A/N: We're in the home stretch! Sorry this is shorter than Fate 2814 or Nanoha 2814, but it was always meant as a side-story. On the upside, big and long chapter update!

Yes, White Primate Murder is Kyubey. I thought I made that clear? Pretty sure I wrote that down somewhere in a previous chapter.

This is mostly a breather episode, but please enjoy it! And don't forget to fill in the 2814 tvtropes page!

….

Kinomoto Sakura of 2814

by Shadow Crystal Mage

Chapter 5: Magical Girl Blue Angel Sakura, Make Up!

Disclaimer: I own none of the characters in this story. If I did… well, this would all be canon. WARNING: MAY CAUSE HEAD EXPLOSION!

….

Misaka Mikoto looked down at the little white thing with the weird ears growing out what were, apparently, also its ears. "Say that again?"

Make a contract with me, and in exchange for becoming a Puella Magi who fights witches, I shall grant any miracle you desire, Kyubey said.

Mikoto nodded slowly. "Yeah… that's what I thought…" She thought for a moment. "Know any good colleges?"

….

It was a perfectly normal day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, lots of people were touching themselves or someone else, Syaoran was crossing off days in the calendar, and Kinomoto Sakura was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling with a resigned look on her face.

So. It had finally happened. When they'd heard about her prophetic abilities, after all the begging for lottery numbers and all that was finished, the UMGA had sat her down and asked her some questions about her gift that in hindsight herself Sakura should have asked a long time ago. How accurate were they? How concrete were her visions? Could they be changed or were they self-fulfilling? Were there any patterns to them she'd noticed? From such probing and helpful questions and a smattering of watching too much TV about shows with plots like these, they'd been able to put together a set of guideline for her to follow when it came to identifying possible prophetic dreams and sorting them by significance.

The blue stone had slightly complicated things, since now she sometimes had waking visions, but all in all, the dreams were fairly unchanged. And last night, she'd had a Very Ominous Dream. This is not to be confused with a Mildly Ominous Dream, where it all takes place in a dark or otherwise disturbing setting but otherwise nothing really bad appears or a Sorta Ominous Dream, were all you got was a creepy feeling but everything was otherwise okay, or even the Not All That Ominous Dream, where you were just pretty much confused at what was going on and there was no way to tell it apart from a regular dream but a general prophetic feeling. A Very Ominous Dream had dark imagery, a feeling of foreboding, something definitely creepy going on, and possibly her Cards appearing either falling from the sky or floating around. This isn't to be confused with a Really Ominous Dream, which featured explicit violence or danger, a Really Scary Foreboding Dream, which Usagi assured her she'd recognize when she had it because she'd wake up either crying or screaming, and a Don't Think About It Dream, which would make her wet the bed with pee that felt funny. Everyone had hit Kuro-san for some reason when she'd mentioned that last one. Still, Sakura had promised to tell her immediately if she ever had any.

She was fairly sure this was a Very Ominous Dream. At least, it was more scary than the dream she'd had about Yue, which was in hindsight only a Mildly Ominous Dream, or the ones about Clow Reed/Eriol which were only Sorta Ominous Dreams. This fit in more with the ones about the battle against the Book of Darkness, which started at Very Ominous and went up to Really Scary Foreboding.

Sakura closed her eyes, trying to remember details, willing them not to fade away as they tended to. There was darkness. Always darkness. She stood with Tomoyo and Syaoran and a group of faceless people, standing back to back against a nightmarish background. A feeling of despair and pain. And all about them, dark shapes, almost human and inhuman. The silky hiss of a blade on a well-padded sheath. A cat's hiss and a slurping sound like someone was playing around with their tongue. And words, like a poem, or a song. "In fearful day, when without light…"

Sakura tried to grasp for more details, but it was meaningless, though the voice sounded strangely familiar. They were already fading out, like her mind didn't want to hold on top them for any longer than necessary. Hastily she fumbled at the table next to her bed, grabbing the notebook and pencil there, trying to scribble it all down before it faded away. Eventually she had to stop, having nothing more to repeat but already hazy things she'd already written down.

She had to wonder about that. The dreams about the Book of Darkness had always been so real, so vivid. It had stuck with her, haunted her until she had finally seen it happen with her own eyes. It had been like someone had been adding layer upon layer of distinctness to each dream, but the dream before hadn't faded away upon waking. The rest did. They always did until she saw them for herself, had them happen to her.

She stared at the words she'd written. The meaning seemed to be leaching out of them even as she watched, losing significance. It would have to do.

She got up to get dressed.

….

Sakura boldly held out the glowing blue stone. "Sakura Beam!" she called out, her lips not in synch with her words– which kinda sounded like it had been dubbed by seiyuu, actress, singer and pianist Makino Yui (牧野由依)– as a beam of blue light erupted from the stone. It struck the green barrier Green Lantern had raised as heroic music began to play dramatically.

In real life, Sakura, watching the action on the big screen they'd set up in the testing bunker, moaned a "Hoeee…" in her natural voice, which sounded kinda like idol, voice actress, and singer Tange Sakura (丹下 桜), and buried her face in a pillow Konoka cheerfully handed for her, embarrassed. "Tomoyo! You dubbed the video footage into an action movie… Again!"

Tomoyo laughed in the that Ojou-y Iwao Junko (岩男 潤子) way of hers. "Of course, Sakura-chan! The better to underline your awesomeness!"

Sakura just groaned again as the video's narration, which sounded like it was being done by Miyata Hironori ( 宮田 浩徳) went on about the magical girl chosen by destiny to lead humanity to a new world.

"Tomoyo-chan's video post-production is really high-budget," Kuro commented, nodding in approval as the music switched to what could be described as 'rock opera', complete with Latin chanting.

Hakase looked at Tomoyo pleadingly. "I don't suppose it couldn't hurt to ask for a donation for the university robotics lab?"

Tomoyo paused to think about it. "Oh, why not?" The girl had been helpful to Sakura, after all.

"Can I get in on that?" Kuro asked hopefully.

Tomoyo just gave her the saintly, mysterious smile©™.

Kuro shuddered. "Never mind," she muttered.

Beyond the post-production voice-overs and music however, Syaoran mused, the video was a pretty accurate showcase of the things Sakura had learned to do. She'd only been able to do the beam twice, but she'd been able to figure out how to, essentially, shield herself. There was something vaguely familiar about the figures she kept summoning, but Syaoran couldn't figure out what. Calling forth the light to restore the Invaders back to human had been simpler, and she'd found essentially doing the same let her heal people, though to what extent, they weren't sure. After all, it wasn't like they could cripplingly injure someone just to see if she could heal them.

