.hack//Legend of the Twilight

Twilight Dawn

Abstract: So how does one cope when one's twin is basically brain dead?
Rena's coping with it well... sort of.

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Rena was panting heavily as she faced down the Red Wyrm alone. She had
already used up her supply of health drinks and she had no recovery skills.
Not that it would matter, her sp was already dangerously low. And her hp
was almost at 0 as well.

"Looks like this is it," Rena said, sweat matting her pink hair. "It's
now or never." She raised her huge sword over her head and charged. The
Red Wyrm began to one of its own skills, one that Rena was sure was going
to kill her.

"Wolf Rush!" A gray blur struck through the Red Wyrm and it was destroyed.
Ouka morphed into her human form and stood proudly. She blew into her fist
and rubbed it on her chest. "Jake Berenger, eat your heart out," she said
smugley. "Hey Rena, how did you like the new skill I developed?"

"Ouka, what are you doing here?" Rena asked, more harsh than she intended.

"I came to help you out. You know you're not suppose to take on a high-level
field without a party."

"How did you know I needed help?"

"I told her." Balmung appeared. "I've been monitoring you."

"You've been spying on me?" Rena accused.

Balmung simply took out a sheet of paper. "In the past ten days, you've logged-
in twenty-five times, each time you tackled a field that's over twice your current
level, brought no healing supplies and you came close to dying thirty times."
Balmung looked up at the heavy-blade master. "One would think you had a death wish."

Rena sat down and crossed her legs indian style. "I... I guess I was hoping that
if I died as well, I would meet up with Shugo."

Balmung's eyes narrowed and Ouka put on a look of shock. Ouka spoke first, "Rena,
are you crazy?"

"Shugo's character data was corrupted by the bracelet," Balmung explained. "The
virus implanted in it eventually overwhelmed the data and destroyed it. The
feedback caused a disbansion of the neurons that were connected through his
helmet interface." Rena and Ouka stared at Balmung. Obviously, they had no
idea what he was talking about. "Shugo's brain was infected by the virus in
his bracelet. It quite literally made him brain dead."

"Stop it! Stop talking like that!" Rena shouted. "You're talking like he's just
another data file."

"In CC Corp's eyes, yes, he is just another data file."

"STOP TALKING LIKE THAT!" Rena shouted. "HE'S NOT JUST ANOTHER COMPUTER PROGRAM!
HE'S A PERSON, A HUMAN BEING, SOMEONE WHO WE FOUGHT WITH, SOMEONE WHO WE LAUGHED WITH
AND HAD FUN WITH! HOW CAN YOU, OF ALL PEOPLE, JUST WRITE HIM OFF? DO YOU ALWAYS ACT
SO HEARTLESS OR IS IT A CC CORP TRAIT?" That triggered something within Balmung.
He clenched his fist tightly.

"Rena, I think what Balmung's trying to say is that is that what happened to Shugo
is a lot different than getting wasted by a Red Wyrm."

"Oh... Balmung, I'm sorry, it's just that... it's hard to describe it, I don't think
something like this has ever happened before."

"But it has," Balmung argued.

"What?" Both Ouka and Rena asked.

"Four years ago, several of The World players went into comas because of a data bug,"
Balmung said evenly. "One of them was my best friend, Orca. Believe me, I know
what it's like to be helpless while a friend is in danger."

"Balmung, I'm sorry, I had no idea," Rena said. She embraced the Descendant of
Fianna's lower region (seeing as how she couldn't reach his shoulder).

"I went to see the grave the other day," Ouka mused. "It was a nice day out, I
ended up taking a nap next to the grave. It almost felt like Shugo was sleeping
right next to me."

Rena fell back onto the ground. She stared at the sky. She remembered the little
"game" that Shugo and Ouka played when they first met. Now that she thought about it,
it was rather cute (at least until Ouka revealed her real form).

Shugo... he always was able to lighten up her mood. Even in his rather perverted state,
he brought a smile to her face. After their parents got divorced, she relied heavily on
him because he was the only link she had to her old life. Shugo always remained the same,
even through the divorce. Rena guessed that she would have to move on now. Forget
about the past and face the future, an uncertain, almost frightening, brother-less future.
But she wouldn't be alone, she had Ouka, and Balmung, and Mireille, her parents. She
knew that none of them could take Shugo's place in her heart, but they would provide a
shoulder for her to lean on, should she ever need it.

"Come on," Ouka said hauling Rena to her feet. "Let's get Mireille and we can go on a
dungeon adventure.

"Okay," Rena complied.

Suddenly a low rumble echoed through a field. A large longarm on a Grunty was charging
towards them. It skidded to a hault. "Never fear, oh beautiful Rena, I, Komiyan the III
shall rescue you!"

"Um... the monster's already been defeated," Ouka informed him. Komiyan fell off his
Grunty.

"That's the fifth time this week he did that," Balmung commented.

"I guess we found Shugo's replacement for comic relief," Rena said smiling the first time
in a long while. The three then gate out.

