Warnings: None

NOTE: This can be read any time after chapter 15 of Lucky Child and does not spoil anything in LC. Also, talking on commuter trains in Japan is considered impolite. A Japanese kindergarten is called a "yo-chien."


Children of Misfortune

An omake in which Kagome shares a discovery with Keiko titled:

"Ring Any Bells?"


Keiko looked the storefront up and down, long and slow and careful, while I held my breath at her side. Eventually she turned to me. Lifted a brow.

She said: "So… a toy store?"

My face fell as Keiko turned back to the glittering sign above the huge double doors, reading the words "Daidouji Toy Co." without expression. The only glow came from that luminous sign, not a single spark of recognition lighting Keiko's amber gaze. The toy store was huge, two stories tall and outfitted with enormous windows; gigantic stuffed bears rotated inside them on silver displays, colorful felt animals crowding the panes of glass like eager zoo escapees.

And Keiko didn't even flinch.

Somehow I was both surprised and totally not shocked at all by this turn of events. Talk about contrast, right? Keiko and I had had a hundred talks about anime and our past-life interests, and I knew for a fact Keiko was a One Trick Anime Pony. Girl freaking loved Yu Yu Hakusho, her knowledge of the series nigh encyclopedic—or some might even say she was a teensy bit obsessed, but you didn't hear that from me. In terms of other anime, though? She was… what's the word. A neophyte? Nah, a filthy casual? Yeah, that's it. Eeyore liked one anime to the point of unhealthy fixation and basically watched nothing else.

So, there we were. Color me not shocked at all, even if I thought maybe, just maybe, she'd catch on at the sight of this store alone. It was connected to something kind of ubiquitous from our childhoods, after all, and while Keiko didn't have a wide range of anime interests under her belt, she wasn't oblivious.

And yet—nothing. She stood there on the sidewalk staring at the store I'd brought her to without seeing it for what it was. Like, at all. Talk about disappointing.

Speaking of disappointing: So much for gently easing Eeyore into this, right? I'd wanted to pull the whole "boil the frog slowly" thing, or whatever it's called. Drop her into warm water, let it heat up around her bit by bit so she didn't freak out and jump out of the pot. But at this rate Keiko would have a panic attack before the day was out, even if I'd had buttered her up with a nice meal at a good Tokyo restaurant ahead of time. Had taken up most of my allowance, but hopefully it would be worth it.

Hopefully.

But we'd see soon enough.

Keiko looked at me askance, lips crooking at the corners. "I didn't take you for the plush-collecting type, Tigger."

"First of all, wrong-o, I totally am," I said, eyeing the eight-foot-tall stuffed giraffe in the window with undisguised longing. I put it out of my head when I turned to Keiko, searched her face, and asked, "Second… that name rings no bells?"

She shrugged. "Sorry."

I stared intently at her face. "None at all?"

"Uh." Now she looked uncertain. "No?"

"Not one teensy little bell?" I pressed.

"Nope," said Keiko.

"Not one obnoxious secretary desk bell?"

"Definitely not."

"Not even a tinny silver sleigh bell?"

"No bells of any kind," she said, and at that I heaved a weary sigh. Keiko's brows lifted. "But that sigh makes I think it should hear some bells ringing, and the fact that I'm not means I'm missing something obvious."

"Maybe. Maybe not." Emphasis on the former, of course; I grabbed her hand and tugged her down the sidewalk. "Follow me."

Eeyore did, disgruntled muttering bouncing off the back of my head as I led her through town to the nearest train stop. We boarded the correct line and stood near the back. It wasn't crowded at midday but there were still a few businessmen and aunties present, so we kept our voices down and our heads huddled as we talked.

"Where are we going, anyway?" Keiko asked.

I hummed, rocking up into my toes. "You'll see."

"Great. You know I get enough of the cryptic act from Kurama, right?" she grumbled.

