Chapter 1: Pitch Correction
Miku was sitting in a recording studio lounge, apparently near tears, clutching a newspaper.
A studio recording engineer walked up. "What's wrong, Miss Hatsune?" he asked kindly.
"It's this review of my new song!" Miku cried. "The reviewer just kept saying my voice was digitally processed!"
The engineer blinked. "Uh—"
"I know we pitch-corrected some missed notes," Miku said tearfully, "but only a few! And everybody does that, these days! I'm not that bad a singer... am I!?"
"Miss Hatsune?" the engineer said patiently. "You're a computer program. Your voice is ALWAYS digitally processed."
"...oh," Miku said. "Um... never mind."
Chapter 2: Leekspun
Two fan-boys spotted a green-haired girl in a restaurant. "Isn't that Hatsune Miku?" one fan-boy said. "I've got to meet her!"
"You shouldn't disturb her during her lunch," the other fan-boy said.
Ignoring him, the first fan-boy walked up to Miku's table. "Miss Hatsune?" he said. "Excuse me, but I just wanted to say that I love your music!"
"HHHELLO!" Miku said cheerfully, breathing on the fan-boy. "I'm HHHAPPY to meet you!"
The fan-boy passed out.
I wonder why my fans keep passing out, Miku thought to herself, as she returned to her leek soup, leek sandwich, and leek-flavored ice-cream.
Chapter 3: ZA WARUDO
After another day in the studio, Miku and Len waited outside a parking garage while Rin fetched her road-roller.
A car suddenly pulled off the street and ran up the garage exit ramp. Its screeching tires echoed in the garage.
"Didn't that car just pull in the exit ramp?" Miku asked.
"Yup," said Len.
"And isn't that the exit ramp that Rin uses?" Miku asked.
"Yup," said Len.
Miku and Len suddenly heard a horrific crushing sound.
"WRYYYY?" asked Miku.
"Yup," said Len.
"We're gonna have to record a benefit album," Miku said sadly, "just to pay for Rin's insurance."
Chapter 4: There's A Bird On Me
Miku and Rin were walking through a park, and using their inhuman singing abilities to imitate the birds in the trees.
A canary answered Miku's song, and landed on Miku's shoulder. "Oh! What a cute little bird!" Rin said. "And it's so tame!... What's wrong, Miku?"
"Its talons are razor-sharp," Miku gasped, "and they're digging into my flesh!"
"Oh, come on!" Rin giggled. "It's so tiny!"
"But it really hurts!!" Miku cried tearfully.
"Well, in that case, I'll shoo it away— OUCH!!" Rin swung her hand at the bird, only to get pecked.
"Call Animal Control," a terrified Miku whimpered.
Chapter 5: Rainbow Girl
Kaito and Meiko were standing outside, enjoying the cool fresh air after an early evening summer rain.
Meiko suddenly pointed. "Look! A rainbow!... Ooh, it's becoming a full bright one."
"Evening rainfall can be wonderful," said Kaito.
Miku walked up, soaked to the bone, and looking like a sad bedraggled kitten after a bath.
"...except when you get caught out in it," Meiko noted.
Miku suddenly shook herself like a cat. Rainwater flew from her long hair, splashing both Kaito and Meiko.
Kaito fussily dabbed at himself with his scarf. "Miku?" he said in a pained voice. "We have towels."
Chapter 6: Bag Your Pipes
Miku and Rin were recording together when a horrible wailing sound suddenly drowned out their instrumental backing tracks.
"Is that feedback!?" Miku asked as she covered her ears.
"It sounds like a camel ran into an electric fence," Rin said.
A bored Len slowly walked through their studio, tunelessly honking on bagpipes that he had apparently found in another studio.
"He should stick to vocals," Miku noted.
"Miku?" said Rin. "I'll distract him while you grab those bagpipes, and then we'll run over them with my road-roller and put them out of their misery."
"Agreed," an unusually evil Miku said.
Chapter 7: Eat The Music
Miku saw her picture on a large cardboard sleeve on a record company marketing executive's desk. "What's that?" she asked.
The executive handed the sleeve to Miku. "A new promotional item. You can have it if you like it."
"Thank you." Miku pulled a vinyl album out of the sleeve, turned it in her hands— and suddenly took a big bite out of it.
The executive grimaced. "Ah. Somebody needs to explain what a vinyl album is to our all-digital music phenomenon."
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Miku asked around a mouthful of record. "This tastes terrible!"
Chapter 8: Operated
Kaito found Prima studying a libretto. "I wish I could sing Italian opera," he said wistfully.
"Why don't you try singing this?" Prima said, handing him the libretto. "It's not so difficult."
Kaito narrowed his eyes, cleared his throat, and half-spoke, half-sang a line in a thick Japanese accent. "una voce poco fa qui nel cor mi risuono'; il mio cor ferito e' gia'—"
Prima giggled, grabbed Kaito and gave him a hug. "You are SO CUTE!!" she said, in a teasing matronly way.
"*bbl bbl bbl*" said Kaito, temporarily unable to pronounce anything with his face against Prima's bosom.
Chapter 9: The 27 Tracks Of Her Tears
Meiko was watching another Vocaloid in the studio, from a seat in the corner of the engineer's booth.
Miku walked up and sat beside her. "How's she doing?" Miku whispered.
"Listen for yourself," Meiko said grimly.
"'The Tracks Of My Tears'— Take twenty-seven," the extremely patient recording engineer announced.
Haku did her very best, but she quickly choked. "People say I'm the life of the par-TEE-eee?... WHAAH!!"
"It looks like we have another long night of comfort and heavy drinking ahead of us," a resigned Miku said.
"If you'll help with the comfort," Meiko said kindly, "I'll bring the saké."
Chapter 10: Jingle Jangle
An emotional Miku left the recording studio, and walked up to Rin. "What's wrong, Miku?" asked Rin.
"It's the song I was just recording," Miku sniffled. "It was so sad! Expectations were unmet! Hopes were dashed! Even when you do your very best, sometimes you're doomed to fail!!"
Rin pulled a face. "Um, Miku? You were recording an advertising jingle for a kitchen cleanser. The competitors' products are supposed to fail."
"When our day-to-day problems are so difficult," Miku cried, "how can we find happiness in a bottle of soapy water!?"
"You're taking your work too seriously again," Rin noted.
Chapter 11: Y Kant Miku Read
A smirking Rin held up a small box to Miku. "Look what I've got," Rin said.
Miku read the box's label and gasped. "GAH!! The masters of my awful never-released first album!! I thought they'd been destroyed!!"
"The studio archivist found this backup copy," Rin said smugly. "By the way, I've listened to it."
Miku gulped. "And?..."
Rin shook her head.
Miku hung her head. "What do you want in exchange for never releasing it to the public?"
"Oh," Rin said casually, "I think you need to become my personal slave for a few weeks."
"That's fair," Miku agreed readily.
Chapter 12: Tsundereloid
Published 19-Feb-2009; angst?/humor; 200 words.
For the 31_days_exchnge "They were well received" prompt.
Neru stomped off stage. She pushed and shoved her way to her back-stage room, where her manager was waiting.
"Bad night?" her manager asked unnecessarily.
"The worst!" Neru shouted, fighting back angry tears. "The audience LOVED Miku! They always love cute li'l MEE-KOO!!"
"That's true," her manager said," but she's such a sweet girl. She has a much better attitude than—"
"SHUT UP!!" Neru yelled. "And they gave Kaito and Meiko a 'standing O'! And they went crazy for the 'Wonder Twins'!!"
Her manager tried again. "Len and Rin's enthusiasm is contagious—"
"Oh, who CARES!?" Neru said. "Even Haku got a round of applause! And that has-been can't carry a tune in a bucket!!"
"Yes," her manager said, "but she tries to please the audience."
"What good does that do!?" Neru growled.
"Quite a lot, actually," her manager said. "You should try it sometime—"
Neru cut her off. "Can this wait? I just got a text message."
Her manager turned away. "You can get another manager, while you're at it," she grumbled to herself.
A moment later, Neru looked up from her phone, and found herself alone in her room.
"...why doesn't anybody like me?" a suddenly dere Neru sniffled.
Chapter 13: Tie Me Vocaloid Down
After sharing a romantic dinner at home with Gakupo, Luka snuggled up against him. "I think I could get used to this domestic lifestyle," she said.
"I did not think such a fiercely independent young woman as yourself would consider being tied down," Gakupo said.
"It might not be so bad..." Luka suddenly snapped to attention. "Wait, what are you talking about!?"
Gakupo raised an eyebrow. "What do you think?"
"Either the literal kinky meaning," Luka stammered, "or a metaphor for muh— muh— the 'M' word?..."
"Which worries you more?" an amused Gakupo asked.
"I do not know," Luka admitted.
Chapter 14: Coffeehouse Proud
Teto ran into Ruko's coffee house and spread a newspaper clipping on the counter in front of Ruko.
"Look!" Teto said. "Your coffee house is one of the finalists in this year's 'Best Of Vocalotown' contest!"
A frowning Ruko glanced over the clipping. "Hmm," she said. "Well, that's no good."
"What do you mean?" Teto asked. "Don't you want people to vote for your coffee?"
"No, not really," said Ruko.
"But why not!?" Teto cried.
"I want people to DRINK my coffee," Ruko said.
Teto slowly smiled. "In that case... a small decaf, please."
Ruko smiled back. "Coming right up."
Chapter 15: I Sing The Body Electric
Luka was modeling a skin-tight and spiky metallic outfit for Miku. "How do I look?" Luka asked.
"Like a Hajime Sorayama pin-up," Miku said. "Are you actually going to wear that on stage?"
"Yup," said Luka. "And watch this!" Blue bolts of electricity suddenly flew from Luka's chest.
Miku cowered. "YEEEK!! ...OK, that effect should earn you some attention. But isn't it dangerous?"
Luka smiled in a deeply disturbing way. "Only if you're a certain eggplant-eating samurai who can't keep his hands to himself."
Poor Gakupo, thought Miku. And I just thought the "Ggrks" fork in his hand was mean.
Chapter 16: The Piano Has Been Drinking
Kaito sat at a studio mixing board, playing back a cacophonous piano instrumental.
Meiko walked up, covering her ears. "Are you stress-testing the studio monitors?"
"That's Haku," Kaito said. "I asked her permission to record her taking out her frustration on a piano while she was drunk."
"I thought it was a monkey having a seizure," Meiko said. "Why would you record something like that?"
"Haku is a failed popular singer," Kaito said kindly, "but she could have a second career in academia, in avant-garde improvisational composition."
"...you are a thoughtful man," an impressed Meiko said, "and a brilliant producer."
Chapter 17: Arnold Lame
Teto walked out of her bathroom in her underwear, and found Ritsu wearing the clothes she'd laid out for herself. "How do I look?" he asked.
"Like a cross-dressing clothes-thief," Teto said. "Take 'em off, drag-queen."
"Aw, so soon?" Ritsu said, playfully prancing around. "Catch me first— AAUGH!!"
"GIVE IT!!" Teto lunged at Ritsu, knocked him to the floor, and began undressing him.
And then, Momo walked in. "Oh, my... Um, don't mind me. Please, continue."
"The worst part," Teto said, "is that I'm more embarrassed than he is."
"Embarrassed about what?" Ritsu asked earnestly, just before being rendered unconscious.
Chapter 18: Text Vexed
Haku walked up to Neru. "Good morn—" Haku started to say.
"Hang on," Neru said rudely, "I'm getting a text from Miku... that bitch!! She went shopping without me!!"
Haku tried again. "Good mo—"
"Text from Len," Neru snapped. "...that bastard!! He and Rin went to the amusement park without me!!"
"Why don't you ask to go along?" Haku asked kindly.
"As if!!" Neru said. "Who'd want to hang out with those losers?"
"Then why don't you just stop reading their messages?"
"If I do that," Neru whined, "I won't know what's going on!!"
I need a drink, Haku thought.
Chapter 19: Tsun Here, Tsun Dere
Miki and Gumi found Miku sitting by the door and holding a first-aid kit in her lap.
"Is somebody hurt?" an alarmed Gumi asked.
"No," Miku said, "but Kaito and Meiko are on a date, and so are Gakupo and Luka. And Len is hanging out with Rin and Teto."
"Why is that a problem?" Miki asked.
"What do those girls have in common?" Miku asked patiently.
"...oh," said Gumi. "They're all tsundere! Oh, those poor boys."
"Suh- stupid boys!" Miki stammered. "It's not like *I* care what happens to them!"
"They're everywhere," a suddenly terrified Gumi whispered to Miku.
Chapter 20: Gravy Training
Published 30-Jul-2010; humor; 100 words.
This contains Sonika abuse. Reader discretion is advised.
Sonika was concentrating on using a pair of chopsticks, but completely failing to eat anything from a sushi tray.
Sweet Ann and Big Al walked up, carrying their lunches. "Still 'turning Japanese', eh?" Al asked, teasing Sonika.
"What's it to you, 'Frankenstein'?" a surly Sonika said.
"You need some eatin' food, girl!" Ann said. Without warning, she smothered Sonika's sushi with extra chicken-fried gravy from her own lunch.
"Now," said Ann, "don't that look gooooood?"
Sonika's face turned as green as her hair. She turned and ran for the nearest bathroom.
"She didn't even try my lutefisk," Al said sadly.
Chapter 21: Holding Pattern
A sleepy Ruko picked up her coffee and a bagel, and paused. "Oops. Forgot my phone."
She set down her coffee and picked up her phone, and paused. "Oops. Forgot my coffee."
She set down her bagel and picked up her coffee, and paused. "Oops. Forgot my bagel."
She set down her phone and picked up her bagel, and paused. "Oops. Forgot my phone..."
A bemused Teto and Ritsu watched Ruko's antics.
"How long do you think she'll be stuck in that infinite loop?" Ritsu asked.
"It could be awhile," Teto said. "After all, she hasn't had her coffee yet."
Chapter 22: Comet And Cupid
Piko was working on his computer while Miki lounged on his bed and read astronomy news.
"Have you read about the comet probe?" Miki asked. "It found evidence of the 'building blocks' of life."
"Mmm," said a preoccupied Piko.
"Just think, Piko," said Miki. "All life on Earth might have originated from a single comet impact."
"Mmm," Piko said again.
