Through a looking glass
By: Aisaki Sumi
Chapter 9 Happiness is as ephemeral as it is eternal
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters – lone and dead
Their still waters – still and chilly
With the sorrows of the lolling lilies
The years had gone by too quickly, where events in life happened in a blur of vision. Before she could take the time and sit down to have herself a little rest, five years had already passed by. She had been in the Taira household for seven years. The realization came as a shock to her. Being a mother had changed her in many forms, rounding up the sharp corners and melting down the cold exteriors.
Sakura wondered if one could still find traces of the old Kinomoto Sakura in her. The wars were still waging out at the frontlines that were not so distant from Heian-kyo. For five entire years did it last, they all expected a short-lived war with the Taira clan triumphing over the rebels, and their sons and husband would return safely and live happily ever after.
So wistful. Such reverie made Sakura scoff in distain, her cynicism was probably the only prominent trait of the old Sakura left in her. While disheartening news continuously invaded Heian-kyo, the Taira household still retained its composure and luxurious life, and Sakura wasn't sure if they did it out of collectiveness or out of the fear of their recent failures.
Fear and anxiety gloomed over the most opulent and prosperous city in Japan, where ruthless power struggles were taking place under the grandiose cover of the pompous city. Chao was slowly encompassing the city and it would only be a matter of time before they engulfed Heian-kyo entirely.
Despite the growing fears and despair in their hearts, Sakura had her hope, and it came from the innocent face of the child running into her arms.
"Okaa-sama!" The little boy exclaimed, burying his face into the smooth fabrics of his mother's kimono. His hair was like the finest golden threads, soft and silky. Sakura loved running her fingers through those silken locks.
There was a rare tenderness glinting in the depth of those emerald green orbs, so rare that if one was witnessing this particular moment, they would feel they were intruding upon an extremely private moment.
"Will father be coming back this year for new year?" Little Shigemori asked, but Sakura preferred to call him Akira.
Shigemori was the name given by the powerful man ruling the Taira Clan, to honour of the birth of this brilliant child. Sakura was never fond of the name, because of Kiyomori's wish of his grandson growing up to be just like him and Syaoran, as the name indicated. But light, was a much better name for her son, for he was truly the light in her life, and Akira, when written in kanji form, meant light.
"The war is ending soon, and he will be riding him in glory and victory to see you." Sakura bent down and wrapped her arms around the hopeful child, hiding away her eyes so he could see as she murmured the most deceitful words to the one she loved the most. She didn't want to use her pretences on him, so she masked away the secrets by turning away from him.
The news brought back from Meiling wasn't heartening, but rather, they were dreadful, beyond one's imagination. If the child was anyone else's, she wouldn't have given a second thought in answering with the entire truth. But Akira was her son, and she just wouldn't bring herself to perish the hopes kindled in his heart.
When she was younger, she disliked the fact that her mother tried to hide away the truths from her. She felt she was looked down upon, and distrusted from one person that should have loved her, the most. However, once she became a mother herself, she immediately understood the reason behind Nadeshiko's actions. To preserve a child's innocence and protect it, was her sole intention.
Suddenly, something, obviously was more interesting, captured the young one's eyes as he struggled to break free from his mother's warm embrace. Frowning faintly, Sakura loosened her embrace and she felt her son dashing toward the direction behind her. Sakura whipped her head around perplexed and inquisitive, and only to see Meiling dressed in Taira soldier uniform bowing to Akira.
With a faint smile tugging on her lips, Sakura lifted herself up with grace and sauntered towards the brave woman who had been with her through countless life and death situations. She had told Meiling to stay with the Taira army, and with Syaoran to report the latest news to her, and as well, become her personal messenger to be in charge of the smoothness of the correspondence between her and Syaoran for all those years.
"What news do you bring with you?" Sakura inquired; her posture as elegant and as graceful as ever, strong and sagacious she remained, but there were traces of anxiety forming in those boundless orbs of emerald, if one dared to scrutinize at them long enough. Her hand was placed on Akira's small shoulder.
The placement of her hand - it wasn't clear as to whether she was attempting to comfort little Akira or leaning onto him for support. It had become a habit of Sakura's, developed just recently, as noticed by Meiling, but Meiling kept her silence regarding that matter, and shifted her gaze down to Akira.
