The Place I Belong

Heya all! Orpheus has decided to once again release another chapter of this! You guys are giving it so much love it's already in the top ten in Naruto/SAO crossovers for Favorites, Follows and Reviews after not even two weeks.

Second, the poll is still up for voting and so far it is getting close, but Naruto and Suguha are winning. To those who'd rather have KiritoxAsuna win, you must vote! I have plotlines ready for either scenario, but I don't know which one to write.

And lastly, some thought it was a bit early for Suguha's confession, but it's not like I'll have them having sex or marrying so early guys. Thirteen and fourteen is a perfectly reasonable age for a first boyfriend/girlfriend.

Chapter V: The Farmer's Daughter Part I

"Kirito!" Kirito looked around and saw that Asuna was looking at him with a slight glare and hands on her hips. "Were you even listening to me?"

"Sorry..." he apologized. "I was miles away."

The pair were in the middle of a forest, walking along the path to the next town on the second floor. It was ten days since the mysterious pair of beaters had defeated Illfang with their teamwork and then left and Kirito's thoughts had been on them. He could've swore he'd seen the redhead before and the name Naruto was so familiar...

"Well, come back to reality." Asuna sighed. "What will I ever do with you? I should've just turned solo again..."

"And died out here?" Kirito asked. Asuna glared at him, holding the hilt of her sabre as if she was humoring the option of stabbing him. "N-not that you're not perfectly capable of defending yourself! I just mean... there's power in numbers."

Asuna looked at him before nodding and letting go of her sword, leading the way further down the road. "As I was trying to tell you, I heard a rumor that there's a quest up the road here. A simple fight really, nothing near Illfang's level. All we have to do is track down the Quest NPC's daughter who was kidnapped by some bandits and defeat the leader while rescuing her."

"Seems simple enough." Kirito commented as they walked. "How much can the info be trusted?"

"It's a reliable source. Plus, the quest is on the way to our next destination, anyways. If I lose a little Col, I'll live."

"Good point." The raven-haired male of the duo agreed. Suddenly, Asuna stopped and Kirito looked at her. "What's wrong, Asuna?"

"Look..." she said while looking forward. Kirito turned and his eyes widened infinitesimally. Iot was the only two-person guild here in SAO. A pair that was quickly making a namme for themselves after what had been dubbed the "Illfang Incident".

"The Akatsuki..." he spoke.

Two figures cloaked in red clouds rising over the darkness, faces covered by their straw hats and wielding two rare blades only teamwork can produce. Even then, the information brokers found out that those blades were a rare drop and both katana-types. Not many had chosen to wiield katana-type blades for their character and so the drop itself would only be useful to a select few.

The figure on the left turned after Kirito's utterance and the boy couldn't help but shiver. These two were on another level. He already knew they would become fearsome. The battle a week and a half ago had proved it.

"Look at who it is, Nami-chan." The other turned from her position and saw them, waving.

Kirito followed Asuna as she walked up to the pair. That's when he noticed that they were in front of a Quest NPC, a moment from starting the quest. The pop-up screen asking permission was in front of the male beater and he was literally about to press yes.

"Let us join you." Asuna stated. It was a request... but anything the Tsundere said generally came out as a command. The cloaked players gave a glance at each other that seemed to communicate an entire conversation in one look.

"Sure." The redheaded male said with a shrug. "Four is better than two."

"Wait... you were against us helping just ten days ago with Illfang!" Kirito argued. "What gives?"

"This battle won't put anyone's life in danger." Nami told them.

"Plus, the faster we do this, faster we can level up and faster we finish this floor." Naruto continued. "So I don't mind temporarily teaming up."

"Plus... you seem like good people. Maybe we can get to know each other better and even become friends?" Nami suggested.

"Then, let's begin, Naruto-san, Nami-san." Kirito replied with Asuna nodding. So, Naruto acepted the quest titled 'The Farmer's Daughter'.

""Please! Please help me! My daughter has been taken by bandits!"

"Which way did they go?" Asuna asked.

"Into the forest there!" He exclaimed. Naruto immediately walked in the direction the NPC had pointed with Nami close by, Kirito and Asuna just behind them.

