Title: Sakura and the Whirlwind of Discovery
Summary: Sakura returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the 1992-1993 school year. There she starts to develop her own magic as the Chamber of Secrets is opened. A Cardcaptor Sakura continuation set in the Harry Potter universe. Sequel to "Sakura and the Scottish School of Magic."
Chapter 1: Sakura's Uncomfortable Revelation
The persistent tapping noise was just loud enough and just annoying enough to finally wake up Sakura. In her new semi-conscious state, the hazy mists of the dream she had been experiencing quickly burned away in the early morning sunlight.
She had apparently been thrashing about in her sleep. Her bedsheets had become tangled around her various limbs in a rather uncomfortable way. With a mostly-awakened mind, it was a simple matter to untangle them and untwist her pajamas. This relieved the vague discomfort she felt all over her body.
Before she could finish bringing order to the chaos which surrounded her, the tapping on the window repeated itself. Sakura directed her bleary eyes over to peer at the source of the incessant noise. She didn't see anything too special. It was only a large bird standing on the windowsill just outside.
The red light of the rising sun glinted sharply off of the bird's feathers. It took a few more seconds of staring to realize that it wasn't just the bright sunlight which was causing the bird to appear with such vivid colors; its bright red and gold plumage almost glowed with a light all its own.
The bird seemed to notice Sakura's blank stare. It flapped both of its wings twice and then returned to pecking at the window, faster and more insistently than before.
"What's that noise?" Keroberos asked in his characteristic Osaka accent. He seemed to be half-asleep, just like Sakura felt. He had probably been awoken by the persistent annoyance of the strange bird as well.
"I don't know. Some bird's pecking at the window," Sakura answered.
"Then why don't ya go see what it wants then?" Keroberos asked, as if it were a common everyday occurrence.
"Hoe..." Sakura complained. Nevertheless she climbed out of her disheveled bed and made her way over to the bird. She then carefully opened the window, ready to quickly slam it shut if the creature tried to do anything too strange.
Even with the window fully open, the bird didn't do anything alarming. It hopped up onto the window frame and held out a leg towards Sakura. A piece of parchment had been wrapped around and then tied to said leg. At the unspoken invitation, Sakura reached out and untied it. The tight knot made the act a bit harder than it could have been to Sakura's still sleepy fingers, but in short order she had liberated the scroll.
Once its missive had been safely delivered, the bird turned around and without so much as a single cry it took to the air. It flapped furiously, quickly rising in the air until it was lost in the sky.
Sakura unfurled the scroll and quickly scanned it over. As expected, it had to do with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The only messages she ever received via avian carrier were in regards to the magical school. Everybody else instead opted for a more traditional delivery system, or at least a more muggle one considering what the witches and wizards in Britain were accustomed to.
Overall the message the scroll contained managed to be even less surprising than the similar letter she had received a year ago in regard to attending Hogwarts. She had known this letter was coming for quite some time. She hadn't been very surprised back then either. Kaho had told her to expect the letter prior to it having arrived. Even so, this year's message still managed to surpass the previous year's one in non-news. In addition to the knowledge that a letter would be forthcoming, she had also guessed the mechanism for delivery as well. Even the letter's contents weren't a surprise. On the whole it looked very similar to the letter inviting her to her first year at the magical school.
"What is it?" Keroberos asked. He floated over to hover just above Sakura's shoulder.
"It looks like the letter from Hogwarts," Sakura said.
"Why'd they have to send that now? Couldn't they have waited a few more hours? It's not like we can do do much about it in Japan," Keroberos complained. "So, have ya decided yet?"
"I think so," Sakura said. "I'm going to go back to Hogwarts."
Keroberos nodded, then asked, "Have ya told 'em yet?"
"No," Sakura admitted.
When she had first returned to Japan she hadn't said anything about the coming school year because she hadn't known what she was going to do. The coincidence of timing with the Japanese school system's summer holiday had removed the immediate need to decide what she was going to do in the future. Was she going to go back to Hogwarts, or was she going to return to a more traditional education in Japan? She knew what she wanted to do. She had learned so much and had so much fun in the United Kingdom, albeit had so many trials and tribulations as well, that of course she wanted to go back to Hogwarts. The only issue was what that meant in terms of her family and her future.
