It began three years ago, or it may be said to have begun several hundred years before.

... and of course it was a love story.

... or is it?

Manga - Addicts Presents:
Is It?
A Card Captor Sakura Fanfiction


Card Captor Sakura created by, registered, and copyrighted to CLAMP/Kodansha, Bandai Visual and any other company and/or division associated with the creation and/or production of Card Captor Sakura. This work of fiction is not intended for any commercial purposes but was created for the entertainment of the Author and Fans of Card Captor Sakura.

No copyright infringement was in any way intended.

Is It? written by Jino Turtlegod

Text Styles:
" text " - spoken
:: text :: - thought
% text % - sang
/ text / - electronically transmitted
[text] - computer text
TEXT - white text on black screen
_ text _ - stressed
* text * - sound effect

R Rating. For mature readers only. Some scenes, themes, language, and situations are not suitable for younger readers. Reader discretion is advised.

A dream.

That was how it always started for her.

She dreamt of a home, more of a palace than a house. Large open hallways, windows, and doors allowed the breeze to keep the house cool even in the heat of summer. Birds sang in the trees in the courtyard, singing of love and joy, they gave the home a sense of magic. In the distance she could hear the joyful cries of children at play. Her children. That, she knew instinctively as she sat on the cushioned seat.

She could feel the heavy, intricate headdress atop her long black hair, its presence oddly comforting and yet stifling. She looked down at herself, her body was clad in elegant silk robes of gold, white, and red. Subtle wing motifs were visible had one the inclination to observe more closely. The robes were voluminous, yet unable to hide the hint of a belly laden with child.

She then looked up, as if staring off into nothing. A slight smile crossed her lips as a magic circle appeared under her chair, the thin fragile golden lines formed her intricate symbol, that of waves underneath a crescent moon.

A full length mirror appeared before her, its frame gilded with gold and silver. Her image appeared, and yet it wasn't her. Her reflection showed a younger woman dressed in a thick heavy white top and a red split skirt. Was it an illusion? A vision? A dream? No matter, for she was speaking to herself, or rather to her other self. They were face to face. One with hair as dark as midnight, the other with locks of gold touched by the afternoon sun.

The Self who was Wife and Lover spoke to the Self who was Teacher and Companion, "I know that you and I are not the same. But... I made a promise. He waits in the place where the great river runs. Please, fulfill my promise..."


With dreams she went.

It was the beginning of Autumn when they first met.

It was her first time in England, in a land so far away from home. Chasing dreams of fate and destiny. To be away from her friends, family, and loved ones...

The boy she left behind... yes, she probably loved him, but he is young and he will heal... and he will love again. She knew it in her heart.

In her aching heart... the pain of loss. As she brought up a hand to wipe away the tears that came, she remembered that it was just this Spring that she stood under the cherry tree, saying good-byes with a smile on her face that contained no joy.

But who was she to stand against fate? She was a priestess and she knew her place... to fight against fate, well... only a fool would do that.

Oh, only if she had the courage...

And thus she shed tears of unrequited love.

"Teacher? Is anything wrong?" an angelic voice asked in English.

She looked around but couldn't find the speaker. Did she really just hear something? Then she felt it - the shock of a soul resonating with hers, like electricity coursing over her skin - a tantalizing tingling sensation. The attraction of magic.

A gasp. "Teacher?" the voice asked with an almost nervous insistence.

She looked down and found a small child looking up at her. He had raven black hair and midnight blue eyes. He wore the dark blue suit, shorts, and school cap of the exclusive boy's private school where she was going to do her teacher's training. In his eyes she could see confusion and fear. Had he also felt what she felt?

She brushed away her tears and knelt down to be eye to eye with him. "I'm fine," she could see the faint glow around the boy's body - the sign of magic, yet there was something wrong with the child...

"I'm sorry, I haven't introduced myself, I'm Mizu- I meant Kaho Mizuki, I'm a trainee teacher for the second grade." Then, as if suddenly remembering, Kaho held out her hand. The boy cocked his head, an innocent smile graced his face as he reached for the proffered hand - something about the teacher seemed to reach for the boy and soothe away the confusion and fear.

Then they touched.

A golden fire lit the boy's eyes as he pulled away from her, a scared expression on his face. Then the boy's eyes glazed over and he staggered a bit. Kaho thought he would faint and reached out a hand to steady him. The boy flinched at her touch and moved away as he shook his head.

"I- I'm sorry, I have these dizzy spells... I'm Eriol Hirigazawa, Third Grade Section A!" he couldn't hide the shudder in his voice. "Pleased to meet you Ms. Mizuki!"

