Chapter Four

Sakura Kinomoto just found herself in the wildest predicament ever. There was a guy lying on her bedroom carpet covered in blood and probably dead.

"It's self defense" she kept telling herself. "It's self defense." But nothing worked as all her conscience would let her think was that she had just killed a living person. Abruptly, she began rushing towards the phone. Forget the police, call an ambulance first!

But at last her common sense settled in during this moment of panic. Before reaching the phone, she crouched down beside the unmoving body in order to feel a pulse. And to her great relief, it was there, no matter how faint. Funny how only a few minutes ago, she was scarred shitless, but now she's worried for the assassin's life. The ironies that life threw her way always amazed Sakura to no end. And as she stood up to remove her looming shadow over him, the white illuminating light played its part and shined deeply upon the mesmerizing face.

And that is when Sakura thought she would faint. That was the guy she met two nights ago that she couldn't stop thinking about.

"Isn't this the mother of all the fucking ironies" Sakura laughed to herself in dry humor. "The first guy I just happen to like turns out to be none other than my attempted killer."

Slowly, she strode towards the night stand with the phone, but as she looked back upon his face, the face that has haunted her mind for the past 48 hours, she couldn't bring herself to do it.

"God I must be going crazy!" she muttered in exasperation. "I can't help a professional killer!" But something about his unconscious angelic face just deeply moved her. If she called the ambulance then all would be revealed and he could be looking forward to either the death penalty or a life time patrol. Either way, it wasn't bright. But Sakura could not comprehend as to why she cared what would happen to a cold-blooded killer. After all, wouldn't she be doing society a favor by turning him in?

A moment of contemplation over took her thoughts as the atmosphere within the room turned deathly still. Suddenly, the loud ringing of a doorbell broke her train of thought.

With a deep intake of breath, Sakura walked out of her bedroom and to her apartment door.

"Yes?" she answered as she opened the door to be greeted by the irritated face of her neighbour. Security had never been an issue in this building, well inside security anyway.

"What was that loud bang I heard Miss Kinomoto?" asked Mr. Wilson, a 50- year-old professor at one of the most prestigious universities in the country.

"Nothing sir, I just.dropped something." Lied Sakura through her teeth as she quickly composed herself. "Nothing to worry about. I'm sorry for making the ruckus and waking you in the middle of the night. I promise it won't happen again, Mr. Wilson."

The old man eyed her suspiciously, but proceeded to nod anyway.

"Very well, Miss Kinomoto. I will not be so kind to excuse you the next time." He warned as he walked away without so much as a goodbye to the apartment on the left of her.

"Jerk." Sakura muttered as she shut the door. There were only two apartments per floor and her only neighbour hated her guts. How convenient.

As she walked back towards her bedroom in an attempt to deal with the mess, one thing was clear to her. After lying with such ease, she has come to a full conclusion to help the body on the floor.

"I'm gonna so shoot myself for doing this later" she muttered. "Or he would do it for me." But nonetheless, she took a deep breath and slowly pulled the body from the floor to her bed. Looks like there won't be any sleep for her tonight.

*~*

Eriol regained consciousness with an abrupt jolt. With his eyes suddenly open and the surrounding environment completely alien, he felt an unfamiliar panic settle over him. Where the hell was he?

"Nice to see you're awake" greeted a sarcastic voice that was oh so familiar to him. And then all the events of last night came rushing back. The waiting, the fighting, and the eventual shooting that ended up with him fainting.

To say that Eriol was bewildered would be an understatement. He was the best of the best and an inexperienced woman had just defeated him and could've killed him if she wanted to. What the hell just happened?

"Where am I?" demanded Eriol as he attempted to get up. But to no avail as the woman who stood beside him pushed him down with an ungentle force. And the pain in his chest did nothing to ease the discomfort.

"At my apartment. Apparently, I shot you a little too close to the heart, causing a temporary loss of flowing blood and thus causing your blackout." She stated as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

"What the fuck?" Eriol muttered as he looked at her sternly. And her face only agonized him more.

Suddenly Eriol had come to the realization that he had just become obsessed with his target that had somehow succeeded in completely defeating and humiliating him. Can life be any more wonderful to him?

"Just lie down and shut up" she commanded as she pulled back the covers and exposed his bare chest with a sizable wrapped bandage on it.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" yelled Eriol as she began to gently remove the wrappings.

"Gee, how about a thank you for treating your wound." She replied in sarcasm as she rolled her emerald green eyes. She was definitely staring to have second opinions about the personality of this guy.

