L-chan's notes: Is there an "official" term for Tomoyo and Touya stories? Tomouya? Well, that's what this is. I've been racking my little brain to come up with a story for these two, and this is the result, though now that I think about it, it seems a little obvious. Oh, well.
Disclaimer: Card Captor Sakura is the property of CLAMP, to whom I am eternally grateful for the creation of Touya and Syaoran.
Chapter 1—The First Day
Tomoyo Daidouji perched on a stool in the Seijou High science lab and opened her notebook. The sensei hadn't arrived to begin class, so she thought she'd use the free time to start sketching a new dress design. The idea had come to her during morning recess, and she wanted to get it down on paper while it was still fresh in her mind.
"Ooh, how pretty!" Meiling Li gushed as she hopped onto the stool next to her friend. "I wish I had your artistic talent."
"I don't know if it's all that good." Tomoyo looked at her drawing a little more critically. It didn't come out the way she thought it would. She just couldn't get inspired lately. "Besides, you're good at so many other things, Meiling-chan."
The raven-haired girl nodded. "That's true." She sighed and leaned her elbows on the table. "I hate the first day of school. I'm already dreading all of the work that hasn't even been assigned yet."
"But isn't it exciting? New classes, new teachers, a new beginning." Tomoyo was probably the only student in the building who was happy to be back in school. It gave her something to look forward to. Her life seemed so empty lately, and even though Meiling had become such a good friend, it didn't make up for the one she had lost.
"New homework, new projects, new exams," Meiling countered. "And chemistry? It's like someone said, 'Hey, how can we torture Meiling this year? I know, let's combine math and science!'"
"I'll help you if you help me," Tomoyo replied softly, her violet eyes focused on the classroom door.
"What do you need help with?" Meiling followed Tomoyo's gaze and saw her cousin, Syaoran, coming in with Sakura Kinomoto. "Oh," Meiling breathed in understanding.
I knew they would be together. I should be used to it by now. So why does it still hurt? Tomoyo wanted to look away, but she couldn't stop staring at the couple. To make things worse, Sakura raised her hand in a cheerful wave and sat down at the lab table in front of Tomoyo and Meiling.
"Tomoyo-chan! I'm so glad we're in the same classes again this year!" Sakura chirped, her emerald eyes sparkling.
Why? Tomoyo wondered. You don't have time for me anymore. If it wasn't for school, I wouldn't see you at all. "Yes, isn't that great?" she answered unenthusiastically.
Syaoran sat down next to his girlfriend with a sigh of relief. "I thought we were going to be late. Where's the sensei?"
Sakura's smile wavered. "You're going to wish you didn't ask that."
The classroom door slid open, and a tall man with dark brown hair walked in. "Oh, God," Syaoran muttered. "Just kill me now."
"Good morning, everyone. I am Touya Kinomoto, and this is junior-level chemistry." He quickly surveyed his students, recognizing his younger sister and her friends, and frowning a bit when his brown eyes landed on a certain Chinese gaki. He pulled out the roll sheet. "When I call your name, please raise your hand."
"Mmm, maybe this class won't be so bad after all," Meiling whispered to Tomoyo. "He's definitely an improvement over the corpse we had for science last year."
Tomoyo raised her hand, and Touya glanced at her briefly before marking the sheet and moving on to the next name. How long has it been since I've seen him? she wondered. A year? The last time she'd been to Sakura's house, he had already moved out. When did he get glasses? He looks just like his father.
Sakura gave her brother a limp wave, embarrassed to be related to the sensei.
Meiling's wave was much friendlier. "Yes, I think I'm going to like chemistry," she murmured to her tablemate.
Touya suppressed a glare as he read the next name. "Syaoran Li."
Sakura nudged the chestnut-haired boy next to her. He scowled and raised his hand flippantly, knowing perfectly well that Touya was aware of him.
Touya finished calling the roll and put the sheet aside. He reached into a blue folder and pulled out a stack of papers. "This is your syllabus for the term." He began passing the stapled pages to each row. "Listed are all reading assignments, lab experiments, and exams. However, you will not find quizzes on here. Those may be given at any time, so always come to class prepared."
Many of the students groaned at the prospect of pop quizzes, but Touya ignored them. "Now," he continued, "I hope you like the person sitting next to you, because he or she will be your lab partner." If he was upset that his little sister was seated next to her gaki of a boyfriend, it didn't show. "Your lab grades will depend on the work both of you do, with the same grade given to each partner, so teamwork is essential."
Tomoyo and Meiling looked at each other. "I guess you're stuck with me," Meiling whispered. "Sorry."
Tomoyo smiled at her friend. "We'll be fine." She toyed with the end of her lavender braid as she skimmed through the syllabus. The workload did seem daunting, but it always did at the beginning of a new term. It's not like we have to do everything at once. She turned her attention back to the front of the classroom.
