Warning: Angst, scenes of Sakura and Syaoran's wedding, hints of mild shounen-ai.
Important notice: This is a Eriol x Tomoyo centric story, keep that in mind no matter what I throw at your way. This story is not AU, it is a continuation of the original series, with a few changes to it.
Summary: He is the best-selling tragic romance novelist in Japan, with a heart too broken to love again. She is a successful fashion designer, who no longer believes in true love. A destined meeting in Tokyo helps them in finding the paths to each other's hearts. ExT
By: Aisaki Sumi
Beta-ed by: SweetBabyGurl
Each heartstring has a different sound, a different frequency at which it vibrates. One must close their eyes and listen carefully to the tune, as they follow their own intuitions and find the path to the other's heart.
Eriol arrived at his apartment early in the morning. The smell of alcohol and smoke clutched onto the fabric of his clothes. Feeling dirty and tainted, he headed straight for the shower, for the water that would cleanse him of his own sins and grief. But he knew, better than anyone else, that even the great ocean of Neptune could not rinse it off him.
He stepped into the shower; an icy burst of water brought him back to the harsh reality that he'd rather avoid. He stood there for a moment, letting the water to run down his body. It patted its gentle fingers through his wet locks. But he just stood there, like a sculpture, staring down at his own exposed feet as memories of last night flooded his mind.
He vaguely remembered what happened, but he had a pretty good idea of last night's events. He went to a nearby bar, got drunk and left with someone whose name he didn't even know… it was an all-too-familiar routine. Running a hand through his silky hair, he wiped his face with his other freehand as he sighed into his palm.
It was a sinful lifestyle, but he no longer cared. He reached for the nearby shampoo container and poured some of the scented thick liquid onto his palm. Rubbing it onto his soaked hair, he allowed the faint scent of lavender to fill his lungs. Some of the white foams created by the motion of running his fingers through the sleek strands splattered onto the walls of the shower, while others fell onto the bottom of the tub, mixing in with the water.
Eriol knew he looked good; in fact, his beauty was the one that made him the object of many's desires. His face may be solemn and sad, and his piercing blue eyes may be clouded with an unexplainable grief, but his beauty was by no means comprised. Rather, his sorrows served only to enhance his elegant good looks. The gauntness of his face made him appear more mature and beautiful than ever.
His sorrowful deep cerulean eyes and slender figure gave a hint of vulnerability yet mystery. The strong, yet untouchable aura that encompassed him had drawn countless admirers to him. All wanted to touch him, to taste the tenderness of his lips.
Despite all his beauty, Eriol hated himself for what he was. He loathed the sinful lifestyle he had led and frequently regretted his own mindless actions. But unfortunately enough for him, he was unable — powerless — to break free from it. It was an escape; a moment when he could numb himself from all the pains that overwhelmed his heart. He could not bear to return to reality and face what was once his life.
The only way to lie to himself and distract himself was to drown in alcohol and sex.
Stepping out of the shower, he grabbed a bathrobe and paused before he passed the large mirror that was hanging in the bathroom. His lips were pressed into a thin line as he glanced briefly at his own reflection, but he quickly covered his face with his hands. Seeing his own reflection was too much for him to handle. It made him feel more dirty, contaminated and worthless than before.
After leaving the steamy bathroom, he went straight to his bedroom to throw on a shirt and a pair of dress pants; it wasn't his style to wear jeans.
He walked over to his desk and sat down on the comfortable black leather chair while his freehand worked to flicker on the laptop. The screen glowed softly as the system loaded. Eriol sank into his seat and waited patiently. A soft sigh escaped his lips as he glanced at the darkening sky. It was a dark grey color; sheets of wistful clouds capturing the sunlight in a greedy act, leaving the earth dim, and gloomy.
Deep cerulean orbs glided so easily with the grey silk, looking without actually seeing. His life felt empty, despite all his fame as a novelist. He was the best selling writer in Japan, young and talented; a compelling storyteller, admired by many for his ability to weave a beautiful tragic love story that could touch the hearts of many.
The image of love painted by his words was no where near the ones portrayed by sappy poems. He didn't believe in ever-lasting love, or the power of love and its effect on bringing one out of his or her miseries, by shining a stream of light of hope into their darkened world.