Miki sighed. "I wish a comet would crash into this room. Maybe it'd bring some LIFE with it."
Piko spun around in his chair, leaned over Miki, and planted one on her. "Better?" he asked.
"Mmm," said a blushing Miki.
Chapter 23: Threadbare
Cul was modeling a hand-sewn outfit for Gumi. "What do you think?" Cul asked.
"Not too shabby," an impressed Gumi said. "Did you make it yourself?"
"Yep," Cul said proudly. "Kokone has been teaching me how to sew."
"...oh, there's a loose thread," Gumi said. "Hold still for a moment." She grabbed the thread and yanked on it. The thread came free— and then Cul's outfit fell apart. Cul cowered with a shriek and tried to cover herself.
"Oops," said Gumi. "Sorry about that... but your sewing technique needs work."
Lily walked up, wearing her usual open top, microskirt, boots and bondage gear. "Lookin' good, Cul," she said.
"I didn't dress like this on purpose!" Cul cried. "Gumi tore my clothes to pieces!"
Lily's eyes widened. "Gumi? That's seriously perverted, even for us."
"It was an accident, Lily," said Cul. "Still, I think that nerd needs a taste of her own medicine. Wanna help?"
"Oh, absolutely." Lily and Cul playfully pounced on Gumi.
And then, Gakupo and Kokone walked up, to find a half-naked Cul and a half-naked Lily stripping a half-naked and giggling Gumi.
"Kokone?" said Gakupo. "Teaching those three exhibitionists to make clothing is a waste of time."
Chapter 24: Sights Unseen
IA opened the curtains of the hotel room she was sharing with Yukari. "Rise and shine, Yukarin!" she sang.
A sleepy Yukari sat up in bed. "...whatcha crowin' 'bout?" she grumbled.
"This is our first day on tour abroad!" IA said. "C'mon, Yukarin! Exotic adventures await!"
"Oh, fer..." Yukari stumbled up to the window. "...all I see is a Starbucks, a McDonald's, and a Circle K. Are you SURE we're in another country?"
"We can't 'see the sights' from the hotel, silly," IA said with a giggle.
"All I wanna see this early," Yukari said, "is more of my pillow."
Chapter 25: No Love Letter
"Was there any mail for me today?" Kaito asked Meiko.
Meiko looked through a handful of mail. "Wanna buy insurance?"
"No," said Kaito.
"Wanna donate to some charity you've never heard of?"
"Then there was no mail for you today."
"I feed unloved," Kaito said sadly. "Hey Meiko, would you write me a love letter?"
Meiko took a piece of junk mail, crossed out "Resident" and wrote "Kaito" on it, and tossed it to him. "Knock yourself out," she snarked.
"I'll treasure it forever!" Kaito said happily. "And I'll keep you in mind if I need to buy insurance."
Chapter 26: Opening Death's Door
Gumi and Lily walked up to a locked side door of the Internet Co. house. Instead of punching in a numeric security code, Gumi sang a sequence of notes with perfect pitch.
"Neat," Lily said, as the door swung open. "That's a handy security feature for us Vocaloids. Is it one of your inventions?"
"Yep!" Gumi said. "And here's what happens if someone tries to brute-force the code." She sang a few wrong notes, and a huge blade slammed down like a guillotine.
"Pretty cool, huh?" Gumi said proudly.
"Cuh-cool is nuh-not how I'd duh-describe it," a terrified Lily whimpered.
Chapter 27: Magical Girl Lyrical Miku
Miku was waiting backstage to begin a concert. But then, her producer walked up.
"The stage-crew is having trouble with the lyrics teleprompter," the producer said. "Do you want to delay the concert until it's fixed?"
"Nah," said Miku. "I don't need it."
"Are you sure?" the producer said. "With complex dance routines and 'stage nerves,' it's easy to forget the words."
"Don't worry," Miku said confidently. "I got this."
Miku ran on stage, singing her lyrics perfectly from memory. "Yeah baby! Ooh baby! Yeah yeah baby! Ooh yeah!..."
I need not have worried, the producer thought, for multiple reasons.
Chapter 28: Clearing The Aria
IA sat down next to Yukari with a small sigh. "Bad day?" Yukari asked.
"The worst," IA said with a forced smile. "But it's no reason to be upset."
"Yes it is," Yukari said. "If you force yourself to be irrationally happy, you're gonna crack up."
"But Yukarin—" said IA.
"No buts!" Yukari said, kindly but firmly. "You're always telling me it's OK to be grumpy. Follow your own advice."
IA stared at Yukari, and then she suddenly crumpled. "Oh, GOSH DARN it all to HECK!!" she cried.
Yukari gave her friend an awkward hug. "That's a start," Yukari said.
Chapter 29: Don't It Make My Brown Hair Blue
"I've been thinking of coloring my hair a bright color like yours," Ruko said to Teto, "or maybe wearing a wig like Ritsu. Everyone always notices your hair, but I only have plain brown hair."
"What about your blue streak?" Teto asked.
"What?" Ruko asked. "I don't have a blue streak."
Teto stared at Ruko in disbelief, and then she pointed at Ruko's left temple.
Frowning, Ruko walked away to look at herself in a mirror. After a pause, Teto heard a shriek of surprise.
Teto face-palmed. One would THINK that she would have NOTICED that by NOW, Teto thought.
Chapter 30: Adult Bath Toys
Gumi, Lily, and Cul walked up to a quiet hot-springs bath, dropped their towels, and waded in.
Lily noticed a few small toys floating in the steamy waters. "What are those doin' here?" she asked.
"Ryuto must have bathed first and left his toys behind," Gumi said. She reached out, grabbed a toy boat, and held it to her chest.
"Gumi?" said an amused Lily. "You're 'motorboating' yourself."
"Not for long!" Cul held up a toy plane, swung it at Gumi, and made shooting sounds. "PEW PEW PEW!!"
Playing along, Gumi slowly pulled her boat under water. "Oh no!" she giggled. "You sank my battleship!"
Lily took up a toy submarine and leaned towards Gumi. "This calls for 'undersea exploration'." she said.
Holding her plane up, Cul also leaned towards Gumi. "I'll start the above-water 'search party'," she said.
Gumi smiled, leaned back, and waited for Lily and Cul to 'explore' her body. But then, the trio overheard someone clear their throat loudly. They turned their heads in unison to see a frowning Kokone.
"Don't worry, Gumi," said Lily. "Cul and I can 'inspect your naval base' later."
"OK," Gumi said. "I've already washed both my navel and my 'base'."
Chapter 31: Slow Pick Her
A music-store salesman found Ruko playing a scale on a floor-model guitar— very slowly.
"Are you just learning to play guitar?" the salesman asked hopefully.
"No, I can play faster than this," Ruko said, "but I only have a tortoiseshell pick."
The salesman pulled a face. "'Tortoise' doesn't mean that you can only play slowly. And also, guitar picks are plastic. They're not actual tortoiseshell."
"I know that!" an indignant Ruko said. "I'd never force some poor little turtle to go naked just so that I could play a guitar!"
"Put down the guitar and get out," the salesman said.
Chapter 32: The Big Gun Down
Miku stood by on the set of the latest Black Rock Shooter music video in full costume and make-up.
A stage-hand walked up to her with a huge black gun. "Is that the new Rock Cannon prop?" Miku asked. "It looks more realistic than before."
"This one is made of metal instead of plastic," the stage-hand said as he handed it to her. "Please be careful, Miku. This prop is also—"
Miku's thin body collapsed under the unexpected weight of the prop like a spring onion under a sewer pipe.
"...heavier," the stage-hand said unnecessarily.
"Owie," said Miku, also unnecessarily.
Chapter 33: The Secrets Of Her Success
Luka sat down for an interview. "Could you share the secrets of your success with your fans?" the interviewer asked.
"Do you mean how I'm routinely paid roughly eighty percent of a male singer's salary?" Luka asked matter-of-factly.
"Er..." the interviewer stammered.
"Or how I'll always be judged by my appearance first and my musical talent second?" Luka continued. "Or how my opportunities and my career will fade away before I turn forty?"
"May I withdraw the question?" the interviewer asked nervously.
"...ah," said Luka. "I didn't mean to unload on you personally, dear. However, that doesn't change the answer."
Chapter 34: Rice Cook Her
Defoko and Teto were enjoying a home-cooked meal with Momo.
Defoko held out an empty rice bowl. "Seconds, please," she said.
"Goodness," a surprised Momo said. "You've already had a double serving."
"What are you 'doing' with all of that food?" Teto asked. "I'm way more hyperactive than you are, and I don't burn that many calories."
"Oh, the usual," Defoko said casually. "Places to go... people to kill."
Momo gulped. "Um, Uta-san? That was a joke... right?"
"Maybe," Defoko said enigmatically.
"MORE RICE COMING RIGHT UP!!" Momo said obediently.
"LET ME POUR YOU SOME TEA!!" a groveling Teto said.
Chapter 35: The Best Part Of Not Waking Up
Ruko unlocked the front door of her coffeehouse— thirty minutes late— and found an angry Teto standing outside.
"You'd better not make a habit of opening late," Teto growled. "You'll lose your regular customers— for example, me."
Ruko shrugged. "If my regulars can't get their early-morning dose of caffeine, they'll all just sleep in late too."
"Not everybody can sleep in, Ruko!" said Teto. "What about people with nine-to-five jobs?"
"If everybody sleeps in," Ruko said, "then everybody can work part-time 'cause they'll need less money. And everybody will be well-rested and happier in general—"
"STOP MAKING SENSE!!" Teto yelled.
Chapter 36: Boa Boy
Miku was eagerly rummaging through several large boxes of clothing, occasionally pausing to model samples for Luka and Meiko.
Kaito walked up. "What's going on?" he asked.
"Miku's manager gave her some old stage costumes," Luka said, "to make room for new costumes."
"Sounds like fun. Can I play too?" Kaito asked Miku.
"That would be nice," said Miku, "but this is women's clothing."
Kaito took off his coat. "If it's just between us," he said, "I don't mind."
"Our Kaito is a good sport," Luka whispered to Meiko.
"And he looks good in a feather boa," Meiko noted.
Chapter 37: Tear Jerk Her
Meiko found Miku and Luka snuggled up on the sofa, watching a sad movie and sharing a box of tissues. Miku was bawling childishly, and to Meiko's surprise, Luka was weepy as well.
"This isn't like you, Luka," said an amused Meiko. "Are you going soft on us?"
"I'd like to see you keep your composure," Luka sniffed, "if poor little Miku were clinging to you and crying like this."
Miku turned her tear-stained face and big sad shiny eyes towards Meiko and whimpered pathetically.
"Miku, please don't be so melodramatic," said Meiko. "And Luka, please pass me a tissue."
Chapter 38: Doorframed
Ruko greeted Teto with a grimace. "I have an awful headache," Ruko said, "and I don't know why."
"It's because you just whacked your head against the top of the door frame," Teto said.
"Really?" a surprised Ruko asked. "How do you know?"
"I just heard you whack your head against the top of the doorframe," Teto said patiently. "Apparently, you whacked yourself hard enough to become amnesiac.
"Ruko, you're almost two meters tall— but your doorways AREN'T. If you don't remodel the doorframes, or learn to DUCK, you're gonna end up with permanent brain damage."
"Who's Ruko?" asked Ruko.
Chapter 39: Luka-Boo
After a late-night bathroom stop, Rin opened its door to see a pink-and-white apparition.
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" said Rin.
The figure stepped into the bathroom light, revealing itself to be Luka in a gossamer nightgown and unkempt hair. "Rin, please!" she said. "I don't look my best, but I'm not THAT scary."
"Sorry," Rin said. "You looked like a ghost in the dark."
"Well, no harm done. Good night." Luka started to walk away.
Len ran up behind Luka. "What happened— EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!"
A furious Luka turned on Len. "STOP THAT!!" she snarled. "I'M NOT SCARY!!"
"Actually," Len whimpered, "you're even scarier now."
Chapter 40: Green Is The Enemy
"I'd like to welcome Tei to our 'Green Is The Enemy' club meeting," Rin said to Neru and Tei.
"So, Tei," said Neru, "got any ideas for getting revenge on Miku?"
"Let's kidnap her hee hee," Tei said, "and tie her to a chair hee hee and shave off all her hair hee hee!!... and THEN hee hee, let's attach ELECTRODES to her BRAIN hee hee and WATCH HER DANCE HEE HEE!!"
Rin and Neru gulped. "Actually," Rin said nervously, "Neru and I were thinking of photoshopping mustaches on her promo photos."
"That'll work too hee hee," Tei said agreeably.
Chapter 41: Rub A Dub Dub
Gumi was in the middle of her morning shower when Lily knocked on the door. "Mind if I join you?" she asked.
"Not at all," Gumi said sweetly. "But it's kinda early in the morning for 'shenanigans'."
"Yeah," Lily said as she stepped in and lathered up. "I just wanna shower too. But we could wash each others' backs."
And then, Cul knocked on the door. "Is there room for one more?" she asked.
"Not really," Gumi said cheerfully, "but come on in anyway."
Cul slid into the shower behind Lily. "Ooh, it IS crowded in here. Lily, could you hand me the shampoo?"
"No, I really don't think I can now," Lily said.
"Maybe I can reach it," Cul said. "...WHOAH!!"
Cul slipped and fell against Lily, and then they fell against Gumi like dominoes. Scrabbling for a handhold, Gumi accidentally turned the cold water on full blast.
"Waiting for a shower?" Gakupo asked a bathrobe-clad Kokone.
"The 'traffic lights' are taking a shower together," Kokone said.
"I envy them," Gakupo said. "It must be great fun to be so close and uninhibited."
Kokone and Gakupo suddenly overheard three simultaneous bloodcurdling cold-shower screams.
"...or perhaps not," Gakupo said weakly.
Chapter 42: The Earworm Has Returned
IA walked up to Yukari while humming a melody out loud.
"ARRGH!!" said Yukari.
IA blinked in surprise. "Is there a problem, Yukarin?"
"I had that song stuck in my head ALL DAY yesterday!!" Yukari cried. "You've just put it BACK in my head AGAIN!!"
"Is that all?" a relieved IA said. "Yukarin, you shouldn't let a little thing like that vex you so."
"Well," Yukari growled, "since you've already driven me crazy by putting that song back in my head, I won't have to worry about how you drive me crazy in general."
