A/N: Before you guys read on, I have something to say. THANK YOU to all those wonderful reviews! Ahhhh, I can't say thank you enough. I had long ones and short ones. Sweet ones and constructive ones. And I loved reading each and every one of them! So thank you for taking the time to read and review.
Now you guys can read on. …and continue cursing me for the achingly long time I've taken to update. Stupid SK…stupid stupid
Title: Head Over Heels
Author: Shinsei Kokoro
Chapter: 24: Firefly
Updated: 13th September 2006
Syaoran Li P.O.V
I don't know how long I spent staring at my hands. Or how long I stayed shut. My head blank, my skin cold, and my fingers shaking.
I needed a smoke. I needed to get up. I needed to know if I was dreaming or not.
Every time I tried coughing, no sound came out. My throat felt raw, itchy, soar and as if it would come crawling out of my mouth. Everything felt weighed on me. The lights. The faces. Their voices.
I was confused. That wasn't even the word for it. I was…was so…so…lost…so dead
My eyes kept closing every few minutes, and there were these nurses taking tests. These Doctors opening my eyes wide and asking me weird questions. Like what my name was. I mean, of course I knew what my fucking name was.
I just wanted to know what the hell I was doing there. Why I couldn't get up. Why…why all these faces were suddenly appearing over mine. Saying stuff I could barely hear or understand.
I heard my name again. "Xiao Lang."
And I saw my mother. I saw my…mother. Her face. That face I had missed for so long. That face I had forced myself to forget each day.
I had been close to having a freaking heart attack. My mother wasn't in Hong Kong. My mother was here. Right here. Sitting beside me. Holding my hand. Crying. She was here with me. In Japan. In Tomoeda. My mother. Fuck.
I felt something wet fall out of my eyes. And I coughed. I kept coughing.
Then there were these people. These hands holding me up. Snapping something over my nose. Stinging something into my arm.
But I didn't stop coughing.
I wanted to cry. I…I…wanted to breathe. Because there was all this red blood. This…just so much…blood.
Sakura Kinomoto P.O.V
I wasn't listening.
I wasn't thinking.
I just…I just couldn't stop crying.
I couldn't ignore the pain aching in my body. I couldn't ignore the taste of blood in my mouth.
First there was Chiharu, one of Meiling's friends. She was wiping away the blood on my face. Then there was Yamazaki holding onto my shoulders, and his voice soft and hard at the same time.
They kept saying my name. They kept making me look up.
But I couldn't stop. I just couldn't stop.
I missed him.
I missed Syaoran Li. I missed him not being there. I missed him not watching my back. Waiting to kiss me. Waiting to hate me.
"Hey. Kinomoto!" I snapped when someone shook my shoulders, and I looked up out of instinct to see Shiroi. I wished he couldn't see me. That he couldn't see the tears on my face. But his face cringed slightly, and he looked away.
"Sakura, are you okay?" Yamazaki looked at me carefully.
I looked at him hard. So hard that I wished I would melt on the spot. But I shook my head instead. "I hate it." It came out as a hoarse cry, "I hate it!"
Why was it becoming harder? So…so unbelievably impossible?
Why was…why was everything around me falling apart?
Why was I…just drowning away?
"Man…" Yamazaki mumbled to himself, then slowly pushed me down onto a chair. "Just…sit tight."
I looked up for a moment. Looked at the cream walls around us, with posters of Red Cross and medical clinics.
Stumbling, they had bought me to the Nurse. And with an aghast face, she had quickly bandaged me up, giving me disapproving glances all the while. And then they had taken me to another school corner.
Here I was now. Yamazaki and Shiroi standing in front of me, and Chiharu sitting on some loaded red bricks.
For a second, I closed my eyes, and wiped away my face. For a second…I willed myself to stop the tears. To stop myself from falling into pieces all over again.
And when Yamazaki inched down so sit on his heels, I looked at him. The words came blurting out, "I want to see him." A whimper escaped and I clenched my nails into my palms, "Please."
His face tensed slightly, looking away just when Chiharu spoke up for him. "Don't think you're the only who's been wanting to see him."
Yamazaki explained before I could snap back at her, "We would take you to see him. But that's not really possible, 'cause we haven't been allowed to see him either."
"This fucking lady actually said she'd call the cops for us." Shiroi kicked the wall as he tried scuffing dirt of his chucks. "She said a whole lot of other bullshit. And when we said we were his mates, I swear to God, she looked like she was so gonna fucking kill us. Shit, she screamed all this nasty crap, and we just had to leave. All these people were there. They didn't do nothing, but that lady. God, if I see her again, I might just—," he trailed off with a threatening look in his eyes, and he sat down on another bench.
I dug my face into my hands, sighing, "And that would be Syaoran's mother."
There was silence. "Oh." He chorused after a while.
I wasn't surprised. I really wasn't. But something in me sort of deflated. I mean, all this time I'd been hoping that somehow I would be able to sneak in. To somehow get past everything and return next to Syaoran. I thought just maybe, his friends would understand me and…and get me to see him.
I was just…I was just so desperate. So…needy. He was there one second. Right in front of me. And then he was gone. Things like that weren't supposed to happen. Things like that…things like that were never supposed to happen.
"How is he?" I didn't need to look up to know my answer. "Have you…have you heard anything?"
"Meiling called last night," Shiroi's whisper was almost deadly, "I could tell she was a bloody mess the second she opened her mouth…and Syaoran's just…just the same apparently. Hasn't woken up."
I won't lie. But it felt like someone had squeezed my heart. It took just three words. Hasn't woken up.
Three words that I've never had to deal with. Three words I never really new the meaning to. Three words that meant life and death.
"Where's Meiling?" I shook myself violently.
"Who knows." Shiroi didn't glance up, then when he did I saw this miserable smile, "But where ever she is, she's fucking nailed."
