Fandom: Cardcaptor Sakura
Publish Date: 11/23/2003
Disclaimer: I don't own Cardcaptor Sakura. CLAMP does... *steals Eriol anyway*
It was the first snowfall of the year.
Big, fat white flakes drifted lazily from an overcast sky, piling on the ground. Each individual snowflake was next to nothing on its own, but when combined like they were, they formed a thick blanket that draped over the little town. The nice coating of the white stuff was a joy to children, who delighted in playing in it, and an agony to parents, who had to drive on it.
In the town, though, life went on, with or without snow. People simply bundled up more heavily when they left for work, school, or wherever their destination happened to be. The pedestrians on the street and sidewalk were often shapeless masses beneath heavy winters coats, hats, and scarves to protect them from the chilly air.
One such person stood on the icy sidewalk amidst a good sized cluster of buildings—a college campus, to be exact. For the most part, he ignored the snow falling around him, even as it gathered in his shaggy brown hair.
Li Syaoran was not quite immune to the cold; he was wearing a heavy jacket and the muffler Sakura had made for him. Dressed for the winter’s chill, just like almost anyone else would be on a day like this. Besides, it wouldn’t pay to stand out here. Getting noticed wouldn’t help him at all. He was on a mission here, in this place.
A mission of assassination.
In the pocket of his long black coat was a piece of paper, enscribed with the name of his assigned victim. He pulled the sheet of paper out, and reread the name. He sighed and returned the paper to his coat for safekeeping. His target was here, on this campus.
Li began to walk from his position beside the street towards the heart of the campus. His breath hung in the air in little clouds with each exhalation. As a child, it had always fascinated him, how he could see his own breathing when it was cold. But there was no time for such childish wonder at this moment.
Every once in a while, Syaoran would glance back over his shoulder to make sure no one was following or watching him. If he was being trailed, it could mean trouble for him.
He saw someone walking ahead, down a sidewalk that ran between two buildings. He wasn’t sure, but he could have sworn he recognized that other guy, even though all he saw was the back of the other man’s head. Making a split second decision, Syaoran jogged after the person.
Li slid into step beside the other boy. It was exactly who he had thought it was.
“Still alive?” Hiiragiziwa Eriol whispered as Li began to walk beside him.
“Yes, I am. And you are too, I see,” Syaoran responded.
“For the moment, I live,” Eriol said, then pointed ahead. “We’re about to enter a really dangerous area. Six people have already been taken down in the pavillion up there. It’s probably the most unsafe place around.” He glanced over at his descendant. “Be my witness?”
“If you’ll be mine.”
Side by side, the two young men walked through the area Eriol had described as being the most dangerous area he knew of. Two pairs of eyes, one sapphire and one amber, shifted back and forth with perpetual alertness, searching for any signs of trouble nearby. Though they saw nothing, both heard a cry nearby. A female voice.
Another life extinguished.
The two winced for the unknown victim, and both took a moment to wonder who the killer had been. Chances were that they would never know for sure. Things like that weren’t generally made public knowledge; they were usually kept between the killer and his assigned target, unless there had been a third party involved in a set-up of some kind. Set-ups and traps were not uncommon, but they weren’t the norm, either. Too many complications. Most preferred to work alone.
It was safer that way. If no one knew who your target was, there was no way they could warn them off or help them to escape. Even something as simple as walking beside someone victim could save that victim from annihilation, because the person accompanying the victim was a witness.
In this world, things had to be kept as clean as possible. No outside kills. Anyone walking with the target was a witness, and nothing could be done about witnesses, except to put the kill off until another time, when the target was alone, and unprotected.
It was tough, but those were the rules. That was how the game was played in this underworld.
It was also the reason that Syaoran and Eriol stayed together, yet stayed on full alert. As long as the two were together, they were each others witnesses, and technically, they were both safe. But they were both on guard, because there were those who didn’t necessarily play by the rules.
Once they were passed the dangerous area, Syaoran stopped. “I have to go this way.”
Eriol nodded. “Be careful. Stay alive.”
“Hai,” Syaoran turned and headed inside a nearby building.
He had done his research carefully, and he knew his target was almost always in this building at this time of the day. He slipped around a corner, heading for the area where his victim usually hung out during this hour. He walked close to the wall, shooting an occasional glance back over his shoulder to make certain that he wasn’t being trailed.
Some would have called him paranoid. To Li Syaoran, it was caution. Little things, like taking a quick, covert glance over one’s shoulder every once in a while had saved lives in this kind of situation. If someone had your name, and was trying to kill you, it could be much more difficult for them to carry out the kill if they knew that you knew they were there.
He was near the servery and the dining area now, according to the signs. That meant that he was very close. He went around a corner—and froze, staring in awe.
There, right ahead of him, was Yamazaki.
He was to assassinate Yamazaki Takashi.
Gritting his teeth, Syaoran ducked out of sight into a nearby hallway. This was his big chance. He had to bring down this target, or else. It was now or never.
He readied his weapon in his hand. He really hated to do this to his old friend. But on the other side of the coin, how many times had Yamazaki started rattling off one of his tall tales, causing acute embarassment to all parties involved? No, it was time for a little payback.
Carefully, Syaoran tiptoed from his hiding spot, and crept up behind his target. Li Syaoran was ready to assassinate his chosen victim. Yamazaki didn’t have a clue. There was no one around. No witnesses. An opportunity like this was too good to pass up.
When he was within reach, Syaoran let out a yell, raised his hand—and struck, bringing his weapon down into his target’s back.
Yamazaki’s eyes widened in surprise and horror (AN: I know his eyes don’t open, but bear with me, okay? Please?) as he realized what was happening. The realization came too late, and a strangled cry erupted from the boy under the death blow. But it was too late: the blow had been struck, and with a gasp, Yamazaki tumbled to the floor.
Syaoran stood over his victim, a victorious grin on his face. “Got you.”
“Dammit, Li!” Yamazaki cursed, not even bothering to tack on the usual ‘kun’ to the end of Syaoran’s name. “You got me.” He reached over his shoulder and peeled the brightly colored Post-It Note from the back of his shirt, where Li had so kindly slapped it, to read what had been written across it.
Haha, you’re dead, was all the note said, written in Li’s terse but neat handwriting.
“You didn’t have a witness,” Syaoran said, grinning from ear to ear. “And you weren’t paying attention. Got you, fair and square. Gomen ne, but you’re out.” The sticky note on Yamazaki’s back was a perfect match to the neon green colored pack in Syaoran’s hand.
Li Syaoran, master assassin, was victorious.
All he had to do was survive the rest of the game, and be the last man standing.