As Eriol was about to retort that she was the one who caused it in the first place, he abruptly stopped. Because that would also be admitting humiliation on his part. Actually, his whole life had just rather turned humiliating. He would have never believed anyone if they told him yesterday that he, the great cold-blooded killer, would be arguing with a woman only 24 hours later. It just seemed absurd without compare. A total change had just been made to his character and he could not comprehend as to how. But he knew for sure it had something to do with this woman.

"Why didn't you kill me?" he asked suddenly with full seriousness.

"Excuse me?" replied Sakura with startlerment.

"Why didn't you kill me?" he repeated.

"Well.cuz I'm not a cold -blooded killer." She replied with the raise of an eyebrow.

"Then why didn't you turn me in?" Sakura could not respond to that as she herself did not fully understand the answer.

"Good question.." She muttered. "I suppose that turning in helpless bodies is not my style." Eriol looked at her with puzzlement, but the intense gaze never faltered, making Sakura rather self-conscious, which was a completely rare feeling to her.

"Well.I have to go to work." She stated to brake his icy gaze. "So will you be okay here alone? Your wound wasn't that bad and its fixed now. I have food in the fridge and I'll call in at lunch or something to check up on you." Eriol felt like he was a child being left to stay home alone for the first time.

"You're leaving me here alone?" he asked in confusion.

"Why not? You can take care of yourself, so is there a problem?" she asked.

"No, its just.well, do you feel comfortable with a killer being here?"

"Well..I'm fine with it." She stated as she walked out of the bedroom. "But if I were you, I wouldn't leave this building. Who knows which one of your little buddies might be hiding around the bush waiting for an opportunity like this. After all, don't you make a lot of enemies in your line of work?" And with those last lines, the door to the apartment was shut and silence reigned within the rooms immediately.

Eriol was at a loss for words. That was definitely the most confusing and odd episode of his life. And he was still confused as to why didn't he just kill her right then and there and just leave.

Complications. He hated them.

*~*

Sakura, usually bright and early arriving for work everyday, found herself rushing this morning. And the reason for her tardiness was the assassin lying in her apartment that she still didn't know the name of.

Finally she pulled up to the large underground parking lot of her firm and immediately rushed out of her car. Entering the building to be a greeted by a rather shocked receptionist at her late arrival, she entered the elevator and pressed her floor.

'Why is this dam thing so slow!' Sakura thought with aggravation. Could nothing go her way today?

When the metal doors finally slid open, she rushed passed the long hall and to her office towards the end. Upon opening the door to her personal working space, she was greeted by a very amused and surprised Jake.

"Well hell must have froze over as beware and behold, Sakura is late for work!" he cried out melodramatically.

"Shut up Jake, I'm not late! Actually, I have two minutes to spare" she stated as she looked at her watch.

"It might as well be late for you" remarked Jake with a grin. "So what happened last night? Did you finally get laid?"

"No" answered Sakura flatly. "And that is nothing of your concern. I don't have to be early for work EVERYDAY."

"Fine, tell me one day that you actually weren't early for work" challenged Jake. Sakura was at a loss. She couldn't really remember a day she was this late. But Jake was staring at her with a sense of triumph that really bothered her, so she had to make up something.

"..remember that time when..that day..-"

"Face it Sakura, for once, you've got nothing!" laughed Jake in victory. "I think I just caught the great Sakura Kinomoto offguard. Can fate be anymore kind to me today?"

"Don't push it Jake" warned Sakura as she glared at him. But he just continued laughing.

"Oh, by the way" he stuttered in between chuckles, "Tyler wants to see you."

"Shit." Sakura swore in impending doom. She was sure that after Friday night, she left him with a rather confusing message as to their future relationship. "Tell me Jake, how is it that you always know when Tyler wants to see me even before myself?"

"Well, he dialed me and asked if I knew where you were since you weren't in your office, for once."

"Did he say why he wanted to see me?" asked Sakura, desperate for a forewarning to the upcoming confrontation. But Jake shrugged in response.

"Alright then, I'll see you later Jake." Sakura called back as she once again found herself rushing down the hall to the elevator taking her to the top floor. His new secretary was another bubbly blond that wasted no time in directing Sakura a dirty glare before motioning for her to go in.

Sakura took a deep breath as she opened the door to her boss' extravagant office. Like always, he was there to greet her with the back of his leather black chair.

"You wanted to see me Mr. Tyler?"

"Oh yes, Sakura. I would like to know how the case is going. I trust that you have made progress?" Jason asked casually as he whirled around in the chair in his usual superior manner that most women found dam right sexy. But Sakura had always found it rather irritating.

"Yes, I have found some new evidence that may help in court" Sakura lied though her teeth without a flinch. After all, she was a lawyer, therefore paid to do so.

"What kind of evidence?" questioned Jason with a raised eyebrow. It was impossible for her to find anything significant. He had personally made sure of that.

