Author's Note: Thanks for all the feedback! I truly enjoyed writing this story and may the Kite/BlackRose fandom live forever!

Ende des Tages

Part 4

BlackRose was on edge. She couldn't see, but she could hear the fight taking place in front of her, and the sound of steel against steel rubbed against every nerve in her body until she wanted to scream for them to stop. She knew Kite could take care of himself, but the fact that she couldn't see him made her frustration know no bounds. What if he got hurt and needed her? What good was she to him without her skills as a fighter?

Unconsciously, her fingers rose to her lips, her sightless eyes filling with tears. He was fighting to save her and she could do nothing.

Nothing.

A Flash Mail dinged in her ear.

It was from Helba.

BlackRose gasped as the contents sunk in and then, without thinking, she rushed forward, half tripping down the hill towards the sounds of battle. She thought she might have made it halfway when a hand caught her arm, her momentum forcing the other person to swung her around the way she had come.

"I can't let you interfere," a young voice said. It was the one who had giggled at her helplessness in the church courtyard. Fantasia. "The fight's between them."

BlackRose struggled to free herself. "I don't care! It's all a misunderstanding! Kite!"

Her shout must have caught his attention because there was the sound of blades scraping together as they were pulled apart and then a heartbeat of silence as he turned towards her, his voice fierce.

"I thought we agreed— " He cut off with a grunt and she imagined the Blademaster ramming the hilt of his weapon into Kite's stomach, causing him to double over in sudden pain.

"She won't be hurt as long as she doesn't interfere," the Blademaster said flatly.

BlackRose gritted her teeth, temper flaring. "Kite!" Fantasia now tightened a two handed grip on her elbows.

"I can't hold her, Rook!" Fantasia called, even as BlackRose managed to twist away, stumbling forward towards the place she had last heard Kite. To her right, she heard the sound of the Blademaster moving quickly towards her, intending to cut her off. For one agonizingly slow moment, she heard every blade of grass bend under his steps, the rush of air as it breezed over the razor edge of his sword. With a sudden grace and ease of movement, BlackRose moved to the side just as the blade sliced through the air her head had previously occupied, losing a few strands of bright hair in the process.

There was an intake of breath a few feet in front of her and she turned her dodge into a roll, coming up on her feet and throwing herself forward. As she knew he would, Kite caught her, pressing her to him as he spun them to avoid another sword swipe by the Blademaster.

BlackRose had had enough.

Stepping away from the protection of Kite's arms, she lifted both hands, focused as she had done a moment before, and stopped the Blademaster's sword three inches from her face, palms pressed flat against the blade in a move that negated it's downward arc.

Silence descended on the field.

From behind her, Kite's voice was incredulous. "BlackRose…"

"This fight is meaningless," she said firmly, a hint of anger deepening her tone. She felt Rook try to jerk his sword away but she held on, forcing him to remain where he was. "I know what happened to Dixie and it wasn't Kite's fault."

She felt her partner's confusion but could not stop to fill him in, not without leaving herself open to an attack she would be hard pressed to predict again. She hoped he would just trust her.

"Well, she was Data Drained, wasn't she? And now she's in a coma." BlackRose shook her head. "Somehow you saw Kite use his Bracelet and came to the conclusion that he was the PKer who was putting players in the hospital. Am I right?"

"Yes," Rook replied savagely. "He's the one who put my little sister in a coma. It's his fault! I can't let him get away with it!"

"Oh come on!" BlackRose retorted, flinging away his sword in disgust and trusting that he wouldn't be too quick to try and use it on her again. "Did you actually see Kite use his power on Dixie? Did you?"

Another silence.

"We saw a Bracelet," Fantasia finally answered, to her left. "And then there were rumors of an illegal character wanted by the Admin for using something called Data Drain. When we saw him use it on a monster, we knew he was the one."

"Yes," BlackRose said grimly. "He was the one trying to destroy the very monster who Data Drained Dixie, the one trying to stop the force that is infecting this world."

The Blademaster's voice was stricken. "What do you mean?"

"I mean that Kite is innocent!" she snapped. "He fights to protect a friend who is also in a coma, and my brother who is in one as well. We all have those we want to protect, but your need for revenge is hurting the only one who can save them!"

Her energy, having risen up so fast, now deserted her, The World spinning around her as she collapsed into the grass. Strange colors moved on the inside of her eyelids and distantly she heard Kite call out to her.

"BlackRose!"

His arm came to rest on her back as she hunched over her knees, struggling to suppress a sudden wave of nausea.

"BlackRose, what is it? What's wrong?"

"I don't… feel very good," she managed, around clenched teeth. Her body had gone cold and she rubbed her arms in a vain attempt to bring warmth to a digital body. Beside her, she felt Kite look up.

"I'm sorry about your sister. I, too, despise the power of this Bracelet, but I must use it in order to stop those who would continue to hurt innocent players. It's the only way to find out how to save our friends." Kite's voice held a quiet plea. "Please, BlackRose needs help. Delete the bug, then we can continue this battle if you wish. Just understand that I never meant you harm but if fighting me will ease your pain, it's the least I can do."

There was a tense moment where she was sure the Blademaster would refuse, but then she heard him take a step forward and felt his hand on her shoulder. "Fantasia."

