Innocent Steps

She walked forward with a single goal in mind. It didn't matter if the wind was cold, it was dusk and it was impossible. It didn't occur to her that she was wishing with all of her heart. All that she knew was that she must walk faster without daring to fly.

As the old and antiquated mansion on top of the hill came into view, she broke into a run. Down the lane and up to the old gates where she'd stared up at his residence with wonder in her eyes because she didn't know what drew her to him. The house called to her just as he did.

Sitting beside him had given her shivers of the good kind. Seeing his eyes land on her on the first day with eyes as blue as sapphires was surprising. It was flattering because the lady in her stirred. Girl as she was then, she couldn't deny that she liked his attention.

She pushed open the gates.

He looked after the garden and the house with meticulous care. His kindness permeated the whole estate. She smiled. Magic came from him. She noticed that the flowers, the tree and even the dusk was lovelier here. His love for beauty was too exquisite to bear.

How long was he gone? How much had she endured? How much more can they take?

The years were not kind to them. Breaking off an engagement, falling out of a solid relationship- it all looked the same. They were making their choices and enduring the consequences in return. It seemed to her that she bore the weight of the world. She couldn't imagine what it must feel like for him.

He told her that their fate was in their own hands. She could make or break her destiny. Create the Cards anew, marry Syaoran and live happily ever after- it was all in her hands. As the most powerful mage in the world, she could do anything.

But where will he be? In that world she would never see him again. They'd have occasional long and awkward phone calls under the pretense of him checking on the balance of power. They'd bump into each other in the street and pretend that they didn't pull any of Fate's tangled strings.

Not seeing him would be too much to bear. Not loving him would break her.

The door opened before she could knock.

Glancing up, a moment's hesitation held her back, she saw him open his arms. She saw the same smile, same sapphire blue eyes and the same warmth as she lunged forward to nestle in the long-awaited embrace.

"I missed you," Kinomoto Sakura murmured with tears leaping in her eyes.

"As I do," Hiiragizawa Eriol replied, very gently. "Long time no see, my love."

Love and longing were more exhilarating than magic. How they waited for this! How they loved each other from afar, even before they knew!

She didn't doubt that all of her innocent steps had always led towards him, as she was supposed to.