Sleeping Beauty
Chapter One

'There's Nothing Wrong, But…'


There was nothing particularly wrong… but still, even so, he didn't feel like getting out of bed. His body felt heavy, and his head hurt – but he wasn't even sure if these physical symptoms were real, or whether his own sense of emotional detachment and misanthropy had created physical symptoms where there weren't any before.

In other words… he really couldn't trust his own body; not anymore. He'd been feeling so weak, so… hazy, and so indescribably 'not okay' for days now, and it was upsetting, and it was confusing, and it made him want to sleep.

So, as there was nothing to really stop him… Kagamine Len slept.

Like a princess in a fairy story, waiting to be woken up by the kiss of a handsome prince – o-or some such thing… it wasn't like Len believed in such foolish stories – he huddled up under his covers, trying to keep himself warm, and tried to avoid this painful reality by sleeping his life away.

Wrapped up in his blankets, eyes closed, dead to the world, he could escape from the insides of his own head, and achieve the energy he needed to actually do things – to be someone – to really, finally, matter.

And why did he achieve such feelings through sleep…?

…Well, the answer was pretty obvious. It was because it was possible to feel like that in reality.

Len hadn't been to school for the past few days. He'd just been sleeping – or trying to sleep – or bitterly regretting the fact he wasn't always tired enough to actually sleep, and surfing the internet on his swivel chair, wrapped up in his duvet like a protective shield with his head poking out the top.

He hadn't left his room. He didn't have the energy, or the willpower – and there was no real reason to do such a thing, anyway.

It was a waste.

He wouldn't even have bothered eating (it seemed like a complete and utter waste of time, now; and even his favourite foods, even bananas, didn't inspire any particular emotions in him), if Rin hadn't been forcefully kicking and scratching at his door at various points in the day, and shouting, "Stupid brother! You've gotta eat!"

…Rin was a very elegant and proper lady, it had to be said. She had delusions of grandeur, and thought she was going to marry a rich businessman one day and become a rich and famous singer, with a vast wardrobe of pretty dresses, and a cute maid with freckles who fell over a lot, and her own horse called Josephine.

As Rin had that kind of disposition, it was very unusual for her to cook at all. Usually, that job fell upon Len's shoulders. However, as he hadn't been feeling 101%, Rin had decided to don Len's apron herself, and try to lend a hand around the kitchen. The food she made for Len was mostly tasteless, either burned to a crisp or watery and soggy, and oftentimes the ingredients she had used were indistinguishable, which was probably quite a feat. Len had honestly never met anybody quite as bad at cooking as Rin was. She was so truly terrible at it, you could probably call it a 'talent' of sorts – even if it wasn't the kind of talent that would make you rich and famous, and instead would only succeed in poisoning your twin brother.

Oh well. Rin tried.

Even if she acted all grumpy and grutsy a lot of the time, and was often too loud, and had quite a cruel sense of humour and a very sharp tongue, she did care about her brother – that much was immediately obvious by the fact she, who had about as much affinity with kitchen knives as water had with electrical sockets, was trying to ensure Len didn't starve to death via apathy and exhaustion.

Besides, it didn't really matter how bad the food was. In his state of mind, Len couldn't really taste it, anyway.

So, he ate it.

Moving with like an automaton, he would mechanically take his chopsticks between his fingers (still buried in his duvet, hair messy, skin un-showered, clad in his pyjamas), and put the food Rin had prepared for him in his mouth; chewing slowly, swallowing as though it were an effort, and not really feeling any better for it.

Then, he would curl up under the covers, and try to go back to sleep.

Sleep was the best defensive mechanism for fending off all of those horribly intrusive thoughts, which grew up inside him like briars – threatening to entirely obscure the last remnants of happiness he could hope to achieve.


"Hey, idiot. It's been nearly a week now. Aren't you feeling any better?"

Rin, who had just returned home from school, was perched on the end of Len's bed, in the manner of one who believed very firmly they had a God-given right to every single thing their eyes surveyed.

Rin was like that. She was bold, brassy and self-confident; the entire anti-thesis of Len, who had always been deemed, by teachers and his often-absent parents, as quiet, reserved, but silently industrious.

Len envied Rin a little. She always seemed so lively – and bright as a button. She was… sparky; and had a certain energy about her that made her seem inherently likable, even though she had the unfortunate habit of not choosing her words all that carefully, and being a little bit blunt or rude.

Even though Rin had, doubtless, said many more careless, offhand offensive remarks this past month than Len had ever done in his whole life, she always had a vast circle of friends.