"Are you all right?" she asked in worry. The boy nodded, hesitated a bit as if he wanted to say something, and then he raced off into the school building.


Years passed.

Thirteen-year old Eriol Hirigazawa sat in front of the piano, playing a sad serenade. The music that flowed through him was soothing, like the familiar feeling of casting a spell. Like casting a spell and yet not, a comforting familiarity that he needed at the moment.

He felt lost, very much the opposite of his calm, collected, and almost omniscient exterior. Despite the memories, the knowledge, and the wisdom, within his heart Eriol was still just a boy. He did not want to be a wizard and all he ever wanted to be was normal.

Why did Clow Reed have to awaken? Why did he accept the wizard's request to fulfill his promise?

Eriol had fulfilled that promise and made sure that no one would ever have Clow Reed's full power and that the Cards which were Clow's legacy would have a rightful master.

But it didn't give him back his childhood - his innocence.

Eriol felt sullied by the knowledge and power contained within his fragile, mortal shell. He knew of demons that could ravage the world at a whim - and how to bend them to his will. He knew of dark rituals best left unsaid. Of things and ways to become the master of the world. He had enough power within him to lay waste to all of creation if he wanted to. And he felt responsible for keeping such power in check.

What was worse than the knowledge of the arcane was the ordinary knowledge - the memories and experiences that need no magic but are in their selves magical.

The feeling of joy in completing a life-long task. The trials, tribulations, and profound exultation of fatherhood. The ecstasy of love. A kiss... a touch... The anguish and despair of losing a loved one.

Eriol no longer had anything to look forward to, everything was accepted with a shrug and the thought 'been there, done that'. The thrill of the unknown was virtually non-existent. Of course he could be wrong, as his machinations with the Card Mistress had proven. Those were good times, the errors he had committed strengthened his sense of identity as an imperfect child - not... and not the enigmatic Clow Reed.

::I am Eriol Hirigazawa. I am Eriol Hirigazawa. I am Eriol Hirigazawa.:: The boy kept repeating in his mind as if to reassure himself of who he was. ::Clow Reed is dead. He will never return.::

The boy wondered whether what he said to Yue was true. Was he really separate from Clow? He had half of the wizard's soul and most of his skills and memories... No! He was Eriol Hirigazawa!


Eriol tilted his head and smiled his knowing smile. There was no trace of sadness or of the tears. There was nothing but that knowing smile, as if this mundane event was also foreseen. "What is it Kaho?"

"The post just arrived, Sakura's weekly letter is here and so is Tomoyo's promised tape." The red head replied as she laid the mail on top of the piano. She made her way to the armchair by the fireplace and sat down. This was Eriol's chair and she was the only other person allowed to sit in it. "You were playing something sad. I've never heard it before."

"That is because I just made it up," Eriol replied as he turned to face the woman. Kaho Mizuki shared his condition, that of remembering her past life, but she was fortunate not to have almost complete recall. Thus she did not face the dilemma that was his life.

Why does she keep his company? The woman she was is different from the woman she is. She should live her life as she sees fit, not to tie up her future just because she met someone she knew from a previous life! She had already fulfilled the promise to find him, she should return to her life. And once more Eriol hated Clow Reed for the promise the wizard accepted from his wife.

"Something is bothering you," Kaho said to the boy, the boy who in another lifetime had been her lover. The boy who in another lifetime had been the father of her children- She immediately shielded her thoughts, not wanting to upset the boy with what she was thinking. But he wasn't really a boy anymore, he was the reincarnation of Clow Reed, the most powerful magician since Merlin. He cannot be her husband since she didn't think he loved her as he would a wife, and how could he? He was not Clow Reed and she was not Ming Shuei Yue, Clow Reed's wife. She was just his guardian and companion, nothing more, nothing less.

Eriol lost his confidence at her knowing words, of all the people he knew, she was one of the three people who could pierce his mask. He could never hope to hide from her for long.

Kaho saw the transformation from the powerful wizard to the confused child. The way his shoulders slumped, the corners of his lips turn down, his brow furrowed, and the slight confusion in his eyes which were half hidden by his spectacles.

He took a deep breath. He had to ask her, to know what she really felt about him. Did she love him or did she love Clow Reed? But how could she love him? He felt older than he looked, but he was just a thirteen year old boy. He was not the man her other self fell in love with.

"Eriol?" Kaho moved from the arm chair and knelt before the young mage.

"Kaho-" the boy's voice cracked, a shudder ran through his slight frame. Unconsciously, his hand reached out to touch her cheek, as if he desired to feel her warmth under his palm.

"I've already served the food!" Nakuro, Eriol's protector and servant, cried out as she poked her head into the room.

