Disclaimer: I do not own Cardcaptor Sakura but I do own the basic idea of the plot and some of the characters who you don't recognize.
Oh and this chapter is dedicated to jennycuenca for reviewed every chapter in one sitting it seems, lol. I'm so happy and your reviews gave me such an ego boost, I'm glad you like the characters. I'm still finding my way because it was years and years ago since I watched the dubbed version of Cardcaptors (though granted the UK version was better than the USA version) so I'm going to make mistakes but I like this story too much to not write it.
Previously on Sins of the Father:
"Fujitaka Kinomoto is returning."
"I had that dream again."
"Of the girl?"
It was a thick book, almost like a diary, with a red intricate cover with gold decoration. On the front was the most bizarre picture of a fierce lion's face and on the back a symbol of some sort.
Compelled to, she reached out her hand to it and placed her palm on the front of it before jerking it back as though burned. An electrical current had shot up her arm at the touch and it filled her with a warm glowing feeling. Strange. It almost felt as though something had been unlocked…
"Nadeshiko." he whispered as he stared down at the beautiful woman with the verdant eyes.
Tomoyo nodded solemnly. "I was looking for photos of her in case any of them had a picture of the man but none of them did. She looked so happy didn't she? I don't think she stole the book Syaoran. Look how close she is to your mother and mine. She would never betray them."
Placing a brotherly kiss on her head, he made a vow. "We'll find out what happened to her, I promise you that Tomoyo."
"Thank you, Syaoran."
"You really remind me of someone." Tomoyo blurted out uncharacteristically and mentally slapped herself but she had caught Sakura's attention now, she'd just have to plunder on.
Turning her head, Sakura regarded the dark haired girl. "Oh? Who?"
"My mother's cousin. You just seem to share some similarities. She died a long time ago, shortly after I was born actually. No one knows the details, the grown ups keep it pretty hush-hush but she was too young for her death to be natural. Nadeshiko was a nice person. She really didn't deserve to die so young."
"Sakura Kinomoto? Who's Sakura Kinomoto?" Meilin demanded.
Both Li's stepped back as though slapped from the force of the revelation. Meilin recovered first and as per usual ploughed straight ahead with her question. "Nadeshiko had a daughter?"
"The forces that hold Tomoeda together are becoming restless, they're yearning for something. If they're not controlled, they will destroy this sanctuary. Clow Reed's magick is wearing off. We had come to expect this eventuality."
"This is very hard to explain. You've grown up not believing in magick because to you it doesn't exist. To us it very much does. Nearly everyone in this town has magick in them. Tomoeda's a sanctuary for those with magick."
Without a word, Tomoyo turned her hand over and there in her palm was a small orb of… black swirling mist, Sakura spied with surprise. Reaching out, she brushed it with her finger tips and watched as it dispersed before seeping back into Tomoyo's pale fingertips.
Tomoyo smiled. "Your mother could predict things, Sakura, with startling accuracy."
"Well, if she could tell the future, how come she didn't know she was going to die?" Meilin finally asked.
"Hold it." Syaoran commanded as he caught the girls' shoulders and forced her to look up at him. "You can see my aura?"
She gulped under his heavy scrutiny and nodded slowly.
"I don't know." Sakura finally choked out. "I really don't know. I could never see anything before and now everything is so new and shiny and I… I don't know how this happened."
"There's a prophesy that a chosen one will rise, strong and powerful in their magic and they will battle the cards to seal them once more and continue Clow's work to maintain the haven that is Tomoeda. Whoever can open that book and unlock the key, will be the chosen one."
Syaoran sighed. "They thought I would do it once. But I couldn't unlock the key."
"Maybe if you unlock the book, you can unlock the key. That could be the key to unlocking the key." She flushed and her nose wrinkled. "Hoe. That didn't come out right."
"Look, Kinomoto. Hold onto that for me and don't tell anyone you have it. I don't want to get their hopes up."
"No, we don't get earthquakes. We're not on a fault line." Tomoyo shouted over the dark rumbling as she caught a trinket before it smashed on the floor.
"Then, what is it?" Meilin demanded as panic began to lick at her tone.
"Get in the doorway!" Syaoran ordered, clambering in the window and grabbing Meilin by the elbow before herding both her and Tomoyo over to the doorway.
"Sakura, may I call you Sakura?" The woman asked softly, laying her petal soft fingers against the young girls' cheek. "I do not think you're mother is alive. Something inside me tells me that she has long ago passed on."
"I do not know for sure. But the evidence speaks for itself. Your father seduced my friend, he got her with child and then he left, taking a priceless antique with him."
"My father would never have hurt my mother. He loved her. He loves her."
"I hope you are right, my child. But there is a reason Tomoeda has brought you back, my dear girl, and I will find out why. Nadeshikos' death will not go unpunished."
