Author: syaoran no hime PM
For a birthday gift to annoy her best friend's boyfriend, Tomoyo decides to give Li Syaoran a special videotape containing hours of nothing but Hiiragizawa goodness. Eriol cooperates heartily. She ends up getting more than she bargained for.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Eriol H. & Tomoyo D. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 11,935 - Reviews: 126 - Favs: 54 - Follows: 96 - Updated: 03-21-11 - Published: 02-24-06 - id: 2815935
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Thank you for the kind words and reviews! No, this did not take me 5 years to update, lol.
This chapter might get confusing, so bear with the italics, please. It's the only way I could afford to aid you in distinguishing between who own which lines in this chapter. :)
"Oh!" Tomoyo nearly lost her balance when she stepped out on the other end of the void, but quickly regained it in time to hear Eriol's distinctly concerned voice.
Are you okay, Daidouji-san?
"I-I'm fine." She pivoted to search for the source of the voice. "Hiiragizawa-kun?"
You won't find me here, explained Eriol's voice. At least not the present me. I am still in our present time, but possessing the knowledge of the Clow Card creator, I was able to find a way to still be with you, at least in spirit.
"Like a hacker, right? Only in a more mystical way." She couldn't help but imagine him as Hiiragizawa Eriol, the Spiritual Dimension Backdoor Hacker.
She heard him chuckle. You can say that, Daidouji-san.
"I-I see…" Her lavender eyes scanned the surroundings. She was still in the Tsukimine shrine, this much the familiar surroundings could tell her. Yet it looked almost unreal, with the place bathed in an anemic shade of lavender light.
The reason you see the world that way is this state of time already happened, explained Eriol, who seemed to be able to read her thoughts in the dimension. This is the past.
She tipped her chin with her fingers quizzically. "Like the sepia treatment movies get when they want to tell the readers that they're watching the flashback part of the story?"
Another chuckle from the sorcerer. Certainly. But Daidouji-san, you can talk to me telepathically. Just think what you wanted to say, and do not move your lips. I will hear you.
She looked bemused, but she shut her eyes tight anyway. Like this?
Perfect, said the voice cheerfully.
This feels a bit funny, but I could get used to this, said Tomoyo. A voice in my head, oh my!
They both stopped when they heard footsteps nearby.
S-Should I hide? asked Tomoyo nervously. I mean, this all happened in the past, so most likely they won't see me—
But people with strong magical powers can sense you, replied Eriol. Let's not cause unnecessary commotion, Daidouji-san.
Understood. Tomoyo hurried to the nearest bush to hide, just as a person emerged from the flight of stairs nearby.
The beautiful auburn tresses that came down to her waist, the cat-like gait, and an air of serenity and wisdom that her dear Sakura-chan adored so much—it was unmistakably Mizuki Kaho, their enigmatic elementary school teacher who aided Li-kun and Sakura in the Final Judgment the Clow guardians.
She heard a sharp intake of breath from her spiritual companion. Ah yes, Mizuki-sensei also happened to be Hiiragizawa Eriol's first love.
She's gorgeous, isn't she? She asked her companion pointedly.
To negate or to affirm? God help me but I don't really know which one's the safer option for me at this point, he quipped, making Tomoyo's eyebrow arch involuntarily.
Tomoyo turned her eyes back to her teacher. The woman gracefully defied the typical conventions associated with aging: the wrinkles, bulges and awkward fashion taste. What she did see though was the forlorn sheen in her tired gray eyes. If she looked beyond her seemingly ageless shell, Tomoyo could see an old soul that fought numerous battles for so long that she was happy to embrace the welcome of the afterlife.
Hiiragizawa-kun, Mizuki-sensei is… She felt a tug in her heart strings. Mizuki-sensei seems to be… mourning.
In one of the rare times she remembered, Hiiragizawa Eriol did not give his usual cheery response.
Kaho placed her palm on the cherryblossom tree, basking in the comforting bursts of energy emanating from its old bark. She seemed to converse quietly with the tree, sharing an ancient wisdom understandable only between the tree and its caretaker.
Perhaps the tree succeeded in consoling her in her grief. For Kaho suddenly turned her gaze upward, to the limitless spread of surreal lavender and pale pink skies overhead. "Welcome back, dear one …" she whispered sadly, a lone tear streaking down her cheek. "… and goodbye."
Dear one? Comprehension dawned on Tomoyo. Hiiragizawa-kun! She meant—
She meant me, Daidouji-san, the voice affirmed gently.
