Disclaimer: CCS does not belong to me!
Can you believe it? Finally! The last chapter! Ice Queen in finally coming to an end! I really worked on finishing this chapter quickly so I hope you haven't waited too long. I tried to have it out last week, but finals made their horrible, ugly arrival so updating had to be postponed until today.
I am also pleased to say that this chapter is extra long! I know you all like that. )
Even so, I have had this last chapter on my mind for a long time. I hope you all have enjoyed reading the story so far. Also, I hope you enjoy this last chapter I have whipped up for you!
Beep…. Beep… beep…
Who is that?
Beep… Beep… beep… beep…
What is that?
Slowly, emerald eyes forced themselves open. She didn't know why, but there was a sense of urgency in her, fighting the weariness and the need for sleep in her heavy body. An urgency that was more important than anything else… but what was it?
Sakura's eyes focused bit by bit, the white ceiling in front of her becoming more and more defined. "Ah…" she willed her arms back, pushing her heavy body upwards. "Where am…" There seemed to be no one else in the room… no fuzzy figures for her weary eyes to bring into focus.
"A hospital room… hn… what happened…" and it came to her. All in a rush, images of her, of a large truck, of screaming, of… "Syaoran!" She swung her legs around and stood. "Syaoran…" Sakura took one step, but her legs wobbled and she fell to the ground in a heap. "D…Dang it… stupid… body…" She tried in vain once more to push herself up, but even supporting her own body weight was too much too handle.
Suddenly, the door opened. It was Syaoran who ran in first…. Syaoran who hopped in first. "Sakura! Daijoubu?"
All at once, everyone was at her side. Eriol, Tomoyo, even Yukito.
Her first thought was to slap the hand he had offered her away, but her second was to see what had happened to his leg. Allowing herself to be hoisted up onto the bed once more by Eriol, Sakura turned to Syaoran quietly stared pointedly at his leg. "Explain."
Everyone let out a sigh of relief. The Sakura they all knew and loved was feeling just fine after all. "Don't you remember, Sakura-chan?" Tomoyo smiled. "A certain heroic knight of yours simply saved your life. All in a day's work, right, Li-kun?"
Syaoran blushed, and Sakura felt heat rising to her cheeks as the image of a frantic, handsome Chinese boy racing up towards her, pushing her out of harms way, getting his foot caught under the wheel, and finally… something hard at the back of her head… then blackness.
"If he's a heroic knight then… I'm a sorry excuse for a princess, aren't I?" She turned away from the crowd, her tone of voice withdrawn. A stern look from Syaoran sent everyone else out of the room, and it was just the two of them. Alone… like so many times before.
"I told you I'd protect you, didn't I? A broken leg will heal… it's a small price to pay really," he sat on the bed next to her. "To tell you the truth, I was a little bit more worried about you… you wouldn't wake up."
Reluctantly, she turned and stared back at him. "I'm… sorry."
He grinned. "Remember when we first met? After you sent me to the infirmary, you left a note with the nurse didn't you? Saying that you're sorry… At that time, you were supposed to say it. But for something like this… I promised that I would always protect you. I need neither your thanks nor your apologies for that."
Her hands curled into small fists at her sides, and she struggled to say the words, "That's… not what I meant." It was difficult for her to say. The words sounded almost as if they were forced out of her body… out of her lips. Something that a girl like her who had isolated herself for so many years found almost humiliating to admit. "I meant… I'm sorry for doubting you… before. I won't do it again."
It was Syaoran's turn to be surprised. Those words allowed him to hope… to hope more than he had ever dared to before. His amber eyes locked on her and an unsupressable smile sprouted onto his face. He leaned in, his mouth pressing firmly against hers. An "I love you" was whispered by him onto her lips, and still pink with embarrassment, Sakura could only nod.
"Are you feeling okay now?" He grinned. "Want to go on a date with me?"
She frowned. "Your boldness is absolutely infuriating. Someone like you ought to know your place." There was just the smallest hint of coldness along the edge of her voice, but Syaoran had long since been accustomed to it. "I do know my place."
