Sibling Steel: Chapter 1
A/N: Hey guys, welcome to my first SAO fanfic. I've been a fan of this series ever since we first got the promo announcements for the english dub at Toonami. I was in high school at the time and just binged the series before it came out properly in the West and I found myself a fan. Now several years later, I'm awaiting season 3 and waiting for the movie to come out on Blu Ray so I can buy it. But enough of my fanboyish ramblings. Shoutouts to TheSib who not only helped to beta the chapter, but also help in the creative process for it. No doubt you've seen him in the fanfic section for this show but check out his stuff if you haven't. He does some high quality stuff.
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN SWORD ART ONLINE IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM. ALL RIGHTS GO TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS. PLEASE SUPPORT THE OFFICIAL RELEASE.
With that out of the way, I hope you all enjoy my newest fic, Sibling Steel!
A question that often went through Kazuto's head was why bother with such hard efforts? The end results would always remain the same in the situation he fought against. A soft force cannot push an immovable object no matter how many times it tried. It could not win in a contest of endurance even if it could get up an endless amount of times.
Yet time and again, the boy answered the angry yells that came whenever he fell to the ground alongside his shinai.
He shakily picked up the wooden sword and retook his stance in front of his grandfather. A task that was growing harder with every graceless fall to the ground from a painful whack from the older man. Kazuto couldn't figure out what made him stand up time and again against the more experienced man if the results would never change. Perhaps it was the fear that came from an adult yelling at a child or the eagerness that came with wanting approval and love.
But what the raven haired boy was experiencing was the farthest thing from any sort of love or approval. It was only pain that was felt even through the protective gear of his kendo uniform.
The elder man scowled deeper with the boy's weak stance and brought his shinai to against his side. Kazuto fell to the floor painfully as his own weapon flew a good distance behind him.
"Is this all you have? Utterly pathetic, you absolute failure!" He yelled, prodding the fallen boy with his foot roughly. "Get up! One way or another you're going to learn!" When Kazuto didn't move from the floor, he kicked the boy away from him. The young child slid across the floor as he held his gut in pain. Tears of frustration and pain fell down his cheeks from the blatant abuse. "You are a complete disgrace to the Kirigaya name."
Kazuto didn't have the strength in him to stand up anymore. Why would he? Why should he even bother? No matter how hard he could try, there was no way he could earn his grandfather's approval. He wanted his respect but not at the expense of his happiness and feeling of safety. He was done with this whole thing. He wanted it to end. But seeing the shadow of his abusing grandfather loom over him like a demon made the boy shrink in fear, placing his hands over his head in a protective reflex.
"Grandpa, stop! Leave big brother alone!"
The older Kirigaya stopped his approach as his granddaughter Suguha got in between the two of them with her arms raised as a wall. She gave the man a pleading look, tears falling down her cheeks. "Stop hurting Kazuto grandpa! He can't stand up anymore!"
The man shook his head, looking past the young girl and sent his frown at Kazuto. "Look at you, having a woman come to your defense. Your little sister no less. It's an utter disgrace to even call you a man."
"Please grandpa! I'll train harder for the two of us! Just stop hurting Kazuto, please!" Suguha begged the cruel man. Her heart fell to her stomach once he shook his hand and pointed to the door.
"That failure won't get off so easily! A successful kendoka like yourself shouldn't defend the pathetic! Now move or else you'll be punished alongside him!" The younger sister stood stalwart against her grandfather's rage. She wouldn't budge an inch even as he raised his hand.
Never in his entire life up until this point had Kazuto felt any more helpless than he had watching Suguha get slapped to the floor by his horrid grandfather. Seeing his sister holding her face, crying tears of pain as she curled up and shook with her tears. That helpless feeling boiled inside the boy until it faded away into pure rage as the man moved to hit her again.
The old man felt the pain that he was so eager to inflict onto Kazuto when the boy picked up his shinai and viciously whacked it across his face. In his confidence in 'teaching' the young boy, he did not wear any facial protective gear. Which, in the end, turned out to be a big mistake seeing as he now gained a broken, bloody nose because of it.
"Why you little! How dare you strike me!?" The man wiped his sensitive nose of the blood dripping from it and picked back up his wooden weapon. "I'll beat you so hard you'll never dare to even look at me again!"
Kazuto braced himself for the coming impact, knowing that it was inevitable after his rash action. But knowing that he defended his sister made the pain worth it in his eyes. He closed his eyes and with gritted teeth, prepared for the swing until the slamming of the sliding door caught everyone's attention.
