"Are you fine now?" asked Tomoyo worriedly after Eriol's rapid breathing has slowed down.
"Y-Yes," gasped Eriol while silently cursing himself. Of all the stupid cosmic jokes fate can play on him, why this?
Why did he make a complete fool of himself in front of his inamorata?
Why did he have to an asthma attack just when things are starting to look good for him?
Damn the times that he absent-mindedly fondled Spinel when he was depressed.
Damn the times that he played on Nakuru's annoying heavily-scented perfumes.
Damn the times that he played "She loves me, she loves me not" on the flowers in his garden.
Damn, damn, damn.
"What is going on, Hiiragizawa-kun?" she wanted to know. "Why was there a Sakura card? And why did Sakura-chan leave you behind to explain? Don't tell me that you were the mastermind of all of these?"
"I'm not!" he yelped. "It wasn't my idea, honest! I was a victim of injustice too!"
Up at the branches, Li Syaoran sighed too. "Bet you my pants that Daidouji is having a hard time digesting the words 'Eriol' and 'Victim of Injustice' in one sentence."
"Amen," agreed the pets.
Eriol brushed some bangs off his forehead as Tomoyo watched him. "In fact…this is your best friend's idea…and Nakuru's."
"Yeah. Diabolical minds…"
"But why did they conjure up such plan?"
His heart stopped beating. "P-Pardon me?" he croaked, looking queasy.
"I said, why did they plan such a thing?"
"W-Why? Ehehehe…um…w-why?" he stammered, cursing himself for his unintelligible mutterings.
He stood up suddenly. "Ano…Daidouji-san…"
She stood up too.
He clenched his fists.
Damn, wimps must run in the family. Li is one, and I am too!
"Say it," hissed Sakura and Nakuru who were on the other tree, spying down on the suddenly shy Clow sorcerer. "Say it, say it!"
"Ssh!" hissed Li. "Leave the boy alone!"
"Suddenly you're on his side!" said Kero.
"I feel his pain," said the Li clan head indignantly. "I've gone through those sufferings too."
"Oh boy," said Spinel, rolling its eyes.
"Because…" prompted Tomoyo.
"Because…they want me to be a hero," he squeaked.
"What?!" gasped the spies too.
Nakuru looked like she wanted to tear her tresses off. "Master!!!"
Sakura, on the other hand, was on the verge of tears. "Oh Eriol-kun, after all those times that I thought I looked up to you…you disappointed me!"
"Blue tights…muscle-hugging top, red cape, red underwear worn outside… with a big E on his chest," muttered Kero. "Super Eriol."
Spinel was quick to defend its master. "Idiot! That's a super hero."
Li clenched his fists. "Screw you, Hiiragizawa! That is unbecoming of those who come from our bloodline!"
"Why would they want you to be a…hero?" asked Tomoyo curiously.
Eriol's back was still turned on her. "Because…I told them that I want to…" He faced her slowly. "…be close to you again."
Her eyes widened. "Ano-"
He looked down at the sidewalk, on its dirt, pebbles, and piece of chewed bubble gum, as if they would unlock the mystery of Eriol's sudden hero complex.
"It all started long, long ago…"
The spies on the treetop sweatdropped.
"He's not going to confess…he's going to tell her a bedtime fairy tale!" exclaimed Sakura.
"We better do something before he puts the mistress to sleep!" added Nakuru.
Li raised his hand up to silence them. "Ssh. We'll wait and see. We have to trust Hiiragizawa on this. He can pull this off, I know."
"Or he can pull it off apart," muttered Nakuru.
"…After I saved you, I…accidentally…" Colors flooded the Clow reincarnation's face. "You…"
"You kissed me," said Tomoyo, voice blank.
He stared harder on the ground, hoping it would be enough to make the earth's fault lines do a rock and roll so there would be an earthquake, and the ground below him will swallow him whole so he wouldn't have to see Tomoyo's reaction after his confession.
Apparently, even the Geo-god hated his guts and had conspired with the whole cosmic universe to make him a laughingstock in front of the only woman who had managed to turn him upside down, inside out. The sidewalk was still a sidewalk, with its dirt, pebbles and chewed up bubblegum. It didn't even budge an inch.
Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. The word resounded mockingly in his mind. It seems that Tomoyo has not forgiven him yet.
"So what is its connection with this?" she asked.
