I worked hard on this one! It's longer, I hope that redeems me. I also watched the movie over again, and took notes…Notes on everything! From words and phrases that the characters say, to the colour of their clothing…Baron in particular.
entire day dragged on for Haru. School had never been so boring. But
she had never had to deal with the pounding ache that filled her
heart before, either. She was very worried about Baron, she would
admit that. But this was a deep, gnawing fear that slowly ate away at
her heart. She half-heartedly tried to do her schoolwork, but to no
She never should have listened to him, anyway. Her original plan was safe- To sneak him back into her room and hide under her bed.
Haru frowned. Alright, maybe that wasn't such a good idea, but it was better than his insane plan to come to her school! She begged him just to stay in the gym equipment shed, but he just grinned at her and simply said that her high school was about to receive a new exchange student from Britain. He had waved to her cheerfully from the front hall as she made her way to morning classes.
During lunch, she had rushed through the entire school, searching for a flash of white suit among the sea of uniforms, but alas, there was no Baron. She searched all period, but couldn't find him.
Now the seconds were dragging on, the clock was the only thing that existed to her...Where was he?
All she could think of was Baron, so handsome in his clean white suit, light orange hair, and dark green eyes...
That voice, whispering in her ear, his breath warm against her neck...
She gave a start, and her head whipped up to see her best friend, Hiromi, staring down at her. "What?" Hiromi looked down at Haru suspiciously. "What's up? I've been calling you for five minutes!" Haru stuttered out, "Oh, sorry". "Are you alright?" "I'm fine."
Hiromi placed a hand on her hip. "Now THAT I don't believe. You snapped your pencil in half, Haru." And indeed, in her hand Haru held the pieces of a butchered writing utensil. "Oh..."
"I think I know what's wrong with you." Hiromi said, sitting down with a smile of smug confidence playing across her lips. "Oh?" Haru arched an eyebrow at her friend, "Would you care to indulge me? I'm still under the impression that I'm perfectly fine."
Hiromi laughed, leaning forward, and whispered in the much practised craft of schoolgirl secret-telling, "You're in love."
Haru leapt from her chair, and Hiromi laughed again. "The reaction only proves it. Look at your hair, it's all frazzled. It's so obvious." Haru bowed her head, and lowered herself back to her chair glumly. "Is it really that obvious?" She asked softly, staring at her unfinished math problems.
"Only to me, I've been your friend too long. Now, spill."
Haru smiled weakly. "He's the perfect gentleman, so polite, confident, and assured. He has saved me so many times...I love him. With all my heart."
Hiromi smiled to herself. Her friend had fallen hard this time.
"What's this amazing man's name, hmm?" Haru suddenly looked up, her eyes haunted. "I can't tell you." Hiromi jerked back, almost as if she had been slapped, and smiled weakly. "W-What? What do you mean, can't tell me? I'm your best friend, of course you can tell me! We tell each other everything...Right?" Haru just shook her head sadly.
"I can't tell you."
The bell rang, and the other students started filing out, but the two girls stayed behind, sitting across from each other, staring- One in sadness, the other in shocked disbelief.
"But, Haru..." Hiromi began, "We've told each other everything. Forever, since we were kids in elementary. I've told you so much...Why can't you tell me this one thing?" Haru shut her eyes, hiding the anguished pain.
"I just can't!" She cried, standing up jerkily, "I'll tell you later, alright? Later!" She turned on her heel, and started to run towards the doors. "Haru...!" "LATER!"
Hiromi could only stare sadly as she watched Haru disappear down the halls. Sitting in the dark classroom all alone, dark tears dripped down her face as she mourned for a lost and broken friendship.
dashed blindly outside, just wishing that Hiromi had never asked her
about her love life, wishing that she hadn't been so obvious about
her feelings...Stupid, stupid, stupid!
She dropped her book bag on the ground beside her, gazing at the bright, blue sky, blinking tears out of her eyes. Things had a way of turning around quickly for her. The over-whelming happiness from Baron's arrival had turned into sadness over betraying Hiromi. She could see why her friend was angry, but she couldn't deal with this right now. She had more to think about-Baron as a human, and how to deal with it...Not time to be thinking of a silly little tiff with a friend.
She jumped, and her head snapped over to where the voice came from. There she saw a man holding a white jacket over his shoulder, clad in a red waistcoat, blue bow tie, and white shirt, looking very elegant and strangely out of place in the empty schoolyard.
Putting on a cheerful smile, she strolled over to him. "That's the second heart attack you've given me today! I'm not a cat, I only have one life, and I have to make that one last!"
Baron only shook his head, and smiled sheepishly. "My most sincere apologies, I should take more care while I am in the presence of such a skittish lady." He took her slim hand in his own gloved one, and lifted it slowly to his lips. His green eyes locked on her own, Haru forgot everything, even to protect being called 'skittish'. Everything else disappeared, there was only him...
"Now, shall we set off to Jujgai-Nite? I believe that is where the Cat Bureau is located..."
Haru was jolted out of her cloudy fantasy about everlasting love, and managed to reply with a most intelligent 'Er...Yes."
