Disclaimer: I don't own anything at all related to .hack.

Author's Notes: Yes, I'm obsessed. So what? Sometimes obsession is a good thing. Tee hee. Anyway, yet another Kite/BlackRose. What? Don't look at me like that. You know you like them too. ^_~ Pure mush ahead, with a little drama thrown in as well. Takes place sometime during Quarantine. Not quite sure where I'm going with this so hold on to your keyboards, folks. You've been warned. ^_~

Ende des Tages (German. Day's End)

It was amazing. A sunset in The World was just as beautiful as one in reality. There was probably something fundamentally wrong with that, but Kite couldn't quiet grasp what it was. All he knew was that the wavy rays of orange, red, pink, and yellow that graced the horizon were truly spectacular, and not diminished at all by the fact that the sun would never actually set. The field they were in was in a state of perpetual dusk, the twilight suspended. A little eerie perhaps, considering the connotations of the word, but beautiful nonetheless.

Laying flat on his back on a small hillside, Kite had a great view of the half hidden sun though he found himself a bit disgruntled by the lens flare that moved every time he turned his head. His companion seemed unaffected by it though, probably because she had her eyes closed. Laying beside him, he could almost think she was asleep, her arms folded behind her head. She had been pretty quiet since they had arrived, not once complaining about the beating they had taken by three Hands of God in the last dungeon. They had emerged victorious, of course, but had decided to call it day and retreat to a lower level where they could catch their breath.

It was really rather peaceful, Kite decided. Just him and BlackRose. It took him back to when they had first met and the battles the two of them had fought alone, before they had found other allies in their cause. Not for the first time he wondered what made them such a great team. With opposite personalities and differing views on almost everything, it seemed they were bound by having the same reason to fight. There was more to it, of course. Kite's quiet command was balanced by BlackRose's fiery determinism, her tenacity with his mercy.

Perfectly matched, Wiseman had said, watching Kite's face with cool amusement. He had no idea what had prompted the Wavemaster to turn romantic philosopher but Kite had barely escaped from a dozen intellectual pearls of wisdom regarding the fairer sex. If it had been anyone but Wiseman, Kite would have thought it was a joke, maybe some trick of Nuke's, but the Wavemaster never offered false advice.

Which meant that he had somehow gotten the idea that Kite and BlackRose were…well…more than friends. Kite felt embarrassed just thinking about it.

Mostly because Wiseman was right.

It was definitely unknown to the rest of their friends, and sometimes still unspoken between Kite and BlackRose themselves, but the feelings were there, they just often came last to everything else in their hectic lives. Kite could still remember the moment when he had dared to intertwine his fingers with BlackRose's, mostly because he had been relieved she hadn't deprived him of those same fingers with her sword, but also because she had smiled at him and squeezed his hand in return. Instances like those had been scattered through their time together the last few days, a glance, a Pha Repth when the other didn't quite need it yet, and a certain amount of protectiveness in their battles with monsters and particularly Data Bugs. Kite had been unsure of this newfound thing between them, but now he was becoming comfortable with their not-quite-talked-about relationship. It seemed somehow… natural.

"I'm tired," BlackRose said suddenly, ruby eyes opening blearily. She rubbed at them with the back of one hand.

"Me, too," he agreed simply, pleasantly surprised when he felt small slender fingers curl into his and squeeze his hand as if to give him reassurance. Turning his head in the grass, he smiled at her. She winked back.

"Do you think Sanjuro is looking for us?" she asked absently after a moment, her gaze focused on the rainbow sky. He laughed softly.

"I don't know. We did leave him rather suddenly," he recalled, remembering their hasty farewell to the samurai at the last dungeon's Gott Statue, suddenly anxious to spend some time alone. Across from him, BlackRose chuckled, a merry sound.

"Hey, what're you up to, kids?" she mocked, using her best Sanjuro voice. "Training! That's what you should be doing. DISCIPLINE!"

"Now you sound like Moonstone," Kite teased, watching her reaction from the corner of his eyes. His partner snorted.

"Are you kidding? That guy has never said more than a half a word to me. I'd have a heart attack if he strung so many words together."

"True, but I think he trains more than anyone else I know," Kite replied thoughtfully, recalling some of his earliest emails from the silver-haired Twin Blade. He gracefully decided not to mention Moonstone's gentler side when dealing with puppies as he didn't want to ruin the Twin Blade's stoic reputation. "I wonder if— "

He was cut off by a terrified scream that made him sit straight up, BlackRose rising with him, garnet eyes wide.


Kite pointed to a figure running headlong in the distance, his body beginning to tense, coiling like a spring. It was a feeling that always heralded a battle and he found his daggers in his hands almost before he knew it. "There."

