Chocolate... Thanks for the strenght! It gave me a good boost!

Chapter 3: Future

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What's left when everything we love perish? what's left when our hearts give up on us and the world falls all around? what's left when we lose ourselves in the search of what is not there anymore?

Toto saw Baron waking up, and almost at the same moment, abandoning his body to roam free like an orange cat. He had been doing the same for more than four years and the stone-bird always remembered with fear the first time he had done so, when his body had been lost to himself to be found by a dream-walker.

What was the cat figurine searching? Toto knew far too well what his actions meant, having done similar things in the past. But the bird's words were heard no more, and the only he could do was to hope for Muta to never abandon Baron. Maybe in Muta's actions, Toto's words could be heard.

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-The window is open, monsieur Toto- Alouette greeted him with a flourish of her dress and Toto arrived directly in the windowsill beneath the doll, almost making her fly off into the room.

-Sorry about that- Toto said, offering a wing for the girl to restore her balance.

-Don't worry- she said, laughing and rearranging her hair back into its place. But seeing the solemn face of her only Création friend, she stoped laughing and instead she put both her hands at the sides of the bird, and it only took he a moment to know what was happening. -That's how the final place looks?- she asked with a dreamy face, but then she fell back into subject, rememebering the other thing she had seen -He is the one that shares your demon, isn't he?-

-Yeah... maybe his first love never woke up. For all we knew, she didn't have a soul, but his heart was still attached to her. My love died. His love never lived.- Toto was on the verge of tears, but he forced himself to continue -And now... he loves someone who's alive-

-Printemps?-

-Yes...-

-Toto... why are you here? why me?- Alouette asked at last, overcoming the silence.

-Ally... you are the memory. I know what you are and I want to know...- Toto nearly yelled in anxiousness and desperation and Alouette gazed back at the sky, a sad smile on her lips.

-Oui... I'm at the same time Alouette and Ginette. I was born as Ginette, and Ginette was my creator.- she knew what the crow was trying to say -It is possible for a creator to live on through their creation. And no... it isn't the first time an "adult" had been able to see creations. Whoever, with the soul to create and the heart to give life, is able to understand that magic-

-Come with me- the crow offered his back and both of them flew into the sky beyond the clouds at an speed no mortal could achieve, to get down on Japan, on the bigger island of the archipielague, on a small city and enter a church.

Toto knew far too well the reasons for the girl to get married and one of them was sitting on the shoulder of the Virgin Mary's statue in the front of the altar, in his original form and with a cloud of sadness over his head. Toto saw how his eyes lost all the shine when the girl said "I do".

-She is...- Alouette's eyes were glazed by tears, but they were not only for empathy to the fellow Création, but for the inner sadness the bride felt. -She's not marrying with him for love.- a pause while she cleaned her eyes form tears -Her heart is someone else's...-

-She loves the man... but...- Toto trailed off but Alouette needed no more words.

-But her eternal heart it's for the cat with the heart of a man.-

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-Bonsoir madame Printemps!- Alouette's voice filled the balcony and Haru gazed directly to the sky just in time to see the dark shadow landing by her side, on the railing surrounding the balcony.

-I guess that means "hi!"- the woman said, laughing and rearranging a strand of hair that had fallen off the elaborate hairdress before the strenght of the wind Toto's wings created.

-"Hello Haru", more specifically, but... yes- Toto said, allowing the woman to stroke the feathers in his back, while the porcelain creation sat down on the railing, facing the human.

-If you would allow me to intrude, I'd say it means "Good evening, Miss Haru"- A soft voice said behind the creations and Toto almost jumped out of his feathers and rapidly turned around to see the cat creation jumping down from the cherry tree's branch directly over the balcony, bringing down with him a rain of pink petals all around the girl.

-Mistress...- Haru answered weakly, her face on flames over the implications of the words. Toto could see an almost maniatical glint in Baron's eyes, the one he had just before abandoning his wood and cloth body to take a mortal one. And both, the porcelain and the stone creation could see, the world had stopped to exist for both of them.

