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THE GEM OF THE STAR
by Violet

*The Gem of the Stars* Dedicated to all Akazukin Cha Cha lovers everywhere

Part One: Amethyst

"Catch the ball, Riiya!" Cha Cha cried, tossing it to a fluffy white wolf-dog. She was distracted from their game when the compact she kept in her pocket gave a little twitch. She pulled it out and flipped it open. "Yes, Mother?"

"Cha Cha," the image of the pale blond Queen said. "Come over to Seravi and Dorothy's house. They want to see you. Bring Shiine and Riiya with you." Her eyes twinkled.

"Yes, Mother. But where are you?"

"We're here in their house. Come as quickly as you can, dear." Then the image was gone. Cha Cha closed the compact quickly.

"Guys, we have to go to Teacher Seravi's house!" she told Shiine and Riiya. Riiya transfromed into a boy.

"What's got you so excited, Cha Cha?" he asked, brushing his blue hair away from his face.

"Mother wants us to go to Teacher Seravi's house! Come on, let's go!" she cried, hopping on her broom. Shiine sighed and jumped onto his broom, Riiya (as a dog) following him. The two brooms with their passengers flew up into the clear blue sky.

"Watch out, Shiine!" Riiya cried, his tail brushing against the top of a tree for what seemed like the hundredth time. "Your flying's terrible."

"You dumb dog!" Shiine snapped back. "If you weren't so heavy, we'd fly better." They were about to start fighting when they were interrupted by the sound of Cha Cha's voice.

"Hey guys!" she cried, pointing at a large marble castle up ahead, "there it is! Come on, hurry." She sped up her broom and zoomed ahead of them. Shiine sighed.

"Here we go again," he muttered. He sped after Cha Cha, but not without a "watch it!" exclamation from Riiya.

"Mother! Father! Grandpa!" Cha Cha cried, flying in at a large window in the castle given to Seravi and Dorothy as a wedding present. She ran to her mother, hugging her. "I've missed you so much!" Shiine and Riiya followed, grinning.

"I've missed you too, Cha Cha," the Queen smiled, stroking her daughter's blond hair. "Your teacher's been waiting for you three." She led the way up a wide marble staircase.

"Your Majesty?" Shiine asked softly. "Are you sure it's okay? I mean, we were sent to live in the royal castle a year ago because Seravi and Teacher Dorothy have to have a little time to get used to each other, right? What if..."

The Queen laughed softly. "I'm sure this is an exception, dear. They want to see you." She led them to a oak door, paneled in gold, and knocked softly. They heard Seravi's voice telling them to come in, and they entered.

Cha Cha rushed to her teacher. "Teacher Seravi!" she cried, hugging him. Seravi smiled.

"Where's Teacher Dorothy?" Shiine asked.

"Shiine?" They heard Dorothy call from the adjoining room. "Just a minute, dear." A while later Dorothy entered the room. There was a contented little smile on her face, and the gaze she directed at her husband was gentle. Dorothy had changed a lot during the brief year in which she and Seravi had been married. The most significant of these changes was her golden hair. She had also become sweeter, more gentle, as if she had come to find peace at last. Dorothy looked somewhat pale as she came into the room, but when she saw Shiine she gave a low cry and ran to him, her long golden hair flying.

She hugged him tightly. "Oh my Shiine, I've missed you so much!" she cried, her eyes wet with tears. Cha Cha and Riiya looked on with moist eyes.

"Can't we eat now?" Riiya suggested after a few moments, mouth watering. "Ramen, chicken, and hotcakes! Can we, Seravi?"

Seravi frowned. "Haven't you had your breakfast yet?"

"Yeah! But I'm still hungry!"

"Oh Riiya, don't you think about anything except food?" Shiine grumbled. Riiya glared at him. Seravi and Dorothy exchanged a series of looks.

"Alright," Dorothy said finally. "Just go into the dining room, children, and I'll go after you and cook something for you." The three children walked quickly out of the room and to the large dining hall, with Riiya leading them.