"If that was her family," Yamazaki interrupted, "Then she must be with them. She hasn't been to school…so it looks like she either hasn't been allowed to, or she's just…a mess."
"Offcourse she hasn't been allowed to." Chiharu's voice was soft. For a while I thought she wouldn't say anything. To me she was always a small girl of big harsh words. But she sniffed slightly and Yamazaki went to put an arm around her. I felt sort of cold. "She's never gonna come back." Chiharu was sobbing now. Her face was in Yamazaki's shirt and he was kissing the top of her head. It felt so cold that I had to shiver.
"Chiharu, just shut the fuck up." Shiroi was yet in his corner, "Don't say—,"
"Hey!" she tore away from her boyfriend's hold, "Don't you fucking tell me what to say! I knew her! And I knew all about her! And they will never let her come back!"
"Don't fucking say that you bitch!"
"It's the truth! They won't let her come back! Both of them! And you know it yourself!"
I was lost. I was in a void. Their yells flew above me and all I could do was try and make sense of what was being said.
"She…" Shiroi was up on his feet once again, fists quivering beside him, "She'll come back…and so will Syaoran."
And then Chiharu just collapsed into tears. Loud wailing tears. I didn't know she was capable of crying. I didn't know she was capable of showing warmth. But she was crying. And Shiroi had fallen back down on his seat, hands cradling his head and his jaw clenching and unclenching.
Around me Yamazaki seemed like the only who was holding himself together. The only one not releasing his frustration. And somehow, I got the idea that out the three of them, it was Yamazaki hurting the most. He was the closest to Syaoran. Almost like his best friend. But in this group, everything was so confusing. Every one of these outcasts were so detached in their own way. Like as if they belonged to a different world all together. Like their problems didn't meet ours at all.
And their lives. They lived in apartments. Did that mean that they didn't have families? Or did it mean that they had moved away from home. They were so close, living together in an apartment building, partying every other night, and not another care in their world. It made me wonder why they had chosen this way of life. Why was Syaoran here in the first place?
If his family had been from Hong Kong, why was he here? Living so poorly when his family was well off. Why was he doing drugs? Hadn't his family tried to stop him? Hadn't his family tried to come bring him back? Didn't they ever come see him? What was his past?
"They're loaded y'know." Yamazaki brought Chiharu in his hold to sit in between me and Shiroi.
I looked up, having just listened to the creak of the bench when they sat.
"Syaoran and Meiling." His voice was so soft I barely heard it, "Their families are one of the richest in Hong Kong."
I looked up squarely, dropping any pretenses, and my mouth hung open slightly. I…I had never known that. I had never…
"They're richer than everyone in this entire fucking school put together." Shiroi spat, "Even your bloody friends. They're like fucking ants in front of the Li name. Syaoran, that lucky bastard, he's even the next heir or something to their family company." A strangled laugh escaped him and I watched him closely.
I felt a tingle pass through my spine, and my ears felt like they were pounding. I sucked on my bleeding lip.
"Syaoran was sent here as an exchange student." Yamazaki went on, but his eyes were holed onto the ground, "We met him in elementary. He was…he was different back then. Quiet. Sort of shy at first. He kept to himself. He was…he used to be so fucking blank that…that sometimes you couldn't tell what he'd be thinking."
"But he wasn't one bit like the rich wankers," Shiroi added in, leaning back and thudding the back of his head against the wall, "We never knew. Not until when he invited us over eh Yama?"
A small smile graced Yamazaki's face. Like he was thinking about something pleasant. Those old memories must have been wonderful. "Yeah." He squeezed Chiharu in his arms, "Yeah. He had a butler." A chuckle escaped, "I'd never met anyone who even had a maid. But this guy…"
"Syaoran's apartment used to be up the high street." Shiroi said, "He had his own car…at elementary that too. He had…he had everything."
"We used to be jealous sometimes." Yamazaki glanced at his friend, and they both smiled. But it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, "But…we never knew," he paused to look at me closely, as if eyeing me to know if he could trust me with what he was going to say, "We never knew how jealous he was of us."
The sentence reverberated in my chest. And I shook my frozen fingers, "Why?" I croaked.
For a few seconds I didn't get an answer. Even Chiharu's sobs had ceased. It was like I could feel it. Feel their tense minds. Their brain cogs turning.
Finally Yamazaki murmured hoarsely, "The Lis are different." His breath was shaky and slow, "They're an old family and they live on keeping up with the traditions and keeping the family name solid." I could hear hesitance in his voice, but I didn't ask him to stop. I didn't know where my voice had disappeared to. But I wanted to keep him continuing. I wanted to know everything there was to know. This was my opportunity. "I've never met them, so I guess this was the first time they had been to Japan."
"Hell, I think this was the first time any of them had seen him over so many years." Shiroi mumbled.
"Yeah. Syaoran…Syaoran wanted his distance. I remember his mother calling to ask him to come back a few times, but…but he didn't."
"Why?" I asked again.
"Why?" Yamazaki repeated my question, "Syaoran hated it." He swallowed thickly, "He hated his name. He hated being rich. He hated himself."
"He had no one until he met us." Shiroi sneered, then pointedly looked at me, "He didn't really want anyone."
I didn't get it. I didn't understand.
"Back in Hong Kong. He had an image to hold. He had responsibilities. He had his own straitjacket." Yamazaki's smile was crooked, "And he hated it. Because it's hard being rich. It's so fucking…hard." A breath was exhaled, "He didn't have a life. He didn't have his own name. He was just another Li. He didn't have choices to make. He couldn't choose which party to go to. Where to go in the weekend. What subjects to do next year. Y'see he hated. He hated his life. But here. Here, in Tomoeda. It's his home. His real home. His independence grew up here. His fucking entire attitude grew up here."
