. . . . . . . . . . . .
Sakura and Tomoyo sat together on one couch in Sakura's living room while Meiling sat on the couch opposite of them. Kero-chan floated in the air by Sakura.
"Three years ago," Meiling spoke with a steady slow pace. She did not want to have to repeat any of this tale, since it was so hard on her emotions. "Syaoran and I- Were in a car accident."
Sakura and Tomoyo exchanged glances.
Three years ago? That's when Li...
Meilin noticed the confused look on Tomoyo and Sakura's faces. She sighed. "Don't you understand yet, Sakura? Syaoran isn't dead. He never was even in Japan these last three years. He was with me, in Hong Kong."
"But the funeral!" Sakura shouted. "What about the funeral? You were there and so was Tomoyo and Yukito-niisan, and Touya and-" Sakura paused as she watched the confused look on Tomoyo's face. "Tomoyo, explain to her we went to Hong Kong, where Li-kun's funeral was!"
"I-" Tomoyo's voice cracked. "I have no idea what you're talking about Sakura. We never went to Hong Kong for a funeral."
Sakura's eyes widened. "But-"
"Another consequence of MIRROR no doubt." Kero-chan replied. "The more I hear nya, the more 'm gonna kick MIRROR's ass nya."
"To continue." Meiling interrupted. "Syaoran was severely injured, while I walked away from the accident." Tears began t o form in Meiling's eyes, as did in Sakura's. "After the accident, Syaoran developed amnesia." Letting out a sob, Meiling wiped the tears that were streaming down her cheeks. "He remembered nothing and no one. Not even his own mother. And yet," She paused, shooting Sakura a glare. "He muttered nothing but your name."
Sakura and Tomoyo both gasped. A wry grin appeared on Kero-chan's face. So the brat really did love her. Not even amnesia would let him forget the girl he loved nya.
"I took care of Syaoran until he was back to normal," Meiling continued. "Yet, no matter how much we tried to recover his memories, he could remember nothing from the time he spent in Japan. But he knew this 'Sakura' that kept haunting him resided in Japan."
Haunting him?, Sakura repeated to herself. A small smile appeared on her face. *I* was haunting him? Boy when I see his silly face again, I think we're going to have to sit down and *I'll* tell *him* what haunting is.
"And then a week ago," Meiling's voice snapped Sakura out of her state of thought. "Syaoran disappeared. I had hoped he had not returned here. Unfortunately my fears were correct. My fiancée has come back to this wretched place."
Again, Sakura and Tomoyo looked quizingly at each other. "F-fiancée?" Sakura repeated. "But- I thought that you two-"
"After the accident," Meiling explained, "Since he had forgotten *you*, Syaoran was once more engaged to me. He was more willing to marry me this time around. In fact the wedding is only a month away; So you can see why I am so eager to take him back to Hong Kong."
Sakura felt her world crumble. She wished that the couch would just eat her up right then and there. It was *her* fault that Li-kun had left Meiling. It was *her* fault that Li-kun and Meiling couldn't have a normal relationship. *She* had separated Meiling and Li-kun, who loved each other, and were willing to express it by getting married. That was more than *she* and Li-kun had ever had. They had never even gone out on a date, and here she was being in a state of serious depression over the past three years, over someone who wasn't even dead. Her whole life the past three years had been a lie.
Noticing Sakura's discomfort, Kero-chan landed on her shoulder and whispered into her ear. "Everything's going to be okay Sakura. It's not your fault." Letting out a small whimper, Sakura nodded in agreement.
Meilin rose from the couch. "So Kinomoto Sakura, I again ask you: Give Syaoran back to me."
Sakura hung her head low. Her bangs covering her eyes, tears began to drop to her lap. "I'm sorry Meiling-chan. Li-kun was kidnapped."
"He what?!" Meiling exclaimed.
"MIRROR, the MIRROR card and a few other have escaped the seal of CLOW."
"You mean you let them escape," Meiling spoke in a bitter tone. "Only you have the power of CLOW. If cards escaped it was all your fault. You do realize that, correct?"