The children's mother, Midori, stood at the frame with a myriad of emotions brewing upon her face. Shock, fear, relief, disbelief and rage were the most apparent to the young siblings. But seeing all those more angered emotions being pointed to their grandfather was all the more surprising as she stormed up to the man who still had his shinai raised.
"Father, what are you doing to my children!?" Midori yelled at the man, knocking the shinai to the floor as she moved herself between him and the kids. She spared them both a quick look and pointed to the door. "Suguha, take your brother and get some ice. He's going to need it to reduce the coming swelling."
A silent point to the door made it clear there was no room for argument. The younger of the two picked up her sibling and walked out of the dojo. The mother and grandfather both kept their composure until the door was closed behind the kids.
That was when Midori exploded.
Smack and smack was given to her father, her rage at both hearing the abuse and seeing her children injured making her throw caution to the wind. "How dare you! How dare you lay a hand on my children, you monster!"
The man did naught to fight back against his daughter, the pain of his own broken nose proving to be too much of an annoyance to focus on other things. "Do not call me a monster, Midori! I told you how I planned on teaching those two and they treated my training so ungratefully. Especially that filthy Kazuto who slacked off and ignored my lessons day to day!"
"That doesn't give you the right to hit him or Suguha for that matter! They're children, not some animal that you can hit until they learn!" Midori shoved the man to the ground. "Are you so pathetic that beating children is the only way for you to feel important again!?"
The elder Kirigaya got up from the push and grabbed his daughter by her blouse. "You should be thanking me for trying to turn that failure Kazuto into something! He's just like his mother, a complete failure in every way no matter what I do to shape him!"
Another, harder slap sent the man once again to the ground as tears poured from Midori's eyes. "You piece of trash! Did your own second daughter mean nothing to you? Did she mean so little after she married a man who you didn't approve of just because he made her happy!? To mock the dead… Is there no low you won't sink to!? Are their graves just a spitting ground for you!?"
"The only low I see is that bastard Kazuto! You welcome him into your home and treat him as your own when in reality he holds none of your blood. He is a leech, a stranger to this family. Yet you treat him like he deserves all the attention in the world. He belonged to that disowned brat and nobody else!"
"... Get out…"
"What did you just say to me?"
Midori grabbed the man off the floor and hurled him to the door. "GET OUT! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
There was a continuously loud amount of screaming to be had for the next hour or so. The noise having since scared the two children back into their rooms once loud stomping was heard coming for the sliding door. Suguha and Kazuto had stayed by the door, listening in on the anger fueled conversation and overheard the truth about Kazuto before they ran to his room once Midori drew near the door.
Kazuto wasn't a true Kirigaya. He wasn't even Suguha's brother.
The boy felt overwhelmed by this bombshell of a revelation if his silence was anything to go off of. Despite shaking him for a bit, Suguha had no way to get the boy's attention. He sat there, unmoving after having sat down on his bed with no sign of emotion to be had. The unnerving calm before the storm made the young girl nervous for a good few moments before the dam finally had burst. It broke her heart to see her brother sobbing uncontrollably at the truth being revealed to him. There was no way to feel the pain that tore at him, of knowing his actually mother and father were gone. So she did the only thing she could do in this situation. Held him close as he sobbed away his sorrows.
She held Kazuto close to her chest, wrapping her hands around his head to ease the sadness away. It seemed to do something for him since he wrapped his own hands around her waist to pull her in closer. Suguha rubbed her brother's head in a soothing manner as the sobs began to fade.
"Kazuto. I know it hurts a lot. That you have every right to be sad and cry as much as you want. But I don't care what grandpa says and I don't care if you aren't related to me by blood. You're my older brother Kazuto, now and forever. No one can ever say anything that can convince me otherwise."
The hug grew all the tighter on Kazuto's end, holding on as he squeezed out every emotion that he could. Suguha was all the willing to take in the expression of gratitude of her brother. She would always be there for him as a rock, a pillar to stand by in times of need. That assurance didn't need to be said, only felt between the two siblings as they held each other close.
"Thank you Suguha… Thank you so much…"
"You're welcome Kazuto. I love you, brother."
-November 5, 2022. Four years later-
The bell rang across the school, signaling the day's end for learning which tore Kazuto from his thoughts. The lecture his teacher was going on about had bored him to exhaustion with the boy having long since know about the basic operations of computers. He thought that a course in Technological Science would've been interesting enough but the snail pace learning style he has to go under with the other students made it a slow tread. With nothing left to do, the boy packed his bag up and made his way to the door.
