AN: I haven't edited much, just the grammar and some spellings. Go on if you want to read. –smiles-
Disclaimer: I do not own CCS.
Three minutes after the first bell rang Kinomoto Sakura hurried towards her science class. She had come from math, and as all math classes were, this one also dismissed late. She sighed. She had hated math ever since, with every bone in her body. She just couldn't seem to get why these people wanted something so systematic, so routine-like. It was all very boring that it never got her attention from the very start, and probably never will.
Well, off to science. She thought. Now this was the class that she loved. She loved that they were able to hypothesize and theorize, and think out all of the steps carefully, in order, until they had found the correct answer. Science allowed her to think and analyze, so unlike the brainless computing called math applications.
Standing outside the door to her classroom, she took a deep breath. If there was one thing she hated, it was that the classroom was air conditioned. People might think it weird, but she hates the cold.
Outside she may look like a nobody, with a plain face wearing glasses, a girl wearing plain clothes and looking just like any other girl in Tokyo University. There was no way anyone would notice her. That was what she wanted—plain Sakura, but discreet. How discreet? Well, for one thing, she was smart. At seventeen years old, she was one of the few people on the scholarship program in the university. Nobody else knew, except the few close friends she had. Her family is poor, but she still persevered on putting herself through college. Perhaps the fact that they are poor could explain why she has a freakish aversion to air-conditioning.
Sakura went inside the big classroom and counted the seats to her own. Sitting down, she put on her jacket and crossed her fingers, hoping that she had gotten the numbers right. If she was wrong, the whole row would have to stand up and move because of her. She hated all the attention she would get if that happened.
"Hey, Sakura-chan!" Her best friend Tomoyo greeted her. Daidouji Tomoyo was her second cousin and best friend. When Sakura was accepted to the university, Tomoyo literally begged for her mother to enter her in the same school. As it turned out, none of it was necessary since her mother had planned for her to go to Tokyo U, too. The daughter of a rich president of a toy company was not to be let down when she requested that she be with her best friend during college.
"Hey there, Tomoyo-chan. Did I get the seats right?" Sakura greeted her friend, looking anxiously at her.
"Yes you did," Tomoyo gave her a brief smile, before the teacher had ordered the class to settle down.
As the new lesson started, Sakura listened attentively to the teacher, blocking out all of the sounds. All of the sounds that is, except for one guy's voice.
"Hey, dude, my eye and head really hurts. That stupid ball hitting me in the eye really hurts. I ended up vomiting all night last night."
Sakura drew a withering breath and concentrated profusely at the teacher.
"Dude, I couldn't even get a wink of sleep last night! Stupid ball."
Sakura sighed. Oh well. She really couldn't understand why she couldn't shut out his voice. Li Syaoran's voice.
Li Syaoran was one of the ace players in the university's soccer team. He was good at sports, and people say he does martial arts too. He's smart, too, judging by the high grades he got on math and related subjects. On computing, Sakura thought, wrinkling her nose with distaste. He was rich and also very good-looking. Many fan girls were throwing themselves all over him every day, and he took that to his advantage—his name has been linked to a dozen pretty girls. Sakura didn't know if these were true. Tomoyo had said no, though. Where she got the information Sakura could only wonder. Li Syaoran was perfect…well, almost. He was smart, handsome, and talented BUT he was very arrogant. He knew that he possessed all of the above characteristics thus he was very confident, proud and arrogant. That's why Sakura hated him.
Well, that was after she got over her crush on him. I mean, he is cute and smart, and a soccer player. What else could a girl look for? The year before, she had only settled for subtle glances at him. A month before, she was very happy to learn that he was her science classmate. And that he sat at her back in their elevated auditorium-like classroom. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, she thought sarcastically, mentally rolling her eyes at her past oh-so-gullible self. That was before she learned of his dominant attitude problem.
"Dude, the feet really hurt." Li Syaoran spoke again.
Sakura rolled her eyes heavenward and edged forward on her seat, leaning towards the direction of the teacher.
"Hey everybody! I'm home!" Sakura called out to as she took off her shoes and went inside her modest house. Amazing that the one hour commuting time it took her to arrive didn't seem to dampen her spirit. Li Syaoran did, she noted to herself.