Once she had concluded that one more year abroad wasn't enough to cause insurmountable problems back in Japan, she had told herself she wouldn't say anything because she didn't know if the school would allow her to return for a second year. Now, with the school supply list in hand, she knew she was rapidly running out of reasons to wait.
"Ya better tell 'em soon," Keroberos lightly chastised her.
"I know. I was just waiting for..." Sakura said, but then shook her head, "it doesn't matter. I'll tell them today."
The main reason she had waited so long was that she would need to tell her father of her decision. She expected he wouldn't present too much of an issue directly. He had always being very respectful of Sakura's decisions. However, Sakura felt that she owed an explanation for the decision as well. That in turn meant finally telling him about magic. She suspected he knew, and she knew he suspected, but that didn't make the prospect of the upcoming conversation any easier.
"I see," Keroberos said. "Let's take a look at that list then."
Sakura turned her attention back to the scroll she held in her hand. Keroberos hovered just behind her shoulder so he could read it at the same time. Her English was far better than it had been a year prior. A full school year spent poring over textbooks and scrolls had seen to that. She was able to quickly skim over the missive. The instructions to board the Hogwarts Express were well known to her, as was the beginning of the section explaining school supplies. She only paused when she hit an unfamiliar English word. She asked Keroberos, "What does this word mean? 'Gadding?'"
"'Gadding?' Where do ya see that?" Keroberos asked.
"Right here," Sakura said. She released the bottom of the scroll to point at the entry. This proved to be a mistake as the freed end of the scroll rolled upward into a loose and unreadable curl.
"Hoe," Sakura said as she unrolled the scroll again. "Down there, in the book list. Do you see? 'Gadding with Ghouls.'" The English phrase sounded out of place in the steady flow of Japanese.
"No idea," Keroberos admitted. "What's with all these books by Gilderoy Lockhart?"
"I don't know. I guess he's an important wizard or something," Sakura said.
She released the end of the scroll, letting it roll back up into a loose curl again. The timing of the message delivery was actually somewhat auspicious. She was going to be meeting Tomoyo later today. She was sure her friend would like to take a look at the genuine letter from the magical world. She wouldn't be surprised if Tomoyo asked to keep it as a souvenir.
That was for later, though. There was still time to catch a bit more sleep before the day began in earnest. She tossed the scroll onto her desk and went back to her bed.
After some hesitation, Sakura changed her mind and decided that getting an early start on the day might be a better idea. Now that she had made up her mind to tell her father about her magic, she doubted she'd be able to relax enough to sleep anymore anyway.
If only a Sakura Card would go rampant. That would be most convenient. That, or maybe Yue would get it in his mind to re-test Sakura. She had certainly never thought that there would be a time when she would look back at her confrontation with Eriol with longing at how much more relaxed that situation had been.
"Whatever it is, I promise that I'll always love you," Fujitaka assured Sakura. He obviously could see his daughter's nervousness. Not that that was at all surprising. Sakura was fidgeting so much that even the weather lady on the television across the room could probably tell she was nervous.
Sakura had put it off for all these years, surely she could put it off another day.
No. It'd been far too long already. She wanted to go back to Hogwarts, and her father should know the real reason. Moreover he deserved to finally know the truth of everything. Or to finally have the truth confirmed in the event that he already suspected.
She took a deep breath and said as firmly as she could, "I can do magic."
"Of course you can, Sakura-san," Fujitaka said, without batting an eye. "Every day with you is magical."
"No," Sakura said, correcting her father and avoiding the easy escape from the conversation. "I mean I can do magic."
"Is this some kind of game? What do you need me to do?" Fujitaka asked, providing another convenient excuse if Sakura wanted to back out.
Sakura was sorely tempted to take the excuse but instead bravely pressed on. She said, "No. It's true. I can do real magic. Watch."
She pulled out the Key and the Sakura Cards, which she always carried around with her ever since that escapade with The Song. She chanted the phrase which she had long memorized through repeated use. "Key which hides the powers of stars, show your true power before me. Under the contract, Sakura commands you. Release!"
