AN: waves flags YAAAAAY RAH! ExT FOREVER! doctors jump on Candy-chan and give her hourly shot Candy-chan calms down Whew. Anyhooooo, this song works because Berkeley Square is in England, where our favorite reincarnation happens to be from, so it works out quite nicely. Oh yeah, and I've never been to England, so there won't be much explanation on scenery and whatnot. Please forgive.
I hope no one has any diabetic attacks or anything, 'cause this is the sappiness poster child, don't ya know. Of course you don't, you haven't read it yet, silly! I don't own Cardcaptor Sakura, and I don't own the song. Manhattan Transfer sang it originally, but I actually like the Harry Connick, Jr. version a little better, so that's what I'm using. Enjoy!
A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
He recognized her the instant he saw her, even though he saw her only from the back. But that hair was almost impossible to mistake. No one else had that hair. Even though she had it pulled back at that moment into a French braid, it was unmistakable. Couple the long, dark tresses with that air of perpetual elegance that always hung around her and radiated from her, and there was no doubt.
She hadn't changed a bit. He knew her the moment he laid on eyes on her.
She whirled; her black-blue braid swung around her, to end up hanging carelessly, dramatically over one shoulder. Her violet eyes widened slightly in surprise as they darted around, searching for the source of the voice, speaking her name. After a second, those selfsame eyes focused in on him, and widened even a little more in further astonishment.
He half-walked, half-jogged a little closer, carefully not to slip on streets that were damp from a recent rainfall. She didn't move; her face was twisted a little, as if she was busily trying to place how she knew him. "Daidouji-san, is it really you?" he asked, even though he already knew the answer.
"I know you," she said finally, after a pause. She spoke in Japanese, rather than English, as one would expect. And she seemed surprised to be able to speak her native language here, in a foreign country. "But I don't know you."
"Daidouji-san, I'm hurt!" he put on the expression of a wounded puppy. "You don't remember me? Especially after all the trouble I caused you and Sakura-san in Tomoeda?"
Her eyes grew a bit more; he was beginning to wonder exactly how far her eyes could actually open. "Hiiragizawa-kun?" she gaped in seeming disbelief.
"The one and only," he laughed.
"It's really you," she shook her head; her words were partly declarative, and partly inquisitive.
He wasn't really surprised that she didn't recognize him after all this time. It had been well over ten years since they had last laid eyes on each other. The years had been kind to him, and he had grown from an adorable child of eleven to a handsome young man of twenty-two. With a face that made women look twice, and a smile that made most females over the age of thirteen swoon, he cut a fine figure.
He had changed a lot. She had barely changed at all, yet he thought she looked better.
It made no sense, really. But he didn't really care.
"How is everyone in Tomoeda?" he asked, after establishing for certain who he was.
"Fine!" Tomoyo seemed far more relaxed now that she recognized him. "Yamazaki-kun and Chiharu-chan are getting married in a week. They said they sent you an invitation. They really want you to be there, if you can make it."
"I already have a plane ticket," he nodded. "I'm looking forward to Yamazaki-kun's vows."
"Probably a fictional history of wedding cake or something."
"And their life together will begin with Mihara-san smacking him in the head with her mallet." And they both had a good laugh over the image of Chiharu in all her bridal glory, clutching her infamous mallet, standing over a semi-comatose Yamazaki, who was wearing a tux and mumbling something about how the tradition of having a flowergirl was started by the Eskimos.
Tomoyo went on. "Sakura-chan and Syaoran-kun are still together, and," she leaned forward to whisper conspiratorially, "he's going to propose soon. I know because he asked me to help him pick out the ring. It's all ready to go. He just needs to get up his nerve and pop the question."
"Knowing Li Syaoran, that might take years," Eriol sighed mournfully. "Poor Sakura-san…"
"For your information, he told me he's going to ask her as soon as I get back," she retorted good-naturedly, standing up for her longtime friend. "I'm going to be there when he asks." Her eyes took on a dreamy look to them. "Maybe Sakura-chan will let me design her wedding dress…"
He raised a brow. "You really haven't changed a bit, Daidouji-san."
"Neither have you. As quiet as ever," she flipped her long, braided hair back over her shoulder again and regarded him with a Look. "Oh, and by the way, my name is Tomoyo."
