L-chan's notes: I'm slowly getting back into writing after taking quite the hiatus from my "epics" (I've been focusing on one-shots instead). Thanks for coming back for the new chapter.
Disclaimer: Card Captor Sakura was created by CLAMP, and I love them for it.
What I Didn't Know
He was back.
And worse, he was in my house, sitting with my sister, and eating my food.
Even after he left, I was still grumbling. I grumbled and glowered all through dinner, and Yuki knew enough to let me stew in peace. He knew there wasn't anything he could say to make me feel any better about this. Sakura had been too happy to see that gaki. She'd looked too comfortable and content sitting at the table with him. I hated it. I wanted her to be happy, but...
I didn't want to lose her. And I was going to. Not now, but someday. And maybe not even to him. Well, I was just fooling myself on that one. It would be him. I could feel it, magic or not. It was there. It had always been there. And I hated it.
"This works out good for me," Yuki said suddenly as we were washing the dishes.
"How so?" I hoped he hadn't said already. I hadn't been paying attention.
"Well, if Sakura-chan is busy rehearsing her play and spending time with Li-kun, then she and Tomoyo-chan can't ask Yue to be in any more videos."
That finally got a laugh out of me. I'd never quite known what to make of Tomoyo's fascination with making videos, but her insistence on filming had kept Sakura occupied whenever she needed it most. Just when my sister would start to lose her cheerfulness, Tomoyo would bring over a wildly designed costume and remind Sakura that each of her cards' abilities needed to be properly showcased and documented. Maybe part of that was true, but I knew that she was just being a good friend. I'd have to remember to thank her for that.
Plus, I knew Yue found the play-acting undignified and only tolerated it for Sakura's sake, and though I was grateful for that, too, I knew he'd appreciate the break.
But no break for me, even though it was summer. "I can't believe we got stuck working at the ice cream parlor," I said, trying not to sound like I was whining. "Of all the assignments for the festival, why did we have to end up with that one?"
"I think it sounds fun," Yuki replied.
"It sounds fun, but it isn't. I've done it before, remember? After the first twenty or thirty kids, you'll want to drown yourself in the chocolate sauce. Not only do they change their minds about a hundred times, but they all want to talk at once. Or they'll drop their cone on the ground and want another one, or—"
"You had me at chocolate sauce," he joked. "Any place with a vat of chocolate sauce big enough to drown in can't be all bad."
"Well, don't say I didn't warn you."
"I thought we wanted the same assignment. Are you trying to discourage me now?"
"Not at all." But it was coming out that way, and I didn't know why. I wanted to be with him every chance I had, especially now that we had some time off from school. The only classes we'd shared during the spring term were philosophy and history, and those met on the same days. The rest of the week, I was in the sciences building, while he stayed in the humanities department. It was certainly different from high school. "Besides, you'll look cute in the little paper hat," I teased.
"I always love a job with hats. Makes me feel official and important."
"You are so strange."
"That's what you love about me."
I rolled my eyes, but I couldn't help smiling at him. "Yeah. But still, you're very weird."
"Oh, and you aren't?" Yuki held up a finger and pretended to count off my various idiosyncrasies. "Let's start with your incredibly large sister complex. I'm sorry, but I believe people write books about such things." A second finger joined the first. "And then there's your complete oblivion when it comes to how people feel about you. They have to jump on you like Akizuki-san before you get the first clue."
"You never did that."
"I pride myself on restraint."
It was a very Yue-like thing for him to say. Even his voice had changed pitch slightly, but nothing else seemed to indicate that he was speaking for anyone but himself. "Restraint, huh? Like the three plates of spaghetti you just finished?"
"I could have had four."
"Then I'm impressed." I'd distracted him from his list of my faults. I knew it could go on forever, and I didn't need them all numbered and categorized for me. The dishes were done now, and I tossed my towel onto the counter. "Now what? Want to watch a movie or something?" It was liberating to have a choice other than homework for a change.
"Okay," he answered with very little enthusiasm, and I shot him a confused look. But then he kissed me, and I understood. Yes, I could be oblivious, couldn't I?