The Key quickly grew to a more useful size, at which point Sakura threw The Fly into the air. She chanted out, "Fly, grant me wings so I may take to the sky. Fly!"
As has become second nature to her, Sakura brought the Key down. It intersected the boomeranging card and she channeled her magic through it. This caused a pair of wings to manifest on her back. At that point, she easily took to the air. She hovered just off the ground, bringing herself to be eye-level to her father.
"See? Like I said. Magic. Real magic," Sakura said.
"That's incredible, Sakura-san," Fujitaka said. His face remained remarkably calm. Either he had already known or he had an amazing poker face. Possibly both. His only reaction had been a quick flick of his eyes down to Sakura's feet. "How long have you been able to do this?"
"For a while," Sakura said. She avoided eye-contact and was staring at the floor.
"Can anybody do it? Where did you learn it?" Fujitaka asked.
"From... well... Kero-chan. Kero-chan?" Sakura called out, signaling for the plushie-lookalike to fly in from the next room over.
"Heyo!" Keroberos called out to Fujitaka with a big wave.
"Hello," Fujitaka said back, much less flamboyantly. He turned back to Sakura and said, "So for a few years now. Why are you telling me this now?"
"Well... you see..." Sakura said, still nervous. She held out the scroll she had received in the morning. "I want to go back to Hogwarts, and I thought you should know the real reason why. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It's a magic school, you see."
Fujitaka took the scroll but only gave it the most cursory of glances. It was all in English so Sakura had no idea if her father was able to read it or not. He instead simply asked, "Okay. So is there anything in particular we need to do to let them know you're going back?"
In the end, that was it. No big shock at the revelation that magic was real. No angry accusations of why she had put herself into danger so many times collecting the cards. No big protest about her having kept it a secret from him all this time. Nothing Sakura had feared throughout these weeks and years had happened.
In retrospect, Sakura wasn't sure why she had thought her father would have had a major reaction. After all, both Tomoyo and Toya had had similarly subdued reactions upon finding out the truth that magic existed. In fact the only person who seemed to have been surprised at the discovery of magic had been Sakura herself, and half of her surprise at that initial encounter with magic was due to Keroberos's Osaka accent.
All in all, the announcement turned out to be rather anti-climactic, which suited Sakura just fine.
Sakura's relief after telling her father the truth about her magic was almost indescribable. It felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders. It had the added benefit of simplifying her life on a more practical level as well. For example, she no longer needed to surreptitiously hide her magical practice in the solitude of her bedroom. She was still careful near windows whenever a stranger could see what she was doing, but she no longer feared her family stumbling in at an inconvenient and inexplicable time.
It was true that Sakura had been warned not to use any magic over the summer. It was equally true that she wanted to stay in practice. More than that, she wanted to share some of her experiences from Hogwarts Castle with Tomoyo in a way that was more substantial than just hearsay stories. Now that she could be open with her father as well as her brother, it made both goals so much easier to achieve.
It was slow going at first. Sakura was worried what might happen if she pulled out her wand and started transfiguring things left and right. She had done some magic over the previous winter in Japan, but that had been before she had received the sternly worded letter prior to leaving Hogwarts for the summer which had admonition to not use magic over the break. She decided to start out slowly to see what would happened.
The first thing Sakura did, in the privacy of her home, was a bit of astronomy. She figured that if anything untoward happened she could pass it off as a muggle thing she was doing. The excuse would be equally valid whether she was caught by a wizard or witch or whether she was caught by a muggle. Despite her reasoning and her prepared explanation, she was still a bit nervous with her star charts spread out in front of her as she compared them to the dimly lit sky. As the seconds ticking by turned into minutes and nothing happened, she started to relax. She wasn't sure what she had been expecting. Maybe a siren to go off or maybe to be transported instantly to the headmaster's office at Hogwarts. However nothing of note happened at all except for her first realization of exactly how little she could see of the night sky in Tokyo. That realization brought with it a profound sense of disappointment.
The next thing she tried was some charms. As she did so she told herself there was no way that casting a simple Lumos charm could cause anybody any problems. This was the same neighborhood in which the Clow Cards had run rampant in what seemed like a lifetime ago, after all. Despite this she still held her breath for a few seconds after her first charm. When nothing untoward happened as a result she then tried a Ventus charm, then a Wingardium Leviosa charm, and then others.