"We'll be following shortly," Eriol replied cheerfully without turning to face his immortal guardian. His hands were on his lap, his knuckles turned white with his tight grip on his slacks. Nakuro never saw what Kaho saw: the single tear that slid down the boy's cheek.


It happened that same day that they met...

::It's him... the one I was searching for... but who is he?:: the young teacher thought as she sat by the window, looking out at the courtyard below as she drank her tea, she could hear the children play. It was such a joyful sound to hear, so innocent and full of life. It was a sound that she loved.

Without meaning to, her eyes searched for the boy she had spoken to earlier. The child was not in the courtyard below her and she felt a little disappointed. The boy intrigued her. She felt the familiar tug in her soul - the resonance and attraction brought by magic. If she hadn't been trained, she might have mistaken it for love at first sight. Which would have been funny, a woman of her age and a child like him - how's that for a May-December affair?

And yet there was something wrong about him, as if his magic was incomplete. Were his powers fleeting? Dormant? Or sealed?

Kaho shook her head free of that last thought, only dangerous and evil people get their powers sealed. As a priestess, she even knew several rituals that could actually do so.

The boy looked so innocent, so untainted - he couldn't be...

Kaho tried to clear her mind of the disturbing thoughts as she looked around the teacher's lounge. Most of the other teachers were old, warm hearted people who reminded her of her parents. Except of course for-

"Why, good day, Ms. Mizuki, so how do you find England? I do hope you're not overwhelmed by Metropolitan London. I do know that it may be a bit chaotic for you considering where you came from; but please, don't be shy and ask if you need to be comforted, I'm always ready to lend a strong shoulder to cry on; especially towards a young, beautiful woman as yourself," an older man with graying sideburns and a moustache said as he sat down uninvited beside her on the couch.

::Speak of the devil...:: Kaho thought to herself as she looked at Professor Roderick Maudlin. If she were anyone else, she would have been very angry for being thought of as some naïve country girl, but Kaho had always been a nice person. She was just a bit annoyed. "I'm all right Professor. I'm sorry, but I have to go to the ladies' room." She stood up.

"Come now, Ms. Kayhoe. Enough with the formalities, you can call me Dick if you want," he smiled in what Kaho thought was not a nice manner.

"I'll keep that in mind, Professor," Kaho said respectfully as she bowed to the man before she exited gracefully from the room and closed the door behind her. A moment's pause. In another moment she silently hurried down the stairs and had soon thereafter gone out at a full run to the small orchard behind the school.

As she leaned against the trunk of a tree, her shoulders shook. She was laughing hard to herself, tears in her eyes. "Dick, indeed!" Sometimes, she could be naughty too - a part of her that she kept for herself and those close to her.

"He can be a bit overbearing at times."

"Eriol?" Kaho stepped back and looked up at the tree branch above her, her chest still heaved from exertion and laughter - and she was a bit embarrassed that someone had seen her without her mask of formality. Eriol sat there with a book on his lap and an innocent smile on his face. Somehow Kaho thought that it was fitting for him to sit up there and the only thing that didn't fit was the innocent look about him.

Kaho's eyes widened as an image flickered over Eriol's small frame. The image of a tall man with long hair, glasses, and dark robes. ::It's him!::

"Ms. Kaho? Is anything wrong?" Eriol jumped off the branch and landed on all fours before her. He wiped his hands on his shorts and then took her right hand in both of his small delicate hands.

Kaho closed her eyes as a thrill ran up her arm at the child's contact. And then the feeling of lightheadedness...


"Is that all you're going to eat?" Nakuro asked in concern as her master stood up from the table. Usually, Eriol ate a lot, especially since it was Mistress Kaho's cooking, but lately Nakuro had noticed a lethargic mood about her master.

"I am not hungry, I'll just eat later if I feel like it," the boy-mage smiled as he made his way to the door.

"Will you need us?" Suppi asked as he sat up straight in his place at the end of the table. Unlike Nakuro, the flying cat was much more sensitive to Eriol's emotions. Eriol was listless, the usual feeling of restrained energy no longer emanate from the boy. It had been a long time since he had seen the boy do anything active like running or playing basketball. The boy was acting despondent, just like a... Suppi's brow furrowed.

Kaho's eyes flickered worriedly at the mage.

Eriol paused by the door and then spoke without turning, "Dinner was excellent, Kaho." Then he was gone.

Nakuro and Suppi looked at Kaho, both asking without speaking.

Kaho shook her head. She didn't know the answer to the riddle which was Eriol. Beneath the calm, collected mask she wore she felt anger and frustration well up within her.


The red light of the afternoon sun filtered through the room's curtained windows. Red. The color of life and fertility. The color of blood.

