flesheatingammonite: (Kohaku)
Heyo all I've joined the [community profile] clampkink meme so that means more excuses to write fanfic!

This is simply a deanoned post with more detailed author's notes for my first fill! I consequently fell in love with the concept of Subaru and Sakura having a little inter-generational frinedship so... expect to see probably more little ficlets and doodles from me soon exploring this.

Warning: Contains spoilers for Tokyo Babylon and by extension X.

Title: Swing Sets and Sorcery - Thaks to Artimissed for title ideas. Alt: It's all Fun and Games Till Someone's Family Gets Murdered.
Fandom: CLAMP'verse, Cardcaptor Sakura, Tokyo Babylon, X.
Pairing: Nothing romantic! Just fluffy Sakura and Subaru interaction.
Word Count: 1827
Rating/Warnings: G, No warnings apply!
~ It's not every day two powerful figures in the trade of magic have an impromptu play date.

“Excuse me!”

The little girl looked up at Subaru from the swing. He’d been in the motion of tapping a cigarette loose from it’s packet, but then he saw her all alone and called out. He pocketed them when their eyes met. He felt it a little inappropriate to smoke in front of a kid.

She couldn’t have been older than ten. Her dark uniform identified her as a student from one of the local Tomoeda elementary schools. Such a young girl shouldn’t be out here by herself in a park at this hour, he thought.

Her small pigtails bobbed as she jumped from the swing and straightened out her skirt. Subaru panicked a bit as the child approached him. Habitual worry for others hadn’t prepared him with any kind of conversation for the girl.

“Good afternoon!” The girl smiled and bowed politely. Subaru returned the courtesy and removed his hands from his pockets to look for something to do with them.

He leaned on the railing of the short fence that bordered the park. The girl regarded him closely but without fear.

“Are you out of school?”

“Uh huh!”

Well, that much was obvious. He scratched the back of his head and surveyed the park. It was pretty small. A swing set by some nice shady trees, a large slide in the shape of a simplified penguin wearing a little crown, an intricate playground castle and not a soul to be seen.

“Uh, what I meant was, are you out here all by yourself?” Again that was obvious, but a little closer to the Are you okay? he couldn’t seem to get out.

The girl nodded. “I am, I’m waiting for a friend!”

He relaxed, a little relived to hear that, but it still didn’t make up for the fact that she was all alone right now.

And yet.

He looked back down and she gave him her brightest smile. She didn’t seem frightened in the least. He focused in on her and sensed a soothing aura of confidence and calm. Least of all worry or anxiety. There was something more to it that he couldn’t quite place his finger on. There was a power about her that felt strong, magnetic somehow.

“What’s your name?” She asked.

Subaru blinked. “My name is Subaru. Subaru Sumeragi.” He reached over the fence and extended a bare hand.

She took it firmly and gave it an enthusiastic shake. “I’m Sakura Kinomoto, please call me Sakura!”

He flinched and felt a cool sweat begin to break out when he heard that name. Sakura, like the cherry tree.

“Do you want to play?” Subaru gasped and then fumbled, taken aback by the invitation amidst the slow welling of tightness in his chest.

Now it was his turn to regard her carefully. She looked back up at him expectantly. He didn’t really have a reason to say no, but someone like him, playing with such a sweet little girl?

She tugged at his hand and he once again felt the presence of an immeasurable power. It was overwhelmingly warm and the feeling of being pulled in was stronger. Much as he tried he simply couldn’t bring himself to be suspicious of it.

He cracked a thin smile  for the first time in what felt like years. He told himself he was only doing it to make sure she was safe until her friend came to get her.

Without letting go of her hand he lifted a leg and jumped the short fence. She giggled and led him off towards the playground equipment at breakneck speed.

This morning, he’d never have been able to imagine running himself ragged playing tag, getting stuck in a tunnel far too small for a man of his age or playing word games with an elementary student. However, now in this moment of relative peace he’d relaxed his guard. It felt like the most natural thing in the universe. His guard hadn’t completely disappeared though. He was sure there was far more to this little girl than met the eye.

“Be careful.” He called out as Sakura climbed to the top of the penguin slide. The slide was no more than a few feet taller than he was, but if she fell at that height she’d wind up with a few bruises.

Sure enough her foot slipped. He dashed to catch her, arms stretched out. He watched helplessly as she fell just seconds faster than his legs would carry him. She did not hit the ground.

Inches from the ground a puff of wind like a dust devil swirled around her accompanied by a surge of power that was unmistakable. He instinctively shielded his eyes from the debris picked up by the gust and braced against the flash of magical energies. For a tenth of a second he saw the brief outline of a magic circle below her.

She floated gently to her feet and stood, a little startled but no worse for wear.

