Knowing Each Other:

Naoko noticed something rather unsettling their whole work home. Pandora wouldn't look at him ever since he bailed her out of jail. He expected her to thank right away, but he could at least look happy about being out of jail. The mouse boy pressed his lips together. Better improve this awkward walk.

"Hey, you hungry?" he asked. Pandora didn't speak. Naoko shuffled his feet for a long moment.

"Are you okay?" he asked. Still no answer. The mouse boy slowly frowned. Okay, this is going nowhere..., he thought. Now what do I do?

"Why do you care?" she asked. Naoko glanced up at her.

"I'm sorry?" he asked. The kitty girl glance up with spite in her eyes.

"What made you go and bail me?" she asked. Naoko blinked at her, blankly.

"Uh... I care about you," he said. Pandora snorted.

"Liar," she hissed. Her owner frowned at her.

"Why do you say that?" Naoko asked. His doll glared at him.

"You probably want something from me in return, don't you?" she asked. Her own looked even more lost than ever.

"Of course not!" he said.

"Liar!" Pandora snapped again. Naoko still frowned at her.

"Why do you keep saying?" he asked. "I don't understand you at all. Why do you keep being so mean to me when I do nice things for you?" Pandora frowned and folded her arms across her chest. The street around them had yet to come to life. The stores to the right and left of them hadn't even opened yet. Pandora stamped her foot.

"It's always the same," she complained. "As soon as you men do something nice for me, you expect something from me in return and try to change me!"

"That's not true," Naoko protested. "I'm not like that."

"Then why are you doing this?" she asked. Naoko shrugged at her.

"Because I care about you," he said. Pandora all but laughed at his answer.

"You care about me?" she asked.

"Yes," the mouse boy said, nodding.

"But you don't even know me!" Pandora barked.

"Then let me get to know you!" the mouse insisted. The cat gave him a strange look.

"You want to get to know me?" she asked. Naoko nodded at her. Pandora snorted at him again.

"Is that right?" she asked.

"Please?" the mouse boy pleaded. His cat sighed.

"Fine," she groaned aloud. "I loved somebody like you once." Naoko looked at her in silence at first.

"Pandora..." he murmured. She held up her hand to stop him in his tracks.

"Shut up," she cut in. "Shut up and just listen me." The mouse drew his mouth closed.

"Thank you," the cat replied. She looked at him for a long moment. "In fact," she said. "This boy I loved was kind of like you in a way. Nice, idealistic, kind of cute in a strange way, plus he treated me like a person. We were set to marry when we came of age." She paused before bringing up the part that really hurt her more than anything.

"Did... something happen to him?" Naoko asked.

"His mother died," Pandora broke down saying. "He became depressed after that. Nothing I did cheered him up. In the end, he overdosed on sleeping pills while I was picking up lunch for us both and died." She clenched her fists.

"That's why I have to end this system!" she cried. "He didn't deserve to die like that!" Naoko took a step forward.

"I wish I had someone to fight like that," he said. "I had no one until I met you." Pandora looked up at him oddly.

"Nobody?" she asked. The mouse boy shook his head. The kitty narrowed her eyes at him.

"You're not just saying that to make me feel bad for you, are you?" she challenged.

"I'm not lying," he insisted. "I had nothing before I came here. No home, no family, no friends. I just wondered around from city to city." He grabbed her by the hands. "But then, I met you." The kitty raised an eyebrow at him.

"When you met me?" she asked. The mouse boy nodded at her.

"I really want us to get to know each other better," he added. Pandora blinked at him.

"Okay... why?" she asked.

"Please?" Naoko asked. Pandora drew her mouth closed. Suddenly, this guy kept confusing her in new ways that only her heart knew the answer to. The puzzle would only get more complicated as the days wore on to the end of the "Neo-Golden Age."