Yo all that shit was dumb as fuck, have a proper ending instead.
I don't remember what my trip was. But if anyone doubts that it's me I can just say so in the IRC.
It’s taken you a long time to prepare for this, but you’re finally ready. Everybody has done a bit to pitch in. “Everything must be perfect.” That’s what Remilia said to you. In this case, you agreed wholeheartedly. You worked hard for this, and you want to hope it pays off. She’s trying not to show it, but Remilia is clearly nervous too.
It all started a few weeks ago. Remilia had called both you and Sakuya into her room. It was an odd sight. Normally when you came to her room, Remilia would be sitting in her throne, confidently looking down at you, or standing by the windows, looking out into the night sky with her back turned to you. She always wanted to seem composed and elegant. This time, you came in to see her pacing around the room, a frustrated look on her face. Sakuya, of course, was already there.
“I’m here, my lady.” You kneel as you take your place by Sakuya. It’s still good to keep up appearances. Remilia doesn’t respond. She’s either too deep in thought to even notice you, or she’s too annoyed to deal with you right now. You turn to face Sakuya, patiently kneeling next to you, and whisper. “Is she mad at me? What did I do this time?” You can’t think of anything that could have left Remilia like this. Hell, it’s been a full 23 days since you last broke anything. Sakuya marks those days on your calendar to make sure you don’t forget them.
Sakuya sighs, and shakes her head while faintly smiling. “You need to stop assuming such things. We’re all happy to have you here.” Her sudden praise takes you by surprise.
“Hey, what’s with that? You’re making me suspicious.” They’re both acting strange today. You suddenly feel your skin crawl, and notice Sakuya dangling a silver cross near your arm, grinning to herself. “Okay, I take it back already! Cut it out!” Sakuya chuckles, and the cross disappears.
“Flandre’s birthday is coming up soon.” Remilia stops her pacing to say this, interrupting your friendly squabbling. “I don’t know what to do for her. I don’t know if she even remembers.” She drops her usually confident gaze to the floor. Her eyes darting between the two of you and the ground, she swallows her pride and asks for your help. “What should we do?”
You’re taken aback. Remilia always tries to seem so strong. She’d normally never show this kind of emotional side to you. But now here she stands, biting her lip while relying, no, depending on your help, not as her butler or servant, but as her friend. It just shows how much she cares about her sister. Sakuya doesn’t seem as fazed. She probably knew this was coming.
“This is the third birthday of hers since she’s left… Her room, is it not?” Sakuya poses this question, probably for your benefit. Remilia timidly nods in response. That must be why it’s weighing on Remilia’s mind so much. They’ve made up considerably over the last few months, but nobody could just sweep under the rug that Flandre had been locked away for centuries. Of course it’s a sensitive issue. That tells you something disheartening, however.
“Have you not done anything for her until now?” In response to your question, Remilia drops her eyes to the floor and painfully shakes her head.
Sakuya speaks up in her stead. “We have talked about this before. I believed it was for the best not to bring it up. Flandre was considerably less… Stable before you came here.” She chooses her words carefully. It’s clear that she thought she was doing the right thing, and Remilia had to be talked down. Still, you wouldn’t agree with her then, and you’re not about to now.
“I think we should throw her a party.” Remilia timidly looks up to you, but Sakuya speaks first.
“Are you sure about that?” She frowns. There’s been a lot of bad blood between the two. You know that Sakuya mustn’t be confident about engaging Flandre any further.
“Yeah, I’m sure. Flandre is a strong girl. She’s probably still resentful, even if she doesn’t show it. And she’s carrying a lot of pain, just as you two are. But she knows you both care for her in your own ways, even if she doesn’t understand what you’ve done. I know she’ll be able to appreciate this. Let’s do it.” You’ve always been amazed by how bright Flandre is. As Sakuya said, she’s not totally stable. There’s no way anyone who’s been through what she has could be. But she amazes you with her cheer, despite that. Having a birthday party for her is a risk. But you’re confident that Flandre will enjoy it.
Remilia still looks unsure. “What do you think, Sakuya?”
Sakuya sighs. “I believe Hayate has shown better judgement regarding Flandre in the past than I have. I’ll stand by his decision.” If she was making any effort to hide how unhappy she was about saying that, she failed. But she has been trying to make things up to Flandre, so you know she sincerely trusts you here.
