Ten Thousand Drops of Blood

Chapter 8

I ran as hard as I could. I ran home.
" Oni-chan! Kero-chan!" I called, desperate, panting at the doorway. Sounds of footsteps on the stairs reached my ears. I waited, trying to catch my breath.
" What's wrong?" Kero asked.
" Syaoran." I panted. " It's Syaoran. He's leaving tonight. I don't know where he is!"
" Whoa, calm down." Oni-chan instructed. " Tell me everything. Where did you get that flower?"
" Don't touch it!" I snapped, immediately protective of it. " Syaoran gave it to me through Eriol. I need Yue, and, and, Kaho and everyone!"

Blinking, Oni-chan nodded, still confused but willing to do what was asked. He went for the phone. I sat down on the couch, still gasping for breath, than ran up the stairs. I need the Sakura Book. I need to find Syaoran. I didn't care that Eriol came up with me. I just have to find him, have to talk with him. One last time.

Minutes later, I was out. Flying high in the sky. I didn't care for the full moon. Curse it with all its smiling brightness. Wiping the gathering tears from my eyes I flew on with all the speed I had. I know where Syaoran was. In a meadow far away, covered with blossoms that are for once, not his own. Hopefully.

The wind was cool. The night was fresh. I smelled flowers in the air, with all their light fragrance. I felt the wind caress my cheeks. Lift my hair. I felt my heart swell. So many things to say. So little time. So many things I do not understand. Why? Why don't I understand? I saw the look in Eriol-kun's eyes. I saw. How he looked at me, as he tried to explain, a faint note of frustration, but a sad and sorrowful acceptance.

Why is everyone so quiet? Why isn't anyone saying anything? Why are they just accepting this? Even Tomoyo was silent, not offering any comfort. She didn't even bring her camera.

I looked at the peony in my hand. So pure, so weak, so vulnerable. A picture of simplicity. Yet this simple flower represents so much. It represents Syaoran and everything he had. Everything he wanted to give. Everything he wanted to receive. Faintly I remember the story of the Rose Elf, of how the beautiful maiden found her love, slayed, beheaded, and took home the only thing she could take, along with a jasmine flower, and from the jasmine flowers there rose justice against the murderer. Just like that jasmine, the peony represents Syaoran.

Syaoran. Now white as new fallen snow. Syaoran. Now light as the wind, fair as the moon. Syaoran, with a voice like those of an angel. He is leaving me. He's going to leave. I will never see him again.

When I got there, the meadow is indeed surrounded by blossoms. But there was one thing that does not belong. There was a gate. Golden and intricately carved. It was opened, and I saw the beings within. They were magical, not white, but beautiful nonetheless. They are not angels. They're gods.

I also saw Syaoran, like a snow ghost, standing in front of the gate, taking in everything around him. His eyes landed on me and he smiled sadly, and didn't move, waiting for me to land. I did and ran to him.

" Syaoran-kun!" I called. I didn't want him to leave me. " Syaoran-kun!"
" Sakura." He answered. I ran up to him, gasping. " I've been waiting for you."
" Why?" I asked. " Why are you doing this?"

Syaoran smiled tenderly and I felt tears gather in my eyes yet again. He lifted his hand, and surprisingly it wasn't cold. It was warm and smooth, soft, perfect. He wiped away the tears that escaped my eyes and caressed my cheek.

" Sakura." He began. " I love you. I love you as stars love the sky. As flowers love the sun. But one must remember that there are forces stronger than love. There are forces stronger than even the strongest known element in this world. Do not be fooled, Sakura." He smiled again.
" This world is based on balance." He said. " Purity cannot survive. The battle is not between good and evil, but between the pure and the mixed. One day, when you lose some of your innocence, and recognize the darkness in this world, you will understand what light really is. Perhaps one day we'll meet again."
" But why?" I still didn't understand, and was distressed. " Why are you leaving me if you love me?"

Syaoran closed his eyes, his lashes dark as night. " I've never belonged here, Sakura." He finally answered. " And I cannot remain with the one that does not understand me. I cannot keep on losing myself, Sakura. Because I've lost so much." He stroked my hair tenderly as I stared at him, weeping and shaking with silent sobs.
" Every drop of blood, Sakura, signifies something I have lost." He continued. " And I do not want to lose the ability to love. Do you understand now? Because all this time, I did not know who I am, who I was. But I know I can love. Love can be lost, Sakura. And despite what others say, once you lose the ability to love, you lose yourself. You can never get it back. And then you must be rid of in this world, for without love there is no balance. Love is a force of balance Sakura."

