“I can’t believe she can sleep midair,” Syaoran muttered half to himself, half to the Unicorn. “Can you?” Daylight was breaking, and Sakura and he had arrived over the bustling city of Tokyo on back of the flying Unicorn.
Midnight Star whinnied, shaking his head. The normally ebony black stallion had transformed into a pure snow white unicorn with the rise of sun, perfectly blending in with the lightened sky.
“I mean, what if she falls off?” Syaoran, who was sitting behind the sleeping Sakura, eyed her with discontent as she wobbled dangerously to and fro on the Unicorn’s back.
Giving a meaningful neigh, Midnight Star tossed its now silvery mane, his amethyst twinkling.
“Oh fine,” replied Syaoran. Hesitantly, he supported his arms around Sakura’s waist. He was a little surprised when Sakura snuggled against his chest. Her head neatly fit on his shoulder, and he blinked at her sleeping face for a while. She didn’t realize where they were right now, or who he was; it was as if she forgot all her worries in a deep dreamland. “Don’t tell her,” Syaoran muttered when Midnight Star was guffawing at him, as if accusing him of taking advantage of Sakura since she was sleeping.
“HOEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! WHERE… AM… I????!!!!” Sakura screamed, bolting upright on the Unicorn, some time later. Then she realized that Syaoran’s arms were tightly wrapped around her waste. “What are you doing?!” She pushed Syaoran away, almost shoving him completely off Midnight Star.
Sweat-dropping, Syaoran muttered, “Humph. Little gratitude I get for keeping you in balance.”
Then she remembered. “We must be in Tokyo now!” Groaning, Sakura shifted her position. Her neck, all the way down her spine ached from sleeping in such an uncomfortable position. “Tell me never to sleep on a horse’s back, midair again. Then patting, the Unicorn’s head, she said, “Thanks, Midnight Star. You must be tired. Wow, you turned white! How pretty! Is it another one of your special powers?”
Slowly, Midnight Star drifted lower down the sky, over the tall buildings. Then, fumbling inside her bag, Sakura drew out her binoculars. Holding it up to her eye, and focusing down below at the streets, she exclaimed, “Oh no! They followed us all the way here!” The police cars were flocking the streets, causing chaos in the morning traffic.
Frowning, Sakura pondered, If I want to get anything done, I can’t have the police always chasing me 24/7. But that can’t be helped because I’m carrying Kaitou Magician’s locket, which has the microchip attached to it. How can I prevent them from tracking me with their electronic devises? Out loud, she exclaimed, “Ah ha! The Shield Card!”
Flinging up the locket, she used the Shield to guard it from outside devises. There, the police force wouldn’t be able to track them through the microchip, anymore.
“Will that work?” Syaoran asked.
“Of course! The Shield Card blocks all outside forces. That includes computer tracking systems.” Finally, they landed behind a secluded alley and the Unicorn returned to a card.
“But it may take several days to finish the business here. Are you sure that the Shield will last that long? You’ve never used that card beyond an hour.” Tentatively, Syaoran walked out into the bustling Tokyo streets. A deep frown curved upon his forehead as he remembered all the thoughts he had sorted out that previous night.
“It’ll have to work,” Sakura replied firmly. “Okay. First of all, I have to find out who is filing the suit against Kaitou-kun.”
“Why?” Syaoran asked.
“Because, if I find the person, and make
them drop charges, the police would stop chasing Kaitou-kun like this.
And secondly, I have to find a way to dislocate the microchip from this
“Do you think it’s that good of an idea finding who the person is? He’s supposed to be a wealthy man, and even if you find out who it is, what can you do?” Syaoran asked mildly.
“Look, I can do it by myself. If you don’t think it’s worth the trouble, fine. I’ll go by myself.” Determinedly, Sakura walked briskly down the street.
“Sometimes, I wish you weren’t so independent… But, good luck!” Syaoran called out, walking off in the other direction.
Halting, Sakura swerved around. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Sorry. I have some business to take care of here. Hate to leave you, but I’m sure you’ll manage fine,” Syaoran told her. “You always do.”
“But…” She was speechless. He can’t just leave me! He’s the one who told me he’ll stick by me! No. I don’t need him. I can manage fine by myself. I can’t count on other people forever. Still…
Half laughing at the stricken expression on Sakura’s face, Syaoran said, “Don’t worry. I’m not completely abandoning you. I’ll meet up with you later on in the day. Just get along with your business. See you later!” Waving, he turned around and melted into the people in the street.
In disbelief, Sakura walked down the opposite direction. How could Syaoran just leave her like that? He didn’t tell her that he had business in Tokyo the previous day. I hate him! I bet he’s just doing this to torment me and laugh at how helpless I can be. He’s the one who always told me I was a stupid, incompetent Card Captor. Well, I’ll prove that I can manage on my own. Now where was she supposed to go to find out who was filing the suit against Kaitou Magician? The police station.
Syaoran blinked up at the blazing summer sun with golden amber eyes. Sorry, Sakura.
Stepping into a taxi, he said, “Tokyo Police
Station Headquarters, please.”
Arriving at the gates at the Police Headquarters, Syaoran paid the taxi driver, then walked up to the gates. Immediately, one of the guards standing in duty asked, “Hey, kid, what are you doing? This place is off limits.”
“I have business here,” Syaoran replied.
“Oh, do you? Well, you can’t enter,” the self-confident guard answered.
Sighing, Syaoran fumbled inside his pocket, and drew out a circular golden token half the size of his palm and with elaborate engravings of Chinese characters, the moon, and other intricate designs and held it up to the guard.
“What’s that?” the guard asked, clearly confused.
Frowning, another man also dressed in the police uniform asked, “What’s going on here?”
Standing up straight, the first guard saluted, “Good morning sir!” The man who had just come was clearly a superior. “This boy wanted to enter, Chief.”
Eyeing Syaoran, the officer, blinked several times at the gold token. Then to the guard, he said, “Fool, don’t you even recognize the Li house emblem?”
“Li? You mean that Li family? The Li clan from Hong Kong?” In a more cordial and polite manner to Syaoran the guard said, “I apologize for not recognizing sooner. Did you say you have business here, sir? Is it for the Li family?”
“Err—Yes. I would like to speak to the person in charge of the Kaitou Magician case,” Syaoran replied, slipping the token back into his pocket. He hated his family name but at times, it was useful. “Specifically, I want to verify who the person pressing charges against the Kaitou is.”
“Oh, and if a girl around my age with long brown hair and green eyes comes, send her away. What ever you do, don’t let her in.”
“If you wish, sir,” the guard replied, rather baffled.
Finally! Smiling, Sakura gazed up at the tall white Tokyo Police Headquarters. Her feet ached. If she had known that it would be this far away, she would have taken the bus of taxi. Yet when she had asked for directions, someone must have told her the wrong place. She had wandered around Tokyo for hours before finally reaching the right place. It was already past noon.
“What do you want?” the guard of the gate demanded.
Walking up the large building gates, Sakura stammered, “I have business here. More specifically, I need to talk to the person in charge of the Kaitou Magician case. “
“Eh?” the guard muttered to himself, “Teenagers these days. What’s wrong with them? Second time in a day about Kaitou Magician. Or maybe playing detective is ‘in’ these days.” To Sakura he said, “Why?”
“Hoe? Why?” Sakura racked her brain. “Err… It’s for my school newspaper. I have an editorial on the Kaitou Magician.”
“Really?” Critically, the guard examined the girl. Long light brown hair tied loosely with ribbons on each side of her head. Startling emerald green eyes. “Nope. I can’t let you in. Sorry.”
“But why?” Sakura asked, trying not to sound desperate.
Angrily, Sakura kicked a pebble on the sidewalk. Syaoran would laugh at her when he found out she couldn’t even get through the gates. She didn’t stop at that; she had tried to approach the building through various methods, including the north, south, east, and west gates. She even tried climbing over the walls. Nothing worked. A whole day wasted, and she had accomplished nothing.
Stop thinking about that betrayer! I don’t need anyone, Sakura scolded herself. And what was the chance that she’ll bump into him again in this big city? She didn’t care if she never saw him again. Syaoran would be no help, anyway. Yet, why had he acted so strangely?
She gazed at her reflection on the glass window of a shop. Her hair was tangled and stuck out in all directions. Her green eyes were dull and tired. Not to mention, her back ached from the weight of her bag, her feet had blisters from walking all day, and her stomach was empty. That’s my problem. I always try to sound confident and strong, when inside, I’m not.
