A/N: sorry for the long wait. The other 2814s were giving me a lot of inspiration.
The events of this chapter onwards happens after Gatekeepers 21.
Kinomoto Sakura of 2814
by Shadow Crystal Mage
Chapter 2: With My Heart Full, My Soul Ignites!
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters in this story. If I did… well, this would all be canon. WARNING: MAY CAUSE HEAD EXPLOSION!
"Wow!" Sakura cried, pressing her hands against the window as she peered down. "We're so high up!"
Tomoyo giggled. "Sakura-chan, you can fly! What are you getting excited about?"
"But we're so high up!" Sakura said, turning to Tomoyo, eyes sparkling.
My camera, my camera, my kingdom for my camera…! Tomoyo prayed inwardly. Oh, kami, she's so beautiful… DAMN IT LEE, IF YOU DON'T TAKE CARE OF HER…!
And speaking of whom…
"You sure this building is up to code?" Syaoran asked. "Because it looks like it's leaning a little…"
Tomoyo looked at him, and even though she never stopped smiling, Syaoran recognized the Tomoyo-in-Sakura's-presence equivalent of a flat, annoyed look. Maybe it wasn't the smartest move to take jabs at the most dangerous girl in existence he knew, Green Lantern and Yagami Hayate included, but darn it, he was not going to let her break him!
Keroberos looked out as well. "Nah, it's an optical illusion caused by the height."
Syaoran gave him a disbelieving look.
"What? I'm not allowed to know things?"
"Well, I just have to do a few things, and then we can make the meeting with the Senshi," Tomoyo said, turning back to her desk. She'd begun using the office she had in the Daidouji Toy Company's corporate headquarters more often recently, beyond having it as somewhere to rest at when she came to Tokyo and to hold meetings on her home territory.
The three made themselves comfortable, Sakura wandering around looking at the rather plain yet elegant but mostly expensive little knickknacks Tomoyo had decorated her office with while Lee just stood near the windows, looking out at the view and Keroberos curled up for a nap. She'd restrained herself from filling it to the brim with Sakura-bilia, since that wouldn't be very professional. She knew how to keep her private and business personas separate, thank-you-very-much!
Though anyone who actually managed to open her safe or found the secret drawer built into her desk would find a buttload of Sakura-almost-but-not-quite loliporn.
Trying not to think about it– Sakura in the same room was distracting enough. She'd never get any work done if she thought about those pictures from that time they'd gone to the beach and Sakura had accidentally torn her swimsuit on a rock– Tomoyo went through her work as quickly and thoroughly as she could. Report, report, report, ninja payroll, report…
"So Mamoru-san isn't going to be there?" Syaoran was saying.
Only Tomoyo's perfectly Sakura-tuned senses heard the swishing of hair as Sakura shook her head. "Apparently he and his friend are still busy setting up the paperwork for his identification. Chisame-san and Ami-san did what they could for the computer data, but actual paperwork would be needed." She could also hear Sakura's worried frown. "Is it really all right for them to do that?"
"It's the only way he'll be able to have a normal life," Tomoyo said from her desk, checking some things on her computer. "These days, you can only go so far without some kind of paper trail."
"I suppose you'd know," Syaoran said. Tomoyo gave him a look, but he didn't seem to mean anything by it.
Tomoyo finished soon after, and they headed out to have lunch with super heroes…
Sakura had a unique position in the fledgling Magical Girl Association, which had formally been established at the end of the Book of the Night Sky incident. She was the only one who knew the real names of EVERYONE. There had been perfectly good reasons for it. For one thing, someone had to, if only to act as a litmus test in case of mind control– the Sailor Senshi's idea– being replaced by a magical duplicate– surprisingly, Ala Alba's idea– being able to spot alternate universe duplicates– Green Lantern's idea– and knowing if anyone had come from a Bad End future and was trying to change the past– Tohsaka Sakura's idea– as well, as someone who could correlate civilian and professional identities in case life turned out to be a bitch– Superman's idea.
