Music-Box Angel 5...  C&C is welcomed with open arms!  If you read,
please send me a comment or two.  E-mail me at

For the sake of convenience in this text format, the two Maries 
are known under different spellings.  Hiroshi's creation is known 
as Marie, while the human version is known as Mari.

Thoughts of the various characters are encased in [brackets].
Computer conversations are encased /like so/.
Words that are supposed to be crossed out (but would still be 
readable) are noted -thusly-.

NOTE: This text was produced without the consent of the original 
copyright holders, and, while it is intended as tribute, in some 
areas it is considered an illegal work.

OUR STORY SO FAR:  So, you're the type who walks in just before 
the ending credits and asks the guy next to you to fill you in, 
eh?  Well you can fergetit, bub, 'cause this story's almost over.  
For now, that is.  Go and read Episodes 1-4.  You'll 
love it, trust me! (grin)

------------     --------     ------     --------     ------------

                          *     *     *

                    B O K U   N O   M A R I E
                         Music-Box Angel
               Episode Five: Nous Sommes Du Soliel

     The anime (c) 1996 Sakura Takeuchi/Goro Sanyo/Shueisha/
               Victor Entertainment/Studio Pierrot.
          Licensed by Victor Entertainment, Inc., Japan.
            Released in North America by A.D.V.  Films
                 under the title "My Dear Marie."
 For more information, contact A.D.V.  Films at: 

     Boku No Marie: Music-Box Angel (c) 1998 Matthew Johnston.
                       All Rights Reserved.

                          *     *     *

Sunday, 10:07 AM.

     Hiroshi awoke suddenly, his head throbbing with sleep-
depravation and dehydration.  He squinted and groped for his 
glasses, which, upon finding, he placed carefully on his head.  
Every action to him seemed overpowered, as if he was a titan 
moving in a Lilliputian environment.
     After a moment of blinking the sleep from his brain, he 
managed to sit up and cough weakly.  He wondered if maybe he was 
getting sick, and then thought that he should be surprised if he 
was, given the energy he exerted last night.
     As the events of last night separated themselves from that 
area of memory that could have been dream, remaining when the last 
threads of dream had faded, Hiroshi reached into his desk, found 
his worn notebook and a familiar pen, and wrote:

Sunday, 1998-04-17.

Early this morning, Mari and I talked for quite a long while.  The 
details of the conversations are still blurry, as I am just now 
awakening from a short sleep.  As this is more a record of Marie's 
performance than any sort of personal diary, I will skip those 
details for now.  Sufficed to say, Marie's secret is known now to 
another person: Mari.

Mari promised me she wouldn't tell anybody what Marie was, and 
that she had a plan to keep Tanaka from remembering that he too 
had seen Marie in her vulnerable state as an android, and not as 
the human sister which is, quite obviously, the state I'd prefer 
everybody to see her in.

Late Saturday night, I placed Marie in a perpetual sleep mode, 
thinking that perhaps her self-knowledge and access privileges 
would allow her both the realization of her situation and the 
opportunity to correct it.  Thinking there was little if nothing 
else I could do, I proceeded upstairs, where I engaged in a 
lengthy conversation with Mari.

After the conversation, we returned to the lab, where I found 
Marie to be in a highly agitated state of nocturnal motion.  After 
a short struggle, Mari and I managed to subdue Marie, and return 
her to the workbench.

I decided that I would have to recode her myself.  Using a number 
of routines I had devised for just such an emergency, and 
employing for the first time a technique of programming 
integration recently described in a recent issue of Doctor Dobbes' 
Journal, I was able to extract the Hitomi routines from Marie's 
drives, and to restore her libraries to a state of normalcy.

Mari proved invaluable in the recoding of Marie's libraries.  As 
she and Marie had spent much time together, and had shared a 
number of experiences, I was able to successfully recode the three 
-infected- augmented libraries 002, 007, and 102.