"My love, are you all right?" A man's voice. Deep and sensual.

She could hear her newborn cry in the background as the servants cleaned the baby. She smiled, her elder children will simply adore the new addition to their family. She turned to face her husband. "It was a difficult birth, my beloved," she replied weakly.

She could see the tears form in her husband's eyes. She knew then that her subterfuge had been discovered. "Why did you hide it from me?" he asked with slight reproach.

"Forgive me. We both know you cannot prevent it, I just wanted to spare you the pain. You have important work to do," she answered as she took his hand and laid her cheek against his palm. "My time has come. Please, I didn't mean to hurt you."

"Of course I forgive you, I can never be angry at you," his voice lost it's cool calculated tone as sadness washed over him. Underneath his palm he felt her clammy skin. He remembered the times when her skin was warm and flush with life. His body trembled.

"Then, finish what you have set out to do, and someday..." she smiled as he leaned down to kiss her lips.

The servants left her husband to grieve in solitude in the twilight, in between the dying day and the new born night.


Kaho opened her eyes. She lay on a bed in the infirmary with the late afternoon light streaming into her eyes. She tried to bring her right hand up to shield her eyes and was surprised that she couldn't move it.

Kaho looked down at her hand and saw that the third grader, Eriol Hirigazawa, slept beside her. He knelt on the floor, his upper body slumped across the edge of the bed, his head rested on his hands which held her right hand.

Slowly, she stood up, careful not to wake the child as she took her hand from under his head. She then gently lifted the child and laid him down on the bed she had vacated. She was worried at how light he felt in her arms, the boy was thin, almost emaciated.

She stood there, looking over his small sleeping form.

Kaho turned at the sensation of movement behind her. An elderly Asian woman stood by the door of the infirmary. "Ah, you're awake, miss Mizuki," the woman said in fluent Japanese.

Kaho bowed. Her features didn't let on the fact that she had sensed some strangeness about the other woman - much like the strangeness that swirled about Eriol. "Thank you, you are Japanese?"

"Yes, I am the young master's guardian, Nakuro Atsuko. I was master Hirigazawa's nanny when he was young and he decided that he wanted me to be master Eriol's nanny. The school called me when master Eriol refused to leave your side. He is such a sweet young boy. Very honest and responsible." Nakuro's eyes twinkled with youthful energy and mischief.

"Yes, he is," Kaho blushed, a reaction she found strange. "But where are Eriol's parents?"

Nakuro looked sad, her eyes downcast.

"They passed away nearly two years ago," a voice answered, deep and sensual. The voice of a man.

Both women turned to look at the boy who sat in the bed.

"I- I'm sorry if I brought back painful memories," Kaho bowed, ashamed of opening barely healed wounds. Eriol looked at them with dark, knowing eyes. Kaho somehow found the look hauntingly familiar. Her throat felt parched and her heart raced.

"You mustn't worry about it. It cannot be changed. People die." Kaho found the coldness in the boy's voice shocking and even outrageous. She looked up. The reproach she was going to hurl at the child died on her lips as she saw his eyes and the suppressed pain and sadness they contained.

"It is almost time for supper. Ms. Kaho? It would be my honor to invite you for dinner at my house." Eriol said in a soft, formal tone - still with the voice of a man. He rose from the bed with a grace that was borne out of constant practice. A grace that was quite absent in the boy earlier that morning. Kaho almost gasped as his magic aura flared, it wasn't something dramatic that could be seen with the naked eye but Kaho's eyes were those of a mage.

Kaho looked at Nakuro. The elderly woman nodded and smiled, she showed no indication that she noticed any change in her young ward. Kaho curtsied, a gesture that was really foreign to her, yet she performed it gracefully and perfectly. "Then it would be my honor to accept, master Eriol," Kaho felt her heart flutter at the word 'Master'.

"I'll call a cab and wait by the gates while you prepare your things," Nakuro said as she looked at Kaho with amused eyes. "I think the young master has a crush on you," Nakuro whispered to Kaho while Eriol bent down to tie his shoes. Nakuro didn't see the amused smile on the boy's lips as she left the infirmary.

Kaho was confused as Eriol walked up to her. He took her right hand and kissed its palm gently. Kaho stiffened as Eriol pressed her palm to his cheek. She felt his tear-stained cheek. He said a phrase in a language that sounded like Chinese. A language that Kaho had never learned. Yet, a phrase she understood.

"Ming Shuei Yue, my beloved, we are together again..."


Nakuro Atsuko stood in front of the fireplace in Eriol's study. She gazed at the picture of the old woman whose form she had once used as she waited for her master to awaken. She really preferred her new form, a young high school student wouldn't raise eyebrows when she went swinging around lampposts (while an old biddy certainly would). "So, what's wrong with the Master?"

