The Music Of Us
Summary: Syaoran never planned to ask the quiet and shy Sakura Kinomoto to sing as Sleeping Beauty in the upcoming school musical. And Sakura never wanted an annoying flirt following her around. Still, they learn to tolerate each other, and more. They're the only ones who can...
Author's Note: They're a little out of character because this started out as a different anime's fanfic, but no one was reading that anime's fics anymore so I decided to make it CCS. PLEASE read and review.
Disclaimer: (Unfortunately) I don't own anything or anyone from Card Captor Sakura.
Chapter 1: Extra Credit
"…And so, considering the fact that your grades are best described as mediocre, I recommend extracurricular activities," the college counselor finished, picking up the sheaf of exam papers in front of her and thumping them on the table. Realizing that her current student hadn't heard a single word, she put the tests down and pushed her spectacles back up her nose.
"Li, are you listening to me?"
The high school senior sitting across from her lazily turned his head to look away from the window. His brown eyes sparkled with amusement, though he was careful to keep his face perfectly straight.
"I'm afraid not, ma'am."
That said, Li Syaoran turned his attentions to the window again, where he could see most of his classmates outside having P.E. And he was supposed to be doing the same, except that his name had been called for the free 30-minute college counseling session all the seniors here were made to attend.
"We're talking about a very serious problem, Li." The counselor had had enough of boys like Syaoran; she'd seen many of the same sort and wasn't about to take any crap from them. She was here to set students on a path, and she intended to do just that. "Your grades were supposed to count for college. And since you've done so much damage already, the only thing you can hope to earn is extra credit in the form of non-academic activities."
"…Mm-hm." He turned to face her again, meeting her gaze squarely. A lot of teachers were intimidated by Syaoran, mostly because he seemed to have absolutely no sense of respect toward them. "And what would you suggest…?"
He wasn't really serious, of course. All he wanted to do was get this over with as soon as possible. Syaoran shoved his hands in his pockets and looked around the office, catching sight of a mirror to his left. He stared at it. An extremely bored teenage boy stared back, his features more than averagely attractive. A shock of chestnut-brown hair fell from the center of his forehead. It's getting too long, he thought.
"…chess club, the school newspaper, and of course the drama production that the school puts on every year." The counselor's eyes seemed to light up at that. "I know they're not looking for just performers—they need scriptwriters, and directors, and other technical people."
I guess I have to do something if I want to continue going to school here, Syaoran thought. "I can help with stuff like that. Behind the scenes and all?"
Since it was the first time this kid had shown a little bit of interest in anything she had to say, the counselor felt relief wash over her. There are no bad students, only bad teachers, she told herself rather proudly. "Yes, yes, that's exactly what I mean. And with your social skills, you could really lend a hand to the crew."
Syaoran shrugged. "I guess."
"So, I'll mention it to the teacher in charge, and she'll get the stage crew to contact you A.S.A.P. Okay?" Gloriously happy that she could have a break now, the counselor stood up and clapped Syaoran on the shoulder. The bell rang.
He nodded wordlessly and his face lit up as the door opened to reveal his friends waiting for him. Unaware that the counselor was still talking, Syaoran started walking out.
"I'm sure you have an ambition in life, too, Li, and I know you have it in you to make it work. Just stick to your goals and…" She broke off as the boy ran towards his friends, immediately throwing back his head and laughing freely at something they'd said. The counselor sighed. Why were students so withdrawn around teachers? It was sad.
Back in my day, I'd have jumped for a chance to get counseling for my future, she thought contemptuously, and headed toward the cafeteria.
On their way to the soccer field, Syaoran and his usual group were telling each other stories and jokes. They got to their favorite spot under a cherry blossom tree and spread out four woven mats they'd brought, ready for a picnic lunch.
"So what did your counselor talk to you about, Tomoyo-chan?" Meiling asked. Tomoyo blushed a little. "She said I had nothing to worry about, since my grades were in the top 2 percent of our year and I had sports, so colleges will see me as well rounded."
"Hmmm…" Meiling said. "I don't know what I have…" Her friends laughed—Meiling was always the innocent one; it was hard to think of her starting university like they all would be next year.
"How about you, Syao-kun?" Meiling asked. She knew he wasn't doing too well in school because he didn't really see the point of sitting in a classroom and learning from books all day long.
"Well, I'm going to help out with the drama crew for some extra credit," he announced.
"What? Li Syaoran, taking extra time for school?" Tomoyo teased. Meiling pulled a funny face at him and he threw some bits of grass at her, sticking out his tongue.
