L-chan's notes: Here it is, the long-delayed sequel to my clichés fic. Most of the stories I'm making fun of I've never even read—the clichés merely come from the abundance of similar-sounding summaries. Add total character destruction, and you've got something that's a little dirty, a little twisted, and completely pointless. But it made me laugh. Enjoy!
~~~~The CCS "Fanfic Clichés" Fanfic: A Sequel~~~~
Disclaimer: CLAMP owns CCS. J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter. If you sue me, you'll only get pocket lint and an empty pudding cup. Mmm... pudding....
The sweetly beautiful, auburn-haired, emerald-eyed magical girl known as Sakura Kinomoto, currently age sixteen, was sleeping peacefully like the perfect little angel she was when she heard a loud scratching noise at her window. She awoke grumblingly, wondering who in their right mind would be bothering her at the ungodly hour of—she checked her clock—eight o'clock on a Sunday morning. Her first thought was that, after a night spent pining for Clow Reed on the roof, Yue had gotten stumble-bumbling drunk again and forgot which room was Touya's.
She threw back her covers and prepared to give her moon guardian the only piece of her mind she could spare. She muttered under her breath, rehearsing all of the inappropriate curse words she'd learned from her stunningly handsome, chestnut-haired, amber-eyed boyfriend, Syaoran, also currently age sixteen, thanks to a time acceleration spell cast by his sometimes-evil ancestor, the devastatingly charming, indigo-haired, bespectacled Eriol, age sixteen. Some of the curses were in Chinese, so she didn't quite know their meaning, but the way Syaoran would say them made her think they were pretty darn insulting.
When Sakura raised the blinds and opened the window, she jumped back with a frightened "Hoe!" Instead of the human-like, pale-skinned winged creature she was expecting, a bird-like, pointy-beaked winged creature fluttered into her room and dropped an envelope at her feet. When Sakura stopped freaking out, she saw that the creature was not bird-like but in fact an honest-to-God bird. An owl, to be precise. She repeated her earlier remark, but this time "Hoe?" had more of a perplexed intonation to it.
She bent down and picked up the envelope. The address was written in English. "It's for me?"
Miss S. Kinomoto
Second Floor, Corner Bedroom
The Solar System
"Suddenly, I'm in Our Town," she mumbled as she opened the letter. "Well, I guess it's better than Wonderland." She quickly scanned the message, and again, her only remark was "Hoe?"
"What's going on out here? I'm trying to sleep," came Kero's voice as her bottom desk drawer was pushed open.
"Hey, Kero-chan," Sakura said, flashing the letter his way, "what the heck is a Hogwarts?"
"A what?" The little yellow sun guardian, false form, flew over to his mistress and examined the parchment in her hand. "Oh, that," he replied, unimpressed. "It's a school for Western magic. They think they know everything over there in England. Bunch of amateurs, if you ask me. Call Eriol. He can explain it better than I can. Clow tried to shut that place down ages ago, when...." Kero continued jabbering with possibly important but more likely useless information, which was just as well, because Sakura had quit listening and picked up her cell phone.
She punched in Eriol's number, and the phone on the other end rang, and rang, and rang, until finally a throaty, sleepy voice answered. "Hello?"
"Sakura-chan?" The voice and its owner were instantly awake. "Good morning, Sakura-chan! How are you?" the breathtakingly gorgeous, dark-haired, amethyst-eyed Tomoyo, also age sixteen, chattered a bit too animatedly.
"Tomoyo-chan?" Sakura was still dumbfounded. Did I dial the right number? "I'm sorry. I meant to call Eriol-kun."
"Oh, you did," Tomoyo answered with a nervous giggle. There were some muffled sounds as Tomoyo apparently relayed the caller's identification to someone. Then she giggled again. "He invited me over for some... tea. Yes, that's right. Some very good, very hot... tea. He makes delicious... tea." And then another giggle, but since this conversation wasn't particularly funny, Sakura wondered if something else was going on. "Mmm, it's especially good in the morning." Giggle. "Eriol!"
"Well, can I talk to him? I want to ask him about a place called Hogwarts."
"You got your letter? Yeah, we all got one. He says they're desperate for some students with real magic, and that's why we've all been enrolled."
"You said 'we.' Did you get a letter, too, Tomoyo-chan?"
"Yeah. It turns out I have some magic, too. Who knew? I guess I just needed the right person to bring it out of me." There was some more mumbling in the background, and Tomoyo giggled again. Sakura didn't think she'd ever heard Tomoyo giggle so much. What the heck was in that tea, anyway? "Anyway, come over here at ten o'clock. We'll all go together, okay?"
