Fukai Negai- Deep Wish
Hi, everyone! As promised, here is the epilogue. Thanks again for accompanying me on the journey. I hope this is satisfactory!
Sakura made sure to close the door quietly as she headed out of her house and into the darkness; Touya would kill her if she managed to wake him up somehow, and then he'd go on one of his overprotective rants about how she shouldn't go out alone at night.
Walking down the driveway and turning the corner, she watched her breath fog up the air. Winter in Tomoeda was always a little strange for her; the memories it brought back made her stomach churn, but she could never figure out whether it was a good churning or a bad churning.
Five years since we sat on this curb and he kissed me on the cheek. Sakura smiled, remembering how big that had seemed to her.
She was twenty-one now, finishing her last year of college and visiting home for the holidays. Coming home was always a nostalgic and bittersweet experience; after moving to Tokyo for school and living a completely different life there, Tomoeda seemed too little and too sleepy for her to ever really settle in again. That said, she was always overjoyed to see her father and her brother and the high school friends she'd left behind.
She had yet to see him, however. She had not seen him since the last day before she moved to Tokyo for her first year of college.
I wonder how you are.
Sakura and Syaoran had stayed together in a happy relationship for two years; both had done much growing together, and they had become each other's best friends, the people who had known each other best in the world. And in spite of Sakura's initial inhibitions, much of the student population had come to accept and embrace them as a pair. By the time they had celebrated their high school graduation, however, both knew that they were coming to the end of their road. Sakura was going to attend school in Tokyo, and Syaoran was going to school in Hong Kong. The distance alone was not a factor in the end of their relationship; but both had come to feel that they were so young, and there was much more that they needed to do on their own. Living so far apart would only make that harder, they thought. If there was any time to end it, it was then.
Thus, the breakup had been amicable... But that didn't mean it hadn't been painful.
"I'm fine. Really," Sakura said, pulling the corners of her lips up into a smile. It had never been more difficult.
"Please don't cry," Syaoran said softly, reaching out to wipe her tears away.
Sakura let out a sob at the sweet gesture.
He looked off to the side. "Fuck." His hand falling back to his side, he clenched it into a fist and ran the other hand through his hair. "This is so hard. This is so hard... Why are we even doing this?" His voice took on a tone of desperation, his brown eyes meeting hers. "If we still love each other, then why can't we make it work?"
"It's not that we can't... I know we could. But you said it yourself, Syaoran. We have to grow up," Sakura sighed shakily, wiping more tears away from her eyes.
Syaoran closed his eyes, nodding. "I know. I just wish we didn't have to. Where did all the time go?"
Sakura leaned her head on his shoulder. "You told me once that time passes a lot more quickly if people enjoy themselves. These last two years were like seconds to me, but I think that's a good thing."
He looked over at her for a moment before kissing the top of her head. "Same for me."
They sat for awhile, her head on his shoulder and his arm around her waist, until Syaoran reluctantly looked at his watch.
"It's three in the morning... Your brother might send out a manhunt for me if I don't get you home," Syaoran said, his voice heavy.
Sakura sat up and sighed, drawing her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them. She couldn't help but go back through their relationship in her head, and wondering how exactly she was supposed to figure out college without Syaoran around, she felt her eyes watering again.
"I don't want to go."
"Me, either." Syaoran's voice was hesitant. "You know... No one is saying we have to."
Sakura bit her lip, knowing full well that although they had made this decision on their own, they would have to follow through with it. Even if they decided not to break up after all and continue the relationship, it would be different simply because they'd already made the decision to separate at one point. They would both wonder forever what would have happened if they'd gone through with their decision. Syaoran knew this, too; and when their eyes met once more, both of them knew there was no going back, even if no one else was forcing this upon them.
Sakura flung herself into Syaoran's arms and sobbed into his chest.
"I love you, Sakura."
"I love you, too."
Syaoran had left for Hong Kong two days later; both had agreed that it would not be a good idea for Sakura to see him off at the airport.
Their separation had been hard on both of them, Sakura knew; her first few months in college, she'd had a difficult time coping on her own, although Tomoyo—her roommate as of her first year—had helped her through much of the worst parts. Sakura and Syaoran had tried to stay in contact in the beginning, but they had eventually decided not to because it was too hard. After the passage of time, they'd said, they would resume being friends. And they held true to their words; after about a year, Syaoran had reached out to Sakura through a phone call, and as both had moved on with their lives, they were able to resume contact. But while they were friends, they never ended up being quite as close as Sakura had hoped they'd be; and while they had maintained contact, it hadn't been as frequent as Sakura had wanted it to be. She never let herself call him as often as she wanted to simply because she was worried that she would burden him. He had moved on; she did not want to give off the illusion that she hadn't.
Neither had ever mentioned meeting up with each other again. On her end, Sakura had been too scared that he might reject the idea; if he did, it would be a whole new form of heartbreak.
Sakura reached her destination and turned to face it, and a smile formed on her lips. Her high school looked the same as it always had. She laughed to herself when she thought about how foreboding it had seemed in her first few years.