-Would you allow me this piece, while you are still "Miss Haru"?- Baron said with the same soft voice, just before a beam of light surrounded him and a human appeared in front of the woman.

-Yes... Baron- Haru answered with the awed voice only a teenager in love has and took the hand the pale-skined man offered her while a song both of them recognized from a not-so-distant past began.

-I just hope she won't be missed- Toto said to no one, as he took Baron's original body out of the way of the dancers.

-She won't- Alouette's voice said someplace near him and he turned around to see the doll, enveloped in soft lilac-blue light -A gift of a moment on the infinity for the human creator and the impossible love creation.- she said as the final notes from the waltz hung in the air.

And the pair in love stood together for a long time, just savoring the stolen seconds until it was obvious it was far too late for them. Toto could see Haru saying something into Baron's ear, a flicker of pain crossing his already dull eyes, but both creations could hear what the man said: "I promise to take care of you and them, whatever happens, even if you can't see me."

And despite both of them showed in their whole bodies the need to kiss each other, they managed to stay apart, 'til the same beam of light appeared and the soul of the creation returned to his own body. -Thrust yourself!- Baron yelled before lauching off the balcony, barely giving Toto enough time to catch him and fly off to the nearest place to the refuge, before taking Alouette back home.

But Toto would never, never forget the figure of the girl, standing on tiptoes with both hands on the railing, white against stone, the few cherry blossom petals still on her hair and dress, the sparkling tear on her cheek, as she watched, once again, her love going far to never been seen again and the man walking out the cristal doors to offer her his coat against the chill of the night.

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Somethings returned to normal inside the Refuge for Creations. Baron didn't roam ever again in either of his mortal bodies, but stood inside his own body, reading his books over and over. Toto and Baron helped people and animals together again. That seemed as a part of Baron that was never going to change. Muta's fights (didn't the fat marshmallow ever got any old?) and the creations freely going around.

But that wasn't what made Toto worry. Baron didn't have tea ever again. None of them had seen him smiling, really smiling again. He seemed to have much less patience with Muta's appetite, tough he didn't ever got agressive or angry. There were soft reprimands and little gestures. And the shine in his eyes never returned.

Years came and went. Toto came with Alouette once on his back, the poor doll turned into trash by her family after the death of the last dollmaker. And after all the time alone, the girl helped taking care of the cat-like creation. And thanks to her, the helping to the world became easier and bigger. Toto could carry the dreams to the stars, Baron gave hope to the hopeless, Muta gave courage to the ones that wanted to gave up and Alouette helped retrieve the memories of those who forgot or wanted to forget.

Some months later, Haru gave birth to a healthy little girl, with hair the color of the apple and eyes like leaves. The girl came to the world like a sigh, with a smile on her tiny lips almost as she was born. She seemed to incarnate all what her mother had shown those last few minutes they had been together, during her teens. Hotaru, her father named the girl. Jane, Baron named her, tough no one would know the reason behind the name until some years after.

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Baron seemed to recuperate some of the shine of his eyes then and he would spend endless nights just watching the girl sleep, sometimes lulled by the voice of her mother. Toto spent with him the most of the nights, just watching him, his gaze soft and caring, full of love directed to both women.

-You will kill yourself that way- Toto had said him once, when Haru had turned the lights off, leaving the toddler the light of her nightlamp to sleep. Baron had closed his eyes for some seconds that seemed like the eternity and for a moment Toto became ready for the rebuke, but it never came.

-Second star to the right...- Baron mumbled and chuckled a little inside his closed fist, like a coughing fit -Maybe you are right... it's time I let her go, isn't it?- some sadness came over him again as he stood on the branch of the tree directly in front the child's window. -We are never going to fly together... there's no paradise waiting for us where she will stay Miss Haru forever. And just like Peter, I lost my Wendy to time...- it seemed like the little ramble wasn't mean for anyone to listen to it, so Toto stood silent until both of them knew it was time to go. Baron had spent all his tears in the flight, leaving only a trail of shining stars in the night and a flesh-like sleeping body behind.