Eriol was not usually one to be surprised, but that simple declaration startled him. And she knew it, because she laughed. Mildly defeated, he nodded. "Hai, Tomoyo-san. Then I am Eriol. Agreed?" He extended a hand.
She took it. "Agreed, Eriol-kun."
"I must say, I'm surprised," Eriol commented as the two strolled along together. The park was lovely at this time of year, in spite of the rain, and he had suggested that they take a walk; he was no little delighted when she agreed. There were plenty of people and out and about, and he noticed that they received several knowing looks from passers-by. "What in the world are you doing in England?"
"I'm here for the company," Tomoyo replied casually; that meant she was talking about Daidouji Toy Company, her mother's business. "A new branch is opening up here, and okaa-san sent me to handle the meetings and contracts and such."
"So you're here as her proxy, more or less?" he asked.
"Sort of," she shrugged. "I'll be taking over the company eventually, so I've been doing a lot of things like this for okaa-san. Running meetings, dealing with investors, all sorts of boring things."
"You sound less than thrilled," he noted.
"It's just that most of it is flat-out boring," Tomoyo sighed with a roll of her eyes. "Dealing with whiny investors, difficult partners, and contracts with more extra crap than I can begin to describe gets old after a very short time." She gave him a sidelong glance. "I'm sure you know what I mean."
"That doesn't sound like very much fun," he acknowledged with a sympathetic nod. "Perhaps I can at least brighten your mood a little bit, though." He leapt in front of her and bowed in a courtly manner, offering her his arm in the process. "Would you allow me the honor, the pleasure…no, the privelege, of escorting such a beautiful young lady to dinner?" The only thing redeeming the gesture from the point of total absurdity was the playful smile on his face.
Tomoyo actually giggled. "Oh, la, good sir, I do believe I accept." She took his arm, and allowed him to lead her to a nearby restaurant he knew, which he claimed served a certain desert that danced on the edge of absolutely divinity.
The sun was just beginning to dip down in the sky overhead, and the moon was rising.
"How are Spinel-san and Nakuru-san?" Tomoyo asked between mouthfuls. He had taken her to a neat little bistro near the park. As promised, this was the closest to heaven her taste buds had ever been.
"As insane as ever," the answer came around forkfuls laden with pasta alfredo. She laughed as he continued. "Ruby Moon trying to shove as much sweets as possible down Spinel's throat, the drunkeness that follows is usually accompanied by the destruction of my house, and the ever-present arguing…" He paused and sighed, though it was a more contented sigh than anything else.
There was a pause in the conversation while Eriol ordered something that had about four different synonyms for chocolate in the name of it. She could only imagine how many calories were in that thing. But oh well. For tonight, at least, she wasn't concerned about it.
"Why did you make those two the way you did?" she asked, dabbing her mouth with a napkin.
"Sometimes I ask myself that exact question. And then I watch them, and I remember. Insanity is fun. Variety is the spice of life," he grinned devilishly. "And if I don't have something bizarre going on around me, I go crazy myself. They're my family, and I love them both just the way I made them. Wouldn't trade those two for anything."
"They are quite the pair," Tomoyo agreed.
"If you have a little time to spare, between meetings and all," Eriol commented, "perhaps you'd like to stop by? I know Ruby and Spinel would love to see you again." He paused. "Actually, Ruby would probably half-strangle you in lieu of greeting, and call it a hug."
"I'd be disappointed if she didn't. That's typical Ruby."
Then the conversation died again as the waiter brought the promised dessert. Or, as Tomoyo declared in disbelief, it wasn't a dessert, but a mountain of chocolate fudgy goodness. It was sticky, gooey, and absolutely celestial. She closed her eyes in bliss.
When she opened them again, he was watching her with no small amusement. "You look like you're enjoying this." He sounded like he wanted to laugh, but was just too polite. Politeness, however, wouldn't save her from his relentless teasing.
She made a face at him. "I can feel my waistline growing…"
They didn't talk much for a while, as they were engrossed in the dessert. And they finished it in record time. Then both sat back to let it settle. The waiter returned then, with the check. He set it on the table and left. Tomoyo reached for it automatically.
