Chapter 15: Hang a Shining Star

Christmas Day…

“Get up Kaijou! It’s Christmas! Open your presents!” Touya bolted into the room. “Or else, I’m gonna keep them!”

“Hoe-e?” Sakura stretched, blurry eyed. “HOEEEE! It’s Christmas Day!”

“Yes, monster. I’m glad to see that you actually were patient enough to wait for your present this year.”

Quickly, Sakura dressed and ran downstairs.

**** **

“Christmas Day!” Meirin bolted out of her bed, jumping up and down with excitement. She ran to the kitchen, resulting in scattering half of the things in her room.


“Hey, you scared me!” Syaoran balanced his frying pan, sizzling with hotcakes. “Well, you got up just in time for my hotcakes. The cake’s baking in the oven.”

Suspiciously, Meirin glanced at the red and green setting on the table, and the Christmas tree in the living room, with presents piled underneath.

After eating, Syaoran asked untying his apron, “More hot cakes? Blackberry or maple syrup?” After a while he asked flatly, “What?”

“What’s with this special treatment? It’s not like you,” Meirin said, almost puzzled.

Grinning, Syaoran replied, “Hey, it’s Christmas. It only comes once a year. Don’t you like it? Here, come to the living room. Let’s open the presents.”

Meirin gasped at the magnificently decorated Christmas tree, almost reaching the ceiling, with snowflakes, candy canes, shiny ornaments and angels. “Wow… did you really do all this?”

“Of course! You told me that you always wanted a big Christmas tree.” Syaoran stepped back critically, rubbing his chin. “There’s something missing.”

“It’s wonderful, but—“

“We’re cousins, right? It’s the least we can do for each other, when we’re away from our family. There’s no need to spend lonely holidays.” Syaoran said the last sentence bitterly, which indicated that he had such before. “C’mon. You said not to isolate myself so much.”


“I know what’s missing.” From a pretty box, Syaoran took out a bright golden star from the tissue paper. “The Christmas tree needs a star. Here, hang it at the way top.” He handed her the star.

“Syaoran…” Meirin smiled. “Thanks. You knew I was lonely away from home. You’re a wonderful person!” She through her arms around Syaoran, who protested weakly. Then he helped her climb up a chair to reach the top of the green pine branches.

“There, it’s complete!” Meirin exclaimed, clapping her hands. Smiling, Syaoran helped her down, admiring how the star twinkled at the top of the majestic tree. “Now, on with the presents.”

Meirin’s eyes turned misty as she opened the boxes and cast down her amber eyes… Syaoran, how can I stop liking you when you’re like this? “Ha ha, I never knew you even knew all the customs.”

“What do you take me for? Halloween and Valentine, I may pass by, but Christmas is the time for… umm…”

“Joy and celebration?” Meirin prompted.

“Y-yeah!” Syaoran nodded. “It’s the time for—for peace in heart and happiness… to set aside all worries.” Peace in heart and happiness… Set aside all worries…


“Why, it’s the time for peace in heart and happiness, to set aside all worries!” Nadeshiko exclaimed.

“But I don’t get what’s the point of Christmas trees and presents,” Li Ryuuren insisted stubbornly. “It’s a waste of time.”

“Didn’t you ever have a Christmas tree, or a stocking by the fireplace?”


“Ryuuren-san… how much do you miss out in life?”

*** ***


Rubbing his eyes, tired, Ryuuren stumbled to his door. He had been sleeping on the couch in his apartment. “Whoisit?” He yawned.

“It’s me!”


“Nadeshiko, who else?”

“W-WHAT? W-WAIT A MINUTE, OKAY?” Quickly, Ryuuren dressed and ran a finger through his tousled dark brown hair, now with the long tail cut off. He fumbled and opened the door. Taking a breath, he asked, “What brings you here, so early?”

Defiantly, Nadeshiko tucked her long violet hair behind her ears and dragged in something, setting it on the living room table, clearing away books and scraps.

