Lady Isludis: Eyo! Just popping in to remind you that I'm still deciding where Sakura will work, feel free to leave suggestions in a review, if you like.
Sakura: Please hurry!
The aroma of fresh pancakes filled Sakura's new apartment.
"You seem tired." Kero commented as he ate.
Sakura yawned. "I had strange dreams last night."
"Oh?" The guardian beast's ears perked up. "What about?"
"It started out kind of nice." Sakura began. "It was sunny and warm." She paused, concern appearing on her face as she thought about the snow. "Then the weather turned cold very quickly."
Kero looked thoughtful.
"It started snowing." Sakura continued. "But the snowflakes all started melting."
"That doesn't sound very strange."
"Maybe melting isn't the right word." Sakura thought aloud. "They turned black like charcoal and burned away."
"Burning snow?" Kero frowned. "Ominous."
"You don't think it means something, do you?"
The guardian beast appeared to be thinking hard about what Sakura had just told him. "I'm not sure." He said. "But just in case—"
He drifted across the room on his tiny wings and began to rummage through Sakura's half-unpacked suitcase.
"What are you looking for in there?" Sakura probed, suspicious.
"Ta da!" Kero exclaimed. "I know we haven't needed this in some time, but it's always better to be prepared." He produced a familiar looking book.
"Expect the unexpected." Sakura hummed. Kero had always stressed the importance of those words. "Of course!"
"The magic of the Clow may as well be the tip of the iceberg." Kero explained. "Sakura, there's a possibility that you may encounter other types of magic, and other magic users."
"Other magic users?" Sakura thought about that. She had known for some time that Syaoran had magical powers, but she hadn't really given much thought to the existence of completely new forms of magic. Was there more out there for her to learn, even after mastering the cards?
"Are you going to eat the rest of your pancakes?" Kero asked. "It would be a shame to let those get cold."
"What other kinds of magic are there?" Sakura thought as she chewed. As Kero had pointed out the previous night, there were no forks or eating utensils, so she had been pulling pancakes apart with her fingers. She'd left the syrup in favour of having some money left over after getting the frying pan she'd used to cook breakfast for herself and Kero, otherwise, things would have been far stickier. Still, she washed and dried her hands when she was done.
"I think I might go and look at some of those stores today." Sakura announced.
"Weren't you the one complaining about our budget?" Kero nagged.
Sakura pouted angrily. "I have self-control, you know. I can window shop." She wouldn't say it aloud, but she was probably almost as tempted by a new purse as Kero was for some pudding.
The weather was just as nice as it had been the previous day, though the air did feel a little bit cooler. While she was here, Sakura would undoubtedly have the opportunity to see what this city looked like as the seasons changed. She tried to picture what the trees would look like bare, and the ground covered in snow.
She thought about the black snow from her dream, and a chill ran up her spine.
"Is it getting colder?"
Not wanting to think about it, she shook her head and continued walking.
She passed the bistro, and briefly entertained the thought of having tea—just tea, this time.
Once again, she allowed herself to become distracte and bumped into someone.
"Ah! Excuse me!" She apologized profusely. "Oh!"
"You again?" It was the same man from yesterday. "Watch where you're going!" He snapped.
"Hayate!" Came a female voice. Holding onto the man's arm was a young woman with short, pixie-like hair. "It was an accident, don't make a scene."
"Hmph!" Was the only response Hayate gave.
"Everything's fine. Don't worry about it." The woman reassured. "Have a nice day!" She said with a small wave and a forced smile, then promptly steered "Hayate" towards the bistro. "What's gotten into you lately?" She hissed.
One thing was for certain, she didn't want to pay the bistro a visit while the dark haired man was there. His friend seemed nice enough, but still.
"What a jerk." She thought.
She was distracted when a single snowflake drifted across her field of vision.
"Oh!" She exclaimed. "It seems a bit early for snow."
She reached out her hand and captured the tiny flake. "So pretty."
