“Jeez.” Akito snorted, watching a tired Ena stumble out of her room. “You were in there for what, sixteen hours straight? Aren’t you hungry?”
“Instant noodles.” Ena shot back immediately, scowling at her so called brother. Doesn’t he know to just leave well enough alone? Amia wanted her to take at least a five minute break, and it was only Ena’s aching wrist and empty stomach that gave her reason to oblige.
“What are you working on, anyway?” her brother continued. That was odd, when did he ever care about anything she touched? “Oh, don’t give me that look. I’m curious what was investing to enough to make my big sister hole herself up in her room for sixteen whole hours without sleeping.”
“That’s none of your concern, Carrot Top.” Ena snorted as she poured herself a glass of water. She allowed herself a wide smile at Akito’s annoyed scowl. “Also, don’t call me your “big sister”. The way you put it makes it sound creepy.”
“I’ll stop once you ditch the name Carrot Top.”
“Stop dying your hair, then. You look like you missed the Weasley family reunion.”
In response, Akito threw an apple at her.
“Jokes on you, I was gonna grab an apple anyway.” Ena flips him off. “Thanks for saving me a few extra steps.” She pops down at the dining table across from Akito.
“It’s art, right?” Akito asks after a moment of silence. He’s staring at his phone to avoid eye contact, but Ena knows he’s talking to her. “That’s… that’s what you were working on?”
“Yeah?” Ena says, confused. Oddly, Akito hasn’t said much about her hobby before this. The one time he made the mistake of insulting a piece she’d spent weeks working on, his phone was missing for a weekend a half. She only gave it back when their parents were about to buy him a new one.
“For what? A school thing?”
Ena bites her tongue speculatively, mentally debating what to say. She hasn’t told anyone she knows in real life about her online friends. It wasn’t their business. Plus, Akito would make fun of her for having more friends online then off.
“Just for a few friends.” is what she eventually settles on.
“What friends?” Akito snorts. “You mean that idol girl?”
“I don’t have to tell you about every person I meet!” Ena snaps, glaring up at him from her apple. “You’d make fun of me and them anyway!”
“Jeez. Pushy, much?” Akito gets up, rolling his eyes. “Forget it. My fault for being genuinely curious about what my sibling DOES all day.”
Ena just thinks Akito is being a jerk to be a jerk. When is HE, of all people, ever genuine?
(Then again,) a voice whispers in her head. (When are you ever genuine, either?)
At least Ena says what she means. She doesn’t pretend to be happy go lucky or a good person. She knows she’s awful, and she doesn’t try to hide it. Akito always has ulterior motives. Ena’s given up telling him most things.
A minute or two later, she throws away what’s left of her apple and heads back to her room, head still spinning from the odd conversation. When she enters her room, she’s confronted with an even odder sight.
Akito, staring at her drawing tablet, an unreadable expression on his face.
“Hey!” Ena snarls, shoving him. “The hell are you doing in here?! This is private!”
Akito turns to her, a deadpan expression on his face. “Well, you were being cagey. I was halfway convinced you were doing something illegal.”
“That art wasn’t done yet.” she snaps through gritted teeth. “It’s too ugly for anyone other then me to see!”
“Ugly?” Akito snorts. “Are you that oblivious? You’re good at art, Ena, you just never let anyone else see it.”
“You’re lying!” Ena yells, pointing a finger into Akito’s chest. “My art is awful. I would’ve thought you agreed. You loved to make fun of it when we were younger!”
Akito stares at her, eyes darting at her like she was a particularly fascinating art exhibit. “…I’m not a child anymore, Ena. But from the way you act, sometimes I feel like you are.”
Ena can’t help the tears that spring to her eyes, and that makes her all the more furious. “Get OUT, Akito!” she screams, a few wayward tears trailing their way down her face. “GET OUT OF MY ROOM!”