The look itself carried more wistfulness than affections as they usually would have contained, and this mere fact made Sakura's heart skip a beat. Sakura averted her attention to Akira, for the briefest moment, and suggested with a heart-warming smile as she successfully concealed away the glooms shadowing her eyes.
"Go play with Miyuki, okaa-san has some unfinished business to attend, and you will listen to Miyuki and be a good boy." The young Akira nodded, even though he couldn't understand the urgency and seriousness of the matters to be discussed between his mother and the soldier who he grew affectionate towards, he knew that he was not apart of the adult world, and thus exclusion from the conversation to be commenced.
Picking up his wooden sword that laid abandoned under the cherry blossom tree, Akira ran into the compound cheerfully as if nothing in the world could take away his happiness.
Watching Akira's small figure disappearing into the darkness of the compound, Sakura then turned her undivided attention to Meiling, whose face was now comprised of an unfamiliar solemnity that she was unable to distinguish. It was all too foreign to her. It contained an implication of a deep sorrow that could shatter one's heart if she was ever unfortunate enough to stumble upon it.
"What is it?" Sakura urged, pressing hard on the matter in question with her eyes slightly narrowed. The suspense occupying the close space between them, thickened the air with its poisons of disconsolateness.
"Syaoran-sama…" Meiling began, faltering with uneasiness as if her tongue was tangled in her mouth, as if something invisible was restraining her from speaking the truths that Sakura so desperately needed to hear.
Trying out the words on her tongue again, Meiling tightened her fists and blurted it out hurriedly, nearly biting her own tongue. "Syaoran-sama is to be beheaded tomorrow morning! The Taira army has fallen, Lady Sakura!"
Vivid horror flashed in Sakura's eyes as she felt her legs losing their usual strengths, and the urge of fainting was so strong that she had to battle it off with her never-fading will in order to maintain her balance. Sakura had a feeling prior to Meiling's announcement, and she thought she had prepared herself for the worst, but never in her wildest dreams could she imagine Syaoran being beheaded.
Yes, the Taira clan might fall, and many would die, but she always thought Syaoran would live somehow. In the back of her mind, she always forgot the fact that he was human, like everyone else around her, and he would ultimately come to his end someday. She just didn't expect it to be this soon.
Feeling the blood freezing its way through her veins and arteries and right into her heart, it pierced her heart like the sharpest of all daggers. It wasn't the pain of losing a loved one - rather, it was something so indefinite and peculiar that even that bright mind of Sakura's could not offer up an explanation of its existence and its meaning.
Her vision became slightly blurred, and those eye-stinging dusks that formed in the corner of her eyes were no tears wept by her broken heart – they were the tears she wanted to shed, but could not bring herself to shed – they were tears she wanted to shed in place of her son, for the young boy may gain the chance to meet his father.
Akira was born in the midst of the greatest chaos ever brought upon Heian-kyo, and his father, the hero of the people, their only source of hope, was absent in the entirety of his life. Little Akira had heard countless stories of his father's glories and talents, and his only wish was to have a chance to meet his father.
Sakura had told him it would be the end of the wars that his father would return. Patiently he waited, for five years straight, he remained patient, unlike the other children of his age who would probably be throwing a tantrum by now. But he didn't, because he remembered his mother's words, great powers come with great responsibility, you are the son of the greatest hero of this century, thus you might be strong and different from the other children.
His father, the mysterious figure that had been occupying his dreams for all those years – the dreams that brought a smile upon his face were now to be shattered into pieces. Sakura could not bring herself to do such things, she just couldn't.
"Pack some food and the things we will use in the trip, we are going to Nara." Sakura drew out her final decision firmly, but Meiling could only stare at her in disbelief.
"We…we are going to Nara? At this moment?" Meiling asked, her voice unsteady and surprised. She even blinked a few times as if substantiating to herself that she really wasn't imaging things.
"Yes, we are going to Nara, and bring Akira. I will ask permission from the lady of the house to take Akira out and pray in the temples for Syaoran-sama's safe return." Sakura instructed, waving a hand at Meiling to snap her back to reality.