Sakura turned and walked around the corner. When did it turn dark? Where was she to go now? Go home? Call a friend? Her crazy, thoughtless plan landed her in the middle of nowhere. She slipped out the handphone that Tomoyo had given her. Should she call her? Or Syaoran?
“Hey, cute girl, you alone?” a voice came from the back of an alley.
Startled, Sakura stepped back. She was greeted by a group of boys who looked like a high school gangster of some sort.
“Look, she has a handphone,” another guy said. “Good, mine broke last time I got in a fight.”
“Wonder what’s in her bag,” the third guy said. “Hey, pretty necklace. Is that real diamond?”
“That’s none of your business,” Sakura retorted.
“Ooh~ a hot temper, eh? Will you put up a fight? It’s four to one,” the last guy said.
“Don’t worry. I’m not scared,” Sakura replied coolly. Warily, she eyed the four young men.
“It will be a pity to put a bruise on your pretty face, wouldn’t it?” the same guy replied, reaching for her bag. “How many money do you have?”
Quickly, Sakura slapped his hand away and said, “Get out of my way. I’m busy. And it’s how much money do you have, not how many.”
Angrily, he rubbed his hand. “I don’t give about grammar. And you hit me? Well, you won’t get away so easily.” He raised his fist into the air, ready to bring it down.
“I don’t think that’s a very good idea,” came Syaoran’s voice, from the other side of the alley.
The thugs turned around. “What’s your problem? You wanna fight us?”
“I’m just warning you guys, that girl handled a whole gangster group in New York City, single-handed. Full grown men, too, not a bunch of puny wimps like you,” he replied with amused amber eyes twinkling in the shadow.
“Shut up, Syaoran,” Sakura said. Why did he turn up at a moment like this? Did he expect her to be relieved, thankful? Not a bit.
“What? You—“ One of the guys leaped out to punch Syaoran. Without much thought, Syaoran stepped out of the way.
“Humph. Are you scared to fight?” the thug mocked.
“Why did you come?” Sakura demanded.
“Eh? I told you I’ll find you at the end of the day. You really wouldn’t think I’ll abandon you in the city, would you?” Syaoran asked.
“Well, don’t think you’ve saved me or anything. I can manage these people by myself,” Sakura replied, her emerald eyes flashing and her hands on her hips.
“I know. You always get yourself into the worst scrapes. But you always find a way out of them.”
“Oh really?” asked the thug angry at the two for making a fool of them. He leaped out at Sakura, who deftly ducked and kicked out her foot. Another guy ran to her and she knocked him down with her elbow, then flipped him over. Consecutively, she punched the third guy, while slammed out her side kick on the last person.
Satisfied, she brushed her hands, and walked up to Syaoran. “See?”
With an awed expression, Syaoran looked behind Sakura and saw the guys collapsed on the floor. He whistled and muttered, “Impressive.” Then he replied slyly, “Your left foot kicks are horrible. You haven’t been practicing have you? And your position for the flips makes it ten times harder to knock the person over. You have to make sure your grip is right.”
Angrily, Sakura retorted, “Sorry, it’s because I had such a bad teacher!” She stomped out of the alley, into the busy street.
“Eh? Bad teacher? Is she talking about
me?” Syaoran asked, pointing to himself.
“Will you stop following me?” Sakura demanded, trying to walk faster. It was complete nightfall.
“I’m not following you,” Syaoran muttered, following right behind her.
“Go take care of your business. I’ll take care of my own.”
He grabbed her arm, almost making her trip over. “You are my business.”
Slowly, Sakura looked up into his dark amber eyes. What did he mean by that?
“Look, I’m sorry I left you this morning. I really had to do something important,” Syaoran said sincerely. “You’re not mad ‘cause of that, are you?”
“I told you. I don’t care,” Sakura replied, forcing herself to smile. “I’m fine on my own. Really.”
“Liar. You didn’t have a good day, did you? Well, I’m tired, and my guess is you are, too. What do you wanna do now?”
“Rest. Sleep in a proper bed. Have a hot bath and good food,” Sakura said, sighing.
“We can think of the other plans tomorrow. How about…” Syaoran’s eyes wondered to the grand hotel structure in front of them.
“There! Somewhere to rest!” Sakura ran
up to the hotel driveway.
“A double-bed room, please,” Syaoran said, at the hotel lobby counter.
“Wow, this place is great!” Sakura exclaimed, swerving around the grand hotel lobby with its elegant design. Women dressed in glamorous evening gowns and men in tuxedoes sauntered about here and there. She felt very shabby in comparison.
The person at the counter looked through the hotel files in the computer. “Sorry, no double-bed room’s available. Since it’s the summer pick-season, all the rooms are booked.”
“What?!” Sakura and Syaoran exclaimed, aghast. They could not imagine going out again in the dark, searching for another place to spend the night.
“Are there any other rooms available?” Syaoran asked.
“Hmm, let’s see. Only the grand suite is available,” the receptionist replied.
“Okay. We’ll take that.”
“Wait, what’s the price?” Sakura asked.
When the person named the price, Sakura gawked, “Per day? It’s so expensive!”
“It’s okay. We’ll take it,” Syaoran said. “This is a five-star hotel, after all.”
“But… I didn’t bring that much money,” Sakura replied.
“Don’t bother.” Syaoran slipped out his golden credit card. Hope his mother didn’t get too mad… He sighed… He had finally finished paying off his debt to him mom with that modeling job in New York…
“Room 603, then. Any luggage?”
“Ah, rest at last!” Sakura snuggled into the soft, crisp white sheets. She had never slept in a king size bed before, and she felt like she would drown in all the pillows and blankets.
“Does it seem quite fair that you get the king size bed while I get the sofa bed?” Syaoran grumbled, trying to move in a different position on the hard bed from across the room.
“This room is marvelous. It’s practically as big as a whole apartment! It’s as good at the Plaza Hotel in New York, if not better,” Sakura said, flipping on the TV. (Completely ignoring Syaoran~)
“The police have lost all track of the Katiou Magician today, and the supposedly top-secret plan must have back-fired,” the news broadcaster said. “This is a terrible embarrassment for the Tokyo Police Force.”
Clapping she stated, “Good. Kaitou-kun is safe.” Then, her stomach grumbled. “Gosh, I’m starving. I had nothing since this morning, when I bought a doughnut in the streets.”
“Order room-service. Here’s the menu,” Syaoran said, throwing over the menu.
“But it’s past midnight,” Sakura exclaimed.
“It’s a five-star hotel. They have 24-hour
Half an hour later, Sakura was munching away happily on a club sandwich special. “You sure you don’t want any?”
“Yeah,” Syaoran replied.
“Then why are you staring at me like that with those big round eyes, like a hungry puppy?”
“Eh? Ha ha… I was?” Syaoran sweat-dropped. It’s because I admire you for being so strong… Always energetic and smiling… even though inside, you tremble under the hardships… “Hey, what are you going to do tomorrow?”
“I’m going back to the Police Headquarters and I’m gonna find out who’s pressing charges.”
“You couldn’t even get in today, let alone meet the official in charge of the case. What’s the use of going through all the trouble? We can just find a way to dislocate the microchip, and then go back home. Kaitou Magician can handle the rest. Isn’t that more sensible?” When Sakura stared back with reproachful eyes, he looked away. I hate myself for being so discouraging to her when she’s trying so hard to do good deeds. Why do such negative words flow out of my mouth? I don’t want to do this to her…
For a second, Sakura wondered how Syaoran
knew she couldn’t pass the gates today, when she didn’t even mention it
before. And how could he be so uncaring about Kaitou Magician? Although
they haven’t known him for long, she felt some sort of strange bond and
understanding with this thief.
Some time in the middle of the night, Sakura remembered looking out at the balcony of the hotel room with bleary eyes. She could catch the dim profile of Syaoran gazing down at the city. His brown hair whipped in the wind and he was deep in thought. Sakura knew that kind of expression only came on Syaoran’s face when he thought that no one was looking. Yet she knew.
“The Phantom escaped,” he said softly, without turning her direction.
Did he know she was awake, watching him? She couldn’t tell if his remark was towards her or to himself. Turning the other way, Sakura fell back to sleep. Who cared if Syaoran wasted precious sleep time.
