"When this is all over, you won't be sorry for coming here."
Syaoron shot up, looking over his shoulder in surprise to see the headmaster smirking at him, one hand resting on a hip she was jutting out suggestively, the other holding a bottle next to her leg. Of all the people he might have expected walking in on him on the rooftop, Miss Yuuko Ichihara hadn't been one.
He blinked at her, wondering blearily if she could see he had been close to crying again. She probably could, even if he hadn't been.
The smirk left her face and she huffed softly, pouting at him while she made her way over to sit next to him. "This moment was bound to come at some point, you know?"
"What moment?" He turned away spitefully.
She laughed softly, "the moment your little brother would start looking at someone else instead of you."
"It's a part of growing up."
He shot her a glare, not caring she was the principal who could easily destroy his life by revealing what he was.
"Have a drink, and it won't seem as bad." She held out the bottle towards him.
Even in his anger, he couldn't help the snort of laughter. "Are you seriously offering your underage student alcohol? What kind of principal are you?"
"The kind of principal who would sneak a boy into the girls dorms so he can be reunited with his twin brother," she told him pointedly, "I think that should be harder on my conscience than offering you a drink."
"Thank you, but I'll pass."
"Correct answer," she flipped the top of the bottle and took a swig, ignoring the stare Syaoron gave her. She was really far less responsible than he would have expected.
"Were you testing me?"
"Maybe." She grinned. "It is very easy to drown your sorrows in alcohol. So many people do it."
"I came to understand the sorrows come back ten times worse in the morning," he told her.
"That sure is true." She took another swig. "So tell me, my dear underage crossdressing student. How are you coping?"
"Am I coping?" He snorted again – less amused this time – pulling his knees to his chest.
"How's pretending to be a girl going?"
"Well enough," he admitted, "I still don't like it, but..." He trailed off. He was getting used to it. He was being treated like a girl, and no matter how he tried to avoid it, he was also acting more like a girl. He hid his face in his knees in embarrassment.
How could he even cry over these stupid things like it was normal? He wasn't supposed to. Being around girls all the time made him soft.
"It's good to know you're doing well." To his surprise, his principal climbed elegantly to her feet again. He had expected some sort of long deep conversation where she'd tell him all about being an adult and rubbish like that, but she seemed to be done with him already. "Don't mope to long about this, okay? Give your brother some space. Maybe go on a date yourself. You're young."
"Not interested in dating a guy," he scoffed.
"Just for fun," she winked. "If you need me, you know where to find me. Make sure to bring me some of the muffins you'll make during club tomorrow to pay for my advice."
"To pay for your advice?" He turned to give her an astonished look, "what advice? Why am I paying you?"
"I'll see you in my office then," she smirked, completely ignoring his questions, before turning and sauntering off.
He scoffed, turning back to face the school garden below him. Advice indeed.
Tomoyo was perfectly aware he was pissed. She had said just the necessary since she had returned to their room the day before, and hadn't spoken to him without quietly taking note of his mood first. He had left her this morning to sulk on the roof of the school. He had barely taken note of the fact the building was actually open on Sunday, just stalking off to find his place alone as fast as he could.
Apart from Yuuko Ichihara, nobody had come to disturb him during the entire morning. Deciding he'd like to keep it that way, he didn't get lunch at the dorms. With his angriest expression he stalked over the school premises to get away in as little time as possible, to find his lunch elsewhere.
Of course he had not anticipated to practically bump into Tomoyo and Ryuuoh when turning away from the hotdog stand in the park.
The silence that fell between them was about as awkward as one would get, Tomoyo regarding him wide-eyed as if she were contemplating to panic, and Ryuuoh scowling in a clear sign he hadn't been planning to face Syaoron just yet. Not so difficult to guess who they had been talking about, then.
"W-will you join us for lunch, Miss Li?" Ryuuoh finally blurted out.
Syaoron scowled, only starting to blush now in his embarrassment of seeing Ryuuoh again after what he'd done the day before. "Why?"
