OBSERVATIONS: You won't beleive what Eriol sees...
"Wo Ai Ni" Part One: "Where Do I Belong?"

Meiling choked, her red-orange eyes flashing in confusion and alarm. The receiver in her hand nearly slipped from her grasp, and she clutched her free hand to the one holding the receiver. Her mouth moved, but no words escaped. She swallowed, trying to force down the lump that had formed instantly in her throat.

"Right Mom… But, what about the Car--… Yes, there are only a few left but--…" Meiling's features fell into a frown.

"Yes, I think Syaoran could handle it fine, but--"

After a long pause, She nodded. And then realized her mother couldn't hear her nodding through the telephone line. "Alright…"

Meiling nibbled on her bottom lip, nodding quietly. The room was silent. Meiling reached for a pen and she pulled the notebook out of her school bag. She scribbled on the paper in Chinese character, fighting the tears that formed slowly in her eyes, sticking to her eyelashes. She sniffled once, and nodded, "Okay… Yes… I love you too Mom… bye."

Meiling pulled the receiver away from her ear, and pressed the off button. She just stared at the phone. Her face showed that she either wanted to scream, cry, or just die right on the spot. Maybe all of the above. She clenched her eyes shut, and ran to the kitchen, where Syaoran and Wei were looking over her third failed attempt at a cake. Crying, she ran to him. He must have heard her wail, since he turned his head to her.

"SYAORAN!" she screamed through tears.

Without any warning to the boy, she tackled him, flinging her arms around his waist, sending both of them tumbling to the kitchen floor. Syaoran just lay on the floor, wincing from the sudden pain in his body.

"Oi! Meiling, how many times have I told you not to come hugging me all of a sudden!" he scolded her.

But she did not look up. Syaoran blinked and he looked down at her face. "Oi, what happened?"

Meiling looked up with tear-filled ruby eyes, her lips trembling while she lay on top of him, still holding him in her grip. Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes as she let out a sob, and shook her head violently, "I don't want to go back!"

Syaoran blinked, his mouth gaped in confusion. She continued to scream, as if she were pleading with him. As if he could make it so she would be allowed to stay. Just maybe if he held onto her, and refused to let go, that maybe she wouldn't have to leave. Syaoran grabbed her firmly by the shoulders and gave her shake, "Calm down!"

Meiling's crying and hysterical screams stopped instantly. Her wide eyes looked directly into his. "Just calm down..." he repeated in a softer tone, "And tell me, what do you mean by 'go back'?"

Meiling started sobbing again, talking a mile a minute, with her words strangled from the tears.

"My mom was on the phone, she says I have to come home!"

"I'll...Clean up the mess." Wei offered.

Syaoran nodded, "Arigatou."

Syaoran put an arm around Meiling, helped her to her feet, and escorted her to the living room. After ten minutes of trying to calm and sooth Meiling, her tears finally dried up, and she was able to see clearly.

"She says..." Meiling began, "That...Grandpa is sick, and she wants to see him."

Syaoran's eyes widened, "If he's sick, why didn't My Mother--"

"No. My Mom's father."

Syaoran stopped. Meiling's grandfather on her mother's side was only a member of the family via marriage. His mother would not inform him, or ask him to return as well, because they were not related by blood, nor did he have any relation to Syaoran.

And then the tears began to flow again. But Meiling was silent this time. Her body was screaming for Syaoran to hold her. She knew if he just held her, if even for a second, that maybe if wouldn't seem so bad.

But Syaoran did nothing of the sort. So she did. She wrapped her arms around him again, suddenly. She breathed in his scent. He smelled like rain. He always had, but she didn't know why. Syaoran did not push her away, nor did her try to pull from her grasp. But he did not return the embrace either. He just sat there. And that was where she fell asleep.

* * *

Meiling straightened her hat, and buckled her shoes. Syaoran was in the kitchen, getting his lunch. And a good thing too. Meiling didn't want to listen to him remind her to let the teachers know she'd be leaving. While she had time, she went to retrieve her homework. Upon reaching the study, she grabbed her book bag, and headed for the door.

And was met face to face with Syaoran.

"Meiling, anou--"

Meiling moved past Syaoran, not allowing him to finish his question. She quickened her pace and moved through the apartment to the door. Nothing ever seemed to go right. Finally, she was starting to make a friend or two. Finally, she was starting to feel at home. Finally, Syaoran even seemed as though he wanted her around. And now, it was all being taken away.

