A Black Rose
By: Aisaki Sumi

Chapter Three
A Wilted Black Rose

Could've been better irrational, unfair, unreasonable, and he wishes he could blame the world for the way it is but his cynicism tells him life goes on and he's only lost the light of the sun so let him wander by the light of the moon, faded and serene, broken and with fingertips stained dark red.

When she was younger, she would have the urge to run fingers down his slender back after his showers, to watch the water droplets collect underneath her fingers and spiral off toward the distant ground.

For some odd reason, she liked looking at him from behind; the smooth line of his back, the slender nape, and the tips of his chestnut hair, which would brush those sun-kissed shoulders lightly.

When she was young, all she ever did was watch, with sharp, piercing eyes, acknowledging every move and tilt of the head, taking in the sight of her older brother like a dying man in the desert eyeing his last canister of water.

She wanted, and wanted so much.

Many had thought she was just being a typical possessive younger sister when they saw the hints of ambition and child-like possessive glint in her eyes. They saw her as someone who wanted her older brother's sole attention.

But they were wrong.

She wasn't a spoiled brat. She trusted only her heart, followed her intuitions, did what she thought was the best and that included lying to her beloved mother who had asked her countless times if she ever felt anything more than sibling-love toward her brother.

Now, tracing a tapered finger down his smooth back, she knew she was right from the start, and reached the destination she saw in her youth, those fleeting glimpses of something greater than she could understand.

The man who was lying in her arms right now was the very same boy she desired from such a long time ago — so long ago that she couldn't even remember when or how it started. He was the only man she would ever love in this life time, and if being with him meant to defy God, to throw away everything, then let it be.

"I love you, Syaoran…" A soft murmur against cool skin; a quiet, sinful confession that she no longer feared to speak of as she traced the line of his back with her parted lips.

The smallest instances of hestitation, she held her breath, and didn't relax, not until she felt his muscles relaxing. She closed her eyes, pressing her nose against the small dip in his lower back, nuzzling him lightly.

"Go to sleep Sakura." Was all he said, but it made her smile as she felt him turning around, amber eyes closed as he pulled her into a warmer and tighter embrace.

"Sleep." He repeated once more before shifting into a more comfortable position. His hands were placed on top of hers and Sakura closed her eyes gleefully. Head pressed gently against his steadily rising and falling chest as she drifted toward the realms of sleep.

They held each other like that for the rest of the night… enjoying the imtimacy while it lasted because he knew, they could never touch like this again.

Sakura rubbed her tired eyes, pretty eyebrows frowning in annoyance at the invasive morning lights cast over her face, illuminating it a golden tint.

Groaning, she yawned before forcing her eyes open. Her head was pounding painfully as she tried to sit up. A bad hangover, she recognized, deepening the frown on her face.

This was her first time having one. Surely she had seen how painful hangovers were like from TV shows, but having one herself this early in the morning was definitely not something she considered as fun.

A sudden feeling of nakeness pervaded her mind as she realized that she wasn't wearing anything. Wrapping the wrinkled white sheets around her body, she blushed faintly.

The content memories of last night flooded her mind and caused her to widen the blissful smile on her face. She was officially eighteen, and last night was a night she would remember for the rest of her life. It was magical and surreal, almost too unreal for her to accept as reality.

Brushing aside the messy auburn locks, she rolled off the bed and looked around the empty condo. This was her first time being in her brother's private condo and she was amazed at how neat and stylish it was.

The interior designer did a good job on decorating this place, she thought silently to herself, eyes revealing her amazement as she strolled over to the dinning room when her empty stomach grumbled a loud protest.

Her eyes widened in joy as she saw the delicious looking pancakes stacked into a small pile lying in the center of an expensive-looking porcelain plate. There was a bottle of unopened orange juice positioned beside it, aligned with a small vase with a beautiful dark red rose in there.

This sight made her eyes twinkle with little stars. Settling down on the empty seat like an excited child, she mumbled a quiet "ittetakimasu!" before wolfing down the food.

This just had to be the best day of her life…

"Syaoran." The older man in his late fourties acknowledged. Sitting comfortably on the black leather chair, he smiled faintly at the sight of his favorite and only son, the one who kept the business going and helped to make it bigger and more successful than it was before.

"What brings you here so early in the morning?" Li Yang asked fatherly, his voice lacing a faint amusement and curiosity.

"I thought about your proposal from the other day." Syaoran stood in the center of the darkened office, with his back straight and chin tilted slightly upward. His eyes were as piercing and sharp as usual while his face remained emotionless. Focusing his gaze on the CEO before him as he waited for an answer, or some sort of reply.

They stared at each other for a brief moment before Li Yang cleared his throat, taken back by the sudden statement that seemed to have popped out of no where. "Well… what's your decision then, son?" He inquired carefully, pronouncing each syllable clearly and slowly, leaving no room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

"I'm planning to go, and take care of the business oversea." Syaoran stated coolly, showing no reluctance or hesistancy, as if he had never been surer about anything else in this world. His eyes were cold and unblinking as he scrutinized his father, noticing that the older man had more lines around his eyes than the last time he had seen him.

