Ryoko One: Dammit, I dont own CLAMP, card captor sakura, ect. heck, I dont own anything at least company wise> so you can't sue me. Okay, thats my ranting. Enjoy the story, and tell me what you think.

Aki no Genso
Chapter one.

The sun filtered in through the reed blinds into Tomoyo's bedroom. She pulled a piece of her thick hair behind her ears, and she sketched a few designs, adding dashes of yellow and copper orange. It was one of those lazy crisp fall days in Kyoto. The kind that make you want to stay at home, and watch the leaves drift slowly to the ground in the puffs of breeze.
She had lived alone in an apartment for one and a half years now, sense she had started her college life after graduating high school. Tomoyo looked up momentarily, to gaze at the scarlet Japanese maple outside her open window on the third floor. A whisper of wind blew, and a few leaves scattered daintily to the ground. Her appearance hadn't altered much sense she was a young girl. Her thick black hair had perhaps grown longer, and her face a more mature and womanly appearance about it, and she had filled out. But all these were elements of growing up, as any person eventually does.
The window was open, and the cold afternoon air made her snuggle underneath her covers even more as she listened to the sounds of the outside. A car went by, and some people down bellow were idly chatting about the upcoming holiday season. Tomoyo lived in an older part of Kyoto, where the bustle of cars was not as frequent, and instead the sights and smells of something old and forgotten took place. She could easily walk from her apartment to her college, but most of the time she preferred ridding on her trust worthy bike as she sped through the narrow alleyways, filled with brightly colored zinnia's in terra-cotta pots and the smells of freshly cooked fish.
These sights and smells reminded her of where she grew up, which seemed far away now. Now that she had come to Kyoto and was in college everything seemed different, as if she had looked at the world from a completely different perspective by turning it upside down and side to side. Kyoto was the center of fashion, which Tomoyo majored in. Her teachers told her that she had great promise if she worked hard, and now that she wasn't preoccupied by Sakura as much, she often spent hours beyond hours in room drawing away, much to her cat's, Meiru's, contentment.

Sakura had returned from China with Li a few weeks ago, after visiting Li's family and friends, and now they were taking a leave from school to visit the sites of Japan with her brother and Yukito. As she listened to the voices down bellow she thought of the four wandering around the quaint country towns, until she was interrupted by a phone call.
She sighed, unhappy that the pleasant quietness was now broken, as she reached across the bed to the phone. As she breathed into the phone she kept her eyes fixed on the tree outside her window, as she absent mildly stroked Meiru's soft fur.
"Hai, Moshi Moshi, Daijouji desu."
"Konnichiwa Tomoyo-chan!" a familiar voice chirped into the phone.
Tomoyo smiled and began talking to her old friend, Sakura.

By the time she had hung up the phone, she had learned a great many things. The first of which was that the four were taking the bullet train from Tokyo down to Kyoto to have a visit for a week. The second she learned was that the party would no longer be four; but five. Sakura, however had refused to tell her who they had 'mysteriously' met in Shinjuku. The third was that they would be arriving tomorrow at 3:30, and if possible she could meet them at the station. She had agreed, of course.
Tomoyo looked back at the window, happy and yet sad that they were coming. Whenever she saw Sakura she wouldn't get over it for weeks, it just seemed to disturb her life style. She would sit and brood over Sakura, or perhaps fantasizing about her, and cursing herself for letting it get to her. Tomoyo really didn't love Sakura as she did before, but there was no one else she could love in that way she had loved Sakura, so she convinced herself her feelings remained the same as they had always been. She shook her head, saying to herself that Sakura was her best friend, and she should never be sad that Sakura was visiting. However, as much as she hated to admit it, Sakura and her had grown apart. She shook her head once again, and knew that deep down in her heart they really hadn't, and that it was the separation of living 100 miles away that caused this.
She consulted her bedside clock. She didn't have any classes until 9 pm, so she might as well start cleaning for their visit tomorrow.

