Notes: My first CCS fic.  And it's going to be an Eriol/Syaoran.  Lynch me if you have to.

Disclaimer: I own no characters from CCS.  Period.

Warnings: NCS-ish situations, eventual yaoi, language, violence, and a lot of angst.  Beware.

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Crucifix of the Heart

-- What is love ? --


When I was around the age of twelve, my father used to make commentaries about nudity.  He'd often pointed out that men don't need to be ashamed of it; all of us have the same mechanics.  There is no need to hide yourself, he said.  This resulted in him taking up the habit of walking around naked upstairs.  He hadn't delevoped this habit when my mother was alive.  It bothered me a little at first – my father's lack of dignity – but after a while, I got around to it. 

My mother had long since passed away on a fateful day overcome by a terminal disease which had flooded the village the year before, leaving my father and me behind in an old crumbling house in the middle of nowhere in particular.  I'd never given a thought about doing anything to lighten the burden in the family because, I figured, I couldn't think of anything to do.  I still remember the moments before my mother died; she was lying on the bed, her hand twitching ever so slightly, probably from pain, the pale-white sheets beneath her rumpled and creased in a disturbing way.

I was right there, watching her in silence, as she lay breathing unnormally, unaware of my presence.  I could do nothing but watch her endure the pain consuming her.  Finally she opened her eyes and saw me.  I tried not to advert my eyes from her, but failed and merely dropped my head, fixing my gaze on the empty floor.

"Syaoran . . ."

I looked up more quickly than I'd imagined to, and felt a wave of despair surrounding me when I saw a trace of smile on my mother's delicate features as our eyes came in contact.  Her hand lifted very slowly towards my direction, as if reaching out to me, as if expecting me to take it in my own.  I didn't move. 

"Syaoran . . ." she said again, her voice thin and weary.

Seeing her like this, in this helpless state, hurt me deeply like never before.  I wondered if I should go to her.  But if I did, I knew I wouldn't be able to turn back.  I crossed the room to the bed and knelt down beside her, placed my hand on the crumpled sheets.  Her hand curled itself around mine, cold and quivering.  It took all the will in me not to pull away. 

There was a shadow of loneliness in her eyes, mingled with regret.  I could not make my mouth work; my throat felt as dry as sandpaper. 

"Syaoran . . . I'm sorry . . ."

I wished she would just abandon her intention to speak.  I felt like yelling and punching the wall.  It seemed the only way to release all the frustration and anger building inside me.  But I swallowed the urge to, and continued to hold my mother's hand instead.  

I didn't see it.  I guessed I was too absorbed in my tornado of feelings at that time that I didn't notice the life in her slowly melting away, into a bleak darkness.  Her eyes closed and never opened again.  And I was left holding her hand, limp and lifeless then. 

My father was downstairs.  I could hear the sounds from the TV quite clearly; it was on too loud.  The 8 o'clock news was coming on.  I knew my father was there on the sofa, watching television.  And I knew too that his mind wasn't on it, but somewhere else. 

That night, my father forbidded me to cook supper.  We ate out instead at some cheap stall.  After all, my family wasn't rich.  He said not a word to me during the entire meal.  Only when he had me tucked into bed did he mutter goodnight to me.  And switched off the lights and left. 

I slept well that night, after some hours of tossing and turning. 

It did occur to me that our family – which now consisted of only me and my father – was having a financial problem.  My father worked as a crop-supplier.  He didn't think of changing his occupation.  At dinner time, my father told me to go out and get a job.  I nodded my comprehension.  But I did not attempt to find any work although I had long since quitted school.  It was three years ago.  I was now sixteen.

One day, I sensed my father was in a terrible mood.  I had never seen him so angry and out of control of himself.  He started flinging the newspapers he read and collected everyday to the floor in a temper.  I was nursing a cup of stale tea when he flew into a fit.  I watched in alarm as my father shredded the newspapers and hurled them across the floor, but I dared not say anything.  Thinking of stopping him would be out of the question.

I was frightened out of my wits but I remained quiet and could only hope he wouldn't tear the house down.  It was undoubtedly halfway crumbling itself and definitely didn't need any extra help with it.  At last, he turned his attention to me, and I could evidently see the mad rage in his eyes.  He resembled somewhat of a psychopath I saw in a horror film. 

I was even more terrified when he strode over to me and threw me down to the floor.  I winced as a jolt of pain ran through my body.  I couldn't think properly, and I was confused as to what was happening.  Then I felt my father's weight upon me, holding me in place.  My father was not particularly a big man, but for an average man, he was strong.  I tried to struggle and kick to break free of his hold, but he kept me down with his body.  I was beginning to panic.  All the while, his gaze pierced into my eyes, the rust-colored orbs blazing into my dark brown ones with a look of apparent sadism in them.  His hands tightened painfully around my wrists and I gasped under the vehemence of it.  I knew out of a corner of my mind that he was enjoying all this.  This thought was proven true when I felt a hardening in his trousers.  My eyes widened in shock when realization hit me that he was aroused.  This was my father doing all this!  For the love of God, what was happening to the world?

"Dad, please," I begged, "don't do this!"

He payed no mind to my pleads, and proceeded to rip the front of my shirt with one hand, holding back both my wrists over my head with the other.  I started yelling incoherently in fear, twisting my body this way and that.

"Stay still, dammit!" my father barked callously, and something in his tone made me stop moving, but the tremors didn't.

"Dad, please . . . for Mother's sake–"  I was nearly giving up.  All my hope was shattering.

To my surprise, he halted his motions, as if remembering about Mother.  An expression of guilt flitted across his face, and his hands released mine abruptly as if stung.  Then, he said with anguish, "Forgive me, son . . .  I-I can't believe–"  He broke off, got to his feet, and ascended up the stairs with haste.  I heard the door to his bedroom slam shut. 

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My father didn't leave his room for the rest of the day, even when I cooked some omelette and brought a plate up to his room, assuming he was hungry.  He wouldn't unlock his door no matter how many times I knocked on it.  Finally, he told me to go away and leave him be, so I did.  I held respect for him for he was my father, and I was ready to forgive him for what he'd done. 

But the fact that my very own father had tried to rape me still haunted my thoughts.  It sent shivers through my spine.  Night came, and I went to bed with an empty loneliness lingering at the bottom of my heart.  As I dressed in my night-clothes, I silently wished that Mother was still alive.  She often used to kiss my forehead and tell me that she loved me before I slipped into bed each night. 

I reached for the picture of her which I kept under my pillow, and looked at it.  Just by doing so, I could know that my sanity was still there and not lost.  She looked beautiful as ever.

"G'night, Mother."

She smiled. 

I wasn't alone.

Not for that night at least.

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Notes: So that's the prologue.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Please r/r.  Thank you much!  ^_^