"Hi home!" She heard Kero call out.
"Oh? 'Nii-chan and 'Tou-san aren't home yet?" Sakura asked the talking yellow stuffed toy, who was hovering in the air above her.
"Nope!" Kero answered. "Well? Do you have it?"
"Have what?" Sakura blinked at him innocently.
"Sakura!" Kero whined, "My chocolate cake!"
Sakura laughed as she reached for her bag and produced a slice of chocolate cake in a plastic container.
"Thank you!" Kero snatched it from her hands and dropped onto the kitchen table, munching away on the cake.
Sakura shook her head, "You are hopeless with sweets, Kero. Your cakes take up almost a third of my weekly allowance!" She laughed. There was no response, since the Guardian of the Clow was busily eating his afternoon treat.
Sakura was the Card Mistress, who wielded magic in the form of Sakura Cards. Once, they had been called the Clow Cards, but when she had converted all of them into Sakura Cards five years ago, they were hers. She was now the most powerful sorcerer, albeit the only people who actually knew her magical abilities were…Tomoyo-chan, her self-proclaimed costume designer and video person, Kero, who was the one who had introduced her to the Clow, and Yue, the other Guardian, whose false form was actually her brother's best friend, Yukito, and Sakura's first love. There was no one else…but sometimes she had a feeling that her big brother, Touya, was very suspicious of her actions.
She was now in her second year of university, and as mentioned before, on a scholarship. She was smart, and she had applied for scholarships on various schools, and finally settling down on one university. Her family was poor, and that was the reason why she was happy that she had a scholarship—she didn't want to burden her father, Fujitaka, just like her brother who also worked odd jobs every free time to support himself through college.
Sakura puttered around the kitchen, getting dinner ready.
At school, nobody knew she possessed magic, much like they never knew that she was being educated by their money. She was a nobody at university, and that fit her just fine. She could concentrate on her studies, since keeping her grades up wasn't very easy. Perhaps the reason why they ignore me is that I am so plain? She wondered. Everyday she would just wear baggy pants, a shirt and rubber shoes. Her auburn hair pulled back in a ponytail and wearing no make-up unlike the majority of the girls in the school, she was the epitome of the average student. Not too nerdy-looking, but then not eye-catching either. She had even added glasses to the formula, but then nothing really changed. Suits me fine. She thought.
That's why her only close acquaintance was Tomoyo, and she was very happy that Tomoyo had decided to follow her to Tokyo U. Stunning Tomoyo, with her long raven hair and amethyst eyes would disagree with what she was thinking now, "But you are pretty, Sakura-chan! If you would just lose the fake glasses—yes, Sakura-chan I know they are fake—let down your hair and try to wear more variety the world would see how pretty you are!" Sakura chuckled. They both knew each other too well that sometimes it was almost scary.
Later, Sakura sighed as she looked at the wide array of costumes Tomoyo had made for her years ago. That's when I was from ten to twelve. I'm seventeen now, and they wouldn't fit. Cute Sakura-chan has evolved into drab Sakura. But I don't care, she thought, trying to convince herself as she looked longingly at the few skirts, dresses, and nice tops she had all bought on impulse. She shoved them at the back of her closet. It's not like I will wear them again anyway.
"Good afternoon, Syaoran-sama." An elderly man bowed once Syaoran stepped inside the Lis' massive mansion.
"Afternoon, Wei." Syaoran said absently as he walked forward, Eriol at his heels.
"But I still don't get why you allow the rumors to circulate when they are not the least bit true." Eriol said, still hot at the topic they had discussed earlier at the car.
Syaoran sighed, "That's the best way I can actually stop the rumors from happening. I do not want fan girls throwing themselves at me. Much too disgusting. I'd rather have rumors saying I play girls than that. I'd take rumors over the real thing any day."
"But then why the uber-ly arrogant attitude on display?" Eriol persisted.
"That's also to keep the girls away." Syaoran answered, exasperated. And to keep my mother from having the false notion that I like somebody. If she finds out I do, she is going to be arranging a marriage as soon as possible. IF there was somebody in the first place.
