Disclaimer: Darling in the Franxx is an anime owned by trigger studios. I do not own the characters, or any intellectual property related to this, nor the artwork. I simply had a story that I want to tell for these characters. Links and credits for the art will be in the author's notes at the end of the story.
Time: 1000 years after the war
The sun smiled down upon a park, its golden rays warming up all of the people as they wandered about. The beams of light shone down upon the massive tree in the middle of the park, making its way between the pink flowers as it made its way towards the soil. Inches from the ground, the light bounced upon the page of a book being held by a little boy as he turned to the next one.
He continued to gaze at the contents of the book, enamored at the detailed pictures contained in it. Despite having other books that he could read; this was one that he had always enjoyed returning to, no matter how many times he opened it. His dark hair was gently moved as the wind blew, trying to turn the next page for him.
He held down the page firmly as he continued to read his favorite part. This was the section written by the editor talking about how the young warriors known as parasites had helped to bring the end to the great Klaxxsosaur War when the people were finally able to live in peace and the earth became green once again.
There was an old picture of these soldiers, all arranged neatly as they starred at the camera. The people in the picture all looked happy, but the boy's eyes were drawn to a particular pair. On the right-hand side of the image, there stood a boy with dark hair and light green eyes, standing up proudly.
There was a girl who was hugging his left arm, her pink hair and red uniform sharply contrasting with the grey and blue uniforms worn by the other children. Her small horns only made the contrast even sharper, and yet they both had the same expression of happiness as their picture was being taken.
Whether it was the fact that he looked very similar to the boy, or the bright red horns of the girl beside him, he was always curious about the pair. There were a lot of myths surrounding these children that lived and fought over a thousand years ago but even so, there was something in his mind that felt familiar as he starred at the aged image.
"Stop running! You'll fall!" A voice cried out nearby. The boy paid little attention, knowing it was probably one of the other children's parents being too worried. The sound of a small pair of feet running and a girl laughing and getting closer did catch his ears, but still not enough to stop gazing upon the image.
"I'll be fine!" The girl replied and tripped as soon as the words escaped out of her mouth. She made a small noise of surprise as she fell down flat on her face and right next to the boy, finally looking up from his book.
"Ow." The girl said softly as she started to pick herself up. The boy put down his book and hurriedly approached the girl, hoping that she had not hurt herself.
"You okay?" he asked as he started to reach his hand out. From a young age, he had always been eager to help others, even if he didn't know them. "If I don't know them," he had excitedly explained to his mother a few times, "then I should make friends with them while helping!"
"Ok, as long as you are safe!" She had laughed and ruffled his hair, before sending him off to school that day. As he offered his hand, the girl's hand also started to reach out. "Who are you?" he wanted to ask.
"Who are you?" The girl asked as she took his hand. "Me?" The boy asked. This was the first time that someone had asked this when he was helping. Usually, it was he who was asking for the name, eager to make friends with anyone he could.
The light of the sun shone down upon the bird on her bracelet and he felt another jolt in his chest. This feeling only grew as he looked at the girl.
As they both stood up, he noticed the long flowing pink hair that reached all the way down to her waist. The white dress she wore contrasted with it, almost making her hair appear to be glowing. But it was her face that the boy was most fascinated with.
It looked almost like a child version of the girl in his picture book. While a bit hurt, she was still smiling up at him, thankful that someone helped her out. He gulped as the smile caught him off guard, struggling to get his words out. "My name is..." He began to speak.
"Aimi, I told you to not run off, or you'll get hurt!" The girl's mother said as she rushed over to the pair. "I'm fine mom, he helped me up and I didn't fall down too much!" Aimi cheerfully said, smiling at the boy as her mother knelt down and inspected Aimi's knees. "I see, just a little bit dirty."
Her mother brushed the grass and streaks of dirt off and looked up, face to face with her smiling daughter. "You still have to be more careful next time, otherwise a handsome boy like him may not be around to make sure you're okay." She smiled at the boy, who blushed and looked down at his feet, a little embarrassed at the compliment he got from an adult.
"I-it's nothing, all I did was help her up." He replied nervously. The boy had gained a sudden interest in his feet as the pair looked at him. "Now Aimi, what do we say to people who have helped us?" The mother asked, her face beaming with amusement as she looked at the two children.
