Author's Note: Last time, Sakura was confronted at gunpoint by CIA Agent Arnold Cole, who shot Li in the arm. Then, in a shocking turn of events, it was revealed that the real Cole was actually killed before any of this ever began and this Cole was a fake. Kero figured out it was the Fake Card. Being exposed, the Fake Card reverted to its original form, took down Agent Carter and took his gun…and pointed it right at Sakura. What happens now?
Cards captured so far: All but one
CCS: The American Cards: Part 26
Sakura's life was flashing before her eyes. She could feel her time was coming, but she never dreamed it would end like this. An American Card was poised to kill her at this very moment.
"I've been itching for this moment," the Fake Card muttered. "Do you have any final words?"
Sakura didn't say anything; she only saw what was approaching from behind the Fake Card. She gasped as it came closer.
The Fake Card turned around and had no time to react. It was a large bear. A bear had been awakened and, in a rage, swiped at the Fake Card down with its bare/bear hand. The Fake Card dropped the gun and fell on his back. The bear tried to mount him and begin an attack, but the Fake Card tried to fight it off.
Sakura had her opportunity. She took out the Stop Card. "Stop Card! Freeze the moment! Release and dispel! Stop!"
The Stop Card took effect on the bear. The bear was frozen in its tracks. And since at that moment the bear was on top of the Fake Card, the fraud was stuck. He couldn't get up from underneath the bear. Sakura approached it and prepared to seal it.
"Fake Card! Return…"
The Fake Card lifted the static bear from under him in an amazing feat of strength. He tossed the bear aside and got a piece of Sakura's wand. They both had a piece of the wand and began wrestling for it. Sakura and the Fake Card were twirling around, each desperately trying to get full control of the wand. They were getting closer to Madison and Meilin, continuing to struggle. Then, Sakura's friends took action.
As soon as she had a clear shot, Madison bravely swung her camera horizontally, nailing the Fake Card in the face. As he staggered back, Meilin ran up and kicked the Fake Card in the chest, knocking him even further back. Then she did a quick legsweep to knock him down. With the Fake Card down, Sakura took out the Earth Card.
"Earth Card! Fall from the skies. Earth! Release and dispel!"
A boulder was slowly coming down from the ceiling. Realizing that would not be enough, Sakura took out the Multiple Card.
"Multiple Card! Create more boulders! Release and dispel! Multiple Card!"
The boulder fell from the ceiling and landed in front of the Fake Card. That wasn't the only one, though. There were more boulders coming out from the ceiling and they were each falling in front of, and on top of, the Fake Card. The Fake Card was being buried in rocks.
Sakura ran up to the large pile and arrived just in time to see an arm rise out of the rubble. She took action quickly.
"Fake Card! Return to your power confined! Fake Card!"
After a long and arduous journey, the final American Card was finally sealed. Breathing a sigh of relief, Sakura recalled the other American Cards. Unfortunately, that meant…
…The bear was unfrozen. Sakura looked behind her to see the fierce bear coming towards her. Sakura took out her only defense.
"Sleep Card! Release!"
The Sleep Card came out just in time. The sparkling powder covered the bear and it fell to the ground in a deep sleep. The bear was hibernating again, and this time, it wouldn't wake up for a while. But once that was finished, Sakura remembered her number one priority at that moment. She ran up to Li, who was still clutching his arm.
Li wasn't saying anything. He was only moaning in pain. Sakura was heartbroken to see him like this.
"I love you,' she said tearfully.
She embraced Li with everything she had in her. He wasn't dying, but Li was in excruciating pain. As tears were coming down, Sakura looked up to see Agent Carter, who had just gotten up.
"We'd better get him to a hospital."
Luck took its course. They weren't lost and they managed to get Li to a nearby hospital. He was being looked at by doctors, while Sakura waited alone outside the door. Madison and Meilin were out taking back the rental car and promised they'd be back shortly. They didn't want to leave their friend for a second more than they had to.
Sakura felt so guilty. All the grief she had caused Li, and then this happened. She never should have even entertained the thought of ending their relationship. What if the outcome was much more tragic? What if Li were actually killed by the Fake Card? Sakura would've never forgiven herself.
Then Sakura heard a comforting voice come from her pocket. "He'll be fine, Sakura. At least now, it's over."
Sakura tried to give a half-smile, but she couldn't. She couldn't until Li came back out. But that's when someone else came in.
"Is he ok?"
Sakura looked up to see an unexpected presence. It was Agent Carter.
"He'll…be fine," Sakura uttered.
"Are YOU ok?"
