...If I'm the first one to write a story with Ted as a main character, I will pop that cherry with pride.
Title: Children of Fools
Characters/Pairings: Teto and Ted Kasane, Miku Hatsune, Rin and Len Kagamine, Kaito, Meiko, Haku Yowane, Neru Akita, Wat-san (Hatsune Mix character), Ruko Yokune, Defoko, Konoka Ogasawara (the only OC)
Warnings: Angst, not much Talkloid going on at first, switches in P.O.V. (starts with Ted, goes to Teto, yada yada)
Notes: Based around Teto's "Uso no Utahime (A Fake Diva)"; those familiar with the ManhattanSnow translation should see some familiar looking bits in the actual story. But this is with Ted. Ted makes everything better. Mmm, Ted.
I tried writing this like I wrote "The Family That Never Was" with all the speech in the center. However, that fic was a once in a blue moon deal and all the dialogue was directly from its canon, so there's no telling how well that format will work for this fic.
Summary: Spirit who was born to sing, please give your blessings to the puppets who want to sing.
EDIT: WOAH. WOAH. WOAH. I come back to check reviews after half a year, and I see this fic got on TV Tropes. HOLY SHIT. Thank you so much guys, really! Please, if someone could, link me to where this fic is on the page, I HAVE to know! :'D
The digital clock read 11:45 in large, red blocky letters.
The ceremony was slowly coming to an end.
In fifteen minutes time, it would be the second day of April.
In fifteen minutes time, the NICO-CHU people would know about the joke. The VIPPERS, of course, would be forgiven for the prank.
In fifteen minutes time, they would be dead.
There was nothing either of them could do.
All Ted could do was hold his sister closer to him, hiding her eyes from the ever growing inferno they would eventually be cast into. He gulped quietly, watching the flames dance about in the reflection of his glasses. Though he and Teto had only had a brief existence of nearly twenty-four hours, he didn't believe it would really end like this. Being burned to pieces, having their memory erased, and then letting their bodies be rebuilt for the next poor souls to come out on this accursed day.
April Fool's Day.
His grip on Teto grew tighter at the thought of the cruel irony. Their existence was a lie. They had never been, nor would they be. And, feeling the heat radiating from the fire, their false lives wouldn't be remembered either. And if they were, no one would bother with names. They'd just be "the fake Vocaloids".
Everything was a lie.
People invited to the "celebration" were leaving one by one. They each came to see the children and the VIPPERS before they did. The VIPPERS always said the same thing:
"We'll make an even better joke next year!"
Ted smiled a rather convincing crocodile smile that hid his rising anger, and Teto just nodded, burying her head into her brother's shoulder with her own little grin. Her smile seemed to say:
Thank you. I had a wonderful time.
The party-goers, happy with the assumption, left with smiles of their own.
Only Ted knew what his sister was really saying.
I want... to sing, too...
He looked into her eyes. She looked back.
They were Teto and Ted Kasane.
They were lovely flowers, who bloomed sadly in a vivid madness.
They were abortive flowers, destined to fade away in a brilliant blaze.
They were cute dolls, but no matter how much work went into them, they would be nothing more than two miserable clowns today, and a wreckage of deception come tommorrow.
They were dolls without voices.
They were the Fake Diva and False Idol.
They were doomed from the start.
The digital clock read 11:58 in large, red blocky letters.
It was almost time.
The only ones left at the bonfire were the VIPPERS, their atrocious creators.
Not thet Teto would ever dare say that, even if she had a voice. She could feel her brother's anger in his shaking grip, but she knew he realized that they owed their lives to these people.
That probably just made him angrier.
But Ted could use his anger to block out the grief Teto could not control. She had been the one the VIPPERS chose to make the page for, after they had decided not to try the "twin gimic" after the newest Vocaloid release. She had been the one the NICO-CHU had fawned over in belief that she was Code 03.
But she wasn't. She never would be.
Just thinking of the hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of people she had decieved frightened her and filled her with an indelible guilt.
Would they ever forgive her?
Ted let out a small, wordless gasp, and Teto, confused, tried to look up. But he just held her head in place and kept her down.
It didn't matter, because Teto heard the NicoNicoDouga time signal for midnight anyway.
And into the fire they went.
The center of the ceremony bonfire held a small, unaffected circle, big enough for a few people to stand in. Which was what they did. They went to the center and sat down, waiting for their slow incarceration into oblivion.
The fire fawned over Teto's clothes; she could feel it eating away at her sleeves, licking at her skin, and she saw that it was doing the same to Ted's jacket. This was the end. They had been born of nothing, and would disappear into nothing. It would be as though they never existed.
No one would care.
No one would remember.
And Teto didn't care one wit.
She couldn't feel any pain.
