Black Wings
By: Aisaki Sumi

a/n: blame Christina Aguilera's song, Hurt, for the tear jerkiness in this chapter. Oh, and forget about the sequel, I'm too lazy to continue on this story. Ahem, so let's just leave that story plot for another day XD.

And one last comment on the subtleness of the romance in this story. A romance story doesn't really have to have a lot of kissing scenes, or a lot of "I love you" scenes. Sometimes, a simple gesture is good enough to show one's love for another.

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Chapter 22 (part 2)

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Everything happened to quickly, almost like a blur.

Staring blankly at the floor and the tips of her dirtied shoes as if she was trying to burn a hole through the thick marble floor, Sakura stared and stared, unblinkingly, while recollecting and comtemplating.

Quiet and pleasant moments of which they spent together flashed in her mind continously, repetitively, every single smile of his, every single uninteresting joke of his – all remained so crystal clear in her head.

She remembered them. Perhaps a bit all too well. She didn't realize how much she kept notice of these trivial things that he did for her. But what exactly was he to her? She didn't know; she didn't want to know. But she knew, avoiding that question wasn't going to get her anywhere.

A friend? Not really, he was more like someone who annoyed her neverendingly.

A classmate? Not quite exactly, since she never paid any attention to her classmates. Heck, she didn't even remember the name of the girl who sat beside her through most of her classes. Yet she managed to remember him, everything he said, everything he did, all so clearly. Why, why, why?

He's hurt because of you.

Those hurtful words of a deep hatred resonated in her ears, ringing cruelly, tauntingly. She wanted to block it out, but she knew she couldn't, because it was true. Every single word of it was true. And she wouldn't deny it.

Sakura cringed a little.

Her right cheek was still burning, hurting, reminding her of all the things she made him go through. That slap across her face awoke her from her fantasies of somehow everything would be alright again. She remembered looking up and aligning her vision with Meiling's tearful eyes blazing with a deep passionate resentiment.

And behind Meiling, she recalled the saddened look in Eriol's eyes, the fuming and reddened face of Hiro's and the rest of the Black Wings members, the promise of protection in Tomoyo's worried amethyst orbs.

She realized why they were so angry with her when she saw his face, as white as the snow and as colorless as water. That description was never meant to be used to describe him, the star of the night, the legendary figure that everyone idolized at Tomoeda Heights.

He as supposed to be bright, like the distant Northern Star. But not like this.

Her heart stopped pounding, just for that one brief moment.

She felt her own blood running cold. She had never been so scared in her life, not even when her mother died and when her brother fell lifelessly onto the ground. But she was scared of him leaving her, of sitting in the large echoing art room all by herself, of eating lunch under that beautiful cherry blossom tree in solitude.

She was scared of walking down the road of life without him by her side.

The thought even shocked her and at this moment, she realized how much he meant to her. He wasn't just a friend, or a classmate, or someone she could depend on, but he was her dark angel—the one who brought sunlight, hopes, and salvation to her hopeless world of blue and gray.

He was her angel with black wings—the one who she subconciously gave her heart to.

But it was too late now.

Sakura stood there, still, like a statue, while the others followed the nurse's trail and headed for the room where Syaoran would be staying for god knew how long. Tomoyo patted her gently on the shoulder and walked away understandingly because she knew Sakura needed sometimes alone to deal with the mess.

Sakura watched their figures becoming smaller and smaller and unclear as they sauntered down the hallway—until they became smudges of colors that clashed together. Sakura blinked, and felt something warm rolling down her cheeks.

It slid pass the corner of her lips and seeped through the little gap between her upper lip and lower lip, leaving a bitter and salty taste behind. Sakura knew that taste, flavored bitter at understanding. Usually, she would force those tears to stay in her eyelids.

But not this time.

Not at this moment.

She allowed the crystal clear droplets, sparkling like newly cut diamonds, to fall freely from the corner of her eyes.

