Nocturne

by Ekai Ungson

legality: CLAMP/Kodansha owns Card Captor Sakura. Characters used without permission.

For Chelle, Ciircee, and Varon. ^-^

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The night was alive in this part of town, where bright lights and loud music reigned supreme in a crowd of half-drunk, half-drugged partygoers or 'trippers' as they liked to call themselves. The night was alive with the techno noise from the speakers, from the hypnotic turns of the neon lights. The night was alive in the gyrating bodies of young men and women from all walks and states of life. Here, time did not flow, neither did it pass. It remained frozen. The sun neither rose nor set. The difference between night and day did not exist. To these desperate people, the only things that mattered were the darkness and the occasional flashes of light, and how much fun they could squeeze into the eternity that was a few hours short of bliss.

The air smelled of alcohol, perfume, sweat. It held the tension released from the dancing crowd, the essence the endlessness the partyhoppers lived for. Stomp to the beat. Step to the groove.

In the heart of it all, a man sat, scanning the crowds, a beer in his left hand, a girl in his right. He took a swig of the drink, feeling it go to his head, and surveyed the place again like a king looking over his constituents. He looked perfectly at home in black leather and hot pants. He looked perfectly comfortable amid the overcrowded place and pulsating music.

Against all the fast gestures, one movement caught his eye. A girl was making her way slowly, gracefully across the thick crowd. She wasn't dancing, she was merely walking, slowly, might he add, which was why she stood out from everyone else. She moved through the throng with a sort of practiced coolness that made him all the more intrigued. From his perch at the second floor, he stared.

The young man looked at her face.

She caught his eye and smiled coyly before disappearing further into the gyrating bodies and the darkness.

--Uno: Flavor of the Week—

Hiiragizawa Eriol could barely open his eyes, much less move. His head was throbbing painfully and he felt a strong sort of nausea come on. Maybe he'd had one cocktail too many.

"Bullshit," he muttered. His hand flew to his forehead in an attempt to stave the pain. "Bullshit," he repeated with more force this time.

The woman beside him stirred, covered only by a sheet. "What's wrong, lover?"

He stared at her and tried to rack his befuddled brain into functioning. What was her name again? Then he remembered that he never asked anyway. "Nasty hangover, baby. Can you make it home alone?"

The girl kissed him before rising. "No problem."

They were all Baby, Honey, Darling, Girl. He'd lost track and count. It didn't matter, really. Not one of them had ever complained. Well, not that they could— he never saw them again after one night.

The girl finished putting her clothes on and leaned in for another kiss. "Sure you're not up for another bout?"

He smirked. "Believe me, the spirit is willing."

"I'll see you tonight, then," she replied as she let herself out.

I sincerely doubt that, he thought as he heard the door close. He fell back into his pillows, head still pulsing. Eriol muttered a series of expletives. Damned alcohol side effects. He really ought to cut down. For his own safety.

He blacked out.

~*~

When he woke up five hours later, the sun was high in the sky and traffic outside was brewing.

The light on his answering machine was blinking rapidly, indicating messages. He fixed himself a pot of coffee and took two aspirins, watching the world as it went by. This was his life, a never-ending series of parties, an endless cycle of booze at night and hangovers in the morning. He had inherited enough money to indulge and he saw no need to work. He went from day to day with only one objective in mind: To Have Fun.

And he did. He practically owned the night and everything that came with it. The invitations for parties and soirees never stopped coming in.

He was never alone, because he was always surrounded by people. Propositions from women AND men never stopped pouring in. As such, he bedded someone different every night.

But he found himself unable to engage in a serious relationship. Some girl struck his fancy and held it only for a couple of days. At most. He couldn't attach himself to anyone for any longer to get to know them. He lost interest easily and changed girlfriends like clothes. In this, he was named Most Elusive AND Most Eligible Bachelor for three years in a row.

Who wouldn't want him? He was rich and handsome.

They were all Baby, Honey, Darling. He never bothered with names. He never got long enough to call them by their first names.

Never close enough to know them and let them know him.

He pushed the button on his phone and somebody's voice filled the room.

"Eriol? We've got a bash tonight. Somewhere out in the pier? If you wanna come along just drive up, it'll be at warehouse 6. See ya."

Eriol pushed the pause button just as someone from below buzzed.

"Yep?" he asked the intercom.

"It's Kenzo. Lemme up."

Eriol buzzed his friend in and waited. Kenzo entered a few minutes later.

"You look like hell," Kenzo said needlessly.

"Who asked you?" Eriol shot back. "What's up?"

"You've heard about that bash on the pier?"

"Yep, just got the message," Eriol replied. "We're going."

"So. Do you happen to remember the name of that girl you had with you last night?" Kenzo asked.

Eriol turned to him and shook his head slowly. "For the love of all I hold holy—I have NO idea."

Kenzo grinned. "Someday, bro, you're going to find a girl who can rope you down—and you sure as hell are going to remember her name."

Eriol only smiled. They wish.

~*~

The night was alive in this part of town, the endless, endless night, where the sun neither rose nor set, and only one thing mattered—to forget the world's woes.

In the heart of it all, a young man stood, swaying to the synchronized beats with two beautiful women. He threw back his head—

And a movement caught his eye. The same one from last night. He froze.

It was the same girl, the same glorious hair that looked as if it never ended. The same pale skin the quality of expensive pearls. She held a black cardigan over her shoulder, walking across the floor with a demeanor so calm, she exuded ice.

She looked up at him and he caught the color of her eyes. Dark, smoldering violet-blue. He kept staring, never mind that it was a little rude. The world had stopped moving. Everyone in the room was a pleasant blur. Everyone but this creature who smiled at him, as mysteriously as last night, and went on.

Eriol dislodged himself from the grip of the women holding him and went chasing after whoever that dark-haired girl was. He pushed and shoved his way through the crowd, in a manner bordering on desperation.

Too late.

He got to the door and she was gone.

~~~tsuzuku.