AN: You can thank my ever-present insomnia for this one, folks. When I can't sleep, I just stare at the ceiling and go through things in my head, trying to bore myself into slumber. This was one thought that went running across my mind like a panicked DASH Card. Gods, I'm pathetic.
And I was listening to this song whilst conducting my 1 AM ponderings, so it naturally was my selection for this story. Doesn't hurt that I've been desperately wanting to use this song for something since I first heard it. It's a beautiful song—everyone go download it or listen to it or something!
Anyway, on with the fic! It starts off with more of an SxS feel, but that's more of just setting the stage. I promise that this fic is chock-full of ExT goodiness! I don't own Cardcaptor Sakura or any of the characters residing therein. I also don't own the song "Unusual Way." It's from the musical Nine (the revival of which did really well at the Tonys this year), and the version I heard was performed by my favorite singer, Linda Eder.
"HOE!" the familiar squeal echoed down the hallway, but not many people paid it much attention. They knew who it was, and it was only natural for that sort of reaction to be had.
After all, it wasn't everyday that a girl became a bride.
And today, it was Kinomoto Sakura's turn. Except that in about an hour and a half, she wouldn't be Kinomoto Sakura anymore. She would be Li Sakura.
The squeal that had been loud enough to shatter glass had come from the room assigned for the bride and her bridesmaids, where Sakura was finally ready, and her delighted yell had been released at the moment when she had been allowed to look in the mirror. Her friends (who had been diligently getting her ready) hadn't permitted her even the tiniest of peeks until everything was perfect. And everything was deemed perfect after about an hour of sitting there on a stool until her rear had gone numb and she was excited to the point of just jumping to her feet and running around in circles.
"Sakura-chan, I can't believe that's you in there!" Naoko sighed, peering over her friend's shoulder at the reflection in the mirror.
It was true. The years had been incredibly kind to Sakura, and she had grown from an adorable little girl into a beautiful young woman, earning many a comment from her brother along the way about 'beating the stupid boys away.' But as Sakura had grown up, she had realized something: boys were nice. And one in particular had caught and kept her attention, much to the dismay of her beloved onii-chan. Even after all this time, whenever they were in the same room together, Touya and Syaoran would get into a game of 'Let's See If Looks Can Kill.' But for his sister's sake, he hadn't protested this wedding too much. But he still continued to make comments here and there about shotguns and hiding the body.
If Touya had seen his sister at that moment, standing in front of the mirror in her wedding dress with her friends around her, sparkling from joy, he probably would have burst into tears.
The dress was lovely, made of white silk and lace—a Tomoyo creation, of course. Tomoyo's fashion designs had matured since their childhood Cardcaptor days, and now Sakura could cheerfully wear Tomoyo's ensembles during her everyday activities. With her makeup expertly applied (courtesy of Rika) and her hair perfectly styled (thanks to Chiharu and Naoko), she was a vision.
And when Sakura was at her best, the machine of Satan (as Syaoran called it) was always present.
"Sakura-chan, you look amazing," Tomoyo breathed taking her camera away from her eye to smile at her longtime best friend. "Actually, all of you do!" After all, Tomoyo herself had taken care of the bridesmaids' dresses as well. They were pink, of course, and surprisingly simple.
"Tomoyo-chan, I wish I looked more like you. Stunning instead of stunned," Sakura laughed, gingerly touching her hair with one hand, as though afraid she would make the entire creation fall to pieces.
Tomoyo shook her head. "I don't think so. Take another look in that mirror."
"You make me look like a squirrel!" Sakura pretended to wail, and all the girls laughed.
If there was a competition to outshine the bride, Tomoyo would be at the top of the running. Not that any such competition could exist with Sakura as excited as she was. The Card Mistress was literally glowing from pure, unadulterated happiness. And when she was like that, no one could be more beautiful. It was just one of those Sakura qualities.
Yes, Sakura outshone everyone, but Tomoyo was still in a class by herself—just as she always had been, Sakura had pointed out while Tomoyo had blushed and stammered out a few appropriate disclaimers.
She was wearing a long, strapless purple gown that was just short of formal. It shimmered, no matter how little light there was; it accented all the right places, and flared out to just the right amount when she spun. Add a few diamonds at the ears and throat, and the heir to the Daidouji fortune had the attention of all the unattached males at the wedding.