Meiling pulled open the door, and began her walk to school. Syaoran, surprisingly, was not close behind as he normally might have been. In 24-hours she had gone from Cheerful, to alarmed… from there, to hysterical… and now, as she approached Tomoeda Elementary, her heart sank into a state of loneliness and sorrow that she just didn't have the energy to lift.

She could hear the others chattering behind the door of the classroom. Slowly, she pulled the door aside, and stepped slowly into the classroom.

"Meiling-chan!" she faintly heard Sakura call to her, "Ohayo!"

"Ohayo Gozaimasu!" Tomoyo added cheerfully.

Meiling merely pulled out her desk chair, and sat down quietly. Tomoyo and Sakura both blinked at the raven-haired girl. They looked to each other and back at Meiling. That was when Sakura caught sight of the remaining tears clinging to Meiling's eyelashes.

"Meiling-chan, we have pictures from the play. Want to see?"

Sakura bent down to look in Meiling's eyes. She was met with shimmering orbs of red, covered with tears.

"...What's wrong?"

Meiling did not reply. Slowly, the door slid open again, and in stepped Meiling's 'other half.'

"Ohayo Li-kun!" Sakura smiled.

Syaoran's voice didn't change from its normal deadpan tone. He pulled out his desk chair. "Ohayo Kinomoto."

Syaoran took his seat, and the socializing students followed his example when Mizuki-sensei entered the room. Meiling was personally relieved that the questioning would stop. At least, until she could collect her thoughts. She glanced to Syaoran from the corner of her eye. The boy didn't notice her, as he quickly took notes on that days assignment. Meiling simply crossed her arms on her desk, and laid over it.

Why bother? Meiling thought, looking at the blank sheet of notebook paper on the desk beside her, I'm going home, so this doesn't really apply to me anymore.

The day passed slowly, much to Meiling's dismay. Her stomach grumbled quietly as Lunch timed drew closer. Finally, the bell sounded, and the students around her stood, gathered their things, and heading out. Meiling didn't even try to plaster on her tough mask that she always hid behind.

"Meiling-chan…" The voice belonged to Sakura.

When Meiling looked up, she found an empty classroom. Well, empty aside from Sakura, Tomoyo, and herself. Even Syaoran had left to eat. Gone with Yamazaki-kun, Meiling supposed. She looked up into the green pools that were Sakura's eyes. She felt a hand settled on her shoulder, and she turned to find Tomoyo's amethyst colored eyes looking concerned into her own ruby ones.

"What's wrong Meiling-chan?" Sakura asked.

"Do you wanna talk about it?" Tomoyo offered.

Meiling looked up at the girls, and hesitantly nodded. Slowly, she stood up from her desk, and immediately found one girl walking on either side of her as they made their way out of the classroom.

* * *

"NANI?" Sakura blinked, a look of disbelief on her face, "You're… going back to Hong Kong?"

Meiling subconsciously had known Sakura would be confused. She was cutely innocent like that. Meiling swallowed.

"When?" Sakura asked.

Meiling looked down. "Next week."

"So suddenly?!" Sakura asked,

Tomoyo remained silent, sitting near the two girls. She felt it was best that Sakura ask the questions, and that she be there for good listening and support.

Meiling's gaze remained on her feet.

Sakura frowned, and so did Tomoyo.

No other words formed. At least, not from Sakura's mouth. Meiling's ears perked slightly at the sound of footsteps approaching. They were too heavy to belong to a girl, but too light to belong to a teacher, or other faculty member.

"Ohayo, Li-kun..." Sakura spoke.

Meiling looked up to find Syaoran standing in front of the girls. He kept a straight face, instead of his usual scowl.

"Did you tell sensei that you're going back?" He asked, as if that were more important.

Syaoran made sure to speak in Japanese, so he didn't leave out the other girls. That, or it was just out of habit. Meiling looked down.

Syaoran paused, his expression never changing.

"There might be other things besides taking attendance. You should let her know soon." He continued from the end of his last sentence.

Meiling stood up. "Syaoran. You don't care if I go back or not?" She could feel the tears slowly begin to form in her eyes.