"We'll explain later." This time the sound Tomoyo made wasn't a giggle. "Mmm, looks like the tea is ready again. So come at ten o'—ten o'—oh—oh, God!" And then she hung up.
Sakura sweatdropped as she looked at the phone, incredibly confused, or maybe just incredibly clueless. "Hoe?"
"And that pretty much covers it," Eriol finished, just as the grandfather clock chimed eleven. "Any questions?"
The group standing in Eriol's parlor looked at each other. Sakura had brought Kero and Yue with her, and Syaoran had met them all there. Sakura glanced at her chestnut-haired boyfriend, who shrugged disinterestedly. Ruby Moon and Spinel glared at each other over some early-morning misunderstanding instead of paying attention, since they'd heard all this already. And Tomoyo was silently drinking what was actually her first cup of tea, but it was very good and very hot, just as she'd described.
"So, what do we do now?" Syaoran asked. He didn't know why the future head of the Li clan was being enrolled in some English school for magic, but his mother had told him to go and find out whatever he could. Anything to keep him from going back to Hong Kong when he was supposed to be with his beloved Sakura. The Chinese boy would have joined a gang, become a skate punk, or even started an ill-advised singing career if it meant that they could just be together always.
"Well, I hope you all don't mind, but I went ahead and made all the arrangements," Eriol confessed. "That way we can skip the boring trip to Diagon Alley, which would probably lead to some pointless interaction with some of the Hogwarts students, even though it's the middle of the semester. Normally I'd like to go; I'll hate missing the Malfoys there. Good people, those Malfoys," he mused fondly. "Anyway, our supplies have already been procured, and I've even had us presorted into Gryffindor House, which I understand is the place to be these days. Such popular, important people as us need to be where the action is. Back in Clow's day, Slytherin was the party house, but I guess times change. You know, Clow used to say—"
"Yeah, yeah, that's fascinating," Ruby Moon broke in with a bored roll of her red eyes. "So, are we going, or what?" She turned around just in time to see Spinel hovering dangerously close to one of her precious pink braids. "Watch it, or we'll be dining on Suppi Stew tonight."
"Ooh, what do you put in that?" Kero asked, all but drooling. "I'll bet it's good with a little thyme."
"Rosemary," Ruby Moon corrected him.
"Like you know the difference," Spinel muttered.
Yue stood and watched in mild disgust as his siblings got into a heated argument over how best to season a roast guardian beast. He refused to participate in such an undignified display. How could they talk so callously about eating each other? Besides, not having eaten in his entire lifetime, he really didn't have any culinary tips to contribute. "How do we get to this place?" he asked, trying to bring the conversation back around to its original topic, even though he too had lost interest at this point. He'd given up some warm, sleepy snuggling time with Touya for this?
"Most people take the train from London," Eriol explained. "But it wouldn't make much sense for us to bother going to London just to have to take the train. I can transport us all to the school instantly with a little Floo powder."
"Gesundheit," everyone answered politely.
"Thank you." Eriol retrieved a small ceramic bowl from the decorative table next to the fireplace. "One at a time, you'll take a pinch of Floo powder—"
"—and toss it into the fireplace, and then step into the fire and shout out the name of where you want to go."
There were various mumblings of "home" and "back to bed" and one sarcastic "Hell, if I meant I was away from you, Pinky" which were quickly silenced by a disapproving frown from Eriol. "Don't think I won't find you if you don't meet us all there."
Tomoyo set her teacup down and stood up, smoothing out her skirt. "Well, I'm ready if everyone else is."
Kero nodded vigorously, punching his little plush fists in the air. "All right! Let's go show those British pansies what real magic is!"
Eriol cleared his throat loudly. "'British pansies'?" Syaoran held up a mirror for the blue-eyed boy, who examined his reflection carefully. "Ah, my mistake."
Kaho Mizuki had reluctantly returned to England, a place that held several unpleasant memories for her, but she'd had to escape Tomoeda and, quite frankly, she didn't know where else to go. She'd had a good run with Terada, meeting in the supply closet between classes for a little quick-and-jiffy, but then he'd started getting too clingy. He wanted to talk about the future, where they were going, and all that nonsense. She'd put him off for a while, but when he got on his knees, and not in the good way, she'd packed up and left town as fast as she could.
