I wasn't sure how to rate this. There are a couple of swearwords that are necessary for the overall effect, so it can't be G. But it's certainly isn't anywhere as bad as PG-13 (compare with Kate Winslet's breast-baring in Titantic) or R. So I've gone with PG, since that's really the only option.
Inspiration for this fic comes (vaguely, faintly, just a teensy bit) from P.G. Wodehouse. That's why the style is a trifle convoluted. I'm hoping someone will get the joke.
Standard disclaimers apply and all that rot.
This is my favorite fic to date, so I really hope you enjoy it…
"Can I touch you up, Tomoyo-san?"
Hiirgizawa Eriol could never occupy the same room as a group of women but that he would be the focal point of their attentions. This, Daidouji Tomoyo reflected, was a bit of a mixed blessing.
On the one hand, Eriol was at his charming best with an audience of dreamily sighing women to regale with his embellished tales of the romantic and exotic. It gave Tomoyo an opportunity to observe him unimpeded, and for this she was grateful. Eriol never told Tomoyo stories. He said—and she agreed—that she was much too intelligent to be taken in by such wiles, and when they talked, it was with the easy candor of those on the same mental plane.
On the other hand, she could not help feeling faint stirrings of jealousy at how easily he entranced so many women, and slight annoyance at the ease with which he could choose any of them, should he feel so inclined. She watched, her gaze laden with bemusement and mild hostility, as he kissed the hand of one particularly pretty girl, emulating a gesture he averred they still practiced in the French court (the fact that there hasn't been a French court since the Revolution was conveniently forgotten by the girls—if they'd ever known it in the first place).
Eriol was, by nature, affably fascinating, with a devastating winning-smile-twinkling-eyes combination. And Tomoyo could never be sure if she should resent this or cherish it.
She turned a mild glare on the pretty girl who seemed to be garnering an undue amount of attention from Eriol. The girl sent her a saccharine smile in return, and Tomoyo felt the petty compulsion to prove that she, Daidouji Tomoyo, still held the highest claim to him.
"Eriol-kun?" she said, quietly. Had he not been straining expectantly for the sound of her voice, he never would have heard it.
Immediately, he excused himself politely from his retinue, and came to sit beside her. Tomoyo permitted herself a small smirk. It went unnoticed by most, but Eriol saw it and exulted. Their fledgling romance was still at that point.
And so it was almost every morning. Everyone knew, of course, that Hiirgizawa Eriol and Daidouji Tomoyo would end up together. That's just the way it was.
Eriol rifled through his trouser pockets, patted his blazer pocket absently, then checked his wallet again. He frowned, sighed, cursed himself a bit, and went to stand in the cafeteria lunch line beside Tomoyo.
"Afternoon, Eriol-kun," she said, smiling in way that could only be described as "winsome".
Eriol mumbled a greeting and blushed. Tomoyo did a double take. Eriol? Blushing? Indeed it was. The usually calm and collected magician, who hadn't even blinked when he suggested locking Sakura and Syaoran in a closet until they started necking out of pure frustration, was slowly but obviously pinkening.
"Are you alright?" asked Tomoyo, all concern. Eriol nodded, turning ever redder.
"Can I… uh, ask you a question?"
"Too late. You just did," she cheeked reflexively.
"Ah… another one, then?"
Tomoyo frowned. "I know that's not the best comeback you've got, Eriol-kun. Are you quite sure you're alright?"
"Um, yes. Rather, oh… yes. It's just…"
He flushed to the roots of his dark blue hair, providing an interesting study in clashing colour combinations. "Er… Tomoyo-san…"
She swatted him lightly. "Just say it."
"I… can I touch you up, Tomoyo-san?"
She stiffened. "What?"
He repeated his request, and it was her turn to blush bright red.
"What, here?" she hissed.
He had the nerve to look around innocently. "Well, yes. Obviously."
"You… you want…" she mumbled, almost accusingly. "Let me be clear on this. You want to touch me up…HERE?"
And he actually said; "can you think of a better place?"
It was seven o'clock that evening, and Tomoyo didn't even remember what excuse she'd used to get away immediately, and couldn't even begin to think about how she would explain why she had skipped the last two classes of the day.
Oh, for the love of God, he wanted to touch her up. He actually asked if he could feel her up in public! That was one step away from the … cough… real McCoy, the whole deal, the full Monty, the, ah, homerun… so to speak.
And he had actually asked her! Flat out. Blushing cutely. In front of everyone.
… and what if she'd said yes?
Tomoyo paced frantically up and down the length of her large room.
They weren't like that—
He couldn't mean—
Yes, he could. She knew he could. She knew he was exactly the sort of snarky, smug, lovable bastard who would ask her that sort of question.
He was joking with her… he was trying to gauge her feelings for him. She knew that…
She couldn't— obviously—
But if she did?
Tomoyo smiled vaguely. The answer, when it came right down to it, was fairly obvious.
