Disclaimer: I do not own VOCALOID. Cuz if I did then Rin and Len would be Canon :)
I could feel someone stroking my hair and I opened my eyes to see the sun rising.
Where am I? Last I recall, I was running after Rei who had gone off somewhere…and then…someone grabbed me and…
What happened next?
I felt soft fingers caressing my hair and that's when I noticed that I was lying down on what looked like a bench, my head resting on someone's lap. I tried to get up but I felt the figure keeping me down.
"Just leave it like this for a while Rin." I froze when I realized that the voice belonged to Len. Is this a dream? I felt my cheeks turning red at his touch but I shook the thoughts away. Just what is Len thinking? Didn't he already say for me to let go and yet…
"I'm not dreaming am I?" I asked, earning a chuckle from Len.
"And if I said you were?" He asked me back and sighed. I guess this really is a dream- a cruel one at that.
"If this is a dream then can I wake up?"
"Why?" He asked me.
"Because this is a nightmare not a dream… I don't want you in my dreams, I want you in real life but I know that can't happen. That's why I hate this." My tone sounded bitter now. I got up to confront Len but before I could turn, the world suddenly shifted and my vision suddenly turned hazy.
"I'm sorry for making you suffer Rin…" I heard Len say before I blacked out.
My eyes flew open and I saw myself on my bed, the curtains drawn and the birds chirping outside. Was it all really just a dream? Did Len-
"Rise and shine sleepy head!" Just as I thought of him, Len's head popped out from the doorway to greet me. He wore white rabbit ears on his head and held a gold pocket watch on his left hands. He wore a plain white long-sleeved shirt and a black sleeveless vest, paired with a yellow tie. He also wore a pair of tight black slacks and knee-high brown boots that made clacking sounds on the floorboards of my room.
"The White Hare has come to pick up Alice." He bowed and reached out his hand. Is this another dream again? I wonder to myself as I reach out my hand and Len gently gives it a light kiss. My cheeks turn red and I jerk my hand away.
Nope this is all real.
"Len where on earth are-," Meiko's voice shouts and then stops when she saw Len in my room. The Red Queen herself, Meiko is dressed in a red and black frilly dress with a gold crown on her head. She put down the long gold sceptre she held on the table and walked in my room, cursing quietly on the difficulty of entering my room due to her long poofy skirt.
"What on earth are you doing here? Gakupo's been looking for you. Hurry down and I'll get Rin dressed up." She ordered and pushed the surprised Len out of my room. She then turned to me with a smile on her face while holding up a blue dress for me to see.
"Everyone in Wonderland is waiting Alice."
I looked to the faded calendar on the desk and saw the date written today. That's right, today's the start of the 'Fantasy Fest' Gakupo was talking about. After all the hard work we did, today was the day we get to see it bear fruit. I hope Luka would see this… No doubt she'd be proud of Gakupo for doing so much just to impress her.
"Earth to Rin! If you don't hurry up then we'll never get any customers." Meiko snapped her finger in front of me before taking my hand and half-dragging me to the changing room.
"What do you mean we won't be getting any customers?" I asked her when she started undressing me from my sleeping gown.
"It's a surprise." She winked and before I could ask again, she quickly helped me into a blue and white dress that reached until my knees. I sighed at her answer and just hoped to myself that it wasn't anything I should worry about.
"Hm?" She replied while tying the frilly apron on me. Should I tell her? About Rei, Len, and what had transpired last night? I doubt Len would tell Meiko about it, seeing as regardless of how much he and Rei had a rivalry, Len still cared for Rei as his brother.
"Did you ever meet anyone before Kaito?" I decided against the idea and so changed the topic instead. I saw Meiko blush from the mirror and then saw her face darken. She then proceeded to tie a blue ribbon on my head and then started to comb my hair.
"How about you? Did you ever meet anyone before Len?" She threw the question back at me and this time it was my turn to blush.
"Well I met Rei but…" The moment I remembered Rei, I quickly spun to face Meiko, surprising her. Last night Rei had a fever and I followed him out into the streets. With a fever like that, he might have collapsed…or worse.
"Thanks a lot Meiko but I have to go now- don't worry I'll be back." I waved at her and walked out of the room just in time to see Rei in an almost identical outfit as Len but instead of a black vest, he had a red one and also unlike Len, he wore a long black coat with gold linings on the side. His black cat ears blended well with his hair, making it look like they were real.