It was almost too dressy for a wedding, but as Tomoyo had been quick to point out, Sakura-chan would (hopefully) only get married once, so she had to make the outfit extra special for the occasion. Actually, Sakura had asked her to be the maid of honor, but Tomoyo had surprisingly declined, instead begging to be allowed to be the videographer…and to be allowed to design the wedding dress and bridesmaids' gowns, of course. And Sakura, in the true Sakura manner, had agreed. Rika was now standing as the maid of honor, and Nakuru (of all people) had been asked to join the bridesmaid's ranks.
"Sakura-chan, we'll be right back," Chiharu picked up her bouquet. "We're going to go check out the boys. We'll let you know how he looks." She winked, and exited with Naoko and Rika in tow. Now only Tomoyo and Sakura remained in the brideroom.
"I wonder how they look," Sakura murmured absently, still observing herself in the mirror. She hadn't even looked this good at their senior prom—and that had been pretty amazing.
"Well, I bumped into Hiiragiziwa-kun in the hallway," Tomoyo replied, equally absently, changing the battery in her camera to a fully charged one. "He brought Spinel and Nakuru-san back with him, all the way from England, just for the wedding." She paused. "He looked pretty good. That guy can really wear a tux."
Sakura paused in her mirror gazing to bestow her friend with a 'look.' "Can he, now?"
That particular tone wasn't lost on Tomoyo. "What do you mean?"
Sakura managed to look convincingly innocent. "Oh, nothing…"
A knock on the door interrupted the conversation before it could go any further. "Hai?" Sakura called. "Come in!"
The door opened, and the wedding planner poked her head in. "It's about time to get lined up." She paused. "Oh, honey…you look amazing!"
Sakura blushed. "Arigatou."
Tomoyo sighed. It was time to go.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our newlyweds!" Fujitaka announced proudly as the happy couple entered the room where the reception was to be held. The place burst into applause and cheers.
Li Sakura was blushing furiously, holding Syaoran's hand. She was still in her wedding gown, sans the veil, and was still glowing from sheer bliss. And her new husband—no one could recall Li Syaoran looking that happy. Ever. He held her close and smiled like never before.
They truly fit each other, perfect together.
The newlywed couple took their seats at the head table amidst the bridesmaids' and groomsmen, laughing and talking with their friends in the wedding party. On one side of the table was Sakura, then Rika, Naoko, Chiharu, and Nakuru. All of the bridesmaid's looked lovely in the pale pink dresses that Tomoyo had designed.
On the other side was Syaoran, then Eriol, who had been deemed the best man, to the surprise of many. After all this time, they had actually managed to become friends—except when Eriol decided to slip into Evil Mode™, of course. Then all hell broke loose. On Eriol's other side was Touya, Yamazaki, and Yukito. They all looked immaculate in their tuxes.
Kerberos and Spinel Sun (aka Kero-chan and Suppie-chan), both in their true forms, were also sitting at the high table, oddly enough. One at each end, with Spinel beside Nakuru and Kero-chan seated next to Yukito. If anyone had any comment as to why two large, winged cats were sitting with the wedding party, they hadn't said anything. Sakura had insisted that they be there; they had both been at the front of the chapel during the ceremony as well, one on the left and one on the right.
Tomoyo zoomed in on the head table, and was startled when her camera stopped on Hiiragiziwa Eriol. She'd sort of noticed it earlier, but he really did look fantastic in a tux…and the years had been extremely kind to him as well. He had been cute when they were twelve, but now, at twenty-two…there was only one word Tomoyo could think of to sum him up. Damn.
But she regained herself quickly, shaking off whatever it was that had made her stop, and refocused on Rika, who was preparing to deliver her speech as maid of honor.
She spoke briefly about a few amusing times in their childhood, including the old antecdote that had so long been a standard at their school: if Kinomoto Sakura is unhappy, beware of the apocalypse. This earned laughter from the assembled guests.