And now back to the story-
Chapter Six - Awakening
Sakura folded her arms against the chilly wind as she stood leaning against the railings over looking the choppy lake of Tomoeda. Lightning spasmed through the thick black clouds, reflected off the turbulent waters and added a charge to the air. Idly she wondered if Li had ever found out what caused the earthquake. By rights, if he hadn't, she should be at home where she could be safe. But she couldn't, she just couldn't go back there. Not yet. Besides, it wasn't home. It was a house where she lived with her father, and her father's girlfriend and daughter.
She sighed. Was Li-san telling the truth? Did she really think her father could have killed her mother? Was her father a murderer? Was he capable of killing someone? She had once had this conversation one night with Naoko. Not about this topic exactly but something similar. To Naoko's way of thinking, everyone was capable of murder. Most just weren't capable or willing to be capable of committing a premeditated murder. But since humans were such fragile creatures, crimes of passion were all too simple to carry out. All you had to do, in Naoko's own words, was bash someone over the head and if they died, you were a murderer.
Maybe her father hadn't meant to kill her mother. Maybe it had been an accident. But if it had been an accident, why didn't he tell someone? She just couldn't believe that her father could be cold and callous enough to just make her mother disappear. To let everyone wonder where or how she had died for so many years. It just wasn't her father's style. She just couldn't wrap her mind around it. Her father just wouldn't kill anyone; especially her mother. He loved her.
But isn't he with Hitomi Yanagisawa?
Meilins' doubt filled words filled her mind. It was true. He had moved on and she had always believed that if you found your true love, there would be no one else. How could her father love her mother and then claim to love Hitomi. They weren't that alike looks wise –she knew that for certain; nor had they similar personalities either -at least she didn't think they did.
She dashed at the tears that leaked from her eyes and tightened her grip on the rail. Why had her father come back here? If this was where he killed her mother, why did he come back? Surely he would know that he wasn't wanted. It just wasn't the actions of a guilty man. However, if he wasn't guilty, why had he left? Why didn't he tell her about her mother? How could she truly know anything without any knowledge?
"No." she whispered. She wouldn't believe her father would hurt her mother. He couldn't. He wasn't that type of person. He had raised her to know right from wrong. He adored Touya and had done everything in his power to make sure they both had a good, stable life. He had worked hard to be both a mother and a father to them.
'But if her mother had been alive, he wouldn't have needed to be both.'
Her phone trilled loudly and she started, reaching into her satchel for it, her fingers brushed the book. The priceless treasure she amended, causing it to pulse and send a tingle shooting through her fingertips. She snapped back her hand. If this book was so important, she thought as she fumbled with the buttons of her phone, why had her father taken it away?
"Moshi-Moshi, Sakura speaking."
"Hey, Sakura. I got your message. Is everything ok?" Her brother's deep baritone soothed her frayed nerves with just a few words. Touya made everything better, and yet, the sound of his voice sent an ache of longing straight through her. She wished he was close so that she could tuck herself in his arms and let him hold away all the bad thoughts. He could protect her from everything and anything.
"Hai, everything's… ok."
"Hai-" A soft expulsion of sound burst from her lips, a high keening sound that ripped from her throat and shattered the air. Unable to stop the crash of emotions from overwhelming her, she tried to muffle the sobs that broke from her trembling lips only to find that once the dam had broken the tears were going to run their course.
"Sakura? Sakura?" Touya's panicked voice burst from the receiver but she couldn't reply. The sobs wracked her body rendering her conversation skills useless. "What is it Sakura? Is it a boy? Tell me his name, Sakura and I'll kick his ass. Come on, Saku, talk to me. Please!"
She sniffled and sucked in a breath, gulping in air and hiccupping every so often in her attempt to gain some composure to reassure her frantic brother. She could already see him half way to his car, ready to be here in a heartbeat and the thought warmed her deep inside. Though her world may be falling down around her, Touya would always be the same; the one constant in her life that she could rely on.
"It's not… a boy, Touya. It's," She stopped to prevent another sob from exploding from her lips. "Gomen, it's not like that. I- Touya, I miss you so much."
"I miss you too, kaijou. But why are you crying? Shouldn't you be doing your math homework?"
Sakura smiled reluctantly. "No, jerk. I don't like math. Besides, I don't get homework on my first day." She blew a raspberry down the phone and smiled at his chuckle. "I- nii-chan, do you remember my mother?"
There was a pregnant pause before Touya spoke. "Vaguely, why? The first couple of years of my life were fuzzy, brat."
She inhaled deeply and blew it out long and slow while her head pounded fiercely, feeling hot and stuffy. "I found out that my mother lived here, right here in Tomoeda. I never knew that. I never knew how she died or if she had any relatives. I met my cousin and-"
"Hold on Sakura. Does Dad know all this?"
"What does it have to do with Dad? They're my relatives. My family. Not his."
"Sakura, what's really upset you?" Touya wondered, shrewdly. He knew his kaijou better than anyone. If she was taking this tone; then something really worrying had happened.
"Did Dad love mom?"
"I don't remember much, Saku, but I do know they were happy. They were always hugging and laughing and kissing. I didn't really understand it. She was really young and he never treated my mother the way he did yours but, she was this wonderful person. So full of light. Dad has never been as happy as he was with her, Sakura. He loved her."
