By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
Two months ago, things were terrible. Another Killing Game blossomed in the middle of Pandora. Ryoma was forced to participate in it, Tsumugi... participated, and Kaede helped despite that being the last thing she would ever want to do. Over that period of time, she was anxiously watching the televised program and not realizing she was blacking out and put under the control of somebody else.
But... somehow, things were starting to come back to normal. Ryoma came back and he was okay, Tsumugi was alive, and as far as Kaede knew, she was never going to be forced into something like that again. That didn't mean she was still... hurting about how much involvement she had whatsoever. She even blew up something as uninvolved as a bookstore. It felt so unnecessarily cruel and evil... all of it.
Somehow, though, it was all over. She hoped.
Swallowing all of her regrets, she did her best to just keep living a normal life again. Today, she planned to spend time with Kaito in the Venus Gardens. She had no idea how the two of them had never visited it before, but that was going to change. Admittedly, Kaede still found herself in awe by living in space even as she slowly got more and more used to it, but one of the things she definitely missed seeing on a normal basis was all of the nature on the planet down below.
They made an entirely artificial space just for the sake of simulating nature on the surface and having a garden... and it was a beautiful one at that! Kaede couldn't help but imagine getting the opportunity to play a symphony on a piano in a gazebo in the middle of the garden, with or without an audience. The very thought of it made her heart flutter. Would the song still travel far even if it was all artificial?
Her eyes traced around, taking in all of the flowers with a bright smile on her face and amazement in her eyes. "I wonder if I would be allowed to play the piano here..." She mused at the idea as she daydreamed about the majestic scene.
There were some specific flowers that, at that moment, caught her eye. Continuing to beam, the pianist made her way toward them, eyes taking them in as she resisted touching the purple flowers. She wasn't sure if she was allowed to touch them or not, but even if she wouldn't get in trouble, she wouldn't want to accidentally hurt the flowers.
"I don't remember the last time I have seen hyacinths... they're really pretty," Kaede awed, glancing over to Kaito.
Kaito had been doing his best to not let the return of the killing game drag him down. Everybody who took part in it was still alive and Ryoma... he definitely didn't get out of it unscathed, but he was alive and that was what mattered. Tsumugi... he still didn't know what to feel about her. Disgust? Anger? Pity? Concern? Some weird mix of everything? He just didn't know.
The Venus Gardens were a good place to clear your mind at, that's what he heard, at least. Kaito knew about it, but the first time he really looked deeper than just basic information was when he was planning the tour he gave Amiguchi earlier that month. Now that he was actually there though, he had to admit it was breathtaking.
It was such an expansive area covered in green, with plenty of patches of other colors spread around, it felt like stepping in a whole different planet. Hard to believe that they were still on the Moon while there.
Then there was Kaede. Seeing her wander around that garden with that big smile on her face... hard to not get caught up in it. Pandora had given Kaito the chance to see and do a lot of things he would never have been able to back home, to live much longer than he thought he would. The thing he was most grateful for, however, was being able to spend more time with the people he only got to know during that cruel game. Kaede was one of the people he got to know the least, thanks to that damned bear, so he felt grateful for getting the chance to see her so happy in this kind of environment, even if he knew she was still carrying some heavy burdens with her.
In hindsight, maybe he should've told Shuichi to take her here instead of doing it himself. But, well... he couldn't regret his decision too much. Bringing Maki here one day sounded like a pretty good idea too.
She stopped to look at some flowers and Kaito followed after her, though he was definitely not as invested in the flowers as she was. "Damn, you even know the names?" he laughed, crouching down to take a better look at the flowers. "I don't know a whole lot about flowers, but these look pretty nice."
As Kaito pointed out how she knew the names of the flower she found, Kaede couldn't help but let out a small laugh. With how he said it, she almost felt as if she was an encyclopedic knowledge of what the different types of flowers were. She wouldn't mind having that kind of information, even if she might not have too many chances to apply it, but...
"Hehe~ I just happened to know them because one of my performances used these to decorate the stage I was playing on," Kaede clarified to him with a giggle, crouching down beside him to join him in taking a closer look at the hyacinths. Still, they were really pretty.
"I think it would be nice to learn more about flowers. I probably won't have much use for that knowledge as a pianist, but... well, maybe I could use them whenever I get the chance to set up the stage. Or if I learn about flower meanings, I can lay them out on the piano to emphasize the theme of the songs I'd be playing," Kaede thought aloud.
Geez, she really did think about everything in terms of piano, huh? At the realization, let out a content yet helpless sigh. "...Or maybe I could just try to expand my hobbies, huh?" The pianist laughed at herself, "Gardening could be fun. But it might be hard in Elysium... and it'd be bad if I cut my hands while doing it."
Wow, she was a piano freak... wasn't she?
"...I-I bet I could still learn about flower meanings, though! I don't know what purple hyacinths represent, but I'm sure it's something pretty. Purple represents creativity, luxury, and wisdom, so I'm sure it means something beautiful," Kaede took a guess, "What do you think they represent?"