Li Syaoran, 17, was the heir to the Li Clan, a powerful family recognized locally and abroad. They were very rich, not to mention that their family line was ingrained with magic, which was a well-kept secret. His mother was hell-bent on making sure that he was going to be the actual heir that she wanted him married as soon as possible—a strict requirement for heirs. But I am only seventeen! Syaoran thought. He did not want to be married while he was in his teens. He still had a lot to go! That was why he set up a reputation at school—spreading rumors about being an arrogant player, being linked to many girls, so that the female population would always think he was attached, but in truth he was not. The students at his university caught it like wildfire. Two weeks later, he no longer had to make appearances with many girls; he just sat back and let the rumors spread on their own, even without his scheming. Of course the arrogant attitude was still there—Eriol had once commented that about two-thirds of that 'display' was not cooked up. Syaoran had contemplated on it for a moment and decided that perhaps it was true.
Luckily his mother hadn't resorted to arranging a marriage…YET. He shuddered to think about what he had to do once she finally decided that he was going to be married. At least now, she still had the respect to just wait for him to find a girlfriend, and then probably prod him to death to propose to her, whoever she might be. IF there was a girlfriend. He thought again.
At his university, where he was one of the players of the soccer team, girls fawned all over him, supposedly because he had good looks, was talented and smart. Basically, Syaoran thought they were all fakes who only fawned over having the idea of him, not him. He didn't want to think about what might have happened if he hadn't thought about starting the rumors and had been ensnared by some random girl. Probably by now he'd be married, but never happy.
Science again! Sakura thought happily as she entered the classroom. She was always there first, but now was different. As she peeked into the glass in the door, she saw a lone guy sitting in the room. After debating with herself whether to go in or not, she pushed the door open…and gulped.
It was Li Syaoran. Sitting at his seat in the back row, near the center, he had his earphones plugged. His head was lolling on the back of his chair and his eyes were closed. Sleeping, Sakura thought, arrogant git. Walking towards her seat, shuffling her feet noisily, she put down her bag and books with a loud PLOP!, hoping to wake him up, just for the purpose of annoying him.
He began to snore.
Choking back a laugh, Sakura coughed. Nothing. She coughed once more, louder. Now that got his attention.
Startled by a sharp sound, Syaoran woke up. He hadn't slept the night before because soccer practice ended late and he had to study for a test the following day. Pulling the earplugs to his ear he found the source of the sound. The girl who sat in front of him every science class was the one who had…coughed, apparently. He only saw her back, but was sure that it was her, because there was no one else in the room. A second later the door opened and in came his friends, followed by their other classmates and the teacher.
"Yo, dude!" They greeted him.
"Yo." He answered back, his mind on other things. He still couldn't decide on whether to be annoyed at the girl because she had woken him up or to be thankful because she had saved him from the humiliation of having his friends see his past position.
Shaking the confused feeling off, he turned to his friends as they began their daily bashing and complaining about everything else under the sun. Secretly, he was sick of it, and the only reason he could put up with it was that Eriol could, too. He definitely wasn't going to lose to his best friend, when in the first place, it was he who had suggested that they fabricate the false reputations they had today.
After class, Tomoyo regarded her best friend with laughing eyes, "Why do you hate him so much? I thought he was your crush before."
"Aren't you also irritated? I mean, he and his friends never listen to the teacher, they just gossip. Men gossiping, how freaky. And the teacher has a doctorate for heaven's sake! He is in a level much higher than them, why won't they respect him? Because he thinks he's smart and all that?!" Sakura began to rant.
"Now, now, Sakura-chan, calm down." Tomoyo started soothingly, grinning a bit, patting her friend's arm.
"Don't you notice it, too, Tomoyo-chan?" Sakura turned to her friend, her eyes blazing.
"Of course I notice it. I just don't let it get to me too much." Tomoyo glanced sideways at her, "Though I don't get the fact that you, who has always been so calm and composed, seem to be so combustible when it comes to him. I mean, when people do bad things to you, you just ignore them. But with him, you rant. Every after science you rant to me."
"Of course! Why wouldn't I rant about it when there's too much to rant about?" Sakura said, flailing her arms in the air, ignoring the looks of passers-by. "Do you remember the foot?" She hissed.
"Yes, I remember the foot," Tomoyo said dryly. Here we go again, she thought.
