AN: Wow…been a while since I've penned one of these, huh? But inspiration hits in strange ways, and I just could not help myself. This is based on (of all things) a Dear Abby letter I read. Hope you enjoy it. I no ownie CCS. Blah.




Tricking the Trickster

With a slight crunching of gravel, the car shifted from reverse into drive, and they were off down the road. It was getting late, so the sun was just starting to go down, sending a clear day into a clear night.

"I can't believe it's been a week already," Eriol commented easily, changing lanes.

"True, true. And they're finally back," Tomoyo leaned back against her seat and smiled.

They were discussing the nature of their errand—namely, to pick up two lucky lovebirds from the airport. Sakura and Syaoran, now married a week, were returning from their honeymoon, and had called ahead to ask if their friends would be willing to pick them up when they got back.

"I wonder how red Syaoran's face will be…" Eriol suggested wickedly.

Tomoyo rolled her eyes. "Give the guy some credit. He's gotten better."

"Hmm…" A pause. "Say, Tomoyo …" Eriol said softly, pulling what looked suspiciously like a ring box out of his pocket; that suspicion was confirmed when he popped it open with one hand, revealing a delicate gold band set with a diamond. "I know we don't know each other that well in that way, but…"

Tomoyo suddenly realized she was hugging the door handle, in an absolute state. Is he serious? What in the world? "Umm…Eriol, I…err…" For the moment, she was completely tongue-tied.

Seeing her semi-panicked expression, he chuckled and slipped the little white box back into his coat pocket. "Gomen ne. I couldn't resist, don't worry. Calm down," he teased, seemingly unfazed by her initial reaction. "It's actually Sakura's. She couldn't find you at that moment, but I was right there, so she asked if I would hold onto it until she got back. She didn't want to lose it." He snickered a little, and Tomoyo felt herself blush as they pulled up to the airport; she had been too startled to even recognize her best friend's wedding ring.

"You really should have seen the look on your face," he commented as he killed the engine.

"Hmph…" she mock-pouted; she did, however, have the decency to smile when he scampered around and opened her car door for her, as well as accepting the proffered hand of assistance. But her occasionally-devilish little mind was already going a mile a minute.

It was high time that somebody put Hiiragizawa Eriol in his place. Royally.

They wandered into the terminal, towards the gate where their friends would soon be returning. To Tomoyo's credit (and at Sakura's timid request), she had managed to tear her video camera from her hand and leave the thing at home. She silently mourned the loss of such quality footage, but said nothing.

At the gate, they were asked to pass through a metal detector. Tomoyo stepped through without so much as a beep, then turned around and waited for her companion to make his passage so they could go meet Sakura and Syaoran.

Unfortunately, Eriol wasn't so lucky. The alarm bleeped, and the guard set a tray on the counter beside him. "Please empty your pockets, sir," he asked in a tone that suggested this was fairly routine. And, as Tomoyo watched, a singular opportunity presented itself.

Eriol shrugged, completely unaffected, and dug into his coat pockets. Keys, a few yen coins, a pen, and a few other small items, commonplace to pockets, dropped into the tray. The last thing he pulled out and set on the tray was the tiny white ring box.

Tomoyo's Evil-Sense tingled. Bingo.

"Eriol!" she squealed, jumping up and down and clapping her hands in delight; she then dove forward and threw her arms around his neck in a tight hug. He looked…well, terrified was the best word she could come up with. "Oh, honey! Yes! Yes, I'll marry you!"

The guard looked perplexed for a minute before noticing the ring box; a huge grin slid onto the man's face. "Congratulations, you two!" Around them, the random crowd of milling travelers broke into a loud round of applause. Tomoyo could hear comments around them, referring to how cute it was, how sweet, and 'she had no idea.'

Once Eriol realized that she had just gotten back at him, he adopted a strange look, somewhere between amusement, irritation, and absolutely mortification. And his face was a shade of red that should never have been seen in nature, under any circumstances; Tomoyo momentarily wondered if he would spontaneously combust or something.