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-Sanctuary!- the voice sounded strong and sure but frightened at the same time, but the most startling feature was the closeness of it. Toto came to life almost instantly, the scurrying of the other creations being one of the reasons, the other, the loud, crashing sounds coming from what only could be a human body.

-Are you alright?- he asked more for the sake of politeness than any other thing, landing at her side after flying off his pillar.

-Yeah... nothing's broken- the girl said with a smile after sitting up correctly tucking some strands for hair behind her ear so they wouldn't obstruct her vision -Thanks- she said and just then Toto knew who she was, without needing her to tell him so. Those eyes, the color of the leaves. That hair, the color of the apples and the shape of her eyes and body and face, just like her mother's. But he couldn't say anything to warn Baron. Nothing at all. The girl said everything by herself and, even tough she mentioned the death of her parents (the death of Haru), Baron seemed to take strenght from the vow Alouette and him had heard and, together, they had helped her defeat her demon.

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No time for mourning, no time for crying. Fighting was all they could do. All of them in the verge of death once and once again, but everything was worth when it came to it, because it didn't matter how much any of them suffered, when Toto almost lost his wings, when Muta almost fell to the ground from the claws of the gryphus, when Alouette almost got broken, when Baron was missing for half a day, it would never come near to what was the girl feeling, connected as she was to the ghost of her mother and the souls of the creations.

And finally, when the truth came to light and everyone was asked to make a sacrifice to save the whole world. Toto gave up the color of half of his feathers, turning white in the process. Alouette her gift for singing, Muta his strenght. Baron gave up his gift with languages and finally, Hotaru gave up the sight in one of her eyes. And the world that had been turned upside-down, turned the right way again.

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Her feet went to points, her arms up and down, all her body moving from side to side like bamboo on the wind, or maybe cat-tails... yes, cattails in the wind. Her fingers turned into sun beams for eternal just-past-midday. Her arms became the full moon, becoming thinner as the time passed. Swift movements made by sword, tender moments for an unforgettable waltz. Becoming small in fear, becoming bigger in courage. A king of cats, a white princess in a maid custom, a valiant prince with noble heart, a wise cat with a heart bigger than his stomach, he, himself, a stone crow always willing to help. And the love of her life: a cat with the body of a human, trying hard to help others help themselves.

This was a kind of creation nobody had seen before. Perhaps there was no other music than the soft humming of Christie song. A glowing, slender woman always moving to the rithm no one could hear, her edges dissapearing in the edge of the sight. Golden and silver, milk-coffee, amber. She was neither the teenager they had saved from herself, nor the woman of fourty-something that had been the mother of the girl giving life to an illusion. If anything, Toto remembered the last waltz between the lovers of an impossible love, as they danced through the raining petals in the day of the goodbyes.

Moonshine and sakura petals weaved in her hair as she danced the last steps, right into the arms of the waiting cat-man in front of her. No words were said, no movements were made as they enjoyed at last the final minutes of their life apart, the one that was about to become a life together, when they had found at last the paradise where they could be together despite the time, the space and the race.

-She is...- Alouette began, trailing off in awe at the creation that was at the same time the creator.

-A dancing creation?- Toto tried to joke full of happiness for his friend and for the girl who meant so much to everyone, but Alouette just shook her head.

-No... the impossible love becoming thruth- she said those words with reverence and Toto finally understood the words she had said that day, twenty years ago. The impossible love could never conquer destiny, nor distances, or time, or space... Baron could never save unnamed Louise, nor could stay with her. He couldn't be with Haru when she was human and he was just an inanimated object with a soul granted through wishes. Baron was the memory of his little time by Cielo's side and lost eternities.