"Ah…" Li Yang leaned forward; hands folded together and supported his chin, a thoughtful, contemplative expression gracing his face.

"What influenced you into making this decision?" It was a mild and casual question, yet it was dangerous and sharp. He watched his son flinching at the unexpected question slightly and he knew, he had hit a nerve. Even though it was subtle and indistinctive to normal people's eyes, Li Yang still noticed it right away.

Syaoran paused for a moment before deciding on the best answer he could come up with that would actually sound convincing. "Someone needs to go, and it is the best if I go, since you don't really need any of my assistance here in Tokyo." He waited for the words to sink in and watched Li Yang closely, scouting for his permission.

"Hmm, I see." It was a simple statement, yet it was embedded with unsaid words that only Syaoran could hear.

"Well son, if that is want you want to do, then I will give you my full support. After all, our company in New York does need a leader like you; someone who's young, ambitious and talented."

Breaking the intensive eye contact, Li Yang picked up the phone on the right side of his desk and reached out a finger to dial his secretary's number. But Syaoran stopped him. "I already got Sayuri to order the tickets. She'll be bringing them into my office any moment now."

Li Yang gave him a long look before returning the phone to its receiver.

"I see. You're well-prepared Syaoran." This comment made Syaoran grin confidently as he muttered a quiet "of course" in return. Dipping his head lower in a form of a polite nod, Syaoran swerved around and was ready to stroll out of the office.

"Syaoran." The abrupt calling halted him into a stop. Syaoran froze on the spot and listened carefully for what his father had to say.

"You don't have to force yourself to do this if you don't want to. There're a lot of things you'll miss in Tokyo, and people who you might never see again, or as often. I hope you understand what you're throwing away here son."

The soft words resounded in the deadly silence of the room, full of unspeakable sorrow and pain and regret. Syaoran squeezed his eyes shut tightly and walked out of the office without ever looking back, afraid if he did, his mind would change and lose the courage he managed to gather up. Once this decision was made, there would be no turning back.

They weren't meant to be together. It was a sin. It was a mistake. And to amend this mistake, he must walk out of her life, without looking back.

There was something even money couldn't change, and that was their pre-planned destines.

Tapping her feet against the granite floor of the ballroom, Sakura cast an impatient glance at the glassed entrance door every five seconds.

She gnawed at the corner of her lips, feeling slightly panicky, yet managed to mask it with a halfhearted smile as people passed by her, wishing her a happy eighteenth birthday.

Self-traitorious thoughts were racing through her mind as she grabbed a drink and emptied it within a blink of an eye.

Where could that baka onii-chan be?! She yelled in her mind, couldn't help but feel agitated and irked by the fact that he was ditching her again this year, when this was the most important day in a girl's life.

This day would mark the end of her teenage years and the beginning of her womanhood. Even as a brother, he should be here, and not to mention he was her lover now…

Pushing aside the thought and the urgency to blush, she continued to tap her white shoes against the ground. Her eyes and mind were so focused on the door that she failed to pick up the soft approaching footsteps until that someone tapped her lightly on the shoulder.

Turning around excitedly, her face dropped as the sight of her mother came into view. There was a pleasant smile on Yelan's face as she studied Sakura lovingly.

"You're all grown up now." Yelan stated, feeling the tears of joy pooling up in her eyes while Sakura sighed in defeat.

"Oh honey, don't look so sad, I know it's the end of one phase of your life, but it's the beginning of another and you should be celebrating it right now." Yelan placed a hand on her shoulder and ran her finger down Sakura's cheek in a motherly manner.

"Anyway, I want to introduce you to somone." The sudden change of subject produced a loud bang in Sakura's head as she realized what her mother's intentions were.

But before she could refuse it, Yelan pulled a handsome young man before her. He had beautiful, mezmrosing cerulean eyes and a charming smile and dark hair that framed his perfect complexion.

"Sakura, this is Hiiragizawa Eriol, from the well-known Hiiragizawa family. They're very successful in London and I'm sure you will be able to show him around sometime, after all, you are the hostess here."

Sakura gaped at Yelan's sweet smiling face in shock, jaws dropped as she stared at her in disbelief. How can she just sell me off to some random rich guy like this?

She knew Yelan had been waiting for her eighteenth birthday so she could give her away to some wealthy family, but she didn't expect it to be this soon.

Picking up her white dress that was brushing against the smooth surface of the floor, she swerved around and hurried toward the exit, ignoring the curious and stunned looks tossed at her way and her mother's desperate callings.

The background music became faded as she pushed the glassed doors open, scampering toward the main street and halting the first taxi she saw into a stop.

