Notes: Yes, I am completely aware of my extremely late updates. I can see why I don't get as many reviews as before… at least I think cuz' ppl forget the storyline. xD Or forgotten me. Or worse! Grew bored! Dx Ahaha, yea, I just want to get this story off my back, like seriously. It's not even close to being finished. There's a lot more to read bishies! This really kills me cuz' it takes me one hour to write out a paragraph! Dangz, ahh! But, I'm a fighter – bahhh.

To Kosuke, I'm sorry about your breakup. Breakups sucks. Boo! And hey, don't read my story if it makes you emotionally ill! Have friends and family surround you; don't cope by reading dark and angst-y fics – that'll only make you feel worse! And sorry cutie, I can't give away the ending… because… I don't know the ending. o.O

I've improvised for this story, which explained for the random arcs, and whatever randomness you've seen so far it's in here!

Hehes… I wish I had an outline. But what's the fun in that? Sorry, if you disapprove. Dx Fufufu! No, really?


Winter Waltz

Ch 12:
Schemes, why?


--

Syaoran's Pov

--

"Oi, Sakura."

Sakura tugged away from what thoughts she had and stared. This caused me to laugh… nervously.

"Are you thirsty?" I asked.

She shook her head nimbly – it was a no, again.

This was rather uncomfortable, the silence I mean. How it came like this, there was not an explanation – I tried again.

"How about something to eat? I'm sure you're starved." My grin was strained.

She looked at me briefly and then bowed her head. "You're too kind, Li-kun." This was her inferiority speaking… how diffident of her.

Just like before, we were at the food court seated inside the big mall. Tons of mall goers had passed by; it felt like time lapsed over. When I thought me and Sakura were finally together, alone at last, we'd have a chance to open up with each other, get to know each other a little more. Believe me, I had this all planned perfectly for some weeks now, this was going to be our favorite pastime for sure.

So… what the heck was I doing wrong?

Sakura was simply sitting there looking all upset and not saying much. The way her face contorted in discomfiture was enough to know she wasn't exactly having fun. This couldn't be the Sakura I knew this morning. The Sakura I knew seemed eager for this day to come, this was totally another person.

I turned my gaze away from her, clearing my throat of its roughness. Then, my bitter question, "Do you want to go home?"

This got her attention right way, she was less distracted now. Her soul snatching green eyes flicked at me, I swore I almost leaped back if it weren't for my incredible restraint.

"I'm sorry!" she cringed. "I'm such a party-pooper…"

Oh? But this wasn't a party. We were presently on our first date, this was completely for real. Must I also mention, very serious for me. For Sakura to say such a statement was strange, I had to know what's up… I sighed, "What's wrong Sakura?"

The feeble expression she had moments ago warped into something of shock. Seeing this really wrenched my heart. She was trembling, I know because her hands were latched between the table, holding onto for support and dear life, and I felt the light tremor ricochet to my side of the table. The vibration was mind-boggling. "Sakura… tell me what's wrong," I said again, hoping she'd realized how serious I was. If not, then I'd keep on asking and asking until she did. Unless… it truly bothered her.

"I'm sorry," she said grimly, "but… let's stop, okay?"

My eyes widened a fraction, now where was this coming from? And, how she said 'okay' sounded suspiciously fraught.

"Sakura…" I admonished, bemused.

"No Li-kun!" she shouted. For a moment, she looked stun – I was on the same boat too. She turned her voice a lower notch, and said calmly without looking at me, "It's as bad as it is keeping this relationship under covers."

"But this was what you wanted," I shot back.

"I know," she confirmed. "But, it's not right. People like us… well, we don't belong together." She bit her lip tentatively, "If you already know, so many people don't like us together. They hassle me a lot, they disapprove… They don't like me and, really, Li-kun, you shouldn't either."

Her voice was faint, and grew fainter that I had to lean onto the table just to hear. I wasn't aware that she was done until she rose up. My eyes never left hers, though her bangs did wonders in concealing her eyes. It made it hard to detect what emotions were in those pools of green. Truthfully, I didn't want to know.