"But he was a good guy." Chiharu's voice was soft from Yamazaki's hold, "He did his dope. He started laughing more. He got angry like everyone else. And he gave us a place to live."
The apartment. The crowded apartment with too little rooms and too many people. The apartment with littered rubbish and beer cans in every corner.
"He let's us stay with him. We pay him a little. But he handles everything. Even strangers. He let's us stay. No matter what." A tear rolled down her eyes, "No matter who you are. An asshole. A bitch. A druggie. He let's us stay. And…and he's the only one who ever has." It seemed like she could say no more. Chiharu held onto tightly to Yamazaki, each breath laboured and each sob into his jacket.
It made my eyes sting. For a moment I couldn't see.
"We're not rich." Shiroi's confession seemed amusing to him, "Not as rich as him. But I have things that he can never have."
What things? What was it?
"I have a family." he looked at me softly, "I have people who love me even though I've been arrested twice." So much. So much dedication. "It used to make him miserable before. He used to get arrested, and Meiling used to get money from his bank to bail him out. But now…now he kicks it. Nothing can make him care. No bullshit."
It was cold, but I could feel it. Each word was like a thread. A thread sewing me an image. An image of a boy called Syaoran. A new image.
Maybe deep inside I had an idea. Maybe I knew about how hopeless he really was. About how he had no one but himself and these friends he called family. Maybe I knew who he really was. This boy filled with nothing but anger and grief. This boy who each smile was priceless. This boy whose each touch made my heart fly. Maybe I knew there must have been something that made him so special.
But these things. I never knew these things.
"Meiling came a while after we finished elementary." Yamazaki went on, "She ran away from home."
I looked up with a jerk.
Shiroi chuckled, "She cleaned out some money. Bought a plane ticket and came to find her cousin. That's pretty gutsy for some girl who's been a princess for all her life."
I couldn't imagine it. I couldn't imagine Syaoran and Meiling dressed in neat, tanned clothes. Eating off silver plates. Sleeping in rooms the size of their apartment. Looking…clean, rich, sophisticated, polite. I couldn't imagine them without their cocky smiles, without their rigid eyes. Without their intensity and rebellious look. I couldn't imagine them.
"Offcourse they called. Her father even tried coming here and dragging her back. But then…" Yamazaki trailed off with a reminiscing tone.
"Then what?" I whispered.
"Then it all turned downhill I guess." He sighed, then spoke with his lips against Chiharu's forehead, "Syaoran doesn't speak much about it. But things got fucked up with their family business. His dad got sick with depression. And then…and then he died. Just this year. Probably a few days after you got here."
I…I had never known that. His father. Syaoran's father. I had never…never known. Syaoran had never…I was never told.
"They lost several companies. And apparently most of the businesses were sold to pay off loans and all that shit. That's all Syaoran ever told us." Yamazaki said, "And then…and then his mother started calling. Asking him to come home, but Syaoran just made his excuses. In her eyes, he was still a transfer student working hard at school and living with Meiling. She paid for his bail once, but the only crime she thinks he ever committed was getting into a car accident. He's—he was always a fucking good boy to her. Let's see what's gonna happen next…once he gets up."
When he finished, this familiar silence engulfed us all. Bell rang, but we still sat there.
For so long, we sat, and tears just fell.
So she knew. She finally knew. I guess I could imagine it now. I could imagine how Syaoran's mother would be feeling right then. Seeing her son after so many years, in a hospital no less. From a drug overdose.
I guess I could imagine why she was keeping him isolated. I guess I could tell why she felt so tormented. It would be hard. It would be mind blowing. Knowing that your son, a boy who had been following the name of good all his life, had actually gotten his name tainted. I guess…I guess I could feel for her.
A mother. She was just a mother in the end. And what would a mother do at a time like this? What would a mother do when finding out her son was neither dead or alive? What would she do seeing his closed eyes and pale face? What would she be going through? I couldn't imagine.
I couldn't imagine her horror.
Syaoran Li P.O.V
It was cold.
There was something on my face. And…and I could open my eyes. Just wide enough. So many bright lights. So fucking…bright.
I could breath.
I could hear. Noises. Beeps. Voices. This muddle right next to my ears.
I could see. People. This man leaning over me.
"Syaoran Li." His face was so bright, "Can you hear me?"
I could feel. I could feel my toes. My fingers. This pain in my back.
"Syaoran Li." The voice touched me again, "I'm your doctor. Huen Lao. Can you hear me?"
"You're in Ishigami Private Hospital. Can you hear me?"
I looked at him again. This man. He was speaking. So yes. Shit. Offcourse I could hear him.
"Syaoran Li. Can you hear me?"
I let out a breath to speak. But nothing came out. My mouth felt dry and sour. But…nothing came out. Why…why couldn't I speak?
"Nurse." I heard him say. And then there were these other hands. Pushing something to my face. I turned away, but something just jammed into mouth. And…and I drank.
Something really cold. But…but it warmed me inside. It pushed through my throat. It dribbled over my face before the cup was pulled away. Water. It was just water.
I glanced up again, and I opened my mouth. A doctor. This was a doctor.
"Y…yea…" The moment I spoke, there were noises. Loud noises. These voices all at once, and I couldn't focus.
"Bring in his mother." The doctor called back before looking down on me again. He smiled once. Then adjusted something beside me, "Good morning Mr. Li. How do you feel?"
Sakura Kinomoto P.O.V
It was hard not to shiver.
I hugged myself hard. Pulled my sweater tighter around me. Dug my chin into my chest. It wasn't cold, but I was still shivering.
I held my crucifix tight in my fist, letting its edges burrow into my skin.
