A/N: ...

Disclaimer: It's not mine. Really.

-.-.-.-

Chapter 14: Feelings of Memories

-.-.-.-

The leaves haven't even fallen yet it's already winter. What are they waiting for...?

-.-.-.-

So this was it, I thought, staring at it with mild disdain while standing akimbo. No emotional sap-filled confession with flying cherry blossoms in the background, no secret night rendezvous under the full moon, no piggyback rides and sprained ankles... nothing special. This was it. A dry, romance-void and utterly bland confession followed by an equally dull answer. The delight and heart-thrilling surges of joy was completely sucked out of every word like a vacuum.

It was stupid.

Sakura thought so as well. "It's stupid," she declared. "I mean," she waved her hand around to search for a deeper meaning to her words, "how is this a love play?" She picked up the folded script from my bed and turned to the title page. "Look at that— 'Moonlight Whispers'. That practically screams mushy sappy romance!" The brunette gave a short sigh and tossed the extremely deceiving script back on the mattress. "This is ridiculous."

"I know," I told her, sighing for the umpteenth time.

When I left Eriol's house (after eating the rest of the cookies and talking a bit—I was still in a daze. I think I looked drunk) Sakura called and said she was sleeping over. She said she was on her way from a committee meeting—and apparently there were a lot of things we needed to talk about. I didn't know what she was talking about, and I told her so. But she said I shouldn't lie because it was unbecoming of me and hung up with a cheery "bye!".

Sometimes I think my cousin is turning into me. Why else would she say the word "unbecoming" like it's a word people use as often as breathing air?

Er, never mind. I never say "unbecoming" either.

We were sitting in my room discussing the winter festival and the stuff we were responsible for. Sakura had already told me about her leading the outdoor sports events with Syaoran and I'd teased her a little about the predicament that was between her and the Li heir (and no, she wasn't "excited" about working so closely with the school's most popular guy. There was absolutely nothing to be happy in the least with the arrangements, she said indignantly). In return, Sakura questioned me mercilessly about Eriol and how it felt to be working so "closely" with him in the drama play. I blushed (darn) because I felt so sure that my newfound attraction to the blue-haired guy was so blatantly obvious that the whole entire world could see it. But I said matter-of-factly that he was my friend and that was that.

Sigh.

When I showed her my script that I'd been practicing, she'd read it first with eager anticipation, but slowly winded down until she got to the ending, which consisted of a smile, a "yes", and an abrupt "The End", and feeling sorely disappointed by the lack of "love" in the love play, declared the play stupid.

I agreed with her. Not because of the lack of love scenes (I was fervently grateful for that, no matter what I felt for Eriol), but because, for all it's lack of romance, there seemed to be enough room for the main character girl (me) to be stuck in a love triangle. I fail to comprehend exactly how a loveless play produces a love triangle.

But then again, the one who gave us this play was Miss Eileen. That has to be some form of explanation, right?

Sakura seemed to have stopped pouting about the script because she asked me curiously, "What does Eriol think of this play?" I'd been playing with the script absentmindedly, but at the mention of Eriol my hand seemed to slip and there was a short tearing sound. I winced as Sakura blinked at the torn paper in my hand, and I quickly coughed to cover up the awkwardness.

(Dork)

"Uh, well... I don't know," I answered casually, wandering to my desk to tape the poor, torn paper. "I guess he's OK with it." A light-hearted, vague tone, as if I didn't care much. Sakura saw right through it. But she didn't comment or question further. Thankfully.

Instead, she just shrugged and yawned, stretching as she sat down on her makeshift bed. "Well, I guess I can ask him tomorrow," she said lightly. I bit my lip and turned away so she wouldn't see the anxious look on my face. I finished taping my script back together and as I was stuffing it in my bag, I thought I heard, "Lying is unbecoming of you." When I looked back at Sakura, her back was to me and she was sleeping.

As I turned out the lights and slipped under my covers, I thought, She's right.

Lying was unbecoming of anyone.

-.-.-.-

"Tomoyo..." Cherry petal blossoms created mesmerizing patterns as they fluttered in the air, creating a poetic background. They were finally falling. The leaves were falling. "Hmm?" I looked up and smiled as Eriol made his way toward me. "Eriol." He swept me in his arms and held me close to him. I closed my eyes and smiled wider, letting his warmth cover me. I felt immediately comforted as the day's stress and troubles all seemed to melt away. Being near him did that to me.

"I missed you," he murmured into my hair. I wrapped my arms around his waist and laid my head on his shoulder.

"I missed you too," I answered softly. How long has it been since I've seen him? Two, three years? I can't count; it's been so long. "Eriol?"

He shifted so he could stroke my hair. "Yes?"

"Are you going to leave?" The cherry petal blossoms flurried quickly as the wind grew stronger. Was this the change they... I've been waiting for?

He held me tighter and I could see the pained, tired expression on his face. "No. No, I'm not going to leave... Tomoyo."

"You're... staying?" I could feel his heart beating steadily. It assured me that he was indeed here and alive with me.

I felt him nod. "I'm staying. With you."

... We looked at each other with a tender smile and his face drew closer... I could feel my eyes closing as he drew near... his warm breath mingled with my own. Our lips were almost touching... and then—

"Tomoyo!"

My eyes flew open and, disoriented, I hurriedly got out of bed, only to get tangled in my bed sheets. I ended up falling with an undignified 'thump'. (I want to cry for the dignity that I'd lost long ago. Woe is me)

"Tomoyo!" This time I could hear Sakura hurrying around the bed to where I was lying rather pathetically. "Are you alright?" she asked half-concerned, half-trying to keep her laughter in. I groaned in reply and half-heartedly got up, still rather dazed from the dream I'd been dreaming until I was so rudely woken up. I pouted as I fixed my sheets. It was such a good dream too...

Er, wait. What was the dream about? I scrunched my eyes slightly, trying to remember the fast-fading dream I had dreamt only moments ago.

...Cherry petal blossoms... mushy sap-filled drama music in the background... a near-kiss... Eriol... Eriol...

Eriol? Eh? My eyes grew wide. Was I having a love-dream about Eriol?

Oh my. Did I like him that much already? Was I at that stage so soon? But...! This was... a new experience, to say the least. I started blushing as I remembered how intimate we were in that dream. But it wasn't like I really wanted it to happen in real life. Of course not.

Honest. (fingers crossed, yeah?)

"Are you okay?" I turned to see Sakura looking worriedly at me.