The Hitomi routines, reintegrated with a minimal MarieOS system, 
is "sleeping" soundly on my workstation's hard drive.  For all 
intents and purposes, Hitomi is still alive.  I remember the time 
I put into those libraries, even after so many years, and I can't 
stand to simply destroy them.  In many ways, Hitomi -was- is as 
alive as Marie.  I don't have the ability to "kill" her.  Mari 
thought Hitomi should not die, and I am glad I defaulted to her 

It is unknown at this time what I will actually do with Hitomi now 
that she's "sleeping" on my workstation's hard drive.  Certainly, 
the notion of creating a body for her is tempting, though not 
without its complications.  While it is true that, at one time, 
Hitomi represented my ideal, and, it seems, may still, I am unsure 
as to whether I would be serving any meaningful purpose in 
reactivating Hitomi in her own body.  Given Marie's purpose (and 
the change it has gone through), it would seem logical that 
perhaps a male android would serve a greater purpose.

As a matter of fact, I am unsure whether Marie would accept a male 
android, or any other android, for that matter.  She has grown 
quite independent, and may feel that she is strong enough 
emotionally to find her own companion, rather than have one 
created for her.

I suppose that the best way to find this out is to announce the 
project, and gauge her reaction.  Beyond receiving a direct 
response, I am at a loss; I cannot know what is in Marie's mind 
any longer.  This previous episode has shown that sufficiently.

                          *     *     *

Sunday, 10:07 AM.

     Mari hadn't slept like she had hoped.  It seemed more like 
her tossing and turning had been interrupted by a few moments of 
slumber rather than the contrary to which she was accustomed.  And 
as wonderful as the sleep had felt, she couldn't keep her mind 
calm enough to stay asleep for more than a moment.  Each time she 
awoke to roll over, she could feel her opportunities for getting 
any sleep whatsoever rapidly diminish.
     The sun peeked cautiously through her wall-length window and 
the semi-sheer bedroom curtains that covered them wistfully.  She 
heard a bird chirping outside, and knew that the neighborhood 
children were playing somewhere nearby.  She wanted so much to 
join them and just play like she was a child again.
     "Yesterday, I was just fine," she noted soberly.  She 
repeated the words, more angrily this time.  "Yesterday, I was 
just fine!"  A series of curses flashed in her mind, but a full 
minute of continuous yawns kept her from saying them aloud.
     In a fit of misplaced movements and overripe actions, Mari 
grasped for her diary and a pen.  She wrote:

Sunday, April 17th.
Dear Diary,
     Yesterday, I was just fine!  I can't believe what's 
happened.  You'd never believe it either, but I suppose I have to 
explain before I get ahead of myself.  Be forewarned, though.  
This is not easy to understand.  Or maybe it's too easy to 
understand, and that's what the problem is.  Anyway, here's the 
     Yesterday evening went well.  I guess that's relative to 
what happened afterwards, because thinking of it now, it seems 
completely terrible.  Hiroshi got nervous and accidentally ordered 
a White Russian.  That's an alcoholic drink, and Hiroshi has no 
stomach for liquor.  I would have stopped him, but I thought maybe 
he knew what he was doing.  Okay, so I made a mistake!  On top of 
that, he ordered five more, but I think that the waitress had them 
mixed weak or made them non-alcoholic, because she didn't seem 
worried, and he didn't seem to get any drunker.  That must have 
been what she did.  I should thank her for that.  I don't know 
what he would have done if he had been really drunk!
     Anyway, he took forever to finish eating because he was 
telling all these stories about his childhood.  I have to admit 
that he would have been a great friend to play with when I was in 
grade school.  I wish I could have known him then.  Anyway, after 
we got out of dinner (which Tanaka paid for -- remind me to thank 
him for that), Tanaka decided to ditch Hiroshi and I and "take 
Marie home" (that pervert!  Never mind about thanking him).  I 
guess he might have guessed the same thing I did about the box 
Hiroshi was carrying, but I doubt he even noticed it.
     Tanaka dropped us off at the fountain park a block from 
Hiroshi's house.  Hiroshi seemed strange, not really nervous, but 
whatever he must be underneath all that.  He was quiet, I guess.   
Not really at peace or anything, but definitely softer than 
before.  I think it was the water, or the leaves or something, but 
it sounded like everything was being drowned out, but when he 
spoke, it seemed to clear, but not too loud, you know?  He didn't 
yell like when he's nervous, or clam up like when...  he's nervous.