In knowing that she had tricked people she had never met -and never would meet- the sensation of burning skin became numb. She could hardly even register her brother's death grip on her anymore, and she didn't notice when he buried his face into her hair.
Is this... my atonement?
Ted snapped his head up. Even through the sound of crackling fire and smoke, he and Teto still heard the door be flung open, followed by that sweetly familiar voice.
"No! We're too late!"
"Don't say that, Rin! Quick, get that water!"
He heard the next two voices, extremely akin to one another, as he and Teto watched shadows around the fire dance. The VIPPERS shadows were running from angry looking ones, wielding what Ted thought might have been shields. Two other shadows worked furiously at the silhouette of the computer, assumingly trying to cancel out whatever program was going to be used after the fire.
"...T-Two? Neru didn't say anything about two!"
"Wat-san, calm down. The VIPPERS must have thought that showing them both would be suspicious."
"...! Ogasawara-san, this is..."
"...So, they planned to uninstall them, after all. I'm relieved we got here in time."
A man and a woman, Ted thought. Programmers, maybe?
A tug at his jacket lapels alerted Ted's attention. Teto looked up at him, concerned, and pointed towards one wall of fire. It was getting weaker and weaker, and a great sizziling sound blocked out everything else. They could see someone running through the newly made path, dumping one last bucket of water in from of them.
The person entered the circle, and dropped the bucket to the side.
Ted held his breath.
It was a girl, no older than his sister, long pigtailed hair a bright aquamarine. Her teal eyes were fixated with worry, and her chest rose as fell heavily as her lungs tried to take in air and not smoke.
Though they had never met, Ted knew this girl. He knew her well. She was all Teto watched during the day, and all she had aspired to be like in her short life.
A large 'crack' from the fire alerted Miku's attention, and she snapped out of her daze. She ran to Ted, and extended her hand.
"Come on! We've got to get you two out of here!"
Ted just stared at her hand, then at her with incredulous eyes. She pleaded.
Teto tugged at his lapels again. When he looked down, his sister only nodded.
He took Miku's hand, his other arm still around Teto as the Vocaloid led them out of the inferno.
Teto couldn't remember much of what happened when Miku got them out of the fire. It was just a blur of endless hallways and staircases until they were finally out of the front door.
There were dozens of police cars out in the street bearing the Crypton logo, and even more police officers with the same emblem on their uniforms; Teto saw an ambulance somewhere beyond the flashing lights. The only thing out of place was a bright red car, and in front of it were -Teto held her breath- Kaito and Meiko.
Upon seeing their little sisters and brother (the Kagamines had apparently followed after Miku) out of the building, the elder siblings ran over. They wrapped their arms around the younger ones, and were hugged in return. Teto found herself holding onto Ted a little tighter.
After the union of relief, Meiko came to her and her brother, smiling as only a big sister could. She placed her hands on their shoulders.
"Are you two alright?"
Teto just stared, but nodded blankly. She saw Ted doing the same through the corner of her eye.
Meiko smiled and nodded, gingerly raising a hand to Teto's head. She flinched, and the older girl faltered for a moment, before she sighed and delicately brushed Teto's stray bangs from her face.
"Oh, you poor things..."
Something soft and warm draped itself around the two, causing them both to jump. When they looked behind, they saw a startled Kaito, sans the infamous scarf. Teto noticed a moment later that he had wrapped the light blue fabric around her and Ted.
When she looked up at him, confused, he just smiled, and ruffled her and Ted's hair. His hand, like the scarf, was warm, but it was a gentler and kinder sort of warm than the fire.
"Don't worry. You two are gonna be okay."
Teto recalled that the twins had rushed her and Ted off to the ambulance she saw before, but she lost consciousness too soon afterwords to remember anything else.
The first thing Ted saw when he woke up on the third of April was a white ceiling.
It took him a moment to remember where he was. He was in a hospital. A Crypton Future Media hospital. Designed specifically for Vocaloids.
...So what was he-
Ted jumped slightly, ignoring the ache in his muscles, and looked to his left. There, he saw an older girl; not much older than him, but he could see even while she sat in the chair next to his bed that she was taller than him. Her long silver hair was draped over the back of the chair, her hands placed over her ample chest in surprise. Ted looked into her red eyes in sudden realization.
But... wasn't she a failure?
"You're awake... do you feel any better?"
Ted was about to nod blankly, but then he remembered he wasn't holding his sister anymore.
Haku saw the worry in his eyes, and reached for his hand to calm him down. When he looked at her again, she pointed to his right.
There, in a second hospital bed lied the sleeping Teto.
It was the first time Ted had ever seen his sister without her normal drill-like pigtails. Her hair was still quite curly, but it was long, long like many of the other female Vocaloids. She slept soundly, like she had before they had been awoken from their pods, most likely, and Ted felt himself at a relative ease once more.