Remilia closes her eyes to think, before returning to that confident grin you’re used to. “Alright, I’m going to work you two to the bone. I hope you’re ready.”
“Of course we are, mistress.” Sakuya says this with a bow.
“Nothing really changes there, you know?” You shrug off Remilia’s words.
“Oh? Maybe I should show you just how much more work I could have you do?” Remilia teases you.
“Ah, but my lady, one of my most important duties is remaining well-rested. It wouldn’t do for me to make mistakes out of fatigue, would it?” You’ve learnt how to deal with Remilia’s teasing after all this time. She doesn’t hold as much power over you these days.
Remilia responds with an exaggerated sigh. “Oh, why does my vampire servant require more sleep than my human one? I find it so peculiar.”
“I’m afraid not even your own precious blood could cure his laziness, mistress.” Sakuya turns against you.
“Hey, don’t chime in if you’re going to take her side.” Maids are too predictable. “Anyway, Cirno still doesn’t like sleeping on her own. What am I supposed to do?”
“Oh, sure. I bet she’s the one who has to put up with sleeping with you.” Sakuya doesn’t give in.
“Eh, it’s about half and half.” You’ve gotten used to being cold at night, anyway. It’s become so routine by now that it’s comforting, in a way.
Suddenly, Remilia claps her hands, breaking up your exchange. “Focus, servants! We have a party to plan.”
With your minds back on the task at hand, you begin throwing around ideas.
So here the lot of you are, waiting in the ballroom for the guest of honour to arrive. Remilia, Sakuya, Patchouli, Meiling, and even Koakuma are here. Patchouli is sitting by herself at a table, reading a book, like always. Meiling and Sakuya are cheerily talking to each other. Koakuma is standing in the corner after Remilia told her off for trying to drag you away again, and Remilia is still pacing over the floor. You head over to her, and put your hand on your shoulder, stopping her in her tracks.
“It’ll be fine, my lady. You don’t have to worry so much.” She’s worked harder than any of you on this. She could use the encouragement.
“Are you forgetting your place, servant?” She bats your hand away, turning from you. “I’m not worried. I came up with this, after all. I know everything will be fine.”
“Of course. My apologies.” You let her be, as she walks off and starts tapping her foot instead. After all this time, she still has so much pride.
Soon enough, the large doors to the entrance hall open, and Flandre makes her entrance, with Cirno covering her eyes and guiding her. You all quietly make your way over towards the table in the middle of the room, waiting for Flandre to reach you. You notice that she’s shivering on her way over. It might have been a better idea to have Meiling bring her in. As Flandre draws closer, you all look to each other, and Remilia raises her hand, signalling for Cirno to let Flandre go.
“Surprise!” You all yell in unison.
Flandre looks around, clearly quite confused as to what’s going on. She looks to each of you, to the big cake and boxes of presents on the table next to you, and then to the banner you have hanging from the chandelier saying “Happy birthday Flandre!” in big red letters. She… Does understand, right?
Flandre smiles before looking down and saying something painful. “My birthday? Is it really today? I had totally forgotten.” She then brings her hands to her face and begins wiping her eyes.
Remilia turns to you, clearly worried that this is off to a bad start. You nod your head towards Flandre, and she gets the hint. Remilia walks over to Flandre, embracing her, a hand gently rubbing the back of her head. You explain for her. “Remilia never forgot. She’s wanted to do something for you for a long time. That’s why we’re all here now.” You don’t know how much it will help. But you think Flandre should understand how much Remilia cares.
The two stay like that for a while, before Flandre taps Remilia’s arm, and she backs off. Flandre wipes her eyes one last time, before looking up to you all with a smile as bright as the deadly sun. “Thank you, everyone.”
Cirno rushes the proceedings along, pulling Flandre over towards the pile of gifts you have on the table, promptly grabbing the biggest one and shoving it into Flandre’s chest. Cirno’s gift being quite large, Flandre has visible trouble staying upright.
“You’ve gotta open mine first! It’s the best!” Cirno’s apparently not familiar with the custom of saving the best until last, but none of you object, deciding to let her have her moment.
Flandre puts the gift on the floor, and begins carefully unwrapping the ribbon and paper, being sure not to tear anything. Inside of it is… “Ice?” Flandre tilts her head, clearly puzzled. Underneath the wrapping is a large block of ice. Cirno cheerfully grins and walks over to it.