" This world is very dark. I hope you will not realize that for a long time, but you must keep that in mind. You have a very good heart. You have a very good soul. There are many things waiting to take that away from you, to strip you until you are lost. Do not lose yourself. Remember, there are things that are too precious to be given to others. Trust can be given. Love can be given. But do not give yourself. Always remember that you are a good person, with a promising future, born to be happy and brave. Remember that what you want is who you are. And as a mortal you must know that you must not let others know who you are."

" The one thing, that kept me the way I am now," He continued, my tears slowly drying, " The one thing that helped me keep my soul, is secrecy, Sakura. For no one knew who I was, and no matter how much I had tossed away during the short years in my life, I still kept my soul. This is what you must do too, Sakura. You must protect yourself." He sighed, and stepped back.

" Syaoran-kun." I whispered. " I love you."
" You don't." His answer surprised me, however gentle it was. " None of you do. You do not know what love is. Perhaps in the future you would truly love me. But now," He smiled tenderly. " Now is too early. Now is too soon. You do not love me. You do not know loss. And I hope you will not know what love is for a long long time."

I was crying anew. Syaoran looked at the others.

" Tomoyo, arigatou for being a good friend." He said softly. " You're the first one who realized my feelings for Sakura and had supported me all the way. Eriol, thank you for doing me that favor. You have no idea how much that means to me. Ruby Moon, Spinel, take care of your master. Kaho-san, forgive me for all the scores I can no longer settle with you. Touya, take good care of your sister. We both know how much she means to you. Kero, remember that there are times when you cannot always enjoy life. Remember that for the sake of your masters.Yue."

Yue looked at him. Syaoran stared at Yue for a long while.

" Yue, I have always looked up to you, wishing for your approval for everything I do." And I saw the surprise in Yue's eyes, but he listened silently. " I have always respected you deeply. You were the only one that was ever aware that there was more to my actions than there is to the eye. And at my most vulnerable moments you had provided a shoulder to lean on."
" Yue, I want you to know that you need not fear death, for as a known writer had said," Syaoran smiled at Eriol. " ' There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.' After Sakura you will have many masters, each one different and special in their own way. Remember that you are now a human being, guardian or not, and that you have the ability to make decisions. Your purpose in life is not simply to guard the master and the cards. Whatever your purpose is, it is yours to find out. No one knows what fate has planned for them." Syaoran smiled. " And remember, tears are not always bitter."

Yue trembled, and Syaoran smiled sadly, and the two weilders of moon magic embraced, only briefly, but I saw something glistening down Yue's cheek, out of his closed eyes. Syaoran let him go, and then turned to me, taking my hand.

" Perhaps one day we'll meet again."
" Perhaps." I answered.
" Take care of the flower." He said. " It means a lot to me."
" It means to me as well." I answered.

Syaoran smiled yet again. " The night is young."
" Hai."
" The stars are bright."
" Hai..."

Syaoran closed his eyes and we just stood there alone for a minute, feeling the wind brush past our bodies, lifting the petals of the flowers.

" There is one more favor I want to ask. And it is from all of you." He said.
" Anything." I said.
" Anything." They said.

Syaoran looked up.

" Do not forget me." He said. " Speak of me when you will. Speak of me as I am. Do not forget that I had once lived, had been, will be."
" Hai."
" Promise me."
" We shall not forget." We answered quietly.

The gates were wide open and the gods were waiting patiently, affection and adoration already in their eyes, their arms wide open, ready to accept Syaoran when he is ready. Syaoran looked at me and then drew my face close, and our lips touched, lightly, briefly, just enough to show his love. Then we watched, as the wind began to pick up, and Syaoran, like a spirit that he was, made his way towards the gate.

Step by step. He did not turn around. Step by step, and each step brought him closer to the gate. I held the flower to my heart. The flower of his blood, the flower that resembles everything Syaoran was, is, and will be.

" Perhaps we shall meet again." I whisper. Syaoran did not stop. He did not answer. Each step became more determined, more confident, as he neared the gate to the other side, the paradise that will soon be his home.

As soon as he was near enough to the gate, he stopped, and turned around. One last glance at us, was all he could spare. One last glance. Then he smiled, his most beautiful smile, a smile of an angel.

" I love you." He said. And it wasn't just directed at me. We all knew.
" We will not forget." We answered. Syaoran nodded.

And than, already an immortal god, he passed through the gate, never to return.