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Sakura took a deep breath of fresh air as she started rollerblading down the street. It was a beautiful day, and the sun was shining brightly. A soft breeze gently blew over her as she went on her way to school. She blushed lightly at the thought of Yukito waiting where he usually did before school. Sighing, she felt a pang of sadness at the thought of who he was waiting for. She slowed down, finally coming to a stop, as her brother rode by on his bike. As long as he was happy, right?
Waiting a few moments to make sure her brother and Yukito were well on their way, Sakura started rollerblading again, a little slower this time. She was glad Yukito had found love, but would she ever find it herself? She had thought she loved the older boy, but after her talk with him, she wasn't so sure anymore. He had told her that her feelings for him were like the ones she had for her father. Oddly enough, besides short bouts of sadness over him, she seemed to be doing pretty well. Maybe she was just being mature about it. But could there be something else to it? Could it be that maybe she was falling for someone else? Thinking for a moment, Sakura tried to figure who such a person could possibly be, but ended up dismissing the idea. She was happy for Yukito, Sakura decided, and that was all.
Her spirits noticeably higher, Sakura flashed a smile at the dark-haired girl waiting for her at the front gate of their school. "Hi, Tomoyo-chan!" she said, skidding to a stop in front of her best friend.
"Ohayo gozaimasu, Sakura-chan," Tomoyo said happily. "How did you sleep last night?"
"Pretty well. I had a strange dream, but I can't remember it now. You were in it. And Syaoran-kun. And I was worried about you for some reason," Sakura trailed off, trying to remember more of her dream.
"I'm very glad I was in your dreams, Sakura-chan, but don't be worried about me," Tomoyo said thoughtfully. "It was just a dream. And, in any case, worrying about it won't do any good. You should try to relax."
"You're right," Sakura agreed. "I wish I could remember the rest of it, though. I feel like I have forgotten an important warning about something." She pulled off her rollerblades along with the rest of her protective gear. Standing back up, she walked side by side with Tomoyo towards their classroom.
"If your dream was a warning about something, I'm certain that you will eventually figure it out," Tomoyo said with a reassuring smile.
Sakura found herself smiling back. 'I always do feel better after talking to Tomoyo,' she thought to herself. "Thank you, Tomoyo-chan."
"Whenever you want to talk, Sakura-chan, please do. I love talking to you, and if it helps you, I'm happy." Tomoyo took her seat next to Sakura's and started pulling out what she would need for class from her backpack.
Sitting down in her desk, Sakura grinned to herself. She felt a lot better about things now. She wasn't worrying about her dream or her sadness over Yukito for the moment. Looking through the window, she watched the late students getting to school. She basked in the warm sunlight as she waited for class to begin. This day could be a good one after all.
"How does this look?" Tomoyo asked tentatively as she handed Sakura a sheet of paper from her binder. Sakura carefully took the paper, finishing up another bite of her lunch at the same time. She sweatdropped when she saw the sketch of herself in a costume. There were several different views to show the whole costume, including the large bow in back. "What do you think?"
"It's... nice," Sakura said, not quite knowing what else to say.
"I think it would look really cute on you, Sakura-chan." Hearts appeared in Tomoyo's eyes and she blushed as she thought of Sakura in the finished costume. "Do you think it could use more lace?"
"No, no, I think it's fine the way it is," Sakura said hastily. Her troubles with wild Clow Cards had ended when she became the Card Mistress, and now with things settling down after Eriol, there really wasn't much of a need for her to go out as a Card Captor anymore. But Tomoyo still made plenty of costumes for her, getting Sakura to come over to her house and try them on so the dark-haired girl could at least videotape her in them.
"Every time I finish a new costume, when I look at it, I get the feeling that something isn't right. It doesn't seem really finished. But when I finally see you wearing it, Sakura-chan, it's like the last piece of a puzzle has fallen into place. You complete them." You complete me, Tomoyo wanted to add.
Sakura blushed as Tomoyo smiled gently at her. For a second, it felt like she and Tomoyo were the only ones there. The feeling slowly faded and Sakura noticed all her classmates busily chatting through lunch. She wasn't sure if she was relieved or saddened that the moment had ended so quickly.
"I'll start working on this one when I get home," Tomoyo finished. Her head tilted to the side and a worried look spread over her face. "Sakura-chan, are you okay?"
"Hai. I'm fine," Sakura said, laughing nervously. For some reason, she felt awkward all of a sudden. Glancing around a bit while she ate some more of her lunch, she noticed Syaoran walking by on his own. "Syaoran-kun! Why don't you have lunch with us?" she asked happily. Syaoran paused for a moment before accepting, sitting beside the two girls.
"I really hope we don't have much homework tonight," Sakura said conversationally. "It's my night to make dinner."
"I hope so, too. If you need to pick up ingredients or anything, I could come with you before you go home," Tomoyo offered.
Sakura smiled at her. "Thanks, Tomoyo-chan. I don't think I need anything, though."
"Sakura..." Syaoran interrupted.
"Hoe?" Sakura turned to Syaoran who was now staring straight ahead. Tomoyo turned to look at him as well, putting aside the sketches.
"There's something I want to tell you," Syaoran said slowly. He was really nervous, even though he'd probably never admit it to himself.
"What is it?" Sakura asked curiously. Tomoyo smiled at him, knowing what it was that he wanted to say. She nodded slightly, as if urging him to go on.