I don't know how many bells had rung. Maybe two? Three? Shiroi didn't budge. Neither did Yamazaki and Chiharu. They sat tight. In silence. Comfortable silence. And it was for the best. For the best that we didn't talk. For the best that we didn't see the tears in each other's eyes. The silence was good. It almost brought some sort of peace.
'Yeah.' My heart shook. I could hear him. His husky voice in my ears. His lips brushing against my skin. I could almost feel it. 'I'm real.' That had been a while ago. The first time I had kissed him.
I swallowed hard. Clutched the crucifix to my face. Yes. He had been real. A real guy. And he wasn't perfect. Because he was human.
'Sakura.' I could hear it. The way he called out my name so roughly and yet…sweetly. 'I didn't ask you to leave.' It couldn't be helped. The tears fell on command. They dropped into my hands.
'Is that better than what your boyfriend gives you?' These goose bumps rose up my arms, and I tried to imagine his expectant face. 'So that I know if I should improve or not.' No. Offcourse not. He never needed to improve. At least not for me. There was nothing more I wanted than what I already had.
I watched the green weed growing in between the cement cracks under my shoes. I watched an ant move its way across my feet. I watched dried yellow leaves scuffle with each soft blow of the wind.
It made me think. And it seemed funny.
Someone might be on the verge of death. Someone might be crying. Someone might be in pain. But outside that person. Beyond that person. Everything still remained the same. Nothing stopped. Everything still went on. The hands of time never stopped for anyone. Not even the most desperate of all people.
'I like bitches.' He was so stupid. So blunt.
For a second, I squeezed my eyes shut. I tried to imagine myself.
Myself in a little corner in the waiting room. Myself sobbing and howling. Myself tearing away. And then…and then I tried to imagine a few people watching me. A few people who happened to be from my school, wagging only just to come and visit a friend in emergency.
A few people who happened to ask around, inquiring why Sakura Kinomoto and Meiling Li were huddled in a corner bawling. Just a few people. A few people who ended up telling the school what they had heard and seen. A few people who asked around before finally finding out what Sakura Kinomoto had to do with Syaoran Li.
They were only a few people.
People who I hoped were happy for being so insufferable. Just…some people.
Word had gotten around apparently. When Chiharu had said something about me and Syaoran. Someone had seen us. I don't know where. When. But someone had seen us together.
And…and so it just happened.
I smiled to myself.
I hoped they were happy. Happy that a rumor had finally been called true.
But I didn't care. I really didn't. I wouldn't give a rat's ass if photos of me and Syaoran making out were sent around. I wouldn't give a damn.
Maybe I should have asked Yuu. My new friend. Maybe I should have just ended up asking him. But I couldn't. I couldn't drag him into this anymore. Friends helped. They didn't solve your problems. And Yuu had helped enough.
"Yamazaki?" my voice shattered the silence. Our beautiful silence. But the eyes around me regarded it invitingly.
The boy looked at me. And I smiled the best I could.
"Take me to Syaoran. And I'll deal with his mother."
'I didn't ask you to leave.' No. Offcourse not. How could I ever leave?
Syaoran Li P.O.V
I guess one second I was alive…and the next…dead. Almost dead. What else were people in a coma?
That's what I got told.
It was cocaine overdose…and fuck…I…I could hardly remember anything. I could hardly remember when? How? Where?
I'd been dead to the world for over a week. An entire week.
And the first person I had to see…was her. My mother.
They had helped me drink some more water…and she was there. Standing there. Crying. In her typical suit and shawl. That same hairstyle. Those same wrinkly eyes.
That had been the shock of my life. I had almost choked seeing her. I hadn't believed it for a moment. And for that second…I thought I might have been dreaming again. But no. She was for real. I thought she could have been someone else. But no…no one else could ever look like her.
And then I waited for it.
I waited for the slap. For the curses. I waited for her to yell and scream and tear out her voice. I waited.
Because I had been holding it out for too long. So many years.
Offcourse I had known that one day she would find out. That one day she would realize what I had become. How much I had changed. Offcourse I had thought about that. But that one day…I guess I never thought about how soon it would come.
But she didn't say a word. She was holding me gingerly. Pressing her cheek next to mine and letting her wet tears roll on my skin.
"Stupid…" I could hear her mutter in between her cries.
And bloody hell…I just fell into her.
I let her hug me. Smother me with kisses. And then she was holding my face tight. Her eyes were tearful but hard.
"How could you…?" she asked shaking her head. "How?"
That's how it went in the end. After years of waiting for this moment. This is how it went. We just cried together. Me and my mother.
Fuck…I couldn't help it. I couldn't fucking hold it in anymore. I couldn't.
I was tired. Physically and mentally.
I was so…so tired. And I wanted it over and done with. I just gave in. I let everything come out.
And I told her. Slowly. In my moment of confession.
I was a bad boy.
I've been to jail over seven times. I've been beaten up by officers. For abuse, for under-age drinking, drug-use, anything you fucking name it. I've nearly killed. I've been fined thousands for damaging personal property. I was a mess. A drug-addict. I was a…I was a freaking stoner.
And I guess she couldn't help but look disgusted. I guess she just couldn't help gritting her teeth and looking away.
But she knew.
She out of all people knew why. Why I had become like this. Why I had never said a word. Sitting there on the edge of my bed, I knew that she knew.
Because she never said anything else.
She just held me again and kissed my forehead. "I swear…" her voice was hard to hear, "I promise…I'll take care of you."
I didn't stop crying even when she was forced to leave.
I was…I was…I didn't have words for the first time.
But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't ashamed for the first time either.
Sakura Kinomoto P.O.V
We took Yamazaki's Honda out onto the road before last period class even ended. It was beaten up. Had torn seating. And stunk of smoke. But it would do.
I suppose I should have said something to Yuu. Because I knew he would be waiting by my locker after school. He would be waiting for me, wondering where I could be. Wondering if I was in the bathroom again crying my eyes out. But it was too late to turn back now.
