Summary: Eriol and Tomoyo are both desolate after finally giving up their loved ones, but maybe, there's a chance for them to find happiness together.
Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine.
In the middle of a long and bitter winter it was the only thing untouched. Tomoyo stared unseeingly into the dark blue waves crashing upon the shore, hardly realising that the same torrents were reflected in her eyes. The snow heaped in piles along the nooks and crannies in between the sand, but it would never, could never, touch the sea. And that was where she would finally belong. Past all the hurts, and past all caring. She would finally be swept away by the coldness that was slowly but surely seeping its way into her life.
Eriol sat alone in his mansion, in his favourite red armchair, pulling on sturdy black gloves. His thick winter coat was already on, and he had worn his boots earlier. He removed his glasses as an afterthought. He wouldn't need them where he was going, and he most certainly had never needed them in the first place.
Spinel and Nakuru awaited him in England. From time to time he'd feel the soft warmth that was Nakuru, or the stoic calm that was Spinel, but those weren't his own emotions. He wasn't sure he had any emotions left. He thought he should feel a little regretful at not being able to see his creations one last time, or even the glassy Yue, but that was only what he thought. There was a barrier erected between his mind and his heart, a division within himself. This was slightly reminiscent of the time where he had split into Fujitaka and himself, but those memories were better off left to the past. Yes, that was indeed what he thought.
The winter was a wonderful time to end it all, he thought bitterly. To finally recede into the cold, and become entirely unfeeling. He turned off the lights, and stepped out quietly into the snow, ancient memories drawing him to the sea with its darkly morbid siren song.
Dark tendrils of hair had escaped her elegant coif. The sea breeze made her gasp. With a vicious pull she set her hair free, and let the lavender ribbon ride on the wind. It was unnecessary. Besides, she so had many other things to think about, or perhaps nothing at all. The pointed toe of her left boot entered the frigid waters. She couldn't feel the wetness through the well-oiled calf leather, but the cold cut sharply into her, and she shuddered. She had to remind herself that this was what she wanted. Taking a deep breath, she took another tentative step forward, and another. It wasn't until the water reached knee-height that it swamped her legs in their stockinged comfort and she bit back a cry. Her Russian fur coat soaked in the saltwater like a sponge and weighed her down. Good. Her mother thought she was at that person's house. Even better. Her cell phone had been long disposed off. Here, cloistered within the depths of the sea, would be her final sanctuary.
The unusually handsome youth drew stares as he strode purposefully through the streets of Tomoeda. Eriol was a familiar sight; a brooding Eriol was not. His large eyes, made even more visible by their lack of usual eyewear, darkened from a molten violet to a stormy gray, and then lightened to a deep blue. In his mind's eye he saw her again, with her flowing brown hair and smiling eyes. As much as they had been directed to him, her smiles and her laughs, they weren't meant for him. The past few months of observation, spent cold and alone, had made that clearly evident. He was hurting, and nobody knew. Nobody could, because nobody understood. Not even she, who knew so much yet understood so little, even of her own self. He was glad for her, that she could finally spread her wings and fly like the true beauty she was, but coming back- he couldn't call it home, not without her- to an empty place was more heartbreaking than he first dared to admit. Even Spinel, who understood him so well, couldn't quite grasp the darkness amassing in his master's soul.
He stood at the crest before the shore, at the edge of the grove of rain trees waving gently in the wind. He smelt the snow in the air, and the death that came with arrival of winter. The soft breeze lifted his hair and gaze skyward, and his dead blue eyes swept the expanse of empty beach before him. A flash of colour among white caught his eye. He knelt, and saw it was a satin lavender ribbon, struggling desperately to be free from a snowdrift that had trapped it. Strange, he mused. There was only one person in Tomoeda who wore this particular shade. He raised his eyes, searching. A tiny dot bobbed far out at sea, its long streaks of hair fanned out behind it, freed from the lavender ribbon that now lay across his hand. Eriol didn't even realize what he was doing until he had dived headfirst and the shock of cold water numbed his body.
