Notes: Another CCS fic. And it's Syaoran/Sakura. Please be kind and review.
Summary: Sakura was his unwanted bride. He was cynical and unforgiving. Could a misfortunate event bring them closer… or tear them apart? S&S AU
Disclaimer: All rights reserved to Clamp.
When I was around the age of five Okaasan passed away. She slipped through my fingers, and I was too young and ignorant to understand what was happening or where she was going. I grew insane with grief at the thought of not having her around, and I wanted to follow her path. I wanted to be with her, but Otousan wouldn't have it. He told me that he would not lose me like he lost Okaasan. And from what I remembered, he promised me that he would love me and protect me forever.
I was his little girl, always would be too.
It was just me, Touya, and Otousan. We lived in a poor cottage in a broken down neighborhood, and as ironic as it sounds, I was pretty much content with my life. I had two of the most important people with me, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I didn't care how badly I reeked, how badly my stomach grumbled painfully from hunger; it was always my family that pulled me through each hardships. I cherished every moment I had with them, since I made the first mistake of taking Okaasan for granted.
Otousan was hardly home, and I missed him terribly. He worked many shifts as a fruit vendor, and brought in little money. Even Touya, who was a delivery boy, couldn't make ends meet. One time, Otousan sacrificed his bowl of rice so that I could be fed. He told me that I was still young and needed the nutrition to fight off disease. I felt awful that he went a night hungry. I felt horrible that I couldn't support my family, as they were supporting me.
On that very day when I turned fourteen, Otousan brought up a subject about marriage, a topic I thought he would never speak of, but somehow, I knew it was coming sooner or later.
"Sakura," he had said. "I think you are old enough to be married."
I giggled when he said that. "'Tousan… I'm only fourteen."
His face was indifferent, a bit hard as I recalled. "That's a perfect age for marrying!" he exclaimed, and for a moment, I felt betrayed.
He ended our conversation as abruptly as it started. Strayed in my confusion, I watched as he left the house to start his daily shift. I couldn't tell if he was joking or being serious. Why'd he want me to marry at fourteen? That thought bothered me the most. Girls were usually wed around fifteen or sixteen. I considered myself still young, still a child. The thought of taking duty as a wife and mother made me cringed the more.
For the rest of the week, my mind plagued with Otousan's words. Every time I happened upon him, I would remember that small chat. I wasn't sure if he really meant it all, if he was seriously going to find me a suitor, or just forget about it. I simply let my guard drop. I was foolish then, to not believe Otousan, when it was quite obvious how financially unstable we were. Of course Otousan could not support me anymore.
I was brewing tea the night Otousan came home late. I could hear the front door swing open, and the sounds of Otousan's heavy steps as he entered our crummy house. The familiar rustling of cotton against wool entered my ears. He was removing his coat. His footsteps continued into the den, and the last thing I heard was him falling onto the couch and opening up a newspaper.
I sighed out a breath of air I didn't know was in me.
My breath hitched. Usually Otousan came home tired, and never spoke to me unless it was important.
"Sakura…" he repeated, still with that soft fatherly tone of his, which sounded so deceitful to my ears.
I cleared my throat. "H-Hai!" I responded.
"Come here, and bring the tea while you're at it."
I grabbed the tray and placed all the required necessity for tea drinking on it. I scurried into the den and placed the tray on the small table. Otousan was still reading the paper, with his feet propped on the footrest. I gazed at him hesitantly, a knot growing in my stomach.
"Sakura… are you ready to be married?" he asked.
I stifled a gasp, and blinked two times to make sure if all of this was real. Apparently, it was. He couldn't be bringing up the same topic he had a week ago. I dropped my gaze and clenched my fists. I didn't understand where all of this was leading to. I didn't want to. I wanted to cry right there.
"'Tousan… I am…" I bit my lip. "I am your little girl."
Otousan smiled gradually. "And you will always be my little girl."
He opened his arms and I came into them. If not, this could be the last time I could ever share this hug with him. My eyes burned like sandpaper, and I sniffed back my tears.
"I've found a suitor for you, Sakura," Otousan continued.
I was silent, only tightening my grip on him. My bawling soon ended in hiccups, and I could only manage a few words. "What does he look like, 'Tousan?" I whispered through weak sobs. I was about to bestow myself to a complete stranger, the least Otousan could do was tell me that he picked out a decent looking one.
"Well, I don't know. I only met his mother, and based on her appearance, I can assure you he's not hideous. As a matter of fact, he should be good looking," Otousan rambled on. "His name is Li Xiaolang, and he comes from a rich family. Once you get through with the wedding, you will live in his house. You will have good clothes, good food, and much more."