As they watched, another figure suddenly teleported in behind the other, this one running after the first with the persistence of a hound. It was almost a surprise when he caught up, slicing his blade down the back of the other player with a fiendish glee. Another scream pierced the air but was cut short as the first character turned a dark gray and disintegrated, gone as quickly as he had appeared.

Next to Kite, BlackRose's voice was low and harsh.

"Player Killer."

Kite could only nod sharply, his face white with helpless anger. Wasn't it enough that The World was infected, Data Bugs destroying fields and characters alike? Did there have to be players who abused The World like this? Killing with impunity?

It made him physically sick.

It only made BlackRose angry.

With one smooth motion, she was on her feet, broadsword in hand as she stomped angrily away from him, her gaze fixed on the Blademaster who had not yet seen her. Her voice rose in the dusky twilight.

"Hey! Hey, you! What do you think you're doing? You can't just go around PKing whoever you want! There are rules, you know!"

A shiver moved over Kite's digital skin like a cold breeze as the Player Killer turned slowly, dark eyes alighting on the enraged Heavy Blade moving towards him. For a moment, Kite thought the PKer would teleport away and escape, but then the Blademaster raised his sword, a smirk curving his lips and a challenging light flaring across his face. BlackRose sneered in answer.

Kite felt himself lurch forward.

Two swords crashed together, the sound pealing through the meadow, sunlight flashing off metal and spewing sparks that danced in the eyes before disappearing. The Blademaster was pushed back by the pure force of BlackRose's attack and she stepped forward to close the space between them, relentless as an avalanche.

"This is so incredibly stupid," she raged, twisting as the Blademaster's sword tried to skewer her. She responded with a hard blow to his ribs that made him gasp. Not a killing move but one designed to teach him a lesson. Don't mess with me. "It's people like you that destroy everything The World was created for."

The Blademaster suddenly grinned, speaking for the first time. "No, that's your job."

BlackRose blinked, off balance. "What…?"

Seeing his moment of opportunity, the Blademaster whipped out a tarot card, a strange mixture of rage and grief flitting across his face. Kite shouted out wordlessly, reaching out towards BlackRose even though he was still too far away.

"This is for Dixie." The PKer's eyes glinted dangerously and BlackRose stepped backwards, finally realizing the danger she was in. "The Hanged Man!"

Kite's feet couldn't move fast enough. "No!"

But he was too late. A dusting of gold settled over his partner, freezing her in place, a shocked expression on her face. The Blademaster breathed out harshly and moved towards her, looping an arm around her waist while avoiding the sharp edge of her sword.

Kite hefted one of his daggers into his hand, preparing to throw it but the Player Killer moved behind his defenseless partner, using her as a shield and destroying any chance of a clean shot.

"This is only what you deserve," the Blademaster remarked coldly. Gold rings lifted from the ground as he logged out. "Just remember that."

Then he was gone, along with the girl Kite was coming to love.

The Twin Blade's hands shook but he forced his feelings aside and jumped into action. In a flurry of gold circles, Kite gated out, remerging instantaneously into Dun Lorieag, blinking sun glare out of his eyes as he looked around wildly.

There was no sign of the Blademaster or BlackRose.

Within seconds, Kite had thrown himself at the Chaos Gate and transferred to Mac Anu, taking a precursory glance before heading to each of the other Root Towns, finally collapsing to his knees in the middle of Net Slum as he looked around despondently, completely defeated.

She was nowhere to be found.

Kite couldn't understand it. The Blademaster could not have teleported to another field, that was impossible. He would have had to go through another Chaos Gate and Kite had checked all of them without success. It was possible that he had missed them by a microsecond but surely someone would have seen her. After all, BlackRose was well-known as being a very high level player and often seen in the company of Balmung of the Azure Sky. That made her, as well as him, a target for newbies wanting to see a veteran player. And yet no one had been gathered around the Gates, whispering of having seen the fiery Heavy Blade.

Kite had no idea what to do.

Why had the PKer taken her? What could he possibly accomplish? As soon as the paralysis spell wore off, BlackRose would be able to log out if she was in a Root Town, or even just reset her computer if she was being held within a field. No matter what, the real life BlackRose should be safe.

Then why did he feel as if something terrible was happening to her?

Choking back a cry, he slammed a fist against the ground, frustrated and worried beyond words. If the Blademaster had killed her…

"Kite, what are you doing? What's wrong?" A silky smooth voice questioned from above him. Kite raised his head, a small hope rekindled in his chest, and he felt his will harden into steel.

He would not fail her.

"Helba, I need your help."

To Be Continued…