He said it was okay to cry. He said tear wasn't a sign of weakness, but a sign that shows you have a heart. He said it was okay; it was okay.

……

Sakura headed straight for home. She kicked off her shoes, threw her winter coat onto the couch carelessly and dashed for her room. Louds thwacks were created as she ran the upstairs to her room. Breathing heavily and unevenly as she halted into a stop when she arrived in front of the canvas; the painting was almost done.

Panting breathlessly, she reached out a hand -- a delicate finger – to trace the contour of the dark angel's face. A hint of nostalgia glinting in the depth of green as she remembered the day when he took her out to the beach and how he held onto her hand tightly and let never go of it, not even she was slowing him down.

She remembered the footprints trail left behind on the sand in their awake. She missed his warmth, his gentleness, his uninteresting jokes, his bright smiles, his deep rumbling voice.

Sitting down on the chair beside her and picking up her paintbrush, she dipped its tip into the dried paint on her color-mixing board. Slowly, the dried paint melted and seeped into the paintbrush's head.

She lifted it up and brought it close to the canvas and gently pressed it against the canvas' rough surface. She painted and painted, adding life to his face, his eyes, and capturing every single etheral features of his onto her canvas.

The corner of her lips lifted upward slightly as her focused emerald green eyes on trained onto the canvas before her. The image of his smile remained fresh and clear in her mind and it had ever been this manifest before. Drawing down the details, the proper shadding, she painted and painted—

-- until it was completed.

……

It was silent and white everywhere. Sakura tiptoed across the room as quietly as possible. She sat down on the edge of his bed and scrutinized him, as if trying to memorize every detail of his handsome features forever.

Her fingers were numbed from the coldness from the outside and were red from the harsh wintry wind that struck her delicate skin like a thousand needles. She reached out shakily to brush aside the bangs that were falling into his eyes.

Her expression softened. He looked so peaceful like that. Thick eyelashes as dark as charcoals left featherlight touches on his pale skin, what a brilliant contrast, she noted. Her hand froze in mid-air, the tip of her finger still touching his soft and ruffled chestnut hair.

She couldn't pull away. And before she knew what she was doing, the tip of her forefinger trailed down his face, from the corner of his closed eyes to the shadows underneath them, outlined the structure of his nose and the shape of his dried, cracked lips.

He was still the same person as she remembered, yet at the same time; he was different. He was lying still and lifeless, like a statue. The Syaoran in her memories was never like that. It ached her heart to know that she was the reason behind his sufferings.

She brought it upon him. The thought ripped her heart apart.

There was a eerie silence before her quiet appology, "Gomen ne…" She rested her hand on his unmoving one, feeling the callus on his large palm and the tips of his fingers. His hands were slightly warm, just slightly.

"You said everyone needed a companion on the road of life." Her voice was shaky and on the verge of breaking. She paused suddenly, and seemed to ponder here.

"But perhaps, some people were just meant to be alone."

Perhaps some people were never meant to be born because their existence would only bring pain to the ones who loved them.

She wanted to add it but felt her tongue tangled up and a lump in her throat that prevented her from making any sounds. And then, she smiled. Her smile was forced, her smile was sad, her smile was concerned yet flawless, her smile was hurt.

Sakura reached out for her bag on the floor with her other free hand and pulled out the finished painting that she was supposed to enter the competition with, entitled "Black Wings". The name wasn't anything eloquent, or luxuriant, nor was it chivalrous. It was just laconic and recondite.

It was like him, simple yet complex, typical yet unpredictable, wild yet elegant. Everything about him was contradictive. Sometimes, she really wanted to smack him for the way he was, yet other times, she had to fight off the urge to lean on him for support.

He was red and she was blue, the special bond they shared between them was yellow, and together, they make all the colors in the world.

Their future together seemed so brilliant and beautiful. Yet, she wasn't sure it she really could be a part of it.