Or at least he would if three other guys didn't drag him along to the back of the classroom.
The three boys looked at him with a desperate look on their faces. This whole situation was so familiar to Kazuto and yet so tired. These three from the robotics club approached him time and again to join but each and every time, he refused. What made them think now was going to be any different?
"Oi, Kazuto! Have you given any more thought into joining the club? We could really use someone like you for the upcoming demonstration."
The Kirigaya had to only sigh and shake his head at them to make the trio understand that he wasn't interested. Though, some extra words hurt no one. "Look, I just don't see the point in building robots just to have them break each other apart in a 'fight'. It seems pointless to make something just to destroy it." He reached into his pocket and glanced at the time, which made him shrug past the trio. "I really don't have time to be persuaded, okay? I'll see you guys on Monday."
Whatever words came from them, Kazuto paid no heed to. He couldn't really afford to be late to where he was headed. He quickly walked through the school, reaching the gate to where a familar face was waiting for him.
"Kazuto! Hey, let's walk home!"
It was always nice that Suguha made an effort to wait for him after school. Made the walk back home all the better having someone he actually knew to talk to. Even more so that he didn't have to fake his way through a conversation with her. No one around the two even had any sort of interest in computers or the like, outside of toying around on their smartphones.
Walking up to his sister, Kazuto patted her on the head in a familiar greeting but shook his head. "Sorry Sugu, I've got somewhere to be."
The younger of the two pouted at her sibling at this news. "Aww, really?"
"Yeah, it's something important. Tell mom that I'll try to be home before dinner. See you!"
"Love you, brother!" She called after him as he began running down the street. With a soft sigh she began to walk in the other direction back home. The young girl usually found the walk boring without her brother to chat to. The other girls would rather focus on gossip and trends while the boys would just look at her as any other cute face. No real meaning to be had trying to converse with them, especially if she was the subject of gossip.
Whispers from the other girls reached Suguha's ears, which weren't even trying to be concealed in her opinion. "There she was again, waiting for that brother of hers."
"That's so weird that she only really talks to him, right?"
"So many boys have their eyes on her and she can only focus on Kazuto. I bet she feels smug, being so popular."
"I bet there's something freaky going on between those two!"
"You don't mean their-"
And it was at that point that Suguha put in her earphones and played some music to drown out the girl's gossip. There it was like clockwork every time she walked back home, with Kazuto or not. The distraction of conversation usually allowed the siblings to ignore such baseless rumors but by herself made things much more annoying. It was no secret that she and her brother didn't socialize much. More often than not, rather taking in each other's presence than being around others. Ever since the revelation at their true ties as cousins rather than siblings, the two of them became even more tight knit than ever. To the point of being socially inept at talking to others. So she didn't care what others had to say on the matter or whatever nasty rumors spread about them. Their relationship as siblings was much more important than that.
After walking to the beat of music for a while, Suguha made her way home. She entered the house and took off her shoes by the door. "Mom, I'm home!"
"Hello honey! Is Kazuto with you?" Midori called from the kitchen.
The girl made her way to the voice, seeing her mother preparing to cook dinner. She gave a shake of her head while grabbing an apron for herself. "No, he said he had somewhere to go."
"Really? That's the fourth time this week. Normally the two of you are inseparable." The woman took in her daughter's shrug at face value, but she knew the girl was the slightest bit lonely.
While Midori was saddened that the kids had to learn the truth of their relationship hard way, it was a relief to her that they seemed closer than ever through it. Though their dependence on each other truly started to show when they entered junior high. She noticed at very few, if any at all points that either of them brought anyone home from school to socialize. The only exceptions was working on school projects and other students following them home. The Kirigaya siblings only seemed to need each other which made the mother worry sightly. She knew that this sort of dependence of each other could only hurt their social skills but didn't know how to approach the subject.
But she supposed if the two of them were staying out of trouble and making good grades, the it wasn't too much of a problem. But if this sort of behavior continued into high school, that would be the time to say something.
Within an hour or so, the sound of the front door opening and quickly slamming shut caught both women by surprise. Suguha peeked out the kitchen to see Kazuto quickly running up to his room, a very real smile on his face while doing so. Looking to Midori for approval, the younger girl ran up the stairs when she saw the nodding head. Without so much as knocking, Suguha burst through the door which caused Kazuto quite the scare. He quickly scrambled to cover something with his pillow before facing his sister. "S-Suguha! Don't you know how to knock!?"