Once they were alone Seravi turned to Dorothy, his face worried. "Are you sure you're okay, Dorothy?" he asked. "Are you ill?"

"Of course not, don't be..." Dorothy suddenly gasped and ran out of the room.

"What is it?" Seravi cried.

"Don't bother," Dorothy called back. A few moments later she came into the room again, wiping her lips with a handkerchief. "What are you doing here, Seravi? Aren't you going to cook some food for the children?" she demanded.

"What's wrong with you?"

"Wrong? Nothing's wrong. I just got sick. Vomited."

"But why? If you're not ill..."

"Oh Seravi, isn't it obvious?" She glared at him. "I'm supposed to get sick for at least every morning for the next few months. Women in my condition always do."

"Then that means..." He gasped, the sudden realization coming to him. "Dorothy!" She laughed and hurled herself into his arms, and he held her for a few moments, full of joy and happiness.

"Teacher Dorothy's going to have a baby?" Shiine asked, wide-eyed. Cha Cha had told him that while the three of them were playing in a room. Night had fallen, and Dorothy was in the kitchen making their dinner.

"Yes," Cha Cha said, nodding. "Mother said so."

"But..." Their conversation was cut short by the appearance of Dorothy, carrying a large tray.

"Children! Dinner!" she called.

"Oh boy! I smell chicken!" Riiya cried, running from the room and following Dorothy, with Cha Cha close behind him. Shiine was left alone in the room. He sat down on one of soft chairs, lost deep in thought.

Teacher Dorothy was going to have a baby... What would happen to him?

Oh no...

Oh NO...

Life is so confusing. What's going to happen to me? he thought.

Me?

Me?...

Me...

"Shiine dear." It was Teacher Dorothy. She stood behind him, a concerned look on her lovely face. "Are you okay? Cha Cha and Riiya are eating already."

"Uh... no, Teacher Dorothy. I'll be fine," he stammered.

"You don't _look_ fine, dear," Dorothy said, a small frown of concerning creasing her perfect brow. Then a look of understanding came into her eyes, as if she had seen directly into Shiine's thoughts. "Shiine," she began, choosing her words rather carefully, "just because we're having a baby doesn't mean we'll love you any less." She looked lovingly at her student, almost a son. Shiine smiled, reassured. Together they walked from the room.

The next morning Cha Cha's family left the tower, leaving Shiine and Cha Cha to stay with their teachers. Riiya was to go with them too, since his grandfather was worrying about him already.

"Goodbye, Cha Cha," King Carlos said, swinging her up into the air. Cha Cha laughed as her father set her down.

"I'll miss you, my daughter," the Queen murmured, holding Cha Cha close. She kissed her daughter on the cheek. "Take care of yourself, okay?" Cha Cha nodded.

"Cha Cha, goodbye!" Lord Genus boomed, kissing Cha Cha on the forehead. He looked out of the open doors and laughed loudly. "Here comes our escort now." Riding on two white horses, coming towards the castle, were two figures who Cha Cha thought she recognized... The two figures dismounted.

"Father?" Shiine said, stunned. "Father! Mother!" He ran towards Sir Access, his arms outstretched. Behind her husband was Shiine's smiling brown-haired mother. She watched lovingly as her husband and son were reunited.

"Shiine, we've missed you," his mother murmured, embracing him tightly.

"We'll have to go now," the King commented absently.

There were a lot of hugs and kisses and embraces and handshakes and some tears... though not really a lot of those... as the royal family, along with Riiya and their 'escort', rode away from the secluded valley where Seravi and Dorothy's castle was. Cha Cha, Shiine, and their teachers, stood watching their friends ride away, their faces bathed in the early morning sunlight.

Several months passed. Things had settled into a sort of happy tranquillity. Shiine, to Dorothy's delight, was proving to be a very clever magician, and Cha Cha was learning a lot, and maturing, both in her emotions and physically. Riiya often came over, and more often than not stayed there for the night...

"I hate it when he stays here," Seravi had once whispered to Dorothy as they watched the three children at dinner.