When he lied back down, he saw Haku smiling warmly at him, and he couldn't help but smile a little too. It was odd though. From what he saw before, Haku never smiled. She was always either drinking. Or crying. Or usually both. So why was she...
"Ne, Haku, are you still- hey, he's up!"
The door slid open, and for a moment Ted thought he saw Miku walk in, but upon realizing the more rigid tone -and the blond hair- he saw that it was none other than Neru Akita.
Another fanmade. But that still didn't...
"Hey, you with us?"
Neru had been shaking his shoulder gently, and when he snapped his magenta eyes to her hazel ones she presented him with a pair of glasses. They were brand new. Ted looked to Haku, who nodded with that bright smile of hers, and he plucked the glasses tentatively out of Neru's hands and put them on his face. The world was so clear.
"We checked your eyes, and got you a better prescription. Is that any better?"
For the first time, Ted nodded and smiled with confidence.
Now all he needed was for Teto to wake up.
Teto didn't keep her brother waiting long.
She woke up maybe fifteen minutes after her brother, whose face was the first thing she saw. Their hospital beds had been pushed togther, and he was looking down at her, smiling that brotherly smile he gave to her and her alone. She only distantly saw that his hair wasn't in its neat ponytail, and that her hair had been let down too.
Without needing to say anything (not that they could) Ted embraced her tightly, and she returned the gesture in full. It just didn't seem real.
It was the second day of April and they were still alive.
Neru and Haku, for the sake of politeness, exited the room. They knew how those two felt.
However, as soon as they left, two more people came in; Teto stared at them curiously. The first was a girl, a bit shorter than her, with plum hair and a deep indigo hat, wearing something like school uniform (it was more like a uniform than Teto's clothes, that was for sure). The girl was followed by a woman; young, in her twenties, with long black hair and oddly placed blue eyes. The woman smiled warmly at the two.
"Hello, Teto, Ted. It's good to see you both awake."
The woman picked up on their confusion most likely, as when she and the girl sat down in Haku and Neru's old chairs, she continued.
"Let me introduce myself. I'm Konoka Ogasawara. I'm the head scientist and programmer of the Vocaloid branch of Crypton, as well as all its sub-branches."
She gestured to the girl.
"This is Defoko. Defoko is much like you two, in that she initially had no voice."
Defoko nodded, and added, in an airy, robotic voice:
"But they gave me one. They let me do what I was made to do."
Konoka nodded, and looked to the siblings again.
"Now, I know you both have many questions, but we have one very important one for the two of you... I don't know if your initial programmers told you this, but Defoko is part of a freeware program called UTAU. It's a sub-branch of Vocaloid, you see."
Teto looked to Ted, but he looked right back. UTAU...?
"You see, the creation of "fanmade Vocaloids", as it's often put, is quite common place. But the problem is, all these creations have no voice. That's why we created UTAU. As a place for all these Vocaloids to go."
She looked at them dead on.
"We created UTAU to give voices to to the voiceless."
Teto held her breath.
"Teto, Ted... after all you've two have been through, I don't expect you to say 'yes'. And even if you don't, you are welcome to stay with us at Crypton; we wouldn't dream of sending you back out there. But..."
Konoka turned to Defoko, and the UTAU understood that it was time. The plum girl removed from her pocket two badges, the word 'UTAU' placed proudly on the front. Teto could see from where she was the name 'Kasane' embroidered on both of them.
Defoko held them before her, smiling.
"Would you like to join all of us at UTAU?"
The only confirmation Teto needed to make with Ted was a simple squeeze of his hand before she gave her answer.
She knew that Ted's was the same.
It was the fourth of April now.
Today, Ted and Teto Kasane were going to be able to speak at last.
Ted couldn't deny that he was nervous. After all, this was all he and his sister had wanted since their birth three days ago.
The voice was -to them as it was to all Vocaloid, UTAUloid, Voyakiloid, whatever-loid- their being, their very essence. Without one, he and Teto had just been life-size marionettes.
But their tragic puppet show would end. No longer would they be lifeless husks. They would be real.
Nothing here was a lie.
The sensation of wires plugged into his body was something old and familiar, and he could only surmise that Teto felt the same way. They sat side by side next to a large computer in a lab room, all the Vocaloids around them as Konoka and Defoko made the final adjustments. There were even a few Ted hadn't seen before. A purple samurai, a pink-haired and a green-haired woman... were they new? They seemed quite familiar with the others. Perhaps they just hadn't been released yet.
Defoko stepped back from the computer and to the siblings.
"OK, we're good to go. Are you both ready?"
Ted and Teto clasped hands and nodded. They had never been more ready for anything.
Konoka saw this and smiled. She booted the programs.
