AN: Ok massive massive apologies to everyone who has been waiting 4 years for me to update this damn story. I really am sorry and for a while I've kind of debated whether to continue with the story, but then I went through and re-read all the reviews I've had, and that kind of made my mind up for me. Cause you guys deserve to know how this ends and I can't bring myself to disappoint all of you.
So this chapter is dedicated to everyone who's ever left a review because without you lot I probably wouldn't bother finishing this.
Summary: Sakura and Syaoran both work as assassins for 'The Wolves'. One day they are partnered up, and instantly hate each other. But what happens when their feelings for each other change? What happens when something in both their lives changes, forcing them to choose between life or love?
Disclaimer - I don't own Card Captor Sakura or any of the characters associated with it, they are all property of Clamp. I just borrow them and make their lives more interesting!
Chemicals Between Us
Chapter 12 – A Dark Shadow
'Life is good,' Sakura thought to herself. A few weeks ago she had been a hollow empty shell, devoid of emotion, now she looked and felt like a normal girl. But underneath the happiness there was an underlying nervous current. She knew she had to concentrate on her next assignment, because at the moment she was currently floating around on cloud nine and not paying attention to anything that was going on around her. Syaoran was the same, she noticed. Their relationship had changed both of them into better people, but probably turned them into careless assassins.
"Syaoran, we really need to concentrate on this assignment." Sakura started, bringing it up at breakfast 3 days before they were due to start working at Shinrutsu Technologies. "We've spent the last four days doing nothing towards it. And I don't know about you but I can't wing being a scientist without doing some studying." Sakura felt bad saying it, but she knew if the two of them didn't start focusing there was going to be serious consequences. "The council are up to something and I don't want to risk doing anything that's going to put either of our lives in danger."
Syaoran met her eyes over his cup of coffee. She was right and he knew it, he too had noticed that neither of them was operating the way they normally did. Both of them should be sorting out their aliases and prepping for the mission. But he just couldn't bring himself to let both of them go down the same dark path they had been travelling for so long. For a few days it had been nice pretending that they were just a normal couple. That they went home at night and watched TV, not that they spent their free time planning how to assassinate the president of an international company, cleaning weapons or training.
"I know," he sighed. "Your right, we've both been neglecting our duties. We need to start prepping for this or Monday is going to be a joke." He frowned, thinking of the mountain of work ahead of them. "I guess we better read through the information given to us and at least have a basic knowledge of what we're supposed to be doing." He grabbed the two thick envelopes from behind the microwave and threw one at Sakura. As always she caught it with a deft hand, flashing a grin in his direction.
Sakura started to read through the mountain of information the council had given her. There was a detailed layout of the offices themselves, along with security codes to get to the director's office through a service elevator. Her work pass confirmed her name as Hikari Hantsu beside a picture of herself. There were pages of documents about what the job involved and what she would have to do and say to pass as an adequate scientist, as well as false information to pass on to the competitors about what Takiwana Technologies was up to. After a few hours her brain felt like it was going to explode, there was so much information to take in and only 3 days to absorb enough to make her appear to be a scientist.
"Why didn't I pay more attention in chemistry," she muttered to herself, rubbing her eyes which were starting to strain from all the reading.
"Because at the time you were being trained in how to be an assassin, and I'm guessing your mother didn't think chemistry or corporate espionage was going to feature massively in your future career choice." Syaoran commented, placing another cup of coffee in front of her.
"Your right though, about the corporate espionage part. Is it just me or does this seem very out of character for what we normally do?" Sakura asked. It had been bothering her for a while now. This latest assignment was more spy business than assassination.
"It does seem out of character." Syaoran agreed, "But I suppose that at the end of the day we are still going to kill someone and that if they sent a spy in, there is no guarantee that the job would get done properly."
Sakura nodded and turned her attention back to the documents in front of her. But doubt was still gnawing at the back of her mind, making concentration impossible. After another twenty minutes of staring at the same sentence she gave up and threw the papers back on the table.
"I'm going for a run." She stated. "If I stay cooped up like this anymore my brain will crumble through overuse and my muscles will pack in from underuse." She stretched, proving her point as several bones clicked in gratitude to being moved. "You going to stay here?"
"Yea, I will for now. The floor plan is still bothering me and I want to work out any kinks before we go in." Syaoran replied. "But if I don't make any progress soon I may have to ring Hitoko at the council and ask for some clarification."
"Wow – that's a bad floor plan." Sakura said leaning over his shoulder to have a closer look. "What if we were to go straight through here and then double back through the back of the office back to the service elevator – would that work better?" She asked squinting at the plan from a different angle.
"It might, but I think we need a better set of plans that this, these are useless cause they're from the original blue prints which are 30 years old. Walls could have been moved and doorways sealed off," he commented. "Anyway, thought you were going for a run before your brain explodes or the likes," he teased, grinning up at her.
"Alright, mister I can't read a floor plan, I'm off. I'll be back in a bit ok?" She asked leaning in for a kiss.
"Yep, just don't get lost." He retorted leaning in to the kiss. "You may be able to read a floor plan but your sense of direction is awful."