We got a narrow space in the hospital parking lot, and I pitched in with Chiharu to pay for the fare.
Shiroi hadn't stopped dialing numbers on his cell phone. And Yamazaki looked so stressed that for a second I thought he might as well yank the steering wheel out of its hold.
The three of them followed behind me, while I sped in front.
In truth, I had no idea what I could say to Syaoran's mother. I had nothing planned. I had nothing to back me up. But there was only one thing I wanted. I wanted to see him. I was desperate to see him. To see his face. To see his results. I was so desperate that my hands felt clammy and cold as we reached the ICU unit.
My heart was shuddering in my ribcage. And my face felt like it would burst any second.
But I stopped. I stopped before I reached the doors.
It was stupid. Utterly stupid.
But I straightened my sweater out. I patted down my pants, and pushed my hair off my shoulders. I rubbed any dirt from my eyes and licked my lips. If I had turned around that moment, I would have seen Yamazaki and Shiroi awkwardly trying to tuck in their shirts, and Chiharu pulling up the zipper to her jacket.
And then we entered.
We probably looked like a group of misfits in the grey and blue setting, but in the end we just kept on walking. A few of the nurses glanced at us out of mild interest, but we didn't stop until we reached the fifth ward. I remember a 'Syaoran Li' card being perched on the door next to the other patient names, but we walked by thrice without finding one.
In a moment of frustration, I walked in into a ward I had ached to enter a week ago. But it wasn't it. Because in a bed where I had last seen Syaoran lying was a middle-aged woman with an oxygen mask snapped on instead.
I swear to God, my stomach jumped to my throat.
"Excuse me." An elderly nurse scowled at us from above her perched glasses, "Who're you looking for?"
"S-Syaoran Li." Yamazaki and Shiroi spoke at once.
The nurse looked down at her clipboard before glaring at us, "There's no one by the name of Syaoran Li here I'm sorry."
And that's when I lost it.
Something happened. Something. I snapped. And I screamed. I screamed at the top of my lungs.
"No!" I felt for the door behind me. I kept screaming.
God I thought I was going to collapse.
But I tore out of the ward with very ounce of energy in me.
I ran down the hallway. The reception stopped me, and I panted over it.
"Syaoran Li! Where is he!" I was pounding the divider. I was feeling a rush of hotness pierce through me.
Like I was being sliced open.
I felt cold.
"No!" I yelped, scrunching a few papers on the table top, "Where is Syaoran Li!"
And then she started typing furiously.
I barely heard footsteps behind me. Someone barely grabbing hold of my elbow.
"He's…" the woman's voice stalled as she scanned her eyes over the computer screen, "He's not checked in."
No. God, please no. Don't let him be gone.
"He…" Suddenly the lady behind the desk whirled on her chair, "He's been transferred to a private clinic."
And I crumbled at those words. The world just fell around me as I collapsed on my knees.
I barely heard Yamazaki asking which hospital. And I zoned everything out when the lady said that that was classified information no one was allowed to.
Why was this happening?
Why was it that Syaoran Li was making my life miserable? That just the thought of him dead was like a bullet to my chest? Why? Was I going mad? Was I finally loosing it? Each dead end. Each time I thought I was just a little bit closer to being near him. Each time I was taking a jump away from him. God I wantedto see him so bad. So bad!
"Sakura. Come on."
When was I going to see him?
"Come on, people are staring." Chiharu helped me out through doors.
For a second when I was about to collapse by the main entrance, Shiroi caught me just in time. He held my shoulders tight until we reached the car. We sat for an hour in the car. Chiharu trying her best to make me stop crying, and Shiroi and Yamazaki just sitting quietly in the front of the car.
They dropped me home on their way.
There was no one at the door when I went in and I flung my sandals away in a moment of contorted rage. Kero came to my feet after mere seconds, barking and licking at my feet.
I stared at the bright fur on him before I bent down to bury my face in his neck. He whined as I fell beside him, my tears soaking him and leaving him confused. He didn't understand. He didn't realize that I had finally reached a point of never getting back up. He didn't realize it. Because he was a dog. A lucky dog.
I fell asleep by the door steps with Kero struggling to escape my weight on his tail. I fell asleep remembering Syaoran's fingers in mine.
Was he? Could any real person ever cause this much pain?
Syaoran Li P.O.V
I cried myself to sleep. Pretty darn pathetic for a seventeen year old but screw it.
The nurses didn't really look bothered, but ended up placing a box of tissues beside me anyways.
I wasn't aware of much, but they kept taking my blood and making tests. I could hardly move any part of my body, so I was stuck. Stuck to think and think. I was a stoner and my mother knew it. I didn't know what was going to happen to me, but I did find out that I had just barely made it.
The pain had hardly gone. So there were still a few times I shook uncontrollably on my bed, sweating and crying, hoping that this burn in my chest would just suck me up whole. There would come the oxygen masks and then I would just vomit onto the bed sheets. It was like a routine. Shivering. Feeling this restlessness and kicking away sheets. By the end of my first day into the world they kept me on low sedatives.
And then I got visitors on the third day. When I had seen Mother, I hadn't realized that she would bring half the family with her.
My sisters came with their husbands. They didn't say a word. They just sat there. Fanren, my eldest sister kissed me tight on my forehead. Xiefa wouldn't look me in the eye. Shaozeng stood by the door. Uncle Yau stood by a red-faced Meiling. Uncle Jianzhi sat on the chair beside me, with Fanren's daughter, Leong swinging by his legs. While they were all staring at me through their own way, I was ignoring every single one of them.
I didn't want them there. Mother should have realized that.
Shaozeng had finished insulting me from his spot by the door. Uncle Yau had finished shaking his head and saying what a disappointment I was to father and mother. To the entire clan. And as a future leader.