The two of them glared at each other for a full minute – amber clashed with emerald, ice clashed with fierce strength…. And the two of them broke out laughing. "Fine," she smiled back. "But I still can't move around freely. I haven't felt this pathetic in-"
"But not tired, right?" he balanced himself on one leg and stood, reaching out for his crutches. "Do you think you could walk a little?" Sakura glared at him. "You really are getting bold. I'm warning you… you're pushing it… even for you."
"It's not that I don't respect your awesome icy coldness, your highness," helped her stand up, smiling. "It's just that I think a bit of humility on your part would be… a good experience."
She glared at him. Her eyes held that same chilling coldness in them, but this time it seemed less terrorizing and more like a challenge. "You're dead once my body decides to function properly again."
Syaoran merely gave her a cheerful smile. "Come on," with his free hand, he helped her up, careful to make sure she had her balance before letting go.
"Where exactly are we going? Please tell me that you told Yukito to call a car," Sakura took a deep breath and concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. Walking slowly became easier and easier – apparently the recovery speed of a deadly Ice Queen wasn't to be underestimated.
He motioned towards the motorcycle parked on the street, "The doctor said it would be okay for me to put some pressure on my left foot, but you'll have to be the right foot. It's working by the way." She shot him a suspicious glance, "What do you mean it's working? It's bad enough that we're taking this instead of a cushiony limo… this thing had better be working. How are you going to hold on to your crutches?"
"Retractable, see? I can just stick it under the seat." Syaoran pressed small latches on the junctions of the crutches and they folded down. "Dangerous if you don't know how to use them, but it's perfectly safe since I'm used to them… I made use of them frequently before I met you."
Sakura frowned and got onto the motorbike, "Don't go feeling sorry for yourself, it doesn't suit you. You still haven't told me what you meant by 'it's working'." But even as she spoke, she took his hand with exceptional care and helped him get on. "I didn't mean the motorcycle. I meant the humility thing. You said 'please' when you asked about our ride." He laughed. "See? It's working."
Any previous concern she had for him immediately vanished and she gave his head a hard whack. "Shut up and drive."
"Hold on tight, I like to drive fast."
"If you crash, I'm going to slice you up into tiny pieces.." She held on tighter.
Syaoran grabbed her arms and pulled them even farther around him so that she was firmly pressed against his back and her arms securely latched around his chest. "Like this. Wouldn't want our patient falling off right after she woke up."
"As if you should be talking," but she didn't say much more as she was far too busy turning pink. "Are you even sure you can drive with two broken legs? Honestly, being able to put a little pressure on your left foot isn't going to help you much."
"Actually I'm going to need a little help pushing off, but while we're driving, even if I've got two deadweights for legs I'll be able to manage no sweat."
He turned the key in the engine and Sakura used her left foot to help push the vehicle into motion as the bike roared to life. "Where are we going?"
Syaoran leaned right as they turned a corner and then straightened up as they entered into the mainstreet. "You'll see when we get there."
"That's just your way of saying 'you're probably not going to want to go if I told you where we were going so you'll have to find out once its too late for you to go back'… isn't it?"
"Please tell me this is some idiotic joke… Syaoran." The auburn-haired beauty calmly tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and turned to the boy hobbling over on his crutches. "The last time I went to an amusement park was when I was in-"
"Exactly why we should go! You should learn to have more fun," he produced to tickets from his pocket. "Yukito even got us free tickets and since I'm injured, we can go on rides through the exit line!"
Sakura took a moment to process it all, "You told Yukito where we were going! That's it. I'm leaving."
"Why? Whoa-wait. Come on, Sakura… Sakura… look at me… come on… why do you want to leave?" she had already begun to walk away and he had trouble hopping fast enough to catch up to her.
"Do you honestly think that Yukito would let us be alone? Actually, forget Yukito. Tomoyo is probably hiding in a bush this very second filming us!" Syaoran grimaced. "Is that a hobby of hers?"
Sakura rolled her eyes, "You don't want to know." He looked around suspiciously before taking hold of her hand. "Please? I'm sure that they'll give us some personal space. Yukito didn't look at all… unnerving when I asked him for the tickets."