"Er, yeah, I'm fine," I quickly replied. I tried not to look like I had just dreamed about something to do with Eriol and me being intimate (and me liking it). She gave me a suspicious look but didn't further question me. Instead, she reverted back to her original situation: hustling about my room and the bathroom like she was late for something.

"Come on!" I blinked at her as she rolled up her makeshift bed on the ground. "Tomoyo, if you don't hurry up and dress you're going to be late for school! And I thought I was the late one," she muttered to herself. Shocked, I glanced at the clock. Aw crap.

In .053 seconds I joined Sakura and together we put on clothes, got our bags and rushed down the stairs like marathon runners. We grabbed some food on the plates that the cook had set elaborately on the table for us ("Just take the whole plate," Sakura said hastily) and ran out the door.

We made it to school on time fully intact. If you don't include breaking the speed limit ("Faster, Bill, you have go faster!") or stuffing toast and muffin in your mouth while drinking all at the same time (that had been me) or trying to remember if your shirt went that way (that was both of us).

By the time we were sitting in our seats we were very out of breath and very disgruntled. The teacher hadn't showed up yet and the students were all up out of their seats and chatting like school hadn't started. I decided then that no matter how much I liked having dreams about Eriol (I bravely tried not to blush) it had to stop, or at least only occur on weekends, because I never wanted to be this rushed in the morning again. I don't even know if my hair is presentable.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw my cousin looking tired and cross. The same goes for Sakura. I wonder what caused her to wake up so late. She'd never slept until seven minutes before school officially started. Unless... I grinned slightly as I looked over my shoulder again and saw Syaoran sauntering up to the emerald-eyed girl. Hmm, I wonder if Sakura had any romantic dreams lately...?

Ack. What am I thinking about? How did my mind get so corrupted?

Or maybe it was originally like that... After all, I did use to be Tomoyo-the-camera/video-girl-who-always-had-an-evil-smile-on-her-face-whenever-Syaoran-blushed back in fourth grade. Ah, for the old days...

-.-.-.-

It's only five minutes after the teacher came in and began today's lesson that I was distracted by a thought. And what a troublesome thought it was.

What if I started acting really weird around Eriol? Like, as in, really, really weird.

Like, 'Tomoyo's-starting-to-act-really-weird-and-looks-like-she-has-a-crush-on-Eriol' kind of weird. What if that happened?

Would Eriol start avoiding me? Would he get annoyed and not want to be friends anymore? Or worse... would he not even notice my strange behavior? Or will he notice and just not care at all? Hmmm Tomoyo, you've got yourself into a mighty fine fix here...

Ah. That's it. I've got it.

I'll just have to act like I was before my newfound feelings for the ex-magician were formed!

Hah. Tomoyo Daidouji, you brilliant genius. You.

-.-.-.-

I should've known it wouldn't be so easy. I should've known better than to except smooth sailing and wide open skies—liking someone just doesn't go like that.

I should've known that the ILE (I Love Eriol fan club, for all you people who forgot) President wasn't glaring daggers at me simply because there was something in her eyes, like I'd previously thought the first few times it happened. But after several more times of glancing over my shoulder at lunch and receiving the hot end of the girl's glare (I knew the sensation of eyes burning holes through the back of the head wasn't my imagination!) I realized that she was definitely glaring at me—and apparently she was pissed. What did I do to her? I did nothing at all whatsoever to make her mad—I don't even know her name.

...Well, besides the little fact that I happen to be around Eriol Hiiragizawa a lot these past days (or couple weeks, to be precise) and that she happens to be in love with the Eriol Hiiragizawa that I've been hanging around with and she also happens to be the president of a club dedicated to Eriol Hiiragizawa and all that's good about him.

Yeah. I've done nothing to deserve the ends of her unjust wrath.

Of course, I should've known that she would continue throwing her cold, unjust wrath at me regardless of whether I deserved it or not.

Of course, Tomoyo, what else were you thinking? That she'll merely shrug in indifference at the close proximity that her beloved idol and I have been sharing (sort of) these past several days right under her nose and leave the matter alone?

...Actually, I kind of did think that. (I'm an idiot)

And now, because of this unfortunate twist of unjust judgment (on her part) I was being officially targeted as Enemy: Dangerous Witch Manipulator (for the well-being of dear Eriol Hiiragizawa). And yes, I did make that title up. Pretty catchy, huh? The ILE club would be so proud of me. I think.

Or maybe it's just my imagination. Argh, I've got to stop blaming others.

...Though if the President of the ILE club accidentally on purposely throws a ball of paper at me again, I'll be forced to do some major blaming. And just why was she throwing them at me? She was lucky it was history and the teacher didn't know what was going on currently in the class he was teaching due to the fact he was so engrossed in the past. I steeled myself after another direct hit on the back of my head and thought grimly that if she threw one more... just one more...

From across the room, I could see Naoko, as well as a few other people, watching the flying paper balls and me. Doubtless everyone in school (or at least in my grade) knew about the rumor between Eriol and me, so they knew exactly what the deal was with the ILE President and her gradually-getting-more-accurate-paper-ball-throwing-phase.

What, did she think that throwing crumpled paper at me would prove as "punishment" for getting too close to her dear Eriol? Hah! As if! I, Tomoyo Daidouji, would never be affected by her childish actions. No way would I comply with her whims. I wasn't the type to like somebody (a lot) and stop liking him just because another person threw paper balls at me.

Fortunately, the teacher finally came back from the 1820's and told the class to answer some questions. I quickly swept the crumpled papers into my bag so that he wouldn't see them and get suspicious (though I doubt it). Then, suddenly getting a thought, I took one of the balls and quietly smoothed it out.

In neat, red handwriting was, "Stop trying to ignore me you geek! Stay away from Eriol.".

Oh. Okay. So she was sending me notes, not practicing fast pitch. Huh. (I feel pretty stupid now). But of course, she would send me threat messages. That was, like, practically the law for fanatic girls trying to drive away a potential competitor.

She called me a geek. Should I feel hurt? Offended? Self-conscious? Proud?

I remembered Eriol, and his easy acceptance of my weird and wacky ways... the way he smiled at me even though I was being a complete dork. He wouldn't care if I were a geek. Because even if I was one (am I being in denial?) it doesn't matter because he's still my friend. And I'm still his.

I smiled to myself and nodded slightly in satisfaction. We were friends, and that was something the jealous President didn't have—Eriol's friendship.

...I just hope she doesn't have his attention. Because if he were romantically interested in her or anybody... I think I just might feel... bothered. Not the quietly-steaming-while-glaring-jealously-at-other-girls bothered. More like the quietly-bashing-notebook-with-pencil-while-imagining-said-notebook-is-girl's-head kind of bothered.