I got all the shit. I kept my eyes closed and took it. If anything, I deserved it.
I found out that Meiling had called mother. Uncle Yau only concluded it as "thankfully the stupid girl had some brains left to call us." And Meiling wouldn't stop crying. She cried so much that most of the time one look at me would send her running out of the room. Definitely not the girl I knew before.
They stayed for only an hour. Half an hour in my room and the other half hour outside with my mother. Drilling holes into my face.
And then they were gone.
Just like that.
I wish I never had a family.
I wish…I wish I never had anyone to disappoint.
And when they were gone, I wanted to ask Meiling where the people I wanted with me were. Yamazaki, Shiroi. Those freaks like me who knew me inside and out.
But the sedatives wouldn't let me think straight. I knew it was her who was there with me. Sakura Kinomoto. When I had last fallen asleep I had been holding her hand. Except this time…this time I had nothing but the hospital air to breath into.
Sakura Kinomoto P.O.V
The call came a week later. On the Friday I was at home, unable to go to school. Unable to get out of my bed. Unable to let anyone turn on the lights.
Touya had attempted to wake me up, but I had ignored him. Even when I had left him waiting for me at school on Monday, I had ignored him. He had been furious, and he probably still was, but I knew his three hours of waiting in the car were nothing compared to what I went through. I didn't let Dad or him in on the bruises on my face form that girl. They asked me for answers, but I had none to give. So I just said I fell while running on the track.
School had been funny. Utterly funny. Revision for term exams had started and I could hardly concentrate. Yuu had actually managed to get me talking to a counselor, except we had spent much of the hour in silence on my part.
I spent lunch with Yamazaki, Shiroi and Chiharu, huddled in a school corner, me listening, while they talked about ancient memories. Yuu had insisted on me sitting with him and his group, but that would mean being in the cafeteria near Eriol and the rest. I couldn't do that. I couldn't willingly look at Eriol and see the damage I had cause him. A cut lip like mine and a nice purple bruise sporting his cheek.
I guess this was the funniest of all things. Eriol was snobbing me. Van would stare holes into my head. Rika would stop to look at me from the corner of her eyes. And Tomoyo…Tomoyo would just sometimes look at me straight. Rumor had it that she and Eriol had split. Someone had obviously told her at what Eriol had been up to. I'm guessing Rika, but our fight in the toilet hadn't exactly been as personal as I had thought.
Sometimes when I would walk out of a class, I would see her standing in the hallway, almost as if waiting for me, but Yuu would steal me away. And for that I was glad.
I didn't want a conversation with any of them. Especially Tomoyo. I didn't want to have to explain anything to her.
And then I got called to the guidance counselor again, because by now even teachers knew about what had been happening. My grades had dropped. I wasn't concentrating in class. Dad got called up once.
So we had to have a talk.
The family talk.
It sucked from the second Touya and Dad sat across me. They went about how I couldn't loose myself. How I still had a life. How I couldn't abandon things just because everything had dropped on me. It was the usual family therapy session.
And I sat there, holding onto Kero and letting the voices enter one ear before letting it come out of the other.
That was how my week had been. A chaotic mess I still hadn't pulled myself out of. And today was my day off. Touya was at university. Dad was at work thinking that I was at home catching up on forgotten work. But that's what he thought.
Because I was still in bed, in the jeans I had worn to bed last night. Going to school seemed like almost a waste. I had my photocopied notes and exercises, so today had been the day I was supposed to start cramming.
Christ it was funny. I didn't seem to care anymore.
And then the phone started ringing downstairs.
I ignored it for a minute, knowing the machine would pick it up. But as soon as the answering machine came, it stopped and the ringing would start again. On the third ringing, I pushed myself down the stairs and answered the phone with a snap.
"We have an answering machine you dork! Use it!" I growled into the receiver, but all I could hear was this heavy breathing. "Who's this?" I asked irritably. If it was a prank call, I wouldn't hang up until I gave them a piece of my mind. "Look, if you're mess—,"
The phone fell out of my hands when someone spoke.
For a second, I felt the world spinning around me. And I felt that familiar feeling of having my stomach in my throat.
The same one I had been hearing over and over again in my head.
I scrambled up to pick the phone to my ear, clutching it tight in my hands, like a lifesaver. I could hear breathing. Distinct breathing.
"S—," the words tightened in my throat and I couldn't get them out.
"Sakura." The voice sounded different this time. But much clearer. And his voice was rough, "Sakura it's me. Shiroi."
The phone was clenched so tight in my fists, that for a second I was about to slam it against the wall. I was almost about to do it, but then he spoke again.
"Meiling just called." He paused before adding, "Syaoran's awake."
I was listening. And he went on.
"He's at some Ishigami Private Hospital down in the west. It's about a three hour drive from here. We'll come pick you up now."
My hands were shaking. So violently. And my heart was soaring. I think I was smiling. I couldn't tell. I just croaked a "Sure." before hanging up on him.
I think I sat there for a whole of five minutes, trying to register what was happening. And then I flew out of the couch and into the kitchen. I scribbled down a note and patted Kero before running out the door and thrusting into my shoes by the gate.
I didn't have to wait long.
The Honda came in less than another five minutes. I didn't exchange a word with any of them, but just got into the backseat with Chiharu before Yamazaki floored the pedal.
Jesus. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Syaoran Li P.O.V
I was becoming weak. That's what my report came as. I was suffering from malnutrition. I had critical damage to my lungs. And those crazy pains had been seizures. Once, I overheard some nurse talking about disturbances in my hearth rhythms or something. All these classy terms. The only news they gave me was that I was 'due to the operation theatre at seven in the morning tomorrow'. Seven? They could rip me apart and operate on me right now if they wanted. It's not like I had anything to do.
Yes, I was freaked out.