Syaoran continued, sounding as if he were annoyed she would ask such a thing, "There's nothing I can do if auntie says you have to go back."

Meiling bit her lip, and took in a shaking breath, as Sakura and Tomoyo looked between the raven-haired fighter, and the amber eyed magician.

"There's nothing you can do..." Meiling half mocked his words.

She looked up sharply at Syaoran, with tears running down her face.

Her red eyes flashed, blaring into Syaoran like lasers. "Am I just a bother to you?!"

Syaoran's eyes widened, his mouth gaping slightly. Meiling sniffled, and her shoulders slumped.

"Am I bother...being here?"

The anger flaring in Meiling's eyes was suddenly replaced by a sadness similar to the kind you would more expect to find in a lost puppy's, not the eyes of a trained fighter.

"No, that's not it!" syaoran replied angrily.

"You're an Idiot Syaoran!" Meiling broke into a sob, and turned away from the eyes of her cousin and friends, and began sprinting away. She was a bother. she'd always thought that was how they felt. Syaoran had said she wasn't, but his voice told otherwise. Meiling couldn't hear Sakura crying out for her to wait. She didn't want to hear The Card Captor's voice… Sakura only gave her pity, she thought. Pity, to Meiling, was like rubbing salt in her wounds. No… make that salt mixed with lemon juice. Her heart pounded against her ribcage, protesting to be let out.

She laid a hand over her chest, and slumped against a lone wall near the back of the school. She struggled for breath through her tears. She roughly wiped her eyes. She wasn't thinking about her grandfather anymore. Her thoughts now were plagued with images of her fiancée.

Meiling let a sob escape her, and she shook as she inhaled. How could she have been so foolish? Meiling crossed her arms, cradling herself. Compared to not having magic, this feeling was much worse. The feeling of… being unwanted. Syaoran was the only one she ever thought about. The one person in particular that held a special place so deep in her heart. He didn't feel the same. Somewhere inside, she'd always known he disliked having her around. But…

Did you tell sensei that you're going back? There's nothing I can do if auntie says you have to go back.

Am I bother...being here?

No, that's not it!

Meiling covered her ears, as if it would block out the sound of his voice echoing in her ears. It seemed so much worse hearing him in her head than it had hearing the words come out of his mouth. She wanted to scream at him. Or maybe the silent treatment would be more effective… He had said she wasn't a bother, but how could he mean it, with that look in his eyes...

Maybe, going home, she wouldn't be loosing so much after all…

* * *

Meiling was reluctant when it came to to return to the classroom. She'd be forced to sit near the people she least wanted to be around at the moment. She cursed the person who came up with Assigned Seating. As class drew to a close, the students gathered their things. Meiling heard the clasp of Syaoran's bag snap shut. He looked up at her.


She cut him off by placing her arm through the strap of her bookbag, and turning her back on him. Without a word to any of her friends, she moved towards the door.


Meiling paused at the sound of Sakura's voice.

"You should come stay at my house one of these nights!"

Meiling looked over her shoulder. "For what?"

"For what, for what..." Sakura wracked her brain and twiddled her thumbs, "Ah! My Otou-san is making a really delicious cake!"

Tomoyo and Syaoran turned their gaze from Sakura, to Meiling. Meiling just stared at the nervous and fidgeting Sakura, while the brunette babbled. "And Also...Also..."

A lightbulb seemed to go off inside the cardcaptor's head as she clapped her hands, "And also, I want to chat with you about many things!"

Silence passed between the two girls. Sakura's face was twisted, as she waited anxiously for her response. Meiling was just blinking. It certainly was a nice gesture...and she did like cake...


"Honto?!" Sakura exclaimed excitedly.

Meiling turned away, heading out the door, "I'll come over tonight."

And why not? She thought, Tonight is as good as any night. And I could use a little cake to get my mind off of things.

* * *

Meiling silently sipped her tea. Her eyes, however, were on the deliscious looking pastry's sitting beside the teapot. Sakura smiled at her as she lifted her own cup.

Temptation seized Meiling, and she picked up a pastry. the icing on it almost sparkled, and made her mouth water. trying to look as polite and refined as possible, she took a bite. Her eyes widened as the taste tickled her tongue.

"OISHI!" She exclaimed, taking another bite.

She took bite after bite, alternating between two different baked-goods in her hands. "I'm so Jealous!"

