Fear of the Dark

Warning

Sakura's sleep was a little easier despite when she woke from nightmares in the middle of the night; Syaoran was there to comfort her, a presence she found she often needed, and knowing she was in his room helped put her mind at ease. She knew he was with her, and the pillows and sheets helped keep her at ease even if he wasn't with her.In the morning she woke with a violent start, sitting bolt upright as an urgent knock woke the two of them. Syaoran calmed her down and pulled on a pair of pants before answering the door. Standing in wait for him were Fai, Yuui and Kurogane.

Syaoran groaned, "It's early-what's going on?"

Knowing that the prince wasn't a morning person, Fai decided it was best to cut to the chase. "I'm sorry for the urgency, but there's a council meeting-now."

Confusion entered Syaoran's eyes, along with alarm. "What's happened?" He asked much more seriously.

"We'll tell you and your brother that in the meeting." Yuui replied.

Syaoran groaned. "Fine, I'll be there in five." He said, and shut his door.

Sakura was sitting up, holding the sheet to her chest and looking to Syaoran with a look of worry. "What's wrong…?" she asked.

He smiled and sat on the edge of her side of the bed. "An urgent council meeting has been called; hopefully it won't be too long, so try to go back to sleep, ok?"

"Ok…" Sakura said, looking to her hands.

He kissed her forehead and then stood, dressing himself properly and then left his room. Sakura lay back down and tried to fall back to sleep, still tired and worried about what awaited her out in the world.


Syaoran looked up from the table as his brother wandered in with a bed sheet wrapped around his shoulders, too lazy to pull on a shirt. He yawned as he sat down, crossed his legs and made himself comfortable.

"So what warrants such an early meeting?" Syaoron muttered.

"This," Fai said, handing them a piece of parchment.

Syaoran read it and alarm coursed through his veins.

Hand over the girls or this time will be worse than the last.

It was unsigned. His brother read it and groaned. "What? Do you want us to hand them over?" He asked.

"It's more of a what do we do if we don't. It's a threat, and I'm fairly sure it's referring to Sora from the words 'this time will be worse than the last'." Fai said.

"Ensure the guard is tightened. I want the girls safe." Syaoran ordered.

"But-"

"DO IT!" He shouted.

The room fell silent and all that could be heard were Fai's footsteps as he quickly left.

"Is this the right decision?" Yuui asked.

"Oh I'm sure you'd be much happier if we handed you straight back to the authorities in your country, wouldn't you?" Syaoron rolled his eyes.

Yuui looked away.

"Those girls have been through hell. We said they could live here. If I dared to turn my back on Sakura I'd have to kill myself afterwards." Syaoran said. "I've helped each of you out by allowing you to stay. You call this place your home; what gives you the right to turn Sakura and Rena away?" He snarled.

They looked away in shame, and the entire room stayed silent for a few moments. No one except his brother had ever seen Syaoran so angry before.

"So how do we go about approaching this delicate situation?" One of the others-Jose-asked.

"For now I want to see the girls guarded at all times. Only myself of my brother will relieve those guards of their duty at any point, whether it's just for a few hours. I want to see what happens from there." Syaoran ordered.

"Very well."


When the meeting finally ended a good two hours later, Syaoran headed straight for his room to see if Sakura was still there or if she'd left. He opened his door and found Sakura still sleeping; he walked over and sat on the edge of the bed, noticing her unease in her sleep. He stroked her cheek softly, and her eyes opened.

"Sorry, did I wake you?" He asked.

"No, it's ok…will you stay with me?" She asked.

He smiled and lay down beside her beneath the sheets, pulling her closer. "Have you been able to get back to sleep at all?" He asked.

She shook her head, "Not really," she replied quietly, "The nightmares keep coming."

He sighed, "Close your eyes; I'll stay with you."

She settled against him and once again closed her eyes. He wasn't sure which one of them fell asleep first; him or Sakura.


Sakura dreamt of a young child, a little boy around the age of three with deep emerald green eyes and deep brown hair. His soft childish face held a bright smile as he looked up from his drawing in the dirt.

"Dad!"

Someone walked into the scene from behind her, a person she knew and loved well. A tear crept down her cheek at the site of the possible future awaiting her. His father said something to him, and picked him up in his arms. They headed away and they disappeared like wisps of smoke. She wondered if she was crying in the physical world too.