While she was admiring it, the little snowflake suddenly turned black. It ever so gently kissed the palm of her hand, and she felt like she'd been scalded.
"Ah!" She cried out, stumbling backward. "Ow!"
Had her dream really come true?
She hissed as she examined her hand. Definitely a burn mark. She started to panic.
All plans of window shopping were quickly forgotten as she hurried home to talk to Kero. Perhaps the guardian beast would be able to provide some insight as to what had just happened to her.
"Kero!" She announced as she entered the apartment. "My dream came true, look!"
She thrust her burnt palm at him.
"Snow did that!?"
The guardian beast's expression turned grim as he examined the injury. Granted, it was small, but they both knew that that was nothing to go by,
"I won't lie to you." Kero explained. "This is magic, but nothing that I recognize."
"What should I do?" Sakura was honestly frightened by all of this.
"Stay on your guard." Kero warned. "I've said it many times, and I'm saying it again: expect the unexpected."
For the next couple of days, Sakura ventured out only when necessary. She overheard countless people talking about how cold it was getting all of a sudden, that their gardens all seemed to be dying away, and the occasional mention of black snowflakes.
"My son burned himself touching one."
"I'm watering them, but my flowers are still dying. I don't understand!"
"Is all of this connected to the strange weather?"
"What's going on?" Sakura wondered. "Is it something I can fix?"
She was so preoccupied that she bumped into yet another person.
"I'm so sorry!" She cried.
"Not a problem." Came a melodic voice. Sakura found herself looking into a pair of gentle violet eyes. The man who owned them vaguely resembled Yukito with his silvery hair.
"He's so handsome." Sakura noted mentally. "Ah! Am I blushing?"
"Oh look! Is that Sasame?" Came a female voice across the street.
"Might I interest you in a cup of tea, miss?" The man offered suddenly. Sakura nodded absentmindedly, and before she knew it, she had followed him into that same bistro, never taking her eyes off of him for a moment. She hoped that she wouldn't run into Hayate there, literally or figuratively.
"So, your name is Sasame?" Sakura asked.
The man responded by putting one finger to his lips.
"Let's keep that our secret, shall we? I've tried different disguises but people always seem to recognize me."
"Are you famous?"
Sasame smiled. "Have you heard of a show called 'Words Gate?'"
Sakura shook her head. She expected Sasame to look offended, or even disappointed, but he continued to smile his gentle smile.
"Can I get you two something?" A third voice chimed in. Sakura looked up and saw that it was the same waiter who had brought her food that one time. She felt a pang of embarrassment when she remembered hitting her head on the table in front of him. The waiter seemed to recognize her as well. "Welcome back miss." He greeted, expression unreadable. "Is your head feeling better?"
Sasame suddenly looked at her with concern. Sakura felt her cheeks flushing.
"Oh! I ate lunch here earlier this week." Sakura scrambled to explain. "I hit my head on the table by accident, but I'm fine now." She laughed nervously.
Sasame still looked concerned. "If you say so." He turned to the waiter. "Tea for both of us, please!"
Neither of them said anything for few minutes, and Sakura found a plant across the room to stare at.
"Are you new in town?" Sasame inquired, finally breaking the awkward silence.
Sakura nodded. "I'm attending University here."
More awkward silence.
The waiter returned with their tea, gave a nod, and disappeared again.
A thought passed through Sakura's mind.
"May I ask you something? Sasame?"
She was about to speak, but was cut short by a commotion outside.
"Kyaaah! That snow is back!" Someone yelled.
"Don't let it touch you!" Someone else cried. "You'll get burned!"
Sakura's stomach flipped. She'd forgotten all about the snow when Sasame had approached her. What she didn't notice was that Sasame was interested in the incident as well. That one particular waiter happened to be nearby, and the two of them exchanged knowing glances.
"I think I should get going." Sakura turned to face Sasame again, but he was gone.