Meiling continued to stuff her face. Food. Food always chased away bad thoughts, especially sweet food! And Sakura had been so right! Her fathers cooking was excellent! Meiling continued to compliment the pastry's between bites, not noticing the look on Sakura's face.

"ANOU." Sakura said, "Li-kun is a very good cook too."

Meiling's chattering immediately stopped. There was a long pause, before Meiling's face fell, and she laid the un-finished cakes onto the tray again.

"I guess." she said, the excitement gone from her voice.

She gently picked up her tea cup, and lifted the edge to her lips. The hot liquid spilled gently into her mouth, and she swallowed.

"Anou..." Sakura had a large sweatdrop running down her head, "I don't think Li-kun thinks you're a bother at all."

Meiling did not move. She just continued to drink down the tea. No doubt, she had already drained he cup, but it was a way to avoid replying. Sakura's voice became suddenly filled will passion.

"Because, he's always worried about you! Whether we're at school, or when we're capturing the cards!"

Still the cup did not move. She continued to pretend there was still more left to drink in the tiny teal-colored cup. Meiling inhaled.

"I know." She replied.

Slowly, she brought the cup down, and was met with Sakura's face, plastered with an astounded expression.

"I know that...Demo...It's different than what I want."

Sakura, still confused, suggested they get ready for bed. They could talk while they were in bed. Meiling nodded, and both girls did exactly that.

"It's...different than what I want." Meiling repeated.

Meiling closed her eyes, and laid her head on her folded arms. Change the subject she thought, change the subject...anything...

Putting in a fake smile, she looked up, "Ne, ne, since when did you start liking that guy?"

Sakura jumped, "Well, he was my Onii-chan's classmate, and her came over..."

Meiling smiled, genuinely this time, "And you have a crush on him!"

A bright blush spread across Sakura's cheeks, and she nodded nervously, "Meiling-chan, what about you?"

Meiling blinked at Sakura. Once again, she had been dragged back to the subject of her internal struggle. The object of her affection.

"For me...well...it wasn't really like a crush..."

Meiling launched into her own story. A much longer oen that Sakura's short explanation. She told Sakura the story of when she and Syaoran were younger, and how they trained together in martial arts.

"He never smiled."

"Like Now?" Sakura asked.

"Worse. But.. I used to watch him, sometimes." she said.

And then she told Sakura of her favorite bird. The one her aunt had given her. How it had flown away.

"And Li-kun went to find it?"

"Yea...and then the rain started to come down, and he still hadn't come back." Meiling found a small smile crawling across her face. "And then...I heard splashing. I looked to the gate...and there was Syaoran, soaking wet, and carrying the tiny bird in his hands."

Meiling looked up at Sakura, "I guess from then on, I've grown to like him a lot."

Meiling slid down under her blankets, laying her head down. The sad look returned to her eyes. "Demo...It's not the same for Syaoran."

Meiling paused. "We made a promise together..."

"A promise?" Sakura asked.

But Meiling wouldn't budge. She said no more about the 'promise.'

"I don't have any magic," Meiling said, as if it weren't already painfully obvious, "Even if I stay with him, I can't do anything for him."

She clenched her eyes shut, and buried her face further into her pillow, "So there's no need for me to be here to help him look for the cards."

* * *

"That will never work! They noticed a gap in time!" the small guardian beast shouted. "It has to be the exact same moment."

"Exact same?! But that was already so close!" Sakura shouted.

"Want to try again?!" Syaoran shouted

"But will it work?"

"We've got to do something—ah! MEILING-CHAN!"

Meiling heard Sakura shout to her in the heat of the fight.

Meiling looked up as her name was called, "Li-kun! you and Meiling-chan might be able to move just like the twin!"

Meiling blinked, "NANI? Kinomoto-san!"

Sakura smiled confidently, "You can do it! Because you've always watched Li-kun!"

Syaoran turned to her, and she winced inwardly from the serious scowl on his face. his eyes on her were like lasers, burning holes straight through her.

"Demo...I...Might be a bother."

Syaoran slowly sheathed his sword, and slid into a fighting prep position. "Lets do it, Meiling!"

Meiling stared at him for a moment, shaking inside. What if she messed up? What if she couldn't help at all? She realized there was no time to think about. She scowled, and slid into a fighting stance identical to Syaoran's, "I got it!"

