As far as the setting goes this takes place very shortly after Eles joins the orchestra.

And as far as the story goes...this is dedicated to a very special friend of mine. Recently you and I have been stressed, so much so that I feel I can't handle people anymore, and so much so that you are dwelling on a betrayal and the loss of someone once close to you. Well, I wrote this story for you, my dearest. I want you to know that I'll be there for you every single step of the way. I want you to know that for as long as I live I will do everything I can to quench your stresses and make them feel as miniscule as possible. You helped me through my roughest times and I will be there for yours. I've got your back.

"How are you?"

Kohaku was trying to relax when he heard that girl's voice. He was resting on the grass, using his arms as a pillow and looking up at the sky. He had a lot on his mind and he wanted to be left alone. He didn't say anything to her. Instead he closed his eyes, hoping she would take the hint.

She didn't.

"Hey, Kohaku. I asked you a question. You alright?"

"Fine, Eles!" Kohaku said a bit harshly.

Eles faltered a bit, but didn't want to give up just yet. She sat on the grass next to him and the two of them sat in silence. She hadn't been able to spend a lot of alone time with any of the men in the orchestra. She wanted to take time out and make sure she gave each of them the attention they deserved. That would be the only way for them to see that they could fully trust her as a member of the orchestra and as a friend.

"Lot on your mind?" she asked.


She just nodded. She figured Kohaku would be a difficult one to get through to, but this conversation was really getting nowhere. To even call it a conversation was being optimistic. She had thought of another question but before she could ask it Kohaku had already opened his mouth to say something.

"And what about you? You have a lot on your mind?"

Eles stopped for a moment. Did she have a lot on her mind? She constantly was thinking about the tragic events of her hometown and the terrible fate of her brother. She thought about how she was torn away from her home and how she wouldn't be in this situation if she just hadn't played that damned piano. She thought about these new men she had to travel with and as much as she liked them she missed having a place to call home.

"Always," she replied.

Kohaku nodded. "You miss your home?"

"Yes…and no. I miss my father, my mother, and my brother. I miss how things were before the attack. After the attack though…I was just so desperate for someone to listen to me. I wanted to get it through their heads that I didn't mean for anything like that happen. I wanted to get my point across but…."

"People don't listen."

"People…don't listen."

"People are stupid."

Eles was silent after that. She didn't want to agree with him. She didn't believe that. If everyone in the world was stupid then everyone would have died a long time ago. Of course…when she looked at the world around her majority of it was covered with guignols. For every one human there were three guignols. Perhaps…now was the time that human stupidity caused the world to die.

"But you're too young to think like that!" Kohaku said sitting up. "Young girls like you just cry it out and then feel better."

"Do you cry, Kohaku?" Eles asked, choosing to ignore his statement about how easy it was for girls to forget.

"Hell no. I don't cry."

"You should. It helps release emotions so you don't feel so bottled up inside. Crying expresses everything that words can't."

"My eyes hurt when I cry."

"No, they don't! If you don't cry then how do you relieve your stress?"

"I shoot stuff."

"Well, I'm not shooting anything. I'll stick to my crying!"

"I never said crying was bad. I just said I don't cry. Young girls like you need to cry. You'll feel better about the situation even if there's nothing you can do to change it."

Eles was quiet. She realized that the first time someone actually listened to her was when she met these men. They didn't blame her or accuse her of anything. Perhaps all hope wasn't lost.

Kohaku stood up and stretched. "There's a lot going on in my mind too. Lucille and Gwin are also pretty stressed out even if it seems like they're not. Listen, Eles, everyone has problems. Everyone is anxious, stressed, upset, bothered, annoyed, disgusted, and down right tired of something. We all cope in different ways. You're part of the team now so that means I'll have your back even if I don't want to. No matter how stressed or how annoyed you get I'll be there for you. We all will. We have your back, Eles."

Someone had heard her desperate cries. Someone had heard her screams and yells. And when she was finally so tired of yelling someone had actually heard her soft and sad whispers. Someone didn't blame her. Someone listened to her side of the story. Someone understood her stresses. Someone understood her.

Who would have thought that the people who understood her the most was a group of rowdy, immature men?

"I have your back too, Kohaku. I have your back and the other's. Count on me."

"I'll drink to that!" Kohaku said as he began to make his way back to the car. Eles followed him, running to Lucille when she saw him. He had seen her with Kohaku but had decided against joining them. They seemed to be having a rather intense conversation. However, there was no way Lucille wouldn't put in his two cents either.

"Oh, Eles?"

Eles made it to him and he bent down to look her directly in the eye. He stroked her hair gently while speaking to her.

"I know you're still recovering from what happened at your hometown, but just remember something for me. We weren't put on this earth to suffer and cry. We were made to be happy and feel joy, not be sad. So be happy."

Eles just smiled and nodded, for a moment feeling that everything was all right. "I'm happy. And I'll be there for you when you guys need me. I have your backs."

Lucille smiled and stood, opening the door for Eles to step into the car. "We have your back too, Eles. Trust me…we won't let you down."

I won't let you down, dearest. I absolutely will never let you down. You will never feel disappointed in me and you will never feel any hurt or pain because of me. I promise you! And without you saying anything I know you'll do the same for me.

I hope your smiling face
is with me until the day
I fall into eternal sleep
...We've taken a long road
But we've finally arrived