Map the Soul
a/n: as you may have noticed, this is the last chapter. Thank you for bearing with me with this story. It is weird and kind of confusing, but I am glad you were all able to enjoy it. This chapter is short (when isn't it short, but this chapter may be the longest in the fic), and wraps things up nicely. Happy reading!
According to the doctors, he had been in a coma for nearly two weeks. As it turned out, it was not Sakura who had gotten hit with the bullet, but himself. He was shot in the shoulder, and complication from a wound infection, hypothermia, and shock to the mind and body, he fell into a coma after surgery. Syaoran was advised to take it easy for awhile, which he did. He went to physical therapy, and took a lot of medication. Sakura stayed with him often, keeping herself to the corner of his room. She rarely spoke, and it seemed that dream Sakura was the talkative one.
Eriol came to see him, very ecstatic that he was alive. Sakura had gone out with her brother while the good doctor visited.
"So what was it like, being dead?" Eriol asked him. Syaoran just laughed. It was like Eriol to ask this question.
"Surreal. I was ridiculously lonely. I thought it was her that died." His face sobered up quickly at the memory of that feeling.
"Your pet?" Eriol's eyebrows rose. Syaoran just rolled his eyes.
"So you were right. She's not a pet...she's my..."
"You can say lover, Syaoran. How old are we turning this year?"
"Oh, shut up. How's your model patient?"
"Shut up." Eriol's face flushed.
Syaoran smiled, glad to be alive. He smiled, because he knew now what he wanted to do with his life, now that he realized he had to live it.
"Syaoran, I'm glad you're back."
"It's good to be back."
"But you'll be leaving us soon, won't you?"
Syaoran's eyes widened. He didn't even have to say it. "What makes you say that?"
"Sakura-chan's newest painting is called Roaming Wolf. Somehow, she knew even before you did."
It was then that Syaoran wondered how much of dream Sakura was really just a dream.
"The divorce will be finalized in just a few months. Legally, you are separated, and I can wait. So I don't understand why you won't marry me." Eriol frowned, closing the velvet box. The beautiful model sat elegantly in his office chair, looking very nonchalant about the matter, but Eriol could see that rejecting him did affect her.
"Sensei..."she began before he cut her off.
"Eriol," he corrected. Tomoyo gave him a tiny smile.
"Eriol, I cannot have children," she started. "You will someday want to have children."
"I know what you condition is. I can live with that. We could adopt. Who says I'm ready for kids now, anyway?"
"Someday, you will want one. Not now, but someday. And I really like you, but I myself don't know if I want to settle down right away again. I just got divorced after all."She took a sip of wine; she was the only one Eriol allowed to have alcohol in his office.
"Fine, then don't marry me. Just stay with me. Give us a shot. We can deal with marriage later."
"Eriol, why are you so set on being with me," Tomoyo asked, very hopeful. Eriol just sauntered over to her, his face in front of hers, eyeing her lips hungrily.
"You said it yourself once: our souls are connected to each other. I cannot let you get away."
"I always knew I liked you best," Tomoyo answered lustfully before the good sensei took her lips with his own.
Sakura was in his home when he was able to return after being in the hospital for a long time. She sensed him come in right away, and ran to him. He didn't get a "hello," or a "welcome back," or even a hug, but instead got a smile. It was a testament to his affection for her, because it was all he needed.
"Did you know, I dreamt about you while I slept?" he told her after he made her dinner. He spoiled her so much. She shook her head, and gave him toothy grin. "You were a little different. You were almost like a ghost. Not to mention you talked. A lot. It was a bit freaky."
She put her chopstick down, and sat there in thought for some time that Syaoran wondered if e said something weird.
"The doctor," she finally spoke. "He said that if...if someone talked to you...you would, um, wake up."
She twiddled with her fingers. He walked to her and took her hands in his. Slowly, he brought them to his lips and kissed them.
"I heard you clearly. You brought me back."
Syaoran then picked her up and took her to his room. It would be hours before they stopped.
