Arigatou to everyone who mailed me! Your kind words were really rays of sunlight in this hassled life of mine. This part is especially for you all.
A piece of news-on April 28, I visited Kittyhawk Sakura-san's CCS peeji, and was shocked to find that she wrote a fanfic that is *also* a continuation of CCS, which *also* has Sakura as 17. (HOE!!) Coincidences, coincidences...^_^;;; In any case, Clow Zero is excellent-go check it out! http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Pagoda/3732/index.html
Follow the 'Fanfiction' link, and flood her with mail after you read it. :)
DISCLAIMER: Card Captor Sakura and all its respective characters are
(c) CLAMP and associates. Don't sue. I'm broke anyway.
The alarm clock chirped loudly, and his eyes sleepily opened. Yawning, Kinomoto Touya stretched out a hand and pressed the button on top of the clock down. It instantly fell silent, and he groggily raised himself up and stretched. _That_ felt better. A quick splash of ice-cold water on his face fully woke him up.
In the semi-darkness, he made his way to his closet, yanking out a faded pair of track pants and a shirt. Shoving his feet into running shoes, he left.
Moving down the hallway, he passed by Sakura's room, and paused.
He put his hand on the doorknob and turned it, careful not to make any noise. The door opened, a beam of light illuminating his sleeping sister's form. Touya froze as she gave a soft sigh, but she did nothing more, and he relaxed.
Her small, lovely face rose-flushed with sleep, Sakura looked so innocent,
so *vulnerable*. Touya never would admit it to anyone, but he was fiercely
protective of his little sister. Perhaps it was the gap in their ages;
perhaps it was because he had been the one she had clung to for so long
after their mother died. Whatever the case, he was always silently watching
over her, making sure she got into no danger or scrapes, even though she
was not aware of it most
of the time.
He frowned, recalling an incident 7 years ago...
On the way to the field to meet Yukito, he had caught sight of Sakura with a strange boy. They were some distance away, but the wind was blowing in his direction, and his sharp ears could hear all of their conversation.
"And what about _you_?" Sakura was saying, a hurt look on her face. "Why do you know about the Clow Cards?"
Clow Cards? What were they?
The boy was speaking now. "That's none of your business! *I* shall be the one...to look for the remaining cards." He gripped Sakura by her shoulder roughly as he said this, almost causing her to trip.
"Dameyo!" she cried. Quick as a flash, one of the boy's hands shot out and grabbed her wrist, twisting it. Sakura shrieked in pain.
That was enough. Running at top speed, he reached them in a few seconds. He heard Tomoyo cry Sakura's name at the same time he caught hold of the boy's collar and yanked him up, away from Sakura.
"Exactly _what_ were you trying to do to my little sister, small fry?" he growled softly, menacingly, hauling the boy around to face him. The little squirt was going to get it, or his name wasn't Kinomoto Touya.
Large amber eyes stared at him, but there was no answer.
Suddenly, so fast that his motions were a blur, the boy spun out of his grasp and aimed a kick at him. Touya only just managed to block it with his arm.
Landing with cat-like ease, the boy assumed an attack stance. Dark blue stared into molten amber-brown.
"You..." Touya muttered.
Now, his frown grew deeper. He had known then that the kid-Syaoran, was it? was no ordinary child. He knew martial arts-that was obvious. And he was _good_.There was also a bearing to him that was something like royalty, only different.
Sakura had become friends with him later, even though he had privately disapproved. He did not trust Li Syaoran, and it had absolutely nothing to do with his crashing into the time he spent with Yukito, although that by itself was extremely annoying. He was not like other boys of his age-there was too much that set him apart from them.
Touya was observant. He had seen Syaoran abruptly stop being friends with his sister not long after they had entered Seijou High, and though he had been puzzled, he had also been secretly relieved. Sakura was now free of him. However, he could see that she had been hurt by his change of attitude. Touya knew she liked the mysterious boy, though for what reasons he had no idea.
It had gone so well at first. Not only had Syaoran stopped being nice to Sakura, he had even stopped chasing Yukito. _That_ was something, though it was very puzzling. And wonder of wonders, *Sakura* had done the same too. That had been nothing short of a miracle in Touya's eyes.
They had been facing each other, Sakura tilting her head a little to look up at the taller boy. He looked so serious, she looked so shocked...what had he been telling her?