"Syaoran-kun, are you feeling okay?" Sakura asked worriedly.
"It's about Sakura-chan, right, Li-kun?" Tomoyo suggested gently, trying to help him along.
Syaoran nodded emphatically. Sakura looked more and more interested as she waited to hear what he had to say.
Syaoran rounded on Tomoyo and asked her pointedly, “Can you go?” He wanted to be alone with Sakura if he was going to tell her.
The dark haired girl smiled and nodded, picking up her notebook she walked over to a nearby tree.
Syaoran watched her go before turning back, to meet the green eyes that were watching him in confusion. He gathered his breath and in one long exhale managed to force out, "I... I... I like you!"
Sakura blinked in confusion several times. "You what?"
Syaoran stood up and made a hasty retreat back towards the classroom. He nearly bumped into Naoko in his hurry.
"What did he mean?" Sakura asked aloud. She just couldn't figure what on earth Syaoran was trying to do, telling her that he liked her and then running away. Tomoyo leaned towards her.
"I think Li-kun was trying to say that he loves you," Tomoyo explained in a soft whisper.
Sakura's face turned a deep shade of crimson as realization hit. She opened her mouth and tried to speak, but nothing came out. After a few false starts she finally got out, "But... but... how?"
Tomoyo smiled brightly at her friend. "That's not hard, Sakura-chan. It's easy to fall in love with you. It's telling you that is the hard part." Standing up as the bell rang for the end of lunch, Tomoyo offered Sakura her hand. Sakura, still in shock, let the other girl help her stand. She tried to walk, but stumbled a bit. Tomoyo helped her catch her balance and, smiling gently, helped her back towards the classroom.
was a bit colder after school, but the weather was still pleasant. A gentle breeze meandered past the two girls on their way home. Sakura was still having trouble coming to grips with what had happened earlier with Syaoran. She was so worried, she wasn't really aware of where they were going. Tomoyo was silently leading her home, trying to give her best friend time to think. Though it was still early in the evening, Sakura felt tired, exhausted. She just wanted to lie down so that she wouldn't have to think about anything. Questions kept racing through her mind. How could he? Was he serious? And what should she do now?
Sakura, walking slowly, noticed all of a sudden that Tomoyo wasn't at her side anymore. She turned around and saw the other girl standing there, her long, dark hair fluttering behind her. Sakura looked at her with surprise. Her friend seemed deep in thought.
Tomoyo looked at her, but didn't answer right away. Sakura felt a pang of nervousness. It was such an unusual attitude in her friend...
"Sakura-chan," Tomoyo said at last, startling Sakura a little, "do you remember when I said that I loved you?"
That was an easy one, Sakura thought. Tomoyo had told her that many, many times. "Un!" she nodded.
"You looked happy, Sakura-chan, and you said that you loved me too. And I said: 'But Sakura-chan doesn't mean the same thing as me.' Do you remember?"
Again, Sakura nodded.
"After that, I told you that I'd explain everything later. Isn't that right?"
Sakura's eyes lit up with remembrance. "Oh yes, I remember! I wondered so much about that, I couldn't figure what in the world you were talking about."
Tomoyo smiled gently. "Well, I think I will tell you now, Sakura-chan," she said. "Truth is, I'm a little nervous about this. I don't know if the time is right, I'm not sure you will understand." She paused for a moment, and then added softly, "But I'm going to give it a try anyway."
Sakura looked at Tomoyo intently. She felt very excited all of a sudden. The dark-haired girl sounded so serious it was a bit scary, but an overwhelming curiosity gnawed at her. After all, she thought, this was Tomoyo. Whatever she had to say, it couldn't be anything bad, could it?
"What is it? Please, Tomoyo-chan, tell me!" Sakura begged, her face bright with eagerness.
Tomoyo took a deep breath and slowly released it. She gazed deeply into Sakura's beautiful green eyes. "Sakura-chan, we've been very close for a long time now, and I want you to know that you've always been the most important thing in the world to me."
Sakura smiled at her. "You are a very important friend to me too, Tomoyo-chan."
Tomoyo sweatdropped and decided to try a different approach.
"Whatever I do, wherever I go, I'm always thinking about you, Sakura-chan. It's like..." she was having trouble finding the right words. "You make me think of an angel, Sakura-chan. You are like a heavenly angel sent down to this earthly realm to fill the lives of humans with light. I feel like I would never be able to repay you for the joy you've brought into mine. That's the way I feel, in my heart, when I think about you."
Sakura felt a rosy blush spread all over her cheeks. She lowered her gaze, forced out a shaky little laugh and rubbed the back of her head. "I... I... Oh, Tomoyo-chan, it's nothing like that! I mean, I'm not an angel. I'm not heavenly or anything. I'm just..." Sakura paused briefly, as if gathering her thoughts, then looked back up and smiled at her friend, a genuine smile this time. "You say the nicest things, Tomoyo-chan. I feel all warm and mushy inside when you say that kind of thing, even though I'm not the way you say. Thank you so much! You're my best friend in the whole wide world, and I'm really, really glad that you're happy when I'm around."