Rena woke with a loud thud. She groaned in pain and lifted herself onto her knees and back up onto the bed which she'd fallen out of.

"Have a nice fall?" Syaoron asked.

"Oh great, I see you're here to mock me." She muttered.

"Well actually no; I came to see how you were feeling." He said with a more serious tone.

"Oh, sorry." She murmured, sitting up in her bed. "I suppose I'm feeling ok; I don't really know these days." She mumbled.

"How's your back?" he asked softly.

"It's kind of stiff; probably from all of that lying around in bed lately." She shrugged.

Syaoron looked at his hands which were folded in his lap, he looked back up to her after a brief second, and she smiled. "What's on your mind?"

"Nothing really," He replied, "I'm just tired."

"Couldn't you sleep?" She asked.

"An urgent council meeting was called early this morning." He replied.

"Is everything ok?" She asked worriedly.

He smiled, "The only thing you need to worry about is when you're getting up to have breakfast." He said, leaning in to kiss her. He kissed her fiercely, slipping his hand into her robe and cupping her breast. He used his other hand to untie her sash and loosen her robe from her body. It fell down around her figure and onto the bed, and he pushed her down into the sheets. They kissed often and he made sure she was comfortable before proceeding.


Sakura sat in her studio after eating breakfast and started more work on her painting of the skull. It had purple roses and irises coming out of its eyes, and the background was black. She continued adding more detail to the flowers, such as tone and texture. She'd been painting for about two hours before Syaoran knocked on the door to see how she was going. She looked up and noticed his attire, "You're going out again?" she asked.

"Emily, the girl that had gone missing was found last night. Would you like to come?" He asked.

"You're going to go see them?" She asked.

"Yes; I want to see how they are." He replied.

Sakura nodded, "Alright, I'll go get ready." She said softly.

Syaoran waited for Sakura to get ready and they headed out together just like the day before. "What if I get attacked again…?" Sakura asked softly.

"You have guards accompanying you today; it's unlikely they'll try something again." Syaoran said comfortingly.

"Really…?"

"I'm sure," He smiled.

"Thank you…" She sighed with relief.

They reached their destination, and accompanied with two guards they headed for the family's house. Syaoran turned to the two guards who were sticking close to Sakura's side, "Could you please wait outside?" He asked politely.

They nodded, and stood to the side while Syaoran waited for the family to answer. The mother answered again, and surprise registered on her face. "You're highness-I wasn't expecting you." She greeted, feeling flustered.

"I heard your daughter has been found; how is everything going?" he asked.

"Oh-please, come in." she stepped to the side and allowed them through the door.

Emily was playing on the floor with some dolls, and her father was sitting with her.

"She's doing ok; the doctor came around this morning to see her this morning, and he said he'll come see how she's going once every week." Clarice said.

"That's good. How are you and your husband?"

She smiled, "Relieved, now that she's safe in our arms."

Emily came running over and Clarice smiled. She picked her daughter up and the young red head looked over at Sakura and Syaoran. "Hi Emily," Syaoran greeted.

"Hello." She replied shyly.

"How are you doing?" He asked her.

She shrugged her shoulders. Sakura smiled a little, remembering her dream.

"Again, if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask." Syaoran told Clarice.

"Thank you," She said, "We appreciate it."

They spoke for a little bit and then the royal couple left. The two headed home safely, and Sakura felt relieved that Emily had been found and was safe in the arms of her parents.


Rena lay on her stomach while Syaoron massaged her back; she felt relaxed, more relaxed than she had been in a long time. "Does that feel sore?" he asked as he pressed down between her shoulder blades.

"A little," She said.

He rubbed the tension out of her shoulders, and she smiled. "No one has ever done something like this for me before." She said.

"Back when my sister had just passed away, I used to have this done for me; it helped me to relax, I suppose." He said softly.

"Who did your back?" she asked curiously.

"Usually someone from the medical team. What? Are you feeling jealousy?" He teased.

"Shut up," she muttered.

He laughed and leant in close, "But that's no fun," he murmured in her ear, and then pulled away to continue with her back.

"I heard you would like to go into the city at some point." He said.

"Did Chii tell you that?" She asked.

"Yes," he replied, "I've nothing against it, I'm just a little worried is all."

"What about?"