Spinel Sun paced the large room, the black panther flexed his butterfly wings. "I think he doubts himself. It is not easy for a child to live dual lives. I think he's confused by the memories, that he could not live his own life."

Nakuro blinked, she really couldn't understand human emotions, they were so... confusing! Hundreds of years and she still didn't understand them! She sighed. "Why now? I mean I haven't seen Master Clow doubt himself since he awakened you!"

"Master _Eriol_," Spinel Sun corrected with a fanged grin. Unlike Nakuro, he never mixed them up or thought they were the same person. Eriol was definitely a better master than Clow Reed.

"Unless of course..." Spinel Sun suddenly stopped pacing. He wrapped his wings around him and changed into his winged cat form. In a moment, Suppi
was lounging on the couch, a confused smile on his face.

"What?!" Nakuro skipped to the couch and kneeled so that she was face to face with the magical flying cat.

Suppi smiled tiredly, and then he explained.


In her personal bathroom, Kaho lounged in the tub, feeling her natural affinity for water. She looked up at the ceiling as she remembered a memory that was not hers.


She stood in front of her small roofed well, her diary in her hands. On the cover was a sketch of her sitting at this very same well. The large thick book was sealed with a powerful ward - it had to be. The book contained all her grief, anger, hate, and jealousy. All her destructive passion for one man - Clow Reed. Of their rivalry along the years. The violent and destructive challenges given and accepted. Each encounter a dark blight on her life.

And yet...

She loved him. She knew that as she wrote the last passage in the book - of how he left her with a birthday present before going on his journey.

Now, with her negative emotions sealed, she could concentrate on finding him with a heart unclouded.

She left the book at the well before starting the chase for the man she knew was the one. The gift he gave to her was tied to her hair, wings to speed her on her way.


Days after his other self awakened, they met in his drawing room. In the dying light of the sun, she broke his heart.

"I'm not her," Kaho said to the boy.

"But- I-" tears stained his cheek and in her mind, they were the proof she needed.

"And you are not Clow Reed," she knelt before him and wiped away his tears with a white handkerchief. "You are Eriol Hirigazawa, a sweet, beautiful young boy."

He sniffled, gritting his teeth to prevent the sobs wracking his body. He felt confused. A part of him wanted to hug and kiss her, to force her to acknowledge who he was - and yet the other wanted her to kiss and hug him, to drive away his fears. One was Clow, the other was Eriol. And only one must be obeyed.

Kaho hugged the child, embracing him in the warmth of her arms. "Cry little one, I cannot keep her promise as she meant it, but I swear that if you need me, I will always be by your side."

That night, he cried as if he had centuries of sadness.

That night, she chose for him and in her heart she prayed he'd find another.


In the present, Eriol lay listlessly on his large bed. He still wore his day clothes as he watched the tape Tomoyo had sent. Eriol was a boy who didn't live in the past. He knew how to use modern equipment; it was another way of strengthening his identity. He refused to use magic unless it was necessary. Whereas Clow would use magic as an everyday tool, Eriol preferred using technology or his own two hands.

The teen watched as his friends capered in front of the camera. He smiled as Sakura staged a mock fight with the aid of the Create Card. He couldn't help but be amused at the thought of Yue actually participating in such horseplay. Though he did think that the soundtrack was bit of an overkill.

And then came shots of Sakura and Syaoran holding hands as they walked. They suddenly let go as they finally noticed that Tomoyo was catching the moment for posterity. Eriol could hear Mei Lin tease Syaoran that he should be good to them or she would show the tape to Sakura's brother. Eriol giggled a bit at that. It was fun to giggle.

Eriol raised the remote, paused the tape and then raised himself on his elbow. He looked over his shoulder at the door. He felt her even before she knocked. But just the same, he waited for her knock.


"It's open," he said as he let himself drop back onto the bed. This was his room and he would be damned if he acted formal within its confines.

Kaho entered. She wore a robe over her sleeping gown. She closed the door behind her. Eriol lay on his side facing his wide screen TV, his back towards her. He didn't even acknowledge her presence by sitting up and facing her. She wondered what was bothering Eriol, he was never rude to her before - it was as if he had always doted on her. What happened that he now rejected her? It was as if he was pushing her away.

Kaho bit her lips as she looked at the still picture on the screen.

On the screen, Tomoyo blushed in one of the rare moments that she had allowed herself to be caught on videotape.

