Title: Misery Loves Company

Parts: One-Shot

Rating: PG13

Archive: No.

E-mail: krystal@soul-mirror.net

Authors Notes: I started this fic about... two years ago I guess it was. At the time, I was

slowly but surely falling out of the CCS fandom. As of lately, I went through my old fic's

folders, and found this little un-finished gem, and was tempted to finish it. And so I did. Now,

I present it for your reading pleasure.

- Misery Loves Company -

Meiling sighed. Her breath came out in soft clouds in the chill of the night air. Her eyes wandered from the streets below, to the sky overhead. Tiny stars twinkled in the Ink-colored darkness, sputtering and shimmering, never holding still. She leaned against the rail of the balcony while she waited. Wei and Syaoran were talking in the dining room. What they were talking about, Meiling wasn't sure. She barely noticed when their conversation had ceased, replaced by the sound of soft footsteps. She heard the sliding door open behind her, and the sound of shoes clicking on the balcony. Meiling said nothing as the auburn-haired boy stepped up beside her. There was a moment of silence as he glanced between her and the sky. It seemed the sky was easier to look at, because he too leaned against the rail and stared at the stars. The silence stretched out, and the tension began to build, along with Meiling's curiosity. Finally, she broke the silence.

"There was something you wanted to talk to me about?"

Meiling watched out of the corner of her eye as Syaoran straightened himself and turned his head in her direction.

"I..." He began, his voice cracking ever so slightly, "I promised you that, if I found the person I loved most, I would tell you."

Meiling's shoulders sank down. Somehow, she'd known this was coming. She collected herself, at least externally, and took a breath.

"That's right." she said, and her head turned to face him.

And then she asked the inevitable question.

"...Have you?"

He paused, a look of sadness on his face.

"Yea."

Meiling forced a lip-curl, which she passed off as a contented smile.

"I see," she said with false cheer, and she averted her gaze to the streets below.

A few cars whizzed by the apartment building, and Meiling released a breath that was almost loud enough to be a sigh. Then, she drew in a breath.

"Kinomo..." She looked back to Syaoran, "Kinomoto-san?"

Syaoran's eyes widened and his body became instantly tight and rigid.

"H-how did you --"

"Because you called Kinomoto-san, 'Sakura'."

Meiling plastered a big smile on her face, and put her hands on her hips. "The only girls that you call by their given names are your sisters and myself!"

Syaoran just stared at her. Meiling reached her arms up in a stretch, taking in a deep breath. And then she exhaled, her arms falling to her sides, her head bowed, her silken ponytails draping onto her shoulders. She was uncertain if Syaoran was still watching her, too busy looking down at her feet. But suddenly, she lifted her head, a charming smile across her face as she turned to head inside.

"Well, I guess the engagement is off then."

Meiling walked to the table, where her small suitcase sat on one of the chairs. She reached down and picked up a full cup of tea from the tray and the table. She downed it quickly, completely ignoring Wei's presence as the hot liquid slid down her throat. It burned, and felt comforting all at the same time. She could hear Syaoran's footsteps coming up behind her, so she mumbled a "gochousama", grabbed her tiny bag, and headed for the apartment door all in one swift motion.

"Where are you--" Wei began, but Meiling cut him off.

"Daidouji-san's. I'd like to talk with her some more." she nearly cried.

"But it's so late." Syaoran objected softly.

Meiling acted as if she didn't hear him at all. She could feel a knot forming in the pit of her stomach with every step that she took. She sat at the front door, slipping her stocking feet into her shoes as quickly as she could manage. Syaoran came to a stop behind her, but she did not acknowledge him.

"Wait just a minute." He said, "I'll go with you."

Meiling grabbed the handle of her bag.

"I'll be fine!" She spat, and she yanked open the door, stepped out, and slammed the door behind her.

Hot tears rolled down her face as she leaned against the door. She choked on the lump in her throat.

"I'll take a taxi." she proclaimed, "Pick me up from there in the morning."

And with those last, choked out words, Meiling dashed down the street, running as fast as her legs could carry her. Her chest heaved as she breathed in and out.

Meiling wasn't entirely sure just how long she had been running. All she knew was that every muscle in her legs ached, and her arm was tired from carrying the tiny suitcase. But soon enough, she arrived on the stretch of street where the Daidouji mansion was located. She slowed her pace, the tears still running slowly down her face as she reached the iron gates. She pressed a button on one of the brick pillars, and waited.

"Who's there?" came a voice over the intercom.

"Li Meiling." she sniffled, "Daidouji-san invited me."

"One Moment."