“What a mess!” she exclaimed.

“I’m usually neat…” Ryuuren muttered. “I’m just tired these days.

“Well, after staying up all night to search old spells in books, no wonder,” Nadeshiko scolded. “You’re still a growing boy. You need plenty of sleep and rest.”

“Look who’s talking…”

“Wait, I’m not here to argue with you.” Making some adjustments on the table, Nadeshiko said with her emerald eyes sparkling, “See?”

“What is this?”

“It’s a Christmas tree, what else?” On the living room table was a small stable pot, which held a study, pine tree, around 2 feet in height, prettily decorated with candy canes and tinsels. “And, this is the star, which goes on the top. It’s a happy, family tradition to gather around to put it at the top. That is, for big trees. Sorry, I could only manage to bring a small one. I know this may all seem stupid to you, but, I just wanted to show the Christmas spirit, and celebration…”

“Shhh…” Ryuuren put his forefinger over her mouth. “So, what do I do with this star?” His eyes were a warm ocean blue that would turn any girl’s heart inside out.

“Place it gently one the top—no you’re bending the tip!” Nadeshiko placed her hands over his large, warm ones.

“Like this?” he asked obediently.

“Right.” Nadeshiko clapped gleefully. “And now, we can light all the light bulbs and it will be pretty!” For a moment, they sat back and gazed at the pretty picture that the merry little Christmas tree made, by the window side, which was frosted with sugary snow.

Ryuuren’s lips melted into a soft smile. “It‘s pretty.”

“Right? Now, your open present.” Nadeshiko held out a wrapped package with green ribbons.

“For me?” Ryuuren carefully unwrapped the package. “I can see who wrapped this,” he commented, struggling with the scotch tapes and knotted ribbons. In it was a warm, wool navy blue scarf, with a green stripe and fringe. “Did you…”

“Yeah, I made it. I’m afraid it’s not very good, but… it’s very cold in the winter and you never dress warm enough, so… I worked really hard on it. It has warmth spells on it.”

“Nadeshiko…” Ryuuren gazed into her bright eyes. “I… I… this… feeling…”


“Umm… Just thank you. It’s the best Christmas present I’ve ever had. You can be out with all your friends and family, but…”

Shaking her head, Nadeshiko replied, “No, I’d rather be here then anywhere else in the world.” Eyeing Ryuuren skeptically, she asked, “Are you actually touched in there?” She lightly jabbed her finger at his chest. Laughing she said, “I remember how icy and untouchable you seemed to be at first. Totally inhuman.”

“Hey…” Ryuuren cast his eyes down… “But I did nothing for you…”

“It doesn’t matter. Just watching you find out that solitude is not the best way to spend Christmas is good enough for me.”

“Wait.” Fumbling with a silver chain around his neck, Ryuuren snapped it open and slid out a ring. “Here. This is for you.” Gently, he slipped a ring onto Nadeshiko’s fourth finger. “See, it fits perfectly.”

Curiously, Nadeshiko shifted her hand into the light. It was a pretty blue stone set in a slender white gold setting. When she tilted her hand in the light, a pretty star shape appeared on the ocean blue stone. “It’s so pretty! What is it?”

“It’s called a star sapphire. That’s how you see a star in the light. My mother gave it to me before she died. Her father gave it to her, before. It’s sorta passed down generation to generation.”

“But how can you give such a precious thing to me!” Nadeshiko stared at the beautifully flickering star sapphire, rivaling with Ryuuren’s eye color.

“No, I want you to have it. Really.” Ryuuren clasped his fingers over hers. “It fits your finger perfectly. It doesn’t even go all the way into my pinkie finger. I always wore it on a chain around my neck. Now, you have it. With my regards for the Christmas spirit, may it live forever.”

“Th-thank-you Li-san.” Nadeshiko’s eyes were glistening. She clasped the ring close to her heart.