She ended up taking the Defense Against the Dark Arts position at Hogwarts, uniquely qualified because of her experience with Eriol. She'd dropped Clow Reed's name around a bit, feeling out the appropriately named Dumbledore, only to find that the senile old coot had no recollection of the world's greatest sorcerer. So she got the job the old-fashioned way, which is to say, so did he. Luckily, since his memory was just as bad as the rest of him, he never requested an encore. She didn't think she could go through that again.
Seemed like a good idea at the time, Kaho mused as she lit her third cigarette in as many minutes. How was I to know that Eriol and his perky little girlfriend were going to enroll here? Actually, someone with Kaho's magic should have known, but she'd been too wrapped up in other things to think much about Eriol. Like when she'd come across that strange Potter boy, who looked disturbingly similar to Clow's reincarnation. She'd thought about letting him have a go, just for that reason, but he didn't look like he could keep up.
So that's why she was here, standing outside one of the dungeon classrooms, watching the creepily intriguing man inside as he grumbled to himself about something or another while he mixed a potion. She sighed, blowing the smoke out in a long, thin stream. Now there's someone in need of a good time. He was a bit on the old side, having successfully completed puberty and all, but Kaho was getting desperate. These English boys just didn't have the right stuff to satisfy a woman with her kind of needs.
Kaho tapped her cigarette's ashes onto the floor, giving that useless janitor person something to do rather than butt into everyone's business. Another thing she didn't know yet was that a new janitor had just been hired, but then, she couldn't be expected to keep track of all her former lovers. No one had that kind of time. She flicked the butt away, even though she could have sucked two or three more good puffs from it, and lit her fourth cigarette before rapping softly on the open door. "Mind if I join you, Professor?" her velvety voice purred in perfect English.
Severus Snape barely looked up from his desk. His beady black eyes gave Kaho a quick once-over before focusing on his potion again. "Can I help you?" he bit out, lips pursed from the permanent taste of something sour.
"I certainly hope so," she answered in her husky, smoky voice, slinking into the room. "We haven't had the time to get properly acquainted."
He looked up again, obviously perturbed by the interruption. "Oh, I know you," he snarled. "You stole my position. I've wanted that position for years, and Dumbledore just gave it to you with a big bow tied on top, didn't he?"
She didn't know where do start with all the innuendo. Her head spun from the possibilities. She laughed and waved her hand, cigarette ashes carelessly falling to the floor. "Well, it's been hard to assume the position all by myself. I take it you have a little experience in that area?"
If she wasn't going to leave him alone, then he was going to have to bring this conversation to an end as soon as possible. He watched as she sat on one of the worktables and crossed her legs. For some reason, she wasn't wearing a cloak or other witch's robes like most of the female professors, so her short skirt hiked up as she got comfortable, tossing her long red hair as she pulled out another cigarette. "Yes, I do, actually," he managed to choke out. How long were those legs, anyway?
"Mmm, I thought so. I could tell right away."
"Could you?" No one ever bothered to notice Snape's talents, content to leave him in this dank dungeon until he either retired or died down here, whichever came first. The boost to his shriveled ego made him forget the dangerous concoction in his cauldron. It bubbled over, spilling onto the floor. His cauldron hadn't bubbled over in a long time.
"Of course," Kaho murmured huskily. The glow from the end of her cigarette matched the glow in her eyes. It probably should be mentioned that she'd also been drinking a bit. A little desperation mixed with inebriation caused one to lower one's standards slightly.
"Well, then," he stammered nervously as she deliberately recrossed her legs, "if you really need some assistance, I have a few books—"
"I'm not interested in books. I prefer a hands-on approach. Don't you?"
She was looking for a demonstration of his abilities. If he showed her what he could do, then maybe she'd put in a good word for him with Dumbledore. "All right," he answered. She gave him a bewitching smile, and for a moment he wondered if they were still talking about casting spells. Then he wondered if they ever were. "But my wand isn't what it used to be. It gets the job done, mind you; it just takes a while to warm up."
She took another long drag from her cigarette as she walked over to him. "I'm sure you have quite a powerful wand." She blew a puff of smoke near his ear before stamping out her cigarette beneath her leather boot. "Let's see if we can make a little magic with it."
