Near But Far Away
By: DEVILZ CHIK
Summary: Staring at her is all he does. He wishes everything to be back to normal and he hopes that she thinks about him too. Hostaged inside the school, the two try to bridge the gap between them, only to fail miserably. SS
Chapter 1: Stupid, stupid people
Syaoran glanced from his lunch to the counter to see the girl buying bottled water. She was with a friend of hers, Tomoyo. What would the world be with the two of them separated? As usual, a smile was on her face.
What could they have been possibly talking about that she couldn't stop smiling and looking interested?
He saw her open her wallet and take out a bill that she handed to the canteen lady. From where he was sitting, he caught a glimpse of her yearbook picture last year in her wallet. Pfft, it was her most infamous fake smile.
You should not blame him for stating a bold statement because he fairly well tell if her smile was fake or not – due to his hobby of watching her at school everyday.
It's not that he's a stalker – he's not like that at all.
He merely watches her just for the heck of it and because of the fact that he refuses to let go. He wants to hold on to her forever even though she doesn't do the same thing for him.
Since she had let go of him completely, the moment she decided to do it.
"Many things changed. And I don't think anything will work out. Don't take this the wrong way, okay? I still like you – it's just… I think we shouldn't be together anymore."
It had been three months and six days since that day. It was late afternoon and they accidentally met by the lake. Both of them did not expect to see the other there. Although they were close and honest to each other when they were in a relationship, they never shared to each other their 'secret place'.
Their greeting was awkward. Syaoran remembered giving Sakura a quick hug before they quietly sat down on the grass.
The awkwardness did not stop there. It stayed with them for another thirty minutes or so and both of them were so lost in their own train of thoughts so they did not bother to end the tension.
While sitting there with her, he knew it was coming. He knew that they were slipping away from each other and it was only a matter of time that one of them would speak up about it. He had to admit things were much simpler when they were not officially together.
It was so much simpler when he was just a friend of hers who texts her every night, talks to her all the time and chats with her online every day.
Things were better that way but no, he had to ask to her to be his girlfriend. He just had to. He was scared at first that she would say no but she agreed. She said yes and they were almost living happily ever after.
But other suitors had to be in the way. She was too nice to flat out tell those not-so-discreet guys to stay away from her. She also did not welcome the idea of him dealing with them his way.
He became jealous every day as guys approach her. When she frowned at him for displaying his over-protectiveness, he decided to give her some space. Enough space so she would not think that he was choking but this just became the opportunity for those big-headed guys to talk to her some more.
It was not as if their relationship was a secret. Those guys were just challenging him – testing his patience.
And after a while, he just lost his last strand of patience. He became a little too possessive.
He checks on her more than her own brother does and tells her who to talk to and not talk to.
It came to a point where they would fight by the end of the day and not speak to each other for almost a week until one of them gives up and apologizes.
However, their relationship never came back to normal. Syaoran was always on edge when he was not with Sakura. And Sakura felt that her free will was suddenly taken away from her.
And that was why things changed. They could not be together anymore since nothing could no longer work out between them.
They tried to stay away from each other as much as possible because they knew how uncomfortable that would be for the two of them. They did not exactly end their relationship in good terms since after Sakura had said that they should not be together anymore, Syaoran just nodded and let her walk off.
But being in the same school kept them close and having the same friends required them to be with each other in most weekends. In those weekends though, they never let their friends to leave them alone, not even for a while.
The bell rang marking the end of lunchtime. Syaoran walked to his class alone since none of his guy friends shared it with him. Sakura was his only 'friend' in that class.
Usually, he would sit behind Sakura or beside her but after their break-up, he settled on the seat on the other side of the room where she was located. Ironically enough, when the news had gone out that they were no longer together, none of her suitors approached her again.
He watched Sakura as she laid her head down on the table when after ten minutes, their teacher still had not showed up.
"Five more minutes and it will be a walk!" one of their classmates shouted. Everyone else jeered with him, except for Sakura who tiredly placed her crossed arms on the table, laying her head above it.
Syaoran smirked – she was planning to fall asleep already.
The commotion in the room was unstoppable. Few were writing uncontrollably on the board. Some guys were showing off dance moves. The girls started gossiping. Some were falling asleep like Sakura while Syaoran remained suspicious as to why their teacher was not there yet.
He glanced outside the door and some of the students from the other rooms had already gone out. His classmates saw this so they, too, went out of the class one by one.
Syaoran just stared at them disbelievingly but he did not stop them. One of the guys told him to leave as well but he chose to remain inside the room since he noticed that one certain girl had also not made a move to go out.
A girl from her cheerleading team tried to wake her up but Sakura just grunted and moved to a more comfortable position. The girl shrugged at his direction.
"I'll just call Tomoyo and the others, alright?" she told him and he nodded in reply.
Sakura and Syaoran were left alone in the room as soon as the girl stepped out. And although one of them was clearly sleeping, the atmosphere around them was too thick with tension.
Maybe two to three minutes after, Syaoran, still watching her, saw Sakura slowly stir from her short slumber. He assessed the situation and quickly calculated the fastest time it would take for him to leave the room before Sakura fully raise her head. But he ran out of time.
"Where did everyone go?" she asked him quietly, rubbing her eyes.
Syaoran was stunned for a moment, not believing that they were actually going to have a normal conversation. Their conversations usually composed of: "what's up?", "I'm tired", "Had lots of homework" and "See you."
"Sensei didn't show up," he finally replied. "It's been eighteen minutes already. Everyone left."
Sakura stretched out her arms and nodded in understanding. She then turned towards him and asked, "how come you didn't leave?"
"Your friend said she's just going to call Tomoyo and the others," Syaoran explained. "You weren't waking up and she didn't want you to be alone here," he paused. "And I didn't want to leave you here alone as well."