“Hey, I though we were more informal now… It’s Ryuuren. What are you all crying for? I thought you said that Christmas was for joy and celebration.”

“It is.” Ryuuren, how can I stop loving you when you are like this?

“Here, I’ll take you anywhere you want. Let’s have some fun today, apart from chasing our stupid enemies!” Ryuuren jumped up, throwing his new scarf around his neck, which accented his sapphire blue eyes. Smiling, Nadeshiko followed, slipping her slender hand into his. I’ve always dreamed of someday, walking side by side with him, holding his strong, warm hands. These are the very hands that slapped me. These are the very hands that supported me and protected. Because this is the person that makes me want to reach the very top. This is the person who I love.

“I’m so glad things turned out so well for them,” Sakura said, mixing the cookie batter. She planned to take them to Tomoyo’s house later, where a big gathering of people would be held. Something stirred in her heart when she thought about them. And I thought Ryuuren-san said that he had no feelings for my mother, last time. Yes, there was something beneath that icy exterior.

“I don’t get Nadeshiko-san and Ryuuren-san,” Kero-chan commented.

“Yeah. I wonder what happened to the star sapphire ring.” Something in my heart is  wringing, like a little white dove being crushed by the heavy winter snow. I’m really happy, but something is missing in my joy. ”It’s a really nice Christmas, if only…”

“If only you wouldn’t be mean enough to restrict how many cookies I can have today!” Kero eyed the baking cookies, folding his arms.

“Onii-chan is so nice. He bought me the new roller blades that I wanted ever so much. And Tomoyo gave me such a pretty suitcase to carry to New York, of course, full of clothes. Everyone’s so nice.” If only…

“Tell me the truth. You wanted to give that thing you made to someone,” Kero said, straight to the point.

“Not really.” If only things were all right with Syaoran. Yesterday, he seemed so nice; there was something about his rare smile, so that she couldn’t help smiling with him. But… the things were just not the same as it had been in elementary. Everything was changed. “You know that I don’t have special feelings about you anymore, right? All those things that happened back in those days before I left to Hong Kong is past.”

“Christmas comes only once a year. You don’t want to regret anything in years to come,” Kero-chan said, knowingly. “Clow-san knew the future. He knew what was to come of people. Maybe that’s why he had such a perfect manner, heedless to say that he was crooked. Well, don’t keep loneliness or worry in your heart, Sakura-chan. Christmas is one time to let go of it.”

“But I can’t even call us friends. For all I know, he hates me. And it’s not like I’m that friendly to him, either. I don’t know how things twisted so much over the years. There was a time when I thought I’d never see him again. But he came back. Except now…” Now, I can’t face him so innocent and carefree as I used to. Sakura fingered her eye. She was surprised that the bruise had disappeared so quickly. Yet, when she had been asleep in the infirmary, she was sure she had seen a green glow. And when she was drowning in the ice pond…“Sakura! Do you hear me? If you do, do something. I know you can. Break the barrier. If you don’t… If you give up, I’ll take your goddamn body and kill you over again.”  What did that mean?

Shaking her head, Sakura muttered, “Why do all these random things haunt me?” “It’s funny how we can look back to yesterday, and realize how silly it was.” But the times that I am most happy is when I look back to those light hearted days, when I knew not hurt, when I knew not pain.

She stashed a silvery-green wrapped box aside.

“Hey, what’s that at the window?” Kero asked, taking a bite of the chocolate chip fudge cookies. “Mmm, crisp on the outside, softly melting in the inside. You’re just fretting over not giving the Brat a present, hmm? And it’s the first Christmas with him after he came back… Hey! Yummy… The window!”

Sakura tilted her head, untying her apron. There was a little green balloon bobbing up and down by the window. She ran outside.

Floating above her head, in front of the door was a tiny case, attached to the string of the balloon. Hesitantly, Sakura reached out for it. Instantaneously, the balloon popped, with a BANG.