She wasn't mad at me. Eeyore didn't often get "mad"—just annoyed or stressed, but rarely mad. Still, she certainly didn't seem happy just then, eyes locked on the window above my head while her hand gripped the handle over her shoulder just a little bit too tight. The thin line of her mouth told me everything she wasn't saying (Keiko is easy to read when she's not doing her best Cryptic Kurama impression, which she rarely bothers to do in front of me because she loves me). At her displeasure I hesitated, wondering if I should say more, put her out of her misery a little. After all, this outing had been entirely my idea; I was responsible for making sure it went well for Keiko. I'd called her out for a "girl's day" with the promise of a surprise, and I felt I had to keep it subtle for the whole "frog boiling slowly" thing—but at the same time, Keiko wasn't the type who liked surprises. In fact, she hated surprises, and I hadn't exactly been honest calling today a girl's day out. I had thought the toy shop would be enough of a tip-off, reveal the surprise soon... but Keiko's One-Anime Trick Pony-ness had thrown a wrench in that. Was there anything I could say to make this go down easier? I couldn't just tell her out right and risk her panicking on the train…

I thought about that for a few minutes as the car rocked and swayed. "We," I eventually said, picking my whispered words with care, "are going to pick my brother up from daycare."

Keiko looked down from the window with a confused frown. "Daycare?"

"He just started going, since he turned four," I explained.

"OK?"

"It's preschool, basically." I leaned forward, giving her a Look. "And he's making a lot of… new friends."

Keiko didn't miss a beat. "Good for him," she said. "Socialization is good for kids at that age."

And then her expression cleared a little as she looked up and over my head again.

It cleared because she had gotten some information, which put her more at ease… and because she'd missed the point. If she'd gotten it, she'd be anything but relaxed.

Let's try this again.

"Like." I scooted into her personal space. "Like. He's making really interesting new friends. Y'know?"

Another eloquent brow-raise, this one expressing "no duh" confusion. "Uh. Good for him? And I'm not surprised, I guess, since this is Tokyo." She glanced at the train map inscribed above the seating area of the car. "Or at least a suburb of it, judging by the train route. Bound to be some interesting folks out here, right?"

"No, Eeyore." I drew even closer still. "Very, very interesting friends—you know what I mean?"

I stared at her.

She stared at me.

I stared at her some more.

She curled her fingers and moved them in a circle in front of her face. "You're trying to tell me something with your face game," she said, "but I have no idea what."

Useless. It was useless. Seeing was believing, so the big reveal would have to wait. With a sigh I said, "Just keep an open mind, OK? And open eyes, too, while you're at it."

"If you say so," Keiko said—and a nearby Auntie shot us a dirty look for talking on the train, so we fell quiet. Stupid, scary Aunties and their kid-shushing ways…

Soon enough the train came to a halt, and we disembarked and walked out of the station. Just outside of Tokyo, the area was kind of like a suburb, and it boasted one of the best yo-chien preschools around—the best that we could afford, I mean. Schools in Tokyo are expensive, but that's neither here nor there.

We passed mostly houses and a few apartment blocks before finding the school, coming upon it from the side of the lot. A long, low building sat the back of the lot, cordoned off from the sidewalk and street by a low wooden fence painted pretty white. The building was painted sunny yellow below its green roof, and here at its side stood a sprawling playground and a big soccer field. I'd been there a hundred times and ran to the fence where it lay closest to the playground, which was currently crawling with children wearing bloomers, yellow hats, and blue coats. I hopped up and stood on the lowest rung of the fence, just barely tall enough to rest my arms along the top rung. Keiko stood at my side, though with feet planted firmly on the ground, as I shaded my eyes with my hand.

Eventually I found him. Kids were hard to tell apart at this distance, especially in their uniforms, but I knew my brother's walk and was able to pick him out of the crowd. "Hey, Sota!" I called, waving one arm furiously above my head.

Sota looked up from his spot near the monkey bars and waved back before breaking from the pack and trotting over. "Hi, nee-san!" he said, peering up at me with head craned very far back. His hat fell off as a result, but he didn't appear to notice.

"You having a good time playing?" I said.

"Yup!" His eyes travelled to my side. "Oh, hi, Keiko-chan!"

She smiled; she'd met my brother a few times when she came over to my house to hang out and was able to stand him. "Hi, Sota-kun," she said. "Good to see you." Keiko didn't like kids, but she was never mean to them.

