WARNING: THE CHAPTERS HAVE BEEN CHANGED/MOVED. PLEASE CHECK CHAPTER TITLES TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE READING THE RIGHT CHAPTER.
Coordinate (v): to harmonize, to correlate, to fit together, to bring together
Chapter Twenty-Five: Coordinated
Tomoyo pushed herself toward the shrinking darkness, and with a shock, the darkness expanded again, renewing Tomoyo's vigor to run, but it was shrinking too fast.
Was she too late? She could only think of the adorable child holding onto her tightly. She knew she could reach the darkness easily if she wasn't carrying the child, but she couldn't bear putting him down.
No. I will not leave him behind.
She had to make it. She needed to make it.
Nakuru stopped giving Tomoyo CPR and moved her dress up to cover her exposed body.
"What-what are you doing?" Eriol asked. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" He now screamed. He refused to believe it. She couldn't. She wouldn't. He pushed Nakuru out of the way, and began anew to push air into her lungs. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO!" Don't leave me here alone. Stay with me, Tomoyo.
Nakuru backed away and shook her head, wiping tears from her face. "Tomoyo..." she whispered.
Eriol wouldn't give up. He kept pressing, and then he pulled her torn dress from her chest, looking up at Spinel. "Shock her heart," he ordered.
Spinel took a look at his master and then at Nakuru. Nakuru shook her head. "I SAID SHOCK HER HEART!" Eriol screamed out. "DO IT!"
Spinel lowered his muzzle again, and placed his paw against Tomoyo's chest, giving a larger zap than he had the first time.
Nothing happened, and Eriol, eyes now glazed over, collapsed his head on top of Tomoyo's chest. After everything they'd been through, they wouldn't have their happy ending. Even after centuries separated, they wouldn't be together.
"It's not fair," Eriol whispered as he slowly broke down into sobs again. All that time they'd wasted finding each other and loving each other. All the loneliness and heartbreak they'd both endured. It's not fair.
He'd split his soul in half just to follow her into this lifetime. His soul had waited centuries to finally be with her. The unfairness of it all was unbearable. Suddenly, a vision of Tomoyo holding a red wine glass and grinning as she watched it swirl in her glass whirled into the forefront of Eriol's mind. Her words could never feel more true than in that moment.
Eriol fought the instinct to simply drown himself in the lake to join Tomoyo in death.
"So, what's not fair? Love?" Eriol remembered asking Tomoyo.
He remembered the very ever-so-slight shake of her head, as she said, "Life."
If someone were to truly stab him in the heart, Eriol wouldn't feel it. His entire body was numb with grief.
Masaki Amamiya covered his face from the flashing lights of news cameras as he walked in the hospital entrance, guarded by a string of bodyguards.
News reporters were held back from all around. This had happened to Masaki Amamiya three too many times, as it brought back the memories of Sonomi losing her parents, Nadeshiko, and then Sonomi losing her husband.
His bodyguards led him through the lobby and to an elevator. The elevator went upwards, and Masaki rethought the last words he ever said to his granddaughter.
Perhaps he was being too harsh. Tomoyo had suffered, but Sonomi had as well. If anything, Tomoyo's life mirrored Sonomi's stride for stride. He could only hope the mother and daughter would find ways to change and make room for inner peace.
It wasn't Sonomi's fault she was an inattentive mother. Sonomi was good; she was in all senses of the word good: a good businesswoman, a good granddaughter, a great aunt, and a good person. Nobody was perfect. Tomoyo was not faultless either.
As the elevator opened, he saw the man he least wanted to see in the world. Takuya Daidouji bowed to the old man. The old man had a sullen look on his face. "I want to be left alone," he told his guards.
Understanding the orders, they all walked down the halls on both directions, far enough to be out of hearing range.
Takuya remained silent. He waited respectfully for Amamiya Masaki to speak, but pain and shame seeping through his face without filter. He'd hurt his son. Was this all worth it? He'd never truly know.
