Chapter One

First Comes Love, then Comes Marriage, then Comes . . .

It was a moment of happiness, the purest happiness one could ever feel. It was the happiness of knowing that you and your beloved would be joined forever, and that the one you held most dear wanted nothing more than to be with you. It was a moment so pure that nothing could tarnish it, ever. It was a moment that should have lasted forever.

If only it had lasted a fraction of that time.

Rin and Len walked hand in hand through a park in their city. Len's hand was clammy, so Rin knew he was nervous about something. She figured it was just work, or maybe his mother was planning a visit. So she squeezed his hand and smiled reassuringly at him. Her smile seemed to give him the confidence he needed, because he led her to a bench and sat with her. Then, he stared at her. She returned the gaze with curiosity in her eyes. He fumbled with his pockets before taking out a tiny black box. Rin's heart thundered. Was this what she thought it was? She stared at Len, trying to get an answer out of him. And he gave it. It was just five little words.

"Will you marry me, Rin?"

Rin stared at him, trying to convince herself that this wasn't a joke, that he really meant it. Then, with tears in her eyes, she nodded vigorously, barely able to force out a, "Yes, yes, of course!"

When the two kissed, all was perfect in the world. All was good, all was right. They were young and in love, barely out of college, and still had no concept of the terrible things life could do to them. But they'd be forced to learn soon enough, because no one could stay so happy for long. For all good, there is an equal amount of bad. In the same manner, for all joy, there is an equal amount of grief.

The two continued their walk in the park, and Rin couldn't help but notice something that was missing, and, drunk with happiness, she let herself be greedy, though she already had more happiness than many had ever had in their lives.

"I want one of those," Rin told him, nodding her head toward the children playing in the park.

Len looked to where she'd gestured and nudged her with his shoulder. Smiling cheekily, he wondered, "Which one? I'll get it when no one's looking."

"Not one of those," Rin laughed. "One of our own."

"I can already see it," Len replied, pretending to look into their future and nodding sagely. "It will have blonde hair and blue eyes."

"That's sort of a given, Len," Rin responded with an eye roll as she smiled at the boy. "Besides, don't call our baby an it."

"Then what should I call it?" Len asked. "Did you have a particular gender planned out for the baby?"

"Of course. It will be a girl," Rin informed him.

"You've decided, have you?"

"I have."

"And what if you we have a boy? Will you convince him to get a sex change?"

"Of course not. Besides, it will be a girl," Rin told him with absolute certainty.

"How do you know?" he asked her.

"Because we'll adopt," Rin said. "That way, we can give a child a loving home, I don't have to go through that painful process, and we'll be sure to have a girl."

"You're really that set on adopting?" Len asked, sounding a little disappointed.

Rin watched him carefully, wondering if she'd been too blunt about it, but she had to be honest. "I'm sorry, Len, but I always planned on adopting, ever since I was in middle school."

Len kissed her on the forehead and smiled at her. "Of course, Rin. It's totally your decision. I wouldn't want you to have to go through so much pain if you didn't want to."

"I love you," Rin murmured, looking up at him with a delicate smile.

He smiled down gently on her. "I love you, too."

They stood there for a moment, their hearts captivated by one another, before a wail from a baby caught their attention and they both turned to it instinctively. For a moment, they watched a mother try to quiet the unrelenting child, to no avail. Then, they continued walking.

"Well, another good thing about adopting is we'll never have to deal with that stage," Rin told him, her nose crinkling up in distaste.

"Why?" Len wondered.

"I want a child of at least seven," Rin replied. "They're just too much of a hassle when they're younger than that." She looked away, embarrassed. "I'm sorry. I'm very demanding. I shouldn't be so selfish."

"Not at all," replied Len with a laugh. "Anyway, I know all this already."

Rin blinked up at him, a little startled. "How?"

"You mentioned something about it at that New Year's party we went to the year before last," Len replied. "So I asked your friends about it."

