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Antiva Chronus Online

Chapter 4 - Valentine Day Surprise

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a part of Antiva Chronus Online, by Ageha.

What happens during not so normal Valentine's Day in Antiva Chronus Online?

Ageha holds sovereignty over Chapter 4 - Valentine Day Surprise, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

434 readers have been here.

Setting

An unusual event takes place in ACO during Valentine's Day. How will each character react to it?
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Chapter 4 - Valentine Day Surprise

What happens during not so normal Valentine's Day in Antiva Chronus Online?

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Chapter 4 - Valentine Day Surprise is a part of Antiva Chronus Online.

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Marius [3] "If I leave, I lose my legs. If I stay, I could lose everything."

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Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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It seemed Asher had decided to come with her, which was good... and bad. On the one hand, it meant he hadn't had enough of her yet, even after seeing her true self, but, on the other, it meant that she'd have to continue dealing with his questions. Her heart sank when she heard his response to her own answer, just a quiet... "Oh." It seemed to her that he was somehow disappointed or dumbfounded by her odd preference for anime, let alone for shows not within her demographic. To her surprise, however, he continued to speak just a few moments later, shrugging the comment off and trying yet again to assuage her shame. He... did he not care that she was an otaku? Surely, he'd realized by now, hadn't he? It seemed to be too good to hope for, and yet, it didn't seem like he was just lying so as not to shame her.

...Especially not when he let slip something that was obviously quite private to him, an unintentional action that revealed exactly how honest he was being at the moment. Although he cut himself off and immediately corrected himself, only an idiot wouldn't realize what he had just been about to say. And yet, even if logic told her the truth behind his comment, it seemed impossible to believe. Whaaaaaaaaaat?! Was all Kanna's mind had to offer. Firstly, there was the small fact that Asher was apparently friends with other people of his own age who watched anime, and something so embarrassing as yaoi, at that? For Asher to know something so secret and shameful about his friends' preferences, he must have been very close to them, right...? Mostly only girls watched yaoi, but any boy who did would have to be... And, neither of those groups would willingly tell anybody, right? So, had he found out by accident, or was Asher somehow in on it...? If he was, then he was either really close to some girls in real life - maybe he already had a girlfriend? - or, worse, he was...

Kanna blushed furiously at the rather... intense... mental image that these thoughts provoked in her. She herself wasn't a fan of yaoi, but she might have picked up a manga of that genre once out of curiosity. Granted, the experience had embarrassed her tremendously, and she'd gone to very extreme lengths to dispose of the book without even finishing it, but still, there were certain things one couldn't help but remember sometimes after seeing them. At any rate, despite her tendency to project her otaku fantasies on the world around her, she absolutely refused to think of Asher, of all people, in any sort of context even remotely close to yaoi. The possibility that he might already be taken in real life was bad enough. She didn't think she could handle her feelings being crushed in that way. But... wasn't it possible? He had been traveling with her for so long, and yet despite his friendliness to her, he'd done nothing more than seem tremendously awkward in any context even resembling intimacy. It astonished her to realize that the far-fetched theory she'd devised might actually have been possible. She'd never thought of it that way, not even in her most depressed states! She'd just thought that she'd been friendzoned, not turned down for that reason!

But, wait. His unintentional slip a few moments later completely blew that theory out of the water, didn't it? She breathed a mental sigh of relief, for a moment forgetting to feel awkward over the revelation of her companion's preferences. In that case, maybe Asher only knew about his friends' likings because he was like them...? No way! Was Asher an otaku in real life, like her? It didn't seem possible for somebody as competent and as outgoing as him to hold the same disgusting lifestyle that she did. And yet... the only other explanations were ones she really, really didn't want to believe.

