That summer fields grew high.
We had wildflower fever.
We had to lay down where they grow.
How I’ve learned to hide, how I’ve locked inside,
you’d be surprised if shown.
But you’ll never
…you’ll never know.
“Stockton Gala Days” by 10,000 Maniacs, from Our Time In Eden
Things were a little confused for awhile, but, eventually, between the two of them, Touya and Yukito managed to get Sakura calmed down. Now she was sitting on the couch between them, drinking warm honey milk and drawing an occasional shuddering breath. Touya and Yukito (now in their bathrobes) exchanged a look above her head. Touya felt a warmth within him, felt a little knot of jealousy in a corner of his heart uncurl just a little. She’d come to him. Even though she was engaged, she still knew she could count on her older brother to take care of her.
Touya lay a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Sakura…what happened? Did that-” He stopped and took a deep breath. “Did Syaoran hurt you?” Sakura shook her head violently.
“No…no, it’s not that, it’s…it’s…” The tears were threatening again, but she fought them back, clutching her glass so tightly that for a moment, Touya was afraid that it would break.
“It’s like this…” she began…
The night was dark, the waning moon not yet shining through the window. Tomoyo turned her head and stared at the pale outline in the wall. The moon would break through the shadows in another half hour or so. So many sleepless nights in this room, the moon was a predictable timekeeper for her now. She closed her eyes and listened to the soft sound of Sakura’s breathing, trying not to want what she could never have, trying desperately not to feel what she had always felt…trying not to let it eat her alive.
Tomoyo’s thoughts raged around, wildly crashing into each other, chasing peace and sleep from her mind. Just one or two things different, something said or not said and she might…. No, she thought, she would never have said or done anything differently. Not since the day she had made the decision. The moment she found her mother’s diary, her fate had been irrevocably sealed and she would never have done anything to change it. Pain might be her lot now, but never would she have to experience that particular kind of pain.
Tomoyo rolled over and stared down at Sakura’s sleeping form. In the gradually lightening night, Tomoyo could see her friend’s face, trace the eyes, the curve of the nose, the cheeks. As time passed, she could see the subtle motion Sakura’s breathing, the flutter of her soft eyelashes. With no more thought than she might give to embracing her mother, Tomoyo found herself brushing her lips across Sakura’s cheek, then her eye. As she felt Sakura stir, Tomoyo pulled back quickly, but it was too late, Sakura’s eyes rolled, then opened.
“Tomoyo?” her voice was rough with sleep and Tomoyo felt a thrill run through her at the sound. “What are you doing?”
Tomoyo said nothing, not trusting her voice to not betray her.
Sakura’s hand brushed her own cheek and her eyes widened slightly as she rolled over to face her friend. “Did you just kiss me?”
Tomoyo could feel the heat in her cheeks and for once, blessed the darkness. At last she regained some measure of control and managed a little laugh.
“Do you remember,” she spoke light-heartedly, trying not to sound hysterical, “when you slept over here for the first time?”
“Sure,” Sakura said, rolling over a little more and sitting up.
“Do you remember how we talked about boys and kissing…?”
Sakura laughed now, remembering. “Yes, I do. I also remember getting in a little early practice with you.” She paused and laughed again. “You really have been the best friend. You’ve done anything I wanted to, haven’t you?”
Tomoyo shrugged. “I’ve always wanted to do what you wanted to, so it was easy.” She paused a moment before continuing. “Do you remember what we talked about a few years ago…after you became Mistress of the Cards?”
Sakura cocked her head in thought. “You mean when I was wondering what it would be like to…” she stopped talking as the flush crawled invisibly across her cheeks. “Yes, I remember that too. Why?”
Tomoyo took a breath and hoped her voice wouldn’t give her away. “We were talking about what it would be like to make love to a boy…and to another woman. We promised each other that if we ever wanted to do that, it would be with each other.”
“Yes…” Sakura was clearly puzzled at Tomoyo’s speech.
“Did you mean it, when you said you’d give me anything I wanted – anything that would make me happy?” Tomoyo’s voice gave out on the last word, but Sakura didn’t seem to notice.
“Would that make you happy, Tomoyo?”