"Thank you, and who are you?" Aimi asked as she flashed a smile towards the boy, grinning from ear to ear. Her closed eyes and dazzling white teeth caught the boy's attention once again.
"H-Hiro...." The boy replied nervously, now blushing even harder after saying his name out loud. "Hiro, like the parasite?" Aimi's mother asked, facing the boy as she remained crouched down. Hiro nodded; his head still lowered in embarrassment even as he tried to look at her and not at his feet.
"What a wonderful name!" The mother chuckled as she reached over and patted his head. "Very fitting for a boy as kind as you. Is your book ok? I think it may have gotten a little dirty." Hiro looked down and saw the specks of dirt on "The Beast and the Prince."
He immediately tried to clean it up and to hide behind his back, recalling the few times that some of his classmates teased him for reading this particular book.
"You are reading the Beast and the Prince?" Aimi asked, slightly chuckling. Hiro slowly nodded, raising his head just a little bit. "I just got a copy for her a few days ago so she can learn to read better." Her mother said, noticing the downtrodden look on Hiro's face.
"Yep, I love the pretty pictures and the story!" Aimi suddenly approached Hiro, her hands behind her back and her face inches from his. Hiro stumbled a little bit into the trunk of the tree behind him, finally looking straight into Aimi's grinning face. "Can you read it for me?" She asked. "Please?"
"Sure!" Hiro exclaimed; all his worry suddenly gone in a flash. He had finally found someone as excited about the book as much as he was. The pair sat down beneath the tree, their backs resting against its massive trunk as Hiro starting to wipe the bits of grass off the book.
Aimi's mother chuckled as she pulled out a blanket from her bag. "It's springtime, so you make sure that it doesn't get suddenly cold for you two." They thanked the mother as she left, letting them know to come over if they felt hungry or needed anything else. Comfortably set up underneath the warm blanket, Aimi snuggled up and rested her chin on Hiro's shoulder.
Slightly blushing, and still grinning in happiness, Hiro brushed the last of the dirt off of the book, excited to return to the book and share his love of the story with someone else. They both admired the cover for a moment, gazing upon the brown leather-bound book.
The picture in the middle that depicted the beast approaching the prince, captured their attention as they looked over every last detail. "Can you start reading please?" Aimi asked politely, eager to hear the story.
Hiro smiled and opened to the first page, depicting the beast girl, with her beautifully drawn wings, scaly tail, and brown horns. Admiring how the princess was drawn, from the elaborate dress to the stunning multicolored feathers in her wings, Hiro turned his attention to the picture of the sun where the story starts. "In the deepest darkest part of a forest lived a tribe," Hiro began, telling the tale of the beast princess who yearned to be with her human prince.
As he continued, Aimi was transfixed at the story that Hiro was telling. For even after hearing the same tale many times and her knowing how it ended, there was just something about the way that he spoke the words of the story that felt comforting to her.
"The princess took the prince's hand and said to him with a smile on her face, 'Grab on to me and never let go, darling.'" Hiro continued, his voice, slowing down as he said 'darling'. The slight breeze picked up again, fluttering Aimi's hair a little bit.
A strand or two got stuck to her face, onto the single tear that had traveled down her cheek. Wiping the hair away, Aimi didn't understand why she just cried. All she knew was that this was the part she would always start to tear up, but not as much as the ending of the tale.
Hiro continued on as he reached the final pages. The original story ended on page 9, but there were 2 more pages added on by the editor, Ichigo.
"And so, after searching for her, the prince had finally found his princess, but she had turned into a monster, as the witch said she would. 'Go away!' She cried out. 'I am a hideous monster and not meant to be with you!'"
"But the prince did not go away. Instead, he drew himself closer to her. 'I do not care how you look, but only what you are. You may appear to be different, but you are still my princess.'"
"The beast tried to flee, but he grabbed her hand and held her whole body with his. 'I promised to never let go of you darling, and that I shall never do.' The prince kissed the monster on its forehead, vowing to always stay by her side."
"The witch of the forest, watching the pair, said to them, 'I can lift the curse, but she will remain as the beast before you met, and so you will become one.' The prince gladly accepted, and so they both became beasts. They went off and lived out the rest of their lives in the forest, always together and happily ever after."
"In memory of Hiro and 02." He finished, reading aloud the dedication that Ichigo had added.