"No, but seriously… I have to, if I want to go to the local college like we're all going to," he said. In Hong Kong it wouldn't matter because the college there was easy to get into, but Syaoran knew he wanted to stay here now. Tomoeda was a lot of fun. Besides, the three friends had already agreed that they'd all apply at the local community college so there was a good chance that they'd be together after high school.
Tomoyo lay down in the grass to stare up at the clouds, and the rest of them followed, their heads forming a circle on the picnic mats.
"What if we don't go to the same college?" Tomoyo whispered. "What if we all separate?"
It was the question that they all wanted to ask and that they were all afraid of. Syaoran looked at Meiling and saw that she was getting sad just thinking about stuff like this. She'd always been about living in the present; it was hard for her to accept that there were so many new responsibilities.
And Syaoran was there to make things better, of course. He was her cousin after all, and back in Hong Kong they'd always been together.
"Hey, it doesn't matter," he said, grinning. "We'll still keep in touch and have lunch together like this no matter what, right guys?"
"Right," Meiling said, smiling.
A few hours later Syaoran was at the drama club's meeting, leaning against the wall with his arms folded. They looked a little disorganized until a senior from another class came up to the meeting and yelled at them all to shut up.
"Guys, we don't have much time! We have to start work, and we need more volunteers," he said. "Okay, here… we need three more supporting roles: one boy and two girls. Oh, and we still haven't finished auditioning for the lead role. Don't forget behind the scenes though, we need more lighting people and some people to cue the performers and help all-around…" No one was listening except Syaoran. It was a little funny.
"I'll do that," Syaoran decided to say, stepping out from the shadows. The senior glanced at him a little apprehensively. Poor guy, Syaoran thought. All the meetings are probably like this.
"And you are?"
"Syaoran Li, new assistant director," he said, smiling. For a moment the other guy stared at him, and then grinned back.
"Welcome aboard," he said. "I'm Hiiragizawa Eriol, director… and producer… and everything in between." He sighed. "I guess I'm just the only dedicated one around here, you know?"
Syaoran wanted to tell him that there wasn't much of a chance that he'd be as determined as Eriol, but the senior had already turned back to the rest of the crew. "Listen up, people!" he yelled. "This is Syaoran. Fill him in and give him something to do." With that he left the stage and went to talk to some of the costume managers, and a crowd of people swarmed to surround Syaoran.
"So, we're doing a musical version of Sleeping Beauty…"
"Do you know where I can get good quality emergency lights?..."
"Here's a copy of the script, you'll need it to cue…"
"The leading actress has to have blonde hair, or at least brown hair since there aren't many blondes around here…"
"Blue, or pink?"
"I guess there are lots of things you can do with some old paint and cardboard, but we need a lot of new…"
"…oh, and how about papier-mâché?"
Syaoran held up his hands in surrender, starting to laugh. He caught Eriol's eye, but the other senior just shrugged. So he was on his own. Syaoran took a deep breath and made a 'cut!' motion with his hands, making them all stop talking.
"Okay. First. One by one."
By the end of the meeting Syaoran was ready to kill that counselor that had recommended this certain extracurricular. He'd been pestered all afternoon with questions and he was more tired than he'd ever been on a school day. It didn't help that he'd gotten home at almost 7:00; now there was less time to do the pile of homework he always had.
And, of course, he didn't know what to do about her. If she showed up everything would be fine, but if she didn't, Syaoran thought, the musical wouldn't be complete. But of course, if she did say no he couldn't run over and ask again, because that would imply something more than just wanting her to audition…
It had all started when he'd walked up to Eriol and asked if he could do something that would really contribute to the musical, like helping the performers or doing props. He wanted something that the audience could look at and ask, Who did that?
Eriol thought for a moment, and then shook his head. "Props and performing's covered, sorry… oh, but there is something you can do." Syaoran remembered his eyes lighting up.
"Uh-huh, what is it?"
"Well, we've found a couple of girls willing to play Sleeping Beauty, but I don't think any of them are really fit for the part. I'm not saying we should give up on them, but if we can find someone better it would be great."
Syaoran thought. He knew Meiling could dye her hair blonde; she was cute and she'd have fun acting on stage too. He just didn't know if she could sing.
"Well okay, I'll help, but don't count on me."
After his meeting ended, he found Meiling waiting for him outside. Syaoran was glad to see her; it was sweet to wait for him like that after school. "Mei-chan, you sure you don't have to be home already?" he asked as they started to walk out together.
Meiling shook her head. "Not really. I finished my homework while I was waiting for you, anyway. The library's nice when you're the only one there."
Syaoran sighed. "You shouldn't have waited…"
Meiling only laughed, and seeing her smile made him want to do the same. "It's okay, Syaoran-kun, no need to worry about me."