Tomoyo was singing softly to herself. Like the mermaids and selkies in fairytales, she thought, while she walked further out to sea. With each quivering step she took the chattering became worse, disrupting her angel song, but she took comfort in that it wouldn't last for very much longer. None of it would. Not the cold, not the pain, not even the hopelessness and despair from which she hoped to escape from.
The first wave washed over her head, and she was so scared, that for just one second, she fought her way to the surface. As her head broke through the water, she remembered her purpose, and then she wasn't so scared anymore.
When the second wave peaked, she rose to meet it, and let it toss her like a doll, closing her eyes and surrendering her very will to live to the sea. She thought she felt something move around her, something alive, but then she thought perhaps it was a dolphin come to bring her away, and suddenly couldn't think anymore. Her last memories were of shades of dark blue, glistening at her from unchartered depths.
His breath escaped in huge white bursts as he stumbled away from the sea. Liquid ran from his eyes; he wasn't sure if it was blood, tears, or salt water. The only thing he was sure of was the girl that made the sodden dead weight in his arms. There was an old log cabin nearby. If he could just make it there…
He did, and collapsed on the floor in a sopping puddle. He leaned against the door and it swung shut, cutting off the cold winter air abruptly. The cabin wasn't warm; it was just a loss of cold that was welcome. He narrowed his eyes at the old and dusty fire grate still packed with moldy wood, and the Power came, setting it alight. The sudden heat was startling, and he gasped in shock, but he sank back, unmoving. Only when the lips of the girl lying motionless in his lap parted in a soft moan did he snap back to reality. Eriol did move then, although it was as if his limbs had grown decrepit, and he had to snap an actual icicle hanging off his elbow.
He removed her clothes clinically, cocooning her in a thick swatch of warm blankets and towels that he had found by the door. A little colour was returning to her cheeks; that was good. He settled by the fireside, allowing himself to drip dry. Raising a shivering hand, Eriol stared at it and laughed hollowly. It was so slim and white, so delicate and long- fingered, that it was hard to believe it was the hand of an eighteen-year-old boy. He was technically legal now, and all the other kids his age would be out partying, celebrating such an auspicious event. He couldn't actually bring himself to care.
Hiiragizawa Eriol stared at the dancing flames and fell into a stupor.
Was heaven this dingy? The whimsical part of her mind asked. Then she saw the flames and the practical side retorted, of course not, she didn't go to heaven; she was in hell. It was then that she spotted a fellow sufferer.
Hiiragizawa-kun was staring mindlessly into the flames. Despite the welcoming warmth sent out in wave after wave by the cheery fire, his skin was waxy, and tinged blue. She guessed he had saved her, even though she hadn't wanted to be saved. Still, she guessed he hadn't known that, so it wasn't really his fault. She'd merely have to try again harder for the next time, when he wasn't around. She resumed watching him.
His eyes were a glassy obsidian, not the gently blue she was accustomed to. Even his beautiful hair had lost its rich lustre. Tomoyo was sure she felt a lot warmer than Hiiragizawa-kun.
"Hi- Hiiragizawa-kun!" her voice was so pitifully weak. "Hiiragizawa-kun." This time he heard, and turned his blank stare sluggishly upon her. "What are you doing here?"
Suddenly, while staring into those unnerving black depths, she realized that his reason for being here was the same as hers.
He rose from his seat and walked over to her on graceless feet. "Are you alright, Daidouji-san?"
She nodded, not trusting herself to speak, and not knowing what to say.
"That's good." He said it without any real feeling.
Looking carefully, she saw that his coat wasn't even marginally dry, and he'd only removed his glasses. Then she realized that under the sheets she was naked.
He saw her shock. "Your clothes are drying there," he told her dispassionately, gesturing vaguely to the lone chair upon which all her articles of clothing hung. Somewhere deep inside, the sensible part of her remarked that she'd always looked best in black underwear. But she pushed that thought aside and was overwhelmed by a huge wave of concern for Hiiragizawa-kun, that he should live, that the world would be a better place if he stayed. She didn't even realize that she had said it aloud until-
"That means a lot coming from you," was his cold reply as he turned back to the fire. There was a tinge of the sarcasm that came naturally to him, but it was as if a dark cloud were looming over his words. Tomoyo didn't understand. He had seemed perfectly at ease in school just a few hours prior. So had she, a nasty voice in her head remarked.
