L-chan's notes: If this has been done before, I apologize for any unintentional similarities. It's just an idea I had, and maybe it's something you've always wondered about, too. Thanks in advance for reading and reviewing.
Disclaimer: Card Captor Sakura and its amazing characters belong to CLAMP.
The Good Daughter
(A One-Shot Sonomi POV)
He smiles at me, but it doesn't quite reach his blue eyes. Maybe he's nervous, or unsure, or resigned. We both knew this was coming. It's just a formality now. It's all about the words. He's said his words. Now it's up to me to do my part. I know which words I'm supposed to say, but they're trapped in my throat like a bite of a bitter apple that just won't go down. Choking me.
I absently reach into my pocket, and my fingers brush against the folded sheet of paper I've tucked away. The letter only came today, and I've already memorized every word. I've read it and reread it, folded it and unfolded it, wishing that it said something different.
Wishing that everything were different, even as he's smiling at me.
In spite of what it says, the letter came at just the right time. It makes my decision easier. At least, it should. Or, it would, if the decision were even really mine. But it's not, is it?
Even so, right now, the power is in my hands. I can change everything. Am I brave enough? Never in my life have I admitted to being scared. I have been fearless and strong and determined. I have graduated from one of the most demanding and respected business programs in the country. I have raced my motorcycle against any man who was foolish enough to challenge me. I have always gone after what I wanted, and I have always gotten it.
Well, almost always.
Only once has the one thing I truly wanted eluded me.
Sonomi-chan! I'm getting married, Sonomi-chan. To Kinomoto-sensei. Isn't it wonderful? I'm so happy! You'll help me, won't you? You're so good about these things. I wish I were as organized and efficient as you are. You have such amazing taste and style, and I want you to help me find a dress. And we'll need flowers, too. And... and... oh, there's just so much to think about. Please, Sonomi-chan....
That was over seven years ago, and the pain is still as fresh as it was that day.
Maybe this would help me to heal. I haven't been able to find anything else that can give me the same feeling of happiness. A part of me died then, and all I can do is pretend that every day is not a struggle to find meaning. That what I have is enough. That I don't need anything more.
Because maybe I'm not entitled to more.
What I have should be enough. I have so much. But it's not what I want. None of it. None of it matters.
He stands before me, a signpost of my life. Showing me where I've been, and asking me to choose a new direction. Which path should I take? One is safe and predetermined. The other is rocky, but it would be mine alone.
I have to do what is expected of me. This is what everyone wants, and it is for the best. I know that and understand it. The time to protest has passed. All of my objections have been dismissed, and I am to honor Grandfather's wishes.
They are a respected family, he'd assured me, although his voice said that there would be no further argument on the subject. You will be taken care of.
I don't want to be taken care of. I want to live life by my own terms. And we've discussed that. I will be allowed to work or travel or ride my bike. Anything I want will not be denied me.
Except for one.
It's just one little decision, after all. One that has already been made. But it still isn't too late.
It makes sense. That's the most frustrating thing about it. My reasons against this were just shadows to disguise my true feelings. I can't really be opposed to it.
It is my duty, after all. My responsibility.
And I will always fulfill my duty to my family.
Someone has to. Because I am the only one left. The only daughter of the Amamiya family to carry on our proud traditions. Ever since she was disowned.
I've wanted to hate her for that, and him, too, for taking her away from me. And for putting me in this position. Now it is up to me to be the good one. Just as I always have been.
But still, I've never been Grandfather's favorite.
This is my chance to change that. To show him where my loyalties lay. To show him that I know what is important.
Or I could run out of here and never look back.
She'd take me in. She'd help me. She'd accept me.
Even after the way I've treated her, pushing her away and refusing to understand her.
It's too hard. It hurts too much. All she wants is to be happy. And she is. I've never known her to be so happy.
She never seemed to fit in this family. She's too scattered, too idealistic, and too impulsive. When we were younger, we were always scolded about proper conduct for young ladies. But when the lectures were over, she was outside climbing trees again as if she hadn't heard a word. And she always got away with it, because Grandfather indulged her. If I had tried such a thing, I wouldn't have been able to sit down for a week.