...No! I cannot become one of Eriol's fan girls, I'm not one of his fan girls, I am not one of his fan girls, I am NOT...

Aw darn. I think I'm one of Eriol's fan girls.

-.-.-.-

When winter comes... only when the leaves start falling does autumn finally end...

"My favorite season is autumn, Tomoyo. Because when you harvest... you realize just how much you've sown that whole year... and how you've spent your days to the fullest. It's your reward for all the worthwhile work you've put into your life."

I've never looked forward to autumn. Because what are my worthwhile accomplishments except for a small bushel of apples?

I want the leaves to fall... hurry and fall already so I won't have to endure the shame.

"Tomoyo watch out!"

I heeded my friend's warning too late as I collided head first into the pole. "Ack." I winced and gingerly felt where a bump slowly formed on my forehead. Chiharu and Naoko were asking me if I was all right. I smiled ruefully. "I guess I should watch more carefully."

I looked back up at the trees I had been so busy staring at. Almost all of their autumn leaves were still clinging onto the branches.

...Why haven't the leaves fallen yet?

-.-.-.-

"But... I thought you loved her...?" I stared up at him with wide eyes, a glimmer of hope forming as I saw the answer in his deep, aqua eyes. My hopes were confirmed as he took my arms possessively, drawing me closer to him. Inside my chest my heart was hammering loudly.

A determined light in his eyes made my breath stop. "I never loved her, Lanrete. Never have, never will..." I further sucked in my breath as his face drew nearer to mine. "I only love one person, and that person... is looking at me right now."

Elation. I smiled up at him, bracing myself on his shoulders.

He smiled back and gently held me closer.

Fireworks. I could see the sparkles emitting from my eyes, as we got closer in unison.

Whistles... and catcalls? We broke apart and saw the rest of the drama committee cheering and egging us on. Except for the fangirls, they were scowling. I blushed hard and pulled away from Eriol, who was merely smiling calmly, regardless of the audience. I don't think he noticed my disappointment as we walked off stage. That love scene was as far as we would go.

"All right you guys, that was terrific!" Miss Eileen clapped her hands together with much joy, a very wide smile on her face. "Okay, practice is over for today! Class dismissed! Go! Shoo!" She made shooing motions toward the doors and we all got our stuff, eager to go home. As I got my bag I saw Eriol staying behind to talk to Miss Eileen quietly out of the corner of my eye. I wondered what they were talking about...

"I'm sure it's nothing too serious." I whipped my head at the familiar voice and saw Len Muraki looking at the two as well, a slight smile on his face. Much to my amusement, I didn't feel a single spark of excitement or attraction as I looked at him. He was still very handsome and just as chivalrous, but for some reason I just didn't... like him like that anymore. Ever since I realized I liked Eriol, all feelings I had for Len were all gone. I guess it was just a little crush. At first I felt ridiculous since I'd made such a big deal about it before, but then I just past it aside as a schoolgirl crush.

I nodded politely and put on my bag. "I guess. I'm not worried about them or anything. I'm sure they're just discussing the drama play." That is, I hope. I've never seen Miss Eileen look so serious before.

Everybody else left except us four, so Len and I moved towards the exit away from the private discussion. Len gave me a smile that would have made me melt before, but now I didn't feel anything. "So, are you waiting for him?" he asked me politely.

I blinked. "Um, I... guess so." I hadn't really thought about it. I suppose after all those meetings with him after drama... I've grown use to waiting around for him.

I didn't see the smile that grew on his face as I turned to examine the bulletin board.

-.-.-.-

Eriol had a surprised look on his face when he saw me standing outside the doors as he walked out. I gave him a small smile. "Um, hi Eriol," I greeted him pleasantly. I watched his face relax and smile at me. Was I being too obvious in my actions? What if he knew my crush on him? I fought the urge to massage my head, not only because of the previous bump I acquired, but because all this confusion of liking guys gave me a woozy headache.

"Tomoyo, are you all right?" I looked up and saw Eriol looking down at me with a concerned expression. Heat flashes started attacking me and my face turned gradually red. How did he have this effect on me? Just one look at his eyes made me want to melt. He lifted a hand towards my face. He was looking really worried. I looked away. "Hey, you don't look so good. Do you want to sit down or something?" I could only stare at his shoes and shake my head 'no'. I dared not lift my eyes for fear of being victim of heat flashes once again. Those things were perfectly acceptable during IT, but now when I was so close to my friend/crush was not the right time. Besides, it was winter.

Thankfully, I didn't get any more heat flashes, and Eriol didn't seem to notice my weird behavior. He was happily chatting about how it was going to snow soon and how it would create the perfect setting for the winter festival. That led to a discussion about the drama play and the different committees our friends were in.

"Yes, it's interesting how Sakura and Syaoran got chosen as leaders of their own committee," Eriol remarked with a chuckle. I laughed a little as well, thinking about how edgy Sakura would get whenever the subject of Syaoran and the sports committee was brought up. I tried not to gloat too much about her 'relationship' with him—she claimed there was absolutely nothing going on except that they decided on a temporary truce just for the festival. "After that we'll be back to being rivals," she declared.

My cousin loved being in denial just as much as I did. At least I didn't have a talking plush-toy-like creature teasing me consistently about my crush. (coughKerocough)

Speaking of Sakura... I didn't see her after lunch like I usually did. I was going to call her after school but some thoughts distracted me from remembering. I shrugged mentally. She was probably busy with the sports committee or cheerleading.

"Hey, want to go get some ice cream?" Eriol suggested, looking up at the gray sky with his arms behind his back. I blinked at him.

"Ice cream? In this weather?" I raised an eyebrow at him. He only smiled slightly.

"Ice cream in the winter tastes best. They don't melt like they do in the summer, and it gives a refreshing atmosphere when you're cold," he nodded sagely, like he was an expert. Knowing him and his past ice cream misadventures he probably was an expert. I relented.

I sighed. "Oh, fine, since you say it's so good." I rolled my eyes playfully. I could see him grin as he looked down from the sky.

"I know it's good." He gave me a knowing half-smile that made me blush. I quickly looked away.

We were walking down an avenue where the trees were abundant. "The trees still have all their leaves," I pointed out, gazing at the maple and oak trees that lined the street. Some of them still had the autumn hues left in their veins with stems ready to break off from their fragile hold. My mind started traveling back to when Sakura and I used to walk down this street in the autumn and danced as the leaves dropped down, twirling in the wind. A whimsical smile found its way to my face as I recollected how happy I was back then. I was so happy I thought my heart would burst.