Tomoyo sighed softly. This was sooo much harder than she thought it would be. Part of her just wanted to stop, put on her trademark happy smile and tell Sakura that they were late and that they should be hurrying. She knew Sakura would then dismiss everything Tomoyo had just said as "some more of Tomoyo's weird stuff", and things between them would return to normal. It would be so easy, she thought, backing off and leaving love confessions for another day. But she couldn't do that, not this time. Not when she had already come this far.
"Sakura-chan," she started again, trying to find stronger words to express the feelings in her heart, "I'm always happiest when we are spending time together. And whenever I'm unhappy, all I have to do is think about you to feel better. When I see you wearing one of the dresses I make for you, my heart feels like it's going to pound out of my chest in joy. Being with you, doing things with you is my idea of heaven. You mean so much to me. I can't bear the thought of not being able to see you. I want to be with you, always, forever."
Sakura blushed again, redder this time. Tomoyo was always saying strange things around her, and she knew she should be used to it by now, but this... this was like all of them rolled into one. She wasn't sure what to say, or if she should just wait for her friend to continue.
Tomoyo was blushing a little, too. She had said so much, and yet, she could tell, just by looking at Sakura, that she still hadn't gotten her point across. "I know you were surprised, today, when you found out about Syaoran's love for you, but I understand his feelings only too well. Since the day I met you, you have been like the sun in my life, outshining everything else. Sakura-chan, cards aren't the only magic you have at your command. I've been under your spell for a long time."
Sakura didn't realize she'd been holding her breath until her lungs started to ache for air. She was blushing as red as a peony now, and she was starting to find it difficult to stand still. She felt weak in the knees from the nervousness building up inside her.
"Sakura-chan, daisuki desu wa," Tomoyo declared with earnest feeling, and then, before her innocent cousin could once again misunderstand those three simple words, she continued, "And I don't mean just as a friend. I love you so much more than that. Sakura-chan, I'm in love. I'm in love with you, I love you. Do you understand what I'm trying to say?" Tomoyo took Sakura's hands in her own and gazed again into those dazzling green eyes. "I love you," she repeated softly.
"To... To... Tomoyo-chan..." Sakura barely managed to get out. Her heart was thudding a mad tempo in her chest, and she was sure her eyes looked like saucers. The shock of Syaoran's confession felt like nothing compared to what she was feeling at this moment. She had thought that, after Syaoran, nothing in the world could surprise her anymore. Oh god, had she been wrong! She knew that she had to say something, she could tell the other girl was waiting for her to say something, but her mind had gone completely blank. First Syaoran and now Tomoyo? It was too much for her. She felt like her whole world had been turned upside down.
"Tomoyo-chan,” she stammered, “I... I... I'll talk to you later," Sakura finished, a little lamely. Turning around too quickly, she almost stumbled. Tomoyo's hand on her shoulder barely helped her regain her balance in time.
Waving to Sakura while the brown-haired girl hurried off, Tomoyo called, "Bye, Sakura-chan! Sleep well!"
Glancing over her shoulder, Sakura caught a glimpse of Tomoyo's smiling face. She managed a faint smile of her own and waved back weakly before turning back around. Her mind felt sluggish as she tried to sort things out.
What was she supposed to do? Nothing in her life seemed to make sense anymore. Breaking into a fast sprint after turning a corner, Sakura ran all the way back home.
“Oh, so the monster’s home,” Touya said conversationally as her heard Sakura come in through the front door. He put down the job ads he’d been reading, ready to see his sister’s angry face. He was shocked to see her disappearing up the stairs. “Sakura?” The small glimpse of her hadn’t offered much of an explanation as to why she hadn’t argued with him, but she had looked rather distraught. Worse than he’d seen her in a long, long time. The house was silent again, except for the rustling of the newspaper on his lap. “Well, she is in high school now. She’s probably just getting overemotional about something,” he told himself, not quite believing it. Telling himself not to worry, he went back to looking for another job, but he kept glancing up towards her room, wondering what was really wrong.
Sakura shifted her arms on the open window ledge trying to get comfortable. She could see the moon behind the leaves and the Jade Plate swam for a moment in the wetness that suddenly appeared in her eyes.
Kero-chan clicked his tongue and glided to her side.
"Sakura" he chided, "You haven’t finished a sentence yet tonight. What's happened?"
She sighed and pressed her eyes against her pajama sleeve. "Kero-chan, I had a dream last night."
"Ah", the Seal Beast breathed in pleasure. Sakura's dreams always carried a great deal of portent. He drifted to where he could look at her. "What did you dream?"
"I dreamt that Tomoyo-chan and Li-kun were in danger, and it was because of me." She paused, breathing hard, and then the dam broke. "I was so upset, and all through the dream I kept talking and nothing was coming out of my mouth. I wanted to tell them today at school, but I didn't know how, and I thought that maybe I would find a way, but every time I tried the time was wrong, and then Li-kun wanted to talk to me alone, and then Tomoyo-chan said..."
"Clow Card!" Kero-chan yelled spinning towards the open window. "Hurry!"
Sakura could almost believe that this was the same dream. She was talking and no one was hearing her. Moving quickly she gathered a few things and climbed out onto the tree. It occurred to her as she descended that she should call Li and Tomoyo, but she also felt that being alone would be nice too. At least with a Card to capture she wasn't just sitting and thinking.