She quickly moved on to potion brewing after that. Excepting that she could only attempt to make a very limited number of potions given how few ingredients she had access to, nothing exceptionally notable happened then either.
Once she was satisfied that she could perform at least some demonstration of what she had learned without causing a massive problem, it was an easy thing to include Tomoyo to show her what she had been doing at Hogwarts.
The first thing Tomoyo wanted to see, though, was Sakura's Hogwarts uniform. It was strange, but not too surprising. Sakura knew her best friend well enough to have predicted this and thus had brought her school robes with her when she visited Tomoyo's house the first day she felt free to show off her Western magic. She obligingly donned a shirt, skirt, robe, and tie just like if she had been in the spacious stone hallways of Hogwarts Castle.
The uniform did not meet with Tomoyo's approval. It was far too plain for her strict fashion sense. About the only thing which did catch Tomoyo's attention was the Ravenclaw insignia. While the intricate design of the house crest was certainly impressive, it wasn't nearly cute enough for Tomoyo's taste. Even the addition of the matching scarf Sakura wore in the cold Scottish winter months did little to appease Tomoyo. She was every bit as disappointed as Sakura had expected her to be.
With the more mundane demonstrations out of the way, Sakura and Tomoyo then started playing around with some of the Western magic Sakura had been learning at Hogwarts. This had mixed results. Sakura's charms, potions, transfigurations, and everything else worked just as well as always. If anything, her charms seemed to be doing better than ever now that she was out of the strict eye and constant stream of corrections from Professor Flitwick. The downside was that Tomoyo was extremely limited in what she could do in their play sessions. Extremely limited in this case meant that Tomoyo couldn't do anything even hinting at magic.
Given how Tomoyo was a muggle, Sakura would have been shocked if Tomoyo had been able to cast a charm. There was no way for her to wave a wand and cause a spark of light to appear. Tomoyo's inability to cast something like a Ventus charm was entirely expected. They just played around for the sake of having fun in that regard.
Somewhat less expected were potions and Tomoyo's equally unsuccessful attempts at brewing them. Unlike charms and transfigurations, potions seemed positively mundane. It was like cooking: mix flour with liquid and get a result, only in the case of potions it was more like mix flower with liquid and get a result. Magic seemed to have nothing to do with the equation. Despite that, Tomoyo's attempts at brewing a potion that Professor Snape had described as "the most banal of trivialities" had been utterly without effect. It hadn't been a spectacular failure. Nearby metal objects hadn't bent like rubber and eyebrows hadn't disappeared in vermilion puffs. Just absolutely nothing happened at all.
The first time could have been chalked up to some esoteric difference in the ingredients between Japan and the United Kingdom. The second time could have been some mistake Tomoyo had made which had gone unnoticed by her and Sakura. Both were easier to accept than the unexplained quandary of why muggles couldn't craft potions. Eriol had even mentioned once that muggles could use potions, so unlike wands there couldn't have been some strange magical core or something else in play.
They decided to try one last experiment. They went through a crafting session side-by-side with Sakura doing the exact same things as Tomoyo, just to see what the results would be.
"Now the book says to stir it with your right hand," Sakura translated from her Potions book. Both stood over the stove in the kitchen, carefully watching over their simmering concoctions.
"Like this?" Tomoyo asked. She gently stirred what appeared to be a thin broth in the steel pot in front of her with the glass rod she held in her hand.
"Right, just like that," Sakura confirmed as she mimicked the procedure in a similar pot in front of herself.
"How long are we supposed to stir it for?" Tomoyo asked.
"It says four turns, and then... hoe?" Sakura started replying before being taken off guard by the pot in front of her turning a milky white.
"What is it?" Tomoyo asked. She looked into Sakura's pot while she kept stirring her own. Hers concoction maintained its clear look of herbal soup. "Yours changed already? What did you do?"
"Just what I said out loud. Why didn't yours change too?" Sakura asked as she turned off the burner underneath her pot.
"I didn't see any difference between ya both," Keroberos commented from where he hovered off to the side.