"What happened to her, Touya? How did she die and why won't anyone tell me?"
"I don't remember. I know we left without her. Dad said she'd join us and then… I found him crying one day in the kitchen. He said it was the onions but he was heartbroken. I didn't know it then, but I do now. I guess that was the day she died. But we were in Tokyo by then."
A flutter of hope began to glow in her chest. If they were in Tokyo when her mother died; then he couldn't have killed her. He just couldn't be in two places at once. Unless, he had killed her and it took a few days for him to breakdown…
She sighed. She needed to believe in her father. He was a good man with a kind heart. He tutored his students in college and offered children in her apartment block extra tuition for a small fee. He shopped for the elderly neighbors and he would always make time for her and Touya even when he was swamped with work.
"Why did you go to Tokyo without mom?"
She could almost see Touya shaking his head. "I guess we went to set things up or maybe mum had things to attend to before she left. All I know was that we never saw her once we left."
"What about the book?"
So he didn't know about the book. The book was unique, he would have automatically recognized what she was hinting about if he knew of its existence. Her brother could hide nothing from her. "It's nothing Touya. How's living on your own? You're not having orgies, are you Touya?"
As expected, the outlandish claim distracted Touya from the book. He groaned. "You're not supposed to know about things like that. You're too young and if I even hear about you having a boyfriend, I'll be there so fast-"
Sakura laughed even though inside she felt numb and impenetrable. "Promises, promises!" She cried delightedly.
"Hn." He inhaled sharply then sighed. "My noodles are done. I got to go Sakura. I'll phone you tomorrow? And don't worry about your mother, everything will work itself out. Trust me."
"Hai. Ja ne."
The phone clicked and she placed it back into her bag, turning on her heel and heading down the road back to her house. She needed answers and she needed them now.
"Tadaima!" Sakura stepped into the front hall and slipped off her shoes; replacing them with her slippers as she listened to the sounds of the house, checking for any other presences. "'tou-san? Hitomi-san? Naoko-chan?"
Nobody replied and stepping into the kitchen, she glanced around for any signs that they were around but found nothing. The kitchen was clean; obviously Hitomi had given it a brisk once over before she left for work and there was no hint that anyone had started on the dinner yet. Glancing down at her clothes, she decided to get changed before she started on the meal preparation. It would also give her time to compose herself; she didn't think she was quite ready to face her father yet.
What would she say to him anyway? Oh hey dad, did you kill mum? No, she couldn't say that. Besides the fact that it was rude and insulting, there was also the fact that it would hurt him unbearably. He was her father. She couldn't accuse her father of murder. And even if he did, and she really didn't believe that, he would deny it if asked outright. Anyone would. No one would ever admit to murder, not without sufficient evidence and proof; she'd watched enough crime dramas to know that much.
Oh, this was her father for crying out loud. Her father, who had taught her how to read and write; who had taken her down to the local park at her whim to teach her how to rollerblade and who would put off work to stay at home when she was sick. She just couldn't see him as someone who would have murdered her mother. Her father was a good, kind and honorable man; men like him didn't kill people and if they did, they wouldn't just get on with their lives. They would turn themselves in because the guilt would eat them alive.
No, she couldn't even think of her father as a murderer. She had lived with him for sixteen years and she knew him better than anyone. He just couldn't, no wouldn't kill someone. Especially not someone he loved enough to marry and make a life with. It wasn't in his nature. He was a nurturer, not a murderer.
With that thought stuck firmly in her mind, she ascended the stairs and headed for her room. Just this morning she had sat there on her bed and had contemplated how scary a new school would be, but it didn't seem like a couple of hours ago. It seemed like days ago, weeks even. This morning she wouldn't have dared think her father was a murderer; the thought wouldn't even cross her mind and now, just a few hours later, she was lost and confused. In such a short span of time, her entire world had been turned upside down.
Not for the first time, she regretted the decision to move to Tomoeda but a big part of her felt… relief? No not relief, but she knew that sometimes ignorance really was bliss; however, she needed to know about her mother and if Tomoeda held the secrets to figuring out what happened to Nadeshiko, then she would stay and discover those secrets.
She needed to know.
Dropping her bag onto her bed, she moved listlessly to the box that held her clothes and taking the penknife she had borrowed, she slit through the tape and opened it. Inside, her clothes sat neatly folded and quietly, waiting for her to take them out and put them in their new home. Just the thought of actually taking time to unpack seemed monumental at the moment and she just couldn't concentrate, not with thoughts of murder and her parents in her head.
Sinking onto her bed, she held a skirt in her clammy palm and a hooded tank top in the other. What was she expected to do, she wondered as she slipped off her slippers and reached back to tug down the zipper of her plaid skirt. How was she supposed to find out what happened to her mother if no one knew but her mother? Li-san didn't, her father probably didn't and if he did, well she didn't want to know from him. That would bring up all sorts of questions she just didn't want to face right now.