She only had one thing set in her mind at that moment, and that was to find Syaoran. In order to keep her happiness, she realized, some sacrifices needed to be made, and she was willing to do it with almost no hesitation now.

If throwing away her current life and a mother who loved her dearly was what she had to do to be with him, then she would.

She would even change her identity and run away with him to a place where no one could recognize them. Through sickness and health, through thick and thin, through poor and rich, she would always be by his side. The sudden determination and newly found strength even shocked her, and she became manifest that she had never been more resolute about this.

The taxi arrived at Syaoran's condo shortly. Sakura jumped out of the taxi and threw a bunch of crumbled up paper bills at the driver. The security guard was giving her a strange look, and so were the passing by strangers, coming in and out of the building. But she no longer cared. All she wanted to do at the moment was to run into his arms and never let go again.

Finally she reached the top floor, but when she knocked on his door, it creeked open by itself. Frozen on the spot for a few minutes, Sakura poked a head into the darkened, unlit condo and surveyed her surrounding.

All the furniture were covered by white sheets. And the only occupant of the empty condo at that moment was the ghastly silence suspended in the air, heavy of unforgiven pain and unsaid appologies.

Her heart thudded exceptionally loud in the silent condo, almost loud enough to shatter and tumble down the brick walls that formed the firm structure of the place. The clicking sounds made by the contacts of her high heels and the ground echoed through the place that was almost as quiet as a grave yard.

No… her lips trembled as reality slowly seeped into her mind, washing away the idealogical fantasies of them eloping together to a distant ecstastic land, where there was just the two of them.

No… crystal tears threatened to spill out of her eyes as she turned around desperately, trying to find the familiar face in the overwhelming darkness.

"No… he can't do this to me…" The look of despair and denial on her face clearly revealed the current chaotic and dumbstruck state of her mind. Even her speech became broken and incoherent.

She dashed into the bedroom, and panted breathlessly at the door way as she saw a letter and a dark scarlet rose placed on the bed. The moonlights that shone upon it made it appear more black than a dark red shade.

Slowly making her way toward the bed, she held the letter in her shivering hands and read who it was addressed to.

To my dearest sister Sakura

Ripping the letter open with cold sweaty fingers that were almost too numb to feel anything, she read on.

My dearest Sakura, beloved sister,

Happy birthday. You're a big girl now, a woman to be exact. Take care of yourself when I'm not around, and try to stay out of trouble. Be a good girl and listen to mother, she only wants the best for you and I entrust her with taking care of you.

Your future is bright, and one day, you will get married, have kids of your own and a loving husband. I can only wish you the best as a big brother. But keep this in mind when you're lonely, that there is always someone out there who cares about you and loves you more than anyone else in the world.

Li Syaoran, your brother.

Tears rushed down her cheeks like non-stop, some droplets splattered onto the letter as she trembled in the darkness. The pain in her heart was too great to be described by any word. Her heart, broken and shattered, was bleeding in the darkness. An invisible trail was left behind, transparent to the others but scarlet red to her.

The letter slipped from the grasp of her hands as she sobbed helplessly in her sorows. It was then the almost indistinctive dingling sound snapped her back to the reality. She looked downward, and saw something shining faintly under the pale moonlight.

Bending down, she lifted it up and recognized what it was.

It was a gold ring, with beautiful cursive writing engraved on it. I love you Sakura it read. Those were the words that never left his mouth, and three words that could melt any girl's heart. But all Sakura wanted to do was to cry.

The silence of the night was shattered by the helpless sobs of the birthday girl. Her pervasive sorrow even made the stars in the sky twinkle in shame.

She had lost the light of the sun, the only love in her life, the only precious person who cared about her more than anything else in this universe. Her love for him was sinful and forbidden, but far more powerful than anything in the world.

Before the time of Romeo and Juliet, there was the tragic story of Tristan and Isolde, and now was it was her turn to write down her heart-achingly beautiful story with tears and wilted black petals.

There was never a tale of more woes, than this of Sakura and her Syaoran.

The rose was deep red, almost black, and when Sakura plucked out the petals one by one, letting them drop to the floor in a lazy, weightless drift, they looked like little self-contained puddles of blood against her white dress and hardwood floor. Two hours she had sat there and the night was bright in the dark sky, lights glittering through the balcony doors to cast a glitter on the broken glass and caught reflection in the water.

Sakura could only watch the petals wilt. She was left in a trail of eye-stinging dust where the silence of the night was her sole companion. Her love, like the black petals, could only wither away, by the battering time. An eternal heartache flavored bitter by resentment at understanding, she could only wish for fate to give her another chance to be with the man she loved in the next lifetime-

-And for them to be anything else, but brother and sister.

The end

A/N: I'm an imperfect-ending-whore and believe happiness is only temporary. Nothing ever ends as happily ever after in reality and incest will never be accepted by society. But let history prove me wrong :P or will it? (Quirks an eyebrow)