A/N: So, this is it! Last chapter! I'm conscious of the fact that some of you really won't like it – some of you will, hopefully – but I wrote what I felt I needed to, so please don't get mad if you wanted to see something else happen!
One quick thing: If anonymous reviewers want me to send them a link when I update, that's fine, but you need to leave me an e-mail address before I can do it!
That's it from me … enjoy the end!
She'd not even spoken to him today.
It wasn't her fault – from what he could gather from the way members of staff kept asking her things, the boss wasn't here and she'd been left in charge. She hadn't had a spare minute since he arrived here an hour ago. He'd spent a whole hour staring into his cup, wishing for just one more smile before he had to leave.
He didn't want to leave.
He felt a surge of desperation within his chest, and he clenched onto the table edge in a vain attempt to repress it. It didn't matter if he wanted to leave or not – he had to.
If what they had had was real love, true love, then she wouldn't have been able to forget him, surely? Or maybe, if he went and spoke to her, told her of the things they'd done and what they had been to each other, it would come back to her. It had to, right? Nothing as trivial as magic could have wiped her memories clean forever – in the end, true love conquered all, didn't it?
He looked down to see that his hand was shaking.
He shook his head, trying to free himself of the childish notions. He wasn't living in a fairytale. This was real life, and in real life things happened that weren't fair and bad things happened to nice people and good didn't always triumph over evil.
And an ancient magic such as that of Clow Reed couldn't be broken. Not even by her.
But when all that was said and done … shouldn't he still fight for her? Wasn't that what you did when you loved someone – you went and did everything in your power to ensure you could be with your most precious person?
… Not if the only thing you could do might very easily destroy her.
If he told her the truth, he'd make her aware of the hole in her subconscious. And he didn't even want to think what that could do to her state of mind. Or even worse, she might not believe him. After all, why should she? He was a stranger to her.
She was happy here. That was what mattered. Her smile, her laugh … they were the only things that mattered to him.
"You're going home today."
He looked up to see her standing by his table, and was surprised that she had even remembered.
"That means I won't see you any more." She had her hands behind her back, a small pout on her face.
"You never know what could happen," he replied, trying to sound cheerful as he placed his now empty coffee cup back on the table.
She smiled at him, but the smile was noticeably less bright than before.
He got to his feet, every muscle in his body protesting the movement. His steps became heavier as he headed for the door, wanting nothing more than to turn back and scoop her up in his arms and never let her go.
This is why I didn't want to keep coming back …
His head hurt and his heart hurt and suddenly it felt like he was ten years younger, standing on stone steps and watching in horror as the girl he loved more than anything looked up at him with a blank face and curious eyes. It had hurt so much then. And walking away now hurt almost as much.
"Have a safe trip!" she called after him, and he turned back briefly to wave goodbye.
At least I got a goodbye this time, he thought bitterly.
He had to keep moving – he couldn't stay here. And so he kept walking. He kept walking and went through the doors and then, just like that, it was over. He'd left her behind for good. He'd done it before and survived. And more importantly, she'd survived. It was better this way. It had to be this way –
He stopped when she called his name, and turned to find her right in front of him.
She fiddled with her fingers slightly, looking down at the floor so that her bangs obscured her eyes. Her hair was down today, and the auburn strands caught the sunlight until they looked like a halo. "I – I just wanted to say, that, um … I'm really glad I met you."
His face smiled as his heart broke in two.
"And … um …" As though seized by a fit of courage, she stretched up on her tiptoes and pressed a kiss to his cheek, her hands clutching on to the sleeve of his jacket for balance.
His face heated up abruptly, and he touched the spot she had kissed in disbelief.
"Promise me you'll keep smiling, okay?" she asked, that beautiful smile on her face as she took his right hand into her left, slipping something into his coat pocket with her free hand.
And then, just like that, she was gone.
Syaoran turned and kept walking, purely because he didn't know what else to do. If he went back in there he'd never leave, and he couldn't let that happen. It wasn't until he got back to his hotel and was preparing to take his suitcases down to the taxi that he remembered the something that she had placed into his pocket.