But what did she mean by that? asked the raven-haired female. And the contradicting well-wishes…
My prophetic powers pale in comparison to her ability to look into the future… or perhaps it comes naturally to all women—what does popular culture call that blasted thing? A woman's instinct? In any case, she always speaks ages ahead of the present time.
Tomoyo was not sure if the male answered her question, but she imagined that it would have been more interesting if Mizuki-sensei taught History instead of Math.
Her train of thoughts came to a halt when she felt Kaho's eyes turn to her general direction. Then to her surprise, the woman spoke as if she knew she was not alone in the shrine.
"Go." A kind smile broke on her former teacher's face. "He is waiting."
Tomoyo's heart pounded. The woman's words did not just seem like an instruction; it also sounded like she was giving her a blessing. A blessing to do what?
Tomoyo nodded. Let's go.
"Daidouji-san. It's been… what, three years?"
"Three and a half. I heard from my mother's secretary that someone is renting the house again. I had a feeling that it would be you."
Tomoyo stood transfixed as she watched herself converse coolly with the Londoner in front of the Hiiragizawa mansion. It seemed the Return Card sent her to the day that Hiiragizawa Eriol came back to Japan.
Daidouji-san is so cold then, remarked Eriol's voice, his tone back to its light-hearted manner once more.
She scrunched her nose delicately. That's because I know Hiiragizawa-kun came back to join the Cheer-Up-Daidouji squad.
The former mage laughed heartily. Pardon me?
She sighed. That's the moniker I gave to the group of folks that Li-kun rounded up to try and cheer me up. She adjusted her crouch position in the bushes to settle more comfortably. Despite my assurance that Li-kun must not worry about me of all people, he is still impossibly concerned about me finding my own happiness at once... so he himself can go back to enjoying being happy with Sakura-chan as soon as possible.
Ah, said the blue-haired sorcerer, nodding.
She cupped her face. I want to hate Li-kun's guilt, but I also realize that the same guilt is born out of his kindness. His kindness which, along with his affection for Sakura-chan, are the reasons I also supported him to be with my most favorite person in the world. When I realized this, I didn't know how to deal with it.
Perhaps the Little Wolf felt that way, too, explained Eriol. As someone who helped him realize his happiness, he also wants you to be happy. But you sacrificed yours for him. That is his dilemma, and like you, he didn't know how to deal with it. That he sought my help when he would rather not proves how much he wants to make things alright.
She fell silent, and Eriol decided to leave her alone with her thoughts which he courteously did not read.
Tomoyo found herself in the church where she regularly taught on weekends. Heavenly choruses of hallelujahs wafted in and around the compound, while a few people strolled leisurely in the meadows that comprise most of the perimeter.
"My group should be practicing now. Want to watch?" she asked aloud to no one in particular. She was confident that it was only Eriol who would hear her anyway.
I'll be delighted," came Eriol's reply.
The pews were nearly vacant when they arrived. The morning mass just finished, but a handful of people stayed behind to watch the choir practice, led by no other than the Daidouji heiress herself.
Daidouji Tomoyo, garbed in a simple russet-colored cardigan sweater and full skirt, earned admiring gazes both from her students and the small audience that gathered nearby. At that point, she was privately talking to one of her sopranos, who was struggling with the shrill quality of her voice. The rest of the class was engaged in studying their music sheets.
"Ayeka-chan, you have powerful lungs, but sometimes, you might not be aware that you open your mouth too early in the scale. What happens then is it causes a gag reflex in the root of your tongue, and that cuts off your upper range, and in turn creates that 'shrill' quality." Tomoyo used her forefingers to further demonstrate her point. "You should only have this amount of space between your teeth until you're on about high D or E flat, remember that."
The little girl nodded.
"We'll run through some vocal exercises later today, just so everyone can get used to pronouncing with their tongues instead of their jaws." She looked at the empty piano bench, and then at the wall clock. "It's been nearly an hour, and Mamoru-san isn't here yet." She was referring to their pianist. "I hope he's doing okay."
"Daidouji-san," called Sister Chiaki, the young nun novitiate who was a teacher-assistant of the catechism class next door. "Mamoru-san's wife just called to say he won't make it today. He's suffering from arthritis again, I believe."
"That explains why he isn't here yet." Tomoyo clicked her tongue worriedly. "Well, I guess I should get started on my class. Thanks for dropping by, Sister Chiaki."