A frown had settled onto her features, but she nodded. "Fine let's go." He breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. "Come on." She took his hand.
"Oh… Yamazaki… aren't they such a nice couple? Wait… isn't that…"
Sakura recognized that voice…
"Hey! Li! Over here! Introduce us to your pretty girl…"
"Yamazaki… that isn't… is that Ice Queen Kinomoto?"
Syaoran felt rather than watched the Ice Queen persona settle over Sakura. Just being called such a familiar, cold name sent her back into the world she knew so well. Her role as Ice Queen.
"Did you plan on meeting them?" she spoke with an icy edge. Syaoran turned and looked at them. "Of course not. This was supposed to just be the two of us."
Chiharu latched herself onto her boyfriend's arm, "We have to stop him. He doesn't realize how dangerous it is to be with her!" "Quiet Chiharu…" Yamazaki's closed eyes regarded his friend with concern.
"Hey Li… we haven't seen you for a month or so already… where've you been? I heard someone say that you went to go visit some relatives up in Hokkaido. How was your trip? What's with the crutch-"
"Ice Queen Kinomoto, Li-kun? Why?" "Chiharu!" Yamazaki clamped a hand over his girlfriend's mouth and gave an apologetic nod to Sakura who looked at him for a moment.
Instinctively, Syaoran took her hand and she didn't shake him off. "It's fine. Imbeci… she can say what she wants. It's true, isn't it?" Sakura gave the couple the coldest look she had in weeks, sending shivers down the spines of both of them.
She took a step towards Chiharu and Yamazaki quickly stood in front of her, an arm bringing his pig-tailed lover behind his back protectively. Sakura's smile was incredibly sadistic at this point. Her emerald eyes seemed to freeze over and the ice in each of her words seemed to become sharper and sharper with each passing moment. "Ignorant little child, you have no idea how correct you are. 'Why?' That is an immeasurable understatement. The question you should be asking him… if you really are his friend is more of an 'Are you out of your mind!'"
In one fluid motion, Sakura knocked Yamazaki's hand away and swung her leg around, gently pressing in the junction of his knees causing him to fall to the ground softly. With one hand, she touched Chiharu's face, the touch felt like ice to the frightened girl whose brown eyes seemed to tremble as the rest of her body was frozen. "That is how you take care of a friend. Do you understand now? How to protect your friends from someone like me?"
Not waiting for an answer, Sakura swiftly turned away and began walking into the amusement park with Syaoran in tow.
Somewhere from behind the bushes, a maniacal laugh could be heard. A camcorder zoomed in on Yamazaki getting up and making sure Chiharu was still okay.
"I'm fine… surprisingly enough. Well, as fine as anyone could be after an encounter with the Ice Queen. Is it just me or does she seem… nicer?"
"I'm not entirely sure that's the word for it, Chiharu. She might have been nicer, except you had to say what you did. That was mean. She didn't look like she was about to pick a fight," Yamazaki frowned. "She kicked you Yamazaki! How can you say she wasn't picking a fight?"
He shrugged, "That was the lightest kick I've ever felt. I think she was just pushing me to the side… normally she would have murdered me… today she seemed merciful. I think it might have been for Li's sake."
"You say that as if she has a heart."
"Ohohohoho…" Tomoyo could hold it in no longer. Her spouse, too, had a smile on his face. "Hard to decide, isn't it dear? We have to follow Sakura and Syaoran if we want to catch up, but this couple here is so cute, too." Tomoyo's amethyst eyes batted prettily. "Honey, you know me too well. I suppose we should be getting a move on though."
"There they are!" Tomoyo began to move closer to her best friend, but her husband held her back. "Eriol?"
He gave her a coy smile, "Both of them are extremely alert at all times. If you get any closer they'll notice for sure. We're already within earshot."
Tomoyo gave her lover a sweet kiss, "You just think of everything, don't you sweetheart?" "Shh…" he motioned towards Sakura and Syaoran.