When he had returned from England four months ago, she had first thought very little of him had changed. True, he had grown taller, and the childishly cherubic features had been moulded into something akin to angelic. He had sprouted, and stood at a towering five feet ten inches, broad-shouldered, yet retaining the catlike litheness that was so uncommon in men. His aura had been darker, she had known, and she also knew of Mizuki-sensei's letters to- to that person, saying Eriol had left her, and a few months later that she was happily engaged.
It was as if the slightest thought of her pricked her already wounded heart. The floodgates were threatening to burst open.
As if he knew her inner turmoil he said, "It's Sakura-san, isn't it? That love finally became too much for even you to bear, Daidouji-san."
A thousand harsh words sprung to her lips. What about you! she nearly screamed. Who had jilted Mizuki-sensei and was going to commit suicide out of regret? But then she came to two realizations: that she wasn't even sure if it were the loss of Mizuki-sensei that had driven him to such desperate measures, and that she truly was in a much better state than he, because she hadn't yet hardened her heart.
"Hiiragizawa-kun," she began softly as revelation struck her, "I was just tired of being lonely. Even though we can be happy for that person, because that person is happy, even if it's with someone else, that is not guarantee that we ourselves can be happy."
Hiiragizawa-kun didn't move, she noticed. She also noticed that he wasn't wearing his glasses and didn't seem to need them at all.
After long moments in absolute silence she was starting to get worried. There was a little place in her heart that ached for him in the present, despite the rest of her heart being a massive cavity swallowed by the one-sided love for a certain Kinomoto Sakura. Then there was a soft sound of water hitting the old wooden planks of the cabin floor. Her first thought was that he was still dripping, and with that worry consuming her thoughts she could almost forget the events that had just passed. But then another drop followed, and another, and she realised he was crying.
To say that she was surprised would be an understatement. Tomoyo had never seen Hiiragizawa-kun come even marginally close to crying.
In her stunned state she reached up and gently touched his cheek to turn his face towards her. The liquid tears were warm, almost hot, the only source of heat in a face colder than marble. His face was as stoic as before. Only his huge eyes reflected any inking of the emotions warring within.
Tomoyo tucked the edges of the blanket securely around her, then wrapped her arms around the wet youth and let him cry. Gradually, she became aware that he was saying something.
"Kaho…Kaho…it was a mistake from the start. I should have known. I should have seen it in the way she came to me, stumbling into me from out of nowhere. It wasn't me she was drawn to; it was my power, just as it was with Touya-san. I could sense it, and I knew that was something wrong, that there was something different in our relationship after we returned to England. It was almost as if a dissipation of half my power had also brought about a dissipation of half her feelings for me. A true child of the moon, Kaho, to have feelings that rose and ebbed like the waves. And that was when I finally sought to end it.
"She felt strongly about me, but it was reinforced by the presence of my magic. When I first realized this, I just couldn't accept it. I showered her with love, attention, gifts, any and everything I could. And she responded, like an opening flower responds to the sun. But I knew, deep down, that the one she was really looking for wasn't me.
"So I left. I took Spinel and Nakuru and just left, without a word. I doubt I'll ever meet her again, talk to her, smile at her. But I watched her, heartbroken to all appearances, but then truly blossoming under the care of a man completely devoid of magic. I was proud of myself. I had made the right choice. I let her go."
His tone was so bitter, and he raised his head from Tomoyo's chest. Only his bloodshot eyes and the dark smudges under them were any lingering proof of his painful tears. The other scars were far past skin deep.
"I returned to Tomoeda. But every time I saw the moon shrine, every time I saw anything really, I thought of her. It… hurt." Suddenly all the emotion he had contained poured forth into that one word, and Tomoyo's heart ached alongside his.
"There was nowhere I could turn. Every new day it was more and more difficult to slip into the façade, and come back to an empty house, devoid of Kaho's warmth. After five years of pure bliss, Daidouji-san, I have found myself well and truly alone."
