Summary: After running into problems developing her magical skills on her own, Sakura decides to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for some formal magical studies. A Cardcaptor Sakura continuation set in the Harry Potter universe.
Chapter 1: Sakura and the Difficult Spell
A distant part of Sakura's mind wondered why she was dressed in a cute brown dress with pink trim. This same part of her mind quickly abandoned the effort, having asked the same question hundreds of times before without finding an answer, and instead focused on a much more pressing issue.
"Do you really need to videotape this, Tomoyo-chan?" Sakura asked. Her embarrassment was obvious from her tone, her posture, and her constant fidgeting.
"This is the first time my dear Sakura-chan is creating her own card. How could I bear to not have it in my collection?" Tomoyo answered, a sparkle in her eye.
The nameless card, while impressive, didn't count in either Sakura's or Tomoyo's opinion. The creation of that card had been entirely unintentional. To this day, Sakura had no idea how she had done it. Its subsequent merging with The Nothing to form The Hope didn't count either, as the result was basically a converted Clow Card like the rest of her 52 card deck.
"Besides, can't you just feel the inspiration of the blooming cherry trees in your dress? With this I'm sure you'll succeed," Tomoyo continued.
"Com'on. Show us the guts of the cards' mistress!" Keroberos joined in encouragement.
Sakura gave one last plaintive cry before pushing her circumstances out of her mind to concentrate. She closed her eyes and tried her best to ignore both of her observers and the distracting video camera filming her every movement. Instead she pictured The Light and The Dark. She pictured The Silent and The Voice. She pictured Syaoran, hundreds of miles away. As she did so she slowly raised the Key above her head.
"Key, grant me a tunnel so that I may hear. Listen!" Sakura chanted.
She slammed the raised Key down through the air, where it stopped as abruptly as if it had hit a wooden table. The star within the Key began to spin as it channeled Sakura's magic through it, and in response the air in front of the Key began to whirl. Faster and faster it spun, creating its own miniature hurricane. Some papers on a nearby desk were quickly drawn into the contained vortex, adding their confusion to the maelstrom.
Slowly the vortex shrank, growing ever faster as it did so. Tomoyo thought she could barely make out a small rectangular slip within it.
Sakura was staring at the same spot as Tomoyo with focused attention. The hope of a card shape slowly grew more and more clear. She was almost certain she could definitely see something when the wind abruptly stopped. All was still for a single long moment before the air in front of her suddenly pulsed outward, scattering the papers everywhere and throwing Sakura backwards through the air.
The next few seconds were spent in agonizing disorientation. Eventually Sakura managed to get enough control over the pain which wracked her body that she felt like she could once again open her eyes. She looked up and saw Keroberos and Tomoyo talking quickly. This was the first indication they had been saying anything though as the entire world had gone silent to her. Not having any idea what they were trying to say to her, she just shook her head, as much to herself as to them.
Leaning heavily on Tomoyo, Sakura slowly managed to drag herself onto her bed. Tomoyo and Keroberos tried to comfort her as she slowly gathered her wits about her. As the minutes dragged on Sakura's inability to hear anything grew more and more worrisome.
After several minutes, which felt more like hours, sound abruptly flooded back to Sakura's ears. The sudden shock of hearing the light hum of the electric lights in the room after the prolonged period of silence caused Sakura to cover her ears in pain and cry out, which in turn only exaggerated the problem.
"Are you alright?" Tomoyo cautiously asked.
"I'm alright," Sakura automatically, albeit unconvincing, replied. "But why can't I make this card?"
"Even Clow took years before he starting making the Clow Cards, and you're much younger than he was. I'm sure you'll get it eventually," Keroberos said.
"But I made that nameless card before. This must have been the fiftieth time I've tried, and I still can't do it. Why doesn't it work?" Sakura asked, on the verge of tears.
"Maybe you should try talking to Syaoran-kun. He knows a lot about magic. Maybe he could help," Tomoyo said. If nothing else, speaking with Syaoran would cheer Sakura up as well, and Sakura definitely looked like she could do with some cheering up.
Keroberos scoffed before saying, "That kid? Sakura's way better at magic than he'll ever be. Besides, the Li family is firmly focused on the ways of Eastern magic. He's got as much chance of helping Sakura as..."