"Some company may cheer you up?" Ryuuoh tried tentatively, not looking completely sure himself.
"We don't like to see you this sad, Sharon," Tomoyo told him gently.
"I thought I was looking rather angry, not sad," he scowled.
Tomoyo raised an eyebrow, the only thing he needed to know she had no problem looking all the way through him. Damn it, she wasn't supposed to know him this well after such a short time.
"Come on, just wait a minute until we have some food as well and join us," she said.
"Fine." He stood to the side and waited impatiently for them to get their food. He knew he was supposed to school his scowl to a pout, but he couldn't care less at the moment. For some reason he suspected even Ryuuoh would know the pout was fake if he tried in a situation like this.
"I hope I'm not disturbing some important talk?" he asked sarcastically when he followed the two to a place to sit in the grass.
"You were, actually," Tomoyo told him straight out, motioning him to sit down on the ground. He grumbled, balancing his food in his hand while trying to sit down without flashing Ryuuoh.
"We were actually discussing how to get your mind off your brother and cheer up."
"Really now?" He muttered, focusing on his hotdog. He hadn't expected Tomoyo to tell him that, and frankly, it sort of embarrassed him his two friends were talking about him like that. Was he like a child with temper tantrums they had to handle?
"Did you have any ideas yourself?" Tomoyo coaxed.
He gave her a glare.
"I thought it would be fun if we could take a train and go to the beach with a small group next weekend," Ryuuoh said slowly, "but Tomoyo thought you didn't like the beach much?"
Syaoron did pout this time. He actually did like the beach. A lot. It would likely do wonders for his mood under normal circumstances. But he couldn't possibly appear in any kind of swimsuit without completely blowing his cover.
"You do like the beach?" Tomoyo asked tentatively, before perking up and cutting off whatever response he was trying to make up, "if you do like it, we should go! I know you have that one problem, but if you just keep a shirt on over your swimsuit all the time you're in the sun it shouldn't matter, right?"
He blinked owlishly. Tomoyo certainly was fast, just claiming some sort of oversensitivity to sun in a wink. Good thing is a oversensitivity to sun could still mean anything, so as long as they skirted around the subject he wouldn't really need to make up a detailed lie.
"It would be tons of fun, I'm sure," Ryuuoh stepped in, "just a weekend to ourselves. Bring a few people, I dunno, Miss Kinomoto and Shirou, Watanuki, Doumeki, Miss Kunogi?"
"If you're going to invite all of them, Syaoran is going to be hurt if you leave him behind," Syaoron gave in, rolling his eyes. A small smile twitched his lip. It was really great having friends like these.
"But I don't think your brother would like to go without Naoko," Tomoyo said carefully.
"So? Let her come. We'll see how fast I can bully her into running home."
"I don't think you should bully her too hard," Ryuuoh muttered.
"You're just going to get into another fight with Li," Tomoyo told him, not bothering with Ryuuoh's discretion.
"I haven't forgiven him yet. At least then he'll have something to be angry back at me."
Syaoron flinched back in surprise when Tomoyo suddenly leaned forward, but all she did was stroke his face with one hand in an unexpected tender gesture.
"Spite isn't going to get you anywhere."
He dropped his gaze to his knees in the grass, knowing she was right. Not that he had ever thought spite would get him anywhere, but it was much easier be spiteful when angry than being the mature one. He didn't need Tomoyo to tell him he was acting like a kid. A child with temper tantrums.
"Let's do that then," Tomoyo smiled, pretending the last part of their talk had never taken place. "When we get back to the dorms I'll start making arrangements for our stay."
"Uh, should we help?" Syaoron asked timidly.
"Don't be silly, I can take care of things. It's just one call, really."
"You know a good place to stay with a group like that?" Ryuuoh asked curiously.
"I do! Well, if you don't mind to make that beach one at a lake, instead of the sea, that is."
"Sure, sounds great."
