Author's Note: Well, here I go again, a full year after stopping my whole ExT binge, writing another fanfic. But I have a plan this time! So maybe I'll actually finish. ^_^
*Edit* I took out the letters at the beginning of each part. It just didn't fit.
Soundtrack (or what I was listening to as I wrote this): Don't Dream It's Over and Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer
Disclaimer: I don't own CCS or anything of the sort.
Part One- A Chance Meeting
She rushed down the hall, away from the sounds of cheer and laughter and an occasional drunken thud, clutching her purse to her chest. The heels were slowing her- she pulled them off and padded quickly towards the glass door just a few feet ahead. It was well after midnight, and the celebration had gone on too long for her sanity to bear. She had made a perfunctory excuse with her typical cheery face- not that anyone was sober enough to pay attention- and walked as calmly to the door as she could. Outside, all semblance of self-control flew out the window. Her curls flew behind her; the pent-up tears started flowing, her mascara trailing down her pale cheeks.
She had promised never to lose control like this, never let the world see, but it was all just too sudden, all of it. Her mother had been relocated to the US just a month ago. Sonomi had never been around much, but being at work and being on the other side of the world was quite different.
Then Sakura and Syaoran had announced their engagement.
She knew the day was going to come, that Sakura would never be hers, but this made it so permanent. This doused all hope, destroyed all the tiny fantasies she dared to indulge in whenever they fought (which was rarely). Her motto, that she needed only Sakura's happiness to make her happy, now struggled constantly with the horrible feelings of betrayal that sprung up.
She pushed the glass door, the only barrier to her freedom-
But it wouldn't open.
"Damn you," she cursed quietly.
"Why, Daidouji-san, what language!" came a low voice, hinting at laughter.
She stiffened. She hadn't heard anyone following; perhaps she was so far gone that she had advanced to full-blown hallucinations?
"I didn't mean to surprise you, Daidouji-san."
He was definitely there. She straightened and grabbed a tissue out of her purse and wiped her face as best she could, unsure of how she looked. Then she turned to face the newcomer.
Face was perhaps inaccurate; she only came up to his chest, and had to tilt her head to look into the darkest blue eyes she had ever seen. There was a slight sheen from the glasses he wore, and he looked a little familiar, but nobody she could place.
"I haven't seen you since elementary school, I do believe," the man said.
He made no comment about her appearance. Perhaps he was just polite.
"I'm sorry," she said, "I don't quite remember who you are."
He smiled a little. "I never thought you would forget me, Daidouji-san." He raised an eyebrow. "Even if I only spent a few months you with you and Sakura and the rest at Tomoeda?" His smile seemed very odd, now.
Only a few months. Only long enough to try to destroy Sakura-chan countless times, although his reasoning had been sound and Sakura made stronger for it.
"Hiiragizawa Eriol?" she asked.
"The only," he confirmed. "But I'm being rude. I shouldn't keep you if you need to leave." He grasped the cool metal handle and pulled open the door, letting the chilly February air in.
Pull. Of course.
"Yes, I do need to go, thank you," she said, stepping back into her shoes and walking past him.
"How are you getting home?" he asked.
Damn. She'd forgotten that. She had arrived with Sakura and had left her car at the Kinomoto house. But she didn't quite trust him; she never had.
"I called a cab," she lied.
"You need someone to wait with you," he said. A statement, not a question. And he went out to stand next to her.
She could either admit her lie or pretend the cab never showed up. It would be easier to do the latter, though he would probably see right through her.
They stood silently for what seemed like ages, the cold air nipping at her unprotected face and ears and making her shiver. She tilted her head to look up at him. He stared ahead, seeming utterly unperturbed by the freezing weather. England couldn't be that cold, could it?
"Would you like my jacket?" he asked suddenly. His perception was unnerving. "It's rather chilly out here," he said, pulling it off.
It would be pointless to refuse.