Once out of sight of her house Sakura drew out the Key and joined Kero-chan in the air. He flew purposefully, as if he knew where he was going. Sakura saw, in her mind's eye, the many videos Tomoyo had taken of the Seal Beast. Smiling at the thought she was suddenly very sorry she didn't call the dark hair girl. Tomoyo would forgive her, there was no question, but at the same time Sakura also knew that no matter what her mood Tomoyo would never exclude Sakura from something that would give her pleasure. Before she realized what was happening the phone was in her hand, and the redial pressed. But what to tell her? Sakura had no idea where they were going.
"Look!" Kero-chan cried, stabbing a paw downwards. Sakura, phone to her head, looked down, and saw Li running in the same direction they were flying in, his glowing Lasin Board held before him.
Momentarily disoriented Sakura realized the voice was Tomoyo's and the source was the phone. "Tomoyo-chan!" she yelled over the wind, "We're near the clock tower, after a Card...."
"I'm on my way," and she was gone.
Sakura tucked the phone back into her pocket and drew closer to Kero-chan. "What should we do?" she mused aloud.
Kero-chan turned towards her, smiling broadly, "Card Capture Sakura..."
And he was gone.
Sakura suddenly found herself standing in a room. The Key was in her hand. The room, a sort of box, had no door, no windows and the walls were a sickly green. Across from her Li stood, looking equally as surprised and Kero-chan was nowhere to be seen.
"Li-kun?" she began, but no sound reached her ears. He too opened his mouth, but she heard nothing. Stepping back she pulled out the Sword Card, exchanged the Key for the Sword and swiped at the nearest wall. It had no effect. Li also began trying attacks on the room, with the same effect. She moved closer to him, her hand reaching for him, and just as she touched his arm her hand went threw his as if he were a ghost. Alarmed she drew back...he didn't seem to be aware of her. He suddenly turned and appeared to be smiling at someone behind her. Sakura looked back and saw Tomoyo, video camera in hand, looking at Li with a look that sent a chill through Sakura. Rushing to her side Sakura was almost weak with relief. She called Tomoyo's name, heard nothing, and stopped short. Slowly she extended a hand… it passed threw Tomoyo without any resistance. Tomoyo and Li crossed the small room, intent it seemed, only on each other. Sakura drew back in confusion as the two came together in a passionate kiss.
Nothing more than shock made Sakura sit down heavily. Sword slipped silently from her fingers. What did this mean? What was happening? Her mind reeled at the sight. Closing her eyes for a moment, hoping it was a dream, she opened them again. In the center of the room stood Tomoyo and Yukito, kissing.
"This is a dream," she screamed soundlessly, desperately, "Tomoyo-chan loves me and only me, she told me so! Only me! None of this is real!"
Raising her head once more she found herself confronted by Li, sword in hand, and Tomoyo clinging to his side. Li was looking at her with unhidden hatred. He raised the sword, and Sakura had just enough time to exchange the Sword for Shield as he swung at her. The sword rebounded, sending a shock through his arm. He staggered back, disbelief evident on his face.
"Why?!" Sakura screamed mentally, her mouth forming the word. Drawing herself up to her knees she studied Li. He was panting, and still looked angry, but he didn't continue to fight. Could it be that he knew he was fighting a Card? That had to be the answer. They were trapped within an uncaptured Card, and she had to figure out what the Card was.
Suddenly the pieces were fitting. She was seeing something that would make her… what? Angry? Jealous? They must be experiencing something similar. Li would see…
Sakura sucked in her breath. Li would see Sakura and Tomoyo! No wonder he turned on her! But no, why fight Sakura, unless Sakura looked like Tomoyo to him. That would explain his surprised look at being rebuffed by Shield. Sakura acted quickly, bringing out Mirror, "Show me what Li-kun is seeing" she commanded. In the disc Mirror held Sakura saw exactly what she expected. In the place where she knelt on the floor cowered Tomoyo; a Sakura, assumably Tomoyo, was being crushed to Li’s side by his arm around her waist, and she looking horrified, weakly fighting to reach the figure on the floor.
She locked eyes with Mirror and felt the color drain from her face, "Show me what Tomoyo-chan sees," she mouthed. A chill went through her at the thought of what she was about to see.
The first thing she saw was herself. She was smiling happily, seemingly without a care in the world. Two arms were around her waist, holding her tight. They belonged to Syaoran, who was uncharacteristically grinning. Lying on the floor in shreds was one of Tomoyo’s costumes for Sakura. Sakura instantly remembered it as the design Tomoyo had shown her earlier that day. Syaoran pulled up an ofudu, chanting briefly before throwing it on the tattered costume. Sakura’s counterpart in the Mirror just laughed as the costume burned, snuggling closer to Syaoran. She stopped watching when the images kissed.
Tears ran down Tomoyo’s pale cheeks as she looked on helplessly. A steel band crushed Sakura heart at the sight and she lashed out at Mirror, blinded by tears of rage and sorrow. "No!" she screamed over and over, "It's not like that." She rose to her feet, picked up Sword and continued to rampage about the little green room. Li and Tomoyo ignored her and again embraced as if nothing had happened. Sakura stopped at the sight, and a sob escaped her.
As if she had heard her name the ghost Tomoyo turned her head and smiled at Sakura, Li too smiled at her, but then the couple locked eyes again and kissed. Sakura decided that this had gone on long enough. She pulled out Darkness. If they couldn't see each other the spell just might be broken.
