Disclaimer: CLAMPs. Not mine.
Dedication: To Alison, who inspired this by suggesting a Tomoyo/Sakura fic and because she's so wonderful with providing scans *glomp*
Author's Notes: OMFG. Why have I chosen to write this from Tomoyo-hime's viewpoint? Damn. I can't write her at all T_T
Meant to Be
A cool breeze blew through the night, bringing with it portentous whispers. Tomoyo angled her head slightly, as if trying to discern what it would tell her. It played with her hair, causing the bells to chime softly.
"Princess Tomoyo?" Souma asked from where she crouched beside her mistress, looking up at her, concerned.
Tomoyo smiled down at her remaining ninja. Souma worried too much for her own good, and her attentiveness to other people’s emotions which only made it worse. The warrior had worries of her own, Tomoyo knew, and she hoped that the delegation from the flying castle would ease some of those concerns.
"I'm just wondering what would be the best way to welcome Kendappa-ou and her court," Tomoyo said slyly, lips curving in amusement at Souma's deep blush. "Do you have any suggestions, Souma? After all, you served Kendappa-ou and from what I hear, you served her very well."
"Princess!" Souma's blush impossibly deepened and she bowed her head so that her hair hid the redness of cheeks somewhat.
Chuckling, Tomoyo smiled fondly at her ninja. "You know, I would be quite happy for you to return to Kendappa-ou if that is your wish."
"N-no, Princess," Souma said as she stood. "I promised my fealty to you; besides, with Kurogane gone, I can't leave you alone."
"I'm hardly alone," Tomoyo swept her arm to take in the miko and servants and castle guards who were milling around her court. Several of the more alert guards glanced over; aware they were being talked about.
"It's not the same," Souma said quietly, her dark eyes looking intently at her princess. "None of them have the same loyalty that Kurogane and I have to you. I doubt if any of them would die to keep you safe."
"Now, now, there's no need for any of that sort of thing," Tomoyo smiled at Souma's intensity. "There's only been one assassination attempt in the two months that Kurogane's been gone, and you handled that marvellously - with much less blood spilt than he would have managed, I'm happy to say."
"Yes, exactly!" Souma interrupted. "_I_ stopped them from hurting you! If I hadn't been here-"
"Very well," Tomoyo said softly, interrupting Souma's tirade. "I need you. But I wonder if you need Kendappa-ou more?"
Souma stared at her, speechless and blushing.
The breeze blew harder suddenly and Tomoyo understood a snatch of what it was saying and she caught her breath.
"Though I wonder how much longer we'll be without Kurogane?" Tomoyo's questioning was answered almost immediately as an otherworldly chime split the air and the air seemed to shimmer with power.
"What the-?!" Souma cried, reaching for her twin moon blades and moving to stand protectively before Tomoyo. The tone reached its crescendo and fronds of air seemed to solidify before pealing away to reveal four people and one winged white almost-rabbit. Tomoyo leaned around Souma as the ninja's body seemed to slacken as the tension left her and Tomoyo saw why. One of the four people was Kurogane, but Tomoyo had been expecting that. He looked well and she hoped he had learned the lesson she had sent him away to learn; they would have words about that later. Her attention was drawn instead the short, slender brunette who was hanging from a teenage boy's arm. The girl's eyes widened in recognition as she saw first Souma and then Tomoyo. She gave a stunning smile, full of joy.
"Tomoyo-chan!" The girl cried, but the Princess of Japan had only a moment to ponder how this girl knew her before Kurogane interrupted whatever she was about to say next.
"Princess Tomoyo!" He said, looking shocked that it was truly her. Tomoyo smiled at him as she stood and walked around Souma to stand before the party.
