Despite of being poignant, Rin attended her class that afternoon. High-spirits weren't into her but she managed to display smiles as Gumi kept on chirping. And that was until Gumi realized that the blonde was faking this glee she radiates.
"Rin, what's the problem?" Gumi asked, watching the blonde's smile fade in a matter of second. Those bright cerulean eyes fluttered as tears overwhelmed. Rin can't hold it back anymore. Her face was quickly buried on her palms as she tried to breathe in between her sobs.
"I just... hate myself," Rin sobbed. She tried to sound comprehensive, but while crying? She is crying and she can't help it. The thought of Miku's song made her sullen and burst into tears. Be reborn again, be together again - these words just kept on reiterating in Rin's mind. And she knows she won't get over this soon.
Gumi's arms enclosed Rin in a secure hug, patting the blonde's back in rhythm. The green haired pop star doesn't know what words to say but for some reason, she wants to comfort Rin. Maybe, it's because Gumi has been feeling the same thing. Her presence is enough - if Rin is to be asked. Miku used to be the only friend to whom Rin confides but she's gone.
Gone and never coming back.
What's worst with that? People tend to hold on things needed to be let go. Humans keep on holding on a rope... until in the end, it is their own hands they are hurting. No one else, just themselves.
So Gumi's shoulder was enough.
"I lost my friend. I lost her, Gumi, and I can't have her back." Rin managed to say, her shoulders never failing to rise and fall with her sobs.
"My best friend died," Rin said. It was clear and Gumi didn't miss the fact that it was death. A familiar thing to Gumi, almost familiar.
"I know how does it feel, Rin. I can't tell you that it will be okay. But you'll be fine, just let time heal your heart," Gumi's voice soothed Rin's breakdown, as the blonde slowly calmed down."Hush now, you have me, okay?"
Little that Gumi knew, Rin's best friend isn't biotic.
"How - what happened Gumi? Do you have a friend who died?" Rin sat straight, lifting her head from Gumi's shoulder. The blonde suddenly felt ashamed, she just drenched gumi's shirt. Seeing the look Rin is giving her shirt, Gumi smiled at the blonde. A smile that assures that it is totally fine.
"It's okay, Rin. Don't worry, it's just a shirt. Oh, regarding that friend - that happened during middle school. I was twelve and so this friend of mine. There are four of us, Shinataro, Piko and her. But for some reason we don't know, she never showed up after that incident in their -"
"Miss Megpoid? Someone's looking for you!" A classmate of them called fro m the door stand. Gumi gave an apologetic smile as she skipped towards the door.
The time skipped and the afternoon class was done instantly. The orange skies set forth in the air, stained with yellow puffing clouds. Students caused incoherent commotion along the open ground as they paced back home. Rin was walking with Gumi, both of them were heading to the university hall.
Rin received a message from her twin informing her that he will be late so she better go home if she wished to. But the female half was not feeling good to go home alone, so she'd rather wait for her twin.
"Later, Gumi." Rin said, stopping at the university hall. The pop star smiled as she waved a hand. Soon, Gumi vanished from Rin's vicinity. All that was left was her - aloof under the orange sunset. Memories about walking down to the station with Miku flashed in her head, and she instantly felt down again.
"I have to find a way. I need to know where Miku's memory came from. If I wouldn't be able to restore her... at least I can relive Miku with the person." Rin mumbled while staring at her phone screen. The screen lit up - a message from her mom.
"Dear, are you coming home early? I have some things here that will surely interest you." Her mom's message clearly says that no-waiting-for-Len today. With a short notice sent to Len, Rin marched away from the hall and impatiently waited for the train. Her foot tapped against the ground repeatedly and soon, the train came with a whipping wind. The doors opened and a white haired guy came out, pushing a girl on a wheeled chair. Rin gave them way and the guy briefly smiled at her, in which she retuned the smile politely, but seeing the guy troubled in getting the girl out -
'I'm not really cold hearted.' thought Rin as she rushed to help the man carrying out the girl. She didn't miss the complaint of the people who seemed bothered by the white haired guy since they are blocking half of the train's entrance. As soon as they safely brought the girl on her wheeled chair, the man gave an apologetic smile and said his gratitude.
