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Keeper of the Key

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"It's nice to have you along Sonomi" Fujitaka commented good naturedly.  "I'm sure Sakura will be very happy to meet you."

"I'm only going for the sake of Nadeshiko's beloved daughter." Sonomi Daidouji said giving him an aggressive glare.  "She would want me to meet her child after all and it's tragic that Sakura became so ill at such a young age."

"You're so kind Sonomi.  I'm sure Nadeshiko would be glad for Sakura to get to know you" Fujitaka continued brightly.

"Still using cheap one-liners Kinomoto-sensei?" Sonomi fired back.  "You aren't playing fair by mentioning her like that!"

"You were always so passionate, that was one of the things Nadeshiko loved about you" her former teacher replied.  "She always said so."

"That's beside the point, sensei.  Wait, what did you mean by that?"

"Are they going to be like this for the whole ride?" Touya wondered aloud.

"Oh, but aren't they adorable?" Tomoyo asked with a winsome smile.  "I think Mother likes him."

"They do seem to be getting along in their own way" Yukito commented.  "I'm glad Sakura will get a chance to meet her mother's best friend.  I think she'll like the idea of having more family."

"It is nice having family" Touya agreed glancing down at Tomoyo who was seated beside him.  "I didn't think Sonomi was the type of person to take the train though."

"I think my mother wanted to avoid some of the traffic in Tokyo at this time of the day" Tomoyo said lightly.  "It is much easier getting to the Tokyo Metropolitan Hospital by using public transportation."

"Mmm" Touya mumbled.  "At least Li hasn't been around today.  I don't want him finding out where Sakura is while she's still recovering."

"Oh, I wouldn't worry about that" Tomoyo told him gleefully.

"Why is that Tomoyo?" Yukito asked curiously.  "Did something happen to him?"

"Not quite" Tomoyo replied.  "I just mentioned to Terada-sensei that Li might be able to help out one of the sports teams this weekend.  He won't have time for anything else."

"Clever" Touya said.  "I've been meaning to ask you if there was anything unusual going on at school, besides Li?"

"Hmmm...Now that you mention it, we did get an exchange student a couple of days ago." Tomoyo answered thoughtfully.  "His name is Eriol Hiiragizawa, which is the name Yuko gave us.  His hair is blue and he seems much older than he appears."

"Yue says that Clow's hair was also blue" Yukito put in.  "I wonder if there's a connection between the two of them.  Maybe Clow's reincarnation is still a child or at least pretending to be one."

"It certainly sounds suspicious enough.  Maybe that's what Kaho was hiding." Touya speculated.  "It might explain why we always feel as though we're being watched.  The only kid we were looking out for was Li."

"He was rather obvious" Tomoyo agreed.  "This person might have used Li as a distraction to escape notice.  Are you two any closer to finding all of the cards?"

"We have forty of them.  Yue's been helping too." Yukito replied.  "The Rain was hiding under Touya's father's desk."

"And can you use them all?" Tomoyo wanted to know.

"I've practiced with some of them" Touya admitted.  "They all seem to come when I call them."

"Well you were able to revert them to Touya Cards without having to pass through Yue's judgment" Yukito reminded him.  "He seems to be taking it very well."

"He's much more annoyed at Clow than at me" Touya remarked.  "It is Clow's fault that he was locked up for a century inside the book."

"Yes, but after he thought Clow was going to die, Yue didn't want to come out of the book ever again" Yukito informed them.  "He said it would be too painful without him."

"Well I'm glad he's here regardless and that he was unsealed" Touya said seriously.  "Even if it didn't happen in the best possible way."

"I am too" Yukito agreed.  "Yue is a very kind person when he wants to be.  I don't mind sharing a form with him."

"Even when he's pouting?" Touya asked with a raised eyebrow.  "You're too nice Yuki."

"You're more kind than I am, To-ya." Yuki said brightly at him.  "Even Yue agrees."

"Only when you don't ruffle his feathers" Tomoyo put in.  She laughed lightly as she imagined the white haired guardian's with a perturbed expression on it, knowing that this would be his reaction to any perceived teasing on their part.

"I think my Dad just asked your Mom out for coffee tomorrow" Touya murmured to his cousin.  "They seem to have gotten a bit quieter."

"It might be good for them" Tomoyo said with grin that was all innocence.  "Maybe my mother will warm up to him a bit more after that."

"I'll just have to call you the evil-stepsister then won't I?" Touya teased.  "The monster will be thrilled."

"I think it's nice that your father has a friend" Yukito commented.  "Someone his own age that he can talk to about things.  It must be hard for him to meet new people when he works so much."

"Yeah, probably" Touya said idly.  "My mom's certainly amused."

"Can you really talk to your mother, Touya?" Tomoyo asked curiously.

"Yeah, what of it?"

"Nothing, I just think it's very special.  It's not every day that someone gets to talk to a precious person even after they're gone" Tomoyo said calmly.

"It helped me accept things more" Touya replied.  He hadn't really meant to tell Tomoyo about it.  It was just that he'd grown more comfortable being around  her these past few weeks that he forgot she didn't know about his other ability.  Yukito knew all about it, so he didn't even question it when Touya mentioned these odd occurrences.  He was glad that at least she wasn't the type to tell Sonomi. about it.  It wasn't as if he could prove it anyway, since Nadeshiko wasn't even here right now.


 

"Seems as if you've failed in your campaign to get Touya Kinomoto to like you" Spinel remarked as Ruby moon flounced into the room in her school uniform.  "Don't you think you're better off just leaving him be?"