The next morning…
“Syaoran, wake up! We really have to find the person filing the suit today. C’mon, wake up.” She shook Syaoran furiously. She had business to do that day, and this time, nothing was going to stop!
Groaning, Syaoran turned the other direction and covered his head with his pillow.
“Wake up!” Sakura said, snatching away the pillow from his head.
“Shh… Your voice is hurting my head. I haven’t slept in two days, for heaven’s sake.” This time Syaoran drew his blankets completely over his head.
“Fine! I’m going by myself!” After putting
on a fresh light blue dress she had packed, Sakura stormed out of the room.
This time she was definitely going to find out some information.
A while later, she stood in front of the Tokyo Police Headquarters again. How was she ever supposed to meet the head of the police department?
“You girl. Are you here, again?” The young man guarding the gate asked, half chuckling. “Very persistent, aren’t you?”
“Please, let me meet someone who knows about the Kaitou Magician case. I really need to,” Sakura begged, looking up with pleading emerald eyes.
“Actually, I’m half inclined to let you in, merely by your persistence. But, I have special orders to not let you in,” the guard replied.
“Not let… me in? But why?” Sakura asked, surprised. “Who would do something like that?”
Shrugging the guard replied, “I don’t know. Some boy, who looked around your age. Brown hair, brown eyes. I didn’t want to let him in, but he had the token with the Li clan emblem in it. Since the Li’s are an important family in Hong Kong, I had to let him in. You know him? He specifically told me to send away a girl with brown hair and green eyes. And I have to obey.”
An icy shiver ran through her body. “Li
clan?” Sakura whispered, in shock. “That person gave special orders here
to not let me in?” For a moment, she stood, speechless. It couldn’t be!
There must be some mistake!
Just then, a shiny black car parked in front of the police building gates. Immediately, a file of women bodyguards with sunglasses came out, and lined up in front of the car. A pretty girl with long violet hair flowing down her back stepped out of the car.
It took a second for her to recognize, before Sakura exclaimed, “Tomoyo-chan! What are you doing here?”
“Sakura-chan?” Tomoyo asked, her blue eyes reflecting surprise. ”I didn’t know that you were in Tokyo.”
“Oh things turned out that way.” Briefly, in a quiet voice, Sakura explained what had happened in the past few days, and how she had met Kaitou Magician. She didn’t explain all the details such as how he was shot. “Anyway, that’s what basically happened, and I’m trying to find out who’s filing the suit against him,” Sakura concluded.
“That’s why I couldn’t contact you for a few days, ever since that day I met you at school,” Tomoyo said.
“So, what are you doing here?” Sakura asked.
“Me? Oh. Mother had business in Tokyo. And I…” Tomoyo walked up to the gateway and said to the guard. “I’m Daidouji Tomoyo. I would like to meet the Chief Officer."
“Yes, miss,” the guard said, bowing respectfully.
“My friend here, can enter with me,” Tomoyo stated, as she entered.
“B-but…” the guard stammered. The two girls had already entered, while the women bodyguards waited outside.
Another officer guided them to the Chief Officer’s office in the building. As they walked down the roomy hallway, Sakura asked, “So, what’s your business here again?”
They halted in front of a closed door at the end of the hallway. Nodding his head, the officer said, “Here’s the Chief’s room.”
“Thank you,” Tomoyo said, bowing her head and smiling courteously. Then she turned around to face Sakura. Her bluish violet eyes were grave and her knuckles were white as she clutched the doorknob. “Sakura-chan… I’m meeting my father.” Slowly, she continued, “He’s the Head of the Tokyo Police department. And this will be the first time I met him in several years.”
“Your… father?” Sakura asked.
“Sheesh, what time is it?” Syaoran mumbled, reaching for his watch. When he saw the time, his eyes bulged out. It was way past noon! Bolting out of sofa bed, he dressed in fresh khakis and a button down shirt and walked out of the hotel room. Luckily, Sakura had packed his clothes, before they left his apartment.
Where was Sakura, again? She had said something about going back to the police station to find out who was filing the suit against Kaitou Magician. But there was no chance that she would get in, because he had made sure that the guards wouldn’t let her in. I’m sorry, Sakura, he thought. It’s for your sake.
The previous day, he had met with the head of the Police Department, Daidouji-san to confirm who was filing the suit against Kaitou Magician. Coincidentally, the Chief Officer had turned out to be Tomoyo’s father. Syaoran saw a picture of a little girl and a police officer on his desk table, which was no doubt Daidouji-san and Tomoyo. Of course, if Tomoyo wanted to keep this a secret, that was not his problem.
Syaoran had begun to have his doubts about the whole case when Kaitou Magician brought up that some rich business man was filing the suit against him. He had begun to say the name, then stated that he forgot who it was. And Syaoran knew that Kaitou wasn’t someone who absentmindedly forgot important people’s names, especially of people who had the power to bring an end to him.
Sakura merely believed that it was Kaitou’s forgetfulness. Yet, Syaoran knew better; he knew that Kaitou was hiding something. Kaitou Magician had pretended to forget the name on purpose. Because he knew that the real truth would shock and hurt Sakura terribly.
“I don’t know what to say, what to do. I don’t know if I can face my father,” Tomoyo whispered, with a look on her face, which Sakura had never seen before. Till this day, Sakura had always known Tomoyo as the calm, kind, and composed girl. She never saw this timid, scared, doubtful side of her before.
Sakura always had wondered about Tomoyo’s family, for though she knew Tomoyo’s mother, she had never met or heard about her father, Daidouji-san. Sakura had figured that it was one of the things that Tomoyo didn’t want to talk about, and that her best friend would tell her one day, when she was ready.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t want you to find out… but I’m glad I can talk to you now,” Tomoyo said. “My father left home when I was a little girl. I don’t remember him too well. All I remember is that he fought with Mother a lot. Both of them were such busy people, my mother with her company, my father with leading the whole Tokyo police department. I contacted him occasionally through phone calls, recently. And I hated him for leaving me and my mother. I didn’t want to meet him.”
Sakura could see that her friend’s face was pale, and her clenched fists were trembling, despite the serene smile playing on her lips. Putting a supportive hand on Tomoyo’s shoulder, Sakura said, “But now, you’re going to meet him.”
“I don’t know. I feel like turning back. It’s not too late to just go back and not meet him. Maybe I’m being a coward. But I don’t want to forgive him. I want to hate him. Yet, I can’t. I want a supportive father to love, just like yours, Sakura. Someone who’s always there for me and someone I can turn to and depend on.” Tomoyo broke off, and looked away. “I’m sorry. I guess you never saw me like this before. I don’t want to be weak, Sakura. You’re always so strong. I wanted to be strong, too.”
“Tomoyo, you’re so wrong. You don’t know how much I admire you. You’re always so composed and calm, never wavering, never feeling so insecure like me. You’re inner will is strong, Tomoyo. You’re the last thing but weak.”
Smiling genuinely, Tomoyo replied, “Thank you. I always know you’re the best friend I can ever have. I’m glad you’re here. Actually, it was Eriol-kun’s idea for me to meet Father. He said that I can’t hide from the truth, forever, that I have to face what was to come, anyway. He told me that I have to face myself and gain strength. Well, here goes nothing. Do I look okay?”
“Of course you look beautiful,” Sakura answered. “You always do.” Tomoyo was dressed in a pretty maroon colored dress made of soft material and satin ribbons and a matching beret.
Timidly, Tomoyo knocked on the door, then opened it.
A man with slick black hair sat behind a grand wooden desk, facing outside the window. Slowly, he turned around. His blue eyes opened wide in surprise as he stood up. “Tomoyo!”
For a second, Tomoyo stood stiffly by the doorway. Her eyes reflected all the hurt and pain she had gone through the past years. This man, sitting in such a grand meeting room with the whole Japanese police force under his feet. This man who had left his wife and daughter at such an early age. This man who had caused so much grief for her mother, though Sonomi refused to show it. This man, who was her father, who she wanted to hate.
Seeing his daughter’s hesitance, Daidouji-san’s forehead wrinkled and his eyes reflected sorrow. What could he do to gain her trust again? He could only whisper his daughter’s name. “Tomoyo…”
Tomoyo’s blue eyes blurred. Then she leaped over to her father’s opened arms with crystal tears streaming down her face. “Father!”
“Tomoyo,” Daidouji-san replied, his head buried in Tomoyo’s blackish-violet hair, so similar to his own. The corner of his eyes seemed to be glistening. “My daughter. You’ve grown from a little child to a mature young lady. I feel like I hardly know you. All these years, I have neglected my role as a good father. Forgive me Tomoyo, forgive me.”