She stiffened when she thought she heard a voice—deep, rough, quiet. She knew that voice. It couldn't be... Frantically, she looked around her, but she saw no one. She sighed and shook her head. She had to be crazy. She had been thinking so intently about Syaoran that now she was imagining he was here. Maybe I shouldn't have come back here. Obviously, it's not doing good things to my mind.
Turning around to leave, she jumped and opened her mouth to scream when she ran straight into someone's chest.
An arm shot around her waist to steady her before she fell backwards, and a hand went to cover her mouth before she screamed.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Sheesh, calm down," the same deep voice said, loud and clear now.
Sakura looked up as she was released, and her eyes went wide. Syaoran stood before her, older but with that familiar smirk on his face.
"I asked you a second ago what you were laughing about, but I guess you didn't hear me," Syaoran said. "How are you?"
Sakura was unable to speak. She was baffled. Had she somehow magically wished him here? How had this happened?
"Are you going to talk?" Syaoran raised an eyebrow.
He was real. Holy shit. He's real. Sakura opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out—immediately, she dropped her gaze to the ground.
Syaoran raised his eyebrows and stared for a moment before scoffing. "Still haven't broken that habit, I see."
Sakura bit her lip, and then she forced herself to glance back up at him. He's real, he's real, he's real. It was all she could do to gather herself and think of something to say in response.
"I, uh..." She found herself casting her eyes downward once more, and right before she stopped herself, she caught his hands in his pockets. "I see you've had some trouble breaking a habit yourself," she said as casually as he could, nodding to his pockets.
Syaoran stared at her, surprised, before he quickly pulled his hands behind his back. He looked off to the side for a long moment before chuckling. "It's good to see you."
Sakura bit back a smile. "You, too."
"You think they've run into each other yet?"
"I'm sure they have."
"Don't patronize me!"
"What? I really am sure!" Eriol laughed. He pushed his girlfriend on the swingset gently before rubbing his hands together. "Wanna go back to my place now? It's pretty cold."
Tomoyo looked around, taking in King Penguin Park. She'd missed it since she'd been away. It was funny how Tomoeda had become home to her, and going back to Tokyo for college had seemed like going away by the time her first year had rolled around. She was certain she owed much of that to the strong friendship she'd built with Sakura here as well as the relationship she'd maintained with Eriol for the last six years. Standing up, she entwined her arm with Eriol's to warm up as he led them to his car.
"You really think they've run into each other, then?" she asked once more, feeling anxiety in the pit of her stomach.
"I'm positive. Otherwise, I'd have gotten a call from him saying to hang out or something, I feel like."
"Hmm... Well, okay," Tomoyo said, trying to sound reassured.
Eriol laughed. "All these years and you're still so preoccupied with getting them together."
"I just want to know if there's still something there! Sakura never forgot about Syaoran, you know."
"He never forgot about her, either, really," Eriol said thoughtfully. He opened the car door for her before getting in the driver's side. "Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see."
"So Tomoyo suggested visiting the school, huh?"
"Yeah... If Eriol told you the same thing, I guess they planned this," Sakura said, blushing. She wondered what had gone through Tomoyo's mind when she set this up.
"He must have. What a sneaky bastard," Syaoran said, but he laughed to himself.
"So, what have you been up to?" Sakura asked, wrapping her coat around her a little more tightly as they walked along the sidewalk.
"Just finishing college—you know how it goes. I've gotten into my top business school of choice, and I'll be helping my mother run the company for experience." Syaoran looked up and watched the sky. "Where to? I don't know many places open this late."
"That's awesome! I'm so glad you're doing well. Not that I'm surprised. And I don't really know. I don't know places open this late, either... At least, not in Tomoeda."
Syaoran smiled. "Remember when we couldn't find anywhere to eat after that party, so we just got takeout and went to my house and ate on the ballroom floor?"
Sakura nodded, laughing at the memory. "You were so adamant on not going to some open-late restaurant. Such a girl."
"I was not!" Syaoran protested, but his voice was playful. He paused before he looked over at her. "Would you wanna do that again?"
Sakura felt her heart jump at the words. "Uh... Wouldn't your mother be asleep?"
Syaoran shrugged. "Out of town, as usual."
"It's almost the holidays!"
"She'll be back before Christmas. This is the first year we're not going to the mountains, but I don't really mind," Syaoran said quietly, looking over at Sakura.
Sakura looked back at him for a moment, then quickly averted her gaze. Even in the darkness, she could feel the focus of his eyes on her. It made her nervous. The last time something like this had happened...
She could hear the words she'd said once before repeating in her head.
"Syaoran, am I just being stupid here?"
He spoke again, and the moment was gone. "So, how about it? I'm starving. I can give you a ride home afterwards if you want."
Sakura nodded. "That sounds nice."
Tomoyo squealed as she read a text on her phone. "Sakura's going to Syaoran's house to eat!"
Used to her abundance of enthusiasm, Eriol smiled as he lay beside her in his bed. "I told you."
Tomoyo grinned. "I remember how life-and-death everything was when we were younger. Remember how much it had rocked our worlds when they broke up?"
Eriol nodded. "I won't lie, I'd thought they'd last." He paused. "But what about us?"
