legality: I disclaim everything. CLAMP/Kodansha owns everything that you recognize, except of course, the plot of the fic itself and some parts lifted off "If Only For A Day", which is my property.
And this goes out to.... Chocolate Drop. Empress Sasami. JM. Syaoran no Hime. Lots of people I can't seem to remember at the moment... (It's 11:10pm, for Pete's sakes!) Kids who actually waited for this to finish. Varon, who likes my angst, and Meemee, who listens.
Note: Oh, and yes, this IS going to take long. It's either this or "Masquerade" or "Until You Do". And I'm not finished with reediting. So at least be placated. ^_^ AND! To those kids who wanna read this but haven't read "If Only For A Day", this won't make much sense if you don't meaning it's vitally important to read the prequel first, ne?
by Ekai Ungson
an ExT fanfic: sequel to "If Only For A Day"
/"You and I... we both have different lives to lead. I just thought it's time you went back to yours in England.. and I returned to mine."/
Prologue I; Tomoyo: Where You Want Me To Be
For a lousy liar, Daidouji Tomoyo had been pretty good that once, that just one time. Good enough to fool one certain reincarnation of a great sorcerer into leaving mainland Japan and move back to the country he was born in. She knew it had probably been a sort of major inconvenience to him, and she was sorry for that, but it had needed that much for his sake, for her own, just so he could go back and live a normal life again, as she struggled with her own.
He'd gone back to England the very next day after those words left her lips, and she felt her heart squeeze because it had been what she wanted most in the world and what she didn't want at all at the same time, the same heartbreaking time.
That had been over a month ago. A month ago. Hell. The pain felt like it had been just yesterday.
No words had been spoken. She had not tried. She believed she had said too much, enough already. She didin't want to hurt him needlessly. She'd hurt him so much already.
Thankfully enough, he'd remained silent, too. He didn't say anything. And in so doing, he didn't break down the carefully built barrier she'd done to protect herself.
She didn't need to do that. She didn't need to protect herself from him. He'd never harm her.
Or maybe he would. No, he hadn't spoken. He hadn't broken the silence she imposed. But he had turned those eyes of his on her, against her, eyes full of a deep emotion she didn't-- couldn't dare acknowledge, and an unspoken plea.
That had been one hundred and fifteen times infinitely worse.
Blessedly, it had only been for a second. If it had been any longer, she would've ran to him, held him. She would've taken back every last word she'd said, and she... she would...
Much as she loved his eyes, loved the way he looked at her, she couldn't bear to look at him in those last few moments. Too much for one heart, they say, so she'd turned, she'd walked away.
He had a commitment she had known from the start but failed to-- no, refused to acknowledge. And when it came to haunt them both the way awakening did from a dream, she had known that the right thing, the only thing for her to do was let him go.
But she knew he wouldn't back away. She knew he would stand his ground. She could see it clear in his eyes, he would bullheadedly stay and say that he would fight for her, fight for this, but she knew it would never be right, never be all right, because she wasn't the one he loved. That was only how he thought it, but she knew it wasn't true, no matter how she wished it to be.
So she was the one who decided to step aside and walk out of his life.
"Darling, you're not listening again."
Daidouji Tomoyo blinked. Then she shook her head. "Sorry, Will," she apologized softly.
Will Beauchamp smiled gently at her. "Darling dear, if you're not up to it at all today, I'm sure we can postpone--"
"Any more postponement and we would have nothing to show for next season," Tomoyo interrupted.
She was thankful, but she waved her hands around in protest, trying to look as cheerful as possible. Which was hard considering her haggard state. Her skin was paler than it had ever been, and she had dark circles under her eyes. She'd been missing out on a lot of sleep lately, and her eyes were more devoid of light than usual. "I'm okay, Will," she said. "Continue."
Will's eyes narrowed. She motioned for him to get on with it, and he began again. Tomoyo was thankful she still half-owned 0105 and still had power over people. Although lately she hadn't exactly been acting like the big boss and may very well be dispensable as Will and Kazeno Fia called the shots to keep the company afloat.
She tried to concentrate on Will's discussion. He was talking about using the fabric he was designing in line with the fall-winter output of 0105. Holy hell, it wasn't even winter yet. But then she remembered that things were always done this way. She'd been acting like a major klutz lately. If she didn't own 0105, she'd have been fired.
