It's been too long since I've written or worked on any of my CCS stuff!! Me so sorry. I'll work on my other two on-going stories soon, I promise. But for now, here's a little piece of Meiling angsting for you all to enjoy! But don't worry; it ends on a very happy note. ^_^ And it's not S&M (hehe, isn't it just fitting that their initials work out that way?;) but that's not really a huge deal in this story. Although they do have a really sweet moment at the end. Right, so anyways, this is a song fic, using Jimmy Eats World's song "In The Middle". I never really paid much attention to this song when it first came out, but after a friend of mine posted the lyrics in her LiveJournal and talked about how it made her cry, and then I read the lyrics, it just screamed Meiling at me. I adore this song now. ^_^ So anyways, hope you all enjoy, and review!! Please review, I would give you cookies, yes actually I can, mom baked chocolate chip and peanut butter (not mixed together mind you;) cookies today! So you can have your pick. ^_^

~*~

~hey

don't write yourself off yet

it's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on~

Slamming her locker door shut, Meiling shouldered her bag and headed for the main doors. Dodging everyone in her path, annoyance set in as it seemed that every time she moved out of someone's way, someone else would step right in front of her. 'What the hell am I, invisible?!' Walking alone down the hall, she blocked out the sights and sounds of people around her. Everyone seemed to have someone; friends were numerous, and couples were sickeningly ever-present. Everyone that is, except for her. Ever since she had moved back to Tomoeda at the beginning of the year, six years after leaving, it seemed as though everything and everyone had changed so much. She had yet to make any real friends; oh sure, Syaoran and Sakura would be quick to debate that, but they had no idea what things were really like for her; and she had nobody she felt close to. All of her so called friends all had their own relationships, it seemed as though everyone except for her had a boyfriend, and everyone did everything together in a big group, but eventually the night ended with everyone going off on their own. She was always the ever-present third wheel, always out of place and one her own. So she had just stopped going out with everyone, and now it seemed as though no one even noticed her absence. 'I'm right; no one really does care that much about me. I never should have come back.'

"Has she gone deaf or something? Every time I say hi to her, she never says anything back! What is up with her Syaoran? Meiling's changed."

"I don't know Rika. She's gotten so quiet lately, I'm worried about her but she won't talk to me. I wish I knew what was wrong." Syaoran leaned against his locker, his arms around Sakura's shoulders, whose eyes were following her old friend down the hall.

"She just seems so lonely all the time. I mean look in her eyes, they always look so sad. I think we should try talking to her tonight."

"You can try Sakura, but I'm telling you, she probably won't listen to you. She used to talk to me all the time, but now she just shuts her door in my face." The group of friends stood around, their concern and worry evident to everyone, except Meiling.

~just try your best

try everything you can

and don't you worry what they tell themselves when you're away~

"Hey Meiling! Hold on a minute." Tomoyo disentangled herself from Eriol's embrace, running over to her. "A bunch of us are going out to see a movie tonight, you wanna come?"

"Who's going?"

"Well, mostly some of the girls from the soccer team. We decided we want a girl's movie night, not to mention a chance for all of us to hang out." Meiling pondered at the idea for a moment, debating it over in her head. She probably should go out with them, after all she was on the soccer team, and still didn't really know over half of the other girls all that well yet. But still, why did they suddenly decide now they wanted a "girl's night"? It was probably just for her benefit.

"I'd love to go, but I have to work on my writing assignment. I'm getting pretty stumped on it." A lie, she was nearly done the assignment, but it sounded like the best option, since it was due in two days.

"That blows, I hope you get your assignment done though. Maybe we can all reschedule it?"

"Nah, you guys go out and see the movie. I'll just come the next time." She faked a smile, nodding the Tomoyo as she turned and walked away. It was probably some big joke to them, they would have probably all decided at the last minute to bring the guys along too. Why couldn't everyone either just leave her alone, or stop being so two-faced? It was getting on her nerves.

"So what'd she say? Is she coming?"

