Fear of the Dark

The Truth About Sora

Smiling, the young queen raised her glass of red wine. "So Rena survived." She said.

"It appears that way." Leon answered.

"And Fern is dead?" She questioned. She sounded a little angry, as she had hoped that she could use Prince Fern to get to Sakura later on.

"Yes, he is." Leon said dully. He didn't particularly care much for Fern-in fact, he hated him.

"Who killed him? I want to know." She demanded.

"I'm still working on that."

"Good. As soon as you find out, I want you to report straight to me." She ordered.

He smiled. "Of course, mistress."

It was late that night by the time Sakura finally managed to fall asleep; she'd told Syaoran to go to bed despite his offers to stay with her. She didn't want to keep him awake, not after he'd been awake until late for so many nights. He did so upon her wishes, leaving her room and heading for his own. However sleep wasn't so peaceful for Sakura that night; nightmares disturbed her sleep and she often tossed and turned. Her lack of peaceful sleep resulted in her sleeping in until noon the next day. She woke to the scratching of a fountain pen on paper; she looked over and spotted Syaoran sitting beside her, but he wasn't the one writing. Syaoran was watching someone across from him, and she turned her head and saw Yuui; he was writing something down, but she didn't know what it was exactly.

"Someone's finally decided to wake up," the blonde murmured, "Perhaps she'd like to eat something."

Sakura looked back over to Syaoran who now had his attention fixed on her. His eyes were full of concern. "What's wrong?" Sakura asked.

"You missed breakfast; I was worried." He said.

"Oh…what time is it?" She asked.

"It's past noon." Yuui replied.

"Sorry…" Sakura mumbled.

Syaoran smiled, "I guess you didn't sleep too well. It's ok."

Sakura smiled back.

"I've got to go file this; I'll see you two later. Make sure she eats something-and take her outside for a while." The blonde said as he left the room.

"Thank you." Syaoran said.

He disappeared completely around the corner as the door closed, and Syaoran stood and walked over to Sakura's wardrobe. She watched as he pulled a dress out for her, and then walked back towards her. She sat up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed; she began to undress herself and laid her sleeping garments to one side, and then pulled on the simple, soft silky white gown. Syaoran placed the shawl around her shoulders and she smiled at him.

He ensured she ate something for breakfast and they walked out into the gardens where they sat by the lake; the surface of the water was covered with lotuses, and around the edge grew small white wildflowers.

"I had a dream a few weeks ago," Syaoran began, "in my dream there were two children-a boy and a girl… They were so small, so happy as they ran around the garden, chasing each other." Syaoran said.

"Did something happen?" Sakura asked softly.

"No, but there was the fear that something would. Fear I can't quite grasp, perhaps because it's a fear I've never felt before…fear of losing my own child." He smiled sadly.

"How old were they…?" Sakura asked.

"I don't think they were much older than three or four; the boy may have been a little older." He shrugged.

Sakura looked out over the water, lost in thought. She wondered if he'd had a dream of the future, if the kids he was talking about were theirs. After a few moments of silence, she spoke again, "How does the dream end?" she asked.

He stayed silent for a moment, and just as he was about to answer he heard someone call for him. He sighed, "Duty calls…" he muttered.

She looked down at her knees, "You better go." She said.

"I'm sorry," He said apologetically, and kissed her softly before standing up to leave.

"Prince Syaoran!"

"I'm coming!" he called back. He found Chii looking for him further up in the gardens. "What? What's happened?" He demanded.

"You have a visitor…" Chii said uncomfortably.


"It's Lady Abigail." Chii answered.

"Go get Sakura and bring her to the study. I want her with me where she's safe and unharmed-understand?" Syaoran ordered. He wasn't taking any risks-not with what had happened to Rena only recently.

Chii nodded and headed off into the gardens to get Sakura while he headed straight for the study. What did this woman want? He walked quickly through the large halls of the castle and made his way to the study; he entered and found a young woman his age sitting in wait. She had copper brown hair that had been curled and pinned to the side over her shoulder, and her eyes were the palest blue. She wore a gown of deep autumn red, while her wrists were decorated with gold bangles and around her neck was a gold pendant with a garnet in the centre. Jewelled earrings hung from her ears, and many would clearly be able to say that she was quite attractive.

Just as he sat down Sakura walked through the door, looking rather unsettled, and he smiled and offered her a seat next to him.

"Your highness; if I may?" Lady Abigail spoke in her sweet voice.

"What is it?" Syaoran asked.

"I was hoping we could speak privately…" she smiled.

Sakura stopped in her tracks, and looked at Syaoran.

"I'm sure my fiancée has a right to be here as well." He said with a polite smile. Sakura felt relief and she sat down beside him. The woman named Abigail didn't look all that pleased, with her lips pursed in a straight line.

"Well, I suppose it does concern her in a way." She said.

Syaoran felt anger rise within him, knowing what this woman was about to ask. "What, exactly, do you want?" he asked through gritted teeth.

"I want you." She smiled.