"No problem," Rin smiled back. The train doors suddenly closed and Rin was left to wait for the next train. A sigh escaped her lips but she didn't mean to let the strangers hear it.
"We're sorry if we delayed your ride," the black haired girl apologized albeit her monotonous voice made it sound formal and less sincere. This time, Rin actually looked at the girl's face. Pale, black haired and cold. These were the perfect adjectives for the girl. Her eyes were the same of color with Rin's, but it seemed hurt. Rin was unsure if that was what she saw from the girl's eyes. Moreover, it sounded familiar - her voice. The blonde nodded lightly, quite puzzled as she watched the strangers went away.
"You should not bother people's business, Dell."
"Then hurry up and learn to walk. I'm just being kind, so as the girl earlier. Will you stop -"
"But that doesn't mean -"
Their voices faded as they turned to the exit. Rin was staring blankly, she could not connect what they are talking about.
Winter has started. It is not surprising to encounter 'rare' freezing rains before snowfall in Latria. This country has rare occasions of snowfall anyway. Try not bathing with this one or you will freeze your brain forever.
Len is staring blankly from the window - watching last orange skies before it may be replaced by monochromatic gray cold skies. He drowns himself with the sight of the freezing rain from the window panes.
"Len, I received a good feedback from Professor Kiyo- Len?" Luka stopped from reviewing their professor's notes on their proposal. Their mentor modified their objectives and made their work a theoretical thesis - whatever is that, Len is not in the mood to understand. Who knows if a theoretical thesis exists? After all, Professor Kiyoteru is strangely odd. That description is enigmatically exact. The pink haired beauty placed the file on Len's table while the blond continued to space out.
Len Kagamine is undeniably bothered by Miku's way of saying farewell. The background noise from the marching rainfall and flipping papers from their proposal are unheard for him; his golden eyes pierced through the glass before him. The image of Miku wiping her tears away, the sound of her voice when she said, "...to save the people whom I loved... I want to stay safe here with you..."
Len's heart became empty. He couldn't hear her say it again - he wouldn't. She wouldn't hear it from him. She would never know it... Because he realized it too late.
He realized it too late.
He realized that he loves her. Too late.
Too late to tell her know.
His knuckles turned white as he clinched his fists tight. Why does regrets come in the end? Why is too late? Too late! Too late! Too late! And no matter he scold himself over and over again for such inevitable mistake, he wanted to do something. A silly thought bugging him after watching Miku's video.
Why most people ask for another chance on times it can't be given? Len was one of those people.
'I know it seems impossible, but God? Can we turn back the time? Can we turn back the time just for once? So I can tell the words I fail to say? So I can express the feelings I suppress? So I can express the feelings I doubt at first? So I can go back and waste no chance to tell her how much I love her?' Len thought overwhelmed the tears forming on his eyes.
What is done, is done. He countered his irrational side. He can't play back time. There is one-shot in everything, right? Gone is gone. But what about the left behind? Those who are left? He asked himself, or probably he'd ask her that question. All of these narrowed the possibility that he will be fine sooner.
'I thought getting attached is just girl's business.' He mentally laughed - a mental laughter though it is, it is a pained one. His fists relaxed. 'But if I realize it earlier, will I be able to tell her anyway? Even so, that wouldn't stop her from leaving.' Len looked around, finally noticing Luka seated on a desk before him, side by side with his best friend, Gakupo. Both of his pals stared at him in amusement.
"Sorry," Len quickly apologized, averting his gaze from these people in front him. They could easily tell what is he thinking with just one look. Instead, the blond focused his attention on the proposal. His eyes blankly read the notes written in red ink, pointing the weaknesses and strengths of their theoretical work. It felt like he has been reading the same sentence for the seventh time now, but he is still unable to comprehend. There is something in his chest, a sharp pain straddling him to think. And the next thing he knew, he is vulnerable to tears.
