BISHLOV:  Now this ending really got me frustrated but I survived.  And I think Tomoyo's OOC here.  I couldn't concentrate on anything these days.  Oh well…I suppose this is the time for me to cry (because the fic has ended) and laugh (because the fic has ended) like the nutcase that I really am.  Thanks to all of you who supported this fic and even those who cursed me to hell and back.  I hope I can hear from you one last time…

DISCLAIMER:  I do not own CCS or any of its characters.  CLAMP does.  This plot is a product of my imagination.  Any similarities to other fan fictions are unintentional.


By bishounen lovah

Chapter 15

Just great!  I should have known he would pull a stunt like this!

"Where the heck are we?"  Tomoyo turned around to finally confront Eriol.  She'd been walking for more than ten minutes and she knew he was following close behind.  Ignoring him just simply won't make him disappear no matter how hard she tried nor can she transport herself to civilization upon will.

"Don't you like it here?  The view's great, lots of fresh air and it's peaceful too.  Best place to have a private conversation.  But what I like about this place is that you can't escape from me here."

The abominable man was leaning on a tree looking like he's having the time of his life.  God, how she wanted to wipe that grin off his face.  "I don't want to talk to you.  I'm going back to Tomoeda whether you like it or not."  She went back to walking down the dirt road.

"Yes, well, I guess you should know that's not the way to Tomoeda."

"And you tell me this just now?!" incredulous eyes widened.

"How should I know you weren't just going out for a leisurely stroll?"

He was deliberately provoking her, that's what he was trying to do.  She stomped to the other direction where she saw another trail.  "Honestly, Eriol, I'd bang your head to that trunk if only—"

"If only what?"

If only I'm not head over heels in love with you.  But of course she kept mum about it.  She bit her tongue and started counting to calm her erratic heartbeat.

"By the way, you're going the wrong way again."

"I don't care.  I'm bound to end up somewhere."

"It's getting dark.  You'll freeze to death in these woods and lots of animals come out at night."

As if to prove his point, some wild, canine howl came out from somewhere nearby.  Tomoyo froze for a moment, braced herself then continued trudging along.  He went after her again, even went as far as to grab her elbow and force her to stop and look at him.

"Don't be so stubborn, Tomoyo.  We're miles away from civilization.  You'll just get lost."

Desperation and longing suddenly settled in over the anger which made her cry out, "What do you want from me?  Why can't you just leave me alone?"

"I already told you my reason."

"Love?  Is that it?" she fought the delicious warmth spreading all throughout her body.  "You don't love me.  You just felt sorry for me."

Right.  Keep saying that and maybe he might just believe it.  Truth was she believes in him.  He really does love her, there's no doubt about that.  Only a man in love would go to such lengths to get her attention.  She should be glad.  She should be screaming with glee because the man she loves loved her back.

So why wasn't she?

Two reasons: guilt and insecurity.  How can she face him when she was the one who caused the deaths of five innocent children?  How can she look into his eyes when she was the one who almost took his life away?  How can he love her so much?  They have nothing in common.  He comes close to being perfect while she was nothing but a trouble-maker (albeit in an innocent way).  She was a jinx in everyone's lives, especially his.

Yes, she was being a tad hard on herself.  Who could blame her?  He was too good to be true.

Even now she could feel herself falling in love again after deluding herself for the past two months that she could live without him.  Ha!  That's a laugh.  Her life had become pointless ever since she left him.  He was her life.

So why was she still denying him…and herself?

Damned if she knows.

"I want to go home," she declared in a desperate tone.  It was her sanctuary where she can hide from her demons.  It hurts whenever she was with Eriol.  She wanted to be with him but knew that she's bound to hinder and hurt him one way or another.

"All right," he replied in a quiet, accepting tone.  "Okay, I'll take you home.  Tomorrow.  No, don't give me that look.  You can hide behind your mother's skirt again tomorrow but tonight you're going to put up with me.  I have many questions and you're going to provide the answers."

Something akin to panic momentarily flashed in her eyes.  A whole night…alone…with Eriol…in the middle of nowhere.  Can she hold her ground?  Would she survive the night?  He knows he's got her cornered and judging from his smug look he won't give her a moment of peace.

God, this is going to be a long night.

"Fine," she yanked her arm from his grasp and started to walk back to the cabin.  "But you'd better keep your word."

"I promise.  If by tomorrow you still want to go back to Tomoeda then I'll personally deliver you to your mother's doorstep."

"Stop saying that!"

"Stop saying what?"

"You make me sound like some…some pathetic spoiled brat."

"Are you?"

Am I?  Of course not!  Pathetic, yes.  Spoiled, never!  Now being a pathetic coward is a different matter for that's what she was.  And since she was partially affected by her own words, she decided not to answer Eriol's teasing question.

He chuckled lightly then steered her to another direction.  "Come on, love, let's get indoors before the mist settles in.  The way you're going we'd probably end up falling off a cliff."

Yes.  Definitely a long night.


Early evening was spent in a tense silence.  Tomoyo was torn between relief and trepidation.  She was going to have to tell the truth not just for her peace of mind but mainly because Eriol would demand no less.