"Very well!" Sakura went on, not really hearing Tomoyo. "He said, 'Dude, my feet smell.' Then his friend said 'Really? I can't smell.' Dumb, dumb, dumb friend. Then he said 'Blow on it.' And the stupid friend blew on it. And of course, since we were at their front and we were just so lucky that the layout of the classroom was elevated, thus we were below him and of course his feet and We. Could. Smell. His. Stinky. Feet. Oh I felt so very happy then," Her voice was practically dripping with sarcasm. "I just wish we could use that as blackmail on him. Everyone should know that Li Syaoran's foot smells. But has there been any gadget that records the smell? I am going to invent one, but then what use will it be after? Will we hope that his feet will smell again? He is just plain GROSS."
"Sakura, you are beginning to rant again." Tomoyo stated in a rather calm voice.
Sakura drew a breath and expelled it, trying to calm herself. "Yes, why is it that I always get so worked out because of him? I really hate him."
"Sakura—." Tomoyo began.
But she was interrupted by Sakura's exclamation of "Food!" In a few moments Sakura was no longer beside Tomoyo. When she glanced around, she found her friend quite happily looking at the display of donuts in the food booth they just passed.
"Sakura." She said when she caught up. "There you are. You know, you should stop being down and then up in a matter of seconds."
"I told you I think I have bipolar disorder." Sakura reminded her casually while she was paying for two chocolate donuts.
"How can you be sure?" Tomoyo eyed her skeptically.
"Well, I have taken basic psychology, you know, and the only explanation for being 'down and then up in a matter of seconds' would be a bipolar disorder." Sakura stated matter-of-factly.
Tomoyo sighed at her friend's stubbornness.
"Syaoran, have you ever thought of having a girlfriend?" Yelan, Syaoran's mother, asked him during dinner one night.
"No mother, I am too busy with soccer practice and school to look for a girlfriend." He answered, successful in draining the ice from his voice.
"Well, I have heard that you are quite popular in your school, and I think that all you'd have to do is look for a girl that suits your taste then ask her out and then everything will be okay in a matter of months." Yelan said in a clear voice.
Syaoran emitted a faint sigh. "No thank you, mother. As I have told you before, I am too busy with everything else." He stood up, "If you'll excuse me." Then he left.
Later, Eriol strolled into his room, "You were rude."
"Yes, I know. But I had to do it or else she won't stop."
"What if you just followed her, got a girlfriend, married her and then got on with your life?" Eriol said, sitting down on the edge of his bed.
"You know that 'life' will never be the same. I'll either get a girl who is shy and jumpy around me, or a slut who'd nag and demand every minute of my attention." Syaoran retorted.
"I'd rather choose the shy one, then. At least she is more gullible," Eriol mused. Then as an afterthought he added, "You are too full of yourself."
In answer to that comment Syaoran threw a notebook at him and Eriol, without so much as a batting of an eyelash, sent it flying back to Syaoran. Syaoran dodged in time and the notebook hit the wall on top of his bed.
"Sometimes I forget that you are the reincarnation of Clow Reed." Syaoran glared at Eriol.
"Half," Eriol corrected.
"Still. You are the half reincarnation of Clow Reed. You are my best friend, or at least we think we are. Why wouldn't you tell us where the Card Mistress is?" Syaoran asked, a bit frustrated at a topic debated at for years. Ever since he was ten, when they had heard that the Clow Cards were unsealed and that someone else was capturing them, the Li Clan was adamant on searching for whom she was, so that they could capture the cards, too. It would have been very easy, for they had two assets—Hiiragizawa Eriol, the half-reincarnation of Clow Reed, and Clow Reed's lasin board, which could pinpoint the direction of anyone using Clow's magic. But the 'asset' became a 'liability' since Eriol would not tell them where she was, and had hid the lasin board. Seven years ago, the only thing ten-year-old Eriol would tell them was that the one capturing the cards was a 'she' and that they should not interfere. Two years later, he told them that the girl is now officially the Card Mistress. Still, though, he wouldn't give them back the lasin board. What irked Syaoran more was that had Eriol told them who she was and if he had told them where the cards were, the Clan would have sent Syaoran to retrieve the cards. The mere thought that he could have a chance at capturing the cards and that the Mistress was a girl and had the same age as him made him harbor resentment at her, whoever she was.