They were having that night's party to celebrate the success of the tests so far. Most of Ala Alba had shown up, but the others had been unable to make it. As if trying to make up for the recovery of all those victims, there'd been a recent intense spike in Invader activity. None of the Gatekeepers had been able to come at all, and only Ami had shown up of the Senshi. Both Green Lanterns were out giving their support, while Hayate and the Wolkenritter (who, among other things, kept being told that was a cool name for a band) were on some dimensional planet somewhere dealing with some Lost Logia thing, and thus still hadn't answered their inquiries on whether they knew anything about the stone.

Said stone around Sakura's neck seemed to have a glow all the time now. It somehow managed to do this without actually glowing, which was a pretty neat trick, as Kuro had commented.

"Really, it's a nice effect," she commented, holding an umbrella over Sakura so she could block out light and compare the appearance. "Fashionable and magical, yet practical and stealthy."

Syaoran watched as Sakura smiled uneasily. The Card Mistress was always uncertain what to make of Kuro. She had a hard time understanding the dark-skinned girl, lacking the right frame of reference to make sense of her smiles, gestures and nudges. Kuro was a very physically expressive person, and with the terror of Tomoyo censoring her mouth to a PG, PG-13 rating at most, the rest of her communication was coming out in her body. The way one hand was stroking the shaft of the umbrella for example. The twist of her lips, the glint in her eyes. That quiet girl in Negi's class, Cassandra, apparently found Kuro to have very dirty body language. "Ah, thank you Ku– ah, Black Archer-chan," Sakura said nervously.

Kuro let the umbrella disappear. Syaoran figured it was pretty convenient to be able to do that with mundane objects. Even Shiro could do it, though he mostly stuck to duct tape. There were whispered theories about why that was, which mostly had to do with Rin, Saber and Luvia being freaky. "By the way," Kuro asked, her tone and words friendly, but her eyes eager, "had any good prophecies come true lately?"

Sakura shrugged. "I've been able to predict what we were going to have for breakfast three days in a row," she said, "but that doesn't mean much. We don't have a lot of stuff in our refrigerator. A– er, Sailor Mercury-san is getting concerned. She says my brain chemistry is elevated, or something."

"Are they causing the visions, or is it the result of the visions?" Kuro asked in her 'academic' tone. It was always starling, to hear her make the switch from 'pervert' to 'learned and knowledgeable magus'. People sure were complicated.

"We don't know yet," Sakura said as Tomoyo came back from the buffet table they'd set up with a drink she offered to Sakura. "Sailor Mercury-san wants to do more tests, but she's concerned about the effect on my brain. She wants me to stop using the stone for a while, let my… my endorphins?– settle," Sakura explained, taking a drink.

"That's not spiked, is it?" Syaoran asked Tomoyo. "You never know with Ala Alba."

Tomoyo smiled. It was one of her communicative smiles, the one Syaoran could by context infer to mean 'aw, aren't you sweet for thinking that?'. "It's all right, I tested it first," she said, holding up a package.

Kuro and Syaoran peered at it. "Are those test strips?" Kuro said, amazed. "Alcohol test strips?"

"It tests for the presence of alcohol and in what general concentration," Tomoyo said cheerfully. "There's a small market for it, but we're making a loss so far. I think we might have to pull it out unless it becomes more popular. Still, it has its uses."

"Where have you been marketing it?" Kuro asked, and though some of the perverseness had come back to her voice now that she wasn't talking to Sakura, her tone was professional. "We might be still be able to do something about it…"

Tomoyo didn't look surprised. Syaoran knew Kuro was one of the few people in the United Magical Girl Association Tomoyo regularly hung out with. Perhaps Kuro had been like this with her before. The two began talking, and Syaoran caught the words 'investment' and 'partner'. He wondered if history would judge him for not stopping this from happening. To the side, Sakura let out a relieved sigh as Kuro moved away, but looked guilty as she did so.

The party went on.

….

Misaka Makoto looked down at the little white thing with the weird ears growing out what were, apparently, also its ears, her face completely blank, eyes dull. "What is this, Misaka asks rhetorically as she looked at the thing she's never seen before," Makoto asked as she looked at the thing she'd never seen before.

I am an Incubator. Make a contract with me, and in exchange for becoming a Puella Magi who fights witches, I shall grant any miracle you desire, Kyubey said.

Makoto just stared blankly. "Huh, Misaka exclaimed cluelessly, not understanding what this thing is saying," Makoto said, not seeming to understand. "Are you talking, Misaka asks the obvious, even though it should be impossible."

Mikoto entered her room again, a stack of books and her iPad under one arm, a stack of papers in the other as she read from the tablet. "Okay, so dentists make good money, but I don't really like sticking my hands in people's teeth… wow, this wish thing is hard…"

Why not just wish for money? Kyubey asked.

"What'll I do if it runs out?" Mikoto asked rhetorically. "No, it needs to be something that can support my little sis, let her keep up her treatments, maybe send her to college, and still let me have a good living…" She looked up and blinked. "Makoto? Why are you… Can you see him?"

Her little sister by two minutes nodded, stroking Kyubey on her lap. "Onee-chan, what's a contract, Misaka asks as she tries to figure out what it has to do with making a wish."

….

It was coming on night as they emerged from the tunnels under Mahora. The groups had split up so as not to draw attention and Konoka had guided them out through the tunnels of Library Island. In the months she'd known her, however briefly they'd spoken, Tomoyo enjoyed chatting with the older girl. She felt like a kindred spirit, which confused Tomoyo. The librarian seemed… well, normal. Tomoyo would admit she was an… unconventional person, so she didn't know what to make of the connection. It had taken her a while to realize, from the brief, off-hand comments of the other Ala Alba and a few observations, that the girl was, in her own way, a schemer. A twisty, twisty schemer. It was an idle, friendly scheming, unlike the more cutthroat and often cruel scheming Tomoyo often had to do. Could this be what she would have been like, if she'd met Sakura earlier, or her mother had gone a different way, or… useless to speculate. Still, contrary to convention, it didn't make Tomoyo bitter. Instead, it made her hopeful she could become like that again herself, someday.

It was probably the blue stone at work. She knew what she was. Still, one could dream and hope. Even one like her.

Fate and Arf were waiting for them under the World Tree. "How was the party?" the blonde asked.

"The usual," Syaoran said offhandedly as Keroberos flew wobbly circles around them, with the pleased smile and mildly distressingly distended stomach of someone who'd gone to town on the buffet table. He held up a bag with a block of ice in it, plastic chicken bucket inside. "We got you some of Sailor Jupiter's leftover ice-cream. Thanks for picking us up."

"No problem!" Arf said, eyeing the bag hungrily.