"Well, good for us." Len faked a smile and closed the folder, leaving it empty on his desk. His voice trembled as he said that, eventually failing to conceal his feelings deep within. The more you keep it, the more it surfaces. How annoying, he thought.
Gakupo and Luka worriedly exchange stares before looking down at the blond, who, on the other hand, continued stooping to hide his face. Len wondered if he said something wrong. Perhaps saying whatever he just said is implying he never understood a thing. Well, that's the truth.
"Ah, Len? Have you read professor Kiyoteru's end note?" Luka asked, wavering whether she should tell it or not. The blond deadpanned - not a wince, not an answer was given.
"He wrote there... 'Move on,'" Luka paused hesitantly. "Because you've written... Ah, you inserted an inappropriate statement there?" It came out more like a question as she continued. "You wrote there, 'I miss you,"'
Len's eyes widened. Guilt came in spate as he quickly pulled back the folder and flipped to the back page. The said words, 'I miss you' were encircled and was noted with a legible curly penmanship, 'move on.'
This time, he did not hold back. He ducked on his seat as his hoarse sobbing and crying echoed in the empty classroom. All his thoughts, doubts and regrets spilled together with his tears. No stopping by now, he is so sad.
" I can't accept it, I can't believe she is gone!" The blond yelled, getting an empathic look from Gakupo, confused from Luka. Miku Hoshine was never known, never meet by the pink haired lady.
"Gakupo, she died! She died! She died without knowing my feelings for her! I was never able to admit it to myself and to her. It's too late ... She's gone. She's gone. We'll never meet again, never!" Len slammed his fists on his table - the proposal fell on the ground. The two said nothing, they just shushed him.
"Everything...has a purpose," Luka quickly said in attempt to say something that will calm him down.
But that made Len more agitated. "No," he hissed. "What's the purpose of meeting her? It's such a short time, Luka. You wouldn't understand!" The blond yelled, losing control of himself. Gakupo has not seen him like this - has not seen Len so intimate with a girl, so upset, so broken.
"Maybe -" Luka is not giving up on cheering up her project partner. "Maybe this is not the proper time to meet her," she softly said. "Maybe, like what they said, you're in the same book, just in different pages. That's why, meeting her is, uh, as of now, is impossible."
Gakupo and Luka watched Len calmed down. The blond never thought he would be as transparent as this.
"...and since you're on different pages, you on the left, she on the right, you'll never meet. So we have to close the book first, Len. Do you get what I mean? It takes time to close this book of yours, but if that means you'll meet her, isn't that a...good thing?" Luka hesitated at first but managed to say it clearly. That's quite paradoxical, Luka mentally noted. She attempted to say something wise for others. Yet, couldn't apply it to herself. By closing the book, did she mean Len should commit suicide to meet the begone love of his life?
'No! No! No!' She wavered and wanted to take back whatever she has said. She's not really thinking when she blurted that out! 'Stupid analogy!' She mentally slapped her face.
Maybe, this time is not the proper time. Len stooped his head. Wiping his tears, he asked Gakupo where is Kaito so they can all leave now. The purple head told him that Kaito gave his nephew a lift after visiting him in the university. Then, Gakupo regarded Luka by saying something that only the two of them understood. After that, the three left the university.
After a while, Rin reached home. Calling out her mom to announce her presence, she too, was quite not sure where her jolly spirit has gone. She stopped at the living room noticing some videos on their TV. Some children were playing merrily on a river side, around ages seven or eight.
"Who are they?" Rin asked just in time a young Len and Rin ran to the river. "oh, should've not asked,"
The blonde decided to walk upstairs only to be called back by her mom before she may step on the stairs.
"Come here," her mom said, patting the seat next to her. Rin sighed and just obeyed, lazily taking the seat next to her mother. "Do you remember these children from Ardio City?"
Ardio City? Have we ever been there? Rin asked herself. That is the capital city, far from Azura where they live right now.