We were going to miss Sakura's play. She'd been working so hard, and she was so proud of the production. I wanted to see it, and I knew 'tou-san did, too. He missed so many of our school festivals over the years, and this was his first chance in a long time to attend. He'd even called to remind me about it, but I hadn't forgotten.
And, of course, she'd invited Yuki. I think she invited me just to have an excuse to invite him as well. The dynamic in their relationship had changed slightly, but she still treated him with the same respect and deference, even though, technically, she was the boss of him. It just made her uncomfortable to treat him that way. She'd never had that problem with me.
She'd given us the school's performance schedule, and the play was last on the list, right after Tomoyo's song. Well, we were just going to have to miss the song. The ice cream parlor was supposed to close by now, but no one had shown up to dismiss us.
That wasn't the only reason I had a bad feeling about the evening ahead. For some reason, I'd been wary all day. School plays were practically cursed whenever we were involved with them. Something always went wrong. I still had nightmares about the play I'd done junior year. Of course, those nightmares had nothing to do with collapsing sets or falling fifteen feet, and everything to do with a hideous pink dress.
"We have to go," I muttered, turning the overhead lights out. "If we miss this, Sakura will be crushed."
"I know," Yuki replied. "I want to see her, too. We've got a few minutes yet."
But they were quickly ticking away. "Can't we just go?"
"Don't be so impatient."
"Don't be so patronizing."
"Don't be so grouchy."
"Don't be so bossy."
"Don't be so—" Yuki stopped when the project supervisor finally arrived. She waved us away without a word. No explanation, no apology... nothing. I didn't think I'd even heard her speak since the whole thing started.
"Come on, let's go," I said, halfway out the door.
"Can't we change first?"
No time was right. We rushed down the street to the stage area, and sure enough, the play had already started. I couldn't believe that was my little kaijuu up there. She looked so beautiful and grown up, just like a princess. That she was able to pull it off just as well as when she'd played the prince last—
Wait a minute. What was that gaki doing up there with her? I almost didn't notice him at first, because I'd thought one of the boys in her class was playing the prince this time. How did that punk manage to sneak in there? He didn't even go to their school anymore.
It bugged me for much of the story. I couldn't concentrate on what they were saying, because I just wanted to throttle that Chinese kid. Dancing with my sister, looking at her like that... it didn't sit well with me at all. Which was probably why she hadn't told me about it.
I tried to distract myself from the increasingly violent thoughts I was having by looking around for my father. Yuki saw what I was doing, and he noticed 'tou-san first. "Over there," he whispered, pointing to the middle of the audience.
My father was sitting with Tomoyo's mother, which struck me as odd, though not as odd as it might have before. They'd certainly become chummy lately. Not only was 'tou-san going to Sonomi for investment advice, but he'd told Sakura and me that, as Nadeshiko's children, we were being legally written back into the family. The Amamiyas were finally bringing us into the fold, though only in the most superficial of ways, and Sonomi acted as their liaison. It might sound cold, but there was still a lot of unresolved resentment to work through before the three of us would feel completely welcome in their presence.
"Look," Yuki whispered now, tugging on my arm to drag my attention back to the play.
Oh, God. Did I really have to witness this? Now that gaki was down on his knee, telling my precious sister that he loved her. There was no acting involved here. I'd seen him act, and he was even worse than I was. No, these lines, even if they weren't his own words, were his own feelings.
Damn, I hate that gaki. I hate him a lot. If my hatred were measured on a scale from one to ten, it would come in somewhere around two hundred and forty-nine. I rounded down. And then subtracted about six hundred. Because even in the privacy of my own thoughts, I didn't want to sound like a complete asshole.
"Isn't it sweet?" Yuki whispered as my hands clenched and unclenched, longing to close around that little punk's neck.
Then there was a crash. Something fell, and the lights went out. People in the crowd screamed, and I lost sight of my sister. "Sakura?"