"Sorry I couldn't come earlier," Fate said, embarrassed. "With Nanoha and Yuuno busy, she asked me to help out at the cafe to cover for her."

"It's all right," Sakura said. "We should be the ones apologizing for bringing you all the way out here."

"Ah, it's fine," Fate said. "I've been wanting to try out this long-range teleport for Ala Alba anyway in case we need to do another large-scale movement." She smiled brightly. "Besides, Sailor Jupiter-san's ice-cream is always good!"

"I know, right?" Keroberos gushed, patting his stomach, which had shrunk a bit by then. Tomoyo still had no idea where he put it all. Possibly it was VERY efficient mass to magic conversion or something. She wouldn't know, she wasn't a scientist or a magic-user.

"All right, everyone come in close," Arf said as a yellow circle lit up the ground, unlike the Belkan Triangles they were used to when the Wolkenritter or Tohsaka-san sent them places. "Four to beam up!"

The circle flared and they vanished from Mahora.

Tomoyo always found the experience of these teleportations a colorful and exhilarating one. The world blurred as they all moved too fast to make out details. Only the light of the setting sun was recognizable, and even that blurred as they traveled over the empty air and appeared in another city entirely. It was a clearing in a much more thickly treed wood. Not far away they could make out the roof of a mansion.

Tomoyo looked around, getting her bearings, and brightened. "Oh! This is the back of Suzuka-chan's house!"

"Your cousin, right?" Syaoran said, looking wary and cutely paranoid. That look was almost as cute as his blushes.

"She raises cats, Syaoran-kun," Tomoyo said, chuckling as they began walking. "Last I checked, she didn't collect attack helicopters and jets. Not that she needs them anymore."

"I still don't understand how they let you keep those," Syaoran said.

"Money, money, money Syaoran-kun," Tomoyo sang.

"Daidouji, I have money too," Syaoran said. "I'm pretty sure no one in my family collects tanks or whatever…" He paused. "Well, Fanren collects antique weapons, but that's completely normal! Sure, some are fully functional… and magical… and sharp… well, it's not the same thing!"

"If you say so," Tomoyo said, smiling.

"It's not!"

"I'm sure…"

"It's not! Tell her Testarossa-san!"

"I'm not sure I should get involved," Fate demurred. "I'm from another dimensional planet after all, I can't really make cultural or legal judgements."

"Coward."

"One must never be afraid to be afraid," Fate said brightly.

The two were still bickering about it when they finally reached the mansion.

"What kept you?" Alisa huffed as Suzuka welcomed them inside.

"Oh, don't mind her," Suzuka waved off. She held out her arms. "Cousin!"

"Cousin!" Tomoyo replied, the two of them hugging with much cheek rubbing and air-kissing.

The two of them separated and Suzuka turned to Sakura. "Cousin!" she greeted, giving Sakura her own hug and air-kisses as Tomoyo turned to Alisa.

Alisa held up her hands. "I'm good," she said dryly, and nodded at Syaoran. "Yo."

He nodded back. "'Sup."

They fist-bumped as Suzuka went to hug Fate. "Black Reaper Fate-chan!" she greeted.

Fate accepted the hug, sounding exasperated. "Suzuka-chan, we saw each other not fifteen minutes ago! I came from here!"

"So? I missed you," Suzuka said, letting her go and throwing her arms out again. "Arf-chan!"

"Suzuka-chan!" Arf greeted back, wagging the tail now sticking out of her hot pants.

"Do you have time to stay for dinner?" Suzuka asked after she'd finished hugging Kero.

Sakura shook her her. "Sorry, but I really need to get back home. It's my turn to cook dinner, and I want to get it ready for when oniichan gets back from his job."

"What is it this week?" Syaoran asked. "Go-Kult salesman?"

"No, that was last week, he's working at that new candy store," Tomoyo said.

"Oh!" Suzuka said sadly. "Well, next tea party you two need to come along so I can feed you properly!"

"It's a promise," Sakura said cheerfully.

Alisa rotated her neck, smiling confidently. "Well, I better get ready to send you guys on your way," she said. "Now, whose powers should I use…?

"Not the Wolkenritter or Broken-san," Syaoran said. "I think they're busy fighting."

"Yuuno, maybe?" Arf suggested, "He's got that ring of his."

"Maybe we should call him first," Suzuka said, whipping out her phone and dialing. It rang. "Hello, Yuuno-kun? Can Alisa-chan borrow your magic for a few minutes, we just need to send Tomoyo-chan and her friends home. Well, yes, we figured it might not be a good time, that's why we called to let you know so you can know to use only your ring for a while. Thanks Yuuno-kun, you're a darling. Bye." She hung up. "He says we can borrow them, but we need to give them back quick since he's fighting a giant battleship."

"All right!" Alisa cried. "Magical Girl Black Alisa is up! Yuuno-kun powers, activate!"

Alisa spun on one foot, muttering "Yuunoyuunoyuunoyuuno," to herself and her form changed. A fedora appeared on her head as the rest of her clothes changed into a modified version of Yuuno's barrier jacket, belt, tunic, over-tunic, shoes, cape and all, with the significant difference that it was all cut to be more feminine and exposed her midriff. It might or might not have also caused her to lose her balance, flap her arms wildly, cry out and fall over.

"See, that's why ballerinas wear special shoes when they spin around," Syaoran said helpfully. "It makes it easier not to do that."

"Smartass," Alisa muttered, getting back to her feet and straightening her hat. Tomoyo had to admit, it was a very nice hat. She should get Sakura one. Alisa knit her brow, clearly thinking. Her abilities were a bit iffy when it came to her knowing how to use her borrowed powers. Sometimes she could use them flawlessly, as if she'd mastered them herself. Sometimes she was a complete amateur, having only a basic idea what she was supposed to do but almost no idea how to do it. The Senshi powers and Asuna's ability were easiest on her (though Asuna complained very loudly about the complete illogic of a magic cancel ability being stolen by magic since it should cancel the magic trying to steal it), since they were basically the magical equivalent of 'point and click'– the Senshi, with the usual question mark over Sailor Pluto, would be the first to admit they had no idea how their powers worked, they just did– while most of the others depended on how much functional knowledge came with the magic. As such, she'd learned the basics of most of the powers of everyone in the UMGA, so she could defend herself adequately against, say, a mugger if she got squat info, and a few taught her some of the more complicated stuff, like healing and basic blasts.