Yes, I wanted a smoke.
Yes, I wanted to never get up.
It was as if every time I got up, I felt even more dead.
Sometimes I would get up at night. Sweating from head to toe. Spit on my chin. And the covers below my head filled with my vomit. I would stay tight. Trying not to smell. Trying not to shiver. And trying not to think.
It would be dark and I would just cry.
Sometimes, I couldn't see straight and things would start looking hazy.
Mother hadn't come to see me after that one day and nor had anyone else other than Meiling and Fanren. Fanren would sit next to me in the afternoons, talking about Leong and her husband. She was the only sister I was closest to. And in the middle of a conversation, she would just start crying.
This afternoon was no different. She was sitting on a chair next to me, with Leong absent.
I acknowledged her by lifting my face up.
"Tell me about that girl."
I froze tight.
"Don't ask me what girl, because you know who and so do I."
I looked away then, "What about her?" Yeah, what the fuck about her? It wasn't as if any of them had come to see me.
"Is she really your girlfriend?" she asked. I shrugged, my eyes still on the door. "Sakura right?"
I felt something in my stomach at the sound of her name. I hadn't heard anyone say that name for so long. It almost made me weak. Hearing that name being said so freely.
Then Fanren sighed, "Everyone lost it at her when we first came here. Meiling had something about her to us and—,"
"What?" I glanced at her sharply, my neck almost getting a crick.
Fanren looked a bit taken back before settling uneasily into her seat, "I guess when Meiling talked to mother, she sort of babbled it all out. Something about you having gone nuts over some girl. Sakura this. Sakura that."
I cringed at her tone.
"It was mad Xiao Lang." Fanren looked at me with a glint in her eyes, "We took the jet. Mother…mother had lost it. She would talk about some girl. But I guess, it wasn't really her fault was it?"
Something shifted in me. And I grabbed her arm, "What do you mean? What-what did Mother say to her?" I was reeling. And coil inside to out.
"Meiling hadn't been very clear—,"
"What did mother say to her?"
Fanren's uneasy look grew and I started sweating even more.
"Mother just yelled at her. Xiao Lang, you don't know how…how distraught she was. How distraught we were."
Her words were small and quiet and I closed my eyes.
"No." I mumbled after some time, "No." I said it again, clearly, "It wasn't because of Sakura." I paused and looked at the ceiling, "Never because of her."
"Then why did Meiling say that you went crazy for her? Apparently she cheated on you…and you…and you lost your mind."
For something like being said out in the open made me cringe, then I smiled a little. I was though wasn't I? Only someone who spent each second think of her would be crazy. Crazy, yes. She made me crazy.
"Because…"I grinned a little at my sister, "Because I guess I did. But she didn't…she never cheated on me."
Fanren's face faltered as she tried to find words, then she attempted to hide her smile, "You'll always be my weird brother won't you?"
"Always." I murmured, as my eyes suddenly ached to close. I barely felt Fanren ruffle my hair like she always would. I barely heard her leave.
But I would find her. I would find Sakura. Even if Mother had yelled at her and told her whatever, there was no way I was letting her go.
Sakura Kinomoto P.O.V
It took over three hours including traffic to get there. We had to stop once for petrol, but we made it. We made it just before noon.
And it was big. Ishigami Private Hospital was someplace I never knew even existed. It was outside Tomoeda, in some posher area called Nachi.
I felt like dirt when I stepped into the pristine hospital. Embarrassed of myself, with my wrinkled jeans and my snoopy shirt. But I didn't care. I didn't stop once to check who was looking at me. None of us did.
Yamazaki stayed in the front of us and we followed him to the reception. But before we could even get up to speak, Meiling sprang in front of us.
Words were exchanged and I continued to follow in a daze. The whiteness blinded my eyes and I didn't quite realize how hard my heart was beating until we all stopped in front of a private room.
There was a woman sitting outside. Relief subsided as I realized it wasn't Syaoran's mother. But she wouldn't stop staring at me. But my eyes were only on the glass walls between me and the private room.
Soon I was sweating. I didn't hear a word anyone said to me. Because I couldn't hold it in me anymore. I pushed open the door before my heart could burst.
The air hit me in the face, chilling me to my bone.
But my eyes didn't rest, until they rested on a frail looking boy on a bed. And then they cried. My eyes tipped out tears one by one.
Something escaped my lips, and I limped forward, my strangled breath become raspier and raspier. I lost control of my body. I lost control of my mind. I dragged myself in numbness until I stood at his side.
I wasn't aware of anyone else but this boy on the bed. This boy who looked so different and yet so strangely familiar. I wasn't aware of my fingers that had extended, longing to feel that pale skin. I wasn't aware, until I felt warmth underneath my fingertips.
The tears fell quicker and faster. And I shook. My fingers shook as I leaned over him.
"S…" I had lost my voice God. For once in my life, I couldn't find words to speak, "S…" My tears fell on his chest. And I felt the face move against my fingers.
God. Oh god. He was here. He was alive. He was awake. In front of me. In my hold. His skin so warm. God…he was alive.
He had made it.
"Syaoran…" I pulled myself closer, my fingers savoring the feel and contours of his face.
Brown eyes opened to my call, and in the same moment, my heart leaped.
It leaped over the sky.
Syaoran Li P.O.V
Someone was calling me. Someone.
Deep voices. Familiar voices.
And then something warmed my face. Roses. The smell hit my nose and I pushed myself into the warmth. This warmth that made my knees tremble. That made my head turn over. That made me swim further into the darkness.
"Syaoran." The voice was so sweet and so near. So familiar. So much like…so much like my…like….
I willed my eyes open.
And the first thing I saw were the tears of this beautiful face fall on me.
Sakura Kinomoto P.O.V
There were these sudden laughs. I didn't realize everyone was around me. I didn't realize they had been on other side of the bed.
