Card Captor Sakura ~ Arcana
Chapter 2 - The Hanged Man
by Meimi


Disclaimer: Card Captor Sakura belongs to CLAMP. Original characters are mine. Please don't use them without consulting me first.

Spoiler, Timeline and Ect. Warning: This story takes place after the Clow Cards are collected and, er, Yue's fun and games. That's it. No Eriol, no Suppi-chan, no Ruby Moon and yeah, Yukito's secret is a bit important to the plot. Sakura is sixteen in this story. This story is a bit dark compared to canon CCS, you are warned. People are going to get hurt and/or possibly dead. Please use discretion if you find that sort of thing offensive.


Chapter 2 - The Hanged Man


Nervously balancing back and forth from one foot to the other, Sakura wrapped her arms around her waist. The light sweater she had donned earlier seemed unable to prevent the chill from the night air, or perhaps it was the object of her thoughts that made her shiver. She wasn't quite sure which was the cause. She watched her brother as she chewed on her lower lip.

Touya stood over by the doorbell, waiting pensively. The house was dark but that didn't necessarily mean anything. After all, Yuki could already be asleep... That didn't stop either of them from worrying though, far from it.

The usual things that would keep a person from work, just didn't apply to Yuki. Could he be sick? Yeah right. Since when could Touya ever recall Yuki being sick with a cold much less anything else? It was possible but very doubtful. Besides, Yuki would have called in if he was sick. No, it had to be something else. But what?

The seconds ticked by. Nothing. The house was as silent as a tomb. And what a lovely thought that was. Touya scowled in frustration and started digging in his pocket.

Sakura blinked in surprise as Touya produced a set of keys from the pocket of his jeans. She was even more surprised when he used them to unlock the door. Since when had niichan had keys to Yukito-san's house? She shook her head in slight wonderment as she followed her brother into the dark entryway.

Touya felt around for the light switch and closed the front door after Sakura, engulfing them both in darkness. A second later he found what he was looking for and flipped the switch on. They both squinted in the glare, much brighter than the moonlight or even the streetlights had been.

"Hoeee?!" Sakura looked around in shock. A thin film of some white glittery substance covered every possible surface in view. It was on the furniture, the floor, the walls, even the ceiling. "What... is this?"

Touya scowled deeply as he rubbed his fingers together, white glitter on the tips from where he had flicked the lights on. He sniffed his fingers hesitantly. There was a very faint smell that reminded him of outdoors and night time. A grimace flitted across his face as he wiped his hands off on his jeans. The bad feeling he'd been having all day was swiftly becoming much worse.

"Yu- Yukito-san?" Sakura called out, her voice wavering from worry and concern. She didn't really expect an answer. The house felt empty and hollow to her as if it had been a long time since anyone had been there. She looked down at her feet hesitantly. She wanted to take a look at the house but she didn't want to take her shoes off and get that stuff on her socks. A questioning look over at her brother got a noncommittal shrug. Okay, better to be rude and safe than polite and getting weird stuff on her feet.

Touya followed Sakura as she slowly headed deeper into the house, also foregoing politeness and keeping his shoes on. Something about his sister's reaction told him that Yuki was long gone. But how would she know and why did he trust her intuition so readily? There were too many questions with no forthcoming answers. "Yuki?"

Sakura walked around surveying the house in an almost daze, leaving behind footprints in the glittering dust. She was doing her best not to touch any of that stuff, but it was kinda difficult with it covering everything in sight. It must have something to do with Yue-san, but what? She needed Kero-chan and Li-kun, but what to do about niichan?

She gave him a quick glance then started chewing on her fingernail. He looked really worried. And why not? His best friend was missing and Yukito's house was covered in this gunk. Who wouldn't be worried? Oh well, there was no way around it. She'd just have to figure out some way to keep them from killing each other.

Touya watched Sakura walk over and wipe the phone off with the corner of her sweater with mounting curiosity. "Oi Sakura, what are you up to?"

Sakura looked over at him as she picked up the receiver. "I'm calling someone who might be able to help."

Touya blinked. "Who?"

"You'll see," she answered cryptically. She really wanted to stave off any outbursts as long as possible. Quickly dialing a number she knew by heart but rarely if ever used, she waited.