"You're welcome, Daidouji-san." The nun-in-training gave her a cheerful wave before disappearing from the room.
Tomoyo beamingly faced her class of expectant students. "Well, everyone, I guess this is a good opportunity as any to practice singing a capella. Ready?" With an efficient clap of her hands, the girls straightened, ready to sing.
And then her long, slender fingers gracefully began to move, signaling the beginning of the harmonious refrain of angelic voices.
An hour later, the church was empty. Tomoyo sat down the piano bench, looking problematic. She knew Mamoru-san wanted nothing but to keep doing what he loves—namely, playing the piano for the church. But she was worried that his arthritis was killing his joints, particularly his blessed fingers that create the wonderful music for her and the girls.
Her fingers tapped a few keys on the piano, the notes incoherent. Her knack for playing musical instruments was inversely proportional to her talent in singing. Her trained ears understood tonality, but she falters when she attempts to translate it to the instruments.
She remembered exactly one tune on the piano, which she suddenly found her fingers moving instinctively to. "Twin-kle, twin-kle, lit-tle star… H, I, J,K, L, M, N, O, P… up a-bove the world-so-high… W, X, Y, and Z…"
"A modern nursery rhymes mash-up, Daidouji-san?"
Her gaze embarrassedly shifted to the source of the voice. Hiiragizawa Eriol stood behind her, hands stuffed in his pants. Her hands moved to primly drape the fabric cover of the piano back down. "What a pleasant surprise, Hiiragizawa-kun."
"Your sincerity needs some work, Daidouji-san," he teased lightly, embarrassing her even more. He gave her a good-natured smile in return. "Would you like to give the song another go?"
"I would rather not."
"Now don't be such a prude, Daidouji-san."
"I'm not being one—" She saw his grin widen. "Oh, fine!" She opted to close her eyes, though, just so she wouldn't have to see the mischievous twinkle on his gray eyes. Then she began to sing.
"Twinkle, twinkle, little star… H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O—" Her eyes fluttered open when she heard playful music accompanying her silly rhyme. Her eyes darted to the keys, where she found Eriol's graceful fingers on the ivory and black keys. She slowly looked up and saw Eriol's bespectacled face next to hers. He was stooping from behind, arms draped over her shoulders so his hands could reach the keys.
"Don't stop singing," he instructed, eyes still set on the keys. His fingers wove an impromptu refrain while he waited for her to continue.
Her cheeks felt hot, but she was determined to not clue him into the extent of her discomfort. And so she continued her ditty. "H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P… one for my master, and one for my dame…
Tomoyo sighed as she watched the scene by the piano unfold. Hiiragizawa-kun, I vaguely remember this happening, and now that I have to see this again, I feel twice ashamed that you got me good.
The absent present-day Eriol chuckled amusedly. Mozart must be very proud, the way you desecrated his arrangement.
She let out another sigh and proceeded to watch the pair on the piano bench. The woman on the bench was still blushing furiously, and she knew why. Men almost never engaged with the Daidouji Tomoyo in such proximity. Even Li Syaoran, the closest person she knew to a male friend, respectfully maintained physical distance between them.
Yet here was Hiiragizawa Eriol blatantly violating the intangible boundaries the rest of the Tomoeda men set.
The foreigner from London sure does not know his place, does he? Eriol's voice said in a sing-song tone.
Will you please, please stop invading my thoughts? she shot back.
Do you know what I realized during that time, Daidouji-san?
What? she asked skeptically.
I really liked your shampoo, he answered casually.
Her cheeks turned crimson. So the reason I found my robe in your bathroom is that you invited me to your tub in the past because you wanted to know what shampoo I use, yes?
She felt herself flush even more when Eriol broke into laughter, crisply mixing with the upbeat piano music and Past Tomoyo's nonsensical lyrics.
The scene changed once more.
Daidouji Tomoyo and Hiiragizawa Eriol were walking home from the church when the former mentioned she needed to visit someone. The latter offered to accompany her, with seemingly no other option save for an affirmative response.
"I need to buy flowers first though," said the raven-haired female. She motioned vaguely to the commercial blocks on the right. "Mamoru-san's house shouldn't be too far from the flower shop."
"Ah, so does courtship work the other way around now? I am so out-dated with social norms nowadays," quipped Eriol.
"Mamoru-san is our pianist, Hiiragizawa-kun. And also, forget social norms. You should have retained the Flower Cards spells—they can get pretty profitable every February."