I didn't catch the blue-eyed guy beside me watching me as we slowed beside the ice cream shop.

"...I don't like autumn." He gave me a curious look. Then I started, realizing what I'd just blurted out. "I don't know, I just... I guess I never really liked it that much." I shrugged, knowing my explanation was better off not being said. (A lot of what I say is better off not being said...) But, well, I just felt a need to explain myself to Eriol. He never asked me... and he probably didn't even care.

I heard him shift. I turned to see him gazing at the trees as well, his dark blue eyes holding an unidentifiable expression in them. There was a small, almost poignant smile about his lips as he said, "Me neither." It was the smile of an ex-magician. I continued staring at him.

He turned to face me with that mysterious, almost empty expression. I opened my mouth to say something, but closed it as I realized I had nothing to say. So instead I just nodded and said, "Let's go in. I hope you remember my favorite flavor." I smiled, just to lighten the mood. After all, when you're with Eriol it just doesn't feel right to be so pensive and serious.

I caught him blinking at my words just before he quickly grinned and nudged me aside. He winked at my astounded expression and strolled into the shop. "You'll be paying, of course," he replied airily over his shoulder. I gaped after him through the closed glass door and then laughed.

"In your dreams," I called back as I entered the shop. He was already ordering a large topping on his ice cream cone. I only smiled and shook my head. Even when I was feeling down he still managed to make me feel better. Only so many people I know can do that.

And so, even though the leaves were ready to fall, I didn't look back at them. What I had in front of me was plenty enough to keep my eyes forward.

...Especially since the amount of scoops and flavors Eriol was ordering seemed more than a little.

"Hey, you'd better hope I'm not paying for that, mister!"

"Aw, you ruin a guy's fun, Tomoyo."

-.-.-.-

We left the ice cream shop and I turned to face Eriol with a smile. "Well, that was really fun. Thanks for the ice cream, Eriol."

He smiled back. "You gave me no choice but to pay for you. Next time I won't bring my wallet."

I raised an eyebrow. "Oh, really?" Inside my chest was thumping loudly. Next time, he said, like it was a sure thing. He wanted to spend time like this again... with me. To keep from showing how happy I was I checked my watch. My eyes widened. "Oh, I've got to go! My mom's probably called home." I looked up at the blue-eyed guy (who was looking up at the sky again) and beamed at him. "Thank you again for the ice—" Suddenly my phone rang. My cheeks grew warm as the shrill tune of Mission Impossible began to beat out. Eriol gave a little chuckle. Note to self: change ring tone as fast as humanly possible. I quickly flipped open the phone. "It's probably my mother. Hello?"

"Tomoyo? It's Touya."

I raised my eyebrows. Sakura's brother? Something important was up if he was calling me. "Hi Touya. Um, is there anything I can do to help you with?"

"Yes. Are you with Sakura right now?"

I blinked. "Um... no, I'm not." I could feel Eriol's presence so heavily beside me that I was sure Touya could feel it over the phone. "Why do you ask?" I realized he had a worried tone in his normally even voice.

"She's not with you?"

"No... Touya, what's wrong?"

I heard him sigh over the phone. "Maybe she's just caught up with something. Listen, I call you later. And if you see Sakura, call me. Got it?"

"Yeah, OK..."

"Bye."

"Bye." I flipped the phone shut and frowned at it. Touya was worried enough to call me about Sakura. This was serious. Unless she was playing a prank on her brother, she was in trouble. Just where could she be?

"Tomoyo." I blinked and looked up to see Eriol looking inquiringly at me.

"Oh, um..." I looked down at my phone. "It wasn't my mom..."

He smiled a little. "I figured that much." He placed his hands in his pockets. "So, it's about Sakura?" I nodded, my eyebrows furrowing again.

"She hasn't been home in a while, I think. Touya's kind of overprotective over her." I thought deeply, wondering where Sakura could be right now. "I'll try calling Naoko."

Eriol took out his phone. "I'll call Syaoran." I raised an eyebrow as I scrolled down the phone list. Good idea.

Naoko's number wasn't on the list. Then I remembered she didn't have a cell phone. I sighed. "I forgot, she doesn't have a phone." And her home phone number was constantly changing because her mother was a little paranoid.

The blue-eyed guy was still waiting for the other end to pick up. "He's not answering. I don't think his phone's even on." I sighed.

"Anybody else that would know about Sakura?" I wondered out loud.

"What about Chiharu?" Eriol offered. My eyes widened. Of course! How could I forget Chiharu? She was in cheerleading with Sakura and in most of her classes. I scrolled back up to the 'C's', feeling a little dumb for not thinking of her sooner. I called her number as soon as it appeared on the screen and waited anxiously as it dialed. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Eriol suddenly reaching for his phone as it rang. Thinking it was a private call, I turned away to give him his privacy. The other end of my line finally picked up.

"Hello?" came a guy's voice that was certainly not Chiharu's. It sounded oddly familiar.

"Um, I'm sorry, I think I've got the wrong number," I apologized confusedly. I was certain I'd called Chiharu's number... so who was that?

I was about to hang up when he suddenly said, "Tomoyo, you called my number." It was Eriol.

I whirled around with the phone still stuck to my ear and saw him chuckling at me, holding his own cell phone. I gave a short noise of surprise and looked down at my phone. Sure enough, I had called him instead. I realized I'd accidentally pressed his name, which was right after Chiharu's. I laughed along with him as I hung up.

"OK," I said after a few moments, "I'm going to try again." I scrolled down the list and carefully pressed Chiharu's number.

"Make sure you call her number." The amusement was still evident in his voice. I rolled my eyes and waited for her to pick up.

"Hello?" This time it was Chiharu. I felt relieved.

"Hey Chiharu, it's Tomoyo."

"Hey, what's up?"

"Well, have you seen Sakura lately?" Please, please, let her say yes, please, say yes...!

"Yeah..." Yes! "At school today." Oh. "Why, what's the matter?"

I tried not sounding disappointed. "I meant after school. Her brother hasn't seen her at home so he's worried. Well, if you see or hear from her, call me, OK?"

"Sure. Why, is she late for something?"

"Yeah, something like that. Well, thanks anyways. And remember to call."

"Got it. Talk to you later."

"OK, thanks. Bye..." I hung up, sighing.

"She didn't see her?" Eriol was looking intently at his phone, reading something.

I put my phone away. "Nope."