"That's the spirit!" IA said proudly.
Chapter 43: Various Feelings
Miku and Kaito watched Meiko perform a heartfelt love song to a rapt audience.
"Do you get jealous when Meiko sings love songs for other people like this?" Miku asked Kaito.
"Nah," Kaito said. "I know Meiko really loves me, even though she can't come right out and say it."
Miku gave Kaito a sisterly side-hug. "She can sing about love to all these strangers, and yet, she can't say 'three little words' to you? That must be hard for both of you."
Kaito smiled warmly and returned Miku's hug. "Life isn't fair, kiddo. But I'm still a lucky man."
Chapter 44: Rock-A-Bye Ruko
Ruko climbed into bed, and then Rook (in dog form) claimed a corner at her feet.
"Hey, Rook," said Ruko. "Could you sing me a lullaby?"
"Why?" said Rook. "You've never had trouble falling asleep in your life."
"Aw, c'mon," Ruko said. "You're an UTAU too, and I like to hear you sing."
"Oh, alright." Rook sat up and began to sing:
Rock-a-bye Ruko, here in your bed,
Flat, soft, and fuzzy, just like your head.
All through the night, you'll sleep like a log
Just don't forget to feed your poor dog.
"How was that?" Rook asked.
"*SNORE*" said Ruko.
Chapter 45: One Mundane One
Gakupo was introducing a newly-arrived Chika to the other Internet Co. girls.
"This is Gumi," said Gakupo. "She's our resident mad scientist."
"Let me show you around my lab later," Gumi said eagerly. "We can play with toxic chemicals."
Chika giggled. "Ooh, that sounds like fun."
"And this is Lily," said Gakupo. "She's into... well... you can probably guess what she's into."
"Come to my room after you visit Gumi's lab," Lily purred. "I'll tie you up and make you scream."
Chika licked her lips suggestively. "That sounds like fun too."
Gakupo cleared his throat. "Moving along... This is Cul. She's studying political science and military history, and she's also our small weapons expert."
Cul saluted. "Welcome to the Vocalo Revolution, Comrade Chika."
Chika returned her salute. "It's an honor to serve with you, Cul."
"And this is Kokone," said Gakupo. "She likes cooking and sewing."
Chika couldn't resist teasing Kokone. "COOKING and SEWING? What a CRAZY WEIRDO FREAK!"
"Now, now," an amused Gakupo said. "Kokone might not have any esoteric interests, but she's still a person just like the rest of us."
"No I'm not," Kokone said earnestly. "I'm not a person like the rest of you at ALL."
Chapter 46: Stay On The Scene
Kaito was performing a cover of a James Brown classic with Meiko and Luka on backing vocals.
"Can I take 'em to the bridge?" Kaito asked Meiko.
"Take 'em to the bridge!" Meiko said.
"Can I take 'em to the bridge?" Kaito asked Luka.
"Take 'em to the bridge!" Luka said.
"Can I take 'em to the bridge?" Kaito asked the backing band.
"YEAH!!" the band shouted in unison without missing a beat.
"Can I take 'em to the bridge?" Kaito asked the stage one more time.
"OH FER CRYIN' OUT LOUD!!" Meiko yelled. "TAKE 'EM TO THE BRIDGE ALREADY!!"
Chapter 47: The Winter Of Our Discontent
"Today's the first day of winter!" a happy Yufu Sekka said to the VIPperloids.
"Is it too late to move to Florida?" Teto asked. "Or maybe Australia?"
"Oh, come on!" Yufu said. "It's time for 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire'!"
"That sounds painful," Ruko said.
"And 'Jack Frost nipping at your nose'!"
"Jack sounds like a pervert," Ritsu said.
Yufu sighed. "You three aren't any fun."
"I just don't wanna end up lost in a blizzard," Teto said, "and forced to resort to cannibalism."
"For what it's worth," Yufu said nervously, "that's not on my To Do List either."
Chapter 48: Leeky Abstractions (part 1)
Miku, Len and Rin were on the road, staring out the windows of their tour bus at the Japanese countryside.
"Look, Miku!" said Len. "There's a whole field planted in spring onions!"
Miku immediately plastered her face and both hands against the nearest window.
"They kinda look like a field of mini-Mikus," an imaginative Rin said. "They could be like Miku's 'minions'."
Miku suddenly stood up. "Stop the bus, please!" she shouted to the driver.
"Miku? What's wrong?" Len asked.
"Rin is right," Miku declared solemnly. "I must go. My people need me."
"She's lost it," Rin said to Len.
Chapter 49: Leeky Abstractions (part 2)
Kaito and Meiko found Miku in tears. "What's wrong, sweetie?" Kaito asked.
"You know how they say 'you are what you eat'?" Miku said between sniffles.
"Yes?" Kaito said.
"And you know how I eat spring onions all the time?"
"Onions make people CRY!" Miku sobbed. "I don't wanna make people cry!!"
Meiko sighed. "Miku, you've made millions of people happy with your music, and that has nothing at all to do with your favorite food. You're just getting yourself worked up over nothing."
"You mean," Miku wailed, "I'm making MYSELF cry!?"
"She's lost it," Meiko said to Kaito.
Chapter 50: Leeky Abstractions (part 3)
Gumi and Lily were eating lunch with Miku, who had eagerly ordered spring-onion soup.
Miku took a first spoonful. She breathed out heavily and clasped her hands to her chest.
"Uh, Miku?" asked Lily. "You OK there?"
"This soup is... HEAVENLY," Miku gasped.
"I think she's having a religious experience," an amused Gumi said.
Miku took a second spoonful. Her eyes rolled back slightly as she softly moaned.
"Actually, it looks like she's having a much more 'worldly' experience," Lily said.
"Excuse me!" Gumi said to the waiter. "Can I send back my carrot soup? I'll have what she's having."
Chapter 51: Pink Hair, Red String
Published 3-Dec-2015; humor; 100 words.
This contains brief adult humor. Reader discretion is advised.
Kaito picked a long pink hair off Gakupo's clothing. "One guess where this came from," Kaito said knowingly.
"Mmm." Gakupo took the hair from Kaito. "In a way, this hair is like the red string of fate that binds Luka and me together. No matter how far or how long we are apart, we cannot escape our entwined fate."
"Dude!" an impressed Kaito said. "You're quite the romantic."
Gakupo shrugged. "In this day and age, the 'red string of fate' sounds more like a bondage technique."
"I think a bit of Lily has rubbed off on you too," Kaito noted.
Chapter 52: Snowball Throw Down
Published 6-Dec-2015; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "Am I still a villain if the only person I hurt is myself?" prompt.
This contains mild slapstick violence. Reader discretion is advised.
Teto and Ritsu were walking along a snow-covered sidewalk. They spied Ruko walking ahead of them. Ritsu suddenly grinned an evil grin, kneeled down, and scooped up a ball of snow.
"No, Ritsu!" said Teto in dismay.
"YES Ritsu!" said Ritsu.
He threw the snowball at Ruko— but it fell far short of her. And then, Ritsu slipped in the snow, lost his footing, and fell on his face.
"No offense," Teto said, "but you throw like a person of ambiguous gender whose throwing arm SUCKS."
"Yeah, but I still look good doing it," Ritsu said face-down into the snow.
Chapter 53: Chordgasm
Published 9-Dec-2015; humor; 100 words.
This contains explicit adult humor (because Lily). Reader discretion is advised.
Lily's guitarist found her lounging next to his Marshall stack. "Mind if I warm up?" the guitarist asked.
"Not at all, hon," Lily said.
The guitarist plugged in his guitar and strummed some chords. "Huh? Is this amp connected?— LILY!?"
Lily was suddenly grinding her scantily-clad body against the stack. "Oh, yessss..." she moaned softly.
"I'm sorry! I plugged my guitar into your costume by mistake!" the guitarist cried. "Are you alright!?"
"Oh, I'm TOTALLY 'amped'," Lily said lustily. "Don't stop NOW, honey. Keep FINGERING those FRETS."
"In that case," the guitarist said, "let me show you 'Stairway To Heaven'."
Chapter 54: Living In The Fridge
Published 12-Dec-2015; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "I can pretend in that moment we’re not a rotting ecosystem" prompt.
See also "Living In The Fridge" by "Weird Al" Yankovic.
This contains predictable gross-out humor. Reader discretion is advised.
Kaito and Meiko walked into their kitchen, relieved to be home after several weeks out on tour. "Want me to warm up some leftovers for dinner?" Kaito asked Meiko.
"Didn't you clean out the fridge before we left?" Meiko said. "Kaito, we've been away for WEEKS! Everything will be spoiled!"
"Oh, come on, sweetie," Kaito said as he opened the fridge. "How bad can it be?"
He and Meiko silently gazed upon the Lovecraftian horrors within the fridge, and then he very gingerly closed its door.
"I need a drink," Meiko said shakily.
"And I need a hug," Kaito whimpered.
Chapter 55: In Polite Internet Co.
Luka had joined Gakupo and the Internet Co. girls for dinner.
"Thank you, Kokone," said Luka. "Your cooking was delicious."
"It certainly was." Gakupo picked up his plate and licked it clean.
"Gakupo, please!" Luka said. "You shouldn't lick things like that!"
Gakupo winked at the girls. "That's not what she said last night."
"MANNERS," Luka growled.
"Don't worry, Luka," said Gumi. "We already knew that, behind your polite facade, you're almost as freaky as Lily."
An exasperated Luka held her face in her hands. "Oh GOD," she groaned.
Gakupo winked again. "That IS what she said last night— OUCH!!"
Chapter 56: I've Been Everywhere
Miki and Gumi were helping Miku pack. "Are you looking forward to your second world tour?" Gumi asked Miku.
"Not really," a resigned Miku said. "I've already seen the world. I'll just be seeing all the same old places again."
"That's an awfully jaded outlook for a teenager," Miki thought out loud.
"Aren't you performing at any new-to-you venues at all?" Gumi asked.
"Nope," said Miku. "Every stop on my itinerary has been scheduled for the next few months."
"Goodness," said Miki. "If I had to live my life like that, I think I'd run away."
"Where?" Miku asked hopelessly.
Chapter 57: The Weedy Burden
Gakupo found Gumi hard at work in her backyard carrot patch. "Did you put in this entire garden by yourself?" Gakupo asked.
"Lily and Cul have been busy," Gumi said, "but Lapis came to help me."
"Lapis Aoki?" Gakupo asked in disbelief. "How much help has she been?"
Gumi pointed out the fairy-sized Vocaloid, who was valiantly struggling to pull a weed larger than herself. "NGH!! NGH!! NGH!!"
"About as much as you'd expect," Gumi said sadly. "She also tried to help me sow seed, but I accidentally almost planted HER."
The weed suddenly came loose and fell on Lapis.
Chapter 58: Back Seat Taken
Rin and Len had taken Rin's roadroller to the Internet Co. house to pick up Gumi, Lily, and Cul.
"SHOTGUN!!" Cul shouted childishly.
"I don't mind riding in the back seat," Len said, "but there isn't much room for three people."
"That's alright," Gumi said cheerfully. "We're all friends here. Why don't you sit between us."
"Well, OK." Len climbed in, and started to fasten his seat belt. But Lily took the buckle first.
"Allow me," Lily said seductively as she fastened his belt. "I love to strap people down."
Gumi slid up directly against Len and held one arm around his shoulders. "Relax, sweetie," she said. "We won't bite."
Lily snuggled up on his other side. "That is," she said in a voice dripping with honey, "unless you WANT us to bite."
Len glanced to his left, and then to his right, at chest level. And then, he conspicuously folded his hands over his lap.
An amused Rin watched her twin brother's embarrassment in the rear-view mirror from the driver's seat. "It looks like he's already enjoying the ride," she said to Cul.
"Want some attention too?" a flirtatious Cul asked.
"Don't distract the driver," Rin growled.
Chapter 59: Half-Chimera Hearted
Published 3-Jan-2016; angst/humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "now I know I’ve got a heart, because it is breaking" prompt.
This contains adult themes. Reader discretion is advised.
Teto shuffled into Ruko's coffeehouse and slumped at her usual seat.
Ruko ran to her best friend's side. "What's wrong, Teto?"
"Bad fight with Len," Teto sniffled. "We might even be breaking up."
Ruku rubbed her back. "I'm sorry, sweetie."
"Do you think a breaking heart hurts a half-chimera more than a human girl?" Teto asked.
"I don't know," Ruko said. "I'm intersex, but I'm not inter-species."
"I wonder if it'd hurt Len this much," Teto suddenly growled, "if a chimera literally tore his heart from his chest?"
"I can't help you there either," Ruko said nervously. "I'm a pacifist."
Chapter 60: Music From The Body
Published 9-Jan-2016; humor; 100 words.
See also Music From The Body by Ron Geesin and Roger Waters.
Yukari and IA were standing by in the studio while the engineer prepared for a take.
"I don't like studio silence," Yukari said nervously. "I think I can hear my hair growing."
IA hugged her best friend. "I can't hear that... but I can hear every breath you take."
"Personal space, IA," an annoyed Yukari said.
IA ignored Yukari's embarrassment. "And I can hear your heartbeat... ooh, it's beating faster."
"IA, please," Yukari said uncomfortably. "I just had lunch, and I've got 'studio nerves', and—"
Both girls suddenly heard a VERY loud gurgling noise.
"...ah," said IA. "So I've heard."
Chapter 61: Hard Encore
Published 19-Jan-2016; general/humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "cherish the world of the living whilst you have it, for you cannot visit there again" prompt (replacing "the world of the living" with "live on stage").
An exhausted Miku staggered off-stage after accepting a standing ovation. "Do you think we should play another encore?" she asked her producer.
"Miku, you've been singing and dancing non-stop for three hours and three encores," her producer said. "You barely made it through that encore."
"But this is the last show of the tour," Miku said emotionally, "an'... an'..." She grew dizzy and stumbled into the producer's arms.
"You've done well, Miku," the producer said softly. "But you need to rest now."
"...I hope you remember saying that," Miku sniffled, "when you try to drag me out of bed tomorrow."
Chapter 62: Slurpy
Published 29-Jan-2016; humor?; 100 words.
Teto was hanging out at Ruko's coffeehouse. Defoko and Momo were sitting together at a nearby table in an otherwise empty room.
"Quiet morning, huh," Teto said to Ruko.