"Curse that Shugo," Komiyan grumbled as he hauled himself back onto his Grunty. "Even in
death, he continues to snatch the fair and gorgeous Rena away from me." Komiyan's head
lowered. "Still... I wish there was a lot less bloody method to get him out of the way."
That would be the closest Shugo would ever get to receiving a compliment from Komiyan.

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Shugo had lost track of time since he was reunited with Aura. It felt like he been in
this strange nothingness forever. Since then, they had walked and talked. And Shugo
was just glad he was getting to see her again. But something had been bothering him.

"Aura," he said. "I'm glad I'm with you and all, but... I miss my friends also. I wish
I could see them again."

"You can." Aura touched her head to Shugo's and Shugo could see Rena, Mireille, and Ouka.
They were traveling through a fortress dungeon. Suddenly a huge monster appeared. Rena
and Ouka attacked while Mireille hung back and healed them. Through some careful strategy
and the right skills, the three girls were able to defeat it."

"Wow, Rena's gotten a lot stronger since I died," Shugo commented. "I guess... since I'm
not there to hold her down."

Aura never stopped smiling, but her eyes turned sad. Suddenly, Shugo felt a distant emotion.
And this emotion was a color, a bluish color.

~Huh? What's this I'm feeling? Sadness? Well of course I would be sad, I... no, wait, this
isn't my sadness, and it's not Aura's. It's... Rena's! Rena's sad... over my passing...~
Shugo finally understood. His sister did miss him, miss him a lot, probably the most out of
anybody. Because... he was more than just her twin brother, he was a part of her. When he
died, it was like a part of her died with him, like she had an arm chopped off or a leg.
Shugo felt an emotion that he hadn't felt in a long time: gladness.

"Shugo." Shugo's attention turned back to Aura. She was showing him a new vision. Once
again, Rena, Mireille, and Ouka were facing down a monster, much bigger than the one he
previously saw them fighting. But this time, the girls' expressions were those of pure
fright.

"Rena, I don't recognize this monster," Mireille said clutching her Wavemaster wand close to
her.

"Neither do I," Ouka threw in. "Perhapd CC Corp just put it in."

"Why would they do that without telling... Mireille, behind you!" Somehow, the monster snuck
behind the Wavemaster and smashed her against the wall. Mireille's hp automatically went to 0
and she fell.

"Mireille!" Rena cried.

"Rena, go get Mireille back on her feet," Ouka instructed. "I'll handle it!"

"But I don't have any healing elements!"

"What?" The monster tried striking Ouka but she dodged it. "Fine. Rena, here!" Ouka threw
Rena a resurrect.

And the monster destroyed it even before it reached Rena's hands.

Ouka cursed. "Rena, take over!" Ouka and Rena switched positions. Rena tried her skills but
the monster was able to evade all of them. Rena tried scroll magic but the monster seemed to
absorb it.

"Fine," Rena said. "Guess I'll take you out the old fashion way!" Rena swung her sword and
struck a protruding blade in the monster's forearm. Another blade extended from the monster's
other forearm and the monster knicked Rena's forearm. Rena's hp went down by a quarter.
~Is it a data bug?~ Rena thought. ~No, it can't be, the area around us isn't infected. This
is actually more horrible than a data bug! I wish Shugo was here. He'd be able to defeat
this by data draining. Shugo, please, help me!~

Shugo pulled himself away from Aura, not wanting to see any more of the battle. He paced around.
"This is insane! My sister's in trouble! The one time she really needs me, I'm stuck here! And
there's no way I can help her!"

"There is," Rena argued. Shugo stared at her. "I can give you your life back."

Shugo recalled their first meeting. Rena gave Shugo Kite's bracelet. And the kiss... she brought
him back with a kiss. But something was bothering him. "Aura...?"

Aura could sense what he was thinking and nodded. "Yes. I can exchange my life force with yours.
That will enabel you to return to The World."

"But... what will happen to you?"

"I will cease to exist."

"But... I'll never see you again."

Aura, her smile never waning, shook her head. She took his hand and held it to her heart. Shugo
blushed. "Remember what I said, as long as we walk together, I will always be with you. And
right now, there is someone who needs you more." Aura took Shugo into her arms and kissed him
once again. But unlike the first time, this was a full blown make-out session. Shugo could only
respond in kind.

Aura's body disappeared and a pair of strange golden daggers appeared. Shugo vanished.

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Balmung gated in to the field where Shugo's gravesite was. He took a look around then opened up
a live communication channel.

"It's me. Delta Memorial Descendant Hero is clear. Moving on." As Balmung got ready to gate
out, the tombstone disappeared. Balmung gasped, then more so as something, or rather someone
appeared in its place.

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"Resurrect!" Ouka quickly used a resurrect on Mireille then quickly pulled the Wavemaster to
safety. Meanwhile, Rena suffered another blow, bringing her hp down to half its normal
strength. "Rena, we have to get out of here!"

"But how?" Rena asked as she blocked another attack. "The metal gates are up until the
battle's over."

The monster let out a feral roar. Rena, Mireille, and Ouka backed up against the wall.

