AN: I promised this fic to KyteAura a couple of months ago, I think, and I've been wracking my poor, abused little college student brain, searching for inspiration when this just up and hit me out of the blue, in all it's fluffy, sappy, probably-cliched goodness! sigh Mild OOC on the part of Tomoyo.

I don't own CCS or the Grinch. Dr. Suess rules! Oh yeah, and N.S.D. belongs to my dear friends Share and Jewels. I mention it a couple of times. You'll see what N.S.D. is, promise…giggles uncontrollably

DEDICATED TO KYTEAURA, 'CAUSE I PROMISED HER AN UNCOMPROMISED ExT FLUFF FIC! HERE IT IS! …at least, I hope this qualifies as uncompromised, unadulterated fluff-stuff.

o

o

Valentine Grinch

February fourteenth.

Ah, Valentine's Day. Though a holiday of slightly murky origins, it is a fairly well-known and well observed holiday, to say the least. A day for boyfriends to be with their girlfriends, girlfriends to be with their boyfriends, spouses to be with each other. A day for crushes to be revealed. A day of flowers, candy, and displays of affection. A day for sweethearts and lovers.

Or, as Tomoyo thought of it, National Sex Day. Pretty self explanatory, really. A day for making an even bigger deal out of something that everyone already made a big deal out of every other day of the year. If there was one thing that Daidouji Tomoyo absolutely despised, it was February fourteenth.

Though she would never come right out and say it, there was an actual reason for her loathing of Valentine's Day. There was an honest to Clow reason she dreaded every February fourteenth. An explanation as to why she cringed whenever she saw displays of pink and red hearts, proclaiming to the world that if you want to make your significant other happy, you'd better buy this.

Her motive was surprisingly simple.

One day, Tomoyo had woken up to a startling realization: boys were nice. Very nice. And she started noticing more and more that on occasion, certain boys were giving her certain little glances, and she found those looks very desirable things to collect. But as time went on, she became aware of a disturbing fact: though she received those little looks on a regular basis, she never had a Valentine.

She wasn't vain, but she knew she was pretty. And she wasn't asking the male members of her class to fall languishing at her feet or anything. All she was asking for was a rose and maybe some candy or something. Was that so hard?

But after many years of diappointment, she had finally given up, and instead had taken an opposite stance on the day, re-christening it National Sex Day. She wore all black, rather than the traditional red and pink, though she could never quite help herself from videotaping Sakura in all her rose-colored cuteness. After all, Valentine's Day was a special day for Sakura and Syaoran. So Tomoyo let them have their hearts and flowers, and continued to rebel in her own quiet way.

But unbeknownst to Tomoyo, this year was to be different. And it was to start on February eleventh. Three days before the holiday she so despised…

Syaoran stared blankly into his shoe locker. "Umm…there's something wrong with this picture."

He wasn't talking about his shoes, either. What he was referencing to was the fact that the small locker was nearly overflowing with cards, chocolates, and other assorted Valentine's Day crap.

"Isn't it a little early for that?" Naoko commented, peering over his shoulder to get a better look.

Syaoran didn't say anything. He just continued to do a credible imitation of a hooked fish.

"Did you know the first Valentine was—" Yamazaki started, but that was as far as he got before Chiharu whipped out her infamous mallet and put a stop to the lie before it could really begin.

Nearby, Hiiragizawa Eriol was smirking to no end, thoroughly enjoying Syaoran's mild torture. "Syaoran-kun, as popular with the ladies as ever, I see."

Syaoran recovered his coherency long enough to mutter something obscene about Eriol's parentage and offer Eriol, as an early Valentine's Day present, a specially extended middle finger.

"Syaoran-kun!" Sakura immediately admonished her boyfriend for his rudeness.

And through the whole thing, Tomoyo just stood behind her video camera, giggling. After all, it wasn't quite Valentine's Day yet, and though the brightly colored paper poking out of Syaoran's locker made her want to gouge her eyes out, she simply didn't point her camera at it.

