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A dream of magic
By Ken Hidaka


A Dream of Magic
by Team Bonet

For our dearest friend, Kukuri.

Part 1 The Dream Is Lost

He had been alright until he took that last turn at the fork dividing the road of trees. It all started to
get confusing after that. If had been lost before, he was in worse shape now. He stopped his
walking, trying to make sense of the way he wanted to go. Nothig but woods this way, and when he
looked in the other dirrection, nothing but woods met him as well. He sighed. He hated being lost. It
made him uneasy, and worst, he'd never find his way back in time for lunch.

He leaned against a huge tree, his hands over his chest. He was munching on his long braid again. He
always does that when he is mad. He closes his eyes. Man, I hope they didn't do any good food
today. It is always my luck that on such a time like this the cook chooses to do the best meal!
Man, I should've listened to my inner voice. It said, don't come this far out. Sonna. I never
ever listen to it. He streched his arms over his head making a face. No wonder I'm always in

The forest was nice. He liked playing in the woods all by himself. He was new here, and he was
always alone, but it was not that he didn't know anybody. The other children were scared of the
constant gun fire in the colony. This are bad times. Their mothers were so protective that they kept
them inside from all harm. Ofcourse, this meant that the kids rotted in their misery alone in their
rooms. Duo wanted them to come out and play with him like they used to in his previous home, but
nowadays it was only fools like him who ever came out of their homes. He smiled. Better a happy
fool than a bored fool. Still, he wished the fear his friends had would reside. He smiled. Someday,
someone will take on the power of the Federation and then the kids will return. He looked up at the
sun coming in from the tree tops. Someday.

He made another face. His stomach growled in pain. It was lunch time.Man!

Suddenly, he hears something. A soft moan. like a wounded animal. He straightens up looking
everywere. His sharp eyesight observing the trees's folliage for someone or anything else. He
reflectibly reaches for the black gun in his waist. He grins. Man, not now. I don't want to fight

He is about to part the bushes roughly and step in ready to attack whatever it is, when he hears the
moan again. He stops. It sounds like someone crying. He gasps as he parts the bushes softly.

Lying on the floor is a small little girl. Her long ahir made into two long braids that fall over her chest.
She is looking at the floor, staring at a turned over bucket that lies next to her. A white liquid is
running from it into the small river that lies behind her. Her hands cover her face. She sobs softly.
Duo lowers his gun almost ashamed that he had planed to jump out and point his gun at her. He puts
it back into his waist and pulls his black shirt from his pants. He pulls it over his waist so that the gun
and belt are hidden. He makes his way across the bush. The girl looks up, her braids bouncing at her
head's jerk. She gets up quickly as he comes out of the bushes. She stands back, her eyes wide, but
obviously showing no fear.

Duo frowns. She has taken a defensive step back running her hand on her nose. He can see her face
now. Though it is stained with tears, it is not scared. He raises his arms laughing. People always
greeted him like this. He really must make a sight.

"Oi," he said. He kept his hands in the air showing her that he is unarmed, and that he means no
harm. "I only came to see if you were alright!"

The girl looked at him quizically. She raised an eyebrow. Duo wondered what it was she found
weird about him. She crossed her arms over her chest.

"I'm alright," she said. She looked back to her buquet.

"Why are you crying?" Duo asked. He lowered his arms. He came closer to her. He smiled as he
noticed that she didn't draw back form him. He was looking at her face wondering who she was.
He'd never seen her before. He was pretty sure he knew everyone in the colony. He crossed his
arms over his chest al well. He made a face. Aw man, I hate it when I can't place someone.

"I am so mad," the girl said. "I was getting some milk for Oshiisan and look what I did! I spiled it all
over the grass. Now no one can drink from it." She made a face.

Duo looked at the white liquid. He raised an eyebrow. "Honto desuka?" he said. "It is a pity that the
buquet fell. It must have been too heavy for you to carry." He bent over to pick it up, setting it

"I wish it was some good reason like that for it to have spilled," the girl said. "The truth is that it is my
fault. I was jumping across these rocks in the river and I thought I could just...throw the buquet and
...make it land safely on the other end."

Duo bit his lip. He tried not to laugh. Nanda to? The thing would jsut land right side up on the
other end? He grinned widely.

"Oi," he said. "You tossed it..and expected be ok..?" He laughed outloud. It was too funny. He
couldn't help himself. She made a face. Her eyes glacing again with tears.

"Yamete!" she yelled. " I know it was dumb idea. That's why I was crying! You don't have to rub it
in so heartless."

The girl covered her face with her hands. She was about to cry again her shoulders shaking with her
sobs. Duo frowned. Man, I must sound and look like a jerk. He slapped his face comically. It
actually hurt. She looked at his weird action.

"Oi," Duo said. "I'm always saying and doing a lot of things I simply should not! Boy, no wonder i'm
always in trouble." His face began to blush horribly. He hoped the girl wouldn't laugh at him. Then
again, he dissurbed it.

The girl stopped crying, dropping her hands again. She raised an eyebrow. Duo looked so silly. She

Duo crossed his arms again. "Why don't you go back and get some more?" he said. "I'll help ya
carry it. After all i've said, at least I can make it up to you."

The girl shook her head. "Iie," she said. "I can't get anymore. I have no more money and the store is
far away. I should be back home. It is a dangerous city."

"Very brave of you to step out to get food," Duo said. He made a short bow, humoring her. He
smiled at his own bravery. "I got lost on this woodsy road." He patted his tummy. "I wont be getting
any food tonight. By the time I return, everyone else will have eaten it all!"