He pauses, surprised. He takes in a deep breath, then quickly walks out of her room, gaze locked to the floor. Ena slams the door in his wake, glaring venomously at where he once was.
She spends the next few minutes wiping away the tears before logging back into Nightcord. Everyone else looked to be offline, Amia going to take a nap and Yuki deciding to tackle some homework. K didn’t say anything. She was probably lurking, like usual.
Ena decided to enter their VC, just in case. Predictably, K entered the chat a minute or two later.
“(Hey, Enanan.)” she said. Her voice was warm, Ena realized, kinda like the songs she creates. The brunette uses her as an anchor, trying to quell both her raging feelings and trembling voice.
“(Ah, hey K.)” she replies as she pulls on her headset all the way. “(Doing okay?)”
“(I’m neutral.)” she says, in a way that is both cryptic and blunt. Trust K to be forthcoming about her feelings like that. It’s better then the mask Yuki puts on.
“(I got in a fight with my stupid brother.)” Ena scoffs, rolling her eyes as she undoes her wrist brace. “(He snuck into my room to mess with my art. He said he was ‘appreciating it’, but when has he ever cared about anything I do?)” She realizes, suddenly, that her venting might put a damper on the conversation, so she forces out a laugh. “(Hah, he’s the worst.)”
“(What’s having siblings like?)” K asks a second later. Ena wonders if it’s her being so focused on her work that she forgot to respond, or her thinking out what to say before she says it. Thinking about the kind of person she knows K to be, it’s probably a mixture of the two.
“(I only have one.)” Ena begins, hand hovering over her tablet thoughtfully as she thinks of what to say. “(Plus, he sucks, so this probably isn’t the same for everyone. Personally, I hate it. He’s always butting into my business, or making fun of me, or embarrassing me in front of the few friends I’ve got.)”
“(Hmm.)” K says, and is silent after that. She’d probably benefit from having siblings, Ena thinks. It would stop her from getting too in her own head.
“(I wonder how he’d react if he ever met Amia.)” she says thoughtfully as she begins to work on her artwork again. “(They’re similar, sure, but I bet she’d be able to push all the right buttons with him and make him even madder then he makes me.)”
K laughs, softly. “(Amia sure has that effect, doesn’t she?)”
“(You’re telling me.)”
The rest of the day is mostly quiet, with a few conversations shot back and forth between the two as they work. By the time Yuki and Amia log on, Ena is quite happy with herself. She’ll probably touch up the drawing tomorrow. Huh, speaking of tomorrow…
“(Sorry for butting in,)” Ena says suddenly. “(But I’m gonna sleep. I’ve been awake ever since 25:00 yesterday, and I think it would help me to draw with fresh eyes. See you all later, hopefully?)”
The rest wish her well, and Ena logs off for the night. As she changes into pajamas, she thinks about Akito and the argument the two had. Looking back, she feels a mix of guilt and righteous anger. Akito has never cared before, why is he bothering to start now?
Despite that, though, a scarily large part of Ena wants someone else to talk to about her art. If Akito wants to look at it and be as curious as he likes, then that could only be a good thing.
Regardless, Ena decides to apologize. Akito is surely asleep right now, so she cobbles together a suitable apology on a sticky note and sticks it to his forehead. Hopefully he’ll notice it.
With that, Ena goes to bed for the night, feeling a bit better then she did five minutes ago.
Ena Shinonome is completely unsure how she got in this situation.
It started with her brother approaching her after breakfast, an unreadable expression resting on his face. “Hey, Ena.” Akito says, his voice softer then Ena had ever heard before. “I saw the note.”
“Sorry, again.” she sighs, feeling sheepish. “I don’t know why, but I’ve been feeling… really, really angry lately. I shouldn’t take it out on you, though.” The two eyed each other for a moment, before she offered something. “If you want, I’ll show you what I’ve been working on…?”
Akito nods, feigning disinterest. Ena can see the spark in his eye, though. She unlocks her phone and scrolls through her files, squinting at the two untitled files. The one on the top leads to SEKAi, right? The bottom is her work in progress?
