They'd met once before

Set near the start of the 1st season. RocketXMei implied, because now I'm interested in their coupling, dammit!

They'd met once before, Rocket was sure of it. He remembered those ice blue eyes, that long, mahogany hair, though when he had first seen her the hair hadn't been quite so long.

He was staring; he realised, and quickly reprimanded himself, dragging his eyes away from Mei and back to Tia. It was Tia he was interested in. Quiet, introverted, wild, tomboy Tia, a parcel to be unwrapped, unlike Mei who was simply on show all the time, as if she were a magazine cover; sparkling and pristine.

Still; those eyes of hers they were filled with something akin to his own; loneliness. It was loneliness he realised, and then it hit him; he remembered when he had first seen Mei.

Rocket was a young boy, maybe around five, out playing in the snow –against his father's wishes- watching, with interest, as the snowflakes drifted down; occasionally landing on his dainty nose. He giggled quietly to himself, but stopped when he noticed a little girl watching him. She was across the road and she was perfect.

The pale ice-like skin of a doll, the natural rouge upon her cheeks because of the cold. Her little nose slightly red underneath her huge, cartoon-like eyes; big and blue and seemingly never ending; pools of ice-cold water that never stopped. Rocket felt uncomfortable staring at them; it was like she was willing him to plunge into those orbs of hers. Her hair was covered by a blue hat; a few strands flew loose, framing her face. She was little then, much smaller than he was, unlike now.

There were a few moments of silence, Rocket could only hear his heartbeat and the faint swish of snow falling upon his coat and then he spoke.

"H...hello?" he ventured, his voice slightly shaky.

The girl looked a little startled as if she hadn't realised he was looking at her, even though their gaze had been locked for a while now. It was more like she was perplexed as to why he was speaking to her, as if she didn't understand why he would.

A few more beats of silence and then she stepped forwards slightly, the crunch of her boot upon the snow shocked them both a little, it was so loud when compared to the all-encompassing silence they had just been dwelling in, but Mei persisted and soon she was closer to Rocket, standing a few feet away. They gazed at each other with their large, infantile eyes; staring in the way only a young person can.

"Hello." her voice was quieter than he had expected, much sweeter as well.

He felt like his voice was the toast beneath her honey. There was a silence again and Rocket cocked his head. She was so calm in comparison to the other girls he'd met. The other girls just wanted to play, or touch his hair, or kiss him. It was outstanding to Rocket to see this calm, mysterious girl.

"My name's Rocket." Rocket approached it cautiously, the syllables slipping from his lips slowly as if he were worried she would turn them on him.

A small smile formed upon Mei's lips and she blinked her long eyelashes at him. "I'm Mei." she replied.

Rocket sensed she was safe. "Do you want to play?" he enquired, a grin stretching across his face. He hadn't asked that for a while. His dad didn't usually want him out playing, especially as all he wanted to play was football.

Mei regarded him carefully, her lips pursed. "My mummy doesn't like me 'playing', she says it's unladylike."

This stalled Rocket, he looked at her for a moment, thinking of something to say, all he managed was a small: "Oh," and then they were silent again.

They were two very deep-thinking five year olds; family influences had seen to that.

"Do you want to talk?" Rocket had said it before he could stop himself and Mei was already reacting, he couldn't take it back.

She looked pleased; she looked as if no one had ever asked her that. "Yes," she nodded her head furiously. "Yes."

So they talked, they sat down in the snow and Rocket told Mei about all his special hiding places, all his dreams of becoming a footballer, he told Mei about how his daddy was weird and never seemed to want him to interact with other people, Rocket told Mei about how he felt lonely nearly all the time.

Mei responded in kind; she talked about how her mummy wanted her to be a model, how her mother didn't want her to talk to other kids her age, how her mother encouraged her to dress up and how she wasn't allowed to play, Mei told Rocket about how lonely she felt too; how different she felt to other people her age.

They talked for what seemed eternity; it stopped snowing and the moon began making its way up; casting both children in an eerie light.

"Are we friends?" Rocket asked after a while, he fingered his glove inconspicuously, trying to hide how nervous he was about the answer.

Mei turned her head and smiled at him. "Yes. Forever."

How easily friendships were forged when they were younger. But they didn't stay friends forever, because Mei disappeared off of Akillian for the rest of Rocket's childhood. He once again became lonely; working in his father's shop and wishing he could become a footballer. He forgot about Mei soon enough, it didn't hold as much weight now as it had when he was younger, or so he thought.

He looked over at her again and her eyes met his. They became locked and, once again, Rocket got the feeling she was willing him to plunge into the icy depths of her eyes. Did she remember him as he remembered her?

Regardless, she wasn't lonely anymore. Rocket glanced over at D'jok and Micro-Ice, both of them gazing at her in adoration. No, she wasn't lonely anymore. How could she be?

Rocket turned back to Tia and he smiled at her. It was Tia who needed him, not Mei.

Mei was a model, she had admirers, and she was capable. Except her eyes still seemed so lonely...they were still the eyes of the girl he had met all those years ago. Rocket pushed this thought from his mind. Just because he still felt lonely...it wasn't the same for Mei. It wasn't.

Rocket closed his eyes. It wasn't...right?