"Yes." Sakura said, half sobbing.
"I'm shocked at this turn of events Sakura." Meiling said as she paced back and forth in Sakura's living room. Sakura continued to hang her head in shame, tears occasionally falling to her lap. Tomoyo placed her hand on Sakura's back to comfort her. This was the last thing that Sakura needed at this moment. "Fine then." Meiling finally said, stopping directly in front of Sakura. "I offer my services to help rescue Syaoran."
Sakura's head shot up. Her warm green eyes focused on Meiling's. "I couldn't ask you to do that Meiling. After all, this is *my* fault-"
"And Syaoran is *my* fiancée." Meiling continued, a smile growing on her face. "Don't worry Sakura. It'll be like old times again."
Following Meiling's example, Sakura stood up from the couch as well. "So what are we waiting for?!" She shouted.
"Yer arm." Kero-chan flatly said. "Don't tell me ya forgotten that th' bastard ILLUSION stabbed ya nya."
Sakura turned to her wound, now bandaged. Oh yeah, Sakura said to herself. How could she be so stupid? To go after the most powerful of the CLOW cards with a wounded arm. That was just plain foolish. She sighed in frustration. I want to save him now! That way I can at least make up for all the hurt that *I've* caused.
Sencing Sakura's ambition to go, Meiling's smile grew warmer. She placed her hand atop Sakura's un-injured shoulder. "Don't worry Sakura, we'll attack tomorrow night. It's too late to do anything now anyway. I'll return tomorrow at midnight. We'll attack then. And you, stuffed animal-" Meiling turned her attention to Kero-chan, who was now growling at her comment, "You use this time to try and find all the missing cards. It'll be smarter to knock all them out on one night."
Kero-chan scoffed. "I don' have to do anything ya tell me, wench! I-" He paused when Sakura looked at him pleadingly. "Alright, mou." He sighed, sitting on the arm of the couch.
"Sakura," Meiling continued. "Why don't you make a list of all the missing CLOW cards, that way we know we have captured all the missing ones."
Sakura nodded in agreement. "I can do that. Meiling-chan I-"
Meilin interrupted her state of thought by shaking her head no, as if not to continue. She walked to the door, covering her head once more with the hood of the mantle she wore. "I shall return tomorrow at midnight. Be ready."
"Mmm... thanks Kero-chan," Sakura said as she turned to her side to face the small lion. "You know, I've been thinking."
Kero-chan raised an eye-brow, "Really? About what?" He laughed nervously as Sakura shot him an evil look. He knew, just as well as she did on what she was thinking. She was going over in her mind what had happened. How was it, in just a few hours, all that they had come to believe in the past three years, cracked from beneath them? Li's death. Sakura's depression. MIRROR's trick. It was impossible to believe that this was really happening, and yet here they were, right smack dab in the middle of it.
"Kero-chan, I-" Sakura took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "When we find Li-kun tomorrow, I won't get in the way. I won't try to make him remember me, I won't disturb the peace that he and Meiling-chan have created these past three years."
Admirable. "After all dis time, after all ya've been thru, ya still put his happiness first."
Sakura nodded. "I love him too much not to Kero-chan. Seeing Meiling talk about the accident, all the pain in her face. It was unbearable. It made me think. If the same had happened to Li-kun and I, would I have acted the same?"
"Yes." Kero-chan replied solidly. "If not more."
A fake smile appeared on Sakura's face. "Thanks Kero-chan."
"Ya sure ya want to do that thou, Sakura?" Kero-chan said as he laid down next to her head.
"Very." Sakura said closing her eyes.
"But I thought ya loved 'im."
"I do." Sakura said, now struggling to hold back her tears. "That's why I just want to fix everything. So that he can be happy again. That's what love is Kero-chan. I won't be selfish and force him to stay with me. That would just make the both of us miserable. He doesn't remember me, and I can't force him to."
