Will You Chase my Shadows?

by Killiko "I'll kick your arse so hard, it'll kiss the moons!" Jun
killiko_jun@yahoo.com

~~~~~~~~~~~

A/N: Um, yes. I can't write comedy/romance for poo, but since Strawberry Sora is such a
cool author, I've decided to write my first Eriol and Tomoyo story ^_^ Warning: deep
dark thoughts in this story might leave the fragile-minded to scream bloody murder.

Have a brilliantly shiny day (does not apply to us snow-ridden Canadians)!

~~~~~~~~~~~


"Proper pose. Yes, you have it now. Chin higher up... relax..." her teacher spoke soothely,
her thin, graceful form mimicking those of her student, "Remember that breathing helps
you establish a beat..."

The student nodded, mostly to herself, and tried to stomach the uneasiness that made
her quease. She hated to be constantly under the vigilance of the teacher, but she
never complained. It wasn't very proper or polite.

Tomoyo arched her back inward, her arms circled over her head as if cradling a
newborn baby. She felt the muscles of her legs adjust as she moved flittingly
across the dance room, dancing lightly with a faerie's grace. The grand piano
was playing a soft, classical piece, filling the room with an ethereal atmosphere.
Jessica, one of her maids, was playing on, clearly enjoying and entralled in the music
as much as she. It was one of her more favourite pieces by Strauss.

Mrs. Kanzawa clapped her hands, her face beaming at her favourite student, "That was
a wonderful practice Tomoyo! You've improved on your jumps, but there's something
missing..." she paused, her eyes searching.

Tomoyo blinked, "What is it?"

"I'm not sure if you understand but," Mrs. Kanzawa started, "you know that dance
is a form of art, and art is a way of expressing one's feelings. You go through the
steps fluently, but it's as if you're reading a manual. There is no... feeling when I
observe you dance."

"But, I don't understand," Tomoyo spoke, a bit od disappointment and confusion
in her voice, "I like ballet... am I that bad?"

"No!" her teacher admonished, smiling to reassure her, "you are one of my best
and most favourite of students, but you don't put your heart into it. Others may
not be as perceptive as I, but I'm worried... you're not having any trouble at school
or with your mother are you?"

Tomoyo laughed, sounding false in her ears, "No, mother and I are fine and school's
great too..."

She trailed off and a dry silence ensued. Her teacher was obviously unconvinced.
Mrs. Kanzawa looked at the clock that hung on the wall and her slim eyebrows
arched.

"Well, I see that our class is up. I'll be speaking to your mother downstairs, so
hurry and change your clothes. Remember to think about what I said," the woman
set out of the room, blue eyes twinkling.

Tomoyo sighed and she felt a towel wrap around her shoulders. She graciously
thanked the maid and sent her off to see her mother. Robotically, Tomoyo wiped
the sweat that tickled around her neck.

The room was silent, omnious for a reason for there was no more music playing
nor any fragment of the lively fantasy she dreamt of as she danced. The shadows
along the walls creeped to her and she shuddered. She hated this silence.

Picking up her duffel bag, Tomoyo trekked her way to the changing room, her
footsteps sounding hollow in the room. As she took of her ballet dress and donned
a violet sweater black skirt, she wondered.

"How can she see?" Tomoyo thought worriedly, tiredly, "How can she see
though to me?"

It worried her so much that people saw her sadness, her lonliness. She hated
it when people worried about here, she hated it when people protected her and
made her naive of things in the outside world. She hated the silence.

She hated being herself.

As she stared at the bleak mirror which was installed on the wall, Tomoyo
scrutinized the fragile, pale girl staring back at her. Long ebony tresses, perfectly
brushed and regal. Serene, cloudy grey eyes and a pale complexion that accentuated
her soft beauty. An uncharacteristic scowl crossed the girl's face as she glared
at the picture.

"You don't know how much I hate you. You're nothing but an imposter. I hate
you... I HATE you! Do you know how much it pisses me off when I can't be more than
the sideliner, the calm one who listens to every damn word everyone whines,"
she ripped out her ribbon that held her hair, "sometimes I want to kill you..."