Oh, and then there was the fact of the rather embarrassing thing she'd just found out, namely Asher's preference for anime. That was something she could have gone without knowing, especially since it set her to wondering all manner of things, like what kind of yuri it was, exactly, that Asher meant? It would be bad enough if it was just the mild kind, but what if he was a fan of full blown hentai? Even she thought that would be a little disturbing, and she was a NEET/Hikkikomori/Otaku, someone who should really have been acquainted enough with those sorts of preferences, even if she didn't hold them herself, to not be overly embarrassed by them. Another thought that crossed her mind was idly wondering if Asher had ever imagined her in that sort of scenario. After all, she had a tendency to project possible manga plots onto her situations and surroundings, like imagining Asher as a sort of shounen hero - which really wasn't hard, considering that he was basically a shounen hero in her eyes already. So, then, what if he did the same thing, only imagining her as some sort of shy kohai archetype for a yuri H-game?! She could see it now! The main character would probably be some sort of kindhearted yet strict student council president, whose main goal would be to drag the truant student Kanna Suzaku back to school, only to befriend her and eventually fall for her in the process! And then... GAH! No, not even she, otaku though she might be, dared to even attempt to imagine any further what her partner might be thinking. That was ground her innocent mind dared not tread. At any rate, these thoughts, despite being stifled, were still enough to push her incredulity and embarrassment over the edge. She had to resist the urge to audibly cry out with surprise, disbelief, and embarrassment, but it was a remarkably useless attempt, considering her current facial expression.

Oh, right, she'd been sitting stock still for the past 20 or so seconds, hadn't she? And, she didn't need to see herself in a mirror to realize that she must have been blushing an unimaginable shade of red by now. That, combined with the look of surprise on her face as her eyes gazed semi-blankly into space with growing astonishment and realization, and the fact that she'd covered her mouth just now to suppress a gasp of disbelief, must have made it at least fairly obvious that she'd seen through him. Desperately, she set about trying to correct herself, but much like her partner, who stopped himself only too late, she was now far beyond the point where she could hide her knowledge for the sake of her beloved friend's dignity. It was both admirable and somewhat naive of her, then, to try despite this realization. To her own embarrassment, however, she ended up just digging herself that much deeper.

"A-ah... Umm... I d-didn't w-watch that show... A-aside from listening to the songs on Nico Nico, t-that is. I was going to, but I heard about the ending, and it seemed too depressing..." She stammered hastily, trying quickly to pull down her hood further to hide the blush she was sure her partner had already seen. Only afterward did she realize that she'd let slip something Asher had probably expected, but hadn't had proof of as of yet. Namely, that she determined what shows to watch based on how they made her feel. Being a very empathetic individual who liked to live in her media instead of just observing it, she had always watched anime that she was sure beforehand wouldn't worsen her already tenuous mood. That was why she liked Shounen so much. It almost always had happy endings, and held true to the ideals of its larger-than-life heroes. Sad stories, on the other hand, only served to make her feel sorry for the heroes - and, by extension, herself - at best, and threw her into a depressive mindset at worst. That was probably the main issue with her escapism. She just hoped Asher wouldn't realize the full extent to which she delved into the anime she watched, although, she supposed, it didn't really matter, anyway. The very fact that she was now trapped inside ACO stood as testament to exactly how far she'd gone to escape from reality.

Actually, it was sort of odd. Despite how embarrassed she felt, knowing that Asher was being honest when he spoke to her, and that he was, at least in part, similar to herself... she derived an odd sort of comfort from that knowledge. If both of them felt equally awkward right now, then, for whatever reason, Kanna actually felt a little happier, knowing that she wasn't alone in her shame and shyness. It felt like she was seeing a more Human side to the "Shounen hero Asher" who she'd idolized to such an extent, and, seeing that more personal facet of his personality, she felt closer to him, like she'd managed to, at least in part, bridge the gap of her inadequacy that separated him from her. It felt like... like she was closer to him than ever before, like maybe there didn't have to be a disconnect between them anymore. The hope that had previously welled within her grew stronger, and, to her surprise, she found herself feeling more confident, and less ashamed. Why had she been afraid, anyway? Asher was Asher. He wouldn't leave her, even if it meant that he'd probably die. Why would he ever have abandoned her just because she didn't meet up to his expectations? She'd failed him before, but he'd never gotten angry. He was always so kind, that, looking back, she realized exactly how silly it was to have ever feared him leaving over something so trivial. Asher was her first and only friend, and the dearest companion she'd ever had, even in her fantasies. She didn't have to be afraid of him. It was embarrassing, true, but...