Sakura slapped him over the back of the head, scowling at him as he laughed. "My internal compass it awesome and you know it!" She flicked him the finger and blew him a kiss before putting on her running shoes and grabbing her phone.
It was a humid day, within twenty minutes of leaving Sakura was already drenched with sweat. She stopped near a water fountain, stretching before bending down to get a drink. It was only noon but the park was almost empty, everyone else was in work or at school. Sakura gulped the water, enjoying the crisp coolness as it slipped down her throat. Shaking out her limbs she continued running, the familiar burning in her legs gave her something to concentrate on. But in the back of her mind there was a churning turmoil. There were so many things that weren't adding up, and the most pressing was the feeling that she was being watched. She turned around, scanning the park for any movement and not seeing anything continued her run.
She didn't notice that hiding further in the park there was a dark shadow. He stayed away from the brightness cast down by the sun, watching her as she gracefully loped around the park in circuits. Sometimes she disappeared from view, but the man didn't move. He just stood there, still as a statue, following her with his eyes. He smirked as she stopped again to stretch; she was so close, but so far away. She would be his, have no doubt about it. But for now he had to bide his time and leave her as she was. But the through of the pain he would inflict on both her and the traitor Syaoran burned in him, making him smile.
Syaoran was still struggling to work out what was wrong with the floor plans, something just wasn't adding up. Reaching for his phone he dialled Hitokos number, a look of disappointment crossing his face when it went straight to voicemail. It was unlike the representative to be unavailable, especially this close to an assignment. Sighing he tried the number for the main reception, knowing that Mai would be able to put him through to someone who knew what was going on.
"Moshi Moshi Takiwana Technologies, Mai speaking. How may I direct your call?"
"Mai, its Li." He stated. "I'm trying to get through to Hitoko but his phone is going straight to voicemail. There are some problems with the documents I've been given and I was looking for some clarification."
"Ah Mr Li, Mr Hama is not available at the moment, but I can pass you though to someone who works in the right department." She replied. "Which section of the documents are you having problems with?"
"It's the floor plans." Syaoran said, slightly unnerved by the fact that Hitoko was unavailable. "Do you know when Mr Hama will be available; I would rather speak to him about this if possible!"
"Sorry Mr Li I'm not sure when he'll be back in the office. I've managed to find someone that works in the same department as him who will have the information you need. His name is Shuya; I'll pass you through to him now. Please hold," she said before hold music started to filter through the earpiece. It gave Syaoran time to think, this was the first time he'd never been able to get through to Hitoko, and it was most irregular. Before he could continue down his train of through an unfamiliar voice spoke to him.
"Mr Li, my name is Shuya. I understand that you've been having some problems with the floorplan that was sent to you, am I correct."
"Yes, there are some things that don't seem to be adding up on the plans I've got here. I was wondering if there was an updated plan I would be able to look at." Syaoran answered.
"I can certainly have a look for you and see if there is anything else available. Am I right in saying that you have the original blue-prints rather that the recent floors plan?" Questioned Shuya.
"Yes it looks the original blue-prints rather than a recent outline of the 17th floor."
"Well I have an updated plan here, I'll have it sent over to you asap." Shuya confirmed. "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
"Actually yes do you know when Mr Hama will be back? I wasn't aware that he was going to be unavailable and I may have some other questions for him at a later date."
"Mr Hama is currently off due to food poisoning. We're hoping he'll be back in sometime next week." Shuya replied. "But I am aware of your project and can give you my direct number if that would be of any assistance."
Syaoran thanked Shuya as he took down his number. He was confident that he wouldn't need to speak to him again, and slightly less unnerved now that there was a reason for Hitoko being unavailable. But at the back of his mind something was still niggling away; there were just too many variables in this latest mission. There wasn't enough time to plan for this properly, and a lot of it would have to be done once they started working there on Monday. His brow creased as he tried to work out what they could plan in advance and what they would have to formulate on the job. He was broken out of his thoughts by the front door slamming. Sakura walked in, her skin glistening from the sweat she'd built up on her run. She went straight to the sink, grabbing a glass off the drainer and filling it. She turned and smiled at him, and all his previous fears were forgotten.
"So, how's the floor plan problem going?" She asked, finishing her drink in a few long gulps.
"Still seems senseless – I spoke to someone at the agency whose going to send over some more floor plans that will hopefully be more up to date."
Sakura frowned. "It's unlike them to not get it right first time. I'll be honest Syaoran there is a lot about this that's making me unhappy."
"I know, I've been thinking along the same lines. We're going to have to do a lot of this once we're actually inside Shinrutsu Technologies. There is too much we can't do till we're actually inside. This is turning more into an undercover operation than an assassination, but I guess there is nothing we can do about it now."
"Well, I think for now, we should go and see Tomoyo and Eriol, because we've been flat out at this for the whole morning. And I don't know about you but I can't face another cup of instant coffee – I'm craving the real thing!" Sakura said, trying to brighten the mood a little. He was right though, she mused to herself, there were to many unknowns to go into this guns blazing.
