By: Hinako Shinjo
Tadaima!~ It's me again, Hinako Shinjo. Sorry you have to put up with another work of mine, took me long enough to make another...you know what I mean. Anyways, another lil story about Sakura and Tomoyo (Coz they're the best!) Now, to business, I do not own Sakura, Li, Mei Ling, Touya, Sonomi nor Tomoyo (yes, even the bodyguards). They belong to CLAMP. The others though are all from my evil lil mind.
This is about those little "what-ifs". What if things went along differently from what YOU would expect, coming from Sakura and Tomoyo. Hee-hee, I know, if you like it, tell me! If you don't like it, flame me! It's hinako_shinjo@ yahoo.com
Feedback! I want FEEDBACK!
Points to Ponder:
*** --->Past (flashbacks, you know.)
If you got some time to spare, read on!
** Most of the interesting things in life are the ones you don't expect. **-ME
The brown-haired figure remained concealed beneath the shadows of the night. Emerald-green eyes glistened amidst the darkness, ever focused on the young woman across the street. The stranger, never flinching as she watched the woman, whose dark hair flowed like silk played upon by the wind, whose eyes sparkled with that same emotion years ago.
In a snap, the glistening emerald-eyes closed, drifting into memories of the past.
"Tomoyo-chan!", Sakura gushed as she came skating towards her friend, clearly excited about something. She was a pretty sight, her soft brown mane bouncing along her shoulders, her delicate mouth curved up into a bright smile, her body moving gracefully along the pavement with her blades, and her eyes, shining with delight. Hers was the complete picture of joy and innocence.
"Oh, good morning, Sakura-chan.", Tomoyo replied softly, just above a whisper. Sakura looked at her friend puzzledly, she looked different somehow. Sakura thought to herself for a moment what's wrong with this picture.
Smile? Yup. Hairdo? Yup. Dress? Yup. Well everything seems fine, must have been my...oh wait, her eyes.
Tomoyo looked at Sakura, who was staring at her with knitted eyebrows. The pale girl gently poked her puzzled friend by the ribs, then giggled with the other girl's reaction.
"Sakura-chan, have anyone ever told you staring is not proper?", Tomoyo mused, still giggling at Sakura's reaction.
Shrugging, Sakura dismissed what she saw and went on with what she was going to tell Tomoyo.
"Tomoyo, I have some great news!", the excited girl said, once again gushing with her hands clasped over her chest, looking dreamily at the skies. Her face was heightened with a blush as she let out a dreamy sigh.
"What, what is it?", the other girl now growing in excitement for this "great news".
Sakura took Tomoyo's hands in her own, and held them over her chest. Green eyes met blue. The blue-eyed girl was held breathless at this moment as her friend closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Sakura then opened her eyes, meeting Tomoyo's once again.
"Li-kun is back."
Sakura sat uncomfortably inside the car. Tomoyo had sent her bodyguards to get her, to meet her friend over at the park. She can still remember how...different...Tomoyo's voice sounded over the phone.
"I need to tell you something. Please meet me."
Of course, that worried Sakura. She knew her friend pretty well, something must be really bothering her to have her sound like that. Sakura clasped her hands together on her lap and looked out the window, the night seemed like a haze, and she felt every minute of the ride pass like an eternity.
At last, they arrived at the park. Tomoyo's bodyguards escorted Sakura all the way to where her friend was waiting. Sakura looked at Tomoyo from a distance. "She looks fine", she thought, "I must have imagined her sounding...", and she trotted off to talk to her friend.
"Hey, Tomoyo-chan!", Sakura greeted, waving her hand over her head as she walked towards the dark-haired girl. Tomoyo looked over to Sakura, and all at once she was nailed to her tracks. Her eyes, something WAS wrong.
Sakura rushed to her friend's side, and when she was about to ask her, Tomoyo patted the place beside her on the bench. She complied, still worried with her friend's unusual disposition.