"Are you mad at me? For scaring your friend," Sakura stopped walking. Her eyes were cast downwards and her shoulders slumped. "I just…"
Syaoran sighed and hobbled over on his crutches and lifted her chin so that she was looking right at him. "You did it for me, didn't you? You held back."
"I don't have a problem with your friend Yamazaki," she crossed her arms. "I just didn't want to cause a commotion."
"Then why did you refrain from calling Miharu an imbecile? That's what you were going to say right?"
When Sakura merely looked away and didn't say anything, he grinned. "I know how you can make it up to me."
"I thought you just said you weren't mad."
He began moving forward, "I never said that… come on. Let's go on this ride."
"Oh no… Sakura-chan is in quite a bind! Isn't this just perfect, koishii?" Tomoyo sighed dreamily. "I can only think of all the awkward situations my beloved Sakura-chan will be in…"
Eriol immediately felt bad for the girl. He wondered how she had survived being the object of his wife's most sadistic hobbies for so many years.
"What's wrong?" amber eyes noted her hesitation. "You don't like scary stuff? This ride is only ghost themed… no bloody scenes if that bothers you."
"D… Don't be stupid," Sakura marched into the entrance. "Rides like this aren't even worth worrying about." In heart, the words 'I hope' resounded quite loudly.
He caught up to her, "Okay then! Hey! Check this out, the car for this ride is a gravestone."
"Just… great…" she murmured. Her only relief was that the pathway seemed to be dark… maybe he wouldn't notice if she closed her eyes… "There are flashes of light and everything… they went all out on the special effects, this ride is one of my favorites. They even pull a pretty cool trick in it… I was really surprised the first time."
Sakura took a deep breath. "Perfect."
"Yeah, isn't it?"
"Ohohoho… yes it is!" her whisper was barely audible, but Eriol could not help shake his head. "How do you plan to film in the dark?" She winked at him. "Special night-vision lenses of course!"
"Oh boy…" Sakura bit her lip as the car began to move. They entered into the dark passageway and everything was quiet. Eerily quiet. All she had to do was keep on the look out for the ghosts that would be popping up. So far so good-!
Her lip began to bleed. It was only the first ghost and she had already injured her lip trying to keep from screaming. The very thought… screaming in front of Syaoran-!
Sakura was sure her lip was permanently impaired.
"Hey, you okay?" He couldn't tell, but she looked just a little pale in the dark. "The scary part is about to come up."
Sakura leaned towards the sides so that he wouldn't notice if she started trembling. She readied herself for something extremely frightening as a piercing scream could be heard coming from somewhere in front of them.
The car stopped all of a sudden. "What happened?" Sakura tried to look for Syaoran in the dark, but she couldn't see him at all. A voice came from the loud speaker in their car and she nearly jumped out of her seat.
"We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties, please remain seated as we will attend to the problem shortly. We apologize for this inconvenience."
"Honestly… they ought to hold up much better than this," but secretly, she was extremely relived. With each passing ghost it was harder and harder to keep her racing heart from calming down, and the last ghost princess had nearly knocked her senseless. "Syaoran? … Syaoran! Where are you?"
She received no response and she was about to reach over to where he was supposed to be, but a cold wind began blowing at her feet. A glowing fog began to gather at her feet, and she shivered. Sakura once again looked at the place where Syaoran was supposed to be and this time she could see a faint outline.
Sighing in relief, she reached towards him, but when he turned his head, his eyes were glowing a pale green.
"S… Syao… Syaoran…"
A drop of ice could be felt on her neck.
Drip… drip… drip…
Something cold seemed to touch the back of her head, and slowly, Sakura turned around, her heart beating faster than it ever had before. Something behind her was glowing and it slowly came into focus. Tears appeared at the edges of her emerald eyes as the thing slowly reached a bony hand out at her and the car suddenly began moving very quickly away.
Tears were running down her face as Sakura stared at the ghostly figure still floating there… it vanished. A sigh of relief seemed to roll through her body, but a cold wind coming from the front made her body turn rigid.
Slowly, she faced the front. Standing inside the car was the same ghost as before, and this time it let out a small hiss…
Sakura's scream resonated clearly throughout the large building the ride was in. She was openly crying now, and the figure next to her turned to look at her, worried. All Sakura could see was a pair of glowing eyes moving closer and closer to her with Syaoran's voice behind it.
