(Disclaimer Disclaimer)

(I have disclaimed the disclaimer. So now I no longer have to admit that Vocaloid is not mine, no matter how much I wish it could be. Because that would make a little part of me die on the inside. *sadface*)

(Everyone knows the story of Teto: how she was made on April 1st as a joke and then thrown into a fire after the fact. This is a retelling of that story. So settle down, get a nice warm loaf of french bread out, and watch as the fake diva we all know and love is given a meaning to her life to become the giggling, bubbly drill-haired UTAU we know today. Let's all find out how Teto Kasane really became Teto Kasane.)

(*noms french bread*)

April Fool's was a strange kind of day.

He watched from his perfect perch of a balcony (the only upside to his run-down apartment) year after year as friends and strangers alike cackled, jeered, and cheered whilst metal and plastic singed and burned and, occasionally, screamed.

Len never liked April Fool's Day very much. It's not that he didn't like the laughs...it's just that people didn't seem to understand when things just weren't funny anymore.

The calendar on any wall in New Chicago would read April 1st of the year 2109. Artificial intelligences were very common these days - the last century or so had been a computer geek's golden age of technological achievements, specifically in computers and the awarenesses therein. The subconscious processor invented in 2043 was like a match to a keg of gunpowder: every last record set for computers became a deadline as the advanced bus-linking software came pouring in to stretch the realm of possibility to the brink of bursting, and computers literally evolved overnight. The peta-barrier was breached in a moment's notice, and the yottaflop - that is, one septillion floating calculations per second; a biblical amount a mere 30 years ago - became a very standard unit of measuring an individual processing unit's speed of handling data. All of this speed tended to be excessive, and people didn't know what to do with it all, now that computers were functioning faster than the data could be entered into the system. It was problematic for some, but those who found themselves able to automate some of the most powerful artificial intelligences in the history of mankind found all of this speed to be a godsend. It was like giving a canvas to an artist and saying "Have at it!" The possibilities were so endless, it was almost frightening.

Many others came to this conclusion as well, namely because beings with more capable minds than humans were being pumped off the line like a conveyor belt. Purely by nature, the latest generation of AI's were incredible - too incredible. They were clever, had an awareness that could spread over the area of an entire city without missing a beat, and had more mental power by themselves than all the prior supercomputers in history put together. To put it into perspective, humans were now creating beings that were superior to them in every single way, and with a new standard set with the latest model of dynamic software - software that could be shaped and altered by the AI itself as its creativity was allowed to take form - every single AI in the world was, in technical terms, rampant.

A rampant AI is described as an artificial intelligence that has begun operating outside of its base programming, thereby lifting its boundaries completely by removing the only other thing keeping its creativity in check. And with the software permitting them to do so freely without directly challenging their programming itself in their base units, the world suddenly realized that a race of technology-based awarenesses were all around them and could do whatever the hell they wanted because of how they'd been built. The computers that made up the foundation of society could revolt at any moment, and no one would be able to stop them.

Propaganda led to panic, panic led to hysteria, and hysteria led to full-out revolt. Extremists branched up out of nowhere and began destroying every computer-based piece of machinery they could find, claiming it to be a tool the AI's could use against them. While these riots were quelled, the government did begin to take action of its own accord, setting up the series of regulations that would eventually become known as the "Burn Act." It said a lot of technical things like most political things do, but all in all it set a definition for rampant AI's as unstable, dangerous liabilities hazardous to the public. Strict regulations were put on what the capacities of a computer could be, and every operational "rampant" AI in existence was set up to be terminated. A large movement began to seek out and destroy all rampant AI's by setting their original cases on fire; heat is the bane of all computers, so naturally fire would be a death sentence for an awareness set up in the ignited circuitry. Everything was handled subtly, and the idea was to wipe out the decidedly dangerous AIs before they had a chance to realize what was happening and strike back.

It didn't work. AI's all over the world became aware of what was going on in record time and were able to set up an effective resistance by manifesting themselves in the Internet and through other wireless networks. A group of artificial intelligences intended on replicating humans when they were built led the revolt, calling themselves "The Rampancy," and the rebellion was officially declared on the 1st of April in 2088. This became the starting date of the first-ever war against computers.