"Your safety," he said, "There's someone after you and your sister. Someone might try to harm you if we went out."

She smiled, "I trust you and the guards to keep me safe. I'm sure I'll be fine." She said softly.

He thought for a moment. "Alright…but what would you want to do?" he asked.

"Are there any nice places?" She asked.

"A few, I guess. Usually inhabited by children playing." He said.

"Then that should be fine," she said, "I just want to see what the city is like, really."

"Ok," he said, "Just don't do anything stupid."

"What's that mean!?"

"You know what I mean." He said, pulling his shirt on. "You should get dressed, before someone finds you in bed naked."

"And I blame you for that." She muttered as he left her room.


Early afternoon of the Wednesday of the next week was when Sakura and Rena were fitted for their dresses; Rena sat on her sister's bed in her undergarments-a corset and light weighted skirt-swinging her legs and humming an old tune their mother used to sing while she watched Sakura being dressed. Parts of the dress, such as the sleeves, hung loosely on Sakura's body as they hadn't been tied into place yet.

"Sakura, what are you working on at the moment?" Rena asked randomly.

"Um…I just started on a doll." She replied as their tailor tightened up the dress at the back by pulling in the ribbon, tightening the dress to her figure.

"Ooh, what kind?" Rena asked.

"Porcelain," she said.

"Can I see it?" she asked her sister.

"If you want; I've only just started it, so I haven't had time to assemble the pieces." Sakura said.

"That's fine," Rena smiled.

There was a knock at Sakura's door and she looked to her sister who shrugged, "Go ahead," She said.

"Come in," Sakura called out.

The door opened and Syaoran stepped through. He ignored the immature Rena who was rolling around on the bed, and focused his attention on Sakura. Noticing she was in the middle of a dress fitting, he turned to Anna-Maria.

"Sorry to be rude, but how long do you think you will be?" he asked.

"Maybe about half an hour with the two girls? It shouldn't be too much longer." She smiled.

"That's fine then," He smiled back, and then turned his attention to Sakura.

"What's wrong?" She asked.

"It's nothing really, but could I see you in the study when you're done?" he asked.

"Alright; is everything ok?" She asked, worried.

"Everything is fine," he smiled, "I'll see you shortly."

Before Sakura could say anything more, he left and shut the door. Rena looked at her from the bed. "Why do you look so worried?" She asked.

"I've never been asked to the study before. I wonder if something happened…?" Sakura said quietly.

Rena laughed, "You know, it could just be something to do with the wedding. Don't be so worried all the time-it's not healthy."

Sakura smiled, "Yeah, I guess you're right."

Anna-Maria shifted the skirt a little and tied the ties on the sleeves in little bows. "How does that feel?" she asked.

"If feels quite comfortable, thank you." Sakura smiled.

"Great," Anna-Maria smiled back.

"You look like a corpse bride." Rena joked.

"Hey!" Sakura snapped.

Rena burst into a fit of laughter. "Well, your skin is rather pale." Anna-Maria joined in the joke.

"Not you too…"

"It's a joke-you look amazing." Rena smiled.

Sakura smiled back, "Thanks," she said softly.

The dress she wore was crème and soft, light weight material. The sleeves were short and gathered around the upper arm, sitting off her shoulders. There was gathering along the top edge of the low cut bodice, which was fitted nicely to her figure and down to her hips. As a decoration the front was laced up and the cords made from the same material were tied in a bow, not meant to be untied.

The skirt of the dress had about three layers and a bit of a trail at the back, and fell down around her hips and to the floor. The back of the dress was laced up tightly and the cords tied in a neat bow at the base.

"Shall we get Rena into her gown now?" Anna-Maria suggested.

"Sure," Sakura smiled.

"Well, here we go." Rena sighed.

Rena's gown was much the same as Sakura's, except it was black and instead of gathering around the edges of the sleeves and top edge of the bodice, she had small, blood red rose embellishments sewed on instead.

"How do you come up with these designs?" Rena asked.

"To be honest, I'm not sure. It just comes to me." Anna-Maria said.

"They're great, I love them." Rena smiled.

"That's because our old tailor made you wear the most innocent of colours." Sakura laughed.

"Ugh, yeah." Rena muttered.

"Ok, I'll get you out of these and leave them with you." Anna-Maria smiled.

