As Tomoyo quietly served him the refreshments, Eriol gathered all the balls swimming inside him…balls of courage, what were you all thinking???!!!

Anyway, this is Syaoran no Hime, bringing the conclusion of this plotless fluff…but first…"pabati" (greetings) portion again.

This chapter slash conclusion is lovingly dedicated to SVZ (my mankin reader whom I adore for being so sweet and kind and supportive) ^~^, lariza-chan (a sweet girl who deserves lots of hugs too), omi (eh ano kung sex-starved ang fave line ko? Wala lng kc c Hao kaya nde ako busog…isoli mo n cya, nananawagan lng po), takari-chan ( kudos! Saludo ako s iyo! Lagi kc akong Top Palakol nung nasa elem. p lng ako) and June-chan (thanks for the time u spend on reading my fics).

Romance Pocketbooks Say: The Conclusion

Spinel could feel the mounting tension within his master. His fists were clenched tightly, as if he was squeezing an infant's pacifier furiously. No, it had never seen its young mage master act that way- not even when he and Kaho parted ways, or Nakuru broke his much-toiled statue, or he was forced to watch Britney Spears' MTV marathon because the remote control of the TV was missing. It knew that its master just made the most difficult decision in his life –giving away his biggest, deepest secret. That he too was human, capable of loving too.

But to its dismay, Daidouji Tomoyo wasn't aware of what was happening to the boy before her.

"I'm sure Nakuru would be alright! I mean, she's a survivor! Remember the time when Touya last his patience on her and had thrown her down from the third floor of the university? Look at her, she could still walk and skip around!" said Tomoyo cheerfully.

"I'm not worried about Nakuru," he replied, clasping his hands together tensely.

"Y-You're worried about her dentist then?" she asked solemnly. "I'm sure Nakuru won't do anything that might anger him."

"Iie."

"Then-"

Spinel took the initiative to stand up and leave the two- it knew it would make the confession much easier for the mage.

Eriol smiled gratefully at the feline as it flew away.

"So why are you so worried then?" she wanted to know.

He looked up at her finally, his marine-blue eyes meeting her lilac ones. "Daidouji-san, honestly, do you think I am a boyfriend material?"

Tomoyo was shocked, to put it mildly. It wasn't like Eriol to be this straightforward! She silently checked the brand of the juice she mixed, wondering if she accidentally put something else on the drink, like muriatic acid or Chemical X.

"I know it's an absurd question," said Eriol quickly, embarrassed. "Y-You don't have to answer it-"

She held her hand up. "Wait! I'll answer it…but you'll have to answer back my question too."

"Sure."

She stood up and took the playing cards on the bookshelf. She quickly shuffled the cards thrice, then placed it on the floor between them.

"I-I thought you were going to answer my question-" he said, puzzled.

"In due time," she promised as she counted five cards. "I read about this game somewhere. I'll place the cards on their backs, and you'll pick one. If you pick a black card, you can ask me anything. If you get the red suits, you will have to answer the question that I have for you."

"That's unfair! What if there's only one black suit there?"

"Take your chance then. Besides, where's your guts to take risks?" she asked, nudging him playfully. "Are you a man or a mouse?"

His eyes voiced out the latter. She giggled some more. "Even Mickey Mouse has more spunk than you do!"

"Alright, alright! I'll play along!" He took out the first card. Red.

She smiled sweetly. "Am I a girlfriend material?"

His eyes widened, then the next thing he knew, he was suffering from fits of cough. Damn, the havoc this girl could wreak in him!

Tomoyo tried to sigh, as if it was no big deal. A complete lie about what she was really feeling then – does her friend find that question so disgustingly cheap that he reacted that way?

"Hiiragizawa-kun, we don't have all day to let you finish coughing. Come on, just answer the question. It's just a simple yes or no!" she whined.

He paused, then smiled. "Yes, you are definitely a girlfriend material."

"R-Really?" She couldn't stop the thrill and excitement that rushed into her voice when she heard his positive answer.

He frowned. "You don't believe me?"

"Supply your reasons then," she said.

"Because you're you, and anyone in the world would want to be the special someone of a great person like you," he explained.

She smiled quietly. "Your tongue can be lethally sweet if you want to. What a merciless weapon it will make against us women."

He smiled back, trying to keep the sadness away from his face. When people ask for truth, they wouldn't believe you. Honesty is so overrated.

"Next card," she announced.

He smiled, pleased. It was a black suit.

"My turn to ask."

"Don't ask silly things…like what's my waistline or what kind of sanitary napkin do I use."

"I won't, Daidouji-san," he promised. "Just tell me your answer regarding my original question: am I a boyfriend material?"

She paused shyly. Here he was asking her directly about things he should discuss only with people he was close too.

So does that mean I'm close to him already too? she wondered, feeling a little dizzy.

She silently shut her heart's speech out- it was embarrassing for Eriol to know that his friend was fantasizing on him.

But then, she just wanted to be true to herself.

"Yes," she said clearly, as if telling everyone that it was a fact of life, just like how the moon revolves around the earth or that gravity follows only one direction.

"Why?" he wanted to know.

She blinked, then shrugged. "Because you're you."