Of course! Kaho felt a painful twitch in her heart. Her eyes lingered over Eriol's form as he lay with his back to her. Kaho couldn't believe that she had just felt a twinge of jealousy as she watched Eriol gaze upon the image of Tomoyo. Surely she hadn't fallen in love with the boy? They were just playing house until Eriol finally meets the one for him... Kaho bit her lower lips, but Tomoyo and Eriol did make a cute couple. They both hid mischievous spirits under innocent masks.

The girl will suit the boy more than an old woman. A bitter-sweet smile crept on her face.

In a bored, sullen tone Eriol asked, "What is it?"

"I-" Kaho took a deep breath to compose herself. She had come to console him, to find out what bothered him. But now, she knew. The boy longed for another and was just too troubled to tell her up front. Kaho wasn't about to hinder his happiness, it was her wish to see his joy.

"I'm leaving for Japan tomorrow." She couldn't believe she just said that, words that undermined her promise to the boy. But the boy needed to know that he was truly free so that he may follow his heart.

"Oh." The boy felt his heart breaking. She was finally going to leave him... But what could he do? He knew he couldn't keep her against her will. "OK," he said as calmly as he could. She must be free to seek her own happiness, a thing that she could never find with him and the memories of the dead.

"Goodbye, Eriol."

Eriol raised the remote and turned off the television. He had been hoping that Kaho would cuddle him as she always did when he was troubled - he had not expected her to turn away from him. His eyes brimmed with the bitter tears of the heartbroken.

On the carpet by the doorway, on the place where Kaho had stood, a single teardrop was absorbed by the fibers, like a memory lost in the abyss of time.


Suppi's tail swished lazily as he sat on the windowsill. Eriol sat on his armchair, brooding as he watched the fire in the fireplace.

Suppi had an amused grin on his cat face as he looked out at the English countryside. Once more his eyes traced the long road that led to London.

"I'M READY!!!" Nakuro cried out as she barged into Eriol's study, a large travelling suitcase was in her hands. Suppi slapped his forehead with a paw.

"Ready for what?" Eriol turned to face his guardian. They were plotting something, a prank or something more serious. The mage frowned at his guardians.

"Ah- uhm- that is..." Nakuro could see Suppi glare daggers at her. ::Oh-oh, I'm going to get it...::

Before anything else could happen, the phone rang and broke the tense silence. They all stared at the antique looking phone on the coffee table.


Kaho swept the paved walkways of the temple. Her white thick garment was bright, her red split skirt was pleated crisply.

It had been several days since she had arrived and still the ache was in her heart.

She missed the mischievous glint in his eyes as he remembered something.
She missed his laughter, the innocent and lively laugh that he reserved when they were alone, when he could be just Eriol and not Master Eriol.

"Ms. Mizuki?"

Kaho turned with a bright smile to the teenager who stood beneath the temple arch. "Good morning, Tomoyo."


As she followed her master, Nakuro made an astute observation. Eriol and Clow shared a way walking - where they glided confidently as if borne on wings. However Eriol had made a significant break from that practice. He strode with aggressive confidence, a slight angry frown on his pretty face, one hand in his pocket while the other swung purposefully at his side.

It made him look like a beautiful, moody teenager. A lot of young girls, even grown women had turned to look as they passed.

"I think he's still angry," Nakuro remarked to the stuffed toy she was carrying.

Suppi just looked worried as he kept up his stuffed toy act.


Kaho and Tomoyo sat on cushions in the main hall of the temple as they had tea.

"Eriol?" Tomoyo tilted her head as she contemplated her former teacher's question.

"Yes, what do you think of him?"

The girl's eyes twinkled as she sensed the clumsy trap her teacher had set. Really, trying to play matchmaker with her!? It was time to teach the teacher!

"Eriol is nice and fun to be with. He's handsome, charming, and his eyes remind me of dark starry nights," Tomoyo gushed in a fangirl imitation - her hands clasped over her heart and stars in her eyes. She almost grinned at the masked disappointment she sensed from Kaho.

"--- but I only like him as a friend." The young girl noted the hint of relief in the teacher's eyes. So! Time to move for the kill! "I don't believe that he likes me. He's too engrossed with you to even notice anybody else."

Kaho had a red flush on her face while Tomoyo had an amused expression - the teenager's theory had been confirmed. From the first time Tomoyo had seen them together, she had already suspected their true feelings.

Kaho couldn't believe that the teenager had seen through her. Kaho prided herself in her ability to hide her emotions and yet this girl had seen through the layers of masks she wore.

"Ms. Mizuki, you don't have to be ashamed. I might not be a magician, but I do have a lot of experience with people," Tomoyo's eyes glinted in amusement.

Kaho brought her cup to her lips.

"And I know that you like him more than I ever could." Tomoyo brushed a stray lock of hair away from her face.