"I agree, but before we go anywhere you need to go to the shower, because I can smell you over here and I'm not taking you out when you smell like that." Syaoran answered with a cheeky grin.
Sakura crossed her arms, looking mock annoyed at him before throwing him a smile, and dragging him with her.
In the council room, an argument was taking place.
"They are asking too many questions!" One man shouted after watching the video feed. "This is getting to be more of a liability. They are two people we do not want to make angry." He looked angrily at Xie Xie. "This was your idea; I want to know what you're going to do to make this look more legitimate.
Xie Xie frowned at the old council member. "We have nothing to worry about." He said coldly. "We've all noticed over the last few days that the two of them have been more distracted and paying less attention than normal. We have Shuya in place in case they ask any more questions. I am confidents, that despite their misgivings, they will be at their 'new jobs' on Monday. Both of them are too proud to turn round and say they can't do it, and you're as aware of that as I am."
The council men murmured, discussing the merits of Xie Xie's explanation between them. He was right, they noted. Neither of their two top assassins had been as on the ball as previously. This blossoming relationship was impairing the years of training they had both received.
"You are right." He conceded. "As long as there are appropriate fail safes in place we will be able to salvage this. What kind of time frame are we looking at for the time they will be spending in situ at Shinrutsu Technologies?"
"It's been estimated that they will be there for at least 10 days, though it does partly depend on the strength of the security systems there," answered another. "It could be as long as a month, though I believe the longer they are there the more opportunity we will have to make our move. Am I right Xie Xie?"
Xie Xie nodded in agreement. "The longer they are there, and therefore the longer they are together the more careless they will both become. Once Syaoran has been taken care of, the more chance there will be that Sakura will be in no state to continue. That is where we make our move – though we have to wait for some other variable to come into play."
"Do we have a back-up plan in the interim?" Asked another man, his face hidden by shadow.
"We do, and that one is already in motion. I plan on leaving both of them open and vulnerable by stripping away the supports they lean on." Xie Xie answered, a cruel grin spreading on his lips. "All eventualities have been planned for, and since Hitoko has been taken care of there is no risk of our plan being leaked to either of them. Like you said earlier – they are two people you don't want to make enemies of."
All of the council nodded in agreement, though some were still uneasy that Hitoko had had to be disposed of. There were many things in motion now, and none of them could be stopped.
Sakura and Syaoran walked into the coffee shop about an hour later, still holding hands. Tomoyo nearly dropped a tray of mugs when she saw them together. The last time she had seen them was when they dropped in on the way back from their meeting. Obviously something had changed since then, and the change in Sakura was the most noticeable. She was actually smiling openly and not hiding behind a curtain of hair. Putting down the tray before she actually did any real damage Tomoyo raced into the kitchen to get Eriol.
"I suppose I better warn you," Sakura started, "in about 10 seconds Tomoyo is going to start asking lots of questions."
"Why?" Asked Syaoran, looking confused.
"Because we just walked into her shop holding hands and I'm grinning like a kid at Christmas. We've known each other since we were 3, she's going to put two and two together and come up with four!"
"Ah, you mean…?"
"Yes I mean that." Sakura grinned, before she was dragged away by Tomoyo. Syaoran just grinned and sat down, flicking a knowing glance at Eriol, who busied himself making another pot of coffee.
"So..?" Eriol started. "Something's changed hasn't it? Because last time I saw the two of you, you were both jittery over work and now your both smiling and laughing. Also you smell like Sakuras shampoo."
Syaoran smiled, "Yes things are different. Don't get me wrong work is still being an issue, but things in the household have got a lot better."
"By a lot better you mean the pair of you are now sharing a bed on a permanent basis instead of just sneaking back and forth between your two rooms?" Eriol stated, with a knowing smile.
"Something like that." Syaoran shrugged, trying not to say too much. Eriol just raised an eyebrow at him, the corners of his mouth twitching as he tried not to break out into a stupid grin.
The next moment all either man could hear was Tomoyo squealing very loudly as Sakura shot out of the kitchen.
"Eriol you may want to go calm your wife down before she starts throwing up from excitement." Sakura explained looking a bit guilty. "I didn't mean to make her squeal quite that much or quite that loudly."
"I'm not squealing that loudly," came muffled shout from the kitchen, shortly followed by an excited looking Tomoyo. "And I'm not excited enough to start throwing up either!"
Sakura just rolled her eyes. "I think Moscow heard you squealing." She retorted, for which she received a glare. Turning to Eriol she asked for a coffee and sat down next to Syaoran.
Tomoyo looked at the two of them closely. They both looked happy and relaxed. She decided not to go wading in with loads of questions; there would be plenty of time for that later. She sat down next to Sakura, playing with a sugar dispenser and basked in the happiness coming from her friend. Sharing a knowing glance with Eriol she smiled and they talked about everything but the most obvious topic.
None of them noticed the man stood across the street, watching the exchange with a cruel grin.
End Chapter Twelve
AN: Ok so there we go – I have finally (after 4 years) got back on track with this fic. I know that a lot of this chapter may not make perfect sense yet, but all will be revealed!