Uncomfortable silence was what Sakura had to deal with for a moment. Her green eyes were never taken off Tomoyo. She had no idea how to break the ice. Tomoyo was still seated beside her smiling and looking up at the night sky with those eyes of her, which seemed different somehow.
"Her eyes seems so...sad. God, I know I'm not imagining it this time.", Sakura thought.
Finally, Tomoyo turned to face Sakura, who felt a shiver run down her spine as her eyes met hers. The girl's skin seemed paler, as if illuminated by the night, she was still smiling, although emotions of sadness and loneliness can be seen. With her heart aching, Sakura found her voice and was not surprised of the slight croak which escaped her throat as she spoke:
"What's the matter, Tomoyo-chan, is...anything wrong?"
A moment passed, but the dark haired girl did not answer, all in that moment she was looking at Sakura intently, as if she is trying to remember every bit of detail on her friend's face. More and more Sakura felt frustrated, she felt like every second that Tomoyo looked at her, she was being burned and crushed. Grabbing her chest in discomfort, Sakura groaned and felt an urge to grab the other girl and demand for an answer. She did not have to do that though.
"Sakura-chan, are you happy with Li-kun?"
Startled at the question, Sakura was held speechless. She wasn't expecting Tomoyo to ask THAT question in a situation like this. Is she worried that Li is hurting her, is that why she seemed so sad? Sakura felt relieved and let out a sigh.
"Of course I am, Tomoyo-chan, is that what's been bothering you?"
The other girl looked down and clasped her hands together on her lap. Sakura thought she heard a sob but dismissed that as Tomoyo raised her head again, she still had the same expression on her face. Taking a deep breath, Tomoyo began with a sad tone:
"I'm leaving Sakura-chan."
Sakura felt blood pulsing throughout her body in a quickened pace. She had so many questions in her mind. So many questions that made everything seemed like a blur. She can't even make out Tomoyo's image in front of her now, but that wasn't because of the questions. It was because her eyes were tearing up.
"W-why?", stuttered Sakura. "Did I do anything wrong? Have I hurt you? Or has anyone hurt you? Don't worry, Tomoyo, I promise that we'll get that meanie together! Or did..."
Tomoyo's finger pressed on Sakura's lip before she could say anything more. Sakura could see the other girl's eyes starting to get teary too, but somehow she held it back. Feeling a soft hand brush on her cheek, Sakura realized that her own tears welled out.
"I just had to know that you are in good hands before I leave. I have just...received an academic scholarship abroad. I've...always wanted to see other places, Sakura-chan, other places to see, to put into tape, to be in my memories forever...", and Tomoyo's voice broke off. She started sobbing. Sakura leaned in to hug her friend, fighting the tears that are pouring down from her own eyes.
"I'm lying, Sakura-chan,", Tomoyo sobbed, then urged a smile on her lips. "I'm going away because...you already have your special someone. No, I'm not jealous, in fact, I'm happy for you. I'm always happy when you're happy, Sakura-chan. I just can't face the fact that someday you wont need me anymore. I thought I can, but now...I'm so sorry Sakura...I have to..."
And with that Tomoyo rose from the park bench and walked away. Sakura didn't move, she just stared as Tomoyo walked away. She felt her world fell apart with that sight.
"But Tomoyo," Sakura finally broke into rampant tears, "I wont be happy if you are gone."
Her hands trembled as she held the receiver within her hands. She's been calling Tomoyo's house almost every hour this week, and she couldn't reach anyone who can give her a satisfying answer to where Tomoyo had gone to.
"I think she doesn't really want you to find her, wherever she is." Touya said as he sipped his tea.
"Shh!", Sakura hissed. Someone has picked up the phone.
"Hello, Daidouji residence, may I know..."
"Sonomi-sama!", Sakura exclaimed. She thought, "Finally, someone who can give me answers."
"Oh, Sakura-chan, how nice it is to hear from you.", said Sonomi, whose voice sounded as formal as ever.