Tomoyo sighed tiredly, "But I can't, because I'm such a coward."

Silence.

~~~~~~~~~~~

It was funny, really, how much he observed the goings and passing ons of
the people who thought he was unseeing. He turned the page of his book and
pushed his glasses up his nose. He smiled. There was so much mischief he
could conjure up right now.

Shadows.

He frowned. There were shadows always lurking near him, not the physical
kind, mind you, but the ones that hissed at the far corners of your souls.
He didn't like those shadows because they represented fears like loneliness,
solitude.

Eriol shook his head, waving those thoughts away.

From the corner of his eye, he saw Syaoran, up in a tree and eating his lunch.
He was obviously nervous since he kept on flitting his eyes about. It was a good
thing that the foilage hid him so well because Meilin's death-girps were notorious
at Tomoedo elementary.

Eriol observed in slight piqued interest when Sakura walked under the tree and
looked up, sensing Syaoran's aura and prscence. He didn't need glasses to figure
out Syaoran's reactions.

Unconsiously, Eriol ticked off his fingers.

1) Syaoran starts to blush and stutter.

2) Sakura asked him if he was sick with a fever.

3) Then, against all his intensive training, Syaoran fell off the tree, nearly
squashing Sakura.

4) Meilin showed up all of a sudden and misinterprets the scene very badly,
screaming about how "loose" Sakura was.

5) Tomoyo...

Eriol raised an eyebrow. That was strange. There was no sight of a digital
camera nor the sound of a distinctive giggling. He closed his book and arched
a fine eyebrow.

"I wonder where Tomoyo is?" Eriol wondered as he was intrigued at the
break of predictability.

Inwardly, he shrugged. I might as well go ask the wonderful group then.

~~~~~~~~~~~

"GET OFF MY SYAORAN YOU LOOSE LITTLE....!!!!"

"Ugh! Meilin, if you didn't notice, Syaoran's the one who's on top of me!"

"GYAH! S-sorry Sakura!"

"GRRR! I'M GONNA TEACH YOU A LESSON YOU'RE NOT GOING TO
FORGET, SAKURA!!!"

"I'D LIKE TO SEE YOU TRY!!"

"SYAORAN~! That little WITCH just threatened me!"

"WHAT?!"

"MEILIN! Stop jumping to conclusions! I'M THE ONE WHO FELL ON TO
OF S-Sakura..."

Syaoran's voice trailed off as he realized that the rest of the schoolyard held
their undivided attention. He gulped and blushed profusely before he ran
off in a cloud of dust. Meilin followed suit, forgetting the incident already
and running after her cousin. Sakura sighed as she got up and brushed the
dust off her skirt, eyes downcast. A shadow fell over her and she looked up,
smiling.

"Hi, Eriol! What's up?" she greeted, smiling cherrily.

Eriol smiled back, stroking his chin, "Nothing but the sky. Like always.
I was wondering, where is your friend Tomoyo today? I noted that she
was absent in all our classes."

The girl's brows crossed in worry, "Yeah, I know. Apparently, she's down
with the flu or something. I was going to try and visit her today, but she hasn't
been answering my calls lately. I'm worried that she doesn't want to talk to
me."

"She probably doesn't mean you any harm or hurt Sakura," Eriol gentl placed
a hand on Sakura's shoulder, comforting, "I assure you that it is nothing personal.
Tomoyo... Tomoyo just needs some time to herself to think for now."

"How would you know that?" Sakura asked.