Tomoyo had heard Yuuno had taught her the basics of teleportation for times like this, since while his innate affinity with it transferred to her when she borrowed his powers, it was still a fairly complicated magic. Fortunately, it seemed this was one of the more favorable uploads, since it took her only a gesture to establish an exclusion barrier to keep them from being seen by anyone else in the house, thought she did mutter a lot of numbers under her breath, presumably part of the calculations needed for the spell. The set-up for the teleportation itself was longer, with more muttering, though fortunately Fate and Arf were there to help her crunch the numbers. The Uminari crew were always astonished at how easy Yuuno made this look, operating as he did without a Device.

It took a while, but eventually there was a glowing green circle on the ground read to send them on the last leg of the way home. Alisa was looking tired but triumphant as the three of them trooped onto the new circle and sent them on their way.

"So," Tomoyo said conversationally as they slowly drifted down the next 500 feet to the ground with The Float Card's help, "Should we tell her she's still having elevation problems or what?"

"At least we're not in the bay this time," Syaoran muttered, shivering a little at the wind and staring directly downward so he couldn't catch sight of the girls as the winds blew up their skirts. Sakura was crimson and trying to hold down said skirt while maintaining the magic at the same time, while Tomoyo cheerfully ignored her flashing them to film Sakura. She might catch cold, but it would be SO worth it.

….

Sakura lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, shivering slightly despite the thick, comforting presence of her blanket. She reached out and grabbed the notebook next to her bed, frantically writing. The same details had come back, stronger now. There'd been the burnt-air smell she recognized from Syaoran's lightning spells, though the background had been as unrecognizable as ever. It looked like it had come from a deranged stop-motion cartoon, and she'd made out figures with absurdly pale skin, triangularly sharp noses and fang-like teeth that almost looked like walrus tusks. There'd been more words, too. "Gate, open." "nano…""…with my heart full, my soul ignites…" "…ferry…" "come to our world…"

She stopped as she recalled that last, shivering again, remembering that dark, late night in Tokyo. She dropped the notebook, clutching her knees to her chest as she bowed her head, fighting back tears of fear and sadness and just the faintest, faintest outrage.

Finally she looked up, lips pouting cutely. "Okay, it's stupid just sitting here. I'll just talk to my therapist about this later."

Decision made, she nodded to herself and kicked out of bed, ready to take on a new day and work on her issues in a civilized manner with a licensed medical practitioner rather than, say, dressing up as a bat.

In her own house, Tomoyo sneezed. Because of course she has a bat-themed outfit for Sakura hidden away somewhere.

….

It was, strangely, Yue who caught her. So to speak.

"What are you doing, Sakura-chan?" Yukito asked from seemingly out of nowhere.

Sakura yelped, jumping a good foot in the air. It was pretty good from a standing start when you're only a little hunched over because your feet hurt. She looked to her right at him in embarrassment, the old 'doki-doki' starting up again. "Y-Yuikito-san!" she stammered. "What are you doing here?"

'Here' was the wooded area close to the observation deck where she had, once upon a time, seen her mother in the image of The Illusion Card. For such a beautiful view of Tomoeda, it was often empty. The small pile of trash next to the waste bin said some people came here, but the equally full bin meant it wasn't often serviced. She figured it was as private a place as any.

Yukito, still mounted on his bike, held up the takeout container in the basket. "Oh, I sometimes come here to eat. The view is wonderful, after all, and it's such a shame not more people come."

Sakura looked at the container blankly, then at the three other ones like it, then at the oddly similar containers next to the trash can. "Ah," she said. That explained it.

"And you, Sakura-chan?" he asked pleasantly as he set the stand on his bike and began to unpack his food, setting it on one of the few benches in the area. This one was in better repair than most. Sakura could just image Yukito coming up here with a can of paint, maybe some nails and screws, and fixing up the bench so he'd have a place to eat.

She flushed in embarrassment again, glancing over where she'd set up an impromptu target with some cardboard containers Yukito had probably once eaten from held down by rocks. To her dismay, one had already been blown onto the ground, and another was slowly being pushed by the wind to join it. "I was… practicing," she managed to get out.

Yukito tilted his head inquiringly. "Practicing what?" he asked.

Sakura shuffled uncomfortably. "Um…" she shuffled.

Yukito nodded. "Is this another talk with the other me kind of thing? He seems concerned."

Sakura managed to be more uncomfortable. "I'm not sure I want to talk to him, either…"

Yukito paused at that. "Did you do something, Sakura-chan?"

She glanced at the makeshift targets again and noted with a sigh that two more had fallen off. Stupid targets. "Uh… kinda…"

Yukito tilted his head the other way. "I think he really wants to talk to you now, Sakura-chan." He smiled in that 'none of my business' sort of way and stood up. "I'll let you two have your privacy…"

Sakura had time to notice he'd managed to finish two of the take-out boxes when brilliant white wings erupted from Yukito's back, wrapping around his body. When they drew back, the coolly beautiful and impassive face of her Moon Guardian looked down at her. Sakura glumly concluded that Clow Reed's assigning him to be the Final Judgment was very fitting. He seemed to be doing just that, the tail of his robes hanging off one arm.

"Mistress," he said in a cool, neutral tone that was his normal speaking voice and had Sakura feeling guilty all over again. "What are you doing?"

"Ah," Sakura waffled. "Training?"

Yue glanced at her targets. All had fallen off now. Maybe she should have picked somewhere else. It was way too windy here. "Training at what? The stone? I thought you weren't supposed to use it for a while"

Sakura flinched. "How did you know about that?"

"My ways are mysterious and many-splendored," Yue said. He paused. "Keroberos texted me about it."

Sakura blinked. "You have a phone?"

"Yukito allows me to keep a SIM card in his," Yukito said. "It's a dual- SIM model."

A new rush of guilt came over Sakura. "Oh. I'm sorry. I should have told you myself, but we were so busy…"

"Understandable," Yue said, no reproach in his voice, words or manner. Tranquil and clear, was Yue. "Communicating with me would have required coming to contact with Yukito, and you did not want to disrupt his lifestyle more than necessary. It is not a matter worth discussion. Keroberos has kept me updated."

There was an awkward pause as the guilt wormed at Sakura some more. Finally, she said, "Where did you get a SIM card?"

"I bought it," Yue said.

"Did Yukito-san lend you money?" Sakura asked.

"No, I used my Paypal account."

Sakura blinked. "How…"

"I took on writing jobs online on his computer while Yukito was asleep," Yue said. "The rate of academic dishonesty is quite shocking."

At Sakura's stare, Yue shrugged. "Even I get bored."

For a moment, there was silence.

"Mistress?" Yue prompted.

Sakura let out a sigh and went towards the nearest bench, patting the surface next to her as she sat down. Yue followed her but didn't sit, instead standing next to her facing the same way. "Well," she said, "you see, what happened was…"

….

