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Coming Home

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Hanakoganei Hibari switched off the television, cutting short the broadcast of the New Year's festivities, which were even livelier and more joyful than usual. This year was a very special year-it would mark a decade of world peace. Ten years ago, the last treaty had been signed, and peace had been declared everywhere. Since then, all of the treaties had been upheld and minor disputes settled before any fighting broke out.

This year would also be the hundredth year since Crane descended to the city of Akihabara in Metatron-not that anyone really remembered anymore. Almost everyone who had actually witnessed the event was now dead...including her four closest friends, the other Anima Mundi.

She settled back into her chair with a contented sigh, closing her eyes and letting a small smile curve her lips.

I was right. she thought. You see, my prince, I told you to believe in us.

Indeed you did, my Anima Mundi.

Hibari started in surprise, opening her eyes with a gasp at the familiar voice.

Then she stopped, stunned, as she took in her surroundings. She was standing at the bottom of a hill, the hill that she had seen in her dreams so long ago. And there was Crane, standing by the tree at the top, still looking as young as he had a hundred years ago. Glancing down at herself, she saw with astonishment that she was thirteen again, dressed in her old school uniform.

As the shock wore off, she launched herself up the hill, running full tilt towards Crane. When she reached the top, she flung her arms around him and started talking breathlessly.

"Oh, my prince, I was right! I told you that we could do it! I told you!"

"Yes, you did. I no longer had faith in the human race, but you convinced me to wait." Crane replied, smiling. "And now, my Anima Mundi, welcome home."

Four shadows appeared beside the tree, then solidified into the forms of Hibari's four friends. As she caught her breath in wonder, a familiar shape dropped onto her
shoulder.

"Piii!"

Welcome home.