"Call it an understanding. I know how she feels," Eriol's opal eyes gazed into the sky.

~~~~~~~~~~~

He didn't know why he was here because he had never done this for anyone else, that's
for sure. Maybe something stirred inside of him when he thought of a certain girl's
serene smile that brimmed with hidden sadness. It made him ache to see such
sorrow in a usually jubliant girl.

Eriol's finger touched the doorbell again, a deep, sonorous sound echoing in the
expansive mansion. He admired the Gothic style handle that was crafted on the centre
of the door, its designs were bold and dark at the same time.

His acute hearing picked up the soft footfalls behind the door. He could hear the
metallic clink of a lock opening and gazed forward.

What he saw clearly surprised him.

Tomoyo had opened the door, her eyes sullen and sad. She was dressed in
a ballet outfit, one that drafted down just below her knees. It was the colour of white,
a faint lavender shade billowing underneath, and a crown of motley attached lilac
flowers were strung around her hair. Her usually neat and glossy hair was now a
mess, sticking up at odd angles.

Quietly, she asked, "What are you doing here, Eriol?"

He coughed, "I was worried as to why you were not at school today Tomoyo. It
is not very like you to miss a day of school, especially with such beautiful
weather."

"Like me?" Tomoyo echoed, her eyes looking up for the first time.

Eriol nodded.

Silence.

"May I come in?" he asked, unsure of what Tomoyo's reaction would be.

She nodded after another brief silence.

Eriol nodded and handed her a little batch fo daisies he picked up on his trip
here. They grew in the Penguin Park and thrived this season. She accepted
the flowers hesitantly and drew back to let the boy in.

His feet meet the thick red carpet that stretch across the entire floor of Tomoyo's
home. The chandeliers, which usually shone like thousands of gold stars, were
unlit and the curtains had been drawn across the large windows of the mansion.
Shadows creeped up along the walls, hiding everything in a dull, sombre shade.
Eriol's eyes flickered sadly. He sensed Tomoyo's sadness.

Tomoyo showed him the guest room, which was just as dark as the first room,
and half-heartdely pours a cup of tea for Eriol. She sat herself on the other side
of the mahogany table.

Silence.

"Stop doing this to yourself."

"Doing what?"

"You know very well. Bottling up your emotions like you always do."

"Nonsense. I'm perfectly fine."

"Bullshit."

"That's not very proper of..."

"So? I feel like saying it. Tomoyo, tell me what's wrong. I've seen that
face of yours on countless others, and trust me, they have met a
morbid demise."

Silence.

"What's wrong Tomoyo?" Eriol inquired softly, his teacup meeting the
saucer with a light ching, "I know there's something wrong."

"You know me? Or the imposter?"

"Imposter?"

"Yes," Tomoyo droned, eyes staring into her teacup, "the imposter.
The one who is but a facade I must wear everyday. The one I have to
put up with because I'm too much of a coward to face the world."

Silence.

"Tomoyo..."

"You don't know me! Me! ME! ME! ME!" Tomoyo yelled, pronoucing
her words with a slam of her fist, "It's always Sakura's troubles, or
Syaoran's troubles, even Kero's! But what about me?! Who do I have
to turn to talk to?! What about MY troubles?! WHAT ABOUT ME?!"

Tomoyo was hysterical, the mute expression on her face dissolving into
one of livid frustration and rage. She wasn't finished though.

"And everyday, I'm always the one worrying over my friends, will they
die one day fighting a Clow Card or some sorcerer, leaving me alone?
Will I be left behind on this world, with no one to talk to? No one to
trust?! WHAT ABOUT ME?!"

"I'm TIRED of having to fret so much and be helpless to do otherwise!
So, I have to don that stupid calm facade of mine and endure it all!
I have to worry every night because I don't know when my world will
fall apart! WHAT ABOUT ME?!"

She threw her cup and teapot at the wall, shattering it into shards of
porcelain.

"There's no one I can turn to with my troubles... No one can I burden
without hurting them... In essence...

... I really am alone."

Tomoyo dropped to her knees, sobbing.

Silence.

Eriol calmly walked around the table, expressionless, but as he approached
the broken girl, he wrapped her body with his arms and comforted her gently,
his voice like a wave of kindness. She sobbed, ashamed at showing so much
emotion at once but then sobbed because she wanted to let it all out.

Stroking her fine tresses in his elegant fingers, Eriol whispered in her ears.

"I'll be here for you Tomoyo. I'll listen."

And Tomoyo cried even more.