Kaho felt ashamed at what she was feeling. She was an old lady who fell in love with a young boy. It was... not right. Kaho carefully set her cup down, afraid that she would break the ancient piece of porcelain.

"Ms. Mizuki," Tomoyo took the woman's hand in her own. "I know what it means to love someone with all your heart. I can never have the love that I want, but you can. Age doesn't matter, and you are lucky that you have found your soul mate. You're the mage, you should know more about destiny than a child like me."

Kaho looked at the girl and they smiled at each other. "Why is it that a child like you knows more about love than I do?"

Tomoyo found it prudent not to answer. "Oh, I'm sorry but I have to go, I'm supposed to see Sakura and Syaoran at the park." Tomoyo gathered her belongings.

"Doesn't it hurt to see them together?" Kaho felt a sense of pride to have been able to decipher Tomoyo's true feelings.

"Wouldn't it hurt to see me and Eriol together if I did take up your offer?" Tomoyo smiled a knowingly at the older woman, "and yet despite the pain you would bear it just to see him? Besides, I'm not alone, at least someone else knows what I feel. And isn't it true for all those who truly love that your love's happiness is much more important than your own?"

"I see." Kaho bowed to Tomoyo. "Thank you for your time."

"It was my pleasure Ms. Mizuki." A mischievous twinkle lit up Tomoyo's eyes. "Beside, it would never work out between Eriol and I. I think he has a thing for older women."

Tomoyo sang to herself as she left the temple. The look on Kaho's face had been precious and Tomoyo felt fulfilled for the day. Her beautiful voice sang of love and sorrow, appropriate- the teenager thought as she strolled under the tree lined walkway. She paused, the song stopped mid-line. A bright smile was on her face as she bowed in greeting.


Kaho gave a heartfelt sigh as she changed into a loose shirt and jeans - the thick quilted jacket and the red split skirt were reserved for temple business, which needed an air of formality - it had always been the policy of the Mizuki family to be casual during dinnertime.

For her part, the priestess was still dwelling on her first failure in years. Her talk with Tomoyo hadn't gone well. Not only had the teenager seen through her plot to match Tomoyo with Eriol, but the girl had also seen through Kaho's heart. The priestess gathered her hair in a ponytail.

Kaho walked thoughtfully towards the dining hall to eat dinner with her family and relatives.

Her past life led her to him. His magic attracted her to him. It was her promise that kept her close to him. It was her desire for his happiness that made her leave him.

Now what? Kaho felt a bit guilty at failing in setting up Tomoyo with Eriol. Tomoyo may not feel as he did, but Eriol still had feelings for the girl. Her failure probably lowered Eriol's chances...

Kaho perked up as she heard the excited chatter from the dining hall. It was different from the usual strained silence that had followed her announcement that she had resigned from her position as Eriol's tutor.

It was the familiar noise of her childhood - the sound of a happy family meal.

With an anxious hand and a hopeful smile she slid the paper door open. A prayer for normality.

She gave a cry of surprise as Suppi flew right into her face.

"Mistress! Nakuro's picking on me!" The little flying cat flew down to Kaho's chest, forcing the priestess to hug him protectively.

"Was not!" Ruby cried out mischievously. Kaho's little cousins were giggling as they tried to hide the candy they had been teasing Suppi with.

"Oh, I'm sorry Kaho, I forgot to tell you that we were having guests tonight," Kaho's mother bowed her head in apology, but Kaho knew she wasn't repentant.

Eriol sat beside Kaho's father. With a bit of trepidation, Kaho's eyes met the boy's.

Eriol had a smile on his face and sadness in his eyes.

Kaho felt her throat go dry.

Eriol bowed formally to her.

Kaho's mother saw the tension between her daughter and the boy. "Sit down, Dear, we're about to have your favorite."

Kaho's hopes were dashed - it was another dinner filled with strained silence.


"Why can't I be happy?" Kaho sighed. She leaned back against the frame of her door that led to the garden. The woman was dressed in pajamas and was lounging casually in a depressed sort of way. A can of beer sat on the floor beside her.

"I was asking myself the same thing," Eriol replied from where he leaned against a wall outside Kaho's room. The boy had a thick quilted blanket over his shoulders, wearing it like a cloak. His face was bare, his glasses left behind in the guest room - they were more for show really, as the boy had above average eyesight.

Kaho smiled to herself, she should have guessed that Eriol would show up. "What brought you back to Japan?"

The boy shrugged. "I was summoned."

"Clow Reed?" Kaho gasped, another quest from beyond the grave? The last one had been entertaining but she knew Eriol hated Clow and may not oblige any more favors.

"In a way," the boy smiled. "Fujitaka wanted to talk to me."

