Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the lovely world and characters created and owned by Studio CLAMP and several other companies that I can't remember at the moment. Any infringement is NOT intended and no money is being made off of this. This is merely a work of love. Warped love, yes, but love nonetheless. ^_^

AN: This takes place during the second CCS movie *heart*, while Tomoyo and Meiling are trying to give Sakura and Syaoran enough time alone for Sakura to get up the nerve to confess.

Love in a Teacup
A Cardcaptor Sakura Fanfic

by Fushigi Kismet


The tea is the color of his eyes. I never thought I would be able to find anything that shade . . . heaven knew I had tried often enough for birthday or Christmas presents. Something that would match his eyes . . . that would suit his sulky, solitary nature. I had tried often . . . and I had failed. There was nothing that matched so perfectly with Syaoran.

Nothing but tea . . . and Sakura.

I would never have guessed when I was a child that wolves and cherry blossoms fit so harmoniously together . . . I had always believed that wolves and snow seemed better suited. But even that thought betrayed me, I suppose, thinking now on Tsukishiro-san. Yes, even that thought.

Did Clow know, I wonder, what he had been doing that long ago day . . . when he let himself die . . . when he passed on and left his legacy to a small, happy girl from Tomoeda . . . Did he know that a wolf would come scratching at her door? That she would let him in, arms wide, and tame the savage beast with the beauty of her smile and the simplicity of a soul who loves and wants only to be loved in turn?

But I marvel at the stupidity of that thought. Of course Clow had known. Clow knew everything, didn't he? Clow the magnificent, the wonderful magician, the world's most powerful mage . . . Clow knew everything. Clow was a fool.

Clow had known that Li Syaoran and Li Meiling would be engaged at birth. Had known that the two would hate each other with a desperate passion . . . until the girl's bird would escape one day as she was feeding it . . . her only friend, her only comfort . . . would leave her in tears. Had known that the boy would run out into the unknown as the rain started to fall from the heavens like the gods themselves were crying . . . that the girl would wait, heart heavy . . . wait for his return with anxious eyes. Had known that when the boy returned, bird in hand, that the girl's eyes were not for the bird but the boy . . . who had, in his usual, silent way, done something for her that no one else in her short, lonely life ever had . . . He had shown that he cared.

She had received back the bird with trepidation, had greeted its return with joy, but her eyes had not left the boy. Had never left the boy since then. That strange welling in her heart, a mixture of gratitude and affection, a streak of jealous possessiveness, a dawning of understanding . . . how well she understood now what she had often failed to understand in the past.

I often wonder, if that had been his attempt to show me love . . . and take it away. To always leave me half-empty. Is it enough for you, Clow, that people like Tomoyo and myself are half-full? Can the knowledge of joy and love be enough to take the place of joy and love themselves? I often wonder.

But you took pity on *them* at least. On the two most important to us. Did you craft them, Clow, for one another? The silent, solitary wolf for the cheerful, friendly cherry blossom? I, who cannot sense magic, cannot feel it, cannot wield it . . . I, who am as far from their world as a person is capable of being detached from the world around them, even I can get a glimpse of what magic is . . . the nature of it, the joy of it, when I look into their smiling faces, their shining eyes.

As much as I ache for him, as much as my heart cries out in pain, I cannot hate him. I cannot hate her. Both of them . . . I love them both so much. Did you do this to me too, then, Clow? Place love in place of hate? Or was it I, on my own? Did I come to care for her happiness because that was what he wanted . . . what Syaoran wanted . . . for her to be happy?

He told me once, when we were eight and counting stars, the night sky unfurled like a dark sail sprinkled with ocean spray gleaming in the moonlight, "For every happy person, there is always someone who is unhappy."

I turned to look at him, gazing at stars, his eyes sweeping over the constellations spread before us, and I wondered, that if I was so happy to be here with him, in this stolen moment, whether he was as unhappy as I was happy.

