This fic is totally completely silly, I don't know what I was on so don't ask. It does have, however, it's mandatory fluff and sap with a happy ending, so if you like that sort of thing you might like this. I tried adding a little plot as the story progressed, so that it wasn't just another Sadistic!Eriol torturing Helpless!Syaoran with glee..though it was fun, Eriol would agree. I know there is a lack of Kaho and other people, but who cares right? This fic is self-contained meaning it really doesn't follow the CCS universe. Umm, just don't take this silly ficlet seriously folks k?

*CCS, Eriol, Syaoran, and the lyrics used in a few spots are not mine..but this fic is! [insert evil laugh]*

/thoughts enclosed in these/
//Song Lyrics in these//

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Fortunate Misfortune
by: Nanashi
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How bad could it be? He had told himself. Some manual housework.. homework completion..or maybe some other form of task?

Syaoran sighed.

He NEVER thought THIS would happen!

"Syaoran, please do lift your head some, you seemed to have dropped it slightly in thought.."

The Chinese boy bristled at the voice. Slowly, reluctantly, he lifted his head.

"Right, that's..much better..." Eriol cooed with a wink.

Syaoran's face reddened furiously as he tried again in vain to cover his exposed parts while his tormentor sat painting him only a short distance away.

Eriol's head bobbed up and down from examining his naked specimen to scribbling away at his canvas.

Syaoran tried closing his eyes meanwhile. Anything to distract his shameful situation. How..did he get himself into this mess!?

*Begin Flashback*

"Are you sure you want to continue?" Eriol said, his eyes narrowing in an amused smirk.

Syaoran sat half naked with only his boxers on, across from him in Eriol's living room.

"I don't have much of a choice, now do I?! I will make sure you lose If it's the last thing I do Hiiragizawa! Besides, I'm not the only one in his boxers and you WILL lose this round!" he spat angrily, his cards shaking in his hands.

Eriol's grin only widened, "I don't think I mind half as much as YOU do."

Syaoran's crimson face steadily deepened, while Eriol looked upon him with mock pity.

"Tell you what. To spare us both some dignity..how about we make this last round a bit more interesting shall we?" he offered.

"What do you have in mind?" Syaoran asked, his ears almost perking up gratefully.

"Well..let's make a friendly bet! If I win this round, you get to be my slave for a week."

"What kind of slave?"

"Bah the usual slave stuff..no biggie."

"And what if I win?"

"What do you want?"

"How about you stay five miles away from Sakura. No phone calls, no eating together at lunch..nada, without my permission." Syaoran declared, suddenly liking the card game a lot better now.

Eriol nodded, "Fair enough..I call."

*End Flashback*

Syaoran turned his head away still scowling as he thought, /Sparing our dignity..he calls THIS sparing dignity? Kuso..I was so stupid. Just wait till this week is over..Eriol will PAY!/

"Syao-chan..you're doing it again.." Eriol reminded him beaming.

Syaoran growled.

After what seemed like hours, Eriol finally stood and stretched. Syaoran took that as a cue to relax from his pose.

"Well? Let's see it!" Syaoran demanded.

Eyeing his work of art over one last time, he turned it to let his model look.

"What do you think?" Eriol asked, his tone hopeful.

Syaoran was impressed. Eriol truly was a great artist and his portrait really was flattering. It did the wolf's physique justice. Syaoran wondered if the boy really viewed him that way, so..perfect. Of course despite what a great painting it was, Syaoran wasn't about to show any appreciation for the embarrassment he went through.

"Not bad, but stick to your day job Eriol." The boy huffed.

Eriol turned the painting towards himself again, examining it with a hand to his chin. "Hmmm you're right..although maybe my friends on the Internet might have a different opinion."

Syaoran blanched.

Eriol's cheery smile appeared again, "Let's try another pose!"

Syaoran fell over.

~*~

"Don't forget to come by my house in the morning so we can walk to school tomorrow ok? buh-bye Syao-chan!" Eriol cheered from the doorway as he waved farewell to his 'guest'

Syaoran walked, his head hung low as the sun set around him.

/Kuso..Kuso..Kuso../ was the only thing running through his mind with every step.

Never again would he play another game with Eriol. Never again would he pay attention to Sakura's talks of 'peace' or 'truce' between them. Why had he listened to her in the first place? He should have never accepted Eriol's invitation to spend the afternoon at his house. But no..he just HAD to make her happy and go. Now he was all caught up in this 'slave' mess and the worst part was, he couldn't tell anyone about it. Eriol's wish was his command, no complaints or objections; and judging on what happened earlier today..Syaoran could only imagine what was in store for him later on. Images of serving Eriol cookies and milk by his fireplace in a french maid outfit, flickered through his head. It was enough to send the boy dashing home.