When she was satisfied with the amount of footage she had recorded, she pressed the button that shut the camera off and returned it to the safety of her school bag before heading towards her own locker and opening it with the intent of switching shoes.

But when she opened her locker, she made a very startling discovery. Someone had left something in there for her. Namely, a single red rose, laid neatly on top of her school shoes.

She stared at it blankly, like it was some strange, unknown object. Then she carefully reached into her locker and withdrew the flower. The thorns had been carefully removed, she noted.

"Tomoyo-chan!" Sakura squealed. "You've got a Valentine!"

Tomoyo quickly shook off her surprised revery and put the flower back in her locker. "That's ridiculous. I've never had a Valentine." She switched her shoes and closed her locker, leaving the rose in the dark on top of her street shoes.

But all through class, she couldn't help but wonder who had left the single red rose for her. Then she berated herself for getting worked up over it. Then fell back into wondering, then mentally yelled at herself. It was a vicious cycle that went on all through classes, until finally it was lunchtime, and she figured conversing with her friends would give her a much-needed distraction.

Unfortunately, she wasn't getting off the hook that easily.

There was conversation at lunch, but the chosen topic was the mysterious appearance of the rose in Tomoyo's locker. Her friends, knowing her dislike of Valentine's Day, found it intriguing.

"Maybe it's a secret admirer," Chiharu pondered.

"Someone wants you to be their Valentine, Tomoyo-chan!" Naoko squealed.

Tomoyo couldn't stop herself from rolling her eyes. "Oh, please. Nobody would ask me to be their Valentine. Everyone knows I hate this stupid holiday." She popped another bite of rice into her mouth and focused on chewing while her friends giggled and continued trying to figure it out.

No one noticed that they were being watched by a figure, perched in a tree nearby.

By the time the final bell rang, Tomoyo had managed to push the mysterious gift from her mind, and chatted amiably with Sakura as they strolled back to the lockers to change shoes so they could head home. But when they got there, they discovered something.

A second rose had appeared in her locker. It sat there, so innocently, on top of her black Mary Janes. But Tomoyo wasn't impressed, no matter how pretty it was.

"What in the world…" she muttered. Was this someone's idea of a joke? Daidouji Tomoyo was no one's Valentine. She was the Valentine Grinch, a title she had given herself after years of practicing indifference towards this stupid holiday.

Yet now, it seemed, someone was trying to change the Grinch's mind.

Well, this Grinch wasn't going to steal any holidays, but she was going to hold steadfast.

And no mere flowers were going to make her call off her rebellion.

Tomoyo was so busy renewing her resolve that she failed to notice a pair of dancing eyes watching her from a few lockers down. Eyes that were very, very knowing.

The sun set that night, and rose the next morning. Two days left until Valentine's Day.

Tomoyo woke up the next day. She would have completely forgotten about the mysterious gifts if she hadn't seen the two roses sitting on her desk like an omen of doom. And somehow, that just put her in a bad mood for the entire morning.

She came into school, and managed to brighten a little when she saw Sakura and Rika standing there, chatting at their lockers. The three girls exchanged good mornings, and Tomoyo went to change shoes. Sakura and Rika resumed their conversation, but they were cut off by a loud sound.

Namely, Tomoyo.

"Another rose?" Tomoyo half-screamed at the flower in her hand. It was a lovely rose, just like the first one, crimson red, caught in the earliest flush of bloom, but that didn't change the fact that it was, indeed, a rose. A symbol of a holiday she despised.

"Oh, three in two days!" Sakura laughed. "Someone really wants you to be their Valentine, Tomoyo-chan!" She closed her locker. "I wish I knew who it was, though…"

"I don't," the raven-haired girl put the rose back in her locker, and slamming the door with a very satisfying clang. "Whoever it is, just leave me alone!" And she stormed off towards the classroom.

Lunchtime rolled around, and once again, the chosen topic was Tomoyo's admirer. Tomoyo, however, was far less taken with the notion that some lunatic, as she put it, decided to try and woo her. All those years of despising Valentine's Day weren't so easily swept away, and the self-styled Valentine Grinch continued to hate February fourteenth.

