Many thanks to all who reviewed. It's nice to know that some of you stuck around. Here's a quick update because I love you all!

xxx

008 Silence

Tomoyo looked up as the bells ringed, signalling a customer had entered. Smiling pleasantly at the gentleman that had entered, she resumed her work of dethorning the roses when he disappeared behind a display of sunflowers. Humming along in her head to the soft strains of music floating in from the open window of the blues club next door, she did not notice the gentleman in front of her until he cleared his throat. Looking up, she gave an apologetic smile.

"I'm really sorry to bother but I was wondering if you could help me pick out some flowers for my girlfriend?" The gentleman asked softly, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.

He looked nervous and a little confused, not that Tomoyo blamed him. Most men who walked into her shop were immediately intimidated by the vast variety of flowers and overwhelmingly feminineness of the place.

She smiled encouragingly at the poor fellow and picked up her pen and notepad, scribbling quickly.

Of course, is it a special occasion?

If the gentleman was surprised that she did not speak, he did not show it. He actually rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, "Not really a special occasion, but she's angry that I forgot something and for the life of me, I can't figure out what it is."

Tomoyo bit her lips to suppress a knowing smile, she got that answer more times than she could count.

Perhaps her favourite flower?

The gentleman shook his head ruefully, "I don't think she has one, or if she does, I haven't paid attention."

The display of carnations next to the counter must have caught his eye, because he suddenly pointed towards the colourful bouquets and asked, "How about these? They're pretty right? Very colourful. Her garden at home is really colourful too."

He turned to regard Tomoyo with a hopeful expression, possibly wishing for her approval at a flower well picked.

Tomoyo eyed the display she had prepared for the Mothers' Day holiday and shook her head, wincing a little inside.

Those are carnations, unless you want to tell her something akin to I love you like I love my mother, I'll look for another one.

"Oh." The gentleman looked disappointed and mumbled, fingering the petals of the carnation display, "Well, it could work, considering our age difference..." he trailed off as he spotted another arrangement of flowers at the end of the shop.

Bounding excitedly over to it, he pointed to the flowers and turned back to Tomoyo, "How about these then? I remember she has some in the gardens at home!"

Tomoyo looked on amusedly.

Those are chrysanthemums.

"Yes chrysanthemums! They make a good tea!" The gentleman exclaimed, looking very pleased with himself, "She definitely has some of these."

Tomoyo realised that the familiar feeling bubbling up inside her was the urge to laugh. A little surprised, she quickly scribbled on her notepad.

Those are our funeral displays.

"Huh." The gentleman looked puzzled, "Wow, this flower picking business is serious stuff isn't it?" He dejectedly walked away from the display of funeral wreaths and condolences bouquets.

Stopping in front of a bucket of baby breaths, he looked back at Tomoyo, "Should I even ask? I seem to have a knack for picking out wildly inappropriate flowers."

Tomoyo looked down at her notepad with a smile and shook her head, her curls bouncing around her.

No, these are great, my favourite actually. They stand for innocence but are normally used as just accents in bouquet, not as the main flower.

"Interesting," the gentleman bent down to inspect them, "I wonder why you can't just give a whole bouquet of baby breaths. They have a great message," then he looked up at Tomoyo and smiled, "they suit you."

Tomoyo flinched, she hoped not visibly. Judging from the look on the gentleman's face, he must have had seen, because he cleared his throat and stood up. "As you can see, I really need some help."

Tomoyo nodded quickly. She smiled weakly as she scribbled.

Well then, what is she like? I might be able to pick out her favourite flower if you tell me a bit about her.

"Well," he started, looking a little wistful, at perhaps days gone past, "She's my first love actually. Beautiful, mature, refined but still absent-minded and kind of klutzy?" He laughed, "A bundle of contradictions I guess, but what I love most about her is that she sees what others don't."

Tomoyo smiled in response. That was a really good thoughtful answer, which she normally didn't get. She held up a finger, indicating he should wait as she bustled around the shop, pulling out stalks of poppies, birds of paradises, various other flowers and fashioning them into a simple bouquet, tied it all up with a pale orange ribbon.

"That's beautiful," the gentleman said, admiring her handiwork.

Tomoyo bobbed her head in thanks.

If she doesn't forgive you after this, come back here and I'll give you a full refund.

The gentleman chuckled, "Alright thanks, it is very beautiful though. At the very least, she'll be proud of me for picking it out. Or you know, picking the right florist really."

Tomoyo smiled and tucked a stray hair behind her ear, suddenly feeling a little shy. She ducked her head and busied herself with ringing up his purchase.

She heard him curse softly under his breath as he looked at his watch and he quickly paid the bill, picked up his bouquet and headed for the door, obviously running late for something. He had taken a few quick steps towards the door when he abruptly turned around and called out to her, "My name is Eriol by the way. Thanks for all your help!" He waved the bouquet in the air and with a cheeky grin, exited the shop.

It wasn't until the sound of the bells ringing as the door closed behind him did Tomoyo realise that she had a hand up in the air in response, a wide grin still on her face.

Flushing slightly, she brought her fingertips up to the corners of her lips, tentatively feeling the last lingering remnants of her first real unabashed smile in a very long time.

xxx

Yes guys, this is a new universe! How did you guys like silent!Tomoyo? I always thought it would be cool to try out something in which Tomoyo doesn't speak, because her voice and her singing is a large part of who she is. Anyway, the backstory of silent!Tomoyo and the reasons for her responses to Eriol would definitely be explained down the road. Another first in this universe is the mention of Kaho. Well, I didn't exactly name her, but it should be pretty obvious she was who I was referring to. I know she may not be a very popular character in the ExT fandom but we can't deny canon. She won't be featuring too greatly in this silent!Tomoyo universe though, so no worries! Please leave a comment if you've read, I very much would love to hear what you guys have to say! Until the next one.