The next day went on without any differences in Tomoyo's schedule. She got up early, and went to her seven o'clock piano lessons, even though she was better then the teacher, although no one cared to admit it. So began every Sunday in Kyoto, and from the piano lessons she would jump on her bike and whizz down to the University.
The day was warmer then yesterday, but not by much. And at two thirty Tomoyo hurried home and took a quick shower and changed into cotton gold colored dress with accents of cream and sky blue. This dress was one of her creations she had dreamt up the fall before for her final in sewing class. It was obvious that it was her work, for it fit Tomoyo's structure perfectly, and looked like the highest quality out there on the market. She changed into a pair of cream stockings and slipped into a pair of black shoes before grabbing her thick warm gray coat and her small wallet and rushing down the stairs to hail a taxi.
By the time she arrived at the station it was three fifteen. It was always good to arrive early, was one of Tomoyo's rules. She sat down on a bench and consulted her watch. Twenty minutes to go. She looked around and watched the busy people walk by, glad she wasn't one of them.
Her peaceful life suited her. When she was young she had enjoyed the adventures her and Sakura had shared with the Clow cards, but some how she felt strangely left out of the cosmic circle. Even Sakura's brother shared a role in Sakura's destiny as the Clow Mistress. The only thing she could do was supply a never ending amount costumes and make Li and Sakura a couple. However, now that both of her missions had been carried out, she left even more alone. Life had never been the same after the day that Li returned from Japan. Of course, everyone acted like nothing had changed, but secrets lay lurking everywhere. By the time Touya had turned 19 he had told his father his feelings for Yukito, and soon after they had moved in together. Sakura was shocked by this, and for a while it was very uncomfortable between them, but eventually life became "normal" once again. Normal for Tomoyo was accompanying Li and Sakura to amusement parks, and movies, but at the time both of them had raging hormones that it just turned out to be uncomfortable for all.
As the years went by Tomoyo's love for Sakura weakened and weakened, until finally they were just 'best friends', which is what Sakura had always seen her as, nothing more. Of course, Tomoyo had dated, but all the boys were so typical and held no grace or charm with them, and after 2 years Tomoyo had given up. In the back of her memory however, she still held on to Sakura, afraid to reach out to anything else.

She looked up suddenly, from her trance of years gone by, and quickly consulted her watch. It was three thirty five. Soon she would see them, and for the next week her life wouldn't be the same.
She stood up and waited, scanning the hustle and bustle of the crowd, until finally she saw a glimpse of something between the crowd that resembled Sakura's face. A moment later a flash of Yukito's, until finally she heard a cry of joy, "Tomoyo-chan!" as Sakura pushed her way through the crowd to embrace her friend.
"Konnichiwa Sakura chan!" Tomoyo laughed as the two held there embrace. It had only been a couple of months sense she had seen them during summer vacation, but it seemed like an eternity.
"How are you?" Tomoyo asked, looking at Sakura, "Its obvious to tell that you are the happiest girl alive." Tomoyo continued as she glanced at Li who flushed and looked down at the floor.
Sakura laughed, and said, "Sou desu ne?"
The two turned to the rest and Tomoyo bowed respectfully. Sakura just smiled as she observed the five.
Tomoyo blinked suddenly, remembering, "Wasn't there supposed to be someone else with you?"
"Oh, he had to go make a quick phone call." Yukito explained hurriedly.
The five of them exchanged glances.
Touya casually turned around, his thick eye brows raising a quarter of an inch, "Oh. Here he comes."
Tomoyo leaned forward bit to see past Li's body. There she was met with a stranger who was mysteriously familiar. The man walked up, his eyes smiling, as he surveyed the scene. The group was quiet, until Sakura inputted.
"Tomoyo chan, you remember, of course, Hiiragizawa Eriol, ne?"
Tomoyo's eyes widened. Of course. How could I not have recognized him?? Hirragizawa Eriol still looked the same as he had always done, except a bit more mature in his features, and taller. His hair remained in the same classic style, and from behind his small designer lends his eyes glinted as if filled with hidden knowledge he chose not to share with the world.
Tomoyo smiled warmly, it was indeed a shock to see the last person in the world she had expected.
"Of course. Hiiragizawa san. Its so good to see you." Tomoyo replied as she bowed, rather too politely.
He spoke quietly, "Yes it indeed has been to long."
The group seemed to very quiet, as if no one breathed, and the station no longer real. The people no longer walked by, and the world no longer ceased to be except for the six.
Yukito coughed politely, and said, "We better hail a taxi to our hotel."
Tomoyo picked up one of Sakura's bag's that Li was struggling to keep hold on to. He mumbled a non descript "Thanks." As Tomoyo wondered allowed, "I thought perhaps you could drop your luggage off at the hotel, and perhaps join me for some tea. I know its been a long trip, so I'm sure a nice cup of tea will do you good in this weather."
Sakura's eyes gleamed, as she answered, "Tomoyo chan, you know for a FACT that none of us could resist your tarts and cookies."
Tomoyo added wisely as they began to walk, "Sakura chan, that is common knowledge."
From behind her she heard Eriol chuckle as he swung his luggage. He questioned, "Am I invited to your humble abode?"
Tomoyo turned around, her mouth smirking, "Why ever would you not be?"
Hiiragizawa Eriol just smiled knowingly as the walked out into the crisp autumn air.