"Surround Li-kun, Tomoyo-chan and myself in a darkness that we cannot see through." Instantly the room was gone and she stood alone in a vast night. Hesitantly she tested to see if the Card was still working.
"Tomoyo-chan?" she said, and heard nothing. It was still working. Obviously she had to name this Card to overpower it, like she had had to do with Mirror. Drawing herself upright she closed her eyes and yelled with all her might, "Jealousy!" and the sound broke on her deafened ears like a storm. Suddenly the green room broke like glass into a million tiny pieces. Before she could do anything they gathered to her right, and were gone. She quickly recalled Darkness and found herself on the street below the clock tower facing both Li and Tomoyo, who were looking around dazed. Li seemed to come back to himself first and turned to Sakura with a look of raw hatred. Sakura, shocked, took a step back in alarm. Li looked from her to Tomoyo, and Sakura instantly knew she had to act, and quickly.
Sakura was fast, but Li was faster.
Li drew out an ofuda and threw it at Sakura even as she invoked Shield. The glowing paper landed on her arm and she couldn't move. Li grabbed Tomoyo roughly by the arm and began dragging her away.
Tomoyo looked back at Sakura, who was struggling again the spell. "Sakura-chan!" she yelled helplessly. “Sakura-chan!”
"Tomoyo-chan!" Sakura screamed back in anger and frustration. "TOMOYO-CHAN!" ____
Syaoran landed on a rooftop far away from the immobilized Sakura. He shoved Tomoyo from him when they landed. She tried to keep her balance but fell to her hands and knees. “You…” he growled. “You’re what’s keeping me from her. You’re what’s standing in my way. She and I are supposed to be together, but you keep getting in the way.”
“No… That’s not it. I just want Sakura-chan to be happy.” Tomoyo looked up at the angry gaze he directed at her and shrank back. “I love her. I just hope she would be happy with me.” She knew it was the wrong thing to say to the enraged boy even before she uttered it, but it was the truth.
“How could she ever be happy with you?” Syaoran sneered. “You just get in her way. She’s only your friend because she pities you.”
Tomoyo shook her head. “No, she’s my best friend. We care about each other. We’ll always be friends…” Her mind raced. Nothing seemed certain to her anymore. The horrible images of Sakura and Syaoran came flooding back to her mind, threatening to overwhelm her. Syaoran’s hand grabbed her arm, hauling her back to her feet. The dark haired girl winced at the sudden explosion of pain the cruel movement brought. She flinched as he clutched her arm tightly.
“I want you to leave her alone. To leave us alone. Do you understand?” Syaoran hissed angrily. He dragged the limp girl against his chest, shaking her hard.
Tomoyo, her dark hair flying wildly about her, closed her eyes tightly. This only brought back earlier images. “No,” she said, trying to make him understand, “I won’t leave unless Sakura tells me too. She means everything to me. I love her!” Looking at him defiantly, she tried desperately to bring up happier images of Sakura, ones she treasured and kept dear to her heart.
Angrily, Syaoran shoved the dark haired girl backwards. Tomoyo gasped as she fell, landing hard on her side. “Don’t you dare stand in my way. She will be mine!” he howled.
Keeping her eyes clamped shut, Tomoyo desperately ran memories over and over in her mind. When she first met Sakura, when Sakura had come to her house for the first time, when Sakura had first worn one of the costumes she made, the first time she’d videotaped Sakura with her camcorder. She waited quietly for what Syaoran would say next, but nothing came. Cautiously, she opened her eyes and looked around. “Sakura-chan!” she yelled, catching a glimpse of the brown haired girl. Forcing herself to her feet, she couldn’t help but smile as she ran to her friend. She stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes growing wide, when she saw Syaoran standing behind her.
Tomoyo’s spirits sank as the two kissed. Somewhere, in her mind, someone screamed, “NO!” She shut her eyes, wishing the vision would disappear, but it remained when she looked again. She took a few slow steps towards them, her heart aching with each step. “Sakura-chan…. I’m… I’m happy for you,” she said quietly. Sakura looked directly at her, giving her an icy stare that chilled Tomoyo to the bone. “Sakura-chan?” she asked weakly, “Why?”
Sakura didn’t find her worthy of her notice as she bestowed all her attention on Syaoran. The two shared a deep kiss, ignoring the forlorn Tomoyo, as if she ceased to exist.
Dropping to her already scratched knees, Tomoyo’s small body was wracked with sobs. “Sakura-chan….”, she whimpered, clutching her stomach. She couldn’t bear it. Why was this happening? Glancing back up, Tomoyo saw things had changed. Sakura was wearing a wedding dress and Syaoran a tux. A stab of pain shot through Tomoyo’s heart. Sakura had promised her that she could make her wedding dress when they day finally came, but that wasn’t anything she’d make for Sakura. Looking through her tear blurred vision, she could see her camcorder smashed on the floor near them, the film pulled out. Blinking back her tears, Tomoyo could see things had shifted once again. Sakura now held a baby. Sakura and Syaoran’s baby.
