June 13th, 2018
"Bye, Yuuki! See you tomorrow!"
Asuna Yuuki smiled and politely waved goodbye to her classmates as they all ran from the room. After the door slid shut behind the last one, her hand faltered and fell to the desk limply. "...Aahhhn!" A yawn slipped out before she managed to cover her mouth, and she looked around to see if anyone had noticed. To get caught yawning like that in public...! Mother would be so embarrassed.
Not that it was really her fault, she reasoned. She needed to stay up late studying the night before, after all. And she was glad she'd done so, since some of the material she reviewed last night had shown up on the test. If she'd slacked off like she wanted to, then she might have gotten those questions wrong and her grades would have slipped. But this way, she'd do well, and hopefully make Mother proud.
Asuna quickly jotted down the last of the notes that she'd been in the middle of writing down before placing everything in her bag properly. Now that that's done, it's okay to let herself rest for a bit, she decided, and indulged in a few seconds of stretching luxuriously before standing up and gathering up her school bag. She didn't want to miss the train because she was too late.
She shouldn't have worried about being late, though. Even after reaching the station and waiting for a few minutes, the train hadn't arrived yet. Sitting on the bench at the train station, bag by her side, Asuna wondered if there'd been a delay of some sort earlier in the line. Either way, she thought, she just had to wait patiently and it would arrive. She was good at being patient. Occasionally, a little yawn slipped out of her mouth, and she realized she kept rubbing her eyes sleepily. What was wrong with her?! She'd only stayed up late for a few days in a row, she shouldn't be this tired!
The announcement finally played and she hopped off of the bench. Clutching her bag in both hands, the young girl waited properly behind the yellow line, and then got in the train and took a seat primly. The rest of the train filled up quickly as the other passengers filed on. Fortunately, Asuna was small enough that she didn't feel crowded.
"The doors are now closing. The next stop is..." Asuna hummed happily to herself, idly kicking her legs as the train speaker rattled off the next station. She rode this line a lot, so she knew when her stop was. In fact, she could just sit back and relax. Asuna knew there were several stops before she needed to get off.
There was just something about the gentle rocking of the train that seemed so calming. The warmth from the afternoon July sun felt like a calm embrace, wrapping around her, and Asuna felt her eyes start getting heavy. She blinked a few times, trying to keep her eyelids from drooping, but it just got harder and harder to keep her eyes open... She shook her head and sat up straighter, instead of letting her head fall.
Try as she might, the intervals between when Asuna's eyelids closed and when she was able to open them again just got longer... and longer... and...
"Attention passengers. This is the last stop. Please disembark from the train."
Asuna jolted awake and lifted her head from the back of the train seat. The young girl rubbed at her eyes and got to her feet, grabbing her bag and walking off the train on autopilot. As the doors slid shut behind her and the train started moving, the sleepy girl blinked blearily.
...And then realized that she had no idea where she actually was. Asuna looked around, sleepily confused, but even after a second look the train station didn't change into the familiar one that led home. Instead of the familiar coffee shop, there was an ice cream stand off to her right, and a bookstore she didn't recognize was in front of her. The exit to the station was on the wrong side, too. With a rush of cold surprise, Asuna realized that she'd fallen asleep on the train and missed her stop! And now she didn't know where she was, and she didn't recognize anything, and she turned around to see the last train disappearing down the line.
Her lower lip trembled for the barest instant before she nodded once. N-No, no, she was a big girl. Think, Asuna, she told herself. What could she do? She didn't carry a cell phone, her mother wouldn't allow her to have one just yet. So, calling home was definitely out of the question. Asuna walked over to the bench at the train station and plopped herself down, setting her bag by her side.
She was a big girl, so she could figure out what to do all on her own. Briefly, she wondered if she should just wait until the next train came, but Asuna knew that wouldn't work. Should she try walking home? But she didn't know where this station was, or how long it would take... And she didn't have money to ride the bus... And she didn't know anyone to ask for a ride...
No matter what Asuna thought of, there was always some reason it didn't work. She drew her legs up against her chest and wrapped her arms around her knees, curling up into a little ball. She had to get home soon, or she'd miss dinner, a-and make her mother mad... Her eyes burned suspiciously, and Asuna sniffled.
Asuna was a big girl, and big girls didn't cry. They didn't cry. They didn't... didn't cry...
Big girls didn't get lost either, did they?