In that moment, she realized something. Above all else, she wanted to know more about Asher, and, her courage bolstered by how much of her she'd accepted before, she wanted him to understand how she felt. If he could accept her, accept every part of her, then, even if she died tomorrow, she'd be happy. She'd always been too intimidated by his overwhelming presence, and by the distance between them, to ever ask the questions she had always wondered to herself in the past. But now, perhaps strengthened by the knowledge that they might not be so different, perhaps reasoning to herself that she should change the subject for Asher's sake like he had always done for hers, Kanna suddenly found those pent-up words right on her lips. And, to her own surprise... she actually began to speak them. Drawing back her hood on a whim, she gave a slight smile to Asher, and said something neither of them had probably expected.

"H-hey... Asher... Is it alright if... I asked you some things...? I... I've always wondered about... certain things... B-but they might be sort of private... Is it alright...? If you don't want to answer... that's fine." Her voice was quiet, and her countenance her usual shy expression of mixed nervousness and gentle happiness and gratitude. However, there was most certainly something different from her usual demeanor. She was being so direct all of a sudden, it didn't seem like her. And yet, despite everything, she still managed to say it, to reveal her pent-up curiosity to her partner. For perhaps the first time, Kanna managed to initiate a direct, intimate discourse on her own, without any prompting to do so, and, despite her surprise at her own boldness, she couldn't help but feel happy. If things kept going like this, then she might just have been able to tell Asher about herself, and about her real feelings. Even if he rejected them, rejected her... just the satisfaction of having told him might have been enough for her.

She wasn't afraid anymore.

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Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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ASHER. YOU FUCKING IDIOT. His mind raged. The Voice of Treason winced slightly, not because of the fact that it was dead silent after saying he liked "yurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...... ippe." No, his mind raged on and on, it was horrible. If this was the anime, Asher would've heard the viewer laughing his ass off behind that invisible camera. Hell, if this was a roleplay, the creator might even be doing it as well... Not like this actually IS an anime or roleplay. "A-ah... Umm... I d-didn't w-watch that show... A-aside from listening to the songs on Nico Nico, t-that is. I was going to, but I heard about the ending, and it seemed too depressing..." Kanna had replied to Asher, after about 20 seconds of silence. It was obvious. Kanna realized he liked yuri. Only she knew his secret, and oh did Asher hope to God that she wouldn't reveal it to anyone else.

"Uhm... Yeah, right. the ending was actually... Nice... Well, at least one of them..." Asher mumbled a remply to what Kanna had said just 5 seconds ago. "I think that you heard of that alternate ending I saw in which Oton- Oh wait, you didn't watch it yet." he bit his tongue, preventing it from spilling any more secrets about him or his beloved Angel Beats. "Anyway... I can play the theme song on the piano.... It's beautiful, really."

The Voice of Treason sighed uncomfortably. Now I know how Kanna feels around me.... Asher thought. She probably thinks I'm some kind of twisted perverted otaku.... To make his mental state worse, a few images flashed from his mind. Remember the ecchi Asher sometimes stumbled upon? What was seen can't be unseen, and now those images are back to haunt him- replacing the characters with him and Kanna. If Kanna wasn't in the vicinity, Asher would've gotten the nearest wooden board and smashed it through his head. DAMNIT.

Suddenly, Kanna said something Asher didn't expect. "H-hey... Asher... Is it alright if... I asked you some things...? I... I've always wondered about... certain things... B-but they might be sort of private... Is it alright...? If you don't want to answer... that's fine." Her voice was still quiet, but it was strange. Was it happiness that carried through her voice? No, maybe courage? In the year Asher knew Kanna, he thought he would never see the day that there would be courage in her tone of voice outside of battle, replacing her usual shy and indecisive-like tone.