But I wasn't there for small-talk or Keiko practicing her kid-talking skills. I rose up on my toes, trying to see higher over the fence. "So where's your new friend?" I said.

Sota turned and surveyed the playground. "Uh. Swinging, I think."

"Think she might want to say hi to me and Keiko?"

His face lit up. "Yeah, sure!" he said, and he turned his back to us and started waving. "Sakura-chan! Sakura-chan, come here!"

As soon as my bother said her name, one of the floppy yellow hats on the playground turned, revealing a small face ringed by yellow hat brim like a neon halo. The child in question hopped off her swing when it was at its height, sailing a several feet to the grass below. As it had the first time I saw her, my breathing hitched a little—because, like, oh my god, right? She was freakin' adorable with those big green eyes of hers and her short auburn hair. Someone had cut it so longer pieces and bangs framed her sweet little face, and from under her hat poked two little half-pigtails secured by pink barrettes. I couldn't keep my eyes off her as she crossed the yard and picked up my brother's hat, which she deposited on his head with a big grin.

I snuck a glance at Keiko.

She watched the proceedings with an impassive expression. As if nothing worth mentioning had just happened in front of her, when something very much had.

But, like. Sorry, no, that was unacceptable. Time to get busy.

"Hi there, Sakura," I said, catching the little girl's eye. I gestured at Eeyore. "This is Keiko."

Keiko smiled, the exact same I-will-tolerate-you-but-nothing-more smile she'd given to my brother. "Hi, Sakura-chan. It's nice to meet you," she said with a bow.

Sakura bowed back, grinning shyly up at Keiko. As soon as she murmured a return greeting, she grabbed Sota's hand and pulled him after her, saying, "Come swing with me, Sota-kun."

"OK." He waved over his shoulder. "Bye, nee-san!"

"See you later, kid!" I said as he ran back to the playground. I watched him and Sakura go until they blended with the other kids before spinning in place, hooking my arms over the fence to keep my balance. Askance I glanced at Keiko, murmuring a long, low "Sooo?" at her as I steeled myself for what was sure to be a big reaction.

But no big reaction came. She just frowned after Sota, instead. "Are we early?"

"… what?"

"Are we early to pick him up?" She turned her frown my way. "You said that's why we were coming here, but they're still in school and—"

"Eeyore." I could scarcely believe what I was hearing, eyes wide as I pointed at the playground. "Sakura."

"Uh." She looked at me like I'd grown another eyeball. "Yes?"

"Sakura," I said. "The kid's name is Sakura."

"Yes. A very common name in Japan." Frustration crept into her dark eyes. "One you have used as an alias before, in fact. So what's your point?"

"Oh my god," I said, because there was nothing else to say, and I leapt from the fence and started running—doubling back to grab Eeyore's arm and drag her, protesting all the while, along with me.

They tended to keep the front gate of the school open in case parents needed to visit for any reason, the athletic fields and playground secure behind separate gates and fences of their own (dumbass kids like to wander off and whatnot, I guess). Without any trouble we were able to round the corner of the fence and head for the front of the school, crossing its expansive grounds and then entering the front doors unimpeded. Inside was a room full of cubbies painted cheerful colors, basically a shoe-locker room that trained kids on how they'd be expected to function once they reached elementary school. Eeyore said something about trespassing as I wandered through the rows of waist-high cubbies, scanning the names on each of them until I found the one I was looking for.

"Here. Look," I said, coming to a stop. I pointed at the name on one cubby's little pink label, shaking my finger at it for emphasis. "Look!"

Keiko came over to do as I said, though she edged around me as if I were a venomous snake. "Kinomoto Sakura," she said, craning her neck to see it without getting too close. "All right. So?"

"So?" I gaped at her because holy shit, "You really have no idea, do you?"

"No idea about what?" Her hands affixed themselves to her hips, feet spreading underneath her in full Keiko Power Stance. "What the hell is all of this about, Tigger?"

I shook my head. "Not here. C'mon."

Keiko threw up her hands in exasperation (as Keiko is wont to do when she's feeling her most dramatic) but she still followed me back outside and to the sidewalk beyond the gates with little more than a sigh. The front of the school lay along a busy street; cars rushed past, sending the skirt Keiko wore flapping on the dusty breeze. She barely noticed, though, crossing her arms over her chest as she leaned against the school's fence. I stood near the curb, wondering what the heck I was supposed to say now.

