Trials of Love

Shichan Goddess

Chapter 17

To Have and To Hold

 "What did you do to him?" Sakura cried, throwing herself through the makeshift mirror, and was surprised when she suddenly landed directly in front of Syaoran's room. His door was ajar, and Sakura pushed it open slightly and stepped inside. Tomoyo, her entire face crumbling into a mask of despair, was leaving the room.

"Tomoyo! What happened? What's going on?"

Tomoyo brushed past her and continued to the door without speaking.

"Tomoyo!" Sakura exclaimed, frustrated, and attempted to grab her. Emerald eyes widened as her entire hand went through Tomoyo's arm.

"W-What?" Sakura gasped, examining her hand. She tried again, to no avail, and gained the same results.

Tomoyo left the room, and Sakura was alone with her thoughts, until a cold, slightly mocking voice startled her.

"Surprised, Card Mistress?" She called out as she glided into the room soundlessly. "They can't see you, or hear you. You gave yourself to me."

Sakura said nothing, watching the figure warily, eyes flickering from it to Syaoran's pale form lying on the bed. 'So still…' She thought. 'Almost as if he were—no! He can't die! He can't!'

The evil incarnation smirked as it saw where Sakura's gaze lay. It slinked purposefully to Syaoran's bedside.

"Don't you dare touch him!"

"Worried that I'll go back on my word, Card Mistress? Really…" It tutted. "You should know better. I promised that I wouldn't touch a hair on his head. And who needs his hair, when I can have his mind?"


"Now, now, Mistress, that's not very polite, now is it? You wouldn't want me to become…" It took hold of an invisible strand and seemed to pull on it. Syaoran's heartbeat grew slower, and he gasped for a breath that wouldn't come. "…agitated, would you?"

"Just leave him alone!"

"Oh, but I am, little Cherry Blossom. I just supplied the setting. It is he that holds the decision of living or not."

"What did you do to him?" Sakura questioned quietly once again as she took a protective stance near Syaoran.

"Your dear Xiao Lang is in a coma right now. But in his mind, he is an alternate reality, a reality in which you do not exist. He is the master of the Clow Cards, and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. And you know, of course," She smirked, "How power and greed can corrupt mankind. He has the option of having all of this, including, I might add, a lovely wife…or you. He can choose to stay in this dream world or go back to reality, where all that awaits him is pain and suffering. All he has to do is betray you. There is a wedding happening at this very moment inside his head, and all he has to do is say yes. And then…he will die."

"He won't betray me! He would never betray me!"

It raised an eyebrow in bemusement. "Are you sure of that, Mistress? What do have to offer him here? Love?" It sneered. "This will prove that even the purest of hearts can be corrupted with greed. Even now, he remembers little about the outside world. With every breath he takes, he treads closer and closer to death. Use this time that I bestow upon you to say your goodbyes, Mistress. But be grateful. Because once he dies, you are free—devoid of your powers, but free." She disappeared as silently as she had arrived.

"I could never do it, Syaoran." Sakura murmured as she fingered with his silky strands of hair. Live without you. It would be like living in hell for decades on end. I think that's why she's doing it. She knows that the best way to make me suffer is to live here…without you. That's not really living. I don't think I can do it. If you die, make sure you save a place for me, because I'll be joining you soon."

She choked, smiling through her tears as best she could before her smile too crumbled. She leaned in closer. Her velvety lips met his for a split moment, before she turned to go. She glanced back, and whispered breathlessly, hopelessly.  "I love you."


'I love her. I love…'

Memories suddenly engulfed him like a tidal wave, and felt almost as if he were drowning in them.

"Do you think I stand a chance with Yukito, Syaoran-kun?" Worried emerald eyes peered up at him, and he felt his heart shattering.

"Yes, I do, Sakura."

A bright smile lit up her pensive face and she bounced off. "Arigato, Syaoran-kun!"

He gazed at the spot where she had stood long after she had left, heaved a sigh and gave a small, sad smile. "He would be a blind fool otherwise."


"Here. I want you to have this." He thrust the crudely made teddy bear into her hands and ran.

Then, at the airport…

He was given one in return. And with it, a promise.


Syaoran heaved a huge, weary sigh, as he flopped onto his bed at the Li estate in Hong Kong. After resting his eyes for a moment, he rolled over the side of the bed, and grabbed the phone off its hook. He sat up as he pushed in the memorized number with practiced ease.

"Mushi mushi?"

"Sakura?" He questioned.

"Syaoran!" Sakura squealed over the phone. Syaoran grinned at her enthusiasm.

"So, how are you doing? How was school today?"

"Ano, Syaoran, nothing has changed since you last called…yesterday. And today is Sunday. Are you all right?"

"Aa." Syaoran laughed, running his hand through his hair, embarrassed. "Gomen, Sakura. I must be more tired than I thought."

"How is the training?"


"Hoe. And if *you* actually admit that you're having a hard time…" Sakura eeped.


The phone calls were usually hours long, but neither seemed to care. The phone calls were his salvation, his goal at the end of the day. And with each phone call, they learned something new about the other, and it brought them closer still.


They lay underneath the cherry blossom tree, exhausted, and gazed up at the twinkling stars.

"Do you think we'll be together until we die, Syaoran?"

He was silent for a moment, observing his cherry blossom, who it seemed was feeling especially mortal and vulnerable tonight.

"No, Sakura,"

She stiffened next to him.

"We'll be together for much longer than that."


And even now, her lovely voice filling his ears and his heart. "I love you…"

"Do you take Meiling to be your lawfully wedded wife, Li-san?" The priest questioned hesitantly once more.