He turned to look at me questioningly, a smile in his eyes matching the one on his face. "Don't look so serious, Meiling. Let's find a constellation we know."

But I found myself speaking without realizing, afraid that one day he would turn to me . . . not with a smile but with a frown. "Syaoran, will you marry me someday?"

Then he let out a soft, "Hmm" his eyes on some faraway light twinkling in an unreachable galaxy. His eyes turned to me, serious. "Would you like me to, Meiling?"

"Yes," I responded, my throat dry.

"If you really want me to." His eyes returned to the stars. "If you were a star, which one would you be?"

My heart thudding in my ears, I looked up at the darkness stretched above us and pointed to the one that called to me. "That one."

"Which?" He turned his head to look at where I was pointing, then turned to look at me, an unreadable expression on his face. "The dim one hiding close behind the bright one?"

I nodded.

He shook his head and placing his hand over mine, he shifted my hand until it was pointing at a single, brilliant star. "Be that one, Meiling."

"But mine will never be alone," I argued.

He looked at me with that same unreadable expression as before which I could not read then, and which I still wonder at today. Had he known, even then? "It might never be alone," he said, "but it will burn out sooner . . . and then what shall the bright star do? Be that one." He pointed at the one that he had picked out for me.

"It shines brilliantly on its own."

If he had not known, he had surely guessed, knowing me as he did . . . and himself. He had promised me that day, to keep from hurting me before he had to. To let me cling onto happiness even if it he did not share in that same happiness. He was as kind then as he is now . . . Like Daidouji, as long as the one he loves is happy . . . Did you know, Clow, that you had a relative like him, like me? Did you know that he would be so kind . . . so kind . . . so unlike you, Clow. Is that how you made him to be? Or were you as kind as he . . . as gentle? Did you know that he would bring me more joy than any sorrow? Did you make him, Clow, craft him as lovingly as one of your creations, as lovingly as Sakura? But no, as stars are born and die, so too were he and she born, without your help, in a blaze of fiery brilliance . . . But you knew. And I wonder if, knowing, you smiled?

I might have smiled. If I had known that night, known what I know now . . . known how much knowing would hurt, still, I might have smiled.

"What star are you, Syaoran?" I asked.

"I'm not a star," he replied, leaning back on the grass against his crossed arms. "Not yet. Not until I find a reason to shine."

He's found his reason now. A small, cute girl from Tomoeda whose smiles light up the world. And they are two stars, sparkling together in the vast night sky, equally as bright.

I gave him up . . . Gave him up so he could shine. And the giving didn't hurt . . . The letting go was painless. He had let me love him. He had given me those years of living, of loving . . . And I had given the rest of his life to him. It was fair, in a way of thinking, it was as it should be.

The tea was the color of his eyes. An amber-brown. Clear and beautiful. I took a sip and wondered about Tomoyo-chan. Wondered if, like me, she was wondering.

"Are you really all right?" I asked, drinking in the color of his eyes, feeling the tea kindling a warmth in me. "Can you really accept it? Is Sakura's happiness really more important than your own?"

She paused for a long instant and as the seconds ticked by slowly I wondered if I should have asked, should have intruded on her intimate thoughts, her intimate sufferings.

Then her voice broke the stillness and hearing it, I realized that she had been crying very quietly. "I can accept it. Sakura's happiness is my own, but mine is no longer dependent on hers . . . I am all right. For the first time in a very long time."

I down my cup and sigh in relief, the remaining tea sending up a warm curl of steam to touch my face like gentle, remembering fingers, to trace where a little girl had once cried over a lost bird and the gentle kindness of a boy. The inversion of the elements of that tableau now was a bittersweet reminder, its taste lingering not unpleasantly, like the taste of the tea. The bird had been found, but the boy was now lost to her forever. But like the tea, the sweetness stayed, long after the bitterness had vanished. "I'm glad."

"And you, Meiling-chan?" she asked me in a soft voice. "Are you all right?"

"Yes," I say, lifting my cup for another sip. Yes. Because I can shine on my own now.