Geez, I never noticed how nervous he always was until I saw him 
acting normal.  Weird.  I hope we can talk normally more often.

     Okay, Now here's the best part.  Hiroshi, the cutie, he 
gives me a music-box.  He had it engraved, too, but I can't 
remember what it says, and I left it at his house by mistake when 
Tanaka and I left (but that's getting ahead of myself again).  It 
was something sweet, like "To You, My Love" or something like 
that.  Oh yeah, it was "To You, My Ideal."  I should have figured 
it out then, but you know how dumb I can be.  And the song the box 
played was so beautiful.  I can still hear it now.  It's one of 
those songs you can listen to forever, the kind that just gets 
prettier and sadder when it slows down.  When my brother tried to 
teach me piano, he played a song for me like that.  The softer he 
played it, the better it was.  He called that kind of music 
"distilled melody."  I guess that's what this was.  Completely the 
opposite of that CD of Hiroshi's I mentioned on Friday.  You know, 
I wouldn't be surprised if Hiroshi had made that music-box 
     When I heard the song, I began to cry.  I couldn't let 
Hiroshi see me like that, so I walked over by the lamppost.  
Hiroshi must have been really nervous or thinking about the music 
-- maybe Marie wrote the song.  Anyway, he stood up and walked up 
behind me.  I thought maybe he was going to grab me and kiss me, 
but he said something about Tanaka not being so trustworthy, and 
then he touched my shoulder and ran.  I was so lost in everything, 
I could barely feel him.  You know when you've taken a long nap, 
and you wake up and your body's numb and warm and you can't feel 
anything really, but you know it's there?  That's how I felt.  I 
guess it was the music, or maybe when he touched me that made me 
feel like that.  Sufficed to say, I was really caught up in the 
moment.  I was humming the song and walking slowly like some kind 
of lovesick child.  Yuck!

Okay, so maybe I am.  Just a little.

     By the time I got to Hiroshi's house, he and Tanaka were 
downstairs.  He, that is, Hiroshi was hooking up Marie to a 
computer.  That's right.  She's a robot.  I mean, an android.  
Hiroshi's really picky about that.  Something about how Marie can 
think for herself.  I guess it wasn't as much of a shock as it 
should have been, because I didn't go nuts or break down or run 
away or anything.  I guess I knew Marie was in trouble, so that 
kinda took precedence.  I dragged Tanaka, who was acting weird -- 
he must not have been taking it well -- to the living room, and I 
tried to talk to him.  He told me what happened to Marie (a piece 
of her insides fell out of her and she shut down), and then fell 
asleep!  The jerk fell asleep!  It was for the best, though.  I 
was able to convince him that he had hallucinated the whole thing 
later on.  Bwahahaha!  I'm so smooth!
     Then Hiroshi came up and we talked, well, sort of.  I went 
off...  I can't even remember all of what I said, but it was all 
about how Hiroshi must have made Marie for sex.  I can't really 
remember clearly.  I'm so tired!  I wish I could have had at least 
one hour or two of sleep, but no, I have to get like 20 minutes.  
I guess maybe writing this will tire me out enough to get some 
sleep this afternoon.  Anyway, I asked to see Marie's room, and I 
realized that she was nothing like me.  Hiroshi may have tried to 
copy me, but she isn't me.  That's a good thing, right?  I mean, 
she shouldn't be like me.  She wasn't raised by my parents, or had 
my brother, or went to school where I did...  I don't think she's 
ever been to school...  I mean, her being different is good.  I 
know I felt a lot better.  Maybe it was because that means that 
I'm not there.  I mean, like when he goes to bed at night, he 
won't peek into my bed and see me sleeping.  Or maybe he still 
sees me when he looks at her.  Or

No, forget that.