"Maybe it'll just take a bit longer for mine?" Tomoyo suggested as she kept stirring.
"It should have changed by now," Sakura said pessimistically. She turned off Tomoyo's burner.
What made Sakura confused and pessimistic was nothing. Specifically she felt absolutely nothing from the pot in front of Tomoyo. In Potions class she would always be surrounded by vague impressions, like a sense of urgency right before Anthony's pot would erupt in a cloud of purple gas, or a feeling of completeness when she would add a pinch of belladonna to a simmering cauldron. Even now she felt a vague sense of discomfort from her own potion. However, Sakura felt absolutely nothing from Tomoyo's pot. This was despite the fact that her friend had done everything exactly the same way as Sakura had done.
"Why do you think it doesn't work for me?" Tomoyo asked.
"Got me," Keroberos said.
"Maybe somebody back at Hogwarts will know," Sakura speculated. It was yet another thing on her large and growing list of things to find out about once she returned to the United Kingdom.
Their latest experiment a failure, Sakura and Tomoyo quickly cleaned up the remnants of their potion making adventures. Sakura's family might all know about her magic now, but that didn't mean that she could leave things strewn about everywhere. It was Toya's turn to cook dinner, and Sakura wouldn't put it past her brother to tease her for leaving the kitchen a mess.
With their latest potions experiment completed, Sakura and Tomoyo were left with the question of what to do next. They still had a bit longer before Tomoyo would be expected to return home. Ultimately Sakura decided to return to practicing her charms, that being her weakest area and thus her standard topic to study when she didn't know what else to do.
Sometimes during these practice sessions, Tomoyo would thumb through Sakura's textbooks. However her limited English wasn't proficient enough to get more than a basic gist of the texts. Much more frequently Tomoyo would spend the time mimicking the motions and words Sakura used instead. They had no effect, but it didn't matter. Tomoyo just enjoyed spending time with Sakura. So while Sakura waved the Key about, casting the various charms she had learned the previous year, Tomoyo had Sakura's wand in hand and was doing very much the same.
Using the Key to practice sometimes had been Keroberos's suggestion, and Sakura appreciated it. She found it far easier to feel, and thus control, her magic when she used the Key than when she used her wand. Feeling the way the words and gestures she learned in class constricted how her magic manifested gave her some insight into what should be happening. It made it possible for her to notice when something wasn't quite right and something slipped through what she had intended. This knowledge was helpful for when she went back to using her wand, and she felt like it was leading to some significant improvements in her charm casting. It made the times she practiced with the Key very much worth it, even if using the Key left Sakura feeling noticeably more drained than when she used her wand.
"Lumos," Sakura said, waving the Key in the loop in the air that both Professor Flitwick as well as "The Standard Book of Spells" had described. Interestingly enough, "The Dark Forces" also described the Lumos charm for some reason, but that book failed to describe any specific wand movement.
Sakura could feel her magic going through the Key and collecting in front of her, much like she had felt countless times before. It consolidated into a single point and resulted in a bright pink almost crystal-like object appearing in the air in front of her. She was able to change the color of the charm as she summoned it, but its natural color seemed to be pink. Sakura liked the shade so she usually didn't bother trying to change it.
Right beside her, Tomoyo waved Sakura's wand in the same loop and said, "Lumos." She spoke with a distinct accent, pronouncing the word more like "ruemosu." Unsurprisingly, nothing happened as a result of Tomoyo's actions.
Sakura let the light disappear before she summoned it again. She would repeat this a few more times before moving on to the next charm, like the Ventus charm or the Wingardium Leviosa charm.
They continued like this for about an hour before Tomoyo had to return home for the day.
"I'm back," Sakura announced as she entered her home.
The announcement turned out to be unnecessary. Her brother was apparently still out working a part-time job and her father was nowhere to be seen. Given the time of the day she suspected her father was out grocery shopping or something. Keroberos was with her as she entered which meant that there was nobody to return the traditional greeting.
With her home to herself, Sakura went to pick up the pile of mail which had been delivered earlier in the day.
She quickly flipped past the first two envelopes, both bills, before the third one caught her attention. The carefully written yet still almost illegibly sloppy address on the cover of the letter marked it as having been sent by Anthony. It was a look shared by all of the letters from her British friends.