Rin sighed. "I talk too much when I'm drunk."

"No, you don't, Rin," replied Len. Then, he glanced at his watch and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. "Anyway, I have something I have to do, so can you go home without me?"

"Len," Rin whined, a little pouty. They'd just gotten engaged, after all. Was he really planning on making her go home alone?

"I'm sorry," Len told her, smiling apologetically. "But I really have to go do this."

Rin sighed and looked away. "Fine," she muttered begrudgingly. Then, she turned back to him. "So what do you have to do?"

Len put a finger to his lips. "It's a secret."

Rin rolled her eyes and laughed. "You're so weird," she told him.

"I am, but you love me," Len told her, beginning to go back from where they'd come.

Rin smiled at him. "Yes, I do." She held up her hand to show the ring that sparkled on her ring finger. "This much."

He smiled tenderly. "That much," he agreed before turning and leaving at a run. Rin smiled as she watched him go and shook her head. He was such a silly boy. But he was her silly boy, and she loved him.

. . .

The plate she'd been cleaning fell from Rin's hand, falling to the ground and shattering into many tiny fragments. She held a phone against her ear, no longer truly hearing what was being told to her on the other line. She simply let the words wash over her, knowing they were terrible but unable to listen to them.

"Len . . . ," the other side of the line drifted into her ear. "Alleyway . . . . Shot . . . . Registered as emergency call . . . ."

Rin murmured something so quiet that she didn't even hear it herself.

"What?" the other side of the line questioned.

"Is he alive?" Rin whispered, only able to raise he voice so high, as if saying the words any louder would force them to give her an unwanted answer.

"No, ma'am."

The other side of the line kept talking, but Rin didn't hear a single word. She didn't want to hear a word. Len. Len. Len. Len, her fiancé. Len, the boy she loved more than anyone. Len, the boy who had proposed to her merely hours ago.

Len. Alleyway. Shot. Dead.

Plip. Plip. Plip.

Tears fell to the ground one by one, silent tears, as the other side of the line wondered if she was still there.

Len. Alleyway. Shot. Dead.

Len. Alleyway. Shot. Dead.

Len. Alleyway. Shot. Dead.

Plip. Plip. Plip.

Again, Rin murmured something inaudible. On request, she repeated it, loudly and violently.

"You're a liar!" she shouted at the phone. "Len's alive! I saw him just a few hours ago! He'll be home any minute now, I swear it, and then you'll regret lying to me!"

"Ms. Kagamine, please calm down," came a request.

"No!" she shouted, squeezing her eyes shut. "I'm not Ms. Kagamine! I'm Mrs. Hiyama! Len and I, we're getting married, and I'm gonna be . . . I'm gonna be . . . ."

But Rin couldn't lie to herself. She collapsed into a fit of sobs and threw the phone against the wall. Whether it was still on or not, she didn't know, but she didn't care.

Len. Alleyway. Shot. Dead.

It was a moment of pure happiness, and it lasted only a heartbeat.

. . .

"Rin, you have to eat something," Iroha insisted.

Iroha was the only one of Rin's friends who was still brave enough to face her, and she'd taken it upon herself to come feed Rin each and every night, and each and every morning, whether Rin wanted her to or not. Rin had threatened to call the landlord to get the girl taken away, but she couldn't find herself bothered enough to do that.

"I don't want it," was all Rin would mumble as she covered her head with a sofa pillow as she splayed across the couch.

"Well you'll eat it," Iroha commanded. Then, abruptly, Rin felt the cold bottle she'd held in her hand vanish.

"Hey!" Rin shouted, glaring up at Iroha, who scowled down on her.

"No more for you, Rin," retorted the girl. "You're not a fun drunk anymore, and your eyes are crazy bloodshot."

"I hate you," Rin spat.

"Love you, too, Rin," Iroha replied cutely, earning herself a vicious glare. "Come on, Rin, you have work in the morning."

"Go away," Rin grumbled, hiding back under her pillow.