How was Eeyore missing all of these signs?!

"Look, Eeyore," I said before she could say anything (her mouth snapped shut with a click of teeth). "I get that you really, really loved one anime in particular, but there's no way you don't know what Kinomoto Sakura is from."

Her eyes widened.

"Yeah. From. Think about it." I made a 'come here' gesture with both hands as her eyes widened further still, travelling up and over my head as clearly things began to dawn on her. "A little more. A little more, a little—"

She launched toward me and latched onto my wrist. "Kagome, get back!"

As Keiko wrenched me behind her there came a screech of tires at my back, followed by the pop of car doors opening and then the pound of feet on the sidewalk. I slammed against the fence as Keiko cursed, spinning just in time to see her lob a punch at a woman wearing a black suit and tie—wait, a woman in a suit and tie?! What the heck?! I barely had time to wonder at that, though, as two more women in suits appeared from inside of the big-black-and-creepy windowless stalker van now idling at the curb just behind where I'd been standing. Keiko had the first woman in a choke hold; she released a wordless cry of warning as the two others surged past her, one of them heading straight toward me.

Hideki had trained me and Keiko well, though. The third lady doubled back to help the first with Keiko and the last came at me with hands outstretched. I dodged back, jumping out of her reach and then vaulting like a pinball off the fence to deliver a kick to her hamstring. She staggered with a grunt, but although she hadn't gone down completely I ignored her and bee lined for Keiko. Keiko had managed to send one of the women to the ground; she tussled with the other, hand wound into the lady's short hair as she fought for a good grip around her neck.

"Eeyore!" I said—but as I stepped forward to help, light glanced off the tinted front window of the panel van, briefly illuminating the person sitting in the passenger seat.

I froze.

In an instant the woman I'd earlier struck pounced, wrapping her arms around my torso in a bruising embrace. Did I fight, though? You bet your sweet ass I did not. Instead I let the suit-lady walk me toward the van's opened sliding door, past Keiko where she still fought the other two women who'd come after us. Keiko did a double-take when I passed by, momentarily releasing the woman in her arms as she tried to come after me.

"Keiko!" I said, and in English I told her, "Don't fight!"

Her eyes bugged out of her skull. "What? Are you crazy?!"

"Just go with it, dangit, trust me!"

She started to argue—but the suit-ladies had regrouped, standing on either side of her with fists raised, ready to do battle again. Keiko rolled her eyes and passed a hand through her hair, flipping her punkrocker bangs out of her face with a sigh. "Ugh. Fine," she said, putting her hands up—but she snarled and skirted away when one of the women tried to take her by the elbow and steer her toward the car.

Keiko might've been surrendering, but she sure as shit wasn't ready to give up her dignity, bless her prideful ass.

Keiko walked to the van under her own power shortly after the suit-lady shoved me into it. I stumbled and managed to find a bench seat just behind the passenger and driver seats. Keiko slid onto it beside me; one of the women slid in next to Keiko, and the other two climbed onto what I guessed was another seat way in the back just before the door shut behind them. I barely noticed, though, because the van?

It was tricked the fuck out, y'all.

Like, I'm serious here—I had legroom for days and not just because my body is ten years old. There was just… there was just a shit ton of legroom, right? And there was a freaking ice bucket brimming with cold sodas set into the side of the van to my left (I would've preferred champagne, but all right) and a metric crap-ton of hidden LED lights casting ambient illumination all over the inside of the dark van (which didn't have windows here in the back, so yeah, the van was still creepy, but whatever). Classical music played softly over the speakers, complementing the plush suede under my butt and the faint fragrance of sandalwood perfuming the van's interior. In short, the van was basically an undercover limousine, and I probably would've enjoyed taking it for a ride had we not just gotten abducted by a bunch of ladies in excellently tailored suits. Seriously, they fit the women like gloves, dapper and elegant and gorgeous and oh my god I had so much suit envy!

What can I say? I have an appreciation for the finger things in life.