Walking along with Baron was a very strange, new experience. The only time she had been able to walk with him he had been barely past her knee. When in the Cat Kingdom, they hadn't been walking, but rather running away from a hoard of cats at breakneck speed. Even when they had walked together, he was still small, and it wasn't normal walking- As they had been stepping on a flock of crows.
So she took this opportunity to observe him in human form, thinking that he wouldn't be like that for long, seeing as they were going to the Cat Bureau to remedy whatever happened with him...So she took advantage of it.
He was very tall in human form, now she only came up to his shoulders. His shirt concealed well formed muscles...Something he hadn't had as a cat. She knew that he was strong, but...
"So..." She said finally, unwilling to let herself get lost in her thoughts only to have him scare her again, "Do you have any idea how you came to be like this? At all?" Baron looked down at her with his bright green eyes, and she saw a feeling of deep and consuming sadness.
"I was having a nightmare." He said finally, and she noticed that his knuckles went white as he clutched his cane and hat tighter in one hand. "About loosing someone I care very deeply for. Perhaps the only person I've loved." He said softly, and looked ahead of them, the same melancholy look present in his eyes. "A person so beautiful and lovely...And yet I can never be with them."
Haru was taken aback, not by the fact that he loved another, but the intensity of his confession. Whoever they were, she despised them for being the source of his agony...
Another voice interrupted her out of her thoughts, but this one was gruffer. Heart racing, she turned to her right, where she set eyes on a white cat, the fattest she had ever seen...
"Hey ya Kiddo...Oy, don't squish me, I'm very delicate, you know!" Haru laughed, gathering him up in a big hug, staggering back with the pressure of all his weight. "You're still my precious fat cat, Moo-Ta!"
The very obese cat opened his mouth to loudly protest his being called 'fat' but stopped before he could even start when he saw Baron standing behind them. "Hey, who's this guy? Do you know him, Haru? Has he been following you around? Why, I outta...If Baron were here..."
Haru just laughed. "Muta, Muta...This is Baron."
For once in his life, Muta was quiet, as his jaw dropped when the distinguished young man stepped forward, his hand extended. "A pleasure to meet you again, Muta. Sorry I've been missing."
There was no mistaking that aristocratic British accent. Muta looked him up and down in disbelief.
The man before him was tall, slender, but clad in a familiar white suit with the same piercing green eyes. "Baron, what's wrong with you? Disappearing in the middle of the night, worrying the entire Cat Kingdom to death, which caused me to skip my lunch, and then you show up again as a human with Chickie here! You have a lotta nerve!"
Haru stroked his head, and quickly jumped into Baron's defence. "Something happened to him, Muta, and we don't know what. We have to make our way back to the Cat Bureau and try to find out what did this to him." Muta jumped out of Haru' s arms, and looked up at Baron, blinking in surprise, as he had never felt that short before.
"Alright, let's go."
When they finally entered the little
hidden district that the Cat Bureau was in, the sun had set, casting
a sea of oranges, yellows, and reds all over the buildings, bathing
the two humans and cat in their shadows.
As Muta paddled up to retrieve the newspaper, Haru turned to Baron, a wistful smile spreading across her face. "This is where we first met."
Baron allowed a little smile of his own to spread across his face. "So it is."
Haru laughed, and turned around, taking in every inch of the magical little place where time seemed to stand still. "I first spotted you in the window, behind Muta. Never before had I seen such an intriguing cat sculpture..." "And never before had I seen such a beautiful young lady," He replied softly, gazing at her seriously, "It was my normal tradition to greet visitors with a little light show, but I felt that I had to make it extra spectacular that time..."
Haru stopped in her twirls, and gazed at him. "A show more beautiful than the Northern Lights themselves..."
And they stood there, each lost in the other's eyes, neither of them knowing that their lonely feelings were reciprocated...
"HARU!" A large black object soared over them, ruffling their hair, and Haru clapped her hands joyfully. "Toto!" The crow settled on a nearby ledge, and grinned at them. "I've missed you so, Haru...You were always good at insulting Muta without much effort...BARON?"
The former cat in question sighed at the sound of his name being exclaimed yet again.
"Yes, it's me, Toto. Before you ask, let's go inside so I can explain everything to you and Muta..." As he ushered them all in, he sighed to Haru, "That's the third creature to yell my name and ask what was wrong with me today. It's getting rather tiring, actually."
It was then Baron faced the wide double doors of the Cat Bureau-Or what had once been the wide double doors of the Cat Bureau when he was a cat. After a long time of struggling, Baron turned to Haru where they were both squished inside the tiny house, and said in a very low tone, "It's rather unsettling not being able to fit in one's own house. I'm beginning to rather feel like Alice in her Wonderland- Lost in a strange, unknown place, my own body a strange to me."
It was for the first time that Haru noticed how tired and miserable he looked. She realized that though he managed to act calm and controlled, he must have felt as terrified and helpless as she did when it happened to her, but only refused to show it for everyone else's sale. Her poor Baron!
