Thank you for the reviews, alerts, and faves, everyone, as well as for sticking with me throughout this story, because this is the last chapter. I hope you enjoy!
"School band is such a pain," Rin complained. "Seriously, why do we need to practice so much? I thought it was a relaxing club!"
"Yeah," Miku said. Her eyes were dully focused on her picked-apart lunch. "Sounds like a hassle."
"Hm," Rin frowned, looking over at Miku. "You've been really quiet lately. What's wrong?"
"Nothing," said Miku.
"If you say so..." Rin looked rather skeptical. "Don't you think she's been acting weird, Len?"
"Huh?" Len looked up from his food. "Well, now that you mention it, she has been a lot quieter lately. What's wrong, Miku? You can tell us."
Miku glanced up at Rin and Len. Sure, she could tell them, but where would she even start? There were so many things going wrong, and Rin and Len were affected by whatever's happening to the two universes too. If Miku was to tell them about the universes mixing up, they'd definitely think she was crazy, because their minds would be adjusted to...whatever version of the universe they were in. They wouldn't even remember the contradictions they made, so...what was the point? There was no way for Miku to prove her own words.
Plus, Phone Luka was...gone. Miku's heart clenched at the thought. She was completely alone in this now. Funny how she only lost her after she realized what she felt for her. Miku sighed and stared at her lunch, thinking. She could tell them about Phone Luka, she supposed.
"Well," said Miku, "I can't talk to Phone Luka anymore."
"Huh?" Rin said. "Why not?"
Miku sighed. "I got this Luka's phone number. I think it...overwrote whatever it was that let me talk to Phone Luka." Miku's voice was flat, disconnected. "She's gone now."
"Well..." said Len, cautiously, "that's what you wanted, right? Luka's phone number. Remember when you first talked to Phone Luka? You were going to work with her so that you could win over the Luka here. Now that you did, you don't need Phone Luka's help anymore. It makes sense, right?"
Miku stared at Len. What he was saying was so wrong Miku didn't even know where to begin. Not needing Phone Luka anymore? That was ridiculous. Miku needed her more than ever right now. Without her, Miku felt as though she was cut off. How could she face the insanity that was her life now? What could Miku do?
The worst part was that Miku knew full well that, if she had lost Phone Luka earlier, Miku would have been...okay. Sure, she would be sad that she couldn't talk to Phone Luka anymore, but she would have gotten Luka's phone number in the bargain, and a closer relationship with her to boot. However, now, things were different. Miku didn't love this Luka anymore, and she was in love with Phone Luka. Everything was reversed. The pain of heartache mixed with the fear and confusion, leaving Miku a wreck.
She couldn't tell Len that, though. Miku looked away. "I guess so," she said, quietly.
Life continued, Miku drifting along with it. Though she still tried to figure out what was going on with the two universes, she did so half-heartedly. After all, how could she possibly fix this on her own? How could she possibly do all this without Phone Luka? Miku could hardly bear to open her cellphone anymore, because Phone Luka was still her wallpaper. Just the sight of her, innocently smiling like that, unaware of what was about to happen, was enough to make Miku want to break down.
It wasn't fair. Why was it that when Miku realized what she felt for Luka, she lost her? It was like some sort of terrible, cosmic joke.
Day by day, Miku watched as the universe changed and shifted, her classmates contradicting themselves multiple times, sometimes even in the same sentence. It was as though the world was glitching up, and the worst part was that no one other than Miku saw it, and now Miku was completely cut off from the only other person who could help her figure things out.
Miku kept an especially close watch on the Luka here as well, but the Luka here acted the same as she always did. Miku wasn't too sure why, when everyone else was changing. Maybe it was because of the unique situation Phone Luka was in, as well as Miku. Maybe the Miku in the other universe was the same as the Luka here, in that her personality was constant too. Miku didn't know, however. With only herself to bounce ideas off of, Miku was lost.
Occasionally, she would walk over to the bakery and look at it. It was still a blurred indistinct smear of a building, but everyone else acted as though it was a completely normal one.
Miku had tried to go inside once. She walked up to the doors, opened it, and stepped inside, but the inside was a confused mess, flickering between interiors like a sort of crazy seizure-inducing cartoon. Miku could hardly get out fast enough.
At home, Miku obsessively played Just Be Friends over and over. It was the only way she could hear Phone Luka's voice again, after all - that, and the part to the duet that Phone Luka sent her too. Miku listened to it, once, but the emptiness of it - the fact that it promised a future that neither of them had the chance to have, the fact that there was a blank space in the song left for Miku's voice to fill - was too much. After listening to it, Miku had spent the rest of the night huddled up in her bed, shaking with the force of suppressed sobs, cellphone clutched tightly in her hands.