Unlike the messages delivered by bird, the letter from her British friend had on the front of its envelope the carefully written Japanese symbols indicating Sakura's address. The British people copying the unfamiliar symbols from Sakura's already imperfect handwriting resulted in a very distinctive and barely legible appearance. As a result, all of their envelopes carried the same look of unnaturalness to the casual Japanese eye. It was a testament to the post office's diligence that the letters still managed to make it to her.
Anthony had written the most to Sakura over the summer. This was despite Lisa's muggle mother possibly giving her extra insight into how the muggle mail system worked. Lisa wrote a fair number of letters as well, but her efforts were edged out by Anthony's frequent correspondence. He always made time to write to her despite being hard at work at his family's inn. Gloria had written a couple of letters as well, but not nearly as many as the other two. Sakura still found it hard to imagine the active Gryffindor girl sitting still at a desk with a writing utensil clenched in hand.
Sakura opened the envelope. It revealed the messy but more much naturally flowing English script of Anthony's letter inside. She skimmed through the letter as quickly as she could, only slightly challenged by the somewhat sloppy handwriting in Sakura's non-native language. Apparently he still found the idea that a person was physically carrying the actual paper he was writing on all the way around the world bemusing and utterly unbelievable. He wondered how they had enough staff to handle all of the messages if each one was being hand-carried by a single person to a destination across the ocean; and why they weren't charging top galleon prices for the service. In more personal news, their inn was positively bustling as well. They were talking about expanding it. Anthony was worried about the cost, but the family didn't seem to pay his opinion half as much attention as that of his brother. Relatedly, his brother was acting like quite a "git" it seemed. While Sakura wasn't quite sure what that meant she was fairly sure the term wasn't meant as a compliment.
Sakura was idly flipping through the remainder of the mail and thinking about what parts, if any, of her latest experiments with potions to write back to him about when another letter appeared which drove all the other thoughts from her head.
The handwriting showed none of the stiff artificiality that indicated it had been sent by one of her friends from Hogwarts. Indeed she instantly recognized the handwriting as being from Syaoran. Without ceremony, Sakura quickly ripped open the envelope and tore into the letter like a dehydrated woman into a glass of water.
At the first sentence Sakura's heart almost jumped into her throat. Syaoran would be able to join her at school this year. His interest in Hogwarts and Western magic in general had been one of the major reasons she would be returning there. Even if he hadn't been able to join her, she would still have wanted to learn as much as she could there due to his interest. In the worst case she would be able to show him and Mei-Ling some of the magic she was learning. However, not so secretly she had also been hoping that they would be able to join her there.
Even better, it looked like Syaoran might be able to join her in the second-year classes as well. He would need to pass some magical test called a W.O.M.B.A.T., but he was sure he would be able to do so easily despite Kaho's warnings that the test was very difficult.
The next paragraph managed to completely crush Sakura's good mood, though. It seemed that Mei-Ling would not in fact be able to join them at Hogwarts. Some tests at some office in Hong Kong had confirmed that she was apparently a squib, meaning that she had absolutely no magical potential at all. Despite the generally low magical requirements needed for Western magic, Mei-Ling wouldn't have any more access to it than she did to Eastern magic.
Sakura could only continue reading on autopilot after that bit of crushing news. She barely registered Syaoran's explanation that as Hong Kong was a British colony there would be no issue with using a portkey to travel across the world from there to England and his suggestion of some rough travel plans which might work. The letter finally came to a conclusion with some generic formalities.
After she finished reading Syaoran's letter, Sakura quickly scanned through the rest of the mail in her hands. Nothing struck her as being particularly interesting as she flipped through them in a very wooden manner. She simply carried them into an appropriate place where her brother and father would find and deal with them.
At least Syaoran would be able to join her this year which she thought was good news. No, she was sure that that was good news. Furthermore, she was sure Tomoyo would want to hear about that particularly good news as well. For that matter, the ability to use a portkey from Hong Kong opened up all sorts of possibilities for traveling. She would need to mention that as well before Tomoyo's mother booked any plane tickets.
