Bellissima

By Ekai Ungson

DISCLAIMER: Card Captor Sakura copyright CLAMP/Kodansha. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made.

This piece! Is dedicated! Toooooooooo.... KyteAura! applause applause

This is the third installment to the Illusione Arc. It cannot stand alone, so I advise you read the previous installment, Tu Amor, before proceeding here. Thank you.

She fell onto the bed with a dull thud and promptly sank between the covers.

"Tomoyo?" her mother called. "Are you all right?"

She held up a small rectangle of paper. "No, Mother," she replied softly. "Not really."

The rectangle was a photo of herself and Hiiragizawa Eriol.

Hiiragizawa Eriol sat in his parlor, sipping tea, and contemplating his life. He never had to do this before. His life had been, as far, very straightforward. Having Sakura-san transform her cards had been a mission that had taken up, well, all of his life since birth. And now that it was over, he had no clear vision of what lay ahead.

"Now it looks so much better," Akizuki Nakuru chirped. "See, Suppi-chan, doesn't it look so much prettier this way?"

"I'm going to have to admit that it does," Spinel Sun replied, floating into the room next to the girl.

Eriol turned to them both somberly, obviously disturbed by the noise. "Ruby Moon, Spinel Sun," he began. "This is what I usually call quiet time. Remember?"

"Oh, but I wanted to show you something, Master," said Nakuru. "Ta-daa!"

It was a photo from the portfolio, now encased in one of his beautiful silver gilt frames.

"You can put it on your bedside," she continued. "Your room's been so bare since..." Nakuru trailed off.

Eriol stared at the photograph. Tomoyo and himself, dancing. Tomoyo's smile was radiant, enchanting. He was mesmerized with her, in the photo, and at the moment.

"You should ask her out," she prodded.

With those words, Eriol seemed to have woken from a dream. Quietly, he said, "We're not like that."

"Then what are you like, exactly?" Kinomoto Sakura asked.

Tomoyo stood up from her study table, holding a picture frame. She crossed the room and placed it on her night stand. "I don't know," she replied finally. "We're just not like that."

"Isn't it high time you became like that, then?" Sakura insisted.

"Are you quite sure that you didn't perpetuate all this?" Tomoyo shot back.

Sakura looked away, suddenly very interested in Tomoyo's wall.

Tomoyo sat down beside her bed and hit her playfully. "Oh, don't bother, it's fairly obvious."

"As is the electricity between you and Eriol-kun."

"Sakura-chan, honestly, how melodramatic," she scoffed. "Hiiragizawa-kun and I do not have electricity."

"Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile," Sakura replied. "You can't honestly tell me that you're not attracted to him, that way, in the slightest."

At this Tomoyo fell silent. Not attracted to Hiiragizawa Eriol, yes. In the slightest: well, there was a slight, very slight tinge of something. Especially when he played the piano. Those eyes, full of concentration...

"See!" Sakura cried triumphantly, drawing her out of her reverie. "You do!"

Tomoyo turned to her sharply. "I do, what?"

"Like Eriol-kun."

"I didn't say that," she replied quietly.

"But you were thinking it," said Sakura. "And that's really all that matters."

The night was clear, and the moon was full and bright above him as stars sparkled on a carpet of dark sky. He smiled. Everything had gone according to plan.

The idea had been hers, of course, to hold the ball outside. To string the trees with tiny sparkling lights. To set up a dance floor in a clear meadow just outside the city, where the air was fresh and crisp. To decorate tables with flowers whose scents carried on for miles. He would never have thought any of this was possible. Would never had thought any of it at all.

He looked to congratulate her, but his friends had told him that she had not yet arrived. He glanced at his watch once more. What could be keeping her?

Then the place stilled, as if everyone had held their breath at a new arrival.

And there she was.

She was wearing deep red, the color of rose petals. Her hair was swept up to reveal that her neck and shoulders were bare. On her ears were diamonds in a chandelier style. The light was caught and refracted. She was sparkling.

She laid eyes on him and smiled. He smiled back at her as she walked toward him.

"Here," he said, handing her a bouquet of red roses. "For my creative consultant."

"You mean Vice President," she said. He took her hand and tied a corsage of red roses also. "Oh," she gasped. "How pretty. Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"Sorry for being late," she began. "Remember, we—"

"—had to wait for the workers to finish the dance floor," he finished. "I know, I was here. I don't know why you insisted to see to the whole thing, but.." he looked at her. "You were worth the wait. Very much worth the wait. I would have waited forever, had I known you would walk in like this."

"Thank you," she said modestly. "Do you like it?" She twirled for him, sending her skirt flying about her in a circle.

"You look beautiful," he replied. "Enchanting. Mesmerizing."

He would have sworn that she blushed. "One of those will do."

"It was a splendid idea, holding this event here, instead of at some stuffy hotel," he said, gesturing at the crowd.

"I thought it would be romantic," she explained. Then, as if on cue, soft, slow music played, and everyone had paired off to dance.

They watched in silence for a few moments. Then he held out his hand. "Dance with me?"

She smiled radiantly at him. "I would love to."

He held her close at the dance floor, immersed in her perfume, his hand at the soft skin on the small of her back. Her cheek rested on her shoulder as they danced.

"I don't know how you can think fo romance," he whispered, "when you have no one to love."

He felt her smile. "You mean I have no one to call my own, Hiiragizawa-kun," she replied. "That's quite different.

"I'll always believe in love," she said. "I will never stop loving. Not just her, but others as well. You see," she looked up at him, "love is the reason I live."

He looked into her eyes and smiled. She smiled back, softly. And they held each other, just that way.

Tomoyo lay in bed, staring at the photo and remembering that night.

Elsewhere, Eriol was doing the same thing.

tsu zu ku

Ta-daaaaaaaa. A boring day results in romantic ExT fanfic! Such fun, this was. Comments will always be appreciated.