She was completely alone in this disintegrating world and cut off completely from the one she loved, other than the mocking existence of her voice in the form of mp3 files, but that was no comparison to actually talking to the girl herself.
In an attempt to distract herself, Miku poured effort into finishing the newspaper article and studying. Sonika was amazed by the improvement when Miku handed her the finished article four days early, and Rin had begun to ask Miku to help her with some of her homework. Still, a part of Miku felt oddly disconnected from all this. It was as though she was a ghost, standing back and watching her body mechanically go through the motions. Life was a simple thing once you got right down to it, really - people followed patterns in what they did. They sleep, wake up, eat, fill their days with school or work, and sleep again. Each day was the same as the other, a simple machine. Pull the lever, push a button. Life continued running on like clockwork, perversely normal despite the chaos of the universe.
It got so that Miku began to care less and less about the disintegration of the universe. Her friends would contradict themselves, and Miku would roll right along with it as though she never noticed the contradictions herself. Minute cracks began to appear in buildings and on the sidewalk, and while Miku wasn't sure if that was due to the universes or if it was because of something else, she didn't care too much. There was, after all, nothing she could do about it.
She was only a teenage girl, and that was nothing against the forces of the universe.
It was a perfectly ordinary day, if life could be called 'ordinary' now. Miku went to school, took notes in class, ate lunch with Rin and Len, and went to newspaper club. She had to work on a new article now, something simple about the new physics teacher, so she had to gather information about it. For a while, Miku went around the school talking with students and teachers about the new teacher before writing up a short outline of the article. She did all of this automatically, mind divorced from reality.
She left school after that, walking outside. The sun was starting to set, so Miku quickened her pace. She didn't want to leave school too late; she still had some homework to do.
On the way back home, near the railroad crossing, Miku kept her eyes dully focused ahead. Along the way, Luka passed her, and Miku didn't do much but nod in her general direction by way of greeting. Luka seemed intent on a book, however, apparently not noticing Miku, and walked on.
Miku was about to let the incident pass when something strange about Luka sank into her head.
Namely, her school uniform was different.
For a long moment, Miku was puzzled. Why was Luka's school uniform different from Miku's? Miku had seen her earlier that day, after all - she was wearing the same uniform Miku was wearing right now, and it made no sense for her to change her uniform to that of some other school in the first place. Plus, the uniform Luka was wearing looked completely unfamiliar too, not like any other school Miku knew at any rate. That made no sense at all, unless...
Miku's eyes widened as the realization hit her with a force so great it knocked her fully into consciousness. All of a sudden, Miku became intensely aware of her heartbeat, the street, the sounds of people walking and cars thrumming by. Life exploded around her in vivid color.
Luka was on the other side of the crossing now, head down as she focused on her book. Miku gathered up a lungful of air.
"Luka!" Miku shouted, so loudly it startled the birds on the street into flying away.
Luka stopped walking, and began to turn around to face Miku. Miku's heart beat frantically. It was her - it was Phone Luka. There was no other explanation - it had to be her. The girl Miku loved, the girl she thought she had lost forever, and oh god she couldn't lose her again, Miku hadn't even told her she loved her yet and there was no way Miku could lose her again, not now, not if she could do something about it.
Bells began to ring, lights flashed, and the gates of the train crossing began to lower. A train was coming.
Miku didn't wait. She sprinted across the crossing and practically tackled Luka, who gave out a surprised gasp, almost falling over with the force of Miku's tackle. Miku hugged her tightly, burying her head in Luka's chest. She felt so real in her arms that Miku could hardly believe it. Her head was dizzy with Luka - her warmth, her scent, everything about her. Miku didn't even know she was crying until she began to speak, her words choked and nearly unintelligible.
"Luka, I...I thought I lost you," Miku sobbed. "I didn't even get to...I didn't..."
"Miku?" Luka's voice was cautiously unbelieving as she hugged Miku back. "Are you...Phone Miku?"
For some reason, Phone Luka calling her Phone Miku seemed strangely funny. Miku snorted out a half-laugh, mixed in with her crying. "Y-yeah," she said.
Suddenly, Luka's hold on Miku tightened and Luka buried her head in Miku's shoulder. "Thank god," she said, quietly. "I thought...I thought the connection was completely cut off."
"Gumi gave this Luka my phone number," Miku said. "I think that's why...it just cut off the connection when she did that."
Luka laughed quietly. "I thought it might've been something like that."
