Chapter 1: Switched
She looked out at the gleaming lights of the city that night from the hotel penthouse where she
Ten years could change a place a lot, she mused.
Or maybe it was her that changed. Her perception, her view of things.
She dropped a slender hand and the curtains she'd been holding back fell limply into place like
"How do you like it?"
She turned around and smiled. "Nice. Should be pretty expensive, though."
Twenty-one year old Daidouji Tomoyo smiled. "I meant how you liked being back here, in Hong Kong.
But yes, the penthouse was pretty expensive to bag. It's a good thing we're not the ones paying
Twenty year old Kinomoto Sakura laughed, then shrugged. "It's not a big deal," she said. "But it
has been a pretty long time. Nine... ten years?"
Tomoyo nodded. "We were just kids when we first came to this place for winter break, and that was
a whole vacation of hijinks."
Well, Sakura and Tomoyo were not kids anymore. And this was no winter break. And it was definitely not a vacation. They were
here for some very special reasons.
"But--" Tomoyo began. "Are you going to try... and contact him?"
"Who?" Sakura asked.
"Don't play dumb with me," Tomoyo said, looking at her intently. "You know who."
No point in denial, really.
"If you mean--" Sakura broke off and closed her eyes. "--Syaoran; if you mean Syaoran--no. I'm
not going to contact him."
"Why not?" her best friend questioned.
"Because-- because, Tomoyo-chan, there's no point to it, really. What I had for him was just a
childhood crush thing, and I've moved on."
*Childhood crush thing? Preposterous!*, a little voice in Sakura's head squeaked. *You mean love
of your life! Right? As for moving on--*
*Shut up!*, Sakura returned silently. *Don't say another word.*
Ten years ago. Okay, to be perfectly exact, eight years, seven months and twenty-six days ago.
A promise was made.
After..... an extremely long period of waiting...
She considered it broken.
She was just a thirteen year old girl back then, when they promised each other, that day at
Penguin Park on the swings.
And then after six years of waiting for the promise to be kept, she gave up. There had been no
calls and no mail for two years then.
That was about the time when Tomoyo dragged her along for an audition in a major television
station in Japan. She was nineteen.
An agent spotted her, put her through a screen test and the rest, as they say, is history.
Both she and Tomoyo were "discovered" that day: she as a film and TV star, and Tomoyo as a singer.
Within two more years the girls were famous.
And in all the frenzied rush of show business Sakura had forgotten all about the shattered promise and unfulfilled dream she held.
Or so she thought.
Because when things were looking up, she and Tomoyo were sent here to Hong Kong for a.) Tomoyo's
concert tour and album promo and b.) her own TV special.
Sakura insisted to herself that it wasn't a big deal. Hong Kong was a big city. Fat chance of her
seeing him here.
She put the black suitcase on her bed and opened it.
"--Hoooeee..?" *Men's clothes??*
"What's wrong, Sakura-chan?" Tomoyo asked. She looked into the suitcase. "Huh? Since when did you
want to dress like a man?"
"These aren't mine," Sakura protested. "I must've switched with someone else at the airport."
"So whose are these? There has to be a name tag somewhere. So we can get your stuff back," Tomoyo
Sakura searched around and found a stack of business cards in one pocket.
She took one out and read it silently.
Her eyes grew wide.
"Daijobu ka?" Tomoyo asked in concern. She snatched the card from Sakura's hand.
"Li...Xiao....Lang," Tomoyo read aloud. "Oh, my..."
Sakura shook her head disbelievingly. "You have got to be SO kidding me..."
"Long flight, Xiao Lang?"
Twenty-one year old Li Syaoran looked up. "Not really. But I'm pretty tired so I'll go to bed
now. Good night, A-chi Fuutie."
Li Fuutie smiled as she stared after her little brother's retreating back.
Syaoran's suitcases were already upstairs. He picked the black one up and opened it.
*Huh-?! Girl's clothes?*
Something about the wardrobe was very familiar to him.
A pink notebook lay on top of the clothes. He set it aside.
*I must've switched with someone at the airport. I should return this. To.....*
He took a double take at the notebook.
*What the HELL-?!*
His kanji may be a little rusty, but there was no mistaking it. Probably because he'd memorized
the letters and doodled them somewhere so many times.
His heart began to race.
*The girl in the airport.*
*The brown hair.*
*Those green eyes.*
*Damn it- even the knapsack.*
*It had been..... Sakura all along.*
*But what in the hell is she doing in Hong Kong?*
He began to feel an irrepressible sense of guilt overtaking his elation.
Ten years. It was a pretty long time.
And he wondered if she still remembered that promise they made to each other.
In the course of all those years, he'd been swamped with an enormous amount of responsibility.
Shortly after he came home, he was forced under severe training. And then he was proclaimed
Clan Master. And then he was given the vast family business to run. It took up a lot of his time
He had tried to make time for Sakura. He really did.
But maybe he didn't try hard enough.
Because one day he called Sakura and he found out from her father that she'd moved out.
And he couldn't find her.
Add that to the increasing pressures of his work and then... he simply...
But now she was right here in Hong Kong.
What would her reaction be if he showed her his face?
Would she be happy?
Would she be angry?
Would she even remember him?
He opened the notebook to its first page.
July. Eight years ago, summer.
He tried hard to decipher the kanji.
*--Sakura's diary from eight years ago.*
He closed the notebook quickly.
But then he caught three familiar characters in a page.
And below that...
I love you.
"It's not that big a deal, Sakura-chan. If you really don't want to see Li-kun, we can shop for
new clothes tomorrow. Stop sweating over the suitcase," Tomoyo said.
Sakura shook her head furiously. "You don't understand, Tomoyo-chan. There's something very
important in that suitcase. Something that Syaoran-kun-- if he really has it-- must never ever