Sakura Kinimoto and Syaoran Li stood outside of Tomeoda City Orphanage, each over encumbered with large boxes of brand new toys, courtesy of the president of Daidouji Toy Store, Tomoyo’s mom.
“It’s so nice of your mom to give all these gifts to the kids at the orphanage.” Sakura said struggling underneath the weight of the box she was carrying.
“But you could at least help carry some of this stuff.” Syaoran grumbled at the black haired girl, who stood empty handed beside them, except for the video camera.
“I want to capture the look on those kids faces when our very own CardCaptor Sakura brings them boxes upon boxes of brand new toys.” Tomoyo said zooming in on Sakura’s blushing face while ignoring the boy’s comments about how he too was a cardcaptor bringing in toys.
“Sakura, is that you?” A woman’s voice asked as the door before them opened inviting the trio inside.
“Miss Mizuki?” Sakura said judging by the woman’s voice as she couldn’t see over the top of the box she was carrying. “What are you doing here?”
“Yes, I volunteer here on the weekends…” Their math teacher explained leading them into a room full of young children.
“Tomoyo’s mom sent us here to deliver a bunch of toys for the kids.” Sakura said. “There’s more in the van parked out front. These are for the little kids.” she said reading a note attached to the box explaining the age range of the contents inside.
“That’s so nice of her!” Miss Mizuki said grinning from ear to ear. “The children will be so happy, but can we wait until after quiet time to start handing them out? I don’t want the little ones all wound up before I put them down for their nap.”
“Aww, looks like someone’s already down for the count.” Tomoyo said pointing over to a little brown haired girl nodding off in the corner as she sat with her back against the wall of the nursery.
Miss Mizuki let out a heavy sigh as she glanced over the the young child with an anxious look. “I have no idea who that is.” She admitted. “I found her standing in the street by herself when I was driving over here.”
“What?” Tomoyo said looking at the girl with a frown. “What was she doing wandering around by herself? She looks like she’s only three or four.”
“I don’t know.” Miss Mizuki said shaking her head as she approached the young child and bent down besides her to whisper something in her ear before lifting up her little pink dress to reveal the damp pull-up underneath.
“Poor thing.” Sakura said with frown. “Any idea who she is?”
“She says her name is Sara. That’s all she’s really said so far, she just seems so exhausted ever since I found her. I tried calling the police station, but they said there hasn’t been any reports of any missing children. They said in the meantime she should stay here, until we figure out who she belongs to.” The woman explained lifting the child up in her arms and carrying her over to the changing table in the corner.
“Aww,.” Tomoyo said panning the camera around from the small child on the changing table to the Sakura staring transfixed at the little girl. “She’s so cute, isn’t she? I can’t believe anyone would just leave her in the middle of the road like that.” Sakura nodded her head in agreement as she made eye contact with the small child who suddenly began to panic.
“Hold still, little one.” Miss Mizuki said as the young girl suddenly began squirming and thrashing about. “Shh, it’s okay, it’s going to be okay. My, where’d all this energy come from?” She asked, abandoning the change and picking her up as she began to slowly pat her back and whisper to her until she calmed down. “What’s got you so worked up, huh?”
“The change!” The girl mumbled into the woman’s shoulder.
“Oh, it’s okay, little one. Just calm down, it will be over before you know it. I need to get you changed into a nice dry diaper so I can put you down for a nap. Doesn’t a nice nap sound good? You were falling asleep just a minute ago.” Miss Mizuki whispered gently bouncing her up and down on her shoulder. “Tomoyo, would you mind making a bottle for her?”
“No problem!” Tomoyo said eagerly as she bounded down the hallway to the kitchen.
“Change!” Sara said again with wide eyes glued to the older girl.
“All right! Let’s get you all nice and clean.” Miss Mizuki agreed lying her back down on the changing table as she pushed the little pink dress up and tore away the wet pull up. Sakura watched with curiosity at the little girl, who blushed and squirmed while the kind and caring math teacher wiped her clean with a wet wipe, before rolling up the used garment and throwing it in the diaper pail that sat next to the changing table. “I think these should fit you.” The woman said pulling out a white diaper with stars on it and opening it up before lifting the little girl up by the legs and sliding it underneath her. Next she added a dash of baby powder and taped it up securely around her waist. “All done! See, that wasn’t so bad.”
Sakura smiled at the scene before her. She was cute she agreed, but there was just something a bit off about the situation. Who leaves a toddler in the middle of the street alone? A sudden commotion from the other side of the room snapped her from her train of thought and Miss Mizuki let out a sigh.
“Would you mind holding her for me?” She asked before depositing the small girl in her arms as she left to break up the commotion.
