Last chapter. I actually wrote this whole thing the morning after the last update, but I wanted to leave it for a while. Then the document manager was down, and it sorta slipped my mind until just now.
It's not even really a chapter. It's more of an epilogue. Oh well.
Disclaimer: I do not own Card Captor or anything associated with it. All rights to Card Captor Sakura and affiliated products belong to CLAMP and the other proper entities.
Summary: If there is a secret in the middle of nowhere, does that mean that no one will ever find the truth? Having just moved into remote Tomoeda, Syaoran immediately finds himself in the midst of something so strange that he can't even begin to describe it.
Sakura didn't turn up for another week.
Frankly, Syaoran was worried; not that she was in any imminent danger, but it was simply not like her to be absent for this long. She was always hanging around, making fun of him in any number of ways. He found that he missed that. Had he done something to upset her? Did she not want to bother with him now that the truth was widely known? He had a guess as to what had happened to her, but he didn't want to get his hopes up.
All the same, he had to know.
And so that was why, a week and a half after Sakura's disappearance, he found himself on the bus into town, one destination in mind. Alighting at the nearest bus stop, he hurried along to the facility, wondering if it was even visiting hours yet. It was only about ten in the morning, but he'd decided that he would wait until he was allowed in if they refused him.
He was in luck. The woman behind the counter nodded and smiled at him as he signed in, telling her what he was doing. He declined her offer of help; he knew where he was going, he said, and left the reception desk to traipse the corridor in search of one particular room. It had been a few weeks, but he remembered the way.
She was still there. Sakura's body was still hooked up to the various machines that had kept her alive for almost nine years; there were still wires attached to monitor her heartbeat, still tubes going in and out of her body, still an IV in her arm. As it had the last time, it caused Syaoran to avert his eyes for a moment. Once he'd seated himself next to the bed, he – with shaking hands – took her hand and began to talk.
"Look, I don't know if you can hear me…" he started, "…God, I don't even know if you're here… but…" he looked at her, "…I… I hope you are." He managed to get out. "Maybe now, if your spirit is back where it belongs… maybe you can wake up now." He half-smiled, looking up at her face again. Even white as a sheet, with various medical instruments going in and out of her body, she was really quite pretty.
He refused to allow himself to think of where that thought had come from, lowering his gaze to her hand and continuing with "It'd be great if that happened, you know. There are a lot of people who would give anything to see you wake up. Tomoyo-chan, for one. You know, she's always talking about you. Well, I know you know that, since you heard her, but…" be babbled, "…well, she misses you. And your aunt is a nice lady. She misses your mother a lot; did you know that? And Eriol-kun; he's a cool guy. I think he'd like you." His voice choked up here.
His gaze shot up to her face; had he imagined it, or had he felt a slight pressure on his hand, like she'd given him a weak squeeze? Raking in her form, he could see no other signs of moment, and decided that it was only wishful thinking on his part. "And…" he managed to force out, "…well, I really miss you, Sakura." He bit his lip. "I like you a lot." He admitted. "Heh," he laughed at himself, refusing to admit that he was about to cry, "just my luck, huh? Falling in love with a ghost." He shook his head, disgusted at himself. "I must be the stupidest guy on Earth."
There was some silence after this. Syaoran, for the life of him, couldn't think of what to say – the silence stretched on for about five long, uncomfortable minutes before he stood, ready to leave…
…and was stopped dead in his tracks at a rather strange sound coming from behind him.
Whipping around, he could see Sakura's body thrashing about on the bed. The monitor was going wild, telling him that her heart was under some stress, beating almost twice as fast as normal. She was clawing at her neck, thrashing from side to side, gagging on the tubes that used her oesophagus as a passageway. The thing that startled him the most, though, was that her eyes were wide open!
He stood in shock for one eternal moment, before running into the hall and screaming, "Nurse! Nurse!"
What followed next happened so fast that Syaoran barely managed to breathe. He was told to wait outside the room while the nurses took to removing the immediate problem, since it appeared that Sakura could breathe on her own; they removed the tubes, holding a glass of water to her lips so that she could get some liquid into her dry mouth. She gagged a little on it, but managed to swallow most of it before shaking her head and refusing any more.
