Author's Note: If you read the end of "Hunt For the Crystals", then you probably could have seen this coming. Anyway, this little theme has been in my head, so I decided to run with it.
Summary: Our characters are 12. Li and Meilin are both in Hong Kong and Eriol is still in England. And while Sakura has proven herself worthy to carry the Sakura Cards…she's still trying to master one of them. She's still got Kero and Madison on her side. But lately…something's been bothering Madison. She has something she wants to tell her best friend…and she doesn't know how to say it.
If Only You Knew
The time was almost here. The summer was coming to an end and Sakura Avalon was about to enter the world of junior high. At twelve years old, Sakura had been through a lot of trials and ordeals. Some of what she went through was far from typical from what a normal girl would endure. But Sakura was far from a normal girl. She was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary destiny.
She would fall asleep at night and reflect back to what seems like such a long time ago, but in reality was only two years ago. When she was ten, Sakura stumbled on an old book in her dad's basement. It turned out to be the Book of Clow. When she opened the book…her life changed forever. It turned out that she was the only one who could open the book, because she had magical powers. Also, she was destined to seal, convert, and control 52 magical cards known as Clow Cards. It all seemed like so much.
Of course, Sakura met a lot of people on the road to becoming the Sakura Card Mistress. She met her faithful guardian beast, Kero; her rival-turned-friend, Li; her friend, but often rival, Meilin; the enigmatic reincarnation, Eriol; and the guardian under the moon, Yue. They all became Sakura's friends…but things had changed since then. Li and Meilin both went back to Hong Kong, which left Sakura heartbroken…because she felt in her heart that she was in love with Li. Eriol took his two guardians and went back to England. Yue remained in his false form, not having come out since the whole battle with Eriol ended. The only one of Sakura's new friends to remain by her side was Kero.
But there was one other person Sakura could always count on through thick and thin. That was her best friend, Madison Taylor. They had been friends for as long as Sakura could remember and Madison was the first one to find out about Sakura's new magic. In a weird way…the emergence of Sakura's new power brought her and Madison even closer together. And with most of her friends gone, Madison was the only friend Sakura had left.
Sakura reflected on those things as she put her skates on. A beautiful summer day meant it was time to get some skating in before dinner. And Sakura wouldn't have many days left…before summer was over and junior high began.
"Ahem…where do you think YOU'RE going?"
That was the badgering voice of a certain guardian beast. Kero flew out of his desk drawer and flew onto Sakura's shoulder. Sakura turned her head to see Kero glaring right into her face.
"I'm going skating," Sakura said frankly.
"After two years, I thought you'd have your priorities straight by now," Kero nagged. "Don't you have something you need to be doing? You know…a little something involving your magic?"
Sakura let out an audible groan. In two years, she had grown a lot and she went on to become the one and only Sakura Card Mistress. She had successfully converted the Clow Cards into Sakura Cards. But…there was still one thing Sakura had yet to do. She had mastered the use of 51 of the Sakura Cards and even managed to create her own. However, one of the cards remained a mystery to her. And that card was the Libra Card.
Not even Kero knew how Libra was converted. It was just something that happened. And that had him on edge. Since that day a little over a year ago, Kero bugged Sakura about it constantly. He wanted her to learn the Libra Card's secret and finally master it so she can truly become the world's most powerful sorceress. Sakura had other ideas. She just wanted to go out and enjoy the rest of her childhood.
"Kero, can't it wait until I come back?" Sakura asked.
"You've got to learn to be more responsible, Sakura," Kero pestered. "You can't keep putting these things off until later. You have to know when it's time to play and when it's time to practice your magic."
"I know how to manage my time, Kero," Sakura argued. "It's just that right now, I want to go skating. Can't I practice my magic later?"
"That Libra Card isn't gonna figure itself out."
"I know it won't. But I'll get to it later. Right now, just let me have a little fun. I'd think that with summer about to end, you could at least let me have that much."