"Because it would disrupt fate." Eriol said simply. "Even though I am just a half of Clow Reed, not the whole, I also possess powers, and when my instinct tells me what I must do, I follow it, believing that it was what Clow had intended me to do. That's the reason why I am here, too. I did not just merely appear on your doorstep eight years ago, as what your mother might have told you. And I was right to believe my instincts." He stood up and turned to leave. Just as he was nearing the door, with his back to Syaoran, he said, "Besides, I wouldn't want to endanger my half-daughter's life and interfere with her destiny."
The lock to Syaoran's bedroom door clicked and that was when Syaoran blinked, processing all of the things Eriol had said. Standing abruptly he ran outside the door, to the hallway and shouted, "Who do you mean by your half-daughter?! And why the hell are you young?!"
But Eriol was gone.
In the privacy of his room, Eriol petted a black stuffed toy, who apparently was sleeping, because of its heavy breathing. A knock on the door was heard, and a woman in her early twenties, wearing the Li Clan uniform for helpers, appeared through the door.
Nudging the black stuffed toy awake, Eriol nodded at it and the woman. "Its nearly time to wake them up. Nearly time."
The next day, at Sakura's science class, Tomoyo was absent, because she had to cram a paper due today. Resting her head on her right hand, Sakura frowned. It's going to be a long day…
The teacher was distributing the requirements for their group reporting.
"Please pass to the back." Someone in front of her mumbled, giving her a piece of paper.
Naturally, she accepted the paper and passed it…to the person directly at her back, Li Syaoran. And naturally, being the arrogant git that he is, he just stared at it. She thought, rising anger replacing the frustration she felt against the guy.
"What's that?" She heard him ask. Sakura refused to neither answer him nor even make eye contact. Instead, she turned to the teacher, who motioned for him to take the paper and pass it. So he did.
It took every ounce of her practiced self-control to stop herself from finally making eye contact with him and smirk at him. Instead, she settled back at her seat, an eyebrow and her chin rising a bit in self-satisfaction. Suits you, male counterpart of a prima donna. Ugh.
Later, the teacher asked a question that the class couldn't seem to answer. They were all just tossing around random words but their teacher wanted the specific word. Even Sakura started to participate. The loud boys at the back were all shouting and laughing all over again. She saw the teacher getting aggravated that he even began to act out the word using his hands. Then…
"Ah! I know that," she heard someone from the back say. It was Li Syaoran. It seemed that she was the only one who heard it because she was near him. Sakura sighed again; I really cannot shut him out. Then, in a louder voice she heard him announce to the class, "Connection!"
There was a momentary lull before the whole male population in the class began to erupt in laughter. Sakura felt her shoulders convulse in silent, helpless, horrified laughter along with them.
Embarrassed, Syaoran folded his arms in front of his chest and settled back on his seat. He had never been this embarrassed before, laughed at by the whole class. No, that was wrong, by all of the guys in the room. The girls were more aghast by the fact that he was being laughed at, and they were loyal enough to refrain from joining in. He smirked, thinking, I own the female population. He continued on smirking, that is, before he saw that on his front a girl's shoulders were shaking silently. Because of laughter, I presume? He thought.
He frowned. All of the girls hadn't laughed, except for this one. This was the first time that a girl from school had laughed at him, albeit silently. Then he realized with a jolt that she was also the one who had passed a sheet of paper earlier to him. That was also the first time a girl ever refused to make eye contact with him. Mostly they were very eager to see him. He had thought that all of the rumors he had made would render him invincible to the girl population but he was wrong—there was one who could resist him, one who was immune to him.
In fact, now that he remembered, she hadn't even bothered to look at his face. Now that was entirely different! According to experience, every time he would pass by, girls would be clamoring over for glimpses of him. Well, others tried to do it subtly but still I could notice, it's not as If I'm blind! But this girl was different from everyone else. Syaoran was unnerved by this new discovery—he had found a girl that wasn't all over him. Resolving to keep an eye on that girl, he leaned back further on his seat, trying to look unperturbed. Yet inside he was very confused. He wasn't angry with her because she laughed at him, he realized, just intrigued by her, because she was different from all of the girls he knew.
Eriol, who was his seatmate, watched Syaoran from the corner of his eye and smirked.