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Happily Ever After

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He'd hated her from the first moment he saw her. Hated the way she sat in the back of the class and watched him with those big green eyes as the sensei introduced him to the class. Hated that she knew he was different from the others, even though she didn't know that she knew. Hated that she – a poor, pathetic girl with little magic and no training to speak of – would dare to trespass on his destiny, on his birthright, on his Clow Cards.

He'd hated her for not crumpling when he demanded that she turn over the Cards, for not breaking down into tears under his glare and running away in terror to hide behind her brother. He'd hated that she was strong enough to not be afraid of him.

He'd hated her for stealing the Clow Cards from right under his nose. He'd hated her magic, hated having to watch it grow stronger and stronger until it far surpassed his own. He'd hated her for his failure, and for the bitter taste it left in his mouth whenever he spoke to his mother over the phone.

"No, Mother. I haven't collected them all yet . . . Yes, Mother. I understand."

As time went on, he grew to hate her for other things, as well.

He'd hated her kindness, had hated the way she could smile at him, at he who never had a kind word for her or anyone else. Hated the way she could laugh and be happy despite the daggers his eyes were continually throwing in her direction. Hated that she called him friend.

He'd never had a friend before, and he hated that, too.

He'd hated the way she made him lose control, the way his face would turn red and his words turn to stutters whenever she was near. He'd hated the way she made him lie awake at night, tossing and turning, his thoughts in chaos. He'd hated the way she refused to stay out of his head.

He'd hated her friends and her family, and the knowing glances they always shot in his direction. He'd hated her for being so oblivious as to miss what the rest of the world so clearly saw. He'd hated her for it, but he'd been relieved, too. He'd never been more afraid of anything in his life than the idea that she would find out how he felt.

He hated being afraid.

He'd hated her on the day he finally accepted the truth. He'd hated the warm, fuzzy feeling that settled deep into his stomach when he saw her and he just knew.

I love her.

He'd hated the way his heart broke when she cried in his arms, that day amongst the falling cherry blossoms, when she'd realized that her moon guardian was not the one she loved the most. He'd hated hearing her speak of the future, her whispered wonderings at when her special person would finally come to her, and he'd especially hated the deep longing the swelled up inside of him to tell her the truth.

"It's me, Sakura! I'm the one who loves you the most! You're my special person! Me!"

But he'd hated his silence most of all.

He'd hated the pain he'd caused her, her terrible confusion the day the truth finally came to light. He'd hated knowing that she lay awake at night, tossing and turning and trying so hard to put her feelings in order, to realize what had been before her eyes for so long.

He'd hated being separated from her. He'd hated the phone calls and the letters, the tears he knew she'd shed in his absence. He'd hated his family for taking him away from her, and he'd hated the business that needed to be taken care of before he could fly to her side again. He'd hated the miles that lay between them, the cold depths of the ocean the separated them, the countries that kept them apart.

And he'd really, really hated the glare her brother gave him when he finally came home, and he swept her up in his arms and gave her his forevers and his always's, and she'd laughed and cried and hugged him back in her joy.

And so, he supposed, they lived happily ever after.

And he didn't hate that at all.