AN: God bless whoever came up with the idea of songfics. I wouldn't have half as many stories without them in my life. I love 'em! They're so easy to write when the song fits, and this one is actually pretty close. Linda Eder is my hero! Everyone listen to her songs! I order you! But please read my fic first. I'd really appreciate it.
Just so everyone knows, I'm following the manga ending, 'cause I haven't seen the anime ending yet. I'm so freakin' deprived over here, ain't I? I mean, I know what happens, but it's not the same as actually seeing it, ya know? ARGH! Oh well. I don't own CCS, and I don't own the song. I don't know how to say goodbye, either. -;;
(PS. I omitted one four-line segment of the song. It was the only part that didn't fit. If you know the song, don't get angry with me! It was an artistic liberty! Nothing more!)
I Don't Know How to Say Goodbye
The front door slammed shut; seconds later, a eleven year old girl wandered into the kitchen.
The two young men already in the kitchen threw her smiles. One was the smile of a longtime friend; the other was the smirk of an older brother who was more than ready to let the teasing commence.
"Well, look who's…home…" the words barely made it off Touya's tongue when he took a really good look at his little sister. His smirk faded to something akin to concern. "Sakura?"
Kinomoto Sakura looked nothing like her usual self. Her chin was tilted down, but even that failed to hide the fact that her normally mobile face was pale and drawn, and her bright green eyes were brimming with tears she had yet to shed.
"Sakura-chan?" Yukito said from behind Touya. "Are you all right?"
She nodded. "Hai," she said, but her voice cracked even on that single syllable.
Touya moved around the counter and stopped in front of her. He bent down to about her eye level. "Why are you crying? Did something happen?" His expression darkened. "Was it that Chinese gaki?"
She shook her head again, this time in a negative response; as she did that, a few drops fell from her eyes. She realized this, and suddenly made a mad dash out of the room and up the stairs. A short moment later, a door slammed shut upstairs.
Touya straightened up and sighed. "I'm gonna kill that Hong Kong brat," he muttered as he stared up towards the spot where he had last been able to see his sister.
Upstairs, in her room, Sakura had thrown herself on her bed without even bothering to take off her school jacket or change out of her uniform. She buried her face in the sleeves of her coat, finally letting her tears fall. They made several damp spots on the fabric.
"Yo, kiddo!" Kero popped out of the little drawer that was his bedroom and waved a paw in the air in his ever-bubbly greeting for his chosen Mistress. But that energy vanished when he saw Sakura laying face down on her bed, crying.
He landed on the bed and regarded her for a moment before expressing his concern. "What's the matter, Sakura? Low fever? Tummy hurt?"
She shook her head. "Iie."
But all she could hear was Syaoran's calm voice, saying the three words that had turned her once-again nice, ordered world completely upside down. "I love you."
He had seemed so calm, so sure of himself. A far cry from the stuttered, red faced moments that she now realized were attempts. He had been trying to tell her. Which meant that this wasn't a new development. He had felt this way for a long time.
"You're my number one. That's all I wanted to say."
And then he had left. He had walked away as though he had just made a comment to her about the weather. He had left her standing there on the sidewalk, gaping like a fish caught on a hook. And she had been too stunned and too stupid to give him any kind of response.
And the teddy bear. The infamous teddy bear that had fallen from his school bag as he pulled one of his legendary blushing-stuttering-running away disappearing acts. She had picked it up and tried to return it, and he had told her to keep it. It had been that long. And she had been too stupid to even notice, too dumb to get a clue when it was right in front of her.
And he had walked away.
How do I feel about Syaoran? she wondered, closing her eyes. What does he mean to me? I know he's a good friend to me, but is that all?
She paused for a moment.
No. It's not. But…this is still different from what I felt towards Yukito-san. What is it?
Li Syaoran frowned as he listened to the voice on the other end of the line. "Hai, okaa-san…"
He listened a little longer, and frowned again.
"Hai…hai…" he murmured. "Yes, I understand…" His expression fell even further as he sighed and nodded, even though the person on the other end of the line couldn't see it. "All right, mother. I'll come back to Hong Kong."
A few seconds later, he said goodbye. He moved the phone away from his ear and replaced it gently in the cradle. But his hand stayed on the phone for a long moment afterwards. He didn't move at all; he just stared at the harbringer of his personal doom.
After all this time, he was finally going back. He was going back to Hong Kong, back to his homeland, his Clan, his family, and his destiny as future Clan leader. He was to become one of the most powerful individuals in China. By all accounts, he should have been thrilled.
So why did it feel like someone had just dropped a few tons worth of granite into his stomach?
He slowly moved his hand away from the phone and turned away from it. With equally slow movements he walked into his living room and took a seat, perched on the end of the couch.
He was going back. He was leaving Tomoeda behind.
He was leaving Sakura behind as well.