There were also perfectly good reasons why Sakura had been chosen for this. For one thing, absolutely no one wanted Haruna to have this information, and had it been anyone in Ala Alba, she'd have been able to bribe, threaten, blackmail or scare it right out of them. No one doubted she could. Plus everyone, herself included, knew she was several levels worth of evil, and not to be trusted with stuff like this. Calculator engaged in extensive self-censorship to make sure Haruna didn't have any way to recreate the info. Besides, it some ways Ala Alba were completely lousy at keeping secrets. There were bets going on how long before the rest of 3-A became Ministra.
None of the Senshi, most importantly Mamoru, wanted the job. Given trends, there was a very good chance one of them would be compromised, and the information being used against them. Besides, the Outers, by their own admission, were too paranoid not to act on the information, with the exemption of Hotaru, who'd likely tell her parents if they bribed her with enough candy, and the Inners were likely to do highly irresponsible things with it. What might happen to it in Mamoru's hands did not bear thinking. He knew his luck with mental influences.
The relatively new group of the Fuyuki Fate Knights ran into too many people who might be able to drag it out of them with magic or torture for it to be safe, and given how Rin and Luvia bickered, no one wanted it near them. in their own way, they were as bad as Haruna. Green Lantern had declined, as she was one of the biggest targets in the group, being more visible and active than anyone of them and the most obvious candidate for the job. The same went for Ferret Lantern (who was still on his eternal quest for a better name) and Fate.
The Wolkenritter were not considered, even though they technically already had the information already, between their scans and the information uploaded into the Book. They were still in sort-of probation. Hayate was welcomed readily enough, and the others knights were on relatively good terms with most people, most especially Green Lantern and Negi, but between the Outer Senshi, some of the less forgiving White Wings, and a few of the Fate Knights (Illya was still pissed, despite ostensibly forgiving them), enough people were, at best, uneasy of them that they were on a short leash, so to speak.
This made Sakura, and by extension Tomoyo and Syaoran, the only truly viable candidate, and a willing volunteer. She'd been feeling like she hadn't been pulling her weight. Everyone else had been defending human life, fighting for their beliefs and trying to make themselves better Magical Girls (and Boys) while making the world a better place. She'd been running around being manipulated by Eriol. No one took it against her, but Sakura had been feeling inadequate. Being given some important responsibility had helped her feel more involved in the group, and better about herself.
In theory, this meant that in the whole group, she was in the most danger. There were always people who'd pry into secrets, and it was only a matter of time before they made enemies who'd want to know who they were.
In practice, it meant Sakura made a lot of new friends. And those who really thought about it weren't all that worried. She was, theoretically, one of if not the most powerful practitioner of her form of magic, with two Magical Guardians who were extremely powerful in their own right and fiercely dedicated. And she was the best friend of Tomoyo. Even Makie and Shiro realized that being under the protection of the girl who had Mana on her speed dial and for some reason made even Tohsaka 'The Broken Magistra' Sakura nervous would be enough to deal with nearly any problem.
Tohsaka S wouldn't talk about it, just said muttered "You'll see," and something about Predators and Shinmei Ryu.
Sakura had made it one of her duties to meet the others or at least talk to them every few days, and basically get everyone to be friendlier with each other. This had already led to Hotaru, (Tohsaka) Sakura, Konoka and Yuuno to reveal their identities to each other and form their own little sub-group, The Medics. Her current short-term goal was to fully integrate the Wolkenritter with everyone.
After all, there was no reason why they couldn't all be friends.
Her hanging out with the Senshi at their favorite arcade was a part of this. She'd finally tried out the ice-cream dish Vita had told her about and had to restrain herself to keep from ordering a second one. Tomoyo had taken one taste and excused herself. Only Syaoran had heard her reminding herself about her 'holy vows to Sakura'. Syaoran had eaten three. Keroberos had bitched royally about how they wouldn't let him have more than five.
"Kero-kun," Tomoyo explained. "While my credit card goes a long way, I don't think we'd be able to hide the fact none of us are eating."
"Besides, eating so much is bad for you, Kero-kun!" Sakura asserted.
"BLASPHEMY!" Keroberos and Usagi had declared. This had quickly led to bonding.
"Oh god, there's two of them," Syaoran and Rei had bemoaned. This had also led to bonding.