"Here, take a look at this and tell me what you think." I blinked. Eriol's voice sounded a little strange. He motioned me to come closer and look at his phone. I did. It was a text message... from Syaoran.

'At subway station w/S.K. No reception. Pick us up at entrance'

I blinked. So that's why he didn't answer his phone when Eriol called. But what did 'S.K' mean?

Eriol answered the unasked question. "Sakura's with him."

-.-.-.-

Normal POV

-.-.-.-

"This is all your fault!" Emerald eyes glared at the brown-haired guy standing before her in the middle of the crowded subway station. Her cry attracted the attention of nearby passengers waiting for the train, making them wonder if there was a lover's quarrel.

He snorted, crossing his arms stonily. "It was my fault that your stupid bracelet got stuck on the seat?"

She shook her bags of supplies angrily. "If you'd let me stand like I wanted to my bracelet wouldn't have gotten caught in the first place!" Her slightly red face was not only from yelling at him.

"So what, now it's my fault for being a little chivalrous?"

Sakura had gone to the sports department store in the city with Syaoran because it was their duty to get all the necessary supplies for the sports committee. They traveled by subway, and because it was turning evening it was very crowded. When there was finally a seat empty Syaoran graciously let her take the seat. But Sakura, being nice, didn't want him to stand up and insisted that he sit down. What started as an act of courtesy slowly turned into an argument and then a heated battle, and finally ended with Syaoran using his physical strength and forcing the delicate cherry blossom into the seat. However, her expensive charm bracelet that Tomoyo had gotten her for her birthday got caught on the metal seat, and, not wanting to damage it, tried valiantly to set it free. Syaoran, of course, helped her. At that moment their stop had finally arrived and the doors opened, but the bracelet was still stuck. The door closed before they could reach the door.

Ironically, the train wasn't going back to that stop until morning, so they exited on the next stop and waited for the next train. But even more ironically no more trains were going to that stop. So they were stuck.

And that was why Sakura was shooting daggers at Syaoran with her eyes while he scoffed about how unreasonable she was being. And also why people were watching them curiously, wondering why exactly they were so mad.

"Where's Eriol going to meet us?" the brown-haired girl asked shortly, looking away from him.

He didn't glance at her. "I don't know."

She blinked and stared at him. "What... do you mean 'I don't know'? How else is he going to pick us up?" He only shrugged, making her snap. "You don't even know where to meet him? How are we going to get out of here?" Her voice was growing higher in her incredulousness.

He closed his eyes in boredom, leaning back on the pillar behind him. She made an outraged noise and then stomped up to him. "No, you—" She poked his chest so she got his attention. His eyes flickered. "You don't seem to understand the enormity of this situation. It's late, I'm late, you're late, we're all late, and we're stuck in this subway station with no way of going home except by riding the bus for two hours, or walking for six." She leaned in closer to his face as he watched her calmly. "...I have seven assignments that are due tomorrow and I haven't even started ONE. I've got that stupid math presentation to go over and cheerleading practice, not to mention the sports committee. And to top it off, I told my brother I would be home an hour and a half ago so I can make dinner. And I've got to call Tomoyo and tell her I left my shoes at her house..." Her tone had gone from fuming to deadly calm, and finally desperate. Her face... she looked close to tears.

The Li heir steadily blinked at her and then put his hands on her shoulders. "Hey... take a deep breath..." He watched her as she took his advice blindly and breathe deeply. "That's it. Good. Now. Stop thinking. Don't think about all those things. Got it?"

Sakura gave him an irritated look. "How can I not think about them?"

He shushed her. "Just do it." She sighed but closed her eyes, doing as he said. "Now, follow me." She barely had time to open her eyes as he took her by the elbow and pulled her after him. She had to run in order to keep up with him and dodge the crowds of people.

"Where are we going?" She called to him, bewildered and just a little annoyed. "Omph! Sorry!" That was the fifth person she'd bumped into. He only tugged her along faster, towards the subway station entrance. "Syaoran, what is—" She narrowly avoided crashing into his back as he stopped abruptly.

He was scanning the place with concentrated dark brown eyes, trying to look for someone. Finally, he spotted a flash of blue, as well as long wavy hair. "They're here."

Sakura frowned and careened her neck, trying to look at what he was talking about. "Who, I can't see—"

"SAKURA!"

-.-.-.-

Tomoyo's POV

-.-.-.-

I almost cried when I saw Sakura in that crowded subway station. She was safe. I wouldn't have to confront a panicked Touya. My mom won't kill me for being out so late because I had a perfectly valid reason to be late. All was well.

"Thank goodness!" My cousin lunged and hugged me. Then, without letting me go, she grabbed Eriol and hugged him as well, crushing us together.

"We're glad to see you're all right." Eriol's voice seemed perfectly fine, but because I was so close I could hear the invisible strain caused by Sakura's innate strength. I would've agreed, but I couldn't breathe.

Syaoran rolled his eyes. "Oy, let them breath." She immediately let us go, and I felt my breath rushing back to me, my heart thumping loudly not just because of the lack of blood circulation. Eriol removed his arm from where he had placed it behind my back so it wasn't in the way of Sakura's massive hug.

"Sorry," the emerald-eyed girl apologized, grinning. "I guess I was so happy to know I wasn't going to be stranded here with him." At 'him' she motioned with her bags at Syaoran, who was standing behind her.

He frowned slightly. "Glad to know my company is wanted." I smiled ruefully at him while Sakura turned eagerly to Eriol, excited to be going home. The Chinese male just shrugged and glanced at my cousin as she chatted happily. "How'd you come?" he asked me. We all started walking toward the exit.

"I called my driver." I motioned to the limo waiting outside in the reserved parking space. Syaoran's eyebrows rose at this unexpected luxury ride. I didn't tell him how I'd called my driver to go to the station ASAP regardless of the fact that I was with a guy and that Mom wanted me home soon. Or how we'd nearly gotten a ticket for speeding in a parking lot.

Sakura waved for me to come over to her so that we sat together in the limo. As Eriol and Syaoran got in after us and the engine started, Sakura whispered, "So, you came with Eriol, huh?" I raised my eyebrows, trying to contain the automatic blush that rose in my cheeks.

"And what were you and Syaoran doing together?" I retorted quietly. She glanced away, looking a little embarrassed.

"Tomoyo, you know it's not like that. We were only getting stuff for the sports committee." She crossed her arms and gave me a coy look. "But you, my dear cousin... I'm pretty sure Drama ended quite a while ago. Just how did you and Eriol come together?"