Miku could've stayed there forever in Luka's embrace, but the ground underneath them began to tremble, and then to shake. Quickly springing apart, Miku and Luka stared down at the ground. There were cracks appearing, larger ones than the minute cracks Miku had half-heartedly noted before. Miku looked up at Luka, opening her mouth to say something, only to discover to her horror that Luka was...flickering. It was as though she was going in and out of existence. Judging from the stricken expression on Luka's face, it seemed like something of a similar sort was happening to Miku.
"No!" Miku shouted, and instinctively reached out to grab Luka's hand. Instantly Luka stopped flickering, and at the same time, the ground began to shake even more, more and more cracks spiderwebbing out from under their feet. Miku held onto Luka's hand tightly despite that. She wouldn't let go of Luka now - never.
"What's happening?" Miku asked, her breaths fast.
Luka stared down at the ground. "I think...I think it's...reacting to us."
Miku could figure out that much herself. "But why?"
"I think it's because-ah!" Luka quickly pulled Miku towards her and backed away. Miku almost fell on Luka before she regained her balance, stumbling away from the cracks. The ground had completely given out where they were standing before, revealing a white light so blinding it pierced Miku's eyes. She looked away, blinking rapidly as lights flashed in front of her eyes as Luka continued from where she broke off before. "I think...it's because we're from different universes, so we can't coexist in the same one."
The flashing lights had managed to leave Miku's eyes long enough for her to notice that the cracks were beginning to make their way over to them. "It's...it's following us," Miku said, her voice thin with disbelief. "Luka, the cracks are..."
"I know," Luka interrupted, and hurriedly she began to run, pulling Miku along with her. Miku shot glances behind as she ran, almost tripping over several times. More and more cracks were appearing, larger and larger, and they seemed to be gaining on them. Miku wanted to warn the people she saw walking around about this, but to her amazement, none of them seemed to notice - they only placidly walked on, as though they didn't even see it. To Miku's horror, the buildings around them began to look strange too, all smeared and indistinct, like the bakery.
"How do we stop this?" Miku shouted as they ran.
"I don't know!" Luka shouted back. "I think if we let go-"
"No!" Miku's grip on Luka tightened. "I'm not letting go of you again!"
Luka was silent for a while before she answered. "Me neither."
It seemed as though they were running forever from the cracks that were pursuing them. Miku didn't dare to look behind her now - she could sense the intense light. If she looked back, she would be completely blinded. The holes in the ground sending out the light seemed to block out everything, the light eventually growing so strong that Miku couldn't even see straight anymore. She squeezed her eyes shut to block it out and ran blindly, hand holding onto Luka's all the way. She wouldn't let go. She wouldn't, she wouldn't, she wouldn't-
Then, she felt Luka fall in front of her, and before Miku could react, instead of touching ground, her foot touched nothing but air and she was falling too. Her stomach and heart lurched. The light grew stronger - it was as though it was trying to force its way through her eyelids. Still, Miku kept her hold on Luka.
They fell for what seemed like forever until the light suddenly faded and Miku and Luka's descent slowed until their feet touched solid ground. Slowly, Miku opened her eyes and loosened her previously vise-like grip on Luka's hand.
To her surprise, they were standing at the crosswalk near Miku's house. Miku looked around. Everything looked normal - the sky was orange with the sunset and there were no strange, blurry houses. With some trepidation, Miku looked down at her feet. No cracks.
Luka was looking around. "Where are we?"
"We're at a crosswalk near my house..." said Miku, slowly.
"I didn't know that falling through the street led here," said Luka.
Miku laughed weakly. "Me neither." She looked around some more before speaking. "There aren't any cars or people..."
Luka had a slight frown on her lips. "That's...not natural. Did we...break the universe?"
Miku couldn't help but to smile at that. Luka sounded like a kid who was scared that she had broken one of her parents' things. "I don't think so, but...there were the cracks, and the yellow light, and the falling..." Miku trailed off before she started speaking again. "St-still, I don't regret it. When I lost you, it was like...everything was dead. I was alone, and scared, and I..." Miku fell silent. Right - she hadn't confessed to Luka yet. It was a bit of an odd time to confess, but Miku thought that she should do so now before something crazy happened again. Luka was looking at her and Miku felt herself start to blush. Silly how Miku suddenly felt shy about confessing after everything, but she supposed some things never changed.
Miku swallowed and gathered up her courage. "I...um...remember that conversation we had? Our...our last one over the phone?"
Luka nodded. "Yes, I remember."
"Yeah...remember when I told you that, uh, you were...important to me?"
Luka blinked. "Of course I remember, Miku."