Keroberos's protests trailed off, quashed by the bright and eager face Sakura now had at the prospects of both getting to talk to Syaoran as well as getting past her roadblock all at the same time. Tomoyo's suggestion had succeeded in instantly driving away Sakura's sour mood.
"Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to try," Keroberos finally conceded.
"Do you mind if we go to your house to call, Tomoyo-chan?" Sakura asked Tomoyo. A conversation about magic was much less likely to be overheard at Tomoyo's much larger home than at Sakura's own.
"Of course. Anything for my dear Sakura-chan," Tomoyo replied, just as bright as before this most recent failure.
"Thanks," Sakura said. She changed into some far less conspicuous clothing with the speed gained from months of practice, placed Keroberos as well as the book containing the Sakura Cards into a backpack, restored the now shrunken Key to its usual place around her neck, and hurried out of her room.
"We're going to Tomoyo-chan's house," Sakura quickly announced to Toya before she was out the door. Tomoyo was right behind her, albeit in much less of a hurry.
Meanwhile, the manhandled Keroberos just shook his head, unseen in the backpack.
Once her conversation with Syaoran had started, Sakura was amazed at how much they had to talk about. School, friends, and family, not to mention how much they loved and missed each other, covered more than the first hour on the phone.
Tomoyo seemed immune to the passage of time as Sakura and her boyfriend talked and talked. She instead basked in Sakura's delight, her own face mirroring Sakura's expression of happiness. Keroberos, on the other hand, seemed to be painfully aware of the passage of each second. It was obvious how relieved he was when the conversation finally turned to magic.
"So Tomoyo-chan thought that I should call you," Sakura said, concluding her summary of her most recent attempt at making The Listen.
There was a noticeable pause, punctuated only by the static of the transoceanic phone line. Eventually Syaoran said, "I hate to tell you, but I don't think I can really help."
There was another noticeable pause, again filled only with the static of the line. Sakura broke it this time. "But Kero-chan said the Li family was famous for magic. Isn't there anything you can do to help?"
"None of my studies have been about magical artifacts. In fact the only person I've seen making a magical item was Grandpa, back when he made my sword," Syaoran said.
"But surely there is something you can think of," Sakura said.
"It won't do any good," Keroberos said, guessing what was being said despite only having heard Sakura's half of the conversation. "The Li family has strong practitioners of magic, but they only know Eastern magic. They won't be able to help."
"What does that mean, Kero-chan?" Tomoyo asked.
"Eastern magic focuses on magical manipulation. I've yet to see a single one of the Li family who didn't scorn magical items. About the most advanced artifact I've seen one of them make was that kid's sword. Even that Lasin board of his was handed down from Clow," Keroberos said.
Sakura didn't pay attention to what Keroberos was saying, instead focusing on Syaoran as he said, "Why don't you ask Hiiragizawa for some help? He's the one who made the original cards after all."
Sakura's crestfallen face quickly brightened at the idea, then darkened as she remembered she never got Eriol's phone number, then brightened again as she remembered that she knew Kaho's and therefore Eriol's address.
"That's a really good idea, Syaoran-kun. I knew I could count on you," Sakura said happily.
"O..of course," Syaoran replied. Sakura could almost feel his blush coming from across the phone lines.
"Be sure to say tell Mei-ling-chan I said hello," Sakura said.
"I will. She'll be sorry she missed your call," Syaoran said.
"Be sure to keep practicing your magic too. I can't wait to see you again," Sakura said.
"You too," Syaoran said.
"Bye bye," Sakura said.
"Until next time," Syaoran said.
Sakura finally put down the now very hot handset from her equally hot ear and fell back into her chair with a contented sigh. She was disappointed with not being able to learn more but at least she had a new idea about what to do next. That would have to wait until later, though.
"Thank you so much, Tomoyo-chan," Sakura said.
"Of course, Sakura-chan. Anything for you," Tomoyo answered.
"Do you want to go get some ice cream?" Sakura asked.
"That's a wonderful idea," Tomoyo emphatically agreed. She was happy to do anything, as long as it was with Sakura.
Keroberos gave an inarticulate groan at this idea. He never liked being forced to watch Sakura and Tomoyo eat ice cream without getting any for himself, and if they were in a public ice cream parlor, the chances of him being able to sneak in a few bites while nobody else was watching was slim at best.
It had been about a month since Sakura had sent her letter to Eriol and Kaho and she was eager to hear the response. Each day brought new hope that she would get a letter, or even better a phone call, from the two of them. Each day she quickly hurried home after cheerleading club.