And after school, Tomoyo was more than a little nervous. Yesterday, something had managed to appear in her locker before she got there. So today, as soon as the bell rang, she was out of her seat, the first one out of the classroom. She dashed down to the locker room and flung open her locker. And she nearly screamed when she saw the envelope sitting on top of her street shoes.

By the time Sakura got there, Tomoyo was already ripping open the envelope, and she pulled out a card with lots and lots of red and pink hearts printed on the front with big, loopy white letters forming the words Be my Valentine.

She opened the card, and found that the inside was originally blank, but someone had thoughtfully filled it with all sorts of quote-unquote 'romantic' nonsense. She actually had to laugh out loud at how utterly ridiculous the whole thing was.

"What does it say?" Sakura asked.

Tomoyo wiped away tears of laughter and read out loud. "Oh beautious creature. Oh, goddess, oh nymph, oh divine. I wish to only stare at your angelic face, and then I would be able to die happy. Would that you would forever sing to me, my angel." She giggled. "Oh, song of my nightingale. Oh, wind beneath my wings. You are the cream of my corn, the apple of my pie. Oh, pearl of my oyster. I remain, humbly and eternally yours," she paused, then finished in a slightly icier tone, "your Valentine."

Even Sakura had to laugh. "That's pretty corny, but it's sweet too!"

Tomoyo didn't bother dignifying that with a response. She just switched her shoes and slammed her locker closed before leaving in a huff. She did, however, take the mysterious card with her.

"Mou," Sakura muttered as Tomoyo left. She turned to the nearest person, who just happened to be Eriol. "She really should be flattered that someone would go to this much for her!"

He laughed. "Tomoyo-san doesn't like the holiday. Everyone knows that."

"Why is he doing it then?" Sakura wondered out loud.

Eriol smiled mysteriously. "Maybe someone's trying to change her mind. After all," he closed his own locker with a little more dignity then Tomoyo had closed hers, "everyone should have a Valentine."

The tiny Sun Guardian hovered over his master's shoulder, watching as said master moved a pen across the paper. "Would you remind me again why you're doing this?"

Eriol chuckled. "I feel kind of bad. Poor Tomoyo-san never had a Valentine, and that's why she decided she hates the holiday. I'm sure that she's actually quite miserable, though, so I'm going to see what happens if this so-called Valentine Grinch actually gets a Valentine."

"So this is a pity move?" Nakuru piped from her perch by the window. She'd been listening. "Really, Eriol, that's not very nice. You shouldn't get the poor girl's hopes up."

"First of all, Tomoyo-san isn't getting her hopes up," he laughed, blowing on the paper to help the ink dry faster. "She's actually being quite cynical. Difficult, almost. And secondly, this isn't a pity move, Ruby." His eyes narrowed, and he smiled. "I promise you. This has nothing to do with pity."

The two Guardians exchanged a look over their master's head. What in the world did he mean?

Tomorrow was it.

The despised holiday she had renamed National Sex Day.

Tomoyo opened her locker on the morning of February thirteenth—ironically enough, a Friday—and found that once again, someone had left her a little something. Namely, a piece of stationary with what looked like a poem written on it.

She picked it up by the corners, as though it were some disgusting thing that she feared would get all over her, and read it. She recognized the work by the first few lines—it was a sonnet by Shakespeare.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Rolling her eyes, she groaned and put it back in her locker. "I'm really getting tired of this…"

"Tomoyo-san?"

She whirled, and heaved an aggravated sigh. "Eriol-kun, stop sneaking up on me."

"You seem upset," he tilted his head to one side and smiled at her, putting every bit of charm he possessed into that grin. Not even the Valentine Grinch could resist that smile, and Tomoyo found herself smiling back in spite of herself.

"Somebody keeps leaving me things," she grabbed the page and waved it at him.

"So I heard," he nodded, looking sympathetic.

"Honestly, they know I hate Valentine's Day. Everyone does. It's getting irritating," she huffed.

"You should be flattered," Eriol remarked. "Someone obviously cares about you."