He grabbed onto her, and she tried to push him away, but he held fast. "Sakura! Sakura! Hey! Are you okay! Hey! Look at me!"
"Let me go!" her entire body felt weak and she trembled, the man sitting next to her easily overpowering her in her current state.
"No! Look at me! Sakura! Calm down! It's me! Syaoran! Look!"
And she did look. Tearing her shut eyes open, she saw his face come into focus and the glow of his eyes die away from a brief second as they passed an emergency exit sign lighted up.
"Syaoran?" She hugged him, her entire body trembling with her chocked sobs. "Syaoran!"
"Hey.. hey… shh… it's okay. Come on… shh… it'll be okay. We'll be out of here in a second," Syaoran wanted desperately to know what was wrong, and he hugged her tightly, trying to will his protective embrace to make her feel better. "Shh…"
The sight that met his eyes when the ride ended scared him more than anything else had in a long time. "Sakura!"
Tears were streaming from her eyes and her body wouldn't stop trembling. She was utterly helpless and terrified, so the ride attendants had to hold there car back for a little bit as someone helped him out of the car and handed him his crutches. When a hand was offered to her by someone, Sakura shrank back into the corner of the car.
"Sakura!" Syaoran moved to help her out, but an attendant blocked his way. "Allow me," he said. Quickly, so that she couldn't react, the man picked her up bridal-style and carried her out, letting her down right next to Syaoran so that when she could finally stand, her arms were wrapped around his waist and her head buried in the crook of his neck.
"Sakura…" he took her by the hand and led her out of the vicinity of the ride and over onto a bench facing the ferris wheel. "Shh… come on… sit down. Shh.. it's okay now. It's okay…"
He looked at her, worry etched all over his features. She stopped crying, but her body continued to shake, and he pulled her into a hug, rocking her gently back and forth.
"You should have told me you were scared… I wouldn't have taken you on that ride."
She shook her head and buried it into his chest. "As if I could bear to lose to you…"
Amber eyes watched her shaking in his arms sadly. How do I calm her down? How do I take away her fears? What should I do?
"Here." Syaoran looked up. It was the same ride attendant as before, and in his hand was a strawberry smoothie. "Service." He winked. "It's a common remedy for customers who get scared on the ride. I got to go now! Bye."
Syaoran nodded a thanks at him and turned to a quivering Sakura. "Hey… drink this…"
It worked like magic. Within a minute or so, she had stopped shaking, and she calmed down. "Thank you… Syaoran…"
He gave her a weak smile. "You really scared me. Next time tell me if you're really scared of something."
"Do you honestly think my pride could handle that?" she held up the smoothie. "How did you know, anyway?"
"How did I know?"
"You asked that attendant to get me this strawberry smoothie, didn't you? How did you know that it would calm me down? It's what I always drink when I've had a scare. Yukito told me once that it was the most uncommon way of treating a phobia that he had ever heard."
Syaoran shook his head. "No idea. That attendant just gave it to me."
"Oh…" Sakura sighed. "I… don't feel like going on anything… thrilling or scary, if that's okay with you."
"Normally I would then suggest the tunnel of love, but since I don't think you can handle it today… how about we go on the ferris wheel? We can call it a day then… it's getting kind of late too." He smiled and stood up. Sakura smiled too. "Yeah… that sounds good."
"Good work. They don't suspect a thing… you really are good at this, Tsukishiro-san," Tomoyo smiled as Yukito took of the attendant hat and wig. Eriol agreed, "Even I couldn't recognize you at first."
"Ahh… thank you. I suppose with a split personality you get good at this kind of thing," Yukito gave them a cheerful smile.
Tomoyo nodded emphatically.
"Is it okay?" Sakura asked as they got on.
Syaoran sat down across from her, leaning his crutches against the side of their cart. The ferris wheel's carts were all like small enclosed rooms with windows as walls. "Hm? Is what okay?"
"Ah.. yeah. I'm fine."