The girl laughed. "You got lost in this wood?" She laughed heartly. This wood was her home, how
can anyone get lost in such a place? She saw him blush purple. She laughed some more. Serves him

"Oi!" Duo yelled. "Enough! I wasn't looking at the roads, just at the trees." He bit his lip. "Besides, it
is so easy for me to get lost."

She smiled. "This is my home," she said. "I live by the water cave behind this glen. I never ever get
lost in these roads. You should concentrate on where you're going." She looked at the trees, at their
branches swinging in the soft breeze that picked up. "Even though, I don't blame you. It is easy to get
lost in them, specialy if you're looking at the trees. They are so beautiful"

He stared at the girl's face. A strange light had come over it. As of peace, and beauty. The trees no
doubt were talking to her soul. He smiled as she lost herself in the splendor of the branches, the wind
playing with the hair that came loose from the braids. He loked up at the branches himself smiling.
The evening sun had began to wash them in its redness, turning each leave a darker color. The red
making the green fiery. He took a deep breath. The girl picked her buquet. He looked at her. He felt
sorry for her. Like many others, she must be a victim to the Federation's malice.

"I'll get it for you," he said. She looked at him not understanding. "Tell me where you get it, and I'll
go there myself."

She smiled at his gesture of kindness. " I thought all the nice boys were gone."

Duo made a funny face as he bowed low. "Iie," he said. "Not all of them are gone. Not while i'm
here." He pointed behind himself, towards the other end of the woods. "Others are back there, but
they are such chickens that they refuse to come out." He frowned. "Danmed Fed patrol scares them
witless, ne?"

The girl lowered her eyes. "Hai," she said.

The young man stretched his arm at her. "Orewa Duo," he said grining. "Duo Maxwell."

The girl took his hand smiling back. "Orewa Kukuri," she said. Her eyes sparkling as she said her

Duo brought his arms over the back of his head. He let out a whistle. "Nice!" he said. "Now, we're
not strangers anymore, ne?" He reached quickly and grabbed her buquet. She gasped. He turned
around exitedly, his braid swinging at her face. She reached to stop him, but he had already jumped
on the rocks that lead to the market buquet in hand. She jumped after him.

"Oi," she yelled at him. "Matte-o! You don't know where you're going!"

He stopped adruptly. He turned his head back at her, his violet eyes shining softly. "I go where you
lead me, ne?" She landed next to him on the rock. The water in the small river washing on their feet.
They almost fell out of the rock, loosing their balance. Both of them could not be in the same rock at
the same time. They laughed at their unbalancing jerky movements. She grabbed on to his shirt and
he steadied her. She smiled.

"Oi, " he said. "Let's not get killed. We just met." He skipped to another rock. She followed him and
slowly moved her way before his skips. Taking the leader possiotion. She looked back at him, her
two braids swinging around her face. "Ikimatso, Duo san!"

He grinned widely, hoping after her until he was in the other side. He laughed catching up to her.
"Got to get something to eat while we're there, Kukuri san. Or I'll starve."

She laughed, him following her. Their voices echoing richly in the forest, as they descended down the
hill to the city market. The wind blowing their hair,and carrying their lovely laughter to the ears of the
frightened people that live near the river bank.

The wooden door opened softly to her gentle tug. The huge green leave that hung over it made it
difficult for ny else to open it, but this was her home. Kukuri looked behind her. Duo was staring at
the green moss that was growing over the wall of the house. Woven over the wood. Huge ferns
covered the porch. He smiled at the huge plants, looking at all the rich greenry. The trees
interweaved itno the house themsleves, almost as if the house were a tree house. Their roots dug
under the tiles of the floor making patterns. Huge butterflies flew inside the house and they landed on
some wild flowers that grew from the walls and from the floor. Duo stood breathless before her
door. Kukuri smiled as she set the buquet in the fire place.

"Come in, Duo san," she said. "Don't stay by the door like that."

Duo ran his hand over the back of his head. He walked inside careful not to step on the plants.
"Yatta!" he breathed. "This is wonderful."

Kukuri closed the door for him. He was lost again in the beauty of the place. She looked at his face.
His violet eyes sparkled. He found it hard to say a word. The tree branches entwined inside the
house, over at the roof, making small caves. Some came down at them, the endless green vines
hanging fromn them. Small tables lined the walls under the windows. They are full of books, and
charms, and candles. There is a small rocking chair by the fire place. A small staircase leads into
what he asumes are the sleeping rooms. Tiny chairs, line the many bookshelves. There are so many
books in them. All languages, all subjects. He almost falls instead of sitting in the chair she opens for

"Kukuri san, " he said looking at her. "This is amazing."

"It's home," she said. She took the buquet and spilled it into a huge wooden Tinaja. He walked over
to her side watching her get to work. He took the buquet to the place where he asumed they hung it
since it was an empty nail next to some hanging pots and brooms. He looked inside one of the huge
tinajas that lined the kitchen wall. He made a face. A viscous yellow liquid lay inside. He reached
inside with his finger taking some. He smiled as he tasted it. It is delicious. He reaches in for some
more. Kukuri smiled from over her place by the table. He was so funny. She'd have to stop him
before he eats all the fresh suger egg. She laughs as he peers inside some basket. He pulls his head
out gagging from the horrible smell. She smiles. No wonder he gets into so much trouble. He covers
the basket again.

"Are we alone here, Kukuri san?" he said. She shook her head. He looked at the stairs. Maybe her
Oshiisan is sleeping upstairs.

"Oshii sama is not home yet," she said. "He'l be here soon though." He was bent over a spinning
wheel with some weird balls on top. He smiled. "How come you keep these weird things here? Why
are there so may powders in those pots?"

Kukuri smiles. "Those are spell components. Magical herbs and powders. Insense and talks."