Kazuto Kirigaya let out another sigh and shoved his hands in his pockets. The sun was starting to go down, and if he didn't head back soon, he'd be late for dinner, but he kept wandering around anyway. Even though his legs were starting to get tired, he didn't really want to go back to that house.
Four hours had already passed since he left the house without telling his mother or little sister... Or, rather, his aunt and his cousin. Finding out that he'd been adopted, and that the people he'd spent his whole life calling mom and dad were his aunt and uncle, had shocked him to the point that he hadn't even thought to take his treasured bike with him. Kazuto just ran out the door and started walking more or less aimlessly.
His feet led him down streets and routes he knew like the back of his hand, growing up in the area, but things seemed different now that he knew the truth about his parents. Kazuto didn't like feeling different like that. If everything was just gonna remind him that he was adopted, then maybe it would be better to just hide in his room. That computer he'd built... A new game had just come out, right? He could just go play that for a while, until he felt like he could face Sugu and his mom properly...
He reached the train station and considered what he should do. Go home? Stay out and take the train somewhere? His stomach groaned quietly in complaint, and Kazuto sighed. Just as he had made the decision to turn around and head home to get dinner, he heard the quiet sounds of someone sniffling and crying.
Now, Kazuto was a quiet boy, and he tended to keep to himself more than most. But even still, he was still a good person, and it wasn't in his nature to be able to ignore those sounds. So, he followed his ears through the station, until he stood in front of one of the benches. A young girl - Kazuto figured she was... probably about his age - was sitting on the bench, hugging her knees to her chest and hiding her face. He wasn't totally sure, but by the way her shoulders would shake every few seconds, he was pretty sure that she was the one crying quietly.
"Um... Are you okay?"
Kazuto was almost surprised at the sound of his own voice. He hadn't really meant to speak up, but he just said something without thinking. The girl hiccupped and looked up, and Kazuto blinked in surprise. Despite crying, the girl was... really, really pretty. Her chestnut-colored hair framed her face, highlighting brown eyes that were red from crying. Trails of tears ran down the girl's cheeks and she hiccupped again, staring at him. "I-I am," she said after a second, her voice weak. It still sounded like a bell's chimes to Kazuto.
Kazuto scratched the back of his head and took a seat next to her. "Sorry," he said. "But... I heard you crying, and I didn't want to just leave you alone..."
He wasn't quite sure what to say after that, so he just fell silent and watched the people moving back and forth in front of them. There were a lot of people in suits, even though the trains weren't running on this line anymore. Idly, he wondered where they were all going in such a hurry. "...I missed my stop and now I don't know where I am."
"Eh?" He turned, half-wondering if he'd imagined the girl's small voice. "Oh, um... Well, the next train isn't until tomorrow morning, so you can't stay here."
"I know that," she mumbled into her knees. "But I can't figure out what I'm supposed to do now, and I'm going to be late for dinner, and-" Her mouth closed abruptly, cutting her sentence off halfway.
"Um..." Kazuto scratched his cheek sheepishly. "Well, I live nearby, so my mom might be able to help. Do you wanna come home with me?" The girl was silent, and Kazuto noticed that she was staring at him out of the corner of her eye, judging him suspiciously. "I-I'm not trying to be creepy, I just thought that Mom could call your parents and maybe you'd like to eat dinner with us, that's all..."
The flustered boy stumbled over his words, but he trailed off when he heard the girl giggle. "Eheheh..." she laughed quietly, before giving him a weak smile. "Okay..."
"Great! Then, let's go," Kazuto said, hopping off the bench. "My house isn't too far away, so it'll only be about thirty minutes to walk." Sure, it took him a few hours to reach this point earlier, but that was because he was meandering earlier. If he took the right roads, he would probably make it in the thirty minutes. The girl sniffled one last time and wiped at her face before silently grabbing her bag and hopping off of the bench. "Oh, that's right," Kazuto said suddenly. "I never asked what your name is. I'm Kazuto Kirigaya, but you can call me Kazuto."
The girl's lips twitched in a small smile. "Thank you for offering to help me, Kazuto," she said. "My name is Asuna Yuuki."
Kazuto had meant well when he offered to take Asuna to his house so she could call her parents, but he hadn't expected how awkward it would be to walk home with her following him. At first, he wasn't sure what to talk about, and every time he looked over at her, she seemed to sense the attention and look over, grinning at him innocently. "So, um... Asuna..." He had tried calling her Yuuki at first, but she insisted on him calling her Asuna.