By the time the six reached Tomoyo's apartment it was 4:10. Tomoyo explained as they climbed the three flights of stairs, "Its easier just to take the stairs, the elevator takes forever and a day."
She seemed like the only one besides Sakura and Eriol who weren't breathing heavily as they climbed the steep stairs. After all, both Touya, Yukito, and Li still had their thick coats on.
She unlocked the door, and the six of them walked in.
She couldn't have picked a more perfect time for anyone to come into her apartment. The golden autumn light streamed into her dining room, and her mobile of jagged colored glass tinkled in the light breeze as it set the room into a multicolored fantasy.
The thick white carpet had an array of rugs in deep colors of eggplant, and an almost black green, however the whiteness of the carpet and of the walls gave the room a peaceful feeling.
In the center of the room was a small table with six chairs around it. An intricate lace table cloth splashed over the edges looking as if it wanted to swim to the floor. In the center of the table a vase full of fresh white daisies hung over the edges of the china were hungrily.
She smiled, and motioned her hands for them to sit down. Yukito, Touya, and Li took off their heavy coats, and draped them rather nonchalantly over the edge of chair that sat by the door. As they sat down the three exchanged looks, as if they were not used to this, however Eriol and Sakura looked completely at home as Eriol fingered a petal of a daisy, and Sakura studied the pattern on the napkins.
The glass mobile tinkled as a soft breeze swept through the apartment.
Tomoyo bustled around the kitchen as she commented about the daisy's that Eriol was studying, "Those are probably the last ones of the seasons."
Sakura's head snapped up as she commented, "I suppose you could always get hot house ones, I mean, there isn't that much of a difference, ne?"
Eriol spoke, "Yes, but hot house flowers never seem real for some reason, and their petals waxy."
Sakura looked towards Tomoyo, and waited for another comment, instead she nodded her head as she placed the tea pot on her stove, and opened a shelf above her head.
Li spoke a little embarrassed, "A very nice apartment you have here."
Touya added, "Very modern."
Tomoyo leaned her head to the side as her hands searched above her head for something.
"You don't like modern?"
Touya stiffened a bit, and added, "I like traditional japanese, but Yukito here is trying to convince me that modern and japanese style have much of the same aspects."
Eriol nodded, "That's true."
A quiet hung over the table. It was a very uncomfortable silence, until Tomoyo sliced it by saying, "So, how was your trip, tell me all about it."
And soon after that the apartment was no longer filled with the whispers of the breeze, instead the playful laughs and sighs of a forgotten trip being recalled from the sands of time. By the time the tea yelled shrilly, the four had told them about nearly a week of their trip. Tomoyo smiled, and continued on with the pleasantries, but as she listened, she realized more and more, that she enjoyed the solitude she had been experiencing for the past months.
Her eyes frequently were drawn to Eriol, who remained quiet and alone even though he was surrounded by people.
He feels the same way I do. Uncomfortable and he wants to be alone with his thoughts.
She kept this observation to herself as she served the tea, and brought out a plate of devon cream and scones. The conversation seemed only to be involved in the four and the Tomyo and Eriol sat quietly listening, their minds in another place. Far, far away.