"I think that takes care of all the formalities," Touya was saying. "So, let's get started. Open your textbooks to the first chapter." He picked up a piece of chalk and began making notes on the blackboard.
Her pencil scratched across her notebook as she neatly copied the information, but Tomoyo was only half listening to the lecture. She watched Touya as he paced back and forth while he talked. She was impressed with the way he handled himself in front of the class, and his rich voice was strong and authoritative.
He's really good, she thought. This is going to be a great class. And I'll get to see him every day. I've missed him. Her pencil stopped in mid-sentence as the meaning of those words sunk in. Wait a minute. Where did that come from?
She must have been staring at him, because he caught her eye and stopped to look at her for a moment before he continued. She blushed with embarrassment and focused her eyes on her notebook, determined to concentrate on the subject, not the speaker.
Good grief, I'm acting like Meiling-chan, she scolded herself, getting all crushy over the good-looking young sensei. She looked over at her new lab partner, who hadn't written a word of the notes, instead choosing to rest her chin on her hand and gaze dreamily at Touya.
"In the few minutes we have left," he said as he returned the chalk to the ledge, "I want you to become familiar with the lab procedures and safety rules. Please go over the sheet with your partner, and see me if you need any help."
"I certainly will," Meiling murmured as she turned to the last page of the syllabus.
"Meiling-chan, I hope you're going to take this class seriously. You can't spend all of your time drooling over Tou—Kinomoto-sensei." Tomoyo said quietly, speaking to herself as much as to her friend. "It's going to be a lot of work, and I'll be counting on you."
"Don't worry. In a couple of days I won't even notice how gorgeous he is when he starts making my life miserable with all this work," Meiling replied. "He'll just be another one of the enemy. But until then…." Her words drifted off, and an infatuated smile curved her lips.
Tomoyo sighed. Meiling's crushes came and went with the setting of the sun. But for Tomoyo, it wasn't going to be that easy.
Touya sat in the faculty break room, eating his lunch with one hand and making notes with the other. The morning had gone pretty well, and he was just making some adjustments to the material for his afternoon classes.
So far, so good, he thought. He was grateful for all the advice his father had given him. Touya didn't come right out and admit that he was nervous about teaching, but he didn't have to. Fujitaka remembered how his first day had gone and had shared stories, both good and bad, with the humor that only the passing of time can bring. He'd reassured his son that he was ready. Touya appreciated his father's help and was relieved that none of his fears had been realized. Yet, he added wryly.
The hardest part was going to be treating Sakura and Syaoran just like any other students. He knew when he took the position that they would be in the eleventh grade this year and would end up in his class. He thought he could handle it, but seeing them sitting there together was a bit unsettling. It was going to take effort on all of their parts to make this work. He had to treat them with respect as his students, and they had to respect him as their sensei.
Easier said than done. Why did I have to start this year? Why did I rush through my courses? I could have waited one more year. One more year of being flat broke. One more year without my own place. Oh, yeah, that's why.
It didn't seem so long ago that he was a high school junior, sitting in the same lab with Yukito, complaining about being back in school and how much work the sensei was assigning. But at the same time, it seemed like a lifetime ago. How quickly things change, he thought. Why do things have to change at all?
He took his glasses off and pinched the bridge of his nose. Get over it already, he reprimanded himself. It's been three years.
He pushed those thoughts out of his mind and flipped through his papers, leaving his glasses on the table. He wasn't used to them yet. His father had suggested reading glasses when Touya mentioned the eyestrain he was suffering while studying for long periods of time. It only gets worse, Fujitaka had told him with the voice of experience, especially when you spend hours planning lectures and going over stacks of homework. Other than that, the glasses were an affectation. Touya thought they made him look older and more serious, and that could only work to his advantage when dealing with a class full of teenagers.
He looked at his roll sheet from the third period. So many familiar names. Sakura's friends. Meiling Li, the gaki's feisty cousin. Chiharu Mihara, the captain of the cheerleading squad. Takashi Yamazaki, the local quiz champion. Tomoyo Daidouji....
He hadn't meant to stare at Tomoyo. He was just amazed at how she'd grown up since the last time he saw her. When was it, anyway? Sakura's fifteenth birthday party? That was over a year ago.
But what surprised him even more was how much she looked like his mother. Her hair was a couple of shades darker, and she had Sonomi's violet eyes, but there was something about her. Her quiet beauty, her delicate bone structure, or maybe it was the way she carried herself, so poised and graceful. That's not quite right, is it, he thought with a fond smile, remembering his mother's occasional clumsiness. But in photographs, Nadeshiko always looked perfect. That's how Tomoyo looked.
He'd noticed that her cheeks turned pink when he'd looked at her. I'll have to apologize for embarrassing her. She must think she did something wrong. Actually, I think she was the only one listening to me. But I guess that's to be expected on the first day.
This is the result of writer's block on my MeiLi, so I don't know how I feel about it yet. But thanks for reading!