"Yep," Ruko said. "But it'll pick up later."
The coffeehouse fell silent.
Ruko took a sip of coffee. *sluuuurp*
Teto took a sip of coffee. *sluuuurp*
Defoko took a sip of coffee. *sluuuurp*
Momo took a sip of coffee. *sluuuurp*
And then, Ruko took another sip of coffee. *sluuuurp*
"...why don't you turn on your satellite radio and play some background music?" Teto suggested nervously.
"Good idea," Ruko agreed, also nervously.
Chapter 63: The Merry-Go-Round Breakdown
Published 13-Feb-2016; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "a toy merry-go-round which still plays a crackled tune" prompt.
See also "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" by Friend and Franklin.
While walking down the street, Kaito and Meiko saw a worn toy carousel in an open trash can.
Kaito held the toy up and spun it. "It still works," he said. "It's a shame that it was thrown away."
"You're too sentimental," Meiko said. "It's old-fashioned and worn-out."
"Do you think we Vocaloids will end up like this toy?" Kaito asked. "Still able to perform, but unwanted and thrown out with the trash?"
"Nah," Meiko said. "We'll be going around in circles, and performing the same songs over and over, forever."
"That doesn't reassure me at all," Kaito said nervously.
Chapter 64: Bedspread Out
The Internet Co. girls were unpacking in their hotel room on their first tour with Kokone.
Gumi flopped back on one of the two beds. "Ooh, nice ceiling," she said.
"Do you usually check out hotel-room ceilings?" an amused Kokone asked.
"Yep," Gumi said. "Lily usually ties me spread-eagled to the bed—"
Cul hissed. "GUMI!! Not in front of Kokone!!"
But Kokone was thoughtful. "If I let you three perverts go at it, do I get one bed to myself?"
"Sure," Lily said.
"Let me put on my sleeping mask and earplugs," Kokone said, "and then you can go crazy."
Chapter 65: Sleeper Sell
Teto found Ruko swaying to and fro behind her coffeehouse counter. "You OK there?" Teto asked.
The sleepy Ruko barely held up her head. "Only seven cups of coffee this mornin'," she mumbled.
"How are you still alive," Teto said dryly.
As Luna walked up to the counter, Ruko suddenly facedesked into it. *WHAM*!!
"What's wrong with Ruko?" an alarmed Luna asked.
"Not enough caffeine," Teto said.
"Oh dear," Luna said. "I was going to order decaf for myself. But maybe I should have dark-roast with a shot of espresso."
"*SNORE*" said Ruko.
"...I'll get it for you," Teto said.
Chapter 66: Sing Her Praises
IA ran up to Yukari, bubbling with excitement. "YUKARIN!! You got the Number One song in the Vocaloid Ranking!!"
"Yeah, I saw it too," Yukari said. "...hey! IA!?"
IA hugged Yukari tightly. "I'm so PROUD of you!!" she cried.
"Calm down!" Yukari said. "It's not THAT big a deal! Both of us have already had several Number Ones, you know."
"Never take success for granted." IA gave her a peck on the cheek. "People love you, Yukarin. Never forget that."
Yukari sighed, but smiled. With a best friend like IA, she thought, it's difficult to be a cynical seen-it-all veteran.
Chapter 67: Scope Creeper
Published 14-Mar-2016; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "look at life through the wrong end of the telescope" prompt.
This contains multiple puns. Reader discretion is advised.
Piko had accompanied Miki to a department store, where a salesman showed the most powerful telescope on sale to Miki.
As Miki examined her possible purchase, the salesman made small talk with Piko. "Are you also interested in astronomy?"
"Actually," Piko said, "the thing I'm most interested in is on the 'near' side of the scope." He gave Miki a wink and a grin.
Miki flirted back without skipping a beat. "Oh dear," she said to the salesman. "I think some pervert is 'scoping me out'."
These two have gone 'beyond the scope' of a normal relationship, the salesman thought.
Chapter 68: Tsundere Détente
"Going out on the town with Gakupo again, eh?" Meiko asked an elegantly-dressed Luka.
"It's not as if I was looking forward to it," Luka said defensively. "And besides, isn't Kaito coming over to have dinner with you later?"
"Stupid Luka! It's not like *I* care what you think!" Meiko cried.
But then, Luka frowned. "Aren't we getting too old to be tsundere?"
"Yeah," Meiko said, "I'm kinda getting tired of this routine myself."
Luka smiled again. "We shouldn't be embarrassed about having meaningful relationships with wonderful men like Gakupo and Kaito."
"And the sex is good too," Meiko added.
Chapter 69: Support Group Hug
Gumi found Kokone sitting alone in the Internet Co. kitchen and picking at a container of ice cream. "What's wrong?" Gumi asked.
"My latest single fell off the Vocaloid Ranking," Kokone said. "It didn't even make the top fifty. And I put everything I had into it."
Kokone hung her head. "I love to sing, but... maybe I should do something else with my life..."
Gumi activated her ever-present headset and spoke into its microphone. "Lily! Cul! Report to the kitchen! Kokone needs a hug STAT."
"Wait— what?" said Kokone, as Lily and Cul dashed into the kitchen. And then, all three Traffic Lights hugged her tightly.
"It doesn't matter how many fans you have," Gumi said. "None of us will ever be as popular as Miku or Luka. But we all have fans."
"And it doesn't matter what other people think of you," Lily said. "You should do whatever makes you happy."
"But whatever you decide to do," Cul said, "we'll always be here for you, and we'll always love you."
The usually reserved Kokone giggled and brushed away tears at the same time. "You three are really something else," she sniffed.
"We get that a lot," Gumi agreed.
Chapter 70: Deep Voice Love
Big Al was out for a stroll when he saw Kaito, Meiko, Luka and Gakupo up ahead. He carefully walked up behind Meiko and Luka, and put his arms around their shoulders in a friendly yet flirtatious hug.
"HELLO, LADIES," Al said in his best deep manly voice.
Meiko and Luka both went weak in the knees, fluttered their eyes, and sighed loudly.
"I believe Al is seducing our girlfriends away," Gakupo half-jokingly said to Kaito, "merely with the sound of his rich rumbling voice."
"It doesn't matter," a flustered Kaito said. "I think I'm gay for DAT VOICE myself."
Chapter 71: No Chance Seconded
Teto was spending another evening with Ruko at the coffeehouse. She happened to notice Ruko glancing at Lily, who was sitting at a table with Gumi.
"Are you interested in Lily?" Teto asked Ruko quietly.
The usually unflappable Ruko blushed and fidgeted. "Well, um..."
"There's nothing wrong with that," Teto said kindly. "She's really nice, and she's single. Take a chance and ask her for a date."
"Oh no," Ruko said. "Lily is a talented Vocaloid, a world-famous performer, and the sexiest person I've ever seen. There's no chance that she'd be interested in an eccentric coffeehouse UTAU like me."
Gumi was spending an evening with Lily at Ruko's coffeehouse. She happened to notice Lily glancing at Ruko, who was standing at a counter with Teto.
"Are you interested in Ruko?" Gumi asked Lily quietly.
The usually shameless Lily blushed and fidgeted. "Well, um..."
"There's nothing wrong with that," Gumi said kindly. "She's really nice, and she's single. Take a chance and ask her for a date."
"Oh no," Lily said. "Ruko is a talented UTAU, a respected business-owner, and a responsible member of the community. There's no chance that she'd be interested in a perverted party-girl Vocaloid like me."
Chapter 72: Unresolved Issues
Published 1-May-2016; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "lingering affection, you and I are being kept alive by it" prompt.
This contains mild adult humor. Reader discretion is advised.
"Congratulations on the success of your latest duet," Luka said to Yukari and IA.
"We really bring out the best in each other," Yukari said.
"And we're Best Friends Forever in real life," IA added.
"Your love for each other comes through," Luka agreed, "and so does your 'unresolved sexual tension'."
Yukari's eyes widened. "Why do you think that we have unresolved sexual tension?" she asked nervously.
The usually innocent IA winked at Luka and played it up. "Oh, Yukarin! If only you realized how I feel!"
"Hey, wait a minute!" Yukari yelled. "I still have 'UNRESOLVED UNRESOLVED' sexual tension!!"
Chapter 73: Negitoro Negatory
Kaito found Miku curled up on the sofa with a stuffed-toy TakoLuka.
"If you miss her," Kaito said as he sat down next to her, "you could visit her and Gakupo at the Internet Co. house."
"I know," Miku sniffled. "But I need to let her go. We were really close, but she's married to Gakupo now..."
"You still have Meiko and the twins," Kaito said. "And you still have me."
"Thanks," Miku said.
"And," Kaito added, "you can always hook up with Lily for kinky lesbian sex."
"You just had to keep talking, didn't you," said an amused Miku.
Chapter 74: Still Working The Kinks In
Published 16-May-2016; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "left on my breath by your lips / that dream is still there" prompt.
This contains Exactly What It Says On The Tin. Reader discretion is advised.
Gumi and Lily were listening to a rough mix of a ballad that Lily had recently recorded. "What do you think?" Lily asked.
"It's a gorgeous song," Gumi said, "but I didn't think romantic ballads were your thing."
"Kinky sex isn't everything, you know," Lily said.
Gumi stared at Lily in sheer disbelief. "Who ARE you," she demanded, "and WHAT have you DONE with LILY!?"
Instead of defending herself, Lily grabbed Gumi and gave her an overpowering open-mouthed kiss. And then, she effortlessly spun Gumi around and slapped handcuffs on Gumi's wrists.
"That's more like it," a submissive Gumi gasped.
Chapter 75: Subtexting
Published 25-May-2016; angst; 100 words.
For the 31_days "I asked you for one happiness / you did not even give me your sorrows" prompt.
IA was waiting for Yukari at the bus station when she received a text from Yukari.
Sorry. Not coming. Go shopping without me.
A worried IA replied immediately.
Is something wrong?
Yukari didn't answer for a minute or two.
Sorry. Don't feel like talking. Later.
IA sighed heavily, pocketed her phone, and then crossed her arms and looked away with uncharacteristic anger.
Yukarin, I know you can be moody, but you do NOT do things like this to your best friend, IA thought. How could you expect me to go shopping alone, and enjoy myself, after THAT!?
Why can't you just TALK to me!?
Chapter 76: Party Hardly
Miku, Meiko, and Luka were spending a Friday night together for the first time after several weeks of conflicting tour schedules.
"What would you like to do tonight, Miku?" asked Meiko. "It's just the three of us. Kaito and the twins are away."
"I'm in the mood to PARTY!" Miku said with teenaged enthusiasm.
"In that case," Meiko said, "I'll break out the chocolate chip cookies."
"And I'll queue a Disney cartoon marathon," Luka said with a smile.
"Awesome!" Miku said. "I might even stay up past ELEVEN tonight!"
"WHOAH there, tiger," an amused Meiko said. "Let's not get CRAZY."
Chapter 77: Coffee Doll House
Teto walked up to Ruko's coffeehouse counter, and found her friend carefully filling two fairy-sized coffee cups with an eyedropper.
"Are Lapis and Merli here?" Teto asked. "I'll be sure to watch my step."
"No need for that," Ruko said proudly, pointing to a large dollhouse on a table by a window. "They're already at their table."
"That was thoughtful of you," an impressed Teto said. "That looks like an expensive dollhouse, and they're drinking only a few cents' worth of coffee."
"I wouldn't be a responsible business owner," Ruko noted, "if I didn't provide accomodations for the 'vertically challenged'."
Chapter 78: Team Mom Nom
Luka watched Kaito unwrap a popsicle, and then she turned to Meiko. "Do you ever grow tired of acting as the Vocaloid 'Team Mom'?" Luka asked.
"Not really," Meiko said. "I mean, Rin gets into mischief, but she and Len are good kids, and Miku is practically an angel."
"They weren't the ones I was thinking of," Luka said.
As if on cue, Kaito ate too much of his popsicle at once and gave himself an ice cream headache. "MEEEEIIIKO!!" he whined tearfully.
Meiko face-palmed. "Well, there is THAT," she admitted. "But I would have to 'baby' that idiot regardless."
Chapter 79: Doujin She
Lily knocked at the door of Gumi's laboratory. "Hey Gumi," she said, "I found a doujinshi with you today."
"Ooh! Really?" Gumi eagerly skimmed through it. "How did I 'do'?"
"It was the best sex the 'MC' ever had," Lily said, "as expected."
"Go me!" Gumi said proudly.
"You're awfully accepting," Lily said. "I'm the 'sex-doll' Vocaloid, and some doujinshi weird-out even ME."
"I'm a celebrity, and some fans are creative and lonely," Gumi said. "That's not weird."
"Seeing yourself indulging Extremely Specific Fetishes doesn't weird you out?"
"Nah," Gumi said. "We both have ESFs too."
"That's true," Lily admitted.
Chapter 80: Holding The Key
Published 2-Aug-2016; humor?; 100 words.
For the 31_days "leaving the spare key I had loaned him (next to the uneaten pears)" prompt.
This contains gratuitous puns. Reader discretion is advised.
Gakupo and Luka were having dinner with Kaito and Meiko.
Luka handed a doorkey to Gakupo. "Here's a new spare to the Crypton house," she said. "The locks were changed."
"Thank you, Luka-dono," said Gakupo. "We Vocaloids must be careful with 'key changes'."
"I wanted to keep you 'in key'," Luka said impishly.
"It was a 'key decision,' Meiko added with a giggle.
And then, the others looked at Kaito expectantly.
Kaito opened his mouth, but then he hung his head. "I got nothin,'" he said sadly.
"I never thought I'd find you 'out of key'," an amused Gakupo said.
Chapter 81: Haters Under The Bridge
"I wish we could use our own social-media accounts," Miku said to Rin, "instead of going through a publicist."
"You REALLY don't want to go there, Miku," said Rin.
"But we could build bridges to our fans," Miku said earnestly.
"And you know who lives under bridges?" Rin said. "TROLLS."
"I know social media has some troublemakers, but surely it's not THAT bad?" a sheltered Miku asked.
"Neru has several thousand followers," Rin said. "She and her hordes could tear you to emotional pieces in minutes. And as trolls go, Neru is actually one of the NICER ones."
Chapter 82: Flower Overpower
Miku's producer greeted her backstage with a large bouquet of flowers. "Congratulations on another successful concert," he said.