"I'm not promising we will be together forever."
"I'm not promising that I won't get bored of you."
"I am also certainly not promising you marriage."
"You've made yourself quite clear on that subject."
"What I am promising you is that I will try. I promise you, that as of this moment, I really like you. I like you the best, after myself. So I will try. That is all you can ask of me."
"Tomoyo-san, that is all I really want right now."
"Then what will you do when I get bored of you?"
"Make it so that you like me best again."
"You're a strange one, sensei."
After a week, Syaoran had packed his entire belongings and sent most of it to Hong Kong, his hometown. There were only a few large duffel bags of necessary objects left, and Sakura just stood by door, observing him, sitting on the floor where his bed used to be. They didn't talk about his leaving, and he didn't even announce it to anyone other than Eriol. However, he knew that Sakura had known about it before everyone else after all. It was only a matter of time before either one of them addressed it.
"You're going away soon." She commented it very calmly. To others, it was as if she didn't care, but to Syaoran, he could tell that it had taken her time to adjust to the idea.
"Yep. You've inspired me. I am going back to photograph death. I will be in Iraq in about two weeks," he finally let it out. Truth be told, he wanted to go with her following him. He wanted to keep her, and lock her up so that she would always be alive and well, in front of him.
"Are you scared?" she asked, her eyes searching his for the answer. He gave a weak nod.
"Of course. But that won't stop me this time."
She smiled approvingly. "You will exist then."
"Speaking of which," Syaoran noted as he sat in front of her. "You will be alright?"
Sakura just nodded. "Yes."
"You won't come with me, will you?" Syaoran could not help himself, even if he did know the answer. Part of him still hoped otherwise.
"No, I will go home to onii-chan and otou-san. I will paint all the souls that come to me."
"You won't join them will you?" Syaoran only said half-jokingly. But he was still half-serious.
Sakura shook her head again, smiling sincerely. "I promised not to die before you."
He took her hand and intertwined their fingers. "I guess this means I cannot die."
Sakura giggled a little before resting her head on his shoulder. They stayed that way for quite some time. However, they were a part of reality, and reality was often times never as peaceful.
"Sakura, we won't be in contact when I am gone."
"I don't know when I will be back."
"Actually, I can't say if we will even ever see each other."
"Doesn't that bother you?"
She was quiet for such a long time, he wondered if she even heard him. But her soft voice shattered that idea.
"I love you, Syaoran. But everyone has to say goodbye, sometime."
Li Syaoran was a peculiar man who had a fondness for being right, and to be perceived as a "bad boy." Now that he was thirty-two years old, that bad boy image had been shed, and he had acquired a sort of "rugged man" image that was still popular with women, but one that he did not like as much. In five years, he managed to become a worldwide renowned photographer, often having his work in well-respected magazines such as TIME and other international magazines. His poignant pieces of human suffering and death had earned him the nickname, "The Grim Reaper," and he became one of the world's top paid artists in the industry.
Aside from being "The Grim Reaper," he was also a "Casanova," often dating many famous women. Curiously enough though, his relationship never lasted long, and all the women (ever so disappointedly) say that he never bedded them. No one really could fathom as to why.
At the age of thirty-two, Syaoran was in Japan, after a five-year long absence, and was drinking with his best friend and former roommate, Eriol.
"So what's it like, being so famous?" Eriol had asked good-heartedly. Syaoran just gulped down his shot and shook his head from the taste, his longer and messier locks moving elegantly.
"It's so and so. It's a bit inconvenient actually; too many people know who I am. It's harder to get the grittier stuff. I get a lot more hate mail than fan letter, though."
"Must be nice to lead such an interesting life," Eriol commented. His best friend just slapped his back.
"Hate to break it to you, Eriol, but your life isn't too boring. You're the only man I know who still lives and sleeps with his ex-wife."
"I can't help it. Tomoyo wanted the divorce, so I gave it to her. We get along better now that we are no longer married."
