By Amanda Pizzolatto
Word Count: 2479
Summary: A fairy tale retold starring the characters from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.
Sakura glanced at her father. “What do you mean, you made a deal with him?”
Her father shrugged. “He seems like a nice fellow, he’s just as lonely as you are. I figured you could do with the company rather than moping around here all the time.”
“Dad . . .”
“I’m not expecting you to fall in love with him. I know your heart belongs to Syaoran, but you’ve been worrying about him for the past six years. I think you need to take a little break; maybe when you come back, the answers will reveal themselves.”
Sakura sighed while Touya crossed his arms. “I still don’t like it, Dad; the guy wouldn’t tell you anything about his past!”
Their father smiled mysteriously. “Then maybe you can figure it out, Sakura. Use those detective skills of yours to solve this mystery, and maybe you’ll remember a clue you had overlooked that will blow Syaoran’s case open.”
“So, basically use this as practice?”
Fujitaka shrugged. “Basically.”
Sakura sighed and nodded. “Alright, I’ll do it.”
“What? But . . .”
“Touya, Sakura is sixteen now; she is more than capable of making her own decisions.”
Touya rolled his eyes. “Fine, but someone should go with her.”
“No, I think she should go by herself. Sakura is not a little baby anymore.”
Sakura smiled warmly. “Thanks, Dad! I shall go; you might be right that I need a break.” She gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
“Alright, have everything packed and ready to go by next week, and I’ll drop you off on my way to the dig.”
That week came and went a lot faster than Sakura had hoped, for by the time her father was pulling into a lonely cottage out in practically the middle of nowhere, she began to wonder if her brother’s fears and concerns had been pushed aside a little too quickly. But she got out of the car and followed her father to the front door, each step full of determination. It was practically too late to turn back now, especially when the door was opened by invisible hands.
“Oh, come in. I’ll stay as far out of your way as possible. In fact, how about I take your suitcases? That way, you’re less likely to run into me.”
“Um, sure,” replied Fujitaka, and the suitcases were somehow taken from their hands once the door was closed behind them.
“Come, follow me, dinner is ready,” stated the voice as the suitcases began to float farther into the house.
“Um, are you the butler?” asked Sakura as she and her father followed.
“I guess so, miss. Unfortunately I cannot give you my name, but you may call me Mr. Butler, or just Butler, if you wish.”
“I think I like Mr. Butler best.”
“Very well, I am Mr. Butler. Welcome to our humble abode, Miss Sakura, and welcome back, Mr. Kinimoto. Please have a seat, dinner will be served shortly.”
Sakura stifled a gasp as an image of a butler bowing flashed through her mind. The figure looked familiar, but she couldn’t see his face because the image vanished before he rose. Sakura glanced at her father as the suitcases floated out of the room; he was busy sitting down at the table, and if he had seen anything, he wasn’t letting on. Sakura followed suit and situated herself at the table, more eager than ever to get to the bottom of this mystery, as she now knew magic was clearly involved. A few minutes later, two plates were set on the table.
“Are you not eating with us, Mr. Butler?”
“No miss, I shall eat later. I have no wish to upset anything on the table.”
“Being invisible isn’t all that much fun, is it?” asked Fujitaka.
“No sir, it’s not. I can’t even see my own body, so doing regular things by sight is rather hard. I have to go by feeling things. If I try to focus too much on looking at my hands or my feet, I start to lose track of what I’m doing and I get clumsy. However, if I act as if I’m not invisible, I manage to do much better.”
“How interesting,” mused Fujitaka.
“Indeed, it is. Now if you’ll excuse me, I shall inform the master of your arrival.”
Sakura nearly fell out of her chair as she saw it again—the figure of a man bowing. The image disappeared before he straightened, leaving her unable to see his face. She pursed her lips; she was going to get to the bottom of this mystery. She turned to her dinner, and she and her father ate the meal in silence.