Despite having seen her just an hour earlier, Sakura picked up the phone to dial Tomoyo and let her know these latest developments.
Practice may or may not make perfect, but it certainly made things easier. After having packed several times, both for going to and returning from the United Kingdom, Sakura was well practiced. On the other hand, she could have been having an easier packing due to the fact that she was simply bringing less stuff than before.
Her time at Hogwarts over the past year had provided a great deal of insight into what she actually needed to bring with her and what she had expected to need but had never actually used in school. Even with the addition of her wand and the other paraphernalia she had brought back to Japan, it felt like she was packing fewer things than on her first trip.
"Done," Sakura announced, relieved.
"Already?" Keroberos asked. "Sure ya got everything?"
"I think so," Sakura said.
"Ya got yer shirts?" Keroberos asked.
Sakura pulled up a few layers of clothing in her suitcase to check, and then confirmed, "Yes."
"And yer skirts?" Keroberos asked.
"Yes," Sakura said, seeing them right below the shirts.
"Underwear? Socks? Shoes? Robes? Toothbrush? Toothpaste? Brush? Comb?" Keroberos asked, continuing to name things.
Sakura confirmed all of them.
"What about the books? There's Astronomy, Charms, Transfiguration..." Keroberos asked, moving on to the more magical aspects of the trip.
"I'm not bringing them," Sakura said. They were still visibly sitting on her desk, no longer tucked away in a hidden corner. Seeing how her father now knew about her magical abilities and the nature of her studies at Hogwarts, there was almost no reason to hide them anymore. Sakura continued, answering the unasked question, "They're heavy, and the Hogwarts and Ravenclaw libraries both have lots of copies of the first-year books if I need to look up something from last year."
Keroberos nodded in understanding. He had had to carry most of them himself at some point or another.
"What about yer wand?" Keroberos asked.
"Here," Sakura said, showing it. "I'm going to be carrying it, and the cards, and the Key."
"That's everything I can think of. Funny. I thought there'd be more," Keroberos said. Both he and Sakura stared at the only half-full suitcase.
"Me too," Sakura said, thinking back to the previous year when she had only barely been able to fit the book containing the Sakura Cards into her backpack.
She looked around, thinking of what she had excluded which she could now fit in with the extra space she had available. Her gaze naturally settled on the stuffed doll in the pink and yellow cape sitting on her bed, not coincidentally reminding her of the Final Judgment she had faced with Yue. She picked it up and placed it next to the gray stuffed bear she had received from Syaoran already lying in her suitcase.
Another look around the room and her eye next fell on her red and white skates, along with her helmet and safety pads. She walked over and picked them up. There would be enough room for them as well, not that there was any reason to bring them.
"What're ya bringing them for? Ya can't use 'em, remember?" Keroberos asked, pointing out what Sakura already knew.
"Too bad. It'd be nice. There's not too much else to do in the castle," Sakura said with a sigh. For a magical school, there was surprisingly little to do there. They didn't really have any clubs she'd heard of, and besides Quidditch there didn't seem to be very much to do at all. When she got too restless she could always go exploring the castle with Gloria. While they still frequently found new secrets hidden away in various hallways or closets, Sakura longed for something a bit more predictable and reliable than simply poking around Hogwarts Castle.
"Maybe, but I doubt they've suddenly paved the road to the castle or anything over the summer. Those witches and wizards teleport and fly any time they got to go anywhere long distance," Keroberos said.
"I know. It's a shame that..." Sakura said, but then trailed off. A thought just struck her. Flying. The Fly. Maybe it was possible. She snatched up the skates and the associated safety equipment and placed them in her suitcase. They neatly filled the remaining space.
"What're ya doing? We just said ya can't use 'em," Keroberos said.
"I just had an idea, Kero-chan," Sakura answered. It was too bad she had only just had it now. If she had thought of it a few weeks ago she could have spent part of her time over the summer experimenting. On the other hand, it would likely be much easier to experiment in the United Kingdom, what with being able to get help from Eriol and Kaho and the various professors in Hogwarts.
Sakura was slightly concerned that her lugging her skates around to another country would be a lot of trouble for naught and that she was just wasting her time. However, she had just been thinking there was too much time and too little to do in the castle. This would certainly help alleviate that problem.