"Well..." Miku wasn't exactly sure how to go about this. "Uh...it turns out that I, well, you're not just...I love you!" Miku blurted out, mouth moving faster than brain, and when her brain caught up, her face turned red. Crap, she really did just say that. Now that it had been said, Miku almost felt too embarrassed to even be touching Luka's hand. Although, if she let go, Luka might disappear, so Miku kept holding on to it.
There was a long pause, and then Luka started to laugh. Surprised, Miku jerked her head up to stare at her. Luka looked as though Miku had just told her the funniest joke in her life.
"Wh-what? Why are you laughing?" Miku asked, frantically.
"I'm sorry," said Luka between giggles. "You just...sounded so serious."
Miku scowled. "W-would you please answer my confession?"
"I love you too, Miku," said Luka, smiling, and before Miku could voice the swelling happiness in her chest, Luka continued, her smile growing a little more mischievous. "You know, in our last phone conversation, before you started laughing at me, I was going to confess too."
Miku's eyes widened. At that moment she wanted to do nothing more than to go back in time and punch herself in the face for ruining the mood. "Huh? Y-you were?"
Luka nodded. "Yeah. It didn't turn out how I wanted it to go, though. I thought that I could confess later...but then the connection got cut off."
"I was going to confess later too," Miku admitted. "I thought that since we already poured out our feelings to each other that day, I could save it for another day, but...then that happened."
Luka's eyebrows furrowed. "Wait, so we could have both confessed to each other that time?"
"I guess so," said Miku.
Luka's lips twitched upwards in a smile. "I guess we're both sort of idiots then."
"Indeed you are," said a new voice, and spinning Miku and Luka turned to face the source of it. Coming towards them was a woman whose face was deeply lined with wrinkles, her hair white and piled in a neat bun. She had on a scowl, and looked, for all intents and purposes, like a reproving grandmother.
Miku's eyes widened as she recognized her - the old woman who asked her about her wish so long ago. She had completely forgotten her, until now. "Wait, you're...I know you!"
"I should hope so," said the old woman. "I was the one who gave you her phone number." She nodded in the direction of Luka, who looked baffled. "I came here to apologize to you two."
"Apologize?" Miku echoed.
"Yes. You see, back then, I gave you the wrong phone number," the old woman explained, looking vaguely regretful. "Instead of giving you the number for the Luka here, I gave you the number for the Luka in another universe."
Luka's eyebrows furrowed. "So you're the one that caused all this? What's happening to the universe?"
"There are an infinite number of universes," the old woman said, her voice sounding tired, as though she had explained this many times before, "but the point is that they can never touch or interact. If they do, then all sorts of things start to happen. In order to correct the confusion, the universes try to merge...but that never works. It's like mashing together two pieces of a different puzzle. So you end up with people's memories flickering between universes, places changing, and in the final stages, both of the universes falling apart. Thankfully, most people don't notice until the end because the universe stays consistent with their own perception of reality, but with most of the distortions localized around you, since you are the cause of the universes breaking apart-"
"So what?" Miku interrupted. "How do we fix it?"
The old woman looked at her in faint surprise. "I would imagine that that would be simple. All I have to do is to reset the universes."
"Reset...?" Miku didn't quite like the sound of that.
"Yes," said the old woman. "Reset them back to normal, go back to the beginning, without all the universes crossing over." She checked her watch. "It should happen now. I can't delay much longer, I'm sorry. I've gotten in enough trouble with my superiors already."
Miku's eyes widened, the words echoing in her head.
Go back to the beginning.
Without the universes...
But then that would mean that she would lose Phone Luka again, and that...and that couldn't happen. They couldn't have gotten so far only to be stopped here. Did they find each other only to lose each other in the end? No. That can't be. The unfairness of it all was enough to make Miku want to scream.
"We can't fix it without resetting?" Miku asked, trying desperately to keep her voice calm, but it shook with anxiety nonetheless. "There's no way?"
The old woman glanced at her. "I'm sorry. There is no way." A flash of regret passed over her face before she approached Miku and put her withered hand on Miku's head. Against her will, Miku began to feel her head fill with white. She struggled against it. There was no way she was just going to give up and forget and lose Luka all over again, there was no way...
...but the whiteness was in her eyes now, and her ears felt like they were stuffed with cotton. Miku was fading fast no matter how hard she fought, and for a moment she thought she caught a glimpse of the old woman and Luka before she fell into the white around her, except the old woman didn't look so old anymore - she was flickering between forms like the bakery, old and young superimposed, and Luka was saying something.
Miku couldn't hear anymore, however, and after that brief moment of clarity, there was nothing but absolute, all-swallowing white.
