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The man was 10 minutes early, yet she was already there. Ever the Cat, dark, petite, an athletic, feline gracefulness about her. She lived -- he knew that much – in a world far removed from his own. That he even knew her was by grace of Good Fortune, and he knew you could never ask too much from Fortune, who had a nasty habit of turning Her back on you. The Cat was attractive, to say the least, and he felt inexorably drawn to her… But Fortune would only dole out that much, and he was contented, and resolved, as he had a thousand times before, to allow affairs to stay that way.

The Cat looked up from her book, and gave a thin smile. She looked just like she did when he first met her those four long years ago. Leaning against a wall, she projected an influence small enough to evade notice by the thronging masses, yet massive enough to engulf him. He greeted her, and she did the same, hurriedly stuffing her book into a large backpack dangling over her right shoulder. Her hair was swept back, tied in a ponytail, which jiggled merrily in rhythm to her gait, brushing ever so often against the back of the tiny blue tee which defined her miniature frame.

Seconds later they were in the open… where dusk was winning its daily battle. He noted with concern a small mass of dark clouds huddled in the sky, right where you could spot them if you craned your neck just right. She didn’t seem to notice, moving on purposefully, cutting through space with swiftness apparent to none but him. A cool evening breeze swept through the area, its wispy fingers playing merry hell with his carefully parted hair, frolicking with the trees, dancing with their leaves. He would see the Conductor soon, he supposed… but only the Cat knew where, and they plodded on, engaging in cheery conversation.

The door of the Conductor was shut tight, and the two of them stood without for a considerable amount of time… each daring the other to call. The Cat gave in, and reached for the bell. With the depression of the tiny button beneath her fingertips, the Music began to play.

It was sweet Music. Music of the past, bittersweet memories defined its melody, its rhythm, its tempo. It was Music composed by Fate, taking shape, filling space, echoing through the long dark passages of Time, awakening memories long forgotten. The Conductor opened the door, and as the Music flooded out into the darkening world, they began to dance.

Oh how they danced! They twirled and spun and pirouetted the whole long night through. She, moving with her trademarked grace, and He, stumbling along behind her, swept up in the current that brought them back in time. The Conductor waved his wand again, and the Music rose to a new crescendo. He shut his eyes, allowing his mind to roam. It rushed back through the years. Memories stirred, and they joined in the dance. The Cat saw that, and she laughed. The Conductor was happy too, and he joined in the dance. It soon became apparent that the Conductor was the best dancer of them all, leaping with such vigour and speed even the Cat struggled to keep up. And as they spun, the Music grew louder.

Through the rise and fall of the Tune, the man noticed the Conductor, unlike the Cat, had changed through the years. The Conductor was weary, and had grown wiser since the man last saw him, yet this didn’t detract from his ability to conduct the Music, which enchanted all present.

The hours flew by, and the night was ending as the entire party stepped once again into the cool twilight air. The Conductor bade them farewell, and good luck. The dancing was over, yet the man could still hear strains of the Music echoing in his mind. They bounced around, screaming for an exit, but there was none. He doubted he would hear the last of it anytime soon.

They parted company shortly after. The Conductor went off looking for more tunes to direct, and the Cat slunk off into the night.

The man went straight home, taking with him a piece of the Music stolen from the night the three of them danced.

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