They'd taken a taxi to the place, since they didn't want to be obvious about arriving in a big honkin' limo with lots of private security. Now they stepped out of another taxi and onto the sidewalk, only a couple of blocks from the hotel Tomoyo had arranged for them to stay at. They'd told Sakura's family Tomoyo needed to stay in Tokyo for a few days and had invited her friend along. This was not a lie. They'd just neglected to mention what they were doing. And that Syaoran would be tagging along.
"Hoeee," Sakura sighed contentedly as they walked past the stalled traffic on the road.
Tomoyo's fingers twitched for a camcorder. No, she reminded herself. I am not a slave to my impulses. Control… control… I am more than the sum of my carnal desires. I am capable of saying 'no' to my hormones. I…
A sudden gust of wind caused Sakura's skirt to flap upward as she and Tomoyo tried to bring them down for modesty.
… I WISH SAKURA-CHAN DIDN'T HAVE SUCH GOOD REFLEXES! Was that a flash of white? Or was it pink? Did it have a cute bow on it?
Abruptly, Sakura and Syaoran stopped walking, and Tomoyo found herself three steps ahead of them before she realized she was alone. She blinked turning to them. "Sakura-chan? Lee-kun? What is it?"
In the purse she carried, Keroberos shifted, poking his head out slightly. "There's evil in the air…" the Sun Guardian said, face uncharacteristically serious.
Syaoran had moved partly in front of Sakura, as if seeking to guard her, and Tomoyo felt a flash of approval mixed with jealousy. She sternly pushed down the latter, and tried to ignore the memory of her strange vision from weeks ago. Instead, she concentrated, trying to bring what little chi-senses she had to bear. It had been a source of frustration for her that as easily as she threw out her life-force to power her Shinmei-ryu techniques, trying to sense anything was still very difficult for her. Tsukuyomi-sensei had explained it in one of her helpful moments: it was easier to shout than to listen.
Still, even Tomoyo could hear when someone was shouting. A strange sense that felt vaguely like Tsukuyomi sensei, only much, much weaker and smaller, came to her.
"Evil?" she said obliviously for Sakura's benefit. "What do you mean, Kero-kun?"
Syaoran gave her a look. "There's something out there. I think I've felt this before, or at least something like it. It feels similar to the Book of the Night Sky's defense program…"
Kero began to growl. "And it's coming closer."
At the edge of hearing, Tomoyo caught soft words.
Come to our world…
"Will we have to fight?" Sakura said quietly. There was barely a tremble in her voice, though that was mainly because it overflowed with concern.
Syaoran nodded grimly. The bead that would become his sword was in his hand, and the other was reaching into his jacket for ofuda. Tomoyo shrugged, feeling the long knife down her back, recalling how to retrieve her swords and blasters from the magical storage sigils the way Tatsumiya-sensei had taught her recently. He could feel Syaoran eyeing her, plainly wondering if she would fight or if this would be up to him, and ignored him.
"Then we shouldn't be out here," Sakura said. "People might get hurt."
"And they might see things," Syaoran pointed out.
Sakura blushed. "Yes. That too."
"Maybe if we run, they'll leave us alone?" Tomoyo suggested.
"Then they might go after people," Syaoran said.
This is Tokyo, Tomoyo wanted to point out. People get attacked every night! What does it matter if it's by a rapist or mugger or evil monster as long as IT ISN'T SAKURA-CHAN?-!-?-!-?-!
Instead, she said, "I think I saw a park a block or two back…"
They tried not to run, since it would draw attention. Three children running in the city at night, no matter how well dressed– of perhaps especially if they were well dressed– where just asking for trouble. Still, they probably set some kind of casual stroll land-speed record.
And they were followed. It was hard to make out for Tomoyo, since she couldn't very well stop walking to concentrate her senses, but even through what little she picked up that was mainly the random bustle of people, she could feel them. The strange, somehow goopy, diluted, thin, weak washed-out sense that was strangely similar to Tsukuyomi-sensei.
They'd tried to call the Senshi, anyone, on their cell phones, but all that came out was weird crackling, and then voices. "Join us… come to our world…"
Sakura had been alarmed. Tomoyo had vowed destruction on whoever was responsible for frightening Sakura-chan so.