Eriol and Syaoran were talking quietly behind us, so they didn't hear Sakura's question. I lifted an eyebrow. "Syaoran gave Eriol a text message that you guys were stuck at the station. Your brother called me asking where you were. Naturally, I let Eriol get a ride with me to pick you guys up." Hah, take that for a good explanation! I had perfectly legitimate reasons for being with my crush.

"Tomoyo, Eriol has his own car." My smug air faded and I was left blinking at my smirking cousin. Wait, Eriol... no, that was right. Eriol did have his own car. I suddenly fought the urge to groan and put my head in my hands. There was no way I could've known about Sakura being with Syaoran unless Eriol told me. And even then, he would've gone ahead in his own car. There was no need for me to come in the limo, least of all bring Eriol with me. Sakura won this round.

But you won't win the next one, I told her in my head as she smiled victoriously through the tinted windows. I would prove myself right... er, but for what? For lying about my feelings for Eriol? Hmm... I'll have to get back to that later. Right now I had more important things to deal with. Like... saving the limo window buttons from utter abuse.

"Hey, Daidouji, you might want to think about getting this thing updated." Syaoran was pressing the said buttons, wondering why the windows weren't sliding down. "I think it's broken. This stupid thing won't... why the heck won't it work?" PUSH. SLAM. "Stupid thing won't cooperate." SLAM! SLAM! Ah, I know, I feel you buddy. I used to ask that question all the time.

Sakura and I hastily tried to calm him so that the poor buttons would be spared. They were still recovering from my last assault back when I was under the influence of IT.

The two brown-haired rivals were now arguing about who was being dumber. Eriol caught my eye from over their heads and grinned. I managed to grin back without blushing or freezing up. I leaned back and took a moment to look at the three. Sakura, my ever-beloved cousin and best friend, ganging up on Syaoran with Eriol with that carefree attitude I'd always adore. Syaoran, the guy who should've been my worst enemy but was actually a good friend that helped me in times of need (and vice-versa). Eriol, the one guy who I never thought I'd like and... the one that could make me smile whenever I felt down.

I was lucky to have them as my friends.

I was so wrapped up in watching my friends that I didn't notice the falling leaves outside steadily turned into drifting white flakes.

-.-.-.-

"You've got to be kidding me." Touya looked from Sakura to the brown-haired guy beside her with narrowed eyes. "You caused my sister to be late?"

Sakura 'eheheh'-ed and took her brother's arm as Eriol placed a hand on Syaoran's shoulder. I could sense the tension building when Syaoran opened his mouth to retort, so I quickly spoke up. "Touya, Syaoran helped us locate Sakura. Nothing else happened except they took the wrong train. And," I went on, ignoring my older cousin's protest. "It's snowing right now, and I've got to drop these two off." I motioned to Syaoran and Eriol standing in the kitchen with us. "Sakura can give you the details, but we can't wait for the snow to get worse."

Touya seemed very reluctant to leave the matter alone. I could tell he was itching to confront Syaoran for reasons other than causing his sister to be late. "Fine. Thanks for finding the monster, Tomoyo." The "monster" glared at him and simply grounded his slipper-clad foot hard. "ARGH!" I only shook my head at the affection between them and smiled.

"Let's go, guys." I waved to my cousins as they tried to fight each other over who cooked dinner (Sakura was trying to get herself out of cooking, though really she didn't have to). Eriol and Syaoran followed me outside (after Syaoran and Touya had a glaring contest), where the limo was waiting.

The snow was still falling quite heavily for it was already three inches in fifteen minutes. Considering it was the first snowfall of the year, that was a lot. I hoped we could drive through this weather. Apparently, everyone else was thinking the same.

"Watch us get stranded out here in the snow," I heard Syaoran grumble. Ever the optimist, that one was.

"It looks like it will snow for quite a while," Eriol observed thoughtfully. Something told me he knew more about it than he showed. I sighed. As always, I couldn't tell if that was a bad thing or a good thing.

Not only that, but my mom left me a message on the phone, saying that she wasn't getting home until late and that the weather forecast predicted heavy snow all night long. She told me to stay tight and to not worry if she didn't come home. I worried if I'd even get home at this rate.

We arrived at Syaoran's house... er, mansion/estate place. By that time the snow had reached five inches. The limo tires needed chains.

"Hope you make it through this snow," Syaoran told us as he got out of the limo. We answered affirmatively as he jogged through the snow to the entrance gate. Then he disappeared inside. That left Eriol and me in the limo. Together. Alone. Sort of.

We talked pleasantly as we drove to his house, trying to keep our minds off the flurries of snow outside and the occasion stumble the tires made as it slid over the snow. It was also to keep things from getting awkward between us. I don't even remember half of what I said, but I guess Eriol didn't either, because he just agreed with everything.

Luckily for us, we arrived at Eriol's house... mansion. Lucky for me because I had no more things to say, and Eriol didn't have to hear me talk about random things anymore.

"Well, I'll see you tomorrow Tomoyo." He smiled and waved at me. "Go back in, you'll catch a cold." I was outside the limo with my arms wrapped around myself to keep from shivering in the cold snow. He stood where he was, not moving. "Tomoyo, get back in the car, it's too cold."

"You g-go on inside," I chattered, determined not to be the selfish one. I could barely see him roll his eyes at me through the blur of snow and he trudged back toward me. "I-I'm not going i-in, you g-go first..." But instead he took me by the shoulders and gently forced me back into the car. I half-heartedly resisted, but the combination of both the cold and Eriol's hands broke down my determination like eating cake. "Thank you, Eriol."

He shook his head. "Thank you for giving me a ride home." With that he grinned, waved a little and shut the door, leaving me alone in the limo with only the blast of the heater on.

"Ready to go home, Miss Tomoyo?" Bill the driver asked me. I smiled, caught in that tiny moment of closeness to Eriol.

"I'm ready." The limo moved forward as I settled back for the ride and then suddenly stopped. Then it lurched forward, and stopped again. I could hear the engine running, trying to get the limo to move, but the snow was just too deep. We were stuck. "Um, Bill?" I already knew the answer.

"I'm very sorry, but I'm afraid the snow is too high for the limo to run."

I refrained from sighing and closed my eyes, resting on my seat as I tried to think of what to do next. We needed a place to stay other than the limo...

Suddenly, there was tapping on my window. I opened the door, almost scraping the snow with the bottom of the door, and saw Eriol looking at me, covered in snow. Despite this he had an amused expression on his face.

"Your limo doesn't seem to be moving."

"Yes. The snow's too high." I looked at him, and he gave me a knowing look.

"You're welcome to stay at my house if you'd like."

