IMPORTANT NOTE
Hello readers, I thought I should give you some sort of warning that this is not going to be one of those ExT fluff fic, and one without your average happy ending. Although I wouldn't exactly put it like that. Then again, I realise I have a rather twisted notion of happy endings. Hmm. Oh wells, you'll be glad to know that I am actually more or less done with the story. I just need time to type and edit it so rest assured, this will be completed!
Thanks for reading, and any sort of criticisms will be taken seriously and appreciated.

DISCLAIMER: No, I do not own CCS because if I did Eriol and Tomoyo would have totally ended up together. Sighh.

XXX

There is one in every school. The golden boy and girl, the one couple that you would look forward to seeing again at the high school reunion, just to check if they were still together and then promptly chide yourself mentally for even thinking that because 'Of course they are still together! They are the epitome of love and happiness are they not?' For Seijou High, that was Li Syaoran and Sakura Kinomoto.

Then there is the other sort of couple. The two people that were perfect for each other in every single way yet for some strange and unfathomable reason just never ever get together. 'You mean they're still only just friends?' That dubious honour went to Eriol Hiiragizawaand Tomoyo Daidouji. And this is their story.

XXX

Li Syaoran was in a grumpy mood (even more so than usual) as he walked out of his apartment complex. Despite having already lived in Japan for close to 7 years, he was still unaccustomed to its cold and unforgiving winter. It seemed to Syaoran that the little town of Tomoeda received 5 inches of snowfall overnight. He scowled at nothing in particular and grumbled as he wound his favourite green muffler tighter around his neck, allowing his mind to wander to that evening Sakura presented him with said muffler as a thank you gift for that fateful day in Penguin Park. A smile slowly spread across his face and he felt himself warm up ever so slightly from the memory. Looking ahead, his smile quickly turned into a scowl again as he spied a senior from school talking to a raven haired beauty. His steps slowed a little for he had little wish to hear the compliments he was certain the guy was spewing and the confession of love that was sure to follow. The beauty gave a little bow, as she always did, polite to a fault and Syaoran watched as the guy walked dejectedly away from a very apologetic looking Tomoyo. She turned and spotted him, eyes twinkling in greeting. He gave a little wave in return and jogged up to meet her.

"Ohayo Syaoran-kun!"

"Another admirer Tomoyo?"

She blushed slightly and nodded, "I feel a little bad though. He was very sincere."

Syaoran snorted, "Please, you think the best of everyone. He looked pretty shady to me."

Tomoyo pouted in mock annoyance, "Mou Syaoran-kun, don't be mean. You say that about every single guy who tries to talk to me. You're going to turn into a Touya if you're not careful!"

She had expected him to protest vehemently about the comparison so was a little surprised when all he did was scruff his feet against the pavement and mutter, "Well, none of them were good enough for you."

Tomoyo let out a graceful laugh and beckoned for Syaoran to follow her, "Come on, we're going to be late!"

Syaoran rolled his eyes and reminded her, "We're never late. In fact, we are almost always the earliest on Wednesdays."

Syaoran was right. Tomoyo and Syaoran were usually the first in class on Wednesdays. Since Sakura had cheer practice on Wednesday mornings, the both of them didn't have to make a detour to meet her on their way to school. As much as Tomoyo enjoyed spending time with both Sakura and Syaoran, she found she enjoyed her Wednesday mornings alone with Syaoran very much. Being an only child, Tomoyo was actually secretly pleased with the way Syaoran hovered around her with his overprotective brother act.

Ever since Syaoran moved back to Japan and to Sakura, Tomoyo's feelings for her best friend had changed quite substantially. She was sure she felt nothing more than familiar sisterly love for Sakura now and was pleasantly surprised her relationship with Syaoran had improved quite greatly. Tomoyo likened it to warm sibling affection. Of course, there was no way she was telling Syaoran that, not because she was embarrassed but because she knew that despite growing up in a household of females, Syaoran was still not comfortable with sharing feelings. She wondered again why Syaoran and Touya never got along better.

XXX

Sakura was running late. Nothing unusual there, but as she waved goodbye to the rest of the cheer team and tried to navigate the crowded hallways to her homeroom, she couldn't help but overhear the conversation in front of her.

"How did the talk with Daidouji go this morning?"

"Not great, although she did the whole rejection thing most politely and painlessly, then made some excuse about meeting Li."

"Li Syaoran? Man, Kinomoto and Daidouji? What is it with Japanese girls and foreign men?"

"No no, they're just friends. We all know how tight Kinomoto and Li are. Although since Kinomoto and Daidouji are practically sisters, Li is like the brother by proxy to Daidouji. And trust me, he's got the whole intimidating suitors thing down to a pat."

Sakura laughed as she slid into class, just seconds before the bell rang, receiving a disapproving look from her sensei in the process. She bowed in apology and skipped her way to her seat in front of Syaoran.