Touya watched Sakura fidget as she waited for an answer. Finally, she smiled warmly and spoke. "It's Sakura. I'm over at Yukito-san's house. Can you come over here now? There's something you need to see... yes... yes... niichan is here too," she held the receiver away from her ear as whoever it was on the other end started yelling. "I'm sorry, it can't be avoided... I know... I know... yes... yes... Can you drop by the house and pick up you know who?... Thank you!... yes... yes... see you soon."

Sakura smiled a sweet smile Touya didn't quite know how to interpret as she hung up. Then, she turned around and beamed at him. "He's on his way."


"You'll see."


The lights of the train station flickered in the night, dimming and pulsing with the comings and goings of the trains. A beautiful middle-aged woman stood off to the side, her hands shaking as she dug around in her purse for something.

She was late. She couldn't believe how irresponsible she was. Late for an important business meeting to discuss the merger. He would be so disappointed. He might even fire her. Would he? She wasn't sure anymore.

In the past, he had always seemed to go out of his way to compliment her. Her almost instinctual knowledge of the stock market had always given her an edge over the other brokers in the business and had earned his admiration. But lately, the closer they had gotten to the merger the more he seemed to ignore her acquisitions for the company's benefit. Was she unnecessary now?

"Sakamura-san?" She gasped in fright and whirled around. Time seemed to slow as she gazed into depthless pools of brown. "Why do you persist? You sacrifice everything for all the wrong reasons. Let go of what you know. Embrace the future that is waiting for you."

"I.. I will," she watched him walk away, disappearing into the press of people. Dropping her purse, she touched her lips with steadying fingers. It was time to leave, time to leave Tokyo. Perhaps visit her family in Nara, she thought as she walked off in a daze leaving behind scattered possessions that seemed so unnecessary in light of this revelation.

Behind her, others ran into the strange young man who seemed too wise for his casual appearance. They too abandoned what they knew for something else, a new purpose that his presence had shown them. And so the night went, more and more people falling under the spell of a different weave of destiny.


Syaoran grimaced as he warily glanced up the last few steps to the door. He wasn't really looking forward to getting into it with Touya tonight. Not to mention the fact that Kerberus has been whining and complaining the entire way here. But she had asked, so here he was with the pesky guardian and about to walk into Yukito-san's house with Touya there no less. If there was a god, somehow someway he had really gotten on its bad side.

"Might as well get it over with," He grumbled, trudged up the stairs and reached out to ring the doorbell. No one ever said he wasn't a sucker for punishment. He could just make out the sound of light footsteps coming towards the door, before it opened to reveal the only reason he would actually put up with all of this.

Sakura. She smiled at him, but there was an edge to it. Something was seriously worrying her. He sighed and fervently hoped he had the ability to fix whatever was creating that worry.

"You're here," she simply stated as she stepped off to the side allowing room for him to enter.

He gave her a weak smile as he walked past her, only to come to a complete halt upon seeing the state of the house. He blinked in wonder at the white glittery dust that seemed to cover everything. The house felt cold to him. It was a cold that utterly desolated the soul, something he hadn't ever felt before.

Syaoran hesitantly reached out and touched the wall, touched the white glitter. He closed his eyes and his mind was instantly swept away to somewhere else. A place where the air burned from the cold and the trees rose around him menacingly. A place where the full moon dominated the midnight sky. A place where the wind howled and something oppressive hunted him from the shadows. Something that hunted for its own pleasure.

"What is that brat doing here?!"

Syaoran was shocked back from the vision by Touya's explosive outburst. He dropped his hand from the wall and turned to glare at Sakura's furious brother. This he had expected. In fact, Touya's antics were a somewhat calming balm on his heart, which had begun racing the instant the vision began. How ironic.

"Touya!" Syaoran stared and Touya gaped, his tirade instantly forgotten as Sakura stalked up to him, her hands on her hips. He'd never seen her quite this angry before. Nor had she ever used his name in quite that tone before. He was in serious trouble.

She pinned him with her fiery emerald glare. "Don't even start. You should be grateful Li-kun agreed to come over here in the first place! It's not like you're his favorite person. But he was nice enough to come, so you will behave."

Touya blanched, "But why him?"