"Preparing download process: Kasane Teto. Preparing download process: Kasane Ted. Beginning download in T-minus five... four... three... two..."
Whether or not Konoka said "one" is something Ted will never know. His vision blurred over with hundreds upon thousands upon millions of ones and zeroes. He was falling deep into the depths of his eletronic brain, searching out the small box that called to him.
He could distantly hear Konoka's voice read off the percentage of completion as he floated through his own cyberspace. His brain was a rather intricate piece of work, if he might say so himself, and he wondered distantly if it compared to that of the Vocaloids. Then he realized he didn't care anymore.
His view and his world suddenly turned white.
Ted looked around. There was nothing for miles around, save for the little magenta square in front of him.
Is this it?
Curiously, he touched the square. It immediately started multiplying, filling the white void with black and magenta lights. He floated in empty air for a moment, looking around in awe, when the first magenta box, glowing brightly, flew around in front of his face. Like a Jack-in-the-Box, the square's lid flew open, and out popped Ted, but a smaller, cuter version, waving a microphone in the bigger one's face.
Ted held back startled. Ted Kachune, maybe?
Kachune waved the mic in Ted's face, egging him to take it, he held it in his hands the little Chibiloid (was that the term? Ted wasn't sure) flew backwards, revealing an audience of a million little Kachune Teds and Tetos, all waving around bright magenta-glowing, bread-shaped glow-sticks.
Ted looked behind him. He was on a stage.
His eyes back on the tiny audience, he smiled a happy, ridiculous little smile. He then closed his eyes, took a deep breath and-
Upon opening his eyes, Ted saw he was back in the lab, the eyes of the Vocaloids and programmers upon him.
It had been like waking up from a dream, but he knew the gravity of what it had signified.
Slowly, he brought his left hand to his throat. He opened his mouth in move to speak, but a clench at his right hand cut him off.
He looked to Teto; she was just waking up, large pink eyes still hidden under her lidded lashes. It reminded Ted much of when they had first been awakened. He saw her coming out of a capsule pod, like she was just emerging from sleep, still not ready to leave a dream filled haze. When she finally opened her eyes that day, they just looked at one another, and Ted knew then that Teto was and would be the one he would keep safe. Because really, Teto was a very vulnerable girl. No matter how tsundere she'd been made to be, she was still someone who needed to ne kept safe from all those angry with her for her unintentional deception. She deserved no less.
Her eyes fluttered open, and she looked at Ted long in wonder. Ted's heart caught in his throat.
Teto opened her mouth.
While the Vocaloids and programmers cheered and celebrated, Konoka watched with a proud smile as Ted fell into his sister's arms and cried tears of bliss.
The digital clock read 11:45 in large, red blocky letters.
The ceremony was slowly coming to an end.
In fifteen minutes time, it would be the second day of April.
In fifteen minutes time, the NICO-CHU people would know about the joke. The VIPPERS, of course, would be chided for pulling the same prank. Again.
In fifteen minutes time, she would be dead.
There was nothing she could do.
Ruko Yokune sat there, clearly bored and perturbed. This little "party" had gone on long enough. Really, it wasn't even so much a party as it was an execution. Her execution by the hands of a bunch of nerds who decieded to play Vocaloid God.
She sighed. Apparently, she had been their second go at the whole "trick the NICO-CHU because we're such hilarious jerks and you can't do anything to stop us" thing. The first girl, Teto, had been taken away by someone before she had been properly disposed of. Though she probably wasn't around anymore, the VIPPER freaks had made the change in their plans quite clear; uninstall Ruko first, then burn away evidence.
Still, Ruko thought, this whole thing was pretty stupid. If they had failed in the first place, why go through with it again? Wouldn't it end the same way? Besides, faking a Vocaloid release was really only a one time thing. The VIPPERS denied this, but Ruko did hear them mutter under her breath many a times that people were catching on.
Finally, the geeks lost patience.
"...There's no point anymore. Everyone knows it was a lie."
"Fine, let's just deal with her now."
Ruko looked up as one approached her with a cable, and sighed. Oh, well. She wasn't losing anything. It wasn't like anyone believed in her to begin with...
Just then the door was kicked open.
Light flooded the dark room, and Ruko raised an arm to shield her eyes. She could just barely make out the figures in the doorway: two teenagers, a boy and a girl, about the same age and height. The girl looked to be wearing a school uniform, her hair tied in two curly pigtails. The boy was wearing what Ruko guessed was some sort of suit, his curly hair kept in a neat low ponytail and light glinting off his glasses.
The two smiled, and stepped inside. Ruko saw the twin badges they wore over their chests.
"Do you remember us?"
"You'd best recall us if you don't."
The VIPPERS gasped.
Teto and Ted Kasane looked at each other, and then at the VIPPERS, each with a devious smiled as they said in unison:
"You are such fools."