Love is selfish, and as powerful as it is destructive. It is violent and is bound to bring a disastrous end upon the couple. Love can be taken as another, glorified word for irresponsibility and selfishness. One would cast aside their responsibilities, duties, and even their own precious lives for the one they love, or so that is what they proclaimed anyway, leaving their family with nothing but grief.
Eriol had his own concepts of love and sets of believes, and they were presented through his tragic romance novels, which all ended in ultimate tragedies. It was said that he was the great playwright, William Shakespeare's successor, but Eriol knew, behind the flattering title—was a lost, grieving soul, with a heart that was too broken to love again.
It wasn't something he was particularly fond of. But nonetheless, he enjoyed writing, painting the world whatever color he liked, and weaving stories of people's lives. He was like fate, and the characters in his tale were simply puppets, tied by invisible strings that were controlled by him. He could make them do whatever he wanted. He could provide them happiness, or make them suffer.
In his universe, things that appeared to be governed by chance were actually manipulated by him. And besides, he received a good payment for the novels he wrote, in which were surprisingly popular among a wide range of people, from high school girls to mothers of a few children, occasionally read by people from other groups.
He opened the word document containing the first few chapters of his newest novel in progress, Heartstrings. It was his latest novel, a story that was based on his own unrequited love, his first and only love. Writing that novel meant he had to reopen the wounds that were slowly healing and remember the things that he would rather forget.
But Eriol wanted an ending, a conclusion for his love life. It could be easily achieved through writing, and he knew, many would be eager to find out more about the handsome writer's mysterious love life.
Skimming briefly through where he had left off from last night, he placed his hands on the keyboard, tapered fingers contacting the cool surface of the keys. He ran the words through his mind before typing them down, his spectacles glinting as the light bounced off the glass, hiding away the pair of enigmatic dark blue eyes behind the frames of the spectacles.
He always liked the darkness. It shielded him away from the rest of the world – especially from her. He often stayed in the shadows to watch her, to observe her every move, every expression, and every hidden smile – the smile that she childishly thought no one would see. He saw the faint tinge of pink spread across her cheeks, the shy, content smile that her crush couldn't see.
It pained his heart to know that he could never make her smile like that. It hurt, it hurt so much – a gnawing pain in his heart; cutting through it like a dull knife, was the one that brought him down to his knees, caused him so much anguish.
He knew better than everyone else that she was his weakness, the only flaw in his perfect complexion.
He fully comprehended the dangers, the pains this one-sided, unrequited love would bring upon him, yet he couldn't help but continue on, strolling down the path that he knew would lead him to his ultimate destruction. Perhaps he saw it as a challenge, or a thrill, knowing his own sadistic and twisted sense of humor, or perhaps, he wanted it since the beginning, to feel the pain of being torn apart by the one he loved.
Pausing, Eriol found himself unable to move his fingers anymore, as if they were resisting his brain's commands. The gnawing pain in his heart returned again, as the memories of him flooded his mind. Sometimes he pondered with a faint amusement as to why he would torture himself like this, by translating his pains, his feelings, into words.
Looking away, he found it nearly impossible to look at the computer screen again. It was simply too much for him to handle. The pain brought upon by the echoing words was nearly unbearable. Suddenly, the quiet 'plop' sound guided his attention back to the computer screen.
The mail icon on the left-hand side of the screen flashed threateningly. As he clicked on the flashing icon without thinking, a bundle of emotions exploded in him as the sender's name registered in his mind. Yamazaki Takashi, a classmate of his during his short stay at Tomodea.
He had cut off all his connections with his classmates and hadn't received a single email since five years ago, after the others had gotten frustrated with attempting to contact him, since he never bothered replying anything.
Feeling his heart pounding frantically, he waited for the page to load.
It has been fifteen years since our graduation from Tomodea Elementary school. A few of us had remained in Tomodea and continued our education in Tomodea Middle School and High School. But the inevitable fate separated the remaining ones and guided them to different directions. While some of us still kept in touch and held small reunion parties each year, others were almost unreachable, probably because we all have a dream to pursue and a career path to follow in various fields.
But our dear friends, Kinomoto Sakura and Li Syaoran are engaged and will be wedded on the twentieth of October, at 6:30 P.M. at Mystical Garden in Tokyo. And I propose that we should all meet up and attend their wedding. All are expected to attend, unless you have one of the following reasons as your excuse:
1) You were abducted by aliens and were to be brought to a planet far away from ours and marry an ugly alien queen.