It was the perfect excuse to use, after all, the Ladies were not allowed to leave the compound unless it was to accompany their husband or visiting their own family on rare occasions.
However Sakura could not possibly use that as an excuse, since she was never close with her family and her father will definitely report back to the Taira household that Sakura was never there but used them as an excuse to go somewhere else.
The news of the war were extremely disheartening, and it was only normal for her to go away and pray for her husband along with the son that Syaoran never had the chance to meet.
"Yes, milady." Meiling nodded firmly in return and headed toward the part of the compound that little Akira resided.
Later that night, when their trip halted into a stop near the Nara temple, Sakura and Akira stayed there while Meiling went to deliver a letter from Sakura to the Minamoto army camp located right next to the temples. The silvery moon light accompanied Sakura and Akira as they waited patiently for Meiling's return.
The pale lights, so faint and serene, yet when cast upon the forest beside them, it produced a hauntingly eerie setting, that with its lurid aura alone was enough to scare off the prying people. Akira clutched his wooden sword tightly in his hands and wrapped his small arm around his mother, as if he was a knight protecting a princess.
There were fears evident in his bright, translucent orbs that remembered Sakura of molten amber, but the boy retained a straight and solemn face. Sakura nearly chuckled at the hilarity of such strange combination, a child trying to act all grown up and protective.
A wisp of air ran its invisible fingers across Sakura's cheeks, carrying with it traces of cold bitterness, which caused Sakura to hold Akira closer to herself. It was a risky step she took, gambling with the small facts that she knew of Eriol. If his feelings for her were true, he would do her this favour.
This wasn't the first time Sakura had used his love for her, but it was different this time, no strings attached and no hidden tactics of any sort. She just wanted her son to have a chance to meet his father, perhaps for the very last time.
Meiling returned with Eriol's order which permitted their entrance into the dungeons hidden beneath the temple, where Syaoran was detained. Sakura let out the breath that she had been holding on since Meiling's short-departure, and took Akira's small hand into hers as they strolled toward the temple brooding with melancholy.
They were stopped at the gates by Minamoto guards and the monks that sided with the Minamotos, Sakura flashed open the stroll which contained Eriol's written permission, and they were allowed entrance into the darkened temples at once. A monk was assigned to guide them to the dungeons, and the trio trailing behind, the unpleasant trip was spent in an utterly dreadful silence.
They walked down the interior of an immensely long and rectangular vault or tunnel, with low walls, smooth, dirt-covered, and without interruption or device. The mustiness of the air served well as an indication to convey the idea that this excavation lay at an exceeding depth below the surface of the earth.
No outlet was observed in any portion of its vast extent, and no lanterns, or other artificial source of light was discernible; yet a flood of pale rays rolled throughout, and bathed the whole in a ghastly and inappropriate splendour.
Finally, they stopped at a well fortified room. The monk eyed them cautiously before pulling out a chain of keys from his wrinkled sleeves and unlocked the door in a swift movement, which revealed conflicting traits from the impression given by his weak and aged outer appearance.
"You have half an hour exactly. No more than that. If you don't leave once that time is up, I will lock all of you up." He grumbled bitterly as he held out a hand to gesture Sakura and Akira to go in. But when Meiling tried to get in as well, he shot a hard glance at her and shut the door tightly.
A loud thud was heard, and before Meiling could blink, the door was once again locked up. The monk pressed his back against the metallic door and leaned against it while he kept a watchful eye on Meiling, as if she was poisonous or a monster of some sort, and this mere fact made Meiling twitch.
Inside the chamber of caliginosity, with only a flicker of candle light illuminating the entirety of the room, Sakura's heart pounded rapidly and viciously against her ribcage as the idolized hero of Heian-kyo came into her views. He was still has handsome as ever, but she could see the faint traces of the evidence of time left upon his forehead.
Five years had she not seen him, his eyes were still the color of amber, golden at its depth, the passions remained still, but she could see the lassitude reflected in them. The years left marks on him, perhaps not physically, but emotionally, he was weary of the wars and the endless mind games played between the two opposing armies.