The little girl immediately began to squirm as she tried to fight her way out of the older girls grip. “Hey, calm down, what’s wrong?” The ten year old asked as she struggled to contain the thrashing child.
“Change, loop, time, little.” The girl said over and over trying her best to escape.
“What? I don’t understand.” Sakura said feeling puzzled as she felt someone tugging on her dress. She turned to see a small boy grinning and lifting up something in his cupped hands to show her. “What have you got there?” Sakura asked smiling down at the little boy.
“Look at the lizard I caught!” The boy exclaimed removing his top hand to show the little blue chameleon with wide orange eyes staring up at her and the little girl, who was thrashing and throwing a fit within her grip as the little lizard opened it’s mouth wide.
“Thanks, Sakura, I’ve got her.” Miss Mizuki said taking the suddenly still little girl from her arms and laying her down on one of the many mats that now covered the floor before covering her with a blanket.
“You ready to go?” Syaoran asked suddenly appearing besides the stunned looking girl while tucking an envelope in his jacket pocket. “You okay, Sakura?”
“Huh, oh yeah, I just felt weird for a minute.” Sakura answered slowly.
“Don’t be getting sick.” He answered before turning his attention to Miss Mizuki. “So all the toys have been unloaded and are waiting for you in the hall. We’ll see you Monday.” he said before hurrying Sakura and Tomoyo out.
Syaoran had been grumbling as he had been unloading the van- by himself of course. Why had it even surprise him that the girl’s had left him to do all the heavy lifting? When he had painstakingly stacked the last box in the lobby he let out a sigh of relief while wiping the sweat off his brow. It was going to be a hot summer he thought.
“Hey, mister, what’s that?” A little girl had asked him pointing towards the boxes.
“It’s a surprise.” he said giving the little girl a smile. She couldn’t have been more than five or six.
“Are they toys?” She asked looking up at him with large brown eyes.
“Maybe,” he said.
“I’m supposta’ give you sumthin.” She said lifting up her little pink dress and pulling an envelope out of her white panties. Syaoran scrunched his face up in disgust as he debated taking the envelope from her outstretched hand.
“Err, what is it?” he asked looking at the envelope with distaste.
“Dunno, I was told ta give it to the boy bringing in toys. She told me to keep it somewhere no one would find it.” Syaoran took it reluctantly- it could have been worse, it could have come from a diaper- and opened the envelope to find a note.
Catch The Loop
“What the…” he mumbled examining the contents. What did Catch the Loop mean? “Who told you to give this to me?” he asked.
“The new girl.” she answered rocking back and forth on her heels. He looked up and into the nursery at the struggling child in Sakura’s arms, who flailed in a panic like her life depended on it. Something fishy was going on and he was going to get to the bottom of it.
“Sakura, what’s with you, today? You’ve been totally spacing out.” Tomoyo asked setting her camera down.
“Oh, sorry, I’ve just got a lot on my mind.” Sakura answered. “There’s something strange about that little girl from earlier today.”
“Poor kid,” Tomoyo agreed, “I hope her parents are thrown in jail for abandoning her like that.”
“She seems familiar somehow.” Sakura said mumbling more to herself than to her best friend.
“You know her?”
“I don’t think so.” She responded. “There’s just something off, I can’t really explain it. It was like I could sense some kind of magical presence from her.”
“Do you think she’s a Clow Card?” Tomoyo asked wide eyed at the prospect of filming another magical battle featuring her favorite subject.
“I don’t think so, what do you think, Kero?” Sakura asked turning her attention at the yellow and winged, lion-colored creature that sat completely immobile on the edge of the bed, eyes glued in front of the giant television.
“Yeah, okay,” Kero said in a lifeless monotone voice, keeping his full attention on the screen. Sakura sighed and shook her head. So this was why he wanted to come to the girls’ sleepover so bad. It was for Tomoyo’s wall mounted television.
“You’re not going to stay up all night watching Sailor Moon, are you?” Sakura asked. She let out another exasperated sigh- after getting nothing but a grunt in confirmation- before climbing underneath the covers with Tomoyo. The two girls watched a few episodes themselves before Sakura’s eyes began to burn. She thought of the little girl one last time before closing her eyes and drifting off to sleep.
The first thing Sakura became aware of was the sound of noisy little children. She quietly moaned while turning on her side and lifting the thin wool blanket up over her head. Wait, what happened to Tomoya’s down comforter? And when had her friends massive luxurious bed, that usually refused to let her leave in the morning, become so uncomfortable? She slowly opened her eyes to the morning light shining in through the window. This wasn’t Tomoyo’s room she realized as she glanced around at the rows of cots pushed against the walls- that were decorated with sleeping sheep and stars. Where was she? She sat completely still looking around like a deer caught in the headlights.