2) You were unfortunate enough to have died on the day of their wedding.
3) You smelled funky but refused to take a shower so your mother locked you up in the basement while she watched Desperate House Wives, the hit TV show up in the living room.
The ones that failed to show up will meet face an undecided fate, which might be worse than death.
Eriol couldn't help but smile as he read the words. Yamazaki would always be Yamazaki. The man apparently had not changed much over the past years. His manner remained as always, annoying yet comforting. And his strange sense of humor remained unchanged. His smile soon turned into a frown as he re-read the second paragraph again.
Sakura and Syaoran were engaged and soon to be wedded.
The words echoed in his mind like a bad song put on repeat, shattering his threadbare sanity. The pain of the other's rejection flooded his heart at that very moment, tearing apart the old wounds that never really healed, or had been forgotten. It engulfed him as memories of the past suffocated him. The pain was simply too much to bear alone. Like a burden—a parasite feeding on his sanity.
He wanted an escape.
Clutching his head in both hands, he forced his thoughts to settle down so he could return to reading the message on the screen rationally, without feeling the need to break it.
It had been a long, fifteen years after all. And it was time for a change, he decided. Syaoran was going to marry Sakura, start a new life filled with love and her, ending his journey as a lone wolf. Perhaps this was time for him to end it as well. Perhaps it was time for him to break free from his depression and mistake. The time had come, for a conclusion, a closure, and an end for his silent sacrifice.
It was time to change things, once and forever.
That night, as Eriol stepped into the crowded bar, he promised himself that he wouldn't get drunk this time, or leave with another stranger. He would simply stay for a while, to let the restlessness settle in his heart before heading home, with a clear mind. Seating himself down at the counter, he ordered a drink, and promised himself that this will be his last one.
"Hiiragizawa-san?" The sudden call from his left side caused him to turn his head slightly in surprise, his piercing blue eyes, like cutting diamonds, met the amethyst ones of Daidouji Tomoyo.
Her face was easily recognized, since he often saw it on the cover page of Tokyo Star, and had read quite a number of articles regarding to her growing successes as a young Japanese woman, and how she had stepped into the competitive world of fashion design.
"Daidouji-san." He recognized the stranger, dipping his head lower to give a small nod of acknowledgement. His manners remained casual and polite, showing none of his surprises. Rather, he made the meeting appear like nothing but a daily occurrence. After an exchange of formal greetings, he politely inquired on her current life.
"Ah, not bad." Tomoyo replied, sitting down on the empty stool beside him as she ordered a drink as well. "How about you?" Tilting her head, she cast him an interested glance before turning away to examine her drink.
"Everyday is the same." He answered curtly, icy blue eyes gazing down at the thick liquid before him, like the finest silk, it sparkled dimly under the soft lights.
They both fell silent for a moment, letting the companionable silence to settle between them. There were simply too many things to catch up on, and Eriol didn't know if he was ready to begin reminiscing. But the amiable, serene tranquility was soon broken when Tomoyo suddenly spoke.
"Did you get an email from Yamazaki-san?"
Eriol froze on his spot for the briefest moment, before recollecting himself and force out a quiet yes.
She nodded along. A pause then followed, indicating her uncertainty in asking him the next question. After a moment of hiatus, she turned around, her eyes falling upon him and asked the well-thought question. "Are you going to attend their wedding?"
He remained silent momentarily, running the question through his mind for probably the hundredth time that day. Truthfully, he didn't know. He wasn't sure if he was ready to face the other and watch the one he loved to take another into his hand.
Eriol didn't know if he was ready to let go, once in for all.
"Perhaps." He lifted his gaze from the drink and shifted it to her visage, taking the time to study her.
Eyes tracing over the contours of her face, the crescent shape of her eyebrows, and then down to her eyes, then the delicate nose, and lastly, her mouth, he noticed the various changes she had gone through over the years, taking the time to note the differences (1) the past fifteen years had left on someone who used to be his childhood friend.
The pair of amethyst eyes, framed with long, dark eyelashes, were no longer as large and childish as before, yet the soft, understanding shine remained within those orbs. The same kind, elegant smile curved on her soft, cherry-red lips – one that was both faint and alluring, tugging at his heart relentlessly.