"If I recall, I said it would be my pleasure to take you to dinner," he snatched the small piece of paper off the table and held it out of her reach. "Therefore, this is my treat. Ah!" He held up his empty hand to silence the protests she was about to make. "No arguments. I insist."
She pretended to pout, but smiled slightly as he paid, and they stood to leave. Every once in a while, it was nice to let someone else treat her. But for some reason, she was embarassed about it this time. Because it was Eriol. But she thanked him as they left, and resumed their walk.
The sun had gone down during their time in the restaurant, and the moon hung over the quiet city. The water on the streets reflected the glow from the moon, as well as the shining of streetlamps. It was a beautiful evening, if a bit drizzly.
Suddenly, Tomoyo skipped ahead and turned to face him, grinning. "Do you know what would make this the absolute perfect night on the town?" she said; her violet-blue eyes were dancing, like a child who has just been given the keys to his very own toy store.
"Nani?" he asked, honestly perplexed.
She actually giggled. "Ice cream. My treat."
"So when are you going back to Japan?" Eriol asked, not even bothering to hide his amusement. He smiled, watching her eat her ice cream cone. She was a bundle of contradictions to him at times—she had so much grown into a woman, yet at the same time she was so much the girl he had known once upon a time in Japan. An adult in conversation, and a child eating her ice cream.
"In two days," Tomoyo replied, taking another lick of the chocolate ice cream. "The meetings wrap up tomorrow. Then okaa-san needs me to come home." In spite of the enormous mountain of dessert they had devoured, she was still ravenous, for some reason. It didn't make sense. Nothing seemed to be making sense tonight. It was more like walking in a dream than walking on the pavement. Enchantment, rather than existence. Surreal, rather than reality.
"I see…" he didn't intend for his voice to taper off like it did. It just happened, as a reflection of his disappointment. He'd forgotten how much he enjoyed having someone so much like him to talk to her. Or maybe she wasn't really like him. Maybe he was just trying to fool himself by seeing something that wasn't there, deluding himself into believing that there was someone out there in the hard, cold world that could possibly understand him.
She didn't say anything, but absently took another lick at her cone, rescuing her hand from becoming all sticky by stopping a thin, pale brown tendril dripping down the waffle cone. He tried to distract himself by taking a bite of his own ice cream—vanilla—but only succeeding in making his teeth hurt because of the cold. He was still nursing his aching mouth as they took a seat on a bench.
For a long moment, they sat in relative silence.
"You know," she said softly, looking to the side, away from him, "my okaa-san said there are a lot of meetings out here that she'll need someone to represent her at. You know, with the opening of the new branch and all. And I'm going to be taking over soon. I'm sure if I asked…" Her voice trailed off, but the implications were clear. "That is, if you want me to come back…"
He smiled softly and leaned a little closer. Feeling greatly daring, he reached out and touched her shoulder, letting his fingers graze her cheek ever so slightly. "I'd like that. I want to see you again."
She turned her head to find herself looking right into his eyes. And he was so close…and smiling. She managed to gather her wits enough to smile back. "I'll talk to okaa-san about it. I'm sure she won't mind. She'll probably be thrilled that I'm taking such an interest in the business."
"Strictly business, of course," Eriol said, emulating false innocence. He inched forward a tiny bit.
"Of course. Dinners, meetings, that kind of thing," Tomoyo quirked an inquisitive brow, following his lead and moving towards him by the smallest amount.
"All business…" One of his hands reached out of its own accord, and pulled the tie from the end of her braid; his fingers ran through her hair, freeing it from the confining twists, and helping it fall into loose waves, a waterfall of rough, black silk hanging around her.
"But possibly fun…" She shivered slightly.
"But all work and no play is boring…"
"There might be time for pleasure, as well…"
"You can have both…"
Eriol would have said more, but his words were cut off as he found his mouth invaded with the faint taste of chocolate ice cream. Which was odd, because his ice cream cone was vanilla.
But then again, Daidouji Tomoyo had always been somewhat unpredictable to him.
Business. Pleasure. Who cares? he decided firmly. Somewhere nearby, he thought he heard a bird singing. It was beautiful. But her voice was much more musical, he thought. As long as she's here.