Unable to stand watching anymore, Tomoyo struggled to her feet. She stumbled away from the scene. “You don’t need me anymore, do you, Sakura-chan?” she asked the thin air. Again, from somewhere, came the same scream of “No!” Had she dreamed it? Tomoyo felt numb all over. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. The person that mattered most didn’t care about her at all. And she’d lost to Syaoran. She felt… jealous of him. She wished she could be the one to make Sakura that happy. She just prayed Sakura would always be happy as she stepped up on the ledge of the rooftop. “You don’t need me anymore, Sakura-chan. You don’t even want me as a friend. But you’re happy.” She smiled sadly, blinded by her tears. “I’m glad. I’m glad that Sakura-chan is happy. Please stay that way, Sakura-chan. I love you. Forever. Maybe I can be your guardian angel,” she added hopefully. With that, Tomoyo stepped off the ledge into nothingness. She kept her eyes shut tight as the ground raced to meet her.
Syaoran watched, shocked by the sudden turn of events. He’d intended to make his point clear with Tomoyo that she never get in his way with Sakura, but she had turned suddenly and started looking off at something only she could see. After talking to herself, the dark haired girl had thrown herself off the rooftop. The screams of the Seal Beast had surprised him, but Syaoran couldn’t locate the magical animal no matter where he looked. He blinked several times, still confused, and unsure about what had just happened. “At least she won’t get in my way anymore,” he said to no one in particular.
The world seemed to slow as a small dark haired girl plummeted through the air. Further and further she went, the brief amount of time slowing to a near stop for the girl as everything seemed to move in slow motion. “Sakura-chan...” she whispered, one last time, her eyes shut tight. Her heart felt torn from her as if it had been ripped out. Her whole world, her whole reason to live, had been crushed in the matter of minutes. She was looking forward to an end to her pain, to the end of her torment, to oblivion. And Sakura, her dear Sakura, would be happy.
Her fall was suddenly interrupted as two arms wrapped around her tightly, fumbling desperately to hold on to her, gripping her like a pair of steel bars. “Tomoyo-chan!” a voice cried in terror, over and over in a frantic pitch. Her mind wondered what was happening, but she couldn’t bring herself to open her eyes. Her decent slowed, stopped, and then began again at a snails pace. The voice, close to her ear, was Sakura’s. Tomoyo could feel her breathing, her breath coming in a labored pant as they gently reached to ground.
As they touched down Sakura slid from the wand, all of her energy spent from the scare Tomoyo had just given her. She lay panting for several minutes, fighting to collect herself.
Opening her eyes slowly, Tomoyo blinked several times in confusion. Wasn’t she supposed to be dead by now? She took a second to glance around, and found herself on the street below the building Syaoran had carried her too. The street she had sought to end her life on. Sakura, with a worried yet determined expression, was on her hands and knees beside her. Maybe she was dead, she thought. Maybe this was heaven. “Sakura-chan? Why? Why did you save me, Sakura-chan?” Tomoyo asked, her mind reeling. “I did this for you. You’re happy. That’s all I wanted. You didn’t need me anymore.”
“No, Tomoyo-chan.” Sakura heaved herself into a kneeling position, her hand clutching for the small girl. She embraced her friend, crushing her to her chest, “I always need you,” she sobbed, “You’re my best friend. You mean so much to me. I don’t know what I’d do if you were gone.” She blinked back the stinging tears in her eyes as she looked up at the dark haired girl. Her body felt cold all over from the recent shock.
“But, Sakura-chan, you… I would only get in the way. You aren’t even happy as friends anymore. You have what you want. I hope you and Li-kun are very happy.” Tomoyo mustered a pained smile before turning away.
Sakura bolted to her feet and seized her friend. “No! Tomoyo-chan, listen to me, it’s the Clow Card. The Jealousy Card it’s still affecting you! We’re best friends, nothing will ever change that. I know you want me to be happy, but losing you would definitely not make me happy. And I want you to be happy, too.” The Card Captor sighed, looking deeply into Tomoyo’s stormy blue eyes. “Tomoyo-chan, you have to fight this. Please? For me?”
Tomoyo held her head, confusion flooding her mind. Glancing at the street, to Sakura and back, she shuddered, unsure of herself. Finally giving out a small cry, Tomoyo threw herself into Sakura’s arms. “Oh, Sakura-chan, I’m so sorry….” The dark haired girl sobbed. “I just… I thought you hated me… and that you were happy with, with… him…” Her sobs overwhelmed her and she feel silent.
“Tomoyo-chan, it’s going to be okay,” Sakura said soothingly, hugging the limp girl close to her. Tomoyo’s hot tears rolled onto her shoulder, soaking into the cloth of her pajamas. “It’s just the Card. I could never hate you, Tomoyo-chan. You know that. You’re my very important person.” For a second, Sakura wondered where she had heard that before, but she quickly shrugged it off, not having time to worry about it. “Please, Tomoyo-chan, don’t cry. It’s alright now.”
The dark haired girl took another shuddering breath before standing up on her own. “Thank you, Sakura-chan.” A small, genuine smile formed on her soft lips. “I always knew you would come save me if anything happened.”
Sakura smiled back, relief filling her soul. “Of course I would, Tomoyo-chan. I’m not about to let you get hurt by something like this. Or anything, for that matter. I don’t want to see you hurt, Tomoyo-chan.”
Before the Card Captor could think to ask Tomoyo if she was ready to go home, a sword slashed the air between both girls. Tomoyo gasped and Sakura jumped back, her staff in hand. She got ready to get a Card out just in case. Between them stood Syaoran, hatred and jealousy flaring in his eyes. “Li-kun!? Fight it, Li-kun! It’s just the Jealousy Card affecting you.”