"Rei!" He perked up at my voice when I ran to greet him.
"Well, well, look who we have here- it's Alice." He bowed and that's when I noticed a long black tail poking out of his coat.
"Are you alright? You know you shouldn't be up and about when you just came from a fever." I asked worriedly. Rei only laughed making me more worried since whatever I had just said wasn't even funny.
"Of course I'm fine Rin. I should actually be asking you that question- the 'are you alright' I mean."
"Huh? I feel fine." I answered him, completely baffled as to why he would think I wasn't alright.
"Sorry about last night. I know I shouldn't have pushed my feelings on to you like that…must've been due to the fever but I know that a stupid excuse like that doesn't cut it." He turned red while scratching the back of his head.
"What are you talking- oh…" I was about to ask when the thought of lips on mine surfaced through my memories. I felt my heart begin doing tap dances and the air around us suddenly got awkward.
"You probably won't forgive me after that but I guess I deserve it for doing something like that to you."
"It's not your fault…it's all mine since I made those promises I could never keep." I shook my head. People do crazy things at the spur of the moment but I couldn't blame them, we just want to find comfort in life and when we meet someone who can offer that we feel happy. It's just sad to think that when they ask for something, we just can't seem to give them what they want after all the effort they did for us.
"Don't say that… Don't ever say it was your entire fault because truth be told I would have lost myself if I didn't meet you." Rei said through gritted teeth as he pushed me against the wall.
"R-Rei-," I fumbled to say something but bit it back. To think he was this serious when I couldn't even… No, I should know my place. My situation is completely different from Rei's.
"Rin where one earth did you- oh Rei! Did I just interrupt something?" Meiko came running out of the hallway, saw Rei had me against the wall and then blushed red and ran back to the corner of the hallway.
"P-please excuse me."
"N-no Meiko! It was a misunderstanding!" We shouted in unison, turned to each other after it and then turned a bright shade of red.
"Look who I happen to see, Alice and the cat having some quality time." I turned and saw Len walking to our direction. Rei quickly turned stiff next to me, his eyes glaring at Len.
"Well I think they make a rather sweet couple." Next to him, Gakupo commented and for a split second, I thought I saw Len frown before quickly putting up his façade. Gakupo's long black coat swayed with his movement and his tall hat, the complete imitation of the Mad Hatter's, made me wonder how he could walk with it without managing to drop it.
"It seems the Mad Hatter has made his scene." I smiled at Gakupo's direction. Gakupo gave a bow and took my hand to his lips.
"A pleasure to meet you Alice. Now if you'll excuse me, the Cheshire and I have some business to attend to." With that, Gakupo took the now confused Rei by the hand and excused himself but not before passing Len a nod that held something other than a quick excuse.
"So is our Alice ready?" Len asked me after Rei and Gakupo had finally gone downstairs.
"Ready for what?" I asked him and watched him smile as he led me down the opposite staircase.
"To enter Wonderland of course."
"Can you be a bit more specific Len?" I sighed. Len didn't answer and instead led me to the front door of the shop where I saw a lot of people crowding around it.
"You're the main star Rin. So when I asked you that if you were ready to enter Wonderland, it means that I was asking you if you were ready to greet our guests." Len smiled and that's when I saw Rei already outside the shop, acting like the Cheshire himself when he bowed to the guests while showing off the most charismatic smile he could give.
"I-I think I'm not yet ready…" I panicked and was about to back out when Len stopped me, his firm grasp stopping me from making a run upstairs.
"After all the hard work we put into this? Not a chance Rin. We promised Gakupo we'd win remember? Besides, I think the headstrong and curious Alice really becomes you so I know you'll do fine." Len assured me while at the same time reminding me of what we had promised to Gakupo. I looked behind me and saw him smiling, trying to assure me that I'd play my role well.
I blushed at thought of him so close to me, his smile as always comforted me when I felt nervous. With a weak smile, I nodded and turned to the guests who were now entering the inn. That's right, I had to make sure Gakupo won this festival. I wanted Luka to see how much he had changed because of her. How he became a person who strived to fulfil his dream with his own hands.