Each day she was left disappointed when there was no letter addressed to her.
Her heart raced every time the phone rang, and each time the call turned out to be as mundane as if magic never existed in the world.
If her father or Toya noticed anything about her behavior, neither said a word.
Sakura was impatient, but didn't lose hope. If there was one thing she had learned throughout her adventures with the Clow Cards, and then later with her adventures against Eriol, it was to never give up hope. Indeed she had created, or more accurately modified, a card to represent this exact feeling within her. So when the phone rang, Sakura eagerly ran to get it despite the dozens of disappointments she had had over the past few weeks.
"Hello?" Sakura said.
"Good evening, Sakura-chan," Kaho's voice on the other end of the line said in the same flawless Japanese she used when she had been Sakura's teacher.
"Mizuki-sensei!" Sakura exclaimed. It was only after she had said it that she realized how loudly that had come out. Sakura looked around to see if anybody had noticed.
Toya continued to talk to Yukito at the dinner table, and her father was still cleaning the plates in the kitchen, despite the fact that Sakura had stopped drying them to answer the phone.
In a more normal voice Sakura said, "Good evening... umm... did you get my letter?"
"Yes, we did. That's why I called you," Kaho's gentle voice said.
"So then... Ahh... What do you think I'm doing wrong?" Sakura askd. She braced herself for the revelation which would make everything make sense.
"We have a few ideas what it might be, but to tell you the truth, there really isn't any good way to describe them over the phone. Even if we could, it probably wouldn't do very much good. You'd just have more problems right after you got past your current issue," Kaho said.
"Hoe..." Sakura dejected reply came out.
"Don't worry. We have an idea," Kaho said.
"What's that?" Sakura asked, hope once again blossoming within her.
"How would you like to come to the United Kingdom to go to a magic school?" Kaho asked.
"Hoe?" Sakura asked.
"There's a very famous school here called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Many of the best witches in the world graduated from it. I'm sure if you came you would learn a great deal to help you with your magic," Kaho explained.
Sakura's mind stopped as suddenly as if it had been traveling at highway speeds before hitting a brick wall. She had, of course, heard of studying abroad, but that was usually for people in high school or university.
"Out in the United Kingdom? That far? Aren't there any schools in Japan I could go to?" Sakura asked.
"It's true there are many prestigious magical schools in the East, especially in China. However if you are trying to create new cards, you will really need to attend a school in the West. Hogwarts is one of the best schools out here, and I teach there too, so I can help smooth things over if you decide come," Kaho said.
"But what about my father? And my brother? And Tomoyo-chan? And everybody?" Sakura asked.
"Eriol and I can explain things to your family, and you can still go home to visit your friends and family over the winter," Kaho said.
Sakura was silent while she thought. She was torn about what she should do. She never imagined that her small experiments with magic might lead to her leaving Japan to study abroad. The thought left her completely overwhelmed.
"Do you think I should go?" Sakura eventually asked.
There was a long pause before Kaho finally said, "Yes, I think you should. It'll be very hard, and it won't all be happy, but I think it would be a very good for you."
There was another pregnant pause as Sakura thought more about this life-changing decision. Finally, with more conviction than she really felt, Sakura said, "Okay. I'll go. What do I need to do?"
"Well, the first step is easy for you. Is your father around?" Kaho asked.
"Yes," Sakura said
"Can you put him on the phone so we can arrange things?" Kaho asked.
"Okay. One second," Sakura said.
Sakura put the phone down and walked back to the kitchen. Her father had just finished cleaning the last of the dishes, and they stood stacked on the side of the sink, waiting to be dried.
"Dad? Do you remember Mizuki-sensei?" Sakura asked.
"She was your teacher from a few months ago, wasn't she?" Fujitaka asked.
"Yes. She's on the phone, and she wants to talk to you," Sakura rushed out, completely avoiding the heart of the matter.
"She does? That's strange. Okay. Do you think you can dry these dishes while I talk with her?" Fujitaka asked.
"Sure," Sakura said, accompanied with an emphatic nod of her head.
Sakura climbed back onto the stool she had dismounted earlier when she had rushed to get the phone and started drying the dishes with a towel. She dried them absentmindedly, her attention instead focused on listening to the half of the telephone conversation she could hear.