I jerked away abruptly. "I won't!"
Otousan's eyes lowered. "Sakura, you are dishonoring me," he said as quietly as possible.
"'T-Tousan…" I squeaked desperately.
He stood up. "In a couple of days, you will pack your bags. We will drive to the Li manor. There, you will have your ceremony. And… I hope you're ready by then."
I covered my face, and sniffled back more sobs. "Otousan…" But I heard no more of his voice. I brushed the tears from my scrunched up, puffy red face and looked up. I heard the door slam. He had left the house as usual. He didn't even have some tea. I pressed my face into my knees and cried. My family…
This is it…
I placed on the final ornament to my outfit. I turned to the mirror, and immediately had tears rimming my eyes. From top to bottom, I was dressed in rosy white. This gown symbolized my womanhood, yet, my body didn't fit this dress. I was inadequate in this dress. But I had to look my best; it was my day. My very unfortunate day.
"Oh my daughter, you look gorgeous! How much older you look too," said Otousan, coming into the room. "You fill Okaasan's dress so well. If she was here, she would be proud."
My mouth slanted to the side. "You sure?"
I pursed my lips and examined myself once more in the mirror. The dress looked like it was about to slide off my skinny, gross body. I would have gotten a better dress from the Li's, but Otousan insisted that we used Okaasan's dress. He told me it was a very special dress to Okaasan, and I respected that. Therefore, I wore it. My face was heavily made up that I could barely recognize myself. I had on gold earrings that felt so heavy, like it'd stretch my ears to the ground, if possible.
At last, I was ready to leave my room.
"Come on, you wouldn't want to be late, would you?" Otousan sniped goodheartedly.
I shook my head.
"Neh, shall we get moving then?"
We went down a straight row of stairs, and then sauntered our way through a spacious corridor. All the while, my eyes were kept to the ground. I was too ashamed with my undeveloped body in Okaasan's dress to look proud and honored. The veil did little help to cover me up. I was too ashamed to what people were going to think or say about me. I could hear the faint music playing as we got closer to where Otousan was leading me. My heart was racing, and my stomach harbored butterflies.
An assuring hand rubbed my shoulder. "It'll be fine," came Otousan's soothing voice.
And at that moment, I felt like crying all over again. I failed to hold back my emotions. I heard a group of people gasp upon my arrival. They saw me. I must have looked disorganized. The wedding music played, and Otousan walked me down the aisle. All I saw were the many cherry blossom petals littering the ground. I couldn't raise my head; I was too embarrassed to look at everybody, including the groom. Considering how rich he was, he must've looked way better than my undeserving self.
My eyes were kept fixed to my suitor's tuxedoed chest as I faced him. Through the corner of my eyes, I saw Otousan stand aside. The priest began his speaking, apparently in a language I could not understand. It felt like several hours had gone by. My legs were giving in with numbness. It was then when cool, callous hands clasped mine, bringing me back to alertness.
The suitor slipped the ring on my finger, and I did the same with his. My hands were sweaty. I felt disgusted with my inability to hold myself together. I was beginning to have second thoughts as I stood there.
Why am I going through with this?
I don't even want to… But…
My thoughts quickly shattered by that boyish tone belonging to my suitor. Then the voice of the priest alerted my attention, and I looked up.
"Do you, Kinomoto Sakura, take, Li Syaoran, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do you part?"
I looked away from the priest, and my eyes slowly fixed themselves upon two foreboding ocher orbs. That's all I could make out because my eyes were layered with threatening tears. I also noticed the fact that his eyes were distant, as if he was out of it. I could sense his mind was elsewhere. I wish I was elsewhere too.
"Kinomoto?" the priest repeated.
My mind boggled for a couple of seconds and I finally answered, "I do…"
The priest smiled. "I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
My breath caught my throat as my newly husband's hands came toward my face. I wanted to slap those hands away, but I didn't have the courage to, considering all these people watching. My heart was pounding, heavily and painfully. He lifted the veil off my face, still with that unreadable expression masking his true impression of me, as he lowered his head to mine.
Everything played out so slowly, like a suspenseful movie. It seemed scary at first, and only got worse toward the end. My forehead formed light creases, and I caught the sight of my father's tearful expression. And then…
Moist lips pressed to my shamefully dry ones.
A warm feeling instantly lit inside me, and I boiled with fever.
I couldn't believe it…
It was my first kiss.
Notes: So how was it? I hope it's interesting. And FYI, only the prologue is going to be Sakura's POV. Review oh pretty please!