"Uhm...Sonomi-sama, I was wondering, could you please tell me where Tomoyo went to? I mean, she told about the scholarship abroad and all, but I never got the chance to ask where.", asked Sakura with her voice and hands trembling over the phone.
"Sakura, I regret to tell you this. Before Tomoyo left, she has made us all promise that no word about her whereabouts should be told to anyone, not even you. She said that she had to get away from..."
Sakura wasn't able to hear the rest. The receiver dangled over the phone. She just found herself down on the floor on her knees and on the verge of tears. It was hopeless.
Li stared worriedly at Sakura, whose back is turned from him. He had started noticing that Sakura has been skipping class, she has said she was sick, and she does look sick. The girl has become significantly thinner and paler, all the signs for a sick person. But what caught Li's attention is the changing behavior of Sakura's. She seemed so distant from him now. The poor boy always has always tried to get his girlfriend to talk about it, but she'd always dismiss the topic. Finally, Sakura called and asked Li to meet her in the park.
With the soft evening wind blowing against him, Li waited for Sakura to start. He wasn't really good in initiating conversations, moreover serious conversations. He stood there with his hands to his sides, looking at Sakura, and waited. Hearing a deep breath come from the girl, he knew that she was going to start.
Sakura turned around now, making Li's mouth drop open in shock. How can somebody change like that in a few week's time? The girl seemed much thinner, paler, with bags under her eyes, and... disturbed. Li's hands clenched to become fists on his sides as he stared at the person before him who was the mere shadow of his girlfriend.
"Sakura-chan, what happened?", these were the only words that came out from his confused mind.
Sakura didn't even blink. She was looking back at Li with her green eyes, that had lost their joyous gleam and replaced with a dull, hollow look. That sent shivers down Li's spine. He even thought if this "thing" before him was a clow card that was disguising as Sakura. Li grabbed Sakura by her shoulders and started shaking her.
"What are you?! What have you done to Sakura?!", growled Li as he continued to shake the "thing" before him.
The girl raised her hands to Li's chest, grabbing his collar and pulling him to her. That told Li that this was Sakura. She started crying on his chest, letting out muffled words that Li couldn't make out. Li embraced Sakura closer to him, trying to comfort his lover. Instead, Sakura pushed him away. The boy couldn't understand what was making Sakura do that, or what was she was trying to do. The browned hair girl took a while to stop crying, but when she did, she wore a very grim expression on her face.
"Li-kun, I can't be with you anymore."
Once again, Li's mouth dropped open. No words came out. He was utterly dumbfounded with the statement. He struggled for words to say, to ask, why can't the girl who he loves so much, can't be with him anymore. Before he could ask, Sakura started to explain, with her sobs starting to build up again.
"I thought I loved you, but...but...when Tomoyo left, I felt so empty. I felt so sad. I can't even look at myself in the mirror! I was so happy when she was still with me, but ever since she went away, I turned to be...like this. I thought that with you I can still be happy, but no. I need her. She's the love that I've always taken for granted...", and with those words, Sakura burst out crying.
Li didn't try to comfort her this time. He was crying as well. Fighting his tears, he took one last defense for his love for Sakura.
"But, Sakura-chan, m-maybe you're just feeling this way because you lost her. You're just missing her! We all feel that we want something badly when we have lost it. What we can't have is what we..."
"No!", Sakura interrupted, with her voice cracking in anger. "That's entirely besides the point! Yes, I have lost her, and I miss her. Because of that is why I've realized how much she means to me! I'm not saying that I don't need you, Li-kun...I'm saying that without her...I'm lonely. It's not the same way when you left...", she paused. Sakura saw that she was hurting Li.
"Sakura...I understand.", Li stammered with sobs wracking his voice. "If you're happier with loving Tomoyo, why should I get in the way? But, she's not here anymore, Sakura...what do you..."
"I'll wait. After all what she has done for me the least thing I could do for her is to wait. Wait for her return.", Sakura answered with a faint smile on her face.