"You should have waited, Mistress," Yue said after she'd finished. "Having elevated near-opiate endorphin levels could seriously impair your thinking."

Sakura stared. "How… how did you understand that? That wasn't anything about magic, Hakase-san was using it!"

Yue's face was very smooth as he said, "Star Trek."

Sakura stared some more.

"You'd be surprised how much you can learn about the modern world," Yue said helpfully.

Sakura slumped. "Poot," she tried in place of her usual cry, then frowned. It felt so wrong. "Hoeeee…" Much better.

They sat in silence for a while, listening to the wind. "You've had premonitions before," Yue said. "Why take preparatory action for this one?"

Sakura frowned, trying to put it into words. "Every vision I've had, except ones that showed me the past, eventually happen to me," she said.

"That's what premonitions are wont to do, yes," Yue said, sounding like he meant it.

Sakura shook her head, feeling they were talking about different things. "What happens, happens to me, Yue-san. When I have a vision, it's only a matter of time before I'm where my visions showed me, the way it showed me. I don't have visions about other people or times and places where I'm not, like Clow Reed did. So far, everything I see, happens to me. And what I saw… was very scary. And I wasn't alone."

Yue nodded, but let her continue.

"There were people around me," Sakura said, struggling to remember. She wished she had her notebook. "I couldn't see their faces, but I felt Tomoyo-chan and Syaoran-kun were there."

"They would be," Yue said. He seemed to take it as a given.

"When the time comes… I want to be able to help," Sakura said. "I know how to use the Cards. Now I need to learn how to use the stone."

"I would have thought having the Cards would be more than enough," Yue said.

Sakura blushed. "I can't heal with the Cards. Not yet, at least."

Yue nodded, conceding the point. "Though I question why you would need targets to learn to do that."

Sakura shuffled again. "Well, I wanted to see if I could make the Sakura Beam appear again…" She paused. "Did Kero text you about that?"

"Yes."

She drooped. "Hoeee…"

….

"Onee-chan, are you ready to make your wish yet, Misaka asks impatiently with greed," Makoto asked impatiently with greed. "I don't want us to wish for the same thing, Misaka says like they might end up wearing the same outfit."

"It's… really hard…" Mikoto said, mumbling, and looking at her lists. "I mean, knowing about vector physics and calculations sounds cool and all but I can't really think of a lot of jobs that pay well for it… okay, 11-Dimensional M-theory sounds interesting, but I can't make money off it… and photonic molecules is probably just a fad… so many choices!"

"Onee-sama is such a geeky nerd, Misaka says judgingly," Misaka said judgingly.

"I guess I'll go for electromagnetic engineering after all," Mikoto muttered. After all, what use would knowing how to calculate vectors be? "Okay, I wish to know everything humanly possible about electromagnetic engineering! Like, PhD level and beyond!"

Kyubey gave her a flat look (though all its looks so far had been flat), as if it couldn't believe someone had asked for a miracle so mundane. We have a contract.

Mikotodoubled over in pain, clutching her chest as light came forth…

….

"Envoy?" Sakura said in confusion as she walked home from school with Tomoyo. Syaoran would be going back to Hong Kong in a few days– there was still a lot of things he needed to do for his clan, he'd said, but not so much he couldn't come back and visit– and Sakura had asked her help with picking out a going away present and something to send back to his mother, sisters and Meilin, who hadn't been back since the Hope Card.

Over the line, Kuro made a vague affirmative sound. "Yeah," she said more definitely. "The Senshi and Green Lantern-chan's still busy with those Invaders, and none of us are really high-profile enough to be recognizable or credible. So we thought we'd send the sweetest, nicest person we knew instead to ask them if they want to be part of the Association, or at least friends. Sure, AngelGARd-chan has a beef with one of them, for all that she was the one who led us to them, but you can convince them we're not all like that."

"I can?" Sakura said incredulously as Tomoyo listened closely. "How? I mean, I'm not as powerful as the Senshi or Green Lantern-chan…"

"That's debatable," Kuro said dryly. "and beside the point. Are your bitches with you?"

"What?" Sakura asked, confused.

"Are Purple-chan and/or Wolf-kun with you?" Kuro asked, her tone making it sound like she was simply repeating herself.

"Um, just Tomoyo-chan…" Sakura said, still trying to work out what 'bitches' meant.

There was a brief pause. "Better put her on speaker phone than, so you don't have to repeat everything I say," Kuro said, sounding even more cheerful than before. After Sakura did as she asked, Kuro continued. "Anyway, we want to ask you to go over to Takamiya City and invite this demon-slayer and his crew to the UMGA, and probably explain that United Magical Girl Association is a non-indicative name and we have boys in the group. Tell them about what we do, and the secrecy involved, and how they can make good friends as long as they don't fight about Springfield, though I've never understood his appeal, that sort of thing. At the very least, outline things for them. The Mooncats already set things up, so they'll be expecting you. Uh, you might want to bring a cake or something, I hear Luna made a spectacle of herself."

"Can't someone else do this?" Tomoyo asked. "We have to go buy a present for Syaoran!"

Kuro paused again. "Oh yeah, he's leaving soon," she said as if just remembering. "Thanks for reminding me. Well, it doesn't have to be right now. We're just asking you to think about it. You're really the only nice person we have who's not busy right now."

"You're a nice person," Sakura pointed out.

"Nicer than me," Kuro amended. "And thank you for saying so."

"What do you want to do, Sakura-chan?" Tomoyo asked.

Sakura thought a moment. "Does it have to be today?" she asked.

"Well, it would be nice if it could be some time soon," Kuro said thoughtfully. "Some time this week, maybe? I need to know so I can set it up with the Mooncats. They're great and all, but one of the girls there thinks they're some kind of cat demon, and is suspicious of them. I'd REALLY like to know what Luna did while she was there. Why not before Syaoran leaves?" Sakura could hear the teasing smile in her voice, one of the few expressions from Kuro she understood and could sense over the phone. "You can make it your last date before he leaves and the only times you'll see each other is over the internet and on weekends when Yuuno can pick him up, which is most weekends. Honestly, I don't see why his leaving is a big deal. It's the 21st century, after all! You have fliers and teleporters on your phone list!"

"K-Kuro-san!" Sakura blushed. "It's not a date! Tomoyo-chan would be there." She looked up at Tomoyo. "Won't you?"

"Of course!" Tomoyo chirped, one hand on her cheek, the other hand holding a video camera. "I wouldn't miss the opportunity to film Sakura-chan on a date!"

"Well, if there's three of you it wouldn't be date, it would a thre– " Kuro stopped suddenly, remembering Tomoyo was on the line. "It would be a three-person date," she finished neutrally, at a reasonable rated-G, barely.