Why couldn't she just be a normal teenager facing a new school and new friends and boyfriends? She had been normal just a week ago, normal and slightly scared but now… now she was dealing with the potential murder of her mother and the people she thought she could be friends with suspected her father of the murder and as for boyfriends? Well she didn't have time for them and even if she did, there wasn't anyone at the school who she even thought she could like.
What about Li? She ignored the traitorous question and dismissed it immediately. She liked him, she decided, he was really quite interesting and maybe with time she would be able to call him a friend. She certainly felt… connected to him, as if he was someone she could confide in; someone she could tell her deepest, darkest secrets to and he would listen and try to help. He had that ingrained goodness in him even if it was disguised under a heap of frustration and broodiness. But that was understandable given his complicated life. So much pressure, she thought with sympathy, not the type of pressure other kids his age would ever have to face.
Which was why he didn't need some new girl hanging around and bothering him, but if he did need her, she'd be there. Just not as anything more than a friend. The poor guy didn't need a fan club.
A soft hiss began outside as fat juicy drops of rain descended from the thick black clouds, splashing against the window creating thick rivulets that soon became streams that raced down the glass pane. Frowning, she got to her feet and froze, a blush staining her cheeks as her skirt loosened and slid fractionally lower. Dress first, examine the weather later, she decided.
She shimmied into the burgundy skirt and then the pale pink tank top, hanging up her uniform neatly. As soon as she was finished, she crossed to the window and opened it, gazing out into the plummeting raindrops that created a silvery haze over the countryside. Was Li out in that, she wondered as she looked up at the rolling black clouds, thick to bursting with rain. Lightning spasmed through it; dancing and flickering, as though trapped behind and looking for an escape. When it finally did escape, it speared down to the earth with a violent force. She flinched; wondering if it hit anything or was anyone hurt?
It seemed unfair that Li had to handle this on his own. He was only a teenager, just like her, he should have been going to the arcade, going on dates –for some reason that idea struck her as amusing; it just didn't seem like something he would like too much- or playing soccer. Just normal teenager things but instead, he was making sure the town was safe and searching for the cause of the mysterious weather. Shouldn't that be the elders job, she wondered. Why was Li burdened with it?
Because of the book, she realized as she crossed to her satchel. With careful hands, she lifted the book out and laid it on the bed. This book held the secret, she just knew it. If only Li could open it. Then he would be able to place the powers under contract again and the town would be safe. Curiously, she sat down and placed the book on her lap. It didn't look that incredible. Beautiful, yes, it was beautiful, like an ornate diary bound in red leather with brass etchings but it didn't look dangerous. It didn't look magical.
She studied the beast head on the cover, imprisoned by a chain and a sun talisman. On the side, there was a clip but no lock and no key hole. Frowning, she turned it on its side and studied it. If there was no key hole, how did the key open it? Wait, didn't Li say he couldn't unlock the key? How did someone unlock a key? It was a key. Key's opened locks; they didn't open themselves… unless it was a broach or something like on the books in that film about a mummy. They weren't actually keys, but they slotted into the book and opened them. Maybe that was what Li meant. Maybe the key was in the form of a puzzle that he hadn't been able to crack. But that still didn't help.
She placed her hand on the front cover, over the picture of the lion's face. "How do you open?" She wondered quietly.
The book reacted instantaneously. Light spilled out from behind the cover, illuminating the room in a soft golden glow. It pulsed under her hand like a heartbeat, a live thing and she yanked her hand back in surprise. She stared at it but just as suddenly as it had flared to life; it became quiet again, looking just like any other old book.
"You're beginning to scare me." She confessed quietly, her brows knitted over her confused green eyes.
Her mobile trilled shrilly and with a sigh, she lifted it, eyeing the book warily. "Moshi-Moshi, Sakura speaking."
"Sakura-chan, where are you?" Tomoyo's voice exclaimed loudly through the speaker.
Sakura's immediate reaction was to reassure the frantic girl. "It's ok Tomoyo-chan, I'm at my house."
"Oh good, I'm so relieved. I was scared that you might be out in that storm." At Tomoyo's words, Sakura turned her attention to the window in front of her. Already puddles were forming and joining, dripping off the trees and coating the balcony in a slippery film. "Look, I'm really sorry about what Li-san said. I'm sure she didn't mean anything by it. She's just upset about her friends' death and you showed up so unexpectedly. I really doubt that your father could do something like that. After all he raised you and-"
"It's ok, Tomoyo-chan." And she wanted to believe that it was because there were just some things she didn't want to dwell on and she didn't want to alienate her friends. It was probably just as Tomoyo-chan said but part of her refused to believe that. No, she thought with a shake of her head, this was all just a misunderstanding and it would all resolve itself. Everything would be all right in the end. She just had to believe that.
"So are you sure you're ok? I can come over if you want some company."
"No, I'm ok. I'm just working on getting dinner ready." Her gaze moved away from the book as it remained quiet and inactive on her bed; instead it concentrated on the pouring rain outside.