"Hm? What do you mean?"
Eriol turned to face her. "What did you think about us? Going to separate colleges, growing up... Do you think we did the right thing, staying together?"
"Oh, Eriol..." Tomoyo smiled. "Of course I do. We've been in separate schools for six years. If either of us hadn't wanted to commit, don't you think something would've happened by now? I don't know about you, but do you remember what a flake I was?"
Eriol laughed. "I do. That's reassuring, in an odd way."
Tomoyo leaned in and kissed Eriol before checking her phone again. "Sakura hasn't texted me any more... I'm dying to know what's going on."
"Is that really more interesting than what's going on here?" Eriol said in a mock-offended manner.
"Well, I guess I could use a bit of a distraction..." Tomoyo trailed off, smiling coyly.
"That's exactly what I wanted to hear."
Tomoyo giggled as she felt Eriol wrap his arms around her waist and pull her over to him. At some points, it had been difficult to maintain her relationship with Eriol, who had gone to college all the way in England—but especially in moments like these, she recognized that she had never once regretted doing so.
"Your eating habits haven't changed at all," Sakura said casually as she followed Syaoran out to his car.
"Yeah, well, yours haven't, either! At least I don't eat like a bird," he teased. "Peck, peck, peck."
Sakura threw her head back and laughed. "I do not! I have never once been told that I eat like a bird."
"Well, let me be the first to tell you, then: you eat like a bird."
Both of them laughed as they got in the car, Sakura buckling her seat belt as Syaoran started the engine. They rode in a comfortable silence as Syaoran drove the familiar route to her house.
It had seemed like things had never changed—even the dynamic of the evening was familiar, as they had eaten on the ballroom floor for old times' sake. Syaoran driving Sakura home was so natural to her; his not having seen her in four years suddenly didn't seem to mean anything at all.
She wondered if he felt the same.
It was clear by their dinner conversation that Syaoran had grown gracefully into a mature young adult, capable of wise decisions and much intelligent thought. He had always been introspective, Sakura knew, but he had learned how to take that quality and apply it to everything he did, whether that was martial arts, which he continued to do to this day, or school, or his future plans. As for Sakura, she knew that Syaoran thought something similar of her, as he had told her—very casually—towards the end of dinner.
"You've grown a lot," he'd said with a smile. "It's nice to hear your views on life... It's refreshing."
Sakura had blushed and muttered a lame "back at you" before changing the subject.
This evening had been a strange turn back in time. Sakura wondered if it was a one-night thing; her heart ached at the thought of it, but she had come to expect it. She hated to admit to herself that she was coming to desire him, especially when she knew that he probably did not feel the same way. Sure, there had been the stranger moments where she couldn't tell what he was feeling when he looked at her, but they had passed so quickly that she'd wondered if she was imagining them.
"When are you going back to school?" Syaoran asked, breaking her out of her thoughts.
"Hm? Oh, in a couple of weeks, probably. What about you?" Sakura tried to sound nonchalant, but now that she'd thought about the possibility of meeting again, her heart was thumping awfully quickly.
"Same. Once the holidays are over, I have to head back to finish off the semester. I probably won't be back till May or so."
Sakura nodded. "Me, too."
There was a silence, and then, Syaoran spoke again, his voice uneven. "Look, Sakura, I..." He sighed, clearly frustrated, and he ran a hand through his hair as he watched the road. He clenched his jaw, and then it seemed that he gave up on attempting to speak again.
Sakura thought about urging him to continue, but she thought better of it and bit her lip. Her hands were folded in her lap.
The rest of the trip was silent.
When they reached Sakura's house, she didn't quite know how to say goodbye. After that awkward moment, it seemed almost inappropriate to hug him. It would be weird to shake his hand. She settled for a wave, although it left her feeling thoroughly unsatisfied.
"Yeah. Good seeing you," Syaoran said, inclining his head.
Feeling her stomach sinking, Sakura opened the door and turned to get out of the car.
"Damn it... Wait." A hand shot out to grab her wrist.
Sakura turned back around, pulled back into the seat of the car. "Syaoran, what—"
Syaoran let go of her wrist and placed both hands back on the steering wheel, looking conflicted and feeling crazy. Finally, he looked over at her, and he smiled a little at her curious expression. He felt strangely encouraged by it. Some things really wouldn't ever change, he thought.
"Do you want to do this again tomorrow?"
There it is! The ending to the ending, the official final chapter of this story. I know it wasn't quite as fluffy as you might have hoped it'd be, but I thought this ending was befitting for the course of their relationship! Sakura and Syaoran approached their relationship, their breakup, and their post-breakup friendship in a very healthy way, I think, after having started the relationship in a rather odd and unhealthy way (i.e. via bet). If you have any questions, you're more than welcome to leave them in a review or private message me! Thank you guys so much for everything. I think this was the first story I've ever been proud of to finish, and even so, I know there's so much more room to improve. I will definitely continue to try and do so! Love you guys. Please leave a review!
Final note—with this epilogue, I've also posted the first chapter of my new story, Radio Star. It's a bit different from this story, but I hope you enjoy it all the same. Please give it a read/review if you have the time!
I love you all!