After all, how can this be a 'Fantasy Fest' when there is no magic to grant any wishes.
"Welcome everyone to Wonderland!" I heard Rin shout and watched her lead the guests to their table while humming a song. I felt someone tug at my sleeve and I looked down to find a young girl looking at me.
"Why hello there young miss. What seems to be the problem?" I asked her. The girl looked left and then right and then turned to me with a very serious expression.
"It's my birthday and I want you, the Cheshire, the Hatter, the Queen and Alice to be my servants for today."
I did my best to retain my smile and then was about to tell her that it seemed impossible when I saw a shadow towering behind the girl. I looked up and saw a man in his late fifties, dressed in fine attire. The girl looked behind her and lunged to hug the man whom I presumed to be her father.
"Daddy! Just in time. I want this place closed down for my birthday party." The girl commanded and I saw her father sigh as she put her daughter down.
"Layla, didn't we have this conversation before? Today is the 'Fantasy Fest' this place is for everyone not just you. Didn't you already agree that we'd do this next time?"
"But Daddy… I can't wait any longer! Pleeeeaaaseeee!" The girl begged her father. The man did his best to calm his child but it seemed impossible seeing as she had already gone into a tantrum.
"What seems to be the matter here Len?" I turned and saw Gakupo who had just finished cleaning a table and was now walking to see what the commotion was all about. I explained to him the girl's wish and I saw him ponder at it for a moment before nodding.
"Well we could open the bar room for her. It was supposed to be a party hall when night came but I guess we can make an exception." Gakupo suggested while winking at the girl who had now stopped crying. Leave it to Gakupo I guess to find a way around things. The girl beamed and hugged Gakupo who was now taken aback at her sudden action.
"When I grow up, I am definitely going to marry you!" She squealed in delight.
"All this for a girl? Tell me what makes her that important compared to a hundred guests that we are serving right now." Rei wondered while arranging the centre room to look like a throne room for Meiko.
"Her father is one of the most influential people in this town. Having him on our side will boost the stores popularity, am I right?" I asked Gakupo and saw him nod.
"Now say ah~" Rin cooed and all three of us turned to watch the young girl as she ordered Rin to feed her a cake. Meiko sipped from her tea while acting the role of the Red Queen in front of the girl.
"I want a piggyback ride next!" The girl ordered and I watch Rei moan as he walked to the girl. I saw Rin giggle and then turned to see Rei blushing. Once again, that sour feeling came creeping up, making me frown at the sight.
"Alice save me!" The girl shouted and I watched all three of them run around the bar room, laughing and enjoying the moment.
"Something the matter Len?" Gakupo asked me worriedly when he saw the look on my face. I felt Meiko's gaze land on me and I knew that she was about to say something.
"It seems the Hare has gotten a bit-," She was about to add when I cut her off.
"What makes you say that I've gotten-,"
"It's written all over your face Len. I can see it well enough and I know Rei can as well. Don't make it harder for her okay. Just…accept it." She cut me off and this time I felt like a vein had just popped.
"Ummm…guys?" Gakupo voiced out worriedly but it seemed that neither of us heard him.
"Accept what? I don't get what you are saying-,"
"Give up! Just let it go. You keep saying that you already have but you haven't. You decided right. You're happiness for hers. The more you chase after it the deeper you're digging your grave Len. If you really care then leave her! Leave Miku if you-,"
"Do you think it's easy for me to just let Miku go Meiko? If it was that easy then I'd have already left but I didn't. And you know why? It's because I still loved her…" I shouted and that's when I realized that I had just dug my grave even deeper.
"Loved her Len. So now you know where your heart lies." Meiko only said as she got up to leave me in shock next to a completely baffled Gakupo.
HIATUS! I'm sorry for the sudden announcement but it seems like the story was losing its touch. The updates keep extending from two to three months and it makes me worry that you might be waiting for nothing…
What worries me even more is the fact that another story just popped into my head. I've already started to write it down but I decided that I might not post it until I've accomplished three chapters of it. What makes it worrying for me is that when I start it I might not have the time to update 'Until the Bitter End' hence the reason why I put it into hiatus.
So thanks for those who supported this story since that day it was published. I promise that when the time comes that I can finally write it again, I'll make sure it gets posted for all of you guys to see. Till then…I guess.