"I-I then…realized…that….well…" He gulped nervously. "You are cool."
She blinked, and so did the people on the treetop.
"Suppi, we better get started on that self-esteem project we have for the master," said Nakuru, who jumped down. "I cannot tolerate watching this further."
"You're absolutely right for once, genderless nobody," said Spinel, joining its friend down.
"I'm coming with you!" said Sakura, taking Kero along. "Syao-kun, let's go."
"I'll join you later, my flower," he said, his eyes still trained on his technical ancestor.
She shrugged. "OK, pancakes." She kissed him on his cheek and jumped down.
"Thanks," said Tomoyo.
Eriol could vaguely make out shadows on a nearby tree retreating away. He knew those weren't just insects or animals. So they were watching him make a fool out of himself!
He promised himself that he would launch a counterattack on them tonight…but as for this time, he should get this over with. He knew Tomoyo was patient, but with how he was wearing precious minutes away, she might find the end of her infinite patience.
But at least he was sure that no one would be watching anymore. He found himself getting his courage back. "Daidouji-san, what I mean to say is…I want you…"
She was stunned. "Hiiragizawa-kun?"
"…to listen to me carefully," he said, crossing his fingers.
"Um…for so many years…we stopped talking to each other…"
"Just get on with it!" yelled a familiar voice. "Tell her that you love her!"
The two stopped. Eriol turned around, to the direction of the tree. "MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, YOU SON OF A GUN! I CAN'T TELL HER YET HOW MUCH I LOVE HER BECAUSE I'M SCARED TO DEATH! S-C-A-R-E-D!!!" he shouted.
"WHAT IF SHE REJECTS ME? WHAT IF SHE DECIDES THAT I'M A PERVERT? WHAT IF SHE THINKS THAT THE KISS IS NOT SIGNIFICANT TO ME?"
"Hiiragizawa-kun…" whispered Tomoyo.
Eriol paused, then slowly, painfully, turned around just as it dawned on him what he just did.
Damn, that was stupid.
"T-That was a quite a shock," said Tomoyo, smiling finally. "Why, I was just about to tell you that I want you too."
"You were?" he muttered feebly.
"Yeah. I never know that you were the slow one," she teased. "Actually, I've known that long ago."
"W-What?!" he yelped.
"Just kidding. Nakuru clued me into it yesterday."
"Tomoyo-chan!" said Nakuru cheerfully. "What time is your choir practice tomorrow?"
"Hmmm…" She gave her the time.
"Well, ok. See ya then!"
"Wait, Nakuru!" she called. "Why did you ask for my sked?"
"Well," The servant crossed her arms in front of her chest. "I'm not suppose to tell you. It's a secret. Mistress Sakura told me not to tell you anything."
"That's right!" said the moon servant proudly. "You'll never find out that we're planning to make my master confess to you that he loves you by tomorrow, after your practice!"
Eriol sweatdropped. "Damn!"
Tomoyo giggled. "Why can't you just tell it to me straight? Why do you have to make use of situations?"
"B-Because I'm scared!" he cried. "Because I don't want to hear rejections!"
"Loving is all about risking too," she reminded him.
"But I can't risk you!" he said. "I'd rather love you from afar than have you hate me and disappear from my life!"
"You…love me that much?"
He nodded dumbly. "With that said…I better go." His head was hung. "I'm sorry for bothering you…with those fake goons and all."
"I'm sorry too," she said softly.
Ouch! He felt like a spear pierced his heart!
"I thought you had more guts than that. Just when I thought I love you too…"said Tomoyo.
Eriol's eyes lit up. "S-Seriously?"
"I've never been more serious in my life," said the girl as she touched his shoulder. "Even if you're the farthest thing from my ideal knight in shining armor, you are still my hero. Because…because you love me so much. That's the noblest thing anyone can do for someone. For me."
"Yes!" Eriol pumped a fist in the air. "She loves me!"
Li watched as Eriol hugged the equally happy Tomoyo.
All's well that ends well.
"You really don't have to be a hero to a woman by being a fighter…you can also be a hero to her for being her lover," he reflected. "I'm a hero too, just as Sakura always say."
"Too bad I forgot the camcorder. This would have been a great hit with the gang."
Yup, Li. Too bad! At least, I, Syaoran no Hime, recorded the events in this fic. Syaowee saves the day!
Anyway, thanks for reading!
Oops…it's the end already?