It was devastating as it was. She was… d-dumping me. But, why?!

If you already know, so many people don't like us together. I blinked. Was this about status?

"Sakura, don't you remember what I've told you?" This was so tiring the second time around… "I don't care about status –"

"– It's not status, Li!"

This was her screaming at me, louder than before. Fortunately nobody heard, but I wasn't so sure if I deserved it or not. But frankly she wasn't telling me much.

At this point, she wasn't very likable.

Who are you…?

"What secrets are you hiding from me, Sakura?" I suddenly asked right before her face visibly paled, this was too suspicious to let go. "Tell me, Sakura. It can't possibly be that bad, can it? Plus, I have your best interest at heart. I'm here to help you, Sakura." I watched as her lower lip quivered.

Perhaps, I thought dreadfully, this really was something bad, something of a dark secret…

She didn't answer me right away, well; she didn't answer me at all. She seemed content on staying quiet that her lips pressed tightly in a pungent line, her eyes were shrouded with light feathery bangs, but her cheeks were stained wet. "Sakura!" Another tear slid down her face, this one I saw. Damnit… did I just make her cry? I should just punch myself for being such a jackass. If she didn't want to tell me anything, then I shouldn't force her to. Damnit, I really want to know though!

"Li-kun."

Quite relieved she chose to answer I gave her my undivided attention.

"Ja!"

An eerie smile cracked on her face.

At that very second, once her words sunk in, she spun around and made a brisk move to disappear. She likes to run from all her problems, I thought sulkily. But I cared too much to have her run, especially if the problem had become my problem in this turned of event.

"Wait, Sakura!" I yelled after her. "What are you doing? Come back here!" I jumped from the edge of my seat to chase her down. My pace was quicker than hers and I got to her in no time. She was forced to stop when I seized her hand, shocking her that she jolted from my heady touch.

"I told you already!" she shrieked. "It's over! I'm going home, Li-kun. So stop pestering me! Really, I don't think we'll ever see each other again. I think it's best if we stop it, right here, before one of us gets hurt irreparably. I'm dead serious." She jerked away from me. "Also, I don't want you to be angry."

Her voice shook every syllable and she breathed in air as if she'd been fighting off suffocation. I drew back my hand, feeling it steadily burn from the aftereffect of her removing it roughly. Even for me – a tough, pain tolerant guy – this was too brutal of her, and I wasn't going to let her leave like that.

"Sakura, what the fuck are you talking about?" I yelled at her. "I'm beyond furious and you're not doing a good job explaining yourself."

This time, she was quick to respond. "Explaining myself will make you even more enraged," she said exasperatingly. "I wouldn't want to take that chance, so forgive me. Forget about me, okay? Pretend none of this ever happened. Some other girl will fill my shoes, I'm sure. She's going to be the best you've ever had!" She gasped.

"Sakura you have got to stop with this nonsense. I don't like this talk about 'some other girl'. I…" I winced slightly; I really didn't want her to go, I'd say anything so she'd stay. "Please Sakura, your ripping my heart to shreds…" Oh! There goes my manly pride… god-damnit!

Her expression rueful, Sakura sniffed. "I'm sorry I'm ripping your heart to shreds, but if you knew my secret, your heart will be full of hate. You will later learn that through someone else." She sighed. "Right now is just not the appropriate time, right now I have to go. And don't worry if I don't return to the mansion…"

Hate…?

Why would I hate her? I would never…

"I'd only hate you if you leave me for no good reason at all!" I screamed.

Too much had happened. Changes took place, experiences like never before existed. Things out of the ordinary, like that night I saw you on Tokyo's winter streets, this had changed my perspective on life. You were the girl with not a speck of joy on her face. Truth be told, I felt just the same. I felt as if both of us were alike. Your outer self represented my inner self – two beings deprived of something precious.

To have you go so soon would revive this hateful emptiness.

Secret… oh… "What secret Sakura?!" I cried, but she wasn't there anymore…

-

-

Breathe…

Breathe Sakura!