Masaki stared at Takuya for a long time, not speaking. The old man wanted to use the right words in the right way to invoke a proper reaction. "I hope you feel and understand the wrong of your ways," the old man mused aloud, before turning and walking away down the hallway. He wouldn't give Takuya the chance to find words anew.
The elevator reopened and Takuya walked into it. Middle aged and fighting the same war for the same thing he once fought his brother for - a Capitalist empire. He thought back to the conversation he had with Ren.
Ren was willing to look the other direction - to overlook his own father's ambitious flaws. Takuya then thought back to the accident so many years ago. He was reminded of his brother whom he didn't necessarily kill, but most definitely did not save. The way Daitaro stared at him, trapped in the car entreating him to rescue him.
He would have died, just the same even if I tried. Takuya kept repeating that in his mind. Sonomi was wrong: he didn't kill his own brother - but then again, he didn't try to save him either.
Takuya felt them what he should have felt over a decade ago. He felt shame.
Masaki Amamiya arrived at specific doorway and walked past guards to enter into the large hospital room. He sat down by Sonomi's bedside, and watched Sonomi unconscious with machines attached to her body.
She was stable now, they told him.
With a warmth and affection in his voice only reserved for his granddaughter, he sighed and said, "I am the one who should be in a hospital bed, not you."
It should be your husband by your side. The old man surmised. It still saddened him to be reminded of the grandson-in-law he'd secretly set Sonomi up with - the man Masaki chose to break Sonomi free of her obsession with Nadeshiko and her sick relationship with Takuya. He'd protected her then, and he would protect her now - even in his old age.
Touching his granddaughter's hand, "Just focus on getting better, I'll take care of the rest."
He got up. The body guards asked where he was going. "Take me to see Daidouji Ren."
Eriol sobbed uncontrollably. "I'm sorry, Tomoyo. I'm so sorry." His body heaved uncontrollably as he cried terribly with anguish. His forehead pressed against her chest as he cried. "I was supposed to protect you; it's all my fault."
Tomoyo struggled to breathe. She coughed up water, but felt a weight on her chest. Her body was still in shocking pain, but she moved her hand to push the heavy weight off of herself. Was she alive? Everything felt distant.
Nakuru's breath caught in her throat as she saw Tomoyo cough up, and move her head ever so slightly. Tomoyo's hand moved to nudge Eriol's still sobbing form off of her. She needed help. Nakuru immediately dragged her distraught master off of her.
Eriol felt someone touch his head lightly, but he pushed it off. He wanted to be alone. He wanted nothing more than to lay there next to Tomoyo for eternity. Nakuru tried to move him away from Tomoyo's body, but Eriol wouldn't budge. Nakuru, fed up, forcefully yanked Eriol's body off of Tomoyo's.
"Tomoyo, Tomoyo. You're safe now; it's all over. What do you want to say?" Nakuru asked. She pressed her ear close to Tomoyo's mouth. Tomoyo groaned in pain, making Nakuru finally assess her injuries.
Spinel went around and nudged Eriol, bringing Eriol's back to focus on Tomoyo. Surprised and relieved, a smile broke across his tear-stained face. His shattered world suddenly came back together. He crawled toward her, touching her shoulder. "Tomoyo," he said lightly as he tried to bring his breathing back down from near hyperventilation. "Tomoyo, what is it?"
Tomoyo winced, and then Eriol took in all of Tomoyo: the bruises across her face and body, the wringing marks around her neck, her broken clavicle, her broken - Eriol's heart broke seeing how she'd been tortured. "I'm so sorry, my love."
"I was scared I'd never see you again," Tomoyo breathed out. Tears were welling up in her eyes, and she was finally free to spill her emotions. "I'm so glad you're okay."
Eriol choked up, and he was filled with anguish again. "It was all my fault."
"No," Tomoyo smiled weakly. "It's nobody' fault."