“Not just any ice! This is my creation!” With a snap of her fingers, the sides of the block suddenly unfold, forcing Flandre to jump away. Now that they’re out of the way, you can see what was inside. It’s a large ice sculpture. Flandre and Cirno are standing next to each other, holding hands and smiling.
Flandre figures it out with a “Wooow!” and starts examining it in more detail, as do the rest of you. You’ve got to say, the craftsmanship here is really superb. Their clothes are seemingly blowing in the wind along with their finely cut out hair, and their wings are neatly detailed too. With lesser talent a depiction like this would look uncanny, but Cirno’s really outdone herself here. Flandre, now done admiring the sculpture, takes Cirno’s hands in hers as she smiles. “This is so great, Cirno! Thank you so much!” Cirno must surely feel it was worth it, seeing that smile. Flandre turns to Remilia. “Sis, where can we put it? Can it go in the garden?”
Remilia, slightly taken aback, asks the question on everyone else’s minds. “We can, but… Won’t it melt?”
Flandre’s expression drops for a moment before Cirno bangs her chest and confidently says “Nope! I made this, and I used a lot of magic to do it! It’s my own special ice that will never melt. I call it Ice-9!” Questionable naming sense aside, that really is impressive. Patchouli, who initially only looked at it from a distance, moves closer and begins studying it intently.
You walk over to Cirno, place a hand on her head, and ruffle her hair. She doesn’t pull away. “Good work, Cirno. This is really amazing.” Flandre nods in agreement. “Well, mistress? How about it?”
Remilia shrugs. “I see no reason to object. How about it, Meiling? Can you find somewhere to put it?”
Meiling, left out until now, thinks for a second, hand to her chin, before banging her fist into her other palm. “You’ve got it, mistress. I know just the place for it.”
Remilia nods, satisfied with this, and turns back to Flandre. “There you go. It's all sorted.”
“Okay okay, I'm next!” Koakuma jumps up, grabbing her box off of the table and floats over to Flandre's side. She urges Flandre to open the present, not saying anything more.
You then realise that you should have screened the presents first.
From the unwrapped box, Flandre pulls out a piece of clothing totally not appropriate for a girl of her apparent age; a frilly, open-belly négligée with a completely transparent top. Flandre looks at it with a puzzled face, perhaps not quite understanding what this sort of clothing is intended for. Koakuma leans in close and whispers into her ear. You can't tell what she's saying, but she glances towards you a few times, and that worries you. Flandre's face suddenly goes red with blush, and Koakuma giggles while floating back over to Patchouli's side, flashing you a devilish grin on her way.
Flandre hastily shoves the clothes back into the box and sets it aside, and hastily asks for the next person.
Meiling sheepishly picks up the smallest present of the lot; barely the size of her finger, and hands it over to Flandre. “It's not much, you know, but here.”
Flandre curiously opens it up, finding only a crumpled slip of paper under the thin wrapping. She straightens it up and holds it close to her face and reads it aloud. “Ticket for free piggy-back rides...”
You already feel the pity as Meiling explains herself, hiding her embarrassment by rubbing her nose. “Well, I don't have any money or anything, so...” You glare at Remilia, who resolutely ignores you. “I thought about what I could get you since I don't have any money, and...” Meiling, please stop. It hurts. “I figured I could just give you my body!” She says this proudly, completely oblivious to the muffled laughter behind her.
Rather than being disappointed, Flandre looks positively joyous about this. “Can I redeem it? Right now!?”
Meiling seems a bit taken aback by the eager response, but is happy to accept. “Sure thing, let's-”
“BUT FIRST, THE MAIN ATTRACTION!” Remilia loudly interrupts, clearly wanting her time in the spotlight. Ah, she's still such a child. Sakuya looks fondly on as Remilia strides up and pushes Meiling away, presenting Flandre with the last of the presents. She makes a grand motion of swinging the small box towards Flandre, encouraging her to take it. You're sure she's acting like this to hide her embarrassment. You know what's in that box, after all.
Flandre unwraps the final present, revealing a purple velvet box. Remilia prods her to open it up, and inside she finds a heart-shaped golden locket. The final touch is her clicking it open, and she breaks a tearful smile when she sees what's inside. You discussed the idea with Remilia, but in the end, she did it all herself. A crude drawing of the two sisters together, made with simple yet colourful crayons is contained in that locket.