Sakura gasped in wildly, holding both hands close to her neck. She felt like shit. She felt like a very degrading person no better than Toru! How could she do that to Syaoran? She never thought she'd be the one to hurt people, but what she did back there was clearly evil. Not to mention, awfully selfish. She should've died on Tokyo streets… she should've. It would've been better than seeing that hurtful expression twist on Syaoran's face.

Suddenly Sakura collided into another being. Her knees buckled and gave in, and she held onto the person closest to her to prop herself back up.

"Gomen," she whispered with no emotion.

"Crying again?" a soft tsked, "Could've sworn you were much happier this morning."

Sakura didn't have to look up to know who it was. "I'm jinxed Yue-san," she merely replied, quieter than before.

Yue had been mopping spilled smoothie when Sakura arrived unexpectedly. Also slamming into him, which would have hurt a heck lot, but seeing as it was only Sakura made it hurt less, like being punch with a pillowcase instead. He held his mop skillfully in one hand and guided her to a bench with the other. She needed to be reassured, and Yue had been the one to do it on several occasions. What makes this time any more different?

"Sit down," he ordered gently. Sakura obeyed and took a seat. She sighed as he sat down right beside her. "Now…" he said with ease. "What did Li-kun do to you?"

Sakura laughed humorlessly. "Absolutely nothing."

"Hm…? What did you do to him?" he corrected.

Sakura sighed. "I ripped his heart to shreds," she said from memory.

"Oh?"

"Yes! Now I have to runaway! I have to leave this life behind." Her heart was racing. It took a lot of energy and courage to say this much, her teeth clenched. "I can't do it alone. I'll need your help, Yue-san."

Both of Yue's slender brows arced. "First," he said matter-of-factly, "…why?"

Sakura shifted her gaze to the floor. "I can't tell you that, just as I couldn't tell him." She sniffed. "I'm sorry."

Yue smiled faintly. "You're really strange." 'I wonder why…?' There was an absent look in his eyes, as if pondering about something rather important. Sakura sent him a weak, withering gaze, feeling hopeless with her current predicament, until Yue countered up, "What would you like for me to do?"

-

-

Sitting alone in the limo as Wei drove him home was, by far, the worst feeling ever. Why? The empty seat next to him was predominantly the sole explanation to his distress. That seat should've been occupied. The person that would've sat there would've held his hand right now. Gloomy brown eyes concentrated on the dusky view outside his tinted window. Syaoran huffed, fiddling with his cell phone as a means to entertain himself – as a means to distract from the problem.

It helped a bit…

…but not for long.

The phone then started to vibrate. Carelessly, Syaoran flipped open the top and pressed it against his ear. "Moshi, moshi," he said lazily.

"Thanks for ditching me today," a voice hollered from the other line.

"Eriol…" Syaoran grunted.

Eriol nearly froze when Syaoran called him by his first name, but dropped that thought as he had better things to yell about.

"Because of you Terada-sensei had to take me home!" Eriol bellowed. "Now let me cue you in on what happened, well, it was pure hell in that car that's for sure. We were listening to pretty gay music stations, like country and old-old country!" He groaned in embittered reminiscence. "Can you believe it? He also made me pay for the fare, as in gas money! Damn, never knew how much I hate this teacher. Not even, he's just a study hall instructor…"

"Aa…" Syaoran sighed, tracing his index finger on the window pane to collect condensed water in his nail. He made an outer circle, two horizontal dots on the inside for the eyes, and a frown underneath the dots. Then he smeared in 'Syaoran' next to the art of doom. Yup, this was his face, his frown-y face.

"Uh, dude," Eriol brought him back, "you sound like you just had diarrhea."

Syaoran chuckled blandly. "Perhaps," he slurred.

"Oh, come on man! What's wrong with you?"

"Besides being immensely annoyed with you, I think I'm perfectly fine, thanks."

Eriol heaved from the other line. "Fine! I'll… I'll have to talk to you tomorrow then. In the meantime, I hope your bad mood goes away like the flush of the toilet, kay? Take care, ja!" Before the conversation even started, Eriol knew Syaoran was at his worst mood. By worse, he didn't mean yelling and threats included, he meant a blithe tone, broken up sentences that didn't mean anything!