“Oh no, I’ve been sleepwalking,” she mumbled to herself. Where had all these Pre-school age kids come from? Suddenly the overheads lights flicked on as an adult made their way into the room. Miss Mizuki?
“Good morning, boys and girls. It’s time to wakey wakey!” She announced slowly sweeping the room with her eyes as if to make sure everyone was accounted for. What was she going to say when she found Sakura sleeping with a bunch of Preschoolers? Would she get in trouble for breaking and entering?…wherever she was. Her heart beat rapidly in her chest as Miss Mizuki’s eyes came closer and closer to meeting her own…until they passed over her as if nothing was out of place.
What was going on? Clearly finding a ten-year-old sleeping in a room full of toddlers would be cause for alarm, wouldn’t it? Had she volunteered to stay and keep on eye on them and simply not remembered? She racked her brain as best as she could, but all she could remember was falling asleep in Tomoyo’s room. Clearly Miss Mizuki had not noticed her. What should she do in this situation? Should she sneak out? But what if she really had volunteered? Would people think she was abandoning her job duties… whatever those might have been.
Sakura swallowed from her spot on her cot as she slowly raised her hand, as if she was trying to get her teacher’s attention in the classroom. She supposed it was best to make her presence known. The faster she alerted the person in charge of this mix up, the faster it could get resolved. Sakura waved her hand back and forth as Miss Mizuki smiled and began to approach. At least she doesn’t seem upset that I’m here. she thought feeling a bit relieved.
“Good Morning, sweetie.” The red headed woman said smiling down at the girl. “Is there something you need?”
“Umm, where am I?” Sakura asked with a blush at being called “sweetie.” Miss Mizuki frowned a bit as she sat on the edge of the cot while maintaining eye contact.
“You’re at the orphanage, sweetie, remember?” she said.
“Why am I here?” Sakura asked scrunching her face in confusion. She remembered leaving here yesterday with her friends. When had she come back?
“I found you yesterday in the street so I brought you here. A toddler shouldn’t be out wandering the streets alone.” she said patting the girl’s head. Hold on, did she say toddler? Sakura thought. “I know waking up in a new place can be scary, but you’re in good hands here, don’t worry.” Miss Mizuki said mistaking the contorted look on the girl’s face for fear. “We’ll get this all sorted out.”
Sakura sat motionless on the cot. What in the world was going on? Did her teacher really not recognize her? She wanted so badly to open up her mouth and explain that this was some kind of misunderstanding, but all she could do was sit there in stunned silence.
A sudden thought crossed her mind. Tomoyo was playing a prank on her. She definitely had the resources and the manpower to bring her here in her sleep. Her friend was probably filming the whole thing right now. It was the only explanation that made sense. Oh, she was good! Sakura would have to think of a way to get her back someday. For now though, she’d let her have her fun and see how long they’d drag it out for.
“Okay,” Sakura said going along with it.
“Thank you for being so brave, Sara.” Miss Mizuki said glad to see a smile on the girl’s face for the first time. “Now how about I get you cleaned up. That diaper looks like it’s going to leak.”
“What?” Sakura asked before looking down and noticing she was only wearing a T-shirt and…d-diaper!? WHAT? Not only was she in a diaper, but she was in a soaked one! Did she really wet the bed? This had to be a part of the prank! Did Tomoyo stick her hand in warm water last night? The girls had often threatened each other during their many sleepovers that the first person who fell asleep would become victim to a prank.
“Can I ask you something?” The long red haired woman asked with a kind and gentle smile.
“Sure,” Sakura answered, momentarily in awe by the tender loving features on the beautiful woman’s face. I hope I can grow up to be as pretty as her someday, she thought.
“Are you potty trained yet?” she asked. Sakura sat there dumbfounded as her face began to glow bright red in embarrassment. How could she ask her ten-year-old student that with a straight face?
“O-of course I am!” Sakura nearly shouted. Just because she had had one accident while she was asleep…
“You could have told me you had to go potty.” Miss Mizuki said. “Since you wet all the trainers yesterday, I was starting to think you weren’t. Maybe it was because you were so tired.” She said thinking for a moment, “So how about I get you all nice and cleaned up, and you wear trainers again today just in case. Just tell me when you have to go potty and i’ll take you, alright?”
Sakura could only nod her head. Why was she treating her like a toddler? Was this part of the joke?
“Up you go then.” Miss Mizuki said lifting her up onto her hip with ease while surprising Sakura so much she clung to the woman. Shrine maidens must be really strong, she thought after Miss Mizuki had picked her up as if she weighed hardly anything at all. How many women did she know who could pick up a ten-year-old like it was nothing? Must be from all the archery, she thought.