"I'll…be fine, too."
Carter sat down beside Sakura and sighed deeply. "You know, I'm just waiting for that moment when I'll wake up and find out this has all been a bad dream. One day, I'm in Washington, going about my daily routine; the next I'm getting dragged across the United States by a CIA agent, who was really a weird looking monster called the Fake Card. I still don't get any of it. But you know, I said I'd find answers, and I meant it. Even if I have to get them from you."
Sakura was getting nervous. She sweatdropped. "W-What do you mean?"
"You think I could see what I saw and not have any questions? That was some weird stuff back there, stuff I didn't even think was possible. So I want to know…who are you?"
"Not just that. I want to know…who are you, really? What was with that wand action? What was with those cards that were doing stuff? Why was that thing after you? Why…was that stuffed animal talking? I want to know."
Sakura took a deep breath. "It's…a long story. It's a really long story. But I don't think I can tell you. You wouldn't understand. My own family wouldn't even understand; that's why I haven't told them. You'll understand why I can't tell you."
Carter shook his head. "I'm sorry, but I don't." Just then, his phone rang.
"This is Carter. What's up, Chris. … The impostor? … You called it, man. He was some maniac pretending to be CIA. … Where is he now? … Um, he's dead. … That's right. He got…gored by a bear. There wasn't a body left. He was sent down a river, I couldn't recover it. … The kids? … Um…uh…they escaped. … You heard me. They escaped. … Should we look for them? No, don't bother. They did nothing wrong, Chris. They were pawns being used by that CIA impostor. They didn't know what they were doing. … No, they won't do anything else. They aren't a threat to national security. I think they just want to go home. … When am I coming back? … Look, tell everyone I'm taking my vacation NOW. I've been through a lot. … If I told you, you'd never believe me. … Not if I see you first."
Carter hung up and gave a cocky half-smile. "You owe me. And you know what I want."
This was bad. Sakura knew that she was in a corner. Now she had to come clean, and to, of all people, an FBI agent. She couldn't do it.
Sakura turned around and forgot all her troubles. She was overjoyed to see Li walk out, in a sling, and walk up to her. Sakura ran over to him and practically knocked him down with a big hug.
"Li! You're ok! Oh, I love you so much!"
"I love you, too. But could you get off me?"
Sakura calmed herself and got to her feet. Then she heard Agent Carter approach her.
"I'm still waiting."
Sakura knew she couldn't put it off any longer. She would have to appeal to the agent's sense of integrity and pray that he could not tell anybody. But that's when Sakura got a brainstorm.
"I guess I'll tell you, IF you promise to do one thing for me."
"You owe me one, and you're still asking me for favors?"
"I'll do you another favor," Sakura shot back. "I just need you to do one thing for me."
"What is it?"
When Sakura walked outside the airport, she could hardly contain herself. She was finally home. She had missed Japan so much and she was so happy to be back. But as she walked outside, that's when her disposition plummeted. There was her brother. Tori was waiting for her, and he wanted an explanation.
"Welcome back," he said dryly. "Did you have a safe trip?"
Sakura tried to play it off. "Oh, yeah. You gotta love those plane trips."
"I want to hear everything," Tori said bluntly. "And I want the truth this time. Why were you out in the United States?"
Sakura wasn't sweating this time. She just waited for her alibi. And it came walking up behind her. It was in the form of…
"How's it going? I'm Agent Kevin Carter, FBI."
Tori looked shocked. "FBI?"
"You must be wondering why your sister was asked to travel to the U.S.?" Carter continued. "That's our fault. You see, your sister and her friends witnessed a murder of an American VIP. We needed them to come to the United States to testify, but we had to make sure that no one knew they were coming. You know, for their own safety. The guy accused of the murder had a lot of underground connections, and if they found out we had these four witnesses, their lives would have been in danger. So we even told them to keep it a secret from their families and make something up.
"The trial took a few weeks and thanks to your sister's testimony, this scumbag was put away. Then she told me about her predicament about a concerned older brother, so I felt I owed it to you to give an explanation. You should be proud. Your sister's a brave girl to go through all that."
Tori didn't know what to say. "Is that true, squirt?"
Carter answered for her with a grin. "I'm FBI. Would I lie to you?"
Tori seemingly couldn't argue with that. "I can't believe it. It sounds so crazy…but I can't argue with a government agent. I'm sorry I doubted you, squirt. Should we go?"
"I'll catch up to you," Sakura said. "Let me just…find Li."
Tori shrugged and headed to the car. Sakura tried to muffle her laughter. She couldn't believe it. She had done the impossible. She made up the perfect lie and managed to keep her secret…somewhat.