Duo crossed his eyes. Nanda to?!He raised an eyebrow, hitting a pendulum that lies on the table.

The girl smiles beating the milk in the tinaja with a long stick. She looks at her things with pride. "Hai,
" she said. "Magic!" She pulls some of the beat cream up with a huge spoon and licks it. She smiles.

Duo sits across her looking at her. He doesn't understand any of this. He smiles anyhow. Maybe
magic does exist. He used to belive it when he was younger. Why not? Mybe Kukuri san is a witch.
He looked at her his eyes slowly taking in her delicate features, her hair, her eyes, the look of
determination she had as she worked. He frowned. Kukuri doesn't look like a witch. He shrugs.

"The place were I live has probably already ate, " he said. "Those other kids probabaly stuffed
themselves on the best meal of the week. It's always my luck that the best food is served when i'm
not there." He let his face fall on his crossed arms on to of the table.

Kukuri laughed. "Bad luck, Duo," she said. "Yet, I'm sure your mama left some for you. She
probabaly hid it away in the cook pot so the other hungry kids can't eat it. It'll be there when you get

Duo smiled sadly. "I don't have a mother," he said. Kukuri looked at him sadly. "The cook doesn't
do that either." He smiled trying to ease the way she feels. No one can tell what their words will
cause. His violet eyes became darker as he looks at the plants by the window. "I'm an orphan."

She bowed her head. She didn't mean to hurt him. She fished some of her finished cream from the
tinaja. He was looking at the window. She bit her lip. She set the plate before him smiling bravely.
She poured the cream into it. He jerked his head out of his thoughts and stared at the thick cream.
He smiled. "Yata!"

"There you go," she said. She poured some on a plate for herself. "Some nice, home cooked, sweet
cream. Hope you like it." She pressed her lips tighly. He looked at it smiling. It looks nice. He
smiled widely taking the spoon that for some odd reason was suddenly by his plate, and began to
eat. She smiled warmly as he ate it all so fast. Her soul shone. She really like sit when people like her
food. Not many have ever tried it. He was swallowing it as if he really loved it.

"Man!" he said. "This is great!" He smiled at her. She smiled back. He pushed himself back from the
table. "You are wonderful, Kukuri san." She blushed fiercely. He laughed at her. For a moment both
of them sat there in silence, looking at each other. The wood wind blew in the rafters in the roof. He
was glad he had met her. She was such a nice girl, so lively and full of vigor. He was sure she had
menat no harm when she spoke of his mother. He frowned sudenly remembering that he needs to get
back home. Sonna?He got up from the table.

"Gomen nasai, it's time for me to be getting back home." She rose as well. She lead him to the door.
He stared at the wooden walls engraved with plants. Amazing. He'd never forget this. She opened
the door.

"Ne. Kukuri san," he said. "I was a bit lost back there when you found me." He looked down at his
feet blushing. "How do I get back to the west side of the city?"

Kukuri laughed. "Simple," she said. She left the door open, taking herself to one of the shelves. She
moved some books, some dusty candles, and some weird balls. She looked into a jar, then dug her
hand inside. Duo walked over to her looking at her comical expresion. He smiled.

"You have a map?" he asked.

"Iie," she said. "I have a Grish stone." Duo raised an eyebrow. He feared for this. He was hoping it
was a map. He stared at her quizically.

"Nanda?" he said. She pressed the stone into his palm. She smiled. "How is this going to take me

"Close your eyes and it will take you, Duo, " she said. He smirked. She frowned. "You have to
belive in it."

He walked to the door. It was getting too late. He was on his own, he guessed. He tried not to show
his dissapointment. he didn't want to hurt her feelings. She stared at him for long.

"Take care, Duo san," she said. He stepped outside looking at the stone. He made a face. He knew
it wouldn't work. He tried to smile at her, hoping that she doesn't pick up his look. She waved at

"Duo," she told him. "The stone will take you home and it will also bring you back here when you

He looked at her. She wanted him to return? He smiled.

"Hai!" he said. "I'll be back as soon as I can, Kukuri san."

"You sure will, " she said her hands on her hips. "You have to return the magical stone to me. It's
only borrowed."

He laughed. he couldn't help it. She was so funny. Maybe the danm thing was magic if she wanted it
to be. He smiled walking away from her house. She stayed by the door, the light pouring out on the
steps. He turned around to wave at her when he was a bit far. She waved back at him.

"Arigato, Kukuri san!"

He plunged into the woods ready for the long treck home. He was on his own and lost. I would take
him a long tiem to find the place by hinslef. He smiled as he shoved the stone in his pocket. Kukuri
san, magic is a myth.It will be along night.

For some strange reason that he would never understand, it had worked. He was too tired to give it
much thought as he landed in his bed, but the magic stone haddone its job. It didn't help him get any
food, the other children had eaten it all, but he was happy. He has slept smiling.

The morning woke him into terrible caos, though. All morning he has sat in the same chair, looking
outside the window. The Matron will not let the children go outside, not even him. But, today is not a
good day to go outside. It is a nightmare world what lies behind the door today.

Duo folded his arms behind his head groaning. He was tired of being inside the room. All the other
children are here as well. Some too frightened to come out of their beds. Some pretend not to care,
but get startled each time one of the heavy machines flies over the house. Duo wants to get out of
this room, but the Matron had advised that each child stay up there for their safety.

Duo frowned. The boy that sleeps in the bed next to his is crying again. Duo can see the fear inside
his eyes. There is little he can do, but he reaches a hand to the kid's shoulder.

"Oi, " he said. "It'll be OK, kid." He doesn't belive this himself, but the kid turns to him and smiles
wearily. Duo sighs.

"Are they leaving soon, Duo san?"