"No, she said she has to work on her writing assignment." Tomoyo frowned, knowing full well that Meiling's assignment was nearly done, as she had overheard her talking to one of their classmates about it.

"Why doesn't she ever want to go out anywhere with us? Doesn't she like us? I wish she was more friendly, she seems like she could be such a cool person."

"She used to be." Tomoyo watched as Meiling continued down the road, away from the high school. She was starting to wonder if something had happened to her back in Hong Kong that had changed her. She was such a different person now.

As Meiling walked down the road, she tried to block out of her mind the thought that everyone was probably sitting back there, laughing at her. They were probably upset their plan hadn't worked. But she wouldn't let anyone fool her ever again. It seemed like she just couldn't trust anyone anymore, and that was such a pain. All she wanted were some real friends, who wouldn't judge her and make her such an outcast. Maybe she should just move back to Hong Kong, at least there everyone was honest about how they felt about her. At least there, they said things about her right to her face, instead of behind her back. And at least there, she already knew no one liked her, and she never had to worry about trying to make a good impression.

~it just takes some time

little girl, you're in the middle of the ride

everything everything will be just fine

everything everything will be all right~

She got home quickly, entering the house and heading for her bedroom. She flopped on her bed, staring at the picture on her bedside table. Things had changed so quickly in Hong Kong. She had gone from being the head of her group for three years, to being a nobody. All because of one vicious rumour that had been started. She had had everything; tons of friends, she was dating the cutest guy in the school, she had been the star of the girls' soccer team, she was on the honour role, and everyone wanted to be her friend. But then one day, that had all changed.

~flashback~

"Meiling we need to talk."

"Oh hey Jun." Meiling threw her arms around her boyfriend's shoulders, but he quickly pushed her away, leaving her to stare at him, confused. "Is something wrong?"

"I heard about you and Liju. So has everyone else around the school." Meiling saw such a look of anger in Jun's eyes, which she just didn't understand. What about her and Liju?

"I don't understand Jun. What are you talking about?" He shook his head, his mouth down turned in a snarl.

"Sure, there's no need to lie Meiling. He told everyone about what happened last night. Don't deny it. So we're through. Don't talk to me anymore." With that said, he turned and walked away from her, leaving her to try and figure out what had happened. Liju, last night? But last night, all that had happened was that they had ran into each other at the park, and they had talked for a little while. Why would Jun be angry about that?

"I can't believe you Meiling. Way to go last night, slut." Meiling's eyes widened as she watched her group of friends walk by seemingly upset at her for some reason. Slut? Now she feared finding out what Liju must have said.

"Hey Meiling, wanna go to the park with me?" A group of boys passed her, laughing as they made comments about going to the park. Her eyes glazing over with tears, she walked away from the school, towards the parking lot. But while she was walking, she overheard a conversation.

"Hey did you hear about Meiling and Liju? He met up with her at the park last night, and she let him have sex with her! Can you believe that? I always thought she was such a good person, now I guess we know differently." That was all she needed to hear, as she took off away from the school, barely able to see the road in front of her through her tears. Her world was ruined.

~end flashback~

She held the picture of her old friends in her hand, the smile on her face as she sat on the picnic table with Jun bringing tears to her eyes. Why did that happen to her? What had she done to deserve that? She had actually considered Liju to be a friend, and then he had turned around and stabbed her in the back. Not to mention no one had believed her when she tried to tell them the truth.

She thought that moving back to Tomoeda would have helped; she never could have faced another year of being an outcast. But things in Tomoeda didn't seem to be much different. She didn't know what people thought of her here, but she still had no friends. But she kept telling herself that eventually things would get better, eventually she would have some friends. She just had to wait it out.