"Well then I'll leave you to it. Don't work too hard, ok?"
"Iie, I won't."
"Goodbye Tomoyo-chan, I'll see you tomorrow at school." Hanging up, Sakura turned her attention back to the book. Maybe she should have told Tomoyo that it had been glowing but of course, she had promised Li that no one would know that she had it; especially not now with Yelan Li being so angry about her father. Was it possible that he stolen it and killed her mother in the process?
She shook her head. No, her father wouldn't have done that. He was incapable of such violence. He didn't even kill spiders and when they had that tiny mouse problem in their apartment, he had refused to use exterminators, poisons or harmful traps. It just wasn't in her father's nature.
He recovered pieces of history and he grieved for the lives that had been lost needlessly in wars. Her father valued life; he'd never destroy it, not even for such a find as the book of Clow. It would be completely against his morals.
But how could she prove what she knew deep in her heart?
Yelan Li hated him, had always disliked him it seemed; so nothing Sakura could say would make her change such a stubborn woman's opinion. She believed he had, if not killed, at least stolen a friend from her. Not to mention the fact that she was an adult and they weren't the best at listening to those younger than them. She was adamant that Fujitaka had killed Nadeshiko and would probably spread that theory to everyone else in the village. The only way Sakura could see of defending her dear 'tou-san was if she were to get legitimate proof but how? She needed answers and help. But who?
What about Li?
She shook her head. He had enough on his plate with the spirits and the book of Clow and besides, Yelan was his mother.
What about Tomoyo? Hmm. While Tomoyo had been perfectly nice and completely forthcoming about their relationship to each other and the magic of Tomoeda, Sakura just didn't know how much she could rely on Tomoyo; which was ridiculous, why would she trust Li more than she trusted her second cousin?
Naoko… Naoko would help, she was sure of it and Naoko wasn't linked in any way to the Li family that Sakura knew of and Naoko was someone she could trust. Plus Naoko was smart, really smart; book smart. Naoko could help her, she was sure of it. But more than that, Naoko would help her and without any ulterior motive.
It was just as she was coming to this decision that she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. Please, she prayed, please let that be the phone glowing and not the book. But, of course, the phone glowed white and the glow that was beginning to permeate through the room was more golden than white. Her head turned and she dropped her gaze to the rectangle sitting harmlessly on her bed, golden light trickling along the frame around the golden beast.
Sakura swallowed and leaned closer, her eyes squinting against the glow to make out what was happening. It was like a door at night, outlined by the light from outside. As she leaned closer, she made out the golden catlike eyes that watched her and then-
She gasped and flung herself back as she was suddenly blinded by the searing beam of gold that exploded from the front of the book.
She should have given the book to Li, she thought panicking, as she dived to the floor; her hand scrambling over the bedcover to find her mobile. Why hadn't she given it to Li? He would have known what to do with it. Now it was turning into a light show and she didn't know what to do. Her hand closed over the phone and she quickly tugged it down to tap in a number… What number? She couldn't phone Touya, he was in Tokyo. She couldn't phone her father, could she? What would she tell him? 'Ano, otou-san, you know that book you stole from the Li-clan? Well it's lit up like a 1,000 kilowatt bulb!'
She shook her head. Think logically, there must be someone. Ideally she would like to phone Li since he knew but she didn't have his number. Tomoyo? Meilin? Li didn't want them to know.
The light was beginning to dim or maybe it was the fact that a shadow was appearing in the middle of the light. Sakura watched it rise on the wall across from her. Funny, it sort of resembled a teddy bear but whatever it was, Sakura did not want it to find her. On deciding this, she began to crawl along the side of the bed towards the door.
A low growl trickled through the room and Sakura froze, her hair standing on end. Oh she should have given the book to Li. What if it was a ghost? She hated ghosts. Squeezing her eyes shut, she began to inch forward.
"Ahhh… that was such a nice nap."
Sakura froze once more and a frown knitted her brow. Nap? The creature had been napping? And did it have wings? She studied the large round head projected on the wall above her, the head had two little semi circles like ears and over its shoulders something seemed to rise up, like wings… she hoped.
"So this is what the new world looks like. It's WAY COOL!!"
Sakura blinked at the hyperactive voice, sounding more like an enthusiastic teenager rather than a blood thirsty beast that she was imagining. Unless it was a ghost of an enthusiastic teenager in which case she'd rather the beast.
Gathering her courage and sucking in a deep breath, she peeked up over the bed at the spot where the book lay. The glow had died down considerably and instead it seemed to resonate from around the creature hovering above it looking round.
"Though it is a bit small for my liking. And where's the kitchen? I want food!"
Suddenly the little yellow pixie (?) stopped in its tracks and inhaled deeply. Sakura dropped down again and prayed and pleaded that it wouldn't find her.
"Hey little girl!"