She closed her eyes, as if she was fighting to control herself. Then she looked back up at him, the fire in her eyes somewhat doused, but still evident. "Whether you've noticed it or not, Li-kun is a priest. I would think it's obvious that this," she waved around at the strange white glitter, "is his line of expertise."

Touya hunched his shoulders, knowing she was right and still not liking it. "Yeah."

Sakura sighed somewhat in defeat as Touya shot a hot glare towards Syaoran and growled, "Well?" She'd managed to stop any serious confrontations, but her brother still refused to give Li-kun any slack. Li-kun's perseverance in coming over here despite the mutual dislike they had for each other really was remarkable. It was just another little thing she admired about him.

Syaoran coolly returned Touya's glare, more than ready to keep his feelings to himself. Unfortunately, one look at Sakura's encouraging smile caved in any plans to railroad Touya. If Touya ever found out about his weakness for the man's sister, he'd be dead, much less if Syaoran's family ever found out. God forbid, he'd never survive that.

He turned around, reaching up to touch the wall and the glitter upon its surface once more. "Well, it's definitely magic, old magic," Syaoran put extra emphasis on old hoping Sakura would catch the hint. "But from what I can tell, Yukito-san got out before this happened. Odds are he'll show up sooner or later at your house or at least call. You are his best friend after all aren't you?"

Touya blanched slightly, envisioning Yuki showing up at their house and him not being there. Not good. He looked down at Sakura, his obvious distress showing. "If that's the case, we should get home."

Sakura frowned and looked over at Syaoran questioningly. He shook his head slightly, "I'd like to stay and study this more. That way I can figure out how to keep it from happening again."

Touya was torn, he really wanted to get home in case Yuki did show up and yet he didn't particularly like the idea of that brat being left alone in Yuki's house. What to do?

Sakura smiled up at her brother. She knew full well what he was thinking. "Niichan, I'll stay here with Li-kun. He can bring me home after he's finished, right?" She smiled over at Li-kun hoping he'd catch the hint. And he did, nodding slowly in agreement.

Touya was torn yet again, not wanting to leave his sister alone with the brat. Still, she had shown at least a mild dislike of the boy in the past so maybe it would be all right. He shook his head slightly as Sakura began to push him out the door. "But Sakura..."

"No buts, it'll be fine. Go home." She smiled in reassurance as she finally pushed him out onto the steps and closed the door behind him. That should take care of her brother at least. She frowned and turned back towards Li-kun, a shadow falling across her features. "It's the Arcana isn't it?"

"Yes, I think so," Syaoran muttered distractedly as he roughly pulled a struggling Kero-chan out of his coat pocket.

Kero-chan shook his head violently, then glared venomously at Syaoran. "Jerk! I couldn't breathe in there!" He stretched trying to get rid of the cricks in his back, then jerked out of Syaoran's grasp. He flitted around the room, staring google-eyed at the silver white glitter that covered every surface imaginable. A few seconds later he came to a halt, hovering a few inches in front of Sakura's face, "Sakura-chan, what happened to Yue?"

Sakura shrugged in despair, "I don't know, I was hoping either of you could figure it out." She looked over at Syaoran, who shook his head before turning back to study the white glitter. She sighed, then blinked in confusion as she thought about what Kero-chan had just asked. "Wait a minute, Yue not Yukito?"

Kero-chan nodded as he looked around curiously at the white dust. "Yeah, he was Yue when he left. I can feel the last fading bit of his magic. But what is the rest of this stuff? It feels like a card's after effect," Kero-chan squinched his nose up, making a disgusted face, "but it smells like blood."

Sakura frowned somewhat squeamishly as Syaoran whipped around, giving Kero-chan a piercing look. "Blood?" He turned back around, studying the glitter, "That's... odd. It smells more like outdoors to me."

"That's really weird, it smells like outdoors to me too," Sakura tilted her head to the side in thought. Her eyes widened in shock as something caught her gaze. "Tell me I'm seeing things," she whispered as she pointed up at the ceiling.

Syaoran and Kero-chan looked up at where she indicated, surprise and more showing on their faces. The glitter on the ceiling was, moving! First in a slow ripple like effect that grew larger and more violent as they stared at it in growing horror. A woman's voice spoke then, cold and distorted, as if over great distance, "Where? Where.. did.. you.. go?"