"No?" She answered, staring back at the TV screen. The video was paused. Six laughing children playing on the river, summer morning.
"Look at this girl," her mother said as she zoomed the paused image. "She looked like Miku," mentioning Miku's name, Rin bit down her lip. She didn't expect to hear her best friend's name at any rate - not from her mom, knowing that a mother understands her child's loss.
The blonde looked at the screen with hesitation, but upon looking, she couldn't take her eyes away. It was a girl with a hair colored like the fading sky. Looks like Miku, yes. The pigtails, the smile - completely Miku. But this saddened Rin, nevertheless. Other than her and her brother on that image, the remaining three children were unfamiliar: a green haired girl, a white and brown haired boy.
"We've been in Ardio city to visit your Aunt Lola. Remember?"
"Aunt Lola?" Rin repeated. "That village of rich people?"
"Yes. Do you remember when Len ran home teasing you that a clown was chasing you?"
"Yes, although vaguely, I think yes."
"That was in Ardio city." Her mom concluded and resumed playing the video. The laughter of the children echoed in the living room, overpowering the marching freezing rain outside.
'I thought that was in Readele.' Rin murmured. Suddenly, the yelling from the video distracted her musing.
"Piko! She is running away! - Shin! Shin! Gumi, catch her! Len! You're too slow!"
"Have I heard those names before?" The blonde narrowed her eyes. Unsure if her eyes is just deceiving her, the green haired girl looked like Gumi Megpoid. Is that her?
No, stop thinking about this. Rin scolded herself and stood. Find Miku's database instead.
The thought of knowing Miku's database fuels the blonde's hope that she will see Miku in that person. Or ask the person to cooperate and remake Miku. But who, where and how to start, she has no idea. No clue where and how to start. Since she's too preoccupied, she entered the wrong room. How did she know? Her room was never a mess, unlike Len's. Printed files, music sheets, measuring devices, pencils, unfixed bed - everything is a mess in Len's room. This surprised her, Len was always tidy.
'So I was not the only one grieving,' she picked up Len's sketchbook and stared at this opened page. A drawing of Miku sleeping on his bed, her teal hair sprawling beautifully around her. She, then, decided that a little cleaning in his room won't hurt. After all, he was the one who looked after her best friend when she was not there.
"What are these papers? Project? Humano- what? Oh. Goodness," Rin noticed Len's laptop still on. She rushed to the direction where that glowing blue orb is from as she tucked the papers in one folder, leaving it on his shelf. She tapped the mouse pad lightly and the once dark screen illuminated - a paused video. 'What's up with people watching videos today?' She snatched Len's headphones on his bed and restarted the video.
Rin's eyes widen in horror. The video was the actual video Luka listened to when she was almost hit by a truck - not that Rin knew about this. It was the video Len watched too for his project - again, Rin didn't know that. All she knew was that this video clarified all her questions in mind, the how, what and where to start, because in the said video, Dr. Hoshine was alive. Moreover, Miku's soi-disant guardian was Dr. Hoshine's colleague.
The Humanoid Vocaloid Project, that's it! Miku is a humanoid. 'Where did I read that?' Rin panicked as she abandoned the playing video as she rummaged Len's shelf. 'Think! Think! Think- ah!'
"The Humanoid Vocaloid Project!" She exclaimed as she found the paper containing the highlight of her truth searching.
"The Humanoid Vocaloid Project... Hmm... H... V... P..." Meiko mumbled as she hid before the wall that connects the kitchen to the dining and living room. She repeated the words and letters in her head, doing her very best to recall whether she encountered those words before.
They have a visitor today. Old man Kagamine was feeling a lot better today, so when he unexpectedly received an old mate earlier this afternoon, his energy doubled. Meiko was sure that he could do an acrobatic stunt in joy. From the way they regarded each other, the brunette was sure that the white haired old guy was her grand father's workmate before, might be a government researcher as well?