Sakura smiled slightly as she clung to her teacher. This was kind of nice, she thought while resting her head against the woman’s body. She closed her eyes and focussed on the sensation of arms wrapped securely around her body. When was the last time she had felt the loving embrace of a woman’s arms? Not since her mother had…NO, she didn’t want to think about that.
Before Sakura knew it, her ride came to an end as she was laid down on the changing table. Wow, she thought, this thing must be huge to be able to accommodate me lying down with ease. “Not let us get that wet diaper changed.” Miss Mizuki said humming as she pushed up Sakura’s pink T- shirt.
Wait…Diaper change? NO! She couldn’t go through something so embarrassing! No doubt Tomoyo was filming this while hiding behind some corner she thought as she struggled to get away.
“Oh, no you don’t!” The woman said before holding her down with one hand and strapping the struggling child with the other. “Now, are you going to let me change your diaper, or are you going to be difficult again?”
Sakura sighed as she rolled her now pink face away from the stern woman as she faced the wall. There was no way she could fight her way out of it if she was powerless underneath a single hand. The most Sakura could do was not give Tomoyo the satisfaction of filming her face during this humiliating ordeal.
“That’s it, it’ll be over soon.” Miss Mizuki said while tearing away the tabs of the girls used diaper and cleaning her up. After unceremoniously being stripped, cleaned in places she didn’t want others cleaning her, powdered and placed in a pink pull-up, Sakura was finally set on the ground. The girl let out a startled gasp. How did she only reach the woman’s waist? No, this couldn’t be right she thought as she raced to the full length mirror hanging by the changing table. She stared silently at her reflection for what felt like several minutes before Miss Mizuki carried her away.
The reason her teacher was treating her like a toddler was, according to the mirror’s reflection, she was one.
Tomoyo stretched her limbs while letting out a great, big yawn. “Good morning,” She mumbled to no one in particular as she sat up and rubbed her eyes. “Kero! Have you been watching Sailor Moon all night?” she asked the lion with the blood shot eyes.
“Fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight.” Kero half-mumbled and half-sang as another episode began playing.
“Ugh, can you believe him?” Tomoyo began to ask the girl next to her, but froze as she stared at the strange sight in front of her. “Umm, Sakura, a-are you okay?” She asked concerned at the sight of her friend staring blankly at the television while sucking her thumb. “Kero. Kero!” Tomoyo moaned at the unresponsive “guardian” before getting out of bed and switching the television off.
“Hey! There’s still 137 episodes to go!” He complained as he finally pried his eyes off the television set.
“There’s something wrong with Sakura!” Tomoyo said sounding annoyed. Kero looked over and stared wide eyed at the sight before him. The girl, whom he had entrusted as the next master of the Clow Cards, was sucking her thumb and waving at him by bending three of her fingers that were not currently shoved in her mouth.
“Hi,” she mumbled shyly while grinning, drool slowly dripping from her mouth down to her chin.
“Sakura?” Tomoyo asked while exchanging a worried look with Kero.
Sakura looked at her blankly for a moment before removing her thumb. “I’m wet,” she announced unabashed. Tomoyo stared at her a moment with a puzzled expression on her face.
“What do you mean, ‘you’re wet’?” Kero asked suspiciously as his eyes narrowed while flying over the massive bed towards her. Sakura giggled and tried to snatch him out of the air as if he were a toy. “You don’t think she…?” he asked while dodging Sakura’s fumbled attempts of catching him.
“I went pee pee.” Sakura said as if it was the most mundane thing in the world before sticking her thumb back in her mouth. Tomoyo paled at her friend’s’ statement before pulling back the covers to reveal Sakura, sitting in the middle of a large damp patch of bedding. Yes, she thought, Sakura had indeed gone “pee pee”. Tomoyo pinched together the bridge of her nose. What in the world had happened to her friend?
“Gross,” Kero said as his face scrunched up with disgust.
“Uh-oh,” Tomoyo said looking up in time to see Sakura’s eyes beginning to water before letting out a loud wail. “Sakura? Sakura, what’s wrong?” Tomoyo asked after sitting for a moment in stunned silence. “Kero, what’s wrong with her?” she asked after pulling the girl into a hug as an attempt to soothe her.
“M-m-my d-d-diaper leaked.” Sakura cried as she rested her head against Tomoyo’s shoulder and allowed herself to be rocked back and forth.
“Sakura, you’re not wearing a diaper.”
“But I always wear a diaper for night night time.” she said matter of factly. Tomoyo looked over to Kero for some kind of conformation, but this looked like news to him. “We’ve had lots of sleepovers and she’s never worn a diaper before.” Tomoyo said thinking back. “Why is she acting like this?”