Sakura blindly reached behind her for the doorknob, casting a meaningful gaze at Syaoran and then Kero-chan. It was almost like a ghost, and she did not want to have to deal with a ghost. The voice echoed again as Sakura found the knob and began to open the door, "I will find you."

Sakura grabbed Kero-chan and darted out the open door and into the chill night air. She stopped at the bottom stairs and watched fearfully as Syaoran followed her lead, closing the door behind him. "That..." she shivered, "that wasn't one of the Arcana was it?"

"Sort of," Syaoran answered matter-of-factly as he came to stand beside her, casting a short glance at the house behind him. "It wasn't one of the cards in person. It was more of an... extension of one of them." He looked down at her, concern showing in his eyes. "As for which card, I really couldn't tell you."

"Ah," Sakura looked down at her feet in a mixture of relief and shame. She had gone and made a fool out of herself in front of Li-kun again. What he must think of her... scared of a little magic. But it had really seemed like a ghost for a second there, and she hated ghost. It was silly she knew, being afraid of ghosts, not to mention embarrassing. Ugh! She was letting her fears distract her again.

She looked up at Syaoran, determination flashing in her eyes. "Is there any way we can clean that stuff out of Yukito-san's house?"

"I don't think so," Syaoran slowly shook his head. "At least, not until we catch the specific card that's causing it."

"Oh," Sakura seemed to deflate at the news. She cast a furtive glance at Yukito's house before shuffling off despondently in the direction of her own. Not really seeing what she was looking at, Sakura stared at her feet deep in thought.

Syaoran frowned as he hurried to catch up with her. While he was concerned about Yukito-san, he was more worried about Sakura at the moment. He hated seeing her so down, it just wasn't normal. And... he was worried about the Arcana. When and where would they attack next?

His frown deepened into a scowl as his thoughts took a darker turn. Would he be there to protect her next time? Or would he be too late? He had almost been too late against the Magician. His mind shied away from the endless guesses at what might have happened if he had arrived a few minutes later.

Taking a peek at Li-kun from the corner of her eye, Sakura winced. Judging by his scowl, he really must be worried about Yukito-san. She sighed, quickly squashing the little pang of jealousy that rose up at that thought. This was not the time, nor the place for something like that. Besides, she was worried about Yukito-san too.

About this time, Kerberus, who had silently been hovering above them, shook off his worries about Yue. Yue was more than capable of taking care of himself. Kerberus knew this better than anyone. The little guardian was more than certain that Yukito would show up tomorrow or the day after with no idea where he had been. Still... with the Arcana involved... No. Kerebus shook his head. Yue would be fine. He had to be.

Looking down at the somber pair, Kerberus wondered what in the world was wrong with them. It just wasn't natural for both of them to be so gloomy and morose. Of course they were worried about Yukito, but they ought to know that Yue would be fine. Or maybe they just hadn't gotten that far in their thought processes yet.

Kerberus puffed up in imagined importance as he glided down to perch on Sakura's right shoulder. As the only available Clow Guardian, it was his duty to inform the Clow Mistress and her, um, sidekick of the certainty that 'Yue would be fine' and that they shouldn't bother worrying about it. After all, that was his job.

Sakura started slightly as she felt Kero-chan settle down upon her shoulder. She'd forgotten completely about him. He had been so quiet. It was so unlike him. Poor Kero-chan, he must be worried out of his mind about Yue-san. Sakura berated herself, she should have noticed Kero-chan's unusual silence sooner. Well, she'd just have to think of a way to settle Kero-chan's worries. It was, at the very least, her duty as the Clow Mistress to comfort the Clow Guardian. He shouldn't have to worry. After all, that was her job.

Unfortunately, both the Clow Mistress and her guardian were kept from their supposed duties by the uncomfortable feeling of the hair on the back of their necks standing on ends. An uncanny sensation that was felt even more strongly by the trained priest at their side. Some type of powerful magic was at work in the immediate vicinity.

Syaoran turned, looking back, his eyes narrowed. It had to be one of the Arcana. But from where? He strained his senses, trying to determine where the source of this feeling was coming from. It was different this time. It wasn't like the Magician, whose magic has felt like a miniature sun to him and thus had been easy to pinpoint.

