Last Time: The climatic final confrontation took place. Ryu finally disposed of his nemesis, Sagat, for good. Guile and Chun Li took care of Balrog and Vega. Li didn't have it so easy, but through one magical kiss…Sakura remembered and Bison's brainwashing was undone. Infuriated, Bison created a barrier and left himself alone with the two Cardcaptors. It was a long, arduous battle, but Sakura and Li both used their power to overcome Bison and take down the barrier. Once the barrier was down, Sakura saved Madison from certain doom by using Float, while Ryu delivered the final blow to send Bison over the cliff. But was it really the final blow? When everyone went to check over the edge of the cliff, Bison reached out for Sakura's ankle and they both went plummeting off the cliff. All Li could do…was watch.


And now…the conclusion


Plucking a Cherry Blossom: Part 10


Scene: The Fields of Bangkok

Perspective: Li Shoran

Li's heart shattered into a million fragments when he saw the horrifying sight. With a final gasp, Bison had reached up and pulled Sakura off the cliff and she fell with him. He still couldn't grasp what had just happened. Sakura…had slipped away from him. She…was gone. Li looked over the edge of the cliff to see that there was no sign of life. All he could see was the darkness below.

Li fell to his knees and immediately broke into tears. He couldn't believe this had happened.

~* No…after everything we've been through together…after all we've shared…it CAN'T end like this! It just…CAN'T!! *~

No one approached Li at that moment. No one could understand the loss he had just experienced. Sakura…the love of his life…the only one for him…his one and only cherry blossom…was gone. Li could only bury his face in his hands and mourn the unbearable loss. He suddenly felt so…alone.

Or was he?

"Li?"

Li looked up. Through his tear-filled eyes, he could see Sakura…on her wand. She saved herself using Fly. He almost couldn't believe he forgot how resourceful Sakura was. When Sakura landed, Li rushed over and threw his arms around her.

"I thought…" he began.

Sakura hushed him by putting a finger on his lips. "For a moment…I thought so, too."

Madison looked over the edge of the cliff. "Bison…is he…?"

Chun Li shook her head. "At this point, I don't even know anymore."

Guile shook his head, too. "It's doesn't seem like Bison has an expiration date. Remember…Ryu thought he…hey! Where'd he go?"

Everyone looked around to see that Ryu…had disappeared. There was no sign of him anywhere.

Guile shrugged. "He sure knows how to make an exit."

"I wish he could've stayed," Madison said somberly. "At least until we thanked him…for everything."

Li had to agree with that. "Yeah…we couldn't have done this without him."

Sakura grabbed Li's chin and she looked into his eyes. "Is it…over?"

Li wished he could say it was all over. But he knew that, although Bison was defeated, it still wasn't over. For Guile and Chun Li it was over, but for Li and Sakura…it wasn't.

Li finally shook his head. "There's still one more thing we have to do."


Scene: Farther Into the Fields of Bangkok

Perspective: …Ryu

Evil had been overcome once more. Ryu had overcome another challenge and he knew what that meant. It was time to leave…and continue his never-ending search for competition. As much as he wanted to stay and watch the emotional reunion between Li Shoran and his beloved Sakura Avalon, Ryu couldn't stick around. Thailand was a new place. It was a place to start looking for a challenge.

But as he reached a town in Bangkok, Ryu started to think. He started to wonder what life might truly be like if he…settled down. What would his life be like if he found that…special someone? Would he cease his wandering ways? Ryu didn't know for sure. He wouldn't know. Only time would tell. All Ryu could do was go on with his own life and…wish Sakura and Li well.

However, this last encounter with Bison and the heartwarming reunion of the two Cardcaptors made Ryu stop and think about the people in his own life. Ryu had been in solitude for years now. He knew it was time to check in on some old friends…just to see how they were faring.

So Ryu went over to a nearby payphone…and started to dial the number of his old friend, Ken Masters. It had been too long.


Scene: Back on the Li Family Courtyard

Perspective: Sakura Avalon

At first, Sakura didn't know what Li meant when he said there was one thing to do. Then she found out. There was still an issue with Li and his uncle Tao. He was still against their being together. So Li took Sakura out to the courtyard to meet with Tao alone. It was time to try and convince him one last time to leave them alone.

"I am relieved that you have come back safely," Tao began. "I take it that intruder has been taken care of?"

"He won't bother us anymore," Li answered. "We took care of him…together."

"Still associating with the outsider?" Tao muttered. "Shoran, you realize that this cannot continue. She's not a member of our clan. You cannot be together. You know who you are to be married to!"

