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Please Mr. Postman

Chapter 1: Look and See

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Kudo Shinichi was not the type to fall out of breath easy but the day was warm, and the air all too humid. He brought his bike to a stop as it neared a large tree on the side of the hilly road. Stepping off, he removed his glasses and wiped his face and neck from the extra perspiration. There was no reason to have yet another reason to have his jacket and shirt cleaned. The laundry lady would surely yell at him and she was scary enough as it was.

He drank some of the water that he carried with him slung over his shoulder. The mini canteen was of military issue, a gift from his friend who had been called to fight the war.

While he certainly envied Hattori's luck, he did not like the prospect of killing anyone, even in the "self-defense" of war. He thanked god, and his sorely bad-sighted father, for why the men at the draft office had assigned him the post of "Home Defense."

"Mailman" would be a better title for what he was doing.

He slipped back on his glasses and enjoyed the shade of the tree a bit more until he realized, by a quick glance to his pocket watch (again, not his, the government's), that he was late.

Running, he got back onto his bike and made his way up the hill.

Not easy work but like a trooper he got it done.

It was his first time making a delivery out there. He hadn't even been aware that there was anyone living out there but one of the clerks in the office had been kind enough to tell him how far and where the "Mouri" house was.

He liked the kanji for the name on the envelope. "Ran" was such a feminine character. Perhaps there was a chance she would be as lovely?

"No," he thought as the house came into view, "that would be pushing my luck."

He stopped the bike a few feet from the door and after taking those few steps, knocked.

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July 10th, 1943

It has been two months since father left for the capital. That old raised-in-the-samurai-way man just happened to have been picked up by the army. Honestly I tried to tell them that he was a lazy drunk most of the time and that it was only when he was sober in-between days did his "brilliant" strategies in Shogi amount to anything. In truth he's lost more than he's gained back – people started to figure out that he's sharp when he's not drunk and stopped playing with him.

I do not wonder sometimes why my mother insisted on having her suite on the other side of the grounds. Speaking of which, she's gone to the capital as well. I think the army may think that not having his wife near his side is keeping him from making strategies.

So I am alone. Jin and most of his friends from the village have been drafted (I need to stop thinking about him!) I fear for their safety, the war is nearing its climax in the Pacific. News keeps pouring in that the American Forces are advancing.

I do wish –

I set down my pen for a few minutes. I have received a letter!!! It is from Father. He and mother are doing well. They cannot tell me too much about what they are doing. He is apparently kept to an extreme schedule. At least I know they are well and safe.

I asked the Postman if there were any other letters for me. It took him a few moments to say that there were none. I wonder what caught his tongue? Ah well, he's someone new to the village it seems. I have never seen him before. He said his name was Kudo – such a funny name. Not too bad looking either, though when he tripped on a step and lost his glasses, he was completely blind. They seem to be well-made at least, not a scratch, and the frames are so thin.

But as I was saying, I cannot believe that it has been three months since the last letter from Jin. I just wish I knew what he was doing.

Mouri Ran

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Anyone who read her diaries or letters would never know how she occupied herself. Luckily, the laundry lady had a mouth to match her temper.

Pride bruised and dirty, he had walked over to the rooms the laundry lady rented. After she had screamed off his ear considering this was the third time this week, it was Thursday after all, and once he told her how far and just where he had gone, the young woman smiled.

"Yes, Ran-chan is such a delightful girl. A bit too old for her age, if you know what I mean."

"I'm kind of new in town you know. Care to elaborate," he heard himself saying. He was never this forward but the need to know more about this girl was eating away at him.

"Well if you've noticed, the town is lacking in young people, men in particular," she added begrudgingly, "Ran-chan was already the school teacher here when the government decrees came in, but as inspectors rarely come by she teaches as she likes."

"And what does she teach?"

"Everything! She has so many books inside that house of her father's. He was taken to the capital awhile ago; his wife went with him as well."

"So she's alone in that huge house? All the way up there!"

The young woman laughed as she took his shirt and began scrubbing at the collar, "She can take care of herself. Every young man in this town learned that the hard way, except Jin-kun."

"Huh," Shinichi's interest perked up ten-fold. "Who?"

"Kurosawa Jin, her fiancé before he was drafted. Everyone told her to tie the knot before he left but she declined and he understood. Such a nice man he is."

"I see. Thank you Suzuki-san. I'm still a bit parched so I'm going to get some water."

Suzuki Sonoko smiled to herself, "Yes, you do that Kudo-kun."

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AN: Hey guys, welcome to this new little AU series I'm writing. Characters should more or less be in character even if their name might be a little different or their social status has changed (Princess is now the Chamber Maid '') Well anyway, if you haven't been able to tell, it is set during WWII – in make-believe/sorta real Japan. I do not want to get bogged down in too many historical details or accuracies but general enough for people to relate with. Reviews on this point would be helpful. We have a very rural setting, which helps because it is away from the whole war going on and I want to have some freedom with what I have my characters doing. Wow this note is longer than I planned but it'll help I hope. Anyway, thanks for reading and do review. I'm trying to keep something I haven't done in a long time- regular short chapters and 1000 words every few days isn't that demanding.