"That's just how it is," he explained. "When we were married—albeit, just one year—we argued and fought. Now, it's as if we just met all over again."
"You two have the most peculiar romance. Someone should make a television drama based of your lives," Syaoran joked. Eriol glared on, but then just rolled his eyes.
"If anyone had a peculiar romance, it was yours and Sakura-chan. I could never really understand it, even if I did set it up."
At this, Syaoran put his shot down and looked at Eriol incredulously. "You set it up? You knew I'd fall for her?"
"Yeah, I counted on having someone care for her well being outside her family. I wanted her to see how her death would affect others. I was not sure if she would fall for you, though. But she did, and it worked out for us all."
Syaoran played around with his glass, trying to find the nerve to ask about her. In the five years he'd been gone, he'd thought about her. He wondered how she was doing, where she was, if she met others. He wondered if she found a new love, and whether she'd forgotten him completely.
"How is she?"
"Alive," Eriol answered bluntly. "She's doing well. She still showed suicidal patterns, but she ultimately was unable to go through with the deed. Whatever it was you did to her worked. She lives alone now—can't tell you how long it took to convince the brother and father to allow her that much. In the end, they've decided to not cut her wings, and let her live life. She's been painting and showcasing her work. Some sold pretty highly."
"You still keep in contact with her?" Syaoran tried to be very cool about it, but Eriol saw through it easily.
"As her doctor, of course I do. She tells me she'd like to go to France soon. Don't misunderstand, she's still a bit odd, and it is like pulling teeth to get a conversation out of her, but she is a weird, peculiar, healthy twenty-five year old girl."
"That's nice," Syaoran was relieved. Eriol smirked, looking at him from his peripheral vision.
"Sakura-chan wants to fall in love, you know. She'd like to get married someday."
It took a few seconds for Syaoran to calm his voice and hand, which shook with some form of anger. "Oh, she hasn't found anyone?"
Eriol's smirk grew more pronounced. "No. There hasn't been anyone who'd been able to handle her."
The other man just finished his next drink. "Is that so."
This was enough for Eriol. He stood up and paid his tab, pulling out a sheet of paper and pen from his pocket as well. After scribbling down something quick, he handed it to Syaoran, placing it in his palm.
"This is her number. Do us all a favor and call her."
The paper shook in Syaoran's palm before he balled his hand into a fist.
"I won't be in Japan long, and if she wants to go to France, then we cannot work."
"Syaoran, just try."
It took a long time for Syaoran to gather the courage to call her. It rang three times before a voice, a beautiful and familiar voice, answered
She must have been quiet for about ten seconds, but it could have been years to Syaoran.
"You remember me?"
"Sakura...I wanted to...sorry that this is so out of the blue..."
"I promised not to die before you." There was a hint of mirth in her voice.
Syaoran smiled and his back straightened, his voice filled with more confidence. When he spoke the next few words, he felt his soul dance happily.
"Sakura, can we meet up for a coffee tomorrow. There are things I want to talk to you about."
If he were near her, he'd be able to feel her soul dance too.
a/n: okay, we are done!
A couple of things: I said I liked happy endings, so I didn't make Sakura die. I mean, I'm evil, but not that evil.
However, I cannot say if Syaoran and Sakura will end up together. You, the reader can decide for yourself. I will promise you though, that they will at least try. After all, in life, not everything is simple, and we don't always end up with who we think we should. But we can always just try.
I hope that in this fic, both Syaoran and Sakura grew a little as characters. I hope so. If not, then I am sorry (haha!). In any case, I hope this fic was able to be a bit different from the others, and made you guys think about things as you read. So thank you for sticking with this until the end.
As for Tomoyo and Eriol, yes, they married, but then divorced and are still together. I'm sorry; they seem to be another couple that will never be normal. No, they can't have kids, but maybe they'll adopt. You decide.
And no, there will be no sequel to this, so don't ask me.
This whole fic was un-beta'd, so sorry for any mistakes. And if you have any question, ask and I will reply, haha