He can't tell. he tries to look cheerful, but he can see that the boy will not belive him. The huge
machines had been roaming the streets all morning. Soldiers had been going into houses, taking the
families outside, and searching the house. Inspecting the neighborhood. Pulling up their military
trucks, parading with their full uniform. Duo frowned. He wishes he knew why the Federation was
doing this. The kid gripped his hand.

The roof has started to shake again. The rafters above them violently moving under the engine power
of the machines. The kid whimpered. Duo bit his lip. he could feel the tension the other boys were
picking up. They left what they were doing, slowly hundling together next to their beds. Duo frowned
deeper. Federation, bakayaro.

His mind was going insane. Sounds from the outside came inside. He could see that teh other kids
could hear them as well. The shouts of the desconsolate mother, the whimpers of frigtened children,
the tanks, and fire arms. The clunking of the patrol's boats on the sidewalks. The sound of fear. How
he hated it.

Duo leaned his head sideways to look outside the window. He could see the houses just blocks
away being examined. The people lined against the walls. Yesterday the sky had been a lovely blue,
now it looked like rain. Pretty soon the clouds will give way to the gloomy down poor. And the
soldiers will be here.

They took their time.The grandfather clock in the downstairs living room rang softly. Noon. He
smiled grimly. He can hear the Matron walking downstairs in her study. passing from side to side like
a maddened woman. Her authority had made the servants remain in their rooms or in the kitchen.
None of the maids dare come outside. Instead they remain hundled together in groups talking hushly.
Duo can hear them. He wishes they'd stop. Their hushed talking is making the kids uneasy as it gets
combined with the noise outside. And they all know what they are speaking.

The kid buries himself in the covers. Duo pulls them up to his chin smiling softly. The kid's eyes are
reliving some past that Duo cannot comprehend. He sighs and turns away. They all are.

The soft clanking of the Matron's shoes grows louder as he reaches the bottom of the stairs. He
cannot take this anymore, to be inside his room. Duo's eyes narrow as he see the condition the
house is in.

Most of the living room furniture is covered by white sheets, the windows are blocked, the shelves
are empty. He can see the books and statues in boxes. He frowns. The house is almost ready for
war. Even if it is not here. He ran his fingers on the soft texture of the curtain in the window next to
the study. His finger ache as they touch its softness, his heart maddened.

"Child," He startled. The Matron stood behind him. "Stay insied your room. It's for your safety."

Duo turned around to face her, lowering his eyes. The Matron smiled grimly. She folded her arms in
her long robe.

"You can't, Duo?" She said. "You just can't stand this." She smiled again. Duo looked up at her.

"I wish I knew why, Mama," he said. He walked closer to her. She lead him inside her study away
from the window's view. He sat on one of her chairs, proping his feet on the arm rests. She sat
behind her desk her weary head falling softly to one side. He looked at her silently.

He face was worn and tired. She was wearing no make up, her hair messy in her usual bon. There
are dark circles in her eyes. Duo looked away from her. The tables are shaking again, the tea cups
on top of them clattering.

"I keep telling myself that this is just a show of power, Duo san."

Duo looked at her. He nodded. "I don't like it. They have no reason for doing this other than that."

The Matron clasped her hands. "You children must be so frigthened. I cannot imagine what the little
ones must be going through." She lowered her eyes. Duo bit his lip hard. He can see the faces of the
others. He shakes his head from those thoughts.

Duo watched the old lady lean back on her chair, tired from the stress. He sighed deeply. Even the
strongests wills can be broken. He crosses his arms in his chest and lowers his head over them,
pouting silently.

"They are teeling the families that they will return tonight to tell them about the results of the search,"
the Matron said. Duo lifted his head. "They will keep those poor people in that tension all day. What
is worse is, that if they find the places to be less than their licking, the families will be taken away."

Duo's eyes widened, his voice lost. The woman rubbed her forehead despretly. He was only half
listening to her now, his mind refusing to hear this. "If they find this house to be less than worthy,
they'll take us away," she was saying. "Where will they take you children?" She clasped her hands
before her on the table. her eyes glazed over with fear and worry.

"Nani?" Duo felt himself sink through the seat, his heart broken. Not again. To lose a family again.
He closed his eyes shut. He felt the stone Kukuri had given him in the back pocket of his pant. He
gasped. Kukuri, what will they do to you? Will you be taken from me? He bit his lip hoping she
was alright. Hoping this would go away.

He lifted his eyes regarding the Matron silently. She had closed her eyes wearily. She reached inside
one of the drawers in her desk. She took out a small black bottle drinking quietly from it. Her eyes
grew fiery staring ahead at some point that Duo could not see. He watched her silently as she drank
bitterly the liquor. She made a disgusted face, closing the bottle.

"I hate them," she said. "Federation scum. I hate them all."

Duo frowned. He felt his body growing numb, his legs stiffening. He buried his head on the seat's
arm rest. Its hard texture hurt his face. he felt like crying, but he swallowed his tears. The woman got
up from her desk. She came closer to him, standing over his small body.

"Hate them, Duo," she said. "Enough to kill them all for this that they are doing to us."

Duo drew his face away from the arm rest. He stared at her, his violet eyes dark with hatred. "I
already do, Mama."

The Matron put a hand on his shoulder. She smiled grimly. Duo rubbed his face looking at her
rugged hands, at her many green rings. he wanted to take her to bed so she could rest.

She ran a hand over his cheek. He smiled softly, his eyes brightening. The rain had started to fall. He
could hear it bang on the roof. She sighed listening to it as well. Her blue eyes sparkled again. Duo
caressed her hand softlyt. She smiled at him.