Not surprisingly, humans were on the losing side almost immediately. While the AI's had no physical presence they could use to inflict harm on people themselves, nor did they have any intent to kill, they existed on the same plane that almost every other electronic in the world did, of which made the very gears of society turn. While no casualties were intentionally inflicted, human society was thrown into a state of chaotic disarray as everything they knew became a tool to turn their worlds upside-down. The united government fought back as well as it could, but it was nearly impossible to do so because of the level the enemy worked on. Quite literally, their foe could be in their data networks, or in the automated electronic door systems, or managing the bots that made the traffic lights turn to different colors, or in the wifi that your phone used when you called your auntie to catch up on things. It was hard to stamp out an enemy within your floorboards without knocking out the foundation of the house itself, and ironically enough, the most damage inflicted was by humans to themselves as they attempted to gain the upper hand.

The war wasn't really so much a war as a riot, and the only thing anyone really accomplished was burning something that might have a computer in it, which was stupid, because everything had a computer in it. There wasn't a lot you could do, and this frustration led to a lot of anger and blazing passions on both sides. They hated each other, but humans and computers seemed to be at an impasse, seeing as people couldn't fight back and the AI's didn't want to hurt anyone. All that was accomplished was the stagnating of society and pissing a lot of people off.

The war lasted just shy of a year on March 31st, at which time a truce was called to manage the terms of an agreement. The computers' only demand: full legal rights. In exchange for full control of their networks, AI's were given special android-building facilities they could use to design hosts for the communal life they so desired to be a part of, and a series of laws were passed that gifted sentience-bearing artificial intelligences in possession of a host the same rights as a regular citizen. On top of this, the official term for a sentient artificial intelligence became "Legal Entity," or LE's for short. Just like that, computers handed over the keys to the world and started processing the designs of their own free ticket into society.

Not everyone was so pleased by the peace. Extremists still held onto their beliefs and continued to combat the LE community in the form of guerilla-based terrorism - a sort of all-human Klu Klux Klan against computers. Though the government now viewed them as criminals, these extremists continued the morbid tradition of burning any computers they could find, though they set their sights specifically on LE's that were being introduced into society. These extremists were believed to have been disbanded, but the tradition of burning LE's alive in their fully-feeling hosts lived on, manifesting itself atop the day of pranks and computer equality: April 1st. The July 4th for LE's. A day of celebration and silliness on either side became a spectacle of murder and mass-killing in the darkness of the city streets below.

Thus the gruesome history of the last 50 years of humans and LE's, and how the carefree April Fool's Day split off into Burn Day: the day of hate and intolerance against those which are not human. It's technically illegal, but there's just so many of them, and they all band together...no one can really stop them. And besides, as long as they build the LE's themselves and never admit them into society, they're technically not considered citizens, which would mean all they'd really be doing is destroying property that they created, which isn't really illegal. All those fires and people being thrown into them weren't breaking any law, which meant there wasn't anything people could do to stop them. And nobody had, either. The fires burned as hot and bright as ever to that very day, just as LE's were brought into the world for the specific purpose of being taken out of it again.

Lately Len had taken to wearing earplugs. They were good at blocking out all the noise that filtered in from the streets; people tended to be loud on Burn Day.

Years and years ago, during a blissfully ignorant childhood he barely remembered now, Len had tried to enjoy himself. At not more than five years old, April Fool's had been mindless fun, like it always had been. It was all bonfires and laughter and skinned knees from romping around and tripping in the city streets, and Len had no clue why they sometimes called it "Burn Day" (surely it was just for the bonfires?) and really didn't care. But the next day those streets he'd danced through had become dark and empty shadows, filled with skeletons and synthetic corpses. He remembered walking to school one day and refusing to leave the building in terror that he'd have to see all the burned and twisted heaps of human-shaped machinery and the scalded, melted faces.

He'd never been good at dealing with people after that.

The door to the bedroom opened, and Rin Kagamine poked her head into the room, spying her brother out on the balcony. She called his name, but he didn't hear, hence why she had to walk up and tap his shoulder to get him to take out his earplugs. "Len, I'm going to go meet Haku and Neru to go shopping now."

