Disclaimer: Card Captor Sakura is owned by lots of people who are not
me, namely Studio CLAMP, Kodansha, and others. No profit is being
made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
by Fushigi Kismet
"Yes," he said, his face solemn, his body rigid, his voice
refusing to betray anything, "I could be that cruel."
She glared at him, a flash of anger in the heat of the moment, but
in her eyes, beneath the bitterness and the rage, he saw what he had
not wanted to see, had never wanted to see in her eyes - defeat.
She slumped into her chair, her entire body sending that one
message of measureless despair through the sagging of her shoulders
to the gaze of her eyes, staring downward, not at the ground but at
nothing. She seemed deflated somehow, lifeless. She who could not
be broken had been.
. . . and he could not bear to see her in such a manner. Yet, he
could neither force his body to turn away or his eyes to look away.
He opened his mouth and wondered what it was he wanted to say. I'm
sorry? But no, he could say anything but that - anything. Because
those words were not the truth. They were a lie.
Tears were falling now . . . from her eyes, he realized, wondering
as the realization came to him why he could taste the salt of her
tears before he realized that he was crying as well, for a reason he
could not and did not want to name. For an emotion he desperately
did not want to feel and could not help feeling.
He had moved across the length of the room without any conscious
effort on his part. In the back of his mind he wondered if he had
simply teleported there through some unconscious desire of his will.
That ceased to matter as he knelt before her, and tilted up the face
that had been so radiant before, and looked into eyes formerly so
filled with joy now as lifeless and empty as those of a porcelain
But still beautiful.
God, how beautiful she was.
He whispered to her gently, his voice filled with a rare thing,
tenderness, "But you would have known, Tomoyo-chan, wouldn't you?"
"Yes." Her voice was a whispered acknowledgement filled with a
nameless, trembling emotion that was not anger, not fear, not
sadness, nor despair but part something of each and none of them at
He took her in his arms as one would take a young, bewildered
child, as once a young girl would cradle a prized porcelain doll,
afraid of breaking it, yet unable to keep from holding it for the
pleasure derived from such an act, the unspeakable need to protect
The tears continued to trail down her cheeks, but she was unaware
of them, as unaware of them as she was of his arms around her.
He had asked her to his study that day and she had complied,
partly out of politeness and partly out of curiosity. The things he
did aroused that much in her - curiosity for what he did and why he
did them. They had known each other for years now.
She thought nothing of it. She took no note of it. His return,
the passing of the years, from elementary school to junior high to
high school to university, none of these concerned her. Her only
measurement of the passing of time was how much more beautiful Sakura
grew every day in the glow of her love for Li-kun, who truly had to
be her soulmate. There had been a time when Tomoyo had let herself
believe that Sakura and she were soulmates, that Sakura would one day
return her feelings, but that hope had faded gently, quietly, away
over the years. She had accepted it, not without tears and denials,
but for the most part calmly and composedly. That composure had
remained unbroken for several years.
Then she had accepted his invitation and had come to his study.
First they had enjoyed a delicious tea in his drawing room and she
had wondered at the silence of his house when usually she found it so
lively. He had explained amiably enough that his housemates were out
on a holiday, one that he felt, he said, wincing, they owed him to
take. She had laughed and upon finishing their tea he had led the
way to his study.
Once inside, he had shut the door carefully and turned to her,
smiling. "As you know, I've been experimenting a bit more recently
with what I am now capable of with regards to magic and while Clow
Reed might have been able to do all that I've accomplished and more
with very little effort, for me, it is an accomplishment!"
Gesturing for her to take a seat, she did so, gracefully.
"I've got a new magic trick to show you, Tomoyo-chan!" he had said
and she had smiled at the boyish fervor in his voice where once she
might have frowned at the familiarity with which he addressed her.
But they had known each other for years upon years and it no longer
"Let me show you!" he said, and she nodded her head politely,
wondering what feat of magic he wished her to comment favorably on.
He muttered a few short words in what seemed like a harsh snarl
and a painful gasp rolled in one then before her stood an exact copy
of herself. She stared at the copy in astonishment. The copy smiled
"Eriol-kun?" she whispered.
