What had been always been a rather popular school had

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magnificent school for fear of being kidnapped, sold or killed. What had been always been a rather popular school, had now become some kind of a refuge. The place was overflowing with people, sometimes it was even difficult to breathe without distracting somebody. And with tension came a number of disputes and arguments. In such a tightly closed area with hundreds and thousands of people, what would be waved off as petty would be the reason for the constant brawls around the place. If someone accidently misplaced their elbow, there was a fight. If someone dropped something too loudly while curfew was called, there was a fight. If someone breathed too loud in class, there was a fight. Children and teenagers alike weren't meant to be holed up at home without the means of releasing the tension in their over energetic muscles. But no one dared to venture outside. To be honest, no one really could. Why? The Alice War had commenced and no one was safe. It had been too big a risk to leave children unsupervised on school grounds where they could run off in all directions and teachers couldn't keep track of three dozens students all wanting to do different things. There wasn't enough protection to give the students while they were running amok. To make things easier, everyone was to stay inside and after the terrible incident earlier, that took both Ruka and Hotaru, two prominent names from the middle school division, no one dared to question or rebel against the decision. So teachers tried to break up fights and those who worked at Central constantly tried to keep up their spirits, sharing their goods without prompting and telling them they'd make it. It did little good, but what good it did do, was nothing short of a miracle. Mikan had even suggested they hold a bi-weekly Alice Dodgeball tournament and intramural in the big gym when it could be assembled and this helped dramatically. Tension among students had eased into a playful camaraderie for a good two months but nothing could replace fresh air and the rush of adrenaline that came with freedom. So for those who couldn't venture outside, Mikan vowed to make good use of this day she had to herself and her boyfriend. "So I asked Sumire and Anna to join us today," Mikan piped up, clutching at his arm to ward off the cold. "They made a half-baked excuse about having to sew up their shoelaces or something." Natsume snorted but didn't make any further comment. Mikan plopped down onto one of the benches the Central Town bus collected students and patted the spot gingerly next to her. With a smile, she leaned her head against his shoulder and pulled her gloved hand from her pocket. With a small smile, Natsume twined their hands together and put the both of them on his thighs. No words were exchanged for a while and no sounds came from the two adolescents except for their synchronized breathing. The gray wisps of breath coming from their mouths danced together in perfect harmony, tangling together with a gracefulness that didn't quite make sense. Then again, no one would've
questioned it.

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