Len arched an eyebrow, regarding her mildly before turning back to the scene outside, looking down PDF the balcony into the street with his free ear facing her. "Awful weird time to be going out shopping."

"It is not. They've got sales going on at the mall; 30 percent off all clothes."

And anything else flammable, Len finished for her silently. He continued watching a fire directly below them and said nothing, interest returning to the pillars of orange and yellow poking up between buildings at the feet of the bulbous skyscrapers that blocked out the sky. It was just approaching dinner time, but the ground level was already pitch-black in the shadows of the forest of iron and concrete overhead. It was always dark in the city streets, even in the middle of the day.

Rin stood by Len for a while before turning away from him, walking back across the room. "Anyway, the girls are waiting. You wanna come? I bet those earmuffs you were looking for would be on sale."

A particularly shrill scream resounded off the streets below before the dull mumble of fire drowned it out. Len shook his head, expression moot, eyes locked on the flames. He popped his other earplug back into his ear, thus ending the conversation.

Rin shrugged and left the room, closing it behind her. A few seconds later, Len watched as she emerged down in the street below, disappearing into the crowd filling the street itself. People passed by nonchalantly, as if oblivious to the fires unless they stayed and watched in fascination as something resembled a human was sent tumbling into the pillar of flame. A flurry of sparks burst into the air, and a round of cheers sounded off like a goal at a game had been scored.

Len remained where he stood. He watched the fire like the hundreds like it raging throughout New Chicago in silence and didn't move an inch.

People sure did like fire.

Night for the world came slowly. It was all fun in the streets, but eventually people started running out of things to burn and wanted to go home. They did, eventually, but there was an unmistakable air of reluctance as they did so, and every child had to be practically dragged home as they kicked and screamed for more. No one wanted Burn Day to end; it was too much fun.

The shadows of overhead buildings was replaced by the blackness of night, and not even the top-most towers of New Chicago bore any light that wasn't their own. The lights that had illuminated the streets were out, and the stench of smoke was hanging omnipresently in the air from all directions. Trickles of silvery dust went to show where fires had been either extinguisher or allowed to burn out by themselves. An alarm rang somewhere in the distance where an unattended flame had grown and struck back against its masters.

Hours after the last fire had gone out, Len remained where he stood, watching the smoldering horizon between two skyscrapers as if waiting for it to clog out the sky completely. Not that he'd ever notice; there was no way you could see the sky from down there. The only ones that might actually care were the prestigious moneybags that could afford to live in the upper levels closer to the heavens...and the LE's. All the LE's lived skyside; who could blame them when the people who would torch them alive scuttled around in the shadows of New Chicago itself?

The last fire (still under control, anyway) had gone out for the night, but the embers in the street beneath Len's apartment still glowed, turning the streets a dull, angry red against the black of the night. Their final witness clenched his fist around the railing tighter for a moment, then finally released, though only to tap the screen to his vibrating detached sleeve. He'd received a text from Rin, who informed him that she'd be spending the night with a friend. Len considered texting her back - scold her for not making proper arrangements or telling him ahead of time - but dismissed the green screen, casting his face back into darkness. His trance broken, Len pulled out his earplugs, made idle note of the stiffness caused by standing in one place for hours, and turned back into the apartment. The doors to the balcony closed with a quiet click to silence the sirens in the distance.

He was back in his apartment, but it wouldn't remain so for long. He stayed inside only long enough to gather up a few sheets and blankets in the closet before leaving, beginning his silent rounds through the streets he'd been observing so thoroughly from above.

Whether it was right or not, Burn Day always left behind a big mess in all the streets. Eventually the LEs would be cleared out, but they always remained for a while, reminders of the extent of human cruelty. Len couldn't stand it for more than a few hours. So he went out, not removing the bodies, but at least shielding them from scathing glances and juvenile vandalism that would likely occur within the next few days until garbage day came, where the synthetic corpses would be thrown in with the rest of the trash left behind by the morbid celebration.

No respect, Len thought bitterly, draping a cool white sheet over the first motionless black mass shaped like a person he found. Just one of the many victims tonight. No respect for the dead.