"And what did Mr. Kinomoto want?"

Eriol paused, looking uncomfortable. But then again, it was Kaho and he trusted her. "Suppi had told him that I was acting a bit strange lately... He gave me a little talk."

"And?" Kaho felt a chill run down her spine. She knew why Eriol was acting strange.

"Hormones," the boy blushed a bit. "I'm still a boy and had to go through puberty like everybody else. Usual teenage identity crisis. It was worse for me since I do have another identity in my subconscious. Fujitaka told me he also went through a similar phase, he told me to hang on to what made me Eriol. Or else I would be trapped in the spiral of Clow's life. He told me to act more childlike and have fun, acting formal all the time is bound to mess me up."

"I see..." Kaho lowered her head. "Did you tell him about your crush on Tomoyo?"

Silence. Kaho thought that Eriol had ignored her question. Then her ears picked up the muffled giggling under the blanket. She looked sharply at the boy, the blanket he was cloaked in shuddered with his giggling. Was he laughing at her?

"Where did you get a silly idea like that?" he looked at her with a playful twinkle in his eyes.

Kaho felt embarrassed, had she made a mistake? "But, you were staring at her picture while we were talking before I left!"

Eriol blinked, "I was? I didn't notice, really." He had a perplexed expression on his face.

Kaho sighed, remembering an old quote about assumptions. "Come inside, you'll get the chill."

The boy timidly scuffed the toe of his fluffy slippers against the polished wood of the veranda floor. "I'd rather not."

Kaho rose to her full height, no longer that impressive to the boy since he hit his growth spurt and was about to catch up to her.

"W-what?" the boy drew back into himself. He nearly cried out in surprise as Kaho wrapped her arms around him, lifted him off his feet, and carried him into her room. Embarrassed, Eriol didn't struggle, it would just have made him look more pathetic.

With a huff Kaho took her previous position but this time with Eriol snuggled with his back to her, the quilted blanket separated them. "You've gotten heavier," she commented as she took a swig from her beer.

"That's because I had a wonderful woman cook for me," Eriol whispered as he took the can from her and drained it of its contents, reveling in the warmth her lips had left on the rim of the can. He then set the can aside and snuggled against Kaho. "One day, if you'd allow me, I'll carry you."

"Ha! By the time you can actually lift me, you'd no longer want me," Kaho retorted playfully, yet there was a hint of bitterness.

Eriol turned his head and gave her a look that made her spine tingle. Eriol stood up and shrugged off the blanket. Kaho didn't know that Eriol owned a tanktop and a pair of loose shorts. The teenager held both of his hands out towards Kaho.

"What?" the woman wondered what her student was getting at.

"Stand up," Eriol smiled down at her. Kaho raised an eyebrow and stood up with his aid. Kaho gave a startled gasp as Eriol suddenly tripped her and caught her in his arms before she could fall on her back. "See, I can already carry you."

Kaho wrapped her arms around Eriol's shoulder and then rested her head on her arms. She smiled playfully. "But how long can you carry me? Without using magic of course."

Eriol thought for a moment, his face flushed and his knees shook. He gave his professional opinion: "Not long." Then he fell on his back with Kaho on top of him. They both giggled playfully as she rolled off of him.

They lay there, side by side on the tatami mat floor, sensing each other's breathing and heartbeat.


"Yes, Kaho?"

"I'm sorry that I broke my promise to stay by your side."

"Why did you go? Was it because you thought I didn't like you any more? I've loved you for a long time."

"Yes," Then with a bit of hesitation, "also because I don't like you any more."

"..." Eriol felt a heavy tug at his heart. He didn't want her to see his weakness. He made a move to stand up and leave but a strong, firm hand on his own hand stopped him.

Kaho leaned towards him and gently gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"Kaho..." with tears of joy and unfulfilled sadness, he wept on her shoulder. His arms embraced her with an almost desperate strength, unwilling to let her go.

Later, when no more tears would come, Kaho watched over him as he slept his first restful sleep in days. She felt bad for doubting her feelings for him. Age separates the love they feel for each other. That is all. But love is patient, and it grows over time. And she had all the time in the world.

Kaho wondered when 'Like' became 'Love'.

Does it matter?

This is love, isn't it?

She smiled before drifting off to sleep herself, the answer apparent.

It is.


Author's Note:
Okay, I know a lot of people don't like the pairing, but who am I to argue with the Goddesses of CLAMP? And yes, Please Save My Earth, had a lot of impact on me. Rin and Alice's relationship is parallel to that of Kaho and Eriol.

Oh, and just in case someone asks, the quote about assumptions: "If you assume, then you make an ass out of you and me."