He was not able to be there for the birth of his son, nor was he ever there to watch the little one grow into the young boy he was now. For the first time ever, he felt a great loss in his life. Ambitions, glory, victories meant nothing when he saw the wondrous little boy, whose countenance very much reflected his own, as if he was staring at a mirror image of himself.
"This must be…Shigamori?" Syaoran asked quietly, lifting his eyes inquisitively to seek Sakura's confirmation.
With a small nod, Sakura replied. "Akira, it's his childhood name." She patted her tapered fingers through Akira's chestnut brown hair in a loving manner that Syaoran could never imagine himself seeing.
But then again, five years was enough to change everything in the world, and at the same time, nothing at all.
"I see." Syaoran gazed down at the little boy, who stared back at him in equal intensity.
"Akira, eh?" He echoed again, almost amusingly. "It's a good name, he is indeed the light of hope."
"Do you know who I am?" Syaoran bent down until his vision was in perfect horizontal alignment with Akira's bright eyes. Akira stole a quick glance at his mother, before turning back to Syaoran, as if he was looking for a confirmation that never came but was more manifest than it ever was.
"You're otou-sama!" Akira exclaimed, there were excitements glinting in his eyes and Syaoran found himself dazzled by such brilliancy, it was like looking into the expanse of the universe with its eye-blinding stars glimmering so brightly and fiercely.
Without any further exchange of words, Syaoran threw his arms around the young boy and held him tightly against his chest, his eyes were shadowed by the invasive darkness of the room, but they were undoubtedly filled with a heart-warming fatherly love, unmatched by any other.
That love, so strong and impetous – like the rays of the sun, they were blinding and burning – was saved for none other than this little boy; his son.
"Otou-sama!" Akira cried out again, repetitively until his voice was coarse and broken and mixed with his sobs, but he continued his calling, as if he was trying to make up for the lost years where he could make such a call in his dreams. The joy and sorrow that bottled up in his little heart was released at once.
The word, Otou-sama, echoed endlessly in the small chamber, even though it came out of a small boy, it felt like it could shatter the entire room and it shattered the hearts of his parents. While other aristocratic children had both of their parents, Akira could only imagine his standing by his side.
Surely mother had given him all the love a child could ever ask for, but something was missing in his heart. Akira was always a bit more mature than the other children, and never complained about the fact that his father was never a part of his life.
A hero must always place his country before his own family, he was once told by grandpa Kiyomori, the cold and stoic man who brought the Taira clan to its highest glories and its ultimate fall, and your father is a hero, Shigamori. His grandfather stated, with an expression that Akira could not read, but he remembered those words. His father was a hero, the god of war, and the one that kept the war fronts far away from their home, at the cost of leaving his family behind unattended. Now, Akira was finally in his father's arms, the unique scent of his father lingered in the air and Akira buried his face into the wrinkled robe. He allowed himself to cry, for the first time since he turned three, and possibly the last time.
Syaoran embraced Akira as if he was the most valuable treasure the world could offer, until he felt the little boy drifting into a deep slumber. It had been a long tiring day, both physically and emotionally, and Syaoran was surprised that a four year-old boy could even endure all that in a day.
There were tear stains on that innocent face, but a small smile of satisfaction tugged on the boy's lips as he snuggled closer to the warmth emitted by his father. Syaoran ran his fingers down the delicate features that bore much resemblance to him, and used the tip of his finger to trace out the contours of his son's countenance, as if he was trying to remember the boy forever.
"Taira clan has lost," Syaoran suddenly started, without looking up at Sakura.
"It's only a matter of time before Heian-kyo is under Minamoto's supervision. Yukito died with honour in the last battle with the Minamotos, along with all the Taira soldiers." He narrated the events in a calm and steady tone, as if he was never a part of it.
"When the Minamoto clan take over Heian-kyo, the first family to be hanged would be the Taira clan. They would spare none that opposed them, I'm sure you're quite aware of that."
"What about you?" Sakura whispered, though she already knew his decision before she even arrived at Nara, which was why she brought Akira along with her. But still, a part of her was still hopeful that things might turn out differently.