She did literally jump out of her chair when she glanced up after Mr. Butler’s voice entered the dining room again, announcing the arrival of his master. She had to clamp a hand over her mouth as to not let out the shriek that threatened to come at the sight of the . . . creature…standing in the doorway. It, he, looked like a werewolf transformation gone bad. There was brown fur all over his body, even his human-like nose; his brown eyes seemed to scrutinize her with something akin to longing. She paused as she looked closer. Was he trying to tell her something that he couldn’t convey with words? She didn’t get a chance to ponder, or to even ask him, as her father greeted the beast.
“Thank you for allowing my daughter to stay with you during these next few months. I can’t imagine leaving her all alone at home.”
The beast replied in a gruff voice, “Not at all, it would be nice to have some company at last.”
He turned to Sakura. “You do not like this form, do you?”
“Oh, um, you took me by surprise, is all. I guess I was expecting something more like the beast out of the fairytale ‘Beauty and the Beast’, not a werewolf.”
“There is no need to be nice, I know it is very horrible to perceive. I have seen it in the mirror several times, no need to lie.”
“Oh, okay, well, it was still startling to see,” pointed out Sakura.
“I have no doubt.”
“Um, is there anything you would like for me to call you? ‘Beast’ is kind of overdone.”
The beast laughed. “Very well, I guess Ron would do.”
“Ron, huh? Alright, Ron it is. How are you doing?”
Ron gave her a toothy grin. “Much better, I hope, now that you’re here. My days of loneliness will come to an end.”
Sakura smiled knowingly. “Being alone all the time is never fun.”
“Neither is looking like this, but I guess there are only some things I can change.”
Sakura nodded in agreement before the conversation turned to Fujitaka’s departure the next morning, and his dig. Soon after that, the days seemed to fly for Sakura; there was so much she had to do, and got to do. She talked to Ron a lot, trying to get him and Mr. Butler to reveal some hint, some clue as to their past, but neither slipped up, leaving her with using her alone time to snoop around the mansion. But she usually came up empty. Even Kero, who had managed to sneak along on the trip, came up empty many times when he searched smaller areas while Sakura and Ron chatted. The only clue that either of them had, it seemed, was that there was magic in the air. Neither could really find the source, but there seemed to be quite an aura of it around Ron, meaning that Ron was definitely under some kind of spell. But the more Sakura tried to find out more about Ron’s and Mr. Butler’s pasts, the more she came to know the both of them, and found to her surprise that Ron had a lot in common with Syaoran. Not long after this thought, she began to notice little quirks that Ron had that Syaoran also had; both treated her in the same way, and both had those same stunning brown eyes. If Sakura focused on Ron’s eyes, she could almost see Syaoran, and began to long to talk to him just so she could see those eyes again. There were a few times where she caught herself, for she had nearly called him Syaoran instead of Ron, but he seemed to become sad when she corrected herself before saying the full name. Though she was nowhere near closer to figuring out the history of Ron and Mr. Butler, much less the spell they were under, Sakura soon found herself to be pleasantly happy in the company of her new friends. Well, that is, until Kero found a magic mirror.
She confronted Ron about it the first chance she got. “What is this for?”
Ron’s eyes just about popped, but he managed to gain enough control to reply, “It’s, um, it’s to see people you know.”
Sakura’s eyes widened as she glanced at the mirror. “Anyone you want to see?”
Ron sighed as he nodded.
“Um, may I?”
Ron looked nervous, but he nodded again.
There was a pause; Ron didn’t seem to know how to respond.
“Please? I just want to check in on my friends and family.”
Ron sighed. “Oh, alright, I’ll be in the next room; please return it when you’re done.”
Sakura nodded before he left the room, but to be on the safe side, she checked in on Tomoyo, Touya, and Yukito first. The three were doing fine; Tomoyo was on her way home from vacation while Touya and Yukito were preparing to return from their business trip. Then, when she was absolutely sure Mr. Butler wasn’t in the room with her, she looked for Syaoran, but all she got was a black screen. Worried that something terrible had happened to him, she was about to leave when she heard the words, “Sakura, stay, please.”