It was nearly dusk by the time they left, and yet there were so many things she had meant to ask Sakura, that had seemed to die from her mind.
Eriol was the last one to leave, for he insisted that one; he would find his way to the hotel on his own, for he had a few people he wished to visit, and two; he had never tasted such good tea in Japan.
The two remained quiet as Tomoyo silently sipped her tea as she strained to watch the leaves fall through the sky until it was two dark. Eriol on the other hand at times got up and walked around her apartment, tinkling the glass mobile, and looking out at her view.
They had not yet spoken a word. It was not an uncomfortable silence, instead it was one of solitude, for both of them were unaware of the other, their minds focussing on other things.
Eriol thought back to England, as he imagined the wind swept meadows, and the deep gray sea that never ended in destroying the rocks that bade at its door step. He thought of Kaho, her body being eaten slowly, slowly, by the worms that infested the ground, and her beautiful hair now becoming one with the earth. And in a sick perverted way Eriol thought of the world as the biggest cad of them all, being both man and woman as he eternally made love to them until they were blown by its power and became no more, only dust in which the globe could laugh at, for being so foolish as to allow themselves to fall prey to him..
It was strange how her death still affected him, and as he slowly grasped his own hands to pull himself out of the void, his eyes rested on the face of Tomoyo. It was obvious that over the years her sorrow seemed to no longer show on her face, only a look of calmness remained there, but one could tell by the way that she stayed perfectly still that she dreamed of something more. Some passion that would never be hers. And it was obvious, as he gazed at her that this passion was Sakura.
He closed his eyes and asked himself, Should I go in? And yet, even if he didn't want to as he opened his eyes he was already there. In her mind. He looked back into the past memories, of her and Syoaran talking of his feelings for Sakura, of Syoaran's return, of the distant nights she spent alone, and of her fantasies that terminally haunted her.

He wrenched himself out of this dark place, and contemplated that strangely the two were the same, in that love had drained from clasped hands, and been given to another.
Eriol gently placed his hands on her shoulder, and she jumped as she looked up at him.
He smiled, ever so gently, and whispered, "I think I have over stayed my welcome."
She got up, and proclaimed, "What are you talking about?? Of course you haven't!"
He grinned, and said, "I will be staying in Kyoto for a month, I hope to see you again. Perhaps you will give me a tour of the Kiyomizu temple, I have heard so much about?"
She smiled, and she herself almost believed it was sincere, "I would love to, just call me. I am usually home, after four."
He nodded as he drained his cup, and walked to the door, whimsically adding, "The tea was delicious. British?"
Tomoyo said startled, "Of course." as the door slowly closed.

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Well, there you have it. Chapter one of Aki no Genso. Just to let you all know, Aki is fall, and Genso(o) is allusion. So the tittle of the story is "Illusion of Fall."
This promises to be a slightly darker and adult story. When I say adult, I don't mean like rated R, or anything, but it will be not as bubble gummy and will be more realistic. It doesn't seem so, huh? Ah, oh well. Also, note: sorry for mis-spelled words, and stuff like that. I am just naturally stupid when it comes to spelling. >.

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