~~~~~~~~~~~

An hour later, Tomoyo found that she had fallen asleep in Eriol's arms, right in
the middle of the dining room. Her neck felt stiff as she tried to shift against his warm
body. She didn't know what came over her then and blushed fursiously as she
realized just what sort of predicament she was in. Tomoyo examined Eriol's face,
which was bent over the crook of her neck, his breath warm against her bare shoulders.

Admittedly, she found the English boy very... adorable as he peacefully slept. The
graceful curve of his cheek, the pale skin, like hers, that complimented his long, dark
lashes. His coal black hair that hung heavily over his wire-rim glasses. His slim lips...

She blushed again.

"Eriol," Tomoyo nudged him, stopping herself from thinking any more further, "Eriol..."

Eriol mumbled and his eyes snapped awake. He loosened his hug around her and
stood up, a hand reaching out, "I'm sorry if I invaded your personal space, but it
seemed like you needed some comforting."

Tomoyo took his hand and stood up alongside him. A jittery smile graced her lips,
"It's nothing Eriol. I'm glad that you helped me in that situation. I-I guess I
went a bit overboard, huh?"

Eriol shook his head, "People have to let loose their emotions now and then, else
they'll explode and do something they'll regret."

"Thank you, Eriol, for being so understanding."

"It was nothing much, m'lady."

Silence.

Eriol smiled suddenly, "You don't happen to have a record player do you? One of
those anicent ones?"

"Record player? Don't you mean a CD player?" Tomoyo asked.

"No, definitely a record player."

Tomoyo cocked her head to the side, "Yes, I believe I have one, in the living room."

"Well then, let's dance, shall we?" Eriol extended his hand out, invitingly.

"B-but..."

"Come on now!" Eriol practically dragged Tomoyo to the living room and found
the record player in the corner, on top of a round table. He flipped quickly
through Tomoyo's collection of records and beamed mischievously as he
selected one, and placed it on the record player.

Tomoyo's eyes widened as she heard the swing music float from the player.
Eriol drew the curtains back and the whole room was bathed in wonderful
sunlight. He grabbed Tomoyo's hands and smiled.

"Don't tell me you don't know how to swing?"

"I-I dooooon't!" Tomoyo figured that it didn't matter either way because Eriol
had already swept her into the energetic dance.

"Pity, really! You're certainly dressed very nicely and it would be a shame
to waste such beauty!"

~~~~~~~~~~~

The next week, Tomoyo found herself in ballet class once more. Mrs. Kanzawa
was observing her student much more severely than she usually did for
there was more fluidity and spring to Tomoyo's steps. the little girl even
sported a smile on her face as she leapt into the air and landed neatly on her
petite feet.

As the song by Strauss ended, Tomoyo looked expectantly at Mrs. Kanzawa,
waiting for her response. Surprisngly, Mrs. Kanzawa beamed pride at her
youngest student and even evelopped Tomoyo in a brief hug.

"Tomoyo, that was absolutely amazing! You've definitely got it right this time!
The emotion! The-the sheer excitement! The grace! You were wonderful
Tomoyo!" she gushed and complimented.

The little girl blushed modestly, "It was nothing much Mrs. Kanzawa. I just
needed a bit of... understanding."

And the girl remembered.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Eriol stepped away from the door, entering the sunset air. He grinned quietly
and kissed Tomoyo's hand, an unfamiliar warmth rushing inside him. Tomoyo
bowed and smiled back, flushed from all the dancing.

"Thank you so much Eriol... thank you for chasing my shadows
away" she smiled, her face rivalling that of Mona Lisa's.

Eriol tipped off his invisible hat and gazed at her understandingly. He began
to walk off when he spoke.

"I should be thanking you too Tomoyo, because you've chased away my shadows
too."

Tomoyo stared wonderingly as Eriol trekked to the distance, silhoutted by the sun.
She took off her crown of lilac and wove the daisies, which Eriol gave to her earlier,
into her hair.

Silence.

She smiled.

~~~~~~~~~~~