"Why?" Dorothy asked, somewhat puzzled. Then she turned to Riiya, who was shovelling food into his mouth. "Er... yes, I think you're right." She frowned slightly. "I wonder what dinner at their house is like."

"Something like a wrestling match, I guess, with that appetite," Seravi replied. Then they had burst into laughter. The three children stared at them.

As the days went by, and the birth of Dorothy and Seravi's child neared, Dorothy became more and more short tempered. This came as quite a shock to the children, who were very happy with her normal gentle demeanor. Of course, she tried to keep her temper in check, but more often than not, she would get very upset. Seravi, who knew his wife, was not troubled by her sudden change in attitude, since he knew it would pass. A few weeks before the supposed date, Cha Cha's mother had come to their castle and stayed there. She would not let her dearest friend's baby be delivered by someone else... and of course Dorothy was overjoyed by her visit.

One night, Seravi was having an absolutely splendid dream that involved flying in the starry night sky, high above the clouds with Dorothy. He was rather rudely awakened when his wife elbowed him sharply in the ribs.

"Seravi," Dorothy gasped. "Go get the Queen. Then take Cha Cha, Shiine, and Riiya to the rooms at the farthest end of the castle." Her eyes widened. "Oh Gods," she sighed. Seravi woke up instantly.

"I'll go at once," he said, pulling on a robe and slippers. "Are you sure you won't need anything?"

"Just hurry, Seravi!" she hissed through clenched teeth. "Oh, and kiss me before you go." He did that and hurried out of the room. "Don't forget to take the kids to the other rooms!" she called.

Moments later Seravi returned with Cha Cha's mother. "Anything else you need?" he asked.

"Please go out," the Queen said, pointing to the door. "You can stay in the next room." Seravi considered disobeying her. He was after all the world's greatest magician. But after more serious thinking, he decided he really didn't want to see this. He quietly walked out the door.

The sun was just rising when Dorothy and Seravi's baby was born. Seravi snapped awake instantly when he heard the infant's first cry. He knocked at the door of the room where the two women were. Dorothy's face was pale and she looked very tired, but there was a contented smile on her face, and her eyes were radiant as Seravi entered the room. She was cradling a tiny baby girl in her arms, her expression one of love. Seravi felt a lump in his throat, and he saw the Queen watching with tears in her eyes. Seravi kissed his wife tenderly, then picked up his small daughter. She opened her eyes at his touch, and gurgled happily when she saw him. She reached out one tiny arm and tugged on his hair. He winced. Dorothy laughed a tinkling little laugh, her gray eyes wet with tears. "Isn't she beautiful?"

"Of course, dear." Seravi looked at the infant's strange, yet lovely, purple eyes and stroking her fine, pale blond hair. "Good morning, Amethyst," he said softly.

"That's a lovely name," the Queen murmured. Seravi noticed she had her handkerchief in her hand. She looked affectionately at the child and then walked quietly out of the room. Seravi sat down at Dorothy's bedside, content in the silence of the room.

"Seravi?" It was Dorothy.

"Yes?"

"I do love you, you know."

"I know. I do too."

Then the sun burst into the pale dawn sky, and the two magicians looked up at its golden radiance, feeling a new joy suffuse their beings. The sun itself, its golden light brilliant, seemed to be adding its happiness to that of Seravi and Dorothy, rejoicing in that very special day. Their hearts full of love and gratitude, their eyes shining with tears of joy, Seravi and Dorothy felt that if even for that one, blessed instant, perfect happiness reigned over the land.

In that same moment, in another universe, another world, a force of pure, malignant, evil, the destructive power of Darkness, woke slowly from the deep inertia into which it had fallen. It painfully broke free from the faint bonds of light that encased it. Its eyes slowly opened, glowing dark red in the blackness. In the shadowy night of the whirling void, it seemed to smile cruelly. "Amethyst," the Lord of Darkness muttered scornfully, "finally." The Lord of Darkness, started to chuckle, his deep, booming laughter echoing in the emptyness of the abyss.

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