She looked up and caught his eyes, and flustered. She averted her gaze sheepishly and kicked at the dirt beneath her feet.

“You saw?”

Subaru nodded. He definitely saw.

She smiled, and grabbed his hand yet again and led him to the swings where she smoothed out her skirt and plopped down before motioning for him to come join her.

Subaru stretched his long legs out and hunched into the tiny child-sized seat and waited patiently as Sakura looked around to make sure the coast was clear. The sun was setting and no one had come around the park for hours.

Silence hung in the air as Sakura looked at the ground and tried to think of some way to explain herself, she was obviously conflicted over having revealed her secret, so Subaru decided to share a little secret of his own.

“You know, I can use magic too.” He said gently. Sakura whirled about, her bright green eyes making contact with his own, darker emerald eyes.

He dug into his deep coat pockets and pulled out a neatly bound packet of talismans. Sakura’s eyes bulged in recognition.

“I take it you’ve seen these before?” She nodded and answered. “My friend, Syaoran-kun uses something like those sometimes!” Subaru nodded and replaced the talismans back into his pocket. 

Sakura likewise dug into the pocket of her skirt and produced a bundle of tall cards, and Subaru could feel the ancient powers pulsating from them like a heartbeat. For how old they felt, the cards looked fairly new, they were a bright pink and backed with a lovely star themed circle that matched the one he’d seen flicker before Sakura landed.

They sat in relative silence before Sakura broke it, a little bit abruptly.

“So what are you doing here in Tomoeda?”

Subaru’s expression darkened. He furrowed his eyebrows and stared hard at his feet.

“I’m looking for someone.”

“A friend?”

“Not… exactly”

He could feel the tightness returning to his chest with a vengeance. He tapped his fingers against the chains supporting his small seat. He could really use a cigarette if they were going to talk about that.

“I wouldn‘t call him a friend.”

What could he call him?  His sister’s murderer? A backstabber, a sociopath, a first love?

He didn’t know. He just didn’t know anymore. He’d come through Tomoeda to get to Tokyo Tower. To find him, to find him and then… and then.

He hadn’t noticed Sakura getting up from her swing, and flinched when her small hand broke into his line of sight and patted him gently on the knee.

“Subaru, are you okay?”

He looked up. Sakura was almost  eye level with him since he was sitting. Her brows were tight with worry and her bright eyes searched his for some kind of explanation.

She gently pried one of his hands from the swing chain and took it in both of her own, and ran a thumb in small circles over the back in a soothing motion.

“Is it the one who did that to your hands?” her voice wavered with fear and concern.

His heart leapt into his throat. It shouldn’t have been so surprising, Sakura could use magic after all, of course she’d be able to see the inverted pentagrams, their presence deep and ground in like scars.

He’d hardly processed what he was doing no sooner had he done it. He took back his hand and slowly pulled the little girl in to a hug.

“Don’t you worry about me Sakura. You don‘t need to worry about someone like me.”

She didn’t resist, and he hated himself for needing the contact more than the desire to comfort her.

She reached up and wrapped her arms under his and around his thin back, clinging to the fabric of his coat with her fingers to make up for where her hands couldn’t meet to wrap him in a complete circle.

“I won’t worry about you Subaru.” She whispered. “Because you’re going to be all right!”

He leaned his forehead against her small bony shoulder as she continued to whisper.

“I’m going to give you a spell, okay?”

“Okay.” His answer was emotionless and drained. He was too tired to think, and Sakura’s power was overwhelmingly warm and comforting.

“Now repeat after me…”

He let himself fall into a sense of total security, and dropped the last of the guards he’d kept up even for hours of play, hand in hand with this little girl.

He held back hot tears as he repeated the spell. His voice hoarse and strained.

“I’m sure, everything will be all right.”

Sakura finally dropped her hands and took a step back. Subaru removed his arms from around her shoulders wiped at the corners of his eyes with the heels of both hands.

“Sakura! I’m sorry I’m so late!”

A boy with short brown hair dashed towards them. Subaru didn’t think Sakura could have brightened any more but the minute her eyes lit up in recognition of the voice, she was practically glowing. He stood up from the swing and watched as she ran towards her friend.

She returned to his side, hand in hand with her friend, whom he noticed with some amusement had turned a bright shade of red at the contact.

He placed his hands in his pockets and felt the sharp corners of his cigarette packet. It was getting late.

“Well Sakura, now that your friend is here, I’m afraid I must be off.” He waved politely towards the boy who bowed slightly in return.

“To Tokyo Tower right?”

“That’s right.”

“Remember that spell when you find the person you’re looking for, okay?”

Subaru nodded and headed off.

There was no way he’d forget Sakura’s spell. It wasn’t every day one of the strongest magicians in the world gave you an invincible charm.