"Uh..." Kazuto wracked his brain for a conversation subject, since just walking in silence was weird, until a slightly familiar building caught his attention. "See that building there?" Asuna nodded. "A few months ago, I planted some... Salvia, that's what the flower's called. My little sister really likes how they look, so I'm gonna give her some for her birthday next year!"
Asuna smiled. "That sounds like a nice present. How old is your sister?"
"Ah, Sugu's only a year younger than me." Kazuto pointed to the park they were walking by. "We used to play there all the time a few years back, but now she's always so busy with kendo that we never go." Plus, he himself was all but a shut-in when he could get away with it. He just liked games more than playing outside, that was all. Then, he saw a small ramen shop where he and his mom would always stop when he did well on his tests. "And that place has great ramen..."
Like that, he kept pointing out little things on the way home, just to fill the silence at first and then because Asuna seemed to be genuinely interested. Places he went with Suguha, places he went with his mom, places he went on his own. The trip down memory lane lasted him until they made it to his house, and he opened the door. "I'm home," he called out.
The heavy thump-thump-thump of running feet answered him, rapidly growing louder until Suguha slid into the main hallway from the living room. She must have run from the opposite end of the house, Kazuto realized. "Kazuto! You're home!" she exclaimed. "Where did you go?!"
"On a walk, Sugu," he replied patiently. "And we have a guest."
Asuna looked over. "Oh wow, your sister is really cute," Asuna said.
Kazuto glanced at her, then at his little sister. Suguha was definitely younger than Asuna, and her hair was shorter. She wore a flower clip in her hair to keep her bangs out of her face, whereas Asuna didn't have any hair decorations at all. Suguha was wearing a pink tanktop - she must have been practicing kendo, Kazuto realized - while Asuna was still wearing what he guessed was her school uniform.
Suguha stared at Asuna, and then turned to the doorway to the living room and kitchen. "Moooom!" she called out. "Kazuto kidnapped a girl and brought her here!"
"Hey!" Kazuto protested. "I did not! Sugu!"
"What's going on, you two?" Kazuto and Suguha's mother, Midori, walked into the hallway. "Oh, and who's this?"
Asuna clutched her bag in front of her and bowed politely. "Hello. My name is Asuna Yuuki," she said. "Kazuto was kind enough to help me out when I missed my stop and got lost." Looking at her now, Kazuto knew that nobody would believe that he met her while she was crying.
Midori folded her arms and smiled fondly. "Well now, aren't you the cute one? And so polite, too. My son has good taste." Kazuto blushed horribly, feeling his cheeks and ears burn with embarrassment. He glanced over at Asuna, and she was just as crimson as he felt. Suguha made a little noise of irritation and puffed out her cheeks, pouting at Kazuto. "Come on in, let's call your parents. I'm sure they're worried about you."
After that point, it was a bit of a whirlwind of activity. Asuna was brought into the kitchen and given the phone, where she called her parents. Kazuto did his best not to listen to the conversation, though it wasn't easy since he and Suguha were sitting on the couch. For some reason, his little sister was being incredibly clingy, quietly refusing to do anything other than sit by his side and hug his arm. He didn't mind all that much, it wasn't like he disliked Suguha or anything, but the way she kept peeking over the top of the couch into the kitchen where Asuna was talking was... kinda weird.
Oh well. He decided to just chalk it up to his cute little sister being cute.
He and Suguha watched TV on the couch together, laughing at the antics of the characters. How long had it been since the two of them watched a show together, Kirito wondered. Most of the time he watched anything he wanted to see in his own room, so there wasn't much reason to come all the way down to the living room. Maybe... Maybe he should start watching some shows in the living room? This was kinda nice. He was in the center, and Suguha was snuggled up against his right side, so both of them had plenty of room.
The soft patter of footsteps caught his attention, and he looked over just as Asuna took a seat on the couch. "My parents are coming soon," she said, sitting neatly. As opposed to Suguha, who'd more or less draped herself over Kazuto. "It should only be a half hour or so. I'm very sorry to impose."
"N-No, it's fine," Kazuto said sheepishly, scratching his cheek. "I was the one who invited you here, after all..."
Asuna blinked and nodded. "You're his little sister, right?" she asked, leaning over a little bit. "I haven't introduced myself properly. My name is Asuna Yuuki. Your big brother has helped me out a lot today."