Thanks to Eriol's stash of Floo powder, Sakura, Syaoran, and the others all appeared one at a time next to the Gryffindor common room's fireplace. Since she was first, Sakura took a quick head count to make sure everyone was accounted for. Ruby Moon had changed back into Nakuru, her genki false form, in order to fit in better, whereas Yue didn't much care one way or the other, as long as his wings didn't get singed. Spinel and Kero were in their false forms as well, which made for easier travel. Syaoran looked as if he didn't enjoy the trip, but he made it in one piece. Eriol and Tomoyo appeared last, taking several minutes longer than everyone else.
"Now what?" Syaoran asked.
"Well, there are no classes on Sunday, so I guess we'll just hang around here and see if anything interesting happens," Eriol answered. His tone suggested that they were going to have to create something interesting, because these Hogwarts students, particularly the Gryffindor students, were a bunch of stiffs. Fortunately for the author, most of the students had gone into Hogsmeade for the day, eliminating the tedious introductions and rambling exposition that would surely put her to sleep.
"Boring!" Kero exclaimed. "I'd rather find the dining hall and see if there are any leftover treats."
Spinel contemplated seeking out the library for about two seconds before following Kero—or, more precisely, Kero's nose—toward the kitchens. Some sweets were definitely in order after what he'd had to put up with today.
"Should we go check out our rooms?" Tomoyo asked. "It's a great chance to root through our roommates' things and see what kind of people we'll be living with."
"That sounds like a good—" Sakura stopped in mid-sentence and stared in disbelief at the young man who had just emerged from a nearby broom closet. "Onii-chan?"
"Hey, kaijuu," Touya said with a smirk. But the smirk disappeared when he was tackled from behind.
"Touya-kun!" Nakuru squealed. If she was saying anything else, her words were unintelligible as she made kissing noises near his ear. He kept trying to push her away, but she had a really good strangle hold going.
"What are you doing here?" Syaoran asked with his trademark glare.
"Playing baseball," Touya answered sarcastically, picking up the mop and pail he'd dropped when Nakuru blindsided him. "What does it look like I'm doing? I work here." Yes, Touya was Gryffindor House's new janitor. "Um, I prefer the term 'custodial engineer,'" he corrected the author. Whatever, Touya. How'd you get here, anyway? "There's a portal in the broom closet that leads to my bedroom back in Tomoeda." How convenient.
"What?" Sakura finally regained her ability to speak, mercifully cutting off a potentially long and fangirlish conversation. "You're just here to spy on me, aren't you, Onii-chan? You can't handle that I'm all grown up now."
"You know, Sakura," Touya replied, rolling his brown eyes at his little sister, "the world doesn't revolve around you. Maybe I came here for someone else."
Nakuru threw her arms around him again in unabashed delight. "I knew you couldn't live without me, Touya-kun!"
"Not until you admit you love me. Come on, say you love me."
"You're so cute when you're pretending to be mad."
"You're the mad one. Let go!"
"It's meant to be. Quit fighting it, Touya-kun!"
Touya knew there was only one way to get Nakuru to leave him alone once and for all. There was a slight risk that it wouldn't work, but he was out of options. She just wouldn't listen to him, no matter how much he protested. "All right, fine," he growled. "You win. Let's go." He took her arm and dragged her into the broom closet, slamming the door shut.
Everyone else stood completely still, shocked by what they had just witnessed. They knew they should leave, but their curiosity got the better of them. They heard the sound of a zipper, and then two seconds later, the door was flung open, and Nakuru stepped out.
"Never mind," she said. And she took off as if someone had lit a fire under her.
Touya grinned triumphantly and tucked his shirt back into his pants. For the first time in his life, he was glad to be a Japanese man.
"What was that about?" Sakura wondered.
"I'll explain it when you're older," Tomoyo said, patting Sakura's hand condescendingly.
Yue's silvery cat's eyes lit up. "That's it!"
Everyone turned to look at the moon guardian. "What's it?" Touya asked.
"I just realized who you remind me of. Clow!"
Eriol shook his head in despair. "Please don't bring that up. I just thank God that I didn't inherit all of Clow's… shall we say, physical attributes."
Tomoyo nodded. "Me, too."
Syaoran was too busy laughing to contribute anything to this discussion.
Touya glared at the younger boy, but the embarrassment was worth it to get Nakuru out of his hair for good. Besides, it wasn't like he had to impress Syaoran in that department. He was still a good four inches taller and could beat the crap out of that gaki any day. But not today, he thought as a pair of silver eyes gazed at him intently. "By the way, Yue, have you checked out the portal in this closet?"
"Why, no, I don't believe I have. Would you care to show it to me?"