"Smoooooth save," Tomyo said dryly.

"Thank you."

….

Sakura lay in bed, eyes still closed and sleepy even as her brow knit in determination. She was ready this time. For days she'd been sleeping with The Dream Card and Wand at her bedside, ready to use as soon as she was conscious. She'd even gone so far as to practice touching the Card from bed with her eyes closed, an exercise Kero had found hilarious. Said Sun Guardian was sleeping now, even as Sakura sleepily figured out which end of the Wand was which and tapped The Dream Card, sleepily muttering, "Release…"

She felt the comforting presence surrounding her as her mind became more lucid even as she drifted back into a light doze.

Sakura found herself flying through the sky, looking at the land below as it rushed past. She was higher than she usually went with The Fly Card and much faster as well. For a moment, she wondered if this was how Nanoha-san and Yuuno-san felt when flying, and then the dream blurred, and she found herself in a strange city. It didn't have Mahora's tree or the distinctive river, forest and mountains of Fuyuki, and certainly wasn't Tokyo. The sun streaked across the sky amidst whirling clouds as night seemed to slam into place like a falling shoe. A strange ringing filled Sakura's ears, less a sound and more a sensation, and an irritating one at that. It felt like someone was clawing unpleasantly at her skull from the inside while abusing a whistle. Though lit for night, the darkened parts of the city seemed ominously black. In fact, the shadows seemed to roil like boiling water even as she began to plummet towards them.

Beneath her, she saw a circle of figures. With them was an eclectic collection of things and animals. Herself, holding her stone before her like a ward, The Sword Card in one hand. A twist of ribbon. Tomoyo, looking only at her with her little camera in her hands. A cat. Syaoran, one shoulder bleeding, his sword in one hand, an ofuda in the other. A snake. Kageyama-san, both arms upraised, in one hand darkness, in the other, light. A book with a crescent moon on the cover. Ayane-san, her thumb tapping furiously over a cheap, disposable cellphone. A teacup. Satoka-san held a strangely-curved, crimson sword in either hand, while Miu-san huddled behind them. A boat. Keroberos in his full power, wings wide, fire erupting from his mouth. Yuuno-san a green chainsaw in either hand.

She could recognize the darkness around them. Invaders in their many forms, monstrous and inhuman. She'd always found it strange that the ones who were never human looked relatively normal, while the ones who had once been human were so horrible.

But it wasn't just Invaders. There were… she couldn't tell what they were. They looked so strange, so… unreal. The things vaguely reminded her of those weird cartoons that came in the middle of those Monty Python shows she'd watched with Negi-kun. Like evil newspaper-clippings with huge drooping jaws and shark-like teeth of papier-mâché under strangely-shaped heads, all held together by safety pins. Sakura shook, though whether in fear or just plain heebie-jeebies she wasn't sure.

A voice, her voice, was calling out. "In fearful day, when without light..."

Sakura shook harder. She crossed her arms, rubbing her shoulders.

"With my heart full, my soul ignites!"

A shock ran through her, a full-body shake. She heard voices crying out, but no one seemed to notice. Someone calling her name. Where were they? Did they need her help?

"When all seems lost in black of night…"

Something shook her, hard, as a heavy weight pressed against her chest. What kind of omen was this? What…?

"SAKURA! YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE FOR SCHOOL!"

Sakura's eyes snapped open and she came upright as Keroberos flew upward. "HOEEEEEE!"

….

It was generally agreed that what Sakura had gotten was, to be sure, a Really Ominous Dream, though there was some debate on how much it really counted since it was basically self-induced. Yuuno had been notified to 'be careful next time you ran into Sakura-chan and her bitches' as Kuro had indelicately put it, to various semi-humorous reactions and a confused Sakura asking what she meant while Syaoran had flushed and Tomoyo smiled her saintly, mysterious smile©™. They'd been unable to contact the Gatekeepers, however, no matter the numbers they'd tried. That had been left on the "keep trying" list.

Everyone was more interested on the dark imagery of the dream. The Senshi had sighed and declared it 'a new enemy, oh joy' and had resigned themselves to spending the next year running into monsters at least once a week, running into enemy generals they'd keep failing to recognize ("Seriously?" Jadeite said. "You never recognized me? But I always looked the same!"), having another scavenger hunt for 'whatever' and possibly Tuxedo Kamen finally dying again for the year (he was already falling into a melancholy depression). Others were of the more hopeful view that it was all allegorical and only a one-off thing, and they'd come out of it with new friends after the "friendship through firepower"-types (Nanoha, Illya, Sailor Moon and Negi) were done with them. Still, to be sure, Sakura had been cautioned to stay away from any ominous and magical teacups, cats, snakes, books, boats and ribbons and to keep her phone charged at all times so she could call for help. While they were all reasonably sure her prophecies were the 'can be changed thanks to forewarning' types, there was no need to put herself at risk.

After all, if anything happened to her, Tomoyo would kill them. Possibly literally.

Not for the first time, they wondered why they let the obviously evil girl hang around.

Oh, and Sakura managed to make it to school on time, by the way. In case you cared.

….

Not for the first time, Lee Syaoran wondered why his life involved so much travel now. He'd expected to have to travel a lot when he had taken over as the head of the clan, negotiating either in business or representing his family in magical something-or-others. He had NOT expected it to become a bizarre side-effect of making friends with Magical Girls and the poor men they overshadowed. And he wasn't even getting Frequent Flyer miles from it.

Artemis had briefed them on what to expect, since Luna's account was a bit disjointed. Just to be safe, he'd done it over the phone, in case he was the cat that had been dreamed about. Keroberos had insisted on sticking with Sakura from then on because "If you're going to be in trouble, then I need to be there to protect you!". So they'd broken out one of the comfortably big handbags for him to hide in while they'd made travel plans for the weekend, giving another excuse of a daytrip to Tokyo. Her father had smiled and warned her to be careful of more forces of evil, while her brother had leveled that look of his again, called her monster, and went about his business.

They had, conscientiously, left Yue a message this time, since Sakura felt guilty about not telling him where she was going. Then, again with Alisa's help, they'd gone to Takamiya city.

….

Amakawa Yuuto was a perfectly ordinary harem manga protagonist, the sort you can find anywhere. He couldn't commit to a girl to save his life except in most platonic and vague terms, his memory of his childhood was lousy when it came to promises with girls and what said girls looked like, his hands and face seemed magnetically attracted to girls' chests and butts when he fell over, which was often, he'd seen more actual naked female flesh in his house than dirty magazines, and he was practically borderline-gay when it came to his inability to take any sort of action that could lead to furthering his relationships with girls in anything but a platonic fashion.