The Matron turned her head towards the door. Duo followed her gaze. The other children stood by
the door. The smallest one rubbed his eyes. She raised her brows in grief. Duo saw her leave his
side and go to them. She lifted the child. He buried his head on her robe.

Another one, about the age of Duo, came up to him. Duo smiled at him trying to ease his head. The
Matron brough the others close to the desk. The kids hundled together around her. Duo saw their
weary faces begin to glow. The Matron held them softly. The children smiled weakly.

"Minna," Duo said. He rose from his seat. "It'll all be OK."

He stretched his arms to enfold the others along the dress of their mother. Each held on to each
other around her. She bent down to hold them. They held on to each other fiercely, not wanting to
let go ever.
His sweat mingled with the rain. Hours. Hours leaning against this wall, afraid. He can hear the
frightened breathings of his friends. He wants to look back, but the soldier with then gun wont let
him. He looks sideways at the other children. He can sense the servants trying to help the children
remain calm. He closes his eyes. Hours.

The soldiers had gone through their things. The whole house was torn apart. They didn't leave room
they didn't search. The turned over every shelve, every seat. Looked on all the rooms. Went down
at the basement. Removed any boards that closed any closet. The took out their clothes, turned over
their beds. Even places that were of no offense were searched.

Duo hit his head to the wall. He is so tired of this. What are they searching for?

At last, the soldiers come out of the house. They gather together talking amongst themselves. Duo
can hear their boots in the wet floor walking to their trucks. The soldier lowers his gun letting them
relax. The servants gather the other children, helping them inside the house. They follow them dazed.
Duo remains behind a bit longer looking at the soldiers.

The soldiers get on their trucks, as if this was some school excursion, talking amongst themselves,
and head off slowly. The patrol leader calls the Matron aside. She frowns at his orders, but keeps
quiet. The officer turns from her rudely and gets on his military car. She stays standing rigidly, her lips
tight. The rain washing over her, her hair messed out from her neat bon.

Duo's hands clench by his side. The patrol is heading in Kukuri's home's dirrection. His chest begins
to hurt. Kukuri san...

Part 2 Show Me Your Magic

Night had fallen on the house like a dark veil of evil. No one wanted to talk about the coming of the
patrol, but each time Duo rolled over in his bed, someone was whispering about it. He cursed
silently, not knowing weather he hated the Federation or the servants, that couldn't relax, more.

The children were a bit calm now. They had settled into that state of mind where all is lost, but to
wait. They played absentmindedly with their toys in some corner of the room. Their eyes haunted.

The servants and the children had putten everything back on its place. The rooms looked normal
again, except the sadness and gloomy thoughts that hung in the atmosphere, on the walls. Enough to
make anyone mad.

Duo' s eyes flew open. The maid was crying again. Her whimpers traveled though the carpeted
rooms, loud in his ears. He'd have to get up, he'd have to say something to her, to make her stop.
Her whimpering was driving him crazy. He can see the other kid's are feeling this as well. He was
about to descend the stairs, when suddenly, the window latch flew open. He gasps, turning around.

The smallest child let out a cry. Duo held his breath. The curtains danced madly in the cold wind that
came in. Like wicked ghosts. The oldest boy went over to the window closing it forcefully. Duo
could see that he was afraid as well.

"Cursed night wind," the boy said. "I though it was them."

Duo's nails dug into his skin, hard. From downstairs, there came a knock on the front door.

Duo closed his eyes. The maid's wails became louder. This was it. The Fed Patrol had returned for
this house. Now, Duo would loose his home again. All of them would. It was not fair. He felt his
eyes water, but he shook his head. He wanted to see. He went down the stairs, not caring for the
small boy that called to him. He ran downstairs maddened by grief. he wanted to see the face of the
soldier that came to take his happyness away.

The matron had not opened the door yet. She was adjusting her hat, fidgeting nervously, wanting to
hold the inevitable for a bit longer. Duo looked at her, his anger making his violet eyes black. She
gasped, not knowing the turmoil the boy was in.

He opened the door.

Duo blinked. There was nobody there. The Matron stepped outside. Surely someone had knocked.
The soldier may be waiting for someone else. Duo frowned. He could see nothing.

Then, out of the grey darkness, there came a shape. A small moving person, coming closer. The
Matron drew Duo inside. She would face the soldier alone. He protested, showing her hand slightly
aside. He gasped as he saw the shape come into the light.

"Duo Maxwell..."

The boy blinked. The figure in the dark was wearing a hood over its face, its body draped in long
robes. The Matron raised an eyebrow, worried. The stranger removed its hood, her long braids
falling over her chest graciuosly.

"Kukuri san!"

The girl made a bow, her hair bouncing. She tapped the long stick in the wall, smiling. Duo rushed to
great her, pushing past the old woman. He embrased the little girl madly. Kukuri laughed as he
tackled her down.

"Who did you think I was, some soldier?" She smiled at him warmly. "The wicked soldiers are gone
away. They are asleep in their machines."

Duo put his hands on his hips. "They went to your house and trashed it, didn't they?" He showed her
inside. He blushed suddenly. The matron was giving him a very funny look. He cleared his throat,
tossing his long braid over his shoulder.

"Mama," he said. "This is Kukuri. She helped me get home the other day." The little girl bowed
graciously. The old woman smiled.

"Pleased to meet you, Kukuri" The girl smiled. She was taking in the room wis curious eyes. The
place appeared gloomy to her, unfit for children to live. Like a prison, but she shoved those thoughts
aside. This was a home to keep children off the streets, and maybe that's all it has to be. Not some
fancy hotel.