Sakura watched in annoyance as her brother and her guardian disappeared into the broom closet, shutting the door behind them. "Maybe I'd like to see the portal," she grumbled. "I'm the freaking mistress of the cards, after all."
Tomoyo and Eriol shared a look. "We'll explain it when you're older," they said in perfect unison.
Syaoran was trying desperately not to hyperventilate. He'd never laughed so hard in his life.
"Pardon me, but what are you people doing here?" a female voice asked.
The four teenagers turned around and found themselves suddenly joined by two boys and a girl, all about their age, and all most definitely English, through and through.
"We're new students here," Sakura explained. "We just arrived today."
"Ooh, brilliant!" the frizzy-haired girl said, clapping her hands together excitedly. "And you're Japanese, aren't you? I've read about Japan, and—"
"Yes, yes, you've read about everything, haven't you?" the red-haired boy sighed in exasperation. "Bloody show-off."
"Please excuse my friends," the other boy apologized. He was tall and wore glasses, and had a strange mark on his forehead, like a birthmark or a scar. "That's Hermione and Ron, and my name is Harry. Harry Potter." He said that as if it should mean something to them.
The gang from Tomoeda, only two of whom were fully Japanese, one of the others only being half, and the fourth not at all, didn't really know what to make of this Harry's self-importance, so they exchanged curious glances before introducing themselves as well.
"Harry Potter," Harry said again, in case they missed it the first time.
"Yeah, we got it. Thanks," Eriol answered in his perfect English, making it clear that there were no communication difficulties. Who does this guy think he is? But he does look familiar.
"You know," Ron began, looking from Harry to Eriol and back again, "if you were to dye your hair that wonky color, Harry, and if this bloke had a scar like yours, well, you could be bleedin' twins, then, couldn't you?"
The two boys in question considered each other briefly before simultaneously shaking their heads. "Nah."
"Yeah, I guess you're right," Ron conceded. "No one would ever make that mistake. There's only one Harry Potter!"
"Is he famous or something?" Sakura whispered to Tomoyo.
"I don't know. Maybe he's an actor?" Tomoyo whispered back.
"And there's only one of me, as well," Eriol boasted, not to be outshone by some kid who had no idea what it was like to be blessed with the powers of a great sorcerer.
"Thank God for that," Syaoran muttered.
Hermione had ignored most of this bantering and instead retrieved some texts from the bookshelf. "If you all are new, then you should probably start getting caught up before classes tomorrow. These are the books we're using this year, and in this one, we're up to chapter...." Her voice trailed off as she began flipping through one of the insanely boring books.
"Give it a rest for five seconds, Hermione," Ron complained. "It's Sunday. Can't we do something fun instead?"
The frizzy-haired girl's face fell as if studying was her idea of a fun Sunday afternoon. "What do you suggest, then?"
"How about a game?" Harry intervened before his friends could get into an argument. "So we can all get to know each other."
"Truth or Dare!" was the immediate suggestion. But the seven teenagers looked at each other, wondering who chose the game. None of them recognized the loud, authoritarian voice. But it sounded like a good idea, so they all sat in a circle on the floor in front of the fireplace. Maybe a circle sounded more like the formation for a game of spin-the-bottle. Well, it works for a lot of things. A circle is in itself a magic figure, you know. It was perfectly appropriate for a game of truth or dare, especially when magical teenagers were playing.
"I'll go first," Syaoran volunteered. He hated this game, and he only went first because it postponed when he would have to choose. "Sakura, truth or dare?"
"Dare," Sakura chose cautiously.
"Okay." Syaoran thought for a minute. "I dare you to turn these three into frogs for the rest of the story," he said, pointing at Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
"Is that the best you've got?" Sakura took her magic key from around her neck. "Release!" She reached into her pocket and pulled out the Create Card. "Create Card, I command you to turn these three wannabes into frogs!"
And with that, the three English teenagers were ribbiting and hopping around the common room. If anyone had cared enough to need to tell them apart, one frog had freckles, one had a mess of frizzy hair, and the other had a lightning-bolt shaped scar between its bulging eyes.
Tomoyo looked shocked. "I don't think you can do that. Are you just going to leave them that way?"
Eriol clucked at her. "My dear Tomoyo-san, this is our story, after all. No interlopers allowed." He didn't like them, not one bit, especially when they tried to compare him to that Harry fellow. As if anyone could ever compare to the reincarnation of the great Clow Reed!
Sakura nodded. "Besides, will anyone really miss them? Who's next?"