"You've been having fun all summer," Kero went on. "I've only seen you working on solving this mystery once. You aren't going to get anything done that way, Sakura."
"I'll do it when I come back," Sakura reiterated. "Now where's the phone?"
Kero flew over and grabbed the small cordless phone and brought it to Sakura. She was dead set on having a day of recreation and the little guardian beast wasn't about to change her mind. Sakura was going to have fun on this day.
So she took the phone and started to dial the number of her best friend, Madison Taylor.
Summer was almost over. For Madison Taylor, life was changing before her very eyes. And it wasn't the usual change she was used to seeing. The biggest change she had ever known was when her best friend, Sakura Avalon, revealed that she unlocked a magical book and she had magical powers. That was such an…exciting change.
No, this change was different. And it wasn't just the change of moving on to junior high, nor was it the change of going through…physical changes. It was something else. Madison was starting to feel various…emotional changes.
A new life was going to begin. She would soon be a teenager and that felt overwhelming. And every time she started to think this way…she thought of her best friend, Sakura.
She couldn't hide it from herself. There was no denying it. Madison loved her friend. Maybe that statement was misleading. Madison didn't just love Sakura. She LOVED her. But people would get that confused.
Sakura, in particular, wouldn't understand how much Madison loves her. She would just think the love is just…the way a friend loves another. Madison told Sakura that it wasn't like that. And whenever Sakura would ask what it truly meant, Madison would reply that she would tell her when she was older.
"We ARE older now," Madison whispered to herself.
Perhaps it WAS time to come clean. Maybe it WAS time for Madison to tell Sakura just how she truly felt. Then again…maybe her emotions were getting the best of her again. Lately, Madison's emotions were overcoming her. She couldn't think with a clear head and she often let her emotions take over. It was probably just something that came along with becoming a teenager.
Then her phone rang. Madison picked up the phone and heard that sweet voice that made her heart melt.
"What are you doing right now?"
"Well…my mom's away on business, so I'm here by myself."
"Oh, Madison. I can't leave you alone. You need to come out and have some fun. In fact…why don't you come over and stay the night?"
This was what she wanted. If ever there would be an opportunity for Madison to express how she feels, then this was it.
"Sure! I'd love to!"
"Great! Then I'll meet you at the park. Bye, Madison!"
Madison slowly hung up. Her heart was beating like a drum. Her chance to confess how she felt was quickly approaching. But there were butterflies fluttering all over her stomach. Would she have the courage…to tell her?
The sun was just beginning to set. Sakura needed this day to go skating and the day was made so much better thanks to her friend, Madison. But now they were home and Sakura could only wonder what her father had ready for dinner. When Sakura walked through the front door, though, the house seemed empty.
"Hello? Dad? Tori?"
"I don't think there's anybody here, Sakura," Madison said.
"And you'd be right to think that," a familiar voice said. Sakura looked by the kitchen counter to see Kero.
"What are you doing down here, Kero?" Sakura asked. "Where is everybody?"
"Check the machine," Kero instructed.
Sakura pressed the button on her answering machine and got a message from her father.
"Sakura? I'm sorry I have to leave on such short notice, but the university needs me right now for a quick meeting. I'll be back around midnight and Tori won't be coming home at all tonight. He's spending the weekend with Julian. I'm sure you can get dinner for yourself and for Madison and I'll be home as soon as I can."
That was the message and that meant Sakura and Madison had the night to themselves. It brightened Sakura's already wonderful day even more knowing that Tori wouldn't be around to tease her tonight.
"This is great!" Sakura exclaimed. "The whole night to ourselves…to have fun!"
Sakura paused. "What's wrong, Kero?"
"Haven't you forgotten something?" Kero pointed out. "You still have work to do, Sakura. And with your family gone for the night, there won't be a better opportunity."
Sakura groaned when she realized what Kero meant. "Oh, Kero! Now?!"
"Sakura, you have to be more responsible!" Kero nagged. "That card isn't going to figure itself out!"