And now she's back. After years of loneliness, she was not about to let her go away this time. Afterall, she was given too much ample time alone with herself, to think. She had always needed her. She had always felt happiness being with her. Every little thing didn't seem to matter when Tomoyo was around. Sakura remembered all of the sleepless nights she spent in the years her beloved was gone. Is she with someone else? Whose arms is she in now? Does she even think of me? Sakura cursed herself silently and said:
"Stupid Sakura, you had everything in your reach and you let it go."
Her green eyes glimmered again as she watched Tomoyo disappear from the street into her apartment. She had to find out everything about Tomoyo by herself because everyone who actually knows something about the girl would hide it from her. So far she knew that Tomoyo has been back to Japan after graduating from some American university. It's been barely a week, and that she was living all on her own in a simple apartment building. Asides from that, she knew nothing else.
The young woman stepped out from the shadows, with a hint of determination on her face.
"I'm not going to make the same mistake again."
She marched right into the apartment building where Tomoyo stayed in.
Pressing the doorbell more times than what a regular visitor should, Sakura didn't care. It was already late, and probably Tomoyo would be getting ready for bed, but Sakura didn't seem to realize that. She can't have this feeling inside of her any longer.
"Yes...", answered a drowsy voice behind the door. "Who is it?"
Sakura almost leapt out from her skin. That voice she hadn't heard for so long is finally back. It sounded a little different, nonetheless, she knew it was her.
"Tomoyo-chan, you may have forgotten me, but I'm...", she hesitated. She knew how much it would hurt if Tomoyo had forgotten her. She waited for a reply, but nothing came. Taking a deep breath, Sakura was about to open her mouth to say who she was, but the door swung open.
The next thing she saw was a beautiful young woman in front of her. Her soft dark hair almost fell down to her eyes, with the rest of it reaching far below her shoulders. The dark eyes she had always remembered were still the same, although with the mixed emotions of surprise and confusion. Sakura felt like melting away when she noticed Tomoyo was in a nightgown, she stood there, gaping.
"Sakura-chan?", Tomoyo asked with uncertainty in her voice. She rubbed her eyes a few times then stared again at the person before her. "No, this can't be Sakura.", she thought to herself. Tomoyo was looking at a person resembling the Sakura she remembered years ago, but this...this person, is different. Her skin was much paler, and she was thinner. Though her hair is of the same color as her friend's, neatly combed and styled, it reached down a little past her waist. Her mouth was curved into an expression of surprise. She would have been attractive if she wore anything else rather than the worn-out, grayish-blue coat of hers. Tomoyo thought that this would be Sakura if not of her eyes. Those eyes were completely different of Sakura's. This person's eyes were dull, empty, sad. Completely different of her friend's, which were lively, cheery, happy. "Completely different.", Tomoyo thought to herself again.
Sakura felt a smile tugging on her face. She felt a little discomfort, since she probably hadn't done that in years. The young woman couldn't explain the joy she felt inside.
"You remember me?", asked Sakura, feeling something get caught up in her throat.
Tomoyo's jaw dropped open. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. This person IS Sakura. In the same grace and elegance she had always possessed, she regained her composure then invited her old friend inside. Sakura bowed slightly as she walked in into Tomoyo's apartment.
Sakura's green eyes roamed around the spacious apartment as she waited for Tomoyo to finish preparing tea. She noticed that Tomoyo hadn't finished unpacking yet, there were still boxes left unopened set besides the living room. The apartment was already presentable though. She couldn't help but notice the beautiful framed photographs hanging on the apartment's newly painted walls. She felt something familiar about the photographs. Something in particular caught her attention though. She stood up from her seat and came closer to look more closely at it. It was a photo of the playground in Penguin Park. Several children are in the picture, their youthful energy and innocence caught in the very life-like photograph. Sakura closed her eyes and brought back memories of her childhood with Tomoyo. Them walking along hand-in-hand in the Penguin Park, playing in its grounds, the night when Tomoyo said she had to leave...suddenly she felt warm tears flowing down from her cheeks.
"Sakura-chan? Are you okay?", asked Tomoyo as she walked into the living room carrying a tray with a pot of tea.