"Welcome home, Kurogane." She wondered how long it had been for him. It looked as though rather more time had passed for him than for her; perhaps even a few years. She allowed herself another glance at the pretty girl, who looked a little confused, before forcing herself to look at the others before she started to blush. The boy whose arm the girl was holding looked rather intense, but Tomoyo felt immediately that he was a good person. The other human member of their party was wearing a painful smile and looking anywhere but at Kurogane. His overlong blond hair fell into his eyes but didn't quite hide the hurt in them. For a moment Tomoyo wondered what the matter was before she caught the glance Kurogane gave him. She couldn't help it as her eyebrows rose in a mixture of questioning and incredulity but when Kurogane noticed he just scowled at her.
"Don't even _think_ about pulling something like that again," he grumbled and Tomoyo had to stop herself from laughing.
"We'll see," she said before turning away from him and allowing herself to look curiously at the other girl again. The white bunny thing was now in her arms, looking as if it were concentrating.
"There's a feather in this world!" It said, startling Tomoyo, who hadn't expected the thing to be able to speak. "Somewhere... There's a lot of strange power in this world, though. Mokona isn't sure where it is."
"We'll find it," the boy said, determination in his eyes.
"...Princess?" Souma asked, finally having managed to break out of her shock.
"It's alright, Souma. I think that they were all sent travelling together by the Dimension Witch - is that right?"
"That bitch made me give up Ginryuu for this," groused Kurogane, and Tomoyo noticed for the first time that his hand was on the hilt of a long sword that sat at his hip, the handle much simpler than the ornate katana he had once used in her service.
"It seems that you've found a more than adequate replacement," Tomoyo said, noticing that the boy, too, had a sword by his side. Neither the girl nor the blond man seemed to have a weapon (save, perhaps, the white bunny that sat in the girl's hands still) but Tomoyo could sense that both of them had a great deal of magical power, perhaps more power than Tomoyo herself; yet she could sense no malevolence from either of them and did not feel threatened.
"Ah!" She clapped her hands as curiosity was finally displaced by etiquette. "Where are my manners? I have such distinguished guests and I haven't even greeted you properly. This is Shirasaki Castle. I am Princess Tomoyo, as I'm sure you gathered from Kurogane's outburst, and I bid you welcome. You are more than welcome to stay in the castle whilst you're in Japan," Tomoyo said with a meaningful glance at one of her miko who nodded before scurrying off to get rooms prepared. "Now come; I usually partake in tea at this time and you all _must_ join me. Come!"
Souma walked close by the princess as they made their way to Tomoyo's tea room, looking rather suspicious of the group of travellers, even Kurogane. Arriving at the room, Tomoyo made sure that she was sat next to the girl, and Souma sat on the other side of her princess. The boy sat on the other side of the girl, the bunny in his lap. Kurogane and the blond sat opposite, and Tomoyo noted how close the blond sat to the ninja and how Kurogane let him. She wondered exactly what the relationship was between the two of them; she would have to question Kurogane - at length and in depth - on the subject later, but at the moment she was busy trying not to stare at the girl sat beside her. She could smell her; she smelled of rose and jasmine.
Eventually, Tomoyo could fight against the urge no longer. She turned slightly to look at the girl, marvelling at her intensely emerald eyes.
"Ah, about what I called you when we arrived... We met another version of you in one of the worlds we've travelled to," the girl said softly. "She said I could call her Tomoyo-chan; I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all," Tomoyo said with feeling, giving a warm smile. "And what shall I call you?"
"My name is Sakura."
"Sakura is a princess from Clow Country," the bunny thing said, hopping onto Sakura's knee. "And I'm Mokona Modoki! Pleased to meet you!"
"And I you," Tomoyo said humbly, bowing slightly. "And especially you, Princess Sakura. If I had known I'd be having royal guests-"
"Oh, no, don't do anything on my account!" Sakura said, shaking her head and gesturing at the maids who were preparing the tea for them. "This is more than enough!" In fact, she looked quite embarrassed about it and a slight blush stained her cheeks rose, making her look adorable.
In danger of blushing herself, Tomoyo made herself look over at the blond who was sat beside Kurogane, still smiling sadly. "And who might you be?" He blinked, looking startled that she was speaking to him before putting more energy into his smile.