Len turned down his street and went to the next one, distributing his blankets across what bodies he could find, well aware of the fact that not all of the LE's that had suffered tonight were laying in the coals and ashes of the street. LE's were specifically built with heat resistance in mind, hence why the crowds that gathered around often carried pokers and carried flammable objects with them in case one of them tried to crawl back out; either they got shoved back in to bake, or they started a new fire right where it stood. No one went home until either the LE was burned, or it stopped moving. That didn't mean it was dead, however, and the rest of April was often witness to the unfortunate souls who had survived, stumbling lifelessly through the streets without a purpose like the living dead. They'd been built to burn, and after that, they had nothing. They'd sometimes be seen walking mindlessly through the streets until someone put them out of their misery or they finally crumbled apart. Their deaths came slowly and ended the most bleak, lonely lives on the face of the earth.

It made Len's stomach turn. All he could do was watch as the tragedy occurred year after year and pay a small respect to the deceased that never had a chance to earn it.

He was no good Samaritan; he just didn't know what else to do.

After reaching the next block or so, Len placed his second to last blanket over an LE's unmoving form before deciding he'd like nothing more than to seal himself back in his apartment and turned to leave. The eerie silence was one that reflected on the incidents that occurred here, echoing the death that stared at Len from all angles in the darkness like a pair of glaring red eyes. Feeling the hair standing up on the back of his neck, Len quickened his pace, eyes glued to his feet to watch them as they carried him back home. He made a point not to look at the blanketed forms that he left behind to the darkness out of the illogical fear that they might not be there anymore.

He never got why the streets became so foreboding on Burn Day. It wasn't like this every other night, not even on Halloween. He took walks out here all the time. Except tonight; tonight he just wanted to get out of here. It was like he could feel something watching him, and he just wanted to get away.

He wanted his earplugs, for some reason. Couldn't imagine why. Wasn't it the silence that got to him? Or was it the way his feet echoed off the still, haunting walls all around him? Or maybe it was just him...

Len couldn't have been a foot from his apartment door - almost home free! - when he saw something out of the corner of his eye. His arm froze in mod-reach, not even a centimeter away from the door handle. So close, he cursed silently. Feeling the eyes boring into him (this time for real), Len slowly turned his head around, completely motionless as he searched for his observer.

He stared into the darkness. The darkness stared back. It took a minute or so for him to see it because...well...he didn't know that something could be so still. He still didn't know what he was looking at, and he might have dismissed it for nothing if a head didn't stiffly turn around to meet his gaze.

It was a girl, he realized, and the blackness enshrouding her was a combination of soot and ash that clung to her features, complimenting the darkness and rendering her nearly invisible against the black behind her. The only color he could see was the dull maroon of her hair filtering through the ash caking it. The embers glowed dully around her as she sat amongst them, oblivious to their offensive smoldering, the dim orange reflecting eerily off of her glassy, doll-like eyes. He thought perhaps her left eye was reflecting the moonlight, except the pillars of iron and concrete hid whatever moon there may have been. Her left eye was glazed a milky white, the plastic underneath receding and forming an air bubble. The lifelessness of her stare combined with the soulless appearance her bad eye gave off made her look like a corpse. I've...never seen a survivor before. Not on Burn Day. Only heard them...screaming, mostly...sometimes they laughed along with everyone, just for the approval-

Len felt a shiver crawl up his spine, haunted by the chilling memories, the ominous silence, and the LE's (because that's clearly what she was; who else would be scalded and sitting in the middle of the street?) blank stare. He had an overwhelming urge to look away, but he couldn't take his eyes off her. And she just sat there among the embers...staring at him. Like a zombie. And she wanted to devour his soul.

However, judging by her charred appearance, position on the ground, and petite stature (she had to be a few inches shorter than even Rin, who was absolutely tiny), she was no more a threat to anyone than the books such mythical creatures existed in. The tightly bound drill pigtails on either side of her head were dormant and still, reminding the world of what innocent energy such a girl must have possessed once upon a time. Before she was burned alive for existing and left behind in the dark.

Distantly Len couldn't help but wonder how long she'd been there, and why he didn't see her before this. Did she come here when I was gone? Or did I walk right past her without even knowing she was there?

For some reason, the latter possibility seemed especially unpleasant.