"Yes, I'm fine.", the brown-haired girl answered in her normal tone as she immediately wiped her tears away, then turned to face Tomoyo.
"Can I help you with those?", Sakura again said when she saw Tomoyo carrying the tray with difficulty towards the table.
"No, I can manage.", answered Tomoyo with a smile on her face as she set the tray down and began pouring hot tea into the cups she had with her.
Sakura went back to where she was sitting and looked at Tomoyo. The light which had disappeared from her green eyes years ago was slowly returning at the sight of her beloved.
"She didn't change a bit," she thought. "She's still as bit as beautiful and reserved as she was back then."
Tomoyo offered tea and Sakura graciously accepted.
The dark-haired girl didn't know how to start. She just sat there sipping and looking at Sakura sipping her tea. The years she had spent in a different country full of unfamiliar faces has given her a skill to start a conversation out of anything. Why must she lose it now, now when she needed it most.
Sakura didn't know how to start either. She wanted to tell Tomoyo how lonely she had been in the past years without her. She wanted to say how much she needed her, how stupid it was of her not to have realized it when Tomoyo was still around back then. But what would Tomoyo say? Wouldn't she be uncomfortable with having her old friend being in love with her? Sakura can't even tell if Tomoyo was still even her friend. She is the reason why Tomoyo left in the first place, and now, she's here, sitting with the person she drove away. Sakura sat with the disturbing thoughts running along her head.
"So, how's Li-kun?", Tomoyo finally managed to start.
"He's fine, I guess.", Sakura answered non-chalantly as she continued sipping her tea. "Him and Mei-ling are about to be married, as so he said in his letter."
Tomoyo's eyes widened in shock. She wasn't expecting that kind of answer. "No wonder Sakura looks so bothered.", she told herself.
Sakura saw the look on Tomoyo's face and immediately followed-up, "Don't worry, I'm the one who broke up with him."
The other girl sighed in relief. When she saw Sakura looking over at the photographs, she diverted the topic.
"I took those photos. What do you think?", Tomoyo asked quietly as she filled herself another cup.
Sakura looked at Tomoyo for a moment in awe. No doubt she's good. Really, really good.
"They're good. Especially the Penguin Park photo. Is it a hobby?", Sakura asked, her voice in a sudden increase of intensity as she finished her cup.
"No.", Tomoyo replied, smiling. "I took photography and film-making in New York during college." She gestured to refill her visitor's cup.
"Oh...I see. I don't see why I'm surprised. You are so obssessed with the film anyway.", Sakura commented as she nodded for a refill, smiling.
Tomoyo forced a laugh. Memories of the past came back to her.
"Yes, it seemed so silly when I was always go chasing you with camera back then.", mused the dark-haired girl.
"Back then. That phrase reminded Sakura of what she was in here for in the first place. But before she can go to that, Tomoyo remarked:
"You've changed so much, Sakura-chan."
"Sakura was held speechless. She then realized that truth of that remark. She so much wanted to answer, "You changed me.", but she didn't, instead:
"Time can do so much to a person, Tomoyo-chan, but you, you didn't change."
Sakura gently set her cup down. She waited for Tomoyo to talk, but she didn't. Sakura looked at her friend, and saw that she was waiting for her continue. And she continued.
"All these years since you've left I've been waiting for you to come back. I've wanted to apologize for driving you away like I have. I hated myself for it. I must admit, I almost all hope for you to come back. I never left home in the thought you'd send a letter. I never even changed my phone number in the hope that you would call.", Sakura paused. She saw confusion fleet across Tomoyo's beautiful face, but continued.
"Call me obssessed, maybe I am, maybe I am not. Because, Tomoyo-chan, when you left, I just felt how empty my world would be without you. You don't know how much hurt I felt when you said you were leaving because of me. All at once my world was shattered before me when I found out that you didn't even want me to ever find out about where you were. I felt so helpless...", her voice broke into a sob. Tomoyo rose from her seat and sat beside Sakura, embracing her in her arms. Sakura felt a void in her heart become filled with a warmth she cannot explain. To her, Tomoyo's arms were rapture.