She paused; the voice was clearly Syaoran’s.
“Please, don’t go, it won’t be long now. Please, I really want to tell you what’s going on, but I can’t. Just, just wait until my birthday, please.”
She bit her lip before sighing, “Alright.”
But an inkling of what was going on began to dawn on her, and as the idea grew, everything she had noticed began to click into place. It all made sense now! She was beginning to understand why her father agreed so quickly. Her father! She hadn’t checked on him yet, and quickly set about doing so. She gasped at what she saw.
She burst into the adjacent room where Ron was pacing. “R-Ron, I have to go, m-my father . . .”
“Sakura, what happened? What did you see?” he asked as he rushed to her side. His eyes widened when he caught a glimpse of the scene played out in the mirror. “You need to go to him, now. While you pack, I’ll get you something that will take you there in a few minutes.”
Sakura nodded while tears streamed down her face. “Th-thank you.”
The two separated, Ron going to his room while Sakura went to hers. She was all packed and ready to go when he entered her room some time later.
He eyed the luggage laid out on the bed. “Um, you’re not taking a whole lot, are you?”
She shook her head. “No, I’m not, I’m not going to be gone long. I’ll be back by the twelfth.”
His eyes widened, a hope sparking in them, “What?”
“By the twelfth, I promise.”
He gave her a wolfish grin, and held out a ring. “I would like that. But we’ve got to get you to your dad first. Here, all you have to do is wear this on your finger and tell it where you want to go; just keep your eyes closed until the wind has stopped.”
She took the ring from him and nodded. “Right.”
“See you soon.”
She smiled. “See you soon.”
She grabbed her suitcase before putting the ring on her finger, and then twisted it, saying, “Take me to my father.”
A brisk, definitely magical wind swirled around her as she closed her eyes. She opened her eyes after it had dissipated and saw that she was standing near her father’s car, where it had run off the road and struck a tree. She rushed to the scene. Her father was slumped over the wheel, burning up with fever as the car continued to smoke. Working quickly, and with help from Kero and her magic, Sakura was able to get him out. She promptly called Tomoyo for aid, and soon her father was nestled in one of the finest beds. Touya and Yukito arrived a few days later, the four taking turns tending to Fujitaka until his fever finally broke. When it did, Sakura was able to breathe easier, and planned to return to Ron, only to find out it was already the thirteenth. Panicking, she put the ring on and wished herself back to Ron, taking Kero with her.
She ended up back in her room, but the first thing she did was call for Ron and Mr. Butler. When she got no response, worry and a dreadful fear began to crawl into her mind. She went through the house, calling for each one, Kero flying by her, echoing her calls. But the house was silent, causing her to look outside. Her calls were answered by a weak voice near the cherry tree.
She rushed towards the voice, and gasped at what she saw. Ron was barely able to move, and his eyes kept flicking open, his mind fighting to keep his body awake.
“Ron, I’m so sorry!! Dad didn’t get better until yesterday! And I lost all track of time! I’m so sorry! What should I do?” she gasped, tears starting to fall from her eyes.
“H-have you fi-figured out who, who I-I am?” Sakura nodded. “Th-then, just s-say my n-name.”
“Syaoran, oh Syaoran, please don’t die on me. Syaoran, I . . . I . . . love you.” Sakura buried her face in his shirt, her tears thoroughly wetting it.
“And I love you.”
Sakura bolted up, for Syaoran was back to normal!! After giving a little shriek of joy, she promptly kissed him.
She laughed. “What? Don’t you love me?”
He grinned. “You’re right, I do.” And he pulled her in for another kiss, while the cherry blossoms dissipated as they fell from the tree.
All, that is, except for one. It floated on the wind, slowly beginning to glow as it put distance between itself and the tree. It landed softly in an outstretched hand. The woman picked it up with her other hand, and smiled satisfactorily.
“Your payment has been accepted, your wish shall be granted.”