"I must carry out the family honour. A true samurai would rather die than surrendering to the enemy." Syaoran smiled faintly at her, and she felt her blood run cold. It was expected, and she thought she was fully prepared for it until she heard the words from him. Death. He would die, and must die, it was his destiny, because he was Taira no Syaoran.
"I know." Sakura swallowed hard, and shifted her eyes away from him so she could recollect her calm composure again.
"You should leave, and Eriol can help you with that." Syaoran suggested, his voice trembled slightly with feelings that he was never able to show before.
"You're not Sakuno, this fate was never meant for you." As soon as the statement escaped from his lips, Sakura widened her eyes in shock. How could he possibly know her true identity? Her nails dug into the flesh of her palm as her hands trembled, revealing much of the state of franticness her body was in.
Quavering, she glared at him as calmly as she could, but too much of her emotions had been betrayed by her body language and her eyes. "When did you find out about it?"
"After you've gained a position as a military doctor." Syaoran answered quietly.
"Yukito informed me about it. At first I didn't believe in him, but he brought me over to the dead body his men had discovered in the river, and the drowned woman bore much resemblance to you. Yukito found a jade necklace hidden beneath the layers of kimono collar, and it had Kinomoto Sakuno carved on it. Most wealthy families keep something like this to identify themselves, and the Kinomoto family was one of them."
Sakura laughed almost humourlessly, before gazing into his eyes with solemnity. "I thought I had to carry the secret to my grave." She quipped. "If you knew, why didn't you report me?"
"Because your name holds no importance, I know who you are, and that's all." Syaoran replied, amber and emerald were locked in a familiar intensive gaze – the gaze that brought them together.
He remembered the warm smile that welcomed him into the search of Eriol, and the light-hearted laughter and words of faint amusement "it's a small world, isn't it?" But rather than the entirely foreign looks on their faces, they were able to reach a silent understanding of each other.
Though everything was the same as before, some things had changed, and permanently.
The supposed twenty minutes turned into hours, and the old monk never intruded upon the serene atmosphere inside the small chamber. It wasn't because he was a kind man at heart, but rather, Eriol came and ordered the monk to return to his previous task while he waited by the door with Meiling.
The cross-dressed young woman scrutinized him with her scarlet eyes that reminded him of the finest rubies in the world. As time elapsed, when Eriol thought she would stay silent for the entire night, she surprised him with her question, as in the most phlegmatic yet perplexed tone.
"Why are you helping out your enemies?"
"I am simply returning a favour." He replied as memories of their first encounter flooded his mind. If only time could freeze in that single frame of moment, perhaps happiness would finally last forever.
The next day, Syaoran was beheaded.
Sakura, Akira and Meiling returned to the Taira household as hastily as they could, a part of Sakura believed that if she didn't witness his death, that fact would not be registered in her mind. Though childish as it was, and the old Kinomoto Sakura would probably deride at such thoughts.
But things were different now, she told herself. Akira was too distracted by the memories of last night – the memories of his father – to notice the troubled look on Sakura's face during their trip back to the Taira household, but Meiling was able to catch it.
By the time they returned to Heian-kyo, it was already dusk, and only to find the Taira household covered with an oppressive solemnity as they mourned the death of Syaoran. Black was the dominating color, and against the darkened gloomy sky, they blended so perfectly together.
It appeared that the news had arrived before they did. The entirely family was in the state of mourning, for the death of the most brilliant man in the Taira family, and the fall of a great hero. Akira was slightly perplexed, but the setting wasn't something he hadn't seen before.
With the wars and the chaos, the scent of death was rather familiar to Heian-kyo. But he wasn't sure whom was the sky mourning for, and his mother didn't seem to be in the mood to explain it all to him.
Once they made it to their part of the compound, Sakura was greeted with a solemn Miyuki who was wearing the black funeral kimono that belonged to Sakura.
"Take Akira to the garden." Sakura instructed, and Meiling nodded in reply, understanding Sakura's desire of protecting the last bit of innocence and purity in this tainted world.
"Miyuki," Sakura began, her eyebrows slightly furrowed, revealing her puzzlement at the other's sudden appearance in her kimono. Disguise wasn't needed this time because she was given the permission to leave the household, and Miyuki rarely did anything without her instructions.