"And you know what? After you left that once, Li-kun, she was miserable. We were sure the world was going to end," Rika laughed. "But then you came back, and she pulled a one-eighty. If you ever hurt our Sakura-chan, we might have to come after you." She said it with a serious face, but her eyes were dancing. "And Sakura-chan, I've never seen you this happy. I hope you stay that way forever."
With that, she dropped back into her chair and relinquished the microphone to Eriol. As the best man, he was also to make a speech regarding the newlywed couple.
"Well, well, well," he began casually, putting a hand on Syaoran's shoulder; the latter had gone extremely red in the face from nervousness over what exactly might be said. "Is Daidouji Tomoyo here?" His eyes scanned the crowd until they lighted on the girl with the camera in her hand. Honestly, all he'd had to do was look for that little red light. "Daidouji-san, looks like all that prodding paid off! He actually did it!" The crowd laughed, and Tomoyo waved, while Syaoran put his face in his hands and shook his head. "In all seriousness, though, you should have seen him when we were children. He couldn't put two words together when Sakura-san was around. It was actually quite amusing…"
He spoke for a little while longer of such things, then closed with, "After all the effort it took for you to even ask her out, I hope you two have a long and happy life together." He then turned the mike over to Touya, who had insisted on speaking.
"All right, for those of you who don't know me, I am Sakura's older brother," Touya began. He then turned to look straight at Syaoran, who looked back, not quite sure of what was coming. "Listen up, kid. For some reason, my sister likes you. And for some reason, you seem to like her back. Can't imagine why. She's a kaijuu." The crowd laughed, and Sakura rolled her eyes with a good-natured air of suffering. "So I expect you to keep her happy, take care of her, protect her, etc. Do that for me, and I think we might actually be able to get along. Somehow." His expression softened a little bit as he looked over Syaoran's head at his sister, who was looking beyond hopeful. "Can you do that?"
"Hai! Yes, sir!" Syaoran mock saluted.
"And Sakura, you look good," he grinned. "For a kaijuu."
"I'm not a monster!" Sakura gave the reply almost automatically, but with a smile. "Syaoran, could you take the microphone from him before he tells any embarassing stories about me?"
"My new wife commands it, so it shall be done!" Syaoran held out a hand, and Touya passed him the mike. "Well, everyone, dig in!" And the reception began in full swing.
After a while, Tomoyo had finished eating, and began wandering the hall, camera in hand, eyes peeled for anything even remotely kawaii to record. She found it shortly—the deejay announced that it was time for the father-daughter dance, and "Butterfly Kisses" began playing.
She just couldn't miss that!
She zoomed in on Sakura and Fujitaka dancing together; her trained videographer's eye immediately found the best angle and proceeded to film. It was wonderful. Father and daughter were talking about something, but she couldn't hear what. Then again, it probably wasn't meant for her ears anyway. Nothing wrong with that.
"Daidouji Tomoyo," a voice said behind her as the song was ending. "I guess some habits just refuse to die as they should, ne? Or perhaps we just don't grow up?"
She whirled around, and sighed in mock aggravation. "Hiiragiziwa-kun! Please!" Then she grinned and held her arms open for a hug. "How have you been? I really haven't gotten to talk to you. So much going on with the wedding."
"After this long, we're still so formal," Eriol laughed. "I insist that you call me Eriol."
Tomoyo nodded. "Hai, Eriol-kun. But only if you call me Tomoyo."
"So answer my question now, Eriol-kun. How have you been?"
He started to respond, but they were suddenly interrupted.
"What are you two talking about?" Sakura bounded out of nowhere, and they both actually jumped. The bride smiled at their surprise, then tilted her head to one side and listened to the music for a minute. "Hey, I think this is a slow song. Why don't you two go dance for a while and talk there? Come on, it's a party! Have some fun!"
"Sakura-san, I don't know—" Eriol began, but was cut off.
"Go on, go on," Sakura waved her hands at them as though shooing away an annoying dog. "Go dance, enjoy yourself. You know you want to. Now you two go dance together while I go steal my new husband back from Naoko-chan." With that, Sakura turned and darted off, her long white train dragging behind her as she weaved between the tables.
Eriol and Tomoyo stared at her retreating back with mild amusement.
Tomoyo broke the silence first. "It would appear that we've been given an order." She shot him a questioning glance. "Are you going to obey? Or should I go find someone else to step on my toes?"