Her visage was notably longer and less round as he remembered, and it was sharper around her chin. Her skin was still as pale and creamy as ever, like (2) expensive porcelain, which complimented her beautiful, slightly mysterious complexion perfectly.
There were small, almost invisible lines, crinkling around the corner of her eyes when she smiled gently at him—the ever-present, unwavering friendly smile was her trademark. It was always on her face, he recalled.
She was wearing a white shirt; the first few buttons were left unbuttoned, revealing the creamy white, silky skin underneath the fabric. There was a heart-shaped diamond necklace hanging around her swan-like neck, sparkling captivatingly under the luminous lights.
Like a summer breeze threading through the field, the years were gone almost too quickly, carrying with it faint traces of nostalgia. Eriol's eyes slid closed again as he looked away, shielding away his thoughts as a few strands of navy locks fell into his eyes.
It was then he noticed the pale green luggage beside her.
"Where are you planning to stay at?" He inquired out of politeness and innate curiosity, eyeing the small suitcase that was leaning against the legs of the tall stool for support. But at the same time, changing the subject to something less painful.
She noticed his gaze and let out an aggravated sigh as she ran a hand through the waves of ebony locks which were no longer as long as before. She had changed it to a clean, shoulder length cut. "I just came back this morning, and for some strange reason, all the hotels in Tokyo are full and reserved."
Placing a slender hand on the suit case, she continued, "I guess I'll just have to keep on looking then." A small and somewhat sheepish smile formed on her lips.
"You can stay at my place if you want." He suddenly offered, catching Tomoyo off guard. Her amethyst eyes widened with slight shock and surprise, but took his offer nonetheless.
That night, they returned to Eriol's condo together. He had volunteered to carry her suitcase for her, but she turned down his offer with a serene smile and a soft "it's alright" reply. Unlocking the door, he exerted a small amount of force and the door slid open obediently.
Leading her into the living room, he turned on the light, revealing a very neat, organized place. Tomoyo scanned the surrounding with innate inquisitivity. "You can take the bedroom." He offered, and their vision glided easily as she swerved around. He could see the slightly troubled look in those eyes.
Chuckling softly, "Don't worry, I got used to napping on the counch anyway."
She laughed lightly, a hand covering her cherry-colored lips. Her laughter sounded like so pleasant and melodious, and he remembered how long ago it had been since he had heard such quiet, soft and content laughter.
After showing her around, he guided her to the only bedroom in the condo and held the door open for her as she struggled to drag the suitcase into the room without his assistance. She had changed over the years, not just physically, he concluded as he watched her.
"How long are you planning to stay at Japan?" The question that had been boggling his mind finally came out. She stopped on track and kept her eyes on the ground, comtemplating for a moment before answering him, he assumed.
"I see." He nodded in comprenhension.
Swerving around, he bid her a good night before closing the door behind him. He leaned against the cool, well-polished surface. The chilliness brought upon by the contact between the door and his warm back, seeped through the thin fabric of his shirt, reaching his well-protected skin.
But it was a soothing, soul-calming feeling.
He didn't know what had influenced him into inviting her to his place, since he had been living alone for the past eight years now and enjoyed living in solitude. The condo was always vacant and dimly light. The frequent occupant of it wasn't even him, it was silence and emptiness.
Eriol knew he was still hesistatant in changing himself and his sinful lifestyle. After all, facing reality was harder, and the temptation of giving into such easy escapes required less effort.
He drew out an almost breathless sigh before heading toward the living room to work on his novel.
Heartstrings… a story about one's struggle to move on from his past love; a story about another finding the path to that person's heart.
And he wasn't sure if he could even come up with an ending for that story, since he never reached the closure of his own love life.
For the following day, Eriol worked quietly on his novel while Tomoyo went out for inspirations so she could start on her next few designs. Winter was just around the corner after all, and for the fast changing fashion world, it wasn't just another season, it was another chance for talented designers to introduce a new style of clothes.
They hadn't talked to each other during the day, and practically ignored the other's existance except for mealtimes when they will either go to the nearby restaurant or the fancy French restaurants that were two blocks away from where Eriol had lived. Their routine was very much the same for the next few days, and would probably have continued for the rest of Tomoyo's stay if Friday wasn't the day of Sakura and Syaoran's wedding.