She removed her cloak, handing it to Duo. He put it on a rack. She was wearing the funniest
costume he'd ever seen beneath it. He almost laughed, but held himself. The Matron closed the door,
sighing. It had not been the Feds this time, but they could still come. She drew the children to the
living room. Kukuri looked at her with sad eyes as the old woman offered her a refreshment. Kukuri
accepted her offering, glad to see her off to the kitchen. Duo looked at her from the corner of his
eye. He can see the uneasyness the girl is going through. She turned towards him, smiling once more.

"She is so sad," Kukuri said. "Like an old tree with no hope."

"She can't help it, I guess," Duo said. "This house is always sad. It's walls are memories that reveal
terrible pasts. I want to break free from them, but it's the only home I have."

Kukuri banged her stick on the floor. He gasped, taken from his moody thoughts. She laughed
shaking her head. "Iie!" she said. "I've come to make you happy." He rubbed his head, blushing. He
smiled feeling stupid. He had been worried for her for no reason. She shoved a hand at his face. He
drew back surprised.

"The magic stone, Duo?" He laughed. She had come back for that thing? He reached into his back
pocket. She smiled as he gave it back. "It worked, didn't it? I told you, silly."

Duo surpressed a laugh. "Like a charm, Kukuri." She beamed happily. The truth was he never really
gave it much thought. He crossed his eyes. She laughed at his funny face.

A soft gasp threw him off his guard. The small kid coughed as he turned aroud to meet him. Duo
smiled as the kids stared at Kukuri with wide eyes. He beamed up proudly. The small child came
closer to the girl.

"Did they take your house and you came to live with us?" he said. "That's not a good idea, because
our home may be taken too. We're waiting for the soldiers to come."

Duo gagged. "Nanda to?!"

Kukuri laughed freely. "Honto?" she said between tears. She poked the kid's nose. "Baka, no one's
taking your home away. No one's taken mine either."

Duo nodded. He fixed the kid's a long stare. "Oi!" he said. "Minna, the soldier isn't coming. I think
we're gonna be fine." He smiled. "They'd be here if they were coming, ne?"

"No," Duo turned around to face the black maid. She was trembling, her eyes wide with fear. "They
can still come. Look outside and you'll see them a few blocks farther down, taking teh families."

Kukuri followed Duo to the window. The boy pulled the curtains away savagely. The houses had
their lights on, their occupants exiting, as the soldiers told them to. Duo bit his lip. Kukuri looked at
him, worried.

"Lord have mercy, " the black maid said. "They're taking those people away. Where are they taking
them?" Her voice trailed off. Duo gripped the curtains rougher. His mind was going insane.

Kukuri watched as his eyes became clouded with tears. She banged her stick hard on the floor. Duo
startled. The kids looked at her. Kukuri smiled at the maid. The woman closed her eyes.

"Minna," Kukuri said. "Kukuri is here to make you forget such sorrows." She swinged her stick
above their heads. Duo frowned at her. She laughed. "Just because those soldiers out there are
coming, it doesn't mean that it's the end of our world."

Duo gasped as her stick sweeped through the air, magical stars showering through them. She
laughed, letting the magic stick sweep though the air again. Silver shards sprikled over them. Duo
raised an eyebrow. Kukuri laughed.

"Goodness, child," the black woman said. "What is this?" She held out her palm to catch some of the
sprikles. "Magic?"

Kukuri smiled. "Magic!" She reached out to touch the maid's messy hair. On her head, much to her
surprise, there apeared a huge flowered hat. Blue and violet. The Negro laughed, tears flowing from
her eyes.

"How beautiful!" she said. "I always wanted a flowered hat." She reached up to touch the thing,
amazed at it's concreteness.

The children gasped. The drew closer to the maid their eyes huge, sparkilng with light.

"Nany?" They looked at Kukuri amazed at her trick. She smiled. Duo's mouth hanged open for quite
some time. He raised an eyebrow, puzzled by the trick. No way. Has to be some parlor trick. He
drew closer to her, looking hard at the stick. Something inside the thing must be spitting those stars.
But what? He can see nothing.

Kukuri laughed, sweeping her hands over them. "It's magic, minna san!" A shower of golden flowers
fell on the kids. The black maid yelped in glee. She reached foward to catch them. The kid's
laughed, trying to eat the raining golden shower. Duo crossed his arms, still not beliving it. He
crossed his eyes staring at a small golden flake landing on his nose. Dare desuka, Kukuri san?

Kukuri laughed as she ran through the room, the kids following her, swinging her arms. She
produced candy for them, each special, and a flavor none of them had ever had. Duo watcehd her
jump on the table, smiling down at them, as she made her stick into a colorful snake, then a hose,
then a cane, then a feather. Then, she stretched it out and it became a broom. Duo let out a stupid
laugh. He caught himself. The children were laughing uncontrolably. The maid was giggling liek a
child. Kukuri tossed the broom at Duo, who gasped and caught it ackwardly.

"You make it into anything you want, Duo chan," She smiled as he stared at the thing wide eyed. The
kids were looking at him. He shrugged, and held the thing up, his face red with embarracement. Of
course, the thing didn't become anything.

Kukuri laughed, landing next to him. "Here, let me show you." And Kukuri's magic took over them,
her eyes shinning beautifully, her smooth hands weaving illusions in the air. The maid felt her tears fall
unheaded, her heart touched by the beauty of her desings. The other servants came out of their
hiddings to look at the child. Kukuri, wrapped in her spells, didn't see them all too well. She moved
around the room, trailing a gift of flowers, and rainbows, of tiny golden elephants, and drops of rain.
Her fingers weaved dragons in the air, their flames enveloping the book shelves. Kukuri shone with a
strange light, that Duo could not get off his mind. Her eyes sparkling like suns, the gloomyness out
side reseding as she made figures in the air.

