Beautiful Alone
by Ekai Ungson

notes: strange how this fic seems to be loved by all and not hated! anyway, thanks to everyone who took the time to read this fic which include Evil Emzo, meemee-chan, syao-chan, Sakura-san, Varon dahling, jade, China, and those other people I forgot to mention, thank you!

in legality: CLAMP owns it. characters used without permission.

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iv: What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted

The sound of thunder broke across the skies, and at the same time rain began pouring down in merciless amounts towards the humans below, firmly planted on earth.

Sakura poured herself some hot tea and took her favorite seat by the window, taking with her a book and a blanket. She sat down and stared outside at the black, endless night, and at the raindrops that poured down in infinity.

If only Tomoyo could see her now. Or even Touya. She had a feeling she looked a tad too melancholy.

The week had been all right, so far, she mused. She'd made it through without wasting so far away. Seeing Syaoran with Hanano had at first developed in her some sort of defense mechanism, and then repellance, until later on, when she saw the smiles on their faces that the apprehension she felt deteriorated into a sort of blank numbness. She could watch them now without needing to wince or turn away.

It would hurt her, always hurt her, but she could pretend, at the least, that it did not, couldn't she?

The only strange part was whenever she, Syaoran, and Hanano were seen together, a lot of students' heads turned to her in expressions of either curiosity or pity.

Well, that was the case of the ex.

She was all right now.

/Zutto, daijoubu da yo./

/Whatever happens, everything will be alright./

She put the cup of tea down and grabbed her coat and umbrella. Forget that the rain was at an all-time high. She needed a walk.

----

Only a coat and an umbrella to shield her from the water, and nothing else. If only it were this easy to shield oneself from other things. Things like pain.

The rain had slowed down to a mere trickle, as are storms that pour their insides out in one awe-inspiring wave and then reduced themselves, having let loose everything within. If only it were this easy for oneself to unload.

Somewhere in the distance, someone was playing the piano. A sad, heartbreaking tune, that made her think of a great loss.

She began to ponder destiny, and why she and Syaoran were thrown together with such dizzying force only to be torn asunder from each other with about as much power. She began to question those forces, had they been trying to teach her something, just as they taught her to be brave, be strong with The Cards, just as they taught her how to value things, and love them?

It wasn't as if she and Syaoran had been preordained for each other. But she had always believed they were.

Oh well, she thought. At least now she knew better.

She took a step and stopped dead in her tracks.

Directly before her was Syaoran, sitting on a park bench and soaking wet.

----

It worked.

He had summoned her to him and it worked, at least he'd like to believe it. He didn't use his magic but here she was, materializing from out of nowhere like a dream, from a dream, HIS dreams. It meant something. It was a sign that he still was connected to her in some way, even though the ties that bound them were all but intact.

"Syaoran-kun?"

He winced at the honorific. It's just Syaoran, Sakura, just Syaoran, remember? I'm just Syaoran. Syaoran. He stared at her.

She held an umbrella above them both, and she was now close enough to touch, to crush her to him. Close enough. So close. "You're soaking. What on earth were you thinking, staying here in the middle of a godforsaken storm?"

He didn't answer.

"Syaoran-kun, let's take you home," she said, turning. When he didn't follow she asked again, "Syaoran-kun? Are you all right?"

/Syaoran. Just Syaoran. Call me Syaoran and say... say that everything's all right between us./

"Syaoran-kun?" she repeated.

".... No," he croaked finally. "I'm not all right."

Her eyes narrowed. "What?"

"I'm not all right," he repeated, his voice rising. Call me Syaoran, just Syaoran. We're all right, aren't we? We're all right. Nothing happened. "Of course I'm not all right! How can you even think I am?"

She stared at him. "I don't understand."

He shook his head, furiously, madly, angry at her for not getting it, angry at himself for the damned mess he created. "It's killing me. YOU'RE killing me," he said, watching her gasp, stunned. "I miss you, Sakura," he whispered, pleadingly.

For a few long moments, she stood, speechless.

"Say something," he begged her.

He heard her let out her breath. "... What do you want me to say?" she asked.

He shook his head again, trying to clear it, selecting a few choice words that would best articulate how he felt, but not quite. No word could explain how he felt. "I don't know. That you miss me, too, somehow. That you still need me." He stood up. "That you forgive me."

"I forgive you," she said quietly. "I just don't know if I'm anything else."

"Sakura," he whispered, pained.

She took a step back, as if repelled, as if disgusted. "Look, what do you want of me?" she asked angrily. "What do you want me to be? You've broken me beyond recognition, Syaoran. You've hurt me so much it's a wonder how I held up at all. And here you are, pleading to me, as if that would change anything you did? It's a miracle I'm still standing here, Syaoran! It's a frigging MIRACLE!"