They were sitting in front of the fireplace.  There was no fire but she stared at the spot as though there were flames doing an exciting dance.  She would look at anything as long as it wouldn't stare back at her with confused blue eyes.  When he finally spoke up her every nerve endings reacted. By the time this night was over, she'd probably end up a nervous wreck.

"I heard the judge threw out Kazuma's insanity plea."

It wasn't what she was expecting and dreading to hear but she didn't want to talk about this new topic either.  Just hearing that madman's name could leave her cold all over.  "Yeah," she replied in a whisper.

"You don't sound too happy about it."

"I should be, shouldn't I?"  She picked up her mug of hot coffee in an attempt to warm her suddenly cold hands.  "Part of me is glad that the bast—…that man won't be able to escape his punishment via a mental institution."

"What about the other part?"

"I can't—I don't understand how he could do such horrible things if he wasn't insane.  It scares me that there could be other people like him out there, threatening innocent people.  Oh, Eriol, those poor girls.  They don't deserve to die like that."

She had promised herself that she would be strong…that she wouldn't cry anymore.  But here she was, barely able to contain her tears from spilling.  Those that escaped her closed lids fell on her hand and in her coffee with soft plops.

How can she be strong if she hadn't mourned their deaths yet?

How can she forget if she insists on storing the bad memories in her heart and mind?

How can she forgive herself if she hadn't asked forgiveness from the one she'd hurt most?

She was barely aware of anything but her stored-up misery.  She didn't notice Eriol releasing her shaky grip on the mug nor did she notice him hugging and comforting her.  Minutes later, she was curled up against him, her face buried in his neck, conscious that she had completely broken down in front of the man.

"I'm sorry," she sniffed, "I don't know what came over me."

"I do," he tightened his hold on her and hugged her more closely.  "You've been keeping everything inside, blaming yourself for things that weren't even your fault."

"But it is my fault!  I'm the reason why—"

Eriol stopped her by placing his hand over her mouth.  "If you're going to say that you're the one who caused the deaths of those girls, I'm going to shake you hard until you get some sense in that beautiful head of yours.  It wasn't your fault that the monster you had for a doctor got a twisted, obsessed mind.  You didn't cause anything.  The man was already a mess before you were even born."

"But I—"

"And if you're going to tell me that you should have realized sooner and should have fought harder then I'm going to shake you again.  Do you want me to do that?  I didn't think so.  No one would have believed you.  Not with your mother calling the shots."

"But you believed me."

"Yes, well, I had my doubts, remember?"

She finally shook her head in despair.  "You shouldn't have changed your mind.  You should have stayed away from me.  If only you did I wouldn't have—"

He cut her off again but this time with his lips.  She was shocked at first and even made a futile attempt to stop him but his kiss had already done its magic.  Every night, while she lay in bed, she would try to remember their first kiss in that motel.  She would always end up frustrated because, try as she might, she couldn't recall the feel of his lips on hers.

How could she have forgotten such a delicious feeling?  It was the only taste of heaven she ever had.  With this man, his arms around her, his lips on hers, she found heaven…and peace.

The wall that she had built around her heart started to crumble, her resolve disappearing into nothing.  She was so stupid to believe that she could resist him.  It was an impossible task especially when her own heart was betraying her.

When he finally lifted his head, Tomoyo vaguely realized they were lying on the couch, their bodies intertwined.  She fought to catch her breath and stop the blush creeping from her cheeks to every inch of her face and neck.

"Now if you're going to rattle on about shooting me then I won't kiss you again.  Do you want that?" his brows raised a fraction of an inch.

To her embarrassment, she couldn't keep herself from shaking her head into a 'no'.  His eyes held hers captive and in them she saw approval, relief…and love.  She knew that in hers he could see surrender.

"I'm so sorry, Eriol," she whispered, amethyst eyes shining with tears again.

"You didn't do anything wrong, love, but if it will make you feel better then I forgive you.  Don't blame yourself anymore.  I won't let you."

"Thank you."  She sighed in relief, feeling the weight in her heart being lifted.

The pain was gone but not forgotten.  Still, it was over.

It could have been over sooner if you weren't too stubborn, a voice pointed out.

I know.  She wiped her tears with his shirt then looked up when he chuckled.

"Do you still want to go home?  If we get a move on I could get you there by midnight."

"No, thank you.  I'm quite comfortable right here…with you."

"Mmm.  Me too."  He then proceeded to reinforce her decision.  Much, much later, during one of their intermissions, Tomoyo remembered something.

"Don't you think we should call my mother to tell her I'm safe?  I don't want you to get into trouble."

"No.  I have a feeling that she already knows.  Are you happy, love?"

"Very…Did I…ever tell you…that…I…love…you?"  She punctuated each pause with a kiss.

"Once.  I have a copy of the tape.  Do you want to hear it?"

She shook her head, not really understanding what he was talking about.  Instead, she teased him back.  "I can say it again.  Do you want to hear it?"

"Most definitely yes…"

"I love you, Eriol.  The only thing I could thank Kazuma for is you.  If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have met you again."

"Oh I have a feeling we would have met sooner or later.  We're meant for each other, my lovely amethyst eyes."