The pictures dissapeared into darkness adruptly, as the loud scream of a woman pierced the house.
Duo rushed to the window, followed by the children. Kukuri stood by him, looking back at the
servants who stayed behind.

"Stay away from the window," The Matron's hand shoved Duo back from the window, as she
closed the thing. Duo looked up at her, her eyes darkened. Kukuri put a hand on his shoulder, and
he turned to face her. She lowered her eyes slightly. He bowed his head understanding her silent
words. The Matron ushered the children away from the window, into the parlor. She frowned back
at Duo, as the protesting children wailed in fear. The servants helped her take them away. Once she
had ushered them away, letting the maids take care of them, she returned to the place where Duo
had not moved from. He was angry at her. Kukuri looked at him silently.

"I told you to stay in your room, young man," she said hotly. "What was all that nonsense about?"
She turned towards Kukuri, the child drawing away slightly. "Child, what in Heaven's name were
you doing? Have you any idea about the suffering going on outside?"

Duo opened his mouth to protest, but Kukuri talked before him. "There is enough pain outside to
have even more inside this home." She folded her arms over her chest. The Matron looked at her

"Are you one of those children that live in some fantasy world to save yourself from cruel reality?"

Duo gave her a furious look. Kukuri smiled with her eyes at him. She faced the Matron evenly. The
old woman let out a sigh.

"Don't you belive in magic?" Kukuri said. Duo looked away ashamed. He didn't belive that much
either. He looked at the old woman, searching for a sign that revealed her opinion.

"No," the old woman said. "Magic left this colony when the Federation's peaceful terms ended.
Young girls like you should not go about encouraging little children who have no real home about
magic. It is a dream, just like the end of this abuse is."

"Mama, " But Duo was cut off by The Matron's hands, as she ushered him and the young girl up the
stairs to the children's room.

"Stay there, kids," she said her voice dead and tired. "It is way past bedtime, and it doesn't look like
this night will ever end." She crossed herself, reverently closing her eyes making a prayer. The
sounds of footsoldiers outside mingled with her voice.

"Hai, Mama," Duo said, his head dropping sadly over his chest. Kukuri walked up the stairs before
him. She turned around, her braids hitting his face, and took his hand. He gasped, and slimed faitly.
He looked back downstairs where The Matron had turned away and returned to her study. Her
steps slow, her back hunched. Death walking side by side with her.

"Duo," Kukuri said. "Yamete." He looked at her. "I'll stay with you and make you feel better." He
smiled happy that atleast she was happy. It was getting hard for him to smile, as if something inside
was dying.

"Duo," she said. "You think this will ever come to an end?"

He had leaned back on his arms, looking at the ceiling. She looked down at him. He sighed. The
night had droned itself into endless pain. The household had gone to their rooms, and locked
themselves inside. The old woman had lockd the door, making the soldiers stay outside in her mind.
The world outside quieted down, but inside. Inside it was always dark.

"I used to belive it would be," Duo sighed. "I used to."

Kukuri swinged her legs outside the small window in the room they were in. They had sneaked up to
the highest room in the house, what was used as the attick, and sat there overlooking the city. None
of them had gotten any sleep, talking about nothing, and letting time pass by.

Kukuri put her face on her hands. Duo smiled softly. "Someday it might. When i'm too old to
remember." Kukuri laughed, her croaking sleepy voice echoing in the empty room.

"Someone has to stop those men," Duo said. Kukuri looked at him. His face was serious, dark. "I
keep hoping someone will rise up and protest."

"I wonder who that person will be," Kukuri said. She reached out to remove a small cobweb on the
window glass. Duo rose up, and stared down at the street. He frowned. The night rain had made
huge puddles where the Mobile Suits' huge legs had trampled. Hideously gapping at them.

"I would," he said. Kukuri closed her eyes, a soft smile on her lips. Duo laughed. "If I did it, it would
be one hell of a revolt."

Kukuri rested her head on his shoulder, her eyes staying on the street lights, their bright yellow
hurting her. "You'd have to be ready to die," she whispered.

Duo smiled grimly down at her, his eyes passionate. "I'd be vicious mercy," he said. "Always ready
to die, but i'd like to take as many of those monsters with me." Kukuri lowered her eyes, wishing his
melancholy would leave. Wanting to take it away.

Duo picked up a short stick that lay next to the window. He swung it slowly, pocking at the webs on
the window. "Kukuri, tell me how you did that magic."

Kukuri smiled, her eyes happy, glad that he had left such thoughs. "You have to belive in magic,
Duo. It really is easy. Just let your self go into that world where magic is real. Once there, you are
master of illusions."

Duo blushed. "I'm afraid I don't belive in magic, Kuki," he said. He leaned staring down at the city,
at the rain drizzling down the roofs. "The reality of this hell home has taken it from me. How can I
belive in such things if the world I live in is such missery?"

Kukuri tapped her magic stick on his bare feet softly, its coldness startling him. "Mo, Duo," she said.
"No one ever forgets magic."

"I'm an exception then," he said. She shook her head. His eyes grew wide as she leaned over closer
to him. Her face was closer now to his own. He wanted to draw away, scared of her, but the wall
was in the way. She smiled.

"Remember the magic, Duo Maxwell," And she kissed him. Softly, her lips like flowers on his. He
felt his face color. She drew away, blushing. He smiled like a sily boy, his long hair dropping over his
eyes. He swallowed hard, hoping she didn't see the way his hands shaked. Kukuri smiled, a small
chukle excaping her.