Thus, he was sweating profusely as he and his friends waited at an out of the way table in the tea house where Lizlet and Himari worked. His protector wasn't on the clock, and indeed sat to one side of him protectively, the wrapped bundle of her sword at her side ready to draw, just in case. Kuesu was at his other side, equally ready to attack and defend against anything that came at them through the window. Rinko wasn't there, having been relegated to taking care of the amnesiac Tamamo with class rep Shimamura in case this turned ugly. After several meet and greets, they'd finally worked out the pattern.

"If you really think this could go badly, you wouldn't be holding it in such a public place, nano," Shizuku said, eating an ice-cream. "Though, given all the public places you've fought in, this doesn't really seem to be one of your considerations, nano."

Yuuto sweatdropped at the reminder of the extremely public places they'd pushed confrontations before. "I'm hoping they won't try anything obvious with so many witnesses present," he said. "Besides, I don't really think representatives of the Sailor Senshi would mean us harm…"

Kuesu sniffed. Yuuto, by dint of experience, recognized the 'what a naive ignorant, he has a lot to learn' sniff. He was also wrong, this was the 'how naïve, as expected of Yuuto-kun, it's a part of his charm, aggravating as his naiveté is' sniff. "I don't see why you admire such shamefully public and attention-happy amateurs, Yuuto-kun. Such unrefined spells… really, it's only a matter of time before the Magus Association or one of the local Magister Associations shuts them down…"

"Indeed, young master," Himari said. "As benign as those cats seemed, the black one was clearly insane to think Kuesu could possibly be part of our noble breed, though thinking she's some kind of space monster is more understandable. I'm more inclined to think they are dupes rather than enemies. Perhaps yu will finally get your wish and that some Ayakashi finally come to us in peace and friendship."

Yuuto sweatdropped again at the smile on Himari's face. "You don't have to me so sarcastic about it, Himari …"

"Who are you calling a space monster?" Kuesu growled.

"Excuse me?"

They all looked up. Shizuku glared, instantly defensive of her territory as Himari gasped. Kuesu's eyes narrowed.

The girl with the honey-brown hair smiled politely, still holding a small photo. "Are you Amakawa-san?"

"Ah, yes, I am," Yuuto said, surprised that the person coming to meet them would be so young. The cats hadn't really said who'd be coming, only that they were 'a close ally who'd explain more'. "Are you from the Sailor Senshi?"

"Ah, nothing like that," the girl said, gesturing to the other two children with her, a smiling girl with long dark hair and a vaguely Chinese boy– Yuuto couldn't be sure, most people looked alike to him– wearing a frown. "We're here to better explain the proposal Artemis-san and Luna-san came to you with. May we sit with you?"

"O-ok," Yuuto said, still surprised as she gestured vaguely to the empty bench next to Shizuku.

"No, nano," Shizuku said blandly. "I'm supposed to be the only loli around here. I can't let two blow-ins just take myhmph phmpr…"

"Please, sit," Himari said as she leaned across the table, one hand clamped hard over Shizuku's mouth. The Crimson Blade of Noihara was smiling, though the smile shook slightly at the corners. Shizuku, predictably, bit her hand, but Himari only grit her teeth, soldiering on. She bowed as much as she could to the dark-haired girl. "We're more than glad to have you with us."

Yuuto blinked at Himari, who was finishing stuffing a napkin into Shizuku's mouth. The girl looked a bit bemused at the sight, but the two with her only exchanged looks. It seemed they were used to such things. That… couldn't be a good sign.

The boy looked around. "I'll get an extra chair," he said, turning away for a moment as the two girls got seated. The dark-haired one sat in the middle, next to Shizuku, who gave her a territorial look. The girl only gave her a saintly, mysterious smile©™ as her friend sat down in front of Himari. The boy soon came back with a chair, setting down next to the girl who had first spoken though that meant he had to share a small bit of table in front of her.

"Um, hi," the shorter-haired girl said.

"Uh, hi," Yuuto said, wondering why the boy was frowning at him.

For a moment, there was a bit of a silence.

"Uh, well, I'm sorry, but I'm not supposed to give my name just yet," the girl said. "Please call me Star-chan, and these are my friends…" She faltered for a moment, as if unsure what she was to call them.

"No need, Star-san," Himari said. "I, of course, recognize the illustrious Daidouji Tomoyo-san."

The girl gave a start as the other girl, Tomoyo, tilted her head, her smile never wavering. "Oh my. I suppose I should have expected something like this. You have the advantage of me, miss. I'm afraid I don't recall meeting your acquaintance."

"We've never met," Himari said. "But I saw you once. You were sitting next to the CIA recruiter and the Demon's Head. It was some years back, during a tournament on Mount Ryuudou."

"Ah," Tomoyo said, nodding as if this explained it. "I'm surprised you remember me. Your… episode… with the representative of the Shinmeiryuu was much more memorable."

At the mention of this, Himari's entire face twitched. "Indeed…" she ground out, her fangs glinting.

Shizuku tilted her head, looking surprised. "That was you?"

"Yes," Himari answered through gritted teeth.

"Did you really do that thing with the telephone po–"

Himari's hand blurred and Shizuku found herself gagging as another napkin was thrust into her mouth.

"Exaggeration," Tomoyo said. "It was only a shinai, not a pole."

Yuuto frowned. "Himari, you know this person?"

Himari kept her eyes on the girl ass he said, "I have, young master. This is Daidouji Tomoyo, a notorious figure known to ayakashi, youki and the dark world alike."

"Ah, those were my younger, more excitable days," Tomoyo, waving a hand as if to sweep Himari's words to the side. "I'm only a perfectly ordinary elementary student enjoying her school life now."

"I thought I heard of you hiring Tatsumiya Mana a few months ago."

"School can be very tough," Tomoyo said brightly.

"Yes, it's those 'forces of evil' drills," Kuesu said. "I hear the Hong Kong school system is much lighter on those."

"Shortsightedness," the boy said. "One who trained in the Clocktower should know how useful those drills are."

"Should I bother asking?" Yuuto said, already feeling left out of the conversation.

"This is Lee Syaoran, Yuuto-sama," Kuesu said. "The rumored-to-be next head of the Lee Clan, one of the largest and most influential magical commercial families in Hong Kong."

"Only after I finish all the paperwork," Syaoran said blandly. "Jinguji Kuesu, I presume? Your description was recognized. The Tohsaka Clan and the House of Edelfelt send their regards."

"Most curious…" Kuesu said, beginning to radiate ojou-ness like a sun. "I am surprised to hear that the Lee Clan are in such close correspondence with the Tohsaka and the Edelfelt. Those are very strange bedfellows."