Hesitantly, she opens the bottom file, hoping to anything imaginable she didn’t get it wrong.
Unfortunately, those hopes weren’t enough, and Ena resists the urge to burst into tears as a brilliant flash of light brings her and Akito to Empty SEKAI.
Hopefully the others weren’t too mad…
“Woah!” Akito startled, looking around with a wide eyed look on his face. “What the-?!”
“Wrong file!” Ena yelled, fully in damage control mode. “Haha! We’ll just go back home and forget all this, okay?! You saw nothing!”
“Wait…” Akito said, ignoring her. He took a long look at everything. “Is this…?”
“Hello, Ena.” Miku said, wandering into view. “It’s great to see you.” She looked toward Akito, whose eyes got even wider when he saw the virtual singer, if that was even possible. “I see you’ve brought a friend. Hello, Akito. It’s nice to see you here.”
“It was an accident!” Ena yelled, completely at a loss as to what to do.
“Miku?” Akito said. “You’re here? But that can only mean…” He took a shaky breath. “You look… different.”
“I change to match different SEKAIS.” she stated, eyes focused on him.
Akito’s face went through a variety of different emotions, and he seemed to be struggling for words. It was odd, seeing him like this as opposed to his usual devil may care demeanor. “Why… why does this place look like this? It’s so empty compared to-“ He immediately cut himself off.
“Compared to WHAT?” Ena demanded, cold glare sharply turning on him.
Akito shook his head and looked around, eyes never landing on any particular thing. “Ugh. An will kill me if I mention this, but you… you kinda already… that’s…” He took in a shallow, shaky breath. “This place. This… this SEKAI. I have one too.”
Silence, other then the sound of billowing wind echoing throughout the empty plains. And then…
“WHAT.” Ena goes from regretfully morose to absolutely manic in the span of a millisecond. She begins rapidly shaking Akito by the shoulders, eyes wide with pure rage. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE A SEKAI. NO. THERE’S NO WAY YOU’RE BEING SERIOUS. HUH?”
“Agh- ow! Ena, knock it off!” Akito yelped, shoving his sister off him. “Yeah, I have a SEKAI. It’s not worth you throwing yourself all over me, though!”
“Jeez, sorry.” Ena huffed, shaking him one last time for good measure. “I won’t mention this to the other three as long as you show me your SEKAI.” She glared sharply at him. “Okay?”
“I was gonna do that anyway.” he muttered irritably. “Fine, fine! Get your hands off of me.”
“Hmph.” Ena scoffed, turning to Miku. “Sorry for the short visit, but me and Carrot Top have…” She glared sharply at Akito. “…family matters to discuss.”
“Stop Calling me Carrot To-“ Akito’s protests were cut off by Ena tapping the bottom Untitled File again, both her and her brother exiting Empty SEKAI.
“See… you… soon.” Miku said softly as the two left.
“Your SEKAI, Carrot Top.” Ena said, venom spilling into every syllable. Her brother grumbled under his breath as he dug out his phone. He tapped on something on the screen, and the kitchen was filled with light.
When Ena opened her eyes, she was brought to a place that filled her with a sense of false nostalgia. She’d never seen this place in her life, yet she felt an odd feeling of longing. Maybe it had something to do with the near stifling smell of coffee, a smell she’d gotten accustomed to over the years.
She was in an alleyway covered head to toe with vibrant graffiti and murals. It seemed to be a dead end on the left side, but when she walked right, she encountered a wide, open space, surrounded with graffitied walls on all sides but one. There was a storefront seemingly built into the wall, labeled Crase Café on the top. There was a small patio area outside of the café will small tables scattered about it. All the chairs were empty except for one.
“Ehhhh? Akito, who’s this?” cried a young blonde boy. His voice had a slightly robotic tinge to it, similar to Miku’s. Ena knew immediately this was Kagamine Len.