The moment he walked in through the door, Wei had appeared to him with a phone in hand.

"Ah master Xiao Lang, what good timing you have. There is a call for you." the butler said promptly.

Syaoran took the phone and nodded his thanks.

"Hello?" he started walking up the stairs towards his room as he talked.

"Syaoran-kun! Where were you today after school? I was looking all over for you." came Sakura's anxious voice over the receiver.

"Oh yeah that.." he began, twisting his hand on the hem of his shirt.

"I thought you were going to walk me home today." she stated, with a disappointed ring in her tone.

Syaoran couldn't possibly tell her he had been Eriol's sudden figure study. The conditions of the bet was absolute loyalty and confidentiality between the two boys. Eriol had promised that whatever happened this week would be between them only, and that all events were only for sport. After it was all over, it would be forgotten. Syaoran was comforted at first by that thought; knowing Eriol wouldn't dare humiliate him in front of Sakura, but in return Syaoran couldn't let anyone know for the duration of the bet. It wasn't until now, however, that the Chinese boy realized that keeping the secret meant lying to everyone.

"I was..at Eriol's house.." he began, trying to find a good excuse.

"That's wonderful news!" Sakura chimed in excitedly interrupting his train of thought.

Syaoran's stiff body and hard grip in the phone laxed, "W-what!?"

He could almost see the girl bouncing around happily on the other end.

"I'm so happy to know you two are finally getting along! Well you could have just told me you were going for a visit. I mean, before Tomoyo and I had to sedate you in order to get you to talk to him long enough without threatening to kill him. This is great! Wait till Tomoyo-chan hears about this!"

He wasn't sure if she was talking to him anymore or to herself. It was just like her to space out into her own little world.

"I'm so happy you are spending time with him. Now we can all hang out without tying your fists to your side! BUT, please next time just let me know so I don't worry ok?" she giggled.

Syaoran rolled his eyes. Oh if only she knew..he shook his head. No..no on second thought he'd rather she didn't.

"Well, will I be seeing you tomorrow at school then Syaoran-kun?" she asked cheerfully.

The boy was still numb and he nodded a few times before answering, "Uumm yeah sure.."

"Ok then! See you tomorrow!"

~*~

The night had come and gone and Syaoran was in school the next day. Classes dragged on as he watched the clock, trying in vain to forget that Eriol was staring at him intently from his seat beside him, and wishing for the weekend to arrive. The only time his eyes left the ticking hands was when he felt something light fall onto his lap. It was a folded piece of paper and instinctively he knew what it was. Casting a quick nervous glance around the room to make sure no one was watching he opened the paper and read to himself.

"Meet me on the roof for lunch." signed 'You know who'.

The wolf threw his pleasantly smiling nemesis a threatening glare. Sitting in the seat ahead of Eriol, Tomoyo smiled keenly, aware of the scene.

The time Syaoran had been dreading rolled around. It was finally their lunch hour and there was no way in hell he would be seen walking alone with Eriol to the roof, so without a word he bolted there on his own, afraid Eriol would even suggest accompanying him.

Back in the classroom Sakura turned to the empty seat behind her. Eriol was neatly packing away his materials, extracting from his locker two bentos in the process. One had little black cats reminiscent of Suppi plastered all over it, while the other had cute little wolfs with hearts.

"Eating two lunches today Eriol?" Sakura questioned as she strode up behind him.

The dark haired boy smiled at her warmly. "Not exactly.."

She took a closer look at the packages and squealed at the one decorated with all the cute little wolfs, "Oh that's so cute! It reminds me, have you seen Syaoran? I was supposed to eat lunch with him."

Eriol was all too eager to answer his clueless friend, until Tomoyo came flying in-between them.

"Actually I think I saw him..in the library doing something important he might not be able to join us..shall we go?" She suggested.

Sakura scratched her head at the new information, "Sure.." she turned to Eriol, "umm enjoy your lunches.."

"Oh I will.." he replied, only to see Tomoyo's knowing smirk.

Up on the roof Syaoran paced nervously, hoping that Eriol would forget and dreading that anyone else would have the same idea to eat up there. Unfortunately one of his fears came true as Eriol swung open the metal door and trotted over to a sunny spot. Without wasting a moment he motioned for his victim to join him. Syaoran reluctantly scooted to his side with a good distance between them for comfort.

Eriol raised a mischievous eyebrow.

"Now now Syaoran, how am I supposed to feed you from all the way over there?" he said lifting his extra lunch pack.

Syaoran wished this wasn't happening as Eriol spooned delicious heaps of pudding into his mouth.