Truely, Asher was curious. Nothing like this ever occured outside the battlefield. Asher had no choice but to say "Yes." His face should interest, and... well, his mental message of urging her to go on. After all, what comes next might be what he had hoped for...

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Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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BGM: Moment of Decision - Katawa Shoujo OST

Kanna gave one of her usual shy smiles, seeming relieved both by the fact that Asher had actually given her permission to speak her mind, and because his expression had changed from one of shame and self-disgust to a more curious, interested face, one that showed that she'd at least managed to partially change the subject. She couldn't help but grin at the irony of the situation. This sort of trepidation must have been how Asher always felt at dealing with her when she was embarrassed or afraid. Maybe this feeling of relief was why he had seemed to take such pleasure in her company despite those awkward times? But, there was no sense in just trying to deduce it for herself. No... she was going to do something she hadn't dared do before. She was going to ask him directly and without equivocation for all of the answers she had wanted for so long.

"E-er... alright, then. Please don't take this the wrong way..." She began nervously. Then, mustering all of her courage, she spoke, asking the question that had most weighed upon her mind ever since they had first begun to work together.

"Why is it... that you've stayed with me for this long?"

There was silence for a moment before Kanna, feeling awkward at just leaving the sudden query as it was, continued. "I-it's not that I don't want you here. I... I really like working together with you." She blushed heavily at this, but kept on speaking. "I'm proud... t-to be your partner, I mean. And, e-even if it was scary sometimes... I've had fun." She gave a sheepish smile. "Y-you've done more than just save my life... I-it's kind of embarrassing to say this, b-but... you gave me a reason to keep on living. It's just... I want to know your reasons."

"On that day you found me, what was it that made you invite me to come with you after you confirmed that I was alright? And from that point onward, why was it that you always fought so hard and went to such an extent to protect me?" As Kanna continued to speak, her voice grew more and more firm, her usual stutter fading away as her questions became more and more pointed. And yet, despite this, she didn't seem angry. Rather, she seemed just a little bit sad, like she wanted to be reassured by Asher's answer.

"Was it because I looked helpless, and when you saw how scared I was, you felt too guilty to leave me, because you knew that I wasn't strong enough to survive on my own? That's what I thought at first, but I realized after a while that you were relying on me, in at least some capacity. So it wasn't that, then, was it? Then why was it? That's what I've been wondering after all this time." Kanna hadn't realized quite how worried she was about the answer of this question until she asked it, as, to her surprise, she found herself speaking more and more quickly, fear and sadness rising inside her as she forgot how to stop, and just kept on talking, letting spill the truth of how she had felt all that time. And yet, suddenly, she wasn't ashamed by how much she was letting Asher know, wasn't even humiliated as tears began to rise, unbidden, into her eyes, falling silently as she spoke. "T-to be honest, nobody's ever hung around me for so long before. I've tried to get people to notice me, or to like me, but... but nobody ever really seemed to see anything worthwhile in me until... u-until you showed up. That's why... why I was so happy that you saved me. Even though I thought you were looking down on me, I was satisfied. I felt like, for the first time in my life, I was a useful person, like somebody cared about me. And even if I could never reach up to that person's level, I was content... just to be able to stand in his shadow. B-but even though I couldn't be as good as you, t-that never stopped you. You said I was your friend, and were so nice to me, even though I couldn't ever hope to repay everything you've done for me. Y-you were the first person who noticed me, a-and even now that you've seen what I'm really like, you're still trying so hard to make me happy. W-why? What is it that makes me worth having as a friend?" She stopped, giving quiet, mirthless laugh at her own expense as she brushed her eyes, seeming surprised by the tears she suddenly found there even though they'd been falling long enough to soak her pale cheeks.

"S-sorry," She apologized glumly. "I know I make you worry about me a lot... I s-shouldn't bother you with my problems. If you don't want to answer... don't feel obligated to. I'll be alright." She smiled as cheerfully as she could, but this expression was rendered hollow and meaningless by her quiet, pensive tone and the moisture still staining her face. But she couldn't help but be sad, couldn't help but fear Asher's answer. This question, no matter how much she wanted it answered, could break everything she had believed in up until that point, and, courageous though she now felt... she didn't think she could handle that possibility. It probably would have been better if she hadn't spoken at all...

