Written by: Ciuline Ihmenjo
Cardcaptor Sakura does not belong to me. The characters in Cardcaptor Sakura do not belong to me. CLAMP owns CCS. Besides, even if you do try and sue me, I have no money.
This was written so long ago, I don't think I even remember how the idea first came into my head. I thought, though, that it was long past time for a proper opening for my most epic work.
Disclaimer: This story is not a happy story. It is a story about possibly real (sans the magical powers) situations using not-so-real people. I am not going to dumb down material nor will everything suddenly resolve. I fully intend to portray the characters in the best of my ability. I hope that you, as the reader, will not only understand that, but also remember this as you read through my words. I hope you are not expecting happy bunnies and miraculous rescues by knights in shining armor... life just doesn't work that way.
Please, I am not attempting to deter you from reading this story. I am attempting to prepare you for something that might just be different from everything else.
Italicized words are thoughts. Bold words are emphasis. CAPS WORDS are shouting
o()o Neo Fallen: Taken o()o
It was the same dream she had been having for the last month.
It was the same screaming. The same pleading sound of her own voice echoed off the walls. Her breath was coming in ragged gasps. And a length of rope was wound securely around her wrists. Through her eyes, she could see that she had her school uniform on in the broken glass of a mirror. At least, at some point it could have been a school uniform. All that existed of it now were a few scraps of cloth knotted together as it clung to her form. And in those shards, she could see the form of a featureless man holding her struggling body down. The uniform was shredded to scraps of cloths. And she was screaming. It was the only sound in the room other than the roaring sound of her own breath in her ears as it fought its was into her burning lungs. The scene wavered for a moment. She was looking down at the bed now, and she saw droplets of clear liquid falling down onto it. The sheets were colored rust to bright red from blood. For some strange reason, she knew it was her own blood and her own tears were falling to meet the once white sheets. And then, the sound of the cry of release from the man above her joined her screams of torment, of pain and displeasure. The room turned white for a brief moment...
And Sakura woke in the real world. A sheen of sweat coated her entire body, causing her pajamas to stick to her. Her bangs were plastered to her forehead. After a quick moment of thought on the issue, she was seriously contemplating a change of pajamas. She lifted her arm and watched it drop back to the bed. Another moment passed and she figured that a shower would be expending too much effort after just waking up. A quick glance in the direct of her desk caused her to realize what had woken her up, and the reason she was forcing herself to wake up so early. She rolled over and gave the object of annoyance a bleary stare. It only declared its presence with a loud buzzing as a response and her bleary look hardened into a glare.
"How dare you wake me up," she said in half seriousness, jabbing an accusing finger in the direction of her alarm clock.
Getting up out of the bed, she trudged across the room and yanked the cord out of the wall. Taking a quick glance at her sleeping guardian, she peeled her pajamas off, and decided that she most definitely needed a shower. She was supposed to meet Tomoyo in about an hour and didn't want to upset her friend by being late.
O o o o o O
"Sakura-chan," Tomoyo called out, "over here!" She had dismissed her bodyguards, insisting on the privacy. The raven-haired girl waved cheerfully at her and rushed towards her.
"Hey Tomoyo," Sakura replied. "So, where did you want to eat again?"
"Well, since you agreed that it was your treat..." Tomoyo's finger scanned the row of various stores and restaurants before them. "How about that one?" She pointed out a rather modest café that had opened up a little more than two months ago. "And we can check out that simply adorable fashion store next door."
Sakura sighed, letting the other girl drag her off to the café and whatever else she had planned.
It was only thirty minutes later and Sakura was just finishing the last few bites of cake remaining on her plate. Tomoyo sat back in her chair, a still steaming cup of cuppichino still in front of her.
"How's Syaoran-kun doing anyhow?" she asked suddenly. She dug around in her bag for moment and produced her camera. The little red light above the lens began to glow red.
Sakura flushed crimson. "H-He's... w-well S-Syaoran is... I... uh... I mean," she continued to stammer. "H-he hasn't written s-since Christmas," she blurted.
"That long?" Tomoyo's head tilted slightly to one side. "I can't believe the nerve of him sometimes. It's almost like he's playing a game with you or something."
"He said he'd come down for summer break," Sakura said in defense of her boyfriend. "I mean, he has things to do for school and, you know, things like that."
"That's just what he's telling you," Tomoyo said with a wink.
It was a motion that Sakura didn't quite catch. "HE IS NOT!" she cried out.