     But, after we talked, Hiroshi and I went downstairs to check 
on Marie.  She was up and about, but something was definitely 
wrong.  She was shaking and trying to tear the wires Hiroshi had 
hooked up to her out.  She was mouthing words like she was trying 
to say something, but no sound was coming out.  Her eyes were wide 
open, but I don't think she saw us at all, or if she did, we were 
just something in her dreams.  Hiroshi and I had to push her back 
down so she was laying on the table, and then strap her down.  I 
felt like I was working in a hospital.  It was really scary to see 
Marie like that.  She seemed so afraid of everything.  When we 
strapped her down and Hiroshi sat down at the computer, he went 
nuts.  I guess something went really wrong, because he was going 
completely crazy.  He worked on the computer for something like 
two hours straight, not even stopping to blink.  When I asked him 
what he was doing, he said he was feeding Marie new programs.  He 
said it would be too hard to explain, so I just watched over his 
shoulder.  He was working so hard and so fast, like it was life or 
death.  And then it hit me.  When I -figured- found out Marie was 
an android, I couldn't deal with it because she had seemed so real 
to me.  I was trying to make her just a bunch of wires and 
computers in my mind, but she was real.  She is real.  She is 
Hiroshi's sister, and his daughter.  To him, she's everything.  
And since she's her own person now, I wonder if she and Hiroshi 
will eventually

Never mind.

     Because Marie lost a few of memories in the repair process, 
Hiroshi and I had to kind of reconstruct as many as we could.  
There weren't that many lost, though, and most of them were either 
with me or her.  Mostly it was like unscrambling a sentence.  The 
memory would be like one long sentence saying how warm it was, 
what everything looked like, and what happened.  But anyway, we 
got into an argument about how hot it was last Tuesday, and it 
ended up being that he went on-line to check and I was right on 
(he was about ten too hot).  Seeing him grumble an apology was 
cute, but I felt a little sorry for him somehow.  Oh well.
     I need to go back to his house to pick up my music-box and to 
check up on Marie.  Maybe Hiroshi and I can talk then.  And Marie 
and I still need to have a nice long talk.  I need to know what 
her intentions are, because I think maybe I'm falling for her 
brother.  Just a little.

You know, he's a hero, I guess.
I mean, he saved her life, right?
Maybe it's just infatuation.  That must be it.
I'm really tired now, so I'm going to sleep.
Good night.

                          *     *     *

Sunday, 4:32 PM.

     "Oh God, my head."  Tanaka rolled off his bed, catching 
himself on his knees and hands.  His room seemed so bright when he 
opened his eyes that he groped around blindly for awhile before 
finally finding the light switch.  He moaned in pain when he 
realized that the light was off.  It was only the ambient sunlight 
filtering into his room that was blinding him.  With great effort, 
he opened an eye.
     His room was in disarray.  This was normal for him, though.  
His bed was unmade, but it never was.  His floor was cluttered, 
but it always was.  He noticed he was still in his clothes.  
Memory began to touch him with pricks of images.  Soon, he was 
able to piece together much of what he imagined his night to have 
been like.
     He scrambled to find his diary.  After a few minutes of 
fruitless searching, he decided his memories were too fragile to 
let slip away with another moment of searching and took out a 
piece of notebook paper from on top of his desk.  After crossing 
out the half-made shopping list, he wrote the following:

April 17th

Marie is a robot.
But she isn't.  She's an android.
But I only dreamed that.
But she is.  I could have sworn I saw it.
But she isn't because Mari said she wasn't.
And Marie was there.  I remember her waving.
She's so pretty, so child-like.
If it was a dream, it was pretty messed up.  I remember seeing her 
naked (And oh my!  I hope it wasn't a dream with a body like 
that!), and seeing all these machines like a movie.  And Hiroshi 
was the mad scientist.

Maybe it was a dream.  I mean, it was like I was in a movie.  But 
it was so vivid.  Dammit!  Why can't I be sure?

I don't want to out and announce that I think Marie is an android.  
If I was wrong, they'd think I was crazy or something.  I better 
just play it cool.  If she isn't, then I have nothing to worry 
about.  If she is...