“Hoe!” Sakura jumped, as little streamers showered down, and the small velvet case landed on her palms. A piece of paper floated down that said in sprawly handwriting was ‘Sakura.’ It was the only card. “For me?” Curiously, she opened the lid of the case. At first, she had to shade her eyes because of the brilliance of the light reflected. Inside it was a beautiful silver necklace with a tiny round crystal gem, the center sparkling like the North Star. She gasped. It was the necklace that she had wanted so badly when she first saw it at the jewelry store at the shopping center. It appeared to her in dreams at night.

“What is it Sakura-chan?” Kero-chan asked, flying outside.

“I don’t know. A message from an angel?” With misty sea green eyes, Sakura clasped the necklace to her chest. Who could have… Why would anyone…


Quickly, she ran outside of the gate, and turned around the corner. Could it be… Could it really be… It can’t be. It’s not possible. She panted for breath, and squinted her eyes at down the lane.

There was a figure bicycling off the distance. Can it be… It must be! Sakura collected her breath, swallowing a lump in her throat.

At last, she called out, “Thank you! Syaoran, thank you!” Sakura called down the long, unbending road.

Pedaling even faster, Syaoran turned a bright red shouted, “Who says it’s me?” He wobbled dangerously near the edge of the sidewalk.

Softly smiling, Sakura replied, “I just… know. Maybe an instinct.”

“W-well, you won the bet yesterday when we were catching the Twister, so I’m just keeping my promise.” He turned his head back, and grinned, his white teeth flashing. His glossy chestnut was tousled from the wind, and his forest green scarf flew back like a sail. “I never break my word, or promises, now, do I?”

“Yeah.” She stammered, “But. But, how did you know?”

Tossing his head, Syaoran asked, “Don’t you think I know you well enough by now?”

Know me well enough? Sakura pondered, then smiled slightly. “Thank you… Merry Christmas Syaoran!”

Sakura hesitated then added, “Look on your bed when you get home!”

She watched Syaoran fade into a speck into the distance. Dreamily, Sakura stared into the crystal necklace, at the glowing brightness. What would you call this strange feeling of warmth and happiness? I never feel like this, except…

“Cut!” Tomoyo removed her video camera. “Perfect. Almost.”

Meirin shoved for room behind the bushes. “Syaoran’s strange. You know yesterday night, after the Winter Wonderland, he had a strange, resolved look in his eyes, and took a taxi to the mall, before it closed, and barely made it on time. He came home, panting and out of breath, past midnight. But, there was a satisfied look on his face, though the necklace must have cost a fortune.”

“Did you say anything to him?”

“Not really. He’s the one who said life is a one chance opportunity, either take it or leave it. After he came back, he suddenly threw the necklace into the air, shouted a word of power, then deftly caught the necklace. He put some sorta protection spell on it, I guess. Sometimes, he’s a pain, but other times, I can’t just help falling head over heals for his sincerity.”

“Yeah, that’s one of Li-kun’s charms. He can be the most charming, wonderful person if he wants to be—“

“But he can be a nightmare and a scowling bully, also,” Meirin finished off.

“Yes. But actually, what I planned was,” Tomoyo placed her hands on her cheek, eyes sparkling.


They meet outside, where the ground is blanketed by soft white snow.

“Sakura, here!” Syaoran calls. Sakura waves, running to him.

“Why…” Sakura’s face is rosy, and when they speak, clouds of wispy smoke come out.

“Um.” Syaoran fumbles for words, then looks gently into Sakura’s bottomless emerald eyes, as evergreen as the endless pine trees. “This is for you.” Gingerly, he takes a small velvet case from his pocket. “Open it.”

When Sakura sees the beautiful crystal necklace, her face lights up. “Syaoran, this…”

“Yes. You wanted it, right?” Syaoran smiles his killer warm smile, his amber eyes brilliant against the crisp winter morning.

“Will you put it on for me?” Sakura asked softly. She lifts her long golden brown hair from her back and Syaoran gently claps the silvery chain onto her slender neck. Sakura looks down on it, blushing.