He reached in and withdrew a small, folded piece of paper, smoothed it out with trembling hands, and read the message she had left for him:
'Kinomoto Sakura: 03-4865-7721'
"But you know, things are never as bad as they seem. Don't worry – everything will be all right. I'm sure of it."
… Maybe it would be, this time.
"Even if I lose this feeling … I'll just fall in love with you again."
– Li Syaoran, CCS Movie 2, 'The Sealed Card'.
A/N: And there! It's done. You have no idea how tempted I was to make the ending a sad one and have him leave her behind forever … but it's Sakura and Syaoran. I couldn't do that to them! For anyone that's interested, this was in fact my original ending. I like it because it's quite bittersweet – she'll never remember him, but at least they have a second chance of sorts. Also, I apologise if the phone number is inaccurate for someone living in Tokyo. I did research it, but Google isn't always the most reliable of creations …
Finally, here is the snippet of my new fic that I promised (which is actually probably longer than some of the whole chapters of this story!). I hope you like it!
Sakura folded her arms on the table and leant the side of her face on her elbow, looking up at him imploringly. "Tell me about her."
For a while, he didn't know what to say. He felt it would be unfair, to describe a persona that technically was that of the girl before him. He felt as if he'd be making up someone who never existed, even though she did – he been there to witness her existence and all its glory. But then she smiled at him, and he knew he could deny her nothing. So he decided to just tell the truth.
"She … she was the most beautiful thing," he blurted out, a small smile forming on his face. "She had this way of looking at you … like you were the most important person in the world. She made you believe that you counted, that you were worth something. And … she had this smile … this beautiful smile that made you think that everything's going to be all right. And she smiled at everyone. Even people like me, who didn't smile back."
"You smile!" Sakura insisted, wide-eyed.
"I do now. I didn't before I met her."
Sakura sighed wistfully, and Syaoran could imagine the kind of fairytale heroine she was creating in her mind's eye. "She sounds amazing."
"She was," he agreed. Then he corrected himself. "She is."
There was a pause between them, Syaoran musing on the girl he knew as Sakura sat, wondering what could have happened between two such perfect people.
Suddenly Syaoran sighed, a bitter smile on his face. "I should've known … people like me don't deserve to have someone like her."
"Don't say that!" Sakura cried almost angrily, bolting upright and shifting so that she was kneeling before him, looking right up into his eyes. "You are the most – the most incredible guy I know! I can't understand why she wouldn't want to be with you …"
"It's not exactly like that," Syaoran protested, defending the girl he knew almost instinctively although he knew there was no point. He'd never, ever be able to explain.
Sakura's face fell, the fairytale dashed before her eyes. "… She can't be with you?"
Another pause fell as Sakura contemplated what he'd said. The idea that this perfect girl and the incredible man before her couldn't be together seemed so sad, too sad. She'd always lived in a world of happy endings, and the idea that not everyone got one tore at her inside. It wasn't fair that someone as selfless as Syaoran had to hurt so much.
And then she remembered the offer he had made her, and life seemed even less fair.
She placed her hands on his knees for balance as she leaned up further, looking into his troubled eyes. She wanted nothing more than to take that pain away. "Do you think it would hurt less if you forgot her?" she asked him softly.
"I have no idea." It was the truth – he didn't know. Was it worse to live with the memories of the one who saved you and know you were the only one who remembered? Or to live believing you'd never been saved at all?
He looked at her, and in that instant he knew that none of that mattered. She was the only thing that mattered.
"But if it would save you … then it would be worth it."
Hope that's got some of you interested, at least! I plan to start work on it soon, and hopefully the first chapter will be up before Christmas. Christmas Day is also my birthday, so things get a bit hectic for me then! But I will do my best!
Thank you so, so much for all your wonderful reviews and comments – they really are appreciated and I feel honoured that so many of you took the time to review this little story! A special thank you to those of you who went to the trouble of reviewing each chapter as it was posted.
See you soon!