Koji Hahn stood in the large sheltered doorway of the Town Hall waiting out the heavy shower that had descended onto the small town with no warning. Townsfolk rushed to and fro, hidden from view by large macs and colorful umbrellas barely stopping to exchange a good word. Those students that lived outside the town stood under the bus shelter hoping that the small mini bus would hurry up and come soon so that they could get out of their wet clothing. A few cars splashed through the rivulets of water that streamed down the road and into the drains.
He pulled out a slim white cigarette and put it into his mouth, holding it between his lips as he fished in his pockets for his lighter. It should have been in his jeans somewhere, he'd just bought a fresh one this morning, hence why he had been late for class; putting up with the lecture from old lady Nomura.
Finally finding it, he pulled out the white plastic object and cupping it, he flicked up the flame, waiting for it to catch against the cigarette. Replacing it back into his pocket, he inhaled deeply and blew out a steady stream of smoke through his nose. Instantly his whole body felt relaxed and he slouched peacefully against the stone wall.
His mother would be still working at the local restaurant serving dim sum and noodles to every Tai, Daichi and Haku who popped in to get some sustenance. God knows where his step-father would be but Koji didn't give a damn about the sick opportunist. The more he was away, the happier Koji was but he just wished he'd keep his mother informed so that he wouldn't have to listen to her crying at night. Not that he ever let her know that he heard. That was her business. She chose to marry Nakamura, Koji had no say in the matter; after all he had just been a kid at the time.
He snorted and flicked the cigarette sending ash floating to the ground. Lightning crashed over the sky and he felt a certain affinity for the tumultuous weather. A group of teenage girls in the school uniform walked past him along the pavement talking quickly in soft breathless voices.
He breathed in the cold, wet air and watched his breath plume in front of him as he exhaled. It was getting colder, another shift in the weather. If it continued to go like this, Tomoeda would turn into a modern day ice-age. It was ridiculous and it played into the whole theory with the spirits growing restless, another Li conspiracy to keep the people under their thumb. What pissed him off was that Hime was following the whole thing like a stupid sheep; if Li-san wanted to make up stories to keep the people cowering, that was one thing but bringing her own children into it… it just stank of dictatorship. He hated parents who took advantage of their kids, brainwashing them into believing their ideas. Honestly, he thought Feimei would have at least some sense but it seemed his Princess was eating up the spirit theory too. Silly child.
He snorted and flicked off more ash, watching it flutter slowly to the ground. More students passed by and shot him curious looks before dismissing him just as quickly. It wasn't strange to see Koji lurking around the doorways of Tomoeda, the boy never seemed to want to go home but it didn't mean that the town felt comfortable with him there. You never knew what would set off the brooding temper of the red haired teen.
He sighed and turned his eyes to the sky, the rain was getting monotonous and nothing exciting seemed to be happening in town. Maybe he should just go sit in the restaurant and do his homework but he didn't want his mother fussing over him or trying to buy him food with money she didn't have to spend.
He chipped at the black nail polish on his fingers contemplatively, lifting his head when he heard a cheerful ring of a bell. A figure on a bicycle was zipping along the pavement, weaving in and out of the scant amount of people walking along the shop front. His eyes narrowed on the figure; he recognized the bright blue raincoat decorated with hot pink polka dots.
Feimei Li, now what was she doing down here at this time? Didn't the Li's run home to their precious fortress to keep themselves away from the big evil spirits?
He rolled his eyes and watched as she cycled slowly up the street, not seeming to mind the streaming rain or the poor visibility. She hadn't noticed him, probably wouldn't as they were on different sides of the road and she was concentrating on her path; but because he was watching her, he noticed the way the bike wobbled and the sudden shift of her body that knocked off the balance. Quick as a flash, he had tossed away his cigarette and was down the steps and across the road.
He heard the beep of the horn, the squeal of the breaks as if from a distance and out of his peripheral vision he saw the flash of shock on the drivers face and then suddenly he was slumped against the pavement, on his back and staring up at the thick black clouds. Through the roaring in his ears he heard the growing babble of noise from the people on the street and the slam of a door. Footsteps echoed in his ears and he blinked, focusing on the blobs of shapes hovering over him.
"My god, are you ok?"
"I didn't see her; she just came out of nowhere."
"Should we call an ambulance?"
He scowled up at them. What did they want? Couldn't they see that he was flat on his back and didn't need them asking him stupid questions? Why were they looking to him for advice? They were the adults; he was just a kid for crying out loud. Why couldn't they just leave him alone?
Dimly he was aware of the heavy weight resting against his body, and lifting his head, he peered down at the red head pressed against his chest. "Feimei?" He choked out.
"Are you two ok? Is your girlfriend alright?"
"Not my girlfriend." He muttered; struggling to sit up whilst holding the tiny girl against him. "Hey, Hime, you alright?"
"Hai," She mumbled; her breath a hot expulsion of air through the thin fabric of his shirt. "Oh, itai."
"Ouch?" he repeated in disbelief. Who was the one flat on their back? He was the one who cushioned her fall, not the other way round.