Tomoyo arched her eyebrow from her table next to Sakura and asked, "What's so funny Sakura-chan?"

Sakura shook her head, "Nothing, just thinking about you and Syaoran!"

She continued to smile widely as she took out her books. Tomoyo and Syaoran shared a look before Syaoran shrugged and passed Sakura her bento he had made that morning. They loved Sakura dearly and knew better than to question her random 'more cheerful than normal' moods. She was after all the descendant of the weirdest and most eccentric magician of all time.

XXX

"That's the last of it!"

Eriol nodded and patted Nakuru's head in thanks as he surveyed his new room, presently littered with cardboard boxes. He was now taller than her and so patting her head wasn't as awkward as it had been when he was still in his 11 year old body.

"I don't know why you have to pat her head, she's not a child." Spinel remarked from his perch on the window sill.

Eriol chuckled as he cleaned his glasses with his shirt, "She likes it!"

"I do!" Nakuru's voice floated back to them from the next room she was unpacking in and a few seconds later, bounded back into the master bedroom and announced as she glomped Eriol, "I'm so happy we're back in Japan! I missed Touya so much!"

Eriol sighed as he turned from side to side, trying to shake his guardian off his back, "I only wish I could say the same for Kinomoto-san."

"Don't be silly Eriol-sama, of course Touya misses me! Let's go visit them now!"

Eriol smiled softly, "We'll visit tomorrow I promise, but right now we have to settle the house and get some rest."

Nakuru dislodged herself reluctantly from Eriol's back, "Alright then, tomorrow." Her momentary disappointment forgotten as she grabbed Spinel and skipped out of the room screaming something about stocking the kitchen pantry with sugar.

Eriol flopped back onto his bed and sighed once he couldn't hear Spinel's cries for Ruby Moon to let him go. He wondered briefly to himself if leaving England had been the right thing to do as the image of a honey coloured hair lady flashed through his mind. She had greeted him with a wistful smile that morning, as if she had anticipated his decision to leave. 'I hope you find what you're looking for in Japan Eriol.' With her parting words still ringing in his head, he drifted off to sleep.

XXX

The next day, Tomoyo stepped into the classroom and found it to be buzzing with excitement. She turned behind her, meaning to ask her friends if she had forgotten something but both Sakura and Syaoran looked equally puzzled from the change in atmosphere of the classroom. It was a Thursday morning wasn't it? Thursday mornings were normally dreary because history was their first lesson of the day.

"Hey guys!" Chiharu waved at them as the trio made their way towards their seats, "Guess what, Takashi heard that our class is getting a new student!"

"And," Naoko added from her seat, "the girls from 3B caught a glimpse of him in the school office this morning and said he was gorgeous!"

Syaoran grunted and pulled out his history homework. He sensed that he would have no interest in this conversation whatsoever.

"Oh, a new classmate!" Sakura clapped her hands in excitement, "Maybe he can be Tomoyo-chan's boyfriend!"

Tomoyo flushed, "Sakura-chan, what are you talking about?"

"Syaoran has just about vetoed every boy in school Tomoyo!" Sakura replied, sending a dirty look over her shoulder.

"Damn right I have!" Syaoran said from behind his history homework.

"So," Sakura continued, "we're in need of fresh meat!"

"Sakura!" Tomoyo gasped, slightly scandalised from her dear cousin's choice of words.

"Nope, I'm vetoing new guy too." Syaoran said, pointedly ignoring Sakura's fresh meat comment.

"But Syaoran! That's not fair, you haven't even met the guy!" Sakura protested but was unable to continue as their sensei entered the classroom.

"Good morning class, I'm assuming you all would have heard by now about our new student. I'm sure you will be able to imagine how daunting it must be to arrive in the middle of the semester, so I want everyone to be extra welcoming! (Here, he shot a pointed look at Li Syaoran)" He turned towards the door and waved the new student in, "Everyone, please welcome from England, Eriol Hiiragizawa."

THUMP.

("Syaoran!") Li Syaoran had fallen off his chair.

"Hello everyone," The young man in the front of class greeted in his trademark baritone pitch, which elicited some sighs from the female portion of the classroom.

("THIS IS JUST A BAD DREAM!")

Eriol chuckled, "And it's nice to see you again too Syaoran." As his gaze swept across the classroom, he recognised with pleasure several familiar faces from his days in Tomoeda Elementary, registered a waving Sakura and abruptly stopped on the girl next to his protégé. Tomoyo Daidouji was smiling shyly at him and he found himself smiling right back. It has been too long.

XXX

He is sitting in his favourite arm chair by the fireplace. He notices that although the fireplace is crackling happily, the room still feels cold and empty. Then he hears someone walking outside along the corridors, and he feels his breath hitch. The door creaks open and she walks hesitantly into the room.

He smiles. Finally.

"Hello beautiful, welcome home."

And she smiles right back at him. Suddenly the room feels so warm.