"Not until you eat," the other girl said sternly.

"Freeze the saké and I'll eat that."

"Nice try. Now hurry up." At that moment, the doorbell rang. When Rin made no move to get it, Iroha scowled and sighed. "You better be eating when I get back."

"Saké doesn't freeze that fast," was all Rin would say in response.

Iroha ignored her and left the room. Rin came out from under the pillow and flipped off the direction her friend had gone. She gazed around, but, as she'd guessed, the saké wasn't there. Stupid Iroha. Why didn't she just leave?

"Um, Rin, I need you," Iroha called from the doorway.

"I'm not coming," Rin called back bitterly, scowling in the girl's general direction.

"Rin, just get over here, please."

"I want my saké back," Rin grumbled to herself to convince herself to drag herself off the couch and into the apartment's entrance.

There, at the door, stood a woman with teal pigtails and, with her, a young girl with shoulder-length black hair tied into two pigtails.

"Rin Kagamine, hi!" said the teal-haired girl cheerily, offering out a hand to Rin. Rin gazed at it suspiciously until Iroha kicked her ankle to tell her to shake hands. Rin did, with a small glare at the girl, and tried to keep up with the older woman's overactive chitter. "I'm Miku Hatsune, Yuki's social worker. We're happy to say that all the paperwork has gone through and, after your long wait, you and Len Hiyama are now Yuki's legal guardians."

"Snowing?" Rin mumbled confusedly, her mind too hazy from the alcohol to keep up with Miku's speech. "But it's summer."

"She said Yuki," Iroha informed Rin, embarrassed as she caught Miku's confused expression. "It's the girl's name."

Rin looked down at the young girl and wondered, "Why should I care?"

Miku looked completely taken aback. "Why? You're her legal guardian, Rin!"

Rin simply shook her head. "No I'm not. I've never even seen her before."

"But Len—"

Rin glared at the girl, cutting her off abruptly. Then, her words sharp as knives, she hissed, "Len is dead, okay? Never mention him again."

"Len is . . . dead?" Miku gasped.

Rin felt anger surface, too vivid to control, and she was about to smack the girl when Iroha stood in her way.

"Rin, why don't you go back to the couch?" Iroha suggested. "I'll deal with this."

Rin glared at the girl, but she didn't want to be here, so she took her up on that offer and returned to her couch and buried herself under the pillow.

Iroha didn't come back for at least half an hour, but she'd taken Rin's saké with her, so Rin wasn't even happy to have the time alone. Worse, when Iroha came back, she had the little girl with her.

"Rin," Iroha said delicately. "This is Yuki."

"Unless she brought my saké back, I don't care," Rin mumbled into the sofa cushion.

"Well, you're going to have to, Rin," Iroha said sharply, losing her patience, "because Yuki is your daughter now. Len was working on adopting her for over a year before you two got engaged, and now she's yours."

"That doesn't even make sense," Rin muttered. "I'm not his wife or anything."

"Well, I don't know, Rin!" Iroha told her angrily. "What do you expect me to do?"

Rin didn't say anything. She simply hid under her pillow. She heard Iroha sigh and say to the young girl, "Okay, honey, let's go unpack, alright? I know which room will be yours."

Rin didn't care to listen to the girl's response. She didn't want this girl here, just as much as she didn't want Iroha here. Even if the little girl was Len's plan for her, she'd have nothing to do with it. That girl would be gone as soon as she could get her out.

Author's Note: Len's last name is Hiyama because they needed different last names, but he's still the regular Len, not an OC. I wanted to write a story about Yuki, but I could never think of one. Then, I had the idea of Rin and Len getting engaged and then Len dying, and it melded into this. Anyway, hope you liked it, please review! Oh, and, any comments of "Len always dies!" will be met with a scathing reply as, overall, Rin dies way more than Len. (People are gonna start thinking I hate Len between this and my last story . . . . Sorry, Len.)