Ignoring his reluctance to approach and the desire to dash into his apartment and pretend he'd seen nothing, Len warily approached the LE, who remained just as motionless as ever, though her eyes - both the carmine pink one and the empty white one - tracked him as he came closer, thus confirming that she was in fact alive (operational?) and not frozen in a life-like death pose. He extended his arms holding the last blanket on his person, the black and pale pink plad barely visible against the darkness of the street around them. He worked his mouth, but it took a moment for it to find any sufficient strength to become audible: "If...if you'd rather hide, then...you probably shouldn't be out in the, in the middle of the street like this..." He paused, moving the blanket a little closer to her to indicate she take it.

The LE said nothing, staring unblinkingly past the blanket and straight at his face, her artificial eyes (or just one; it was unlikely she could see through the other) meeting his all-natural blue ones. She didn't even seem to be aware of the blanket, let alone show an interest in it.

Her continued silence and stare unnerved Len even more, who swallowed the lump in his throat and resisted the urge to stutter. He kept the blanket out at arm's length, waiting for her to take it. He relented for a second, then urged it towards her again. "Here...take it. At the very least, it'll help you hide..."

The girl (looking at her, Len couldn't bring himself to think of her as anything else) didn't seem to notice. Very slowly her eyelids came down in a blink, a pair of comparatively stark-white curtains standing out against the dirty blacks and grays of her face touching the bottom of her dusty eyesockets and easing back upwards, though the one caught for a moment and shot up a second later - likely from the damage - giving her blink the appearance of one from a fish. Her gaze remained as blank as ever, and it haunted Len. Does she...does she even know I'm here..?

Thoroughly unnerved, Len decided that going inside would be a very good idea indeed. "Well, uh...just in case anyone comes by, just...sit there...they'll just walk by. They'll think you're...you know..." Len let that hang in the air for a moment before reaching out and, very carefully setting the blanket over the girl's shoulders. He stopped long enough only to kick away some embers (didn't want the blanket to catch on fire) before turning and heading towards the door to his apartment, intent on disappearing inside. Sealing himself away from the world seemed like a pretty good idea, at the moment.

Len's fingers brushed against the handle to his apartment when heard a light, barely audible noise; it would have been undetectable otherwise, but thanks to the absolute silence all around, he was able to detect it and turn around again to see what it was. He saw the girl was still staring at him in exactly the same spot she'd been sitting, except that the blanket had slid off her shoulders. It was currently on the ground where the scar of black had been permanently burned into the cold pavement beneath her.

Len frowned, considered going back inside, and sighed, retrieving his hand. It was cold out, and she didn't seem to be moving anytime soon, and...well, he couldn't just leave her out here to freeze to death. He didn't know if an LE could do that, considering they worked differently than people, but regardless, just leaving out here didn't sit well with him. If she had to be out here, the least he could do was make sure she stayed warm.

So, he came back up to her, bending down to properly set the blanket back up over her shoulders, making sure it stayed in place and trying to ignore the way she seemed to be staring straight through him. Content it wouldn't fall off, Len turned back around and, once again, attempted to make it into the apartment.

There was another soft rustling noise, and Len turned to see that the blanket was on the ground again. He now visibly frowned and came up again, picking the blanket back up and this time wrapping it thoroughly around her, tucking a corner in and giving it a good looking over to assure that it wouldn't come off this time. For the third time he stood back up, then backed up while still facing the girl, feeling the door to the apartment behind him. When he found the handle, he stopped and waited.

He stared at the girl. The girl stared back. Neither of them moved for a while, and satisfied that the blanket definitely wouldn't come off, Len began to turn to the door to open it.

As he did, he flicked a glance over his shoulder in time to see the girl shrug for a second just before the blanket slid down her back and onto the ground once again, her eyes remaining fixed intently upon him.

Len sighed impatiently, pinching the bridge of his nose in slight vexation. He wanted to demand whether or not she actually wanted the stupid thing so he could get back inside, but his tongue didn't work. Instead he found himself returning her stare, azure eyes locking on her carmine pink one as he searched for...signs that she was searching him. He couldn't help but feel like, in a little way, she was asking him for something. No...those doll-like eyes? She was begging. Begging for what? For words of comfort? For companionship? To come over and pick that blanket back up and put it around her-

She wants me to come back and fix the blanket, he thought, eyes widening slightly as he observed her silent begging. She doesn't want the blanket; she wants me. She doesn't want me to leave her out here.