“I don’t care about anything in the past, Father. I’m just happy that I have a father, like everyone else.”
“Tomoyo… I really have to make up for all the lost years, don’t I?”
From the doorway, Sakura smiled sadly. She’d never seen Tomoyo cry before. In fact, Tomoyo had always been so perfect, as long as she could remember. Yet, there were hidden sides to her best friend, which she had never known before, also.
“Oh, this is my best friend, Kinomoto Sakura,” Tomoyo said to her father, dragging Sakura in by the arm. “Sorry for the late introduction.”
“Kinomoto Sakura?” Daidouji-san cocked an eyebrow, adjusting his tie in his formal suit. “Nice to meet my daughter’s best friend, Kinomoto-san.”
“Sakura wants to find out something about the Kaitou Magician case,” Tomoyo continued. “She needs to find out who is filing the suit against the Kaitou.”
“Actually, it’s top secret… Strange. This is the second person asking about it in two days.”
“Someone else asked also, yesterday?” Tomoyo asked.
“Yes. A young man from the Li clan in Hong Kong. I figured it was for his family, since the Thief of the Night tried to steal their clan treasure, a Chinese sword, several weeks ago. I guess it won’t matter if I tell you, also, Kinomoto-san, since it’s probably your family matter,” Daidouji-san said, crossing his legs and leaning back on his chair.
“What do you mean, Daidouji-san?” Sakura asked, her face turning placid.
“Didn’t you know? The person filing the suit against Kaitou Magician and providing all the extra financial aid is Kinomoto-san. Kinomoto Fujishinto.”
Briskly, Syaoran entered a university library and walked over to the computer database file. Confirming to his suspicions, Syaoran had found out from Daidouji-san, the head of the police department and the man in charge of the Kaitou Magician case, that the person filing the suit against Kaitou Magician was someone from the Kinomoto family. Kinomoto Fujishinto. More specifically, Sakura’s grandfather.
Kaitou Magician had pretended to forget the name on purpose, because he knew that Sakura would be shocked to learn that someone of her own blood was causing Kaitou all the trouble. Then, she would have felt guilty and would blame herself for Kaitou’s wound and all the trouble he was facing, like she always would.
That was why yesterday, he had left Sakura to find out the truth on his own. He had made a tiny white lie to save her from the shock; it was bad enough that Sakura had to face so much confusion and hardships these days, without her father, brother, and Kero-chan. He didn’t want her be more hurt.
Quickly, he typed in “Kinomoto Fujishinto”
into the keyboard.
--KINOMOTO Fujishinto. President
and owner of the ‘Hoshi Enterprise.’--
In shock, Syaoran gulped. The Hoshi Enterprise! That was one of the most powerful and largest business groups in Japan, and had firm power, internationally. The Hoshi Enterprise manufactured anything between electronics, transportation, and canned food, to buildings, hotels, banks, and schools, not to mention influential government power. He knew this because one of his uncles was a businessman. This uncle was a financial genius and managed all the business and such related things of the Li family. And thanks to him, the Li managed to have so much power in the stocks, business, and government in Hong Kong. After all, there were other aspects to the Li family besides old traditions and special powers. His uncle’s son cousin was the computer and technological wizard of the family, and taught Syaoran most of the things in the field that he needed to know. This cousin was the one who programmed Syaoran’s laptop and downloaded all the database and such. Too bad left his laptop back in his apartment in Tomoeda. It might have been useful.
Syaoran typed in more codes, to crack the
national government database system, again thanking his cousin for teaching
it to him. There! More information popped up on the screen.
--KINOMOTO. Kinomoto Fujishinto has 3 children:
Kinomoto Fujishika, Kinomoto *Fujitaka,* and Kinomoto Fujiko. Currently,
Kinomoto Fujishika is the heir to the Hoshi Enterprise and is the position
right below the president and the entire estate is left under his name.—
So, Sakura’s father, Kinomoto Fujitaka was the son of the powerful and wealthy president of the Hoshi Enterprise! Yet… he didn’t seem like one. What was he doing, teaching archeology in Seijou University, then? And Syaoran remembered last December, he and the rest of them had come across a haunted mansion. And there, they had met the soul of Kinomoto Fujiko. So, Fujiko had been Fujitaka’s little sister. And she had died. Did Fujitaka know about it?
Burying his head into his hand, Syaoran asked himself, how did things get twisted so? Sakura’s plan was to walk up to the person filing the suit against Kaitou Magician and demand him to drop the charge. Now, it wasn’t as simple as that. Could she really go up to her grandfather, who she never even knew existed?
Feeling a wave of dizziness, Sakura said as they walked outside the building, “Kinomoto Fujishinto… I must be related to him… And he’s filing a suit against Kaitou Magician. And I never knew I was related to anyone in the Kinomoto side of the family. Father never talked anything about his family or his past life. Why did he never tell me I had other relatives besides Mother’s side of the family? Now, what am I supposed to do? I can’t go up to one of my relatives, who probably doesn’t even know I exist. If it’s a complete stranger, it might have been different.”
Then, Sakura’s emerald eyes turned bitter. “Syaoran knew. He knew and he didn’t tell me. And he told the guards at the police station to keep me out. Why did he do this? I won’t forgive him.”
“He probably had his reasons. Well, why don’t we go to the Kinomoto household? Father gave us the address,” Tomoyo suggested.
They entered Tomoyo’s car, and the chauffeur
drove off to the wealthy neighborhood section of Tokyo. Their mouths dropped
when they arrived at the huge Victorian style mansion.
“Sorry, no visitors allowed,” the maid said through the intercom.
“Why won’t anyone let me in, anywhere,” Sakura grumbled to Tomoyo.
“Oh ho ho… Are you going to go back, then?” Tomoyo asked.
“Of course not!” Sakura exclaimed. Creeping along the rose bushes, she turned to the east wing of the mansion gates. “Rope!” The Rope twined around the iron gate tops. Taking grip of the sturdy rope, Sakura shimmied up to the top, then helped Tomoyo up.
Then, Sakura jumped over into the garden. Hesitantly, Tomoyo followed, almost breaking her neck from jumping down, yet landed safely thanks to the Windy.
Seeing an open backdoor, Sakura entered cautiously with Tomoyo. Inside the mansion was breath taking with elegant mahogany wood furniture polished to utmost glossiness and expensive textiles and paintings decorated the wall. The floor was carpeted with intricate oriental rugs, while delicate ornaments adorned the various rooms. Even Tomoyo was thoroughly impressed, though she was used to luxury.
Finally, they came to a small parlor room. Above the fireplace hung a large portrait of three people. Two young men stood beside a seated young girl with beautiful pale golden hair. To Sakura’s shock, one of the men closely resembled her father. He looked in his teens in the portrait, his smile carefree and youthful. He didn’t have glasses, and that mature, knowing look on his face that she was so accustomed to was absent.
Just then, a telephone ringing was heard. Jumping, Sakura looked around to see where it was coming from, to realize that it came from her handphone. With a trembling voice, she whispered, “Hello? Kinomoto Sakura speaking.” She hoped with all her heart that no one in the house heard it.
“Sakura? Why are you whispering?”
“Onii-chan?! Why did you call me?” Sakura exclaimed.
In an accusing voice, Touya asked, “How come you didn’t answer the house phone for several weeks in a row?”
“I-I guess I was out,” Sakura replied. In truth, she was staying at Syaoran’s house, so of course she wouldn’t get the house phone.
“In the middle of the night?” Touya stated in disbelief.
“Ah, then maybe I was deep asleep. You’re the one who told me to get a sufficient amount of sleep. And, err… I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s the best time to talk right now… ah… let’s see, I’ll call you back later…
“What are you two doing here?” came an old, mean voice from the doorway. “Did you enter without permission?
With her heart giving a leap, Sakura quickly hung up on Touya.
“That little kaijou… wait till I get back…”
Touya muttered to himself at the beeping of the phone.
Turning around to face the door, Sakura and Tomoyo sweat-dropped, hanging their head guilty.
“We’re sorry. I just wanted to meet Kinomoto Fujishinto-san about some important matter, but…” Sakura stammered, looking at the ground. Great. Now they were caught. Just like her brother to call at the most inconvenient time.