A strange feeling lingered in her heart but she just couldn't identify it.
"Miss Sakura," Miyuki murmured, dipping her chin slightly as a gesture of politeness. It was something she hadn't done for almost six years. Before Sakura could deepen the frown and correct her, Miyuki grabbed her hands in a movement all too abrupt and surprising for Sakura to react.
"Syaoran-sama passed away, Heian-kyo is going to be occupied, the Taira clan has fallen!" The words spewed out of her mouth in a moment of overwhelming anxiety.
"Miss Sakura, I've never seen you smile like you did when Akira-sama was born. He was the miracle that you've been waiting for all those years." The sudden turn of conversation puzzled Sakura even further, and the eerie feeling in her heart grew stronger.
But before she could question Miyuki's strange behaviour, she was again cut off by the other. "Take Akira-sama away and live for yourself once, away from the chaos, the power struggle, and the ambitions that overwhelmed your heart…"
There were tears streaming down Miyuki's face as she murmured with her trembling lips. Suddenly, Sakura was pushed backwards, with a force so strong that she couldn't believe it came from the frail body of Miyuki.
Her back crushed against the hard stone-laden ground as she gawked at Miyuki in disbelief, and there, she saw something shimmering on the wooden floor of their compound.
"This is the only way you can be Miss Sakura again…" Miyuki cried with a rueful smile on her lips, and suddenly, she smashed the lantern placed on the nearby desk onto the floor. Immediately, the fire spread through the rooms like a furious snake, and before Sakura could get up on her feet again, the flames devoured the entire compound.
Everything happened in a moment too quickly to be recognized. It was only then she realized that the quite, delicate Miyuki could have so much courage in her heart. Miyuki was right, the only way for Sakura to gain back her own identity and escape the possible massacre of the Taira family was to fake her death.
Sakura had contemplated on the matters on their way back, but she never imagined it to be this way. Holding back the tears that were threatening to spill out of her eyes, Sakura bit her lower lip and swallowed hard. Miyuki sacrificed herself so she could run away, and it was so well-prepared that everything fitted in perfectly.
The others would think that Lady Sakuno killed herself and her son in the fire because she couldn't handle the news of her husband's death, right after she had just gone praying for him with her son. After all, the outside world perceived her as a weak and gravely-ill woman who would break with the slightest impact.
Time was the best remedy when it needed to be. The years dragged themselves along heavily, with the disastrous fall of the Taira family, an era came to an end. The Minamoto successfully succeeded the throne and reigned over in place of the Emperor that was just a puppet of display.
Majority of the power now lied in the Minamoto Clan's hand, and Heian-kyo was embraced by a second era of its existence. The story of the Taira household was passed on; its name forever left behind in the pages of recorded history. In place of Syaoran's name, not that much was written besides a few lines that described his victories and his talents.
But she knew the stories extended behind those lines, and the honourable and brave man he was. Many have said that he was a tragic hero, and blamed the time period of his existence that if he was born in another time, perhaps he could accomplish many great things. Sakura never quite agreed with that theory.
Tragic hero was never the word to describe him. He was the sun, and the sun could never be perceived as tragic. Regardless of how the world changed and evolved, the sun would remain the same, shining so ever brightly in the sky – bathing the world in its glory.
They moved to a small village in China after Miyuki's death, and lived there ever since then. Meiling never got married, and remained as a part of their family. Akira was shocked to find out the true identity of Meiling at first, but after seeing Meiling changing forms countless times a day, he was finally able to adjust to the double identities she carried.
When Akira reached the age of fifteen, Sakura sent him out with the villagers to travel overseas and see the grandeur of the world that she never got a chance to see. He was only able to return once in two years but Sakura was quite happy for him. Sakura couldn't help but notice how closely he resembled Syaoran, both his countenance and his personality.
Occasionally Meiling would ask her about Syaoran, when a long working day was spent in the field of barleys, and she would reply with a faint smile. She had missed him, on occasions, but it wasn't a dreadful longing of any sort. After all, the time she had spent with him was short, compared to how long she had lived.