“I don’t know.” Kero said after thinking for a moment.
“Do you think the stress of being a Cardcaptor is too much for her and she’s having some kind of mental breakdown?” Tomoyo asked.
“Don’t say that! It would mean my only hope of gathering all the Clow Cards rests in the hands of that Kid” Kero said with a scowl. “Snap out of it, Sakura!” Kero yelled grabbing onto the collar of her night shirt and shaking her.
“Kero, stop it!” Tomoyo scolded as Sakura began to cry again. “Let’s just try and think this through. Could a Clow Card have done this? Is there a card that makes you little?”
“There is, but only physically. It wouldn’t turn her mind younger.” Kero said tapping his chin. “It’s more like she swapped minds…I have an idea!” He said flying over to Sakura’s bag and pulling out her staff that was no larger than a key chain. “Sakura, do you remember the magic words to make this bigger?”
Sakura stared at it for a moment. There was something floating around in her mind about “magic words,” if only she could remember. Suddenly a large smile crossed her face as she nodded her head with vigor.
“What are they?” Kero asked.
“Moon. Prism. POWER!” Sakura shouted causing Kero to laugh and Tomoyo to cover her face with her hands.
“You’ve fried her brain by playing Sailor Moon all night while she was asleep.”
“No, I didn’t.” Kero said rolling his eyes. “It’s not Sakura.” He said confidently. “And you’re right, it was a Clow Card that did this.”
“It’s not Sakura?” Tomoyo asked confused. “What’s your name?” She asked her friend, who was currently busy excavating her nasal cavities with her finger.
“Sara,” the girl answered while staring at her prize,
“Sara was the name of the toddler at the orphanage!” Tomoyo said ignoring the fact that the girl had wiped her finger on her bedding. It was ruined anyway, she figured. She’d just have to ask her mom to buy her a new bed.
“Then Sakura and Sara probably came into contact with The Change.” Kero said breathing a sigh of relief.
“Change!” Sara repeated.
“She’s all yours!” Kero said with a grimace. “And get her some diapers!” He shouted as Tomoyo took her by the hand and led her to the bathroom to get her cleaned up. Wait, she thought, so a toddler’s mind was in the body of Sakura? Tomoya grinned widely as she realized the opportunity she had been presented with.
“So once we get you all cleaned up, do you want to play dress up?” she asked eagerly.
“Yay, dress up!” Sara cheered as Kero shook his head.
“We ARE going to have to change her back you know!” Kero yelled through the closed bathroom door.
“Just get me my video camera, it should be in my closet!” Tomoyo yelled back. “Oh, we are going to have so much fun today!”
“Here,” mumbled Kero as Tomoyo opened the door to take the camera.
“That’s weird,” she said with a frown, “It says it’s memories full.”
“You’re obsessed with that thing, what’s so weird about that?” Kero asked with his arms crossed. “Sakura just traded minds with a toddler and you think your camera running out of storage is weird?” he said sarcastically.
“This thing holds like 10, 000 hours of footage. It’s top of the line.” She said with a frown.
“Yeah, we get it, you’re rich” He said rolling his eyes.
“I just uploaded all the footage to my computer last night. It should be empty.” Tomoyo said clicking through the memory as her face turned paler and paler.
“What? What is it?” Kero said noticing the look on the girl’s face… He had never seen her make that face before.
“Look.” Tomoyo said handing him the camera with trembling arms as she raced to her computer. Kero hit play as he watched the video of a day’s outing. “Boring,” he mumbled while hitting fast forward. They went to the store and bought diapers and a bag, Tomoyo bought what felt like ten pounds of clothes for Sakura to model in, and then they came home. Wait a minute…diapers and a diaper bag?
“I don’t get it.” Kero said.
“Play the day before!” Tomoyo said with wide eyes.
“It’s the same thing.” Kero said. “So what? You accidentally taped over your old footage.”
“Kero,” she said trembling, “All the videos are the same, the only difference is our clothes. Those videos show exactly where I was planning on taking Sakura today.”
“If these videos really are all the same, you’d have like a bazillion bags of diapers in your closet and I was just in there. No diapers, see.” Kero said opening the closet door.
“K-K-Kero!” Tomoyo said with wide eyes as she pointed her finger in the closet.
“No, tell me you’re joking.” he said before turning his head to look inside the closet at the piles upon piles of opened diapers and diaper bags of a variety of different colors.
“Kero, is there a Clow Card that would do this?” She asked barely above a whisper.
“Yeah,” He answered after he recovered from shock. “And it’s not a good one.”
“What is it?” she asked.
