Fandom: "The Cat Return" (a Studio Ghibli film)
Pairing: Haru Yoshioka x Baron Humbert von Gikkingen
Theme Set: Beta
Title: Hard on the Knees
Notes: The ups and downs of an unconventional relationship.
While strolling through the human city, Haru likes to point out all of her favorite restaurants; Baron's weight a comfortable presence on her shoulder.
Dancing lessons were more than just an excuse to visit often.
The Cat Bureau had a knack for making wishes come true, which explained why Haru shrunk every time she entered the little, green house; shimmying through the door way every week was getting tiring.
Oddly, catnip did nothing for Baron (much to Haru's disappointment).
Despite being a cat figurine with a soul, Baron was well aware of the dangers in the human world and felt an odd pressure in his chest every time Haru left for her home.
A well-rounded gentleman is always endowed with a healthy sense of humor.
Sitting at the Cat King's side (with new ears, nose, and paws), Haru silently wished that the Cat Kingdom would look more desolate; then it wouldn't be so hard to hate this place, and lose her self in the process.
Baron considered himself a gentleman of refined tastes; while rum could be nice on occasion, nothing beat the soothing tart of red wine (or the fruit of Haru's humble laugh).
Not a violent cat by nature, Baron did not hesitate to handle a sword--or cane--to ensure the safety of his human female.
Haru had enough proposals to last two lifetimes.
According to Toto, a creaton's birthday is the day that he or she recieves his or her name; so in celebration, Haru went to the local jeweler that specialized in writing names on small grains of rice (she had to pay a little extra to get 'Baron Humbert von Gikkingen' on the small surface).
Baron, who was not accustomed to recieving presents, blushed for the first time in his life; thank goodness for fur.
As Haru helped her mother pick out fabric for her latest quilting project, she found herself caressing the soothing oranges and tans of cotton patterns.
Neither Baron nor Haru were able to explain the intense burning under their skin, when she lept gratefully into his arms.
Holding the figurine to her cheek, Haru waited for him to wake up and come back to life again.
When Haru realized that it was love, the absurdity of the situation broke her.
Muta wasn't past believing in anything beyond his stomach, but watching Baron fly up the tower with that little chicky in his arms seemed right, even to him.
"Haru, get your head out of the clouds and help me clean this blackboard."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah; Tsuge is waiting, right?"
The balcony in the Cat Bureau is Toto's favorite place to spy on the lovebirds . . . and taunt one particular fat cat.
Haru didn't know what was the burden of their fairytale: his existence as a figurine or her responcibilities as a human.
As the rest of the class finished with their quiz, Machida leaned back in his chair to glance at Haru, only to find her scap paper filled with doodles of cats.
Toto loved taunting Muta; Muta loved insulting Toto; Baron was a closet baker; and Haru liked braiding the thin tassels adorning the Bureau's couch pillows.
"What would you have done if we didn't make it out in time?"
Meaningful silences between the girl and her gentleman are always accompanied with Toto and Muta's background noise.
Prince Lune knew, as he watched Haru and Baron fight for freedom--for eachother--that he would never give up in his own fight for Yuki.
Baron would never forget the fearexhilaration of leaping from the tower and freefalling into the city scape, hand-in-hand with her.
Baron agreed with Haru whole-heartedly: the Cat King was indeed a ridiculous fellow.
Ever second Friday, Haru snuck her three heroes into her room to watch movies of war, glory, jesters, and knights in shining armor.
As a joke, Naoko bought a pair of promise rings for her daughter; Haru spent the rest of the week toiling in embarassment, wondering how to present one to Baron without seeming too forward.
Baron couldn't not think about her whenever his special blend of tea came out just right (just like it did then).
"Soooo, tell me, Haru: who is he?"
Before Haru fell into their lives, Baron never found any particular reason to leave the Cat Bureau, or to emerge from his figurine state.
There were days when Haru wished that she could get over her ridiculous crush and get an actual boyfriend that she could hold hands with in public.
It didn't surprise Haru at all to discover that Baron was well-versed in using a violin (seeing him expertly pluck at an electric guitar was a different matter entirely).
Muta snorted, "Of course, Baron; it makes purr-fect sense."
Some days, Haru hated herself for being human: on others, she hated him for being a foot-tall cat figurine.
Haru takes mental notes while listening to Baron talk to himself as he makes a new blend of tea.
Everytime Haru visits the Bureau, Baron takes full advantage of the female's smaller size in the slyest (and most courteous) ways possible: reaching for the plates in the top cupboard, brushing any stray leaves from the top of her head, holding her a little closer than necessary as they danced, and cradling himself around her if she ever fell asleep.
Despite odds, their attraction made sense: he didn't belong in Cat Kingdom and she didn't feel at home in her own world.
For someone who almost never left the city, Baron was an exceptional geography tutor.
Haru hates the color gray.
After a long day of helping lost souls and keeping Muta in line, Baron likes to explore bright memories to search for the precise moment when Haru became more than just another human girl.
Once Baron finally replaced his cane, Haru asked to have it (it stays on a thin chain around her neck).
Would Baron feel as comfortable in human size as Haru is when she shrinks to his?
There are no illusions of their relationship lasting for an eternity, so they make due with what the have (and pray that time be merciful).
Baron would never accuse Haru of being any kind of helpless damsel-in-distress.
Haru would never accuse Baron of being anything but a virtuous gentleman.
It's always been an uphill struggle: they realized this the moment they faced the Cat King's daunting maze.
Falling always hurts, but they learn to grit their teeth and get back up: hand in hand.