The iron gates creaked, and slowly they began to part, opening inward toward the mansion. The cement driveway was long and dark, lined with perfectly trimmed bushes that Meiling could barely see through her mist-coated eyes. She shifted the bag from one hand to the other, stepping just far enough inside that the motion detectors set the gate to close. She jumped slightly and looked over her shoulder, feeling the slight vibration of the colliding iron within her chest.

"Meiling-chan!" A voice called from behind her.

And as she turned again, she saw a figure no taller than herself running out through the darkness. The light color of her dress seemed to glow ever so faintly in the dark, long tresses of wavy hair following behind her.

"Daidouji-san..." Meiling choked out, her voice barely above a whisper.

But Meiling could say no more as the dark haired girl stopped beside her. Her eyes were misting over again, and Tomoyo's form was blurred. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. Only the sound of a choked sob. Tomoyo immediately gathered the Chinese girl in her arms, and led her up the walk to the mansion.

Meiling wasn't sure just what happened. The next thing she knew, she was stepping into Tomoyo's room, still with the other girl's arms wrapped around her. Words were finding their way into her throat, and the tears were beginning to fall again.

"HOW COULD HE?!" she half screamed, half sobbed.

She clenched her eyes shut, and fell into Tomoyo. She felt the smooth cloth against her face, and Tomoyo's arms hugging her snuggly in a warm embrace. Slowly she began to desend, her knees touched the ground, her face still burried in the cloth of Tomoyo's dress. She was laying with her head in Tomoyo's lap, her hand pulling at the fabric of her dress.

"HOW COULD HE?" She repeated, sobs racking her body. "I loved him more than anything else in the world!"

Meiling took in shaking breaths, Tomoyo gently rubbing her back. She could barely hear Tomoyo's soft voice telling her, 'Just breathe...'

"I wouldn't let anyone else have him..." She trailed off amid her sobs.

Tomoyo was silent. She just let Meiling sob into her skirt. Meiling suddenly sat up, releasing the cloth of Tomoyo's skirt. Instead now, she clenched her fists in front of her chest, tears flowing in streams down her face from her luminous ruby eyes.

"And the worst part is, I really like Kinomoto-san too! She's just so nice!" she sobbed, pitching forward, and landing face down in Tomoyo's lap again.

Meiling could almost feel the warmth of Tomoyo's hands on her back as if her clothes weren't covering her skin. The tears on her face were beginning to cool, though the ones that formed in her eyes were still as hot as ever.

"I can't hate Syaoran... Or Kinomoto-san... Demo...I just can't stop crying! And It's not even helping" She sobbed, her voice strangled by the tears.

Tomoyo looked down upon her friend, and she moved her hand to cup the back of Meiling's head. Meiling's tears slowly seeped into Tomoyo's skirt, leaving the silken cloth moist to the touch. It was only as Meiling began to feel the moisture against her face did she finally looked up directly into Tomoyo's eyes. The soft lavender color was almost a comforting sight.

"I'm sorry..." Meiling half sobbed, "I got *sniff* your dress all wet."

"Daijoubu, Meiling-chan."

And it was then that Tomoyo cupped her soft, delicate hands to the sides of Meiling's tear-covered cheeks. And as her ruby eyes widened and a single tear slid down from them, Tomoyo moved her thumb in just the right way to wipe it from her cheek. For the first time that night, Meiling's open sobs ceased.

"Daidouji-san..."

Tomoyo smiled gently at the Chinese girl and moved her hands from Meiling's cheeks to her shoulders. Her hands slid gently down her arms, and lightly held her soft hands. Meiling looked at her hands, and then back to her eyes.

"It's going to be alright, Meiling-chan." Tomoyo said softly.

Much to Meiling's surprise, Tomoyo leaned forward, her arms sliding around to Meiling's back. And she fell limp, like a rag doll. Soothed by her warm embrace, Meiling could feel the tears coming to her eyes again. She was sitting now in Tomoyo's overstuffed chair, supported more by the dark haired girl than the chair, being cradled like a child. And the tears began to fall again. Silently this time. So quiet was the room, she could almost hear them splash on Tomoyo's clothes.

"I'm sorry..." she mumbled again.

"Shhh... It's alright. I understand."

Meiling buried her face in Tomoyo's shoulder. Her hair smelled ever so faintly of soothing lavender and jasmine. Calming aroma's.

"Daidouji-san...your hair smells pretty."

"Arigatou Meiling-chan."

Meiling sniffled. The scent came so strongly, She felt as if she were lying in a field of flowers, the soft fabric of Tomoyo's dress re-imagined as the faint sensation of velvety petals tickling her cheeks. The strands of Tomoyo's hair were the long, angel-hair thin blades of grass that licked at the back of her neck, pressed flat under her weight. And as she looked up in this world of her minds eye... a star-filled sky.