She eyed him. "What about you? Do you have a Valentine?"

He actually went a little pink in the face at that, and he looked more than a little sheepish as he pulled his own locker open to reveal the plethora of cards and chocolates filling the tiny space. "I'm waiting until after school to bring the garbage can over. I don't want to offend anyone."

That actually made her smile, though at the same time she felt the tiniest of pangs that he had so much attention from the female persuasion. But she allowed him to escort her back up to the classroom.

After school, Tomoyo already knew there would be something in her locker. She almost hoped it was something that would come flying out, hit her in the face, and knock her out cold. But no such luck.

Instead, when she opened her locker, she had to stare in mild disgust at the enormous heart-shaped box of Valentine's chocolates sitting on her shoes. It was so big that it just barely fit. And the bright red color of the box burned right through her eyelids when she tried to close her eyes against the sight.

"Honestly, why me?" she muttered out loud, ignoring the fact that Hiiragizawa was standing nearby, trying to be very quiet as he laughed at her.

Her mood and her nerves were shot. If she wasn't so angry, she might actually have enjoyed the attention. But instead, she grabbed the box and left. She stormed all the way home, stomped up the stairs and into her room, and slammed the door closed behind her. Fortunately, none of the servants questioned it. They all knew the young mistress' feelings towards Valentine's Day.

In the safety of her room, she ripped open the box, and simply stared at the assortment of sweets assembled in the heart shape. Suddenly, her fingers began to itch, and she just couldn't help herself. She glanced around to make sure no one was watching—which was pretty absurd, considering that her room was empty and she was on the second floor—before choosing a chocolate and quickly popping it into her mouth. Not surprisingly, it was delicious.

A few—dozen—bites later, she forced herself to put down the box, and she flung herself onto her bed, determined to solve the riddle of who this annoying admirer was. But she was more tired than she realized from maintaining her anger over this whole thing.

Who would go to this much trouble to annoy me? she wondered briefly as sleep began to overtake her mind. For a split second, she was sure she knew, but then she tumbled into Dreamland, and when she woke up, she couldn't remember who her suspect was.

Valentine's Day.

Today was it.

National Sex Day. Pink and Red Day. Make a Big Deal Out of Everything Day.

Make Single People Feel Like Crap Day.

The most despised day on Daidouji's calender.

Tomoyo grimaced as she opened her locker. If there was another rose in there, she would be having a very small bonfire that evening. And any chocolates were going to find themselves on a crash course with the bottom of a trash can. The ones from the day before had been delicious, she grudgingly admitted that much. But no more! But there was no rose, nor were there chocolates. Instead, there was something else, and her eyes widened a little bit in spite of themselves.

Sakura peered over her shoulder and let out a tiny squeal. "A teddy bear!"

It was, indeed, a bear. Pristine white, with polished black eyes and a royal purple ribbon around its neck. It looked handmade, like one of those kits at the crafts store that had been all the rage amongst their classmates a few years earlier. But though handmade, it was perfect. And it was holding a plain white envelope in its lifeless arms.

With a surprisingly steady hand, Tomoyo reached into her locker and withdrew the stuffed animal. She plucked the envelope from its paws and studied the bear a little more carefully. It really was expertly made. But she quickly turned her attention to the envelope; she ripped it open and pulled out a single slip of folded paper. On the paper was the same neat handwriting as the cheesy card and the sonnet from the previous day.

Dearest Tomoyo, it read, today is a day for lovers. For confessions, but also for courage. And so I offer a challenge to the one who calls herself the Valentine Grinch. Meet me on the roof after the last bell rings. Come alone. But I warn you—only meet me after school if you're not afraid of the truth. Eternally yours, your Valentine.

She reread the note several times, but each time the words remained the same.

She was being challenged, given the opportunity to find out who this alleged Valentine was.

After school.

Tomoyo looked at the teddy bear and smirked. "Finally, I get to find out who I need to kill."

She scanned the note again, and her eyes stopped on a certain phrase. Only meet me after school if you're not afraid of the truth. Afraid? Why on earth would she be afraid?