"Yes, it's me!" the copy chirped back happily in her own voice.
"I realize that it's like the mirror card, but it's inconceivably
harder for a human being to transform that a magical one. You might
think that this is like smoke and mirrors - all illusion, but I've
actually become able to transform myself into anyone. Do you think
the magical girls will be upset that I've stolen their trick?"
But she was not listening to his voice, not laughing at his joke.
Her mind was fitting itself around that strange concept that it could
not comprehend. She reached out a hand and only vaguely noticed as
her copy threaded its fingers through hers.
"Into . . . anyone?" The voice was tremulous and strained.
He dropped her hand abruptly, reverting back to himself, and moved
away, across the room, suddenly weary. He turned to look out the
large bay windows that overlooked his gardens. Drawing the curtains
closed, he said, an odd note in his voice, "You mean, can I turn into
He turned towards her and suddenly it was not Eriol standing there
but Sakura looking at her with sad, green eyes. Then the sadness was
gone, wiped away, and Sakura stretched her arms out to her, eyes
filled with warmth, love, and longing . . . the longing that Tomoyo
had fought against for ten long years.
"I love you, Tomoyo," she said, and there was no lie in those
Tomoyo took an unsteady step forward, trembling, an inarticulate
cry tearing itself from her throat.
Then Sakura was gone and Eriol stood in her place, his eyes
shadowed. He lifted his head. Their eyes met and she did not
understand, could not understand the tortured look he gave her.
"Yes," he said, "I could be that cruel."
"You see, Tomoyo-chan," he said, into her dark hair, not expecting
her to heed him or to respond, speaking merely because he had to, "we
are too old for make believe. Once, we could have pretended and it
would not hurt nearly as much as it will now if we were to let
ourselves. Children can only afford to pretend because somewhere in
them they believe that there is some truth in their imaginings,
something they can believe in completely. Adults have lost that
Dimly, his words entered her consciousness and she realized that
they were not for her but for him, just as his words earlier had been
for himself. He could have been that cruel to himself and let
himself pretend . . . for an instant . . . .
Do you love me? she wondered, the thought itself incredible. Do
you need me?
No one had ever needed her before. No one had ever needed her as
she needed Sakura.
He pulled away from her, studying her face. "I can't love you as
Sakura. I can only love you as me."
She found her fingers moving without her knowledge, without her
consent. They buried themselves in his thick, dark hair, and pulled
his head down to hers.
Their lips met fiercely, almost desperately, and then he was in
control, claiming her lips, her mouth, herself as his due with raw,
unbridled desire, and she knew then that he needed her.
Do I need him? She wondered, his lips moving to her neck, his
fingers expertly undoing the buttons of her blouse. Do I need him
Then his lips had returned to hers as the blouse fell from her
shoulders and she had no room for thought. It was all she could do
to give into the desires of her body and respond to his passion, to
feel the pleasure rising in her at the desperate ardor of his kisses
and caresses, at the possessive nature of his hands on her body.
Had she been able, she would have wondered at his deftness, at the
manner in which he undressed her, quickly but sensually, his lips and
hands moving to cover each newly bared region of her body, but then
he had been a man long before he had ever been a boy, and here he
was, a man again.
She wondered as he laid her down and as his body covered hers if
his need was great enough to meet her own, if his desire could
overcome hers. Do you love me enough? Can I love you enough?
"Is it enough for you?" she whispered, running her hands over the
small of his back, finding delight in the delicious sensation of his
warm skin beneath her fingers.
He pulled away from her, looking at with startled, tortured eyes
as if realizing what he was doing for the first time. She was
stretched languidly beneath him, her dark hair spilling unimpeded
over the curves of her shoulders and breasts, her violet eyes wide
and dark. "Tomoyo, I'm sorry. I-"
She smiled and he stopped short, arrested by the look in her eyes.
I think it is, she thought, finding to her genuine astonishment
that she did indeed need him. She wanted him. Loved him even. As
much as she could love anyone but Sakura. It's enough, isn't it? To
love one another? And even if it isn't, even if . . . .
"Let's make believe," she said, and reaching up, pulled his head
back down to hers.