Judging by how detached Syaoran sounded, Eriol knew his messy haired chum was overwrought with tribulations the boy would rather resolve on his own than with the help of friends. With this said, Eriol must disappear quickly to a faraway island with coconuts to feast off of… mm, wicked random but necessary.

When the doldrums turned up, Syaoran preferred to be alone and secluded from the others. It'd been this way ever since.

"Bye."

"Bye…" Syaoran bid inaudibly.

Click.

After that, the limo veered into the elongated driveway, stopped, and then the door opened. Wei was standing outside, his shadowy forming holding the door open for Syaoran. Syaoran muttered his thanks and stepped down, looking up and around the mansion as if something was missing. He shrugged faintly and continued up the steps. Wei walked briskly in front of him to get the door unlock. Syaoran waited solemnly.

As Wei held the door open, Syaoran said to him, "Tell mother I'm skipping dinner. I'll head up to bed earlier than usual." He smiled in assurance, "Don't worry, I'm feeling a tad bit tired. It has been a long day, after all."

We nodded curtly. "I understand. What shall I say about Sakura-san?"

Syaoran's face hardened. "Anything will do as long as Mother doesn't freak out."

Wei bowed to Syaoran as Syaoran trotted up the stairs. He yawned into his hand as he slowed down to a steady pace to his room. Just as he found his room, he saw from his peripheral vision the door opening slowly. Syaoran picked up his head to scrutinize.

"Meilin… why are you being so secretive?"

The door opened fully to reveal a stiff Meilin as she came out. "Secretive? I'm not being secretive."

"Okay… good," Syaoran said gruffly. "It'll do the whole world a lot better if people stopped pretending and just be themselves."

Meilin smiled tentatively, nodding in agreement. "Anyways, Aunt Yelen wanted me to tell you to be on your best behavior."

He suddenly sneered at her. "W-Why?" he ridiculed.

Meilin huffed in an aggravated way. "Didn't Sakura tell you? After all, she knows this person. Really well, too."

Syaoran quirked an eyebrow, curiosity piqued. "Who," he croaked, forced to clear the hoarseness in his throat to begin again, "…who is this you speak of?"

Even if Sakura didn't tell him any information prior to this, he would've gladly accepted every detail coming from Meilin's mouth, although her gossips tended to be on the exaggerated and spiced up side, it didn't matter for the time being. Syaoran usually found truth in them one way or another. The answer he sought for all afternoon would finally suffice, if need be enlightened with Meilin's somewhat false embellishments. Almost regrettably, Syaoran paid heed for the long-winded story to come.

But…

For the first time, Meilin was clear-cut with her answer.

"This man I speak of happens to be Sakura's big brother, you know, the stand-in for that absent chemistry teacher, Machieka-sensei, or whatever." She grinned, "I'm surprised you didn't hear about it." Then she mused to herself, giggling. "Ah, Ito-sensei… he's so ideal!"

She giggled some more, to which Syaoran raised his eyebrows at.

'Her oniisan…' He thought. '…As in brother… no wonder they were talking in the backroom.' For all he knew, it must've been personal, and wasn't something he should eavesdrop on, which he didn't… as much as he wanted to. Syaoran felt a little better after having that part explained. But what about the 'Sakura scrapping' him part?

That one, he didn't get.

Syaoran's mood suddenly turned dark… so many, many mysteries… behind this girl.

He then concluded to himself, and looked over to his dazzled cousin, almost forcibly. "Tell Mother I'll have dinner then, I'm feeling hungry." If Ito-sensei was her brother, then he'd be a perfect candidate for an interrogation. Syaoran had much he wanted to discuss about. Over supper, he'd have all the information he wanted to know.

'No more secrets, Sakura…'

-

-

Notes: O oh! Where have Sakura run off to? Why have Yue easily agreed to help her? Why didn't Meilin juice up her story? Will Sakura's secret be revealed? If so, how will Syaoran react? Tune in next chapter. From here, takes on a faster pace. Be glad folks! The story is finally moving along.