"I'm still researching it, thus making it inconclusive." Covered Sakura. "But I will have it done by Friday the latest."

"Very well," nodded Jason with a grin, "but as of yet, you have nothing?"

"Well.yes" Sakura admitted with a defeated sigh. No matter how good she was, she could not lie without a back up plan. And this was one of the rare instances she didn't have one. One the reasons she respected Jason Tyler was for his ability to break the thoughest of lawyers though cross- examination.

"I'm glad you admit you need help Sakura," Jason replied with a superior nod. "I will give you an extension till Monday, but keep in mind that your due court next month."

"NEXT MONTH?" cried Sakura in shock. "I thought I wasn't due for at least another two months!"

"Well that was quite an emotional reaction Sakura." Commented Jason. "Make sure you don't have that kind of an outbreak at court. I must've forgotten to tell you that your court date's been moved up to next month. Apparently both the FBI and Drake Mason want a faster trial. He's confident he's got enough to cover Letterman's ass."

"Alright" Sakura sighed with a promised determination, "I'm on it. I'll be ready by court date." Jason nodded in approval. One of the many qualities that Sakura dazzled him by was her determination.

"Good luck Sakura." He dismissed, "And if there's anything you need, don't hesitate to call me. Remember that how you do also reflects on me."

Sakura nodded in understanding before leaving the luxurious office, leaving the young bachelor to his own thoughts. Suddenly, a cell phone began to ring and the young lawyer answered with a smile.

"I trust you put your plan in motion already Jase?" asked an oh too familiar voice of his childhood best friend on the other line.

"Of course. I've been pinning for this much too long to delay it anymore."

"Just so we're on the same page, are you talking about her or the plan?" Andrew asked in a confused manner.

"Both" Jason answered with a malicious grin. "I have been wanting her and the downfall of Drake Mason at an equal level."

"Like killing two birds with one stone, as the saying goes, right?" Andrew joked in his usual manner.

"Indeed."

"So as the bet goes, you plan on accomplishing both by the end of next month?" Andrew reminded with a grin. "Or should I start looking though the catalogues for your promised Ferrari?"

"Drew, Drew , Drew" Jason shook his head in amusement. "When will you learn. Since childhood, when have I ever lost a bet? "

"Presumably never, but there's a first time for everything." Andrew answered with hope.

"Not this time Drew. Not anytime soon."

*~*

Sakura came home to an empty apartment. After looking through all her rooms, including the bathroom, it was official. The great mystery guy was gone without so much as a goodbye.

Sakura sighed in aggravation. This was the last time she ever took in a wounded assassin. She was too dam tired to care right now as to how he was managing with his wound and where he was. All she wanted was to take a nice hot bubble bath to relax and find a way to come up with some hard core evidence to support her case. Sakura would have never found herself saying this, but she had nothing for once.

Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

All she had was the basic facts through which Lettermen was charged, but no in depth research that what mostly caused her opponents to quake. And to add on top of it, she was facing Drake Mason as the opposition. She'd be lucky if she wasn't laughed out of court.

Up to now, Sakura could still not comprehend as to why she had such a hard time finding more evidence. It was as if someone was purposely trying to keep her away form any important facts, but that was a ridiculous notion caused by paranoia. She shook her head to clear these silly thoughts.

"Stop getting distracted" she reprimanded herself. "Keep to what's important Sakura." And so she did, but firstly, starting with the long desired bath.

While going back to her room and stripping her suit, she noticed a neatly folded note lying on he rarely made bed. Slowly, she picked it up and unfolded it to read the sophisticated writing style.

Dear Sakura Kinomoto:

I greatly appreciate your help and your lack of report to the police. In return, I would like to repay you by giving you one solemn advice.

GET OUT OF THE COUNTRY BY MIDNIGHT TOMORROW. YOUR LIFE IS AT RISK. I will distract them until then, but that is all I can do. From then on, you're on your own.

Sakura crumpled the paper within her fist in anger.

"Where does that guy get off in telling ME to leave the country?" she spoke out with rage. "Who the hell does he think he is? A simple thank you would have been sufficient, but nooooo, he goes on to tell me all this shit about leaving and that my life is in danger! UGH! Damit! This is the absolute last and only time I'm ever sheltering assassins!" With one last heavy sigh, she threw the crumpled paper on the floor and went to take her bath, perhaps even cooling down her temper in the process.

But as she entered the hot water and let the sensation of peace engulf her, a nagging sense kept pushing itself to the forefront of her thoughts.

