Title: Caress of Venus
Author: nikki hiiragizawa
Genre: drama / romance
Disclaimer: Card Captor Sakura belongs to CLAMP After writing so many fics about this series, do I have to repeat that line over and over again?!
Author's Notes: Yosha minna! Miss me? Finally! I get to write another Eriol/Tomoyo fic again! This fic (which will be a bit long like my other fics) will be dedicated to the following:
- To Daidouji Tomoyo, whose birthday I forgot. (Gomen nasai, Tomoyo-san!)
- To my friends MitsuiSelphie and mihari who were always there to annoy...erm...help me. (Biro lang po!)
- To all those who reviewed my other fics, this is my thank you to you. ^.^
This fic is virtually unfinished. I haven't got any idea what to do next whatsoever. That is why, please review this so that I'll know if I should and how I will continue. Sore jaa, please enjoy my latest Eriol/Tomoyo fic. Maa, I'm getting rusty...
CARESS OF VENUS
CHAPTER 1: Paths Crossed
"Eriol-sama, are you listening to me?" the voice, quite demanding and absolutely annoyed, made the dark-eyed man look over his shoulder. Glaring at him was his most trustworthy keeper. Arms crossed over he chest, Akizuki
Nakuru snorted as she spoke once more. "Maa, Eriol-sama, I already reminded you not to sleep here in the art room!
You might catch a cold!"
Hiiragizawa Eriol walked away from the balcony to sit down on his favorite armchair. "I'm sorry, Nakuru. I was just trying to finish the painting I'm supposed to display at the opening of Ishikawa-sensei's museum."
"Well, it's still not an excuse for staying up so late and then sleeping here with the windows wide open," Nakuru remarked. "You know how I worry when you go into your lapses." She saw Eriol smile slightly, as if of gratitude, that she cannot help but return the smile. "Are you sure you don't want to sell your bed up in your room? We could use a few coins, you know."
Her master gave a hollow laugh, but quickly returned to his solemn disposition. "However, although I stay up late many times, trying to finish the painting, I cannot...."
Nakuru flipped a lock of pink hair over one shoulder and viewed the half-finished painting on the easel. "What is the name of this painting again?"
"Caress of Venus." Eriol picked up the cup of tea that Nakuru already prepared. He sipped it thoughtfully before
adding, "I could have finished it easily...if only...if only Kaho was here. But...well..."
The girl gave her master a sympathetic look before scrutinizing the painting once more. Even though the backdrop and the side objects were the only ones painted, the painting was magnificent with those alone. Her master, Hiiragizawa Eriol, was known to be one of the most successful contemporary artists in the country. His artworks were wanted by many and still a lot more request portraits made by him. He refused, though, saying that the beauty in his painting is controlled by the inspiration he gets, and forced work would be an utter failure to him.
The people continued to support him after that, and regarded him as a follower of Titian, for his paintings always contain a certain red-haired lady. It was only a year ago when they discovered that this red-haired lady was the woman of Eriol's dreams: his wife, Mizuki Kaho.
The lady in his paintings became as popular as his talent, and soon, they were known even outside of Japan. Such an awful incident however, happened six months ago. Robbers held up a bank where Mizuki Kaho was working, and in the pandemonium of police, bystanders and criminals, she was shot to her death.
Eriol carried the guilt of not protecting his wife until now, but no one knew why he blamed himself. Even Nakuru, whom he trusted so much, did not know what to make of it. All she knew was that a week before the incident, Eriol had already started painting the Caress of Venus and Kaho promised him to be the main model in it. When the woman in the picture was about to be painted, she was already gone. Now, every night since her death, Eriol would stay in the art studio and try to continue the picture he had left undone. However, this proved to be too painful for him and could not continue it anymore, no matter how high the amount of money offered to him. He treated the painting as a remorseful epitome of the past...of how Kaho left his love.
Nakuru closed her eyes. "Eriol-sama..."
"Maa, I think I have to go to Ishikawa-sensei's office now and tell him I'll replace the painting with another one since I cannot finish it. I also have to pitch in for the party afterwards." He settled his glasses over his nose and smiled at his ally. "Please take care of the house, Nakuru. I'll go get dressed."
She watched her master go upstairs. He seemed to feel that she was about to ask him about Kaho and he totally dismissed the topic. No matter how hard he missed Nakuru's mistress six months ago, he would never let any talk of it reach his ears. Sighing, Nakuru resolved to tidying up the art studio.
The bar manager winced as a fist was heavily slammed on his desk. "Are you saying I cannot sing anymore?" Purple eyes met his narrowing ones, and he puffed smoke from his cigarette before answering.
"Sou, Daidouji-san. From now on, you may pack your things and get some other job."
Daidouji Tomoyo, a girl of 18, held her temper and her fists. "Nan de! Why? I didn't do anything wrong! I was just..."
"You, " the manager shook a finger at her. "You ruined many facilities of the restaurant just because that guy up front told you to sit on his lap. Don't you think I am reasonable enough to fire you?"
Tomoyo's eyes were now lined with a warm trail of liquid. "But he was a hentai..."
"Missy, you are a singer. You do not judge people of they are hentai or not. If he tells you to sit on his lap. You sit. I told you that before, but did you listen? No! you tried your own way and now you are punished for being bad!"
"But...but what am I supposed to do now? I do not have any job..."
A sneer painted the manager's face. "Then go, sing on the streets and hold up a can. Maybe somebody will pity you and adopt you or something. Who knows, you might be on TV." Laughter rang throughout the office, leaving Tomoyo half-melting with shame.
She bowed her good bye and decided to leave before another word is said.