As if a nightmare had come to pass Tomoyo and Sakura suddenly emerged from behind the roof door chatting happily to themselves..that is until they saw Eriol leaning over Syaoran forcing shrimp down his throat.

Sakura stopped and gasped, her face scrunching into confusion. Tomoyo smirked then held her face in her hands, a slight blushing reaction to the scene.

"This is about the time where you say 'Hoe' Sakura-chan." Tomoyo politely reminded Sakura.

Sakura only lolled her head still trying to decide on what the strange scene before her meant.

"Hello, Sakura-san, Tomoyo-san! You ladies wouldn't mind joining us would you?" Eriol beamed at the two.

Tomoyo cleared her throat helpfully, leading Sakura to the motionless pair sprawled on the floor.

"So what are you guys doing this fine afternoon?" Tomoyo said seating herself and Sakura next to the beet red Syaoran.

Eriol's grin broadened.

"Syaoran here," he began explaining, while motioning to the embarrassed lump of Chinese boy still fozen in place, "smashed his hand on a very heavy book in the library and the poor thing couldn't find you or Sakura. He came to the roof to eat on his own when he, luckily, found me here..so I offered to help him with his food, now that we are such good friends and all."

Tomoyo's unbelieving smirk also widened.

"How nice of you Eriol, I remember all the times I had to help feed Sakura.." Tomoyo sighed happily at the sudden thought.

This was enough to snap Syaoran out of his stupefied trance.

"Oh yeah..Ouch!" he said shaking his hand in the air after the fact, "I think my hand feels better though, so I can feed myself now thank you."

He seized his chopsticks back and began wolfing down his food in an attempt to get out of there as fast as possible. The bell rang only a few moments later to save Syaoran from his situation. He stood to bolt away, but was stopped by Eriol's smooth call.

"Syaoran? Why the sudden rush, wasn't I going to carry your heavy books for you and accompany your weary self to class? Remember?" Eriol said, his eyes glinting in amusement.

Syaoran feigned a forgetful gesture and tossed him his books. With a shrug he turned to dash away but Eriol once again stopped him, this time with a painfully fake sigh.

"Oh..oh my.." he wailed, suddenly dragging his right leg a little.

Syaoran turned to the fatally moaning Eriol behind him.

"It seems my leg fell asleep, while we were eating," he said limping up to the flustered wolf.

"Do you mind?" Eriol asked innocently offering Syaoran his arm in a gesture of support.

Sakura rushed to their side with an insanely smiling Tomoyo bringing up the rear.

"Oh Eriol! Are you ok? Having to carry those heavy books with your leg all asleep..let me help!" she said taking some of the books off him and sharing part of the load with Tomoyo who tried stifling a giggle at the act.

"Sakura-san you are always so thoughtful and caring..thank you!" Eriol said with an appreciative tone to his voice, that was more than fake.

"Isn't she?" encouraged Tomoyo, "Sakura and I will carry these books ahead of you two, Syaoran take good care of Eriol will you?"

With that she dragged Sakura along with her, leaving the boys steadily making their may.

"Very funny Eriol.." Syaoran growled as people stared at the two boys walking arm in arm.

Eriol, still brandishing his fake limp, nodded, grasping Syaoran tighter and sending a few people he knew down the hall winks.

"One would think we were going steady, what with me carrying your books and my sleepy leg suddenly getting better..arm in arm like newlyweds.' Eriol sighed happily.

Syaoran looked down to realize that Eriol was now walking straight, his head slightly leaned in towards Syaoran as he waved at a few friends like a model on parade.

Syaoran riled and shook the other boy off of him.

"OK we're here!" he snapped as they entered the classroom ready for another lesson.

Sakura and Tomoyo stared at the spectacle.

~*~

Class was dauntingly slow, as is always the trend when one is trying hard to be anywhere else. Eriol seemed to be enjoying class, but to the keenly aware Syaoran, it was obvious the mage was musing more ways to embarrass him later. The bell rang signaling the end of class and Syaoran sprang from his desk in a mad rush to freedom. He ran through halls, pushing people aside, flying down the stairs and bursting through the door of the school, out to the bright sun.

"One would think you were trying to skip out on our afternoon, Syaoran." said Eriol casually, leaning against the railing only a few feet away from the breathless Syaoran.

The helpless wolf nearly fainted, "How did you get out here so fast!"

Eriol uncrossed his legs and almost skipped the distance to Syaoran's side supporting him on an arm.

"Shortcut.." he grinned.

Sakura came up to the boys once again, followed by Tomoyo.

"What's wrong with Syaoran?" she pointed out.

Eriol smiled sweetly, "He just had a nice long run..a little tired out I suppose."

"Really Syaoran, you shouldn't overwork yourself no matter how much you like sports.." Eriol rebuked softly, Tomoyo covered her mouth to stop from laughing out loud.

