Will Syaoran's return to Tomoeda affect the relationship between Sakura and Tomoyo?
The doorbell rang. Sakura answered the door. Tomoyo was there, holding a small white box tied with a ribbon. "Hello, Tomoyo! I'm glad you're here. What's in the box?"
"I've baked a cake, Sakura. It's chocolate. Where is Kero? I'm sure he'd like some, too. It's his favorite flavor, after all."
"Don't worry about Kero. The minute we open the box, he'll smell cake and come rushing out. He has this new video game, and I think the only thing that will bring him away from it would be sweets!" Sakura laughed.
"I possibly should have made pudding instead. Or pudding and cake...." Tomoyo walked into the kitchen and set to work opening up the cake box.
Sakura went upstairs to get Kero, who was wrapped up in playing. "You know, Kero," Sakura said, "Dad thought it was kind of odd when I bought that game. I think he sometimes forgets that you're around."
"That, and he doesn't remember I like fighting games?" Kero paused the game.
Kero sniffed. "I smell cake. Did you make cake and not tell me?"
"Why do you think I'm up here? I'm letting you know about the cake. Tomoyo's here, and she baked it herself."
"CAAAAAAAAAKE!" Kero flew downstairs, with Sakura following. By the time she returned to the kitchen, Tomoyo had sliced the cake and had placed three cake-filled plates on the table. She sat down and opened her homework.
"What should we start on? We both have lots of math homework. I'm sooooo worried about math this year."
Tomoyo cleared her throat. "I think you're worried about more than math. I see that Syaoran is back."
"Yes, yes, he is. Did you talk to him? He's here to stay! I'm so happy! I have him here now. Dad will be so happy that I'm not using the phone as often."
"Well, you will be using the telephone as often. You just will not be calling Hong Kong."
"Hoe? Oh. No distance charges."
Tomoyo laughed. "Right, and you know what your father said about you getting a part-time job to cover the costs."
"I'm thinking more about what Touya said. The local businesses will start calling me 'Touya, the followup series.' Hmmph."
"You know your brother is always just joking. He's only trying to protect you, usually."
"I know that. I'm just worried about what he's going to say now that Syaoran's back."
"He's only interested in what's best for you. I am too. I'm concerned."
"Sakura, I'm just afraid that you're going to forget about your best friend."
"Tomoyo, you are my best friend!"
"I'm nostalgic for the days where I could film you doing all that card catching. You were always happy to wear my costumes."
Sakura blushed. "Um, yes, they were very cute!"
Tomoyo pushed around bits of cake on her plate. "You don't seem to have the same sort of time for me anymore. Your mind is always on him. It's a bit better since he left, because you're actually spending time with me again, but now that he's back?"
"Don't worry! I'll still have time for you. We'll still do things together like we always do. We'll just have another person to do it with!"
"I like being alone with you. It took me a while to get used to Kero."
Kero looked up from his cake. "Hey! I heard that!"
Tomoyo smiled at him. "I didn't say I didn't like you. It just took a while to get used to you flying around and talking loud and eating all our sweets. I can't imagine you not being around now, though."
"Neither can I!" Sakura cut another piece of cake for Kero.
"But I was thinking," Tomoyo said, "that I was just getting used to imagining life without Li Syaoran around. Now he's back."
"Why do you seem so distressed about it?"
"I don't like things changing so much. Everyone's in a couple, except for Naoko."
"Well, he is the one I love best." Sakura put down her fork.
"Sakura...." Tomoyo looked at her. "I only wish you had realized something."
"What about other people who love you best? Not just Syaoran. There are other people. Do you remember when you captured FLOWER, on your field day?"
"Yes! I almost drowned in petals!"
"Well, not just about the card. Remember what my mother said to your father, about your mother?"
"Sort of, but I don't understand what you mean...."
"I said that you didn't know just how much you loved me."
"I don't remember that."
"You didn't hear me. You were distracted. Clow Card, remember?"
"Of course I remember capturing the Clow Cards. The Flower was dancing with me and she was so happy and I was happy--after I got the card, because it was sooooo hard getting it without Kero there--and our parents were happy, and you were happy."
"Of course. I was with you. You looked so cute dancing with the Flower card."
"But when did you tell me about that? I can't remember. Hooeeeee."
"I told you I'd tell you when you were older. You're older now. And I need to tell you."
"Tell me...what? I don't know."
"I love you like my mother loved your mother. More than just friends."
Sakura flushed. "What do you mean, more than just friends? I don't understand."
"I love you like To--like you love Syaoran. Like he loves you." Tomoyo looked at Sakura.
"So that's why you're worried. I see it now."
Tomoyo grasped Sakura's hand. "I don't want to lose you over Syaoran. I don't want the past to repeat itself. I don't want to be jealous and I don't want to be hurt, and the two don't fit with each other. I used to think that seeing you happy would make me happiest of all, but it doesn't. I have nothing just for myself."
"Tomoyo, I have to tell you this. I don't love you that way. You're not quite the one I love best. I do have to say...you're the closest thing to it, though, and I don't want to lose you. You're my oldest and dearest friend and I love you very much, and one day you'll find the person who loves you best."
"Sakura? Are you sure you won't leave me behind?"
"I'd never do a thing like that. Friends do things together. We do things with Chiharu and Rika and Naoko, and we used to do things with Eriol. We'll be like that, and everyone will be happy!"
"I hope. As long as we're all happy. Someday."