All That Glitters
Syaoran watched his girlfriend with deep affection as she giggled innocently and twirled underneath the pale pink sheet of cherry blossoms raining down on them from the trees above. He allowed himself a brief smile of pride, and shoved his hands into his trouser pockets.
"You know what Syaoran-kun?"she asked, returning to his side with flushed red cheeks and sparkling eyes.
"When I was um, younger…"He grinned at her – knowing her well enough to know she meant this was still quite a regular occurrence. "I used to pretend that the blossoms were confetti, and I was getting married." Syaoran raised an eyebrow.
"That's um, sweet…"Sakura hit his shoulder playfully for the applied insincerity of that sentence.
"It's a natural thing,"she defended herself. "All girls do it. Tomoyo-chan, Chiharu-chan, Naoko-chan, Rika-chan… I bet even Meiling did it!" Syaoran rolled his eyes mischievously.
"Yes I happen to know first-hand how obsessed Meiling was with marriage and weddings!"Sakura took him pleasantly by surprise by kissing his cheek, in a slightly possessive fashion. He blushed lightly, and she lowered her chin and eyes, grinning to herself.
"How did you do in your PE assessment?"she asked comfortably, looping her arm around his and leaning right against him.
"Okay,"Syaoran said with a straight face, extracting his arm from her grasp and placing it around her shoulders; he grabbed for her now free arm with his and intertwined his fingers with hers. "How'd you do?" he asked, looking slightly down into her face, smiling lightly. "Shorty," he teased.
"I aced it as well,"she smiled, knowing him well. "The sprints and hurdles."
"Sure you didn't use the Dash Card?"Syaoran teased, and she looked up at him in mock indignation.
"Hoe! You know I'd never cheat like that!"she declared, pulling slightly away from him.
"I know, I know,"he murmured, pulling her back into a tighter embrace and kissing the top of her head in a devoted way.
"Ooh,"she cried, as she realised where they were nearing on their walk, and dragged Syaoran to the edge of the hill's summit, where the view was traditionally picturesque. "And here," she continued with her childhood anecdotes. "We used to pretend we were flying." She momentarily pulled apart from Syaoran, and stood as close to the edge as she dared, on her tiptoes with her chin pointed upwards and her eyes closed. Syaoran shoved his hands back in his trouser pockets, and scanned the peaceful horizon of the small Japanese town that he now called his home.
"It's getting late,"he murmured, rolling a small dirt clod around on the ground under his shoe until it crumbled into dust. Sakura fell back slowly on the heels of her school-shoes, and opened her eyes wistfully.
"Syaoran-kun,"she murmured, without turning around. "It's the end of Spring festival soon…" Syaoran simply grunted. "And I know you don't like…" Syaoran flinched, then finished for her.
"Dancing. Sakura, I…"
"Syaoran-kun,"Sakura interrupted, wailing and clenching her fists childishly as she swung around to glare straight into his face. "Whenever we go to these things, everyone else is dancing, and I'm trying to coax you out of a corner! And when I dance with Yamazaki-kun, or someone else, you sulk!" Sakura pouted, but her tone softened as her short-lived exasperation diffused. "Hoe, I'm sorry Syaoran-kun… but I would think if you cared about me at all…"
"Sakura, don't be stupid, you know I do,"Syaoran snapped back, edgily. "Rampaging Clow Cards I can handle, but I can't dance," he stressed, his face protectively stony; without emotion. "I'm not going to fight with you about this," he continued, folding his arms. "And I DON'T sulk," he sulked.
"It's not hard,"Sakura pressed, determined to 'win' this one; she was fed up, and wasn't going to watch the traditional dances from the drinks table like she had for the past three years. "You just put your arms around me and sway – then we can get away with it – I'm not saying you have to learn Japanese festival dances Syaoran-kun, I'm just…" Sakura's voice trailed off and she shrugged. "Okay, let's just go. But promise me you'll think about it?" The Chinese boy rolled his eyes and nodded.
The rest of the short journey was strained, and it punctuated with a cool kiss on the cheek.
"You know Li-kun, the ancient Samurai tribes of Northern Russia had a system,"began Yamazaki, and Syaoran's ears automatically pricked up; even with five years of experience behind him, Syaoran still gravely took Yamazaki's advice and his farfetched stories as fact. "The young men of the tribe would act reluctant, and unexcited when they asked the ladies to accompany them to festivals and celebrations. Then, they used the low expectations of their lady friends to surprise them with gifts. Then they usually asked them to marry them, but I'm not saying you have to go that far," finished a grinning Yamazaki, in awe of his intelligence. The nearby Chiharu tossed her light brown hair over her shoulder and rolled her eyes.
"You idiot. Li-kun, don't listen to him,"she laughed, but Syaoran was already staring straight ahead of him with glassy honey eyes.
"So, what you're saying is that I should act like I don't really wanna go, to Sakura, but actually plan for it to be a really good night?"he asked slowly, deep in thought. Yamazaki beamed and nodded, and Chiharu sighed and rose her arms up in the air in a bewildered fashion. "You mustn't say anything to Sakura," frowned Syaoran, and Chiharu laughed.