“My sister, Ena.” Akito said, smirking slightly. “Did you know that she has a SEKAI of her own?”
“You sound like a proud parent.” Ena snorted, rolling her eyes. “Knock it off. You’re irritating.”
“Ahaha. It’s nice to meet you, Ena.” Len said, his voice betraying a fascinated tone.
“Is there… anyone else here?” Ena asked nervously, looking around self consciously.
“Touya and Kohane are doing homework.” Akito replied. “An might stop by later, though.” He stared directly at Ena, as if seeing through her. “You can’t be asocial forever, hermit.”
“Shut up, Carrot Top.” Ena grumbled. “That’s not what I meant, anyway. Are there any other, yknow, Vocaloids here?”
“MEIKO’s in the café.” Len replied. “Rin and Miku are off somewhere in the alleyways. I doubt you’ll see them.”
“Ehh?” A familiar voice said. “Don’t talk about people behind their backs, Len!” Ena whirled around and met the eyes of… Miku. But it wasn’t quite. Her hair was a light, washed out blue, tied in buns at the top and trailing along her head. Her eyes were the same color, and her clothes were completely different.
“Miku…?” Ena asked, tilting her head. “But I thought… you look different!”
“Didn’t you hear what I told Akito, back at your SEKAI?” Miku asked, giggling slightly. “We change appearances to fit different SEKAIs.”
“Wait,” Akito said as Ena’s thoughts ran wild. “Does that mean that the Miku here and Miku at Ena’s SEKAI…”
“Are the same person?” Ena finished, bewildered. Miku nodded and giggled slightly.
“Hmph.” Len grumbled, sticking his tongue out. “No fair. You have five different SEKAIS to wander between. I only have two!”
“Five?!” Ena yelped. “Jeez. I wonder who those SEKAIS belong to. Is it people we know?”
“Doubtful.” Akito scoffed. “The odds of us both having SEKAIs is slim. It’s not like everyone we know have these things.”
Miku smiled ruefully. “C’mon, Enanan!” she smirked. “Let’s go see MEIKO and her café!” Ena blushed slightly and let Miku drag her excitedly into Crase Café. Inside was a simple, cozy café, and the smell of coffee grew stronger the moment Ena entered. One side was covered in counters, with coffee making machines on every surface. Attached to the wall were electronic menus, one of which was advertising a new special.
Behind the counter was a tall Vocaloid with a brown bob-cut. She had a red leather jacket effortlessly slung over her shoulders, a white collared shirt with rolled up shelves with a plain green crop-top pulled over it. She had high waisted jeans, and a pair of red glasses attached to her shirt. Surely, this must be MEIKO.
“Ah, hello.” she called, smiling welcomingly. “Who’s this, Akito?”
“My sister, Ena.” Akito grumbled, clearly tired of the introductions.
“She must be the source of my new special, then.” MEIKO replied, smiling welcomingly.
“New special…?” Ena looked up toward the menu advertising the new special again. ‘Milk coffee latte and a yogurt parfait!’ the menu boasted. ‘Boosts energy and creativity!’ Ena balked slightly at the familiar food. Yogurt was an easy food, it helped her get through long nights. The coffee was self explanatory. “What in the world…?”
“This SEKAI creates a new menu item for every new person that enters.” MEKIO explained, smile still as soft as ever. “Every person becomes a part of the café, in a way.”
“Are YOU the one who’s been eating all the yogurt?” Akito cried in mock betrayal.
“Shut up, Akito.” Ena sighed.
Suddenly, a bright swell of light appeared from outside the café. Ena jumped at the sudden change in lighting, while Akito sighed.
“Aw, man. An is here.” he grumbled.
“What did this ‘An’ person ever do to you?” Ena snorted.
“Kohane and Touya are gay and lesbian solidarity, while me and An are gay and lesbian hostility.” he explains.