She wasn't quite sure why but... it felt like when Tomoyo said 'I Understand'... that she really DID. As if she had truly been in the same place... felt the same pain that was coursing through Meiling's veins as if her blood had turned to syrup. As if, at that very moment, she was feeling the same pain again, along with Meiling; as though she were feeling every tear as it fell from her eyes, and every dull thump of her broken heart. Meiling was almost certain that if her mind weren't so numb with the sorrow, nor swimming with Tomoyo's comforting aroma's, she'd have pieced together why, in a heartbeat.

Daidouji-san... HAS felt this way... maybe not as much as this but...

"Meiling-chan, I'm going to tell you a story."

Meiling paused, her breath catching. The lavender and fields vanished, replaced again by hair and silk, and milky-smooth skin. Slowly, she swallowed, and nodded.

"Once, there were two girls..." Tomoyo began, her hands finding their way to Meiling's ponytails, slowly loosening the ribbons that held her tresses.

"They were very close to each other, as close as sisters, and yet so much more..."

Another pause, as she slid the ribbons from Meiling's hair, and she felt her strands fall smoothly down around her neck. Tomoyo placed the red ribbons on the table beside her chair, and combed her fingers gently through Meiling's hair, loosening the previously-bound raven tressed.

"The first girl, however," she continued, "didn't realize just how much the second girl loved her."

As Tomoyo's fingers found their way to Meiling's scalp, gently massaging out the sore spots left from the tightly-wound ponytails and buns, she leaned down to whisper in the chinese girl's ear.

"She was her most important person."

Meiling blinked. A girl, who loved another girl? She'd never really thought of it happening, but she allowed Tomoyo to continue, the comforting feeling of her soft fingertips entwined in her hair sending warm waves through her body, relaxing the muscles that were previous tightened in near knots from the sobs that wracked her lilt frame.

"But you see, the first girl was very innocent, and didn't see this. The second girl became very jealous, when the first girl met a very special boy. The boy and the girl fell very much in love, and the second girl became bitter and jealous."

Another pause, as Tomoyo slid her fingers out of the entwined strands of Meiling's hair. Don't stop now... she wanted to plead, but she wasn't given the chance, as the palm of Tomoyo's hand laid gently on the back of Meiling's head, falling into a gentle rhythm, stroking her hair.

"Many years later, both girls grew up, and each had a daughter, but neither had spoken for years, and had lost touch. But their daughters met, and history began to repeat itself. The Daughter of the second, found that her most important person was the daughter of the first. "

Meiling sniffled. The tears had stopped falling, and she found she was completely caught up in Tomoyo's simple story.

"But the daughter of the second had learned from her mother's mistakes. So, when the daughter of the first, as innocent and oblivious as her mother before her, met a very nice boy, and began to fall in love, the daughter of the second vowed to be forever by her side, even if it was not she whom the other girl held most dear."

Meiling blinked, and sniffled again. Slowly, she lifted her head, her ruby eyes meeting with Tomoyo's amethyst orbs. And it was then, that Tomoyo realized that this was not just any other story. Perhaps if Meiling hadn't looked up at exactly that moment, she would not have seen it; The calm, clear, reserved expression of Daidouji Tomoyo had faltered just slightly, with a haze over her eyes, and a side smile playing on her lips as she gazed down at the girl in her lap. Meiling swallowed.

"So... what happened to her?"

Tomoyo's close-mouthed smile widened ever so slightly, and pulled Meiling closer, resting the other girl's head on her shoulder.

"She cried a little, and then she smiled. Because you see, she wanted the other girl to be happy, even being happy meant that she was only her best friend."

Meiling took a deep breath, and released it with a sigh. She could feel the warmth of it bouncing off Tomoyo's neck. Tomoyo continued to comfortingly stroked Meiling, though her hand had traveled down Meiling's neck, and settled once again on her upper back. The scent of lavender was heavy in Tomoyo's hair, and it hung ever so close to Meiling's face. She sighed, the heady feeling of lying in the fields returning to her. After a while of sitting in silence, Tomoyo's gently hands working their magic, Meiling felt herself relax completely. She felt as if her mind were blurring at the edges. Everything around her was warm and comforting, and the drying tear stains on her face seemed irrelevant. She made a mental note to do something nice for Tomoyo during her next visit.

"Daidouji-san...?"

"Hai?"

"Arigatou..."

"For what?"

"For...being my friend."

Meiling felt Tomoyo's soft fingers brush some hair behind her ear.

"I always will be," she whispered.

With a sigh, Meiling let the darkness around her set in. The lavender and jasmine caressed her, surrounding her, and covering her in a warm blanket. And as she closed her eyes, and whispered, "Arigatou gozaimasu... Tomoyo-chan..."

O * WA * RI