L-chan's notes: This is another one of those high school stories where no one has told anyone else how they feel. It's been done to death, but here's another variation. And, yes, I made up the part about Syaoran being able to communicate his thoughts to Meiling, so don't get nit-picky on me.
Disclaimer: Card Captor Sakura and its characters belong to the lovely, talented, wonderful ladies of CLAMP, et al (if I suck up enough, do you think they'll give them to me?)
Act One -- The Auction
The Seijou High School auditorium was buzzing as dozens of teenage girls whispered and giggled to each other. The large velvet curtain was down, and the stage was empty except for a podium off to the side. Then, the curtain moved slightly as a seventeen-year-old boy poked his dark head out to get a good look at the crowd.
"Wow, there are a lot of girls here," Takashi Yamazaki said, turning his squinted eyes to the two boys next to him.
"How can you tell?" Eriol Hiiragizawa joked, tugging at his bow tie.
"This is ridiculous," Syaoran Li muttered. He ran his hands over his unruly brown hair, trying to keep it from sticking up too much. "Why are we doing this again?"
"Because no one can say no to Rika," Takashi replied with a laugh.
Their thoughts went back to yesterday's free study period.
"Please?" Rika Sasaki asked, fluttering her eyelashes sweetly. "Please?"
"But we're not even in the drama club," Syaoran told her. He hoped that was a good enough reason.
Rika's eyes got rounder as she clasped her hands together. "This is a very important fund raiser for us. It will help pay for our sets and costumes for the rest of the year."
"But a bachelor auction?" Takashi asked skeptically.
"Well, who says a fund raiser has to be a boring bake sale or car wash," Rika replied. "This is much more fun."
"I still don't see why you need us," Eriol said.
Rika gave the boys her best smile. "You three are the most popular guys in school. Can you imagine the money we'd bring in if we auctioned off dates with you? Why, we might not even have to do a fund raiser next year!" Well, that was laying it on a bit thick, but it seemed to be working.
The boys looked at each other. Eriol appeared intrigued, Syaoran scowled, and Takashi -- well, who knew what he was thinking.
"We'll do it," Eriol finally said.
"What?" Syaoran glared at his ancestor.
"Count us in," Takashi said. Syaoran redirected his glare.
"You're the best," Rika gushed. "I knew I could count on you. Now, here's what you need to do…"
"Remind me to kill you later, Hiiragizawa," Syaoran said. Just remembering how he'd gotten involved in this made him angry all over again.
"Of course," Eriol replied with a grin.
"Really. I mean it."
"You always do."
Rika was winding her way through the participants, making sure everyone was present and giving last minute instructions. She'd volunteered to be in charge of the auction since the other girls in the drama club wanted a chance at a dream date. Rika had already met the man of her dreams and had been seeing him since her sixteenth birthday. Her friends were jealous that she was the first one to have a boyfriend, so she'd made sure they all came tonight. "You never know what could happen," she'd told them with a twinkle in her eye.
She arrived at the curtain opening and turned around to cast one last look at the assembly of attractive guys. "Okay, is everyone ready?" She looked at the scowling boy in the corner. "Can someone lend Li a comb, please?" Everyone laughed -- well, except for Syaoran -- and the nervous energy in the air dissipated. "All right, here we go!"
Rika pushed through the curtain and walked to the podium. A spotlight led her way, and the girls in the auditorium went wild with applause when they saw her.
"Welcome, ladies!" Rika said into the microphone, brushing her bangs out of her eyes. "On behalf of the drama club, I want to thank you all for coming to the very first Seijou High Bachelor Auction!" The girls cheered, squealed, and whistled. Rika laughed and looked down at her notes. "We'd also like to extend our appreciation to Il Segreto for its generous donation of gift certificates. Each winning bidder will get to enjoy a wonderful Italian dinner with her favorite fellow." More cheers followed this announcement. "Now, let's get right down to business with our first bachelor."