Placing the painting carefully on his nightstand, Sakura directed her gaze at him, studying him for one last time before she walks out of his life forever and ever.

The future painted by your words is beautiful, but I'm not sure if I am meant to be in it.

She broke off her lingering gaze and looked away and got up before she lost control over her emotions. Just when she was about to make a run, she felt something holding onto her small wrist, something strong and warm and familiar.

She turned her head, looked over her shoulder and was stunned by what she saw. Syaoran struggled to sit up right while his other arm still had thick bandages wrapped around it, but his hand firmly clutched onto hers as if she would disappear into thin air if he let go.

Chivalrous amber eyes bored into watery emeralds, his lips moved, opening and closing slowly as if chanting a spell that unlocked all the emotions in her. "You're not one of those people who were meant to be left alone, because you've got me and I've got you."

The last thing she could recollect from that day was running into his arms and letting out everything she bottled inside of her for all those years.

He said it was okay to cry; he said he was there.

……

A bouquet of white roses rested peacefully on the pile of freshly fallen snow. It had been weeks since Syaoran's recovery and it was just a day away from Christmas, a holiday that Sakura had almost forgotten about.

But she was going to celebrate it this time, with the people who loved her and care about her, but most importantly of all, she was going to spend it with him.

Two hands locked together in a tight grasp and the stretchy lines drawn by their long shadows cast upon the overwhelming whiteness, one of them was tall and strong and the other was short and fragile. But together they were a perfect match.

"Okaa-chan," Sakura spoke softly, her eyes setting upon the grave stone in front of her. She had never visited her mother's grave before, because she simply couldn't bring herself up to do so.

When Nadeshiko died, Sakura was sent away to the asylum while cinerary casket was sent back to Tomoeda, where her father, for proper burial.

This was her first time visiting her mother, and perhaps the last time. Her painting of Syaoran won first place in the National Art Competition held by University of Tokyo and she was granted a full scholarship to study in its General Arts faculty in the upcoming year.

Syaoran still needed to write his entrance exam in the beginning of February, but she knew he would do just fine, and together, they would move to Tokyo and start a new life there. But this time, it would be different, and she was quite certain of that.

"I'll be fine, Okaasan, and thanks for watching over me." And thanks for bringing me the dark angel.

Sakura looked up at the smiling Syaoran by her side, and her eyes twinkled in joy as she saw the black wings spreading out on his back. Under the ethereal shower of white lights, she recollected all those events that happened so unpredictably that brought them together.

Maybe it was fate. Maybe it was just a coincident.

But it wasn't important now.

I'm glad I found you, Syaoran.

……

Standing still on the little hill that was a hundred meters away from Tomoeda Cemetery, Meiling brushed aside the long charcoal colored hair that was getting in her way. Her lips curved slightly, producing a sad yet flawless smile.

As long as Syaoran was happy, she was happy.

Hugging herself a little, Meiling shuddered slightly at the chilly wintry wind that was cutting through the thin material of her school uniform mercilessly. Tears were filling in her eyes but she fought them back bravely because she promised herself she would never cry again.

Just when her body was about to turn numb, she felt something warm wrapped around her as if she was a delicate baby. Like a shelter in the storm, it offered her warmth and protection. Looking over her shoulder to see whose jacket it was, she saw Hiro scratching his head and grinning at her sheepishly.

The wind was tossing his ink colored hair into the air carelessly. And for a moment, under the overlapping golden lights, she saw a pair of large black wings on his back that acted like a shield, blocking away the wind, the snow—everything.

As if the world was just down to the two of them, Meiling blinked and smiled.

……

Somewhere hiding behind the bushes that surrounded the cemetery, Tomoyo shivered and sneezed. Her teeth were shuddering from the cold but she refused to go back inside the car with Eriol – that loud mouth and constantly smiling bastard who was really a devil in an angel's disguise.

"Achouuuu!" She sneezed again. Frowning deeply, she cursed the cold weather and stomped her feet against the snowy ground.