Then, Touya had realised something. They looked good together. No, that wasn't it...they looked so _right_ together.
It had been a scary thought.
/Much as I hate to say it, the kid's a looker. He's smart and good in sports, too. Must have half the girls in school chasing him./
So why was he suddenly being so nice to his sister? And after he had thrown her friendship back at her, too.
/If he's just playing with Sakura.../
He gritted his teeth. He didn't want to upset his sister, so he would let him off-for now. He would watch, though. Li Syaoran need not think he could toy with her feelings as and when he liked. Not if *he* had anything to say about it.
Just as he was closing the door, he got a shock.
He opened the door again, stared incredulously at her.
"Li-kun..." she murmured, turning so that her back was to him.
/Mysterious,/ he thought, heading down the stairs. He set off on his morning run after a quick warm-up.
Up, down. Up, down.
Syaoran's feet hit the pavement rhythmically, almost mechanically. Beads of perspiration trickled down his face, but they were ignored. Indeed, he hardly felt them. He turned into a side street, not noticing where it was taking him.
Up, down. Up, down. Up, down.
He had lost track of time...and of where he was. Halting, he looked around him. And promptly face-vaulted.
"NO," he moaned. "What the...*how*?"
The Kinomoto residence was standing directly in front of him. He had no idea whether to laugh or cry, and settled for getting away as fast as he could.
Syaoran turned, one eyebrow twitching. He *knew* that voice.
Kinomoto Touya was standing not far away, arms crossed over his chest. Deep-blue eyes stared intently at him. Not to be outdone, Syaoran stared back every bit as intently, even baring his teeth in a silent snarl. Quit it, the motion said. Mind your own business.
Touya relaxed his stare, but his eyes never left his face.
"So. We meet once more."
He snorted. "Is that all you wanted to tell me?"
"If you forgot, you don't live near my home. So what are you doing in front of it _again_?"
"I lost track of where I was going when I was jogging just now." It was true, after all.
"Really," Touya said, sarcasm colouring his voice. Syaoran shrugged.
"I'm telling you nothing but the truth. It's your problem if you don't believe me." He turned to go, but Touya halted him a second time.
He sighed heavily. "Just what do you want?"
"Why did you walk my sister home yesterday?"
Syaoran raised an eyebrow. Brotherly protectiveness, eh? All right, he would tell it just as it was.
"She crashed into me on her way home, and got hurt. Since her bag was heavy, I offered to walk her home and help her carry it. She agreed. You satisfied now?"
"I didn't see that she was hurt," Touya replied, suspicion apparent in his words.
"Go back and check her elbow. It should be black-and-blue by now."
As he started to move away, Touya's next words stopped him dead in his tracks.
"You'd do good to stay away from her."
His throat felt strangely dry. "And who might *her* be?"
In a few swift strides, the older boy had reached him. Large hands caught hold of his shirt collar, pulling him so they were face to face.
"Don't act dumb-you know I mean Sakura," he growled. "I'm watching you, Li Syaoran. Hurt her in *any* way and you're dead."
Touya abruptly released him. "I'm not joking, kid. Think about what I just said." He wheeled around and walked away, not saying anything more. Syaoran stared after him, hands unconsciously clenching into fists.
<Hell if I know what he's talking about, but he's got another thing coming if he thinks I'm gonna listen to him.>
He set off home, jogging at a hard pace.
Cerberus watched Sakura as she moved about her room. Something was amiss, he thought, sweatdropping lightly.
"Sakura...daijobu desu ka?"
"Eh?" She looked at him in confusion.
"You just put your pillows at the foot of the bed, and your blanket at its head."
"And why are you wearing your blouse inside out?"
Kero-chan's sweatdrops increased by a factor of ten.
"Sakura, this isn't anything like your normal behaviour. You're so preoccupied-what happened yesterday?"
"N-nothing! Of course, nothing..." her voice trailed off.
"Then how do you account for *this*?" he snapped, flicking his tail against her gone-colourful right elbow. "Sakura, tell me! It's so strange-your elbow, and that Li boy walking you home!"
"Li-kun was just being nice," she replied defensively. "I got hurt when I ran into him, and he offered to walk me home and carry my bag."
"And you let him," sighed Kero-chan. "I saw Touya's reaction yesterday."
Sakura sweatdropped. "So what's wrong with that?"
"You told me he was being cold to you, ne?"