“It’s beautiful, Syaoran. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Satisfied, Syaoran says, “It’s like you hung a shining star on your neck. Let it protect you, wherever you go. And remember me when you look at it, and think I will always be with you.”

“Syaoran.” Her eyes turn glassy. A gust of wind blows as they stare into each other’s eyes.


Meirin and Tomoyo sighed. “But it’s only in my dreams,” Tomoyo said. “Those two never have much sense. Maybe, someday, in the near future… I must be content with the balloon idea. Very stylish. It kinda reminds of St. Tail for some reason.”

“St. Tail? Ha ha… But, I do worry about the New York trip. It’s coming up real soon, huh?” Meirin’s eyes turned starry. “Think of the great food, clothes, and entertainment!”

Shaking her dark hair, Tomoyo murmured, “Poor Li-kun. Think of the stress he’ll get when he’s sees your bill.”

“Hey! I wish everyone would stop thinking that I’m irresponsible! I would rather worry about him and Eron-kun, and Sakura’s brother, all together.”

Groaning Tomoyo thought of the conflict that might occur. Then she decided it would be fun to tape. “Come! Everyone’s coming to my house for the Christmas dinner!”


“MERRY CHRISTMAS!” Everybody held up glasses, the adults with wine, everyone else with grape juice. Tomoyo, Sakura, Meirin, Syaoran, Erika, Eron, their classmates, Touya, Yukito, Fujitaka, Sonomi, and most of the residents of Tomoeda had gathered at the Daidouji mansion. Sitting around the grand crackling fireplace, they laughed and chattered, admiring the great Christmas tree in the center, lighted by a myriad of tiny, flickering light bulbs.

Gathered in a circle, people started telling Christmas stories. It came to be Fujitaka’s turn. “Come, tell us one of your stories, father,” Touya urged. “The one about the angel and the man.”

“Do,” one of Fujitaka’s colleagues urged. When he relented, everyone listened intently to his soft, carefully chosen words.
“There was once an angel, who happened to fall onto Earth. She could find no way to her road back to Heaven, and she wandered through the winding streets, cold, hungry and lonely. It happened to be a snowy, December day, like this one, and everyone was inside their warm cozy houses, partying. No one in the busy streets would even bother to glance at her. At last, she stumbled and fell onto the icy ground, tired and worn, the snow piling on her frail back with given up hope. But one young man came and helped her up. He carried her to his humble house and gave up his share of food. This young man was very poor, and had to manage to clothe and feed his 7 younger siblings, since both his parents passed away. Despite the humbleness of the house, she sang with her clear, angelic voice, played with the quaint children, and laughed at the man’s humorous stories. Something in the angel’s heart stirred, and tears came to her eyes, when she had never cried before. The young man asked why she cried, but she did not know why. Though she did not realize it, she had finally found the meaning of happiness and joy. She was no longer forlorn and lost.

“When the young man woke up the next morning, he found that the angel was gone. The bed where she had slept was neatly folded, but on the top of the blankets, was a single pure white feather. And the man knew that his first and only love had been an angel. An angel and mankind’s love could not happen.

“Several Christmas afterwards, the young man happened to spot a small white dove, buried in the snow. Gently, he picked it up, and carried the dove into his house. The pretty dove rubbed her head onto his head. Surprised, the man looked into the clear, sad eyes of the dove. ‘It’s you. You’ve come back,’ he said. Immediately, the dove turned into the golden haired angel. She whispered, ‘You finally found me. Every Christmas, I’ve watched over you in this form.’ Her soft eyes were misty. When it came to be the time for her to leave once more the man said, ‘Don’t go. Stay, here, with me.’ The angel shook her head. She knew that such a thing would never happen. And the man felt that he had so little to offer to the angel. With tears in her eyes, the angel left once more, and that was the last time the young man ever saw her.”