Sakura Kinomoto stood up from her seat in the fourth row in order to get a better look. Next to her was her best friend, Tomoyo Daidouji, whose attention was focused on her camcorder's view screen. "Are you really going to record the whole thing?" Sakura asked with a hint of weary exasperation in her voice.
"Of course," the violet-eyed girl replied. "You're finally going to have a date with Li. This must be documented."
Sakura's cheeks turned red. "I never said I was here to bid on him," she replied, but they both knew better. Of course she was there to try and get a date with Syaoran. They'd been friends since the fourth grade, and in the sixth she'd developed a bit of a crush on him. She didn't know where the courage to come to this crazy event had come from, but she thought it might be the best way to finally tell him how she felt.
"What about you, Tomoyo?" Sakura asked, quickly turning the conversation away from herself. "Who are you going to bid on?"
"Me? No one," Tomoyo said unconvincingly.
"Really? You mean there's not a single guy you're interested in?"
"That's right," Tomoyo lied as her mind conjured up a blue-haired, bespectacled boy with an innocently evil grin. Or was that an evilly innocent grin? Either way, that smile made her heart flip-flop. She'd never admitted it to anyone, not even Sakura, who thankfully was oblivious to the whole thing.
In the row behind them, two other girls were having a similar discussion.
"So then why did you even come, Chiharu?" Naoko Yanagisawa asked the auburn-haired girl next to her.
"Because Rika asked me to," Chiharu Mihara replied.
"But have you seen some of the guys here? Somehow Rika managed to assemble the best looking boys in our class."
"No one can say no to Rika," Chiharu said.
Naoko agreed. "I heard that she even got Yamazaki to participate."
Chiharu's eyes widened. "What?"
Naoko laughed. "That certainly got your attention."
Chiharu gave her friend a gentle whack with the event flyer. "I just didn't think this kind of thing would appeal to him," she answered. She'd known Takashi since they were little kids. He never seemed to take anything seriously, and that drove her crazy. Why on earth would Naoko think I was interested in him? She shook her auburn curls and turned her attention back to the stage.
A dark-haired boy was retreating behind the curtain as Rika announced the next bachelor. "And now, ladies, here is Syaoran Li!" The girls in the auditorium squealed, but no one appeared. "Syaoran Li!" Rika repeated, and the audience giggled as four hands pushed the reluctant Syaoran onto the stage.
Syaoran shoved his hands into his pockets and glared at the crowd. This only made the girls squeal louder.
Rika looked at her notes. "Syaoran is on the soccer and basketball teams, and… well, he didn't fill out the rest of his profile. But who needs a profile? Just look at him, girls!" Syaoran darted evil eyes at Rika, but she just gave him a sweet smile. "Let's start the bidding at 1000 yen."
"1000!" A girl in the back cried out.
"1500!" Another girl countered.
Sakura didn't want to appear too eager, so she counted the money in her hand as the bids climbed. She felt Tomoyo nudge her. "Don't miss out," the dark-haired girl whispered.
Sakura finally raised her hand. "4000!" She called.
Syaoran's brown eyes found Sakura's green ones in the crowd. She's bidding? I don't believe it. Thank you, Sasaki. Thank you, Hiiragizawa.
"5000!" A new voice shouted. Syaoran looked for the source of the familiar voice and saw a girl with silky black hair and ruby eyes standing on the other side of the auditorium. Curse you, Sasaki. Curse you, Hiiragizawa.
"6000!" Sakura bid again. She was running out of money.
Although Meiling Li had never exhibited any signs of inheriting the family's magic, Syaoran had found that if he concentrated all of his power, he could transmit his thoughts to his cousin. It had been a while since they'd played that game, but it was important that he try to reach her now. He stared at her with determination and clenched his fists. Stop bidding, Meiling. Stop bidding.
"10000!" Sakura called. Maybe Tomoyo could lend her a couple thousand.
"12000!" Stop bidding, Meiling. Stop bidding.
"13000!" This was more than Sakura could afford, but she had to try.
"25000!" Meiling shouted. She could go on all night, and everyone knew it. No one challenged her.