What followed was a series of fighting moves unmatched by even the skillful and crafty halves of the Twin Card. Meiling smiled to Syaoran as they flipped into the air, each of them landing upon a twin's shoulders, and proceeding to stomp repetitively. A slim smile graced Syaoran's lips as they successfully knocked down the two halves of the card.

Seeing her chance, Sakura lifted the key, "Return to thy original form, Clow Card!"

In a swirling light, the card shape formed at the tip of the bird-head shaped key. Once completely sealed, the card floated over to Syaoran, who plucked it roughly out of the air. He glanced at his newly acquired card, and looked to Meiling.

Meiling suddenly drew in a breath, her shoulders lifting out of their slump, and a small brightness returning to her eyes. Syaoran looked down, and started to speak. "I…"

Syaoran turned away, glancing over his shoulder, "I… Never thought you were a bother."

Meiling's face lit up, and she smiled. She felt… she felt like everything was right in the world. Syaoran would never have any idea just home much those few words meant to her. Only three other words could ever possibly mean as much.

* * *

All was quiet at the Li household, aside from the natural sounds created by the surrounding objects. The clock hanging on the wall ticked continuously. Clad in her pajamas, Hair falling loose down her back, Meiling turned her eyes to the window she was sitting near. Raindrops slowly drizzled down the glass pane, creating a calming and soothing sound. Meiling felt as though the whether outside reflected her feelings inside. Dark, dreary, the rain representing her tears. The tears that just couldn't seem to fall. Meiling rested a hand on the cold windowpane, and glanced to the closed suitcase lying beside her bed. Her room was empty. Empty, aside from the bed, it's blankets, and her suitcase. She let a sigh escape her as she turned her gaze to the window again. Soon, she would be leaving Japan. Her flight was schedule for the next morning.

Meiling didn't even flinch when she heard the sound of the floorboards squeaking, accompanied by soft footsteps drawing nearer to her. Only when she felt a hand come to rest on her shoulder, did she turn around. Her eyes met with a pair of Amber ones, belonging to a boy that she knew all too well. The one person who could make her heart skip a beat, and jump for joy. He wasn't giving her his usual scowl. He hadn't since the day they had fought the Twin card. That was nearly a week ago.

"I don't want to leave yet." Meiling whispered to Syaoran.

Syaoran just stood there, as if he knew Meiling had more to say than that. Meiling sniffled, but still, no tears fell. Much to Meiling's surprise, Syaoran set both hands onto her shoulders, and turned her to face him. She wanted to melt… just slip through his fingers like melted butter. They had a connection. Meiling knew it. And much as Syaoran hated to admit it, he knew it as well. He had realized it after He had spent all night looking for when she ran away. That was a month ago. Meiling had come so far. In that one month, she had made a complete flip-flop. She went from friendless, to having friends. From being a bother, to be a help. From being an outcast… to almost fitting in. What she felt was most important, was what Syaoran had told her those few days ago.

I never thought of you as a bother.

Meiling had become so lost in her thoughts, staring at Syaoran's warm eyes, that when he slowly pulled her into a comforting embrace, she gasped in shock. Soon, she relaxed as Syaoran joined her on the window seat, the rain unstopping. Meiling collapsed against the boy, accepting the embrace as though it might be her last. But she knew better. She knew she would see him again, and he was all that REALLY mattered, right?

"I… I'm sorry Syaoran."

"For what, Meiling?"

Meiling looked up at Syaoran. His face was full of an expression that Meiling could have sworn he had never worn in all of his life. On him, it was hard to identify, though it certainly wasn't a scowl. Meiling rubbed her eyes as they began to itch from the tears building inside of her.

"I'm sorry, for ever causing you any trouble. I'm sorry that… I've been so possessive of you… and…" Meiling looked down, burying her face in her cousin's shoulder, "…I'm sorry, I'm not good enough for you, or the clan."

"Not good enough for me--?" there was a tinge of confusion in Syaoran's voice.

"Because I… I don't have magic."

Meiling suddenly felt the arms wrapped around her slip away. Syaoran drew back, leaving Meiling's head bowed over, no lower supported by his shoulder.

That was it. She thought, It's true isn't it Syaoran? I'm not good enough for you, am I?