For some reason, the boy began to blush. "Please don't put it that way, the images I'm getting are all messed up…" he muttered.

The girl called 'Star' and Yuuto exchanged glances of mutual felt exclusion.

"Amakawa Yuuto," he said, extending his hand across the table. "When I turned 16 I discovered I was the last remaining member of the otherwise defunct Amakawa Demon Slayer clan. I have a weird power that I'm still trying to understand how to use. I live alone with Himari and Shizuku and I hope to one day create a world where humans and Ayakashi can co-exist."

The girl extended her own hand and clasped his. "Kinomoto Sakura," she said in the same expository tones. "I'm a descendant of the great sorcerer Clow Reed, and wield the power of his legacy, 53 magical cards and a wand. I have a weird magic stone I'm still trying to understand how to use. I live with my father and brother and I hope to be able to do everything in my power to make the world a better place for everyone, humans, youki, aliens, and magical creatures alike."

They shook on it and as they shared a look instantly had the sense they were looking at a kindred spirit six years and a set of genitalia apart.

At everyone's surprised looks– the boy Syaoran was literally open-mouthed– they shrugged. "Everyone seemed so popular with each other," Yuuto said.

"And someone had to introduce themselves properly," Sakura huffed. Syaoran and Tomoyo at least looked suitably rebuked.

Shizuku glared at the clasped hands and pulled Yuuto's hand away. "I have exclusive loli rights here," she said. She glared at Sakura's purse. "What about your friend?"

The purse twitched.

Sakura hesitated, but reached into the purse and drew out what looked like a weird winged plushy. "Ah, everyone, this is Kero-chan. He's my friend."

The doll's head moved, giving them all a look and Yuuto a curt nod. "'Sup."

Shizuka gave it a level look then held out a finger as Yuuto stared. "Token badass loli mini-moe," she said.

Kero hed out a stubby arm and shook her finger. "Super-awesome protector magical beast," he replied.

"Mascot," Syaoran said, not quite under his breath.

"Who are you calling a mascot?-!" Keroberos demanded as Lizlet approached the table.

"W-would you like to order?" she asked nervously. She was supposed to be there in reserve in case something happened and to pretend to be normal otherwise. She'd also definitely heard that last outburst, and was trying not to stare at plushy-like Kero, who was unconvincingly trying to play dead.

"Do you accept credit cards?" Tomoyo asked. At Lizlet's affirmative, she glanced at Kero and said, "Then, we'll take a whole chocolate cake, a Devil's Food Cake for me…" She glanced at her other two companions.

Sakura was intently studying the menu she'd been handed as Syaoran glanced at it and ordered an apple pie. "Um, I'll have a strawberry cake…" she ordered.

As Lizlet stepped away to take their orders, shooting nervous glance behind her, Himari leaned forward. "So… Daidouji Tomoyo, the heir to a magical clan, a little… creature and a little girl walk into a tea shop," she said intently. "What relationship do you have to the 'Sailor Senshi' that those cats allegedly came from?"

"Oh, we're friends with them," Sakura answered perkily. "You could say we all belong to the same club!"

"Club?" Kuesu asked doubtfully.

Sakura smiled a bright, sincere smile that Yuuto couldn't help responding to. "We represent the United Magical Girl Association, you see."

"United Magical Girl (and Boys) Association," Syaoran corrected.

"United Magical Girl (and Boys) Association," Sakura repeated, making Yuuto wonder at their ability to pronounce the (). "We're all warriors of truth, love and justice using our magic and skills to protect the innocent from the forces of darkness while making friends!"

Himari, Kuesu and Shizuku were instantly suspicious. Yuuto was instantly smitten. "Friends?" he asked.

Ssakura nodded happily. "Friends!"

"I like friends," Yuuto said.

"I like friends too! Do you want to be friends, Yuuto-san?"

"I'd love to, Sakura-chan!"

They clasped hands over the table again. "Friends!" they cheered.

Shizuku grumbled and pulled Yuuto's hand away again. "Why do people not respect my exclusive loli rights?" she grumbled as she dripped. "First the fox loli, and now you…"

At that moment, the cake arrived. As they made room for them on the table, Himari, Kuesu and Shizuku exchanged looks. There was no way this little girl was legit. As usual, they would have to protect Yuuto-kun from his tendency to trust everyone he met and think only the best in people.

Plus, new girl. With their luck, she was probably a long-lost childhood friend Yuuto had made a promise to. Again.

Putting on their determined faces, they sat down and began planning how they would get Yuuto out of this new girl's clutches.

Tomoyo and Syaoran, noticing the atmosphere, subtly readied themselves for anything. They didn't know why, but the three girls seemed strangely antagonistic to Sakura-chan for some reason. They exchanged looks and came to a silent agreement. Whatever happened, Sakura was going to be okay.

Yuuto and Sakura, cheerfully oblivious to all this, chatted happily as they ate cake.

….

Kamijou Touko sat on the barren, burned earth that had just a few days ago contained her house. "Such misfortune…" she muttered hollowly, drawing her knees to herself, holding them tight with to her chest with her left arm. What was left of her right arm hung limply at her side, ending just past the elbow. She still wore her hospital gown, stained and dirtied from her escape.

All she'd wanted was to be special. She'd been a perfectly ordinary girl, once. Only three weeks ago. Had it only been so long? It seemed longer. The strange white creature had come to her, saying she was one of the chosen ones, a Puella Magi, a Magical Girl. A wish, it had said. In exchange for fighting the forces of darkness, she'd get a miraculous wish, anything she wanted.

She'd made her wish. She wished she had a life as interesting as an anime character's, with an awesome power that could trump any power so she'd always win with a punch. She'd gotten it.

Three weeks later, she wished she was dead. Her parents, killed after her 'interesting' life had led those strange monsters to her house. Her best friend, a slightly bratty, short but sweet English girl who liked books, traumatized and broken after being kidnapped by a gang she'd stood up to. She'd died that morning, her body failing her. Her parents blamed Touko. Her right arm, which had held the power that could 'trump any power', gone, unable to withstand mere flame and saw, amputated to save her.

She wished she was dead.

She wished she was dead.

She wished she was dead…

On her left hand, the ring on her finger snapped as it reverted to a Soul Gem, its facets dark as pitch as the light left Touko's eyes. Then it exploded, and the world went mad.

Kamijou Touko was no more.

….

- To be continued…

….

A/N: Read Omamori Himari, it's awesome.

Yup, I went there. On the plus side, Magical Girl Misaka Sisters!

The storm that is the next chapter is coming. And then the epilogue. I miscalculated last chapter.

Please review, C&C welcome.

Until next time, this is Shadow, signing off.