“DO YOU KNOW YOU CAN GET ARRESTED FOR BREAKING INTO SOMEONE’S ESTATE? GET OUT! YOU NAUGHTY LITTLE GIRLS!” The old, wrinkly woman in a crisp maid’s uniform shouted.
“Please, don’t make us leave, yet! I just want to meet Kinomoto-san and,” Sakura looked up pleadingly, with fervent forest-green eyes.
For a second, the old woman looked surprised. Then slowly, she walked over to Sakura and bent over, placing her bony hand on Sakura’s chin and lifted her face up. The woman looked back and forth from the portrait painting above the fireplace and at Sakura’s face. Then, in a cracking, emotional voice, she exclaimed, “You’re his daughter, aren’t you? Fujitaka-sama’s daughter!”
Trembling, Sakura nodded. “Yes, ma’am. My name is Kinomoto Sakura.”
With brimming old eyes, the woman’s wrinkly face wrinkled more as she burst out sobbing and squeezing Sakura into a tight hug. “To think I came to see this day. Fujitaka-sama’s very own beautiful daughter, healthy and a blossoming lovely young lady. The young master who was the most decent person in the Kinomoto family. Come, you people! This is Fujitaka-sama’s daughter!”
The older servants who served in the Kinomoto household for a generation crowded around Sakura, all teary and welcoming, while the younger ones were clueless as to who Fujitaka was.
“Wait… I don’t understand,” Sakura said, clearly confused.
“You mean, you don’t know the story, young miss?” the old woman asked.
Shaking her head, Sakura asked, “What story?”
Clucking like a hen, the old woman stated, “Well, I’m the head housekeeper of the Kinomoto household. I’ve been serving the Kinomoto family for more than 2 generations. You may call me Mori.” Then, glaring at the rest of the servants, she screeched, clearly displaying her authority, “What are you all doing, standing around? Get back to work!”
Mori continued, “Well, so what do you know? Do you know that Fujitaka-sama is the second son of Fujishinto-sama? Or how he left home?”
Slowly, Sakura shook head again. “I didn’t even know I had other relatives until today, Mori-san.”
“Tsk, tsk. What a shame. Well, I’ll start from the beginning, then. Let’s see. Fujishinto-sama is the president and owner of the Hoshi Enterprise, and as you can tell, filthy rich.”
“The Hoshi Enterprise?!” Tomoyo exclaimed. She clearly had more knowledge in the business area than most teen girls. “No wonder this Kinomoto house is so luxurious.”
“Well, Fujishinto and his first wife had two sons. Fujishika and Fujitaka. When they were children, it wasn’t too bad. Yet, as the two brother’s became older, Fujishika, the older brother must have felt some jealousy and rivalry. It was always Fujitaka this, Fujitaka that, for he was the pride of the family. Fujitaka received top grades and medals at school, was number one in athletics, and to top that kind-hearted and popular. Fujishika always felt compared and bitter. This became worse when their mother died, because the gentle presence of the lady was always the pillar of the house. Often in his childhood, Fujishika felt that their mother loved Fujitaka more. In fact, she did, because Fujishika, though he was older, was immature, jealous, and quick-tempered. Yet, all the same, the two brothers stuck by each other, despite their fights and arguments.”
Staring at the portrait on the wall, Sakura gazed at the smiling faces of the two brothers. They resembled each other closely, and though Fujishika had a determinedly set mouth, his eyes were still bright and the sense of unity in the portrait was strong. Yet, what happened? Then, she gazed at the third person. The young girl with bright golden hair, distinctly different from the auburn haired brothers gazed back with a childish smile. “Who is that girl in the picture, Mori-san?”
“Oh. That's Kinomoto Fujiko, the angel of the family.” Looking at the portrait fondly, she muttered, “The only other decent person in the family, besides Fujitaka-sama.”
“Kinomoto Fujiko!” Sakura exclaimed. Memories flooded back to her. Last winter they had come across a haunted mansion. And she had helped clear the tragic misunderstanding between the poor soul of the girl who had died in an accident and her rich lover, who was haunted by the thought that Fujiko had left him. He had he loved her even if his family didn’t approve of their relationship. Yet, Sakura thought that the whole reason why the young man’s family didn’t accept Fujiko was because she was poor. Then, if she was the daughter of the president of the Hoshi Enterprise…
“Fujiko is the daughter of Fujishinto-sama, with a maid of the Kinomoto family. She’s Fujishika and Fujitaka’s half-sister. Of course, Fujishinto-sama recorded her in the Kinomoto family book and accepted her as a legitimate daughter. However, his second wife, a catty, snobbish woman was against this and made life horrible of young Miss Fujiko, always sneering at her for being a daughter of a maid. In fact, only Fujitaka was always there to stick up for her and protect her. She was a frail, gentle child and was a lot younger than the two brothers. She looked up and depended upon Fujitaka greatly.”
“Eventually, the bitterness in the family grew unbearable. Fujishika blamed Fujitaka for all his problem and the relationship between the two brothers grew from love to hate. Their father, although he knew that Fujitaka was right, had to stick up for his elder son, since he was the heir to the Hoshi Enterprise and the family wealth. The second wife was cruel to Fujiko and when Fujitaka stood up for her, she took revenge by slyly bad mouthing about him to his father and elder brother. The whole family atmosphere became hostile. After he graduated high school, Fujitaka desired to further pursue his education in archeology. However, his father wanted him to continue his lead in business. Not to mention this, a political engagement was arranged to a girl from another rich business family. Fujitaka disliked the idea that their marriage was arranged that his whole future was chosen for him even though the girl was a childhood friend and lover. Meanwhile Fujishika took the engagement harshly, because he also loved the same girl and felt bitter that she chose the second son and his younger brother over him, the heir of the estate and the company.
“Finally, something in Fujitaka-sama cracked. Right after graduating high school, he stated that he was leaving home and pursuing his dreams in archeology with his full scholarship to a university far from home. His father declared that if he did this, he would disown Fujitaka. Fujitaka replied he didn’t care, and that he would never return home again. Obviously, Fujishika and the second wife were glad.
“However, his fiancee was heartbroken. She really loved Fujitaka. Fujitaka did love her back, however he told her that he had to move on with his life, and he could no longer stand being under the eyes of the wealthy society, playing a puppet under his father and being submissive under his brother. Young Fujiko was in despair that her beloved brother was leaving. At first, Fujitaka wanted to take her with him, impractical as it may sound. Initially, Fujitaka was supposed to receive his portion of the Kinomoto wealth. However, he refused to take it. Yet, his father couldn’t still turn away his favorite son without a penny. Therefore, Fujishinto-sama intended to give Fujitaka his mother’s dowry. The first lady of the house was also a wealthy woman, and when she died, she left all her wealth under Fujitaka’s name, because she knew what a treacherous, greedy person her first son would turn out to be. When Fujishika found out that his mother had left her wealth solely to Fujitaka, he blew up in range. In his childhood, he always felt bitter that his very own mother loved him less than his brother. With the help of his step-mother, he made sure that Fujitaka left the house without a penny. And Kinomoto Fujishinto officially disowned Fujitaka from the Kinomoto family, erased his name from all records, and removed all photos pictures of him in the house, except for this portrait. Fujishinto-sama declared his son a disgrace to the Kinomoto household and stashed this portrait away into a room he rarely visited.”
Tomoyo watched Sakura’s face turn paler and paler. Neither of them had ever guessed that Sakura’s father had such a past.
Mori continued in a cracking voice, “It was hard for Fujitaka. He couldn’t take Fujiko with him, since he had no money to support her with. His first year in university was difficult. Though he was on full scholarship, all his life, he was used to great wealth, luxury, servants waiting on him. There, he had to learn to cook, sew, clean, as well as to keep up with his studies to maintain his scholarship. Plus, he had to take part time jobs to pay his way through the other things, such as clothing, food, books, and transportation. Nobody knows how much hardship he faced, except for me for he made no contact with anyone else in the family, except for Fujiko and me since, I have nursed him in his cradle and taken care of him when his mother died. In his letters to Fujiko, he only said encouraging, positive things, and always told her to be strong and bare through all hardship, and someday, he’ll come for her and they can venture the world together. Yet, to me, he was truthful. He told me how often at nights, he remembered all he left behind. His smooth, aristocratic rich boy’s hand grew soiled and callused from hard work. His eyesight grew worse from cramming his studies late at night, with a single candle because he couldn’t afford electricity. Often, he was next to starved, and he wore clothes patched when previously, he used to have five-course meals and a whole room full of clothes. He had no time to make friends or socialize with people. Plus, he still suffered from his lost love whom he had left behind. Once, he tried to write a letter to his ex-fiancee, yet Fujishika intercepted it. Fujitaka soon heard the news that Fujishika had married the girl. This was a great shock for him, since Fujitaka still loved the girl and had believed that she would wait for him. And as the years passed by letters from him became scarce.