Eriol had become unconsciously aware of the time lately, and found himself beginning to dread the moment of the reunion, and the inenvitable wedding that he knew, would tear him apart, shatter his heart into thousands of small shards. He had managed to stay away from alcohol and the bar, for the past few days, but he knew, sooner or late, he would break, and fall back into the pace of his sinful lifestyle again.
Shaking the thoughts out of his mind, he cast a brief glance at the clock. 5:00 P.M., it read.
The painful, undoubtly hard confrontation was nearing.
"Hiiragizawa-san?" He looked over his shoulders to spare the other a glance to indicate that he was listening. Her voice was as soft and velvety as ever. His name rolled off her tongue so lightly, with such ease, making it sound so tender and ear-pleasing, despite all the formalities tied to the call.
She was now standing at the door, her poise demure and graceful. The dark red dress she was wearing reached the ground, the luminous lights of the living room bounced off the silky surface of the dress, giving it a slight tint. The dress revealed the curves of her body, the maturation she had gone through.
There was a placid aura around her, hinting her mysteriousness and elegancy as she stood there silently, waiting for him to get ready. She never complained, or urged him to get changed faster. She simply stood there; her hands folded neatly before her, and watched him with a rare understanding in her eyes, as if she understood the reason behind his reluctance.
"Let's go." He suggested, and she just nodded in agreement.
No further explaination was required, because they understood each other.
They reached the Mystical Garden around 5:50 P.M., and hadn't spoken a word to each other since they left the condo. Eriol simply didn't see the need to start a casual conversation that was bound to trail off after two rounds of exchanges of formal replies.
The lights were on when they entered the restaurant, reserved for the wedding only, and the place felt strangely occupied, with soft, piped music playing in the background. Eriol surveyed the large space and saw many unfamiliar smiling faces that he had never took the time to remember during his short stay at Tomoeda.
Many were engaged in ongoing conversations about each others' lives and careers. Some were busy trying to catch up on the things they had missed over the years and others were reminiscing, recollecting the memories they shared together at Tomoeda Elementary School.
"Hiiragizawa-kun and Daidouji-san." They turned to the direction of the call as a natural response and Eriol saw a tall, dark grey hair colored man in an expensive tuxedo. The other had a smile on his face and was holding a glass of wine.
"I didn't think you could make it, since I tried emailing you a few times before and you never replied."
"Ah, gomen, I was busy with some work and didn't pay much attention to my emails." Eriol lied, feeling his usual, polite smile tugging on his lips. It was a mask that he wore so often that it later on became an insperable part of him. "And it is nice to see you here too, Yamazaki-san." He added.
Yamazaki let out a soft chuckle. His eyes then fell upon Tomoyo, who dipped her head lower in a polite nod. She hadn't forgotten any of the traditional Japanese greetings, despite the fact that she had been residing in Paris for most of her life.
"I didn't know you and Daidouji-san were together."
Eriol glanced at Tomoyo from the corner of his eyes and saw her lowering her gaze. "We aren't; I just bumped into her the other day. Daidouji-san came back a few days ago after receiving your email."
"Hmm, souka na." Yamazaki chirped cheerfully, and Eriol knew, he wasn't convinced.
"Eriol." A voice interrupted their conversation which was heading no where anyway, revealed the indiginantion lacing the caller's voice. The tone was deep and rich, as if rumbling out from his core.
The voice was all too familiar.
Eriol felt his heart skipping a beat at that very moment. His blood ran cold and his inner system on high alert, but he masked it all with his trademark, a polite smile. He was always good at shielding away his thoughts and feelings and depths, making his every expression underable.
"Syaoran." He spun around; brilliant blue eyes like cutting diamonds met scowling golden amber ones. But to his surprise, the defiant look that seemed permanently attached to the other's eyes was no long there. Syaoran had stopped glowering, even though he still scowled when he saw Eriol's entrance.
Saa, fifteen years had gone by after all. And Syaoran was no longer the indignant child he used to know.
"It's been a while." Eriol stated curtly, a perfect, flawless smile in place like a mask. He watched as Syaoran grumbled something unintelligible under his breath before steping closer to him.
"I wish you an eternity of happiness with Kinomoto-san." He forced his voice to reamin calm despite the sudden explosion of pain and desire deep within him. His eyes fell upon Syaoran's shoulder, avoiding any direct eye contact with him, for the fear of allowing his emotions to run wild.