"Then why is he acting nice all of a sudden?"
"He *isn't* acting ni..." She stopped short, remembering the flute incident.
I don't want you to get into trouble...
A light pink stained her cheeks, and she hastily rephrased her sentence. "He *was* being nice, demo, it was only out of courtesy. Courtesy! Sou...that must be it."
Kero-chan shook his head. "I don't trust him. He's up to something."
"Would you please quit being so suspicious?!" she burst out, irritation, and oddly enough, resentment suddenly welling up in her.
"I think I'm old enough to know when to suspect someone's motives for being nice to me, thank you! Li-kun would never do anything bad to me-I know it! Why are 'Nii-chan and you so prejudiced against him?"
Kero-chan stared at her, his eyes sad. "Sou desu ne...you *are* already 17. Just pretend I never said anything of the sort. But Sakura, I wonder if you know how much Touya and I care for you? Don't hold it against us if we get a little...worried sometimes." He flew to her bed, curling himself up in a ball.
Warm arms suddenly surrounded him, and a smooth face pressed against his own.
"Gomen ne...honto ni gomen. I *know* both of you love me, and I love
you back. I have no real idea why I'm feeling so on edge...I've been having
funny dreams, and I've got a feeling that something's going to happen.
I can't tell whether
it'll be bad or good, I just...know it." Sakura sighed, running a slim hand through her auburn hair.
Cerberus gently nuzzled her. "I understand. What are your dreams about?"
She reddened, and he looked at her in surprise. "Did I say something wrong?"
"Iie. It's just...oh, I'll just tell you about it."
When she had finished, Kero-chan was at a loss for words...for the moment.
"What the...WHAT KIND OF A DREAM IS *THAT* SUPPOSED TO BE?!"
"How would I know?" she protested, her face still red.
"Whatever it is, that Li boy definitely has something to do with it!"
"Well, duh..." Kero-chan ignored that and continued. "Sakura, *please* be careful around him. Even if you're so sure he won't hurt you, your guard should never be down."
"He's got a name, hasn't he?"
"'That Li boy' has got a name. Why don't you use it?"
"N-Nandatta?!" Cerberus's eyes were so wide that she had to hold back a laugh.
"Never mind. Sa...Tomoyo-chan's expecting me. I'm going now."
"What?" -in a rather irritated tone.
"Your blouse-it's *still* inside out!"
Later, stretched out on the carpeted floor of Tomoyo's huge bedroom, Sakura reflected that the afternoon at Tomoyo's mansion was passing by uneventfully, even being a little boring. And was immediately ashamed of thinking that-it had nothing to do with her best friend. It was because of her own restless state.
/I'm edgy, moody, out of sorts...wonder if this is the high school burnout Takashi-kun was yammering about the other day?/ She mentally snorted even as the thought crossed her mind.
"Sakura-chan?" Tomoyo asked, propping herself onto her hands.
"You aren't enjoying yourself, are you." It was a statement, not a question, and it made Sakura shoot upright.
"Wh-what are you talking about? I..." Large purple eyes stared straight at her, and her voice trailed off. Sakura sighed.
"Daijobu...no need to apologise. Sakura, we've known each other for
so long-it's more than obvious to me that you're not in the best of moods.
Shikashi, just so you know-I'm always here if you want to talk or anything
of the sort. Ne?" She
smiled, and Sakura's tense expression softened into a returning smile.
"It's just some stupid feelings I've got. I...don't want to go into detail just yet.
"Then I won't press you. We all have secrets." Tomoyo laughed, and Sakura shared in the laugh gratefully.
<I owe you, Tomoyo-chan.> "Arigatou. You're the best."
"Anytime." They sat in companionable silence for a while, each busy with her own thoughts. Finally, Tomoyo spoke, cocking her head thoughtfully.
"May I ask you something, Sakura-chan?"
"Would Li-kun by any chance have something to do with that colourful elbow of yours there?"
Sakura jumped, flushing a thousand shades of red. "To-mo-YO! How did
you...ulp." She hastily covered her mouth, but it was too late. Tomoyo
smiled serenely, tucking a silky strand of lavender hair behind one ear.
Sakura shot a look at
her, and sighed resignedly.
"Honestly, you really scare me sometimes. How did you know?"
"Besides the fact that I've known you since Tomoeda Elementary days, did you know that you've been touching your elbow all the time you've been here?"