He grinned back, and then remembered that he was supposed to be looking for a girl to play the Sleeping Beauty part. "Oy, Meiling-chan, would you be interested in joining the musical?"
"Hmm? As what?"
"As Sleeping Beauty."
Meiling slowly smiled, liking the idea the more she thought about it. "Oh, it might be fun!" she said, and Syaoran knew she wasn't the type to have stage fright. "Umm… You don't need really good actresses right?"
"Right," he said, nodding. "And we don't need really good singers, either."
"Singers?" Her smile faded. "I have to sing?"
"Well, yeah, it's a musical."
"Oh, yeah, I just… didn't think I'd have to sing…"
"Of course you have to. But it's okay, the songs are easy to learn and—"
"No, no, I don't think you'll want me to be Sleeping Beauty if I have to sing," Meiling said nervously. "I might ruin your musical!"
"Oh come on, it can't be that bad…"
"Trust me, it is. Tomoyo can sing, why don't you ask her?"
"Sleeping Beauty has to have blonde hair. Or at least brown hair."
"Now that's just unfair…"
"It wasn't my choice!" He laughed, but he was starting to worry. He'd seen the girls who had already auditioned for Sleeping Beauty, and they weren't anything remotely close to 'beautiful', which was why he'd wanted one of his friends to do it. But now that that plan was ruined…
"Then who else do you think I should ask?" he asked Meiling. They were walking up to her house now, and he leaned against her gate after she closed it behind her.
Meiling thought a little bit. "Hmm…well, I'll ask Tomoyo-chan if she knows anyone with blonde hair who can sing, but for now, maybe you should just buy Tomoyo a wig."
Syaoran shrugged. "She might not have time to practice for the musical, since she's busy getting high grades and doing all her other activities."
"Ah, don't worry, I'll try and find you someone," Meiling said, smiling. "Go home and do your homework now, and don't forget the Math test tomorrow."
Syaoran smiled, waved goodbye, and then continued down the road. His house was just two blocks away, but today he decided to take the long way around the small childrens' park nearby. There weren't any kids playing there right now, and Syaoran had the swings to himself. He sat down and opened his school backpack, taking out a textbook. I might as well do my homework here.
Syaoran hated school, but he could be good at Math when he wanted to be. He'd worked his way through 20 problems and was starting to review for the quiz tomorrow when he realized it was getting a little cold. Putting his books back in his bag, he started walking home.
Wait, this isn't right, I've walked two blocks and I still don't see my street.
There is no way I can be lost.
That's just… pathetic of me.
He checked all the street signs. Usually his street was two blocks from the park, but maybe it was different because he'd gone left around the park's block instead of right… Li, what have you gotten yourself into now?
Syaoran decided that walking on was better than staying here and waiting for night to come, so he continued. He'd gone a few blocks when the road curved right without any other way to go. Syaoran followed, knowing his house was supposed to be to the right anyway. But as he walked on in complete silence save for his footsteps on the road, he noticed there were less houses and more trees. This was the part of their suburb where there were still a lot of vacant lots.
Maybe I should ring a doorbell and ask for directions.
…Nah. I'll find home, it's easy. I've done most of the homework already. The rest is just reading assignments and—
What was that, just
I swear I heard… singing.
The silence made him feel uncomfortable, so he started walking again. Then there, a little to his left—
Far away, long ago, glowing dim as an ember…
Her voice was sweet and pure, cutting through the silence like crystal. Hearing it made him feel like he was going down a rollercoaster drop, or seeing something wonderful like New Year's Eve fireworks.
Things my heart used to know…
To his left a small gate opened onto a garden path lined with flowers. He stopped for a moment, wondering if he'd get caught trespassing, and then decided that it was worth it. Syaoran pushed open the gate, walked up the path, and stopped when he saw the house.
Things it used to remember...
Her voice stopped for a moment but he knew it was just a pause in the song. Syaoran walked up to the one-floor house in front of him and placed one hand on its ivy-covered wall as he bent to look behind it.
And a song…
Behind the house was Kinomoto Sakura, sitting in the shade of a tree in her garden and singing.
Seeing her there in a loose everyday sundress with her light brown curls tumbling down around her face and her green eyes dreamy with flights of fancy made Syaoran stop in his tracks. This wasn't the cold, quiet girl he saw sitting in the back of the classroom every day. And her voice…
Once upon a December.
Her song ended and she sat there with one hand on a forgotten textbook. Syaoran found himself wishing that someone would come along and paint her, or write a poem, or just… do something that could capture this Kinomoto Sakura, in this moment.
The moment didn't last very long.
"What-what are you doing here!"