"Tomoyo-chan? Tomoyo-chan, are you okay? Because you just disappeared from school yesterday and we are all so scared that you were sick and you're not sick are you only we all worried because you never skip ever ever ever and we hoped you were okay and you weren't taking calls."
Tomoyo giggled a little bit. That was Sakura; she never spoke with punctuation.
"Yes, thank you, I'm perfectly, wonderfully, alright. And if you'll excuse me, I have to speak to Hiirgizawa-san."
She went to her seat, and sat, half-turned, it in. Eriol smiled calmly at her, all vestiges of yesterday's ham-fistedness dissipated
"Good morning, Tomoyo-san."
"Good morning, Eriol-kun. Er… yesterday—"
"Oh, that. Yes. Naturally I did not mean to—"
She cut him off, stung by how detached his tone was.
"I meant—my answer… yes."
He seemed momentarily disconcerted. "What?"
"In response to your question yesterday… yes." Her voice, she was pleased to hear, had gained a little more confidence
He looked terribly amused. "Oh, that's quite alright," he said, dismissively, "I don't require to anymore."
And she almost lost her head.
Eriol was baffled by the way Tomoyo was acting. Even barring her sudden departure from school, she was behaving quite inconceivably. She had glared at him so angrily then, and ignored him so resolutely for the remainder of the day that he was begin to wonder… well, exactly what the problem was.
He had decided it behooved him to speak to her and he proposed to walk her home after school (to which she'd agreed with a look of utter utter confusion).
"Tomoyo-san, I must ask—is everything quite alright?"
She raised a horribly skeptical eyebrow at him. "Oh yes," she said, in a voice as dry as the Sahara at noon. "What could possibly be the matter?"
"That, if you'll recall, is what I was asking you."
She gave him a tight, annoyed smile. "Yes, I clearly recall the things you've asked me."
He flinched at her tone of voice. "What on earth is that supposed to mean?"
"I think you know perfectly well what I mean, Hiirgizawa-kun, and I, for one, am not in the mood for your mind games today. Or ever."
"Tomoyo!" He caught her by the arm, pulled her around to face him, and was shocked to see the beginnings of tears glistening in her eyes. "What have I done? What's doing on?"
She looked at him suspiciously, sniffling a little. "You really don't know?"
"Of course not! I would never deliberately do anything to hurt you!"
"Ah, yes… never deliberately. But you might do something you think is so awfully funny that hurts me?"
"Well… I… I think that if I was going to do something that stupid and horrible, I would at least have some idea that it might conceivably hurt you…I honestly don't… in this case."
She stared up at the sky for a long moment, then said, wearily. "What about your question?"
"Eriol, honestly! The question that you asked me at lunch yesterday. Still don't get it? Let me quote, 'Can I touch you up, Tomoyo-san?'."
"Look, I hardly see what there was to get upset about in that!"
"I mean, if it's just a question of money, I—"
She nearly hit him. "What the hell is wrong with you? I thought you were… I don't know… even if I hadn't thought you were nice or gentleman-y or anything, who says things like that? What exactly are you implying? And, and WHY? I mean, aren't we friends? Even if we weren't, how you do expect me to respond?"
She was getting increasingly hysterical and Eriol was getting increasingly scared. She was infuriated by this.
"You still don't get it? Let me spell it out for you, real slow. You asked if you can feel me up!" she fumed. "Which in itself would be kinda funny, a little cute. But then you said you didn't need to anymore! Then you offer to walk me home and then act all stupid and innocent and clueless and actually ask me whether I'm pissed off because, I don't know, because you think it's a question of money and why the fuck are you smiling like that!"
"Tomoyo-chan, please, please let me explain!"
She glowered, he gulped and took that as an affirmative.
"In England, the phrase 'to touch someone up' is a colloquialism. It means you want to borrow money from them. I had forgotten my lunch money yesterday, that's all. And I was a little embarrassed about it. I'm really sorry if I sent you really horrible mixed messages, and I ask you most humbly for forgiveness."
She stared at him as if he had grown an extra head, and for one apprehensive moment he really did fear for his life.
Then she plopped down on the curb, and buried her head in her hands.
"Oh, gods, Eriol. I'm so sorry," she moaned, tearfully. "I just… it seemed… oh, god." Her face was burning red, she knew.
He sat down beside her, and patted her awkwardly. "I know, it's my fault. I forgot it just doesn't mean the same thing in Japan. I'm sorry too."
"Shall we forgive each other, then?" she asked, dismally.
"Of course. Come on," he helped her up. "No harm done, right?"
She stood. "No… I guess not."
She rubbed her eyes, and straightened her skirt, and they walked the remaining distance to her house in dreadful awkward silence.
The next morning at school, Tomoyo waited uneasily for Eriol to arrive. When he did, he took his seat behind her and turned to her, smiling hopefully, as if something had been weighing on his mind.
"When you thought I was asking if I could feel you up?"
She pinkened. "Yeah?"
"Did you say yes?"