A/N: It liiiives! I know this update took a while, but I'm happy to finally put a new one out! I've been so busy with my other projects I wasn't able to make time to work on this. (Didn't help I lost half the chapters a while back.)
But without further ado, please enjoy chapter 12!
Chapter 12: Tei the Stagehand
I sprung up out of bed bright and early the next morning. I was absolutely elated to be working alongside Len-kun as a stagehand of sorts. I'm not sure how exactly this plan will help me, but I trust Len knows what he's doing (even if Rin does say he's a scatterbrain, but, hey, she's there to keep his head out of the clouds). Moreover, I'm excited to show everyone what I'm capable of, for both noble reasons and the fact that I kinda like showing off.
I walked down the stairs to get some breakfast and was promptly greeted by my brother.
"Oh? You seem quite chipper. Something happened with Len, I presume?" He said, tossing a teasing look my way. "Either way, it's nice to see you so chipper."
"I'll probably be out of the house for much of the day. I'll be helping Len-kun prepare for his concert and I'll also be working as stagehand," I said.
"Well then, you better make sure to eat a nice breakfast so you have plenty of energy for all the work you'll be doing. I wouldn't want you to not have enough energy, because then how would you do your best?"
"Of course. Thanks for looking out for me, bro," I said, grabbing a bowl and the ingredients for oyakodon, as well as some tea to go with it. Gotta start the day healthy, right?
I quickly downed my tea and my very tasty breakfast, then went back upstairs to get ready to leave.
When I walked into the backstage area, I was given a very warm greeting by Len and Rin… however, the other little employees or whatever they are weren't so kind. I was met with mutters, side conversations, and unfriendly side glances. They clearly were not pleased that I was here.
"Isn't that the lunatic girl who tried to declare 'war' on the Vocaloids?"
"How do you declare war on Vocaloids anyways? They're literally just a singing group; not a country or something."
"She's probably deranged. How else can you explain it?"
"I'm not deranged. Maybe you're the ones with the problem" is what I wanted to say. But sadly this situation requires that I take a very tactful approach —besides, failing to handle things in a tactful manner would only make them look right.
"Why would Len want to date someone as awful as her?"
Maybe because I'm actually a nice fucking person and you're just a judgemental prick. I bit back the sharp reply even though I could feel in every bone of my body that I wanted to say it.
I forced a smile onto my face as I walked through. Did it look tense and awkward as fuck? Yeah. It did. Did I care? No. No I didn't.
As if he could read my mind, Len came over and placed a hand on my shoulder.
"Hey, you alright?" He asked, tossing me a concerned look. "Just don't pay attention to them. They just don't understand—I've already day told them everything they need to know, but they just refuse to listen to me and Rin."
"I'll be fine," I said begrudgingly.
Inside I was seething, but I felt like I couldn't let show or they'd win. And I really wish I could just let out all of my anger, but that's not good for anyone.
Besides, I already made an agreement between myself and my brother that I'd keep my anger and other emotions in check. I tend to get angry much more easily than the rest of my peers, and have always had difficulty managing my anger. But to be honest, things have been so much easier since I moved here. My friends are very nice and easygoing people, so I find that my attitude these days leans towards a more easygoing one as well. So… can't complain there.
But people like this really piss me off. Not to say I didn't deserve it at least a little bit. I did attempt to wreak havoc over a misunderstanding after all. I just… I just wish they'd be more open-minded to giving me a second-chance, that's all. OR y'know —not act like I'm a horrible criminal or some shit like that.
"So, what can I do to help?" I said, trying to bite back my annoyance.
"Umm, well…" Len scratched the back of his head nervously. "You see… uh, I don't really know what kind of engineering stuff you do… I just had this idea and was like 'hey! Tei might wanna be in on this. I should tell her!'"
You are so lucky I love you. If you were anyone else, I would totally let you have it right now…
I mentally scolded myself for thinking that way about one of the few people who actually wanna help me. He was trying his best, even if his best was uh… how to put this nicely… not very good…? Well, A for effort, I guess.
"Okay, okay. Are you good with SFX or set design? We could use some help making our performances have a little more 'pizazz'," he said, doing jazz-hands at the pizazz part.
"Just leave it to me."
I gave him a quick salute and went backstage to see what I had to work with.
Looking backstage, it seemed I didn't have very much to work with except for some light projections. That was alright, though. As someone who's skilled at engineering, I like to pride myself on making the most of the least materials.
Using what materials I had to work with and my engineering skills, I threw together a lights show. It'd make use of special effects while Rin and Len do all their performing onstage. What it does is it's perfectly timed to their motions and choreography, so when they come up close to the screen, a perfectly timed holographic/light effect will play that coordinates with their routine.
For example, they'll be singing the song "Childish War", and I've programmed a few effects to go along with the choreography. There's one part of the choreography where they approach a screen and some lights show up, but I've gone a step further and programmed a little "game" to go along with it. It's not a real game, but the light effects work in a way that makes it look as if they're playing a game of Tic-Tac-Toe when they approach the screen.
Pretty cool, eh?
After I was done with my newest little invention here, I ran out to the audience so I could see it in action. I had to test it first, of course. We can't have a dysfunctional invention throwing off the whole concert, now can we?