"Yes, Rook," the girl replied, hurrying over. She knelt in front of BlackRose and lifted a tiny blue pearl that the shivering Heavy Blade was unable to see. "Open your mouth and swallow this."

BlackRose hesitated until she heard Kite's comforting voice near her ear.

"It's alright."

Only then did she obey, letting something cold slide down her throat like a chip of ice. A white flash of pain lanced through her abdomen but it was gone as quickly as it had come and she blinked, feeling very strange.

"Did it work?" Fantasia asked.

Kite's hands moved to the back of her head where he undid her blindfold, letting it flutter to the ground as she turned towards him, squinting. Blurred colors resolved themselves into the bright shapes of her partner.

"Kite?"

He smiled. "Welcome back."

A great weight lifted from her shoulders and she smiled, her heart very light. "It's good to see you," she said softly, and then reached out to squeeze his hand. He returned the gesture and they shared a look before he shifted to rest his gaze on the two players who had caused them so much trouble for such a worthy cause.

Rook was watching them with an expression somewhere between anger and shame, but Fantasisa had tears in her eyes and abruptly flung herself at BlackRose, sobbing with real emotion as she gave the Heavy Blade a tight hug.

"I'm so sorry!" she cried, "We did such horrible things to you! I'm so sorry about everything!"

Startled, BlackRose patted the other girl's back awkwardly. She had never been very good at comforting. "It's alright, Fantasia. I understand why you did it. You wanted to help your friend, and there's nothing wrong with that." Nothing at all.

Fantasia sniffled and stepped back, a teary smile on her face. "Thank you." Her eyes shifted to Kite but it was Rook that spoke to him, in a voice stripped of its strength.

"I… I'm sorry," he said, stiffly, his head bowed. "All this time… All this time I thought I was fighting to save someone. I never meant…" He took a breath and lifted his head. "I'm sorry. I know it's a lot to ask, but I hope one day you can forgive me." He stood with a quick jerky movement, putting his sword away as he turned on his heel, obviously preparing to leave.

Next to her, Kite jumped to his feet, an earnest look on his face. "Wait, Rook." The Blademaster paused and Fantasia hurried to his side. "There's something going on in The World, something me and BlackRose are fighting. If you want, when you're ready, we'd be glad to have you with us at the end. For Dixie."

After a moment, Rook nodded. "For Dixie," he said strongly, and a tinkle of bells announced the exchange of Member Addresses. Fantasia winked at them.

"See you then!"

And the two disappeared in a flurry of gold rings. Kite stood there for a moment, obviously deep in thought, before walking back to her, unconsciously rubbing his left wrist. She exhaled heavily, wondering what sort of guilt he was harboring, before she let herself fall backwards into the soft grass, arms outstretched above her head.

"Man, I could sleep for ten years, I'm so tired!" she grumbled, stretching languidly. Kite sighed and fell into the grass beside her, his hat tumbling off his head at the rough movement. Her partner threw the back of one hand over his forehead, his blue gaze fixed on the sunset sky. After a moment he laughed, and she threw him an are-you-crazy? look.

"Didn't we start out here?" he mused, his eyes finding hers. She grinned.

"I guess you're right. We've been logged in a long time. It's almost morning." She groaned suddenly. "And I have school in a few hours."

"Say you're sick," he advised, before his expression turned more serious. "Are you really alright? Everything's working?"

She nodded. "Yup, I'm awake now, but I feel like I didn't sleep at all. In fact," she rubbed her fingers together ruefully, "I feel like I tried to stop a sword swing with my bare hands."

Kite laughed and she laughed with him, purely happy in her ability to do so. After their merriment faded though, she found Kite watching her with a solemn expression.

She frowned. "What?"

"About before, when I…" he swallowed, unable to say the words. "Well, I just wanted to say— "

She held up a hand to cut him off, her mouth set in a grim line. "If you say you're sorry for what happened, I'm going to be very angry."

Kite blinked and then sheer relief fell over his face, his smile one of contentment. Feeling a sudden surge of boldness, she leaned up on her elbow and laid a small kiss on the tattooed triangle of his cheek, eliciting a look of surprise from her partner.

"Because you fought for me," she explained, settling herself into the crook of his arm before he could react, her head resting against his shoulder. After a moment, during which she was sure he was blushing furiously, his arm curved around her until she could link her fingers with his, serene in this instant they had alone.

"Can we stay here for a little while?" Kite asked, "I'm not quite ready to go back to everything just yet."

She shifted slightly, making herself more comfortable. "I don't see why not. The World's not going anywhere."

He laughed low in his throat. "I suppose you're right."

She scoffed, "Of course I'm right. I'm your partner, aren't I?"

His hand squeezed hers. "In more ways than one."

She smiled into his shirt and then nudged him sharply in the ribs, making him grimace. "Then as your partner, I order you to kiss me, in payment of all the trouble I went through for you."

She winked at him as he rolled over, looking down at her with such a stunned look on his face that she had to laugh at him. He really was completely predictable.

She arched a commanding eyebrow at him. "Our first kiss got interrupted, it's only fair that you finish what you started. As a gentleman, you— "

She was forced to swallow the rest of her words as Kite's mouth covered hers in a kiss that was fierce only in it's beautiful emotion and blinding trust.

Thank you, Kite. For everything.

A yellow gold sun rose gently over a bustling city in the real world, it's bright rays heralding a wonderful new dawn.

Neither of them noticed.

The End.