"Hold it!"

Sakura and Li turned around to see someone else come in. It was Meilin. She had just been released from the hospital earlier in the day and when she found out that Sakura and Li would be meeting with Tao, she insisted on joining them.

"You are doing well, Meilin?" Tao asked.

Meilin shook her head. "That's not what I came here for." She put her hand on Sakura's shoulder. "I came here…to speak on behalf of my friend."

Sakura blinked. "Friend?"

"Don't push it," Meilin mumbled.

"But Meilin," Tao began, "I'm doing this for you. The clan has decreed that you two be married. And isn't this what you've wanted?"

Meilin hesitated. "I won't lie to you. I would have liked nothing better than to be with Li. But he doesn't feel the same way about me. What good would a marriage be if it's not based on love? Not that Li and I don't love each other…but we just love each other as friends. We're not IN love with each other. Li and Sakura are in love."

Tao groaned in frustration. "But she's not a part of our family! She can't possibly be worthy of using the magic of our ancestor, Clow Reed."

Kero flew up out of Sakura's pocket. "We're still willing to give you that demonstration if you really want it."

Sakura sighed. She knew this was the only way. So she took out her Clow Key…and got ready for an exhibition.


Scene: The Interpol Jet

Perspective: Chun Li

The mission was finally over. With the apparent death of Bison, Shadaloo was now and forever buried. It took a team effort to take the evil one down, but it was done. Chun Li felt satisfied. She knew that with Bison's demise…her father's death had been avenged.

"So that's another one in the books," Chun Li sighed. "What's next for us?"

"Personally, I could use a vacation," Guile said casually. "I've seen enough to last me for while. Besides, I think we deserve it. And wouldn't you like the idea of vacationing with me?"

Chun Li scoffed playfully. "What? I already have to see you everyday. Isn't that enough torture?"

"All right, we'll discuss vacation plans a little later," Guile grinned. "But…uh…tell me something, Chun Li. Seeing Li and Sakura…going on about love and everything…did it give you any ideas?"

Chun Li knew where he was going with this. She crossed her arms casually and looked at Guile slyly. "Keep dreaming."

Guile didn't give up. He looked at Chun Li seductively, obviously trying to work his so-called charm. Chun Li almost found it kind of cute in a way. Maybe…just this once.

"Ok…" Chun Li sighed.

Chun Li reached over and gave Guile a quick kiss. It felt…good. She went back for another kiss. This was a lot more romantic than she expected. Of course…leave it to Guile to ruin the mood.

"I knew you'd give in."

Chun Li broke the kiss and shoved Guile down by the forehead. "You are unbelievable! You…ARRGH!" Chun Li just sat down and pouted.

Guile just rubbed his forehead. "Was it something I said?"

Chun Li didn't say anything. She just kept pouting. But still, she had to admit that the kiss wasn't half-bad. Maybe when Guile got over his macho façade they could try it again. Chun Li actually hoped it came sooner than later. But knowing Guile…it would probably come much later.


Scene: The Li Family Courtyard

Perspective: Sakura Avalon

Sakura did just about everything she could do. She had done everything Tao had asked of her. She demonstrated the use of many of the cards, including Windy, Shadow, and Libra. Tao seemed impressed. He obviously hadn't expected to see Sakura so adept at this.

"There is only one test that remains," Tao said. He pulled out something that looked a lot like Li's Lasin Board. "Ancient Board of Sorcerer Clow! Give me vision now! Through the powers of magic and the sources of light, is the worthy one in my sight? Show me!"

A bright light shot out of Tao's Lasin Board. Just like the first day she met Li, the light went straight for Sakura. It revealed her to be the one. But she also noticed that the light began to change color.

"The light…" Tao began. "It is…green. Then it IS true. No matter how much I've wished to deny it, Clow Reed's chosen one is YOU!"

"What do you think we've been trying to tell you?" Kero asked dryly.

Tao shook his head. He dropped his Lasin Board in defeat. "There's nothing else I can do. If you are truly worthy…then I cannot stand in your way." He hung his head down. Tao looked…sad.

Meilin walked up to him. "I know why you're sad, Tao. I know it was your dream to one day see Li and I get married."

"It's because I cared about you, Meilin," Tao said. "You were like a daughter to me."

"You can't stand in the way of true love, Tao," Meilin said somberly. "It's a harsh lesson. It's one that I've been forced to accept myself. I know it's tough. But Li and Sakura are in love. That will never change, no matter what happens. Even if Sakura were to die tomorrow, Li would still love her. He can never love anyone else. That's just…destiny."