"Ah, the Daidouji entrepreneurial spirit!"
The pair's banter went on, unaware that they were being trailed after by present-day Tomoyo. She wore a confused look.
Didn't you have your own garden, Hiiragizawa-kun? she asked her companion spirit.
Flowering ones? said Eriol. I only started one recently. I do have the standard fare trees-and-bushes landscapes that comes with mansions, though.
Ah, I thought you've always had a green thumb, she said, surprised.
I wasn't born with one—I was just inspired to have one. And I'm quite happy with it, despite being a late bloomer, pardon the pun, he explained with a grin.
They were now standing in front of Tomoeda's town flower shop. Their past forms were already in the premises, peering at flower catalogues while the florist stood by dutifully.
Ne, Hiiragizawa-kun, do you know what people say about those who have green thumbs? asked Tomoyo out of the blue.
That they have even greener thoughts? he guessed.
Her mouth twitched. Can't men stay asexual for even just five minutes?
Daidouji-san, I was referring to environmental thoughts back there. I am appalled. But do tell me what else I should know about green thumbs.
Well, she began, they say that green thumbs can make anything grow, because they're the nurturing type.
That sounds like me alright, agreed Eriol.
Yet… She paused, wondering how to tactfully ask that one question at the back of her mind.
She heard him sigh in acquiescence. Is it about Kaho?
Tomoyo nearly buckled, sensing that she was treading on dangerous lines. Yet her desire to be completely candid with him prevailed. W-Well, I felt that when you left for England together, it meant your relationship is in a whole different level. Yet based on what I saw earlier in the shrine, you separated ways. But you are a gardener, Hiiragizawa-kun. You won't let a lovely rose die.
Things happen, Daidouji-san, he explained evenly. And always for a reason. It's something I wouldn't want to go through again if I can help it, but I understand that is simply how life works.
"Might I suggest you pick this?" Past Eriol's voice drifted into their conversation, interrupting them. When they turned to watch, the Londoner was pointing to Past Tomoyo a bouquet of dark pink roses accentuated by yarrow flowers and stalks. "Dark pink roses mean gratitude, while the yarrows are good luck herbs, as recounted by Eastern and Greek war myths. These should satisfactorily express your sentiments to Mamoru-san."
"Thank you, Hiiragizawa-kun." She briefly turned to the florist to place her order, and then turned her gaze back at him. "You certainly know your flowers well."
"De nada. That's what manly he-men like me do when we're not busy pressing benches or perfecting our tans in salons," he replied smilingly. He then looked at the price tag and whistled. "These sure are expensive, Daidouji-san."
Tomoyo frowned thoughtfully at that.
"Ne, Hiiragizawa-kun, what were the first flowers you grew?" Tomoyo asked casually as they made their way out of the shop.
"Red roses—" Eriol's voice trailed off as Tomoyo's eyes sparkled in triumph.
From her hiding place, Present Tomoyo cupped her face, shaking her head in mock disbelief. Ohoho! Hiiragizawa-kun, how low can you get, lying about something as simple as your hobby.
I didn't lie, reasoned the mage. I did just learn to cultivate flowers while with Kaho. Besides, I learned my lesson to not even try and pull one over Daidouji Tomoyo, thanks to that certain incident.
"You had a garden before," Past Tomoyo told the flabbergasted Londoner confidently. "Your unnatural interest and knowledge of flowers clued me in, plus how surprised you looked when you saw the bouquet price told me you never used a flower service before. Lack of floral sources is a taboo for sophisticated, tea-drinking magical English gentlemen reincarnations such as yourself, you know."
"I would have been impressed by your logic if they did not consist of assumptions and stereotypes," said Eriol good-naturedly.
"Oh, a Daidouji's business sense consists of two things: good hunches and very strong opinions." Tomoyo gave him a sideway glance. "Red roses—you grew them for Mizuki-sensei, didn't you?"
He looked amazed. "By Jove, yes, I did! Now count me among the believers of the Way of the Daidouji."
She refused to be diverted by his subtle attempt to steer clear from her questioning. "So why did you stop growing roses?"
He looked at her silently for a few moments, then gave her an affable smile that did not reach his eyes. "She realized that getting roses and private poetry reading sessions from a kid is far too kitschy in society's eyes."
Both the Past and Present Tomoyo froze, unable to come up with a proper response to that.
TO BE CONTINUED