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Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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"E-er... alright, then. Please don't take this the wrong way..." Kanna said.

"Why is it... that you've stayed with me for this long?"


The situation was like one of those dramatic scenes in anime, in which this was a major turning point. Asher may have been treading on thin ice before, but this is a Goddamn piece of paper he is walking on over a pool of lava. Hell, Kanna probably would think the same. However, this wasn't the reason why Asher was silent. He was trying to think of a response. Why... Why did I stay with her...? His mind repeated the question.

As if to fill in the lack of sound in the room, Kanna continued the interrogation. "I-it's not that I don't want you here. I... I really like working together with you. I'm proud... t-to be your partner, I mean. And, e-even if it was scary sometimes... I've had fun. Y-you've done more than just save my life... I-it's kind of embarrassing to say this, b-but... you gave me a reason to keep on living. It's just... I want to know your reasons."

His mind went into overdrive, still trying to find that one sentence, the key to that "good ending" with "this character" in those dating sims. It relieved him to know that Kanna wasn't inferring that the Winged Duo should go their separate ways, but she just wanted to know. Why, Asher, The Voice of Treason? Tell me. Tell her. His mind began taunting him. It was like in the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Two Ashers, one pushing and hurting the other. "Tell me Asher. Answer the damn question." The other Asher- The Voice of Treason form- taunted.

"On that day you found me, what was it that made you invite me to come with you after you confirmed that I was alright? And from that point onward, why was it that you always fought so hard and went to such an extent to protect me?" Kanna wasn't aware of his mental state, so she continued yet again. And this prompted for VoT to ask another "Why?"

"Was it because I looked helpless, and when you saw how scared I was, you felt too guilty to leave me, because you knew that I wasn't strong enough to survive on my own?

"Because you wanted someone to look over? Because there is strength in numbers, and Kanna Suzaku was just another 'indispensable' Fire Emblem character with great stat growths?"

Asher, at this point, wasn't staring at Kanna. He was staring off into space, as if in a trance. "N-no... I would never do that...."

"That's what I thought at first, but I realized after a while that you were relying on me, in at least some capacity. So it wasn't that, then, was it? Then why was it? That's what I've been wondering after all this time." Kanna became more... Brave, more confident. It was unlike her, but Asher mentally grinned that she was showing those two aspects of the human mind. However, he was still in that physical trance. Asher muttered, "I... I...

"T-to be honest, nobody's ever hung around me for so long before. I've tried to get people to notice me, or to like me, but... but nobody ever really seemed to see anything worthwhile in me until... u-until you showed up. That's why... why I was so happy that you saved me. Even though I thought you were looking down on me, I was satisfied. I felt like, for the first time in my life, I was a useful person, like somebody cared about me. And even if I could never reach up to that person's level, I was content... just to be able to stand in his shadow. B-but even though I couldn't be as good as you, t-that never stopped you. You said I was your friend, and were so nice to me, even though I couldn't ever hope to repay everything you've done for me. Y-you were the first person who noticed me, a-and even now that you've seen what I'm really like, you're still trying so hard to make me happy. W-why? What is it that makes me worth having as a friend?" That one key question concluded her rant. The rant that could be summarized in one of the words repeated multiple times. "Why?"

And thus, Alternate Asher's face became emotionless. They were facing each other in a grey room. There was nothing to stare at but each other. "Well? She's waiting. Why did you bother to stay with her? She's a nobody. Kanna Suzaku is an otaku, even beyond that; you can tell, too."

"B-bu-"

"Shut up. I'm not done." The alternate self interrupted. "She's one of the reasons why you are trapped in this hellhole. Can you really forgive her for that?"

"..."

"And another thing, you can also tell she has become attracted to you. If that night with her drunken state wasn't obvious, I don't know what is. It takes a retard like a DUMB. UGLY. LONELY. DESPERATE. WHORE like HER to-"

"Shut. Up." With each insult- which was emphasized, making the effect greater- Asher's alternate self made, the anger and rage inside Asher grew until he was just brimming with it.