It was probably because of her sparkiness. People liked sparky things. That was why Christmas trees were always so tastelessly decorated, in flashing lights, with tinsel and baubles…

Len was soon drawn out of these idle musings – his head seemed to get very pre-occupied with nonsense lately – by a flick to his forehead.

"Ow…"

Rin had delivered this killer flick with her lemon yellow painted fingernails. It seemed a bit pointless that Rin painted her nails, given she had the habit of unconsciously biting them – something she had done ever since Len could remember – and they were small and stubby, but she still did, anyway. Well, it was no matter. The bright colour suited her.

Dressed in her sailor suit school uniform, with a white shirt and navy blue skirt, matching navy bow tied at her front slightly crookedly, Rin swung her legs back and forth; bashing her feet against Len's bed. Her short skirt was rumpled slightly, revealing the tops of her white, knee-high socks, and just a small stripe of pale pink flesh.

"You've been actin' all weird for quite some time, Mister!" said Rin, pouting. "I don't like it! I don't like it at all! Sure, it's okay to have one or two off days, but not a whole week! You need to get your act together, you hear?!"

Len retreated into his ball of duvet with a cowardly motion, trembling slightly. The phrase 'get your act together' sounded like rather too much effort – even more so than eating, or the vague notion of having a shower (which, incidentally, sounded as impossible as flying to the moon).

"I just feel sick… I-I think I need to rest a bit more…" Len muttered. "I can get my act together later, right…?"

"No! No, no, no! That's just no good at all!" Rin spoke firmly, shaking her head so her over-sized white bow jiggled cutely. "I've been nice to you, Len, because you're my cute and dorky brother and you're kind of a sweetheart even if you always bug me to do homework and tidy my room and stuff – but I'm getting worried, you know? It's not like you to just stay in bed and miss school like that… It's weird."

Len winced; the familiar feeling of guilt bubbling up inside him.

He was a disappointment, right…? He was making his sister worry, wasn't he…? Even though Rin acted tough, she was a very kind-hearted girl underneath all of her layers upon layers of 'I-I don't care!'s and 'you're stupid!'s and 'tsuuuun!'s, and she was obviously upset her only brother had been acting like such a nutcase shut-in for the past week.

This wasn't how Kagamine Len was supposed to act. Hadn't his teachers always said, in his report cards, he was reliable and dependant, if a little soft-spoken? Hadn't he always been praised for being punctual to class; for never missing a single lesson; for studying hard; for being, basically, a model student?

When their parents went away on their last business trip, they had basically said 'Rin, you're silly and would probably buy a load of illegal fireworks and set them off in the house if we let you. Len, you're smart and sensible, so take care of her and make sure she behaves herself, okay?'

And Len had nodded and said 'I will do my best', and his mother had giggled about what a proper little gentleman he was becoming and ruffled his hair, and Len had blushed at this show of affection, and Rin had stuck her tongue out and gone 'tsun! Like I'm that stupid! I'm not a little kid, you know! In fact, Len, I'm twenty minutes older than you, so there!', and then she had stomped off very inelegantly up the stairs to listen to some obnoxious-sounding j-rock band with the volume turned up loud so the whole house shook (this displaying how very mature she was.)

Len was supposed to take care of Rin, and ensure she didn't set off any illegal fireworks, and make their school lunches, and cook their dinners, and tell her to tidy her room, and encourage her to study, and help her with any bits she didn't understand.

Len was supposed to take care of himself, too, and ensure he didn't fall behind in his studies, and work hard, and continue to make his teachers proud, and keep getting good report cards, so as to make up for the fact Rin's own grades were often so sub-par they weren't on a 'par' at all.

That was just the way things were meant to be.

But, because Len was no longer able to perform to that standard… or, maybe, because he finally felt so run-down he couldn't keep pretending that he was this 'proper' and sensible person who could act as the perfect student and a surrogate parent for his own sister… he was letting people down.

He was making people worry.

And, the worst thing was… in this dejected state of mind, he didn't really care.

He felt guilty, of course… but he had no real desire to change it. Or, maybe… He felt he deserved to be tormented by this guilt, as a punishment for letting everybody down.

Whatever the reason, he didn't know. He didn't understand.

Even though he was supposedly a good student, in actuality, Len felt like he knew very little about the world – and, about himself, even less.

That was why he wanted to sleep. He didn't have to worry so much when he was asleep.

"Maybe it is weird…" Len said; although he knew, deep down, there was no 'maybe' about it. It was weird, his sudden feelings of inertia and empty apathy – it was impossible to frame it as anything else. "I just… I don't know…"

"Uu… Hey…" Rin frowned, and prodded Len's cheek with one finger. "Don't look so gloomsome, please, okay? It doesn't suit you!"

"…I don't think smiles do, either."