Then the ambulance arrived not long after. Sakura was wheeled out, much to the astonishment of everyone else in the building, propped up on the bed – she was still too weak to sit on her own – and looking around her wildly. Most stared in shock. A few people cheered. By the time that they were at the front door, they'd gathered a following of residents and nurses, all eager to see her off.
Syaoran watched, hanging back as they loaded her into the back of the ambulance. He'd just decided to catch the next bus to the hospital and find her there, when Sakura caught the arm of a paramedic as he was passing her, and frowned, trying to speak. The paramedic had to lean down and strain himself to hear her, but stared at her in astonishment when she was done. Finally, at her – silent – urging, he hopped out and looked around. "Hey," he called to Syaoran, "she wants you to come." He jerked his head toward the open doors. "Jump in."
Perplexed, Syaoran obeyed. He found that Sakura was staring at him quite intently, looking both confused and delighted at the same time. He realised that it was a lot for her to take in; being invisible in a crowd of people one week, and then being the centre of attention the next.
What followed was even worse than at the nursing home. She was taken into the ICU and examined by doctors for almost four hours before they declared that she was in absolutely perfect health, much to everyone's shock. She was relocated to a regular ward, the nurses given instruction to check on her every hour in case she happened to slip back under, and to make sure that she was comfortable; she was still too weak to move on her own.
Syaoran sat down at the seat next her bed, finding himself unable to tear his gaze from her face. For the life of him, he couldn't think of what to say, but found his cheeks burning at the look in her eye – it told him that she'd heard everything that he'd said just before she woke up. Everything.
She strained to speak. Leaning closer, so that his ear was just a fraction of an inch from her mouth, he managed to catch her rasp – her voice was scratchy with disuse – out "Thank you… for… everything, Syaoran… and I… like you too."
Six months later, the two of them walked through the park in town, eating ice cream and chatting away. Sakura's cheeks had regained their healthy colour, and her voice had fully returned. For the most part, things between Syaoran and Sakura were the same as they had always been; she teased him mercilessly, and he attempted to take it in stride, ignoring her barbs – only now he did it with a good-natured grin and the occasional quip in return.
Tomoyo still couldn't get over the whole thing. Sakura had told her everything about her time 'in a coma', including the fact that Syaoran had known her since before she woke up. Tomoyo had gushed that it was like a fairytale – "Yeah, a fractured fairytale." Syaoran had grumbled, to Sakura's amusement – and how it showed that the two of them were meant to be. Syaoran's cheeks had almost caught on fire.
Eriol had just whistled low and said that they were all lucky that Syaoran had come into town in that case; otherwise she could have haunted that house forever. Everyone agreed with him, even if some were more vocal about it than others.
On Sakura's part, she felt that she couldn't have had better luck. Syaoran had saved her life – she felt this in the literal sense; she knew she wouldn't have woken up if he hadn't given her that pretty large incentive. That week in the darkness inside her own body was terrifying. She was immeasurably happy that she'd been able to force herself awake.
Although, she joked, she kind of missed being able to walk through walls.
As the legal owner of Syaoran's house, she'd allowed the family to continue living there, and had instead moved in with her cousins. She was currently trying to catch up on her schooling, since she had been rendered comatose since the second grade. Astonishingly, she'd tested right into the eighth, and was currently in the middle of finishing the ninth; she had proven to be an extremely hard worker, wanting to make up for lost time.
As it grew dark, the two of them slipped in between a few trees. Syaoran had his arm around her shoulders, hers around his waist. She was still in the middle of rehabilitation, but she was able to walk around like a normal person; she just wasn't able to run great distances, or perform many athletic feats, much to her disappointment. But still, she reasoned as the two of them sat on a tree stump in the sunset – technically, he sat on the stump and she sat on his lap – things could have been worse.
At least she wasn't invisible anymore.
And therein concludes Invisible.
I couldn't believe when I looked at it last week that it had been over a year since I updated this story. With finishing up school and starting work, I guess my writing just got left behind – especially now that I've begun to play an MMORPG again (whenever I disappear for a long period of time, you can pretty much assume that I'm playing Dofus). I've got little bits and pieces floating around on my (new) computer of new and old stories, but I want to see if I can finish what I have before I start something else.
Anyway. That's this story finished. Only four more to go. -sigh-
Thanks for reading!