Tomoyo only smiled. "Either way, we'll have to send him another picture or something. I'm sure he's worn out all of the other ones."
"Hoe?" Sakura uttered her trademark noise. "Worn out?"
"I'm just saying, that you did only send him about two or three pictures from the end of junior high. That was almost two years ago. And since then you haven't sent him anything other than letters."
"You should send him something else," the other girl said with a slight nod. "He'd like that."
Sakura stammered something intelligible and flushed again.
"And I can make the perfect costume for it!" Tomoyo cried out triumphantly. Sakura slumped in her chair at the comment. Several heads turned in their direction and Sakura's blush darkened noticeably. "So, let's get over to that store now, shall we?"
It was all Sakura could do to place the money on the table and solemnly follow her friend to the shop next door.
O o o o o O
They exited the store after another few hours. Tomoyo walked along humming a turn to herself with rather pleased look on her face while Sakura looked equally exhausted and struggled to keep up with her friend. The dark-haired girl was carrying a single paper bag that looked about ready to burst at the seams.
"Do you really need that much... that much stuff?" Sakura asked with a sigh. Now that she knew there was no way out of it, she was hoping to find any way to expedite the process of Tomoyo's outfit making.
"Well, not really, but it helps to have a lot of choices. I mean, I did get two or three patterns of this fabric and there has to be matching ribbons. The thread needs to match up with the fabric so I have about five or six different styles of that." As she said each item, she pulled them out for Sakura to see. The other girl just continued to straggle along behind her friend, only half-listening to her. She felt something bump into her and she found herself being carried away by the crowd of people that were just beginning to flood the street.
"Tomoyo?" she called out. "Where are you?" It was when she didn't hear her friend's voice that she began to get very concerned.
"Tomoyo!" she cried out frantically. "Tomoyo!" She rounded a corner and saw the bag of fabric strewn across the pathway. People tried generally to avoid it, but the materials continued to be trampled underfoot. Something's very wrong...
A loudspeaker in the background began to blare out a slightly familiar but very long promotional ad for one of the newer shops on the street. She heard a noise from the alleyway behind the café and looked up just in time to see a head of dark hair being dragged into it. Lost in the sea of people, no one seemed to notice. Sakura immediately sprinted after her friend, praying that Tomoyo wasn't in trouble.
"Tomoyo! Tomoyo!" she called out. She ducked behind a large shrub and reached for her necklace, calling the familiar wand to her hand. She skidded around the corner and into the alleyway. And she nearly dropped the wand.
"H-hey Sakura," Tomoyo said nervously from where she was being held.
"Quiet!" was the growled reply. The man had a strong arm wrapped around her neck and was casually moving a gun toward her head. He smiled when Sakura entered the alleyway.
"Make one move and you'll be cleaning your pretty little friend's brains off the concrete." He nodded in her direction of the gun was pressed against her best friend's temple. "Why don't you just turn around like a good girl, pretend that none of this happened, and maybe your friend won't get hurt." He pressed the gun harder into Tomoyo's head to emphasize his point. She closed her eyes and her knees gave way beneath her. He continued to speak: "Just turn around because you aren't going to do much with your little pink stick there."
Sakura cursed herself inwardly. I can't use any of the cards because Tomoyo may get caught in the crossfire. I just can't take the risk. And even if I were to do anything now, he'd kill her! I wouldn't have enough time to summon any of them before he pulls the trigger, not even Time would be able to do anything!"Coward!" she yelled. "Using a defenseless girl as your shield."
"We do what we need to get by," he said with a slight wave of the hand wrapped around Tomoyo's neck. "After all, don't we all have our little parts to play in this world?" He paused for a moment and squeezed a little harder. Tomoyo winced and shut her eyes. "It doesn't take too much to kill a person doing this and I'm sure your friend could tell you that." Her breath was beginning to come in ragged gasps and she clawed helplessly at the hand against her neck.
"Stop it! You're hurting her!" Sakura yelled. She wondered why no one had stopped to look and realized that they were halfway in the alley and the music playing in the background was all but drowning out any of the noise in the alley. "If you're going to kidnap someone..."
He rolled his eyes. "A simple kidnapping? This isn't quite that but I guess you could call it that."
Sakura sighed. I'm so sorry Tomoyo, but I can't save you any other way. "Take me instead!" she blurted.