Sakura shrugged.

"Ready to go then?" she asked the panting boy.

Eriol stepped in, "Oh didn't he tell you?"

Syaoran made a gesture as if to stop Eriol from talking, a dangerous look to his eyes, but he wasn't able to talk at the moment..so Eriol, of course, took advantage of the situation.

"Terada gave us an extra-credit assignment. I'm afraid he'll have to come to my house this afternoon to work on it." Eriol said in an unfortunate tone.

Tomoyo let a chuckle escape.

"I didn't hear anything about that, Eriol!" Syaoran said between breaths.

Eriol gave him a half evil smirk, "He told me after class, you were too busy running laps outside weren't you? But that's why I came to look for you, naturally, to tell you about this sudden development."

Sakura held an expression of confusion once again, but shrugged motioning to Tomoyo.

"Well you two better get started on that project then, Tomoyo can walk me home." she said turning to leave.

Tomoyo mouthed a very obvious 'thank you' to Eriol as she waved good-bye to the duo.

Syaoran lunged at Eriol once the girls were out of view.

"Just what do you think you are doing, you knew I was going to walk Sakura home today!" he snarled.

Eriol looked down at Syaoran's firm grip, then back up into the other boy's fierce face.

"And you forgot that I told you on the roof, you were walking me home today..slave.." he said, smirking cynically and dropping his voice a few intervals at the last part.

Syaoran straightened up, his head held high, "So let's go then."

~*~

Eriol had not stopped gabbing away the whole ride to his place that afternoon. And now that he was sitting across from him at the dinner table, the situation had not changed. Syaoran looked outside at the fading afternoon light, as Eriol continued recounting past experiences. He couldn't understand. Eriol hadn't embarrassed him once during his stay at the house all day. If anything Syaoran noticed he was being more than nice as the spectacled boy served him another glass of wine.

Eriol took his seat back and moved closer to Syaoran, his cheek resting on his hand in interest.

"So what about you?" he said sliding a little closer to his distracted guest and pushing the untouched glass of wine in his direction.

Syaoran took a sip from the glass eyeing his host suspiciously, "I'm sorry I wasn't listening.."

Eriol sighed, "I noticed.."

He resumed his conversation, "I was asking about you and Sakura..things going well are they?"

Syaoran's eyes narrowed, "Why do you care?"

Eriol seemed almost insulted, "Just a friendly question..that's all."

"Friendly? Friendly!? Is that supposed to be a joke or something? You have been anything BUT these last few days!" Syaoran blurted.

Eriol dipped his finger in his wine, "Just a game Syaoran.."

"Game? I can't figure you out at all, you said you would keep things quiet and you have..but I still can't help feeling you are intruding between Sakura and I purposefully. You force me to do embarrassing things and I can't tell if you are being serious or just playing!" Syaoran accused heatedly.

Eriol only stared at his glass, unshaken by Syaoran's words.

"And now, all of a sudden you are being nice to me..you haven't done one odd thing the whole time I've been here. You've been talking to me from this romantically set out table like we were old chums. Just what do you want?" Syaoran demanded dumping the rest of his wine down like a shot and extending the glass for another round.

Eriol quietly poured him another glass which Syaoran quickly took to.

"I mean..do you really like me? Or do you just want to torture me? Do you get a kick out of all this?" Syaoran continued, after having greedily gulped down his glass again.

"Yes.." Eriol smiled.

Syaoran furrowed his eyebrows, his head tipping a little.

"Yes..to what? That's not an answer!" he said still angry after a hiccup and another round of wine.

Eriol made to serve him another glass, but Syaoran pushed it away, staggering to stand up but still angry, "and I think I've had one too many of these."

The brunette tried standing up straight, about to storm out of the dining room but instead felt himself falling.

Eriol caught him, a sympathetic smile on his face. Syaoran clung on gratefully as he steadied his balance.

"So.. like I was saying, I'm leaving you!" he slurred.

Eriol's eyes slit as he laughed heartily, "Not in this state you're not. I wont have you walking home all alone, drunk, an easy target. Wei wouldn't be too happy to see you arrive like this either."

The dark-haired boy hoisted his descendant onto his back, carrying him across the living room and towards the stairs of his mansion, "No..you are staying here tonight. No need to worry because there is no school tomorrow anyway. You can leave angry in the morning if you like."

Syaoran made a noise of protest but quickly slumped unconscious over Eriol's shoulders.

The mage carried him into one of his many spare rooms. Laying the boy gently on the bed, he began to remove his outer clothing. He stopped for a moment, as he parted the folds of shirt covering the now bare torso. His heart beating wildly, he stroked a hand over the forehead of the peacefully slumbering boy. Then he pulled the covers over him.

