“This is not for you, Kero-chan,” Kinomoto Sakura said admonishingly, as she saw the head of the little Guardian pop up at the edge of the large picnic basket. She had just finished another batch of sandwiches and put them into the basket, carefully wrapped so they would stay fresh. She wedged the sandwiches between the fruit she had packed, and a bottle of water and a thermos filled with sweetened tea…this was going to be one heavy basket.
Kero wasn’t really deterred by Sakura’s words, and leaned into the basket, his eyes getting bigger and bigger at all the food he saw.
“Strawberries!” he exclaimed. “Pastries!”
“Not for you,” Sakura repeated and closed the lid of the basket, almost catching his head. Kero pouted and crossed his paws in front of his chest, but due to his small size, his angry stance was far from impressive.
“Where are you going to? It’s late. You shouldn’t be outside on your own!”
“Kero-chan,” Sakura smiled at him. She was grateful for his protective streak, but as the new Master of the Clow Cards, she could take care of herself. “I’m going to meet up with a friend.”
“Why so secret?” Kero narrowed his eyes. Sakura had been looking around and moving silently yet quickly, as if she was afraid to get caught. Her father was going to be late tonight, and she wasn’t sure when Touya was going to get home… she looked a bit rushed.
“I just want some time for myself,” the girl muttered softly, and she blushed. She had spend so much time trying to catch the Clow Cards, and she still had all her homework and her chores to do…and keep everything magical and mystical from her father and her brother.
Kero was about to launch into a lecture about how important the Cards were and that Sakura had to do her best, but it dawned to him that she was right; she barely had had any time for herself, and even though he helped out with some of her chores, the bulk of the work still was on her shoulders. Sakura had never complained, or asked for anything for herself.
“You should take a little time for yourself,” he said, nodding enthusiastically. He assumed she was going to hold the picnic with Tomoyo-chan, her best friend. “Relaxing is good! It’s going to be so much fun to have a picnic together!”
He reached for the lid of the basket to open it again, but Sakura put her hands on it, blushing heavily.
“I’m sorry Kero-chan,” she said.
“All right, all right, I won’t eat any of it!” He pouted again, but was taken aback when Sakura shook her head.
“No Kero-chan, I want to be alone with my friend,” she said. “You should stay at the house…”
“Whaaat? You want to leave without me?” Kero was more surprised than angry and he noticed Sakura’s blush and then… yes, then everything came together.
“You’re going to meet up with that snowrabbit!” he bursted out. When Sakura blushed even deeper, he got more worked up. “With Yue?” His voice went up a few notches. “Oh! Now I know why you were preparing all that food! Yue is always the one to be spoiled!”
“Don’t be mad, Kero-chan,” Sakura said, as the guardian snorted loud. “I always give you my dessert! It’s just…”
“He doesn’t even eat,” Kero mumbled as Sakura finished her preparations and put the leftovers in the refridgerator. Could it be that he was really jealous? He was so used to having the girl’s attention, that it almost physically pained him to see her leave without him. His anger was mostly about his own behavior, not Sakura’s - he should know better than to give into his jealousy. It wasn’t like Yue was around all the time…but when he was, he managed to grate Kero on his very last nerve, even without saying a word. The other guardian was just… so stand-offish, that Kero couldn’t imagine that Sakura wanted to invest her time and energy into getting to know him better, to befriend him… but that was who Sakura was, and that was why he had chosen her to become the new Master of the Clow Cards.
“Here you are,” Sakura said as she put a bowl of jello in front of Kero. “A little extra treat for you.”
“You shouldn’t have,” Kero said, feeling slightly guilty. “Now go, and have a good time! I’ll take care of the house.”
“Thank you, Kero-chan!” Sakura beamed at him and she grabbed the basket, almost toppling over from its weight.
Leaving the house behind her, Sakura used her rollerblades to make her way over to the park, where she had agreed to meet Yue. She had asked him in person, not wanting to bother Yukito. She was always flailing in his presence; the more distant Yue was ironically easier to talk to, for some reason. She wasn’t really sure why she was dragging the picnic basket along with her. Kero had been right; Yue didn’t eat, but she had spend her entire afternoon creating and making the most wonderful sandwiches, for no other reason than to fill the basket…
How silly could a girl get? How difficult could it be to distinguish between Yue and Yukito? They were different, literally a moon and an earth different, and she was just plain silly, blurring the lines between the two of them. She had been in Yukito’s presence far more often than Yue’s - why did she want to be with him on this day… this evening? Nobody cared much for Valentine’s Day, and the guardian wouldn’t know such day existed in the first place. Silly, silly, silly…
It was quiet, evening had already fallen, and it was a bright, almost full moon…the park didn’t look eerie at all, just calm, comfortable…soothing. Carrying the basket, she passed the large fountain and took a turn to the right, having no trouble to find the spot she had asked him to meet her…and he was already there. He was leaning against a tree, looking up at the moon, long hair gently touching the ground.