Tears fell from Eriol's eyes; he couldn't allow himself to be exonerated. I will never let this ever happen again. He pressed his right hand on her forehead. "Go to sleep, I'll make this all better. I promise you."
Tomoyo, already weak, could not protest. She nodded lightly looking into Eriol's navy blue eyes before closing them. She could feel Eriol kiss each of her eyes, before she was swept into a dreamless sleep.
For an eternity, Eriol hovered over her carefully knitting together every healing spell he knew. This will never happen again, I promise. Swollen and bloody bruises and gashes were healed away. Broken bones were reset and knitted back to their previous sturdiness. When it was all over, he picked her up, realizing that she was soaking wet and clammy.
Spinel moved underneath to take Tomoyo on his own back, but Eriol shook his head. He held her closer. "No, she never leaves me again." Eriol transformed Tomoyo's ruined bridesmaid dress into to a sleek long black gown, and somehow managed to keep Tomoyo in his arms as he wrapped his now dry blazer around her.
He turned to the forest and started walking back, carrying Tomoyo in his arms and pressing her head close to his neck so he could always feel her breathing against him skin.
Ren laid in his bed, mulling over what to do with his father. He could never turn his father in, but he could never trust his father again either - knowing what he was capable of. He heard his door open, and acted like he was asleep.
He was expecting his father, but when the voice of an old man broke the silence, he turned over to look.
Amamiya Masaki, the man who built the Amamiya empire sat upright and regally in the chair by his bedside.
Ren moved to sit up and bow his head, but Masaki smiled and stopped him. "You need rest. You've just been in an accident."
Masaki continued. "How are you feeling?"
"A bit shaken, but altogether alright. How is Aunt Sonomi?"
Masaki looked sad and unsure for a moment. "They said she will be fine, but she has a long road to recovery."
"I'm sorry," Ren said as though he was guilty.
"Nobody is to blame for such a horrible accident. I can only thank the gods that you two are alive." Masaki commented, reading Ren's mind.
"But -" Ren knew who was responsible. The implications shook Ren's identity. His conscience felt unclean.
The old man interrupted. "Nobody is responsible."
There was a silent understanding, because both knew who was truly responsible. Masaki was pardoning his father, and Ren suddenly felt grateful.
Masaki moved in his chair, and looked to check the room was completely empty. "As it appears, there are soon going to be major company changes - for both Amamiya International and Daidouji Incorporated. I need someone to be there to take care of it all, and I had you in mind."
Ren frowned in introspection. How could this be? All that his father sought his entire life was being offered to Ren. He was flabbergasted. "Why?" He had to ask.
Masaki smiled warmly like a grandfather, "You are Tomoyo's cousin. I've known you and watched you grow from a very young age. You're ambitious like our father, but I see great and special things in you, because you're also a lot like your uncle."
"Uncle Daitaro?" Ren asked.
Masaki nodded. "Yes."
The old man paused, as though thinking over what he was about to say. "I'm going to give you an opportunity to build and grow a company much larger than the one Takuya imagined for himself or even dreamed for himself." Masaki said. "I think you know what I'm talking about."
This was it. "But. But what about Tomoyo? Why not somebody else who has more experience- Aunt Sonomi." Ren asked.
"I love Tomoyo, and I want what will make her happy. What I'm offering you, now - that wont make her happy. She will still have her say. You can rest assured of that. Also, seeing Sonomi in the state she is in, I think she should take a well-deserved break."
Ren didn't know what to say.
"You don't have to answer me now," the patriarch added. "When you've had some time to get better and think it over, you can come to me then. Don't take too long, though. I'm not getting any younger." Masaki laughed at his own joke as he got up to leave.
Ren couldn't wrap his head around the idea. "But still, why me?"
The patriarch stopped, but didn't turn around. "It's ultimately because you remind me of Daitaro."
"How am I like him?"
Masaki smiled to himself. "Like him, you have a good heart. You have the kind of love and trust that can mend families."
Ren nodded, soaking in the words. The old man was asking for more than someone to merge companies, he was asking for someone to unify a family.