"I do, you know..I really do love you." he said, his lips lingering only centimeters away from Syaoran's.

Eriol pulled away abruptly as if realizing what he was about to do. He pushed a set of his bangs away and adjusted his glasses guiltily.

"No, it wont happen this way..you have to decide for yourself." he said striding towards the door, "Goodnight Syaoran."

~*~

Eriol awoke the next day to a furious glare hovering above him. He jumped up in surprise.

"How did I end up here..and like this!!" Syaoran howled, pointing to his boxer-clad body.

Eriol smiled, blinking through sleepy eyes.

"Good morning to you too. You had one too many drinks at dinner, so I thought it safer that you spend the night. Don't worry, Wei knows you are here and there are no classes so.." he yawned, "You can sleep in if you like." Eriol finished pulling the covers back over himself.

Syaoran stormed out of his room and in an instant returned fully clothed.

"So like I was saying..I'm leaving!" he bellowed at the lump under the covers.

Eriol sat up again reaching for his glasses but Syaoran gave him no time to say anything. Instead he turned, pounded down the stairs and stomped towards the front door, expecting the warmth of the day to greet him. Instead a streak of lightening flashed through the sky as buckets of rain began to pour everywhere. Two arms circled his torso from behind, just as a heavy thunder rolled.

"Looks like it's pouring outside.." said Eriol sleepily, resting his chin on the shorter boy's shoulder.

Syaoran peeled him off.

"Wouldn't want you to catch pneumonia running through that storm." Eriol grinned, adjusting his bathrobe.

Syaoran eyed him suspiciously, he had the sudden sinking feeling that this storm had JUST started and that it wasn't from natural causes.

"I'll have you driven home in a moment. Let's get some breakfast for now shall we?" Eriol continued, motioning him into the dining room.

Syaoran chewed warily on his food minutes later, still eyeing his captor. Eriol yawned again.

"Boy, you really tired me out last night..you're kind of heavy for being so skinny." Eriol teased suggestively.

Syaoran blanched.

"And all that screaming.." Eriol shook his head, still wearing his evil smile and sultry voice.

Syaoran shoved another pastry into his mouth and then stood to excuse himself.

Eriol stopped him, throwing him a towel. "You might want to take a bath..you know get that alcohol smell off you, among other things."

Syaoran nodded reluctantly and turned to head in the direction of the bath. He scrubbed at himself absently a moment later, lost in thought. He had had the strangest dream while he slept last night. He had been running after someone through a thick layer of fog, the person seemed very special to him because he was trying hard to catch up...reaching out, screaming the name he couldn't remember. The shadowy figure only kept walking as "I really do love you" rang through Syaoran's ears..a familiar voice he couldn't place. He kept trying to imagine it was Sakura that the dark figure belonged to, but something made him think otherwise.

Suddenly he felt two pairs of hands on his back and he nearly jumped in the air as Eriol's face peaked over his shoulders.

"Woah calm down..I thought I would join you. You don't mind if I scrub your back do you?" Eriol asked, obviously satisfied with the reaction from Syaoran.

Syaoran nodded numbly as a feeling of tranquility swept through him while Eriol scrubbed away at his bare back.

"Your hands are very soft Eriol..don't work with them much do you?" Syaoran drawled.

"You'd be surprised what I can do with these hands and just how much work I put them through.." Eriol smirked, aware that Syaoran's body had just gone rigid.

"Yeah well that's enough scrubbing I think.." said Syaoran quickly, sprinting for the hot tub a short distance away.

Eriol laughed.

After, in Eriol's opinion, a too short soak in the tub Syaoran dried himself and lifted his clothes in the air inspecting them.

"Still smell like alcohol don't they? You might want to bag them.." Eriol said approaching him with a bag in hand and a bundle of clothes under one arm.

Syaoran raised his eyebrows in speculation of the situation as he held the pair of loose jeans and a shirt Eriol offered him.

"I'm sure they'll fit, after all we have about the same physique." Eriol winked.

~*~

Before long the boys were racing the rain as they shot towards a long black car waiting for them in Eriol's expansive driveway. They crammed into the roomy back seat; Syaoran edging as far away from the cheery boy who's clothes he was wearing. Eriol closed the door behind himself and scooted closer to Syaoran who had no choice but to let him.

Eriol tried engaging the boy in conversation as they drove on through the rain, but Syaoran was having none of it..too preoccupied with all the recent events and the time. In only a little while he had a date with Sakura and she was either probably waiting for him, or sent a message that she couldn't make it because of the rain.

"How about some music." Syaoran said impatiently trying to drown out Eriol's voice.

Eriol shrugged as he tapped the buttons of the elaborate built-in sound system in front of him.