I wasn't aware of anything but these open eyes beneath me. Those same watchful and intent eyes that used to bore into mine and snatch every truth and lie. Those same smoky eyes that made me swoon and grab onto the front of him.
And that's exactly what I did. I grabbed the front of his gown and dug my face into his neck and cried my heart out. I didn't care how hoarse I sounded. Or how loud every pitch was. I just cried and let it all out.
Because my Syaoran was alive.
I could feel his heart beat. I could feel the warmth of his neck. Feel his adam's apple moving as I felt arms wrapping around me.
I didn't hear a word from him. Not a word. But he was awake. He was awake. And that was all I had ever wanted. So I clung onto him shamelessly and didn't stop crying. No one pulled me apart. No one said a word. I was just crying and this hold around me just kept getting tighter.
I had missed him.
I had missed every bit of him. His arrogance. His touch. His hold. His skin. His warmth.
And his voice.
Jesus, his deep, rough voice. I never really knew I missed it like crazy until then. Never until then. Because I started shaking. I started trembling so bad that for a second I thought I might be dreaming. That this was just another one of those nightmares, where I'd suddenly wake up and find myself screaming his name in the middle of the night.
"Hey." His breath tickled my ears, and I relished at the feel of his lips on them.
No. This was real. This was as real as it could get. I was holding him for real.
I lifted my head to meet his open mouth and even wider eyes.
"You're here…" I whispered through teary eyes. "You're…really here."
His eyes looked as if they were searching mine. And then he brought a tube-injected hand to my face. Rubbing the tears away with his thumb, he pulled my face closer.
So closer that I could feel his breath on my face. So closer than I climbed on the bed next to him and pressed my mouth to his forehead.
I pushed the hair of his forehead and he smiled.
"I was waiting for you." His voice was so low, that I had to lean in, until my lips were brushing past his.
"You scared me." I spoke as quietly as he did, or at least tried to. And he smiled again. "You…you scared me…so much." I watched as my tears fell on his cheek and I quickly wiped it away. "So much…" I played with his hair and gave him a watery smile. "You asshole…"
He just watched me. Watched me cry and closed his eyes lightly every time I caressed his cheeks. His own fingers brushed over my cut lip and the light bruise next to my eye.
"I'm sorry." The words tumbled out of my mouth and I never gave him a chance to say anything, "Do you hear me?" I pulled him closer to my heart, "I'm sorry." I needed him to know that. That this apology was coming from my heart. From the heart he had treaded on. From the heart he had stamped and crushed and kissed.
"For what?" his free hand, slipped into my own hair.
"For this. For doing this to you." The flicker in his eyes darkened.
I pressed my forehead against his, and he inched up to catch my mouth. It felt like time had frozen. It felt like his lips had never left mine. It felt like heaven, just like each time I had let him kiss me senseless.
I let him open my mouth. Lost myself savoring the feel of his soft lips. And I cherished every bit of it.
My heart caught on fire and I found myself in a haze so thick that I hardly realized when we had pulled away. I hardly realized that I had stopped crying.
"You've got nothing to be sorry for." I felt his lips smile against mine, "I did it 'cause I'm fucked up." He caught my delirious look, then added, "Seriously."
I shook my head slowly at first, then furiously. He wasn't fucked up. He was made like this by his abusive father. He wasn't fucked up at all and I told him just that. "You're better than anyone." I didn't know what made me say that, "You're better than any loser." Better than Eriol, Van and every guy out there. I said that because it was the truth.
He chuckled lightly and I glowed at the beat of his heart again. His hand slipped behind my neck, and he pulled me further until my head fell beside his on the pillow. "That's why I need you."
He needed me?
"Stay with me."
I bumped my nose against his and kissed him impulsively again, "Tell me why you need me?" I asked even when I didn't need to. Because my answer would always be a yes. I don't know what came over me, but I couldn't let him. Now that I had him with me, in my eyes, I didn't want him gone from my life. Because he meant something. He meant something to me. He was someone special to me. Someone idiotic, moronic, but still someone I couldn't let go of.
"Why?" he repeated my question to himself, and I snuggled carefully into his side. His IV-tube hand came to touch the top of my head again, and I wrapped an arm around his waist. Then he spoke into my ears. And his voice glided around me, "'Cause…" I looked into his tired, baggy eyes, "'Cause you make everything alright."
And I swear to you God. That had to be the best thing anyone had ever said to me in my entire life.
Syaoran Li P.O.V
I never realized when she fell asleep holding me. She stopped crying at some point. She stopped murmuring my name. She stopped shivering.
My usual nurse came in twice, looking nervous and twitchy. I snapped at her when she made to wake Sakura. She wasn't leaving. Not now. Now when I just had her.
I tried keeping my eyes open. But I found myself relaxing back and twisting the back of her shirt around my fingers.
I could hear her breathing. I could hear silent laughter. I could hear the wind suddenly. Rushing through my head. Rushing into my lungs. Swallowing me whole. I could feel my body melting right on that bed. Right beside her. Knowing that there was this girl who I ached to kiss again and again. This girl whose touch made my skin burn.
This time wasn't like last time though. I wasn't gonna let it be. This time, I would wake up with her still beside me. This time, I would be falling asleep knowing that she was beside me. Knowing for sure that I loved her. That her being next to me, made my insides settle down. Knowing that, when I would wake up again, I wouldn't be in another coma. I wouldn't be holding emptiness. But this girl.
Because only someone like her would cry like crazy for me.
Only someone like Sakura would call me an asshole and kiss me at the same time.
Only someone like her would make me feel that this shitty life meant something.
A/N: There. All out. I finally woke the poor guy up. As for the ending, happy sappy it is. And just two more chapters to go! Hope you guys enjoyed this one.