Sakura put her hand down. "I lost," she said softly. She should have known. No one could compete with the Li family's money.
"And the lucky girl is Meiling Li!" Rika announced. Disappointed sounds traveled through the room.
Either she didn't hear me, or she ignored me, Syaoran thought. He looked at his cousin. Meiling winked at him. She ignored me. He scowled at her and stomped off the stage.
"Next, we have Eriol Hiiragizawa," Rika said as the blue-eyed boy appeared. "He's also on the soccer and basketball teams, and he says that his goal is to one day take over the world." Rika squinted at the page to make sure she'd read that last part right. "So we know he's got a sense of humor," she continued. "What girl could resist? Let's start at 1000 yen!"
Several girls raised their hands and called out bids. Eriol looked around the auditorium until his eyes found Tomoyo. She's here? Of course she is. She'll go anywhere Sakura goes. But Tomoyo had a strange look on her face. She lowered her camera and stared at him. She opened her mouth and started to raise her hand, but she stopped herself.
Eriol raised his palm slightly in Tomoyo's direction but then changed his mind. He wanted her to bid, but he wouldn't force her.
"5000!" Sakura called out.
Tomoyo's head snapped around. "Well, we are friends," Sakura explained before Tomoyo said anything. "And at least I'd have a date after all of this."
Eriol quickly flashed his palm at the crowd. Several girls tried to bid, but they couldn't speak, and their arms were suddenly too heavy to lift. They looked at each other in confusion.
"The winning bidder is Sakura Kinomoto!" Rika said. That's funny. I thought he'd bring much more than that. I wonder why more girls didn't try. Maybe they don't think they can compete with Sakura.
Eriol grinned as he walked off the stage. He'd thought for a long time that Tomoyo might feel something for him, and it looked like he might be right. So if she wouldn't go out with him, he'd go to dinner with the one girl who would make her jealous. Sakura. Then he'd know for sure how she felt.
Sakura turned to Tomoyo with a big smile. "You'll help me find something nice to wear, right?"
Tomoyo seemed lost for words. The expression that appeared on her sweet face might have been anger, but Tomoyo never got angry. That look quickly disappeared and was replaced with a forced smile. "Of course," she finally answered. Her eyes didn't sparkle at the thought of dressing up her friend, and she didn't carry on about her designs as she normally would have, but Sakura didn't notice.
The auction continued, and more girls won chances to go out with some of the most sought after boys in school. "And, now, last but certainly not least," Rika began, "is Takashi Yamazaki!" Cheers accompanied the dark-haired boy's entrance.
Naoko looked at Chiharu, who was staring at the stage, and smiled.
Rika read the profile as Takashi strutted on the stage. "He's a member of the computer club and the debating team. His goal is to be either a writer or an acrobat." She rolled her eyes good-naturedly, and the audience laughed. She squinted to read the tiny words squeezed in at the bottom of the page. "Speaking of acrobats, did you know that the first circus--" She crumpled the sheet into a ball and tossed it behind her. "Let's begin at 1000 yen!"
"1000!" A girl called.
"2000!" Shouted another.
Chiharu reached into her pocket. She had brought some money, and she didn't want to leave without a date. "3000!"
Takashi's eyes widened as much as possible without actually opening when he recognized Chiharu's voice. They'd known each other forever, but she'd never treated him as anything more than a friend. She doesn't like me, does she? He wouldn't let himself hope that she did. Maybe she was just here because Rika had asked her to come.
Naoko's smile got bigger as Chiharu continued to bid. Why am I doing this? the auburn-haired girl asked herself. Do I just want a date, or do I want a date with Yamazaki, of all people? She tried not to think about the answer to that question and instead concentrated on outbidding the girls around her.
"Chiharu Mihara is the winner!" Rika announced. "Congratulations to all of you lucky girls. We have a table set up in the back to collect your bids. Remember to pick up your restaurant voucher before you leave. Thank you all for coming. I hope everyone has a wonderful time!"
To be continued in…
Act Two -- The Dates