Split Second in Time
A Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLES fanfic by Vikki
Disclaimer: Characters and situation belong to CLAMP.
in the daytime he would look at her and see her laugh, and he remembered when her smile had been for him.
"Who … are you?"
Time stopped right there.
He should have known it was coming – no, he had known it was coming. That witch was no liar and he had never thought to question what she said.
Yes, thought had never come into it. Odd, how his relationship to the Princess had become such an integral part of his life; something that was simply there, not to be questioned or challenged – a force of nature. Somewhere, somehow, he had allowed his heart to bypass his brain, and now—
It wasn't just a blow to the stomach, it was a blow to the chest, like the wind had been knocked out of him and his heart was being squeezed until it just stopped pumping blood altogether. And for just a split second of time, he wished it would. Just a split second. But that second passed, and his heart beat painfully against his ribs as if pummeling to escape. His gut twisted, even though he hadn't asked it to; his insides shriveled. Would he ever be able to eat again? Normal human functions weren't possible without Sakura there – without the hope that Sakura would be the same again.
How could he have dared to hope!? Had he thought, he would have gotten past this long ago. No; he would never have gotten past it. This was—
Breathe, Syaoran, breathe. He sucked the air into his lungs and time moved again, incrementally. The world had not shattered or been turned on its ear; only him. He would worry Saku—the Princess.
He was trembling, and he was still holding her hand as if he was someone close to her.
Let go, Syaoran.
Time stretched again, and slowly, slowly he lowered his hands, cradling the Princess' soft smooth hand like a precious but fragile flower.
Unthinkable. His head had known, but his heart had not. Stupid, stupid—!
He released her hand reluctantly, and it rested against the bedspread limply, as if she did not know what to do with it, or how to respond.
She did not know him. She did not know him. She did not—
Breathe, Syaoran, breathe!
His lips trembled, and his eyes burned worse than the nasty blisters he had received from Masayoshi's kudan. He squeezed his fingers together into fists so tightly that they hurt too, and clenched his jaw shut until his teeth ached, and closed his eyes until the moisture in them went away.
Those were not tears. He could not cry.
He fought for control behind his shaggy bangs until he won.
And the Princess waited patiently for his reply, neither speaking nor moving.
A smile for her. That's what she would like to see. She always wanted everyone to smile.
He would never be sure what was harder; smiling for her, or speaking.
"I am Syaoran. And you're Princess Sakura."
Time blurred; seconds were minutes, or maybe it was the other way around, and every word Sakura – no, the Princess – spoke was like sitting on needles, or being stabbed in the heart, until his throat constricted and his chest burned, and he was afraid he would be unable to walk for how much his body ached at the pain.
He hardly knew it when Fye rescued him.
Like fainting, his world had narrowed to a single point in space; he could only see the door. He recalled the walk from the bed to the rain only because each step was one of sheer willpower.
And time ceased to exist when the rain hit him, a cold sheet of reality drenching his clothes and hair slowly and steadily.
Was this moisture tears?
He wasn't sure.
And slowly, the water beat away the burning in his eyes, until time was gone, and all that was left was numbness.
and at night, he would look at her peaceful face, and he would catch himself wishing that she had never awoken, so that he could pretend she remembered him, and he could sleep holding her hand.