A dance song filled their compartment. Syaoran threw Eriol an odd look.

"I didn't know you were into this kind of music Eriol." Syaoran inquired.

Eriol shrugged, his trademark smile spreading on his face, "I guess I like the lyrics."

Syaoran turned his head to the speakers suddenly curious.

//I just can't get you out of my head..boy your loving is all I think about. I just can't get you out of my head, boy it's more than I bear to think about-//

Syaoran turned wide-eyed to Eriol who was giving him a significant look.

//-Every night, every day just to be there in your arms..wont you stay, wont you lay. Stay forever and ever and..*//

The suddenly cherry red Syaoran had quickly pressed the button and scanned for another station.

Hard rock filled his ears now and Syaoran laid back a little more comfortable, until he noticed Eriol nearly bounce with delight.

"Oooh I love this song! Too bad we didn't hear it from the beginning." Eriol cheered.

Syaoran paid attention once again dreading the lyrics he would find.

//..I love the way you look at me, I love the way you smack my ass, I love the dirty things you do while I have control of you! I need to feel you, you need to feel me..*//

Syaoran paled and lunged for the buttons once again.

"Something..soft..something nice.." he was muttering to himself. He turned to a soft rock station.

//Love me, Love me, say that you love me. Fool me fool me, go on and fool me. Love me love me..pretend that you love me..I don't care about anything but you..*//

"Well, that's an older song, but kind of nice don't you think?" Eriol cooed.

Syaoran's eyes bulged as he frantically searched the airwaves for something he deemed decent.

//Baby, I'm not always there when you call, but I'm always on time and I gave you my all, now baby be mine*//

"Country?" he panted switching again.

//..you're still the one that I love, the only one I dream of..*//

"Pop!!?" he squeaked nervously pressing the buttons again

//..I'm a slaaaave, for you..*//

He slammed the buttons.

//..love.//

He pressed them again..

//Love!!//

and again..

//..love you!//

Syaoran turned off the radio. Eriol held back a chuckle.

"Enough music.." he spat annoyed towards the thing as if it had betrayed him.

~*~

The rain stopped suddenly, and only a few minutes later they had arrived at the front of his house.

"Oh no..I knew she'd be here." Syaoran said trailing his hand down his face in frustration.

Eriol peeked out the window. Sakura was standing in a raincoat, shaking her wet umbrella.

The boys climbed out of the car and predictably Sakura glanced at her flustered and still pink-in-the-cheeks boyfriend wearing Eriol's clothes.

"Syaoran..oh..hi Eriol. I had called earlier today, but Wei said you hadn't come home last night..and then the rain.." she trailed off, darting her eyes between the guilty faces of both the boys.

Eriol stepped up, "That's right, he spent the night at my house. We worked so hard on that project..it had to do with food you see and he is such an excellent cook and all but got his clothes all dirty in the process, that really was an extravagant stuffed eggplant Syaoran, Terada should be pleased.."

Eriol rambled on cheerfully as Sakura nodded blankly at every turn of the subject.

"So that's what happened.." Eriol finished, sounding genuinely convincing.

"Oh..ok.." Sakura responded to the torrent of information she had just been given.

"Sorry I didn't call you Sakura." Syaoran said with a wirey smile.

"That's ok.." she said looking around her sadly, "But now everything is wet, so I guess we can't go on our picnic.."

Syaoran's hand made to reach out to her, but he stopped himself. "I guess not.."

Eriol spread his arms out as if a sudden idea just hit him.

"A little rain never stopped a fun weekend before." he said

Sakura and Syaoran turned to him.

"I was thinking, with all this water, why not go for a swim? Kind of like a pool party, later today at my house. Sakura you can invite Tomoyo if you like. I mean, usually after a short rain, the weather only gets hotter.." Eriol suggested as a steamy breeze flew past the group almost on cue.

"See what I mean?" he smirked.

Syaoran eyed the cunning boy untrustingly and he was just about to decline the offer when Sakura latched onto him.

"What do you say Syaoran!? It sounds like fun doesn't it?" Sakura said nearly hopping with excitement.

Syaoran smiled in a slightly defeated posture. "Umm sure why not, if you want to."

Sakura agreed happily and bounced off saying she would call Tomoyo and get ready.

Syaoran gave the crafty boy cheesing across from him, a threatening look.

~*~

"Wearing his clothes?" Tomoyo teased later that afternoon as Syaoran served himself some drinks.

"Augh why did I tell you anything in the first place." Syaoran cringed.

Tomoyo leaned against the outdoor bar as she watched Eriol and Sakura splash in a water fight.