"A...re?" she managed to weakly squeak. Tomoyo gave a solemn nod.
"Sou. I know it isn't because it's painful, because you have this...*look* in your eyes when you're doing it. A look that I've, uh, come to associate with our Li-kun since quite some time ago." She chuckled impishly as Sakura's blush deepened.
"I...I never knew."
"You aren't aware of it, but *I* am. Demo," and here her light tone suddenly became serious, "what do you *really* think of him, Sakura-chan?"
"What do I...think of him?" Sakura was not prepared for that.
"Yes. Can you tell me?"
What *did* she think of Li Syaoran?
She knew she liked him-his coolness would not have hurt her so much otherwise. That she had been so badly hurt was only proof that she liked him a _lot_.
Was he a friend? She wanted him to be, definitely, but if she was utterly honest with herself, she knew that her liking ran deeper than that.
If she _didn't_ think of him as just a friend, that meant...
"Hoe," she whispered, crimson flooding her face. Tomoyo looked sharply at her for a moment, but her eyes softened almost instantly.
"He means...more than a friend to you, doesn't he." Again, it was a statement. Sakura gave a very slight nod, not trusting herself to speak.
"So what happened with him yesterday?"
Sakura sketched the tale out in a few sentences, leaving out the part where he had told her that she would not be hurt again if *he* could help it. _That_ was...personal, something even her best friend could not know.
Tomoyo listened quietly, saying nothing for a while when she finished.
"Ne...so what are you going to do now?" The question was so abrupt that it left Sakura gasping for breath.
"The way your face is now, I shudder to think what it'll be like when you see Li-kun in school on Monday."
Sakura hit the floor. "Tomoyo-chan," she moaned.
"I must remember to bring my V8...'Unrequited Blushing' sounds like a good title for it."
"TOMOYO," Sakura growled. Tomoyo laughed, and sobered.
"Gomen...that was uncalled for. What I meant was, now that you've admitted to yourself that you like Li-kun as more than an ordinary friend, what are you going to do? Are you going to *show* him proof of your love?"
"Sakura-chan?" She then noticed the extremely effective impersonation of a boiled lobster Sakura's face was doing.
"Suppose I take that as a 'no'."
"You are not making sense," Sakura muttered. "And for your information, I never even said I *loved* him!"
"Like, love...it doesn't really matter, does it?"
"I suppose so," the green-eyed girl murmured softly. Then she looked up.
"There *is* one thing I want to do, however."
"Name it," Tomoyo commanded, idly swinging her legs over the edge of her bed.
"I want to make Li-kun something. A small gift. I don't think I thanked him enough for yesterday."
"That is logical," mused her friend. "So what do you want to do?"
Sakura shrugged. "I'm thinking now." Absently pulling a piece of paper from her skirt pocket, she started to fold it, lost in thought.
<What would he like? I don't want to make him food or anything like that-it doesn't seem, well, appropriate. And he isn't a girl, so bracelets and earrings are out of the question.> She bit down a laugh at the thought of Syaoran decked out in costume jewellery.
A sixth crease, and a seventh.
<His name means 'Little Wolf' in Mandarin, doesn't it? He told me before...>
She blinked. Where had that thought come from?
Fold over, and fold again. Finally, she opened up the piece of paper into a perfect little box.
"Pretty," observed Tomoyo, leaning closer to get a better look at it. "You're really good at origami. How do you do the folding so neatly?"
Sakura stiffened. "What did you say?"
"I asked you how you made your folds so neat," Tomoyo replied, looking a little surprised. "Sakura-chan?"
Fold. Little Wolf.
Fold. Little Wolf.
"That's IT!" she squealed, flinging her arms around Tomoyo. "You're a genius, Tomoyo-chan!"
"Are? What did I do?" Tomoyo asked, thoroughly confused.
"Can I have a sheet of your grey colour-paper? Actually, two. Then you'll see."
Tomoyo complied, and was soon watching Sakura's auburn head bent in
concentration, her hands working on the grey sheets. Sakura's slim fingers
folded, pressed, joined...and before ten minutes had gone, the object she
set out to make was standing on her palms, complete.
"An origami wolf!" exclaimed Tomoyo, voice filled with admiration. "Oh,
it's beautiful!" There was even a short tail on its back-Sakura had made
it with the leftover paper. The last thing she did was to dot in its eyes
with a brown
felt-tip pen from her bag.