The flights might have been equally international, but Sakura's trip to Hong Kong involved far less fuss than her flights to the United Kingdom. Not only was she much more familiar with flying as compared to her first trip overseas, the flight itself was so short that she barely had time to get uncomfortable before they were disembarking from the plane.
As she looked around the Hong Kong airport, Sakura was struck by how different it was than Narita International Airport. It managed to be quite unlike the airport in the United Kingdom as well. It shared some features with both, but it still managed to maintain a distinctive and unmistakable personality all its own.
Unlike her first trip to the United Kingdom, Sakura didn't stop to gawk and experience these personality quirks in any substantial way. She hustled through the airport as quickly as was convenient. Syaoran's mother, Yelan Li, still intimidated her in many ways. This was in spite of Sakura's having been accepted by Yelan during the incident with Madoushi, and in spite of Sakura now having a more serious relationship with Syaoran. Maybe it was actually because of her relationship with Syaoran that she felt so intimidated by the woman. Regardless, she loathed to keep the woman waiting.
Sakura was able to find Yelan without issue. Yelan was accompanied by both Syaoran and Mei-Ling. The stern presence of the woman prevented any substantial outbursts of emotion and subdued the conversation among the children when they initially met in the airport as well as during the ride to the Li home.
It was only when the group had arrived at Syaoran's house, which still looked as opulent as ever in the crowded city, and the children had been left alone that Sakura feel like they could actually talk freely.
"Thank you for your hospitality," Sakura said to both Syaoran and Mei-Ling. She spoke in Japanese. She had never learned Cantonese. She wondered if she should at some point, given her growing relationship with Syaoran.
"It's nothing. It's only for a bit before we use that portkey of yours," Syaoran answered in Japanese, brushing off the thanks. "If anything, we should be thanking you for saving us the trip."
"'We?'" Keroberos asked.
"Yeah, we," Mei-Ling said proudly. "I wouldn't miss it for anything."
"I thought you weren't going to be coming to Hogwarts. Something about being a squib," Sakura said. The English term bounced off her tongue with some degree of unfamiliarity.
"Like a little thing like that would stop me from going with you. You can only be left behind by someone as incredible as Syaoran so many times before it stops getting you down. I still want to try out that portkey and check out the United Kingdom," Mei-Ling said.
"Mei-Ling," Syaoran said, protesting the description.
"Either of ya used a portkey before?" Keroberos asked.
"No. My parents still don't trust them. If it had been anybody but Clow who made the portkey they'd have said we couldn't use it. The only reason they agreed is that we have a couple of other artifacts Clow made lying around, and they all work fine so they're willing to let us try it out," Syaoran said.
"But it was Eriol-kun who made it," Sakura said.
"He's still Clow reincarnated, right?" Syaoran justified.
Sakura didn't know how to answer that, so she didn't.
"Enough talking, when are we going?" Mei-Ling asked.
"Wait, where's everybody else? Aren't yer parents or yer sisters gonna see ya off or anything?" Keroberos asked.
"They're all too scared. They're willing to let us try to use the portkey, but they're worried something might go wrong and don't want to be anywhere near it," Syaoran said. He then pulled out the wooden model of Clow Manor that Sakura had last seen when Eriol had presented the portkey to her last winter. Syaoran asked, "So, are you going to explain how all this works then?"
"The way Eriol-kun explained it to me is that first we're all supposed to be touching it," Sakura said. She held the manor up in her hand.
"Like this?" Syaoran asked, pinching the corner of a roof. Mei-Ling grabbed a corner of a wall, and Keroberos clutched one of the tiny windows of the model.
"Right. Now is everybody holding everything they want to bring?" Sakura asked. She double-checked that she had the handle of her luggage clutched in her other hand.
"One second," Mei-Ling said. She ran across the room, grabbed a bag, and came back. "Ready."
"Ready," Syaoran agreed. "Now what?"
"Well, Eriol said to just say, 'to England bound...'" Sakura said, the last bit in English.
As the portkey activated, Sakura reflected on how that phrase sounded just as improbable and silly now as it had back when Eriol had first told it to the previous last winter.
Last Updated: September 3, 2015