He didn't even need to ask, really. I was already telling Bill to get our stuff and come inside.

-.-.-.-

When we took off our snow-laden coats and shoes, the house (mansion) was completely silent. It was dim and the only light was coming from down the hall. However I remained vigil, bracing myself for the greeting I would inevitably encounter.

"Hello Tomo-yo!" Nakuru stuck her head cheerfully out the door and waved. Then disappeared.

That was not the greeting I was expecting.

Eriol was already leading Bill and I down the hall to the door Nakuru popped out of, saying, "Don't mind her, she gets like that when she's done something particularly mischievous." We entered the room, which turned out to be the kitchen. It was hardly recognizable because I'd only been here when Eriol and Nakuru had thrown that surprise for me. I smiled reminiscently. Then blinked. The kitchen was also completely covered from top to bottom with... powered sugar.

"Hihihi!" Nakuru was waving at Eriol, who was busy brushing off the white powder from the chairs. Then I realized why she was so contained. In her strong grip was a white-covered Spinel who had a resigned expression on his face, and a large almost maniacal grin on hers. Behind me Bill didn't look at all startled by this picturesque scene, but if Spinel started to talk...

"Behave, please," the blue-eyed guy admonished calmly, "we have guests." Spinel was keeping it mouth shut, though not just because there was a stranger around.

The redhead saluted and marched Spinel out of the kitchen. "I know! I was watching out the window. The snow is so pretty!" She twirled with the blue guardian in her hands. Then she stopped and turned to look at me seriously. I blinked at the change. "You know what that means, Tomoyo," she said gravely. She winked and whirled out of the kitchen. I was nonplussed.

Eriol merely chuckled as he set three mugs on the table, filled with rich hot chocolate. "Come, sit." I sat down, as did Bill who nodded politely. I'd only been to Eriol's house three times (voluntarily) and each time I was admiring the beautiful interior design. This time, though, I was possibly going to sleep here. I'd called Mom to let her know I was staying at a friend's house so she wouldn't send out a search patrol in the middle of the night.

Right, I'm sleeping over my crush's house. Of course, I didn't tell her that.

I remembered something similar to this that happened last week... or something.

Eriol was being the good host and we had a nice conversation that had even Bill smiling and me laughing. The blue-eyed guy was clearly enjoying himself, his eyes twinkling and his chuckles a nice tenor sound. I found myself thinking he would have a nice singing voice if he ever felt the need to sing. In the middle of sharing a funny story he suddenly his gaze on me, catching me staring at him. I blinked and said, "Oh... yeah..." Embarrassed, I laughed a little, trying not to seem like I had just been blatantly staring at him.

I felt a touch on my shoulder... Eriol... and saw him and Bill standing. "I'll show you to your rooms," he said, smiling. Though his smile looked a little strange. I nodded and stood, feeling the heat of his hand leaving my shoulder.

As we left the kitchen I mentally berated myself for not being more careful. "Watch yourself," I muttered under my breath as I followed the two men.

-.-.-.-

Bill and I were placed in rooms next to each other on the second floor. My room was nice, not as big as my room, but it had a joint bathroom. And the interior design was infallible. As I looked over the spare pile of clothes Nakuru lent me for the night, I saw a white piece of paper sticking out of the clothes. Curiously, I pulled it out and read what seemed to be Nakuru's handwriting.

'Meet me in the kitchen at 9:40. Love, Eriol' In firmer writing underneath was, 'and Nakuru and Spinel'

Despite the faint blush on my cheeks I released a breath and grinned. That Nakuru... I glanced at the clock. 9:35. Time to start heading down. But I wonder why they wanted to meet me...?

Never less, I shut the door of my room (Bill's door was closed) and made my way downstairs to the kitchen, where the lights were already on. I stopped at the sight that greeted me.

Nakuru, for some reason, was hopping up and down excitedly like a little kid—on top of a chair. She was decked in a long winter coat, colorful scarf that wrapped at least five times, earmuffs, and gloves. Spinel, who did not look drunk so I assumed Nakuru wasn't successful, watched her with a bored air, its tail twitching. It also had on a tiny sweater and scarf. I blinked. But where was...?

A heavy, warm coat draped gently across my shoulders. Startled, I turned and saw Eriol's smiling face. He, too, was wearing a winter outfit. "We don't want you getting cold out there," he explained. Nakuru had jumped down and was twirling around happily.

"Snow, snow, snow...!" She whirled to grab Spinel but it was faster. It somehow landed on Eriol's head, casting a disgruntled eye on the redhead. She was oblivious to everything, but when Eriol cautioned, "Not so loud, Nakuru," she danced out of the kitchen, singing softly. He sighed and began to follow her. Looking back at me, he said, "Come on, we're going to have a little fun in the snow." He smiled as I blinked in surprise. "What'd you think we called you down here for?" Then, to my shock, he took my hand and led me out.

Eriol... is holding my hand he's holding my hand he'sholdingmyhandhe'sholdingmyhand—

I could hear Spinel telling me in the dark of the house that it was sorry for Nakuru's child-like behavior and causing me trouble. I was busy answering, "No, no, it's fine, I'm fine" and pulling on my coat properly while following Eriol and trying not to trip. His gloved hand was still holding mine. I was glad it was dark so my red face was unnoticeable.

We were outside in the spacious backyard where there were a few lamplights, casting a faint flow across the snowy ground. Only a few snowflakes were falling from the sky. It was so crisp, white and beautiful that I didn't notice Eriol let go of my hand slowly.

Nakuru was ecstatic. She spun in the snow, giggling. "Whee! This is so fun!" She came over and grabbed my hands (that's when I noticed, yes) and pulled me so we were twirling and dancing in circles. Laughter bubbled out of my mouth as I saw the happy expression on her face. She was so carefree and fun loving.

"Watch her spin herself dizzy," Spinel remarked dryly from on top of its master's head. Eriol had a little grin on his face, barely visible in the dim light. It was the same one he had before, back in the kitchen. But I had no time to think about this as Nakuru suddenly let go and, caught off balance, I flew back, falling in the snow with a thump.

"Told you," the dark-blue guardian stated.

Eriol came over to see if I was all right. "Tomoyo?" I was laughing, the fall hadn't been too hard and it was quite fun. He held out a hand, smiling. I grabbed his hand, and a wild, mischievous idea struck me. I pulled at his hand as hard as I could, and his eyes flashed in surprise as he fell down beside me, sprawled quite inelegantly. I gasped out in laughter and I breathed out apologies. "I'm sorry, I couldn't help it..." I didn't see the sudden wicked gleam in his eyes. Then I gasped, this time from the icy hot cold on the top of my head as he dumped snow on me. It was his turn to laugh.