“The Loop. You spend every day repeating itself without knowing. So… how much footage did you say that camera held?”
“10, 000 hours, so if we filmed all day, everyday for 8 hours, according to my camera…”
“It’s been three years.”
Sakura smiled widely while she sat in the circle with all the other Pre-school age kids. Being little, she had quickly discovered, was awesome! Sure, it had startled her at first; it wasn’t everyday you woke up a fraction of the size you used to be after all. After a morning full of cuddles, crafts, coloring, games and snacks- she was living the good life! Sakura was in absolutely no hurry to go back. She’d figure out what happened eventually, but for now, she just wanted to enjoy this time of being a little kid again.
The best part about it, she quickly decided, was that there was no math. Three-year-old’s, which she guessed she was, were not expected to know long division with decimals or pre-algebra. Three-year-old’s were just expected to play and have fun; which was exactly what she had planned to do! The only thing that really bothered her about being a three-year-old was that they were not very coordinated.
She had been trying to show off her gymnastic prowess by doing a frontflip off a table- something her normal body could have pulled off no problem. Her little body…not so much. Almost as soon as she launched herself off she knew she was in trouble. As soon as her little body leapt into the air it had refused to listen to further commands as Sakura landed on her butt with a loud poof from her pull-up. It hadn’t really hurt, what with the cushion and all; but it had surprised her so much she started crying.
It was mid wail that she had discovered the runner up pro’s and con’s of being a three-year-old.
PRO: No one had told her to walk it off. No one had told her to suck it up either. Miss Mizuki had come running to her rescue, scooped her up off the floor, and held her in her arms until every last tear was long gone and dried. Sakura almost felt like crying again as soon as she was set back down so she could continue being held.
The Con: Three-year-old’s had tiny bladders. So tiny, in fact, that even after having been accident free for six long years, she had wet her pull-up from the shock of the fall. She hadn’t even known she had, until Miss Mizuki lifted up her dress to check her…in front of everyone. Sakura didn’t know why she had felt so embarrassed in front of a group of nose pickers with imaginary friends- but she had.
Sakura had also wished she had been changed in private instead of on a table in front of everyone, but mostly she wished the woman, whom she looked up to the most, had not looked so disappointed in her. It was then that Sakura decided she must not- under any circumstances- reveal her true identity. A quick kiss to the top of her head and a gentle push on the back, towards the group, had let her know it had just been her imagination though. Whose ever body she was currently occupying sure was emotional.
“Duck…duck…duck…” The young black haired girl with pigtails said as she circled the group for what felt like the fifth time. Sakura wished she would just pick someone already; the suspense was killing her! Not to mention she really had to pee for the last 20 minutes. She’d go as soon as this round was over she told herself; (as she told herself every round for the last five rounds now) she couldn’t just get up and go mid turn after all. She’d break the circle and the circle was sacred! You do NOT get up unless you were picked- it was the rules after all. Only the chosen could leave the circle.
“Duck…duck…duck…” By another two laps, Sakura was sitting on her heels rocking back and forth from her spot on the ground. Please hurry, she mentally begged. A sudden tap on her shoulder distracted her from the game as she looked up to see Miss Mizuki offering her a hand up.
“C’mon, Sara, I recognize that squirm from a mile away. Let’s take a break and go potty.” she said pulling the young girl to her feet. Adult interference- the only other excusable exit from the circle. She was saved!…at least she thought she was- until she got halfway across the room and had to stop and cross her legs. Had she mentioned how tiny a three-year-old’s bladder was? “You’re not going to make it, are you?” Miss Mizuki said sounding disappointed in her.
“I’ll make it!” Sakura said taking a small step forward; only to be forced to stop again and double over.
“New plan, you wait right here” the red headed woman said leaving and quickly returning with a large, pink, plastic contraption in hand. Sakura frowned as she realized what it was when it was set down in front of her. She couldn’t be serious. Miss Mizuki wanted her to go here? Out in the open? With a group of onlookers a mere 20 feet away…she couldn’t. She wouldn’t!
“I wanna use the toilet!” Sakura insisted.
“Well then you shouldn’t have waited so long.” Miss Mizuki countered while motioning with her hand for her to sit down on it. Sakura bit her lip as she stared at the pink, Hello Kitty, toddler potty. Nope! No way she thought- she refused! Sakura pouted as she crossed her arms in defiance, only leaving herself open, she realized, a moment too late. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, Miss Muziki had turned her around, tore away her pull-up, and gently pushed her back so that she had no choice but to sit down on the plastic potty. Although her brain wanted to resist and complain, her tiny body seemed to willingly accept it’s place upon the portable commode as a tinkling sound could be heard. Sakura immediately jammed her legs closed as an attempt to muffle the sound as she stared ahead wide eyed in surprise and embarrassment.