"Well, yeah. You do look a bit strange in your last school photo, with that creepy lockjaw-like smile that makes you look slightly deranged, but…" Rin giggled; kicking her legs back and forth. "But, still! Don't look so soulless and miserable! You know what you remind me of?"

"Do I want to know…?"

"Like the dead fish I saw at the supermarket the other day, with Gumi and Luka! Like… all empty-eyed, and staring, and blank, and dead. Like that!"

"…Gee, thanks." Even though, Rin's insensitive words were able to raise a small smile to Len's lips; the faintest hint of very faint amusement. "Since when did you go to the supermarket, anyway? I'm the one who does all the shopping."

Rin rolled her eyes. They moved about in her sockets like startling blue marbles. "Since you got all mopey and flopsy and stayed in bed for, like, a week, you dummy."

"A-ahaha… Oh yeah... But, Rin. You don't know what stuff to buy – like, what's the cheapest, or when certain stores have certain deals. You don't even know what brand of toothpaste we use, or what kind of rice I buy."

"That's why I had Gumi and Luka with me, silly. They helped me out."

"They were telling you what to buy?"

"Mmm! Well…" Rin shuffled backwards a little, so her back was now firmly pressed against the wall. Drawing her knees up under her chin, wrapping her arms around them, she spoke. "Gumi takes it in turns to cook with Gakupo at their house, so she's good at knowing what ingredients to buy to make proper, hearty meals – and Luka's really mature and intelligent (I mean, those boobs, man! Those boobs!), and she knows how to be thrifty and spend money properly! …Unless we're talking about tuna, because she's kind of obsessed with it, and is willing to spend crazy-awesome amounts on the best types of tuna; but, anyway! I figured my dear baby brother wouldn't like it if I just took the family savings and spent it on anything, so I enlisted people to help me with my epic quest! So you don't need to worry your pretty little head!"

"Aaa…" Len's eyes widened slightly. "You did that much, for my sake…?"

"Not jus yours'! It was also for my sake!" Rin countered – her face flushing slightly, as it always did when somebody praised her (Len and Rin had that trait in common. However, since Rin was typically viewed as the 'problem child', she was praised far less than Len was, and the affects of it were more visible on her). "I mean, I didn't want to starve either! So it's no big deal! H-humph!"

Len's smile widened a little more at this performance.

"Ha. Funny."

"I-I am not funny! I am a proper lady!"

"Why, because you can say 'lady' in English? I don't know if that is a proper qualification for being a real 'lady', Rin…"

"Gyuuu!" Rin puffed out her cheeks, eyes narrowed. "I am a lady! I am, I am, I am, so there! I'm taking care of you out of the goodness of my sweet little heart, dummy, so you should at least be thankful!"

"I don't know if a real lady would do a good deed for somebody, and then ask them to be thankful for it. The mere act of doing the good deed would be enough."

"W-waah…! Stop being so mean and contrary-like! You could at least be a little thankful!"

There was a small pause, as Rin pouted at Len, and Len smiled at her from inside his shroud of blankets; looking pale and worn, but slightly more energetic than before.

"Hey. Don't worry, Rin. I am thankful. Really. Thank you…"

"Ugyuu…"

"I've been a bit of a neglectful brother lately, I suppose… So, I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. I guess I just felt sleepy or something… But, if you keep supporting me, I can fight it. If I can steal some of your energy, it'll be fine."

"Y-you should eat more oranges," said Rin; still flustered over Len's unexpectedly warm and heartfelt praise. "They're good for your brain. Full of vitamins!"

"I like bananas more."

"No~o, that's wrong! Oranges are far better!"

"Does it matter?"

"It's aesthetics! Bananas look stupid, anyway – and oranges are a better colour! So they're automatically better! It just makes sense, right?!"

Len laughed a little at this, shaking his head. "Silly."

"Am noooooooot! I'm older than you, anyway, so you can just shut uuup!"

"Heh…" Len smiled. "Well… I suppose, next week… I'll pick myself up, and get my act together… and I'll go back to school. I can do it."

At least… he thought he could.

At that moment, when he was with Rin… he felt like he could.

But, if that was true… then why was he shaking…?


a/n: Waah, vocaloid fanfiction! I haven't written this is so long, I feel like I'm revisiting the halcyon days of my youth…! *eyes sparkle like a shoujo anime*
Um, well… mostly, I'm writing this just to vent my own feelings – and to also occupy my brain, and give me something to do. Writing is very fun and stress-relieving, and I haven't been in the habit of writing lately, so I hope I can change that!
I doubt this story will be anything all that special, but I hope it is enjoyed for what it is, at any rate!

~renahhchen x x x