"Nonsense, even if he is dating Yukito now" Ruby Moon said with a mysterious grin.  "Once he learns just how powerful I truly am, he'll have to give me some of his magic.  Who wouldn't want me to help them out?"

"Then doesn't that mean it's already over?  The new Cardmaster has chosen someone who isn't you" Spinel added, his voice tinged with amusement.  "And besides that, you're Eriol's guardian.  I doubt Touya needs your help with Yue and Keroberos by his side."

"hmmph!  That's so boring!" Ruby Moon argued.  "We're just waiting around for them to find the cards anyway.  Can't I have a little fun?"

Spinel tilted his head slightly as he peered at her.

"We'll have to fight them at some point.  Don't forget that."

"Oh Suppy, you just don't understand how fun high school really is.  You just wait and see."

"I'd like it if you left them alone for now Ruby Moon" Eriol said entering the room.  "You'll see them soon enough."

"Oooh!  But I wanted to show him that so I'm much better than Yue.  Do you really want him having two full guardians and ruining your plans for testing him?" Ruby Moon complained.

"I've had to change my plans once again, it's true" Eriol acknowledged.  "Nothing seems to have gone the way I'd foreseen.  However, I realize that even Clow couldn't have predicted that one incident. That being said, you shouldn't try to take Touya's magic from him.  Not that he'd give it to you anyway now that he's supporting both Keroberos and Yue.  Giving it to you would mean that Yukito would be resealed inside the Book of Clow along with the cards."

"Oh fine" Ruby Moon reluctantly agreed.  "I'll just have to start a new game."

Eriol smiled lightly and Spinel shook his head.  The red haired guardian would never change, nor would anything ever damage her lively enthusiasm.


 

"Hey kid, you look like you've got something on your mind?" Nakuru said.  And you've got a lovely store of magical power.  "Would you like to talk about it?"

"I don't talk to strangers" Syaoran said as he pushed past her and kept walking.

"hmmmm...now there's an interesting one" she said watching after him.  "I think I'll try for you instead."

Syaoran picked up his pace as he felt a shiver go down his spine and didn't stop walking until he was safely back at his residence.

Maybe I should stop by the local shrine tomorrow, he thought.  There's some type of evil spirit on my tail.  That might explain why I'm having no luck with the cards.

When he managed to shake off a feeling of panic, he started shuffling through the mail stacked neatly on the table.  There was a letter from his mother and one from his cousin Meiling.  His mother, as usual, inquired about his health and his grades, as well as his progress in locating the Clow Cards.  Meiling on the other hand was asking if he would be able to come home during his school break.

Syaoran looked down at his cousin's letter warily.  He loved his cousin, she was like another sister to him, only they were the same age and understood one another far more than he and his sisters ever would.  Meiling seemed to have finally forgiven him for refusing her marriage proposal years before, which was heartening.  She had even started dating a boy from her class at school recently, which put his mind at ease.  Refusing his cousin had been one of the hardest things he'd ever had to do, but it wouldn't have been fair to her when he didn't feel any sort of romantic feelings toward her.  That and he hadn't been ready to commit to any type of relationship beyond a platonic one at the age of eight.

He hadn't made any real progress tracking down the girl his mother had seen in her visions or tracking down the Clow Cards.  Touya Kinomoto and his friend had some of them, of that he was certain, but he'd yet to actually see any of them himself.

Syaoran sighed and set about working on his homework.  There was no point in dwelling on it.  He'd see about the rest of it tomorrow after he got some protections seals from the local shrine.  The ones his mother had sent with him weren't strong enough for the apparition from earlier.  At least Syaoran hoped it was only a dark spirit he'd sensed, if it was one of Clow's creations then he was in serious trouble.


 

"It's so good to see you Tomoyo and you Yukito." Sakura said cheerfully as they walked through the door to her hospital room.

"Sakura, I'd like you to meet Sonomi Daidouji" Fujitaka said gesturing toward the woman standing beside him.  "She was your mother's best friend growing up.  They were also cousins."

"Oh, really?  Well it's very nice to meet you Ms. Daidouji" Sakura replied rewarding her with a smile.  "Wait, does this mean that Tomoyo is my cousin too?"

"Yes it does" Fujitaka put in.  "I didn't realize it until I called her to get permission for Tomoyo to come and visit you."

"Yes well, it was definitely a surprise" Sonomi said gritting her teeth slightly.  Then she turned to smile at Sakura.  "You look very much like Nadeshiko did at your age."

"Hoee! Really?"

"Yes, very much so.  You're just as cute as she was." Sonomi replied.

"Your brother also met our great-grandfather when he visited us" Tomoyo put in.

Touya nodded.

"He asked us to come visit him for New Years" her brother explained.  "He...wants to get to know us too."

"That's wonderful" Sakura said, sounding very excited at the idea of meeting more family members.  "I'll have to make sure I'm better by then.  I'll have try really really hard."

They all chuckled lightly at her enthusiasm.

"Don't push yourself Sakura, I'm sure it'll work out just fine" Yukito commented.  "Your grandfather would want you to get well at your own pace."

Fujitaka nodded in agreement.

"I can promise you he's not going anywhere" her father assured her.  "You're great-grandfather is a very healthy man from what I'm told."

"He is doing extremely well for someone his age" Sonomi agreed.  Then she realized she'd just concurred with her old sensei and proceeded to fold her arms and scowl at him.

Tomoyo and Sakura giggled slightly at this.

"Sonomi really does like your father, doesn't she?" Yukito whispered to Touya.

"You and the evil stepsister might actually be right about that" Touya retorted.  "We'll just have to see what happens."