Tomoyo, immediately getting over any guilt she may have felt about the forgettable teenage frogs, raised her hand. "I'll go. Sakura-chan, truth or dare?"
"Hoe? Why me again?"
"Well, I already know all of Eriol-kun's secrets. And you can't dare him to do anything, because he'd do anything anyway." Then Tomoyo nodded toward the scowling boy across from her. "And there's no point in getting either out of Li-kun, because he's as dull as dirt, no offense."
"Shows how much you know," Syaoran replied, his amber-brown eyes narrowing at the girl. "I'm actually the crown prince of the planet Li, and I've been sent here to assassinate the daughter of my family's greatest rival. Unfortunately, her earthly identity remains a mystery to me, and I haven't been able to complete my mission." This dark revelation should have come as a shock to the other three teenagers, but since Syaoran was grunting in his home planet's guttural language, no one understood a blessed word he said.
"So, anyway," Tomoyo continued with a curious glance at the brown-haired boy, hoping that Syaoran wasn't going mental on all of them, "truth or dare, Sakura-chan?"
"Truth, this time, I guess," Sakura answered, crossing her fingers behind her back.
"All right," Tomoyo said with a slow, wicked smile. "I noticed you were feeling sick earlier."
"Is that the question? Yes, I was feeling a little nauseous this morning."
"I'm just curious as to the cause of your sudden illness. Are you by any chance... pregnant?"
A hush fell over the room. "No way!" Sakura finally answered, regaining her ability to speak after digesting the absurd notion. "I haven't kissed anybody!"
Eriol, Tomoyo, and Syaoran all looked at each other as they tried to figure out what Sakura's incongruous comment meant. "Uh, Sakura-san," Eriol began slowly, "that's not how you get pregnant."
Eriol scooted closer to the auburn-haired girl and whispered something to her. Her eyes were large and round as he continued explaining, making wild gestures with his hands. He could see she wasn't quite getting it, so he grabbed a sheet of paper and a pencil and made a quick but very detailed sketch. He showed her the drawing, and then understanding lit up her emerald eyes, which immediately filled with tears.
"Well, then, I guess I am. And not only that...." Sakura paused dramatically and covered her face with her hands. "....but I don't know who the father is!" she cried.
"What?!" The broom closet door flew open, and Touya burst into the room with Yue close behind him. In his hurried, angry stride, Touya almost stepped on Ron-frog, who ribbited helplessly. Hermione-frog was reading near the fireplace, not letting her amphibious state interrupt her precious study time. As for Harry-frog, well, who cares what he was doing? He's not the main character of this story, after all. "Oh, kaijuu, I thought you knew better!" Touya's dark eyes automatically went to Syaoran. "You son of a... I'll kill you, I swear."
"I haven't touched her!" Syaoran protested, putting his hands up defensively, but because he had lapsed back into his home language again, Touya didn't understand. He quickly translated his remarks into every other language he knew, hoping to get his point across. His garbled mix of Japanese and English seemed to be good enough, and the murderous look in Touya's eyes toned down a bit.
But Touya needed to kill somebody, and if no one fessed up to ruining his darling little sister, it was going to be that gaki. Hell, it might be the gaki anyway, just for kicks. "You there, reincarnate boy," he said, pointing to Eriol. "Can't you do some sort of spell to find out who did it?"
"Well, normally, I could, but in this case, I would prefer not to."
"And why is that?" Touya asked angrily, his hands on his hips as he waited for Eriol's explanation.
"Because...." Eriol sheepishly glanced at Tomoyo, and his face turned red with shame. "Because I'm afraid I'm one of the suspects."
"What?" Now Tomoyo was livid, the expression on her normally adoring face almost as violent as Touya's. "You and Sakura-chan? How could you?"
Eriol grabbed Tomoyo's arms and held them away from him before she could pound her fists against his chest, or maybe even into his face. He bruised easily. "Remember a few weeks ago when we had that disagreement over who had the more menacing evil laugh? And we broke up for a couple of hours?" He could see that she was searching her mind for the memory. "Well, that's when it happened."
"How could you?" Tomoyo said again, near tears. "I thought we had something special!"
"Then how come, while we were broken up, you went and slept with Touya-san?" Eriol shot back.
"I did not!"
"Um, actually, Tomoyo...." Touya sat down beside her and whispered in her ear, making wild gestures with his hands as he talked. He brought his thumb and index finger very close together, as if indicating something fairly small, before spreading his hands again and making some sort of rolling motion, and then his eyes landed on Eriol's drawing. He picked up the pencil and rubbed the eraser against the page, making a few adjustments to the sketch before showing it to her.