Arms encircled her thin waist and she felt her back leaning against a hard warm chest. Amethyst eyes widening scandalously, and just when Tomoyo was about to turn around and smack him, she saw his eyes closed and his chin resting on her shoulder.

Her eyes softened and all the fumes that were threatening to spill out of her a moment ago died down. She didn't know why she didn't scream or yell or slap his hands off her. Perhaps it was because of that innocent, almost childish look on his face. Or maybe it was because of the coldness of the season.

But the reason held no importance now.

She relaxed her tense muscles and enjoyed his warm company just for this moment.

There were black feathers floating weightlessly in the air, and some drifted and landed onto the fluffy white snow. The contrast of ink black and cashmere white was elegant and breathtakingly beautiful.

Tomoyo rubbed her already sore eyes, irritated by the chilly wind, to make sure she wasn't seeing things. But when she reopened her eyes again, they were still there. Shocked, Tomoyo grabbed onto Eriol's hand and just when she was about to tap him on the shoulder, she was struck speechless by what came into view.

She saw a pair of black wings on his back.

……

The legend said that "when the world was reaching its end, when the ground was tumbling down, when all hopes were lost, an angel with black wings would descend from the sky and bring salvation to the vanishing world filled with despair."

But there's more than just one angel with black wings out in this world.

Have you found yours yet?

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THE END (yesh, as in, the story is done and you don't ever have to yell at Aisaki for being a lazy updater again)

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A/N: omg, it ended! I should seriously throw myself a party for finishing my first multi-chaptered fanfic ever!! XD lolz! Yesh, now you can see how much of a lazyass I am. Sorry about the delayed update. I had a major writer's block this week and it almost killed me and today I finally found my inspiration again, thus, the update of this fic! Hehe. I'm working on Totally Confidential right now, and I'm really hoping to get it up tonight…if I didn't, then I probably ran into some sort of deadlock again. -Sweatdrop-

I changed my plans for this chapter suddenly when I was 1/3 way through it. Originally, I wanted to have Sakura visiting Syaoran scene in the hospital and giving him her painting and leaving right after that. And then have Syaoran panick when he reads the letter she left for him, and run around Tomoeda looking for her. But then I was like nahhhhh! That's too teenage-drama-ish which lacks a deeper meaning to it.

So, I changed it with Syaoran waking up just when Sakura's about to take off, and the little scene with Sakura visiting her mother with Syaoran by her side, and the little scenes with the other two couples to show that Syaoran really isn't THEEEEEE dark angel, but rather, there're more than just one dark angel out here.

I hope most of you got it by now that the black wings Sakura saw on Syaoran's back were more of a metaphorical thing than actual wings. Ahem. XD

One more thing before I go, notice that I didn't have any confession scenes in this story, like at all? Well, it was intentional, and not because I didn't know where to squeeze it in. I find that kinda cheesy…even though I used to write those kinda things when I was younger…-cough-. I mean, if they love each other, wouldn't declarations of love be kinda pointless then? After all, actions speak louder than words, and I think Sakura and Syaoran have showed each other that they love each other.

I know I focused on this story a lot this year, but that's because I wanted to get it done and out of the way so I never have to think about this crappy thing ever again. XD Now, I am going to focus mainly on Totally Confidential and get that thing out of my hair before I move on with anything else. So I'm sorry everyone if you want my other stories to be updated!

-runs away before she gets killed off by rotten tomatoes-

MERRY BELATED XMAS AND HAPPY EARLY NEW YEAR XD (gosh, I'm so lame.)

ONE MORE IMPORTANT THING BEFORE I GO. Fanfic net is really messed up in these days, so for those of you who have me on update alerts, you won't be receiving any of those update alerts because the alert thing is really messed up. So, if you want to be notified ASAP when I update something, please sign up on my NotifyList. The URL is available on my profile page. :D stay safe during da holidays everyone! Lotsa luff from Aisaki Sumi X3