"This is Fujitaka. Can I help you?" Fujitaka said in to the phone.
"Of course, you were Sakura-san's math teacher for a while a few months ago."
"Okay," Fujitaka said again while frowning slightly, worrying Sakura.
"Yes, that's true."
"Somewhat. I think I may have some idea," Fujitaka said. He turned to look at Sakura, who quickly turned away and made a show of concentrating on the dishes.
"The United Kingdom? Are you serious?" Fujitaka asked, surprisingly calmly.
"And how would this work?"
"I see. I hope you don't mind if I talk to Sakura-san before I agree to anything."
"One second. Let me find a pen."
"Okay... Okay... Okay... Got it. I'll talk to you tomorrow around this time then."
Sakura's father gently put the handset back in its cradle and turned back to the kitchen. Sakura had gone back to eavesdropping and had been absently drying the same plate for the past few minutes. With a start, she quickly moved it to the stack of dry dishes and grabbed the next plate.
"So you want to go study in the United Kingdom?" Fujitaka asked Sakura.
"Yes," Sakura replied, still with more conviction than she actually felt.
"Are you sure? You're still young, and it's a long ways from home. They don't even speak Japanese there. You'll need to learn a lot of English," Fujitaka said.
This threw Sakura for a bit. She thought about it, then again said, "Yes."
"You're going to have to say goodbye to all your friends too," Fujitaka said.
"I know. I still want to go," Sakura repeated.
"Why do you want to go?" Fujitaka asked.
Sakura hesitated, unsure how much to say, before lowering her head and answering, "There are lots of things I want to learn about, and Mizuki-sensei thought that going to the United Kingdom would be the best way to learn them."
"There's no other, special reason you want to go?" Fujitaka asked in a way that could have been interrogatory except for his expression and tone.
"No," Sakura said in a small voice.
"And you're sure you want to go?" Fujitaka asked.
Sakura's face turned back to her father's. Their eyes met, and she simply said, "Yes."
Fujitaka thought about it for a few more seconds, and then said, "Okay. I'll talk to Mizuki-san and Hiiragizawa-san tomorrow and try to arrange things."
"Hoe?" Sakura asked.
"You're old enough to know what you're doing, Sakura-san, and I believe in you." Fujitaka said.
"Thank you, dad," Sakura said, accompanied with a simple but loving hug.
The next few days passed with such normalcy that it ironically felt abnormal to Sakura. She felt like the world should be different with this monumental decision made, yet life went on like it hadn't even noticed that everything had changed.
Tomoyo was the first non-family member Sakura told the news to the following morning. She took it very poorly. After the initial shock and disbelief when Sakura told her she was planning on going to the United Kingdom, Tomoyo tried to put on a brave face. However, despite her best efforts, it was obvious to Sakura that Tomoyo wanted to cry. Not even the time she lost her beautiful singing voice had Sakura seen Tomoyo this sad. This, more than anything else, made Sakura second guess her decision.
Most of Sakura's other friends took the news much better. They were all visibly surprised, but each was supportive and excited for her. For the elementary school students, even a trip to Osaka was a big deal. A trip to the United Kingdom made for a full-blown adventure, complete with magical swords and dragons keeping handsome princes in captivity who could only be saved by stealing their hats, at least if Takashi was to be believed. Sakura caught more than one look of envy thrown her way throughout the day.
However, the trip was still several months away, and Sakura was amazed how quickly everything returned to the normal routine as if that fateful phone call had never been made. There were classes in the morning, cheerleading club in the afternoon, food, studying, chores, and everything else which comprised her normal daily routine prior to her decision to go abroad.
The only change in her new routine as compared to her old one was that her studying now included daily practice of English with Tomoyo and a private tutor. When Sonomi had learned that Sakura was going to be exiled to the United Kingdom in a few months, she swore there was no way she was going to allow her sweet Nadesico's daughter thrown to the wolves unprepared, and had arranged for daily private lessons for Sakura. Tomoyo, happy to spend more time with Sakura no matter what the reason, had eagerly joined in the lessons as well and the two of them spent hours each day practicing English.
Sakura quickly learned to hate pronouns, particles, tenses, and especially the letter "r." Or was that "l?" She never could tell. The one thing she was thankful for was that this studying did not involve any embarrassing special Tomoyo outfits. The fact she wasn't risking long-term disability on secret night adventures was nice as well.