Tomoyo's eyes widened as she looked at the incredibly accurate rendering. "Oh, I'd forgotten about that. Not that it wasn't wonderful," she quickly reassured Touya when his face fell at his apparent lack of memorability. "But it didn't mean anything!" she pleaded to Eriol, who didn't quite know what to make of all this. "Besides, you said you wanted to have an open relationship. Or was that only when it was convenient for you?" And she kept finding new things to get upset about. "And, hey, how did you know about that, anyway?"
Eriol pulled a videotape out of thin air. "This was mixed in with all our other tapes. I happened to come across it one day when you went out for milk."
Now Tomoyo remembered why she'd given up her excessive videorecording habit. It just didn't do to have evidence lying around.
"Hey, can I have that?" Touya asked as Tomoyo and Eriol argued over whether she'd truly been out shopping for milk that day.
"You know, guys, none of this is helping Sakura any," Syaoran reminded them all, pulling them out of their little soap opera. "We still need to find out who did this to her." He should have been more upset that the love of his life had betrayed him, but since she'd been too naive to realize what she'd done, he decided it was more important to help her get through this. He really was the perfect boyfriend. Girls everywhere swooned, wishing for someone as kind and understanding as the eternally devoted Syaoran.
You would have thought that Syaoran would be pummeling Eriol into a puddle of steamed pudding at this point, but the Chinese boy was more concerned about his precious Ying Fa's well-being. He put his arm around her as she continued crying.
"Well, what about Yue-san?" Tomoyo asked, turning her amethyst eyes to the silent moon guardian. "We haven't heard from him."
That's because Yue wasn't paying any attention to the conversation. He'd caught his reflection in the mirror and was busy studying his striking features. He always appreciated his own perfection and never missed a chance to gaze upon such loveliness. But even perfection could use a little improving, he thought with an attractive scowl. Maybe he should try something different with his eight feet of silver hair. Sakura had often offered to french-braid it for him, but he'd scoffed, knowing that if it was twisted too tightly, it would cause a headache, making him even more unpleasant to be around than usual.
So maybe he should cut it a bit to look more like that blond elf in the movie they'd watched last night. Touya had squealed like some sort of bloody fangirl every time the pointy-eared bishounen appeared on-screen. Yue hadn't seen the appeal, quite honestly, but it would probably be a good idea to shake things up between them. It had all gotten a little dull lately, broom closets aside.
"Yue? Hey, Yue!" Touya was trying without much success to pull Yue's attention away from the mirror. He sighed and reached into his pocket for a silver coin. "Yue!" He held the coin between his thumb and index finger, tilting it back and forth so that it caught the light.
Yue's eyes registered the glinting object, and his head jerked around. "Ooh, shiny!"
Works every time. "Yue, you didn't happen to sleep with Sakura and get her pregnant, did you?" Touya asked, glaring at this creature whom he normally only bestowed with the most loving of gazes.
"Of course not," Yue replied, sounding horrified at the very idea. "She's a girl!" His disgusted tone implied that this should be explanation enough.
"Well, what about Yuki? Could he have done it?"
"Take what I just said, only imagine it higher and wimpier sounding," Yue answered, folding his arms indignantly.
"So, we're out of suspects. That only leaves you, Eriol-kun," Tomoyo said, hoping that during the recent distraction no one had noticed that she'd slipped the videotape into her bag.
"But if it was me, Sakura-san would have said so."
"There was someone else," Sakura confirmed sadly, still crying in shame over the predicament she'd gotten herself into. Because anyone who's ever watched television knows that men never have any responsibility when it comes to pregnancy. It's always the woman's fault. "But I don't know—"
"It was me."
Everyone turned around to see a strange man standing in the common room doorway. His rigid posture conveyed confidence and arrogance. He was tall, as tall as Yue, with long, flowing golden hair, tied back with a red ribbon. His eyes were a smoldering gold, and his robes, similar in design to Yue's, were pale gold with ruby red accents. A large red medallion was on his chest. There was something very familiar about this beautiful stranger.
"It's my child." His voice was familiar, too. Something about his accent....
"Who are you?" The inquisitive words were spoken almost in unison by Touya, Tomoyo, and Syaoran.
"Oh, my God," Eriol breathed. "It can't be."
"I think it is," Yue said.
"Ribbit," Ron-frog contributed.