"Thanks." Syaoran mumbled, sounding no where close to what he was saying. "Well, the wedding ceremony's starting soon. Stay if you want." With that resounding in the thick air, too heavy of unforgiven pains, he spun around and strode off to the other direction.
Eriol stood there, watching the one he loved blending into the crowds, a cold, empty feeling soon returned to the chambers of his heart. But he quickly distanced his sight elsewhere, afraid the longing look in his eyes would give away the secret he fought so hard to keep.
Taking a deep breath, his eyes slid closed as he followed Yamazaki to the place where the wedding ceremony would take place.
At least he didn't shatter in front of Syaoran.
The inevitable moment soon arrived as the wedding started. It was almost unbearable for him to listen to the taunting wedding march without feeling the urgency to throw up. The ends of his stomach were being twisted around as he watched the beautiful bride, whose face was hidden behind a transparent veil, walked down the aile.
The priest married the couple and Syaoran vowed that he would always be by Sakura's side through sickness and health, till death do they apart. When he reached out a hand to take his bride into his arms, and unveiled her radiant face to the world before kissing her passionately on the lips; when the crowds cheered for them and wished them happiness.
Eriol forgot how to breathe.
He had reached his shattering point.
Getting up hastily, he muttered a soft, almost indistinctive 'excuse me' to Tomoyo. His voice blended so easily into the loud cheers and music that reverberated through the air. He pushed his way out of the cheering crowd while appologizing halfheartedly and swiftly left the ceremonial hall.
He continued to stride down a path that he didn't even know he was taking, and halted into a stop as he reached the outside. The cool night breeze caressed his burning skin. It had a soothing affect on him and slowed down his frantic heartbeats.
Tomoyo had followed him outside, and remained by his side silently, asking no questions for his abrupt actions or his decision to leave the wedding without bidding Sakura and Syaoran a proper goodbye. She knew he had a reason for doing so, and never bothered stepping into his personal space.
Eriol didn't drive back to his condo; he drove straight to a nearest bar that he could find. Entering the crowded and smoke-filled place, his gaze swept across the area, seeking for the location of his desire. Upon spotting the counter, he headed almost instantly for an empty seat and ordered a few drinks. Tomoyo sat down quietly beside him, and merely ordered her own drink while she observed him silently, making no attempt to stop or comfort him.
After one drink and another, Eriol felt his conciousness slipping away, along with the image of the one he loved that never returned his feelings. If numbing himself was the way to temporarily forget the images of Syaoran kissing Sakura and taking her into his embrace, then let it be.
"It took me awhile to get over Sakura too." Tomoyo suddenly spoke; it was neither an advice nor a word of comfort. It was just a simple statement, suming up the similar past she had and the pains she had gone through for her own unrequited love.
He almost forgot that she had once loved her best friend, in a way that was unacceptable to society, in a way that was beyond a mere friendship shared by two innocent young girls. He didn't know her that well back then, but he was too observant to let such things escape his eyes unnoticed.
In his mind, she had always been the girl with long, wavy raven hair, curling beautifully like dark ribbons, and someone who was willing to walk away with the burden of love and leave the one she loved with nothing but happiness.
She was very much like him.
Instead of replying to her previous statement, he turned around, placing another empty glass back onto the counter table. "Daidouji-san, would you like to have a dance?" He held out his hand, hazy blue eyes focused upon her.
"Sure." She took his hand and surrendered herself into his gentleness as he led her to the dance floor.
Their hands slid pass each other with such ease. Their bodies moving in close proximity as their limbs melded. The lights flickered and spun—a failed illumination. Smooth lines of enterwined arms, their hair soaked in sweat as their heartbeats quickened. The beat of the loud background music was pounding through him, along with his own pulse, full of raw anticipation.
A subtle twitch of tapered fingers: a guide to lure her closer. He felt the heat emited by her slender body as he pulled her close into an embrace of the body and soul. A husky whisper, a curl of heat, sparked the dark desires, hidden in both of their hearts. Her touches left a burning sensation on the contacted area of skin, leaving a tingling feeling lingering.
Her lips parted, her scented, heated breath trailing off his burning skin. He wrapped his arms around her small waist, tugging her closer to him as they danced. Lowering his head, a freehand cupped her cheeks; he concealed those sweet lips with a light, chaste kiss, which soon deepened into a needy, passionate kiss.
The music became faded as he melted into the tenderness of the kiss.