But suddenly, her stomach started twisting itself into knots. Maybe this wouldn't be quite as easy as she thought…

Tomoyo spent the rest of the day in a daze. She effortlessly ignored the cards, flowers, candies, and affections being passed around by everyone else. Her entire being was focused on what that innocent little piece of paper had said.

Only meet me after school if you're not afraid of the truth.

Well, if there was one thing Daidouji Tomoyo was not, it was afraid.

Afraid? No.

Nervous? Hell, yeah.

But when the bell rang, she headed for the roof, the appointed meeting place. And she waited.

The sun was high in the sky. Down on the ground, the sound of laughter and talking came up to her ears. Lots of repeated declarations of undying affection. It would have been enough to make Tomoyo sick if her guts weren't already doing roller coaster flips with nerves over what was about to happen.

She wasn't scared, she wasn't scared…

Ah, hell. She was scared. Scared because she actually wanted to know who it was.

The Valentine Grinch was cracking. This wasn't good. Not good at all…

"So you came," a familiar male voice said from behind her. "Good. Now we can talk."

She whirled around. And her violet eyes locked with a pair of extremely amused sapphire ones.

Her jaw dropped. "You!"

A nod. "Me."

Hiiragizawa Eriol.

"So it was you," she remarked, a statement rather than a question. She already knew the answer.

"Guilty," he smiled—not his usual little half-smirk, but something far more mysterious.

"Why?" Tomoyo demanded; her heart was hammering like a jackhammer in her chest. "You know I hate Valentine's Day. So why go to all the trouble?"

"Tomoyo-san," Eriol said casually, "for being as smart as you are, you're not picking up on this."

She stared at him blankly. "Picking up what?"

He took a step towards her; she unconsciously moved back, and found herself running into the fence that lined the roof. No escape now. "I'm asking you to be my Valentine, Tomoyo-san."

Feeling poleaxed was getting to be a regular occurrence, it seemed. And he continued to take those slow, casual steps, inching ever closer to her. Soon, he wasn't even an arm's length away. And suddenly, she wished he was a little nearer.

"Why?" she tried to challenge him, but the word came out as more of a squeak than anything else.

"Simple," he replied. "I love you."

Time froze. The world went silent. And Tomoyo sudden became incapable of breathing. Okay, heart. Why did you just stop? Keeping going, please. Thank you.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" she asked softly, trying very hard not to shiver as he moved even a little closer, as though he was reading her mind. God, she wanted to just melt! "I'm the Valentine Grinch. I'm famous for it."

"Well," he whispered; he was now close enough to practically breathe the words into her ear. The single syllable sent chills down her spine. "If you remember the story, didn't the Grinch decide that the holiday wasn't so bad after all?"

She nodded mutely. Full-grown eagles were flittering around in her stomach. She knew she was probably blushing as red as the roses he had left in her locker; her face felt hot as a branding iron.

And he noticed. "Tomoyo-san, are you blushing?"

She still had enough left in her to send a glare his way.

He chuckled and leaned down towards her.

Her common sense was screeching at her to protest. She hated Valentine's Day! She was a rebel against the lovey-dovey commercialism crap! The Valentine Grinch didn't have any use for it…

But when he pressed his lips against hers, she couldn't find any further reason to protest. And as the kiss became a little deeper, any and all traces of logic went flying merrily out the window, where they were hit by a low-flying plane.

Maybe Valentine's Day isn't so bad after all… she couldn't help but think. It was the last truly coherent thought to make it through her mind.

Suddenly, she had a strange urge to change into something red.

o

And what happened next, or so the stories say,

Tomoyo's heart grew three sizes that day

But she and Eriol knew just what to do

They pigged out on Valentine candy the whole night through

o

o

AN: Whew, I couldn't resist doing the ending like that smiles Dr. Suess, one of the great geniuses of our time. sighs happily Well, there you have it. A mushy, sappy, power-cheese Valentine's Day fic. I hope everyone liked it! And remember: reviews are part of a healthy fanfiction diet subtle hint