 'I love her. I love…Sakura.'

"No." The reply was nearly in a whisper, but the clan had no trouble hearing it. The gasps of shock and anger resonated throughout the hall.

"Li-san?" Came the uncertain calling of the priest as he peered at him anxiously.

"I said no." This time, Syaoran's voice was louder, confident. His tone was laced with grim determination. He turned to the stunned and saddened girl by his side. "I'm sorry, Meiling. I…cannot spend the rest of my life as a lie. I don't love you. I…" He faltered, remembering her loving gaze, her laughter, and her glowing emerald eyes. "I love Sakura."

The world suddenly seemed to spin, and the images and faces of friends and family were suddenly pulled into a black void, leaving him in darkness. There! There was the light, and he clawed towards it, through the levels of pain that seemed to amplify with every struggling tug he made.

He opened his eyes.

'When did I close them?' He wondered absently.

His gaze was blurry at first, but after a bit of blinking, it soon cleared up. He stared into the faces of Eriol, his mother and sister, and Tomoyo.

"W-what?" He managed to mutter, his throat sore and dry.

"Shh, lay still, Syaoran. You've been in a coma for two days now. We—we thought for certain for a few moments that we were going to lose you." Tomoyo murmured sadly.

"Yeah," Kero joked, "I was *this* close to getting you out of my hair—hey!" He exclaimed, as he was whapped by many different hands.

"But-how? I was just about to…"

"To what, Xiao Lang?" His mother questioned.

Syaoran gave a small chuckle that sounded a bit like a choked sob. He continued to laugh, though it hurt his sides to move, to breathe, to think. But he could take the pain. He could take anything, so long as he remained in this world with Sakura.

…Speaking of which…

"Where's Sakura?"

This time his query was not answered by confusion, but instead by silence. Syaoran was not sure which one bothered him more.

Eriol cleared his throat, and gulped audibly when Syaoran's glare intensified.

"…Well?" The amber-eyed teen growled menacingly, taking in his surroundings with a suspicious glance.

'Everything seems normal…Eriol and Tomoyo. Check. My mother. Check. Kero, looking as annoying as usual, check. Pain.' He winced inwardly to himself. 'Check. Definitely check. Sakura…?"

"Well, you see," Eriol stammered, "Syaoran, she…"

Syaoran waited patiently, and his left eye developed a tick as the seconds stretched.



"She went after the evil witch lady by herself!" Kero finally blurted out, and was immediately snatched out of the air by a quick Tomyo, who saved him from the fate of being strangled to death by Syaoran's twitching fingers.

"*WHAT?!*" He roared, and everyone in the room winced.

"We didn't know what she was doing until it was too late!" Kero tried to defend himself.

Syaoran growled and sat up painfully, clutching his side. "Some guardian you are." He muttered viciously, and Kero fell silent.

"Where are you going?" His mother questioned hysterically.

"After," Syaoran growled as he shoved his feet into his shoes. "Sakura."


Sakura watched gleefully from the portal. "I knew you could do it, Syaoran! I knew that you wouldn't betray me!"

The figure shrouded in darkness scowled. "I must admit that this has been the most unexpected turn of events. However, since he lives, you continue to be mine. Either way, I win."

Sakura tossed her head back defiantly. "No. That is where you are mistaken. You lose. I would die a thousand deaths, if he would live."

"Oh no, Card Mistress. No. There is no need for such dramatics. There are other ways. I promise you that." It smirked, a new glint in its eyes. "Yes, I promise you that."


Syaoran Li was *not* happy. Not only was he unable to protect his precious Cherry Blossom, but they also had actually restrained him and locked him in his bedroom so he couldn't follow.


"Now, Li-kun," Tomoyo murmured soothingly. "You can't just leave. You have to regain your strength."

"Let. Me. Go!" He shouted at her, furious.

"Not until you calm down. This is for your own good, you know."

*End flashback*

But that wasn't the worst of it. It didn't end there. Oh no. Not only was he stuck in the room, restrained; he was locked in this hellhole with HIM! The stuffed animal.

'Oh,' he wondered woefully. 'What have I done in any of my past lives to deserve this?'

And at the moment, the stuffed animal was snoring.

Quite loudly.

And he just would not shut up. He couldn't whack him on the head with his restrained wrists and feet, and he couldn't shout- he had tried, but his already hoarse voice was nearly gone.

'Kami-sama,' He grumbled. 'I could sneak out of here, and he'd never even know.' He continued to grumble for a second, and then froze, his mind assessing his last comment. He smirked, as he brought to mind the spell that he and Sakura had worked on after the erase card. His soft melodious voice began to chant the words softly under his breath.

"Ancient spirits, sorcerer's spin

Come to me; grant my whim,

Upon the sacred, holy, stones,

Transport me-skin and bones,

Past the never ending clock,

Tock tick, tick tock,

Through the void of time and space,

Leave of me here, nary a trace."   

And with a flash, he was gone, leaving a sleeping Kero and loose ropes in his wake.

A/N *Cackles evilly* Thought I was going to make him marry Meilin, didn't you? I'm not *that* evil, don't worry. I love S+S all the way! ^_^ I am, however, not opposed to killing off a character to make this story a tragedy…*Hums and examines fingernails*

God, I'm evil.

Thank you ever so much for your extremely kind review, Windy-chan! It inspired me to get this out as soon as possible! *Blushes* It was absolutely lovely what you said, and I appreciate it! *Hugs Windy*  Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you also to Animefreak242, who left a lovely review.