She felt the blush returning with a vengeance, and she put the basket down without a word. He would already know she was there, right? If anything, he was probably thinking she wanted to talk to him about an emergency or something, she hadn’t been very clear on why she wanted to meet up with him, as it had taken her quite some stuttering to get her words out.
“Sakura,” he greeted her, his eyes immediately taking her in. She had dressed up in simple clothes, nothing of those extravagant costumes Tomoyo-chan was so fond of, and not her school uniform either. She was just Sakura, and that was how she wanted to…be with him. Just Sakura and just Yue.. if that was possible. Was there a little concern in his eyes? She took a deep breath.
“It’s a wonderful evening,” she said and she wanted to slap herself, mentally. What kind of greeting was that?
“It sure is,” he answered, his eyes glancing at the basket again, then darting back to her. He didn’t understand of course, why she had hauled the basket all the way with her. Sakura blushed once more, opened the lid and took out a large blanket, which she quickly spread out on the grass.
“Won’t you sit down?” She asked.
“Why is it that you want to speak to me?”
“Please sit down,” she said, not looking at him. She heard the rustling of his clothes, as he silently - and strangely obediently - sat down. In the meantime, she was unloading the food from the basket, her fingers slightly trembling.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, not at all,” Sakura said as she continued to empty the basket. She had prepared way too much food, and she couldn’t shake off that feeling of silliness.
“I know…” she started, and halted mid-sentence. She was looking straight at him, his open eyes staring at her, not with his usual aloofness, but with a curiosity, perhaps anxiety, radiating off of him. “I know I’m just a girl, and not a powerful man like Clow-san,” she continued.
“Your magic is…” Yue started, but she shook her head violently.
“No! Please, don’t.” She had told herself not to start crying. It was Valentine’s Day, it was supposed to be a fun day, not a tearful day. Why was she so upset? Yukito… Yue…
Slender fingers tilted her chin upward, and she blinked a few times, forcing herself to look back at him, even though she wanted to avert her eyes.
“Tears are not becoming of you, my Master,” Yue said, and with a gentle movement of his fingers, he wiped away the few drops that had managed to escape from her eyes.
It was too late to control herself now. Her hand was on his and she pressed his hand even closer, in full contact with her skin, with her cheek. His fingers felt surprisingly warm, despite the fairly chill temperature outside. She wanted to bury herself in his arms, and she flung herself forward. Maybe he had been expecting it, or maybe it was just a primal reaction - but his arms closed around her shivering body.
“It is too cold outside,” Yue murmured, but he didn’t move away. She grabbed at his clothes, hands against his chest, as if she could merge with him.
“Don’t go,” she said. “It’s a special day.”
He didn’t ask what kind of special day. He allowed her to lean against him, lean into him, even tug at his clothes. A stray strand of silvery-y hair caressed her cheek, and she closed her eyes, a fierce redness coloring her skin. It was obvious to see how much effort she had taken to prepare the food, to arrange this meeting, to be here at her very best. It wasn’t her fault that Clow had died and had left his guardians behind, to search for a new Master…and they had found one, and he had judged her…
…the very same Master, slightly trembling in his arms. He moved his hand to touch her cheek again, noticing that even in times of stress, she was still vibrant, so lively, so colorful. The cold colors of the moon didn’t fit her; silver and ice blue took away the radiance of her blush, drained her energy.
“Sakura,” he said her name, softly, as if tasting it. She was more than just a Master, and too young for all the hardships that her path had laid out for her.
“Yue,” she called his name, without the usual honorific. “I’m not like him..but I know that…”
He silenced her with a kiss. It was a mere brush of his lips, but they touched, lips on lips, his on hers, a sweet touch that…jolted his body, uncovering a sensation that he had never known before. Was this… what was it?
She didn’t let him go after he kissed her, as she immediately tilted her head for another one, this time her lips searching out his. A taste, a bland taste perhaps, but an exciting one - one he had never experienced before, and one that made him crave for more… he looked down at Sakura, still in his arms, almost cradling like a baby, and she smiled at him. It felt like a transfer of life, this…warmth inside him, this warmth that he immediately recognized as Sakura’s doing, her energy, her lust for life…and it was confusing and upsetting him, yet he couldn’t deny how good and wonderful it felt.
Time passed, and they hadn’t spoken again. More kisses, soft breaths exchanged between them, a faint passion, the start of something…something more than what they shared before. Yukito…Yue…maybe it was confusing for them both, but as it was, any passerby, if any, would see a beautiful young man and a cheerful young girl in each other’s arms, on a warm woollen blanket, with food displayed out of a wicker picnic basket…dutifully ignored, as they were too busy kissing, strands of hair tangling, blush increasing, love blooming.