AN: Eep. *Candyland hides under bed* Please don't hurt each other! And if you reeeeally feel the need to kill each other, pretty please don't do it on the review boards? So hard to get blood off monitor…and remember, I bruise easily *^-^*

If you're looking for the reason for my lack of updates, see my profile. It's all explained there.

Anyway, thank you sososososososoooooo much, all you wonderful reviewers! I love you all! *showers all reviewers with loves, kisses, chocolate, and illegal herbs* *grin* And because of all you wonderful people, I bring you another chapter. And Yue's back! And a little more Syaoran! Not much, but I kinda left poor Li-kun out in the cold for a while. Whee-hee!!!

I don't own CCS. La dee freakin' da…now take the chapter. TAKE IT, DARN YOU!! TAKE IT!!!!




Chapter Sixteen—Friendship

Three pairs of eyes peeked around the corner. One pair was coffee brown, one was gentle amber, and the last was small and black, like a plush toy's. A strange assortment under almost any circumstances, except for these. In this home, this was normal.

And what they were watching had become quite normal recently as well.

Two teenagers were sitting on the couch in the Kinomoto family's living room. There were no words spoken between Sakura and Syaoran. Her hands were clasped tightly on her knees, and one of Syaoran's hands rested on top of hers. It was supposed to be a soothing gesture, but something about his tense posture betrayed it somehow.

They'd been like that for quite some time, barely moving. And likewise, those who were engaging in rather obvious spying had been observing them for quite a while as well. But now, finally, they pulled away from the doorway, and tiptoed far enough away that they could whisper without being heard.

"I'd say I'm worried, but that would be a lie," Touya murmured, running a rough hand through coffee-brown hair. "I've been beyond the point of worry for a couple of weeks now. She's hasn't come out of this daze at all." He sighed. "I want my sister back, dammit!"

Yukito looked down; a rare frown crossed his face. "The other me wants out. Yue. He wants to talk to Sakura-chan and Syaoran-kun. He says he's worried about them both." Without another word, and before either Kero or Touya could react, Yukito gave himself over to the transformation.

The magic circled flared on the floor, and the snowy feathers enveloped the young man. A second later, the wings separated, and in place of Yukito was the somber Judge. Yue. And, if such a thing was possible, he actually looked less cheerful then he usually did.

"I wish a word with the Mistress," he said shortly. No one argued. Not that they would have dared anyway. There was something about Yue at that moment that didn't allow for any arguments; it was doubtful that even Clow Reed himself would have dared cross the Moon Guardian then.

Given the circumstances, whether or not that was a good thing was quite debatable.


The shadow that fell across the floor in front of Sakura and Syaoran was large, and familiar, but she still had to look up at the figure casting the image before she realized who it was. How she could have not recognized the tall, slender, winged form was beyond her, but she wasn't thinking too clearly at that moment. So she let it pass.

Beside her, she felt Syaoran tense as the somber being strolled a few steps beyond the door. After gracing them with one of his patented unreadable looks, Yue let himself sink into a seat directly across from the two magical teens.

He can sit down, Sakura thought offhandedly, then shook the notion off.

For a long moment, it was silent in the room. Yue's penetrating gaze never left either of them; something about the glare in those iridescent silver eyes nearly sent chills down Sakura's spine, but she managed to stave it off. Yue was always like that. Even after all this time, some part of her was still…frightened wasn't the right word. Intimidated was more like it.

"This may come as a surprise to you," Yue's voice was flat, with an underlying tone of something that wasn't quite identifiable, "but it won't always be this painful."

Sakura stared at him blankly. She would have asked what he meant, but she sensed that he was going to continue, and remained silent. Beside her, she could almost feel Syaoran thinking the same thing.

"You've lost someone important to you," he went on; it was almost as though he was talking to himself. "And it hurts. You don't think you will ever be happy again, do you?" He glanced at her, and she shook her head slowly, truthfully. "It will pass. This is for both of you."

Syaoran's hands tightened ever so gently on hers.

"You'll never stop missing her," Yue's gaze had shifted to the window, just to the teenagers' left, and he seemed to be staring at something beyond those panes of glass, something far off in the treacherous sunlight. "She was a dear friend to you. And you will always miss her. But it won't last forever."

It dawned on her that he was speaking from his own personal experience.

"Someday, it will subside. Someday, you'll be able to think or talk about Tomoyo without having to cry. Daijoubu."

It was the first time she could remember him calling Tomoyo by name.

"And," he added, seemingly an afterthought, "there was nothing you could have done." Unbeknownst to her, he was watching her intently, for any sign of a reaction. He was going out on a limb with that comment, and he knew it. It was something he had been mulling over for quite some time now, during the time he spent locked away in the back of Yukito's mind, and now he was taking the risk.

But he wasn't disappointed.

Her eyes widened almost imperceptibly at the statement. It was something she herself had been silently tormenting herself with. She hadn't even admitted that particularly poisonous little thought to Syaoran. She had been right there, when Tomoyo had died, and she had done nothing. She was the Card Mistress, the most powerful sorceress to have ever lived, more powerful than even Clow Reed himself. And she couldn't save her best friend.

It was a vicious, gnawing little notion that had plagued her, clinging to her mind and conscience like a leech. And she couldn't shake it, no matter how hard she tried.

Sakura's emerald eyes locked with Yue's icy blue-silver ones, searching for confirmation, that what he was saying was what he actually believed. And it was there.

A small comfort. The tiniest of reassurances. But somehow, it helped.




AN: *waves flag* Yay, Yue! …that probably wasn't worth the wait. *eyes chapter* Hoeeee…I am a terrible judge of my own work, though. Truthfully, I think everything I write is pretty damn mediocre, so forgive my blatant self-criticism. Ugh…the next chapter will be tons better, though! And, ideally, will be up a little bit sooner.

Two more chapters, and this story will be put to bed. Next chapter, the thing I think most people have been waiting for, the ExT chapter! It's half done-ish. I've been working on it on and off throughout the entire course of the fic, because it's such an important chapter. It has to be just right! I want perfection for that chapter ^_^ It'll also (hopefully) be a little longer then these past few have been.

Until then, ja ne!