His hands clenched into fists in his lap as he thought of the emerald-eyed, auburn-haired, ever-smiling Card Mistress. Well, she hadn't been smiling when he had just blurted out the truth to her like that.
She didn't answer me, either, he thought absently, remembering how stunned she had looked. She really hadn't had a clue. I probably screwed things up. Ugh…whoever said that the course of true love doesn't run smooth knew what he was talking about.
He didn't even know if the Clan would accept her. She wasn't of the Clan, she wasn't of the blood. Traditionally, that just wouldn't fly. But she was the Master of what were formerly known as the Clow Cards, now changed with her own power to become the Sakura Cards.
That might make her a little more acceptable in the eyes of some Clan members, but it would probably make others feel like murdering her. And no idle threats, either. Certain members of Syaoran's family could very well be capable of killing the young Card Mistress to suit their own designs. Not that he would let that happen.
But she was powerful. She had defeated Yue in the Final Judgement, changed the Cards, and broken a spell created by Clow Reed himself. She was a force to be reckoned with, she had the cards…there was no reason for them not to accept her.
Oh, who was he kidding? Tradition was tradition. She wasn't of the blood, and he was the future Clan leader. The lineage had to be kept pure.
But living without Sakura…
Syaoran stood up and walked to the window. For some reason, he was suddenly incapable of sitting still. Quite a far cry from the stoic, disciplined warrior who had arrived in Tomoeda on that fateful day so long ago. That boy at age ten could have been caught in the middle of a hurricane and probably not batted an eye or moved a muscle.
Now here he was, going all to pieces and losing all his self-control over some girl.
Except she wasn't just some girl. She was Kinomoto Sakura. The girl he loved.
The girl who hadn't given him an answer.
And the girl he was probably going to have to leave behind forever.
Sakura clutched the package to her chest. A gift from Mizuki-sensei. She had gotten one, and Tomoyo had gotten one. This one was for Syaoran.
What should I say to him? she pondered, trying to imagine the moment when she would see him and speak to him. She hadn't seen him since that day after school, when he had confessed.
"I love you."
The words still played themselves over and over again within her memory.
And I still don't have an answer for him, Sakura lamented, hugging the small package tighter. But he deserves an answer. What do I do? What should I say? But I promised to give him this present from Mizuki-sensei. It's his. But what should I say? Oh, this is hard…I don't have an answer.
She turned a corner, heading for his apartment—and stopped.
A moving truck was parked by the curb in front of the building. Several burly men were loading boxes and things up into the truck. One of the men was holding a clipboard, and seemed to be conferring with…Syaoran.
Just then, the Chinese boy's eyes happened to drift her way, and they widened in surprise. He walked towards her slowly, as if not quite believing that she was actually there. "Sakura?"
She stared at him for a moment, then remembered her mission. "I—uh—here!" she thrust the present at him. "This is from Mizuki-sensei!" She ducked her head, not quite able to look at him.
He was silent for a moment. Then he took the package. "Thank you."
She lifted her eyes. She opened her mouth as if to say something, but then hurriedly closed it again, as though changing her mind. She glanced around, perhaps looking for something to talk about—anything to break that awful, awkward silence!—and her eyes lighted on the moving truck.
"There's a lot of boxes," she commented, feeling incredibly stupid for stating the obvious. "Is someone moving?"
Sakura spun around to stare at him in shock. Feeling poleaxed was getting to be a regular occurrence as of late. "Nani?"
"It's me," he repeated. "I'm going back to Hong Kong."
Time stopped. It was as if someone had whipped out the TIME Card and turned it loose, full force. She suddenly found it extremely difficult to breathe or move; her mind slowly processed the words, and finally, what he had said really dawned on her.
"But—but—" she stammered, then trailed off. "When are you leaving?"
"TOMORROW?" she yelped.
He nodded. "I was going to stop by your house if I didn't see you today."
"But…it's just so sudden."
A hand touched her shoulder, and she looked back up, right into his surprisingly compassionate amber eyes. God, he had beautiful eyes…
"I'm glad I came to Tomoeda," he said softly, smiling gently at her. He almost never smiled. "And…and I'm glad that I met you…Sakura."
"Hey, kid, can you come over here and confirm this address for us?" one of the movers called, waving his clipboard in the air.
"Hai!" Li turned and jogged back over.
Sakura watched his retreated back. Suddenly, she just had to leave. She had to get away. Even though she knew it was the cowardly thing to do, she turned on her heel and ran as fast as she could.
Syaoran turned back and stared at the spot where she had last been standing. She was gone.
He sighed unhappily. "Sakura…"
Kerberos watched passively as his Mistress flew into her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
"Whatcha doing?" he asked, flying over next to her as she dumped her prize out onto the rug and began sorting through everything.
"He's leaving," she said. "Syaoran's going back to Hong Kong. He's leaving tomorrow."