But those memories held more values than any other memories her mind could ever bare. When Meiling asked her whether she had loved that man, she found herself unable to answer it. On those days, she would busy herself with work and leave the answering of that sensitive question for another time.
Sakura stood on the top of the hills, suffering the wind whipping her long sleeves around her, tossing her hair about restlessly. Her delicate profile, together with the thin wrist and slender hand that pushed against her disobedient hair patiently, looked like something out of a water-color painting.
All these were completed with a smile, one that was both faint and alluring. There were lines of wisdom in the corner of her eyes when she smiled, but those large placid orbs remained the same even against the effects of time. It was that time of the year again, when her son would return to her with his newly gained knowledge.
There, she saw a tall and lean figure making his way up the hills. A final, quick trek up the gentle slope brought Akira to the top, which overlooked a field full of flowers in all shades of warm colors.
The wind that was blowing against him brought the fragrance of those flowers along, something that smelled sweet and gentle, lightly closing the distance between him and Sakura. He turned to gaze at his mother, who had her eyes closed against the breeze, still smiling faintly.
"Okaa-sama!" He called out, picking up his paces and he saw her eyes opening with a slight bewilderment, which disappeared as quickly as it had surfaced, but Akira managed to catch an almost inaudible whisper. Syaoran…was what his mother said. It was the name of his father.
"Okaa-sama?" Akira tried again, but only to feel a familiar warm hand resting on his arm.
"Let's go home." She said, as they ambled over to the small house resting on top of an isolated hill not so distant from where they were. Akira nodded in response and held onto his mother's soft yet slightly wrinkled hand. The years of working in the field had created callus on her tapered fingers, he realized.
With brilliancy almost startling, every ray of the holy light fell upon them, stretching out long lines of their shadows as they meandered down the crooked roads, toward the destination of their house. What Sakura saw remained as a secret, lingering in the depth of her heart, because at that very moment, she arrived at the confirmation that she had been searching for all those years.
Akira was at the exact same age as Syaoran when she first met him – the same countenance, the same fierceness – it was all too familiar to her, tugging at her heart so relentlessly.
When emerald met amber…
- It is a small world.
- Indeed it is.
She loved him. It took her many years to convince herself of it – many years after his death and the fall of the aristocratic Taira clan.
Some things in life are ephemeral as they were eternal. The memories of him might have been ephemeral, but her love for him, would remain until the end of time.
I know the usual story is like, the two characters fall in love somewhere in the middle of the story, or at the end, and we get a super happy ending. But, I wanted to try something different and made Sakura fall in love with Syaoran, or realize she was in love with him until so many years later, when her son grown up to the age she had remembered him of, and then realization struck her. Syaoran fell in love with her in chapter…I don't remember, but when he decided to go into war than giving her away to Eriol. Initially, he just wanted to confirm his own suspicion of falling in love with her by not telling her that he sent out a blank piece of paper as the so-called treaty. The moment she was taken away, that suspicion of his was confirmed. So that's that…
Meiling loved Sakura in the GL way, yes, yes, Meiling loves Sakura and not Syaoran. People are used to the old routine where Meiling is jealous of Sakura and wants Syaoran for herself, but in this story, I've decided to incorporate my favourite BL/GL stuff, and I'm sorry if you didn't like it, but that's the way I do things and the way CLAMP likes to do things.
Eriol realized that to love someone to let that person go, which is why Sakura and Meiling and Akira were able to get out of the country so easily, though they didn't know about it. But if you think about it, it would be kinda obvious. Soooo, Eriol loves Sakura.
Tomoyo loved Syaoran, more than just the sisterly love, but she knew Syaoran only loved her as a big sister, he just didn't realize that, which was why she married his brother instead of him. It is evident from last chapter, the talk between her and Sakura.
Atsumori had to die because history wanted him dead.
Syaoran had to die because history wanted him dead (I just copied and pasted the previous sentence, buwahahaha).
Miyuki had to die because she was a tragic character to begin with, and I usually like to kill off my tragic characters.
Everyone else in the Taira clan had to die because history would kill me if I didn't kill them off.
Soooooo, I just wanted to say that, this is indeed a happy ending because Akira survived, Sakura was able to live as herself again, and Meiling was able to return to her motherland.