QUESTION FOR NEXT STORY: Guys, who here wants to read a story about how Li gets turned into a….GIRL??
I'm serious. I'm seriously thinking about writing a story like that. In fact, I have prologue ready, and the only thing left is for me to find out whether you people want to read something like that, so give feedback, aight?
Anyway, now that that's gone and done…
On with the final chapter!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - o o o - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - -
8 weeks later
The stage was set. Large spotlights gave the stage a very intimidating and beautiful ambience. People were starting to file in, from the ugly little virginal old maid who makes a living by gossiping to the bratty fat brat across the street who lives for the moment he steals candy to the more decent people in the world today. Both the plebeians and the patricians have been waiting for this show the whole year. Ah, yes, it's gala night for the university's play. It was 15 minutes to showtime, and the night was perfect.
There was only one problem.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - o o o - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - -
"14 minutes until showtime, my little monkeys! Is everything set?"
"Chiharu! Where's the damn cow?! WHY IS IT NOT HERE??"
"OH MY GOD! My dress! It doesn't fit! I got fat! TOMOYO!"
"Get your ass in here, Yamazaki, and put on this beard!"
"THE COW? It's not a cow, woman! It's a stallion! A STALLION!"
"Meilin, trust me, you did not gain weig--!"
"WHERE IS SAKURA KINOMOTO, DAMMIT?!"
It was like a dozen hurricanes zoomed through the backstage. Clothes were everywhere and props seemed to have replaced the floor. People, both performers and backstage people, were running around like headless chickens, either shouting or swearing (Take your pick. Either one is correct.)
Except for one actress. She was just clinging to the door of her dressing room closet for dear life.
For a woman who just recently recovered from a life-threatening situation, she's freakishly strong, Eriol mused as he leaned against the doorway and watched the funny scene.
"I—AM—NOT—GOING—OUT—OF—THIS—ROOM!" Sakura screeched, her muscles pulled taut as her arms strained to hold on to the closet. Tomoyo and Eggy were trying—and failing—to pry her away. They would have had more success in persuading Hugh Hefner to become a priest.
"Come on, Sakura," Tomoyo coaxed and needled, "You're absolutely beautiful in that costume! Look, it fits you perfectly and—!"
Sakura growled, her eyes narrowing, "which is exactly the point! It's like second skin! No, it worse… like polluted air. Yeah! It's like a sheet of freaking lethal carbon dioxide. Useless! I FEEL EXPOSED! VIOLATED!"
"Aw, come on, Sakura! It's just this once," Eriol added playfully from the doorway. It was very unfair for him to say that, in all honesty. He played a knight, so he was about as bare as the Pope.
"Once in a lifetime could mean a chance for viruses to invade my body, you idiot! With this scrap of cloth you call a robe, I won't be surprised if I died within five minutes of going onstage! It's unreasonable, ugly, impractical, ugly, outrageous, ug—ARGH!"
Eggy, official fashion extraordinaire of the play, yelled indignantly, "DO NOT INSULT MY WONDERFUL CREATIONS, STUDENT!" With one might pull, he and Tomoyo managed to pry Sakura off the closet and then started dragging her towards the door.
"NO! NO! I REFUSE! Eriol," Sakura snarled, kicking and flailing wildly, "use that freaky smile of yours to blind these two loonies! I thought you were a KNIGHT?"
Eriol was intelligent, however, and refused to be killed going between two scarily maniacal fashion/drama addicts and their goals.
That didn't mean he wanted his friend to die via corset torture, though.
So he said, grinning, "No, can do, ma petite. It's all for the love of the show."
Sakura's eyes narrowed. "You are so going to pay, bluebird…! OI, STOP DRAGGING ME!" She then saw someone behind Eriol and yelled, "YOU!"
Eriol turned around and promptly grinned. "Ah, dear descendant! Look at how beautiful your princess is right now!"
Li Xiao-Lang, decked out magnificently in a very regal outfit of a prince, stood behind him, one eyebrow raised and mouth quirked up in amusement. "Don't tell me…"
Sakura was ranting as she passed by, only faltering slightly when Li cheerfully kissed her on the cheek. "YOU! WHY ARE YOU DRESSED LIKE THAT? EGGY! WHY DO I HAVE TO HAVE THIS GODFORSAKEN STRIPPER DRESS WHILE HE TROTS AROUND ALL COVERED UP? EGGY!"
"It's because of your respective roles, woman! Unlike you, women then were actually WOMEN! Not she-Achilles Amazons! Rika, get me the ropes now!"