"when we were little, All I wanted was to be your bride. Because I loved you. and I still do. But then I couldn't see... Without magic, I'm no good for you."

To Meiling's surprise, a hand suddenly cupped her chin. The hand firmly lifted her chin, and brought her foggy gaze to meet the scowling face of her love.

"Meiling… Don't you ever think that because you don't have magic that you're any different than the rest of the clan. Demo..." Syaoran cringed at the thought. "Just because you don't have magic, doesn't make you any different. You're still family."

Meiling's lower lip quivered. The scowl on Syaoran's face softened, and he wiped a thumb across her cheek.

"And...My best friend."

Meiling choked, her eyes widening in surprise. She felt like a knife was being stabbed through her heart. She was going to loose everything! Who was she kidding?! How could she EVER get back to him?!

The tears finally came, and now they would not stop. Meiling buried her face in his chest again, wrapping her arms around his torso. Syaoran jumped at first, but slowly relaxed. He wrapped his arms gently around her. They stayed that way for a good half hour. Syaoran, to comfort and reassure his soon to be departing cousin, and Meiling, in hopes of taking in as much of him as she could before she had to go.

Syaoran's eyelids began to droop, closing slowly over his amber colored orbs. Meiling grip had loosened, and now she simply lay close to him. She sniffled once, and broke the silence between them.


A Half sleeping Syaoran yawned, "Hai?" he asked unconsciously

"…Wo ai ni."

Syaoran blinked, suddenly wide-awake as if his soul had been yanked back into his body. Never had Meiling uttered those words. Not since they were young, naive children, that didn't know the meaning of the words. Yes, she had implied them with declarations of him being her fiancée, and her possessive clinging… but never had she said to him directly, three words that meant so much.

"Wha… What did you say?" Syaoran wanted to be sure he had heard correctly.

Syaoran looked down to find Meiling resting her head on his shoulder, gazing up at him. She smiled, sleep trying to claim her body and drag her under. But Meiling would have none of it.

"I said… 'Wo ai ni', Syaoran."

Syaoran choked. He had no idea what to say.

"Meiling I—"

"You don't have to say anything."

Syaoran could only stare down at Meiling. Slowly, Meiling got up, and stretched. She turned her head to glance out the window. The rain had stopped, and now the sky was clear, and filled with sparkling stars.

Syaoran continued to stare at Meiling. Her black hair, as fine as silk, spilling down her back. Her brilliant eyes, and clear, youthful skin emphasized by the light from the moon and stars. Finally, she turned away from the window, and walked towards her bed. Syaoran's gaze followed her.

"I need to sleep now," she said, pulling back her blankets.

"Nm…" Syaoran nodded, and stood up from the window seat. Suddenly, he felt cold, and he cringed.

Slowly, he made his way across the room. He couldn't shake the strange warm feeling in the pit of his chest. Those three words Meiling had uttered to him in their home language. It made him feel dizzy.

Do I love Meiling? Syaoran asked himself, as he watched the raven-haired girl climb into her bed, and pull the blankets up around her chin. No doubt, he did love her. But… is it the same kind of love that she feels towards me? It… feels different than when I'm around Yukito-san…

"Oyasumi, Syaoran."

Syaoran started, and nodded. "Hai… Oyasumi."

Syaoran turned off the light. Slowly, his eyes adjusted, and he watched Meiling's sleeping form turn over in the bed. He waited, just watching her.

"Meiling?" He whispered.

No answer.

Quietly, Syaoran walked over to her. Her only movement was the rise and fall of her body from her breathing. Slowly, he leaned over ever so stealthily so that she wouldn't stir. He swallowed quietly, and leaned in, allowing his lips to brush lightly against her cheek.

"I love you too…Meiling." He whispered.

And then, as quietly as he had approached her, he left the room. Meiling choked. She had only pretended to be asleep. Tears found their way to her eyes once again. That one, tiny kiss, she would treasure for years to come…

Syaoran… now I really don't want to leave…

* * *

"Well...This is it." Meiling said, clutching her carry-on in her hands while Wei went to check the rest of their luggage.

Syaoran nodded. "Have a safe trip."

"Syaoran..." Meiling began.

Syaoran looked startled at first.

"Do you remember that Promise we made?"

"Promise?" Syaoran asked.