And what if she is?  Can't I love her all the same?  I mean, it's 
not like it's a complete disaster to be in love with a machine.  
Love is better than all that.  Besides, she's just as cute as 
Mari, and a little easier to deal with.  Mari's got that whole 
history thing.  I've tried too many times with her, but I can try 
again with Marie.  I've learned from my mistakes.  I bet I can get 
her in bed in another month.  Or two.  A month or two.

Definitely by June.
Summer vacation, and she's mine.  All mine.  Robot or not.

                          *     *     *

Sunday, 4:41 PM.

     Marie took the time to write in her diary for the weekend.  
She hadn't had the opportunity since Friday night.  She felt an 
extreme urgency when she wrote, and it prompted her to write every 
detail she could remember, from Saturday morning when she lost her 
memory, to when she woke up to Mari's smiling face.  The entry 
totaled 58 pages, and left her with only three pages in her diary.  
She wasn't overly surprised; she usually kept a detailed diary, 
and had learned that year-long diaries usually lasted only a month 
or so.  And she realized that her weekend was less than normal.
     After the diary entry, she wrote a short paragraph, as a sort 
of final entry.  She wrote such a paragraph in each diary she 
finished, as sort of a summary.  She also enjoyed the slight sense 
of drama she instilled in them, as if maybe they would be turned 
into a television show or radio drama.
     She wrote:

     I love Hiroshi, but I cannot have him.  He belongs to 
another, and beyond that, I'm his sister to the world.  I must vow 
to be his sister, and love him as one.  This leaves me with a 
dilemma: either try for Tanaka, or try to find new friends.  
Tanaka is not really an option, and staying alone seems 
impossible.  I want to love somebody.  Maybe I should try going to 
school.  I could get into any college -- passing the exams 
wouldn't be a problem.  The question is, do I go to the same 
college as Hiroshi, or a different one.  And what do I want to 

     An answer formed itself almost immediately, but she hesitated 
before writing, not wanting to change her format so quickly.  
After rationalizing that it would add a proper sense of drama to 
the ending, and smiling as she did so, she added:

     I think I'll study music.  Hitomi would be proud.

     Marie closed her diary, and placed it with the others in a 
cardboard box under her bed.  She added a diary to her mental list 
of things to buy on Monday while Hiroshi went to school.

                          *     *     *

Sunday, 6:57 PM.

     "I'll get it!"  Marie was quick to respond to the doorbell, 
much in contrast to her brother, who seemed to have been hiding in 
the laboratory all afternoon.  When she opened the door, the whole 
of reality seemed to rush past her ears.
     "Hello, Marie.  Feeling better?"  Mari smiled so pleasantly, 
Marie felt her heart pause.  Even a few hours without being able 
to talk, to voice her feelings about the last few days...  Marie 
felt herself preparing to cry, and nodded deeply.
     "Much, thank you.  Did you get any sleep last night?"  Marie 
looked down and saw two large grocery sacks in Mari's hands.
     "Not really.  Is Hiroshi awake yet?"
     "Yes, but he's busy in the lab at the moment.  Why don't you 
come in?  I'll get him for you."
     "Thank you."  Mari stepped in and set her sacks down.  "I 
must confess, I'm here for kind of a selfish reason."  She took 
off her left shoe, then the right.  "I wanted to thank Hiroshi for 
the music-box, and to get it back, so I was going to fix dinner."  
Mari smiled again, so beautiful that Marie's lips tingled.  She 
licked them discreetly.  "Is that okay?"
     "Yes..."  Marie murmured.  Realizing her dreamy state, she 
shook her head clear.  "Yes!  That's a wonderful idea!  Let me 
help you.  I need to thank Hiroshi myself."  Marie picked up a 
grocery sack.  "Let me help you with these."
     Once in the kitchen, the pair fairly flew through the 
preparations of Mari's best dish.  As they chopped and sauteed and 
prepared, the talked.  The conversation didn't wander into any 
heavy territory, but each could tell the other was simply waiting 
for the right moment to let loose on the subject.  There was a 
pressing against their words.  There was something right about the 
want, but something wrong about the environment.  So they waited.
     Eventually, they did talk, and the pressure exhaled from 
their lungs.  They apologized and talked about concerns.  They 
hugged and promised to never do *that* again.  They laughed and 
agreed about Hiroshi.  They revealed about themselves things they 
had kept hidden, and kept hidden still a few more secrets.  The 
pressure slowly replaced itself with comfort.  Marie smiled, and 
Mari smiled with her.
     "So, we're sisters in a way,"  Marie mused.
     "I suppose we are," Mari replied sweetly.
     "So this is between sisters?" Marie stepped closer.
     "Is what?"
     Marie kissed Mari on the cheek.  It was short, but loving.  
When she opened her eyes, she saw that Mari was blushing.  She was 
holding her cheek, and stepping away slowly.  Marie felt something 
welling in her, something a little darker than the comfort she was 
feeling.  She hoped her boldness had not destroyed what such a 
long and honest conversation had created.  She hoped she hadn't 
shown too much of herself, or worse, something that wasn't there.  
But then Mari smiled, and nodded.  "Yes, that was.  Between 
sisters, I mean."  She turned back to the kitchen to get their 
glasses.  "Thank you," she finally added.