"Looks like we have no choice, we have to reset our terminals, otherwise we'll never get out
of here!" Mireille cried. The three dodged the monster. "The problem is he isn't giving us
any time to do it!"

~Shugo,~ Rena thought. ~Looks like I'll be coming to join you after all.~

"Tiger Claw!" A red tornado burst into the room and forced the monster away from the girls.
It kept spinning and striking the monster until it fell on its butt. The tornado stopped.
It was a Twin Blade dressed in red clothes with strange markings on them. He held a pair of
glowing silver daggers over his face. As he stood on both feet, he lowered the daggers from
his face.

It was Shugo.

Shugo turned towards the girls. "Hey, are you three all right?" Mireille could only nod.

"Behind you!" Came Balmung's voice. Shugo dropped down barely missing the monster's forearm
blade.

"Trying to sneak up from behind?" Shugo cracked. "Bad computer monster. Tiger Claw!" He
spun again and attacked the monster. Again, it fell on its butt and got up.

"I never seen this monster," Balmung commented. "But it's not a data bug. CC Corp must've
put this in on purpose, but why?"

"Balmung, is that..." Mireille began.

"Yes," Balmung confirmed. "That is Shugo. He appeared on the field where his grave was and
told me you three were in danger. So I tracked you down through your records and we came
here."

"Oh man, I can't believe Shugo's back, I also can't believe he's fighting so well," Ouka
commented.

Rena could only stare in shock. All speech, all sound escaped her, she couldn't even breath.
One thougth kept running through her mind: Shugo was back, her brother had returned.

"Take this! Twilight Daggers!" Shugo threw the daggers which turned into beams of light and
penetrated the monster. The daggers returned to Shugo. "I see, it looks like I'm going to
have to go serious on you nut job! Aura Spirit!" Shugo crossed the daggers in front of him
and a strange white mist came out of them. The mist formed an image of Aura which went into
the monster. The monster turned white then disintegrated. All the gates opened.

Shugo turned towards the others. "Is everyone all right?"

"Nothing serious fortunately," Balmung reported.

Shugo sheathed his daggers. He turned towards the girls and smiled embarrassingly. "Um...
hey, guys, long time, no see."

Yup, it was Shugo all right.

Mireille and Ouka ran up to him. Mireille embraced him tightly while Ouka gave him a
noogie.

"Hey, hey, watch the hat, watch the hat," Shugo said.

"That was some pretty slick fighting there, kiddo," Ouka said. "Almost as good as me."

"I can't believe you're alive! Where did you get such cool daggers? Are they a rare
item?"

"You could say that," Shugo replied. A clearing of Balmung's throat reminded Shugo that
Rena was also there. He turned towards his twin sister. She was staring at him
neutrally. "Um... hi, Rena, how're things?" When Rena didn't say anything, Shugo was
afraid that he made her mad again. He waited her to start fighting with him, telling
him things like 'why didn't you tell me you were alive' and 'I can't believe you
deceived me.' Actually, Shugo couldn't blame her, that's what he would say if he was
her.

But he wasn't her.

Mireille and Ouka backed up. For what seemed like forever, the twins stared at each
other. Then, to Shugo's surprise (as well as relief), Rena smiled and her eyes swelled
up with tears (Shugo wondered how that was possible in a game). She ran towards him and
threw her arms around him, pressing her mouth against his. The momentum made them crash
to the ground.

The others suddenly decided that the walls were the most interesting thing in the room.

Rena crushed her face against Shugo's neck, more tears dripping on him. "Shugo! My
wish came true. You're back, you're really back!"

"You bet, sis. I'm back and I'll stay back for a long time."

"I'm so happy," Rena said.

"I was so worried about you," Shugo said.

"As was I," Rena agreed.

"But Shugo," Mireille said as the twins got up. "Just how did you come back to life."

Shugo's smile disappeared and his head lowered in a gesture of remorse. "It was Aura."

"Aura, the girl who gave you the bracelet?" Mireille questioned.

Shugo nodded. "She saw how badly I wanted to return so she sacrificed her own life force
to return me to the World and even gave me these cool Twilight Daggers. I... I literally
owe her my life. Now I won't be able to repay her."

"If the Aura you're talking about is the same Aura I remembered," Balmung said. "Then
she doesn't expect any repayment."

"I owe her a lot too," Rena said. "She made me complete again by returning you to me."
Rena hugged her brother again. The others also smiled.

"I think it's better if we all return to Mac Anu," Balmung said. "It'll be more comfortable
there anyway."

"Yeah, let's go, Rena." Holding hands, Shugo and Rena used a sprite ocarina to gate out.
The others followed suite.

A/N: Well, it's over, this chapter anyway. But some of you might say 'hey wait a minute, how
can Shugo's mind be in The World when his body isn't hooked up to a terminal? It's the
Tsukasa syndrome, only with a much more simple solution (seeing as how LotT is a much more
simple story then Sign). And just how is Shugo suppose to return to his normal body anyway?
Well, I'm currently working on a chapter that explains just that.