"Hm?"

"I said..." Asher's eyes brightened into the icy blue color that Alternate Asher had. Ashes blew from his hair, revealing silver strands on his head. "Shut... The fuck.... Up!"

"..."

"Why do you do this to an innocent girl like her, huh? It wasn't her fault she was born the way she is!" Asher yelled at his clone. "She's as human and as infinitely valuable as me, Asher Damons of Sky-Strike Academy!

"Why, she's cute, lovable, and intelligent!" The settings around them changed back into the day The Voice of Treason and Canon met, when they became trapped, at the moment in which Kanna was practically hyperventalating, when Asher first came to her. "I went to her because I was concerned for her welfare! To me, she looked like she was about to die from a virtual heart attack! So of course I went to her!"

"Then why did you st-"

"Shut up. I'm not done yet." The alternate self crossed his arms and listened to Asher's ranting. "I stayed with her because... I wanted to make sure she was alright. At one point, I thought we'd make a great team, so I stayed with her."

"And the times you fought?"

"I wanted to help her out of that mental state, remind her that I don't take burdens that you regret, but responsibilities I can easily handle! Besides that fact, I enjoyed being with her. I had no reason to leave."

"Then at one point you gained strong enough stats and equipment to go solo. Why did you stay then, oh wise black belt?"

"Because..." Asher paused, then saw his alternate self smile. "Because..."

"I love you."


Asher muttered to the clone, who turned to ashes blown away in a few seconds. The setting followed, and revealed the same room he is in now with the probably shocked Kanna. "It's... True... I love you."

All this time, he inched closer and closer to her. Asher's retarded brain just didn't register it until now. Asher was defensive of her, not afraid to be her knight in shining armour. Asher treated her better and better and more and more like a loved one, which wasn't even necessary for a best friend. Hell, he even enjoyed the night sleeping under the drunken version of Kanna!

It's from the fact that Asher protected her that he became so attracted to her. He got to know Kanna Suzaku, and had differing opinions about her hen compared to Kanna's self image. Asher isn't care how much damage he had to take as Kanna's shield. Seeing her was worth it.

That is, after all, the thoughts of one who loves another.

Unknowingly, Asher's legs carried him over to Kanna's nest of blankets and pillows. If it weren't for the unnecessary abundance, Asher would've hugged her. "I love you Kanna Suzaku. If I lost you, I wouldn't have my own reason to live..." The very thought of losing Canon was even more frightening than it should be. The terror was magnified a million times, and Asher didn't want that to come to real- or in this case, virtual- life. He didnt even hear her words after the speech.

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Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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"Naze nara... Aishiteru."

Kanna stared up at her partner, wide-eyed, as she got the answer to all of her questions, delivered in three simple words. Why had Asher saved her? Why had he protected her? Why had he stayed with her for so long? What had he seen in her? And most importantly, exactly what was she to him?

She had lapsed into silence after she had spoken, gazing shamefacedly down at the pillows beneath her in an attempt to calm herself. Why had she said so much, anyway? It wasn't like Asher needed or wanted to know all of that. And yet, he still hadn't said anything. His expression, even, showed no hints as to what he might be thinking. For a moment, she was afraid that she'd only made things more awkward for him, that by saying so much, she'd made him decide not to answer.

And then, he spoke, and, with a quiet gasp, Kanna's eyes shot up to the face of her companion, her face wearing a mask of disbelief. Three words, more simple than perhaps any others she would ever hear, and yet more profound than anything else Asher might have said. That simple sentence, that one reason, was the answer Kanna had most desperately needed, the truth she hadn't dared to hope for, and the one thing she had wanted to hear more than anything else.

"I love you."