Masaki turned to take a long look at Ren. "I trust you wont share what I've just said with anybody else."
The door clicked closed. Ren could see bodyguards following the old man through the glass on his door. A feeling of new calm spread through Ren's body.
Already, Ren knew his answer to the great patriarch request.
A handsome man in a tuxedo reappeared from the darkness of the forest and walked across the expansive lawn towards the light. He carried in his arm the woman that he loved more than anything and everything in the world.
"Tell Sakura and Syaoran that I found Tomoyo, and that we're leaving." Eriol ordered Nakuru. Spinel sat on her shoulder. "Don't tell them anything about what happened tonight."
"But-" Nakuru tried to protest.
"It's the happiest day of their lives. Don't ruin it for them. Get Tomoyo's things, and we will go home."
Tomoyo stirred from her sleep, and she turned her head up to look upward at Eriol. "No," she said.
Eriol, realizing Tomoyo was awake, turned himself gently to caress his face up against Tomoyo, breathing her in. A thousand visions emerged in his mind's eye. There was no denying she was his soulmate. He gently pressed his cheek against hers and he whispered into her ear. "What is it, my love?"
"Let's go dance." Tomoyo said a bit louder so Nakuru could hear too.
"No, you're in no condition to dance, Tomoyo."
"I feel better," Tomoyo whispered. "Let's go have a dance."
"No, I just -" Eriol couldn't find the words. He was choked up from everything that happened that night.
"Just one slow dance," Tomoyo begged.
Eriol was still unsure.
Tomoyo nuzzled up to him, and felt tears coming back to her eyes. She was in a horrible emotional state and she knew it, but she couldn't help still wanting just one dance with Eriol - even for nonsensical reasons. She wanted to cry, but her body couldn't muster the strength to even do that.
Nakuru and Spinel stood unsure of what to do. After being beaten to near death by their own master and surviving, they were simply relieved. Spinel looked upward into Nakuru's eyes, and shifted his head insisting they leave. Nakuru moved and put some distance between the couple. When she realized Eriol wasn't paying attention, she finally broke into an awkward sprint towards the tables full of food.
Spinel sat on her shoulder, holding on tightly. Happy to be alive, Spinel told Nakuru, "You know what, screw it all! I'm having dessert tonight!"
They disappeared into the happy crowd under the yellow lanterns and pink cherry blossoms.
"Tomoyo," Eriol whispered. The only thing that existed in his world now was her, and he could feel her trembling. He had to give in to her wishes. He kept her close, bringing his face down to hers. "After what happened, I want you to rest. What happened to you tonight -" Eriol shuddered. "Are you sure?"
Tomoyo asked for him to put her down. With reluctance, Eriol did so. He held her hand as they neared the bright lights and hum of chatter.
"I nearly died today, so I think I should get whatever I want." Tomoyo smiled, jokingly. She was trying to lighten the mood, but Eriol frowned and stoned over in shame.
"It's not funny," Eriol replied. He seemed even more grim. He looked on the verge of tears again.
"Hey, hey, hey, hey..." Tomoyo said, rubbing his cheek. "It was just a joke."
"I... " Eriol was lost for words to say.
"You know what we've never done?" Tomoyo asked, her face brightening, encouraging Eriol to brighten up his mood. She smiled sweetly and playfully in a way that only Eriol could make her smile.
"What?" Eriol asked.
"Dance together." Tomoyo laughing a little. Her voice was still quiet and meek. "Don't be so upset. I'm not mad at you or anybody else. What happened tonight, everything that happened tonight - explain it to me when I'm ready to ask."
Eriol nodded obediently. He hung on her words like a puppy.
"So...?" Tomoyo looked expectantly into Eriol's eyes.
Eriol pulled away taking both Tomoyo's hands in his. "Tomoyo, will you dance with me?" Entertwining one of his hands with hers, he pulled her along slowly back towards the reception, and through the tables and people.