A tear rolled down Tao's cheek. It looked like that word echoed in his mind: destiny. It appeared that through Meilin's sage words, he finally understood that Li and Sakura were meant to be together.

Tao walked up to Li and sighed deeply. "It is not…easy for me to say this. On behalf of the entire Li family…I apologize. It was wrong for us to put you in the position where you were forced to choose between your family and…your true love. And it was wrong for me to become so intolerant. Shoran…I wish you would come back into our family."

Li…smiled. "I-I'd like that. I'd like to be a part of the family again. But…you realize…I can't stay."

Tao nodded. "I do understand. You will be…leaving us?"

"I have a life back in Japan," Li replied. "But…I'll be sure to visit."

Sakura watched as Tao and Li embraced. It was a heartwarming moment. Li had finally made up with his estranged family. She felt so happy for him. Then she heard a rustling in a nearby bush. Sakura turned her head to see Madison come out with her camera rolling.

"This is so beautiful," she squealed. "It almost makes me cry. It's so wonderful I got this on tape. It just warms your heart."

"Yeah…" Sakura added. "It makes me feel…happy."

Sakura wasn't in any hurry to break the hug between Li and his uncle. She'd let them have this moment. They had five years of lost time to make up for.


Scene: Sakura's Room (The next night)

Perspective: Sakura Avalon

She was finally home. Sakura had gotten home just in time to take a shower. She hadn't had one in a few days. As she washed up, she thought about everything she went through. It was a horrifying ordeal, facing an evil like Bison. It was something she hoped she would never have to do again.

When Sakura stepped out of the shower and into her room, she saw someone tapping on her window. It was Li. Sakura walked over and opened the window.

"Hi," Li blushed. "You…feeling alright?"

"I'm just glad it's over," Sakura nodded. "So…will we be going back to Hong Kong anytime soon?"

"We will someday," Li smiled. "I never realized how much I missed my family until I went to visit them. But seeing them also made me realize one thing. It made me realize…"

Li reached over and gave Sakura a passionate kiss, laying her down on her bed.

"…how much I truly love you."

Li was about to reach over and kiss Sakura again, when…

"Sakura, I…"

At the worst possible time, Tori opened the door and walked in. He walked in to see Li reaching over Sakura for a kiss…and Sakura…in her BATHROBE! There was a delayed reaction, but Tori was definitely about to blow.

And Li knew it, too. "Gotta go!"

Tori roared and went after Li. Li moved at speeds faster than any the Dash Card could ever give him and jumped out Sakura's window. He skillfully landed on his feet and ran away. Tori tried to give chase, but Sakura held onto him.

"Tori, stop!"

"I'll kill him! Wait 'til I see that brat again! I…YAARRGH!"

Sakura finally restrained her overprotective brother and pushed him out her door. She slammed the door and let out a sigh of relief. Maybe this would finally end her tumultuous week. Maybe NOW it was finally over.

But as Sakura lay on her bed, she couldn't help but wonder…what her future held. Would there be any other evils like Bison that she would be forced to encounter? Did anyone else in the world know about the Clow Cards? Would anyone else try to take them?

Sakura didn't know the answers, but she did know this. With Li by her side, she would be ready to take on anything.


Scene: The Bottom of the Cliff

Perspective: ???

He looked on at the pile of jagged rocks where Bison had fallen. He waited for the inevitable moment to occur. The rocks were motionless, but then it happened.

An arm stuck out of the rocks. Bison was moving.

So he threw one more fireball that struck Bison…and this time left him dead.

He shook his head. "Foolish Bison. You should have known better than to try simple scientific brainwashing on the Clow mistress. You should have seen that the way to truly control someone…is to release their inner EVIL!"

Those were the words that he would soon use to his advantage. He would follow his own advice someday. One day, it would be time for him to attempt to take the Clow Cards and use the Clow mistress to his own advantage.

~* Yes…that day will come. It may not come right away, but that day will come. And your inner evil WILL be released, Sakura Avalon. And it is I who shall reign supreme…with the help of an EVIL Clow mistress. *~

Yes, those were the thoughts that ran through his mind…

…the mind of Akuma.


THE END


So that's it…for now. Sakura will now have to look over her shoulder…because she'll never know…when Akuma might strike. But that's a story for another day ^_^


Any comments? I really liked writing this story and a sequel will come in about a month or two. In the meantime, tell me what you thought of this story by reviewing below, because I really want to know what you think!