"We don't know what happened," Ring was telling me as she and Yukari led me to the message board, the sort of text messaging machine the Master uses to communicate with us from the real world. "I was in the kitchen, with Akita-san and Rion – well, mostly Rion, because Akita-san was ignoring us as usual – then she just gets up and says – Akita-san – and says, 'We got a message," so we follow her and – "

"Suzune-chan, breathe," Yukari said. She took over. "Then we got this message on here and decided to investigate further."

I read the screen.

ERROR: user 6757. No records. Suspected spyware/Trojan. Automatic Deletion.

"I don't understand."

"Neither did we. So, we investigated: went through the records rooms. Sure enough, no 6757. We thought about it for a while: why would this be a problem? We'd never had a problem with spyware before. What had changed recently? What could've caused it? Soon we were hacking everything. The software was still up-to-date. Master hasn't been on so much since his last installation. So, what was it? And the conclusion Akiko eventually came up with was…" Yukari trailed there and refused to go on.

"What Yukari-chan's trying to say, Megurine-san, is…well…your…" Ring's sentence met the same fate. But I didn't think I needed the rest of the words.

"But…where is he?"

Yukari and Ring exchanged a very guilty, afraid look.

"Megurine-san…"


I stood outside at the edge of the road, looking out at a hill, the edge of the world opposite the lake. I couldn't take it in. I couldn't. It was impossible. I still autonomously cradled a nonexistent child in my arms as I stared. I refused to believe it.

Of course, he wouldn't have lasted. How can two things that aren't real make something else? He was never meant to sing. He would never be Vocaloid. So, there was no use for him. No data. He technically didn't exist as I held him in my arms. Except I felt him. I held his tiny body in the crook of my arm as he sucked on my breast or took a short nap. The hard disk could say all it wanted, but Daisuke was real. But I was the only one who thought so.

"I'm sorry," I said to him. Sorry for what? For leaving him? For not being there to save him? For what?

"For what?" a voice echoed behind me.

I turned. "Oh, no. No, you're the last person I want to see," I said to Gakupo as he cocked his head to the side.

"That was a change. You're turning back into yourself, Megurine-san."

"I wasn't talking to you."

"Well, then, I'm sorry. Not for the assumption you were talking to me," he clarified, "but for getting you into this situation at all."

"Hmph."

He came up beside me. In my anger I was able to look at him properly. He had a disapproving look in his eyes and frowned deeply. "Why is it so hard for you to admit your heart is breaking?"

"Why should I admit it to you?" I snapped. My eyes burned from holding back the tears so long.

"Why? Because I am Daisuke's father and my heart broke, too!" he yelled. I never thought about it like that. How come? It made perfect sense as soon as he said it. He felt it like I did…no. He could never feel it like I did. HE wasn't the one to carry the boy to term. HE wasn't the one who had to suffer the embarrassment (not to mention morning sickness) of bearing the illegitimate child all that time. HE wasn't the one to go through the pain of childbirth. He could never dream of the heartache I felt knowing it was all worthless now.

But to have some idea…

He wanted the child even if it turned out to be not his (technically we still weren't quite sure). He had his share of the sleepless nights taking care of Daisuke. He did everything out of love for me and my baby. He wasted his share of energy on this, as much as a man can in childrearing. The past month can't have been easy on him either.

I wanted to say something. Anything. An apology. A backhanded remark. An insult. Absolutely anything would've done, but as each idea came from my larynx, it got caught in my trachea and I literally choked. Tears came from the lump, and the rest came from emotion. I couldn't do anything to get rid of it but let out a cry. My fist flew up by itself and I flung it at Gakupo. He dodged it and caught my wrist. His other hand took me around the upper of my left arm and pulled me in as I lost all control and let everything out. He didn't say another word but stood like a post, his arms now around me and just stroking my hair consolingly. I normally would've stopped him, but I had no more strength for it at the time. I didn't even try to stop my mouth, letting out unrelenting cries from the heartbreak I couldn't fight or run from anymore.