This magic felt like it had been dispersed into the very air, no part weaker or stronger than the other. And it was everywhere. His skin crawled from the feel of it. His lungs burned from it with every breath. This was not good. He was at a distinct disadvantage with it affecting him like this. Now he knew exactly why the elders preached an all out retreat when these cards were involved.

Sakura watched Li-kun worriedly, her concern for him growing every passing second. She wasn't quite sure how she knew it, but something was definitely wrong with him. She reached out hesitantly, intent upon getting his attention by tugging on his sleeve.

"So cute!"

Hand stopped in mid-reach, Sakura looked down the street with what could only be described as a dumfounded expression. Her eyes took on a saucer-like quality as they widened at what she saw hurrying cheerfully towards them.

A short elderly woman, she had to be somebody's grandmother, rushed up the street towards them. Her graying hair was tied up neatly in a bun, a few wisps falling down to frame her face. The dark green dress she wore was of a simple make, but seemed to compliment the figure she was obviously holding onto as the years passed. She clapped her hands together in glee as she came to a stop before them. "Such a cute couple."

"Whu... whu... what?" Syaoran stuttered, the burning sensation of the unknown magic forgotten as his face turned interesting shades of red. She couldn't possibly mean...

Sakura's eyes bugged out, words failing her as she too started to turn odd shades of red. The obaasan couldn't possibly think...

The old woman smiled dreamily, her emerald green eyes seemed to sparkle from within. "Ah, you children are so lucky to find your true love at such an early age."

"Hooeee," Sakura weakly attempted to smile, her eyes closed. She dared not look at Li-kun, she'd die from total embarrassment. "We're not-"

"Oh, you darlings have nothing to worry about," the old woman reached out, grasping Sakura's left hand and Syaoran's right hand. "Not a word of this meeting shall pass my lips. I am not one to hinder true love, especially today. For today I have had a revelation." She shook the bewildered pair's hands in excitement. "My life has changed completely. I must go and find my own true love and rectify that one single mistake that changed my life."

"That's..." Sakura weakly tugged her arm, trying to free her hand from the woman's impassioned hold. "... wonderful."

"Yes it is, isn't it?" The woman shook Sakura and Syaoran's hands, placing them against each other before releasing them as if in afterthought.

Sakura and Syaoran looked down at their hands, then looked up at each other. The air around them almost whistled from their haste to put a good yard's distance between themselves. Crimson blushes painted both of their cheeks as the looked anywhere but at each other.

Sakura blanched as the old woman once again took ahold of her left hand. But instead of waving it around like a lunatic, the woman placed something within Sakura's grasp, curling Sakura's fingers around whatever it was. "Here now, think of it as a gift from someone who doesn't need it anymore." So said, the old woman smiled charmingly at them both and then headed off down the street at an extremely brisk pace.

The seconds ticked by in bewildered silence as Sakura and Syaoran watched the old woman quickly fade from sight. Kerberus, who had kept his perch on Sakura's right shoulder, was the first one to break the silence. "That was really weird."

"Yeah..." Sakura trailed off weakly. She blinked, then looked down to see just what the obaasan had given her. Her eyes bugged out as they beheld a very large, folded, crisp stack of thousand yen bills. "Hoooeee! I... I... I..." She stuttered as Kerberus whistled appreciatively in her ear, "I can't take this!"

"Now now..."

The trio started in surprise. A young man had emerged from the same direction the obaasan had come. His messy brown hair fluttered slightly in the gentle night breeze as he slowly walked towards them. He wore a pair of faded blue jeans and a battered brown, leather jacket over a simple white t-shirt. His white tennis shoes were also worn and dusty, as if they had seen countless miles of travel. Of his face, they could only make out the secretive smile he gave in the pale moonlight. "A gift given freely and from the heart, should be treasured."

Time seemed to slow to a crawl for Sakura as the young man drew closer. She felt warm and heavy, almost like those times when her father or her brother would comfort her when she was feeling down. She waited transfixed, her thoughts only upon this strange man and what he was saying. What he was saying was important... very important.

"Such a waste Kinomoto-san, spending your youth chasing after phantoms and fantasies when you should be enjoying the company of your friends instead." His smile was gentle. The endless depths of his soft brown eyes, now close enough to be seen, glittered from within.

Syaoran's indrawn breath hissed as he stepped in front of Sakura, blocking the Arcana from her. "That's far enough," his eyes narrowed dangerously as he watched the 'man' before him.

