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A Caravan Kidd story
by Brian Randall

Disclaimer: Mian, Wataru, and the rest of the cast and setting of Caravan Kidd are property of Dark horse Comics, and Studio Proteus in the U.S., and Studio Katsudon, and Johji Manabe in Japan. I am using them without permission, with the sad knowledge that my work will never parallel theirs.

I wonder if there are any other Caravan Kidd fanfics out there…

      He was a nice guy. He was always a nice guy, even though he tried to act mean. At his worst, he was always at least decent. Even when I was helpless after all I did to him… Sometimes I wonder what things would have been like had I been kinder when… I had the chance.

      But I don't want to think about that, now. We had fun times, despite everything that happened. Even if he was silly, and his little Akogi friend was a pain.

      But in the end, Wataru saved me. Saved me from Shion, saved me from her machines… and most importantly… saved me from myself.

      It was he who showed me, more than Shion's dying words ever could… He showed me that I could defy fate, and make my own destiny. I could be free… I could be free to do what I wished.

      To make my own decisions, to make my own choices… it was more than the ability to choose to forget about things for one night and get drunk with the man I… I… It was more than that. It was the ability to… return that love.

      But I was too busy folding space, with Wataru hanging on to me while nearly a dozen Akogi floated nearby… but they weren't important. He was. And I knew there wasn't going to be much more time.

      I made my choice then. Because my heart, or whatever I have for a heart, already decided for me. I love Wataru… I knew it then, and I had loved him since longer than I could remember, though I did not know the moment it happened. It had, though, and I needed to let him know that…

      I gave him a parting kiss, and made a promise. If I ever found him again, if somehow, I ever got a second chance, no matter how much I forgot… I was going to fall in love with him again. Wataru… wait for me, and when you find me, remember to invite me back!

      Please, Wataru! Don't forget…

      "Mian? Mian? You okay?"

      The girl sat up from her nap slowly, running a hand through her hair and struggling to remember the swiftly fading dream. How many days had it been since she had joined Wataru and his little friend Babo in Ekoda?

      She frowned, head feeling muzzy with the heady rush of memories, and glanced around the thick woods that surrounded their clearing. What was it about that kid, crouched as he was near her, his eyes carrying a hint of worry and joy mingled in together, creating a uniquely warm glow that… resonated with her so? "Yeah," she said, uncomfortable at the constriction she felt in her chest. "Where's Babo?"

      Wataru rolled his eyes, turning away from Mian to tend the cook-pot. "Ah… he's… off," he said, an annoyed look playing about his eyes, tinged slightly with amusement.

      Mian knew what that answer meant. Swindling, most likely. Selling some useless trinket or another off, and generally making a nuisance of himself. In the meantime, it was just her and Wataru… but then, why did that make her feel so… odd?

      Shaking his head, Wataru stood, and stretched briefly before ambling over to a tree opposite the clearing from Mian, and reclining against it. "He'll be back in a bit, I'm sure." His voice held the smallest hint of loss, nearly hidden, but Mian's ears picked it out of the air anyway.

      Climbing to her own feet, Mian's red tail swished once in agitation, then she trod over and crouched near Wataru. "Hey," she said, voice terse.

      He sighed, both arms folded behind his head, and cracked open one eye. "Yeah?"

      Frowning, she eyed the large sword that Wataru had insisted was hers. "That sword," she said, a slight note of confusion creeping into her voice, "is not mine. And if it was, I don't need it anymore."

      A hint of pain shone in Wataru's gaze, and was quickly hidden as he nodded, closing his eyes. "Okay. I understand. You can ask Babo to sell it, when he comes back." This time, the note of hurt and loss would have been missed, had she not been listening for it.

      She nodded, studying his face, while he continued to pretend to nap. "Nah… I think you should keep it. Seems important to ya, ya know?"

      He made a noncommittal grunt in response.

      Her frown deepened. What was it about this boy? At first he was cute, and nice, and… more than a little nave. And he had stopped his 'I love you' speeches when she hadn't reacted beyond telling him that she thought it was cute…

      Cocking her head to one side, her tail swished again in agitation as she considered. But there was still that annoying nagging sensation that she knew him from somewhere before, and the dreams that she was with someone… just like him… who had saved her from something. Was that it?

      Was Wataru the one who had saved her? Had she needed to be saved from something?

      Quietly sighing, she wished -- not for the first time -- that she knew what was going on. She didn't think that she was the girl from Wataru's stories of her, the one who had battled with Shion. And the girl he had been in love with… True, she had the same name… and true, she looked identical… But she didn't remember doing what Wataru said she had.

      She did believe that Wataru was there, though. Something about him said that was the truth, at least. That meant that he had the guts to face down the empress, along with whoever his girlfriend was.

      "Hey," she said, prodding him in the ribs.

      He started, moving his hands downwards to deflect further poking fingers. Mian made her move, leaning swiftly forward, and planting a firm kiss on his mouth as he opened it to complain. Further protests were silenced as his arms slowly found their way around her.

      Breaking off the kiss, she looked at the flustered boy sprawled beneath the tree, loosely hugging her. "You know," she remarked. "I think I could get to like you." With that, she bounded to her feet and strode away, effortlessly slipping from his grasp and wondering at what had compelled her to do such a thing.

      Sighing as she reached the opposite end of the clearing, she whispered, "Am I falling for him?" She smiled at the thought, turning to look at the still flustered and faintly blushing Wataru. "I could certainly do worse…"


Author's notes:

Writers block… I wrote this because the Wind Called Amnesia fic just wasn't coming to me. I don't know that it's any good, though…

Certainly catering to a real niche today, hmm? Heh… oh, well.

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