"That card?" Madison repeated. "Sakura, you still haven't figured out the Libra Card?"
"Well, it's not like I haven't tried," Sakura muttered. "But it just seems so…strange. I don't understand how to use it…and I don't even know what it's for."
"That's what you have to take time to figure out," Kero added. "So come on. Let's all go into the living room and figure out the Libra Card."
Knowing what had to happen next, Sakura walked up the stairs alone. She had to bring down her key…and the mysterious card in question.
It was a night unlike any other and Madison was kicking herself for leaving her camera at home. This would have been her first opportunity in a long time to film Sakura using her magic. A lot of time had passed since the Clow Cards were converted into Sakura Cards and life since then had just been normal.
Madison couldn't remember the last time she had forgotten her camera. She hardly ever did that. And that made her think that she must have been really distracted on this night. There was something lingering in Madison's head…and in her heart. And that had her mind on other things other than her camera.
Finally, Sakura came down the stairs with her wand and the card in question. This was the mysterious Libra Card. Madison remembered being present the day Sakura sealed it. But the strangest thing was…Libra didn't put up a fight. In fact, it hardly moved at all. It was, without a doubt, the most enigmatic of the Clow Cards.
"Are you ready, Sakura?" Kero asked.
Sakura nodded and threw up Libra. "Libra Card! Release and dispel!"
Sakura struck Libra and that's when it all began. There was an unusual scale that floated in front of Sakura. It was like a balance scale, only one side was a moon and one was a sun. The scale glowed pink. But other than that, the card wasn't doing anything.
"I don't get it!" Sakura sighed in disbelief. "What is this supposed to be? Every time I release it, I see the same thing."
"There's a secret to Libra you haven't figured out yet," Kero tried answering. "Clow Reed didn't figure it out right away, either. It took time…and a lot of concentration."
"What am I supposed to do, Kero?"
"I can't help you on this one, Sakura. You have to use your power to master Libra yourself."
Madison could see the uncertainty on her best friend's face. She wasn't sure what to do. Madison wished she could help, but she had no magic of her own. She was just a normal girl.
Kero flew over and landed on Madison's shoulder. "We'd better leave her alone. She's going to need some time by herself."
"You think she can do this, Kero?" Madison asked.
Kero nodded. "She's stronger than she thinks she is. I have a feeling she'll have the mystery solved tonight. But for now, let's just leave her alone and wait for her upstairs."
There was no use in disturbing Sakura, so Madison went with the little guardian beast upstairs. There was nothing left to do, except wait. And Madison would wait all night if she had to. She would be patient. She was sleeping over anyway. So she would have the whole night…to tell Sakura how she felt.
Sakura saw what, at that moment, was the bane of her existence. She saw that pink scale, the one balancing sun and moon. A scale that just wouldn't go away. Sakura absolutely could not understand what it was supposed to do and how she was supposed to use it.
"What are you supposed to be?"
Sakura finally got an idea. She started to close her eyes…and think back to the day she sealed the Libra Card. It was one of the stranger experiences Sakura had ever faced. She remembered coming face to face with this same exact scale. But it didn't try to attack or anything. It just…remained inert…and Sakura sealed it with no trouble at all.
"What are you supposed to do?"
Sakura didn't have very many ideas in her head. But she suddenly had another one. She reached in…and took out another Sakura Card.
"Return Card! Take me back to the day I sealed Libra! Return Card! Release and dispel!"
With a swing of her wand, Return came out in the form of a black hole and Sakura stepped in. Now was the time for her to go into the past.
Madison peeked downstairs. "Kero…is Sakura leaving?"
Kero looked down as well. "It looks like she's using her head. She must be going back to the moment she sealed the Libra Card."
"But what'll that do?" Madison asked.
"I think I might have an idea. But for now, we'll just have to wait until Sakura comes back."
Surprisingly, Kero was seemingly picking up on Madison's anxieties. "Something wrong, Madison?"
Madison gasped. "Uh…um…what makes you think that, Kero?"