Silence entered the room. The only sound that was being made was Sakura's quiet sobs as she tried not to cry. Kero-chan opened his eyes and stared at Sakura for a moment. "Ne Sakura,"
"If ya need to cry, ya can come to me nya."
Sakura sniffed. "Thanks Kero-chan."
"And MIRROR makes five." Kero-chan said, floating beside the sitting Sakura. He flew down to Sakura's desk, where he sat upon the CLOW book. "Tonight's not gunna be th' easiest thing. Ya sure your ready?"
Sakura nodded, determination glimmering in her eyes. "I have to fix everything. It's my fault things are so messed up."
"Sakura." Kero-chan's voice was forceful. "How many times do I have to tell ya? It's not-"
"You're fault." Sakura mimicked. "Yes, I know I know, you kept on telling me that nya." She made a face at Kero-chan.
Growling Kero-chan jumped up from the desk to Sakura's face. There he treaded air. "Don't do dat. It's not damn funny."
Steaming, Kero-chan yelled back at her, "I told you-"
Both Sakura and Kero-chan's heads jerked toward Sakura's bedroom door. A few moments later there was a knock on Sakura's door. "Sakura-chan?" It was Tomoyo. "She's here."
Both Kero-chan and Sakura busted through Sakura's bedroom and rushed down the stairs. Tomoyo, calm as ever, skipped through the hallway and down the steps to where Kero-chan, Sakura and Meiling awaited.
"There are five cards." Sakura explained. "FIREY, THUNDER, WATERY, ERASE and MIRROR."
Meiling grunted. "Of course they would have to be the difficult cards, wouldn't they?"
Kero-chan nodded. "They are the most stubborn of the CLOW cards. What's worse is that I couldn't find a trace of their magical aura anywhere." He paused for a second in thought. "It could be ERASE's doing."
Nodding in agreement, Meiling turned her attention to Kero-chan. "Most likely."
"Ne Tomoyo-chan," Sakura whined. "Why did you have to pick such a skimpy outfit?" Sakura motioned down to the Card Captoring outfit Tomoyo had selected for this adventure.
The dress was shiny, sleeveless, and satin green, with purple trimmings. Mint colored satin gloves with small red hearts at the openings topped the ensemble. Her hair, now down, was topped off with a purple bow that matched the trimmings of the dress. The outfit had small purple slippers as shoes, that, on the right leg, had a ribbon that wrapped up to her knee. Least to say, Sakura was a bit more than embarrassed.
"Oh Sakura-chan," Tomoyo said, sounding proud of herself. "You look absolutely radiant! The beauty of your dress even hides the wound you got from last night!"
A sweatdrop appeared on Sakura's forehead. "Gee, thanks Tomoyo-chan."
The group slowly made their way outside. "So Kero-chan," Sakura observed. "If you couldn't find the location of any cards then-"
Suddenly a great flash of light appeared in the distance. The air quickly began to reek of smoke. Sakura, Meiling and Kero-chan nod to each other.
A smile appeared on Sakura's face. "Guess we didn't have to search for very long."
Heheh. Yeah finally we get action in this WAFF story 6.6 I was going to place one of the fights in this chapter, but then I realized the last line is a really good cliffhanger, so I left it ^_^ I'm such a hamm! Thanks go out to all the fans who have supported me and have urged me to finish this story. There's only one more chapter to go! You can stop sending the dead trout via e-mail now ^^;;
Before anybody says anything, I know Meiling was spelled wrong in the last chapter >_> I'll fix that, I promise. Also, I think Meiling went kind of OOC in here... Yet I have to keep repeating that this is about five years after the series ended, and therefore they are a bit more grown up. Except for maybe Tomoyo ^^;
THUNDER, WATERY, FIREY, ERASE and MIRROR... I am your master, it's time to return to me.
I will not give up Li-kun without a fight! I want him to be happy!
Li-kun, I promise you, I will give you back your happiness. Even if it means sacrificing my own.
Next Time on Card Captor Sakura: Hidden Within the Heart, Limits.