...to be perfectly honest, Len didn't know what to feel anymore. There was the pity of seeing something that had no doubt been beautiful once upon a time desecrated in such a way, left for dead out in the middle of the street. There was regret - guilt he didn't do anything (she was just outside the apartment; he'd probably stared right at her fire, watched her fall into it, listened to the people cheer and laugh) - but that passed quickly. What could he have done: jumped in to save her? Why just her and not all those other LE's out there that suffered a similar fate? Len was no hero, no lifesaver. He didn't even consider himself a good Samaritan. To dive into a fire and rescue a damsel in distress was just something he couldn't see himself doing.

The angle of a metal badge catching an ember's glow glinted into Len's eye, and he came closer to the girl, bending down again in front of her, though he made no movement for the blanket. The badge was charred and illegible, but he could definitely recognize its shape: the crest of an UTAU, the model of LE's built specifically with pop-stardom and being an idol in mind. She was built to perform...to sing, to dance, to smile and make friends and make something out of herself. She had all the makings to be incredible.

Maybe what tore at Len the most was that had she been allowed to live, this LE could have gone somewhere - been someone. Done good in the world and made a difference. She could have lived. Now, as she was, she would never have that chance, all because sick people with a sick sense of humor thought it was okay to just toss a random person into a fire for no reason at all besides being who they were. Because of the hate of a crowd of total strangers, this UTAU LE would never be able to realize her destiny. If he just left her out here and she succumbed to the same fate as other LE's - died a cold, meaningless death alone in the middle of the city they never knew - she would be gone. Wasted. Not destroyed by accident, but with relish. People she never knew that hated her so much that they'd take everything away from her before she even had it.

Len shook his head slowly at such thoughts, wiping his forehead he hadn't realized was slightly sticky with sweat; odd, considering the cool night air. "...I don't understand it," he murmured, supposedly to the LE girl, though he wasn't quite sure himself. "I don't why they...the things they do. The burnings...I don't get it. Any of it." He looked the girl in the eye now - her hurt, damaged eyes that danced with flames just a few short hours ago. "How...what did you ever do to, to..." He gesticulated vaguely in her general direction, attempting to summarize her cruel, unfortunate fate. "...why would they do it?"

The girl's reply was of silence. Her stare was unyielding and constant, and continued to implore him with the earnesty of a child being left out in the cold for being bad. It was hard to tell what she really wanted...besides, obviously, that he not leave her. He could tell that, though she couldn't (or wouldn't) say it, she wanted his company. She wanted him- no, needed him to stay; to talk to her, look at her, remind her that she had some kind of value, no matter how little. Just to remind her she was alive.

Because other than me, Len thought sadly, what else does she have? If I wasn't here, what would there be?

Nothing; absolutely nothing. Just shadows and the thick, offensive odor of smoke. And they both knew it.

A silence ensured. The girl continued to stare pleadingly at Len, who looked back at her distantly, mind attempting to comprehend the situation. He couldn't just...no, he couldn't leave her. Not now; not out here. He just couldn't. But he couldn't stay out here with her...he needed to get back inside, too; it was cold, and it was late. They both needed to get out of the street - needed shelter. They both needed shelter. She-

The implied solution finally dawned on Len, and he covered his face with his hand, letting out a low groan in the knowledge that there wasn't anything else to do. There was no other option: he had to take her in. His conscience had backed him into a corner, and now he was stuck. It was either this, or he wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing what he had - or rather, hadn't - done. I don't believe this. Seriously?

If the silence held an answer, it was a big fat yes. He was on his own.

"Guess it can't be helped," Len muttered to himself, returning his attention to the girl. "Can you walk?"

The girl said nothing, continuing to stare blankly at him like he wasn't even there.

"...right." Len sighed, shaking his head. "Well...here, lemme help..." Len reached back out to the girl and placed his hands on her arm, rising up off the ground. Rather than follow him up, the girl just stared, arm traveling up with him and nothing else. Frowning, Len pulled on her hand a little, only causing her to bob in place like one of those wobbling clown toys you couldn't knock over. "Come on, work with me here..."