"She's okay," Yuki assured me. He could sense her like I no longer could, and I was grateful for that. I took his hand and squeezed it briefly, and he returned the squeeze before letting go. A panic crossed through his eyes right before there was another crash, like he could sense it before it even happened. It was louder and closer this time, and suddenly, I couldn't see anything anymore.
I felt it now, too. The emptiness at the core of my being expanded, spreading until I felt like I was being consumed by it. I called out for my sister, and before everything turned black, I heard Yuki's voice respond. Though I would have sworn I saw Yue.
Only he'd never used my name before.
I woke up on the ground. It had happened again, but it wasn't my fault this time. At least, I didn't think it was. I couldn't really remember. I stood up and took a careful look around. Everyone seemed as disoriented as I was. That was comforting. That meant it wasn't just me.
"To-ya!" Yuki ran up to me, appearing out of nowhere, relief lighting up his face. "You're okay?"
"I think so," I answered. Then I realized he was alone. "Sakura? Is she—?"
"Kerberos-san went to check on her. And Yue says she's fine," he reassured me. "Though last he saw her, she was...." His words trailed off as he started walking. "This way."
I followed him, right on his heels like a well-trained puppy, until I was even with him, like a... well, like me, who hated being left behind. "What happened?" I asked. He'd mentioned Yue, so I hadn't imagined that after all. It was probably a magic related incident. I'd thought that was all over.
"It was a card," Yuki said after a brief pause. He must have been getting this information second hand as well. Or else he was trying to sift through the memories. I still wished I knew how that worked, how Yue decided what Yuki needed to know and when he needed to know it, but this wasn't the time to worry about that.
"A card? I thought she had them all."
"So did we," Yuki answered. "Only Clow-san knew about it."
I realized how distant he sounded. Was he withdrawing again, or just trying to figure out what had happened? I hoped it was the latter.
"A card," I prompted when he didn't continue. "What did it do?"
"What do you remember?"
I remembered the emptiness. It had felt as strong as it did when I'd first given up my power, but now it was just that same dull ache again. "Just that everything seemed to be fading, and then I must have passed out."
There was another significant pause. "No. You disappeared."
"That's what the card does. It has a negative energy, to balance the positive energy of the other cards. Those are all used to create things, but this one erases them."
"But, that's not possible," I said. The science geek in me wouldn't accept it. "Things can't just disappear. They have to go somewhere."
"They become energy. They increase the card's power."
"That doesn't make any sense."
"Magic is like science," Yuki said, putting it in terms I would understand. Though what I heard was Yue giving me a lecture on the subject. "It has its own logic and rules it must follow. Within that context, it makes sense." Definitely Yue. "And it wasn't just you. It was everyone. We... we were all gone. But, Sakura-chan and Li-kun... I guess they were able to stop it."
Once again, I owed that gaki for saving my sister. She was strong enough to master the cards, but she still needed him to help her. In some way, his power made her stronger. Or maybe it wasn't just his power. Maybe it was his feelings for her. And that made me madder than any other explanation.
"Well, now that his work here is done, he can go back to Hong Kong," I sneered.
"Perhaps. But I wouldn't count on him staying there," Yuki replied.
"Why? What do you know?"
"I don't know anything," he answered. "It's just a feeling I have."
I huffed. "You sound like Kaho."
"I'll take that as a compliment."
We kept walking toward the new amusement park. And then, there they were—Sakura, Tomoyo, Kerberos, the gaki, and his cousin. Tomoyo had her video camera in one hand as she directed everyone where to stand. Kerberos and the gaki's cousin were arguing about something, but they both looked pretty pleased with themselves. Sakura was absolutely beaming, and that gaki stood next to her, looking both embarrassed and happy.
I had officially lost my sister. I knew it was coming. I knew it. And that didn't make it any better.
At least I still had Yuki.
A little bit filler-y, and I'm sure it's now obvious why I stay away from magic-based plots. Thanks again for reading, and please review, good or bad. Feedback is a great motivator.
This chapter was posted on February 29, 2004. So, happy birthday, Touya! Sorry for all the crap I'm putting you through in this story. Still love me? Hello?