She served them snacks and left, but stopped on her track when she heard the visitor mention something about "her", who finally woke. Howbeit, her grand father was as confused as her - seemed puzzled with whoever this visitor was talking about. So, the old man Kagamine asked who could this " she" be he was referring. The visitor plainly answered, "CV01's memory bank."
Basically, she's been eavesdropping for an hour now after Oliver left to buy groceries from the list she gave; and the old men were talking about HVP.
"Meiko! I'm home! The carrots are -"
"Sshh-!" Meiko rushed to the counter to silence her younger cousin who just made his way from the service door. Oliver startled, thinking that a robber broke in and Meiko was trying to bust up.
"Have you ever heard or seen the words Humanoid Vocaloid Project? Well, it's peculiar whilst nostalgic." The brunette softly said.
"Humanoid Vocaloid Project?" The blond repeated.
"Yes. HVP? Never?"
"HVP? H...VP? HV...P? Ah! HVP! Yes, that weird forest passage down the national road, the one leading to the concealed abandoned unit!" When he saw uncertainty from Meiko's face, he continued. "The one you told me! The place where you and Len had barged in before, remember?"
"Forest passage?" Meiko tapped her chin in deep thought. She is helpless.
"In fact, I ran over that place today!" bragged Oliver as he shoved the goods to Meiko's stomach so he could find himself a seat. "I hit a weird incapacitated girl, who happens to be Miku in black wig."
"Weird what?" The brunette brought the vegetables and meat on the sink and wash them thoroughly. It felt weird because she felt like she misheard the bubbly blond say Miku. The girl is gone and they are still mourning about it too... but if there was someone completely broken with the strangely lovely tealette, it was the twin. It has been a month since Miku Hoshine left them with whirlwind of confusion that will never be cleared. Never.
"You heard it right. Miku. Rin's best friend. But she's wearing a black wig, maybe out for a cosplay, haha -" Oliver turned around from his seat and watched the older lass.
"Miku, huh? In black wig? And you just described her incapacitated. Tell me if you are seeing ghosts," Meiko retorted, doubting Oliver.
"Eh! Meiko-nee, I'm telling the truth. Stop regarding me as a mad man!"
"Will you say 'stop' again? I really love your accent," Meiko chuckled, completely shrugging Oliver's tattletale.
"Meiko-nee, she's alive! I touched her with my hands! These hands!" The blond exaggeratedly raised both of his hand. "Whilst, she denied she knew me, Len and Rin. I don't know if she was involved in an accident, got seriously injured thus earning amnesia." He blabbed. "She insists that I might have been mistaken, it must have been another Miku. But come on, let's make sense. Can there be identical people with same name yet different persona?"
"You've been misled," Meiko blankly said, chopping the veggies into small cubes. "Miku Hoshine is dead. We should respect her death, Oli." She transferred the cut pieces and saute it in a pan slightly damped with olive oil.
"Miku... Hoshine?" asked Oliver, feeling quite unfamiliar with the name.
"Yes, Hoshine. She is Miku Hoshine. You're not paying attention when she introduced, huh?"
"What? I did not. But... I'm pretty sure that the Miku I met earlier was named Miku Hatsune," the blond and the brunette stared at each other with confusion. He might have met a different person - looks can really be deceiving, aye? The brunette looked whimsical and puzzled, maybe her cousin has gone mad.
"Hoshine or Hatsune, still someone named Miku - let's just lit up an incense and offer a prayer so she will be at peac-"
"Oh, great. So you met Miku? I never thought that the world is really small. Anyway, come on here and bid adieu to Dr. Honne. He will not stay for dinner," Old man Kagamine interrupted, stood energetically at the door stand. The youngsters exchanged stares, both surprised with their grandfather, yet obeyed their granny.
The old man put his arms on Meiko and Oliver's shoulders as he told them the truth - completely neglecting the white haired scientist's warning that CV01's successful experiment (since the real Miku woke) should not be told to anyone.
"Miku Hoshine and Miku Hatsune are the same yet different persons," he started as they watched the black car drive out of their lawn.
"How come, granny?"
"Well, it's a long story. It started six years ago."