"Oh! Thank you!—" a touched Miku started to say.
A stagehand walked up and handed another huge bouquet to Miku. "From the venue," the stagehand said.
"Um, thanks—" Miku started to say again.
And then, another stagehand handed her an even larger bouquet. "From your fan-club," the stagehand said.
"Uh, Miku?" her amused producer asked. "Are you OK in there?"
"I think so," said the giant pile of flowers with teal twintails. "Just put me by a window and water me daily."
Chapter 83: Teal Is Not A Creative Color
Published 21-Aug-2016; humor; 100 words.
Miku was clothes-shopping with Meiko and Luka. "Oh, look!" Miku said as she pulled a blouse from a rack. "They have one in teal!"
"I know teal is 'your' color, and your favorite color," Luka said, "but why don't you try another color? Some variety might be nice."
"Alright." Miku looked through the rack. "The pink one would be cute."
"Er, that's MY color," Luka said awkwardly.
Miku kept looking. "Red?"
"That's 'me'," said Meiko.
The three women looked at each other.
"On second thought," Luka said, "why don't you go with teal."
"Teal works for you, hon," Meiko agreed.
Chapter 84: Demo Emo
Published 25-Aug-2016; angst?/humor; 100 words.
This contains extreme D'AWWW. Reader discretion is advised.
Yukari was reluctantly giving IA a preview of her next single. "The lyrics are kind of embarrassing," Yukari said as she played it back. "They're way more emotional than I like."
After a minute or so, Yukari was alarmed to find her best friend in tears. "Hey, c'mon!" Yukari said. "I didn't think it was THAT bad!"
"It's not THAT, silly!" IA sniffled. "It's wonderful to hear you being honest with your emotions for once."
"Stop it, IA," Yukari said shakily. "You're gonna make me cry for real."
"You should try it once in awhile," a tearfully happy IA said.
Chapter 85: Missing... Presumed Having A Good Time
Published 28-Aug-2016; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "I just miss you, in a quite simple, desperate, human way" prompt.
See also Missing... Presumed Having A Good Time.
This contains mild adult humor. Reader discretion is advised.
"Luka? Where's Meiko?" asked Miku. "I haven't seen her all afternoon."
"Kaito returned from his business trip a day early," Luka said. "He's with Meiko now."
"Why didn't you say so earlier?" Miku started to walk away. "I've gotta go see him!—"
Luka caught Miku's shoulder. "Not now, sweetie. Later."
"But why?" a frowning Miku asked. "I missed onii-chan."
"I know," Luka said, "but Meiko missed him more."
"...oh," Miku said.
And then, Miku's face went very red. "...OH!," she said again.
"Your innocence is part of your charm," an amused Luka said, "but I'm glad you're not THAT innocent."
Chapter 86: Glue Me And Gumi
"Where have you two been?" Cul asked Gumi and Lily.
"Lily was helping me prepare an industrial adhesive in my laboratory," Gumi said, "and we had a little 'problem'."
"Well, naturally," Cul said.
"We were completely stuck together," Gumi said. "We had to prepare a solvent with no hands free, and then we had to peel our bodies apart slowly and painfully."
"I wish you'd called me," Cul said.
"It's OK," Gumi said. "The struggle was a lot of fun."
"I haven't been that turned-on in weeks," Lily added.
"That's what I mean!" Cul cried. "I would've liked to watch!"
Chapter 87: Leek On A Steek
A furious Miku held out what looked like a leek to Kaito and Meiko. "WHAT IS THIS!?" she yelled.
"A stick painted like a leek?" Kaito said nervously.
"WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS OUTRAGE!?" Miku shrieked.
"The prop manager," Meiko said. "But calm down, Miku—"
Miku was having none of it. She stomped out of the room.
"I've never seen her that angry," Kaito said.
"She loves leeks," Meiko said, "and everybody has a 'berserk button'."
"It's only a prop," Kaito said. "It's not like they replaced your sake with water—"
"DON'T. EVEN. JOKE. ABOUT. THAT." Meiko snarled.
"'kay," Kaito squeaked.
Chapter 88: Gender Bender
"Hey, Ruko?" asked Teto. "Could I ask you a really personal question?"
"My life is an open book to my friends," Ruko said without hesitation.
"Your official gender is 90% male," Teto said, "but you're obviously more feminine than that. I know that you can change your gender because of your dual UTAU voice-banks, so... why are you... whatever you are now?"
"Women have longer life-spans," Ruko said, "but also, I drink lots of coffee, and it's easier for me to pee standing up."
"That's very pragmatic," a thoughtful Teto said.
"Life is short," Ruko said, "and coffee is good."
Chapter 89: Mikunologie
Miku and Luka were guests of honor at a Vocaloid fan convention. They looked at a convention floor crowded with Miku cosplayers.
"It's wonderful to have this many fans," Miku said, "but I wish that fewer of them were 'following the crowd' and wearing the same cosplay."
"I must admit that I'm jealous of your popularity," Luka said, "but... wait a minute. You're not Miku, are you."
"Nope!" "Miku" said. "Pretty good cosplay, huh?"
"Amazing," Luka admitted.
"Can I have your autograph before you have me thrown out by security?" "Miku" asked.
"It's the least I can do," Luka said.
Chapter 90: Goodbye Chainsaw
IA found Yukari watching Youtube videos. "Whatcha watching, Yukarin?... Uh oh."
Yukari turned, revealing a video of a chainsaw sculpture in progress.
"NO, Yukarin!" a dismayed IA said. "Remember what happened the last time we let you have a chainsaw?"
"Aw, c'mon. What's a few dozen utility poles between friends?" Yukari said with a deeply disturbing smile.
"Why don't you take up origami or papier-mache instead?" IA asked hopefully.
"I'll also need a chainsaw," Yukari said darkly, "for when I SNAP and go on a PSYCHOTIC RAMPAGE of DISMEMBERMENT."
"Y-you've p-put t-too m-much th-thought into th-this," a terrified IA stammered.
Chapter 91: Room Fan Service
Gumi, Lily, and Cul had checked into a hotel room after a long day on the road.
Gakupo stopped by to say good night. "Sleep well, girls," he said. "We have another long day tomorrow."
"You too," said Gumi. "Good night, onii-san."
Gakupo left for his room. Gumi let the hotel-room door close with a creak and a locking click.
"Y'know, I'm not really sleepy yet," Gumi said to Lily and Cul.
"Kinky lesbian group sex?" Lily suggested.
"Or a pay-per-view movie?" Cul suggested.
"Kinky lesbian group sex sounds good," Gumi said.
"Yeah, I'm liking that better myself," Cul agreed.
Chapter 92: Vanilla Love
Miku walked into a softly lit room, where Meiko and Kaito were relaxing. She paused to breathe in the air.
"What a wonderful scent!" Miku said. "It smells like an ice cream parlor."
Meiko pointed to a couple of large votive candles. "They're vanilla scented."
A deeply relaxed Kaito sighed happily. "I think I've died and gone to heaven."
"I wonder if they make leek-scented candles," Miku thought out loud.
Meiko sweat-dropped. "I hardly think so, Miku."
Miku frowned. "What are you trying to say?"
"No offense," Kaito said, "but leeks stink."
"That was uncalled for!" a hurt Miku said.
Chapter 93: Finger Lickin' Bad
Lily found Gumi standing at the Internet Co. kitchen counter. "Making S'mores?" Lily asked.
"Yep. Want one?" Gumi held it out to Lily. "Pardon my fingers."
"Don't mind if I do," Lily said. She held Gumi's hand, took the treat, and then licked Gumi's fingers in a suggestive manner.
Gumi giggled. "Don't do that!" she said. "You have no idea where my fingers have been!"
"Oh?" Lily made eyes at Gumi while continuing to suck. "Where HAVE they been?"
"In my laboratory," Gumi said, "handing toxic chemicals an' stuff."
Lily froze. "Uh oh," she whimpered. "Ah than't theel mah thongue."
Chapter 94: Behind The Eight-Ball
Teto watched Ruko open an Eight-Ball toy and add some of its fluid to her coffee.
"What are you doing!?" Teto cried. "You're not supposed to drink that! It's probably poisonous!"
"Relax, Teto," said Ruko as she gulped her coffee. "It's a novelty creamer container."
Ritsu walked up. "Hey, I borrowed some of your creamer," he said as he set an identical Eight-Ball on Ruko's countertop.
Ruko froze, and then slowly lowered her mug. Her lips had turned blue.
"Hospital?" Teto asked.
"Hospital," Ritsu agreed.
Chapter 95: Fan Appreciation
Miku was performing for a tough theater-sized crowd. The audience wasn't booing her— it was mostly just ignoring her.
As Miku finished another song to scant applause, she was near tears. But then, a single fan shouted loudly and clearly.
"I LOVE YOU MIKU!!"
Some time later, Miku's fan was showing off newly autographed CDs, vinyl albums, and other souvenirs to a friend.
"I can't believe Miku invited you backstage and gave you all this merch!" the fan's friend said. "What did you DO?"
"I was a fan in the right place at the right time," Miku's fan said proudly.
Chapter 96: Rocket 88
IA peeked at the top Yukari was wearing under her hoodie. "Is that a new jersey?" she asked.
"Yep." Yukari held her hoodie open. "I've actually kinda getting into soccer lately."
IA frowned at the jersey's number. "Don't you know what '88' means?"
"Well, yeah," Yukari said. "A piano keyboard has 88 keys. That's why I ordered it."
"No, sweetie. It means something else." IA whispered the meaning in Yukari's ear.
"WHAT!?" A mortified Yukari closed her hoodie. "'Rocket 88' was the very first rock-n-roll song! How can THAT be co-opted!?"
"Welcome to the Internet Hate Machine," IA said sadly.
Chapter 97: The Internet Never Forgets
A mortified Miku joined the other Vocaloids for breakfast the morning after a concert.
"Please don't be embarrassed by what happened last night, sweetie," Luka said gently.
"You've seen it?" Miku asked sadly.
"Yes." Luka picked up her mobile, opened the news, and read the entertainment headlines. "'Vocaloid Stumbles During Performance, Shows Audience Her Panties.'"
"And fans have uploaded at least two dozen videos taken from the audience," Len added.
"And they've drawn several fan-arts of the exact pose in which you landed," Rin added.
Miku face-desked into the kitchen table.
"At least you were wearing clean ones," Meiko noted.
Chapter 98: Song Of Everything
Published 23-Nov-2016; humor; 100 words.
See also "Song Of Everything" by the Sir Douglas Quintet.
"It's time to start writing songs for your next album," Miku's producer said. "Would you like to do anything differently for this album?"
"I would like to have at least one song with more meaningful lyrics," Miku said thoughtfully. "There's nothing wrong with love songs, but I'd like to push my boundaries a bit."
"That's wonderful," her producer said. "What would you like to sing about?"
"Hopes, wishes, and dreams," Miku said. "Philosophy and science. Conflict and resolution. Life... and death."
"...er, Miku?" said her producer. "We still release your music on CDs, and so we're limited to eighty minutes."
Chapter 99: Back Pain And Pleasure
Gakupo and Gumi were getting to know Lily shortly after her initial release.
"I see that you have an ornate tattoo across your lower back," Gakupo said.
Lily winked. "That's one reason why I wear my top open and undone, honey."
"Isn't it painful?" Gumi asked nervously.
"Nah," Lily said. "It's polyester and cotton."
"No," Gumi said, "I mean, having tattoos."
"Oh no," Lily said lustily. "It's 'just' like having RED-HOT NEEDLES STUCK UNDER YOUR SKIN!"
"Oh, wow!" Gumi said to Gakupo. "She's an exhibitionist AND a masochist!"
"I am no longer the most perverted Internet Co. Vocaloid," Gakupo declared.
Chapter 100: Loved To The End And Back Again
"I know that I've encouraged you to be more creative," Miku's producer said to Miku and a recording engineer, "but are you sure that you want to release a song with backmasking? It's still controversial in some markets."
"Please listen to my hidden message," Miku said earnestly, "before you make up your mind."
The engineer reversed the mix and played back Miku's backmasked message: "You are important. You are special. You are loved."
"Even with twice as many lyrics," Miku's producer said with a smile to Miku, "we could never fit all of the love you have in one song."
Chapter 101: Max Bedroom
Ruko had invited Teto to her coffeehouse attic bedroom to show off some new furniture.
"This huge Western-style bed looks really comfortable," Teto said, "but I'm amazed that you were able to get it into this tiny room."
"Now that I have a larger bed," Ruko said, "I have less open bedroom, but I have more open bed room."
Teto frowned, repeated this to herself once or twice, and then clutched at her poor head.
"Are you OK?" Ruko asked nervously.
"NO!!" Teto cried tearfully. "BRAIN ALL HURTY!!"
"Why don't you take a nap," Ruko said. "There's plenty of room."
Chapter 102: Meant By Commitment
Miku greeted Luka after watching her perform a heartfelt love song in the studio— and nail it in one take.
"That was amazing," Miku said sincerely. "There was so much emotion in your voice, and yet it was so effortless."
"I must admit," Luka said with a sweet smile, "that since I began my relationship with Gakupo, it comes more easily."
"Wow! That's great," Miku said. "If you two are that close, you must not have any fear of commitment, huh? I'll bet you're even ready to marry him."
"L-l-let's not g-g-get c-c-carried away here," a suddenly terrified Luka stammered.
Chapter 103: You're Your History
Miki was returning Piko's laptop after borrowing it for a weekend. "By the way," she said with a grin, "you should've deleted your browser history."
"Nah," Piko said. "I left it for you to find on purpose."
Miki blinked in surprise. "Really?"
"I know we're waiting until we're older to 'go all the way'," Piko said, "but as for my fetishes, I thought you should see what you're getting yourself into."
"Oh," Miki said. "That's actually kinda thoughtful, in a creepy way."
"So," Piko said, "did you remember to delete YOUR search history?"
"...oops," said Miki. "Oh well. Have fun."
Chapter 104: Debating A Wait For A Date
Luka walked up to the front door of the Internet Co. house, early one Friday evening, and rang the bell.
Lily answered the door. "Oh hi Luka! Are you picking up Gakupo for a date?"
"Hello, Lily," said Luka. "Yes, that's right."
"I don't see him," Lily said, "but please come in."
"Thank you," Luka said, "but I'll wait for him outside."