"Fai D. Flowright at your service, princess. I'm a wizard from the Country of Celes."
"I see. And you've been keeping Kurogane company?" Kurogane gave an infuriated growl and Fai's smile became more sincere.
"Oh yes, I've been doing my best to keep Kuro-pippi entertained."
"'Kuro-pippi'?" Souma asked, sounding scandalised and Tomoyo burst into laughter at the mortified look on both of her ninja's' faces. Instantly, she liked Fai and hoped that she could somehow help to make his smile real.
Lastly, she turned to the boy whom she liked least of all the people who had appeared in her court, mainly because of the way Sakura had held closely to him, however unfair that might be.
"I'm Syaoran," he said by way of introduction. "I'm from Clow country as well."
"Syaoran-kun is helping me to collect my feathers," Sakura said, smiling at him.
"Yes, you said something about that earlier - and Mokona said there is one in Japan," Tomoyo said, frowning. She had not previously sensed it.
"We've been travelling for more than two years now, trying to find them all," Fai explained.
"Two years?" Tomoyo had been right in her estimate.
"Two years for Fai and Kurogane," Mokona corrected. "Eighteen months for Mokona and Sakura and Syaoran."
"Hmm?" Tomoyo asked, not understanding.
Each of the travellers glanced at each other before Fai shrugged and took it upon himself to try and explain. "Kuropon and I spent six months alone in Yamano country while Syaoran-kun and Sakura-chan were in Shurano, in what for us was six months in the future. It's hard to expain and we're still not sure why it was... I think Mokona might know, though," Fai suggested but Mokona just smiled and stayed silent. Fai shrugged. "Whatever the reason, I'm glad," he added quietly, glancing over at Kurogane who was glaring at his teacup.
Tomoyo smiled. She and Kurogane were going to have _such_ an interesting talk later.
"If there's anyway I can help you find the feather, I would be glad to help," Tomoyo said, turning to smile at Sakura.
"Thank you," she replied and her smile was like summer sunshine.
"How long has it been since Kurogane-san left?" Syaoran asked, frowning.
"A little over two months."
"Then it won't be something to be found in history books. Have there been any strange occurrences recently?"
Tomoyo shook her head. "I don't think so. What sort of thing do you mean?"
They explained to her some of the things that had happened because of Sakura's feathers as they had been journeying and Tomoyo frowned.
"I can't think of anything like that, no. I'm sorry."
"It's alright! We'll find it if it's here," Sakura said determinedly, nodding slightly as if to reinforce her point.
"And as I said, anything that I can do to be of help, I will. You must stay in the castle, of course, and you can go wherever you wish. You can use the library if it will help. There are scrolls of recent news from around the empire which may assist you as well."
"Thank you, Tomoyo-chan - I mean, Princess Tomoyo," Sakura corrected herself but Tomoyo shook her head.
"Tomoyo-chan is fine, Princess. After all, we are both royalty."
"You can call me Sakura-chan, too," she suggested, though it seemed she already knew the answer and it made Tomoyo wonder how much she and this other Tomoyo that they had already met were alike.
"Oh, no. I find it much easier to be formal."
Sakura nodded, her suspicions confirmed, before quickly covering her mouth to stifle a yawn.
"If you're tired, your rooms should be ready now," Tomoyo said, glancing over at the maids who had served the tea.
"Yes, Princess; they will be. Would you like me to escort them?"
"That would be lovely."
"I can find my own way," Kurogane growled, standing and stalking off, leaving them all startled and Tomoyo noticed Fai's smile becoming a little more pained. She wondered once again why he continued to do that and determined to tell Kurogane off for making him do it.
"Just ignore him," Tomoyo said to all of them but to Fai in particular. She watched as the maid escorted them all out of the tea room and toward their bedrooms.
"Were you expecting them, Princess?"
"I thought Kurogane would return today; but the others... No. I wasn't expecting them. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing," she added thoughtfully. Some surprises could be most pleasant and meeting Princess Sakura was certainly amongst them.
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