“The last time I heard from him was saying that he had a respectable, good job as a teacher in a town called Tomoeda, and that he had met the most beautiful girl of his life called Amamiya Nadeshiko. Specifically, he said, ‘I know that I am not her first love, and that she is not my very first love. Yet, we are content giving our adult, mature love to each other, eternally. Although she is so much younger than me, for the first time in years, I feel genuinely happy and peaceful. I think I’ve finally found what I went searching for, years ago.’” With glistening eyes, Mori ended, “And I knew, the kind, gentle boy that I have watched grow finally became a mature, wise, and independent adult.”
Dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief and switching off her videocamera, Tomoyo commented, “I never knew… about your father, Sakura-chan. And if my mother knew… I mean, you know how our family complained how they didn’t even know where your father came from and what kind of a name he had. If they knew that your father was the son of the president of the Hoshi Enterprise, they would have never complained so much. And if they knew what kind of hardships he faced…”
Sakura didn’t reply, as she clenched her fists tight and stared at the portrait. The 16 year old image of her father gazed back at her with twinkling hazel brown eyes. “Mori-san… Where is Kinomoto Fujishinto-san, my grandfather, right now?”
“Fujishinto-sama is out of the country, on a business trip with the lady of the house. However, I believe Fujishika-sama’s attending the Kinhoshi University college board meeting right now. Kinhoshi University’s mainly sponsored as well as founded by the Hoshi Enterprise. Of course Fujishika-sama doesn’t care a bit about the school, yet since it’s part of his property, he must attend such seminars,” Mori replied.
“Thank you! It was nice meeting you, Mori-san. I’ll tell father that I met you,” Sakura said. Then, staring at the beautiful golden haired girl in the portrait one last time, she asked, “Do you know what happened to Fujiko-san?”
“Actually, no. After Fujitaka-sama left home, life grew unbearable for her. The second lady treated her like dirt and scorned her for being the daughter of a maid. Her father was often away, so he couldn’t defend her. Meanwhile, Fujishika-sama didn’t care more or less for his little half-sister. When Fujiko reached 18, the lady kicked her out of the house while master was away. Fujiko’s life was so miserable, she gladly left home, in search of her brother. She was forbidden to keep in touch with anyone in the family, including me. The lady gave Fujiko only enough money to survive for a year. I don’t know what happened since then, and how she’s living. I hope that she’s living happily with love and bliss. I… she’s my real granddaughter, you know. Fujiko’s mother was my own daughter. But she never knew this, because then second lady kicked my daughter out of the house soon after Fujiko was born. Yet, that’s why I cared for Fujiko so much and loved Fujitaka all the more for being a true brother to little Fujiko.”
With a strained voice, Sakura said, “Fujiko-san is very happy now.” Yes, she was happily reunited with her lover, even after death. Sakura still remembered vividly the ghost that she met in the old mansion. And how after the misunderstanding was cleared, Fujiko had told her “thank you.” She would never forget the serene scene where the two lovers were reunited. “My father is happy, too. Though mother is dead, my brother, my father, and me all live happily in Tomoeda. He teaches archeology in Seijou University. Plus, he got picked by the college board to give his lectures in universities all over Japan. He always wanted to do this”
“Thank you for telling me, young miss. Thank you, and God bless you,” Mori said, clasping Sakura’s slender young hands in her own wrinkled, brown hands.
“Sakura… are you okay?” Tomoyo asked timidly as the arrived at the Kinhoshi University.
Cheerfully, Sakura answered, “Of course I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be okay? Now, all I have to do is meet Fujishika-sama and tell him to drop charges against Kaitou Magician. Either my uncle or my grandfather, it doesn’t matter.”
“Is it as simple as that?” Tomoyo questioned
doubtfully. They walked towards Kinhoshi University main conference room.
Frowning, Syaoran walked out of the university library. He had just found out that the Kinhoshi University was sponsored by the Hoshi Enterprise. What a coincidence. Then, his honey amber colored eyes turned round as he caught glimpse of two familiar figures. Quickly, he ducked behind a building on the university campus. What were Sakura and Tomoyo doing here? Could it be… did they find out about the Kinomoto family? What was Tomoyo doing here? But wait. If she was Chief Officer Daidouji’s daughter, Sakura must have had no problem getting the information she needed from Daidouji-san. He slapped his forehead for his bad luck. How come Daidouji-san out of all people be the head of the Japan police force and top official on the Kaitou Magician case? Just his luck.
Keeping mingled in the college student crowds, Syaoran followed behind the two girls.
“Is this the right place?” Tomoyo asked as they came to a grand conference room with adults flocking into their seat.
“I think so,” Sakura said. The, she recognized a tall man with auburn hair swept from his forehead and glasses walked towards the conference room. Her heart sank to her feet. “Oh no!” Grabbing, Tomoyo’s arm, she ducked behind another door.
“What is it?”
“My father’s here! I should have thought more carefully; one of schools that my father was visiting on his seminar tour is Kinhoshi University.” Sakura said, peeking out of the room again. She blinked, as if she was having double vision. However, the second man had authority and a haughty superior air about him as he came from the opposite end of the hallway. He must be Fujishika, eldest son and heir to the Hoshi Enterprise. Her uncle. For a second, the two men stared at each with abrupt recognition. Then, Fujishika gave a harsh laughter and swept into the conference room, half knocking aside Fujitaka. A beautiful, dignified woman stared at Fujitaka with shocked eyes from a little behind, then looked away, following her husband.
Adjusting his glasses, and picking up his
briefcase, which had dropped onto the floor, Fujitaka entered the room
after Fujishika. And Sakura glimpsed a mixture of bitterness, anger, and
wistful yearning, all at once mixed in Fujitaka’s grave eyes, something
she had never seen before.
It seemed like hours before the conference ended and the people filed out of the room once more. Sakura and Tomoyo groaned from crouching in the same position for so long. Different people shook hands with Fujitaka, congratulating him on his speech and exchanging contact numbers.
Finally, they all left the hallway, leaving the two brothers facing each other for the first time in much over twenty years.
“Looks like you managed to survive,” Fujishika commented in a nasty tone. “Too bad. I was hoping you had died.”
“Hope you’ve been doing well, aniki,” Fujitaka said in a stiff, polite manner.
“I have been doing well until I saw your disgraceful face. Didn’t father tell you never to show your face under our roof again?” Sarcastically, Fujishika continued, “How nice and sweet for little brother to become a pathetic university professor and have the guts to come to a conference in a school sponsored by the Kinomoto family. To think, if you stayed on, I might have given you the whole Kinhoshi University with the flick of my finger. After all, I get all the other parts of the Hoshi Enterprise.”
“Fujishika-san, please,” his wife protested, placing a hand on his arm.
Fujishika brushed her away. “Stay quiet, woman.”
“How can someone be so cruel?” Tomoyo asked
Sakura, as they watched the scene.
“I would not want Kinhoshi University even if I had a choice, because I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life under your thumbs,” Fujitaka replied in a level tone.
For a moment, Fujishika looked surprise at the come back. “Good, because I don’t think I can bear looking at your martyr-like pretense. You make me sick. Ever since we were children, you were always the good one, the smart one, the saint of the family. What was I? The black sheep. Mother, Father, Fujiko, Mori, and even my wife here, your ex-fiancee, they all loved you more. Well, I loathed you. What made you so different from me? I was the eldest. I deserved more respect and admiration.”
“Well, what did you do to gain the respect, admiration, and honor, brother? Nothing. Do you think you can gain people’s respect just by your family name and wealth? No. You’re no longer a spoilt child. You’re an adult who’s managing one of the largest business corporations in Japan. Isn’t it time you know the meaning of life? You’ve wasted your life expecting others to wait on you and cherish you like a god. You think the wealth can get you anything, and get you anywhere. So, you bought your wife with money. But does she love you? People all around you fear and look up to you. But do they truly admire you, and are they your real friends? Or are they just attracted to your money.”