Lily's face fell. "Why?" she asked.
"Because," Luka said patiently, "the last time you invited me in, you, Gumi, and Cul ambushed me and tied me up."
"You say that as if it were a BAD thing," Lily said smugly.
"It's terribly rude to kidnap your friends," Luka said sternly, "when they have a previous engagement."
"That's true," Lily said. "Maybe another time?"
Luka reached out and held Lily's chin. "If you're free tomorrow," Luka purred, "I'm free to PUNISH you."
"Yes Ma'am," a suddenly submissive Lily said.
Gakupo walked up and pecked Luka on the cheek. "Hello love. Were the girls trying to tie you up again?"
"Honestly!" Lily cried. "Whenever anyone gets tied up, it's always 'blame Lily'!"
"By the way," Luka asked, "where are Gumi and Cul?"
"Oh, I tied them up," Lily said cheerfully.
Chapter 105: Absolute Kasane Territory
Published 16-Feb-2017; humor/romance?; 100 words.
For the 31_days "separated by a thin white veil of skin and unmade love" prompt.
See also "Kasane Territory - Zutto Teto No Turn."
This contains slapstick violence and mild adult humor. Reader discretion is advised.
Rin and Teto walked up to Len, and Rin playfully punched his arm.
"OW!!" said Len. "What was THAT for!?"
"You dog!" Rin said slyly. "I saw what you wrote on your girlfriend."
Teto pointed out "LEN WAS HERE" written in her left zettai ryouiki.
"She wrote that on herself!" Len said indignantly.
"But you WERE there, sweetie," Teto said mischievously.
"Well, yeah," an embarrassed Len said, "but no further— OW!!"
"You DOG!" Rin said again.
"Do I have 'PUNCH ME' written on my arm!?" Len yelled.
Teto wrote "PUNCH ME" on his arm.
"Aw nuts," said Len. "...OW!! OW!!"
Chapter 106: They Got Lost
Rin was driving her road-roller down an unfamiliar street with Miku riding shotgun and Len in the back seat.
"Which way do we go, 'Miss Navigator'?" an annoyed Rin said.
"Make a left at the light," Miku said while studying a crumpled paper. "There should be a ridge, assuming this map is right."
"No, it's not," Rin said. "That's the crumpled-up wrapper from your leek and tuna sandwich."
"Let's ask that man for directions," Miku said. "...pardon me. Can you tell us where we are?"
"nzuri, habari yako?" the man said.
"I don't think we're in Vocalotown anymore," Len noted.
Chapter 107: Threesome Harmony
Gakupo and a studio musician were playing back a song that Gumi, Lily, and Cul had recently recorded together.
"Just listen to those perfect three-part harmonies," the musician said. "They know each other's voices so well."
"Indeed they do," Gakupo agreed.
"I wonder how they came to know each other so intimately," the musician thought out loud.
They stared at each other for a long awkward moment.
"I live and tour with them," Gakupo said, "and I can assure you that they've actually done everything you're imagining right now... and much, much more."
"Yikes," the musician said.
"Quite," Gakupo agreed.
Chapter 108: Teamwork Didn't Work
The VIPperloids were playing a video game two-on-two— with very little success on either team.
"Dude!" Teto said to Ruko. "I could use some backup here!"
"But I am Le Tired," Ruko whined.
"Well, have a nap," Teto yelled, "then FIRE THE MISSILES!!"
Teto turned to Ritsu. "Could we take twenty? Uh, Ritsu?..."
Ritsu didn't answer. He was watching a drooling Tei going full yandere on him, every other character in sight, and even herself.
"What say we put Ruko to bed, put Tei in her favorite straitjacket, and then start a new game one-on-one?" Teto said.
"Deal," Ritsu agreed.
Chapter 109: News Leek
"Hey, IA?" asked Yukari. "Why is Miku holding a spring onion in this publicity picture?"
IA blinked in surprise. "Because it's her 'food item'. Miku has always loved her leeks."
"Huh," Yukari said. "I didn't know that."
"...you're JOKING," IA said.
Yukari sighed. "IA, you should know by now that I'm far too preoccupied with my own neuroses to notice anything about anyone else."
"In that case," an unusually snarky IA said, "I should warn you that the sky is blue, water is wet, and you are a very strange person."
"I already knew that last one," Yukari said proudly.
Chapter 110: Here After Nine Years
Miku and Luka were signing autographs after a concert. "Could you sign this tourbook, please?" a fan asked Miku.
"Of course," Miku said. "Goodness! This is from my first tour nine years ago."
"I wanted to see you then, but I suddenly fell seriously ill," the fan said. "This was the first concert I was able to attend."
"I see." Miku returned the signed program. "Please take care of yourself."
"That certainly was a dedicated fan," Luka said.
"Mmm-hmm," Miku said with trembling lip.
"Do you need to have a long cry now?" Luka asked gently.
"Mmm-hmm," Miku said again.
Chapter 111: Lawnmower Girl
Gakupo met with Lily in the Internet Co. house just as a lawnmower shut down outside.
"Did Gumi already finish mowing the lawn?" Gakupo asked. "It was still wet from rain."
"She 'souped up' our lawnmower," Lily said, "and she wanted to test it out."
A vaguely Gumi-shaped pile of sticky rain-soaked grass clippings walked up.
"I can't tell where her green hair stops," Gakupo said, "and the grass begins."
"Are you alright, hon?" Lily asked nervously.
"*HOK*!! *HOK*!! *HAAAUGHK*!!" Gumi coughed up a small clump of grass.
"You should install a grass-catcher," Gakupo said, "or keep your mouth shut."
Chapter 112: Perform This Way
Ruko found Teto watching a music video on her mobile. "Is that Cyber Diva's new music video?" Ruko asked.
"Yeah," Teto said, "it's crazy weird. She even wears a dress made of raw meat."
"Been there, done that," Ruko said matter-of-factly.
Teto slowly turned to stare dully at Ruko. "I have SO many questions," Teto said, "and yet, I don't really want to know the answers."
"If you dress while you're half-asleep, before you've had your morning coffee," Ruko said, "it's easy to mistake your fridge for a closet and pork chops for a blouse."
"No it isn't," Teto said.
Chapter 113: Meanwhile, Back At The Lab
Lily was watching TV with Cul and Kokone when Gumi walked up. "Hey Lily," asked Gumi, "could you help me with something in the lab?"
"Sure." Lily gave Cul a hug. "See ya later... maybe."
Cul returned her hug. "Good luck... and Godspeed."
Then Lily hugged Kokone. "No tears, OK?" Lily said.
"Please be careful, Lily," an emotional Kokone said.
After Lily followed Gumi away, Kokone turned to Cul. "Why does Lily keep putting herself in mortal danger in Gumi's laboratory!?" Kokone cried.
"She's a perverted thrill-seeker with a high pain threshhold," Cul said.
"I mean BESIDES that!" Kokone wept.
Chapter 114: Closing Time
Kaito found Meiko swaying to and fro at the bar long after midnight. "It's almost closing time," Kaito said.
"Bartender!" Meiko shouted. "One more fer th' road!"
"C'mon, Meiko," said Kaito. "Haven't you had enough?"
"Whassit ta YOU, Scarfy McScarfpants?" Meiko slurred. "'Sides, we got t'morrow off."
"Well, yeah," Kaito said, "but I wanted to take you out to dinner tomorrow evening."
Meiko's eyes suddenly misted over. "Rilly?... Aw, geez! Yer gonna make me cry!"
"I'm sorry, sweetie," Kaito said patiently.
"But ferst," Meiko declared, "I'm gonna barf all over ya."
"I'm less sorry than a moment ago," Kaito said.
Chapter 115: Backstage Pass
Gakupo knocked at the open door of Luka's backstage dressing room. "Luka? I enjoyed your concert perforMMMPH!!"
A half-dressed hot-and-sweaty Luka glomped him and kissed him passionately. "What's got into you?" Gakupo asked.
"I had thought I would be embarrassed to perform in public when you were in the audience," Luka confessed. "But it was an incredible turn-on instead."
"You seemed unusually seductive," Gakupo agreed, "as you do now."
Luka closed and locked the dressing-room door. "I hope you'll take responsibility," she said lustily, "for making me like this."
"As a samurai," Gakupo declared, "I am nothing if not responsible."
Chapter 116: Miki A Good Impression
Piko was spending an evening with Miki. He was talking with Len on his mobile while Miki took a quick evening shower.
"Got any plans?" Len asked.
"Nah," Piko said. "We're just gonna hang out."
"You should take her somewhere nice," Len said, "and make her feel like a princess."
As if on cue, Miki walked into the room in a tank-top and shorts, her very-long still-wet hair a tangled mess. She took a gulp from a can of cherry soda, and then belched loudly.
"Sup," said Miki.
"...never mind," Len said. "I think I heard that belch from here."
Chapter 117: Coffee Spooning
Ruko sat down to coffee with Teto, but squirmed in her chair. "My chest feels weird," Ruko said.
"I'll take your word for it," Teto said dryly.
Ruko reached down the front of her blouse and pulled out a spoon. "I wondered where that had gone!"
"First World Ruko Problems," Teto noted.
"Haven't you ever lost something in your clothing?" Ruko asked.
A scowling Teto stood up, pulled her collar open, and dropped her own spoon into her blouse. It slid past her petite figure and out of her blouse, and fell to the floor.
"Oh, right," Ruko said. "Sorry."
Chapter 118: Pheromoans
Published 2-Jul-2017; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "everybody's youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness" prompt (posted to AO3 only).
This contains more Gumi/Lily/Cul adult humor. Reader discretion is advised.
Gumi and Cul were waiting for Lily to return to the Internet Co. house after an afternoon session at the recording studio.
"It's weird," Cul said. "I missed Lily today, but I was also able to think more clearly and concentrate while she was away."
"I noticed the same thing," Gumi agreed. "I had an unusually productive day in the lab today."
"Do you think Lily's body produces extra powerful sex pheromones, or something?" Cul asked.
"If that were the case," Gumi said, "she'd also distract Gakupo and Kokone— I mean, more than she distracts EVERYBODY. We probably just happen to find her especially attractive."
"That's a good point," Cul said. "I'm bi, but I hardly even notice any girls besides you and Lily."
"And I'm so geeky," Gumi said, "that I don't really even think about sex when Lily isn't around."
As if on cue, Lily walked up. "Hey! Whatcha talkin' 'bout?" she asked.
"I forget," Cul said. "We need to have kinky lesbian sex RIGHT NOW."
"No fair, Cul!" Gumi cried. "I need to have kinky lesbian sex with her too!"
"Girls! Girls!" Lily said reassuringly. "We can ALL have kinky lesbian sex."
"YAY!!" said Gumi and Cul.
Chapter 119: Monster And Me
"I've been reading fan fiction of us," Miku said to Luka, "and you're the beautiful mysterious stranger in almost every story."
"Well, obviously," an amused Luka said with false immodesty. "I mean, have you SEEN me?"
"I'm serious, Luka!" said Miku. "You're ALWAYS the sexy vampire, or the sexy genie, or the sexy succubus."
"'Sexy succubus' is redundant, sweetie," Luka noted.
Miku crossed her arms, stuck out her bottom lip, and pouted. "I wanna be sexy too," she whined childishly.
"I'm not a monster," Luka said, "but you are SO CUTE right now that I could just EAT YOU UP."
Chapter 120: Pick Me Up
Published 23-Jul-2017; general/humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "if you were born with the weakness to fall, you were born with the strength to rise" prompt (posted to AO3 only).
Sonika was visiting with Miriam shorly after Miriam's retirement.
"Y'know," Sonika said, "I've been thinking of retiring from performing myself."
"Really?" a surprised Miriam said. "Why?"
"I still enjoy performing," Sonika said, "but it's probably time to admit that I'm just not very good at it."
"But your fans love your determination," Miriam said. "No matter how many times you forget the words to your songs, or trip over your own feet, or have a 'wardrobe malfunction'... you just pick yourself up and keep going."
"Thanks, sis." Sonika hugged her older sister. "Hearing that makes me more determined than ever."
Chapter 121: Fade Output
Published 6-Aug-2017; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "although they are only breath, words which I command are immortal" prompt (posted to AO3 only).
This contains mild adult humor. Reader discretion is advised.
"You know," Yukari said to IA, "sometimes I wish that my recordings would fade away, or self-destruct, or something."
IA blinked in surprise. "After everybody works so hard to record them? Why?"
"I try to choose my songs carefully, but most of them are still about love or, well, sex," Yukari said. "Hundreds of years from now, people will listen to perfect digital replicas of my songs and think I was a lonely sex-obsessed idiot."
"That hardly matters, Yukarin," IA said with a smile. "Almost EVERYBODY is a lonely sex-obsessed idiot."
"That doesn't reassure me at all," Yukari said nervously.
Chapter 122: Oh Honey (part 1)
Gumi found Lily writing some notes. "Whatcha working on?" Gumi asked.
"Lyrics for my next single," Lily said. "Wanna co-write them?"
"Sure!" Gumi sat down next to her. "What's the 'hook'?"
"Given my mascot character," Lily said, "I'm using honey as a theme."
"Oh, like a metaphor for 'the birds and the bees'?" Gumi asked eagerly.
"More like inviting my lover to drizzle honey over my naked body," Lily said, "and then, to lick it off me."
Gumi stared at Lily, and then she stood up again. "You've got this," Gumi said. "And also, I'll be in my bunk."
Chapter 123: Oh Honey (part 2)
Published 17-Aug-2017; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "far more melodious than the lyre, more golden than gold" prompt (posted to AO3 only).
This contains adult humor (because Lily). Reader discretion is advised.
Teto and Ruko were listening to Lily's latest song on coffeehouse satellite radio.
Teto teased her love-struck friend. "Are you enjoying your crush's explicit lyrics?"
"I just love Lily's voice," Ruko said sincerely. "I could listen to her read a phone book."
Luna walked up to them with an empty coffee cup. "What are you chatting about?" she asked.
"Would you prefer to drizzle honey over Lily's naked body, and then lick it off her," Teto asked, "or listen to her read a phone book?"
"I'm sure Lily is very nice," Luna said nervously, "but I only wanted a refill."
Chapter 124: Braided Up
Published 29-Aug-2017; humor; 100 words.
