DISCLAIMER: I don't own CCS or CLAMP. Characters used without permission.

To Catch A Falling Star: Epilogue

A Goodbye to Love
by Ekai Ungson

The halls of the church quieted when a young man stepped up to the podium.

They all knew this boy, he who stood there, ready to deliver his speech before them. He had been the one who knew the girl they were mourning most of all. He loved her most of all. He had held her above all else, and they all knew that such pure love must not end in this tragedy.

But it did.

And so they looked up at him.

They could see it in his eyes.

He was feeling a world of pain.

He spoke.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I first met Kinomoto Sakura when she and I were fourth graders at Tomoeda Elementary. I had just arrived from Hong Kong then to follow on my mother's wishes. Sakura came off instantly as weak and unreliable, and I hated her on sight, which is very judgmental of me. But that's what I saw.

But the girl set out to prove me wrong.

She equaled, if not bested, many of my abilities. Anything I could do, she could do a lot better, and sometimes it irritated me that she who I thought was weak actually had some gumption hidden in her. And it wasn't just that.

In one year I realized that Kinomoto Sakura was a lot of things that I wasn't and could only hope to be.

And so I began to hold a grudging respect for her, because she was real, and nice, and she helped whenever she could. She had become a fixation in my life, without even trying.

She and I became a tandem in the succeeding two years, helping each other out. And I began to see just how good a person she was.

In the third year I realized with a start that I had begun to need Sakura. And I realized also, with some horror, that I had feelings for her. Strong feelings I couldn't dare acknowledge.

I don't know what got me, really. She had been just SHE. She had captured my heart in the exact same way she did everything. Brilliantly.

I loved her for her spunk, I loved her for her determination. I loved her for her kindness and simplicity and her gentleness and her unwavering faith. But I loved her most of all for her strength and her weakness, at the same time.

Sakura was strong as she was determined, and she could do anything she set her mind to. She could stand alone in any situation.

But she was weak and needed me to protect her. And she would only call for me to catch her without fail, come hell or high water.

I fell in love with her, and by some miracle of God she fell in love with me.

But things would never always be so perfect.

Seven years ago she and I got into a monumental argument that caused me to leave Japan and return to Hong Kong. If only I knew the truth.

Because that same year she was diagnosed with leukemia.

I found out the truth eventually, only just this year. And I regret to say that I wasn't there for her when she really needed me to be. I didn't know. She didn't want to let me know. She pushed me away to keep me safe from the pain of losing her eventually.

I wish she hadn't done it.

Sakura died in my arms two nights ago.

I will remember her always as cheerful and bright and sunny, hyper, fun. I will remember her kindness when she deals with others and I will remember the fire that kept her going even when the chances were against her.

I will remember her unwavering faith in me, and my ability to protect her and catch her when she fell.

I will remember that she loved me to the point that she would let her own feelings be sacrificed for my sake.

And I will love her for all eternity.... beyond forever.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And somewhere, up in the skies, an extraordinary young woman smiled.

-The End-