"Come on, kiddo. We've known each other for a little more than two years. I'm starting to pick up on the way you think. Something IS bothering you, isn't it?"
Madison shook her head. "No. There's nothing bothering me."
"Are you sure? We can always talk about it."
"There's nothing wrong," Madison said a little more firmly. But she knew that wasn't true. "Well…maybe there IS something that's been on my mind lately."
"You can tell me," Kero said gently. "What is it?"
"It's just that…we're taking big steps in our lives, well me and Sakura anyway. And we're becoming teenagers…and since I'VE hit that age…I've been starting to reflect on what's been happening in my life. And I've been thinking about certain things…and certain people. Kero…there's something I've been hiding…and I don't want to hide my feelings anymore."
"Oh…you're thinking about someone, aren't you? A special someone?"
"You might say that."
"Well…I say you can't keep your feelings hidden. If you do, it'll just tear you apart. But…you're a smart girl, Madison. I know you'll come clean when the time is right."
Those words made Madison feel a lot better. That helped make things easier. So why did she still feel nervous about this whole thing? Was it those teenage emotions? She didn't know what to think. So she tried to get it out of her mind while she waited for Sakura to come back.
Sakura did notice something strange as she returned to her own time. In the past, she noticed her friends were acting rather strangely and she couldn't tell why. But when Sakura realized she couldn't go any further, she went back to her own time.
Once again, she was in her living room. And once again, she saw the big scale that was the Libra Card's visible form. Sakura closed her eyes again. She tried to concentrate and focus on the big scale. Then she thought about what happened back in the past. And when she did…Sakura felt something.
Sakura felt a huge presence enter her mind. Her head started to feel heavy. She staggered around and started to feel dizzy. Sakura felt lightheaded. Something had struck her mind and seemingly had a hold of it. Sakura moaned softly and opened her eyes.
The scale was gone. It had disappeared. The living room was empty and Sakura was in shock.
"What's going on?" she whispered to herself.
Sakura began to think she unwittingly recalled Libra. But there was no card anywhere. It wasn't to be found anywhere in her living room. A sick feeling suddenly hit Sakura. She had lost it. The Libra Card was gone and if Kero found out, he would throw a fit. This was the type of thing that might get him to transform into his true form and go into a rage. Sakura couldn't tell Kero that she lost it. Then it hit her.
It was time to call it a night. Sakura would just go upstairs and pass the rest of the night with Madison. She would look for the lost card tomorrow. If Kero asked, Sakura would tell him she had already put it away. He didn't have to know about any of this.
Feeling a little more confident, Sakura walked up the stairs where she found Madison and Kero sitting at the top.
"So how'd it go?" Kero asked. "Figure it out yet?"
"I'm getting a lot closer," Sakura answered sheepishly. "But right now, I think I need to take a break. Maybe try again tomorrow?"
"Sounds good," Kero replied. "Hey, you deserve a rest. Using the Return Card to help you was a really wise move, Sakura. Sometimes I forget just how resourceful you truly are."
"Thanks, Kero," Sakura smiled. Then she held her head. She was still feeling a little dizzy. "Um…maybe we should go into my room. I need to lie down."
Madison looked concerned. "Are you all right, Sakura?"
"Um…I'm ok," Sakura slurred. She suddenly felt something painful, but shook it off. "Just…need to lie down."
Kero looked at Sakura curiously. "I didn't think the Return Card would take that much out of you. You'd better get some rest, kiddo."
Sakura nodded and agreed. She tried to stumble into her room, but almost fell over. But she fell into the arms of Madison.
"I'll help you, Sakura," she said softly. "Just…walk this way."
Madison helped lead Sakura into her room. She started to feel a little better, especially now that her best friend was helping her. But Sakura couldn't shake that feeling of lightheadedness. Something was wrong…and she didn't know what.
Madison felt concerned for Sakura. She laid her on her bed and then she went to get her sleeping bag. Madison didn't expect to sleep early tonight, but things had changed. Something was ailing her best friend on this night.