When they finally got away from the metal detector and over to the gate, the passengers of the appropriate flight were just getting off and pouring into the terminal. Finally, the two people they specifically were waiting for wandered in; Sakura spotted them immediately. "Tomoyo!"

The newly-returned honeymooner dove through the crowd to give her best friend a huge hug. Syaoran's trek over was a little more controlled, but once he got there, he also accepted an embrace from Tomoyo and a handshake from Eriol, who still looked absolutely chagrined.

His expression wasn't lost on Sakura, who tilted her head to one side (she still retained so much of her childish naivety—it was adorable sometimes) and asked, "Eriol, is something wrong?"

Tomoyo answered before he could. "The trickster has finally been out-tricked. Let's just say that Eriol has gotten a little bit of come-uppance." The dark-haired young woman managed to look relatively innocent while Eriol glowered at her behind his glasses.

"Hoe?" Sakura chirped.

Syaoran glanced around, noticing people pointing at Eriol and Tomoyo; he heard a few snippets of whispers, words like 'proposed' and 'surprise' and 'ring.' After a minute, he managed to get enough pieces to put some sort of scenario together, and it clicked. He bit his lip in a desperate attempt to keep from laughing out loud, but said nothing as they went to gather their luggage and headed out to the car.

And while Sakura and Tomoyo chatted animatedly in the backseat, Syaoran sniggered in the passenger seat, and Eriol said very little the entire way home.

He dropped the lovebirds off first; ever the gentleman, he offered his assistance with luggage; they politely refused, saying that they could get it, no problem. Once they were safely inside, Eriol kicked the car into gear, and headed towards the expansive Daidouji estate.

Now that they were alone, Tomoyo cackled out loud. "You should have seen your face!"

"I can't believe you did that!" he complained, looking every inch a pouting child. "That was so embarrassing! In front of all those people! Honestly…"

"Awww, he can dish it out, but he can't take it. Poor baby," Tomoyo said, showing no hint of repenting. "Besides, everybody there seemed to think we look quite nice together. So there."

"Indeed…" he murmured, the word trailing off. It was amazing how he could sometimes make one single, insignificant word speak volumes and volumes in some untranslatable language.

Sensing something brewing beneath the surface, Tomoyo let the conversation sink into a fairly reasonable silence. As they pulled up to her home, he again played the gentleman and sprinted around to open her car door and offer her a hand out. He then insisted on escorting her up to her front door.

"Okay…" he grumbled. "I admit it. You got me. We're square now, right?"

She laughed. "Right!"

She was taken by surprise again when he caught one of her hands and stooped a little to kiss the back of it. The fingers holding hers pressed something against her palm and wrapped her fingers around it before releasing her hand. He grinned at her. "Goodnight!"

"Goodnight…" she said softly. Was she blushing brightly enough to light up the now-dark sky? Probably. Did she look and sound like as big of an idiot as she thought she did? Oh, hell yeah.

She managed to stir herself back to alertness when she heard the engine roar to life again, and she watched as the headlights disappeared into the night. Smiling to herself (though she didn't quite know why), she stepped inside and closed the front door.

Only then did she even think to look at the small piece of paper he had left in her hand. To her surprise, something small and silver fell into her palm when she unfolded the paper: a ring. Nothing special or expensive, just the kind of thing one would get out of a quarter-vending machine at a gas station.

Now thoroughly bewildered, she looked at the little yellow note in her hand.

Some day, it will be real. –Eriol.

Tomoyo felt an enormous, idiotic grin break onto her face.

Practical jokes were fun, she decided. But sometimes, maybe the aftermath was even better.




AN: Purpose? Non-existent. Fun to write? You betcha! Hope you enjoyed my very short, very pointless little plot-bunny. Thanks for reading—ja ne, everybody!