"Oi, matte," her former manager called. She turned around once more, fighting tears. If they saw how a weakling she was, they'll all torment her.
"The dresses. Don't forget to return the dresses to me. Those you have used in the programs. They aren't for free, you know and you didn't earn them."
Tomoyo bowed her head once more in defeat. "Hai..." She went out and closed the door, purposefully slamming the door on its hinges.
"Maa, troublesome girl," the manager murmured. "Glad to have her out."
"Really huh?" A man was standing by the doorway. If Tomoyo had been there, she would have recognized him from last night: the very same man who tormented her. "You fired her already? What a pity."
"Don't worry, she's just proud at the moment," the manager answered, lighting another cigarette. "When time is right, she'll come crawling back to me because she has nowhere else to go, and then we pay her less because of her impudence." Once more, laughter rang all over the room.
"Gomen nasai, Sensei. It seems that I have been delaying my painting for you too much." Eriol bowed low before his former teacher.
Ishikawa Kenji tapped his best student on the shoulder. "Maa, no need to worry, Hiiragizawa-kun," he assured. "I still have one of your best paintings." He pointed towards a large painting at the receiving hall of the museum. Eriol fondly approached it to view it once more.
The Bountiful Desert, was its original title. It pictured a dry and arid desert without any trees or water if life form. However, the highlight of the painting was not the desert, but rather the red-haired woman at the center of the painting, dressed in cascading skirts of blue and holding up an urn overflowing with water. The water ran down from the urn to the tips of her fingers to the dry ground below, moistening the land with a new energy.
When Eriol gave this painting to his old teacher, Ishikawa-sensei asked him to rename the painting. Its new name became the Priestess of Temperance. It seemed more suitable now, since the painting highlighted the woman in the picture anyway.
The model was Kaho herself. Eriol admired how beautiful his wife had looked. She had always been the symbol of good fortune and happiness in his every painting, assuring people of happiness ahead even though the highlight of the painting is dark. Kaho, if you could only see now how many people have been inspired by your light, especially in this painting, he thought. If only you were here...
The dark-eyed man quickly shook off the thoughts forming in his mind. If this continues, he'd be in another phase of nostalgia and Nakuru would worry about him so. He decided to go out and get some fresh air while the oper people were planning for the feast next week.
Autumn was always the time for inspirations. During these times in the past, Eriol would be having hundreds of newly-formed ideas in his head and he would sort it one by one, with Kaho approving anything that would be desirable. The young man kicked a few leaves off their piles and walked on them, smiling at the crunching sounds that they make.
Anybody who knew Eriol would know how much he and Kaho loved each other. They seemed to be the perfect pair, Eriol being the moody one and Kaho being the cool water that settles the fire in Eriol. That is why no one was surprised when the man stopped painting since his wife died. Such a tragedy would mean a traumatizing turn in Eriol's life. He cannot get over it that even now that he is looking for somebody to replace his wife in his new painting, he cannot help but give up and say that Kaho was the only one for the painting.
"Hiiragizawa-san!" Ishikawa's secretary came rushing at him.
"Nani, Joshohime-san?" She caught her breath for a while and talked.
"Hiiragizawa-san, Ishikawa-sensei wanted to know if you know of any good singers around."
The secretary took out her notepad. "You see, the last singer on our list backed out, saying she had a concert on that day and we couldn't find anybody to replace her." Joshohime placed the tip of her pen between her teeth and sighed. "this was supposed to be easy since there are many singers around but..." She turned her puppy-pleading eyes at Eriol.
The young man raised his arms in defense. "Maa, Gomen. I do not know any singers in here. All those I knew came from as far as Kanagawa and there isn't enough time to insert the party in their schedules. "
"Hmm...You are right." The secretary nodded. "Well, if you have any discoveries whatsoever, please call us. We need at least one attraction in the party while we are dining ne? Jaa na!" As swift as she has arrived, Joshohime disappeared.
Eriol silently chuckled and went on walking, savoring the smell of leaves floating around him. Somehow, he cannot worry of other things aside from the painting. He cannot explain why, though. He walked by, barely noticing the people that run and walked past him. Suddenly, as he reached a clearing, he heard someone singing. At first he thought the thought of a singer hung in his had and he was imagining things but he found out he was not. He roved his blue eyes around him and with the help of his ears, found out where the music was coming from. Slowly, he walked towards the clearing.
A girl sat on the still-green grass of the clearing. Around her sat five to six children in a semi-circle. She was the one singing, and the children all swayed their heads to the music.
Eriol could not make out much of the words, but her voice was utterly mesmerizing. It was as soothing as a gushing brook, yet as powerful as thunder, Between this was a feeling of flowers in fields and leaves falling. Eriol could not quite explain it in words, but the voice was very comforting and warmth enveloped him completely.
The sing stopped and the children applauded enthusiastically. "Sugoi, Tomoyo 'nee-chan!" one child said. You sing so great!"
"Hontou!" the girl, whose back was still turned to Eriol, patted the young girl's cheek. "If you put your heart into it, you will be a good singer someday too!" Suddenly they heard shouts from afar. "Saa, your parents are looking for you." Hurrying and waving goodbye to the dark-haired girl named Tomoyo, the children separated in different directions and hurried away from the clearing.
Eriol watched as the girl hummed as she sat back again. "Matta ku," she said. "I forgot to look for a job." She sighed repeatedly and stood up. As if instinctively, she turned towards Eriol's direction and their eyes met...
A/N: Ehehe...This was quite a short one but I promise to continue this. Please tell me what you think OK, and for readers who have already read my other fics...no, there won't be Hikaru's in here...LOL.