader, I'm still your mother. As your mother I tend to notice things most people might not, like how you like to stare at that little pencil case over there," she said indicating the pencil box Sakura had given him for White Day, "Or how you sometimes just stare wistfully off into space. You are in love with her are you not?"

"Yes..." Xiao Lang answered her bowing his head.

"I don't blame you. She was a very pretty and sweet girl, but how can you be sure that she even remembers you?"

"I'm not sure, but I have to try anyway. I can't live my life knowing that maybe she did care for me, but I just never gave her the chance to tell me. The Li Clan Head cannot be a coward. I was a coward and ran away trying to protect my heart, scared of rejection." Determination filled his eyes and his amber eyes hardened until they glittered like gold.
"You always were stubborn and impossible to talk out of anything once you had set your mind upon it. Good luck then my little wolf. I hope you can win her heart. Tell me does Meiling know that you are returning to Japan?"

"No. I haven't told her yet."

"Then I shall tell her for you. You should start packing now. I have arranged for you to leave on the 12:00 p.m. flight to Tokyo International tomorrow. From there you can take a taxi to Tomoeda. I've arranged for you to have an apartment next to the Tomoeda University campus. You have to sign up for your classes once you arrive. I've already pulled strings so that you will be accepted. I'll send Wu with the rest of your things later."

Xiao Lang just nodded his head in understanding as his mother stood up to leave. "And Xiao Lang, one last thing," she said as he turned his head up to look at her, "In a year I want to see you back here with the Card Mistress as your fiancee."

"Yes ma'am." Xiao Lang replied giving her the first true smile Yelan had ever seen her son give anyone. She was grateful for the change Tomoeda and its people, especially the Card Mistress had wrought on her son.

Xiao Lang turned around from his packing as he felt a presence standing by his door. Turning around he saw Meiling standing in the doorway with tears in her eyes. "Are you really leaving?" She asked.



With a sad look in his eyes he told her, "You know why."

"Yes, but I don't understand. It's been eight years. Why can't you just forget her? She's probably already forgotten you." Meiling pleaded with him.

"I know," Xiao Lang whispered solemnly.

"But you don't care do you? You still love her after all this time?" Meiling asked him bitterly. Xiao Lang merely nodded his head. "I'm not going to ask you to stay because it'll be no good. I waited for eight years for you to forget her, but you can't. I thought that maybe someday you would come to love me as more than a sister, but you didn't. You never gave up on her and I never gave up on you. But now I guess I should give up." Meiling told him tears filling up her eyes. Taking a small ring with a large piece of jade set in a ring of tiny diamonds off of her finger; she opened up Xiao Lang's hand and placed the ring on his palm and closed his hand. "This ring was given to me by your mother a long time ago. It was meant for your future bride, but it looks like I will no longer be her. This ring rightfully belongs to Sakura now. Our engagement is off for good this time."

Xiao Lang stared at the ring in his hand and whispered sadly, "Thank you Meiling."

"You're welcome. Take good care of Sakura. She's a sweet girl. You and her were meant for each other so this time don't mess up. Don't you dare come back here until Sakura is wearing that ring! Last time you left before you found out her feelings. This time if you dare do that again, I'll kick your butt. You better be happy with her if I have to give you up." Meiling said giving him a hug and wiping the tears from her eyes impatiently.

"I will. I'm sorry that I hurt you. Second to Sakura I love you most." Xiao Lang tried to comfort her and hugging her back.

"I know, but that's not enough and it never will be. I've known for a long time that the love you feel for me is that of a sister. I guess I just never really accepted it. You'll always love her in ways you can't love me. I'm not just doing this for you. I'm also doing it for myself. Even if we did get married neither of us would be happy. You'd always be thinking of her and could never be happy with me. Even though I would be with you I couldn't be happy knowing that I'm married to someone that didn't love me."

"You'll find someone better than me someday."

"Of course I will," Meiling replied, releasing him and walking towards the door. "How can such a cute girl like me stay alone forever? I won't be seeing you off tomorrow so good-bye Xiao Lang. Good luck. I truly hope that you'll be happy with Sakura." She whispered sadly to him before leaving the room to return to her own to cry quietly over giving up the boy she had loved for so long.

Xiao Lang stood at the airport with his mother and his four sisters. From the loudspeaker a young female voice announced, "Flight 104 departing from Hong Kong for Tokyo is now boarding."

Carrying a large green bag on his shoulder Xiao Lang turned around and faced his mother and sisters. "I'm leaving now."

"Take care of yourself. I had the dragon's eye that you retrieved for your final test placed on the hilt of your sword. It should increase your powers and help you a lot if anything comes up. Also remember that pendant you received from the Council of Elders is not just an ordinary piece of jewelry but also contains great power," his mother said as she walked to him and gave him a hug. Dropping his bag Xiao Lang hugged her back.

"I will mother. Take care of yourself and the clan for me while I'm gone."

"Good-bye, di di. Be sure when you come back to us you bring us that cute little Card Mistress to be our mei mei." His sisters told him as they each gave him a hug.

Xiao Lang blushed bright red at his sisters' teasing and yelled, "Jei jei!"

His sisters just laughed and reached up to pinch his flaming cheeks. "You better go now or you'll miss your flight and have to wait even longer to see your precious Sakura."

"Jie jie!" Xiao Lang shouted as he picked up his bag and walked towards the gate. Once there he turned around briefly and waved to his family before boarding the plane. He was finally going back to Japan. He was finally going back to Sakura. His heart leaped for joy at the thought.

In the terminal Xiao Lang's eldest sister turned to their mother and asked her worriedly, "Will he be alright?"

"He will be if he trusts his heart. My poor little wolf, your task this time in Japan is so much more difficult that your last. This time not only do you have to get over your shyness to confess your love to the Card Mistress once more, but your enemy will be so much more dangerous than your last. I hope your training was enough to protect you and the Card Mistress against this new threat." Yelan sighed sadly.