Flowers to decorate the stage. Yeah, that made sense, especially if it was one of those really fancy venues. Still, Kaito definitely would've forgotten the name of the flower by now, unless this performance Kaede was talking about was a recent one. Unfortunately, since he was often busy with his own work, it wasn't often that he could cheer Kaede on from the audience.
Then Kaede started rambling, pretty much having a conversation with herself while he just watched. Stuff about how knowledge about flowers not being useful to a pianist, or how she should try to expand her hobbies, all ending with her asking him what he thought the flowers represent.
"You think way too hard about everything, y'know?" Kaito commented, laughing a little. "Just do whatever you feel like doing! You're not some machine made to do the same task over and over, you're a person! Just enjoy yourself!" he said, a little baffled that he even had to tell her something like that.
Kaede was pretty similar to Shuichi in that they both had a tendency to worry way too much and create problems that don't really exist. It was kinda worrying for Kaede in particular, since... it wasn't like she had a lot of time left. Pandora was the last chance she had to do everything she wanted to but wouldn't live enough to do, but yet... here she was, overthinking everything.
Kaito didn't wanna damper the mood with this kind of talk though, so instead he focused on Kaede's question. "I dunno, I like purple a lot because it makes me think of space. Plus, its just a cool color!" he grinned. "The flowers though... no idea, but they give a chill vibe. Though... I dunno, they feel kinda sad to me," he scratched his head, not sure of how to put it into words.
Kaito's comment helped drag Kaede's mind back down to 'earth...' as best back down to earth as it could be since they were in a garden in space. "Oh, pff... right," She sheepishly responded, "I guess I can just focus on one thing so much that I can get like that." Was that how Keebo always felt... considering he was a robot and all? Then again, he wasn't that monotonous, so maybe not.
"I mean, doing the same thing over and over is why I'm where I am today. I wouldn't be the Ultimate Pianist without practicing and playing the piano so much!" Kaede reasoned as if justifying herself doing the 'same task over and over.' "...Nor would I be the 'Piano Freak,' I suppose," She quietly sighed. At least that name didn't carry over to Pandora. If anything, she would be the one to end up bringing it back if she wasn't careful about who she said it around. Kaito, though, was definitely someone she could trust.
Still... if she kept acting like this, would she still always be that 'Piano Freak?' Not that she wanted to distance herself from playing piano- that was the last thing she wanted to do -but maybe Kaito was making even more sense than she was letting herself comprehend at that moment. She definitely wanted to do more things, but she didn't want to lose being able to play the piano. Ever.
Kaito's thoughts about the color purple were... far from surprising. Kaede couldn't help but giggle at it. He had his own fixations, too. Hers was the piano and his was space. But... he still seemed to have that more 'spontaneous' nature that let him do so many things without much worry about possibly losing access to that goal. In fact, Pandora has been great for him in terms of finally achieving it! Kaede couldn't help but feel happy for him, if not the tiniest bit envious.
"Definitely! I love purple, too," She agreed with enthusiasm as if her favorite clothes in her wardrobe didn't reflect her favorite colors. When he commented on their 'chill vibe,' she nodded her head, but the final comment caused her to pause for a moment. "Sad...?" She repeated, shifting her eyes back to the hyacinths, staring at them intently to try and find Kaito's meaning in that sentiment.
The more she looked at them, Kaede felt as if she slowly began to understand. The expression on her face began to soften more, as a memory she wasn't expecting suddenly came to her mind.
Even after I'm gone... my wish will still be here.
Why...? Why did she remember that now? She wasn't there anymore... even when she was so prepared for what was to come. She had watched her friends try to fight for her life despite what she did... and then her punishment began. Yet, she was still here- and somehow, she was able to hold on to her wish with them.
Wasn't everything okay now? Couldn't they move forward together?
"...Yeah, it is sad," Kaede quietly nodded, feeling her eyes start to get watery, but no tears went down her cheeks. Finally, she looked back over to Kaito, smiling for him. "There is more to see... wanna keep going?"
"Piano freak", huh. It was true that Kaede was really passionate about her talents, more so than a lot of the other Ultimates, maybe even more than him. She was absolutely dedicated to it, to the point it was rare when she didn't bring up the piano in some way, no matter the topic they talked about. It didn't bother him or anything, but... it did make him worry a little about her.
His worry only grew with her reaction to his suggesting that the flowers had a sad feel to them. All of sudden she was fighting back tears and, worse, acting like there was nothing wrong.
"Kaede?" he spoke with concern in his eyes. "What's wrong?" he asked in a gentle tone, completely ignoring her own question.
Hey broskis. Sorry I've been borderline AWOL for the better part of a year. Things have been a little meh and I feel like I'm stretched so damn thin right now. I wanna come back and write with you guys again, but idk when that's gonna be. Hope you're all doing well. <3