The park had been lit with lampposts when they'd stumbled into it, only then breaking into a run, but it hadn't been long before the lamps had flickered and died abruptly. Tomoyo felt a prickling on her arms that had nothing to do with some kind of battle sense and everything to do with her sense of touch. The air was carrying a heavy ionic charge, causing her hairs to stand on end.
Off to one side– not the way the had come– there was a surprised scream, quickly cut off.
"Oh no!" Sakura cried. "There are people here!"
Well of course, it's one of the biggest, most populated cities in the world, were the words Tomoyo firmly quashed.
"Sakura-chan, Lee-kun, perhaps you should get ready," Tomoyo suggested taking a fey steps to the side and rummaging through her purse as Keroberos changed forms. She pulled out three masks, and put one on, handing them the other two. "I'll be off to the side."
"Eh, Tomoyo-chan!" Sakura exclaimed in concern.
Tomoyo waved a hand negligently. "I'll be fine," she said. "Sakura-chan will protect me… WHILE I RECORD EVERY BEAUTIFUL MOMENT!"
She held up the small camcorder.
Sakura slumped in defeat. "Hoeee…!"
Come to our world…
Sakura straightened, reaching for her key, calling the words that would change it into her wand as Syaoran gripped his sword and Ofuda. With Sakura's back turned, Tomoyo drew out the knife at her back. It was small, but more than enough to use for Shinmeiryu Ken. She held it lying across one inner forearm, hidden from casual view but ready.
A woman suddenly ran out of the brush, wearing the clothes of an office worker, holding tightly to her purse, her coat hanging open as she ran in primal fear. She saw them, her mouth opening wide as if to say something, but before she could get any words out, thick black cable shot out from behind her, wrapping themselves around her windpipe. The cables shoved themselves down the woman's throat as she struggled futilely to fight back. Blood began to trickle from the corner of her mouth.
Sakura screamed. And until the day she died, Daidouji Tomoyo would always know that was the sound of the death of Sakura's innocence. That no matter what, from that day forward, one of the things she loved most about Sakura had been irrevocably destroyed.
From the woman's mouth, a dark form ripped its way out.
Green light suddenly tinted the area, revealing several inhuman forms behind her.
"Get down!" a familiar voice suddenly cried.
The tone had Tomoyo moving, and she was on the ground, knife clutched in a backhanded grip as Syaoran pulled Sakura down after him, covering her with his body. Kero quickly threw himself over them, wings wrapping around them.
"Raskel Master Magister! Locos Umbrae Regnans Scáthach! In Manum Meum Dedo Iaculum Daemonium Cum Spinis Triginta! Jaculatio Fulgoris!"
"Rain of Chainsaws!"
Spears of lightning came crashing down, skewering many of the dark forms. Some dissolved in bursts of light, other dodged, only to be met with glowing green chainsaws that sought them out and dismembered them. Thick, tar-like ichor flew even as they dissolved. Small glowing crystals lay on the ground where they died.
Out of the air, several cellphones fell, somehow improbably sticking into the ground. They rang.
Sudden circles of light appeared before them, and fire suddenly filled the night.
Now, the dark things screamed.
Suffer, Tomoyo thought. Suffer for destroying Sakura-chan's innocence!
A figure covered in green light descended towards them. Yuuno Scrya. " Keroberos! Star Wing!" he said, using Sakura's call sign. Tomoyo had chosen it, since Sakura hadn't known what to call herself, though she hadn't been satisfied that it fit Sakura properly. "Wolf! Are you all right?"
"We're fine!" Syaoran said, getting back to his feet and helping Sakura up as Ferret Lantern created a barrier around them. It was a different shade of green from the chainsaws he'd launched. Magic, then. "How's To- Purple?"
"I'm fine, Wolf-kun," she said, getting back to her feet and making a show of seeing if her camera was all right, though she doubted Sakura was paying her any attention.
"How did you find us?" Syaoran asked. "Did one of our calls get through?"
Yuuno shook his head. "No. Just lucky. I was helping Negi hunt Invaders tonight while Na- Green Lantern-chan gave testimony on behalf of the Wolkenritter."
"That was today?" Syaoran said. "Huh."
The fire was dying. There was none of the things left, though Negi had disappeared to make sure the area was clear.