"Done. Should I take it to him now?"
"Why on earth shouldn't you?"
"I...I don't know where he lives..." Panic flashed in her eyes.
Tomoyo scribbled something on a piece of paper, and handed it to her. "Here. His address-I got it from Kimura-sensei last time to give him his work when he was out sick." Hesitantly, Sakura took the paper.
"So what are you still waiting for?" Tomoyo asked, smiling sweetly.
"Get over to his house before I *drag* you there."
Sakura's lips curved into a reluctant smile.
"Un...arigatou more than I can say, Tomoyo-chan."
Tomoyo watched her walk down the road from her bedroom window, until she could be seen no more. Involuntarily, she smiled. Things were getting...interesting. *That*, she was entirely sure of.
"Demo, what did you thank me for, Sakura-chan?" she asked aloud, leaning back on her hands. "I love you, too."
The sun had begun to set in a soft pink sky when Sakura arrived at Syaoran's
apartment. She stared at the building rather nervously. It looked so forbidding,
black and silver with sharp angles all over. It looked...like a place that
ghosts might frequent in the depths of night.
<Stop being so silly,> she scolded herself. <Aren't you a little old for this? And it's only evening now!>
Gritting her teeth, she marched into the elevator, jabbing a button. The doors silently slid shut, and the elevator smoothly made its way up. Sakura got out when she reached the 20th floor.
2020. She halted in front of the plain brown door. This was it.
Taking a deep breath, she pressed the buzzer once, twice. And waited. And waited some more. This time, she knocked, but still there was no response.
<Yare yare...> she thought, disappointed. Putting a hand on the doorknob, she idly tried it, not expecting anything to happen. She got a shock when it turned easily, the door swinging slightly open. "Hoe!"
Mentally composing herself, he looked in. "Li-kun?" she called. No answer. Sakura opened the door wider, tentatively stepping inside.
Syaoran's place was not very big, and it was in a small mess. Sofa cushions were strewn helter-skelter, papers and books littered the table, and-Sakura ran a finger along a shelf-it was dusty. She blew the dust off her finger, sneezing as she did so.
The apartment was...empty, in more ways than one. The walls were a stark white, with no paintings or things of the like decorating them. No vases of flowers brightened the room; no small ornaments adorned the sundry shelves about the room. Sakura contrasted it to her gay, bright house, and shuddered. How could a person be content with such bareness?
But as she looked around, a sudden thought struck her, and she smiled.
Carefully placing her bag and jacket on a chair, she started to pick up the various books and papers lying on the floor. She would get a rag and dust the room after.
What Li-kun didn't know wouldn't hurt him. She did not enjoy knowing that he lived in this state of things. It hurt her, in a strange way. She knew that his apartment would not have been like this if a loving father and a brother had been living with him, like *she* had.
Syaoran made his way down the long corridor to his apartment, scowling
darkly. <Can't believe I *forgot* to lock the door of all things...something
has to be wrong with me.> He had rushed home from the library as soon as
he had realised,
greatly displeasing Takashi and the other members in his project group. <I'm gonna get it from them tomorrow.>
Rounding a last corner, he came to an abrupt stop outside his door, jaw dropping open. It was *ajar*! Only ajar, but it meant that someone had already tried the door and found it unlocked.
<Good thing I don't have any valuable stuff inside,> he grimly thought, entering, and half-expecting the place to be in a bigger mess than when he had left it.
Thus, he was completely taken aback by the sight he saw.
<I'm hallucinating. That's the only logical reason there is.>
All the books and papers on the floor had been stacked into two orderly piles on the coffee table. The cushions had been rescued from the various dumping places, and were in place on the sofa. And...he walked to a shelf and touched it. No dust. But he *knew* he had not been dusting for over a week now.
"What has *happened* here?" he muttered. Was he dreaming? *Could* reality really be this good? Not only had he not been robbed, his home had also been spring-cleaned. <Impossible.>
Suddenly, his gaze fell on something, and his eyes widened. A yellow bag and jacket were lying on the floor next to the sofa.
They seemed vaguely familiar. He knelt down to get a closer look at them, when...
Footsteps. Instantly, he leapt up, muscles taut and ready for anything. And was once again fully unprepared for what met his eyes.
His mouth opened, closed, opened again. He swallowed, feeling a wave of heat wash over his face.