Li waved happily at his guest's retreating form. "See you onstage, Kinomoto!"
Eriol sighed, amused. "Ah, Xiao-Lang…"
The other man grinned. "What? I can't help it! She's so fun to tease…"
It's been eight weeks since the day Li invited Sakura to Hawaii, six weeks since Sakura's moving-in with her new family a few blocks away from the Li Mansion, five weeks after the announcement from Fatty that there was no way in hell he'll get a substitute for the lead roles on his play and so pushed back the opening night until such a time that both Li and Sakura recovered and four weeks from the moment the two unconventional teenagers finally admitted to each other that maybe they were perfect for the other and, hey, why don't they make it official?
Because, honestly, their love thingy's been going on since forever that all they really had left was to make it official.
Plus, as Tomoyo and Fatty pointed out, the sexual tension was awful.
They were both chased around the neighborhood for that comment by a fuming overprotective stepbrother.
"I thought you were supposed to be my shining prince, parrot!? Help me out of this embarrassment!"
Which was really really REALLY weird at first, because Li was paranoid over Sakura's mental, emotional and physical health (is she ready? What if she's still recovering? What if she thinks I don't feel as much as I say? What if she thinks I'm going to leave her? Is she all right? What about the bruises? The cuts?) and Sakura was rather insecure and jumpy and nervous (what if I'm a burden? am I going to hold him back? What's going to happen once we're old and wrinkly? DUDE!)… huhn…
…until both of them were shoved in a room by their friends and teachers (cougheggyfattycough) to talk things out. They literally smacked the other upside the head when, after roughly 5 hours, 45 minutes and 18 seconds of fights/silence/banter, they finally knew what the hell is the matter with the other the minute they agreed to make it official.
"Ah, but you look so beautiful, Sakura!" Li said charmingly. "Why would I do that??"
So now it's all good.
In fact, their relationship is pretty much the same. They still fight, bicker, banter, piss the hell of each other and generally live to see one another blow steam. The changes were in the closer relationship, the deeper bonds, Li's terrorizing of any boys interested in his lovely guest, Sakura's torture-fest of Li's fangirls, the phone calls from dusk to dawn, the physical intimacy…
… and Touya Kinomoto's apparent dislike for Li Xiao-Lang.
"STOP BUTTERING ME UP, LI, OR—really?"
Everybody can see, though, that they were like macaroni and cheese. They were totally inseparable and impossible to beat. It was a rare happy ending in a very cynical world, frankly.
"Xiao-Lang, you're laughing at me."
"YOU ARE SO DEAD!"
Eriol smiled and checked his watch.
In the meantime, though…
"OKAY, PEOPLE! TWO MINUTES UNTIL SHOWTIME!"
- - - - -
Priest Krapp: "Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the joyful union of two destined hearts—"
Agent SizzlingHawt008: "ARGH! GET ON WITH IT, YAMAZAKI! WHERE'S THE ROMANCE? THE LOVE? THE KISS? THIS SUCKS! BOOOO--mph!"
Agent CoolDude006: "Michael, keep quiet! You're ruining your own show!"
Agent SizzlingHawt008: "Oh, I beg to differ. This play will earn, MILLIONS. Mark my words, my pet."
Princess Ayien: "… I give to you my unending love and devotion. I promise to be true to you, to cherish you, and to share my thoughts, hopes and dreams with you. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you, my best friend. I will love you forever and ever... until the day I die..."
Agent Supahstah009: "Oh dear... I think I'm going to cry... sniff!"
Agent Fashion4eva005: OMG OMG OMG IT'S KISSING TIME!! 3 MORE LINES TO GO!
Prince Ciaran: "…these witnesses I vow to love you and care for you as long as we both shall live. I take you, with all your faults and strengths, as I offer myself to you with all my faults and strengths. I will help you when you need help, and turn to you when I need help. I choose—"
Agent CoolDude006: (whispers) "HA! See, I told you all that pent-up sexual and emo-frustrations are going to pay off…"
(Prince Ciaran accidentally throws super heavy and shiny large ring and 'lethal' sword at Agent CoolDude006… and missed.)
Audience Member No. 1: "OI, THAT HURT, DAMMIT!"
(Princess Ayien accidentally throws her bouquet at loudmouthed audience member no. 1)
Audience Member No. 1: (smacked in the face and faints from extremely deadly odor of extreme womanly flowers)
Priest Krappy: "… You may now kiss the bride."