Eriol clenched his fist into his chest, and squirmed, trying to do anything to lessen the pain. But soft, warm hands took hold of him on either side of his face, and forced him to look at her. Two pairs of eyes, of such different shades of purple yet so similar in their depths of pain, locked onto each other, and they understood, they knew what it was to always be second best, to be unwanted, to be unloved. To be unable to find someone who could accept them wholeheartedly for who they were and perhaps, even then, two trembling hearts reached out to each other.
A shudder ran through his body, the external and internal cold biting, and refusing to be ignored, even for such a short period as this.
"You need to get dry," Daidouji-san said to him with sudden crispness, "You can share my blankets. But you've got to get out of your wet things first. Can you do that?" she asked him.
Slowly, haltingly, he began to remove his clothes. Daidouji-san averted her eyes because that was the polite thing to do, but because of another deeper, newer reason. He found another blanket and covered them both with it, before sliding clumsily under the covers. The layers were warm and soothing, full of the heat that emanated from her rounded limbs.
Without thinking he pulled her close in a loose hug, and then looked surprised at his movements. He could feel her naked breasts against his chest, her legs tangled in his own, and her thigh pressed against his. Even Daidouji-san looked surprised, but no unpleasantly so.
"Please," she said, voice breaking, "don't let me be a substitute. I just wanted to be loved, to be wanted, to be accepted." By Sakura, were the unsaid words ringing in their minds. "I- I-" she was at a loss for wards, for the first time in her life. But then she looked up into Eriol's eyes and knew he understood. "This could be something more," she whispered, "if only we'd let it." Her head was bowed, muffling her voice with his sturdy chest and her thick coils of hair.
Tomoyo felt Eriol's hand gently trace the line of her jaw, and tilt her face up to his. She saw now that his eyes were a brightly burning violet, not the shadowy obsidian or the coolly polite blue, but a sparkling, alive violet.
"Then let it be," he whispered back, his eyes boring straight into her. He bent to kiss her, and swallowed all her tears, bitter and sweet, swallowed her pain, swallowed her unrequited love for Sakura, and finally, swallowed all of her.
The next morning dawned clear and cold. In the misty depths of fog that clung in white, obvious wisps to the bare branches of sakura trees cruised an imposing, impeccable, black chauffeur- driven car.
"Oh, it's Tomoyo-chan, it's Daidouji-san," came the general murmur amongst the students. It rolled quietly pass. The tinted windows prevented anyone from looking in.
As usual, the car stopped right outside the school gate, and the driver leaped out sharply. However, he went round and opened the right passenger's side door. The watching students frowned at the break in routine.
"Tomoyo-chan? Daidouji-san?" came the unbidden whisper.
Instead, out stepped a graceful five foot ten eighteen-year-old with long, glossy blue-black hair. His eyes were a beautiful shade of indigo, nearly violet but not quite, and no longer hidden by silvery eyeglasses but framed solely by thick black lashes nearly too thick and long to be a boy's.
"Hiiragizawa? Eriol-kun?" came the confused mutter.
Hiiragizawa Eriol didn't appear to hear any of this. He nodded to the driver politely, and strode purposefully to the other side of the car and opened the left passenger's side door. He stretched out a pale, slender hand to the person concealed within the depths of the car. Nearly the entire school was watching, waiting on tenterhooks to see this new mystery unfold itself.
A slim white hand laid itself on Eriol's and a pair of long, elegant legs swung themselves simultaneously out of the car. Out peeked the muse's countenance, Daidouji Tomoyo's beautiful face. Her hair was down today, and fell about her like a dark mantle in loose, freshly washed waves. Her large lavender eyes saw only Eriol.
Something about them had changed. There was a new degree of warmth in their eyes as they regarded each other, and each radiated such simple contentedness in just being with one another. She smiled, the smile of an angel, and he smiled back, every bit as loving and caring as she, as he pulled her playfully toward him and fully out of the car. Yes, it was going to be a perfect day.
I am in love with these two. Edited: 130310.