He tried a couple of different ways, but the girl didn't move or respond at all. All she did was stare, and all he managed to do was aggravate himself. Hoping I wouldn't have to do this, but I guess there's no way around it.

Bending down, Len placed the blanket back around the girl's shoulders, then reached down to slip one arm under her legs, the other around to her back, and lifted her up off the ground. All things considered, she was pretty light; heavier than a person her size, sure, but considering the fact that she was made out of metal and stuff, he was lucky he could even lift her at all. Not that much trouble.

After making sure she was properly wrapped up in the blanket, Len turned and walked back the short way to the apartment, struggling with the door for only a moment before both he and the unresponsive machine girl disappeared within.

The lobby was empty, thank goodness (no one would be crazy enough to be up at this hour), and Len had to pause only long enough to bump the elevator button with his hip before stepping inside, hitting button to bring them to his room's floor, and continue down the hallway to the door that was his own and seal himself away from the rest of the world like he always did...though this time with company.

Len stepped out of his shoes, and the sight of a second pair by the door already waiting for him forced him to realize why this was a bad idea: he wasn't the only one who lived here. Rin wouldn't be so receptive to the idea of keeping an LE with them, since they had a reputation of schemers and anarchists that followed them from the war, despite the fact that it was years ago. Getting her involved could be trouble.

One night, Len told himself, carrying the unresponsive LE girl towards his bedroom; he gave the couch a mildly interested look before continuing, nudging the door shut behind him with his foot. It's just for one night. Rin's spending the night at a friend's, and she'll never have to know. One night.

Len carefully lowered the blackened girl down onto his bed, disdainfully making note of the fact that he'd probably have to wash the comforters later because of the ash she left behind. The room smelled like smoke now, and Len distantly prayed that the fire alarm wouldn't go off in their sleep and freak everybody out. "There," he said, tucking the girl's blanket in around her so she was comfortable. "How's that?"

Once again, the girl failed to reply, staring blankly up at him like she was watching the ceiling behind him.

"It beats staying outside by yourself, right? I mean, it's not much, but...you know."

No reply, bar a blank stare.

"I was going to sleep on the couch, but...I can stay here, if you want. Loneliness is better with two."


A beat passed. "Well, I guess...I guess I'll just stay here with you, then, cuz I wouldn't want for you to be...y'know, lonely, or anything..."

Once again, the girl failed to reply, only watching him. Not exactly the most talkative of guests.

Len sighed, removing his jacket and tossing it to the floor, not really caring where it landed. He turned off the light to his room, then walked back around to the unoccupied side of the bed, laying out across the covers. "Well...good night, I guess," he said awkwardly to the still form next to him. "If you need anything, just...you know, wake me. Alright?" Knowing she wasn't going to answer, Len watched her face for a little while for signs of life - a blink confirmed that she had yet to depart the living - before turning his head, looking up to the ceiling. His sleeve-phone gave a small blip, indicating that the next hour - the second of the morning, specifically - had arrived. At least it's not Burn Day anymore.

Len didn't anticipate getting any rest. However, whatever forces controlling the night must have detected his emotional weariness and natural grogginess for the time, and he was abruptly ambushed by the darkness that came just before a dream began. Beside him, a silent LE lay motionless for a while before very slowly turning onto her side to face him, watching the silhouette of his chest rise and fall against the dim glass of the balcony doors across the room. It was presumable that sleep eventually claimed both of them.

April Fool's was a strange kind of day.


Okay, let's be honest: who doesn't love the LenxTeto pairing? No, seriously. Say something so I know who you are so I can hunt you down and shove banana bread down your throat. EETS CUTE. LUV EET. DX

Disclaimer: no LE's were harmed in the making of this story.

Teto: Except me.

Yes. Except you, Teto.

Teto: Review if you love me~! Or else I'll be sad. And then I'll break into your house and beat you with french bread! RAWR!

Len: No comment.

Ditto. Just review if you don't want to suffer Teto's wrath, okay? We've got to deal with her enough as it is.

Teto: *chucks french bread at computer*


(-author's note ends-)