The days slowly passed by one by one, but somehow the weeks flew by. Each time Sakura checked a calendar "The Day" loomed nearer and nearer. Soon it was time for the final exams in her classes, and then goodbyes to all her classmates she wasn't going to see during the summer holiday.
The summer holiday brought a new found distaste of all things foreign to Sakura. With no school to prevent it, Sakura had found herself studying even more English. At least her practice now was much more exciting, with the tutor encouraging frequent trips to the aquarium or water park. This was supposedly to "practice the language in a natural environment," although it seemed like the tutor spent more time by the pool than actually talking with Sakura and Tomoyo.
Finally, "The Day" arrived. The previous night Sakura, with the help of her father, had packed her suitcase and her backpack. After they had finished, Sakura snuck the book which contained all the Sakura Cards in it into her backpack as well, causing an unsightly bulge on the corner where it had been wedged in.
Sakura's family, along with Yukito, got into a Daidouji family limousine first thing in the morning. Tomoyo wouldn't allow Sakura to leave the country without being able to say goodbye properly, and Sonomi was just as eager as her daughter to see her cousin's daughter off, which ensured that the limousine was packed full of people at the early hour for the trip.
At the airport, the lines for the international check-ins were extremely long. The Kinomoto family and companions found themselves waiting in line for hours before finally being able to reach an agent. Sakura and Tomoyo had so much to talk about in preparation for the coming four month absence that time flew by. If anything, it felt too short.
Toya and Yukito were much quieter during this time. Yukito added an occasional comment to the running conversation, but Toya kept his head held high, barely even looking at Sakura. Yukito could tell that Toya missed his sister already.
When they reached the counter, the attendant was surprised at how large an entourage had gathered just to see a single girl off. He was also surprised at the age of the passenger. He would never want his 14 year old son to travel by himself across the world, and his son was older, a boy, and intimately acquainted with how the airline industry worked.
The attendant then made the understandable mistake on complementing the "mother" and "father" of this young girl on her bravery. The "mother's" face flushed quickly with a blush of embarrassment before turning a darker red in anger. The next minute he had to endure her yelling and ranting that she was not, never had been, and never would consider marrying the "man" standing next to her, and how could he possibly have made such a mistake. Somehow, she managed to even make the word "man" seem insulting.
The attendant was thoroughly embarrassed and confused, but his training quickly kicked in and he peaceably agreed with everything she said, apologizing profusely for his mistake. Once the definitely-not-mother had been mollified, he handed the ticket to Sakura and directed the party to the proper terminal of the airport. After they were safely out of sight, he breathed a sigh of relief and called for the next person in line.
The final two hour wait at the terminal was one of the shortest Sakura ever had to experience. Sakura and Tomoyo's talk was very mundane. Indeed it might have been just another Sunday afternoon together, except that beneath it all there was an unacknowledged, even unrealized desperation of wanting to stay together which underlay the entire conversation.
Sakura promised to let Tomoyo know all about all of the exciting things she was going to see. Tomoyo promised to call every day and let Sakura know everything that happened back in Japan. Given Tomoyo, this was a non-idle promise too.
Too soon, the final boarding call was made, and Sakura had to give her final goodbyes to everybody. There was a one last round of goodbye hugs with everybody, except for Toya who instead got a foot stomp for an off-hand remark about crashing the plane. One last tearful goodbye saw her away to the ramp and then on to the plane.
The flight instructions were spoken twice, once in Japanese followed by once in English. Sakura found that she knew enough to understand the English instructions and could match the words to the previously spoken Japanese.
The flight was mostly uneventful, except for a few bumps which felt more like riding a roller coaster than a smooth trip through the air to Europe. Eventually, the plane came to a jarring landing on the ground. It was far harsher than any landing Sakura ever made when she flew personally, and there was a ferocious whirling sound as the plane desperately tried to come to a stop. The final taxi to the terminal was almost anti-climactic to Sakura. Looking out the window showed the same pavement, plain buildings, and airplanes she had left 15 hours earlier in Japan. Sakura found it hard to convince herself she was actually in a different country.
The plane arrived at the terminal, and Sakura repacked the things she had taken out of her backpack in flight, patiently waited for her turn to exit the plane. Once the rows in front of her had exited, she clutched her immigration papers to herself protectively and cautiously walked out the door.
Last Updated: May 1, 2013