~ The Phoenix ~
Surprise... welcomed. More or less
Fog. Buildings with blurry edges, but vaguely familiar. A face in the mist, a sad-looking boy faced her.
The boy turned and slowly walked away, gradually fading.
-Shaoran! Wait!- She tried to ran after him, but she just didn't move from where she was.
Leave me alone…
Sakura stopped running, puzzled.
The boy kept vanishing more and more.
-Shaoran no… don't go…!-
-Sakura! C'mon wake up, it's late!-
She no longer saw him…
Suddenly the fog thinned out on two people close to each other… very close…
-Sakura, wake up dammit! – small hands slapped her face.
-Ah!- Sakura sat up suddenly, throwing the poor Kerberos out of bed. A dream. Just a dream. Different from the one of a few hours before, but equally appalling. And it seemed so real… inexplicably, she was glad she didn't see the end.
-What's gotten into you today?- the guardian yelled, getting up in the air and perching on her knees with imperious frown – Hurry up, it's already half past seven! –
Sakura looked at him dazed. - Huh? – Apart from the dream, she was sleepy like one who would sleep until lunch time. Then she realized the awful truth: she had to go to school!
–Oeeh! It's so late! Where is my uniform? Where is it? Kero-chan, have you seen my uniform? God, its' late! Ah, there, it was under the bed… Bye Kero! I'm going! – With crooked bow tie and still half-matted hair, she hurtled down the stairs. Kerberos was still recovering from the shock of the girl's sudden return to reality.
Fifteen minutes later, Sakura was darting in the street on her roller. Since Touya, her brother, and Yukito, his friend, had finished the high school and so they didn't go down that street anymore, getting to school took less time because she didn't play around with them, but waking up was still a shock. And then… that dream… what did it mean? It has been a long time since she had learnt to pay attention to her visions, but she couldn't tell if that was an ordinary dream, or better, a nightmare, or a premonitory dream. Sakura was nagged by doubts. Who was that other person? Why Shaoran had told her to leave? With that pestered voice that didn't even seem to be his then, and those sad eyes…
Lost in thought, she almost didn't realize to be arrived at school. She swooped into the classroom with a perfect five-minutes delay. The teacher and her mates turned to her.
-Oh no! – the girl struggled – I'm sorry for the delay, teacher, I… -
Tomoyo, from her seat near the window, looked at her amused, visibly waiting for something. The teacher smiled, benevolent: - It's fine for today, it's the first day and I haven't started the lesson yet… by the way, this is… -
Apparently Sakura did exactly what her friend was expecting, 'cause Tomoyo assumed a satisfied look. She fell silent, staring at the person beside the teacher.
An handsome tall boy, with amber eyes and chocolate-brown hair answered her gaze.
Shaoran Li was looking at her smiling.
Sakura didn't realize immediately who was in front of her: after all this time, seeing him as if he had always been there was dumbfounding. She remained staring at him for those that seemed ages, and felt like a bubble of joy swelling in her heart, along with a strong desire of crying. She was tempted to run to hug him, to make sure that was not just an illusion. Only with a great effort she managed to compose herself. But that moment of hesitation made turn that feeling of joy into the same rage she had felt reading the letter. How did he dare to come back like this, without even a call, after all this time? Thus, when Shaoran attempted a shy greeting; Sakura tightened the grip on her bag's shoulder strap, and went to her seat, slamming the bag on her desk without saying a word.
-…from Hong Kong, but he's already been here, so some of you may already know him. So… where can you get? Ah yes, there is a free seat behind Kinomoto…-
As he walked toward her, Shaoran's expression reflected how much he was upset and regretful. He opened his mouth to say something, but Sakura turned the other side and pouted without even look at him.
Several times Shaoran tried to talk with Sakura, with no results. At the end he simply observed her during the lesson, so stubbornly determined to ignore him. He felt a boulder instead of his heart. He had imaged it wouldn't have been easy, that Sakura could have hated him for leaving without saying anything, but it hurt anyway. Because the fault was his, and he knew it. The bell rang for lunch, he didn't have time to stand up that she had already headed towards the courtyard with firm step, without deigning him of a look.
-Sakura, wait a minute…- he begged, but she was already gone. He reached her in the yard and he put a hand on her shoulder –Sakura…-
She spun around and slapped him sonorously. She kept silent, drawing back her hand, her green eyes lit with anger. Then she walked past him and sat on a bench nearby.