"Oh I dunno… Sakura-chan is my very good friend…"she teased in a sing-song voice. Syaoran rolled his eyes and thrust a few yen notes from his pocket into her hands.
"Oh go buy a stuffed animal,"he grunted. Chiharu beamed, and made a zipping motion to her lips before dragging Yamazaki off to Twin Bells. Syaoran turned, startled as he heard the familiar voices of his girlfriend and Tomoyo. Daidouji… he thought, before for some unknown reason, he dived into a nearby bush and began to spy on the two girls. I need Daidouji's help on this, he thought to himself. But how can I get her away from Sakura?
"Syaoran-kun!"yelled Sakura, from the other side of the concrete sitting area of the park. "I know you're there!" Syaoran froze.
"Are you sure, Sakura-chan?"Tomoyo gently asked, staring at the unmoving bush. Sakura nodded, uncharacteristically angry, before striding over and glaring down at the boy, who was curled up with his legs under him.
"Sakura, you're not still mad about yesterday are you?"Syaoran asked, standing up and brushing leaves and mud off his knees. Sakura sighed.
"I'm not mad Syaoran-kun, I'm just… irritated. And the next time you try to hide from me, just remember I can sense your aura easily within a ten mile radius."Syaoran smiled sheepishly, and Sakura kissed him cutely on the nose.
"You two are adorable,"laughed Tomoyo, camcorder pressed to face. Sakura stuck her tongue out, and startled as she heard the large clock chime.
"Hoe, I'm late!"she wailed, slapping her helmet back on her head and fumbling to do up the clasp. "See ya later!" she called, raising a hand in farewell as she bladed away towards the entrance to the park. Tomoyo sighed, and packed her hand-held video camera into the bag that was hanging at her side.
"So what is wrong Li-kun?"she asked gently, and Syaoran laughed uneasily.
"What makes you think there's something wrong, Daidouji?"
"Well, correct me if I'm wrong,"smiled Tomoyo, taking a seat at one of the park's round tables and gesturing for Syaoran to join her, "but Li Syaoran doesn't generally reside in bushes." Syaoran sighed, and sunk on to one of the hard wooden stools.
"Okay Daidouji, I need you to do something for me…"Tomoyo frowned daintily.
"What's wrong?"she repeated, in a worried tone; Syaoran exhaled nervously, and ran his fingers through his untidy brown hair as he placed his elbows on the picnic table.
"Sakura will probably ask you to make her kimono for the festival-"
"Aie!"squealed the suddenly excited girl. "Sakura-chan was so disappointed this morn-"
"Yeah, yeah I know,"interrupted the irritable Chinese teenager. "Just… don't." He rolled his eyes at the dark-haired girl's confused expression. "No, I want you to make her the outfit, but don't tell her you are."
Tomoyo nodded gravely, and Syaoran groaned. "Look, just make her the most beautiful yukata ever… and don't tell her about it."
"Oh! You're going to surprise her,"nodded Tomoyo, wisely. "I'll do my very best, Li-kun. In fact I'll get started straight away!" Before Syaoran could run for it, Tomoyo pulled out a large notebook and began jotting down ideas at the speed of light. "Okay, do you want a traditional Japanese style? Or maybe it would be more effective if I brought in some Chinese geisha style? What do you think Li-kun? Li-kun?"
Tomoyo blinked and looked around at the empty table. The boy was nowhere in sight but his dust cloud still hadn't settled. She shrugged, and returned to brainstorming.
"Hoe…"Sakura fumed, hugging a large heart shaped pillow to her chest as she sat on her bed glaring at her telephone. "Syaoran-kun…" she growled to the innocent phone. "Ring me up and tell me we're going to the festival or you will NEVER hear the end of it," she vowed.
"Alright! Power Advance 3! Level 107!"whooped Kero from across the room where he was clinging to the games console controller. "Ha! I bet Suppi could never get this far!"
"Syaoran!"snapped Meiling, making the boy wince and hold the phone further away from his ear. "You're being totally ridiculous! Cuh, you can do martial arts, but you can't dance. That's just being pathetic." Syaoran grinned at his cousin's tone. "You danced with her ONSTAGE in front of loads of people when we were both there that summer with the Void Card," Meiling added sensibly.
"I was acting then Meiling, and it wasn't like I had a lot of choice."
"Well just snap out of it Syaoran – it must be serious because it takes a lot to get someone like Sakura mad."Syaoran laughed slightly.
"Sage words of advice again, Meiling,"he teased. "So how's the new boyfriend?"
"Jealous?"Meiling teased back. "Fine, but concentrate on your girlfriend. And all of you come and visit poor old me in Hong Kong one day soon!"
After a few more exchanges, Syaoran hung up the phone, and stared at it again. Okay so how do I ask her to something, but at the same time pretend I don't wanna go at all? Hmmm…