“If that means she kicks you right on your stupid smug head, I’m all for it.” Ena replies smugly.
“Ehhh? Oi Carrot Top, who’s the brunette?” a black haired girl with blue highlights asks, immediately strutting into the café.
“I’m Ena, Weasley’s sister.” Ena replied, liking this girl already. “You’re An, right?”
“Yeah!” She replies. “Thanks for the nickname, by the way. I heard Akito talking about how much he hates when you use it, so, of course, it’s the only name I use for him now.” An paused and studied Ena for a moment, gaze thoughtful. “Hm, you look… familiar, for some reason.”
“Oh, you’ve probably seen me online or something.” Ena replied, slightly surprised. No one had ever recognized her before.
“Ah, right!” An cried, snapping her fingers. “You’re Enanan25ji, right?” Ena blushed slightly, still surprised at the recognition. “I like your selfies.”
“Thanks. How’d you find my account?”
“My friend Mizuki! We like to talk about influencers we’re fans of sometimes. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t even know about your art account!” An chattered, unaware of Ena’s internal struggle. Other then her online friends, no one else really… looked at her art online. It was odd, meeting someone else who had seen her art. “You’re a really good artist.”
“Not THAT good.” Ena mumbled, blushing. A thought suddenly occurred to An, and she yelped.
“Wait. Why are you here in our SEKAI???” she demanded. “Akito!”
“Eh! Wait? It wasn’t my fault, An!” Akito cried, defending himself frantically. “Blame Ena! Blame her! OW, STOP HITTING ME!”
“As much as I’m enjoying this,” the brunette sighed, truly torn. “I have to interrupt by saying that the only reason I’m here is because I accidentally let him enter my SEKAI, and he revealed that he had one of his own. So, I’m here because of that.”
“Whaaaaaat?” An said, abandoning Akito to turn to Ena in surprise. “You have a SEKAI?”
“Yup. It’s not much though, especially not compared to this place.” Ena said, shrugging idly. “How massive is this place, anyway?”
“I wouldn’t know.” An said, slightly sheepish. “I always get lost whenever I try to wander the alleyways.”
“Our SEKAI seems like it’s endless,” Ena says thoughtfully, “but Mafuyu said that you don’t actually go anywhere. No matter what, you end back at the same place you started.”
“What’s it like?” An asked curiously.
“…Empty.” Ena sighed thoughtfully. Both An and Akito balked slightly at this. “It’s a nice place lay down and be alone for a while. It’s quiet, if you want it to be. And it’s a good place to jog your creativity. It always seems like I come up with an idea whenever I need it.”
“From what I’ve seen of it,” Akito begins.
“Which you haven’t, if we’re being honest.” Ena snarks.
“it seems lonely.” he finishes, ignoring Ena’s interjection.
“Whatever, Akito.” she grumbles. “It was made from four people, and you’re not one of them.” Ena looked around for a moment, silent. “I should probably get going. I still have some work to do.” She waved at An, who enthusiastically waved back.
“Nice meeting you, Ena!” An called. Akito unlocked his phone and clicked on an untitled file, and the two exited the SEKAI in a explosion of white, bright light.
“Wow.” Ena said immediately, flopping over the leather couch. “This whole day has been weird.”
“You’ve been sleeping for half of it.” Akito snarked.
“Shut up, Akito.” Ena huffed. She was silent for a moment, pausing thoughtfully. “Could I… visit your SEKAI again? Maybe meet the rest of your friends?”
“Sure, only if I get to meet yours.” Akito countered immediately.
“Fine!” Ena snapped, though she wasn’t as annoyed as she was letting on. “I bet Amia will drive you mad, though. I guess you deserve it, so I can’t be mad.”
“Ehhhh?! What did I do?” Akito demanded, indignant.
“What DIDN’T you do?” Ena snorted.
“Didn’t you have some work to do?!”
“I’m going, I’m going. Bye, Carrot Top!”
“Stop calling me that!”