"You're stalling, Sugu-chan." Naruto said in a barely audible voice without turning his head. His female partner and, more recently, girlfriend walked next to him, one hand on her blade's hilt. "Why?"

"I... have no idea what you mean." She replied.

"Kazuto-san is right there... so close to you. Yet, you don't reveal yourself?" Naruto frowned. "I won't say anything, but I'm curious. Whatever the reason, don't take too much time."

"Wait up!" Kirito and Asuna caught up to the other duo then.

"Sorry." Naruto apologized sinncerely. "I am used to a quick pace and did not know you two would have trouble keeping up." Asuna's forehead grew a tick mark.

"Did you just call us slow?" Naruto smirked under his hat while his eyes glinted mischievously and his lips rose in a fox-like smirk to match his whisker birthmarks.

"I simply implied your normal speed must not be equal to the pace Nami-chan and I travel." The redhead said off-handedly.

"Oh dear..." Suguha sighed. "He's at it again."

"At what?" Kirito asked. Suguha glanced at him and swallowed. N-not yet. Not until... I won't tell him yet.

She somehow managed to speak normally and give no suspicious signs. "Well, when Ruto-kun sees the opportunity... he just loves to mess with people. He's a prankster at heart. Asuna-san was just the unlucky target this time."

The pair looked back and saw Asuna had lost her patience and was chasing the redhead with her sabre now, "You two are very close. Nami-san?"

"Yes?"

"Say... back in the boss room, after Illfang died, that wasn't true, was it? The whole speech you and Naruto-san made?" Suguha sighed and shook her head. "I knew it, but... why? Now everyone hates you two."

"It's because..." Suguha was silent a moment. "It was better we take the responsibility. The betas would've been hated... despised... targeted. If we took the burden, then they could live peacefully until the game is won. Ruto-kun and me... we'll work hard enough for every personwho can't! Even if only one other person is living, the two of us will work twice as hard to become better and make them proud!"

Kirito suddenly stopped and Suguha turned. "Kirito-kun?"

"I'm sorry... it's just... what you said reminded me of someone." He smiled and walked again, Suguha at his side. "You have the same drive she does."

"Really? This girl must be special to you."

"Very much so."

Meanwhile... "Get back here so I can stab you!"

"Um... no."

Asuna was still busy chasing her fellow redhead down with her sabre. Every time she thought she had him though... Why can't I hit him! "Come on, hit me A-su-na-chan." He said each syllable distinctly and weaved away from another flurry of lunges.

"Stay... still!" Asuna was bent at the waist, catching her breath.

"You okay?" Naruto asked, looking at the older girl. "We can take a break."

Asuna looked up at him with wide eyes. This was all a... a... "Is this all a game to you?"

"Well... yeah." Naruto replied, hands interlocked behind his head. "That's what it is, right? A giant game. The rules are different than we first thought and the stakes are higher than what each player intended, but it's all a giant game." Asuna caught her breath and looked at him evenly. "And sure, I want to win. Sure, everyone does. I know you weren't going to kill me though. Just some fun. And really, what's the point in winning a game if you don't have fun?"

For the first time, Asuna looked at the male half of the Akatsuki, a guild everyone thought was ruthless and cheaters, in a different light. "You... how old are you anyways?" She asked and the boy looked at her with a grin, his hat tilted enough to show his violet eyes.

"Thirteen since October." He replied and turned around walking at a relaxed pace, still having his hands behind his head. S-so young... and yet... he doesn't act scared. The thout of dying in here hasn't even crossed his mind... almost like...

"Almost like this is the place he belongs..." she whispered to herself.

And, cue the protests!

Short, yes, I know. My muse is a bit stingy at the moment though. I'll definitely finish up the quest next chapter and include more character interaction.

As for why Suguha isn't revealing herself just yet... why don't I leave that a secret? You are all welcome to guess though.

Lastly, to those who wanted a deviation from canon and also to those who accused me of giving Naruto and Suguha Kirito and Asuna's places in the plot, here you are. I hope this alleviates the pressure being put on me a little bit.

I mean, come on, you guys are absolutely heartless sometimes! Just kidding! Sort of...

Orpheus out! Ja ne!