“Good job, sweetie.” Miss Mizuki whispered in her ear as she bent down and patted Sakura’s head while slightly ruffling her short, brown, wavy hair in the process. “Next time let’s try not to cut it so close, hmm?” she said once Sakura had finished only serving to deepen the shade of red on the little girl’s cheeks. “Now wait here while I take care of this. I’ll be right back to get you dressed.” Miss Mizuki said after helping up the little girl and then disappearing into another room with the potty.
Good riddance to it, Sakura thought as she waited impatiently so she could get re-dressed and continue their game. She stood awkwardly to the side of the room holding her short dress down to cover herself as she watched the other children play. It appeared she had not missed anything while she was gone as the exact same girl was still circling the crowd chanting “Duck…duck…duck.”
“Sara, I’m going to leave this here for you.” Miss Mizuki said reappearing as she set the now empty and cleaned plastic potty against the wall." I think you tend to get a little too distracted playing, so I’m going to leave it here for you as a reminder to go potty." she explained after seeing the large frown on the girl’s face. “I want you to come use it whenever you think you might have to go.”
“I can use the toilet!” Sakura argued as Miss Mizuki led her by the hand to the changing table.
“I know you say that, but honey, you’ve been here nearly two days and that was the closest you’ve been to making it.” she said lifting Sakura up by the waist and laying her down on the cushioned table. “It’s normal for kids your age to take a step back with toileting habits while going through a hard time.” she explained dusting her with baby powder and pulling out a diaper. “It’s almost naptime, so I think I’ll just get you ready now.”
Sakura let out a long yawn at the mention of a nap. It had been a long morning full of ups and downs. So much so in fact that a nap actually didn’t sound like that bad of an idea, she thought as she was lifted up in the woman’s arms. “Do you want to go play for a few more minutes?” Miss Mizuki asked patting the girl’s diapered bottom while Sakura buried her head in the crook of the woman’s neck, inhaling the lovely aroma of her perfume. Sakura shook her head no as she closed her eyes. “Do you want me to put you down for a nap now?”
“No,” Sakura mumbled clinging on tighter to her teacher.
“Then tell me what you want to do.”
“Stay like this,” Sakura mumbled. Miss Mizuki smiled as she took a seat in the chair across from the other children playing as she re-positioned Sakura, so that her chin was resting on her shoulder, as she slowly rubbed up and down the girl’s back. Miss Mizuki softly hummed as Sakura quickly drifted off to sleep.
“Alright, let’s not panic.” Tomoyo said pacing back and forth.
“How are we not supposed to panic?” Kero asked clutching his head sd his wings beat at the speed of a humming birds. “It’s been three years, the Clow Cards are probably long gone by now!”
“Has it really been three years if everyday is the same?” Tomoyo asked. “Look, October 3rd, everyday has been October 3rd.”
“Yeah, that’s the Loop.” Kero said in a defeated tone.
“So then what about yesterday? Would it be October 2nd or October 3rd?”
“Well, I guess technically it would be October 2nd.” he said stopping his fluttering about to think it through.
“I have a crazy idea” Tomoyo said, “I’ll need Syaoran’s help to make it work.” she said ignoring Kero’s displeased expression. “We need to change Sakura back, but we can’t without his help.”
“I don’t know if we can,” Kero said. “The Change can only use its powers once a day, but it technically hasn’t been a full day because it keeps repeating.”
“But didn’t you say Sara and Sakura came into contact with The Change yesterday the 2nd?”
"Yes, but the change doesn’t take effect until its powers are active at midnight, but it never reaches midnight because it just loops back to morning. "
“Doesn’t Sakura have a card that can go back in time?” Tomoyo asked as her head began to spin. All these cards and powers were so confusing!
“Hmm, yes, technically it could go back a full 24 hours, but Sakura has only ever been able to go back in time a few minutes. The amount of magic that is needed is extraordinary, not to mention Sakura’s not…”
“I’M NAKEY!” A voice rang out giggling as a nude figure streaked across the bedroom leaving the other two wide eyed and blushing fiercely.
“I rest my case.” Kero said once he recovered. “Tomoyo, focus!” he said as he saw the girl reaching for her video camera.
“But…but…look at that butt!” Tomoyo argued pointing to the girl who now was bent over, naked bum waving in the air as she attempted to peek underneath the bed.
“Just….just get her dressed.” Kero mumbled looking away with a blush.
“While I am doing that, call Syaoran!”
“Why do I have to call that Kid?”
“Would you rather be dealing with her?” Tomoyo asked gesturing to the 10 year old girl now raiding her panty drawer while widely grinning as she donned a polka dot pair on her head.