Tomoyo could picture large green eyes staring at her candidly. She forced herself to smile, to put the smile into her words. “Tomorrow, you’re getting married, you’ll be a grown-up, a woman. And although I’ll be your friend forever, I thought…I’d like to have something special that only you could give me, something that, just once, would be special between us.” Tomoyo ran out breath and sat, panting, facing Sakura in the darkness of her room.
Sakura reached out and covered Tomoyo’s hand with her own. Slowly she leaned forward and placed her lips experimentally against the other woman’s. Tomoyo froze, not breathing, not moving, terrified of shattering the moment.
Sakura moved away, breaking off the sweetest kiss that Tomoyo ever known. “That…this is…what you really want, Tomoyo-chan?”
Tomoyo didn’t trust herself to speak. But at that moment the first ray of moonlight crept in through the window and softly illuminated her face, reflecting clearly her pleading expression of quiet hunger.
Sakura had never been able to resist her when she looked like that. Always, she had given in, no matter how outrageous a costume or how difficult the request. And, never having said, “No,” to Tomoyo before, she found that she was incapable of doing so now.
Even if she wanted to.
*Did* she want to?
Tomoyo moved close to her again, her face falling back into shadow as she leaned forward, but her eyes still catching and holding vestiges of reflected moonlight. Sakura, not quite realizing what she was doing, reached out and touched one of the dark, silky strands than hung down next Tomoyo’s cheek. A wave of warmth and sweetness washed through her as she gazed into the other girl’s softly pleading eyes.
Tomoyo had always been a strong personality in her life, exuberant, even overwhelming at times. So why did she seem so fragile now?
She’d always protected Tomoyo, she realized suddenly. Even when others had been in danger, it had been Tomoyo her thoughts flown to first. Was it just because Tomoyo didn’t have any magic of her own?
Was that all it was?
She ran her fingers through the dark hair and it curled around them gently. Clutching at them softly, so softly, as though desperate to be close to her but at the same time afraid of holding her too tightly.
She heard herself whispering breathlessly in response. “If it will make you happy, then yes, of course, Tomoyo-chan.”
Tomoyo leaned in even closer to her face. “Just think of it,” she said softly, “as ‘girlish experimentation’.” She was smiling, and her whisper teased Sakura’s skin. Then her lips touched Sakura’s, and the warmth surged through her again, stronger this time…part heat, part a wild sweetness. Her arms came up of their own accord, enfolding Tomoyo and pulling her closer…
Tomoyo’s mind reeled, unable to fully grasp that this was really happening. Desire and passion and sensation rushed over her senses, making her heart race, shortening her breath to shallow gasps of air. She wanted so much to feel every part of Sakura, to bring her every pleasure, every joy…everything. So intense was her need that she felt paralyzed, unable to do anything but respond as she and Sakura kissed gently.
Her eyes fluttered open for a moment, and fell on the clock next to her bed, its digits illuminated like malevolent red eyes in the darkness. It was nearly midnight.
In a sudden moment of blind panic, Tomoyo realized that this was her only chance; the only time that Sakura would be entirely hers. Her breathing became even faster, then slowed as she forced herself to calm down. They had time. She had time. She would not think about the future, about the inevitable cold, grey light of dawn and waking up in an empty bed the day after tomorrow…and every day after that.
Tonight, just this once, she would have her heart’s desire.
Tonight Sakura was hers.
It was like drowning in softness. Soft hair brushing against her cheek, soft hands on her body, lips soft as rose petals brushing against her breasts.
So different…impossible not to compare…
She loved Syaoran, loved his hard, smooth body, loved their lovemaking that was often almost frenzied. With his hardness around her, within her, she felt…complete. Safe.
This was nothing like that. This was waves of warmth and softness rising to envelope her. This was a tongue finding her nipple and touching, tasting, a little teasing. Heat and desire building gradually rather than shooting through her, melting her instead of igniting her.
Hands that were never still tracing over her body as though she was being memorized by a blind woman. She was being created, lovingly sculpted, her own body made real, made alive, with each gentle touch. Awakened.
And with every heartbeat, every breath, her head echoed with the refrain:
So soft…so soft…so soft.
Soft fingers within her, soft mouth upon her…she was here, here, here with her. Tomoyo would always be with her, always be by her side, and Sakura felt warmth and comfort and quiet, intense joy flood through her at that thought, though it was impossible to know why.