Sakura couldn't breathe. Had she just heard correctly? She wanted him?

"Exactly what do you mean by that?" Syaoran asked, able to sense Sakura's rising distress.

"I want you to break off your engagement with that girl, and make me your fiancée." She said softly, her smile smug.

"'That girl' happens to be Princess Sakura of Ainz. Mind your tongue." He said warningly. Who did this woman think she was, walking in and asking-no, it was almost more of a demand-demanding him to break off his engagement with the girl he loved?

"A princess who's been missing for a year?" Abigail questioned.

"You have no need to know of her whereabouts within the last eighteen months." He growled.

"But wouldn't it be better if you married someone who presented themselves as just as strong as you?" she smiled sweetly.

Sakura looked at her hands. It was true she lacked confidence, and she was no longer good with crowds anymore. Perhaps she would be better suited for him…

Syaoran leant in close to the table. "And that's what you are?" he snarled.

"I believe so, yes." Abigail continued to smile.

He stood from his chair, holding her gaze. "Get. Out." He hissed, voice full of anger.

Abigail stood and left, her footsteps echoing her own anger. Syaoran sat back down and sighed, "I'm sorry Sakura," He apologised, "I should have seen something like this coming."

She placed her hand over his, "Don't blame yourself; it's ok." She smiled.

He released a sigh of relief and entwined his fingers with hers. He couldn't help but feel furious with this woman, who felt she could come unannounced and say such things about Sakura. Sakura, who could fall at any demeaning word said about her. That didn't mean she wasn't strong; for her to be able to smile, was probably a miracle.

"Sakura, you know you're a strong girl, right?" He asked.

Her eyes widened in surprise. "…What…?" she whispered.

"You can still smile and laugh, despite what you've been through. You're healing." He said.

It took a moment for what he had said to sink in, and Sakura smiled, "Thank you."

News reached Syaoron about Lady Abigail, and he had similar thoughts to his brother about what this woman had to say. Rena was furious, unable to contain her rage. Sakura tried to calm her, but there was no point; all Rena wanted to do was give Abigail a piece of her mind. The only one who could stop Rena was her fiancé, and he wasn't particularly kind about it either.

"I get it! You're pissed off and so am I, but remember who's copping the worst of it here," he pointed to Sakura and Syaoran, "They are! And yet they are still able to contain their emotions, unlike you. So for your sister's sake, calm down and stay that way!"

"Get out…" she growled.

Sakura sighed and left with Syaoran, but Syaoron stayed. He stood beside the bed where she lay, and watched as she buried her face in the pillows and screamed, releasing her rage. When she was done, she didn't feel like doing anything.

"Are you done?" he asked.

"What do you care?" She muttered.

"…I'll let you calm down…" He said, the hurt clearly showing through his voice. Before she could say sorry, he was already out of the door.

Syaoran looked up as his brother walked out and sighed. "Was that really the way to handle it?" Syaoran asked.

"Possibly not, but it will give her something to think about." He said, leaning against the wall.

"Think about what?" Sakura asked, confused.

Syaoran looked to her and answered her question. "You."

"She's only acting this way because she wants me to be safe…"

"That's only part of it; because of what she's been through, it's changed her just like it has you. I'm sure you can relate." Syaoron said quietly.

It was true. Sakura was once a confident young girl, always smiling and full of warmth and love for everyone. She was shattered, broken from that life when she was taken. She was completely changed after that; she couldn't trust. She had trouble loving. She had trouble smiling. She couldn't open up to anyone.

"What are you saying…?" Sakura asked, afraid of the answer she would receive.

Syaoran looked at her sadly, "Sakura…she's become unstable." He said softly.

Sakura couldn't breathe. Was this her fault? Syaoran looked to his brother before leading Sakura away, and watched as he removed the eye patch covering his blue eye.

"Sakura, it's not your fault." He said softly as they walked together.

Sakura didn't say anything. She stayed silent, looking to her feet.

"Rena will be alright; she's got support here, and most of all someone who's been through something similar. He can help her."

Sakura looked up at him, "Your brother has been through something like this?" She asked.

"Yes…it was after my sister was murdered." He said softly, a sad look entering his eyes.

"I'm sorry…" she said softly.

"We witnessed it first hand. It was quite horrific, how she died. My brother tried to stop it, and as a warning he was dealt a wound to the back shoulder. He couldn't handle himself well after that, sometimes he still has his moments." He said quietly.

"…What about you…?" she whispered.

He smiled sadly. "It's hard, without Sora, but I know that she wouldn't want us to go on suffering for the rest of our lives. Sometimes I wish she were still here, but that's only natural I guess…"

She squeezed his hand comfortingly, and he smiled at her. He decided he should tell her about what happened to him after his sister died.

"After she died, I decided I didn't have much time for grieving, and threw myself into work. I made sure my brother, whom was clearly unwell at the time, was cared for, and I visited often. Things got better for him, but they were never the same. I on the other hand…the stress became far too great for me to handle, and over time I fell ill." He said.