"Hmm, I'm ok." She whispered, sitting back and wincing in pain, her fingers moving up to rub her left temple, while the other hand remained clutched around his shirt. She tilted her head and blinked those big brown eyes up at him… "Hahn-sempai? What… What happened?"
"You decided to dive out in front of a car." He told her gruffly; extracting himself from her hold and rising to his feet, dusting down his pants. He noted grimly that they were soaked through and coated with grit from the puddle he'd landed on.
"What? No, I didn't do that. It wasn't on purpose-"
"She probably slipped on the wet ground," The man who had almost knocked her over stated, motioning to the faded treds on her wheels.
"Iie," Feimei murmured. "It wasn't like that… I didn't slip, I…" She looked up startled at the upperclassman standing over her. Gosh sometimes she hated how tall he was and more so, she hated how he lorded it over her. "Hahn-sempai, I was pushed!"
"Pushed?" Koji shook his head. "No, you weren't. I was standing right over there, I saw you. There was no one around. You must have slipped; though why you insisted on coming out in the rain-"
"I didn't slip. I felt like something shoved into me."
"Uh, do you mind if I go now? If you're both alright, I mean. It's just that I need to get these groceries back to my wife. She gets awfully irritable if I'm late." The man began to fidget nervously, as he scratched the back of his head and smiled sheepishly.
Koji dismissed the man with an irritated nod of his head but he didn't look away from the frowning girl kneeling before him. A gust of wind blew up suddenly and she shivered. A scowl tightened his mouth. "Come on, get up or you'll catch a cold."
She rolled her eyes, pushing herself so that she could stand and her eyes sought out her bicycle, her shoulders slumping in defeat when she saw the bent front wheel. "Aw, shimatta, okaa-san's going to be so mad with me."
"Be glad it's just your wheel and not your head, Hime."
"Hai, I suppose that's true, demo, I don't believe that I slipped. I stand by my claim, I was pushed and if you were any sort of a gentleman, you'd lend me your jacket because I'm cold!"
Koji snorted, his brow crinkling incredulously. "Hime, I'm not like your brother and you being cold means nothing to me."
"Name calling's not very ladylike, hime."
She raked a hand through her soaked hair, frowning at the grit embedded within the strands. "Ew."
"What are you doing out here? Shouldn't you be tucked away, safe and secure in the Li mansion?"
"I was going to the library." She replied distractedly, shivering as another breeze whipped up almost bowling her over from the force.
When she wobbled, Koji stepped forward so that she fell against him but didn't go down. She frowned up at him and placed her hand on his upper-arm to steady herself, as the wind continued to sting her eyes and her lungs.
He tucked his head down to shield it from the biting wind, bracing himself by planting his feet firmly on the ground. "Come on; let's get out of this wind!"
She nodded, huddling closer to him as they made their way, -fighting against the storm-, towards the nearest doorway. Above their heads, thunder growled and lightning crackled. Feimei shivered; a trickle of something scurried down her back. "This is no ordinary wind!" She shouted over the unearthly howling.
"Don't start that again, Hime. I'm not falling for this spirit thing. If you want to scare the townsfolk, that's your prerogative but I'm not buying it."
"It's not a gimic-"
He snarled and whirled on her, hands clamping hard around her forearms like manacles, holding them captive. "Stop it, hime! I'll believe in the magick, I don't have a choice in that but this mythology is bullshit!"
Blinking rapidly to stop the rain from entering her eyes, Feimei glared up at him. He looked so angry, yet so panicked. Did he really fear magick so much? She'd never seen him show any skill but she never knew that he could be scared of it. Quite a few people in Tomoeda didn't have magic but they envied it, they didn't fear it… at least they never acted as if they did. Could it really be possible?
"Is this something to do with your rivalry with Xiao-Lang? Do you still think that you could beat him if you had magic?"
"I don't have magic and nor do I want it. It's nothing but a crutch; something people come to rely on but in the real world, you can't just snap your fingers and have everything fall into place."
She huffed furiously, her chest heaving and her cheeks puffing up as she held in her words. How dare he?! How dare he make it seem as if they just used their magick for selfish reasons? He knew nothing about what they went through; what her brother went through. "If you don't have magick; then tell me this: if you were the whole way over there, how did you get across the road in time to stop me from being knocked down?" She challenged in a low, daring tone.
He froze and stared at her in surprise. How did he...? He remembered standing there but he didn't remember getting there, it was like he blinked and suddenly they were both on the sidewalk, safe from harm. He sucked in a breath. "Who cares how I got there? You should be glad I did!"
Feimei sighed softly. "I am glad; you saved my life Hahn-sempai but…" She pondered her next words for a moment before gathering her confidence and plowing on. "Sometimes people say ignorance is bliss but it can also be a form of cowardice. Don't let your fears blind you."
"I'm not blind, hime. Don't worry about me, I can take care of myself and I don't need magical powers to do so. Maybe you should just concentrate on looking after yourself!"
Her mouth opened to retort before snapping closed in righteous indignation. Hahn-sempai had to be the most stubborn person in the world; he could even rival her dear onii-chan! In the awkward silence that settled between them, she noticed something. "Hey, the wind's died down…" She turned her head to the sky and frowned. "And it's stopped raining."