"Thank you," Sakura said solemnly. "I don't know how I can ever thank you. Um…you will keep my secret…won't you?"
"What, are you kidding me?" Carter scoffed. "If I told anyone what you told me, they'd never believe me. They'd probably throw me in some mental ward. So I'd say your secret's safe with me.
"Besides, I wouldn't do that to you. Not after that great idea you had. This is so great! Man, I can't believe I'm taking my vacation in Japan. I love it! It's better than anything I could've asked for. So…I guess this is it, kid. See ya."
Sakura waved as Carter left the airport. She didn't know the FBI agent too well, but she was relieved to know he wouldn't tell anybody about her secret. More than that, though, she was relieved that it was all over. She was finally home…and had some wonderful memories of the United States.
One day had passed since Sakura came back. School was not kind to her when she got back. She was saddled with homework that she would have to do. When she got home, she tossed down her pile of work on her bed.
"Whoa! What's this?" Kero asked. "Is this everything?"
"It's my reward for being a Cardcaptor," Sakura muttered dryly. "I'll be doing this for weeks."
Sakura was set to get started. That's when her phone rang.
"Sakura? It's Li."
Sakura smiled warmly. "I was wondering when I'd get to hear from you."
"Um…you aren't busy, are you?"
Sakura looked at her mountain of work. "Uh…not at the moment. Why do you ask?"
"Madison wants to play the tapes she made from our trip. She wants us all to be there."
"That's a lot of hours of film. But sure, I'll be there in a few minutes."
"Sakura!" Kero snapped. "What about your homework?!"
"I'll do it later!" Sakura growled at the stuffed guardian. Then she turned back to the phone. "But is Madison feeling all right? I know that this trip has given her enough grief to last a lifetime."
"She's just happy we're all still friends. But she has been thinking of Eriol a lot. Do you ever think he'll come back?"
"I'm not sure. I hope so. It sounds like Madison really feels something for him. I'm afraid she might even go as far as to go to England herself."
"That's the way it's sounding. But she wouldn't do that, though. …Would she?"
Sakura hesitated. "I…don't know. …Anyway, I'll be over there in a little while. But…are you feeling ok, Li? You weren't at school today. Is your arm feeling ok?"
"It still hurts. But I'll live. I'm just glad you're safe."
"I just wanted to thank you again, Li. I owe you my life."
Sakura shed a tear that fell on her desk. She still felt so guilty for not trusting the one she loved.
"Don't worry about it. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if anything happened to you. I love you, Sakura. You mean the world to me."
"I feel the same way. I love you, too."
"So I'll see you in a few?"
"I'll be there."
"Love you, too."
Sakura hung up and dreamily started making her way out. As close as her relationship came to ending, it didn't. Her relationship with Li was stronger than ever and she loved him more than anything.
And she always would.
Kero didn't know what upset him more; the fact that Sakura was putting her work off until the last minute, or the fact that she was leaving him behind. Either way, when she left, it gave him an opportunity to reflect on everything that's happened.
He never would've believed that the United States would have become so populated over the last couple of hundred years. He reckoned that Clow Reed didn't believe it, either. It was a good thing Sakura was around to pick up the mess that was made.
Kero flew over to her desk to examine the incomplete Clow book. There was still no seal on it, despite putting the 20 American Cards back in. He couldn't think of what to do with it. It would be safe in Sakura's hands, but without a seal, there wasn't anything guaranteeing that they wouldn't get loose again.
Then there was a light. It started to emit from a spot on Sakura's desk. Kero recognized the spot as the spot where Sakura shed her tear. He hadn't seen anything like it, since…Li Shoran left for Hong Kong. Sure enough, another card was being created. The tear spread into one last American Card. Kero picked it up and examined it. It read:
"The Trust Card," Kero read aloud.
He didn't know how it happened. Magic was worked once more. But an instinct told Kero to place the card inside the book. So he did. And when he closed the book, a light started to brighten from the book's cover. When the light faded, Kero was amazed to see a seal.
Kero marveled at this. "The book. It's been completed."
The card Sakura had created out of one tear had completed Clow Reed's incomplete book. The incomplete book was completed by The Trust. There really wasn't any other way to describe what just happened.
He couldn't wait to tell Sakura when she got back.
Author's Note: Special thanks to Ina-Chan. Your post on the message board helped a lot with the ending.
That's all folks. This has been really fun to write and I hope you all enjoyed it. I hope to be back in the future. In the meantime, tell me what you think. Review below and let me know.