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After Frost

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Between his own need to decide on a career within the next year and the fuss of Sakura’s first year of high school, Touya really didn’t think the family needed to deal with a Portentous Letter from Hiiragizawa. But that was, unfortunately, what was sitting on the table when he and Yuki arrived, on Saturday.

He scowled at it.

Sakura tore open the outer envelope that it had come in. “…Mizuki-sensei writes a lot, of course, but I haven’t heard from Eriol-kun in so long. I hope everything’s going well.” She shook the inner envelope out onto the table and reached for it.

Touya’s nerves twanged and he was grabbing Sakura’s hand before he could think.

She started and stared up at him. “Onii-chan?”

“He did something to it,” Touya stated. He didn’t know what, but he was very sure that something was odd about the letter. And he didn’t trust Hiiragizawa any further than he could throw his own motorcycle.

Sakura’s brows wrinkled. “But…”

“Check it, Sakura,” Li put in, holding a hand over the letter. “I think he’s right.”

Sakura held out her own fingers to it, eyes drifting closed. After a moment they flashed open again. “It is!” She frowned. “But it doesn’t feel…” She picked the envelope up and Touya had to stifle a yelp of protest.

With a bang, tiny confetti-like sparks of light fluttered around them. Sakura and Tou-san laughed, while Touya tried to get his heart started again. Yuki patted him on the back, though he was grinning a bit, too.

Kero-chan snorted. “That’s him all over.” Then he turned over in midair to try to catch the sparks between his paws.

Sakura paused. “But… Onii-chan, how did you know?” She looked at him with wide eyes. “You don’t have… I mean you gave…” she ran down to a flustered halt, nibbling her lip.

Touya rolled his eyes and ruffled her hair. “Don’t have any magic. You can say it, Monster.” She growled at him, at that, and he laughed. Some things never changed. “I just knew. Well-trained nerves, probably.”

“You’ve known that kind of thing a lot more often lately,” Yukito said, softly.

Sakura’s hands clasped on each other. “I thought it was for good.” Her whole face was brightening like sunrise. “You mean it’s coming back?”

Touya frowned. He hadn’t expected it, so he hadn’t actually thought about it. “I don’t know.”

“I wondered about that,” Li said quietly. The entire room turned to look at him and he lifted a hand palm up. “Magic usually works a lot like chi. It can be depleted. It can get blocked. But to affect the source of it… that takes an incredible amount of power.” He smiled at Sakura. “Power like yours, after all your trials taught you to find it.” He tipped his head, looking back at Yukito. “Yue was starved for magic when he took Touya-san’s. I thought that might have been why it all seemed to go away. But I couldn’t imagine where Yue had found the power to affect the root of Touya’s magic that way.”

“Huh.” Touya rubbed a hand over the back of his head, surprised by how calm he felt about all this; losing his magic had been a serious shock. Shouldn’t regaining it be at least a little strange? “Well, I guess we’ll see.”

“Hm.”

They looked at Tou-san, who was reading the letter with a faint smile.

“I think we can assume that it’s true.” Tou-san chuckled and read out loud. “‘We will be returning to Japan soon; Kaho has had an excellent job offer there. Incidentally Kaho says that congratulations are likely in order for Touya-kun. I’m pleased to hear that my speculations were correct. Sincerely, Eriol.’”

Sakura clapped her hands and flung her arms around Touya’s neck. “That’s wonderful!”

“Ack!” Touya fielded his sister, catching the corner of the table for balance. She was still short, but a lot bigger than she had been a few years ago.

He also spared a moment to be thankful that Tou-san didn’t have any memories of being such a close-mouthed bastard to influence him.

“Okay, great, good news, now how about if we get started on lunch?” he suggested, putting Sakura down firmly.

Kero-chan perked up instantly. “There’s going to be tamago-yaki, right? Sakura said there would be! Tamago-yaki!”

Yeah, he could always count on the bath sponge.

In the bustle of getting ingredients out and deciding who would chop and who would stir and who got to set the table, Yuki touched Touya’s arm and leaned close. “I’m glad. So is Yue, I think.”

“You’re sure both of you are all right?” Touya murmured.

Yuki smiled. “I’m sure. I asked, a few months back. I think he thinks we’re drawing on Sakura-chan’s magic, now, so yours can build back up.”

Touya eyed that smile and sighed, ruefully. It was hard to tell when Yuki was being clueless and when he was just enjoying being a step ahead; they looked a lot the same. He brushed Yuki’s cheek gently with the backs of his fingers. “If you’re all right, then that’s all that matters.”

He thought twice about that, he had to admit, when Kaa-san appeared after lunch, laughing, saying she’d have to be more careful about hovering over him now that he could catch her doing it again.

But even then, he thought it was still pretty much true.

End