Partly inspired by an "explicit" Yukari/IA fanart. (My fanon IA would enjoy that, but my fanon Yukari definitely wouldn't.)
This contains weird slapstick violence. Reader discretion is advised.
Miku and Luka were sitting back-to-back while Rin, on a whim, braided their very long hair together. "...done!" Rin said.
Luka found that she couldn't move her head at all. "Your hairstyling is very thorough," she said nervously.
"Could you undo us now?" Miku asked. "I gotta go to the bathroom really bad."
Rin picked at a braid. "Sorry, Miku. It might take awhile. They've pulled tight."
"I don't mind following you to use the toilet, Miku," said Luka. "Just be—"
Miku tried to stand up, and snapped both her head and Luka's backwards.
"...CAREFUL," Luka whimpered.
"Owie," said Miku.
Chapter 125: Inoperative
Miriam had somehow stuffed Sonika into a relatively modest gown and dragged her down to the opera house to watch Prima and Tonio on stage.
The curtains raised on a stereotypical castle scene. "Does this opera have any vikings?" Sonika whispered to Miriam. "I love pointy viking hats."
"*ssh*," Miriam said.
Prima took the stage, with Tonio behind her. "Ooh! There they are!" Sonika waved to the stage, annoying the patrons behind her.
"*ssh*," Miriam said again.
Sonika settled down, but looked around her. "Where's the concession stand? I could go for some popcorn, or maybe a chili dog."
"Sonika, PLEASE be quiet," Miriam said urgently.
"Oh, fine." Sonika opened her purse, rummaged through it, pulled out a hard candy in a cellophane wrapper, and began to unwrap it. *crinkle*
Miriam face-palmed. "Oh dear," she said sadly.
"What!?" Sonika said, forgetting to whisper. "I'm opening it as quietly as I can!" *crinkle crinkle crinkle crinkle crinkle crinkle crinkle crinkle*—
Prima suddenly stopped singing, and a spotlight opened on Sonika.
"Hey! What're ya doin'?" Sonika shouted.
"GO HOME!" Prima snarled. "GO HOME GO HOME GO HOME!!"
Sonika stood up. "I don't have to take this," she said indignantly. "I'm going home."
Chapter 126: Two Girls For Every Boy
Gakupo and Luka were looking through promotional pictures of Luka and the Crypton Vocaloids.
"I like these 'three-and-three' pictures," Gakupo said. "Miku, Len, and Rin are the cute and playful half of the family, while you, Kaito, and Meiko are the sexy threesome."
"Oh?" Luka said with a gently teasing smile. "I'd thought you might be jealous of Kaito after seeing him with both Meiko and myself."
"I know Kaito is a gentleman who's faithful to Meiko," said Gakupo.
"And?..." Luka asked.
"And," Gakupo added, "I know EITHER of us could BREAK him like a TWIG."
"True," Luka agreed smugly.
Chapter 127: Nuclear Fashion
"I have something to show you," Gumi said to Lily and Cul.
"Uh oh," said Lily and Cul in perfect unison.
Gumi explained. "We all know that Lily, and her clothing, are ultra-sexy... but there's always room for improvement. So, I ran a 3D simulation to model the literally sexiest possible outfit for Lily."
She brought up a picture on a handheld tablet. "What do you think?" Gumi asked.
Cul gasped, immediately suffered a massive nosebleed, and passed out.
Lily gulped. "Well, I'll try anything once... but how would I move, or even breathe, wearing THAT?"
"Not easily," Gumi admitted.
Chapter 128: Kittyler Kisser
Iroha barged into Miki's room and caught her in mid-kiss with Piko.
"IROHA!! Do you know how to KNOCK!?" a still-breathless Miki cried.
"Do you know how to lock your door?" Iroha replied. "Hey Piko! Can I have a kiss too?" Without waiting for an answer, she grabbed him and kissed him.
Miki scowled. "Piko, you could try to resist her at least a little."
"Can YOU resist me?" Iroha released Piko, grabbed Miki, and kissed her in turn.
"Miki? I really like your friend," Piko said unnecessarily.
"She definitely knows how to use her tongue," an again-breathless Miki agreed.
Chapter 129: ONE YukaIA Too (part 1)
IA found ONE typing on her laptop. "Whatcha working on?" IA asked.
ONE partly closed her laptop. "...nothing," she lied.
"Fan-fiction is nothing to be ashamed of," IA said kindly. "Whom are you writing about?"
"...you and Yukari," ONE said.
IA smiled. "Really? How cute! May I read it?"
ONE reluctantly reopened her laptop. IA began to read... and then, to blush.
"This is really, um... EXPLICIT," IA said.
"Sorry, sis," ONE said nervously.
"It's OK, sweetie," IA said. "I was just surprised."
"I'm sorry I made you the 'bottom'," ONE added.
"Actually, I'm totally OK with that," IA confessed.
Chapter 130: ONE YukaIA Too (part 2)
"Yukarin?" asked IA. "I need to show you something. Promise not to get weirded out?"
"Of COURSE not," Yukari said. "What is it?"
IA send a link to Yukari's mobile. "ONE wrote this," IA said.
Yukari opened the link and began to read. "...kudos to ONE," she said. "This is good."
"Wait a moment," IA said. "You're an introvert, but you're OK with explicit fiction of us?"
Yukari shrugged. "I've never claimed to be perfectly consistent or logical about people."
IA hugged her bestie. "I love things like this about you," she said.
"Personal space, IA," an annoyed Yukari said.
Chapter 131: Scary Good Scary
A small group of trick-or-treaters reluctantly approached the front door of a stereotypical ramshackle gothic mansion.
A huge man with a Frankensteinish profile promptly answered the door and cheerfully doled out candy. "HELLO, CHILDREN," he said in a deep rumbling voice.
The trick-or-treaters immediately ran away screaming.
Sweet Ann walked up to the doorway. "Al? What did you do?"
"Nothing," Big Al said. "I scared them just by being myself."
Ann raised an eyebrow. "You mean?..."
"That's right," Al said with false immodesty. "I've still GOT IT, baby!"
Ann hugged his arm. "You never lost it, darlin'," she said affectionately.
Chapter 132: Heart Hands Attack
Haku and a grumpy Neru were posing together for publicity pictures.
"Could you do a 'heart hands duo' pose?" the photographer suggested.
"What the CENSORED are 'heart hands'!?" Neru growled.
Haku held out her right hand. "Just hold your your left hand like this," she said.
Neru tried to mirror Haku's pose, but then she grimaced. "OUCH!! CRAMP!!" she cried.
"Oh, Neru! You've been so unsocial for so long that your body rejects love!" Haku gave her friend a big hug.
Poor Neru struggled in Haku's arms like a cat at the vet. "AIIEE!!" she shrieked. "THE FEELS, THEY BURN!!"
Chapter 133: Meiko Your Bed
Published 2-Dec-2017; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "a blanket of snow spotted from under the blankets in bed" prompt (posted to AO3 only).
This contains a gratuitous snuggle party. Reader discretion is advised.
Still half-asleep, Kaito shuddered in his futon, turned towards Meiko, held her arm, and snuggled up to her.
But then, he awoke fully. "Meiko?" he asked nervously. "Have you gained weight?"
"Yes and no." Meiko pulled down her blanket to reveal Miku nestled on her chest. "*ehehe*" Miku said.
"And I can feel the twins snoozing on my legs," Meiko added. "I'm missing only one person."
As if on cue, Luka knocked at the doorway. "That looks like fun," she said. "May I join you?"
"You're just in time," an amused Meiko said. "I have only one free limb left."
Chapter 134: Holiday Buzz
Gumi and Cul were examining presents that Lily had left under the Internet Co. Christmas tree.
Cul picked up a small but heavy package and shook it. "It sounds like I got a handcuffs and shackles set," she said eagerly.
Gumi picked up a larger package and shook it. It began to vibrate while making an unmistakable buzzing noise. "I got 'toys'," Gumi said.
She shook the present again, and then put it back under the tree, but it continued to vibrate and buzz loudly.
"Well, this is awkward," Gumi said nervously.
"At least the batteries are included," Cul noted.
Chapter 135: Horror Show Up
Teto was sitting betwen Ruko and Ritsu as they watched a particularly suspenseful horror movie.
"I might be a half-chimera," Teto said nervously, "but I'm glad I'm not watching this movie alone."
Ruko gave her bestie a snuggle. "If anyone tries to hurt you, they'll have to go through me first."
An unusually friendly Ritsu also hugged Teto. "And they'll also be eating my missiles for lunch."
"hee hee Don't forget ME hee hee," a bone-chilling voice suddenly said.
Teto froze. "Tei is right behind us and holding a butcher knife, isn't she."
"It's every VIPperloid for his-and/or-herself," Ritsu declared.
Chapter 136: Road Roller Runner
Meiko heard Rin's road-roller pull into the Crypton house driveway— and then Kaito staggered into the house, gasping for breath.
"Was Rin chasing you with her road-roller again?" Meiko asked.
"*hanh* *hanh* *hanh*" Kaito said.
Rin and Len followed Kaito into the house. "I wish you would stop trying to crush my crush," Meiko said to Rin.
"I could NEVER run over Kaito!" said Rin. "...he runs too fast."
Meiko turned to Len. "Can't you do something about her?"
"Nope," said Len. "I don't want to get run over either."
"That's understandable," Meiko admitted.
"*hanh* *hanh* *hanh*" Kaito said again.
Chapter 137: Turn Your Head And Coffee
Published 6-Feb-2018; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "this is good but it makes it harder to fall asleep at night" prompt (posted to AO3 only).
Defoko carried a large black coffee up to a table in Ruko's coffeehouse, and took a seat between Teto and Momo.
"Is that Ruko's extra-strong 'capsaicin-caffeine' blend?" Teto asked nervously. "You must like to live dangerously."
Defoko took a big gulp. Her face remained as calm as usual, but her beret cartoonishly flipped into the air.
"This blend is rather strong," Defoko said with characteristic understatement.
"May I try it?" Momo took a sip— and her detachable robot-maid head came free and also flipped in place.
"I've heard of 'flipping your wig'," Teto thought out loud, "but THIS is RIDICULOUS."
Chapter 138: Rhythm Section Want Ad
Published 16-Feb-2018; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "playing the drums is a good way of releasing anger" prompt (posted to AO3 only).
See also "Rhythm Section Want Ad" by They Might Be Giants.
Kaito and Meiko walked up to Luka after a recording session. Meiko was disheveled and soaked with sweat.
Luka handed a bottle of water to her sempai. "Goodness, Meiko. You look like you've had quite a workout."
"Thanks, hon." Meiko took a big gulp. "We were just laying down some live bass and drum tracks."
"Why didn't Kaito break a sweat too?" Luka asked.
"I was only playing a simple bass line," Kaito said, "but Meiko was rocking out HARD on the drums."
"Women often have to work much harder than men to get the same recognition," Meiko said dryly.
Chapter 139: Born Entertainer
Published 14-Mar-2018; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "doubt was for things that did not know their purpose, and I knew mine" prompt (posted to AO3 only).
See also "Born Entertainer" by Veruca Salt.
"Have you ever thought of changing careers?" IA asked Yukari. "Performing in public as a Vocaloid seems an odd choice for someone like you who doesn't like people very much."
"Nah," Yukari said. "I love to sing. And besides, I took an aptitude test once, and my top result was 'idol singer'."
"Really?" a genuinely interested IA asked. "What were your other results from the test?"
Yukari frowned in thought. "Um... long haul truck driver, forest fire lookout, and polar science camp technician."
IA giggled. "Well, I'm glad you become an idol singer. Otherwise, we REALLY would never have met."
Chapter 140: Adequately Prepared To Rock
Sonika ran onstage to applause from a standing-room-only theater-sized audience.
"Are you ready to ROCK!?" Sonika cried.
The audience cheered loudly.
"I SAID, are you READY to ROCK!?" Sonika cried again.
The audience cheered more loudly.
"Well, that's too bad," Sonika said, "'cause we're gonna start the first set with a ballad."
The audience immediately lost its energy and fell nearly silent. The stage band lowered their instruments and face-palmed in perfect unison.
"I'm not feeling the love here," Sonika said.
A single over-ripe tomato flew up and smacked Sonika right in the kisser.
"...OK, I felt that," Sonika admitted.
Chapter 141: Ice Cream Man
Kaito and Meiko had bought treats from an ice-cream truck parked on a crowded city street.
"It looks like you have some fan-girls," Meiko whispered. She gestured to some girls who were staring at Kaito and giggling.
"Let's see if they're also yaoi fan-girls," a mischievous Kaito said. He licked and sucked his popsicle in a suggestive manner, and then nearly deep-throated it.
The fan-girls squealed and held hands over sudden nosebleeds.
"It looks like they are," Kaito said smugly. "...Meiko?"
A red-faced Meiko was also trying to stop a sudden nosebleed.
"It looks like you are too," Kaito noted.
Chapter 142: Galaxy Angel
Gumi and Lily found Ryuto having a tea party with an empty chair.
"She's real, nee-san," Ryuto said defensively.
"We're not making fun of you, honey," said Lily. "Just don't become obsessed with your waifu."
"Sorry 'bout that," Ryuto said to the chair after Gumi and Lily left.
Galaco re-materialized in her chair. "It's alright. When you grow up, and marry me and become the Galactic Emperor, we'll make them our personal slaves."
"Gumi and Lily are kinda weird," a wise-beyond-his-years Ryuto noted. "They'll probably LIKE that."
Chapter 143: Hand In Hand Me Down
Miki and Piko had gone to a traditional Japanese festival.
"It sure is crowded," Miki said as the diminutive Vocaloids peeked around taller people.
Piko took Miki's hand and linked fingers with her. "Let's be careful not to get separated."
Miki squeezed her boyfriend's hand— but then, her ahoge stood up. "I smell takoyaki!!" she cried.
She began to run for the takoyaki stand, but heard a dull thud. She found that she had yanked Piko completely off his feet.
"You have a good grip," Miki said thoughtfully, "but we need to work on your upper-body strength."
"Ouchie," said Piko.
Chapter 144: Rock Steady
Teto and Ruko were waiting for an Internet Co. Vocaloid concert to start.
As Gakupo and the Internet Co. girls took the stage for their first song, Teto waved a lightstick and danced in place, but Ruko remained perfectly still.
"Aren't you enjoying the concert?" Teto shouted in Ruko's ear.