But Haru... Haru was the blue rose. The true love raising above the sky itself to gain what was written in their hearts. Haru was the courage to go beyond expectations, to make differences and to gain the eternity. By waiting for her, Baron had gained the right to be with her. And as Toto understood, in Cielo's words, Haru was Baron's wings, to gain the sky and live in freedom, to love, to help and to fly. Haru, as a creation and not as a human, was Baron's half.

The sun was raising now, making the tears in Hotaru's cheeks shine like diamonds and Toto could heard Baron's deep laugh and Haru's giggles as he raised her in the air, spinning in joy, like not believing she was real. -Second star to the right, straight 'til the sunraise- he said with all the crammed emotions he had been keeping to himself since they had helped a young girl to discover herself.

-That's our Everafter- Haru answered and both of them glowed in joy as they said goodbye to the girl, who at last could see her mother with the one who brought light to her eyes and Toto returned to his column, calling it a day, with the sounds of excited chatter and joy from the creations, that had at last seen how a creation was born from dreams and hopes of beings with the soul of a child and the heart of an artist.

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Afternoon. Hotaru had a tendency to always came in afternoons right after her essays in the dancing school. She was slowly turning into a woman, very similar to her mother at that age. But against everything they would tought, Baron never tried to act like her father. After years he understood that wasn't his role. She was not his daughter and everything between them was a very warm and close friendship. Tough, that didn't help poor young Daniel when he came first into the refuge to know his mother-in-law. Nor it did help when years after the same poor Daniel came to ask for Hotaru's hand in marriage before asking Naoko for it. But it helped everyone to survive through the first son of the couple, the daughter, another son... their grandchildren, great-grandchildren... and finally, the loneliness.

There was always somebody else to help, tough. Time and space moved differently in the refuge than in the human world, and there were multitude of other worlds they could help too. Nothing could stop them to try and make the world a better place for everybody, using always the best of their talents to bring the best out of everyone.

Toto was never given the pleasure of watching fruit from the love of his friends, for Creations, even being living, flesh and breathing beings, could not share the joy of create. But he couldn't really ask for more in the world than their happiness of having each other in a forever than sounded far too short for them.

One day, his good wishes were compensated by the apparition of a magpie Creation, a beautiful piece of marble, a work of art, and though he knew it wouldn't ever be the same, both of them gave the opportunity to destiny to make everything right and in the patience of the teacher and the willingness to learn, both of them knew love.

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-There's something I've been wanting to ask you dear...- Baron began, one afternoon, while the rays of the dying sun filtered through Haru's body, giving her a golden tone.

-Yes...-she answered, trying to get him to continue.

-How did you make it?- he asked at last, overcoming his slight dizziness -how did you turn yourself into a Creation?-

-I thought of it when I was still a teenager- she answered, with a fleeting look of pain in her face -Not knowing what I wanted to do with my life... I only wished to find something worth of what had you done for me. I learned how to dance and I discovered I was quite good at it. I knew it was worth a shot if I ever wanted to be with you. So I spent most of my life creating that dance, in which I poured all my memories, my love for you, my love for my family, my daughter and all my hopes to go on living.- she said with a dazed look on her eyes, old gold in the twilight -I... I...- she stammered, lost in the emories of a finished life.

-Shhh, it's alright...- Baron went to sit by her side, enveloping her in a tender embrace -we are flying together and that's all that matters to me...-

-And to me...- Haru added, leaning her head into his chest, tears of pure joy falling down her face. They were together and that meant everything for them...

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Now... sorry for the very long wait! I know, I know... it's all my fault, but... argh! I haven't have internet connection in much more than a month and then I went to take care of a house and their dogs, fish, birds, chickens and cat (and I even finished paying for the dogs' food), then comes the work and repairing the stairs... well, it has been far too long and I had this written since almost a week after the last chapter. I know it sucks, but please, deal with me. Whatever mistake you think should be punished with death, fell free to tell me and I will correct it. Thanks a lot for reading and I hope to find you later on other stories. Oh, and for those whit me in spanish, I'll begin a series about cases in the Cat Bureau.

See you and thanks for everything. You are the best!