Silence settled between the two of them. Sakura's emerald eyes regarded the one she loved silently, watching him take a deep breath as if about to say something… and then let it out.
"Huh?" he looked at her.
"Go ahead and say what you want to say. We still have things to… talk about, I suppose." She sighed and leaned against the wall. "About troublesome things."
He took a deep breath and then stared straight at her. "Yeah… About that… the truth is…" Syaoran stood up slowly and hopped over to her side of the cart, sitting next to her. "Come on… look at me…"
Sakura hesitantly complied. Her emerald eyes stared straight into his amber pupils. "Marriage… you're not ready yet… are you? The truth is, I'm not either."
She looked surprised, and her hand instinctively went to her lap. It must have looked as if she was backing away from him since Syaoran immediately took her hand and pulled it back towards him. "I'm not saying that I don't love you. It's because I love you that I want to spend more time with you. That word 'marriage' is so constricting… don't you think? We haven't even graduated from high school yet."
He seemed nervous about her not saying anything in response, but he continued, "I love you. More than anything else in the world, and I hope I do marry you… someday. But for now… I want us to stay as we are… lovers… and together."
A small smile appeared on her face, and she looked away from him, out the window behind her, hiding the pink stain blending perfectly into her milky white complexion. "I… was hoping the same thing…" she said quietly. "Thank you. You… read my mind."
You read my heart.
Syaoran grinned happily, and the two of them stared out the window.
"Wow…" Sakura's emerald eyes lit up as she looked at the view. It seemed as if they were floating in space. Among the stars which were shining so brightly that night. Far below them, people were walking around. Some talking, others laughing… but the bright lights from below could not even compare to the ones in the sky. Especially the moon… so round… so captivating… and seemingly so close.
"It's beautiful…" she breathed. Syaoran's amber eyes stared at her. "Yeah… beautiful…"
Sakura let out a contented sigh and leaned against his chest the tiny smile that had graced her face before now spread out into a larger, happier smile. "It's nice just being here with you… right?" She took the words right out of his mouth, and Syaoran nodded, knowing that her words needed no verbal response.
"Hey… Sakura, what happened to your lips? They're all swollen." Syaoran turned her around so that she was once again facing him.
She blushed, "I bit them to keep from screaming during the ride… it was scary, okay?"
He smiled at the cuteness of her pout. "Do they hurt?"
"It's fine. I have some good lip balm back at home," she shrugged. "Don't worry about it."
"No, no. You shouldn't have to wait that long. I have a better idea," he grinned at her, and she noticed the cheerful glint in his eye. "What do you have in mind-"
He kissed her. Her emerald eyes were still open as his lips pressed onto her own. The pain in them completely melting away as a blush appeared on her cheeks.
"It's rude to open your eyes while kissing you know," he breathed onto her lips.
She smiled and closed her eyes, returning the sweet kiss just as lovingly.
When they parted, there were happy smiles on both of their faces. Sakura wasn't sure she had ever felt so happy. "I love you," she whispered.
And she kissed him again.
"And… cut! That's a wrap! Good job everyone! I'll name this… Sakura's Romantic First Date!" Tomoyo giggled with glee. She and her husband and quickly secured the cart right behind their favorite couple's while Yukito was at the bottom, paying the attendant to let them stay up there for a long time.
Eriol grinned at his happy wife, "You're so cute when you're this happy. I love you, sweetheart."
Tomoyo turned towards Eriol the expression on her face warning him that she was about to burst with happiness. "Eriol… I love YOU!" She pounced on him, planting a sweet kiss on his lips.
He laughed. "I guess Syaoran-kun wasn't the only lucky one tonight." And kissed her back.
o w a r i
It's… over! I can't believe it's actually done! Ice Queen! Over with! After pouring my heart into this last finale, I'd like to thank you all for reading my story! These past 38 chapter have been both a pain and a blast, but I had a lot of fun writing them.
Thank you all for all of your support!
About the Valentine's Day special, I can assure you that I will be doing a special. Whether or not it will be on Valentine's Day has yet to be decided, but you can look forward to one last chapter after this one!
I love you all!