                          *     *     *

     "Dinner's ready!" Marie called, fairly indignantly, from the 
top of the stairwell.  From the darkness and the gentle hum of the 
lab, she heard a struggling, "Coming!" and smiled.  She saw, 
moments later, a staggering Hiroshi rubbing the sleep from his 
     "Were you *sleeping* in there?" Marie teased.  Hiroshi 
frowned and tried to speak, but a yawn prevented him.  Marie 
clapped him on the shoulder and made a point of dramatically 
"helping" her brother to the dinner table.  Hiroshi seemed amused 
until her saw Mari.  Marie felt his shoulder tense up, and his 
posture straighten almost immediately.  Marie, had she not been as 
strong as she was, would have probably been tossed to one side by 
this action.  As it was, she took three steps back and to the 
side, and silently apologized.  She noted that she'd have to 
properly apologize after dinner.
     "Mari...  Did you...?"  Hiroshi gazed at the extravagant meal 
on the table, then looked back at Mari.
     "It's the least we can do to thank you.  Marie did a lot of 
the work.  I mostly supervised."
     Marie interjected immediately.  "That's not true!  It was 
Mari's recipe, and all I did was chop the vegetables.  This is 
Mari's to be thankful for."
     Hiroshi stiffly sat and took a sip from his glass.  The water 
seemed a little strange, but he figured that it was mostly from 
his draining experience last night than anything else.  As he put 
the glass down, he felt a little more comfortable.  [Maybe I'm 
finally gaining some self-confidence,] he pondered.
     Dinner went well for the most part.  Hiroshi complimented the 
meal repeatedly, and both girls rushed to place the credit on the 
other.  Invariably, Mari blushed, and Marie giggled.  It was a 
comfortable, almost cozy atmosphere, something they had not shared 
before.  Hiroshi remembered his plans, and spoke.
     "I was able to recover Hitomi's routines."
     Marie started at the announcement.
     "I'm thinking about constructing a body for her."
     Marie blinked, and after a moment, realized she had dropped 
her chopsticks.  She turned to Mari, who chewed thoughtfully, 
slower than normal.  After a long silence, she spoke.
     "I think that's a good idea."
     Hiroshi smiled a little, and continued to eat.  "What do you 
think?" he asked Marie between bites.
     Marie couldn't answer except to say a small, "I'm not sure."  
The atmosphere changed for the rest of the meal, but slowly it 
crept back to the warmth that existed before he so abruptly 
changed the subject.  But the warmth seemed strongest between 
Hiroshi and Mari.  Marie smiled inwardly at the progress, and 
hoped it would continue even after his ever-so-slightly spiked 
water wore off.

                          *     *     *

Sunday, 9:43 PM.