As they reached the dance floor, a slow song suddenly came on.
Tomoyo fitted herself against Eriol's body. She placed her hands around his neck as he wrapped his arms around her waist. She rested her head against his chest. He rested his head on hers. They danced slowly along with the music.
"Eriol, what happens now?"
"What do you mean?" Eriol asked, calming his nerves. Tomoyo was safe at last, and wrapped in his arms. He couldn't think of anything in the future from that moment."
"You and me. Where do we go?"
Eriol smiled. "Wherever you want. Where do you want to go?"
Tomoyo shook her head, but smiled lightly. Her ear was pressed to Eriol's heart, and she could feel it beating in his chest. "When the wedding's over. Do we go back?"
"To the States? It's up to you. I will follow you to the end of the world." Eriol stroked his hand over her upper back. He kissed the top of her head.
Tomoyo smiled and was content in response, head still pressed to his chest.
A bodyguard on her phone weaved through the crowd, "Sir, I've found Miss Daidouji." She was going to go onto the dance floor and to tell her the news about her mother.
The bodyguard was about to call out her men to take Tomoyo away, but over the phone, Masaki ordered her, "Stop."
The bodyguard halted and stood there confused. She asked for orders on the phone. "What shall I do? Shall I call you back when we are on our way to the hospital?"
"What is she doing?" The ancient voice vibrated out of the phone.
The bodyguard hesitated before answering honestly, "She's dancing sir."
"Tell me, does she look happy?"
The bodyguard answered. "Y-yes, sir. She does."
Masaki sighed. Now that Sonomi was hurt and unable to take care of the company, Tomoyo's life would change dramatically once more. He felt sympathy for his great-granddaughter. "Then let her finish this dance. It can wait until after. Tell her then..."
The bodyguard nodded and smiled understandingly. If anybody ever deserved a few minutes to be happy, it would have to be Tomoyo.
Tomoyo and Eriol moved slowly to the music.
Eriol spoke, stroking his thumb against her back. "From now on, no matter what dangers or troubles you face," Eriol rested his chin on her head. "I will always be right by your side. From this day forth, I will always be there to protect you."
"You're so cheesy," Tomoyo joked. The events of that night were far from disappearing from her mind, but she had to find a way to fight her vulnerability - at least until later.
Tomoyo huffed in feigned annoyance.
"Tomoyo," Eriol nuzzled into Tomoyo's hair. "If you're ever tire of being strong... I'll be strong enough for the both of us."
Tomoyo's mind reeled back to what else happened that night aside from nearly dying. "About Clow... did you... you know...?"
Suddenly the lyrics of the song felt so appropriate.
I have died everyday waiting for you.
Darling, don't be afraid. I have loved you for a thousand years.
"I just need to know one thing." Tomoyo let the words hang for a moment. "After the memories... after Clow..." Tomoyo didn't know the exact words to explain what Eriol had done to his memories tonight; he seemed to the same to her, but she still wondered. Do you still love me?
Eriol read Tomoyo's mind, and he smiled. He lowered his forehead down, touching hers, staring straight into Tomoyo's beautiful violet eyes. He'd known those eyes for centuries, for lifetimes even. "My feelings for you will never change."
Tomoyo smiled brilliantly inferring her own answer. She tilted her chin up to give him a chaste kiss across the lips.
Brilliant happiness flowed through both of their hearts.
Eriol pulled away slightly, and pressed his cheek to hers as they danced. "You know... I realized that Clow and I were more similar than I ever knew before." Eriol smiled. "I'm okay with it now." Truthfully, he was. He felt calmed now. He was less angry, and more understanding of Clow, even thankful. "I'm glad he split his soul."
"And why is that?" Tomoyo asked.
"No reason." Eriol smiled. One day, he'd tell her. He'd tell her that she was the reason for everything and that she'd always be his savior from his inner-demons, but not today. They danced without speaking until the song was nearly over. "I love you, Tomoyo."
"I love you, too." Tomoyo replied, smiling.