“Fine.” he said relenting as he picked up the phone after dialing the number saved for him.
“Hello,” an exhausted sounding voice answered after a couple of rings.
“Look, Kid, Tomoyo wants your help with something.” Kero barked before there was nothing but silence on the other end for quite some time.
“Kero, is that you?”
“Yeah, look, are you coming or not?”
“I’ll be right there” he answered after another pause. “How’s Sakura? Is she still…?”
“Yeah, she’s still little…wait a minute! How did you know?” Kero asked suspiciously. A heavy sigh could be heard from the other end.
“She’s been little for a very long time, I go visit her in the orphanage whenever I can, but…” He said before pausing. “Even though she isn’t aware it’s been three years…it’s still taken a toll on her mentally. She’s regressed pretty far since we’ve been stuck in the loop.”
“How did you know we’ve been stuck in the loop? How long have you known?” Kero demanded.
“I’ve known all along.” Syaoran admitted after another heavy sigh. “Because I’m the one who got us stuck in it.”
“You little…!” Kero shouted ready to rip him apart as soon as Syaoran appeared in the doorway.
“Is someone going to explain what’s going on?” Tomoyo asked.
“It’s my fault, I should have told Sakura about it.” Syaoran admitted hanging his head in shame. “I tried to fight it by myself because I wanted to keep the card. I’m sorry, I know you don’t know, but I’ve been avoiding you for so long because of this.”
“You’ve been aware this entire time?” Tomoyo asked him in shock as he nodded his head. She took in his worn down features. His face seemed paler, his eyes had dark bags underneath them and he looked exhausted. “You’ve lost weight.” she noticed.
“I’ve been fighting with the Loop everyday, but it’s no use. I’ve found the spot where it intersects, but I need another person. My sword isn’t strong enough to break through, I need Sakura.”
“She’s not exactly fit to fight at the moment.” Kero said sarcastically.
“But the Sakura of yesterday is.” Tomoyo pointed out.
“That would take a whole lot of magic.” Kero said.
“What if Sara and Syaoran combined powers and joint casted? We could send Syaoran into the past and…” Tomoyo tried.
“While It’s true Sara is occupying Sakura’s body and magic stash, I doubt she could cast any magic. I could tap into her powers by holding hands, but it would take so much of my magic, I doubt I would even remain conscious afterwards. Sara would have to be the one to go, we could send her back with a note to give someone.”
“We can’t send her anywhere like this.” Kero argued.
“It’s okay…I’ll go.” Sara said shocking the group. “I… understand…I’ll…get help.”
The hooded figure with the hourglass stood before the group “Are you sure?” It asked Syaoran as he nodded his head in confirmation.
“Remember to give this to the people bringing in toys.” Tomoyo reminded her as she handed Sara the envelope.
“Time will take you in front of the orphanage a little bit before we arrive. Are you ready?” Syaoran asked. She nodded and soon after he completed the spell as time and Sara disappeared into the past. Syaoran stumbled a bit before collapsing to the ground. He had just used more magic than he ever had before, even with draining magic out of Sakura’s body. “It’s up to her now.” he said before losing consciousness.
Memories slowly flooded into the girl’s mind as she laid flat on her back on the pavement. How did she get here? Where was she? Who was she? A name popped into the back of her aching head. It had been so long since anyone had called her anything but Sara. How had she even gotten that name she wondered. She couldn’t remember. The girl painfully moved her neck to the side and saw the envelope she clutched in her hand. That’s right! Now she remembered. She was here on a mission! She slowly peeled herself off the pavement. It felt like she had been hit by a truck. Was this because she had used too much magic?
A sudden giggle from up above sent chills down her back. She craned her neck and got a glimpse of a little yellow pixie looking creature hovering up above her.
“No! Please, no!” the girl begged. She was too weak to fight the Clow Card on her own. How many times must she go through this? She had tried to fight, to run, and even bribe her way out of this situation before, but all had ended with the same result.
“We’re going to have so much fun together.” The Clow Card known as The Little said. “But first, I need to do something about your size.”
“No,” the girl said as she tried pointlessly to get away. She felt herself shrinking as her body began closing the distance towards herself and the pavement. How could she let this happen again? She could hear a car approaching as the Clow Card took off. The car engine turned off as the driver got out of the vehicle to find the little girl standing in the street.
“You poor thing,” the woman said tucking her long red hair behind her ear before picking her up. “What’s your name, sweetie?” the woman asked.
“Sakura,” the girl answered even though she knew it would be pointless.
“Sara, huh, that’s a pretty name. My name is Miss Mizuki and I’m going to take you somewhere safe.”