He pretended to think for a moment. "Oh, I suppose I could spare a dance for a lovely lady such as yourself." He then offered her his arm in an exaggerated manner. "Shall we?" Only his smile saved the gesture from being completely ridiculous.
She giggled and pressed the back of one hand to her forehead. "Oh la, good sir, I do believe I shall faint." But she accepted his arm and together they walked onto the dance floor, moving between the milling couples to find a vacant spot somewhere near the wall.
His hand slid down to grasp the one resting on his arm; he spun her out, then back in, and they immediately fell into the rhythm of the music.
They danced for a while, one couple amidst a sea of other couples doing almost the exact same thing. No one noticed them at all, not at first, anyway. So they simply enjoyed themselves.
Eriol proved to be quite an adept dancer in this style; he moved easily and gracefully. Occasionally he would execute a little more complex maneuver, spinning her out to arm's length away and then twirling her back into his waiting arms with a practiced ease. Her long, royal purple skirt flared around her with her movements; the few curly tendrils of hair she had left free of her style flew as well.
And their eyes never left each other. With Eriol looking like a prince in his immaculate black tuxedo, and Tomoyo looking ever inch a princess, they made quite a pretty picture.
Tomoyo suddenly sighed. "I love this song."
"What is it?" he asked.
"'Unusual Way,'" she replied, humming along to herself.
"It is good to see you again," Eriol commented, looking as enigmatic as ever. "If you don't mind me saying so, Tomoyo-san, you look good."
She was surprised to feel herself blush. "Arigatou. Likewise." Then she laughed. "You should have heard Sakura-chan earlier, before the wedding. What did she say…something about how I looked stunning and she looked stunned, and I think something about how I made her look like a squirrel."
Hiiragiziwa laughed. "That sounds like Sakura. But she is radiant today."
"Well, she's marrying the man of her dreams. Why shouldn't she be happy?"
"And you, Tomoyo-san? Have you found the man of your dreams yet?" his voice was teasing, and she knew he was only kidding, but she answered anyway.
"Iie. I'm already married to my work and my camera. My mother has me working at the company, getting ready for the day when I'll take over the whole operation. Doesn't leave much time for seeking out male companionship."
"Ah," Eriol replied. Something about the way he said the word made it speak volumes, but she couldn't quite read the layers and layers of undertones that flooded beneath that single syllable.
They were silent for a while longer. Then Eriol suddenly chuckled.
"Nani?" Tomoyo asked.
"You do know what they're trying to do, don't you?" he asked, still laughing a little. "Sakura-san was extremely persistant that we should dance, you know…"
She returned his smile. "Hai. And they think they're being so sneaky, too." Her eyes drifted momentarily towards her long time best friend and said best friend's new husband. Even though it wasn't terribly obvious, Tomoyo could tell that they were being watched. But the subtle spying was a surprise coming from people such as Sakura and Syaoran. Usually, they weren't capable of being that sneaky.
"Are they watching us?" Eriol queried.
"Hai, and how did you know I was looking at them?" Tomoyo retorted, though not angrily. "Were you reading my mind or something?"
He shook his head. "Iie. Just a lucky guess." He twirled her in time with the music before pulling her back in, a little closer than before, but not close enough to cause comment. One arm comfortably encircled her waist; he held one of her hands with his free one, and her other hand was around his neck. "So…" he said, almost a little too casually, "what do you think about it?"
"What they're trying to do, you mean?" Tomoyo laughed slightly. "I appreciate the effort, but I think they're way off. I mean, look at us! We're completely different people."
"Glad to know we're on the same page," he smiled.
Tomoyo suddenly realized that he had a very nice smile. "But that's not to say—I mean, you really are a wonderful person, Eriol-kun." She hoped she didn't sound like the idiot she felt like. "Any person would—or should—feel blessed to have you."
"Arigatou," he actually blushed a little. "And the same goes for you, Tomoyo-san. Any sane man would thank his lucky stars if you fell into his life."
"But our styles are completely different," Tomoyo pointed out. "You're the reincarnation of the great Clow Reed, one of the greatest sorcerers to have ever lived, and me…well, I'm about as magical as your average brick. Major point of conflict right there."