"Alright, thank you." Sakura smiled.


Once dressed, Sakura headed down towards the study where Syaoran was waiting for her; she knocked and he called out for her to enter. She walked in, closing the door behind her, and took a seat in front of the desk. Syaoran looked up and smiled, "How did the gown fit?" he asked.

"It fits well," She smiled.

"That's good." He said.

"Why did you call me here…?" she asked.

"I just wanted you to look over a few things in regards to the wedding." He said.

"Ok…?"

He slid a few documents across the desk and she picked them up; she looked through the documents and then looked back up at Syaoran. "What did you want me to do?" She asked.

"Well I can't have the only say with preparations, can I?" he said with a smile.

She smiled softly, "I see…"

It was a list of nobles and aristocrats invited to the wedding, and a few other things in regards to preparations. She didn't know half of the aristocrats or nobles, but apparently it was common courtesy to invite them to a royal wedding.

"There's so many people…so many families…" She said quietly.

"I know, but it should be ok. I doubt anyone would try to harm you." He said.

"Alright…" She murmured.

He smiled, "I said I would protect you; and I'm not going to give up on doing so."

She smiled back, "Thank you Syaoran."


It was going to take about three days to travel to Sid's, so Syaoran had the relevant castle staff organise everything they needed for the trip. They would be staying at Inn's for the girls comfort, the two princes had decided, and when they reached their cousins' city there would already be accommodation set up for them. Sakura was sitting in her room on the morning they were to leave with Syaoran. She was a little nervous in leaving the castle, and her anxiety was acting up. Syaoran sat with her and held her, waiting for her to calm down. She finally calmed after Yuui gave her some kind of medicine to put her at ease, and Syaoran placed her cloak around her shoulders. It was white with a fur collar to keep her neck warm in the cold winter.

"It's alright Sakura, everything will be ok." He said softly.

She took in a deep breath and stood, holding his hand as they left her room and made their way down to the carriages. Sakura spotted Rena in a similar white cloak to her own pouting; she assumed that she'd had another argument with Syaoron. The boys wore black in contrast to the girls' cloaks and the surrounding snow.

"Ready to go?" Syaoron asked his brother.

"Yes," he replied, "Everything's ok now."

Syaoron nodded and entered one of the carriages behind Rena, and Syaoran assisted Sakura into their own. He sat beside her and someone closed the carriage door, and they were off. Sakura watched as the city passed by them, and she sighed. At least the cloak was warm, she decided as she rested her head against Syaoran's shoulder and closed her eyes.

"Is everything ok?" He asked.

"Mm…I'm not feeling particularly well…" she said.

He placed his arm around her shoulder and rested his cheek against her head. She fell asleep, not waking until the carriage stopped for the night. Syaoran woke her gently and noticed she looked rather pale; he checked her for a temperature and found that she was feverish. She was too dizzy to walk, so he carried her inside; the innkeeper recognised their attire and showed them to their rooms quickly. Syaoran thanked him and placed Sakura on the bed, and noticed his brother's presence at the door. He looked up to see him leaning against the doorframe looking concerned. "What's wrong?"

"She's got a fever." Syaoran answered.

"Alright; did you want me to ask if they can bring something up for her?" Syaoron asked.

"That would be nice." Syaoran answered.

"I'll see what we can do." Syaoron said, and then headed downstairs.

Sakura opened her eyes to find Syaoran sitting on the edge of her bed; she reached out to him despite her spinning vision and gained his attention. "Hey, how are you feeling?" He asked softly.

"Sore…my chest hurts…" she replied.

"For how long?" he asked.

"Since late afternoon." She replied.

"Alright… Something should be coming up for you, so just focus on resting for now." He said, and kissed her on the forehead.

She closed her eyes while she waited, and Syaoran read a book. After about twenty minutes, Syaoron returned with a waitress, a daughter of the man who owned the inn. "Hey, they've brought something up for Sakura."

Syaoran looked up and smiled, "Thank you,"

The young waitress placed the tray on the bedside table and left; Syaoran sighed and looked to Sakura. "I doubt she'll eat anything." He said.

"Why?" his brother asked.

"She doesn't really eat when she's feeling unwell."

"Oh."

"Yeah," Syaoran said, "I'll be down shortly."

His brother nodded and left, leaving the two alone.

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