Sakura looked at him with a worried expression, and he looked out the window. "Unfortunately, at times I still fall vulnerable to the illness," he said, "My brother and I both. My brother less often than I, however."

She hugged him and he held her close. She didn't know all the details of their sisters' murder, but it was enough to tell her that it had caused the both of them far too much trouble in their lives. She did know that she wouldn't leave his side, no matter what. That was her decision.

Syaoron looked at the floor in front of him. Rena's words had cut deeply, and he feared that she would lose herself. This exact fear was what caused him to go back into his room to confront her, only to find her face stained with tears. She'd lost the will to get up and move, not that she could with her injured back, but he could tell. He sat down on the edge of the bed, and placed his hand over hers.

"I'm losing everyone I love…" she whispered.

"No you're not." He said softly.

"I don't know what's happening to me. I'm scared." She cried.

"I know." He said.

"I feel like I'm losing touch with reality…"

"…I know."

Rena shook with tears and he lay beside her, calming her and comforting her. She fell asleep beside him, and he stayed with her.

Hours later Rena woke to two people talking; she identified the two of them, one her fiancé and the other was Yuui. Syaoron released a cry of pain, and Yuui sighed. "You've got to stop doing this to yourself." Yuui said.

The prince coughed violently; Rena knew that cough. It was the cough of someone who was really unwell, and had been for a long time.

"He's right; everyone will start to worry again." A third voice, Syaoran's voice, spoke.

"I'll be fine…" Syaoron murmured.

"There's only so much magic can do; if you keep this up, you will die." Yuui snapped.

Syaoron stayed quiet.

"Please, don't harm yourself anymore. It kills to watch." Syaoran said, standing up and walking over to the door.

Rena wondered what was happening. No one seemed to notice her in the room. Was this a dream? Syaoran left the room and left Yuui with him.

"You've got to make a choice; live or die. And I'm sure Sora would never want to see you like this." The blonde said harshly.

"Yeah well Sora's dead! She can't say anything, can she!?" He shouted.

"Sora is gone, and your brother and even I have accepted that. Syaoran's far more unwell than you are, but he still hides it from everyone and acts as if he's fine. Life fucking hurts and is never fair, and never will be. It's time to pull yourself together and make your decision." Yuui said, and then left the room.

He raged and screamed, releasing the anger he felt until he eventually collapsed on his bed. She reached out to touch him, but a voice stopped her.

"Your warmth won't reach him here."

She looked up to see Syaoran standing across from her; only he looked different from when she saw him a few moments ago. This was the Syaoran she knew of the present.

"What is this?" Rena asked.

"It's a memory-his memory." He said.

"I don't understand; I'm not a dreamseer unlike Sakura." She said.

"I'm showing this to you." He answered.

She looked away, "But why…?" she whispered.

"My brother may come across as heartless," he said as he walked over to his brother's bedside, "but that's not it. He's experienced the very emotions and feelings that you're going through now. That's why he can understand you perfectly."

Rena began to understand the toll their sister's death took on him, both physiologically and psychologically, and she felt tears fall from her eyes. She'd said something so hurtful to him, without even understanding the full extent of what he'd been through.

"Just keep in mind that there are people here who care for you, especially my brother and most of all, Sakura." Syaoran said softly. With that said, he disappeared from the dream and she woke up.

Syaoron was asleep beside her, his deep breathing even and undisturbed. She reached her hand out to gently touch his cheek; she stroked his cheek softly, careful not to wake him. A tear leaked out from beneath his eyelids and she wiped it away. She lay beside him for a long time, ignoring the pain she felt in her back, the pain in her heart. When he finally woke she smiled.

"How are you feeling after calming down?" he asked. "Rational?"

She rolled her eyes, "Better. You can stop being an ass."

"Alright," he said, "How's your back?"

"It's…sore…" she replied.

He propped himself up on his elbow and inspected her wound; it felt strange with him poking at it, but she allowed him to continue.

"It shouldn't get infected. With enough time and rest you should heal fine." He said, and kissed her bare shoulder.

She smiled and hugged him, and he carefully wrapped his arms around her frame. Her smile fell as she remembered that she had said earlier, and she felt the heavy weight of guilt. "I'm sorry about what I said earlier today…you were only trying to help me and I said something rude, maybe harmful…" she whispered.

He smiled and brushed her hair out of her eyes. "I've told you before; I'll know when you mean what you say."

"But it still hurt, didn't it?" she asked quietly.

He sighed, "Yeah, a little." He said softly. "But I'm not going to hold a grudge. Don't beat yourself up over it; do that as a favour for me." He said.

Rena said nothing and he kissed her softly; he parted from her and looked into her eyes. "For me." He repeated.

Her lip trembled and tears crawled down her face; he held her, hushing her sobs, and comforted her. She knew he wouldn't leave her, not matter what obscenities she threw at him, and she knew this because he had been in the same state once before. She was grateful to him, grateful that he would put up with her despite her tongue, and grateful that he loved her.

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