Under Different Circumstances
Chapter Two – A Book in the Basement
By Crow Skywalker
Disclaimer – I do not own Card Captor Sakura, nor do I claim to. The show and manga belongs to its respective owners, and I am making no profit out of borrowing the storyline and characters for this fanfic. It's purely for fun.
Author's Notes – This chapter is a bit shorter than the last. That's because nothing really happens in this chapter, but it was something that had to be written. I would like to thank all of my reviewers so far. Rei PaCT, digi-gal-rox, and chelsea34. I noticed that quite a few favorited this fic, or put it on alert. Please review, it would mean a lot to me. Plus, it will encourage me to write quicker.
Warnings/Pairings – Sakura/Syaoran, of course. What else would I write? Maybe be rated R later on, who knows.
Summary – Under different circumstances, an eighteen year old Sakura finds the Clow Book. The Cards do not get scattered, Nadeshiko is alive, and Sakura and Syaoran are perfect strangers. In a life different from the one we know so well, an entirely different story is about to begin.
Walking down the first flight of stairs that would lead her to the main floor of her house, Sakura was sorely tempted to flick a light switch on. The house was dark, her mother having long gone to bed for the night. The only visible light in the house now was from the full moon outside, and that was hardly enough to see anything in the dark house. But, knowing that turning a light on would probably not go unnoticed by her mother for long, Sakura opted to stumble down the stairs, holding the rail tightly.
Her bunny slipper touching the hard wood floor, she sighed in relief as she realized she had finished her descent. In the back of her mind, the nagging feeling had steadily grown stronger with each step down the stairs. Now, it was full on begging for her to follow, and she did, wondering what she was doing up at this hour, sneaking around her house in the dark searching for something, whatever it was that was calling out to her from the basement.
The basement wasn't somewhere that Sakura normally went. In fact, she couldn't remember the last time she had gone down there. It was mostly full of book cases, wall upon wall of them, full of books that belonged to her father. The books were mostly on archeology and school courses and what not. When Sakura had been a lot younger, she had been interested in the books. Whenever her dad went away to study, he would always bring back a load of new books for her to look at. Now, years later, Sakura didn't care for it at all.
Dad still brings home tons of books, though, she mused as she found herself in the kitchen. It had been only a few days ago that her dad had returned home with several crates full. He'd stashed them down in the basement, and hadn't gotten around to putting them on shelves yet.
Finding the door to the basement, Sakura held on to the doorknob for a moment, wondering if she should go through with it. A strange noise, muffled by the door, came from downstairs and Sakura yanked her hand away from the door as if she'd been burned.
What was that? She wondered, emerald eyes wide in the moonlight.
Shifting closer, she tilted her head sideways and gently put her head near the door, hoping to hear something. There was silence for a minute and Sakura thought that maybe she had been hearing something in the crazy sense. Deciding it had been her imagination she grabbed the doorknob once more and turned it. The door open with a loud squeak and Sakura winced and hoped it had not been loud enough for her mother to hear upstairs.
The stairs descending to the basement were almost too black to see, and Sakura had to give in and turn on the light to see where she was going. It was only a light bulb hanging from a string and, shutting the door behind her, Sakura realized that even if her mother did come downstairs, she wouldn't be able to see the light. So, feeling a whole lot better, Sakura held on to the railing and made her way down the steps.
The basement was old and smelled like dust and mildew. Sakura supposed all basements smelled that way, but this one also smelled heavily of old paper. Perhaps it was because the walls were all but covered in books. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she looked around to see everything where she remembered it, and her eyes landed on the large table in the middle of the room. Once upon a time, she had spent hours at that table looking over her father's books. Now it was covered in the crates that her father had yet to put away.
Walking alongside the bookcase to her left, she reached out a hand and touched the spines of the old books as she moved. They'd come form all over the world, a collection that probably belonged in a library somewhere. Instead, they sat there unused, spider webs covering some of them.
Sakura scrunched her nose as she touched a web. She shook her hand, wiping it in her pajama pants.
Everything seems normal enough, she thought as her eyes scanned the room again. Now that she was in the basement, the strange feeling that she'd had was now just a dull throb in the back of her head. She couldn't sense in what direction she should go, or any hint of where it was coming from. Deciding that the whole trip was a waste of time, she turned to leave.
When she heard it this time, she could no longer say it was her imagination playing tricks on her. She heard it loud and clear, and for a moment she thought that it had been a snore – perhaps someone had found their way into her basement and fell asleep?
A shiver of fear ran up her spin, thinking about a burglar in her house. Quickly she spun around, her eyes searching.
The room was completely empty.
Sakura shook her head, realizing how ridiculous she was being. There was no one in the basement – there wasn't even any visible windows that one could crawl in through. Besides, if someone had wanted to break in and steal from the Kinomoto house, they wouldn't be down in the basement taking a nap.
Allowing a small laugh to escape her lips on her own behalf, Sakura walked across the room and peeked over the side of one of the many crates that were on top of the table. Books were piled high to the top of each crate, and Sakura wondered just how many books there were.