"And I've never been very good at reading people unless they're being blatantly obvious about something," Eriol countered. This was almost fun. Now if only her eyes would stop sparkling like they were… "The same went for Clow, actually. But you can tell a person's mood by the twitch of an eyebrow, I swear." He paused. "Sometimes it's just unnerving."
"And besides, even if we—you know, it's not like it would work out," Tomoyo shook her head slightly to emphasis her words.
"No way it would," Eriol nodded easily. "We would just drive each other crazy."
"Insane," Tomoyo added.
"And besides," Tomoyo said with a mischievous glint in her eye, "you're evil."
"Oh, this from the person who was manipulating Li-kun into admitting his feelings to Sakura-san. Yes, Tomoyo-san, you are as free from evil as they come," Eriol teased with his usual little smirk, the one that Syaoran hated so. "We're both incredibly manipulative. They're crazy if they think anything could happen between us. We'd be running each other around in circles."
Tomoyo laughed again; then her smile faded. "It would never work."
Eriol's smirk died a little as well. "It would never work."
For a moment, they were silent, losing themselves in the music and the rhythm they were swaying to. Suddenly, both were acutely aware of how painfully close they were. Too close, almost…
Suddenly, Tomoyo found herself wondering when his eyes had turned into sapphires. That's what they had to be; there was no other way for them to be that blue. They were the color and depth of the ocean, and she was swimming, drowning in them.
All at once, Eriol realized he was trying to figure out when the moonlight had woven itself into her hair. There was no other explanation for how the blue-black tresses could shimmer like that, especially in the dim light of the dance floor.
There was nothing else in the world. The people around them, the dance floor, everything around them disappeared. There was only the music, the rhythm, and each other.
Then they both moved. The move was slow, almost trance-like, and simultaneous. All thoughts fled. Some vague part of both their consciousnesses were screaming, sending up flares and red alerts, trying desperately to make them realize that this was a very bad idea. But who ever listens to that little voice?
As the song reached its climax, their lips met.
It wasn't a long kiss, nor was it deep. But in that instant, Tomoyo's knees very nearly went out from under her as liquid fire shot through her. The arm around her waist tightened, and she unconsciously pulled him closer with the arm around his neck.
But all too soon it ended. And their eyes locked.
For one brief second, his azure eyes searched hers for permission, forgiveness—anything. And instead, he found pleading, almost. His decision was almost made for him.
He let go of her hand; it immediately joined the other around his neck. His hand now free, he used it to cup her face, as gently as one would hold a newly-hatched chick. The arm he still had around her waist tightened even more as he kissed her again, and she kissed him back almost passionately. Their mouths opened slowly, and from there, all semblance of coherent thought went out the window.
Across the room, Sakura had long since stopped watching her best friend and had instead focused on her new husband. But she just happened to glance over Syaoran's shoulder; her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. "Oh my god, what do you call that?"
Syaoran turned around and took in the sight of Daidouji Tomoyo and Hiiragiziwa Eriol engaged in a passionate kiss. He actually grinned. "Huh. Wonder how long they've been holding that back."
Then he felt a tiny spot of pressure on his cheek, and he looked back down at Sakura, who was blushing a little and smirking triumphantly. "Mission accomplished. Now let's leave them alone for a while." When she saw that he was about to protest, she continued. "Don't worry. We'll be able to get our own back soon enough."
And she was right. Tomoyo and Eriol were too occupied to notice the tiny red light nearby. A little red light that came from a certain video camera in Rika's hand.
AN: I never get really in-depth with smooches. I don't know, I feel kind of weird tying it, like it sounds silly or something. God knows I haven't had much experience with that kind of thing --
sigh Reading back through this, it almost reminds me of a scene from a hilarious movie called "That Old Feeling," starring Bette Midler. There's this scene where the girl (Molly) is dancing with the boy (Joey), and it's really cute, and you know they're gonna kiss…sigh Who wouldn't look good in a scene like that? Honestly!
I wasn't quite sure about that ending…and this didn't come out exactly like I thought it would. It ended up having a lot more SxS in it than I'd intended, but that's okay! I like 'em both! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my not so little story. Ciao!