~hey you know they're all the same

you know you're doing better on your own so don't buy in

live right now

just be yourself

it doesn't matter if that's good enough for someone else~

At first everyone here had seemed to be friendly. Everyone she had known years ago all seemed to welcome her again. But then everything changed. Everyone here was so different than everyone had been in Hong Kong. Different interests, different clothes, different hangouts; everyone here had the same interests and did the same things, but it was so different from what she was used to. She wasn't anything like anyone here, and she didn't want to have to change herself just to have some friends. She wouldn't change her opinions and likes for them. If they didn't want to accept her as she was, then she wouldn't bother trying to fit in. She had already been forced to re-adjust once when she moved back to Hong Kong, and then re-adjust another time when her friends had abandoned her, and she would be damned if she had to re-adjust again. Who needed them anyways, she'd do fine on her own.

Downstairs, the door to the house opened, and in walked a few people intent on putting an end to their mystery. Syaoran, Sakura, Tomoyo, Eriol, and Rika were taking off their shoes and coats, contemplating how to go about talking to their friend.

"I say we just barge into her room and hold her down until she talks." Everyone gave Eriol a stern look, as he shrugged. "Well, it was an option."

"Well, there's not really anything else we can do aside from just going up to her room and sitting down and talking to her. Maybe she doesn't realize how worried we are." Not having any other option, the five friends trudged up the stairs, walking down the hallway towards Meiling's room.

Meiling was lying on her bed, staring at the same picture, as she heard a knock on her door.

"Who is it?" She had a feeling she already knew.

"Can we come in?" Syaoran's voice, and her stomach immediately began to knot. Why couldn't anyone just leave her alone? She took a deep breath, sitting up on her bed and drying her eyes, hoping that she didn't look too upset. She'd just let them say whatever they wanted, and then when she lied enough, they'd leave, and she'd be alone again, as always. She just had to hold herself together, prepare herself for whatever was going to happen, and she'd be fine.

"Come in."

~ just do your best

do everything you can

don't you worry what their bitter hearts are going to say~

She watched as the five of them came into her room, arranging themselves neatly around her bed, on chairs, standing, and sitting on her footlocker. She wondered what they wanted, but didn't really care that much to find out.

"Meiling, we wanted to talk to you together, because we're all worried about you." Syaoran broke the silence, blurting out their reason for coming.

"Why?"

"Well, you've changed so much since you got here."

"You hardly ever talk to anyone anymore, you never come out with us anywhere, it's like you just ignore everyone around you. We're really worried about you Meiling. Is anything wrong?" Sakura picked up where Syaoran had faltered, detailing everything they had noticed.

"Everything's fine."

"Meiling, I know something's bothering you. I can tell."

"I'm telling you guys, everything is fine! Why can't you just leave me alone? I can't take anymore of this." Meiling tried to control her voice; aware of the high pitch it was taking on. She didn't want to seem upset, couldn't let them know she was hurting.

"Anymore of what? What's wrong?" She was aware of everyone staring at her, and she felt herself shrink back into her pillows as she thought of something to say back.

"I don't have to explain myself to you, just go away." She finally just resorted to turning away from them and hiding, so much for control.

"Meiling, what happened in Hong Kong? Why did you move back here? You always sounded so happy when you were there, so why did you just move away? Did something happen that you never told us about?" Syaoran sat down next to Meiling on her bed, his worry for her growing at her current display.

"I just thought things would be better if I moved here. But they're not; it's just the same as in Hong Kong. No one cares, and I have no real friends. Don't try and pretend any differently either. Everything is different with you guys now. I'm just always in the way. I should just move back to Hong Kong."

"Are you insane?? Meiling, how you could possibly think we're not your friends?" Sakura stared at the Chinese girl in disbelief, her mind unable to comprehend how Meiling could possibly think what she was thinking.

"You all have each other. You all have your little relationships, and your big group that's split up into little twosomes, and I'm the only one who doesn't fit. I have different interests than all of you, I dress differently, I act differently, and aside from soccer I have nothing in common with any of you anymore! You don't have to pretend you like me, because I know none of you do. It's just no different here than it was in Hong Kong. Nothing changed for me. I'm sorry all of you got caught in it." She turned back to her pillows, not wanting to look at anyone.