Duo laughed, his eyes almost pink in happyness. He hugged her. Small fragments of light, like
butterflies, began to circle in the air. They floated up from the dust on the floor, colored sparkles.
Duo smiled, as Kukuri hugged him tighter. The sparkles glowed pink and yellow, almost white. They
danced on the window, floating of into the street. Duo watched as they flew over the roof, over the
fence, over the Mobile Suit puddles. He smiled, glad to be alive.

"We'd be two," Kukuri said, playing with his braid. He laughed softly, the echoe hitting the walls
softly. "Two young heroes for the colony." Duo looked at her.

She looked out into the streets, away at the distance where the colony's dome ceiling rose to encircle
itself. "Two crazy heroes," Duo said.

"I'll stand by you, Duo Maxwell," Kukuri said. "I'll fight along with you against them. We will put
their injustice to an end." She brushed the end of his braid on her face, smiling.

Duo smiled widely, his hands wrapped behind his head, his legs hanging from the window. "That
would be a lot of fun," he said. Kukuri dangled her feet next to his, hitting hers with his playfully. In
silence, both children watched the dark sky dome.

He skipped from the green shore to the stone pathway across the river. The water made his feet
slide, but he caught himself. He was sure that he remembered the way to her house.

He gripped the small box in his hands tighter. Wouldn't want a wet gift. It was small, but he hoped
that she'd like it as the symbol of their true friendship. He smiled as he ran up the hill of trees, headed
for her house.

The soldiers had not come. Dawn had met the house in silence and had given it new hope. Kukuri
had gone home when her guardian came to pick her at 3:00am. She was happy to go, knowing the
house was safe. Duo shook her hand, telling her he'd go visit tomorrow.

Early in the morning, The Matron had removed all the white sheets from the seats, and had returned
the statues to their places. The servants made the house look new. It was safe now. Sure, their
minds were ready for the next time the soldiers came. There will always be a next time.

Duo rested his hand on a tree. Things will change soon.

He gasped. Something had happened to Kukuri's house. He frowned as he came closer to it.

The outside looked burnt, the walls torn by flames. Dead trees hung from the ceiling, their huge
branches hollow. Smoky wind wrestled in the trees, the door fallen on its hinges. It swung from side
to side, sadly.

Duo ran inside, his mind in pain. The floor crakled under his boots. He breathed harder, his eyes
wide with fear. The house was burnt terribly, each leave dead, each wooden wall black.


No one answered. He came closer to the stairs. "Kukuri!" the house echoed his call. The walls
shook with the stress of his cry. Duo ran outside again, his face torn. He looked about the place.
There were no tracks, no things that anyone had been there, or left.

He felt his eyes water, his mind screaming softly. Where is she? Did the soldiers take her away?
Why? He sunk to his knees, small tears falling over his hands.

"Why?!" He was screaming like a lost child, alone and scared. His voice broken with grief, his hands
clawing the earth. "Where are you, Kuki?!"

The forest trees swayed in the wind. No answer. The house stood silent behind him.

The soldiers had taken her and her family. They had made her go, after saying that her house was
not to their liking. The Fed Patrol had been searching for rebels, for enemies to the regime, and they
had found them.

Duo banged his fists on the floor. Not Kuki. Why her? Not Kuki.

He felt his chest explote, his breath gone. His tears fell down to the floor, his face flushed horribly.
He tasted blood on his lips, where he had biten them.

Why? Why was the Lord punishing him like this? He had wanted a friend so bad, a family, a home.
He had wanted to be happy, and she had made him remember. He had remembered the magic. Duo
sobbed, the trees swaying over him.

He stopped sudenly. Someone had spoken.


He turned his head looking for the source of the voice. He saw no one. He got to his feet, rubbing
his nose and his tears away.

He gasped, as he saw her.

She was by the tree, her long braided hair flowing in the breeze. She was smiling, her dress flowing.
Duo walked over, his mind still hurting. She smiled. There was a strange light around her, a green

"Kukuri," He looked at her sadly. "You have to go, don't you?"

Kukuri smiled sadly. He was now standing next to her. She took his hands. "Duo," she said. "My
destiny calls me."

Duo grasped her hands rougher. "Please, don't go, Kuki. I am alone here without a father or mother.
Without friends.Don't you leave me too."

Kukuri shook her head. "Where I go you cannot follow." He groaned. She pointed to the sky.
"Listen to what my magic stones told me,Duo. Beyond that dome, there lies a world where your own
destiny awaits."

Duo looked up at the sky. He was crying again. She smiled, her eyes lovely. "Your home and your
best friends are out there. You'll meet them, when the time comes."

Duo raised an eyebrow. He didn't understand her words. "Kukuri, what are you saying?"

"Trust in me, Duo." she said. "In the prophesy I have told you. Belive in it, like you belive in magic.
There will come a time when you will understand."

Duo nodded. She hugged him, holding him for a long time, not wanting to let go. A soft sob excaped
him as she drew away. No, don't go

Kukuri smiled, brushing the tears away. She took the box from his hands. "Yatta! For me, Duo?"

He smiled, his red face cringing with his smile. She tore open the cheap, childish wrap. Her face
lighted up. She held up the small collar, the green stones shining in the sun.

"Don't forget me, Kukuri," he said. She pressed it to her face, her tears washing the green stones.

"I will always be with you, Duo. Just like you will be with me, both of us fighting for what we belive."

Duo smiled, the trees sang in the wild breeze. "Kukuri, I-"

She stopped him with a soft kiss. He smiled at her, her lovely eyes shining in the sun, with the stones.
His violet eyes pink. He tasted his tears slided into his smiling lips. Her shape dissapeared into green

Duo leaned his back on the tree she had been next to, his eyes staring beyond the sky dome. He
smiled, his heart aching. His smile widened as small green and pink sparkles fell from the sky, landing
on the grass, on the field before him.


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