Fujitaka paused in his melancholy voice. Some people were dabbing tissues at their eyes. (Tomoyo recorded him.)

“Years afterward, the young man was an old man, lying in his death bed. He had led his life humbly, and wisely, helping the poor and the desperate; he was loved by the little children, and admired by the adults. As his last strength was used, he saw a glorious light. His spirit rose from his body, as young and strong as ever. Gently, a soft white hand reached out for him. Then angel clasped his hand and said, ‘I’ve waited so long for you. From now on, we’ll never be separated and feel lonely again. We’ll be together, forever.’”

Sniffing, Sonomi muttered, “What a beautiful story.” Then she glared at Fujitaka. “Wait a minute… Humph. You’re good at telling stories, too?”
Fujitaka smiled. He had always cherished the story, for Nadeshiko was his angel that fell from the tree. Though she was not beside him in body, her soul was always with him, watching over him. Touya grinned, knowing his father’s thoughts. Nadeshiko had always asked Fujitaka to tell her the story, every Christmas. She knew that she would die early.

Syaoran shuffled uncomfortably, troubled by being in the same room as Eron, Touya, and all the grown-ups. Also, he was uneased by the relationship ties. He knew that Fujitaka loved his wife deeply, and vice versa. Yet, whatever happened between his father and Nadeshiko-san? Exactly what came between them to end their relationship so suddenly? It had been a matter of 2 years. Nadeshiko married at 16. She met Ryuuren at 14. Sakura shifted her foot. It was hard to think that her mother was the same flighty Nadeshiko that she knew from her dreams and flashes; the same Nadeshiko with a hot temper, and the pretty star sapphire twinkling from her slender finger, who loved Ryuuren-san.

“Merry Christmas, Grandfather,” Sakura said, bashfully handing a bouquet of Nadeshiko flowers and a wrapped box.

“Thank you dear. You’ve grown a lot.” Staring at the girl who was his beloved Nadeshiko’s daughter, he commented to Sonomi later on, “There’s not that many resemblance between her and Nadeshiko, but…”

“Something about the eyes, smile, movements and brightness reminds me of her. To be critical, Sakura is no as startling beautiful as her mother.”

“But there is something about that girl.” Smiling, the old man gazed at Sakura with fond eyes. Then his gaze diverted to a striking boy with chestnut hair who was talking with Sakura, once in a while scowling, depending on if another boy with hair tied back was present or not. “Who is that eye catching boy?”

“Who, him?” Sonomi looked at Syaoran. “He’s one of the girls’ friend, from Hong Kong. He returned after a year or two. Why, Grandfather?”

“He reminds me of someone.”

Sonomi tilted her head. “Who? All I remember was that he used to be a cute little boy. Guess he grew a lot. Probably the best looking out of the guys that age, along with the one beside him.”

At that moment, Syaoran turned his head half way around, clearly revealing his side profile. He furrowed his dark, clean cut eyebrows down.


“What do you mean you want to find out more?” Syaoran whispered, frowning.

Sakura answered, “Doesn’t something strike you odd? Our parents…”

“SHHH! Don’t you have any sense? Don’t talk about those kind of things, here, out of all places!”

“I was only— Wow! Look outside! It’s going to be a white Christmas!” Sakura clapped her hands with joy, forgetting her brief annoyance. “It’s so pretty!

Looking over Sakura’s head, Syaoran gazed outside the misty window at the sprinkling of crystal snowflakes. “A White Christmas.”

“So beautiful. At times like this, I really do feel the Christmas spirit.”

“It’s a time for peace in heart and happiness,” Syaoran said softly.

Spinning around to look as Syaoran, Sakura’s evergreen eyes turned round. She whispered, “To set aside all worries.” They stared outside silently.

“I like snow, when I’m safe inside, watching it fall softly to the ground,” Sakura commented at last.