"Watery!" she heard Sakura yell as Eriol dodged her card's attacks and sent torrents pouring after her from the sky with a wave of his staff. Tomoyo giggled, as Syaoran watched the two attack each other playfully, through jealous eyes.

"So then what do you think that dream meant?" she continued on the lost subject.

Syaoran turned to her, his head bowed slightly and his eyes unfocused on the ground in thought, "I don't know.."

"But something tells me you don't think it was Sakura." Tomoyo prodded.

Syaoran's head snapped up, "What are you trying to insinuate?"

"Nothing!" Tomoyo declared in defense of herself, "It's just after you told me about what you saw, you didn't immediately say you thought it was Sakura..so it led me to believe that maybe you thought it wasn't her. Of course if it had been MY dream.."

Syaoran raised a hand to silence her, "I don't think I want to know about YOUR dreams Tomoyo.." he smiled.

"Maybe you should ask Eriol about it, he knows a lot about dreams. Especially since you two seem to be such good friends now.." she suggested, pointing to boy in question, who was now waving at Syaoran in victory of his water fight.

Syaoran waved back meekly, trying as best he could to be convincingly friendly.

He scowled at Tomoyo, "That's the LAST thing I want to do."

"Oh but you two have been so close, in such a small amount of time. I don't remember the last time you'd offer Eriol a shoulder, much less an arm in public without some sort of bribe." She commented, almost teasing.

Syaoran bristled, "It's not like that.."

"I never said it was. You said it, not me.." said Tomoyo heading back to the pool, leaving a distraught Syaoran to his thoughts.

~*~

"I'm going to stay a little longer..to..uh..help Eriol with the last of the project." Syaoran lied that night as the girls asked if he would accompany them home.

"Sure thing. See you tomorrow then Syaoran." said Sakura with a last kiss on the cheek.

"Don't work too hard this time!" Tomoyo chimed as they finally left the grounds.

Eriol turned to his descendant when the doors had been closed behind them.

"I'm impressed..I thought you'd be the first out of here." Eriol said returning to the side of the pool as the moon began to reveal itself from behind the darkened clouds above.

"Don't flatter me. I need to talk to you, that's the only reason I stayed..wh-what are you DOING?!" Syaoran blabbed as Eriol threw his swim trunks at his feet.

"Late night swim..much more comfortable this way..care to join me?"

Syaoran knew that was not a question and more of a request from the gleam in Eriol's eyes. He slipped out of his trunks, once in the water, and threw them on the pavement, backing away from the advancing Eriol.

"So..what did you want to talk to me about?" Eriol said finally cornering his blushing victim.

"You know this slave thing is getting tiring on my part. I haven't been able to spend one decent minute alone with Sakura since we started this." Syaoran said firmly, trying to sound bothered.

Eriol dipped his body lower in the water, then launched backwards, stroking widely in the water, gliding peacefully on it's surface as he thought to himself.

"I know..that's why I am cutting our deal short." he said almost sadly.

Syaoran did a double-take, his angry face melting away into one of disbelief.

"What?!" he called out, his eyes widened.

Eriol stopped floating and swam slowly to Syaoran's side. He leaned half way out of the water with his shoulders firmly against the edge, and began treading his feet lightly.

"I've grown tired of torturing and scarring you for life, Syaoran. I only wanted one last swim with you.." he said laying his head back still sadly, "You may go any time you want. You're free."

"I don't understand, I thought you were having fun, having your way with me and all?" Syaoran countered, astonished at himself for not leaping out of the water and fleeing.

Eriol also seemed surprised at the fact Syaoran was still next to him.

"I admit I've never had more fun..spending time with you, but I realized it was all horribly forced on your part. I'm sorry, I'm really not this evil you know. I just..couldn't help myself.." he stopped rewording the sentences in his head, "You told me yesterday, just before passing out, that you thought I was getting between Sakura and yourself. I don't want to feel responsible for something like that. So I've decided to leave you alone. It just felt nice, you know, pretending we were friends. Even if it was all based on a bet."

Syaoran was speechless, he didn't know what to think or say. Just a moment ago Eriol had forced him to jump in the water naked. No..wait.. he dissected his own thoughts more closely. Had Eriol ever really forced him? Had Syaoran ever said 'no'? Why had he just gone along with everything, why hadn't he tested Eriol's resolve to the bet. If he had really wanted to spend so much time with Sakura, why hadn't he spoken out and made his feelings heard? If he had really hated this whole ordeal, why hadn't he voiced it more openly before.

The truth was he had almost grown used to having Eriol tag around him. Now that he was suddenly free, he felt alone again, like all the attention that had been lavished upon him just days ago was suddenly gone and everything had turned just a little colder. He felt..almost empty.