He chuckled. "You know, we have to make a rule on plagiarism of answers." He took out the third card. Black again. He grinned, immensely satisfied.

"You know, it's your lucky day," she remarked as she readied herself for his next question.

"Daidouji-san, have you fallen in love with a real man already? Not Squall Lionheart, not Tom Cruise, and not the men you meet in your romance novels, but a real Adam," he asked.

She laughed nervously. "I'm starting to notice the suspicious pattern of your interrogations. They're all about my lovelife!"

"Ah, Daidouji-san, you said it yourself-where is your guts?" he asked, grinning.

She bit her lip. Where did all the red suits go anyway? She was planning to be the one to know about his love life he often keeps in the dark. Now her grand scheme was backfiring against her- it was her love life that was getting exposed here!

"I'm wait_ing," he teased in a singsong voice.

"Hai, hai!" It was her turn to scrutinize the floor. "Y-Yes, I've fallen in love with a real Adam already."

He lost his smile. "Will you…will you tell me something about him?"

She felt her face turn crimson, but she managed to take hold of her Daidouji poise™ just in time. "I'll answer your question if the black suit is in the next card." Without waiting for his answer, she picked the second to the last card.

The Ace of Spades. She wanted to scream. It seemed that even the Lord of Poker Cards were conspiring against her too!

"Now as you've promised, Daidouji-san…" he said, beaming at her expectantly.

She sighed. Ah, a little confession wouldn't hurt. After all, Spinel gave her its blessing to this. To hell with romance pocketbook confessions!

"H-He…he is handsome…and kind…"

"Yes, because I'm sure Daidouji-san won't go for cruel, heartless guys," said Eriol. "The type who beats cute puppies and shuns pretty daisies and trips someone just because he feels like it." In a mumble, he added, "I'm not like that."

Her eyebrow arched, but she gave no comment. "…and, um…very wise and intelligent. He is thrifty with words because he chooses to spend them wisely," she continued.

"And…"he prompted.

"Ah! That's it! I think I flattered you enough already!" she sighed, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

"No, you haven't-" His words trailed off when he realized what she just said.

Tomoyo sighed again and took the initiative to pick out the last card. It was the Joker. She had to look up at him. "Now, Hiiragizawa-kun, since you were the last one who got to ask, you can make me do anything as a dare-" She gulped. It was a big mistake to meet his eyes- for now they were holding hers hostage.

"Eriol…Eriol-kun?" she managed to squeak when she saw that familiar mischievous twinkle in his eye. One she would see when he was about to pull a fast verbal trick on Spinel, or he was going to make Nakuru do something stupid, or just before he would quip something that could make Li's face a living palette of all the hues of red.

"I dare you then to stay still and close your eyes," he murmured, voice getting huskier.

She felt her heart skip a beat. Romance pocketbooks say that when men start to say that, it would mean they were planning to…

"Master Eriol!!!!" cried Nakuru as she marched into the room, unable to be stopped anymore by the struggling Spinel. "Master, my tooth is ok now!!!"

Tomoyo's eyes flapped open in surprise. She turned to the servant. "N-Nakuru?"

Eriol exhaled sharply, as if trying to contain his irritation. "That's…good." Now get out!

"Ah, let's celebrate! Master, let's buy a gallon of rocky road ice cream!"

"Suit yourself," muttered Eriol, tossing her his wallet. Immediately he regretted it- it was as if he just turned over his money to Alibaba et al. His wallet was empty within a minute, but at least Spinel and Nakuru weren't there anymore.

"Ne, Hiiragizawa-kun, don't you think you should have not permitted someone who just came from the dentist' office to feast on a gallon of sweets?" she asked curiously.

He chuckled. "Nakuru has always been the exception to the rule in the gastronomic universe." His smile widened. "Mou, Daidouji-san?"

"Hmm?"

Without prelude, he cupped her face with his hands and kissed her suddenly. She was taken by surprise at first, but his gentle, teasing way of delighting her made her respond. No one taught her, it was instinct. Just like when she loved him secretly, no one prodded her, not even the romance novels she cherished. It was instinct. It was magic. It was love.

When they parted to catch their breaths, Eriol flashed him a quick, boyish grin. "Was that as good as the ones you read in your romance pocketbooks?"

"Hmmm…well…yes…but it's like M&M®."

"How so? It melts in your mouth not in your hand?"

"Iie." She wrapped her arms around his neck. "I just can't get enough."

"My thoughts exactly," murmured Eriol as he lowered his face towards her again.

Nakuru's head popped into the room. "Anyone want a serving of ice cream here?"

Eriol looked up, smiled languidly at his servant, and in a cheerful voice said, "I'm giving you three seconds to vanish from my sight or I'll send Yue over here."

"Yipes!" The moon servant disappeared as quickly as it came.

His eyes smiled lovingly at her. "So where were we again?"

She laughed quietly. "Who cares?"

"Yeah." And without prelude again, he claimed her mouth once more.

This was better than all of the romance pocketbook scenes she had ever read.

end

Syao-chan is asking again all E+T ficcers to support the upcoming E+T Fanfic Contest (in relation to the E+T Anniv on Sept.09). Visit the site in my profile for details.