     "Thanks for letting me stay for dinner."  Mari's voice nearly 
lost itself in the light breeze that floated past the front steps.  
Hiroshi, sitting next to her on the steps, smiled and leaned back.
     "No, thank you.  It was nice having a guest for dinner for 
once."  He looked at her, but she didn't return the gaze.  She was 
looking up at the sky.  "It's a really clear night tonight."
     "It's beautiful."  She blinked, and Hiroshi saw the 
reflection of the porch light swim in her eyes.  He wanted to get 
closer, but...
     "You should write her another letter."
     "Hitomi.  Write her another letter."  Mari was still looking 
up, her eyes still swimming with the light.  Hiroshi looked at his 
hands and saw they were trembling, but only a little.
     "All right," he announced finally.  "I will."  Hiroshi wanted 
to say, 'for you' as well, but he didn't know what she would say 
to that, so he bit his tongue.
     It was a long moment before either one spoke again.

     Marie smiled as she finished drying the final remnant of the 
meal's dishes.  It was nice to get them out of the way.  On the 
whole, the evening had been quite a success, though she still 
didn't know whether to back him on that project or not.  She did 
miss Hitomi, now that she was fully alone in her mind again.  She 
wondered what it would be like having a little sister as well.
     Looking out the window, she could see the lowest of the 
horizon-bound stars.  She knew that, for each star she saw, there 
were billions she didn't.  She sighed and wondered if there was 
somebody on a planet out there looking at her star and wondering 
if he was alone.

     "Are you any good at astronomy?"  Mari seemed fixated on the 
stars, but Hiroshi could hardly blame her; they shone vividly in 
the cloudless night sky.  Even though they were in the city, it 
seemed they could see all the stars tonight.
     "I'm okay.  I studied it quite a bit when I was younger."
     "Which star is that?"  Mari pointed up at the sky, her arm 
fully extended, like a child might do.  Hiroshi looked up and 
tried to follow her gaze upwards.
     "Which one?  The big one there?"
     "No, silly, not *that* one.  The little one under it."
     "I can't see it."
     "Here, follow my arm."  Hiroshi leaned and looked up her arm.

     From just inside the doorway, Marie looked outside at her 
brother, and his new companion.  She smiled, satisfied in a number 
of ways, melancholy in as many others.  Hiroshi wasn't struggling 
against Mari's cautious kiss, just as he didn't struggle against 
Hitomi's.  Marie sighed lightly at the familiarity of it all.  She 
wondered if all history was that circular.

------------     --------     ------     --------     ------------


This episode serves more as an epilogue than a full-blown episode, 
and it's yet another little experiment/exercise of mine.  The 
lateness is a result of obvious -- a lack of free time -- and 
perhaps a little lack of inspiration.  I must admit, this story 
drained me, but I feel very satisfied with the work as a whole, 
and the experience as a whole.  I'm also proud to have written 
this story, and to have finished it; this is, truth be told, the 
first story I finished in *any* capacity.

Again, I'd like to thank Jim Nutley for pre-reading the first (and 
rather different) draft of this episode.  He drove me to re-write 
some scenes, and add others.  Because of him, I was able to finish 
this episode (and thus the story) properly.  Mad props to you, mi 

I'll be taking a some time off from the Boku No Marie universe to 
work on something different (see below for details).  But I will 
be back, whether you like it or not, with a little ditty I like to 
call "Academia Robotica".  Now, to the big issue for Episode 5:

April 17th?!?:  In Episode 2, I placed the date as Saturday, April 
17th.  This was a date picked out of the air, never meant to have 
a year.  However, as I continue to build my continuity, I gave it 
a year in this episode -- 1998.  However, April 17th in 1998 was a 
Sunday, so I regret that I am retroactively making the date given 
in Episode 2 Saturday, April 16th.  I have thus changed my 
versions of the episodes, both on-line and in my personal 
archives.  The change is very minor, but I apologize for it and 
any difficulties it produced in suspending reality.  I know how 
fragile that suspension can be at times.  ^_^

My New Project?:  I'm currently working on an original series 
called "Okaeri, Kaori-chan!" ("Welcome Home, Kaori!"), a romantic 
comedy/drama about love, music and dark, terrible secrets.
Episode 1 (of a projected 26) is due to appear December 1st (with
trailers and previews to inundate the FFML around November 15th).


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