Kero wisely said nothing. After all, what could he say? He could make some disparaging comment about 'good riddance,' but Sakura was already upset enough as it was, and negative comments wouldn't help anything. He could express his sympathies and share her sorrow—but that might show that the brat had grown on him, and he didn't want that getting back to the kid.
So he opted for an entirely different option. "So what's this for?"
She looked up at him with tears in her eyes, but a look of steely determination on her face. "I finally figured it out, Kero-chan. I finally understand how I feel about Syaoran. So I have to make it," she looked down at the box in her hand, "before tomorrow."
Sakura got down to work. She had never put this much into anything in her life. She paused very rarely, stopping only to flex her fingers or stretch her arms and her back, which was aching from being hunched over her work. But she didn't stop. She couldn't give up.
Kero watched her for a while, then went to bed. But after a while, his head poked out of his drawer-bedroom. "Sakura? Are you still up?"
She nodded, not taking her eyes away from the fabric clenched between her fingers.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" he asked, flying over to look over her shoulder.
"Iie. I want to do this myself," she replied, pulling at another stitch.
The little guardian beast sighed good naturedly. "All right, all right. I get the message. I'll go back to bed and get out of your hair." He patted her hair affectionately. "But if there's anything I can do to help you out, wake me up, okay?"
Sakura looked up at him, and gave him one of her most dazzling smiles. She set down her work so she could take both of his tiny paws in her hands. "Arigatou, Kero-chan."
As promised, the Beast of the Seal returned to bed, and Sakura continued her work. It was getting extremely late. She hadn't ever stayed up this late before she had taken on the duties of the Cardcaptor, and then when all those strange things had started happening—Eriol's handiwork, they now knew—she had once again been sent on several late-night excursions. But Eriol had returned to England, and all the Cards were sealed, changed, and safely tucked away in their book in her desk drawer.
Yet here she was, sewing as fast as her fingers would go, at two o'clock in the morning. To anyone else, it probably would have been insanity. To Sakura, it was anything but.
Yukito came in later, bearing food, and she told him that it had happened. He had been right. She had found the one she loved most.
The he had asked if she would introduce the lucky boy to her.
And she had faltered, nearly crying, when she told him that her love was leaving, moving far away. But everything would work out, she had told him. She was sure of it.
After all, it wasn't called an invincibility spell for nothing.
He left, and she continued her frantic work.
Finally, as dawn peered over the horizon, she sat back, exhausted, and looked at the results of her handiwork. It was finally, blessedly finished.
Then the phone rang, bringing a message of doom.
"Li-kun's plane leaves at ten this morning!" Tomoyo said, calling from the choral competition.
She would never make it…
Li sat alone on the bus. There were few other passengers, so he didn't have many distractions from his own thoughts. Thoughts which were, strangely enough, centered on a very specific person.
I never did get an answer, he realized sadly, glancing at his watch. It was almost time. A few more minutes, and he would be gone from Tomoeda, maybe forever.
He looked out the window, and his eyes widened in shock.
Sakura was running towards him. Behind her was her brother astride his motorcycle. Touya didn't exactly look thrilled, but he didn't make any threatening gestures or anything.
"Sakura?" Syaoran threw open the window and leaned out just in time to catch something she was holding out to him. She thrust the handmade teddy bear into his hands.
"I finally figured it out," she said, breathless from her run. "My number one is you, Syaoran."
He looked at the teddy bear in his hands for a moment, then smiled at her. God, that smile could make her go weak at the knees. "Arigatou. Can I name this bear Sakura?"
She smiled back up at him. "Hai. Can I name the one you gave me Syaoran?"
He nodded. Oh god, this had to be a dream. Any minute now, he would wake up in his bed in the Clan home in Hong Kong, and the whole thing would have just been one long dream. But he didn't wake up. Nothing changed. He was still leaning out the window, holding a teddy bear made for him by the girl he loved—the girl who loved him back.
Then the bus started moving.
"I have some things to take care of in Hong Kong!" Syaoran called, still leaning out the window. This was dangerous, but he didn't care. "It might take a while. Will you wait for me?"
"Yes!" she called back, coming to a stop at the corner and waving as the bus roared off into the distance. Her hand dropped to her side as she panted. "Yes…I'll wait forever if I have to. After all, Syaoran, you're the one I love most."
AN: I am so in college! One of the music professors just walked by and said, "Another day, another fifty cents," and I replied with "Yeah, but fifty cents is half a load of laundry!" Argh. You know you're an impoverished college student when quarters become an uber-precious resource and commodity (usually due to the fact that the quarter machine in the laundry room is broken).
Anyway, I basically took the manga plotline and tried to get into their heads a little more—ya know, what they were thinking and stuff. Key word: tried. How pathetic am I! First I think of quarters in terms of doing laundry, and then I start analyzing anime characters for fun. I HAVE NO LIFE!