"Good, I'm going home."
She resisted the urge to stick her tongue out; after all, she was a respectable member of the Li-clan. She couldn't be caught acting childish in the middle of the street.
"Koji?" She called, eyeing the lights that were going out at the bottom of the street, slowly making its way towards her.
Whether it was the fact that she called him by his first name without any added suffix or if it was the thread of fear underlining his name, she didn't know but within a heartbeat he was at her side. "What the hell?!"
"That's not normally how a black out starts, is it?"
"No, all the lights go out together in a black out; not one bulb, then another." It watched as more popped in quick succession. He fisted his hands to prevent them from shaking; there was something so wrong about this situation. As the showering glass came closer, he tugged Feimei back under the awning, keeping his eyes shielded as the light bulbs burst over head. Glass fell to the earth with a tinkling sound too close to his feet for comfort.
"Hey, did you see that?"
Koji looked up from the jagged pieces of glass to look at where Feimie was looking. "What?"
"It was like a visible electrical current, like blue lightning running along the wires just before the bulbs popped."
"Hime, you're… whatever." He sighed heavily. She was determined to see the weird in the… slightly strange; the paranormal in the abnormal.
"I'm being serious- Wow, it's so dark. You don't realize how dark it can get in town without the lights on."
"Your eyes just need a moment to adjust." He pointed out.
She shook her head stepping out into the street, now completely dark bar the lights from the shops. People were huddled in the doorways, looking out at the street to see what had happened. Murmurings rose in a crescendo as most people declared it to be a black out or a fuse must have blown. Feimei sighed. Why, when they lived in such a magical place, was everyone determined to believe in the norm rather than what could be? Didn't they understand that the spirits would be breaking free from their contracts soon? Instead of just pretending it wasn't happening, they should be trying to do something more.
"Ok then," She murmured, folding her arms to ward off the sudden chill. Over head thunder rumbled like an ominous chuckle causing goosebumps to break out over her skin. Her hands rubbed them to warm them with friction and then the lightning flashed, blindingly illuminating a glowing figure standing in the middle of the street. Feimei froze, a scream catching in her throat, closing it.
An eerie howl pierced the silence and the wind suddenly blew up once more, fiercer than before. With her hair whipping around her like coils of wild wet rope, Feimei moved forward, gripping Koji's arm in a vice like grip.
Koji frowned down at the girl, ready to order her to release him but the words died on his tongue as he caught a glimpse of her face. Suddenly the relation to Li was so damn obvious it all but slapped him in the face. Her eyes were almost black with their fierceness, her face usually so alive with life was blank as a mask and her mouth was in a grim line. He was no longer in the company of Princess Feimei but the youngest daughter of the Li Clan.
With a sense of foreboding, he allowed himself to follow her gaze to the middle of the street. A flash of movement streaked across his vision and a loud roar filled the small space between the buildings.
"Get out of here. Now!"
"What is it?" He demanded, feeling the pulse at his throat begin a jittery dance against his skin. What had her in such a state? Why couldn't he see it?
"Go, Koji! You need to go!" She shouted, placing herself in front of him already sliding into her fighting stance. "I need you to go find Xiao-Lang or oka-san."
"What is it, Feimei? Why can't I see it?"
"You don't want to. Just trust me on that. "
He shook his head. He didn't like this sudden aspect of her. She was so different, so eerie and yet she was a warrior as much as Li was. It was unnerving. "Where will he be?"
She closed her eyes and cast out her senses, searching for that familiar green aura that blazed like green fire. It flared in the back of her mind and she allowed herself to be pulled in his direction, idly noticing a throb of hot pink mingling with brilliant gold not too far away from him but they weren't her target. In her minds eye she saw a cluster of trees and in one of them, her brother sat crouched on a branch looking in the direction of the town.
"In the woods, east of here. Now go!"
Koji didn't waste another second; instead he pulled out his cell and dialed a familiar number. "Find Li in the woods and tell him to come to the town, now! And call the elders, we have a problem." No, he didn't believe in spirits but he believed in Feimei. If she said there was trouble, then there was trouble. He wasn't letting her go alone.
Feimei stared at him in horror. "I told you-"
He snorted. "And let you have all the fun, now's your chance to show me that you're right Feimei, don't tell me your chicken."
"On your head be it!" She snarled back and quickly raced after the Thunder Spirit.
A.N. Ah hey, not such a long wait, was it. Heh heh, everything seems to be kicking off in this chapter and it's only been one day. That seems to happen a lot in my fics. Anyways, I love Feimei but don't worry she's not going to seal the Thunder Spirit, lol and she's not super powerful even if she's a Li clan member. So hopefully the next chapter will but up soon enough. I like this story but I know that it'll be difficult to write. I'm not brilliant with action unless I'm in the right frame of mind and then there's the emotional stuff and then the romance… woot!! But anyways, I need to have some feedback so read and review please.