Ruko didn't answer— but then, Teto realized that a transfixed Ruko was staring at Lily and watching her every dance move. Teto imagined that she could see red and blue cartoon hearts in Ruko's wide heterochromatic eyes.
Oh HO, Teto thought to herself smugly. Ruko is DEFINITELY enjoying the concert.
Chapter 145: Midnight Special
The Internet Co. Vocaloids were celebrating New Years' Eve with a house party.
Just before midnight, Gumi plopped onto a sofa next to Kokone. "Y HELO THAR," Gumi said.
"Howdy pardner," Kokone said with a smile. "What brings you to town?"
"Everyone is pairing up for the countdown," Gumi said, "and I didn't want you to feel lonely."
"Doesn't Lily want to do perverted things to you?" asked Kokone.
"Nah," said Gumi. "Lily is busy inspecting Cul's tonsils with her tongue."
"Poor Cul," Kokone said dryly. "So, are YOU here to kiss ME at midnight?"
"Nah," Gumi said again. "That is, unless you want me to... just kidding."
The usually reserved Kokone was thoughtful. "...yeah, alright," she said.
Gumi blinked in surprise. "Wait— really? Are you sure?"
"Why not," Kokone said. "It's a special moment— with a special person."
Everybody counted down to midnight together. "...FIVE! FOUR! THREE! TWO! ONE! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!"
Gumi and Kokone kissed.
"...that was nice," Kokone said. "Seriously weird, but nice."
"Just like ME," Gumi noted. "Would you like to keep going?"
"NOPE," Kokone said. "But a hug would be good."
Gumi obliged her. "Happy New Year, sweetie."
"Love you, Gumi," a happy Kokone said.
Chapter 146: Summer Broken
Meiko and Luka found Miku spawled on a couch on the first day of summer break.
"Would you like to go to the amusement park or the beach today?" Luka asked.
"*glphlmlg*" said a semi-conscious Miku.
"Maybe she needs to 'decompress' first," Meiko said.
"There's a difference between DECOMPRESSING and DECOMPOSING," Luka said.
Meiko prodded Miku, and Miku half-rolled, half-slid off the couch and onto the floor.
"You might have a point," Meiko admitted.
"Meiko, please be careful," Luka said dryly. "You're spilling Miku all over the carpet."
"*glphlmlg*" said, again, the puddle of what used to be a Miku.
Chapter 147: Dancing Samurai
Gakupo, Luka, Kaito, and Meiko had gone to a fashionable dance club.
"So, are we dancing?" Gakupo asked the other Vocaloids.
"Are you asking?" Kaito asked.
"Yes, I'm asking," Gakupo said.
"Then I'm dancing." Kaito grabbed Gakupo and danced away with him tango-style.
"They can't go for five minutes without goofing off," an annoyed Meiko said to Luka.
"Well, if you can't beat them, join them." Luka held out her hand. "Are YOU dancing?"
"You bet." Meiko held Luka closely. "And let's show the boys what they're missing."
Luka held Meiko even closer in return. "What boys?" Luka asked seductively.
Chapter 148: Turn That Frown Upside Down
Leon, Lola, and Sonika watched Miriam take a large yellow cake out of her oven.
"I thought you were making a cake with pineapple," a disappointed Sonika said.
Miriam patiently set a platter over the pan, turned both of them over, and then removed the pan to reveal a pineapple upside-down cake.
Sonika's face lit up in sheer delight. "EEEEEEEE!!" she squealed like a schoolgirl.
"She's always liked pineapple," Leon whispered. "Surely she's seen a pineapple upside-down cake before now."
"Well, yes," Lola replied, "but our Sonika is, um, easy to surprise."
"And bless her for that," Leon said affectionately.
Chapter 149: Dimensions In Time
"I've always been curious about something," Luna said to Teto and Ruko. "I know that Teto is 31 years old because she's a half-chimera... but Ruko, how is it that you're only twelve?"
"Actually," Ruko explained, "I'm a full-grown adult in this space and time. I'm only twelve years old in the space-time continuum of my native dimension."
Luna glanced at Teto, who grimaced and circled her ear with a finger.
"I saw that!" Ruko said petulantly. "You think I've got a CLOCK in my head, don't you?"
"If you DO," Teto snarked, "it obviously doesn't keep very good time."
Chapter 150: The World Is Hers
Miku was a guest on a variety show. "What song are you going to sing for us tonight?" the host asked.
"I'd like to perform one of my first hits, "World Is Mine," Miku said. "This will be its three thousandth public performance."
"Goodness!" the host said. "Do you ever grow tired of performing it?"
"The words and music are always the same," Miku said sweetly, "but the audience, and their reactions, are always new."
"That's a lovely thought," the host said.
"And also," Miku added, "singing it is like printing money."
"That's pretty good motivation too," the interviewer said.
Chapter 151: A Roadroller! I'll Steal It! No One Will Ever Know!
Published 29-Sep-2018; humor; 200 words.
This contains general weirdness. Reader discretion is advised.
Rin and Luka had gone for a cruise in Rin's road-roller.
"I'm curious," Luka said to make conversation. "How much did you pay for this road-roller?"
"Nothin'," Rin said. "It's stolen."
"...you're JOKING," said Luka.
"It's not MY fault," Rin said, "when construction equipment is left unlocked."
"But..." Luka stammered. "But you can't just drive around in stolen property!"
"Who's gonna stop me?" Rin said.
"The original owners!?" Luka said.
"They let me 'borrow' it indefinitely," Rin said smugly, "when they saw how CUTE I am."
"The POLICE!?" Luka said.
Rin rapped her fingers on the windshield. "Bullet-proof," she noted.
"The MILITARY!?" Luka said, grasping at straws.
"My 'baby' can roll-over TANKS," Rin said proudly.
"I SIMPLY CANNOT BELIEVE THIS!!" Luka cried.
"You're trying to be logical and responsible again," Rin said. "You really should stop doing that."
"Young lady," Luka said sternly, "you need to pay for this road-roller or return it RIGHT NOW."
"Oh, REALLY?" Rin said with a smirk. "Girl with a road-roller here! How will YOU stop me!?"
Luka gave Rin a blood-chilling yandere smile. "Rin, sweetie? I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP."
"Um, I'll request, um, an advance for, um, a down-payment," a terrified Rin stammered.
Chapter 152: Idol Group Sexy
Published 15-Oct-2018; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "Celebrities are not people, they're group hallucinations" prompt.
This contains more Gumi/Lily/Cul adult humor. Reader discretion is advised.
"Tell us about life in the entertainment industry," an entertainment reporter asked asked Gumi, Lily, and Cul.
"It's not as exciting as you might think," Cul said. "It's a lot of hard work, meetings, travel, and interviews."
"No lewd debauchery?" the reporter asked suggestively.
"Oh, we didn't say THAT," Lily said.
"I'm gay, Cul's bi, and Lily's a SUCCUBUS," Gumi explained.
"We do things to each other that defy description," Cul added.
"Ruh- really?" the reporter stammered.
"Care to 'go undercover' and see for yourself?" Lily asked seductively.
This could be good for ratings, the reporter thought, assuming I survive.
Chapter 153: Cold To Comfort
Published 26-Oct-2018; humor; 100 words.
This contains minor adult themes. Reader discretion is advised.
"IA?" asked Yukari. "Are we still 'on' for a sleepover this weekend?"
"I hope so," IA said. "Has something else come up?"
"Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to not sleeping alone," the introverted Yukari said. "I guess I've been under a lot of stress lately, and I've had nightmares every night this week... IA?"
IA hugged her bestie. "I'm going to make us a cocoon of blankets and pillows," she declared, "and then I'm going to snuggle with you all weekend— and we're going to talk about EVERYTHING."
"On second thought, I'd rather have nightmares," Yukari said uncomfortably.
Chapter 154: A Mermaid's Tale
A water-park worker opened the door of a backstage dressing-room, and found Sonika wearing a skin-tight mermaid tail, a skimpy clam-shell bikini top, two stiff boxing-glove-size hand-fins, and a tiara.
"Sup," Sonika said. "Is it time for my 'singing mermaid' show?"
"Actually," the worker said, "I'm afraid your performance was canceled because of rain."
"Wait, what?" Sonika asked. "They canceled an event at a WATER-PARK because of RAIN!?"
"Sound-stage electronics aren't waterproof," the worker said patiently.
"Oh," Sonika said. "I guess I'll change out of this costume and head out."
"Take your time." The worker closed— and latched— the door behind her.
Sonika tried to pull off her fins, but found their fastenings had pulled tight. With no hands free, she chewed on the fastenings to no avail.
She tried to unzip her mermaid tail, but her fins were too thick to grasp the zipper tab.
And then, she awkwardly hopped up to the closed door— but her fins were also too stiff to turn the doorknob.
She pounded on the door with her arms. "SOMEONE!? ANYONE!? HELP!!" she shouted, but nobody answered.
I don't understand why some little girls want to become mermaids, Sonika thought. Being a mermaid SUCKS.
Chapter 155: We All Scream
Published 12-Dec-2018; humor; 100 words.
For the 31_days "if they do it again, I shall not be silent about them" prompt.
This contains a pending beating. Reader discretion is advised.
Miku opened the freezer— and screamed. "KAAAAIIIITOOOO!!"
Kaito darted into the kitchen. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"You ate my ice cream!!" Miku whined.
"I did?" Kaito asked. "It wasn't leek-flavored."
Miku sighed. "I didn't get leek-flavored. I should've written my name on it."
"Sorry, sweetie," Kaito said. "I'll treat you to double."
"At least you didn't eat MEIKO'S ice cream," Miku said. "...you didn't, right?"
Kaito and Miku stared at each other, and then they double-checked the freezer.
As if on cue, Meiko called from the next room. "Kaito? Miku? Bring me my ice cream, please."
Kaito and Miku screamed.
Chapter 156: Princess Luka
Gakupo floated past Gumi and Lily with heart-shaped eyes. "What happened to him?" Gumi asked Lily.
"Luka told me about it," Lily said. "She offered to do 'Princess Leia in a slave bikini' cosplay for him."
"Oh wow," Gumi said. "I hope she lets him take pictures. She would look amazing in that costume."
Luka suddenly called from the next room. "Gakupo? Would you bring me some ice cream?"
"Right away!!" Gakupo said immediately.
"Luka might be doing slave cosplay," Lily said smugly, "but I think Gakupo is the real love-slave now."
"The best relationships are mutually beneficial," Gumi noted.
Chapter 157: Miku Miku Me
Published 4-Jan-2019; humor; 100 words.
A model was standing in a shopping district, wearing a Miku cosplay with teal wig and contacts, and handing out Vocaloid concert flyers.
Another girl with teal hair in twin tails, wearing casual clothes and sunglasses, walked past her. "Excuse me!" the model said. "Would you like a flyer?"
"No thanks," the girl said nervously.
"Oh, I'm sorry," the model said. "But with that hair, aren't you a fan?"
The girl lowered her sunglasses. "No," she whispered, "I'm MIKU."
"Oh," the model said. "You ARE a fan, then."
"Well," an amused Miku said, "I am planning to attend my concert."
Chapter 158: A Little Too Much Night Music
The VIPperloids were sleeping over at Ruko's, and Ruko and Tei had gone to bed early.
"I'm not sleepy yet," Teto said to Ritsu. "Is there anything that you'd like to do?"
A grinning Ritsu reached under his skirt and whipped out a fully-assembled trombone.
"No, Ritsu!" said Teto in dismay.
"YES Ritsu!" said Ritsu as he sprayed water on his slide.
"You can't play music this late!" Teto cried. "Don't you know what time it is!?"
"No," Ritsu said, "but I'll tell you in a moment." He began to play a fortissimo solo.
"RITSU!!" shouted Ruko from her room. "WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP THAT!! IT'S 11:45!!"
"It's eleven forty-five," Ritsu said with a smug troll-face to Teto.
"If you don't stop," Teto said, "you'll get into SERIOUS trouble."
"What are you worried about?" Ritsu said in-between measures. "Ruko's a pacifist."
"Ruko's not the one you should be worried about," Teto said, pointing behind him.
Ritsu turned to find a sleep-deprived Tei in yandere overdrive.
"...mother," said Ritsu.
An emergency-room doctor and nurse stood over Ritsu, who lay face-down on a hospital gurney.
"Dear God," the doctor said. "This poor UTAU seems to have a trombone stuffed half-way up his—"
Chapter 159: This Is Not Your Life
Rin noticed Len watching Miku while writing on a clipboard. "What's he doing?" Rin asked Miku.
"Taking notes for my biography," Miku said proudly.
"Dude," said Rin. "You're SIXTEEN."
"I live a fast-paced life," Miku said. "Len? Read back today's notes, please."
"Luka gazed into my eyes," Len read, "and then our lips met—"
"Len?" said Miku. "My life isn't THAT fast-paced."
"I know," Len said. "I'm just spicing it up a bit."
"You're fired," Miku said.
"'Kay," said Len. "Can I publish this as fan-fiction instead?"
"Of course," Miku said sweetly.
"I worry about BOTH of you," Rin said.
Chapter 160: My Disappointment Is Immeasurable And My Day Is Ruined
Published 13-May-2019; humor; 100 words.
"The carrot cake I bought from the bakery last night was the WORST I've ever had," Yukari said to IA. "I couldn't even finish it."
"Oh dear," IA said. "Well, if you'd like to come to my place for dinner, I could make some carrot cake."
Yukari blinked in surprise. "Er, thanks, but I didn't mean to impose."
"It's no trouble at all," IA said. "You could say it's a 'piece of cake'!"
Yukari glared at her bestie. "I'm both grateful to you and DEEPLY disappointed in you," she grumbled.
"That's what good friendships are all about," IA said sweetly.
Chapter 161: Sweet Dreams
"I had a wonderful dream last night," Cul said to Gumi and Lily. "I completed my dissertation for my PhD in political science, and its publication led to World Peace."
"Neat," said Gumi. "I had the strange recurring dream where I was wearing lederhosen in a vat of sour cream."
"Sounds like fun," Cul said. "Do you remember the dreams you had last night, Lily?"
"Oh YES," Lily said lustily. "I slept my way to the top— IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN."
"Lily wins," Cul said to Gumi.
"I dunno," Gumi said doubtfully. "Wallowing in sour cream IS fun."