“Fight what?” Syaoran spat angrily. “I saw the two of you. She’s trying to steal you from me. She’s trying to get in the way. To come between us!” Raising the sword, he swiped at a stunned Tomoyo.
Sakura lunged forward, her eyes wide with fear of what he might do. Her staff barely blocked his sword inches from the dark haired girl. “Li-kun, don’t do this!” she pleaded as Tomoyo sank to her knees.
He leapt backwards, landing in a fighting stance. He held the sword straight up in front of him, his eyes falling closed as he began to chant. Energy surrounded the blade.
Sakura barely had time to throw herself in the way of Tomoyo when she realized what he was doing. “Shield!” she yelled desperately as his attack came flying towards them. The burst of lightening dissipated against Shield, leaving the two girls unhurt. Sakura glanced at Tomoyo, assuring herself that her frightened friend was unharmed when another attack hit…and another and another. “Li-kun! Leave her alone!” she screamed, “Don’t hurt her!!” Sakura wondered how his rage could be so focussed on the dark haired girl behind her. “She’s never been anything but kind to you!”
Syaoran narrowed his eyes as he began chanting again. Sweeping the sword down, a burst of wind struck against Shield. “How could you know?” he demanded. “She blinds you with her hero worship, but she keeps coming between us. She’s why you don’t returned my feelings.”
‘That’s what this is all about isn’t it?’ Sakura asked herself as she braced herself for his next attack. ‘They both… They’re both in love with me. That’s how Jealousy got to them both so easily, and so strongly! This is all my fault.’
“Stop this!” the Card Captor yelled.
Turning to face him as she rose, Sakura pulled out Windy and sent it spilling before her. “Bind Li-kun!” she yelled, bringing the Key down on the Card. The resulting rush of air quickly surrounded the startled boy, pinning his limps tight against his body. Sakura didn’t hesitate as she twirled the Key over head again, Windy almost drowning out her command “…Clow Card!” The Card Captor brought the Key down on the softly glowing green dot within the rushing wind. The Jealously Card lifted out of Windy and floated to her waiting hand.
For a moment, the only sound that could be heard was the wind rustling past them. Sakura recalled Windy and turned to face Syaoran, hoping the danger was now over. Utter silence claimed the street for a moment. Then the clatter of Syaoran’s sword against the asphalt broke the silence. His mind started to clear from the haze of jealousy the Card had managed to place over him. “Sakura” he stammered, his faced blossoming to a brilliant crimson, “... I… I don’t know how I… I don’t know what to say… I’m… I’m sorry.” He lowered his head.
Sakura let Shield fade away, but remained standing protectively in front of Tomoyo. “I’m not the one you intended to kill,” she said quietly. A second silence descended, this one fraught with embarrassment. Sakura looked at her friends and came to a decision.
“Fine,” she said, almost to herself. She was tired of fighting. Tomoyo and Syaoran looked back at her quizzically, wondering what she meant. “Fine. You both want to know who I love, don’t you? Stop this, then. I care too much about both of you to watch either of you get hurt. The Jealousy Card was using both of you. And it’s because of me, because of your feelings for me! It’s still getting to you both because of me. So I want to put an end to this.” Sakura took a deep breath before continuing. “I will make my decision tonight. I’ll tell you both tomorrow the one who I love.”
Syaoran looked up at her, his face still scarlet, “Tomorrow you’ll….”
Sakura nodded, cutting him off. “Hai. Tomorrow I’ll tell you both which one I’m in love with.”
Bending down, Syaoran retrieved his sword from the ground. Without a word he turned and leapt into the darkness.
As soon as he left, Sakura collapsed to her hands and knees. The battle, the Card, and her own nervousness about what had happened earlier that day had finally taken their toll. She glanced over when she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. She saw Tomoyo’s concerned face looking back down at her. Before the dark haired girl could say anything, Sakura threw her arms around her friend with a tearful howl. “Tomoyo-chan! Oh God, I almost lost you so many times tonight. You had me so worried. I’m so sorry you got dragged into all this. If I hadn’t called you, none of this would have happened.” She gently rocked back and forth, cradling the dark haired girl against her.
Tomoyo sighed softly. She liked having the other girl so protective of her, but she hated seeing Sakura so worried about things. “Sakura-chan, I’m fine. It’s all over now.”
Sakura scrubbed her face with a free hand, trying to dry the tears that continued to threaten. She untangled her arms from her friend’s neck. Using her staff to help her weary body stand upright, Sakura looked out at the dark night sky. “No. Not yet. I still have to find out who I…” She blushed slightly at the thought. In her mind she could see the boy who had been her rival, but had turned out to be her greatest help with the Clow Cards. She could also see her best friend, the girl that had always been there for her. She let her head drop sadly. She had no idea how she’d make a decision by the next morning.
“Sakura-chan,” Tomoyo said softly, her voice barely above a whisper. Sakura looked so fragile standing there. “Sakura-chan, please don’t worry too much about tomorrow. Just make the decision that will make you happy.”
Sakura turned back to her skeptically. “And I won’t have to go rescuing you from jumping off buildings if its Li-kun?”
Tomoyo shook her head. “You said we’ll always be friends, remember? That’s all I need. It’s what makes me happy.”