“As for me, I don’t like coldness.” Then, Syaoran looked up. “But do you know why I like watching snow?” He placed his hand on the cool window pane, leaving a steamy imprint. “Those millions of tiny white snowflakes all seem to be alike. But, even so, each one of them is different, no two exactly the same as another. Each individual is made up of its own crystal formation to make it different, just like each person is different.”

For some reason Sakura suddenly felt aware that Syaoran was standing directly behind her. “Yet, they all look the same.”

“Exactly. They are made up in the same way. So are humans. It’s only a fraction of them that are different, but never mind that.” Stepping back, Syaoran turned around. “I too only like winter, when I know that I will be sheltered.” With a second thought, with a heater as well.”

Sakura laughed. Syaoran dislike for coldness was well known. If only he’s like this all the time.

As if reading her thoughts, Syaoran added, “Christmas come only once a year, and I promised Meirin that I will behave.”
Defiantly, Sakura retorted, “I never said anything!”

“You have accusations written all over your face.” The corner of his lips to curve into a confident smile.

Just then, with a CLASH, Sonomi dropped her wine glass, shattering onto the marble floor.

That toss of head, that aloof self-assurance, those confident, gleaming eyes under level emphasizing eyebrows, that cool smile which so many girls fell for at her school, when she was a girl. Li Ryuuren. That cold-blooded, distant, over-confident Li Ryuuren. Syaoran walked away to the other side of the room. Sonomi shook her head. What was she thinking about?


Tomoyo laughed, “Oh ho ho. I think it was really a good idea to have a Christmas gathering. Look at all these diverse group of people gathered under the same room, celebrating. Touya-san and Li-kun didn’t even glare at each other once. Nor did Eron say anything cutting, or Chiharu-chan and Yamazaki-kun squabble.

“After all, it’s Christmas.” Sakura placed her hand on her chest, where underneath her maroon velvet party dress was her crystal necklace.

Together, as the night progressed, they sang Christmas carols with clear voices, ranging from tenor to soprano, with Touya playing the piano. Tomoyo’s beautiful voice was distinct above the other. As usual, Syaoran shuffled around silently, staring at the joyful faces of all the people around him, young old, enemies, and friends. For once, he was a part of the gathering. Was this really the meaning of Christmas, after all? That little warmth in your heart that glows steadily, and for once, you feel at peace. For once, all your hatred, anger, confusion is pushed away, and all you feel is the season's joyful tidings wash over you. Everyone is young again at Chrismas. Syaoran closed his eyes, carefully listening to the beautiful voices of the carolers. They sang one of Sakura’s favorite Christmas songs, which made her heart feel secure.

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let you heart be there,
From now on, our troubles will be miles a way.
Here we are in the olden days, happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us,
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years we all would be together,
If the fates allow,
Hang a shining star above the highest bough,
And have yourself, a merry Christmas now.”

Everyone cheered, and laughed. Sakura closed her eyes, listening to the snowflakes softly fall on the window will. From now on, our troubles will be miles away… No more worrying and crying. I’m going to be brave. Through the years we all will be together… I don’t ever want to be separated from my dear friends, and the people I’m close to. Yue’s destruction never occurred. I won through it. I’m never going to allow anything bad to happen. Hang a shining star above the highest bough… I’m going to always reach for the highest to get the best of me. I’m never going to give in to hardship. Because I believe in myself.

“GAHHHH!” Sakura screamed. Touya had placed his head right in front of hers, glaring suspiciously. “Oniichan, you scared me!”

“You scared me… You started to look like Scrooge, frowning and looking all determined.” He popped a cookie into his mouth. Of course, he didn’t mention that Sakura looked brave and angelic as she thought seriously.

“WAI!!!~” Erika squealed. “Is this noble, gracious being your brother?” Erika flung her arms around Touya’s neck. “He’s so amazing!”

“He he… he he…” Sakura laughed nervously. “He’s not that amazing, once you get to know him.”