"Okaeri," Sakura said, flipping her auburn braid off her shoulder. A faint tinge of amusement coloured her voice, but there was a hint of apprehension under the amusement.
His head was spinning. "What...wh-what are you *doing* in here?"
She sighed, bowing her head. "Sumimasen. I found the door was unlocked by accident, and I...just thought I'd help you clean your place some." She looked at him anxiously. "Are you angry?"
"No-no! I...I'm not. Uh...thanks." <This is not real, this is not real...>
"Don't mention it, Li-kun."
With a great effort, he forced his mind back into working order. "Take a seat. I'll get you something to drink."
"Iie," she gently refused, "no need."
"I insist. I need to thank you for cleaning up this pigsty."
She hesitated, but complied. Syaoran walked into the small kitchen, shortly reappearing with a tray of two steaming teacups. He set it down on the coffee table, sitting across from Sakura. "Arigatou," she said, taking a sip.
The silence that followed grew almost painfully unbearable until Syaoran broke it.
"Why...were you looking for me?"
She did not answer him at first, leaning over the sofa to retrieve her bag and jacket. Unhooking the bag's clasp, she fished out a small paper bag. "For you."
"I want to thank you again for walking me home yesterday. My elbow's already fine."
"Y-you shouldn't have," he stammered uncertainly.
"Of course I should have," she smiled. "Why don't you open it?"
Slowly, he opened it, making out a grey shape inside. He drew it out, his eyes widening.
"Your name," supplemented Sakura. "I made it myself. It's only a small thing, demo, I hope you like it."
He stared at the beautiful little paper animal, a curious lump rising in his throat. <She even made its eyes brown,> a part of him dimly noted. He cupped the wolf in his hand, touching it gently.
"You...why? Clean my home, make this for me..." He started, not realising that he had spoken his thoughts aloud.
"The wolf is because I want to thank you," she quietly replied, folding her hands in her lap. "As to why I cleaned your apartment...to be honest, I'm not too sure myself. All I know is that I'm sad."
She nodded. "Sad. Sad because your home is so empty. Do you know they say that your home reflects your life? I don't like knowing your life is empty, Li-kun. I just...don't. You family lives so far away...I can see you're lonely." Sakura promptly turned pink as the last words left her mouth.
"Listen to me! Gomen nasai...I have no idea what I'm saying." She laughed uncomfortably. "Forget what I just said, ne?"
"Kisama..." his voice was soft.
"Li-kun?" she asked in surprise. His hands were clenched into fists, gaze on the floor. "Daijobu...?" she hesitantly asked, reaching out a hand. Suddenly he whipped his head up and glared at her, amber eyes smouldering so fiercely that Sakura involuntarily shrank back.
"What gives you the right to talk about me like that? WHAT?! As if you...as if you knew me so well! What *do* you know about my life? NOTHING! You don't have ANY right to say what you just said."
"Do you even *know* what the word 'loneliness' means? You've never been on your own, Sakura. A loving family, friends...you've got everything. Don't talk to me about empty lives unless you've lived one." His voice had been an almost-yell at first, but it fell into a whisper as he finished. Dropping his head into his hands, he said nothing more.
Why had he exploded like that? It had been terribly uncalled for. But to hear Sakura speaking like that...it had shaken him to the core.
Maybe it was because of her stunning frankness. Maybe it was because her words were _true_. Syaoran had no idea how she could have known all she had said, but was that really important? The point was, she*did* know. It was...shocking, to say the least.
<Am I that easy to read? What am I, an open book? I should never have bothered putting up a front...people can take one look at me and see it all, probably.> He let out a low, bitter growl.
Suddenly, warmth surrounded his hands, and he blinked. Looking up, he jumped as he found himself staring into twin pools of liquid emerald. Sakura was kneeling beside him, her hands catching hold of his.
"What are you..." he began, but was cut off when she shook her head.
"You're right," she simply said, holding his gaze intently.
"I don't have any right to tell you how your life is, what your feelings are, when I've never lived like you, never experienced any of the feelings you might have. Absolutely no right at all. Demo, Li-kun, do you know why I did all I did? Because I want you to know that _someone_ cares about you and wants you to be happy."
"Sou desu," she continued, "*I* care about you. *I* am your friend, even if you don't see me in that light. That's all I have to tell you." She released his hands.
