That's right, it's finally come! The final chapter to a Dummy's guide. I wasn't sure whether to end with something fluffy or something funny. In the end, I went for neither. The song in itlaics is a translation to part of Abschiedsstandchen (I think), which can be found in my profile. Well, enjoy!

Section twelve: Good luck!

Now that you know all there is to know about the courting process, seen all there is to see and experience all there is to experience, I can only wish you good luck. Have fun winning over your object of affection.

A dummy's guide to proper courtship holds no responsibility for any incidents that may result in following this guide.


Now the shadows are darkening

star after star is waking up

what a breath of longing

is flooding through the night


There was a dark corner in the room. There was a clock tower above the city. There were ropes and chains and long snaking symbols engraved into the walls.

Memory comes in pieces. When you try and recall things it doesn't all flood back to you at once, in chronological order, as one might think. Memory comes in shards; piercing, dangerous shards that are sharp enough to cut. Sometimes, it jumps you unexpectedly - a nasty surprise. Sometimes, it slips through your fingers like sand.

I sit at the table as the shadows darken outside. Night comes quickly. I think that everyone is asleep but me. The hot chocolate in the cup between my hands warms them.

My hands are pale and thin. Were they this thin before? My fingers are long and gently accepting the warmth of the hot drink seeping through the china and into my skin.

There are no lights inside or outside but that of the stars softly illuminating the path through town. A clock on the wall ticks the seconds by but time is unreliable, it gushes past life, running at a pace that I cannot keep up with, and crawls through agonising minute after minute slower than a lifetime of pain. Time is unreliable, so I sit at the table wondering how long it has been since Kuro-chan left me.

No, I decide to think back even further, but as I say, memories come in jumbled shards and time can not be counted upon, so I can't tell whether this memory came before that or just when this thing happened or that thing occurred.

Sometimes, memories lay buried, waiting for something to jog it and awake it from its slumber. Hot chocolate for instance. I remember when I first made this for everyone. Kuro-chi, naturally, hated anything sweet, but he had no objections to drinking it several worlds later when I caught him at night, brooding in the darkness. I didn't say anything then, simply made the drink and left it in front of him. He didn't say anything then, simply took it and drank it without a glance at me.

Now the memories are coming, one after another, tumbling over each other in a rush to be remembered. Those times Kuro-rin would jump into battle just to stop me from getting hurt and then moan about what a nuisance I was afterwards. Those times I poked him and teased him and made him chase me. Those times we were so loud the neighbours complained and the times when we sat in complete silence.

If you could take all those moments; add them together, throw in all the sweet sorrows and complicated joys we shared, and the silence and noise, it would be enough to span a lifetime.

The clock ticks the minutes by. Just how long has it been since Kuro-puu left me? It was eleven when I made myself a drink but it feels like a lifetime ago. I swing my legs and softly hum a tuneless song. Thunder splits apart the sky and it begins to rain. I continue to hum tunelessly.

We're opposites, Kuro-chi and me. For instance, I have a terrible sweet tooth. He abhors the stuff but that did not stop him from buying me a box of chocolate rosettes, which I have been addicted to ever since. The first time he gave me them, he rather unceremoniously shoved them in my arms, grunting something indistinguishable. I miss them. I wonder what time the clock will show when I get to eat them again. There is no orange M&M. There are these little round pieces of coloured candy that have an orange M&M on the packet but there is never one inside. It's false advertising.

The clock goes tick, tick, and I sigh.

Memory comes in shards and I am sure I am forgetting things. Time is unreliable and I cannot tell how long it has been. I think of chocolate rosettes, suing the designer of the M&M packet, and Kuro-kichi.

Then the door opens. The door that leads to the outside town opens with a click. I raise my head expectantly to greet whoever it may be.

A box of chocolates skid across the table, spinning towards me after being thrown across the six feet between the door and the table. Chocolate rosettes. The golden wrapping is slightly damp. It must have been raining.

A grin lights up my face. "You've been gone for a long time."

"It's only been half an hour," he sighs irritably, shaking the droplets of water from his hair.

"Time doesn't always go at the same speed. I was wondering how long it had been since you left me."

"It's been half an hour, I told you!" he snaps, dumping himself into the chair opposite mine. "The next time you want something so stupid at this God-forsaken hour, go get it yourself!"

I smile and he huffs. According to the clock, it has indeed been half an hour since Kuro-chan left me.

"So what have you been doing?" he mutters after a moment of silence.

"Remembering," I say with a mouthful of chocolate rosettes.


Across the sea of dreams

steering ceaselessly

my soul is steering

towards your soul.