Disclaimer: I don't own Cardcaptor Sakura.

Sonomi remembered the funeral.

She looked down at the casket being slowly lowered into the ground. The sky was the opposite of the young woman's heart.

Sonomi was crying and racked with grief and suffering. The day was rejoicing, to the point when it seemed as if it were gloating at everyone's melancholy.

Around her, family members moved slowly in clumps. With their stark black attire, the people resembled clouds heralding the thunderstorm that should've been occuring overhead.

Mere rain would not compliment Sonomi right now and for the days, the weeks, the months and the years to come. There was a need for sizzling lightningbolts and growling thunder, for sheets of rain and frigid, freezing arctic winds. Sonomi wanted the sky to yell and scream at the injustice of her Nadeshiko being taken away. Even if she were up there right now, sporting the angel wings her cousin always knew the girl would have, Sonomi couldn't be happy.

Angel... Nadeshiko didn't need to live in heaven to be an angel. On earth, she was an angel. The kindness she radiated, to animals and people alike, her beauty and grace... Even Fujitaka had confessed to thinking she was an angel the first time they met. The woman cast a glance at a weathered Fujitaka. From behind large glasses, his eyes were downcast. The man's powerful shoulders were now slumped, but she noticed with bitterness that Nadeshiko's husband did not cry. With balled fists, she wanted to condemn him for taking Sonomi's precious flower from her garden--from her family's garden. When she was with her, Nadeshiko was safe. Sonomi made sure to always watch out for the often absent-minded girl. More than cousins, the two shared a deep sisterly bond.

And then he came between them and led her cousin to a young marriage.

Sixteen. Nadeshiko had married the older man when she was only sixteen.

He ended her childhood at a time when she was just beginning to grow and really explore the world. When she was only supposed to worry about makeup and parties (although Sonomi had to admit, none of these girlish pursuits really interested the wavy-haired female that much--with the exception of pretty, frilly dresses of course), she had assumed the duties of a wife and mother entirely too young.

"You didn't give her time to live!" Sonomi had shrieked at the professor one time. "I'll never forgive you!"

Sonomi's eyes fell to the solemn, dark-haired young boy at Fujitaka's side. His tiny hand was placed in the older male's large one. With obsidian eyes, he looked down at his deceased mother. He was silently crying.

Three-year-old Sakura was not at the funeral. Since she was deemed too young to partake of such a somber occasion, the baby was staying with some distant relatives. Toya was a child as well, yet insisted on going with his father. Sonomi could understand his need to bid his mother one last goodbye. Toya had more memories of his mother than his sister. It was a tragedy that Sakura wouldn't see her mother smile or laugh again. Even when she grew older, it was unlikely that she would remember many aspects of her gentle mother. A tear itchingly rolled down the woman's cheek. Those poor kids, she lamented.

Once again, she looked at the closed casket. Even if Nadeshiko wasn't alive, her spirit lived in her beautiful children. Even though they were Fujitaka's kids as well, Sonomi couldn't cover them in the grudge she had against their father. Their only crime had been in being born, which wasn't wrong at all. Toya and Sakura were as innocuous as the rising sun, so much like their mother.

Sonomi tried to remember Nadeshiko's laugh, her smile, everything about her.

The memories were a sharp, haunting contrast to what she was now.

An empty shell who couldn't love, laugh or smile again...

Nadeshiko couldn't kiss her children, pick them up and swing them around, love them... She would not be able to watch them grow up while being with them.

Sonomi looked at the sky, wondering if Nadeshiko were looking down at them now.

In case she was looking and listening, Sonomi had one last message to give her.

"I love you," she whispered with tears in her eyes. "More than you'll ever know, I love you."

She looked down at the wood and soil home of her Nadeshiko.

"Goodbye," Sonomi choked out in a crumbling voice before covering her face with pale, slim hands.

Two arms went around her and held her close. When she looked up, she found Fujitaka comforting her. She hadn't noticed the slow advancement of her cousin's husband towards her. His eyes held a sadness and something else she couldn't place. But it didn't involve Sonomi's feelings for him. He didn't care how the woman felt about him--he had to comfort her. After all, they were family.

Sonomi was not the only one who needed Nadeshiko. She was not the only one who found deep sadness in her absence and missed her.

Right now was not the time for hatred. Right now was a time of mourning and comfort.

Sonomi could have pushed him away, screamed at him, blamed Nadeshiko's death on him.

Instead, she hugged him back.