"Thank you," she murmured. He laid the jacket over her shoulders, and she pulled it tightly around her. He remained unchanged, practically a statue. The wind ruffled his dark, thick, blue-black hair. She had never seen any guy with nicer hair; his gleamed in the light, danced with the wind, and then settled down exactly as it was before.
Another couple of minutes passed, and since he seemed to have no intention of going away, she would just have to lie. Again.
"Oh, perhaps I was unclear in giving the address." She reached into her bag for her cell phone. "I'll give them another call."
"I can give you a ride, Daidouji-san," he said, gesturing at a car.
She wished he would just leave. It was strange enough that Hiiragizawa-kun would come back to Tomoeda after a seven year absence, but it was stranger still that he would spend his time standing out in the bitter cold with her, rather than announcing his presence to the people at the party. "Shouldn't you get back to the party?" she asked. "You seem to have arrived rather late, because I didn't see you at all-"
"I wasn't invited," he cut in.
She turned towards him, eyes questioning. "Then how did you know to come?"
"I look in on my darling descendant and the Clow Mistress often enough to know these things," he said.
"Look in?" she asked suspiciously.
"Magically," he replied. "I had no intention of making my presence known."
"Why not?" He was probably up to something again. But the business with the Cards was all over- perhaps his plans weren't magical, but conjugal?
ancestor would have interrupted his own engagement party to try to destroy me"
–he grinned, looking disturbingly like the Chesire Cat- "And I don't think
Sakura-san would have taken well to that."
It was a plausible, logical answer. But she still didn't trust him.
"You haven't answered my question," he reminded her.
Oh yes, that. He knew she was lying, for sure, but he was too polite to mention it. And she did need a way home, but from him? Well, it might be good for her, not to talk to someone so sickeningly happy and drunk, to top it off.
"Yes, thank you, Hiiragizawa-kun," she said.
He led the way to his car, silently, and he opened the door for her, the very picture of a gallant gentleman. She slipped into the car and checked her appearance in the rearview mirror. She looked passably fine, if rather pale. He closed the door softly behind her. A second later, he was in the car. He started it up, and they headed out of the parking lot.
"So how have you been?" he asked, turning the heat up.
"Fine," she replied. He certainly wasn't someone that she would tell anything to.
"Fine, Hiiragizawa-kun," she repeated.
He wouldn't pry, would he?
"Fine, at Sakura-san's engagement party?" he asked. "Should I believe that? It was all rather sudden, the whole thing; they're only seventeen, after all."
She glared at him, and sunk into her seat. She never should have agreed to this.
"Daidouji-san?" They stopped at a red light, and he turned to look at her. Those eyes…they saw too much. They would see right through her.
"Yes, you should," she said anyway. She didn't have to admit to anything, not to him.
"But I don't," he persisted.
"What about you and Mizuki-sensei, then? How are your lives?" she retorted.
He jolted, ever so slightly, and accelerated carefully as the light changed to green.
"I'm fine. Kaho…is probably fine," he said.
So there was something wrong. She hadn't meant anything by her question; she just wanted a change of subject. But apparently, she had found what she needed.
"Don't ask me about Sakura-chan, and I won't ask you about Mizuki-sensei," she said.
He made no reply, and they drove in silence until they reached her house. She had never told him where it was or how to get there, but the reincarnation of Clow Reed could hardly need directions.
"So how long are going to be in Japan?" she asked as they came to a stop in front of the large brass gates.
"However long it takes," he replied mysteriously. What trace of touchiness from before was completely expunged.
Cryptic. How lovely.
"It takes?" she questioned.
"However long it takes," he repeated.
"Well, in that case, I won't keep you from what you need to do. Thank you for the ride." She smiled mockingly, opened the door, stepped out and walked through the gates that opened automatically for her.
It wasn't until the next morning that she realized that she still had his jacket. At first, it annoyed her, because this was surely an excuse for another meeting. But then she discovered the letters the jacket contained, and she realized that this was definitely unplanned. The letters had all been returned unopened, and all were addressed to Miss Kaho Mizuki.