"Good night, Sakura," Madison said as she lay in her sleeping bag.
"Wait, Madison," Sakura responded. "I just feel a little dizzy, but I'm not tired. Can't we…talk…just for a little while?"
"Are you sure?" Madison asked. "I mean…I don't want to keep you up if you feel sick."
"I don't feel sick," Sakura said, but she suddenly twitched and rubbed her temple momentarily. "I just feel…a little lightheaded. I'm ok. Really." She rubbed her temple again. "Let's talk for a little while."
Kero suddenly took the hint and went into his desk drawer. "I'll leave you two alone. Girl talk." Kero sat on his bed and Madison shut the drawer, leaving her and Sakura alone to talk.
"So…what do you want to talk about?" Madison asked nervously. She wanted to tell Sakura how she felt, but she didn't want to rush it.
"Well…has something been bothering you?" Sakura asked.
Madison almost gasped, but held it in. She didn't expect Sakura to come at her with that question. "What do you mean?"
"You've been acting pretty weird today, Madison. Is something wrong?"
Sakura suddenly twitched. It was so sudden and Madison didn't know what to make of it. "I don't know what it is, Madison. But I can feel that you aren't being totally honest with me. Are you sure there's nothing wrong?"
Madison tried to deny it again. "N-Nothing's wrong."
Sakura twitched again. It was like a sudden tic. "No…something IS bothering you. Madison, we've been friends for years. You can tell me. What's wrong?"
Something inside Madison told her she wouldn't be able to hide this much longer. So she said something. "Well…maybe there IS something."
"So tell me. What is it?"
Madison sighed deeply. "Sakura…time's passed by quickly, hasn't it?"
"It really has now that I think of it."
"We're growing up, Sakura. It seems like just yesterday when we were just kids going after the Clow Cards. But now we're becoming teenagers and we're about to enter a whole new world of junior high. Things are changing."
"Not everything's changing," Sakura tried saying. "We're still friends, aren't we?"
"We said we'd be friends forever. We promised each other, Madison. Remember the things we'd always tell each other?"
That was it. That was the sort of question that could lead Madison into what she truly wanted to say. Now would be the time for her to truly express her feelings.
Sakura was starting to feel worse. While she talked with Madison, she felt her vision blur and she felt herself twitch. The talk wasn't going as well as she had hoped.
"I remember," Madison finally answered. "We'd tell each other a lot of things. We'd always promise we'd be friends forever. And I'd always tell you I love you."
"I know you do, Madison," Sakura smiled.
"No you don't!" Madison snapped.
Sakura frowned. She didn't expect the sudden outburst from her usually calm and polite best friend.
"I-I'm so sorry, Sakura," Madison stammered. "I…I didn't mean to lash out like that. It's just that…well…I…I guess I'll tell you…when you're older."
Sakura suddenly realized something. "Madison…I thought I WAS older. You said it yourself. We're growing up. Don't you think you can tell me by now what you mean?"
"Um…well…I guess we ARE growing up. But…but…"
"What did you want to tell me?" Sakura asked.
Madison hesitated. "Um…nothing."
Suddenly, it happened again. Sakura felt her vision blur and she could feel herself twitch. She was feeling ever dizzier than before. And in her head, a quick familiar vision blinked. It looked like the scale she saw earlier, only now it was black.
"Um…Madison…you don't mean that. There IS something, isn't there?"
Madison stuttered for a few moments. "N-No."
Sakura twitched again. "Madison………you're lying to me."
Madison continued stammering. "N-No I'm not!"
Sakura could barely see now. "STOP IT! STOP LYING!"
Sakura clutched her head in agony. Her head was throbbing and she continued to see a black scale flicker in her mind. That's when something landed on her shoulder.
It was Kero. "Sakura, what is it? What's wrong?"
Sakura felt something painful. It was like a kind of burning in her brain.
"Sakura, what is it?" Kero asked again. "What are you seeing?"