Her alarm clock blared, piercing through her ears, and Miku got up, head bleary as she shut it off. Running a hand through her tangled hair, she stared at the clock. 7 in the morning, April 22nd. With a groan, she buried her head in her pillow. She felt fuzzy and lethargic, her limbs leaden, as though she slept too much. Still, she had to get up for school, so sighing she got up from bed and began her morning routine.
On the way to school, Miku checked her watch. It was 7:50. She had ten minutes to make it to school. Right then. Miku sped up her pace - her school was a bit of a walk. At the crosswalk near her house, she waited impatiently with a man reading a newspaper and a quiet old woman for the light to turn green. After a few long seconds, it did, and Miku hurried down to school. Her head felt odd and strange and wincing Miku rubbed her forehead with her fingers. Did something happen? Miku certainly couldn't remember anything...then, she saw Rin and Len in front of her and sped up her pace to catch up with them, greeting them with a brief smile and wave.
"Wow, you're running pretty late, aren't you?" Rin said with a laugh.
Miku frowned at her. "I'm not late! School hasn't started yet."
"Yeah, sure," Rin said. She was saying something else too, but all of a sudden, Miku wasn't paying attention to what Rin was saying anymore, because Luka was standing outside the school gate. She looked up as Miku neared, and smiled.
For some reason, Miku's head felt hot and her heart started to pound. There was Luka, but...what was special about that?
Luka, still smiling, raised her cellphone in an almost casual gesture.
That was when it hit Miku with all the force of a wrecking ball. As though the cellphone was a key, memories flooded into Miku's brain, nearly overloading her senses. Universes, Panya, Zaiya, the school band, the newspaper club, Gumi's obsession with coffee, all of that swirled in Miku's head, but the memories that stood above all of them were her conversations with Phone Luka. Somehow, Miku knew without a doubt that the Luka before her was her.
Before she knew it she was running towards her, heedless of Rin's surprised shout. Miku didn't see anything, she didn't see anyone other than Luka. Her heart was beating joyfully in her chest, almost as though it wanted to burst out, and Miku practically tackled Luka as she hugged her.
"I couldn't...I thought it was...I couldn't remember..." Miku said all in a rush, words running over each other in their haste to get out, before she decided that it didn't matter. Words didn't matter, because she could do something else much, much simpler instead.
Without another word, Miku grabbed Luka by her school tie, pulling her head down. Luka's eyes widened in confusion before Miku threw her arms around her and kissed her.
From a distance, Len and Rin stared. Rin rubbed her eyes and gaped. Len, for his part, quickly looked away, face red.
"Wh-when did..." Rin stammered. "I...what?"
Len coughed into his fist. "Um...I think we should get to school. Come on, Rin." He grabbed his sister by her arm and started to drag her over through the school gate.
When Miku and Luka parted, Rin and Len had gone. Miku grinned at Luka, relief rising in her chest. She wasn't gone. She was here, with Miku. Miku could hardly believe it.
"What happened?" she asked. "How did you..."
Luka laughed. "I switched places. It's fine, because the memories of the other Luka is consistent with the other universe. It took some time, but I think it's all okay now."
"Wow. That sounds complicated. Did you do a lot of things while I was out or something?" Miku asked, blinking.
"Something like that," said Luka, "but that's another story."
Miku grinned. "Sounds like a big story."
"Big? It's nothing compared to our duet," Luka said. "I thought of a title for it, by the way."
"What is it?"
"World End Dancehall."
"...huh. I thought it would have something to do with magnets."
Luka laughed. "You can write that song, then."
Miku smiled. Sure, she could, she thought. Why not? The future stretched out before them, limitless in possibility. Their story, really, was only beginning.
They had time enough for all the duets in the world.
Author's Note: Wow, it's over! To be perfectly honest, I had originally planned for Cellphones to have a sad ending. Like, originally, at the train scene, where Miku saw Phone Luka, she didn't move fast enough, and the train went by. By the time it passed, Luka was gone. Without Luka there to make her switching bargain with the old woman (who I had planned to make Miriam in disguise (and her superiors were Leon and Lola), but...I couldn't squeeze in her name anywhere so I just gave up on that...), Miku ended up forgetting everything, but she found World End Dancehall (which was From Y to Y in the original draft) in her cellphone. Though she couldn't explain why, listening to the song felt incredibly painful to her, and she ended up completing her part of the duet in the end.
...but then I felt bad and decided to give them a happier ending haha. So there you have it. Wow, when I first started writing Cellphones, I had no idea that it would end up being so long! I had never written a Vocaloid fanfic before, or a multichapter fic of decent length for that matter, and I'm seriously grateful for all the faves, alerts, reviews, and general support. Really, you guys are awesome. I hope you enjoyed Cellphones!