"Isn't it rude just to burst on through the door and not even say hi to me or mom?" She countered. Taking a smug sense of satisfaction in seeing her brother squirm slightly at the statement. Looking over to his side, the girl took a step to the bedside which only made Kazuto move to cover the object more. "What is that?"
"Kazuto. Do I have to look what's under there by force?"
The way she began to move her fingers unnerved the brother slightly. After weighing his options for a moment, a defeated sigh left his lips and got up from the bed. "Well it was meant as a surprise but… Well here you go Suguha."
Her confusion only lasted a moment before a gasp of surprise came out from her lips. From it's hiding spot emerged the box of the VR helmet device, the NerveGear. Alongside it was the copy of the hottest new game for the device, Sword Art Online. "B-But how? I thought all copies were sold out?"
"That's why I've been busy after school." Kazuto confessed, scratching the back of his head. "I was running all around Akihabara and numerous hole in the wall gaming stores to try and find them. It wasn't easy, let me tell you that much but thanks to a forum thread for the beta testers of the game, I managed to snag one. What do yo- Oof!"
The wind was knocked out of the sibling as Suguha lunged herself forward and wrapped the boy in a near bone crushing hug.
"You're the best, Kazuto! You are the best big brother ever!"
"W-Woah, easy there Suguha!" Kazuto said. "You're gonna crush me at this rate."
Suguha got off her brother, but the big grin was still present on her face. "Oh man, I can't believe we get to play this game together on the opening day! The servers go live tomorrow at 1pm, right?"
"Yeah." Kazuto nodded. "We'll log on together and I'll show you around the Town of Beginnings."
"Can we do some hunting too? I want to try battle in the virtual world." the teen's excitement was plain to see.
Kazuto nodded his head. "Sure thing. It's definitely a lot different than any other games you've played, trust me."
"Come to think of it, what's your name in the game?" Suguha asked. "You use your usual handle?"
"Yep. Kirito's always been my name in MMOs."
"Honestly, I would have thought you'd try and be a little more original." Suguha said with a disappointed sigh. "It's almost as boring as using your real name."
"Oh and you're name is so great? Leafa. Really brings the coolness factor to a max, huh?"
"Oh shut up." Suguha said with a giggle as she delivered a playful hit to her brother. A smile was on her face. Games were the place that the two of them had always connected best. The one medium where they could truly have each others back.
"Okay so let's figure out our game plan for when we log on." Kazuto suggested.
Suguha nodded her head. "Yeah, we need to figure out a way to do as much as possible."
Hours passed as the two siblings chatted away about what they would do. Kazuto had been a beta tester, so his experience came in handy with how to best plan their day. Even after dinner was over, the two siblings retreated to Kazuto's room once again and continued planning.
-The next morning-
"Mmmm…" the two siblings blinked opened their groggy eyes. The sight of Midori standing over them slowly came into view. "Hey mom." they both greeted.
Midori shook her head. "Honestly, you two are too much. When I opened the door and found two people in your bed Kazuto, I had thought you'd finally gotten a girlfriend. But it was just another one of your late night "strategy meetings", wasn't it?"
"Sorry mom." Kazuto said with a light-hearted chuckle. "Sugu and I were figuring out what to do for the opening day of Sword Art Online."
"Well you'd best hurry up. It's almost noon."
"Noon?!" the sibling duo gasped together. They quickly scrambled off of Kazuto's bed.
"I've got the shower first! You go get lunch ready!" Suguha told her brother.
"On it! Salad work for you?"
"Whatever's quickest! I don't want to log off early 'cause I'm hungry later."
Midori let out a light hearted giggle. 'Those two sure are something else.'
After a quick lunch and each of them taking showers, it was 12:50. Kazuto and Suguha quickly rushed into their rooms and closed their doors.
"I'll meet you by the main square where you should start." Kazuto called out to Suguha's room. "Just try and make it easy for me to spot you."
"Got it!" Suguha called back.
The two Kirigaya siblings plugged in the software and inserted Sword Art Online. They each put their Nerve Gear on and closed their eyes, big grins on both of their faces as they entered the virtual world.
A/N: So everyone, what did you think of the first chapter? As you can see, the dynamic of the Kirigaya siblings is quite different than from the canon of the show. And trust me when I say this will have an impact over the events of the story as a result. Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed my first outing into SAO territory and hopefully you'll be back for more. R&R if you liked it and have a good day or night!