'Maybe I shouldn't shrug this off.' Sakura thought to herself. 'After all, he was here to kill me last night and if I hadn't shot him, he would have done it too..So what happens now that I'm still alive? Is there going to be someone else after me as well now? Why do these people want me dead in the first place?' Layers upon layers of questions piled on top of each other within Sakura's mind, stealing what little time of peaceful solace she could obtain.

Suddenly she didn't feel so confident about ignoring the warning any more. In fact, she felt rather compelled to obey...

"This is ridiculous!" Sakura reprimanded herself. "Who on earth would want me dead?" Then she thought back to all her major cases for the past couple of years, and suddenly the prospect of making an enemy didn't seem all that preposterous to her. The irony hit her full force. Wasn't it just this morning she had proposed that assassins made a lot of enemies in their line of work? Looks like that one came back to bite her in the ass hard.

A sudden itch to call Tomoyo, or anyone for that matter, engulfed her. But she held back the temptation. It would just bring her best friend or someone she loved into this whole mess with her. She may be a lawyer, but she definitely was not cold hearted enough to drag someone down with her to hell.

'So what then?' Sakura asked herself as she gently scooped up a handful of bubbles from the still water surface. 'Do I take the advice to drop everything and leave, or do I ignore it and risk ending up on the 10 o'clock news with a bullet through my head? If I stay here tonight they'll come for sure..but if I stay somewhere else, I'll just get others involved.'

A deep sigh escaped her rosy lips as she shook her head at the current predicament she has gotten herself into. And it all started with a man. Suddenly she felt like one of those abused women who were trapped in a relationship. And she didn't even know the guy's name for God's sake!

'I can call the police' Sakura tried to calm herself as she felt the oncoming rush of panic seize her. 'But then what the hell am I going to tell them? That I sheltered an assassin who tried to kill me and now I have to leave the country cuz some of his buddies might be coming after me as well? Hell if I called myself two days back, I wouldn't even believe it. For God's sake, they'll send me to a insane asylum!' Sakura squeezed her eyes shut in a long moment of contemplation.

On one momentary lapse of judgment where she let her emotions overrule her logic, she had perhaps shattered the very foundation of security she had worked so hard to build herself. So what was she to do now?

For once, Sakura Kinomoto found herself without an answer and very very scarred.

*~*

Jason Tyler had the distinct feeling he was being followed. As he opened the door to his new and predictably not long lasting black sophisticated BMW, he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck rise up as the concealed pair of eyes continued to watch him.

Skeptically, Jason looked around the underground parking lot of his firm. Nothing out of the usual. Everything was quiet...or perhaps too quiet.

'You're getting paranoid Jase' he told himself as he shook out of the stupor. His life was currently going too perfect to worry about hidden shadows out to get him. He had a fast rising law firm and fortune and a brilliant plant to both get the woman he wants and get rid of his biggest rival all in the same shot. Life can't fail him now. It was going way too good.

But deep down, he knew all this could be taken away in an instant with the flash of a bullet through his skull.

Suddenly, the shrill sound a cell phone ringing completely startled the rising bachelor as he dropped his small silver cell on the floor with a jump that caused his head to smash against his car roof.

"Shit!" he called as he bent down to pick it up while at the same time rubbing his head. "Hello? Tyler here."

"Hey honey," cooed a feminine voice on the other line like thick honey desperately trying to preserve its sweetness. "When are you coming?" Jason smiled while at the same time trying for his life to remember who the hell this was.

"Right now babe" he replied with his usual charming rich voice filled with charisma. "So where do you live again?"

"Why I'm at the Plaza hotel right now darling. Room 403. Don't be late."

"I won't" Jason chuckled as he pushed the lid back to end the line. He could sure use a nice fuck tonight to get Sakura off his mind. With a last pleased grin, he looked back before climbing into his car, as if to assure himself there was no one hiding in the shadows.

But he was not prepared to meet the cold steel blue eyes of a killer with a gun pointed to his head.

Life's a bitch.

*~*

"What's wrong honey?" Michael asked the love of his life as he looked up at her from his bed in concern.

"I don't know.." Tomoyo replied with a confused look. "But I get this distinct feeling that something bad is going to happen."

"Oh, a prediction?" asked Michael with a cock of an eyebrow. "What about?"

"I don't know. But I know it just totally killed my mood." Stated Tomoyo as her body began to quiver. Michael quickly got up from the sheets to give his love a hug. Something was wrong. She was never this shaky before. Something must've really frightened her.

"It's ok honey" he spoke gently as he kissed her forehead with sincere love and adoration. "Everything's going to be fine."

"That's the thing." Tomoyo interjected. "We don't know if it's going to be fine or not. Hell, I don't even know what it is." Tomoyo shook her head to clear her thoughts from these premonitions of doom. "All I know is that I need to call Sakura right now. "