Rin and Len came out to test it and…!
...nothing… absolutely fucking nothing happened. What the hell went wrong?! One thing. I just wanted one thing to go right for once instead of being a total fucking disaster. All the work I did and-
A cord lying on the ground caught my attention and I went to go investigate. I went over to pick it up and plug it in and… it fixed the issue! The screen just wasn't plugged in. Oh thank goodness…
Wow. Tei, you moron! You forgot to plug the damn thing in, you dummy… wait why did I even give it a plug anyways?
I shrugged off my moment of idiocy and went back to go watch Rin and Len-kun's practice run. They did great for having to deal with an impromptu addition, but I guess that's to be expected of a couple of the best performers around, right?
Later that evening...
After hours worth of testing and practicing with the new effects, I went and shyly hung out in the front row of the crowd to watch the performance, hoping that nobody here knew who I was—for two reasons, actually. The whole "declare war on all the Vocaloids" thing, obviously, but also the fact that I'm Len's girlfriend. Being Len's girlfriend means I'm now a person of interest and likely will have to deal with people wanting to talk to me because I'm "famous"-ish.
Len and Rin walked out onto the stage, waving kindly to their fans-and then Len-kun looked me directly in the eyes, grinned, and then winked.
My cheeks immediately flushed red and I thought I was going to faint! He's such a heartthrob, hee hee. What, with his mesmerizing blue eyes, cute spiky hair, and precious face… he's so cute when he's onstage, too! He becomes a totally different person, but still has the authentic Len-kun charm I love oh-so-very-much.
Sometimes I still wonder how I was lucky enough to end up with him of all people. A girl as "crazy" as me and a guy as innocent and sweet as him… we seem like an odd pair. I'm not even half as kind as he is, and yet… he said he loved me anyways and now he's trying to help me.
Sometimes… sometimes I felt like I really didn't deserve him. That there are better people than me he could be dating, but then there's that part of me that fills with seething anger and jealousy if he so much as even looks at another girl or another girl looks at him.
No, Tei. Len is with you because he says he loves you. He was the one who wanted to be with you, too, I reminded myself. Don't you even remember how sad he was when you turned him down? When he thought you were no longer interested in him? Remember how his eyes lit up when he talked to you?
Just reminding myself of that was enough to make me feel a bit better. How could I have forgotten that I mean just as much to him as he does to me?
I was suddenly snapped from my thoughts by the sound of the audience cheering. I turned my head to the stage and saw as everything came together. The effect lights played as Rin and Len-kun flawlessly performed their choreography! The crowd oohed and aahed at the light displays as they transformed into different shapes and sizes.
"These effects are amazing!" someone shouted.
"I wonder who's in charge of all this stuff…" I heard someone mutter, barely audible over the loud music and the cheering of the audience.
The crowd went wild for the effects, leaving me feeling full of pride. Like, wow. At the concert of two of the most popular singers in Mirai Town, the crowd is in love with my effects? They're that good?
I couldn't help but beam with pride. I felt very appreciated at that moment; like all my hard work really paid off! I was a bit skeptical that Len-kun's plan would work, but I have to hand it to him—this is going very smoothly.
The crowd roared with excitement as Rin and Len finished their final performance of the night and took their bows. It had actually been a lot of fun because the whole crowd was full of energy singing and dancing to their favorite songs. Heck, I even joined in because I just got lost in the energy. It was contagious! Though, it makes me feel like I could maybe stand to let loose a little more often and just relax. I do tend to be pretty dark and moody after all, heh.
Little did I realize there was one more surprise in store for me…
"Before we finish up for the night, we'd like to call someone very special up to the stage! Tei, will you please come here?" Len called out.
I felt my face turn red as all the attention suddenly turned towards me. Being the center of attention really was not my thing. Suddenly, I no longer minded the fact that being an UTAU made me stand out much less compared to the Vocaloids, ehehehe.
I hopped up the stairs to the stage and stood next to Len.
"Everyone, this is Tei! She's the super awesome person who programmed all the amazing special effects you saw tonight!" He said.
"So can everyone please give her a round of applause?" Rin asked delightedly.
The audience cheered and clapped, and it was all for me. I really couldn't believe it…
I felt joy and pride swirl up in my chest as I blushed embarrassedly.
"Um… thanks everyone! I'm really glad you like the effects! I put my heart and soul into'em, and I look forward to coming back to do more!" I said.
I mentally facepalmed because I do not have a way with words when it comes to public speaking. I spoke like a nervous, incoherent mess. But! Nonetheless, I was still happy! So many people liked my effects and it really made me feel appreciated— like all my studying and toiling was worth it!
Thank you, Rin and Len-kun… I thought, feeling relieved.
A/N: Yay! So that was chapter 12! Tei and Len are pretty cute, eh? I love writing supportive boyfriend Len; he's a cinnamon bun and deserves to be protected! (I hope you all feel the same, haha!)
Btw, *if* (huge if, lol) any of you wonderful readers ever do any fanart for the fic, please do me on one of social media! I'd love to see it!
Question for next time: Do you think this publicity will help Tei earn the respect of the public and other Vocaloids, or does she still have a lot more to work on?