"I'd actually prefer a lake over the sea. Less salt." Syaoron was in no way eager to find out the reaction of sensitive shaved skin to salty sea water. He was certainly even happier for the excuse of some sort of sensitivity on his skin Tomoyo had handed him on a silver platter.
"Wait, this isn't going to be some expensive resort, is it," Ryuuoh suddenly asked suspiciously, "not all of us are as rich as you, Miss Daidouji."
"Not at all, not at all. In fact, it will be a free stay." She grinned. "It's a beautiful manor big enough for as all, and no other guests in the way. All I need to do is call the servants to prepare the manor for a visit."
Syaoron lifted an eyebrow, processing the information. Big manor. Lake. No other guests. Servants.
Tomoyo gave him a disapproving glower. "Watch your tongue, Miss."
"But what is that place?" he sputtered, glowering back for her unwelcome scolding.
"It's my mother's vacation house, okay? I go there for a few weeks every summer with Sakura. My mother's usually too busy for vacation anyway."
"So your mother is like, what, a millionaire?"
"More than that, actually. It's not really important. My mother owns a couple of big companies. I'm here because I want to live life as a normal student for as long as possible, so don't you judge me."
Syaoron watched her a moment longer in surprise, before snorting and giving her an amused grin. "Like you were normal to begin with."
"I resent that, Sharon."
Himawari and Sakura both stared at them for exactly two seconds before brightening up and starting to beam.
"I'd love going to the lake again, Tomoyo," Sakura gushed, "we haven't been there since summer, and it would be so great to go with the rest of our friends!"
"I love swimming, thank you for inviting me," Himawari answered happily.
"You think Shirou would want to come," Tomoyo asked Sakura curiously.
"I'm not sure, but I will try to convince him. I'm not going to stay here!"
"Did he make up with his friend yet," Syaoron asked, no idea why he was curious himself. He didn't like Shirou, but the boy's lasting fight with his best friend bothered him for some reason. Maybe because his relationship with Sakura started so conveniently close to that fight.
"Not yet," Sakura shook her head dejectedly, "he's being way too stubborn. I hope it will work out soon."
"Will Doumeki and Watanuki come too?" Himawari asked excitedly.
"Ryuuoh is on the job to invite them over," Tomoyo smiled, "also Li with Naoko. The whole group."
"Ehh, isn't it unfair Li just accepted Naoko like that," Himawari sat back, pouting. Syaoron frowned, but tried to keep himself civil. Neither Himawari nor Sakura had been told about his angry outburst when he had found out about Syao and Naoko, and he was actually grateful for that. He wasn't going to hide that he disapproved, but he was embarrassed with his own reaction. Yeah, Syaoran shoving him aside like that hurt like hell, but nobody would actually understand why he was so upset. They'd all think he was just being jealous and greedy.
Which he was, of course, but just jealousy wouldn't hurt this much.
"It seems like Li accepted her mainly to cope with some other things going on," Tomoyo told them quietly, "I wonder if it will last."
"Like hell it will," Syaoron scoffed, earning himself a kick of Tomoyo's heel.
"I do wish you'd stop the bad language," she scolded, "maybe I should find some way to make you learn."
He flushed, knowing whatever way she was thinking about was likely some new humiliation. "Ah, sorry. I'll try."
She gave him a weird look, before turning back to Sakura and Himawari. "Do you both have bikini's?"
Himawari nodded, but Sakura sighed exasperated. "You give me a new one every year we go there. Of course I have a bikini. Loads of them."
"You weren't planning to wear the same one as last year, were you?" Tomoyo looked almost scandalised and Syaoron bit down a snort of amusement.
He shouldn't be amused really. Sakura's misery in Tomoyo's clothing-madness was pretty much his misery as well. Although he was sure he felt more miserable than Sakura, especially with the prospect of bikini's.
Good thing he would be keeping a shirt on. At least he wouldn't have to wear a bikini among his friends.