Smiling a little, Sakura felt her spirits lifting. “Thanks, Tomoyo-chan. We will always be friends,” she reconfirmed, “It makes me happy too.”
“No matter who you choose tomorrow, I’ll always be there for you, Sakura-chan. And I’ll always love you.”
Sakura felt her cheeks burn as she blushed. She was still nervous about the idea that her best friend could be in love with her. Pulling up the staff, she invoked the Fly Card. “Ready to go home, Tomoyo-chan?”
“Hai, Sakura-chan.” Tomoyo smiled to her, sitting with her legs over one side of the staff.
“I’m so tired, but I doubt I’ll be getting any sleep tonight.” Sakura sighed and lifted off into the sky.
Once Sakura had left Tomoyo-chan on the terrace outside her bedroom the Card Captor rose and allowed Fly to go wherever it wanted. Kero-chan was still missing, but she had more on her mind than the Seal Beast, who was more than capable of taking care of himself. With a soulful sigh she glanced down at the town, with its the clock tower silhouetted against the moon. The clock proclaimed the hour to be 1 AM. Morning already, Sakura realized with a sigh.
With a thought the Clow Cards in her pocket floated into the air, forming a circle around her. She felt their presence, their love for her, and she drew comfort from it. It was a warm feeling. Like when she had her arms around Tomoyo-chan.
She paused mentally.
No, not like it. It was different. It lacked a sort of excitement. There was more to the feeling of comfort she had when she had hugged her friend. Sakura’s mind raced away, trying to put into words the feeling that was suddenly so very important. But try as she might she could not find an expression for that feeling.
Pulling Fly to a stop she drew the wand from between her legs, and began to fall.
“Float!” she cried over the wind, and didn’t wait for the Card to answer her command before she turned in the circle of Cards, looking for the one she wanted.
“Illusion!” she yelled, as the wand came down on the Card named. “Show me my heart’s desire.”
Even as she said it she knew she was cheating, but her mind, exhausted from the earlier battle, and everything else, was becoming desperate. She could fly around all night waiting for the lightening bolt that was Tomoyo-chan to strike her…
Sakura sat down hard, in midair, as the air left her body. She drew a deep breath, her eyes fighting to focus. She sat stunned for a long moment, trying to mentally collect herself. Before her Illusion was beginning to take form, but she no longer cared to wait for the outcome. Recalling the Cards she returned the wand to Fly and flew as quickly as possible back the way she came.
Tomoyo stood right where Sakura had left her. Her hands were pressed to her chest, and her eyes, watching the sky. At first Sakura was unsure that her friend had seen her return, but as she alighted Tomoyo turned her face towards the Card Captor. She bore a look of serene peace that lifted some massive, unknown, weight off of Sakura’s shoulders. Neither one spoke. Sakura opened her hand and the wand instantly became a charm around her neck. Her hands now free she silently walked to her friend, who didn’t move, but watched. When they where within inches of each other Sakura stopped, and stood swaying for a moment. Slowly she sank to her knees and slipped her arms around Tomoyo’s small waist. Tomoyo’s head fell back as she awaited the words that would transform her life. Sakura, her head pressed against her friend’s hip, allowed her mind to express the feelings it couldn’t before.
“It’s you,” she whispered.
Tomoyo’s eyes rolled closed, tears spilling onto her cheeks.
“It’s you,” Sakura repeated, no longer surprised. “It will always be you, it has always s been you.”
Tomoyo’s fingers unlaced themselves and found a new home in Sakura’s hair. At the contact Sakura looked up at her newly discovered lover. “Why didn’t you tell me?” she wondered aloud.
Tomoyo lowered her head to face her friend. She smiled through her tears, “You needed to learn for yourself,” was the whispered reply.
“Are you sorry it took me so long to realize?”
A sad smile played on the dark haired girl’s lips, her voice was a mere sigh, “I was willing to wait a lifetime for you… Sakura.”
Kero-chan stood in the air before Li. They had both seen everything that happened, and now Kero-chan was ready to defend the lovers if the need arose. Li watched them for several long minutes before he tore his eyes away to look at the Seal Beast.
“I’ve lost,” he whispered, “… everything. The Cards, the girl I love… everything.”
Kero-chan’s tail whipped menacingly, “And what are you going to do?”
Li frowned. “Do you think I would attack them?” he asked, in a sort of shocked anger.
Kero-chan allowed his silence to speak for him. Li turned his back on the scene and disappeared into the night.
The day dawned crystal clear and Sakura was out early. It was her morning to clean the classroom, and she knew Tomoyo-chan would be waiting for her.
It had been a week since they had come together as a couple. ‘One week, six hours and 15 minutes,’ Sakura thought as she pushed herself harder, racing the clock for extra seconds in the company of her friend. More than friend, she corrected herself with a smile. As she rollerbladed she relived, for the thousandth time, the feeling of Tomoyo’s hands on her as the dark haired girl helped her to rise from her position of worship at her friend’s waist. Felt, again, as Tomoyo’s hands gather her own, and then drew her into the dark bedroom. Sakura had wanted, so much, and had slept, so long! She blushed, even now, thinking of it. Not a good opening for a lifetime together, she mused, but Tomoyo didn’t seem to mind.
As she came within sight of the school Sakura could make out the form of Tomoyo-chan waiting for her near the gate. She raised her hand and waved wildly, the joy in her heart becoming one thought, one word…