"I'm sorry," he said.

"'I'm sorry'?!" Sakura yelled. "That's all you're going to say? One fucking 'I'm sorry'?! NOW?!" She turned enraged eyes on him. "Then I'd rather you didn't, Syaoran! Because it's useless! USELESS!"

The umbrella lay forgotten; in her rage she'd thrown it onto the cold pavement. They were both standing in the rain now, and it had picked up again, showering them with droplets of water that weighed them down and pierced them, mixing with the tears on both their faces.

"I looked on without a word about Hanano, Syaoran," she said slowly, deliberately, knowing that each word she spoke was going to his heart like darts, poison darts. "I didn't say a thing. I didn't beg you to come back to me. You," she said, "had wanted your freedom. And now, here it is," she waved a hand, as if freedom could be given physically, and it had manifested itself as the space around him, the black pavement, the gray puddles, the empty air. "Here. It is."

"I wanted you, Sakura," he pleaded. "I love you." He reached for her.

She stepped from his grasp. "No. I have had... enough."

And she walked away, leaving him alone with the night, the rain, the pavement, and a forgotten umbrella.

And a starless sky.

The gods cried in her absence.

~Owari~

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In explanation for "Beautiful Alone":

"Beautiful Alone" was conceptualized from the sheer sadness of the song of the same title from the Weiss Kreuz soundtrack. The song is a tad more-- there is no other word-- morbid-- as it speaks of the burial of a girl and a young man who watches her funeral in silence.

The idea for "Beautiful Alone" was raised on me wanting to write my last SyaoranxSakura fic before I graduated from high school, After reading some one hundred fics on FF.net, I realized that there was not a plot that existed in my head that had not been written by others in the same respect. In order for me to create an original theme, I played around with the idea of reversing every canon concept known about the couple and tearing them apart with often staggering results that made even me cry as I wrote the paragraphs down. In sum, I had written NOT an SxS but an S-S.

Influences for this fic are most often, and ironically, EriolxTomoyos by Chelle-sama, Ciircee, Sakura, Kit, Tin, Wen, B.Na, Silverlight, Varon, and others. I noticed that most SxS fics tend towards a more *shallow* voice than those in the narration of ExTs (this is mere personal opinion and cannot be traced as factual). So applying the same principle, I set about in trying to deepen the idea of the most-canon couple (sickening to a point, said Varon darling) because most fics usually played around with what was already THERE and not with WHY it was there in the first place.

I noticed that there could be... ramifications done in the sense that time CAN pass in the CCS world and with time comes CHANGE. I toyed with the idea of Syaoran committing Very Bad Things and easily identified what could be most realistic in terms of identifying with the character and that was, yes, the s-3-x issue. (I know a lot of people who got very very MAD at Syaoran for this)

In that, I went on to write what could possibly be my most challenging work to date.

I did not write this fic because I needed an outlet to vent out on, although most of Sakura's reactions can be stemmed from mine as, yes, I have felt love lost and anger and hate, to a certain extent. I wrote this fic as it could be written. It was that simple. In any case, this fic is a tad biased in some parts, as I do not actually know how men react to such circumstances, hence an explanation for Syaoran's *minimal* reactions. I tried my very best, however, to make the pain appear very real while still maintaining what I knew about Syaoran, and give him proper heart where it was sorely needed. (I also know that by upright CCS standards, Syaoran will NEVER do anything like that, but that CAN change, can't it?) To Syaoran-lovers (*coughcoughSakura!coughSyao-chan!coughSasami!coughcoughcough*), my apologies.

My sincere thanks go out to Sakura-san, who was first to learn about this idea, and was also first to beta-read, and for all the wonderful advice I got from her while writing this fic.

Also to the aforementioned writers whose works inspired a lot of the narration in this piece, and for beta-reading also, in the CCSFWML.

Acknowledgements also to dear Luna-chan, for providing me with a certain CD that contained select heartbreaking tracks to make me cry and write down how crying felt, including the song "Beautiful Alone".

My apologies go to all those who read this fic expecting a happy ending. Somehow the concept just didn't fit with what I wanted to achieve, exactly. I did warn you.

Thanks also to those who took the time out to read this thing. I sincerely thought I'd get flames. Really. I appreciate the compliments though, guys, thanks very much. I feel so loved! And cute! (Sorry, channeling Tin Mandigma there)

Comments are always muchly appreciated. ^_^

--Ekai Ungson
hikari_yagami20@yahoo.com
http://innocenceneon.blogspot.com