"Sakura-chan, please don't cry. I'm so sorry I had to leave you. Now I feel so sad knowing that I had left you in sorrow. I thought that I had left you in good hands, with the person you love..."
"But you're the person I love, Tomoyo! Don't you understand that!?", Sakura blurted out with her face still buried on Tomoyo's chest. Instantly, Sakura felt Tomoyo froze while still holding her. The brown-haired girl immediately pulled away from her surprised companion. She heard Tomoyo utter a soft, "What?"
"Yes, Tomoyo, I love you. But please, don't be afraid, I mean...you don't have to, I don't expect you to love me back. I just want to be with you, whatever you want me to be, to be a friend, sister, mother, anything! Just being with you is enough for me...", Sakura desperately explained to Tomoyo as she wiped her tears that were streaming down her face.
Sakura looked at Tomoyo, expecting a frown. Instead, Tomoyo, smiled, then giggled, then burst out into heartfelt laughter. The other girl was downright confused. There she was, confessing her unconditional love for her, and she was laughing at her.
"What's so funny?", Sakura asked in an irritated tone.
Tomoyo shaked her head, her eyes now teary from too much laughter, then gestured for Sakura to come closer. Sakura complied. As the brown-haired girl leaned her head closer, Tomoyo had held her laughter. She looked at her friend's face seriously, then began talking.
"Sakura-chan, do you remember the time when I told you I love you but you didn't understand and I promised to tell you when we were older?"
Sakura dropped her jaw at what Tomoyo said, then she asked:
"You...you meant it...THAT way?", she asked rather dumbly.
Tomoyo once again fell into hysterical laughter. Only, this time, Sakura was with her. Both of the young women fell from their seats, down to the floor, both engrossed into boisterous laughter.
By the time they both laughed themselves out, their faces were red in too much laughter and could barely breathe. Sakura turned her head over to look at Tomoyo, who had both hands on her chest, trying to catch her breath. Rolling over to her side, Sakura found herself just above her beloved.
"I'm so sorry I had to let you go through with that, Tomoyo.", said Sakura as she caressed the other girl's cheek.
"And I'm sorry too for leaving you too, Sakura. I promise I will never leave you again.", answered Tomoyo, holding her newfound lover's hand against her cheek.
"And I promise I'll never hurt you again, Tomoyo-chan...", and Sakura's voice was broken as she leaned to kiss Tomoyo.
They both lost themselves to each other for the rest of night.
Sakura turned around on bed and was surprised to feel a warm body beside her. She opened her eyes and saw the sleeping face of Tomoyo. Sakura was thoughtful for a moment, then realized what happened the night before.
"I wasn't dreaming after all...", Sakura whispered as she stared at Tomoyo's sleeping figure.
Pale hands started stroking Tomoyo's dark hair. Sakura can't believe that she was with her beloved now, with Tomoyo. All of her pain and sorrow didn't seem to have existed at all. She's with her now, that's all that matters.
Tomoyo slowly opened her eyes and found Sakura looking at her. The dark-haired beauty smiled and greeted her lover a good morning.
Sakura sat up and looked at her long brown hair draped across her body. She looked at Tomoyo and asked:
"Tomoyo-chan, would you like to cut my hair like you used to, or would you have it long like this?", she asked while running her own hand through her hair.
Tomoyo's eyes blinked and run a hand through Sakura's hair and said:
"You'd look beautiful either way."
Sakura smiled. She didn't expect it to be like this, probably neither did Tomoyo.
"I guess the best things in life are the unexpected.", she thought to herself, then nodded to the girl she will love for all of eternity.
"Woohoo! Finally! Finished! I had my mother nagging me over the comp as I was typing this. That helped, I like noisy environments when I write.
"Maybe when I get another idea for a fic, you'll hear from me again.
Until then, See ya. (K-cha!)