Picking up the top book, Sakura studied the front cover. A picture of lush green grass and amazing landscape stood out in the picture, and she wondered where the picture had been taken. As her eyes roamed across the title, she read, "History Found Within England".
Ah, she looked over the side of the crate at the other books. So these all came from England! Dad recently went on a trip to England – I should have known.
About to lay the book that she had picked up back onto the pile, Sakura stopped as she caught sight of a strange color book stuffed down the side of the crate. Not only did it stand out because of its color, but because all of the books in the crate were stacked on top of each other. This one was stuffed sideways between the other books and wooden side of the crate. Laying her book down where she had found it, she reached in for the other book.
When her finger brushed the spine, a tingling sensation shot through her body, leaving her wide eyed.
The cover was light red, an odd color for a book that was probably on archeology. Or, that's what Sakura had thought at first. Large golden letters on the spine of the book read 'The Clow'. Having never heard of it, she absently reached out a hand to grab hold of a chair and pulled it out from the table. Taking a seat, Sakura continued to study the odd book.
The back of the book was nothing spectacular. It was mostly empty, except for a strange looking moon hanging across the bottom. Turning it over, Sakura noticed a sun in the same place as the moon had been on the back. On the front, however, a large cat-like being with wings surrounding it was drawn on. At the top was a banner, and Sakura mouthed the words 'The Clow' as she read it in her mind.
I don't get it. What's this book about? She wondered.
She was about to turn the book over into a position where she could open it when a loud bang from upstairs caused her to drop the book. The noise having scared her, Sakura blinked before she realized the book was no longer in her hand, and was falling towards the stone covered floor. On instinct, her hand flew out to grab it before it could hit. The last thing she needed was her parents getting angry at her because she had abused her father's books.
Holding the book to her chest so she wouldn't accidentally drop it again, Sakura listened for any noise upstairs. The creaking of floorboards could be heard, and she suddenly knew that the noise had been the front door opening and closing, signaling the arrival of her father.
Not wanting to leave her odd find in the basement, Sakura quickly shoved the book under her shirt and headed upstairs. Her father was sitting at the table in the kitchen, a cup of warm milk sitting in front of him as he read the latest newspaper. He always drank warm milk when he came home late and wasn't tired, it helped him sleep.
As she took a step into the kitchen, Fujitaka Kinomoto glanced up from his paper with a small smile. "It's a bit late to be wandering around the house, isn't it?"
"I was up doing some paper, and I couldn't sleep so.." Sakura half lied, her cheeks turning red as her father's eyes landed on the outline of the book she had under the side of her shirt. Knowing she was caught hiding it, she slowly pulled it out. "I found this downstairs."
Fujitaka gazed back at her, looking at the book and then at his young daughter. "Sakura, you may read any of those old books at any time, you know. You don't have to stash them away and look guilty for it. When you were a little girl I had a handful trying to get you up out of the basement each day…"
Sakura grinned back at him. "I know."
Taking a sip of his coffee he asked, "Is you mother in bed?"
Sakura nodded. "She went to bed about an hour ago. She looked tired. Oh, and Touya came over for supper today."
"I bet that made your mother very happy. She misses him a lot, you know. She finds it too quiet in this house with both Touya gone and me at work all the time."
Sakura absently rubbed the spine of the book in her hand as she listened to her father. It was course to the touch. "I know, dad." She shuffled a bit awkwardly as they had a moment of silence, "I think I'm going to go to bed now. You should do the same." She walked across the kitchen to the side of the table and bent down and kissed her father on the forehead. "Good night."
Silently, she hoped he wasn't going to bring up the test that she'd failed right before she left to go to bed. She was slightly amazed he hadn't asked about it sooner. Biting her lower lip, she turned her back to her father and exited the room, letting out a small breath of air that she had been holding in as she made it to the stairs with no questions. Holding the railing with one hand, and the book with the other, she ran up the stairs not caring if anyone heard her this time.
The door to her room was closed, just like she'd left it. Light could be seen from under the door and, as she opened it, the light filled the hallway. She quickly entered her room, closing the door behind her before throwing her book onto her desk in the corner and sitting on her bed. With a sigh she collapsed backwards, her arms stretched out over her head. Suddenly finding herself quite tired, she stared lazily up at the ceiling.
Besides that weird tingly feeling when I touched that book, I didn't sense anything else in that basement. She turned her head towards the desk, gazing across the room at her new find. I think it was coming from that book, but I'm not sure…I can hardly sense it at all now. It's like the feeling has almost completely faded away…
Turning over onto her side, Sakura found her eyes drifting closed. She fought it for a moment, suddenly remembering that she still hadn't written a whole lot of her paper, but in the end her eyes closed and her mind drifted. Lying across her bed in the light from her lamp and the light from the moon filtering from the curtains, the young girl fell asleep.
She dreamed of a big lion-like beast with big white wings, and of a figure standing in front of the full moon, shrouded in darkness.
To Be Continued…