She seriously considered turning the whole company and all of its assets to Will and Fia. They were certainly being a lot more responsible and capable than she was for a full month.
The meeting wrapped up, and Tomoyo suddenly realized she couldn't remember what it was the whole board had decided on. Crap. She needed to focus already. Now would be a nice time. She stood up to leave but Will had gotten there first and grabbed her hand.
"Will?" she asked.
"Can I have a word?" her best friend asked.
Tomoyo raised an eyebrow. With Will, it couldn't ever be JUST one word. It was either one-- or fifty. She nodded and Will bolted the conference room door. Then he took her by the shoulders and sat her down back in her chair at the head of the table. She was almost certain she ought to be screaming for help right now-- Will's eyes looked manic. And mad.
She looked up at him and when she did he went into lecture-mode full on. "I'm going to make this quick. I'm going to make this brutal. Something is wrong with you. Something has been seriously wrong with you from the first day you got back from that... unofficial leave," he phrased lightly. "You have been distracted like that for every single meeting we've had and every single day for the past month. Usually it's you telling me to shape up. I see you haven't made any designs for the next line. What does that tell me?" He didn't allow her to answer. "That tells me that something is going on. Something is going on because you love this company and you hold it above all else, even your life. And now I don't think you'd raise so much as an eyebrow if 0105 fell to ashes."
She winced, and Will looked satisfied, but not placated. "Look. I know I've been less than capable lately. I know, and I'm sorry, and I'm thankful that you and Fia are around, that you're not letting me down. I'm just..." she sighed. "Really sorry," she finished.
Will looked into her eyes. "Is this about Hiiragizawa Eriol?"
She stared at him. Then she averted her eyes, because Will's gaze was being a lot more intruding than usual. "No. It's not," she said hardly. "I'm just... tired."
"When you're tired, you sleep, Tomoyo darling," Will replied. "And judging from those circles under your eyes you haven't been sleeping that much at all. Also, you've been humming, absent-mindedly, a single song I've never heard in my entire life." He grinned at her. "I know this might sound waxing poetic but it's just that whn you begin to hum that tune, it's like your voicing out your heart with it. Get me so far?"
She boggled. Will wasn't exactly the type to notice those little subtleties and put them in such a way that it was that exactly. "Yes," she said. "It's a song I made from that trip I had last month."
"You and a blue-eyed composer, shall we say?" Will asked. "Come on, Tomoyo, you can't expect me to believe in those delusions of you not being with Hiiragizawa Eriol last month. Everyone in the company knows it."
"Everyone... in the company?" Tomoyo asked. Will nodded. "Will! How did that--"
"Well. Everyone here was just waiting for you, Iron Butterfly , to succumb to something, anything akin to love," Will explained. "And when Hiiragizawa came in with those flowers, we just knew something was about to transpire. When he kidnapped you--" he grinned. "Everyone in the company heard about it in a second and were all peering out of the north windows in every floor of this building just to see you off."
"You scheming--" Tomoyo began.
"Look, we never, ever thought he'd be bad for you," Will said gently. "Because if we did, we'd never allow him anywhere near a mile of your office. But when he came, you were just so happy. And you were never so happy before him." Will smiled. "And if we only knew where he was right now, I'm sure everyone in this company would take a day off just to storm his house and pound the son of a bitch for hurting you the way he did."
"He's in England," Tomoyo whispered. "I sent him back, he has matters to attend to. And he never broke my heart-- I broke it myself."
"You wouldn't have if there wasn't reason to," Will said gently.
"He's engaged," she replied. Will looked up at her. She nodded, and said "he's been engaged so long to a woman who was my gradeschool teacher. He loves her a lot."
In Will's eyes ran a hard, vicious light that Tomoyo was almost scared. "This you knew, long before he ever went here?"
"I really AM gonna kill that bastard," Will muttered. Tomoyo had never seen him act so much like a man in his life. Will was at best, fluttery.
"I know, but I consented, so there's no point to that," she said. "I will be all right. Okay?"
Will reverted back into his saucy self. "If you say so darling dear. But then again if that Hiiragizawa calls, do tell me, okay? I'd LOVE to hear from him."
"If you're sure that you're perfect, darling, I'm perfect as well," Will said. "I do love you."
And with that, he walked out of the conference room.