Fujishika’s face contorted hideously as he raised his fist into the air aiming for a punch, then dropped it down. His cruel, hollow laughter echoed down the hallway. “Shut up. Ever since we were little, I couldn’t stand your lectures. Just get out of my face. I don’t want to ever see you again. Remember, you’ve brought disgrace upon the Kinomoto family name, and father doesn’t want to hear from you.”
“Wait… Just tell me. How is Fujiko now?”
“Fujiko?” Fujishika said the name with disgust. “How should I know? She left home years ago, when she was 18. It was your fault. If you didn’t leave home, she wouldn’t have gone searching for you. Well, I don’t care. For all I know, she’s dead.”
For the first time, Fujitaka’s eyes blazed with fury. His fists were clenched, as if to control his anger. Finally, in a strained voice, he said, “You’re a nasty brute, you really are. She’s your own sister. You could have looked after her.”
“Why should I care for the daughter of a kitchen maid? Same as why should I waste my precious time associating with a runaway nobody?”
“And how is father?” Fujitaka asked in a soft, strained voice.
The beautiful woman replied, “Otou-sama is perfectly fine. He had a stroke last summer, but he’s recovered completely.”
Fujishika added, “Why do you care about father? You’re not his son anymore. Remember? He disowned you.” Saying this, Fujishika spat on the floor and stormed down the hallway, shoving his wife out of the way. Fujitaka gazed at his older brother with a wistful expression, mixed with bitterness. The woman bowed her head in sign of apology for her husband.
After Fujishika left, the woman turned to face Fujitaka with glassy eyes. “Fujitaka…”
“It’s nice to see you again,” Fujitaka replied.
“Fujitaka… is that all you can say to me? You just left me. I had to marry Fujishika-san because my true fiancee abandoned me. Is that all I ever meant to you?” The woman was dressed in a navy blue Chanel suit and had her hair neatly pinned up with diamond clips, showing great luxury. Yet her eyes reflected sorrow.
“No, I’m sorry. What is past is past. I don’t mean to pressure you. And I did grow to love Fujishika-san, your elder brother, in my own way. He’s not always this mean. He’s really gentle and kind inside. It’s just because deep inside, he’s hurt and jealous of you. Otou-sama still love you, too.”
“My father disowned me. I’m no longer part of the Kinomoto heritage, the line of the Hoshi Enterprise.”
“Otou-sama lives to regret disowning you. And please don’t judge Fujishika too harshly.”
“As you wish. I’m glad you didn’t change. Are you happy?”
Looking up straight into Fujitaka’s eyes,
his ex-fiancee asked, “What do you think? You always knew me best.” Then
laughing at Fujitaka’s stricken face, she said, “Yes, I’m satisfied in
my own way. If you’re worried, Fujishika-san doesn’t treat me badly. Well,
I hope to see you under better circumstances, next time. Fujishika-san
will be waiting for me. Bye, Fujitaka… I’m glad you look fine. You haven’t
changed, either… yet you have. You look so much more mature, wiser… and
settled in a happy way.”
On the other side of the hallway, Sakura said, “C’mon Tomoyo. Let’s leave.” She stood up and smoothed her blue dress.
“Wait, aren’t you going to speak to your father, since he’s here?” Tomoyo asked.
“No. I don’t want him to know that I found out about his past. After all, he must have enough worries, without having to worry about me. I’d rather have him think I’m safe back at home.”
“And weren’t you going to talk to Kinomoto Fujishika-san.”
“I can’t talk to or face a person who treats Father like that,” Sakura replied shortly. For a second, her eyes flicked over to the opposite side of the hallway.
“And I can’t forgive Syaoran for hiding
such a fact from me. This isn’t just about any old thing. It’s about me
and my family. Does he think I’m a fool?”
Syaoran’s ears pricked as he strained over from his hiding position to here Sakura and Tomoyo’s conversation. Crap. Hope she didn’t see me! Syaoran thought as he quickly ducked behind the hallway. Was Sakura extremely shocked about the conversation she overheard with Fujitaka, Fujishika, and his wife? And was she really mad at him?
He had to get out of the Kinhoshi University campus before Sakura spotted him!
“Li Syaoran!” came a young man’s voice.
Halting with one foot in the air, he turned around and exclaimed, “Tamemura-san?”
“Why are you running like you’re being chased by a four-headed monster?” Tamemura Asuma, the horse racing champion asked.
“Ah… Well… I kept a really important secret from Sakura and lied to her, so I think she’ll be really mad,” Syaoran mumbled. “What are you doing here, Tamemura-san? Don’t you have a race coming up?”
“I’m meeting a friend from high school who attends Kinhoshi University. But to tell you the truth…” Asuma glanced around and bent over to Syaoran. “Arima’s mad at me again, don’t ask me why. And she has a film shooting near by. I’m trying to surprise her.”
“Oh.” Syaoran smiled as Asuma lagued sheepishly. Then as they came outside, Syaoran leaned against the building. “I told her that I have no feelings for her myself. Yet I always so worried about her. Why is it that whatever I do, I always mess things up? Is it just me?”
“It’s just you,” Asuma answered. “Hmm… do you think Arima will prefer white roses? Or fragrant lilies? She always liked lilies the best. Oh, sorry, back to your problems. For once, why don’t you turn to me as an older brother and tell me your true feelings. The reason you suffer so much is you always try to bottle up everything inside you. That’s no good. It’s obvious that you don’t dislike Sakura. Yet why did you tell her you have no feelings for her? Is it ‘cause what you told me about your father and her mother? Are you afraid that the same thing will happen over again? Are you afraid of fate, or do you just not have any feelings for her?”
“Tamemura-san… do you know the real reason why? To tell you the truth, I don’t believe in fate or such crap. And I don’t care what happened to our parents; that’s the past. What path I choose and what I want now, is now. And I realized some time ago that saying that Sakura means nothing to me is also a lie.”
“Then? Why did you say you didn’t care for her last winter?” At the pause, Asuma grew frustrated. “Get on with it, boy! I’m dying from the suspense.”
Syaoran said half bitterly, “I’m such a hypocrite. Anyway, it’s because… Oh no! She coming this way!” The first thought Syaoran had was to panic and hide.
Asuma took a grasp on his shoulder and
said, “Face her like a man. It’s funny… Funny how the bravest people can
be the biggest cowards at times. See you around!” Then, he walked off,
half laughing to himself, half grumbling because they couldn’t finish their
talk about why exactly Syaoran had been so harsh to Sakura.
Gaining composure, Syaoran walked up to Sakura. “Sakura—“ he began.
Calmly, Sakura gazed at him with level forest green eyes. “Hello. I didn’t realize that you had business here at Kinhoshi University, Syaoran.”
“I didn’t, either,” Syaoran replied. “So… how did your day go?”
“It went fine. I found tons of information. No thanks to you, though.”
What’s wrong with her? I was pretty sure that she would be furious at me. I dislike this more. Her hiding her feelings behind a bright smile. Yet, I admire her at the same time. Syaoran stated straightforwardly, “If you’re mad at me, say so upright. You can demand for an explanation, if you want to.”
Still smiling, Sakura replied, “Someone I trusted actually betrayed me and help back the important fact that my very own grandfather who I didn’t even know existed until today was behind the Kaitou Magician case. Not to mention that someone actually told the people at the police headquarters to keep me out. I guess I have every right to be mad, don’t I?” Folding her arms, she added lightly, “But that’s none of my problem. I found what I needed, all the same.”
Syaoran would rather have Sakura be mad
at him and reproach him, so that he could simply hold her in his arms and
tell her that he held back his knowledge just to hold her from pain. Yet,
Sakura was completely calm and distant; it was completely frustrating.
“You know what? I wish… I wish I never found out, though,” Sakura said way later on as they slowly walked towards the hotel. “In a way, I think I knew I was going to find out something undesirable, ever since I made up my mind to get down to the case.
Syaoran, who had been quietly walking behind looked up in surprise.
“Did you know that my father was the second son of the wealth president of the Hoshi Enterprise?”
“You must also know that my father ran away from home and gave up his luxury because he didn’t want to live as a puppet under his father and brother.”
“Actually, I didn’t know that,” Syaoran replied. He was in loss of words.
Softly, she continued, “One more burden on my back. One more secret unraveled. One more thought to think about during the blackest nights. Once more, the feeling of sadness, despair and confusion. Rather not having the knowledge is easier. Now I know why Kaitou-kun tried to hide the fact from me. How reproachful he must have felt, all along. There I was, proposing to help him, when it was all because of my family that he was in that kind of scrape.”