Tomoyo's eyes became two large violet saucers imbedded in her head. "Don't worry about me! JUST RUN!" She wore an extremely pained expression on her face. "Sakura, you can't..." The gun moved away from her head and the heel of the pistol crashed against her skull with a loud crack. Sakura flinched and began to move when the man cocked the trigger back.
"I thought I told you not to talk." He supported Tomoyo's limp body and maneuvered the gun back against her temple. "And I thought that I told you not to move."
Sakura grimaced in frustration but stopped in her tracks. "I thought you said you wouldn't hurt her!"
"Now don't go and put promises in my mouth that I never said." He looked in her direction and nodded. "About your little plan to save your friend... what's in it for me?" After all, I could just take her and not have anything to worry about."
"I'd go quietly," Sakura said meekly. "I wouldn't struggle and you wouldn't have to worry about me making a scene. All you have to do is promise that you won't hurt her."
The man thought about this for a moment and smiled. "So that's it? Why should I accept?"
"Because!" Sakura shouted. Her voice lowered as the man glared at her. "You wouldn't need to worry about me getting away. She knows me very well. And... and you'd still get a large reward!" She lowered her gaze. "Just please, please don't hurt her."
"What guarantees this to me?"
"If I do anything wrong, you can come back and shoot her. Just kill her and that's it. You'll still have me, but you won't have a witness."
The man contemplated this for a moment and nodded. As stupid as Sakura's plan sounded, it look much less suspicious to take a willing girl than one at gunpoint.
Sakura just hoped he wouldn't take Tomoyo along as well.
"Okay, put down that ridiculous pink thing as well as your stuff and come here then. I guess a willing girl is better than one who struggles." He sighed and lowered Tomoyo to the ground, keeping the gun pressed into her head at all times. "She's quite the looker, but I guess you can do in her place."
"You step away from her first!" Sakura yelled. "I need your vow on this as well."
"And you put the stupid thing down!" he called back. Sakura nodded and placed the wand on the ground, keeping her fingers in contact with it at all times. He pursed his lips and stepped back and away from the unconscious girl. He still kept the gun pointed at her head.
"Now lower the gun and I'll come over, just as long as I can write her a note first so she won't be so scared to find me gone!" Sakura knelt down and placed the wand on top of her small backpack. She dug around for a paper and pen and felt a heavy hand on her shoulder after just a few moments. He kicked the staff away from her – in the direction of Tomoyo.
"One quick note and we leave." He grabbed her shoulder tightly and she yelped at his strong grip.
"R-right..." What am I doing? What am I thinking? But, this is for her sake... please be safe. She began writing quickly, slipping a single card behind the paper, but was unable to finish before she was jerked away by her arm. The pad and pen fell to the concrete and she found her body being dragged away from her bag.
"But I'm not done!" she protested.
"Too bad," he said, "you're on my terms now."
Sakura tried to grab her notebook to finish her brief note but it was just out of her fingertips. Be safe Tomoyo and please forgive me...
O o o o o O
Tomoyo awoke to a splitting pain in her head. All of the day's events were roaring back into her mind. A quick glance at her watch told her she had been out for only one hour. She glanced quickly around Sakura, but her eyes fell onto the pink key chain resting by her leg and the book bag lying forgotten on the pavement. The tears came and she couldn't stop them.
"Sakura?" she cried out, her voice wavering. She tried to stand, but a wave of nausea washed over her body. She felt bile rising in her throat but was able to keep it down.
"Sakura? Where are you Sakura?" Managing at least to crawl in the direction of the bag, she heard a sheet of paper crumple under her hand. She gingerly lifted her arm and saw the hastily scribble note. She rolled into a sitting position and began to read it.
I'm sorry Tomoyo, but in the end, this was all that I could think of. With all my magic, I can't even save my best friend... but I guess that I have. Keep singing because you have so much talent. This may be good-bye as well, so all you can do is—
The note ended there with a large line that went off the paper. And then the single card fell to the ground. Tomoyo reached out with one quaking arm and squeezed her eyes shut. She knew what it was, but couldn't bring her self to look at it. She forced her eyes open in the end and looked at the face of The Hope. She clutched it in her hand and pounded the concrete with the other. Why Sakura? Why did you do this...
"SAKURA!" she screamed. "YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME ALL ALONE!"
Took me long enough, but... I finally finished part one of the Fallen Updated Version. Until I come up with a better title though, it'll still be "Neo" so I'm open to suggestions! Keep those reviews coming because, after all, it only takes a minute!
That is all... for now!
Ja ne Ciuline Ihmenjo