Her shriek seemed to jerk him awake from whatever had come over him in those few seconds, and Syaoran shoved his hands in his pockets and looked around casually.
"Get out of my backyard, now. I can… charge you with trespassing in just a few seconds, so get out!"
Syaoran was an expert at being calmly infuriating.
"What, is that any way to treat a classmate and friend?" he asked, his eyes drifting to the back door of her house.
Sakura snorted. "Friend? I think this is the longest conversation we've had in years." She stood. One hand went to her hip, the other pointed to the street. "And it's about to end. Get out."
Syaoran shook his head.
"What does that mean?"
She made a strangled frustrated noise in her throat and then stomped over to the back door. "Fine, just stay there and wait for it to get dark." As soon as she was inside, Syaoran counted to 10 and then followed her in. He passed through a small but well cared-for kitchen, and then found Sakura in her living room, cleaning up some stuff in the foyer.
She turned around and was furious to see him. "First trespassing, now breaking and entering. Get out of my house, Li!"
"I didn't break anything…" he said, trailing off when he saw an open door showing Touya's room and a closed door probably leading to her bedroom. He reached for the knob, but in four steps Sakura was in front of him, blocking his way.
"What's in there?"
"Then why can't I see?"
"What's in there?"
"None of your business."
Syaoran nodded slowly and then walked into her brother's room, ignoring Touya's bed and desk in the center of the room. He went up to the bookshelf and started reading some titles. He was lucky that Sakura's older brother wasn't actually home. Touya was known to be very protective of his sister.
"What do you want, Syaoran!"
Syaoran turned to face her. Sakura looked annoyed to the point of being desperate. He'd have to be careful, because this wasn't just an ordinary girl, right? A Card Captor…
"What was that song?"
Sakura frowned. "Huh?"
"That song you were singing. You've got an incredible voice."
She blushed deeply and looked away, but he could tell she liked it. Syaoran was good at flattering people. Especially girls, since he found it easy to flirt, too.
"I… it… it's from an old cartoon, Anastasia. I like the soundtrack a lot, even if it's been years since they showed that movie."
Syaoran nodded. "You know, you should sing."
"I was singing."
"No, I mean in public. You should sing in front of people… like in the musical they have every year."
Sakura's face darkened. "It's not my thing."
Syaoran wasn't going to give up that easily. "Oh come on, Sakura, I don't understand why anyone with so much talent would want to hide it. You'd be the star of the show." And I actually meant that, he thought, a little surprised at himself.
"I don't do performances, okay, Li?"
"Do you have stage fright?"
"Because I just don't like people talking about me, okay?" she snapped. "What are you, a talent agent?"
"I got assigned to find someone either blonde- or brown-haired to play Sleeping Beauty in the musical," Syaoran said. "All you would have to do is sing 3 songs and the finale. And pretend to sleep, of course." Now that he was talking to her up close, he saw how pretty she was. No one really took a second look at Sakura, because she didn't exactly like to talk in class.
She's perfect for this, he realized. And though he still wasn't sure if her beautiful voice hadn't been just a dream, Syaoran decided they needed Sakura. He had a hunch that she could act. She was even acting now, pretending that she wasn't interested.
"I told you, I don't like getting attention I don't need," she said, crossing her arms. "Now get out of my house."
He sighed. "Sakura, please, won't you at least think about it?"
There, I said please, now come on, just say yes because you are perfect for this.
Her face softened a little, but then she scowled again. "Get out! I'm really going to call the police."
Syaoran grinned and went out her front door with his hands over his head, pretending to be a robber. "I surrender!" he said. Maybe Tomoyo will find someone to do it. It'll be okay, he thought, but he felt more disappointed than he'd ever admit.
Sakura waited until he was outside the gate and walked there to make sure that he wouldn't just enter through her back door again. She closed the gate behind him and locked it with a scowl.
"Your street is a few blocks away. Turn right and then right again, and then walk for a block and you should find it."
"Thank you." He waved and started going in the direction she pointed to, noting that he was getting a little tired from walking all over the village all day. He was almost at the turn when he heard her.
"Yes?" He turned to see her still at the gate, looking down.
"I'll think about it."
With that, Sakura turned and ran back to her house, slamming the door behind her. Syaoran waited until he heard no more footsteps, and then shook his head, smiling.
I knew she'd give in, he thought, starting to whistle to himself. He'd known Sakura since he found out she was a Card Captor in fourth grade, and a person with that much dedication to capturing all the Clow Cards couldn't be that bad. Sakura knew what it was like to have a special gift, and Syaoran thought that inside, she wanted to show the world what she could do. She was that kind of girl.
Which was why he wasn't at all surprised when she did turn up at the drama club meeting the next day.
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