"T-that woman…" Sakura said shakily. "Will she be all right?"
Even behind his mask, Tomoyo saw Yuuno's face contort into what might have been sadness, or even despair. "N-no. I'm sorry."
"Why not?" Sakura cried. "Sailor Moon does it all the time! Her enemies turns someone into a monster, and she turns that monster into a person! Is it because Sailor Moon's not here? We can call her! We have her number!"
"Sa- Star Wing," Yuuno tried to say soothingly. Sakura seemed almost hysterical. "It won't work. She's tried. Once the Invaders take you… you're gone."
"No!" Sakura said, wide-eyed. Her hand clutched her wand tightly. "No, there has to be a way! There always is!"
"Sakura…" Yuuno said quietly, trying to get her attention with her real name.
Sakura rounded on him. "THERE HAS TO BE A WAY!"
There is a way…
They all jerked at the voice. Yuuno suddenly looked sick, muttering, "Oh no, not voices! Not tonight!"
"Warning," a voice that sounded kind of like Neil Patrick Harris said from Yuuno's finger. "Ring power at 200 percent."
There is a way…
Light suddenly shone, shining from Sakura's chest, from the blue stone she wore there, in its mount of golden wire, a brilliant, dazzling blue light, like the sun at noon through water.
There is hope…
Light exploded, fountaining outward from Sakura's chest in a dazzling burst. It arced upward like a geyser in slow, elegant motion, exploding in a shape like a flower. Soft, wispy tendril swept outward.
What do you hope for?
Tomoyo's knees buckled as, in her mind's eye, there once more came the vision of Sakura's smile. "Tomoyo-chan…Tomoyo-chan… of course I love you too…"
The boys and Kero, much closer to Sakura, gasped, eyes sightless, staring at things only they could see. Out of the corner of her eye, from the direction the boys had come from, Tomoyo saw a dark figure fall to its knees.
What do you hope for?
"Sakura…" Tomoyo found herself answering in a near-soundless whisper. "I hope.. for Sakura…"
The blue light touched the charred field where the dark forms had been laid to waste. Beneath it, grass, then flowers, began to grow. The blue light touched a glowing green gem on the ground.
The gem seemed to exploded, twisting itself outward in a vaguely star-like shape. In seconds, a woman lay on the ground, fast asleep. The light touched the next gem, and it burst as well, revealing a middle-aged man.
Hope finds a way…
The blue light exploded in one more brilliant surge, than faded slowly away, like the sparkles left by a firework, leaving only dozens of sleeping forms in various clothes.
"S-sakura?" Syaoran gasped, blinking, though it didn't seem to be so much to clear his eyes as to reset his brain. "What happened? What did you do?"
"I-I don't know…" Sakura said, sounding breathless. She stared at the blue stone held cupped in her hand, still emitting a faint, blue glow.
A glow Tomoyo could feel. It wasn't a shout, though it was pervasive. It felt of light, of sweetness, of possibility, of infinite beauty and wonder, of glorious, glorious rapture! It felt…
It felt like Sakura…
"That's impossible…!" a soft, almost monotonous voice said from the side, and the figure of a girl, in a school uniform and red coat appeared, a laptop in hand. "How did you do that? Only the Black Gate of Creation has ever restored anyone and… HOW?-!" Wide, disbelieving eyes stared from wide round lenses.
"I… I don't know…" Sakura said, sounding confused and afraid.
From out of the sky, Negi, masked as Maguis Erebeus, dropped into their midst, causing everyone to jump.
"Does anyone want to explain what just happened?" Negi said, sounding remarkably calm. "And why I just had a vision of the future?"
Everyone turned to Sakura.
Her head shook. "I don't know…"
- To be continued...
A/N: Six hundred billion explosive tags. Konan must have had the mother of all hand cramps making those… Quite sad Madara seemed to have pulled yet another technique out of his ass. Still, at least it's technically not a new one.
I don't exactly remember if Invaders could mess with cell phones, but since they seem to react to electromagnetic waves in the original Gatekeepers, I took a liberty.
And thus Ayane makes her debut!
Please review, C&C welcome.
Until next time, this is Shadow, signing off.