As Asher drew closer, repeating his declaration once quietly, then again, more strongly this time, Kanna's expression slowly changed. Bit by bit, the regret filling her face, every last ounce of sadness showing in her purple eyes... these things all burned away, replaced by the overwhelming like of hope turned to reality, of a dream that had come true. The faint red blush of embarrassment that lingered on her face was entirely forgotten, and, in place of the frown she had worn... Kanna Suzaku smiled with absolute joy, every last one of her features lighting up with the overflowing happiness she felt. She began to cry once again, but this time, there could be no mistaking her tears for those of sadness. Rather, Kanna was crying because she could no longer contain how happy she was. She leaped up from where she sat, not even bothering to disentangle herself from the blankets around her as she hastily jumped to her feet, and then, spreading her arms wide, she tightly embraced her companion, burying her face in his chest as she laughed and cried all at once, clinging onto Asher as though she feared that at any second he might be caught and tugged away from her. But no such thing would occur. Never again, Kanna resolved, would she be disconnected from the one she loved, the one who loved her. No longer would she be afraid of his rejection, his disapproval, or his disliking her. Because... he'd just told her, hadn't he? There was nothing to worry about. There was no reason to be afraid. For even if she was not perfect... there was one person in the world who loved her, who would think of her, and who would always be by her side. That had always been her dream, from the moment she'd first fallen in love with her partner. And now, it was a reality of both her present and her future self. With the overwhelming joy that now filled her, she broke down all of the walls she had spent her entire life building, and, for the first time... she let someone else into her lonely heart.

"T-t-thank you...!" She cried abruptly, struggling to make herself heard over her uncontrollable sobbing and through the muffling of Asher's coat. "I've... I've wanted... I've been waiting... f-for you t-to say that to me for so long..." Her words were broken by her crying, and yet, each time she stopped, she would immediately pick up again, forcing her words out with redoubled strength as she hugged Asher ever tighter, unable to keep from laughing for joy even as she broke down completely in his arms. Had the virtual reality had a mechanic for such a thing, her tears would have soaked into his shirt. As it was, they merely vanished into nothingness even as they fell, just as the sorrow inside her finally faded away at the sound of the longed-for words. And so, pushed forth on a current of happiness flowing forth from her very heart... Kanna finally found the strength to speak the feelings she'd been too scared to say for such a long time.

"T-the truth is... I l-love you too, Asher... No... I've loved you now... ever s-since you gave me a reason to live!" She confessed, looking up at him - the real him - with a tearful yet happy smile. She couldn't help herself. This moment... it had to be the happiest she'd ever felt in her entire life. Because for the very first time, she knew two things.

Kanna Suzaku was loved, and she was not alone.

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Character Portrait: Refa Character Portrait: Yoshitsune Shineda(AtoobuuO)
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"Do you mind if I don't answer that? I rather not talk about it."

Shineda was a little bit stunned from that. Did she not trust him? The volatile blonde teen once again experienced a supercharged anger flowing inside him, for no apparent reason. Or perhaps he did? Maybe he felt hurt for not being trusted? But whatever it was, he didn't say it, nor did he make any sound of discontent about it. He did what he had learnt to do, bottle it up. The burning rage was stored inside a container somewhere inside Shineda's already weak subconscious. It seemed like the game had decided to react to this, and the system seemed to cause his eyes to flicker red, then back to blue.

The silence between the two was deafening, since Shineda had decided not to speak up at all. The atmosphere felt quite tense. After what seemed like hours, Shineda felt around his legs and decided that he could walk. Standing up, he walked towards the bathroom to freshen up from the day's stressful events. He removed his equipped clothing and stepped into the bathtub, soaking himself in the hot water. Closing his eyes and settling into memories, anything to escape the still burning anger and disappointment in his heart.




Tatsu returned when the day was turning dark, bringing along with him a recently purchased 「Hot Chocolate」. He was humming happily and pressed his hand against the door, which recognized him as one of the current occupants of the room. Swinging open, he skipped into the room happily.

"I'M HOME~" he called out, then rushed in, glomping the first person in sight, Reena.

"Hi big sis! I got us dinner!" he told her with a grin, retrieving them from his inventory, setting them on the bed, since the room was pretty bare.