"Eriol! That wasn't fair!" I brushed off the cold snow from my head as he kept laughing. I smiled. His laugh made it hard to stay pretend-angry.

"Sorry, but you can't say you didn't have it coming," he said, still chuckling. Suddenly, a snowball smacked him on the back of his head, making him stop abruptly. We gaped as we saw Nakuru on the other side, waving behind a self-made fort.

"I've avenged you, Tomoyo!" she cried, holding up another huge snowball. I grinned as Eriol ducked another flying missile. Snowball fight!

I scooped down, made a snowball, and started running before looking back. Eriol was making his own fort, quite absorbed in the task. With a little guilt, I threw the snowball, managing to... miss him entirely. "Shoot!" I ran away quickly, but not before getting hit by a well-aimed snowball. I looked back and saw Spinel grinning quite naughtily at me. I gaped and threw myself down as another ball came from Eriol. It was a battle!

We ended up making our own forts, the three of us. Spinel didn't need one, that little plushie. It could dodge almost anything in the air. But I managed to get it while it was busy dodging Nakuru and Eriol. Nakuru was a battle machine, chucking snowballs nonstop and with terrifying aim. I was almost afraid to lift my head above my fort. Eriol, on the other hand, was smart enough to make several different forts so he could change locations.

We battled long and hard until we couldn't move. I was lying flat on my back, panting and pinching my face so it wasn't too numb. The snow was starting to fall again, so we decided to go back inside. But Nakuru couldn't resist throwing one last snowball at the weary Spinel. It shouted an angry, "Hey!" and took after her, who stuck out her tongue and ran into the house. Eriol and I were left to trudge through the uneven snow.

"Well..." I trailed a little breathlessly as I straightened out my—no, Eriol's—coat. We walked side by side towards the door, a little wearily. "That was fun."

He smiled and brushed some snow off his hair. "Yeah. I'm glad..." Suddenly his tone changed. "Do you like snow?"

I glanced over at him, surprised. "Well... yeah, I guess." A whimsical smile tugged at my lips. "It always held some kind of magic... a significance... ever since I was young. Even now I get excited when the snow falls." My smile widened and I looked at my friend. "Do you?"

His gaze fell on the snow we were stepping in before he answered, "Hm. Yeah. I like it." He smiled at me gently, almost enigmatically. My heart beat faster and I almost lost myself in his eyes. Snow was falling harder, landing on my messy hair and melting on my pink, hot face. Sweat made my hair strands stick to my cheeks.

"Tomoyo..." Eriol was looking intently at me now, and I blinked, wondering how I didn't notice this. "Do you... like anyone?"

Blinking several times, I turned wide eyes on him. What...? "Um..." Why was he interested all the sudden? Was it... was he going to ask me...

Then, before my hopes took form and rose, he laughed casually, and I hastily wrapped that naked hope back inside me, deep. "It's none of my business, sorry. I was just being curious, you know... a friend's got to look out for each other's interests, eh?" He winked. I smiled back, but inside I felt sinking disappointment. Friend. Right.

"Of course," I heard myself say faintly. "Any friend would do that." Yeah, if they didn't have a crush on said friend. I sighed mentally, gloomy. Eriol would only think of me as a friend.

"..." Suddenly his arm stopped me, and I looked up startled. We were only a short distance from the door. His eyes were dark, and I could barely see his placid expression. "But," his tone was soft, and strange, "I'm willing to listen. You can always count on me, Tomoyo... I won't ask, but I'm willing to know more about you." His gaze was averted from me, and he dropped his arm, slowly. "So tell me, whenever you feel like it. I'll listen." There was a small, almost awkward smile on his lips.

I stared at him as he turned his body to face me, ignoring the snow that continued landing on my head. Eriol was so kind. He was a better friend than I deserved. He cared about me as a friend… so much, that it made me look so selfish. Because here I was lamenting over the fact that he didn't like me the way I wanted him to... and here he was giving me the best a true friend could ever have.

"Eriol, I..." It... made me want to cry.

He brought a gloved finger to his lips, and he smiled teasingly at me. I blinked. "...I know I just said you can talk to me whenever you feel like it, but that speech took all the energy I had. And this one. Let's go in..." A gust of wind brought a cold flurry of snow and ice, almost responding to his words. Quickly, he guided me into the door, placing a hand briefly on my back as he shut the door behind us.

"Nakuru and Spinel left a mess," he commented upon seeing the discarded clothing all over the room. I turned to face him, his earlier words still stuck in my head. He turned to look at me with a smile and I froze. My heart thudded almost painfully in my chest and I tried to remember when was the last time I felt like this... it was scary, this feeling.

"Hmm, I hope you're not too cold." I shook my head, bits of snow falling from my unbound hair. His eyes turned a little bemused as he shed one of his gloves. I watched, mesmerized as that exposed hand reached towards my face and slowly, gently, brushed away the strands of hair sticking to my skin. The feel of his fingers on my face was ticklish, and I felt a little drowsy. Then he drew away, breathing in sharply. "I'm sorry. You must be tired." (Where did this sudden exhaust come from?) He was helping me out of my thick, warm coat, which smelled like him. I was already half asleep, so I didn't mind when he held my shoulders to keep me from losing balance.

"...Eriol?"

He stopped midway of slipping the sleeves from my arms. I smiled and looked up at him through half-lidded eyes.

"Thank you. For... a lot of stuff." I dropped my head and chuckled a little, the exhaust taking its toll on me. Why did I seem so drunk?

"What do... Tomoyo!" He was surprised as he caught me before I stumbled flat on my face. I was surprised I was still awake. So many things happened today... My mind just couldn't take anymore. Huh. I heard him make a half sigh, half amused sound before putting a steady arm behind my shoulders, then bending down to lift me up in his arms.

I yawned and snuggled, feeling very comfortable. Although in the back of my head I knew I should be telling him to put me down, that I could walk on my own, that he didn't have to go to all this trouble... I decided that it didn't really matter because he wouldn't have listened to me anyways.

And besides, we were friends, and a friend just didn't leave a friend to sleep alone on the couch of that friend's house. I smiled and let my head fall on Eriol's solid chest, drifting into a deep sleep.

Outside the leaves had stop falling. The snow had finally come.

-.-.-.-

A/N: All right. I feel a little sense of shame. Only one chapter and summer vacation's almost gone. Yeah, well... I hope this chapter was worth it. Thanks so much for reading!