Agent SizzlingHawt008 : "YOSH! SNOG HIM LIKE HELL, SAKURA! WITH TONGUE! WOOHOO!"
Agent Supahstah009: "BAH, YOU CALL THAT A KISS?? HAVE I TAUGHT YOU NOTHING, WOMAN?"
Audience Member No. 2: "GASP! OI, CHINESE BRAT! STOP KISSING MY SISTER! I'LL KILL YOU!"
(Couple breaks from kiss and glares)
Princess Ayien: "ROMANTIC MOMENT HERE, IDIOTS!"
Prince Ciaran: "SHUT THE HELL UP, HUMPYS!"
Agent SizzlingHawt008: "YOU SHUT UP! GO BACK AND SNOG HER SENSELESS!"
Agent Supahstah009: SAKURA, LESSON NO. 3475: KISSING MUST BE—!
Agent CoolDude006:"OI, YOU TWIN TURDS! THE PRINCIPAL'S HAVING A HERNIA!"
(Royal and newly wedded couple attempts to look presentable again)
Priest Krappy:"… may the prince now unsheath his almight sword as a symbol of courage and strength as the people of the lands rejoice in this wonderful ceremony!"
(Said prince moves to do so… and grasps air. Agent Supahstah009 and Agent SizzlingHawt008 sniggered. Agent Fashion4eva005 gasps. Agent CoolDude006 groaned in misery.)
Agent CoolDude006: "… where's the sword? Tomoyo!"
Agent SizzlingHawt008:"OH! FOUND IT! FOUND IT! It's under this guy…"(bounds over to unconscious audience member number 1)
Agent Fashion4eva005:(nudges said fool with high-heeled foot)"Eriol, I … I think they killed him… OMG IT'S A SWORD FROM PRINCE WILLIAM!"
Agent Supahstah009: "OHHH… really?"
Prince Ciaran: "GIVE ME BACK THE DAMN SWORD, EGGY!"
Princess Ayien: "LI, QUIT IT! THE SHOW—!"
(Prince Ciaran growled, took out 4 equally lethal daggers and hurled it at four agents-in-disguise)
(cast members bask in standing ovation)
Agent CoolDude006: "That was the most banged-up medieval love story I've EVER seen."
CIARAN: "… that was not our fault, you nicompoops!"
AYIEN: "EGGY! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU SLOWLY AND PAINFULLY—!"
Agent SizzlingHawt008: "Relax, minion. That was the best possible play I've ever created! Good job!"
AYIEN: "—CASTRATE YOU AND YOUR BROTHER AND—really?"
Agent Fashion4eva005: Oooh, I'm so going to upload this on YouTube!"
AYIEN: "… Got it. Garden behind auditorium?"
CIARAN: "… Definitely."
- - - - - - - - - -
It was like something out of fairytale ending. The full moon provided a soft romantic glow. The tall trees, beautiful flowers and sweeping garden with a mini-bridge over a flowing "stream" looked very dreamy and picturesque.
At the center of the bridge, right over the water, stood a prince and a princess.
In the most lenient and hypothetical of terms, really.
Li Xiao-Lang stood behind his princess and wrapper his arms around her waist, his head nestling comfortably on her shoulder. A contented smile curved his lips as he closed his eyes. Sakura Kinomoto sighed and let the side of her face touch Li's handsome visage. She looked into the deep dark waters and let a smile touch her face, letting her prince's warmth seep thru her white gown and shield her from the cold of the night.
Their bodies fit perfectly.
She liked it… very much.
"What are you thinking about?" Sakura asked him curiously, an eyebrow rising up for emphasis.
He shrugged. "Hn. You know, stuff…"
Sakura frowned and twisted in his grasped. She gave him a pointed stare. "You have that Oh-I'm-enjoying-a-really-stupid-inner-joke tone," she stated. "I'm waiting."
He grinned. "Well, for one thing. Haven't you ever wondered how we ever worked? I mean, I pissed the hell out of you. You were ready to kill me… heh. It's funny, isn't it?"
Smirking, she raised her hand and tapped his nose in an almost-affectionate manner. "Ah, yes, the paradox of life. Even after all these months, I still have trouble believing that I actually like being with you."
"Oh, so are you saying I'm so unlikable? I'm hurt, woman. Honestly, is that any way to treat the man of your dreams?" He feigned a hurt look, but his eyes were dancing with amusement.