His pain was temporarily forgotten.
The next morning, Eriol woke up with an all too familiar headache. His head was pounding, aching in a way that it felt like it was going to split into half. Shifting into a more comfortable position, he suddenly felt something warm and soft beside him. He turned around and found himself staring right into the peaceful, sleeping face of Tomoyo.
Slightly stunned, he lay straight on his back and stared at the white ceiling. He vaguely remembered the events of the previous night, and how that kiss had lead them into this.
Looking at her again, he was once again struck by how serene and beautiful the other had looked. Studying her upclose was very different from admiring her from afar. He could actually see the fine texture of her cheeks, and the parted small, and naturally pink lips. His eyes trace the delicate shape of her mouth and recalled how soft and sweet it tasted when he pressed his own against them.
It was then her thick, dark lashes fluttered, revealing the pair of breathtakingly beautiful amethyst orbs to the world. She stared right into his dark blue eyes. "Ohayou. (morning)" She greeted him, the word rolled off her tongue so lightly. He loved her alluring and enchanting tone of voice, and after last night, he couldn't help but wonder how his first name would sound when it was prounounced by her.
Tossing the thought aside, he leaned forward and brushed his lips lightly against hers.
"Ohayou." He murmured, before deepening the kiss into something more.
For the next one and half weeks, the two treated each other with a comfortable indifference. Each ignoring each other as usual in daytime, yet sharing passionate moments after sunset. Tomoyo soon became a source of comfort for Eriol, a temporary replacement for Syaoran, and Tomoyo needed something better to pass time when when inspiration and ideas weren't clicking in her mind.
Both of them knew that there was no true love in this arrangement; it was merely a convenient one. Tomoyo needed inspiration and Eriol needed a distraction, and that was all. They both understood clearly that there was no love invovled, no emotional bonds or other deep feelings in their relationship. It was purely a physical one. Passionate and needy.
Eriol enjoyed being with Tomoyo however. She was quiet presence, and he loved the way she trailed her slender fingers over his bare skin and the way her body moved under his. The passions, the need, the desire he saw in those heated, sparkling eyes were enough to drive him mad. When he was with her, he could almost forget the things he didn't want to remember.
However, he knew that this could only be a temporary solution. The pain of his unrequited love would never be forgotten. He was also careful in not to get too attached to Tomoyo, for she would soon be leaving, walking out of his life as if they have never met. Like a butterfly alighting on a leaf, the brief moment would end before it even had the time to start. And he simply could not cope with another loss.
But as time passed on, Eriol was no longer sure if it was just a loveless, but mutually benefiting relationship. He couldn't help but feel something more, something deeper toward the other each morning upon her wakenings. The more he studied her, the more things he had noticed about her. The way she fluttered her eyelashes in the cute, innocent way when she fought the pervasive sunlight, and the way she brushed aside the soft raven hair framing her face so perfectly--
--- All these small actions left an impact too great to be described by words on him. He often found himself wanting to reach out a hand and stroke the soft, smooth cheeks that were tinged slightly pink in certain areas. He loved the way he was able to hold her in his arms each night after the intimate moments they shared with each other, and how the strings in their heart vibrated such matching melodious tunes.
Gradually, Eriol found himself dreading the day of his companion's departure. While his mind denied his feelings, he knew his heart started pounding for her. He knew, undoubtly, that he was slowly falling in love with the dark haired beauty.
Eriol struggled long and hard with his emotions though, since he still refused to admit, out loud, that he loved Tomoyo. The pain left by his first love was still fresh and he was reluctant to commit himself into another relationship again, when he knew she would soon be leaving him for her own dream as a fashion designer. Tomoyo's career was in Paris, France, while his was in Tokyo, Japan.
He really tried not to love her, not to give into his heart's demands. He thought he could just brush it aside, and that as long as he didn't think about, he was fine. But he was soon forced to face the truth when her departure date finally arrived.
On the morning of Tomoyo's departure, Eriol drove the two of them to the airport in total silence. They carefully avoided each other's eyes as he weaved skillfully through the morning traffic. The only sound present in the car was the rumbling of the engine, and the occasional tick-tacking sounds as he changed the lane.
After a ride, filled with suspensive and demanding silence, the car pulled to a stop at a portal of the airport. Eriol glanced briefly at the number at the top, labeling the portal. He knew it was time for them to say goodbye. He cleared his throat, but as he opened his mouth to speak, he felt the lump returning to his throat, unabling him from carrying out even the simplest speech. But he couldn't bare the silence any longer.