So did the girl in the passenger seat, I was guessing.

The front seats were both bucket seats, and as the car pulled away from the curb, the passenger bucket spun in place. Sitting on a velvet booster seat (because apparently everything in this damn car needed to be Extra as Fuck) was a little girl no older than my baby brother. She sat with hands folded primly on her lap, which was covered in a blue satin dress with puffy sleeves and a row of gold buttons up the front, complete with frilly white petticoats that peeked from underneath the skirt in a froth of lace. Long black hair spilled over her shoulders from beneath a lacy bonnet; shiny leather shoes with gold buckles stuck out from under the dress, short legs not quite able to bend at the knee while sitting in such a deep car seat. She regarded Keiko and me up and down with enormous violet eyes, their color vivid and memorable against the pale alabaster of her skin.

She looked like a porcelain doll.

She looked freakin' familiar, too, which is the important thing—though once again, Keiko didn't seem to recognize her.

The girl raised her hands and snapped her fingers. As one, all of the women in the car (including the driver, whose hands I could see gripping the steering wheel) reached into their pockets and pulled out pairs of earbuds, which connected to Walkmans clipped to their belts. Oh, 1990s, how do I love thee. Like they'd practiced it, they pressed "play" in perfect unison, and soon various strains of faint music undercut the classical concerto still playing over the car's speakers.

"There," said the little girl. "Now we may talk in private." She raised one tiny hand and waved it at the ice bucket. "Do you care for refreshment?"

She had a high-pitched voice, smooth and oddly articulate but still tripping over her R sounds. Keiko and I exchanged a glance. Without breaking that glance, I reached over and grabbed a soda. Keiko rolled her eyes, but she accepted the strawberry drink I handed to her without complaint.

"I apologize for the rough treatment," the little girl continued, "but I assure you it was necessary." She steepled her fingers, tapping them together one by one. "I noticed you took an interest in one of the children at that daycare. I want to know why."

Keiko cracked open her soda. Took a swig and wiped her mouth on the back of her hand (to which the little doll-lady directed a grimace of distaste). "Who are you?" Keiko said, not bothering with the girl's question. "What do you want with us?"

She inclined her head, smile polite and perfunctory—not like a little kid at all. "I could ask you the same thing," she said.

"Well, I asked you first," said Keiko. She gestured with her bottle that the girl should be the first to speak, that the floor was open for her contribution, fake-nice smile like a strawberry stain on her mouth. "So?"

"Who I am is not important." The girl's smile faded. "What is important is that you understand that I will allow no harm to come to her. She is going to be very important someday, and as such, I will not allow anything to happen to Kinomoto Sakura so long as I live and breathe."

For a moment, no one said anything. I think Keiko and I were both too shocked at such a speech coming out of the mouth of a goddamn four year old to think straight—but then Keiko gasped, hand loosening around her bottle of soda. It almost dropped to the floor, but she made a sound of distress and managed at the last second to catch it again.

And then she looked at me, color draining from her face like a bottle of dye that hand sprung a leak.

Oh. So now she was getting it, was she?

"Tigger," she said, swallowing. "Tigger, oh my god."

"Welcome to the party, Eeyore!" I sang.

Up in the front, the little girl started. "Tigger?" she said. "Eeyore?"

Keiko didn't appear to hear her. "Obsessive, dark hair, Sakura," she muttered under her breath, the pieces one by one connecting—at fucking last, right? She swallowed again, then tipped back and chugged the rest of her soda. Too bad it wasn't vodka, right? When she finished she took a shaking breath, cupped her hands around her mouth, and whispered, "I only ever watched the dub. And I think her last name in it was 'Avalon.'"

Pieces fell together in my head, too; I face-palmed. "Well, that explains it!" I said. The idea that Keiko had only seen the terrible American dub hadn't even occurred to me, but now her slow reaction made sense. Only seeing the dub, she had no hope in hell of recognizing the stupid toy store!

