Disclaimer: CCS belongs to CLAMP.
This is written as a gift fic in one of the CCS writing communities in livejournal.
Everything is a blur to him, just flashes of random images along with muffled voices and the faintest scent of antiseptic and tea.
His head is reeling, like the pull of gravity against something so small when it falls from the very top of a tall building, and his lids feel heavy, like steel; and in a struggle to open his eyes, he gropes the sheets, and feels calloused warm hands hold his as if to pacify him.
For a fraction of a second his hand relaxes, and the next thing he knows something sharp pierces through his skin and he loses consciousness.
The party is at nine, at an indoor garden of a newly opened hotel in the city. It is all a coincidence, nothing the two of them could have planned, nothing he could have predicted. He is there because of a colleague at the university. She, on the other hand, is the hostess' only daughter.
She has no idea he is in town - for the last five years (and they say the world is small) - and is very surprised to see him right in the middle of a sea of strangers. He is just as surprised. They have never been close, though they did share the same circle of friends back in grade school, and then he has moved, and they have completely lost contact of each other. It is one unexpected reunion.
Wine, laughter, and good music fill the gaps of years no contact between them within the span of an hour and a half. The feeling is strange - a mixture of tranquility, fondness, and nostalgia - like a long forgotten childhood memory resurfacing in the midst of an endless pit.
He is not sure if it is the effect of the wine or having not seen her for years, but at that time he thinks she is the most beautiful thing that has ever graced the earth, simply dressed in black and a shade of pink which reminds him of flowers in spring, her hair long and flowing.
Has she always been so beautiful?
She has to leave the party early to prepare for an important meeting the following day, but her driver is nowhere in sight, so he gallantly (and gladly) offers to drive her home (despite her insistence of taking a cab instead).
He is such a charmer, and the night is beautiful, and she agrees in the end; and it is on their way to the parking lot when the first snow falls, and like kids they dance in mirth, laughing.
They say that the first fall of snow is not just any event. It is a magical event.
He thinks it is the beginning of love.
He is surprised to learn from his colleague that she is engaged to be married to another man next spring. He has thought the platinum ring he has seen in her finger the other night is a figment of his imagination, the effect of the wine which has made him think she is so beautiful (but then again she had always been beautiful in his eyes, with or without the wine).
He is most surprised when he has learned the name of her husband-to-be.
He cannot believe it. He and just about everyone else know that years before the engagement her husband-to-be is madly in love with her best friend (just like her).
"A marriage of convenience?" he says to himself, burying his face in his hands, unable to make sense of the situation. "And I thought that was a thing of the past."
It is a man to man talk- just him and her fiancée, at a local coffee shop opposite the newly opened hotel where he has danced (and shamelessly flirted) with her in a party a couple of nights ago. 4 pm sharp.
The snow is falling incessantly, and yet they have opted to sit in one of those little tables right outside the shop, a giant blue umbrella fending off the snow as the sun sets beautifully.
They both order for tea along with slices of chocolate cake - which remains untouched until the end of their conversation which does not end too well.
He wants answers, but all he got are questions, and a great feeling of regret and sadness.
"What about Sakura?"
"S-She was the one who wanted this."
"What do you mean?"
"Her power is taking her life away."
"Impossible, I would have known if that would be the case."
"That's because she didn't want you to know. She knows you'll blame yourself."
"I wish I know too."
He drowns himself in wine, tea, and more wine. He remembers walking out of the bar singing and swaying with his car keys in his hands, but the rest is a blur to him.
The next time he opens his eyes he finds himself in a pallid hospital room, a vase of magnolias by his bedside table along with a small note.
He has only gotten to read the note when he is about to leave the hospital. He has been too dizzy, too preoccupied. Get well soon, please take care, you're in our prayers - cards always have the same messages, and it isn't like it will make any difference, he has told his guardians once. He sounds so pessimistic, and his creations have a hard time believing it, but so did he.
That day though is different. His body strangely felt light, his head clear, and with a small smile in his freshly shaven face he flips the note and read it.
"Forget what?" he says to himself, carelessly discarding the note back at the bedside table and taking his bags with his guardians.
I'm sorry. Please forget about everything, the note reads.
Side-notes: There are a lot of gray areas in this fic. Hopefully, the details aren't too vague. This is a two (or three) part story. I'm still writing parts of next chapter along with my pending updates.
I wanted to try writing something different, and really enjoyed writing this. Typing it is a totally different story. I apologize in advance for typos.
Comments are appreciated.