Dazed, he placed an hand on his cheek, where Sakura had slapped him. It didn't hurt, he was just… confused. –What did happened to her..? – he whispered, asking more to himself than to others. Tomoyo joined him, looking at Sakura in worry.
-Oh, well, let's say she has worried a lot for you… and… I'm always supposing uh, I don't think she has taken very good the fact you left, and came back, without telling her. - she said tauntingly, glancing at the boy beside her.
-Let's say she took it very badly. – he replied, distraught.
-Oh no… - she groaned – I thought a surprise would have pleased her…-
Sakura, who had heard everything, leapt up muttering something not too friendly and strode towards them, wrathful. – AH, IT'S THAT RIGHT? SO YOU WERE IN AGREEMENT NOT TO TELL ME ANYTHING! GOOD! TOMOYO I WOULD HAVE NEVER EXPECTED THIS FROM YOU! –
Tomoyo was shocked – I'm sorry Sakura, but… -
-THE HELL 'BUT'! AND YOU!- Sakura barked, beside herself, pointing her finger at Shaoran like she was cursing him. –TWO YEARS! TWO YEARS WITHOUT A HECK OF CALL! IT HASN'T EVEN… CROSSED YOUR MIND HOW I COULD HAVE BEEN! FIRST YOU LEAVE THAT WAY, AND THEN YOU COME BACK HERE LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED! HAVE YOU GOT THE FAINTEST IDEA OF HOW MUCH I'VE WORRIED? HAVE YOU GOT IT?! -
Shaoran was annihilated – Sakura, I…-
-Shut up! Go away! – she burst out, on the edge of crying, she turn her back on him and she started walking away.
Shaoran shook himself. He couldn't let her go like that, not after all he had went through. He grabbed her arm, pulling her close to him.
Sakura tried to wiggle out of his grasp – Let me go! Stay away from me, I… -
-Let me explain, listen to me, please…-
-I'm not going to listen to you! - she turned to him, eyes filled with tears –I…no… all this time without knowing if you were fine, not b-being able to see you… a-and then you come back so suddenly…- she sobbed, hanging her head.
Shaoran lifted a hand to caress her cheek, but then he stopped, fearing to worsen the situation. –Forgive me, please… I...- then he sighed, letting her go. He glanced down, - I-If you don't want… to see me anymore, I understand. – he whispered. The girl didn't answer, nor looked at him. His blood froze -…maybe I should go.-
A sudden fear, fear of seeing him disappearing at any moment overwhelmed Sakura, who grabbed him before he could even only think to move. -No!- she screamed. She hugged him tightly and buried her face against his chest, bursting into a desperate cry. After a moment of astonishment, Shaoran wrapped his arms around her and held her close. -I'm sorry- he whispered among her hair, the voice broken from the emotion. –I'm sorry- he repeated –you have no… idea how much I missed you.-
She simply tightened her grip harder. Slowly, the sobs subsided, but she remained crushed to him. -…Shaoran- she whispered, so happy to hear his voice to be able to say anything.
Sakura smiled, her face still buried in his shirt, for the first time after years.
As expected, it was time for an explanation.
-Shaoran, will you tell us what happened? I mean, all this time without contacts… something has happened in Hong Kong, right?- Sakura asked.
The three friends were walking in the park, after school. Tomoyo looked glad at the couple, they walked arm in arm, happy, while she was carrying a large colorful bag.
-It's… a long story…- He replied, not too happy to start that speech.
-Well, we have time. – the girl pressed.
-Not really!- Tomoyo said, pointing at the sky –Look, it's going to rain!- In fact, the sky was streaked with dark clouds that didn't promise anything good.
-Oh, you're right – Sakura exclaimed -…hear, why don't you come dine at my place? So we can talk about it. Both my father and Touya are not at home today.
-If it's not a problem…-
Tomoyo was delighted – It's perfect! So you can try the battle outfits I've prepared for you two… I've passed last night tailoring after Li phoned me!
Sakura and Shaoran sweatdropped, staring at her.
-Uhm… Tomoyo… maybe I've not understood well… do you mean you made one also for me? - He asked, hoping he had misheard.
-Of course! You're a team after all! – Tomoyo exclaimed as it was an obvious thing. – Cardcaptor Sakura and the Chinese Warrior! – she declaimed, entranced.
Hearing his new epithet, Shaoran blushed to the roots of his hair. - T-Tomoyo… please, let's spare this.- he coughed, practically dying of embarrassment.
Suddenly, he felt a dead weight in his arm –Sakura? What is it?! Sakura!-
The girl had suddenly collapsed on him, unconscious.