Meiling's eyes glistened with new forming tears. They were beautiful when they glimmered like that. Like Ruby's, catching the sun's rays.

"That until you find the one you love most, I'm your fiancée."


Sad goodbye's were said when Tomoyo and Sakura joined the group. Meiling promised to visit, in order to be near Syaoran again, but she knew it was all up to her parents. She would have no say.

It was hard getting on the plane. Thoughts of the words Syaoran had whispered to her the night before were still fresh in her mind. Was there hope? She didn't know. The hours that she stayed in place in the plane seat went by at a snails pace. Moments seemed like minutes, and Minutes seemed like hours. She thought about the promise she and Syaoran had made. How young...and Naive she had been...

"I love you!" She managed to shout in one breath.

Her face was twisted in concentration and determination when she leaned over the table a bit.

"Eh?!" Syaoran looked surprised when he looked up from his book and found the eyes of his cousin, brimming with tears.

"I LOVE YOU SYAORAN! I'll be your bride!" She exclaimed with just as much determination as before.

"Hey, wait a second--" Syaoran began, cowering away from Meiling.

"Is there someone you love more than me?!" the dark-haired child demanded to know.

"No, there isn't, demo--"

Meiling pulled herself further across the table, "So I'll be your bride! Because you're the one I love most!"

"Anou na..." Syaoran pushed his back up against his chair, looking more nervous and intimidated by his cousin than he ever had during a training session.

"If you find someone else you love more than me, I'll let you go." Meiling proclaimed, a light blush across her tiny cheeks, her eyebrow twitching ever so slightly. "But until that day, I'm your bride. Okay?!"

Meiling pulled herself all the way across the table so that she and Syaoran was nose to nose. Syaoran shrunk back a bit "What do you mean by okay?" she asked nervously.

"OKAY?!" Meiling demanded an answer.

There was a pause between him, and her eyes welled up with tears. Finally, Syaoran choked. "Do what you like."

Meiling's tears suddenly dried, and she jumped across the rest of the table, latching onto her new fiancée in a hug.

When the airplane finally touched down, and she exited the aircraft, she was met with her mother, and a bunch of other happy looking relatives. Among them… The grandfather of hers that was supposed to have been sick. Meiling was confused.

She didn't have time to think much more, as her mother swept her up into a hug, joined shortly by her father. Meiling blinked her ruby eyes. "Wha… what is this?"

* * *

Meiling was outraged, and throwing a slight fit. She had been tricked into coming home, and it didn't settle well with her. Now, she was sitting in her room, one-way ticket from Japan in hand. What hurt most was WHY.

Meiling threw a pillow across the room, and it hit with a soft thud, before sliding to the ground. Her rage was rising, and she grabbed into a stuffed animal, imagining it was her disbelieving family members. She shook it violently, before slamming it into a wall as well.

They don't think I can take care of myself! She screamed in her head, 'We didn't want you to risk it anymore Meiling' they say, 'Without Magic, you're vulnerable.'

Meiling kicked her suitcase, but it barely budged. It did however, succeed it sending a pain through her foot, taking her mind temporarily off her family. However, it inevitably only built on her rage, and she threw herself down onto her bed.

The pain was returning. The pain of feeling… inferior. The pain of… feeling as though she was not wanted. She blamed her family. All she had ever wanted to do was help… so she trained. They let her train. Let her get her hopes up that one day she could be everything that she wanted to be. And now…

Meiling pulled her hair roughly out of the buns, and let her locks spill on the mattress.

How could they do this to ME?! She thought, the tears fighting their way up to her eyes, I was fitting in! I was doing fine, and they took it all away!

If Meiling had the choice, she would have been on a one-way trip back to Tomoeda. Back to Syaoran, and Sakura, and everyone there. But she knew her parents would never stand for it. She had inherited her stubborn behavior from her father, and her passionate opinions from her mother. She knew neither of them would budge. So, she rolled over on her stomach, and did the only thing she could think to do. She cried. She cried like she had before she had left. She cried like when Syaoran had muttered that she was sometimes in the way. She cried like she had… when he said, I love you too, Meiling.

And she vowed… she would return. That one day, she would go back. That she would run into Syaoran's arms, and they would share each others loving embrace… and maybe… just maybe… He would grace her with her first kiss. All she could do was wish… and hope… and wait.

To Be Continued...