Shineda awoke to another nightmare, having fallen asleep in the bathtub. Getting out, he dressed himself. Upon opening the door, he heard Tatsu's cheerful voice.

"I got you 「Hot Chocolate」 too!" Tatsu was probably talking to Reena. "It was big bro who told me to get it."

Shineda tsked to himself, then walked in with an impassive face. He was still stinging from the talk with Reena.

Upon seeing him, Tatsu rushed for him, glomping the teen. Shineda smiled at the contact and patted the child's head, but returned back to being cool and disinterested after that.

"Welcome back Tatsu. Thanks for getting dinner." Shineda paced forward to quickly grab his share of dinner, wanting to get away from Reena's bed as much as he could.

"I also got the 「Hot Choc-" Tatsu began.

"Alright."

Shineda didn't want to hear about it. Anything related to his anger, he would avoid. He huddled in his bed and began eating his dinner. Sensing his big bro's discontentment, Tatsu proceeded to keep quiet as well, eating his dinner.

The presents that he had bought lying quietly in his inventory.

"I'm going to sleep." Shineda announced, upon finishing his dinner, tossing the box into a corner, where it disappeared in a burst of blue. Then with a lighter tone, he smiled at Tatsu. "It was a good dinner Tatsu. Thank you."

And there he laid, quiet and still as a rock, but he was fully awake of course, the fear of nightmares once again threatening his psyche. But he pretended as if he was asleep, not wanting to get into a conversation with either one of the people in the same room as he was, lest he accidentally vent his anger on the innocent Tatsu.

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Character Portrait: Refa Character Portrait: Yoshitsune Shineda(AtoobuuO)
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#, as written by Ageha
After that Atoubu didn't say anything and the atmosphere in room got kind of tense. Reena actually liked when it was peaceful and quiet, she wouldn't mind just enjoying somebody's company, however this situation was definitely awkward. They just sat in such in such silence for hours, neither daring to say anything.

Soon however Atoubu went to bathroom, leaving Reena alone with her thoughts. Only thing girl did think was "He is same as everyone else. He doesn't want to go anywhere near me and judges me for how I look." She was sad, but not quite. Reena was actually angry at herself for promising such stupid thing as protecting this man forever. She felt he was not worth it. And because of that promise, she was bound to him until the end of this hell bound game. After some time, Tatsu returned with cup of hot chocolate and shortly after Atoubu returned from the bath. Yet as Tatsu said that it was Atoubu that asked to bring the chocolate, he instantly interrupted the kid, clear expression of disgust in his face.

Honestly, if Reena was now Refa she would have drawn out that same sword Atoubu had given to her and stabbed him with full force. All she could do now was thank little boy and slowly sip the hot chocolate. It was warm and it calmed the girl don't a little, but it wasn't quite as sweet as usually. It almost seemed bitter actually.

"I'm going to sleep." Atoubu announced as he finished eating his dinner. He seemed rather angry, but Reena started to accept the fact that Atoubu will be constantly disgusted while being around her. Good thing it was nothing new for the girl, so she just ignored that and stared out in the night sky while sipping hot chocolate.

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Character Portrait: Kahlan Yuzuriha Character Portrait: Marius
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Marius noticed Kahlan closing her message window. She most have been trying to talk to someone. Marius brushed it off, and continued the conversation. "I'm not sure. It's hard to understand the motives of someone who would trap thousands of people in a death game just to prove a point. If I had to guess, though, maybe he is trying to remind us of our old lives." Marius, happy as he was to have his old body back, was only reminded that he was fighting to return to a body without any use of legs. It almost was cruel, letting him walk in a body he knew he couldn't walk with in real life.

Real life. It felt like such a far off thing to Marius now. Some days, he could barely remember it. Only his sister seemed to constantly haunt him, and Les Mis only stuck because he forced himself to remember it. He used it to keep his mood up, so it generally remained fresh. "Some days I can barely remember what the outside was like. Like it's a faint dream and this is reality. I've never really talked about it with anyone though. What were things like for you back on the outside?"