No matter what happened in the coming year, he was sure, that everything would be all right.

And now the notes!:

There were a lot of things I wanted to explore with this fic that I don’t think I was fully able to in this first draft, I may come back and revisit this idea at a later time. Basically I really enjoy the heck out of these two interacting, it’s incredibly fun and cute.

Initially I set off to set this little chance encounter post Cardcaptor Sakura (The Master of the Clow arc and all) and just before the events of X when the Dragons of Heaven and Earth are still gathering in Tokyo.

Tomoeda is not a real city, but it’s close enough that Sakura and her friends could have (presumably) walked by themselves unsupervised to Tokyo Tower as seen in the climax of CCS, so I figured it would be a likely place for Subaru to pass through on his journey back to Tokyo for the year 1999. On that note sources have told me that CCS takes place in the years 1998 and 1999, so it doesn’t seem too far fetched to me that the Modern Japan and 1990’s Clamp Campus world are one and the same.

A big thank you to my good frined Ghost whose enthusiasm for Tokyo Babylon and Subaru contributed to many late nights tossing silly ideas back and forth and capitalizing on the general conclusion most of us have probably come to: “Subaru needs a damn hug.”

So who better than our favorite magical girl to administer one!

I initially saw this idea as a request for Sakura and Subaru fluff on the Clamp Kink Meme, so this was written in part for Ghost and for the lovely Anon who wanted some fluff with these two, I hope you get the chance to read this Anon!

Since Anon was not specific as to WHICH Subaru or Sakura’s should interact (I mean there are like three and a half sakura’s running around TRC and at least one vampire Subaru in the multiverse) I went with their originals, Subaru Sumeragi the Onmyouji from Tokyo Babylon and X/1999 and Sakura Kinomoto of Cardcaptor.

It’s a bit of an understated fact but, if you think about it, by the end of CCS, Sakura is like hella fucking magical. She’s probably taken Clow’s place as the World’s Strongest Magician, so I wanted to kind of play with this and have Subaru come to recognize her overwhelming (though unpracticed) power as a strong and calming aura. Also meta on Vamp!Subaru getting drawn into the cocoon due to Princess Sakura’s feather in TRC, haha! Aaaall the parallels!

On the note of magic, Clamp’verse has a number of magic circles, from Sakura and Clow’s to Yuuko’s and even Syaoran’s Rashiban. I kind of wanted the hug between Sakura and Subaru to emulate a magic circle of it’s own while Sakura shares with Subaru her invincible spell, whether there is actual magic imbibed in the words themselves or simply a much needed moment of encouragement and comfort for Subaru I wanted to leave up to the reader’s interpretation, but Subaru’s got mad respect for little miss badass right here.

An idea I wanted to explore a bit more that Ghost had brought up was that Sakura is a lot like Subaru was when he was younger, they’re both very kind hearted and gentle kids, they both use their magic to help and protect the people they love, and hey, they even both have green eyes! Sakura reminds me of a more cheery and confidant Subaru honestly. Unlike him her fate has a brighter outcome and she doesn’t suffer nearly as much as he does, but I guess when the in-joke is that no one has it as bad as Subaru, that’s kind of to be expected.

Man, writing for Post TB Subaru was hard, and I honestly think more of TB Subaru wormed his way through in this. The Subaru of TB is an awkward and apologetic young man who worries selflessly and almost habitually about complete strangers, this much is apparent here in his worry for Sakura, and it was hard to reign that in and remember to keep up with the older, sadder and more deadened Subaru of X.

Lots of thought went into their bits of extended dialogue and in the end I just couldn’t come up with a version of it that I as happy with, so I kept it kind of short and hopefully neutral. It’s hard to get Subaru to open up to a fifth grader about his issues, but I more or less accomplished what I’d set out to do.

The mental image of Subaru on the swing set and getting stuck in a playground tube were incredibly cute and hilarious to me. Just, Subaru you’re so tall and lanky what are you even doing.

Initially I wasn’t going to have Sakura’s magic be so blatantly revealed to Subaru, but eventually it fell in there and I just decided to run with it, in either case it got them to talking a little sooner, though I had trouble transitioning the dialogue from magic to hints of Subaru’s problems. I’d wanted him to more subtly pick up on it, sort of a “people in the trade of magic just recognize one another” kind of a thing. And like I mentioned up there about Sakura being a really powerful but underemphasized magician, I figured he’d probably recognize her powers as being on par with maybe Yuuko, since it’s mentioned in one of the xxxHolic manga that Yuuko had met Subaru as a child.

And on that note I really, REALLY love how interconnected all of Clamp’s stuff is. Imagine Yuuko meeting little Subaru and Hokuto! That would probably be a fun ficlet for another day!

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