The girl up front (whose name I suspected I knew but whose name I now suspected Keiko only knew the dub equivalent of) looked between us with dawning comprehension. "Oh. So the two of you prefer English, then? I can speak whatever language you prefer, rest assured," she said in absolutely perfect American English. She preened at our shocked expressions, smoothing down her skirts with a chuckle entirely too devious to belong to a mere child—but then her eyes hardened into chips of cold, sharp amethyst. "And if I need to defend Sakura, I will do so with the same precision with which I—"

Keiko leveled a finger at the girl's face. "You. What's your name?" she demanded.

The girl turned up her nose. "I told you, that doesn't—"

I half expected Keiko to smash her empty bottle and make a shiv out of it, her eyes blazed so bright. "What's your fucking name, kid?" she said (and beside her I saw the lady in the suit angle herself toward Keiko just so).

The girl up front bristled. "How dare you speak to me that way?!"

"Is your name Tomoyo?" I cut in.

And then it was her turn to gape, tiny mouth parted in a wide O. "H-how did—?"

"Daidouji Tomoyo?" I pressed.

She went rigid. "How did you know that?" she said.

Keiko and I shared another glance. Looked back at Tomoyo. Looked at each other again. Leaned in close to conspire.

"Multilingual," Keiko whispered.

"Suspiciously large vocabulary," I muttered.

"Stressing the main character's importance in the future—" said Keiko, and she cut herself off with a groan, head falling into both hands.

"You thinking what I'm thinking?" I said in her ear, grinning.

"I think so, much though I hate to admit it," Keiko said against her palms. She groaned, "Not another one, goddammit!"

Tomoyo sat up very straight in her booster seat, glaring at us. "What are you two whispering about?"

I offered her a smile. "We're whispering about how you seem… mature for your age," I said.

"Yes. Well." She preened again, this time patting at the curls of her long hair. "I am in the top percentile of—"

Keiko lifted her head and met Tomoyo's eyes. "An old soul, even," she deadpanned.

Tomoyo's hands froze. "An old—?" she said, eyes round, but the words died on her tongue.

"Oh. I think that rang a bell, Keiko!" I said, elbowing her ribs. "Good job."

Bells appeared to be ringing for Tomoyo in more ways than one. At the sound of Keiko's name she sat up very straight indeed. "Keiko?" she repeated, stunned, but her eyes darkened as they narrowed. From between grit teeth she commanded, "Tell me who you are this instant! I demand to know who you are and how—"

"I'm Higurashi Kagome," I cut in, and at my name Tomoyo froze completely. "Friend of a guy with the cutest dog ears you've ever seen."

"And I'm Yukimura Keiko," said Keiko, "best friend of a certain punk-ass Spirit Detective."

"And you're Daidouji Tomoyo," I said, "best friend of Kinomoto Sakura, who is one day destined to become…"

A moment of silence followed. A big, thick, uncomfortable moment of silence as heavy on the tongue as a fart in a crowded room (but less gross, of course) as Tomoyo looked at me, at Keiko, and back to me again. Soon she swallowed and wrung her hands, eyes casting about as she looked for an escape—but none came.

Tomoyo admitted, in a small, wheedling voice: "The—the Cardcaptor. She's destined to become the Cardcaptor." And then she sagged in defeat, mopping a hand over her face like she'd just fought a war.

My grin broke across my face like a freakin' firework, meanwhile. "I knew it. I knew it," I said, poking Keiko again and again in the ribs.

She dodged away with an unwilling giggle. "She is one of us," she said, though I couldn't tell if Keiko felt good or bad about that just yet.

Tomoyo seemed to feed badly about it. "You're Kagome—and you're Keiko—and Inuyasha." She kept pinballing her eyes between us, trying to make sense of the earthquake that had just shook her world and rung her bells and sent everything she thought she knew spinning into chaos. "And Yu Yu Hakusho? They're—?"

"Real?" I said, grinning like a cat from Cheshire. "Yup! Just as real as Cardcaptor Sakura, at least!"

Tomoyo stared at us, aghast, so Keiko leaned forward. Looked at Tomoyo with sincerity, smile supportive and kind and very Mom. "Which means you're not alone in this, Tomoyo," she said, "though we know that hasn't always been your name." Her smile tightened just a little. "Keiko and Kagome haven't always been our names, either."