Tomoyo saw Sakura and Syaoran dancing on the other side of the dance floor. They looked so blissful. "You said you'll be there for me no matter what, right?"
Tomoyo could feel Eriol nod again.
Tomoyo turned her head up, to stare into his blue, blue eyes, and her violet eyes sparkled. "I guess we look like a good couple."
Eriol chuckled deeply, and it sent shivers down Tomoyo's spine. She blushed red and hid her face against his chest. "Like... that we match?" Eriol asked jokingly.
Eriol thought about Tomoyo's question earlier. "I have an answer now."
"Hm?" Tomoyo asked, relaxed and snug in Eriol's arms.
"The answer to what we do from now on," Eriol said.
"What is it?" Tomoyo asked, head still hidden against his chest.
"We'll be happy."
The answer surprised Tomoyo both for its simplicity and the general notion. "Eriol -." Tomoyo stopped mid-speech, and Tomoyo thought of that baby boy holding her hand, staring back at her innocently. She again looked upward into Eriol's face into his navy blue eyes, knowing then of whom the child reminded her.
Eriol smiled. "What is it, my love?"
"Maybe... life really isn't all that unfair after all. And... maybe..."
Eriol listened intently.
Tomoyo demurely added, "Maybe, just maybe... I'll let you grow old with me."
At those words, Eriol's smile faded, and his eyes were filled with an emotion Tomoyo couldn't read. Before Tomoyo could open her mouth to say anything else, Eriol's came down, pulling her into a sweet kiss.
I have loved you for a thousand years.
I'll love you for a thousand more.
There it is! I've finished it! It's done! Holy c**p! I'm finished!
You know, it was really hard for me to write a happy ending. The story was set perfectly for a tear-jerker, but you know what? You guys are right! They needed a happy ending. Also, I was writing the sad ending, and it really was too sad.
I left some strings of the story untied, but I'd sort of like for people to imagine how it would have ended. I initially planned to have a epilogue to answer all the questions, but changed my mind.
Again, holy c**p! I'm done! (Albeit, the ending is a bit... rushed?)
To be honest, I was really afraid I wouldn't be able to finish this. I started this when I first started college as a way to pass the time during vacations, and it just blew up into something that's really... well, consumed my life. I can't even imagine the number of hours it took me to write this and to think up an ending.
I get it, it's a little cheesy and wrong to make Tomoyo the center of Clow's reason for reincarnation, but you have to admit how tragically romantic it is to follow somebody into the next lifetime.
As it goes with flashbacks and whatnot, I have made a mess of things in the story. Sorry about that. I clearly didn't have a good plan going into writing this story. BUT! I did sort of fix it all on my free time.
To my reviewers, I love and adore you!
A big shout out to ulq4schiffer, Maria-Reynne, Toys R Us NOT, Cata-06, sweet-sunflower, xxxFlamingWingsxxx, Shanaa12, cheng, PuppetPrince, ichiki-chan, , Malu Daidoji, Gee El, James Birdsong, Midnight Ghost, SnowCharms, Mei Ver D Ripper, tomoyo-amethyst, weaponmistress1010, Midnight Ghost, shortygirl333, Hidden Tala, Property of Eriol, Pinboo, funky-squirrel, aterjsa, racquellimotzerelli, ApplesAndFlakes, KiT72 and ALL of my reviewers for giving me feedback and words of encouragement through the years. You have no idea how much it's meant to me.
I don't think I ever would have finished otherwise. You have no idea how excited I would get every time I'd get an email about a new review. I am a total Review geek.
You know, I never thought CCS would stick to me the way it has throughout the years. As a kid growing up, this was basically my go-to fictional fantasy world, and I fell in love with the general notion of Tomoyo and Eriol. I think them an enchanting pair who truly deserved something enchanting. And so... this is my contribution to the fandom.
I hope you've enjoyed the ride.
PS. I know it's selfish to ask... but my birthday is on New Years. So... review? Yes? Please?