Sakura was too busy crying to reveal whether she knew anything about this man or not.
The man opened his mouth to speak, but he decided it would be easier to show them than to try to explain who he was. Large, golden wings appeared behind his back, and he levitated a few inches above the floor as a magic circle shone beneath his feet. The wings closed around him, and when they retracted, a small, pudgy, yellow stuffed animal was in his place.
"Hey, everybody!" Kero said, and a bit too cheerfully considering what he'd just revealed.
Everyone had to pick their jaws up off the floor before they could say anything. Then they had to figure out what to say. Touya sputtered angrily, Tomoyo stared in confusion, and Eriol was trying desperately not to laugh. Yue, bored now, had gone back to studying his reflection in the mirror. So that only left Syaoran to ask, "How?"
You would've thought that Syaoran would be pummeling Kero into a little yellow grease spot at this point, but the Chinese boy was more concerned about his beautiful cherry blossom's well-being. He stroked her hair lovingly as she continued to cry.
"Well, a couple of months ago, Sakura wanted to do a little experimenting," Kero explained. "With her cards!" he added quickly before anyone could accuse the author of crossing the blurry line of bad taste. "Anyhow, she stumbled on some combination of Create, Illusion, Return, and Dream, which took us both back to the time when Clow first devised my form and made me human in appearance. Then, after creating Yue, he decided that two human-like guardians were redundant, and, since he pretty much ignored me to play with his new toy...." Kero began grumbling over the memory. "So, he decided to make my true form that of a beast instead, which made me more like a pet. I'd forgotten all about it, but with Sakura's strong magic, she was able to bring back my original true form, and, while we were in this sort of bizarre dream state caused by the cards, well...." His words drifted off. Details weren't really necessary or appropriate.
Sakura nodded, tears still streaming down her face. "He was just so pretty! And I thought it was only a dream."
"But why did you even... want to?" Tomoyo, somewhat recovered from her shock, asked Kero.
"Because I've secretly been in love with Sakura since she was ten years old," Kero answered wistfully. "Do you know what it's been like, living in her room, watching her day after day as she grew older and stronger and more beautiful, right before my eyes?" He launched into an exhaustive description of the glorious Sakura which was almost enough to make anyone ill. "But I've never been able to tell her until now. I love you so very, very much, Sakura."
His mistress wiped her eyes. "Well, that's very nice, Kero-chan. But you know that I love Syaoran-kun. And even you have said that he and I are meant to be together. That is," she said hopefully, looking shyly at the chestnut-haired boy, "if he'll still have me."
"Of course I will," the perfect Syaoran answered. "I'll love you until the day my heart stops beating. We'll get married, and I'll give your child my name and love him as if he were my own. And as long as he has Clow's magic, my family will accept him without question." Girls around the world again swooned. Was there anyone as wonderful and unwavering in his devotion as Syaoran? And he wasn't even resorting to violence over the fact that two of the people closest to him, if you wanted to consider Kero a person, had sullied his sweet cherry blossom. He knew how important they both were to her, and causing them pain would cause her pain, and he would never, ever cause her pain. No, there is no better man out there, ladies. You may as well give up searching now and prepare to settle.
"Oh, Syaoran!" Sakura cried happily, throwing her arms around him and pressing her tear-stained face against his shoulder. But even as her heart was filled near to bursting with joy, she knew that the heart of another was breaking from unfathomable sadness. She turned to Kero again. "Oh, Kero-chan, I'm so sorry."
Everyone waited to see how Kero would react. But the small stuffed animal only blinked, and then he shrugged. "Well, it was worth a shot. Anyone got any pudding?"
There was a long pause, and then the room broke out in relieved sitcom-style laughter. There was lots of happy chatter as everyone congratulated the newly engaged couple and the glowing mother-to-be... well, almost everyone. One person had unobtrusively returned to the broom closet to begin plotting the slow and painful demise of both the gaki and the plushie, and maybe even reincarnate boy, if he could make it look like an accident.
And amidst all the excitement, three small, helpless green frogs hoped that someone would eventually remember them and return them to their true forms.
Final notes: I apologize if anyone was offended by that stereotype about Japanese men. If you were offended by anything else, well, then, lighten up! Also, I don't know if there are enough human-Kero or Kero-loves-Sakura stories to make them clichéd, but I thought it made for an unexpected ending. If you made it to the end of this rambling story, you are to be congratulated, and I sincerely thank you for reading. Tips and reviews are not required but are always appreciated.