“Oh my gosh, he is so fine!” Erika let go of Touya, who sighed in relief. Letting out a hand, she said enthusiastically, “Good evening, Kinomoto-san—you don’t mind if I call you Touya-san, right? I’ve heard so much about you from your little sister.” She firmly shook hand with him. Eron let out a sigh, slapping his forehead.
“I’m sure Sakura said wonderful things about me,” Touya murmured sarcastically, but Erika was already observing him in all angles. To Yukito, he muttered, “I never thought that there would ever be two of Nakuru. In fact, I feel like Nakuru is here to torture me once more.” Yukito chuckled.

“What about Li?” Eron asked, crossing his arms.

“Oh, he’s fine, too,” Erika added. “But I don’t necessarily have to idolize one person at a time, and I feel older guys fascinating.” Then her eyes wandered to the silver haired, graceful Yukito. “Wow, now who is this amazing person?”

Everyone sighed in exasperation. Sakura laughed, at everyone’s dismayed expressions. Merry Christmas, everyone!


That night, Syaoran found a dark green box on top of his bed. Carefully, he opened it. For a moment, he was startled, then a slow smile spread, his amber eyes twinkling.

It was an embroidery of a silvery amber wolf, carefully done to the last detail, with pale flower petals blowing around it, against a background of trees and the twinkling night sky and glowing moon. The fine needlework seemed to come alive in his hands, the vivid and soft colors dancing. He could almost smell the sweet scent of sakura blossoms, or the tangy night sky. The soft linen cloth was framed on a circular mahogany wood frame. For some strange reason, he felt free, all the while safe in his room. On the back was carved crookedly, “For a friend.”

Gently, he hung it on the wall, above the head of the bed. It served as a beautiful decoration, quite unlike Sakura’s usual needle skills. He appreciated beauty to the eye, as well as the freshness of nature. But did she also know that she had woven enough power into the thread, in neat stitches through the cloth, to ward off any evil that might come to him in his sleep? He could almost picture Sakura sewing away patiently for months, not knowing why she was working so hard, but pouring all her effort in; wincing when she pricked her fingers, struggling to stay awake to finish it...

From now on, our troubles will be miles away…

For a friend…

Through the years we all will be together…

If the fates allow…

Wish: Weee!!! Finally finished with Christmas. Believe it or not, I was planning to have this out, last Christmas. (Christmas 1999) Right now, it’s late autumn (2000), but oh well… I just got in the holiday spirit. Syaoran gives Sakura the crystal star necklace… he he… Remember it from chapter 12? Don’t worry if you don’t. But I bet no one was afraid that Syaoran wouldn’t give Sakura a Christmas present. Hmm, bicycling off as fast as he could… very Syaoran-ish. What’s with the embroidery of the wolf? Well, when I first planned it last year, it was supposed to be a dark green wool scarf that Sakura knitted all by herself. Yet, the anime had to ruin it, and instead of Sakura making Syaoran a yukata for the festival, she makes him a scarf. That annoyed me immensely, ruining my idea. Well, I like embroidery, so… Do you like Nadeshiko and Ryuuren’s Christmas? Things seem to be getting better for them. Just in case you don’t know, there really is a thing called star sapphire. It’s a round, blue sapphire, and in the light, the shape of a star appears. It’s really pretty. The Christmas carol is one of my favorites, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” And Fujitaka’s story, I made up. What a devoted husband… I have this thing for love between angel and mortal… Oh yeah, and Tomoyo’s version of what would’ve been the perfect Christmas scene is kinda what I intended for S+S, but I decided that Syaoran was not ready for such maturity, yet (Li:HEY!!!… Me: Well, you do always set a record for running off in CCS) But, I think that it was nice of him to make such a nice Christmas for Meirin. (Aww, Syao-chan’s nicer than he let’s us believe.) He he… Erika… must carry on Nakuru’s tradition. Which brings me to say… watch out for the New York trip in Chapter 16!!! ^_^. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! (Sorry if you read this when it’s not Christmas. Just get in the spirit.) Oh yeah… strange ending, eh?
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