“Though innocence may be easier, there are unavoidable truths that you must face, someday,” Syaoran said. Funny thing for me to say…
Swerving around to face Syaoran, Sakura asked sadly, “Do you know how it feels? The father that you have trusted, depended on, and loved; the image of the perfect, happy man who you always respected and admired crumbles in one day. What Father must have faced. He was the second son of the Hoshi Enterprise. His father disowned him, his brother scorns him, his previous fiancee married his brother, his sister was kicked out of the house and died. He left everything, everything behind, that life of luxury and great wealth. I saw with my very own eyes how harsh my uncle was to my father. And I never knew. I was living in a picture perfect world, where I selfishly thought of father just as the man who is my father who I can run to with my problem and ask him to hold me when I feel sad over tiny trifles. I selfishly thought that my father existed just to take care of me.” There was anger in her voice as well. “You’re right. I’m mad at you. It was easy for you to learn all this and push it aside, thinking so lightly that you can just keep the knowledge from me, and everything will be fine. Little you knew.”
“You’re right. I don’t even have a father, so of course I don’t know how it feels,” Syaoran replied, staring at the shadowed cement pavement, then looking up with amber eyes which reflected inner pain such that Sakura hadn’t seen before.
“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean—“ Sakura began, her emerald eyes furrowing in sorrow. How thoughtless she had been.
“You’re right—I thought I can just easily keep the truth from you to stop you from worrying. After all, it’s not my family business. Yet, you still found out from Daidouji-san about Kinomoto Fujishinto, your grandfather, despite my efforts to keep it from you. But, I do know what pain, betrayal, shock, and confusion feels like.” Syaoran stared at her with bright amber eyes which showed the naked truth of his soul. “And don’t try to stifle the feeling in you… It’s no use… At the best, you will make yourself miserable. At the worst, you will rot away from the inside. If you’re mad, be mad. Be mad at me. It’s okay.” For a second, Syaoran wondered if Sakura would be even more mad if she found out that he was hiding yet another secret from her.
Unable to hold the gaze, Sakura looked away. Her hand wandered to her chest, where her star crystal pendant hung from its silver chain. This necklace always comforted her. To her surprise, it wasn’t there. She always hung it around her neck, even when she slept. Yet now it was missing. Where could she have lost it? “My necklace… it’s missing!” Her lower lip trembled. During the past two days, she had been around all of Tokyo. There was no way she could retrace her steps and find the diamond necklace that Syaoran had given her for Christmas. Her emerald eyes blurred. It was her most treasured possession. Yet she so carelessly lost it. “My necklace… is gone…”
Crouching on the floor, almost as if collapsing, Sakura whispered, “I lost my necklace… Because of my clumsiness, I lost my most valued possession. Not only that, but it’s one of the Five Force Treasures. I promised Kaitou-kun to keep in safe. And, and you gave it to me for Christmas. You may think it silly, but you don’t know how glad I was that Christmas morning.”
Bending down and helping her stand up again, Syaoran replied, “You are silly. You’re more upset over a single necklace when you stood strongly even as you learned about the Kinomoto family legacy and felt betrayed by me.”
“I-it’s not that,” Sakura said, holding back the strain in her voice, trying not to let the tears overflow from her eyes.
“I know, I understand,” Syaoran replied, drawing Sakura close to him and stroking her hair. “It’s everything that piles up on top of each other and even though you try to stand strongly, the last straw makes you topple over and collapse. There is only so much burden you can bare on your shoulders, before you can’t hold it any longer. But now, you don’t have to hold the load by yourself. I’m here. You can lean on me.”
“I promised myself I won’t cry, no matter what hardships I face,” Sakura murmured. “And I’m not crying.”
“Not you. Sometimes, I think you have an iron mask. You can control your emotions so well.”
For a second, Syaoran looked pensive. Then he smiled brightly. “Not when it comes to you. Do you know how scared I was that you were going to be mad at me today?”
“I am mad at you!” Sakura retorted.
“Then why aren’t you pushing me away?” Syaoran asked, still holding her tightly in his arms.
“You idiot!” Sakura squirmed and tried to push Syaoran away. In return, he just tightened his grip on her. She shouted, “Let go! I’m mad at you. I don’t even want to talk to you.” Then she quieted. “Thank you, though. At first, I was mad at you. But it was all for me wasn’t it? I know. You didn’t want me to feel extra stress or pressure. It didn’t help, anyway, trying to keep it a secret for me. Still—“
“Will you forgive me, then?” Syaoran asked in a pleasantly warm tone. “In sign of repent, I’ll buy you dinner at any restaurant of your choosing tomorrow evening. Enough starving now.”
Mischievously, Sakura demanded, “Is this a date proposal?”
“Ha ha, I’m joking.” Smiling softly, she asked, “You didn’t forget our promise on the first day of vacation then, did you?”
“Of course not! See? I always keep my promises. I promised you that I’ll buy you dinner at the most expensive five-star restaurant, and also do something fun afterwards, and I’m going to keep my promise. Hmm. How about that Italian restaurant across the street from our hotel?”
“Really! That one?! Tomoyo-chan said it’s one of the best in Tokyo! Wait… but we don’t have time to just play around.”
“It’s only tomorrow dinner. And I also promise, I’ll find you that necklace again. I bet you lost it when you were involved in that fight with those thugs yesterday.”
“Yeah. I remember! I bet someone stole it then.” Sakura’s eyes blazed furiously. “I won’t forgive them!” Then she stated, “Promise me one more thing, Syaoran.”
“Anything.” With a pause, he added, “Almost anything.”
With enthusiasm, she stated, “Promise me you’ll teach me martial arts and fighting again, as soon as we have some leisure time. So I can make sure I know how to properly beat those people up again if we ever meet again.”
“Poor fools. Yeah, I can promise that. Hmm… I wonder why I stopped teaching you in the first place.”
“It was because,” Sakura began softly. “Well, the lessons stopped after that winter day…”
Syaoran’s amber eyes turned round. This was the first time Sakura had directly talked about the day when he told Sakura he had no feelings for her. The silence was uncomfortable. “I’m sorry.”
“Why?” Sakura asked smiling. Then she asked politely, “Will you let go of me now?”
“Eh?” Syaoran realized that he still was holding her in his arms. Slowly, he asked, “What will you do if I don’t?”
“Then I’ll call you a hypocrite.”
“What?!” He sighed, hanging his head. Then he said suddenly, “You asked me if I’m making a date proposal. What if I am?”
“Then I’ll call you a double hypocrite,” Sakura stated, trying to keep the nervous pounding in her heart inconspicuous. Then laughing, she stated, “I know you’re not serious, Syaoran. Don’t joke around like that.”
Sighing again, Syaoran dropped his arms obediently. “What if I’m not joking?”
“Then you’re a triple hypocrite.”
“Okay, I get your point. You’re still mad at me for hiding from you about Kinomoto Fujishinto-san, aren’t you?”
“No. Hypocrite.” Sakura stuck out her tongue, then laughed. “I’m just kidding.“
For a second, Syaoran looked puzzled. Then
he started laughed along with her.
Syaoran… I never think I saw you laugh like this before… So carefree and light hearted… Like nothing else in the world mattered… And at this moment, nothing does matter… because you’re here by my side. Even if I feel lonely, desperate, and scared, I can bear the burden as long as I can laugh and joke beside you.
So, let's see... as some people predicted, the person filing the suit against Kaitou Magician is Kinomoto Fujishinta, Sakura's father's father. Oh yeah, and remember Fujiko Kinomoto from Chapter 12 "Till You Turn To Me." She turned out to be Fujitaka's little half-sister. Poor Fujiko. Hmm... I've always wondered about Fujitaka's past, when I watched and read (manga) CSS. I mean, how perfect can a man be? So, I included a brief background of Fujitaka's life. Also, Tomoyo finally confronted her father... You may have noticed the subtle hints about her father in the previous chapters. What's going to happen to Kaitou Magician? Coming next chapter... Ah, and all the confusing background stuff is the synopsis to the action next chapter...
Oh yeah... And is Syaoran making a date proposal, or is it just a good friends eating dinner out together occasion? I leave it to you to decide. : )...
Sob sob... Sakura's star crystal (diamond) necklace was stolen... What shall she do?