I layed out across the couch; no one else was around. Most of them were outside. Which is where I'd hoped this little bother would go.

But no, he sat at the end of the couch where my feet didn't reach. He stayed quiet, but that didn't make him any less of an irritant. He looked around every once in a while, as though contemplating if he should leave, but then thinking he really shouldn't. Which he was right, of course: if anyone caught him out of my company without good reason, they could potentially tell on us, and we'd both be in trouble. He could go if I said he could, but the fix wouldn't be permanent, and it clashed with my strong desire not to talk to him.

About an hour passed with no sound except that of whatever was going on outside and upstairs. But good things can't stay forever, I suppose.

"So, Onii-sama – "

"Look, kid, I ain't your brother." I said, finally looking down to where he sat. An deep flush rose up his face and he looked away quickly.

"Right…of course. Okay, then…Kagamine-senpai. Is this all you do?"

"Mostly," said a voice above my head before I could answer. I sat up slightly and turned around to see my sister, closely followed by her violet companion. The violet girl waved energetically at my kid; he didn't look nearly as excited to see her as she did him.

"Funny, Sis."

"Just speaking the truth, here!" Rin leaned over the back of the couch. "If he's being mean to you at all, you can tell me, okay? I'll straighten him out," she added menacingly. I could almost see the blue lines on both V3's faces.

"No, that's okay, Onee-san. Kagamine-senpai is being alright."

"Yeah, you heard him, Rin. Now stop scaring the new kids."

She threw darts at me again, before standing straight. "Fine. I'll leave you to your 'male-bonding', or whatever-the-hell you call it. Come on, Tone-chan," she beckoned cheerfully and the violet girl followed. We watched them go. Then I turned my eyes on the kid.

"Yo. Eyes off my sister." I didn't really care; I admit I just did that to make him sweat and blush again, which he did not fail to deliver.

"What's going on outside?" he asked, refusing to look anywhere but at his knees.

"Not a clue, man."

"Can we see?"

"Go see. You can leave if I tell you to."

"No I can't!"

I looked at him funnily. "That's what Kaito always told me. Of course, it was always sending me on ice cream runs. And you have to report right back, anyway, so it really doesn't matter."

"Do you just plan on staying on the couch all day, then?"

"Until someone makes me move." I leaned back again. Then something grabbed my foot and I started sliding off my seat onto the floor.

"What the f*ck was that for!" I yelled, looking up at the kid.

"You said you'd move if forced. Therefore, I forced you." He was smiling about it, too, albeit looking slightly embarrassed and scared.

"Hm." I frowned.

"Well, you're out of the seat. Let's go see, Senpai!"

Absolutely nothing was going on. We got out there and saw all that was happening was the kids were making way too much noise. I looked sideways, ready to chew out the kid.

You dragged me outside for this?

But I couldn't bring myself to say it. The weirdest look had taken up residence on his face: sort of half confusion, quarter disappointment, mixed with a quarter of interest at seeing the kids having fun at the world's edge lake. He adopted a smile that grew exponentially. He looked at me excitedly for a half second before it slid off to one of mild surprise.

I finally became conscious of the look I was giving him. It had the angry mouth - open, ready to yell - mixed with widened eyes under a partial scowl. It must've been a weird look. I shook off everything except the scowl, and turned my facial attention instead to Ryuto and Ai building a sandcastle out of silt with Gumi and her V3 in the blue-striped dress (which she was no longer wearing).

"Expecting something else?" I asked off-handedly.

"I thought there'd be more activity." I could tell he really wanted to go out there. I however had no intention. There must've been a loophole I could think of if I had to explain.


"What?" He looked back at me. I refused to look directly at him.

"As long as I can see you, it has to count. Now, get out of here." I tried to sound as firm and nasty as I could muster – keep up what I had been doing. What had possibly changed in the last five minutes?

Maybe…but…no, not that. Even if it was, I was not letting him know that.

He smiled broadly and ran off to the shoreline. I watched him go, then was interrupted.

"I didn't think you'd ever move off that couch."

I jumped at the high voice. I looked around to a bright pair of blue-green eyes above a wide grin.

"Don't do that, Miku-nee!"

"Hm. Having fun with the project yet?" she said, backing off.

"Not really." Which was mostly true. I was trying very hard not to enjoy myself. "He's…too happy."

"I'll trade you." A shadow fell over Miku's face. She brushed her teal hair out of her eyes and looked behind her at the wall. Her protégé, an older girl with long, pale blue hair was sitting against it, playing with a blade of grass. "She has one thick shell, Len-kun. Nothing I've tried has cracked it a bit."

"Heard her voice yet?"

"Master showed me a demo. But not from her actual mouth."

"Is it possible she's just a picture and it's not her real voice?"

"No. She's just shy. I've heard her talk, but not sing. The demo sounds a bit higher than her, but I sing higher than I speak, too. From what little she said to me, I can tell she's really nervous about this. Which is not good if she ever makes it to stage."


Miku sighed. "I'd love the little energy ball. He looks like fun."

"Yeah, well, I don't think Master would be too keen on trading." Neither was I.

"Well, between Meiko-nee and me, we should be able to crack her. You better go catch up with him, though. I doubt anyone would tell on you, but it's a safety thing, you know? Covers both your backs."

I nodded in agreement. She went back to sit with her project. So, I wasn't the only one who wasn't too happy with the assignment.

He was sitting on the shore; his boots were by his side, his bare feet in the water. I sat cross-legged next to him.

"Ah! Senpai."

"You sound so surprised."

He didn't comment on it right away, as I'd expected.

"You didn't look interested. Especially as I had to take you by the foot to get you to move at all."

He laughed. It was a weird sound. I hadn't heard him laugh yet. I hadn't laughed since his arrival. But now wasn't the time.

"It doesn't always take that. Rin got me to move just by talking."

"Yeah, but you knew her: she's your sister. I haven't been very successful in communicating with you at all. And since you're pretty much all I can communicate with…"

"No, that's wrong. Just because you have to follow me and learn from me doesn't mean I'm the only one you're allowed to learn from. Actually," I said in a feeble attempt to regain my hard shield, "I'd prefer you learn from other people."

He went back to staring at the illusion horizon. Then I got an idea.

"Hey, I didn't quite catch your name before."

"Oh…I'm Hibiki Lui, Kagamine-senpai."

"Right." Unless you thought there was another reason I hadn't used his name yet. "Well, Hibiki-bozu," I said as roughly as I could, "I have someone you should meet." He put on a puzzled expression but nonetheless followed me up away from the shoreline, both of us carrying rather than wearing our shoes.