We were all so protective of her. Maybe we were trying to make up for the fact that we never really understood her. We love her, but she isn't like the rest of us.
Secretly, I have always wanted to be more like her. Artistic instead of pragmatic. Free-spirited instead of restrained. Selfless instead of obligated. Living instead of existing.
But I can't. If I have one fear, it's that I'm afraid of letting my family down.
Like she did.
She is the dreamer, and I am the realist. I am the responsible one, and she is the disappointment.
And yet, she is happy.
So why can't I be happy for her? Shouldn't her happiness bring me some comfort? Knowing that she has the life she wants....
Her words come back to me, and though in my mind's eye I can still see the delicate strokes of her handwriting across the sheet of pink stationery, I hear her kind, lilting voice speaking them to me instead.
Sonomi-chan, I have wonderful news—I'm having another baby! Fujitaka-sensei and I are so excited, and little Touya-kun can't wait to be a big brother. They've both been taking such good care of me ever since we found out.
Oh, I wish you could see how big Touya-kun is now. These photographs just don't show what a handsome little boy he is. Sometimes, he gets this scowl on his face when he's trying to act tough, but it's so adorable that I have to bite my lip to keep from laughing. I can't believe he's six-and-a-half already. It seems like only yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital. Now, in seven months, we'll be bringing home his new brother or sister.
Just between us, Sonomi-chan, I hope it's a girl. I'd love to have a sweet little girl this time. Do you remember when we'd play with our dolls and pretend they were real baby girls? I always said that one day, when I had a daughter, I'd name her Sakura. Can't you just picture how beautiful she'd be? With my green eyes and sensei's auburn hair? I know you probably think it's silly, planning on a girl so soon, but I just have this feeling....
There's more, but I don't want to think about it right now. It's too much.
He's still waiting, and his smile falters, just a bit, as this silence goes on much longer than it should. You could hear a feather if it fell to the ornate wool rug beneath our feet.
But now it hits me. What I want. What will finally allow me to move on.
I need someone to love. Someone who will love me back. Someone who will never leave me.
I don't know why it didn't occur to me before. Maybe I didn't think it was the right time. Or maybe I've been thinking that work could fill the void. But there's nothing warm about a stack of papers, nothing comforting about a column of numbers.
But... a baby. Someone who needs me. Someone to hold, and play with, and nurture. Someone to encourage, and laugh with, and spoil. Someone I can give everything to. Someone who will be my reason for being. Someone who will be what she was, and what she never will be.
Since she left, I've been alone. And now I see it doesn't have to be that way. I was just being stubborn.
A foreign sensation floods through my body, rushing along my bloodstream to my head and making me dizzy.
I haven't felt hopeful in so long. Every day is about responsibility and routine. I've kept my schedule full on purpose, leaving me little time to dwell on my resentment and loneliness. But I haven't had time to feel anything else, either. I've been numb. I've forgotten what excitement feels like. When was the last time I looked forward to something other than work?
He could be the answer.
He notices the change in my expression. I can feel it myself. There is a light in the darkness, and I'm racing toward it.
There has been no mention of love. It's not something either of us expects from this arrangement. It's all been very formal. It's business. And as with any negotiation, each party must receive something for a successful transaction. Everything has been worked out to the satisfaction of both families. My future has been reduced to a few lines on a contract.
It seems fitting.
I don't really know him. And I'll probably never really love him. But he understands that. I'm sure he feels the same way. I don't hold that against him. How could I? We're both in the same position.
Now I realize that I need him. We need each other. He will give me a child, and I will give him an heir. Our need is the same; only our reasons are different.
When I have a child, then I will be happy.
And, maybe then, I'll finally understand her.
I've kept him waiting long enough. It's been inevitable. I know that now. I've always known. There is only one answer I can give.
"Yes," I finally say, my voice filled with strength and confidence. "I'd be honored to marry you, Daidouji-san."