"It's nice to meet you," Sugu said, still clinging to Kazuto. "I'm Suguha Kirigaya. Sorry you had to put up with Kazuto..."
"Hey, Sugu," Kazuto started to protest, only to be interrupted by a girlish giggle.
He and Suguha looked over at Asuna, who was hiding her mouth with her hand. Still, that couldn't hide the way she was giggling happily. "I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to laugh. It's just that I was surprised you got along so well. Then again, Kazuto was talking about you so much on the way here, I shouldn't be."
"You were talking about me?" Suguha asked Kazuto, blinking up at him. He gave her a weak grin in response. "...Wait, Kazuto? You got a girl this pretty to call you by your first name?!"
"Don't be rude," Kazuto hissed at his little sister. She stuck out her tongue in response. "Sorry, Asuna," he apologized. "She's usually better behaved than this." Suguha punched him in the arm lightly and he winced. She packed a punch, even when holding back. "Anyway, we're watching TV, you're welcome to watch with us."
Asuna smiled and said, "Sure!"
The three of them were watching TV happily when Midori walked into the room. "Asuna," she said, "your parents just pulled up in front of the doorway."
"Alright," Asuna said, hopping off of the couch and smoothing out her skirt. "Thank you for having me," she said politely as she waited by the door. Kazuto and Suguha followed her out, standing in the hall.
Kazuto raised a hand in silent farewell, only to jerk in surprise when Suguha nudged him in the ribs. Say goodbye properly, her look said, and he sighed. "I'm glad we could help out," he said finally.
Asuna smiled at him, before her cute face wrinkled in thought. "...I know!" she said suddenly, and Kazuto blinked. "You have to come visit at some point! That way I can make it up to you, okay?"
"Really, it's fine..."
Asuna planted her hands on her hips. "You have to come visit. I know your home phone, so I'll call soon, okay?"
Kazuto blinked blankly. "Um, okay..."
A brisk knock on the door interrupted the rest of the conversation. Asuna turned around as Midori opened the door. "Hello there," she said. "You must be Asuna's mother."
"Yes," a woman said. Kazuto and Suguha stared up at the woman; she had hair a darker shade of brown than Asuna's, but the most striking thing Kazuto noticed was how cold her face looked. "I apologize for any trouble my daughter may have caused you."
"No problem at all," Midori replied. "Kids, what are you going to do, right? The important thing is that everyone's fine."
Asuna's mother nodded briskly. "Come along, Asuna. Dinner is going to get cold."
"Yes, Mother," Asuna replied. She slipped her shoes on and turned around to bow one more time to the Kirigaya family. "I'll see you soon, Kazuto!" she said with a huge grin on her face.
Once the door closed, Midori turned and grinned at her son. "Look at you, Kazuto. Already playing the field, and you're only ten. Make sure you don't turn into a heartbreaker, got it?"
"Mooooom," Kazuto wailed, mortified. Beside him, Suguha huffed quietly. "It's not like that at all!"
Oh no I've done a thing, why didn't any of you stop me. I ran this by several people, what is wrong with all of you.
So welcome to my latest project. Hopefully things go pretty well... Though as you should all know by now, the quality of my writing is one of those chapter-by-chapter sort of things. The idea of this is roughly 'Kazuto meets Asuna when both are kids, discuss'. It's inspired in part by Prince of Swords (a good read, even if it's dead), in part by SAO: The Eroge, and in part by god damn it I want to write a Kirito harem story.
A few things:
1) This is actually in 3rd person for once. I wanted some more practice with it, since everything I've written so far is in first person. I'll try to keep it 3rd person limited, but forgive the occasional slip, okay? Thanks.
2) Just gonna make it clear right now, this is a Kirito/Harem story. Everyone clear with that? Okay? Good. Now no whining when it turns into a harem, got it?
3) Minor changes to canon (SAO will start in September instead of November, a few characters that weren't part of the original story will be in Aincrad) but other than that most of the differences should be butterflies.
4) Chapter will be as long as they need to be, but expect around 3, 4 thousand words per chapter. Some of them might be longer or shorter, though. And, uh, don't expect regular updates? If I have some chapters written I'll post them weekly, but for the first while it'll be when I write them.
It's not going to be too dark and heavy, but probably not as light-hearted as Sister Overload was. Either way, let's have some fun!
(seriously i discussed this project with a couple people. neos why didn't you stop me)