"I'll miss you."
The lone statement hung in the air, but Tomoyo did not reply immediately. She simply stared at him, as if scouting for something in his eyes that she wasn't sure if he could give. She didn't know what to say, for she was unsure of the status of their current relationship. Everything was clear initially, their relationship had absolutely no commiment or love, and had always been a purely physical one. However, as things progressed, she was no longer sure.
She found herself starting to feel more than just physical desire for him, and sometimes, she even felt that Eriol had felt the same way. It was evident from the way he observed her every morning, and how he had greeted her with such loving, caring look in his eyes.
But she knew he wasn't exactly ready to start a new relationship again, even if he wanted to. The permanent scar in his heart could never be healed by time, and the image of Syaoran would always be looming in the back of his head, reminding him of the gnawing pains of his first love. His unrequited love would always be an obstacle between them, and unless Eriol could completely put it behind him, they could never be together.
Finally, Tomoyo decided on an appropriate response to Eriol's statement. She paused for a long moment, before deciding that she did not wish to hide her emotions, or keep her feelings vague and up for him to guess. She wanted to make it clear. Even if they didn't get together, she would have no regrets when she walked away.
Wordlessly, she grabbed onto the material of his shirt and pulled him closer to her, planting a firm kiss on his lips. She kissed him with a passion unmatched by any other. It was full of love, and something more. She was giving her all to him, making things obvious and crystal clear, leaving no room for him to speculate or second guess or misunderstanding.
This was her last chance to let him know how she felt.
Eriol was stunned by the sudden action, but surrendered easily into the gentle pressure of Tomoyo's lips. He pulled her closer to him, a hand cupping her cheeks while the other felt the fine texture of her hair under his fingers. The world around him didn't matter at that moment. All he wanted to do was to kiss her, silently wishing the moment would last forever.
It was then Eriol reached a decision when he returned the kiss with equal intensity and passions. He was resolute that the memory of Li Syaoran would always remain in his mind, and the feelings would be locked away in the deepest chambers of his heart, where it could be withered away by the ever-flowing time, until it was completely forgotten. And at the same time, he became manifest of his newly developed feelings.
His once clouded vision was clearing up; all the mists, doubts and fears were disappearing, as the image of one girl came into focus. He was also sure that the only he truly loves now, was none other than the one he was holding.
It was then inspiration struck him, leading him to the ending of his novel, Heartstrings.
Sometimes words were unnecessary; sometimes the deepest and most beautiful feelings need not to be translated into verbal expressions. He could hear the vibration of her heartstrings, and the enchanting melody they produced as the sound waves overlapped each other, creating a rich tone that only he could hear.
The melody reached his heart, and he knew, she had found the path to his heart.
A/N: Holy crap, I nearly died writing this super long oneshot. XD For those of you who STILL wants to read the longer version of this story. Keep an eye on my LiveJournal because it will be posted there :D
This will be my first and last contribution to the ExT fandom, unless muses start bothering me again.
Leave a review and let me know if you liked it or not! And tell me if I should continue writing weird oneshots for the ExT fandom!
Excuse the crappy characterization, and bad grammar and countless number of typos. I'm as blind as a bird and my fingers are very uncooperative. See the reason why I don't plan on becoming a writer when I grow up?
And please, don't complain about me taking the longer version of this story off FF.N, the one-shot contains most of the important elements of the other story. I'm not fond of the longer version because of the bad characterization. Things didn't flow right, so I decided to take out a few stupid things and leave you guys with the interesting stuff.
For those of you who thought Eriol's first love was Sakura and are staring at the screen in disbelieve right now. Well, just letting you know that you didn't read the story wrong. I made Eriol love Syaoran. Now lets all gasp and cry because Aisaki made him 'gay'.
In the original CCS manga, CLAMP made Tomoyo loving Sakura and Sonomi loving Nadeshiko and never got over her, if you think shounen-ai/shoujo-ai is so nasty and disgusting, you might as well stop reading anything from CLAMP, since a lot of their mangas (Japanese comics) contain shounen-ai/shoujo-ai/slash/boy love/girl love.
Reviews welcomed. Flames ignored. And open minded reviewers are adored :D