Her smirk turned into a half-smile. "Ah, have I hurt the parrot? So sorry for that. Harvard wouldn't like its resident bird mascot to turn up ego-bruised, would it?"
"Hark, who's talking! We're both going to that school, chipmunk, so any potentially hazardous crime you commit now would go all the way to the East Coast! I can sic the dean on you!"
"Dean? You're threatening to tattle on me to an authority figure? Are you serious?"
"… Please don't tell me you're extremely unhealthy and excessive disrespect for authority will carry on to college."
"Yeesh. No wonder the Council of Old Farts hates you…and me…and Meiling…hn. Come to think of it, they don't like anybody…"
"Yeah, well, I don't like them either. I'm so going to gi—"
"Can we NOT bring up the old fogies? I'm feeling very cavalier and knight-ish right now and I don't want to ruin the mood."
Sakura tilted her head in an incredulous manner. "You do know that they have the power to… I don't know… send assassins after you or me, right? I mean, they don't exactly approve of this relationship of ours…"
Xiao-lang scoffed, his hands tightening around her waist, pulling her closer. "I can kick their rears any day if they try. As for you, chimp, do you really think I'd let them do that? Would you let them do that to you?" He looked at her questioningly.
"… Good point," she conceded, then snickered. "We're a power-and-kick-ass pair!"
"True," Li agreed, then brightened. "Oh, yeah! So there's this party that's going to happen this weekend at Tomoyo's place. You know, for the success of this play and all—it was a success, no matter how stupid the acting was, really—and… you wanna go? Sooner or later, Eggy's going to ask you to come—he already asked me—and I think you'd want to hear it from me than from him."
She shot him a dry look. "Do I have a choice?"
Li grinned at her. "Well, no. Cheer up, Sakura. You'll be with me! But then…"
His grin was replaced with a mischievous smirk. "It's really formal. We're going to be introduced by a 'servant' and everything, being one of the cast and all. I'm already Li Xiao-Lang, The Prince of Awesomeness Who is Now Taken… do you want to be called Sakura Kinomoto, The Princess of Chimps? Or maybe the Princess of Allegedly Asexual People… or Princess of Really Masculine Amazons…"
Sakura laughed in disbelief.
He leaned forward and whispered dramatically, "so what do you want?"
She looked up, leaning up on tiptoes, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his lips shyly and playfully. Sakura said softly, "Sakura's just fine. Your Sakura."
He blinked…and then smiled. In response, he just pulled her closer, letting her head dropped down to rest on his shoulder.
It was a perfect starry night.
Everything's going to be all right.
- - - - - - - - - -
Really Confusing Things That Need To Be Cleared Up!
So, people have been asking me about the gist of Sakura's family history...
Simply put, Nadeshiko's first marriage was to a slimebag named Tomas. They had two children who were complete polar opposites. One was Sakura, who was practically born from her mother alone (since she was very nice and pretty). The other was a cross between Tomas, an orangutan and Michael Jackson with really horny and evil tendencies.
The two men were bad to the core, and they hurt Sakura. One was a crap father, the other was a delinquent brother who... you know. As a result, there came a tipping point where all hell exploded, Sakura became an ice cube, Nadeshiko demanded for a divorce and the slimeballs got away scot-free. Mother and child lived in a very sad and volatile existence... until Fujitaka came in. After a destined courtship, they finally married as dictated by fate. Fujitaka had a son, Touya (Sakura's step-brother), from a first marriage. Touya is the perfect charismatic stepbrother who, being one who rarely shows affection through hugs, tries to help his emotionally-challenged stepsister, Sakura, out of her shell by being a loving and overprotective manly mother hen (because he does care for her).
Still, while Nadeshiko was finally able to start recuperating from her horrible first marriage by finding her soulmate, her daughter was still stuck in a rut, and no stepbrother, studies, activities, mother or stepfather can bring her to recovery.
Enter Yelan, Li Xiao-Lang and friends.
The rest, as they say is history. : )
a/n: OMG, I'M FINISHED! HUZZAH! (dances around) I'm probably going to go and edit this a second time around cause I have no time right now. Please ignore whatever grammar/spelling mistakes you see! I'm going to repost this around FRIDAY.
I'm just really nervous about all the death threats because of my slow SLOW update… hehe… whoops.
Do you like it? Love it? REVIEW PLEASE! :D
So this is the final chapter. I want to thank everyone who supported me throughout the story! I'm glad you didn't stop reading after my extremely long hiatus! THANK YOU (HUGGGSSS!)