Sakura decided to tell the truth. Maybe Kero would help her. "I feel really dizzy. I…I can barely see. And my head's really starting to hurt."
"Yeah, yeah," Kero motioned. "What else?"
"And I'm seeing something in my head. A black scale……" Sakura gasped loudly. "Like the Libra Card!"
Kero snapped his fingers. "Hey, I think you got it, kid! I think you've finally solved the mystery! And you did it all without my help."
"What do you mean?" Sakura cried. "What's happening to me?"
"That's the secret of the Libra Card," Kero explained. "Once the user figures out its secret, you can use it to tell if someone is lying. Whenever someone lies to you or whenever you lie yourself, you start to see all those symptoms and you start to see the Libra Card's visible form turn black. Clow Reed used to use Libra all the time to see if people were lying."
"So…I'm feeling pain because somebody's lying to me?" Sakura asked. Then she looked at Madison. "It's you. YOU'RE lying to me!"
Madison was almost in tears. "S-Sakura, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. I LOVE YOU!"
Sakura finally figured something out. If the Libra Card was inside her head, then the card wasn't lost. And that meant she could recall it. So she did. As soon as Libra came out of her head and back into its card form, the pain went away. Sakura felt fine again. But something else impacted her. It was Madison's words.
"What did you say?"
Madison paused briefly. "I said I love you."
"I know you do," Sakura replied.
"NO! You don't get it. Sakura…I…LOVE…you."
Seeing that there was about to be a confrontation, Kero said nothing more and went back to his desk drawer. He went into his bed and pretended he wasn't seeing anything. Just to make sure he wouldn't see anything, Sakura closed the desk drawer.
It didn't sink into Sakura at first. Then she almost had the wind knocked out of her when she realized just what Madison meant. She didn't know how to react to this.
"I've loved you for a long time, Sakura," Madison continued. "And I will never stop loving you. I will always love you for being my best friend. But…I love you…so much more than that."
Sakura honestly didn't know what to say. "Um…uh…Madison…this…is all so sudden. I…I…I…"
Madison frowned. "Oh……what was I thinking? I'm so sorry, Sakura. I didn't mean to…"
Sakura hushed her friend by putting to fingers to her lips. "Madison, don't apologize. I…I wasn't expecting to hear this. And I don't know what to say. I can't say I feel the same way…I hope you understand."
Madison looked hurt. "Oh…I…I understand."
"But I love you…for loving me," Sakura continued. "And…there's something I want to give you…as my way of saying thank you."
In her wildest dreams, Sakura never pictured doing this. But tonight seemed special. Her friend had poured her heart out to her and Sakura wanted to show her appreciation. So Sakura leaned over…and put her lips to Madison's…locking in a warm kiss. Sakura could tell that this was Madison's dream come true. She could feel her best friend's heart beating faster than anything. Then…the kiss broke.
Madison stayed silent, in shock over what just happened.
Sakura smiled…and turned out the lights. "Good night, Madison."
Before she could get any reaction out of her best friend, Sakura laid down on her bed and turned away to go to sleep. There was a warm feeling in Sakura's heart. There was something about giving her friend what she truly wanted that made Sakura feel good.
But Sakura had to admit, though. Though she may never tell anyone…that kiss…felt good. Sakura…enjoyed it.
Madison didn't know what to do next. It finally happened. She confessed her feelings to Sakura and got everything out in the open. But despite Sakura gently rejecting her, Madison still got one thing she had waited for her whole life. She got…a kiss.
When it was all over, Madison didn't feel hurt. She felt wonderful that she got everything off her chest. And she was forever grateful…for Sakura's sweet kiss. With nothing left to say, Madison lied down on her sleeping bag.
Madison hoped things wouldn't become awkward. Hopefully, they could go on being best friends. But one thing was for sure. Their friendship wouldn't be the same and they would never forget this night.
But Madison couldn't help but wonder…did Sakura enjoy that kiss as much as she did? Madison shrugged.
She probably didn't.
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