In a stroke of courage she hadn't shown since she had stood up against the Cat King, she gently took his grey gloved hand in her own, and whispered in his ear, "Don't worry. You saved me once before and turned me back...Now it's my turn to repay the favour." With that said, she gently pressed her lips against his smooth cheek.
Now, hard Baron been any other man, he might have blushed, flinched, or recoiled away from her...But her was Baron Humbert Von Gikkingken, and had the firm belief that all such things should be thanked for, and properly reciprocated.
"Thank-you, Haru." He said softly, and she could see the relief light up in his tired eyes. Imagine her surprise when he bent over and brushed a feather light kiss of his own on her cheek. She was indeed a fiery red with a mixture of embarrassment and excitement, but she noted with extreme satisfaction that he still held her hand tightly.
"So, Baron, how did you get in this mess?" Muta called from the far side of the house, "Eat anything strange that night?" "Nothing that I can remember...Oh, only a slice of angel food cake." Muta quickly dropped the slice of fluffy dessert back on the table.
"Why don't you start from the beginning, Baron?" Toto said from above their heads, perched comfortably on the ledge of the stairs. Baron sighed, not wanting to relieve the past day by any means, but gathered courage when Haru gently squeezed his hand.
After explaining all that he could remember, (Conveniently leaving all details concerning his dream out) he rested his forehead against the palm of his hand, as if he had spent all of his strength recounting his story. "A cup of tea, if you would, please Muta."
The cat wrinkled his nose. "More boiled grass, huh Baron?" A snort came from above. "Your refined tastes are showing through again, Muta." "You want to repeat that, Bird Brain!" "One can't expect marshmallows to be classy!" "You call eating worms classy, Bird Brain!" "Just as good as fish! And you already called me a Bird Brain, you idiot!" "IDIOT! Why, I outta..."
Baron sighed, turning away from the arguing pair, having heard it many times before. Placing his head in his hands, he leaned back in his chair. Haru regarded her hero sadly. She was so unused to seeing him like this...
"...Baron...?" She started quietly, trying to get his mind off things, "Who is the Lady Cat?"
Baron lifted his head, and saw that she was looking towards a picture that hung over his desk, a picture of a female cat in a fancy dress and hat, holding a parasol. "That was my mother, the Baroness."
"Mother?" She was surprised by this. "But I thought you were created by an Artesian...?" "He created an entire family as well. A little aristocratic cat family, complete with a Mother, Father, and their little boy. He moulded me physically, but she crafted me into the way I am today. She was the one who taught me always to believe in myself, and that it was alright to meddle in other people's business." He smiled wistfully as Muta threatened to throw the teapot at Toto. "...And she taught me both how to make and the importance of a proper afternoon's tea."
He glanced over at the cat and bird, who were still battling on faithfully, and stood up. "Seems that they'll keep at it for awhile. I've always entertained the idea of seeing how long they'll go at it, but never got around to doing that...Rather disgusting, don't you think? Anyways, why don't we just leave them here to fight and go to the Cat Kingdom ourselves?"
He held out his hand, which she tentatively took. After being pulled to her feet, she looked at him nervously. "Er...But...Baron...How are we going to get there? I mean, there's no Natoru with his herd of cats to whisk me away..."
Baron simply smiled. "Why my dear Haru, you simply need to have a little imagination."
He tipped his hat to her, and walked over to one of the nearby houses, and placed the end of his cane against the door. Putting his shoulders into the effort, he pressed the cane against the door harder, and the area around the end began to glow. As it began to sparkle, he yelled out in a language that Haru could not identify. It was a language long forgotten...
All thoughts of that soon disappeared as the circle of light expanded, covering the entire door. Wind rushed out of the light, making the tails of Baron's coat fly, and causing Haru' s skirt almost to fly up. A thousand disembodied voices sang along, with Baron's strong, booming tone above them all...
And then it stopped.
Where the door once was there was a circular band of light, and as Haru leaned forward, she could see the grasses of the Cat Kingdom, and feel the light breeze against her face. Baron stood beside her, righting his hat, and straightening his suit.
"After our little adventure, King Lune thought that I might be of some use- So he gave me a key."
Haru smiled, still looking at the familiar place. "That's amazing." She made to step forward, but held back suddenly, a wave of fear washing over her.
Baron took her hand, and held it up to his lips. "I know what emotions you're feeling..." He whispered, "I'm feeling them myself. But we can get through this together, Haru. Just trust me." She nodded weakly, for she had always trusted him, and he smiled, taking her in his arms.
He began to hum quietly, and she realized that it was the song they danced to in the Cat Kingdom...For awhile they danced, outside the Cat Bureau, but soon he whisked her into the portal, off to face whatever waited for them...
End Author's Note-
There you go, I hope you liked it. I tried extra hard this time to make it romantic…Also, if you look carefully at the walls behind Baron's desk in the Cat Bureau while watching the movie, there IS a picture of a Lady Cat there. I swear.
Also, I got more offers of cookies, and even brownies for completing this chapter? I hope to see more of those…Mmm….