The two sisters draw each other into another hug, and Remilia lets it all out. “Flandre, I'm so sorry. I know I can't even begin to make up for all this time. But I want us to be a family again. A real family. Are you okay with that?”
Flandre lets out a quiet note of affirmation, and the two continue comforting each other.
“They sure do cry a lot, huh?” You hit Cirno over the head for spoiling the mood.
The sisters laugh and separate, and the conversation shifts to the next person. With no presents left, Flandre shifts her eyes towards Patchouli, who's gone back to sitting down and reading a book.
“Oh, my present will come later. You'll see it then.” With that, she's done talking, and yawns as she flips to the next page.
Sakuya comes next, and she indicates that her present is the magnificent cake remaining on the table. In the end, we decided this was the best approach to take. There's too much bad blood between them for her to be too friendly with Flandre yet.
Flandre meekly stares at her feet for a while, but eventually musters up a “Thank you.” It's not much, but it's a step for them. You don't know if they'll ever get along, but hopefully some day you can get Flandre to forgive her.
So last of all, comes you. Flandre looks towards you and your bare hands, and awkwardly asks the question she's left with. “Did you get me anything, Hayate?”
“Well, not quite.” Before Flandre can be disappointed, you follow it up. “There is something I'd like to do with you, though.”
There's a reason you decided to hold this party in the large, empty ballroom. As Flandre looks on in confusion, you make a show of clapping your hands together beside your head. On cue, the great chandelier in the centre of the room bursts with flickering light, and the Prismriver sisters emerge from behind the stage at the other end of the floor, immediately kicking up a fast jazzy tune. You didn't think they'd come back after the last time, but Remilia told you she “persuaded” them to return. Well, let's not think about that right now.
You stretch your hand out to Flandre, offering it with your palm up. “We never did get to have that dance, did we? Would you care to join me?” Smooth. Totally smooth.
Flandre beams with a smile so radiant it almost hurts, and takes your hand as you lead her to the floor. She's awkward on her feet at first, but eagerly follows your advice as you teach her how to move. You dance for a few songs, talking and laughing with her the entire time. At this point you know; all the trouble to set this up was definitely worth it.
As the last song winds down, you dance your way over to the large glass doors overlooking the garden, and Flandre can now see what the others set up during your fun. Cirno's ice statue is now on display in the flower garden, thanks to Meiling. Everyone, sans Patchouli, comes to gather near the doors, and Sakuya hands out plates with slices of cake to everyone. You spot Patchouli flying in the sky outside, and signal her with your hand.
“Get ready, Flandre. Here's Patchouli's present.” You get her attention just in time for Patchouli's amazing magic show. The night sky suddenly lights up with dazzling patterns and colours; Patchouli using her danmaku like a fireworks display. Flandre excitedly hops about as she watches, letting out gasps of excitement as more and more lights explode in the sky. You all eat the cake together as you watch. It's delicious. Sakuya really outdid herself for this. Nobody talks, as everyone keeps their eyes glued to the sky. The final explosions appear; a flash of “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” followed a grand display of danmaku erupting into a picture of all of you together. Patchouli did a fantastic job. You almost don't regret promising you'll get her books back from Marisa for this.
It all gradually winds down, and the night comes to a close. Patchouli floats back in and immediately collapses into a chair, falling asleep almost immediately. Flandre steps forward and turns to address the rest of us, smiling all the while.
“Everyone, thank you. Tonight was a lot of fun. I really, really, really enjoyed it!” Flandre's birthday party: Resounding success.
You proudly watch as Remilia, Cirno, Meiling, and Koakuma crowd around Flandre. She really is happy right now. Just like you thought, she's a normal, kind young girl like any other. While she talks with the others, you walk over to Sakuya and lean on her shoulder.
“That cake of yours is pretty good, you know. You really ought to have some.” She put a slice on her own plate, but she hasn't touched it yet.
“How could I? After every-” You cut off her sombre talk by shoving a spoonful of cake into her mouth. Not even trying to push you away, she begins chewing on it until her frown turns into a melancholic smile. “You're right. It's good.”
You spot Flandre waving to the two of you, as the others wait with her. You give Sakuya a firm pat on her back and go after them, as she follows behind you.