Sakura remained quiet afterwards and rested her left cheek on her left palm. She was staring at the board and was smiling as she read the things that her classmates wrote there. She also recognized the lyrics written there.
It was a song Syaoran introduced to her days after they started dating. She never thought that Syaoran was into that kind of music but it greatly touched her when he said that the song reminded him of her.
She absent-mindedly turned towards Syaoran. She then realized that he had been watching her all along and all of a sudden, she started feeling conscious about what she had been doing for the past few minutes. Did she look stupid just staring off into space?
She hoped not.
The uncomfortable silence rubbed on them as they cradled it inside the room. Sakura had looked away from him again and he also did the same (since he did not want to creep out Sakura).
There was nothing to talk about. They practically see each other everyday. Both knew none of them was seeing anyone else yet. It was only the first class after lunchtime. There was nothing juicy to talk about.
Suddenly, from outside, a glass shattered and panic initially went to Sakura. Where did that come from? It sounded like a window had been broken. Did someone jump off?
Syaoran immediately stood up and approached Sakura. She felt safer with him closer now. He stood in front of her protectively and took out his phone in an instant.
He dialed Eriol's number but soon stopped trying when his friend did not pick up. Sakura tried calling Tomoyo afterwards and was relieved when her best friend answered it.
"Sakura, where are you?" came Tomoyo's worried voice.
"History classroom, where are you?" Sakura asked, confused as to why Tomoyo's background was noisy.
"You're still inside the school?!" Tomoyo shrieked. "Sakura, get out of there now! The teachers are all being held hostage in the faculty tower!"
All color from Sakura's face drained out. Syaoran managed to catch Tomoyo's words and when Sakura did not reply back, he gently snatched the phone from Sakura's hand to talk to Tomoyo.
"Tomoyo, it's Li," he said through the phone. "We're going out now. Are we the only students here?"
"I'm not sure," came Tomoyo's shaky voice. "I'm with my homeroom right now outside of school. The police are still taking attendance – they haven't announced yet who's not here," she paused. "Li, take care of Sakura!"
"I will," with that, he hung up and faced Sakura with concern.
"Are we going to be okay?" Sakura whispered, looking up at him with teary eyes.
"Of course," Syaoran said but it sounded more like he was trying to convince himself as well. "Come on, let's go. The faculty tower is far from here but we should still be quiet."
Syaoran went back to his seat to pick up his bag and Sakura silently stood up from her seat and went for the door. She waited for Syaoran though and made him open the door first. The coast was clear but their footsteps were echoing throughout the hallways.
Unconsciously, after they had gone down from the third floor, Syaoran held Sakura's hand. Sakura was caught by surprise at the contact but did not let go. When they finally reached the ground floor and were approaching the front doors, they heard voices from behind them from a nearby corridor.
"Loser, did you check everywhere?" a man's voice said. The two teenagers stopped dead in their tracks and looked worriedly at each other.
"Well, clearly someone else is here," another said. "Our gadget picked up a signal."
With that said, Sakura and Syaoran slowly made their way to the nearest room they could find which was the music room. And they were only a few steps to the front door too!
They heard the two men pass the room and walk up the stairs.
Sakura was beginning to softly sob now. She broke down in Syaoran's arms who openly welcomed her. He let her cry on his chest, caressing the back of her head to help her calm down.
"Sshh," Syaoran soothed. "It's going to be okay."
Sakura sniffed and pulled away from the embrace. She forced a smile at Syaoran while wiping the tears off her face.
"I didn't imagine us to end up this way, you know," she said softly and sniffed again. "I mean, I never meant to… Oh god, Syaoran, are we going to die here?"
"No, we're not," Syaoran answered with determination, hating that fact that Sakura was crying. "Let's just wait here for a while."
"I don't want to die yet," Sakura whined.
"You're not going to," Syaoran said patiently.
Sakura still frowned, although she felt a lot better with Syaoran's words. She looked away from him as she could not face him after all she had done to him.
She was very much aware that Syaoran did not take the break-up well. According to Eriol, Syaoran had shut himself in his room when he got home that day and refused to talk to anyone. When he finally did come out, he was ranting like a madman, wishing out loud that he could turn back time to get her back. By the end of the day, he simply threw a glass of water to their kitchen wall, punched his own door (causing his knuckle to bleed) and sighed.
She regretted breaking up with him but she had to do it. They were going nowhere. She thought it was best if they would just stay away from each other for a while but under the given circumstances, they were always forced to be with each other.
Like right now.
"Syaoran," she whispered his name, her voice slightly trembling.
"I'm sorry," she slowly looked at him to see his reaction and it was nothing but blank. "I never really meant… I never really meant to break up with you. And it's true what I said back then – I still do like you."
Syaoran's heart was sinking. Invisible strings were pulling his chest downwards to the floor as he feels what Sakura is feeling right now. Fresh tears were welling up in her eyes and Syaoran had to control himself from wiping them away himself.
"I know this isn't probably the best time to tell you this," she continued. "But I just needed to say it."
Sakura was still staring at Syaoran who had avoided her eyes now.
"Syaoran," she called his name again with that pleading voice of hers. "Say something."
Syaoran turned to her sharply. His eyes were fixed on her, its intensity slowly melting her.
"What do you want me to say?" Syaoran asked indignantly. Sakura winced at the tone of his voice. "Three months, Sakura. Three months! I've been hung up on you for three months so if you want me to tell you that I still have feelings for you… Well, I do."
If these two teenagers still had feelings for each other, why the hell are they not kissing and making up? Well, you see, it would be because of the big gap they created between them and both of them did not want to take the risk of making it bigger by taking another chance.
Stupid, stupid people.
To be continued...