Starlight Starbright

Sakura dreamt.

She stood in a room that was scarlet and ebony, silver, gold and bone. Tall gilded ceilings arced high up above her, to a point she could barely see. The walls were draped with wine colored draperies, with soft golden embroidery glinting and hiding in the shadows. She was wearing a gown of white silk, soft and powdery to the touch. It was something that Tomoyo would have been proud to call her own.

The room had no windows, no doors that she could see. The only light came from candles lit along the wall, flickering weakly as if afraid to shine. Sakura's heels clicked across the black marble floor as she looked for a way out.

She looked to her right and saw someone sitting at a small white bench in the center of the room. She walked over and got a better look at the person. "Clow-san? What are you doing here?"

He smiled up at her, "I came to warn you. Come sit here. Keep an old man company." He patted the seat next to her.

"You aren't old," she said fixing her skirts as she sat.

"Oh, I'm far older than you think. You should ask your Guardians some time. But that's neither here nor there." He smiled and reached up and touched her cheek. "You are everything I could have asked you to be, and more. I am very proud of you."

Sakura caught his hand in her own, "Thank you. That means a lot to me."

Suddenly his staff was in his hand. She wasn't surprised, it was simply dream logic. He tapped the floor and whispered something she couldn't catch. Images began to come into focus in the floor, glowing in the black marble. Clow's smile turned sad, "I have tried to do everything I could to ensure your future. There were so many paths you could take to happiness."

Sakura saw a woman walking arm and arm with an older man. He had pale hair and glasses. She *knew* who he was, but the dream wouldn't let her remember. The two of them laughed, eating ice cream, and enjoying the cherry trees that bloomed around him...

The picture blurred and changed. The same woman, but younger. She was standing in a Chinese garden with a young man her age. He knelt in front of her, a ring in one hand and promised to protect and treasure her forever...

The next scene showed the same woman yet again wearing a fantastic dress of lace and ribbon. There was a beautiful woman with long flowing hair taking her pictures. The woman in the dress blushed furiously, but the other one took her hand. The two were obviously in love...

The picture shifted again. The woman stood in the center of a circle of light, a staff suspended between her outstretched arms. Off to one side stood a tall white figure. Sakura's first thought was that it was an angel. He looked at the woman, one hand reached out towards her, but he snatched it away. Then he turned and began to fade back into the dark.

Sakura reached out to stop him, to keep the picture from fading away. Her fingers dipped into the floor, coming away wet. /Water?/ she ran her hand across the surface, the white veins in the marble swirled and vanished under her touch, melting into the black water.

"Will you dance?"

She looked up at Clow in confusion. The bench had disappeared, and the floor was solid marble once again. A delicate waltz began to play out of nowhere. She took Clow's hand. "I'd love to."

"You had so many chances," Clow said leading her through the steps, "I only wish I could insure one of them."

Sakura smiled up at him. "It will be all right. Remember? I have an invincible phrase."

His smile faded, "Sakura-san, not even I could predict everything. I have done all I could to prepare you. And I'm afraid that I cannot protect you any longer."

The candles began to dim at his words and a strong wind blew up out of nowhere. "Protect me from what?"

The world began to flicker madly in and out. Clow was trying to say something, but she couldn't make out the words. With a last jab of light he was gone. In his place stood a new man. "From me I suppose." He said with a mad grin and continued the dance Clow had begun.

He was tall, with a shock of wine red hair that fell down past his ears, and hungry blue eyes. "Who are you?" Sakura asked.

He shook his head and pressed a burning finger to her lips. "We'll have no questions between us tonight, love."

Sakura opened her mouth to speak again, but no words would come, and no sound. His touch had silenced her as effectively as any gag. For the first time, she began to feel afraid. She stepped away, but he grabbed her hand, "No, no, no. After I've only just found you? You can't leave me without at least a dance." He was strong, Sakura sensed that if she tried to pull away, tried to struggle now, he could break her without even trying.

She looked down into the black mirror of the floor and saw her reflection dancing as well. But the Sakura-in-the-mirror was bound by thin black ribbon. It wrapped around her arms, her waist, coiled around itself, manipulating her image like a puppet. The reflection of the man looked up at Sakura as if he could see her. His image smirked and he pulled abruptly on one of the ribbons, causing the real Sakura to catch her breath as an invisible force tightened around her waist.

The music began to fade away, and the man leaned in close enough for her to feel his breath on her neck. "I've enjoyed our little dance. I look forward to meeting you soon."

And Sakura woke up.

* * *

Syaoran woke up.

He was sitting in a hidden glade of his family's complex. He had dozed off during his morning meditation, after his morning practice. Normally he would have berated himself for this, but he knew a vision when he saw one. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. Visions were not a strong point for him, and it took a particularly strong one to get through to him.

The last time he had had a vision like this had been years ago...back in Japan.

He was so lost in his own thoughts, thinking about the repercussions of this that he didn't even notice the girl sneaking up behind him.

"Syaooooran!!! I found you!!"

* * *

Yukito woke up.

He was in a cold sweat, but had no idea why. He thought for a moment that something had happened with his other self. But he looked to the side, and saw Touya sleeping quietly beside him. He was exactly where and when he should be. So why...?

After a few moments he gave up his soul search as a lost cause. It was probably nothing. Just another dream that he couldn't remember. He got up and headed into the kitchen for a midnight snack...or maybe a meal...
* * *

Eriol woke up.

He slipped out of bed quietly, doing his best not to wake Kaho. This was something he needed to think about. He sat in his leather armchair and started a roaring fire with a flick of his hands. He watched the changing movements of the flames, wishing that a sudden insight would come to him. Something that would take all of this out of his hands.

/You knew something like this might happen. This was what it was all about, remember?/

Spinel drifted in, settling himself in Eriol's lap. "Can't sleep?"

"Something like that." Eriol petted him absently, "We have to go back to Japan. The Droichain has found Sakura-san."

To be continued.

Authors Notes:

1. This had better be the last time I restart and revamp this. If this version still sucks than I just give up. Anyway, this is a lot closer to the version I wrote in the first place that got deleted when my computer crashed. I'm really sorry that I can't seem to get anything written.
2. Let's see...This is heavily inspired by Charles De Lint's Jack the Giant Killer books, Neil Gaiman's Stardust and the Utena movie. (All of which are better than this fic, so I'd suggest reading/seeing them instead of this)
3. Soundtrack for this story is the Fourth CCS OST, the Ayashi no Ceres OST, Natalie Imbruglia, and the Lain opening, lots of Ambient Techno and Acid Jazz, and last but not least a lot of Cowboy Bebop music.
4. Please, please, please, pretty please send me some feedback. This story's my baby and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to pull it off right, so I could really, really use any comments, good bad or anything in between.