Kerberus fluttered around Sakura's face, calling her name. His attempts were futile. She couldn't hear him. She was instead lost within a sea of brown, waiting expectantly for her new fate to be told.

The man frowned at Syaoran, perturbed at this interruption. After a moment's passing, he smiled. "I would change your fate Li Syaoran, but you have already done so. My intervention would be unnecessary at this point." His gaze traveled from Syaoran to Sakura and back. "Kinomoto Sakura on the other, has another fate to be chosen. One that would make her happier, I think."

Syaoran scowled, the burning from before returning stronger now. Whatever magic this 'man' used, it was very bad for his health. Staying close to this Arcana would be dangerous, but he couldn't abandon Sakura. "Stay away from her. She doesn't need anyone else choosing her fate for her."

The young man scowled in return, his eyes darkening with mild distaste. He stared at the boy blocking him from his duty for several minutes. Then he blinked in confusion, as if something odd had just occurred to them. Taking several steps back, he smiled weakly, waving his hands in embarrassment. "Oh... so sorry. Didn't realize my magic was having that kind of effect on you. Very sorry! It doesn't hurt too much does it?"

Sakura blinked, her sluggish mind picking up the word 'hurt'. Hurt meaning pain, which wasn't good. Li-kun being in pain, which was much worse. As if the very concept had detonated a bomb within her mind, she instantly shook off the Arcana's magic.

Kerberus goggled as she stepped forward, gently reaching up and tugging on Syaoran's jacket. "It's okay, Li-kun. You should go. I'll be fine on my own."

Syaoran turned his head to the side, keeping one eye on the Arcana while looking back at Sakura from the corner of the other. "I don't think that's a good idea."

"That's strange." The man stared at them in consternation, his head tilted to the side. "You shouldn't be able to do that. Only fate can counter fate..." He shrugged and smiled, not wanting to give anything away. "Oh well, I don't suppose you could just forget about this little meeting..." He winced as all three of them shot him a stony glare, "Didn't think so."

He shrugged once more, grinning now. "I guess that's that. I'm not much of a fighter. I only have a limited control of the fate you choose for yourself. And... since you're unwilling to relinquish this fate... I guess I lose." He bowed, his form becoming indistinct. "My sister must be starting to get lonely. As a gentleman, I would be remiss in not keeping her company."

Sakura blinked as he faded away, a glittering gold card appearing where he had stood. She walked over and picked it up. It was heavy in her hand, as if it were really made of gold. The young man hung upside down, a rope tied around one foot. He smiled a secretive smile, one eye closed in a wink. "The Hanged Man..."

"Nice guy," Kero-chan flittered above her head as Syaoran came to stand beside her. "Probably the only one in the bunch."

"Yeah..." She shook her head in bemusement, then looked over at Syaoran in worry. "Are you all right?"

He nodded, "I'm fine." Without the Arcana to the maintain it, the magic was swiftly dissipating. It was still uncomfortable, but not painful like it had been before. But why had it affected him like that? Did it have something to do with him having a fate the Arcana couldn't change? It was confusing.

"This... he wasn't the card that's involved with Yukito-san?" It was more of a statement than a question, but Sakura could hope.

"No," Syaoran shook his head, his expression darkening. "No he wasn't."


AHAHAHA! I finished it! The ending sucks rocks, but I DID finish it! I'm so happy! Good lord! If only my other fanfics were this easy to write. *beats on Rain some* You know, the Hanged Man probably IS the only nice card in the deck. Poor Sakura...

Oh, my prereaders have been a little confused over the Hanged Man and why he's so nice with that kind of name. Well the Arcana are based off of Tarot cards and take their personalities and powers from them. The Hanged Man represents a change or reversal of mind, among other things. So I gave him the power to 'change a person's fate' by allowing them to follow up on a decision they might have made in the past (but didn't) that might have been good for them. (i.e. Sakamura-san leaving Tokyo, the obaasan expressing her love to her old flame, Sakura NOT chasing after the cards). As this sort of release tends to make people happy, their material possessions tend to lose value and thus they forget them or give them away. Please note, that these 'changes of fate' aren't necessarily a good thing and thus can cause alot of havoc.

Next: The school is in disarray! Tomoyo-chan to the rescue!