Syaoran had barely noticed, lost in his thoughts, that Eriol had pulled on his trunks again and was wading out of the water. A slight fog had fallen over the surface as the night grew cooler and the water, heated from the day, slowly evaporated to mingle in the air. He suddenly recalled his dream as Eriol's retreating figure became shadowed.

"Wait! Eriol..stop..one second..come back!" Syaoran called out frantically as he began running in Eriol's direction.

No matter how fast he tried to go in the waist-high water he could not catch up to him, it had been exactly like in his dream, and as he started putting the pieces together he began to wonder if the voice that rang constantly throughout it had belonged to Eriol too. He had to know!

Suddenly Eriol's figure stopped just as he reached the water's edge and turned. The fog departed as Syaoran approached him, revealing the sopping boy clearly as if the dream had come to a conclusion. The tired out wolf crashed into him, pinning Eriol back down into the water.

"Eriol..do me a favor ok!? I want you to say," Syaoran pleaded through breaths, grasping at him, "'I really do love you'..ok? Just say that for me."

Eriol's eyes widened as the rest of his face paled, "You..heard?"

Syaoran shook his head briefly in confusion, "Heard what?"

Eriol struggled to get free from his grasp, "Nothing..forget it.."

Syaoran was now widely suspicious at Eriol's reluctant behavior. It had been so easy for the taller boy to tease him before and now he wouldn't say 5 simple words. If anything he looked shaken about that very phrase.

"Say it!" Syaoran demanded, pulling Eriol back down into he water.

Eriol clenched his teeth in anger, then his gaze saddened as he looked at his determined descendant.

With a final sigh of resignation, he whispered, "I really do love you."

Syaoran's mouth dropped as the fractions of his dream shattered in his head and retracing that memory, Syaoran could now clearly see the figure in his dream and match it to the very same voice.

"It was you.." he mumbled still shocked.

"Yes, I'm sorry I shouldn't have said anything..I was just joking around you see.." Eriol rambled nervously.

"No..no it was you in my dream..last night. It all makes sense now." said Syaoran shaking his head vigorously ignoring Eriol's excuses.

"You..had a dream about me?" Eriol asked suddenly aware of what Syaoran had said.

Syaoran took a seat next to him on the steps in the pool and explained the dream he had had, and how Tomoyo had suggested that he talk to him about it since he knew more about dreams. Suffice to say that by the end of his story both boys were blushing furiously.

"So what do you want to do about it" Eriol began, "..you can always just forget about it and go on with life like usual. I mean it was probably my fault because I had whispered that in your ear while you slept..so it was probably an induced dream and.."

Syaoran's concentrated gaze suddenly snapped, "Wait..wait.. you mean to tell me you really did say that?"

Eriol's face burned brighter and he began to stutter, his mouth forming words without sense.

"Did you really mean that? Do you really love me then?" Syaoran asked sheepishly.

Eriol hung his head in defeat, "For as long as I can remember."

Then he waved his arms out in front of him in alarm, "Oh!..umm no no, well I mean, don't think differently of me, I know you must be appalled what with Sakura and all..don't think I was..the whole time..or..even when.."

He never got to complete his ramblings because Syaoran had descended on his lips and his train of thought had been lost with them.

"Next time you like me," Syaoran said after pulling away, "don't go forcing me into a game of cards to show it."

Eriol smiled, still pleasantly breathless and warm at the cheeks. The boys exited the pool finally, Syaoran pulling on his trunks, slightly embarrassed that he had been bare the entire time.

Eriol wrapped his arms around the boy from behind, "I really did enjoy having you for a slave you know..I had plenty more things in mind too."

Syaoran turned, placing his own arms around Eriol, "Well it's just too bad that I'm free now isn't it?"

Eriol pouted, "Fine, I understand.."

The mischievous grin returned to the taller boy.

"So what do you want to do now then?" he asked innocently, following Syaoran into the living room.

Syaoran sat down on the couch, and Eriol gleefully joined him ready to assault him into the cushions, when Syaoran stopped him, sitting up.

"What is it now?" Eriol said mildly disappointed at the lack of action.

Syaoran reached for the coffee table, pulling something off and fumbling with it in his hands.

"Well I was thinking, in all fairness.." he said as he turned to Eriol, wearing a sinful grin, "that we might play a round of cards."

Eriol returned the look, "I hope I lose this time.."

~ Owari

Notes:
*- The first song is called "Can't get you out of my Head" by Kylie Minogue.
The second song is called "Control" by Puddle of Mudd
The third song is called "Love Fool" by The Cardigans
The forth is "Always on Time" By Ja Rule/Ashanti
The fifth is "Still the one" by Shania Twain
and if you don't know the last one, you have been living under a hole for which I envy you *cringe* Britney Spears..