"Sometimes I wish you never had moved here." Everyone looked at Syaoran, shocked. "At least when you were there, we actually talked once a week. You'd never shut up on the phone, telling me about everything. And now, that you're here, you never talk to me anymore. What happened Meiling?"

"What happened? You don't need me anymore is what happened. Nobody does. You all have each other and there's no need for me."

"Oh would you quit being such a brat and open your eyes? We all like you Meiling. You're the one who doesn't want to admit that you have friends. Whatever your life was like in Hong Kong, it's not the same as it is here in Tomoeda. Just wake up and realize that. You're really hurting everyone who's trying to be your friend." Everyone stared at Eriol in shock, his outburst highly unexpected.

"He's right Meiling. How can you possibly say that? You're my best friend, or at least you're supposed to be my best friend. What happened in Hong Kong?" Syaoran took hold of Meiling's hand, his need to know what was bothering her very great. "Please Mei, why won't you talk to me anymore? I miss you." Meiling glanced at Syaoran from the corner of her eye, for the first time in however long seeing his eyes looking misty and sad; she saw that he actually was worried about her.

"Ran, I'm sorry." She darted towards him, clutching to him and burying her face into his shoulder. Maybe she had been wrong all along.

"Meiling, even if you don't want to tell us about Hong Kong, we still want you to be our friend. We all miss you, and we've been worried about you ever since you moved here." Sakura laid her hand on Meiling's shoulder.

"Yeah and besides, you're wrong anyways. Not all of us have someone else. I don't have a boyfriend either! So we can mope around being single together." Rika sat down on the other side of Meiling, hugging her. Meiling raised her face from Syaoran's shoulder, smiling through her tears.

"I guess you're right. Everything just changed so drastically for me last year in Hong Kong, I guess I just got too paranoid about trusting people. I feel like such a jerk now." Meiling sat up, wiping the tears off her cheeks.

"Aw don't worry about it. You were a big jerk six years ago, we're used to you." Tomoyo winked at Meiling, who laughed at the joke.

"Yeah I guess you're right. But I promise, no more jerky Meiling." She stood up, moving to embrace her friends.

"There's just one condition to our forgiving you though. You come to the movies with us tonight!" Meiling nodded as she hugged Tomoyo again.

"Fine. You're intent on getting me to the movies, aren't you?"

"I just want you alone in the dark." They both laughed, as Eriol shook his head.

"Looks like I might be the single one soon." Everyone in the room laughed, all the tension from earlier suddenly lifted.

"Okay well how about you guys go wait downstairs while I get changed. I won't be long." Meiling watched as everyone filed out of her room, except for Syaoran.

"Mei, why didn't you ever tell me that things in Hong Kong got screwed up?"

"I didn't want you to worry about me." Syaoran laid his hand on her shoulder, pulling her towards him.

"No matter where you are or what you're doing, I always worry about you. You're my best friend Mei; I don't want anything to happen to you. I love you, and you always worry about people you love. I don't want you to hide anything from me anymore, okay?" She nodded, moving forward to hug him.

"Don't ever let me forget that again Ran. I'm sorry I ever doubted you."

"Don't worry about it. I just want you to talk to me when something's bothering you. I don't feel like we're as close as we used to be. I mean, I feel closer to you than anyone, even Sakura, but it just felt like you didn't feel the same, and it bothered me. So no more keeping stuff from each other?"

"I promise. No more hiding feelings." They hugged one last time before he left, so she could get changed. She closed her door, sitting down on her bed briefly. She smiled to herself, finally feeling happy and accepted. It had all been in her head, and now she knew differently.

She looked over at her bedside table, taking the picture frame in her hands. She slid the picture that was in there now, of her old life in Hong Kong, out of the frame. She opened her drawer and dropped it in there, as she then took out a picture that had been taken only three months ago upon her arrival in Tomoeda, of she and her friends. She had been smiling that day, and now, as she slid the picture in, she knew she would be smiling for a while to come.

~it just takes some time

little girl, you're in the middle of the ride

everything everything will be just fine

everything everything will be all right~