Keiko paused to let Tomoyo process this. Tomoyo sat there all pretty in her expensive clothes, in her luxurious and opulent van, staring at the two of us without seeing, eyes wide and numb like a kid who'd just been told they'd lost their favorite dolly—but then in Tomoyo's eyes, lightning crashed. Thunder rumbled. She crossed one thigh over the other and crossed her thin arms over her tiny chest and leaned back in her seat, slouching as her upper lip curled and she rolled her eyes so hard it was a wonder she didn't give herself a concussion.

And then, from the mouth of this four year old girl in fluffy petticoats, came the single thickest New Jersey accent I have ever heard in my goddamn life.

"Oh, fuck me fuckin' sideways, I could use a cigarette right now," Tomoyo said. She swiped the bonnet off her head and crushed it between her little baby hands with a glare that could singe steel. "So give it t' me straight, you two. Where the fuckin' hell did you come from, and what the shit is going on?"

Keiko and I looked at each other.

Tomoyo looked at us, tapping her fingers against her bicep as she bared her pearly teeth.

As one, Keiko and I burst out laughing—because in that situation, what else were we supposed to do?


NOTES

THIS ISN'T REALLY LC-CANON but I thought it was funny so I wrote it. The fact that canon!Tomoyo has a team of women body guards cracks me up and I couldn't not use them.

The toy store at the beginning shares its name with Tomoyo's surname (her mother owns a toy company), but since I've never seen anything but the badly dubbed anime, I would have NO IDEA what I was looking at in NQK's position. I've also never seen all of the series or read the manga, so I don't think I'd realize who Sakura was unless someone explained it. Hence NQK's slow reaction here.

Fun Facts: Did you know the Cardcaptor Sakura and Inuyasha mangas were both released in 1996 (which surprised me; I think of them as taking place in different eras (pun unintended but fabulous))? Kagome was 15 in '96 but Sakura was only 10 years old that year, which would make her four years old in 1990—coincidentally, that's about the same age as Kagome's younger brother, who was 9 in 1996. Hence how they wound up at the same preschool and how Kagome caught wind of the Cardcaptor canon brewing, which brings us to this omake.

Obviously Sakura won't awaken to her powers until she's 10 (provided canon stays on track), so the Cardcaptor Sakura series can't have much of an impact on other canons until 1996, at which point the YYH canon will have come to its end. That's why I decided to write this interaction here instead of in the main LC storyline.

Although, if in the main storyline Kagome and Keiko ever have a need for funky outfits, video equipment, or communication technology (which Tomoyo provided to Sakura in the manga) they'll know whom to contact.

So, my head-canon for Switcheroo!Tomoyo. In her past life she lived in New Jersey. She was a housewife who had dreams of becoming a singer, but she got married and got sidetracked before she could realize that dream. Her kid, her only son, LOVED Cardcaptor Sakura. She is fiercely protective of Sakura because she misses her son; she projects her Mama Bear self onto her relationship with Sakura since her son isn't around in this life. She curses like a sailor and LOVES dressing in the frilly fashions Tomoyo favors, and apart from missing her family, she has a great freaking time being Tomoyo. Hell, she was a pageant/dance mom in her past life so that's no surprise. She already loved to sew and sing and document her kid's soccer games on camera; now she gets to do all of that all over again, but with lots of money from her mother and maybe some magic in a few years. It's the ideal situation for her, really.

AKA: Keiko might not be "Mom Friend" of her group anymore, LOLOL.

BTW, I start a fic adaptation of my Pokémon SoulSilver Nuzlocke run! It's an SI (though different from LC by a lot) and if you check it out, I'd be grateful. Hope you like it!

Super duper thanks to all of you who chimed in last week with your reactions to the New Year's Omakes! I hope this bit of humor brightens your day: C S Stars, shen0, MiYuki Kurama, zubhanwc3, Sweetfoxgirl13, M, Desaid, potatoqueen, 431101134, rikku92, Sky65, Renne Sarah, Skylar1023, Gelasia Kidd, Ede Mae, Viviene 001, kittenfood, Orihime-san, Laina Inverse, Moma Nina, rya-fire1, Nameless Sinner, Lady Ellesmere, o-dragon, Kaiya Azure and three guests!