Still
by Ekai Ungson
an ExT fanfic: sequel to "If Only For A Day"

legality: I disclaim everything. CLAMP/Kodansha owns everything that you recognize, except of course, the plot of the fic itself and some parts lifted off "If Only For A Day", which is my property.

Note: Oh, and yes, this IS going to take long. It's either this or "Masquerade" or "Until You Do". And I'm not finished with reediting. So at least be placated. ^_^ AND! To those kids who wanna read this but haven't read "If Only For A Day", this won't make much sense if you haven't, meaning it's vitally important to read the prequel first, ne?

For KyteAura, as part of the Christmas present bonanza. ^-^ Told you I'd get to this sometime.



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/"And is this the end? Just this, just like this, you expect it to be over, and you expect me to take it?"/

Prologue II; Eriol: This, That Defines Us

Early morning was creeping through the bay windows, and he was reminded of sunrise against a brilliant blue coastline.

He was reminded of cool-warm sheets and lightness and the sound of the waves breaking against the cliff rocks. He was reminded of light curtains billowing with the breeze and the blur of her silhouette beneath them.

But he felt the sharp chill and smelled the unmistakable scent of pine. He felt the density of the air around him, the heaviness of the atmosphere. He saw the branches of the oak without leaf but laden with snow and the sheer, translucent dream of her was dashed.

He reached out, desperate to hold on, and saw the curve of her neck, pale. He saw her hands scribbling madly on a piece of paper. He heard her laugh, sweet and clear, he saw her smile. He saw her feet, swinging absently, hanging from the armrest of a velvet chair. He saw her eyes, closed, asleep. He saw her hand flat open on his chest and he saw her against him, close to him, with him.

"Eriol? Are you in here?"

The dream of her was shattered.

"Eriol," the voice called again.

".... Yes, I'm here, Kaho."

A woman with hair crimson as the sunset skies entered and smiled indulgently. "Honestly, Eriol. Do you still sleep in a bed?"

He shook his head, groggy. "I... guess I fell asleep reading again." Which he knew was an absolute lie. He hadn't fallen asleep reading-- he hadn't been reading at all. He'd been staring into space all night until sleep took him in.

He winced inwardly. He was engaged-- he shouldn't be daydreaming about *her*. He felt a stab of guilt run through him as Kaho clucked over him-- it was unfair to her, really. But he loved her, that much was true.

He loved her, and that's why he returned to England.

Which was half-true. He'd been saying and thinking a lot of half-truths lately. It wasn't a good habit, he supposed. But it was better than outright lying. Or was it?

As Kaho led him out to breakfast, he wondered, /is half true better than a lie?/

----

He sincerely missed having breakfast on an open balcony, but he cast the cheating thought away. He was home. This was home.

Home was here in England, in Reed Manor. Home this had been for twenty years. It startled him that it didn't feel that way anymore. It felt... empty. The big house was too big. The darkness was too dark. The chill was too chilly. Everything was too much, as if there were too little people to share it with.

Or maybe that was just him.

"Eriol? Aren't you eating your pancakes?" Kaho asked.

He barely heard her. He was too deep in a memory of someone else.

/They had run out of food.

"Eriol, this is NOT funny. There's only jam and flour in the pantry. And eggs. There's fish in the refrigerator, but not much else of anything...."

He had smiled and pulled out a card from his pocket.

"Sweet? And that is supposed to help us how in this department, exactly? Where miles in the middle of nowhere and you give me a card that-- what, we'll use on fish? Sakura-chan said it turns food into horrendously sugary confections. I don't know about you but I kind of like myself lean, thanks."

"We're not using it on food," he replied cooly. "I was going to sic it on you. Maybe to mellow out your temper? You're being very hyper, Tomoyo-san."

She stared at him in incredulity. Then she sputtered. "Hiiragizawa-- how dare you--!"

And they ran around and around the cabin, laughing./

"Eriol?" came the voice again.

"What? Yes. They're very good," he replied, taking a bite, and missing mornings.

~*~

He stared at the grand piano in the foyer. Stared at it as if it held the very meaning of life.

And it did, for in the bench sat a figure so translucent, he knew her to be a dream. The light shone through her. And she was singing, he could still hear the words in his head. Tormenting him.

/ You are always gonna be my love
Itsu ka dare ka to mata koi ni ochite mo
I'll remember to love
You taught me how
You are always gonna be the one
Ima wa mada kanashii love song
Atarashii uta utaeru made /

/You were the one who asked me to run away,/ he thought. /You were the one who willed it to be this way./

/Why then do I cry for you?/

It was impossible to escape her, that much he understood now. His dreams were frequently invaded by the presence of her. His waking moments were interrupted by the ghost of her.

He had had a life before her, and he wondered how he could not exist now, without her.

She was life, and without her, he was lifeless. And empty. And dead.

/I am nothing without you, Daidouji./

"Eriol?" called the voice, that voice that wasn't hers.

And the dream was broken.





--tsuzuku

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Acknowledgements: Song lyrics from Utada Hikaru's "First Love", from her album of the same title. Used without permission.