He stared at her, unable to speak.
<Care for me? *She*? She wants me...to be happy?>
Sakura blew out a breath, rising. "I guess...I'll be leaving now."
"Matte," he whispered, also getting to his feet. They were standing so close to each other that he could feel her warm breath on his cheek.
"Arigatou," he said, his voice rough with emotion. "I never knew you thought yourself my friend."
"Ba-ka," she retorted lightly. "How many times did I tell you in the past?"
"I suppose I forgot," he said, allowing himself a slight smile. "Honestly, I owe you a lot, Sakura."
For a long time, her eyes never left his. He stared into silver-flecked liquid emerald, shining with a soft glow. In the fading light outside, they were even bigger and brighter than normal.
<You could drown in those eyes and be happy doing it...> He bit off the thought as abruptly as it had come.
Finally, Sakura averted her gaze, blushing.
"I...I really have to go...'Nii-chan and 'Tou-chan will be worried."
"Then I'll see you on Monday," he said quietly, feeling an odd reluctance that she was leaving.
"Ja," she murmured, walking out.
Syaoran closed the door behind her, making sure to lock it. For the rest of the night, he lay staring at the ceiling, thinking deeply in the silence.
"Be *careful*!" a female voice shrieked. "That contains my favourite evening gowns! Don't bump it around like that!"
"Why the heck did you bring so much luggage? You'll be sure to buy new clothes here anyway!" The speaker, a tall boy with dark hair and hazel eyes, scowled at the girl beside him.
She only sniffed. "You know I always come prepared."
He rolled his eyes. "You are hopeless, Meirin."
The girl-Meirin-tossed her long black hair. "Don't talk so much-just get all our bags to the elevator. *Then* you can collapse."
"You are in my debt, sister. I did not come here to help you *voluntarily*."
"I do not owe you anything-you know as well as I do that it is for our family!"
"Really," the boy drawled insolently. His sister flushed.
"Don't talk so much. Move it." He obeyed, a knowing smirk on his face.
As he left, Meirin smiled, baring a row of gleaming white teeth ever so slightly. Red eyes flashed in the darkness.
"We've come for a visit..." A gust of wind swirled around her, rustling her long skirt.
"...a *long* visit." She tipped back her head and laughed.
"Soon...soon you will be mine, Li Syaoran."
Index of Japanese words/translations:
Chyotto matte/matte--stop there; wait
Nandatta--what did you say
Dameyo--can't do this
Honto ni gomen--really sorry
Sa--something like 'all right, then'
Sou desu/Sou--That is so
Daijobu--it's all right
Are--mild exclamation of surprise
Okaeri (nasai)--welcome back
Kisama--rather rude form of 'why, you!'
Baka--idiot, stupid (take your pick)
1. Lawks, that was LOONG!! 18 pages is a personal record. ^_^;; By the way, many thanks to the Moffatts for providing the title-the song is the only one in their CD that *doesn't* suck.
2. Sort-of cliffhanger. Please don't kill me. ^_^; Just so you won't be confused, I'm fixing the timeline so that Li Meirin never came to Japan during Sakura's younger days. :) Bear with me, minna-san-it works better this way. Who's the guy who calls her 'sister'? Exactly why are they in Japan? All this and more in part 3...
3. If Tomoyo and Sakura, especially Sakura, are OOC in this part, I apologise. But IMHO, it was necessary. Remember that you can't expect their characters to be exactly the same as when they were 10. They're *17* already after all! Oh, and Sakura calling Syaoran 'baka' might be a bit *too* OOC, but I don't believe anyone would go through life without saying 'stupid' at least _once_...sumimasen, Kittyhawk-san. <embarrassed laugh>
4. As with Li-kun, I spell Meirin's name in the DIRECT ROMANISATION. I realise that most people write it as 'Meilin' or 'Meiling', but I like to be consistent. Ne? ^_-
5. Remember: C&C!! C&C!! C&C!! If you have the tiniest thing
to comment about TELL ME! I need to know! Please, people-your mails are
the only reward we fanfiction writers get, and we value them so much more
than cold hard cash any day.
Next part: Meetings, and *more* unresolved attraction. <g> Stirrings of jealousy (0_o) and Meirin has some shocks up her sleeve for Sakura and Syaoran. Be there or be square.
Soreja! Arigatou for reading!
--Syaoran no Miko