Chapter 2: Altercation

"Great performance today, Megumi-san!" The captain of the tennis club, Shizoka, said after school one warm afternoon.

Megumi, a second year student, looked up from putting away her racket into her bag. "Thanks Shizoka-chan." She said, "I think all that extra practice paid off. Now if you'll excuse me," Megumi hefted up her bag, "I'm gonna go home and play The World!"

Shizoka smiled, "Don't leave your homework off, Makuda-sensei already granted you an extension for that paper. Call me if you have trouble." 1

"Geh, I will. Thanks for the help again, I'd be in studying hell without you! Bye!"

"Bye."

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Megumi, after announcing she was home, banged through the door of her room, shoved her bang onto the floor and landed on the chair next to her desk, which held a computer and a headset. She smiled; she had been looking forward to this. Quickly, she put on the NeuroGoggles on her head and clicked on The World icon.

Name: Mimiru

Password: -------

Crystal blue eyes opened upon a mass of cloudy hills; Dun Lorieag. Mimiru stretched and sighed contentedly. It really was nice to play on The World, just for the atmosphere. But before she took more then a couple steps, a chime sounded, telling her that she had new mail. She opened the window and opened the first one:

"Mimiru,

Hey, don't have too much fun! Do your schoolwork, too :)

-Kocha"

Mimiru smiled; Shizoka-chan really looked after her. Promising herself she wouldn't delay working on it, she opened the only remaining unread mail:

"Mimiru,

Hey, come to Theta: Troubling, Dark, Dream.

-Sora"

Mimiru groaned. What could that creep possibly want? More likely then not, he was bored and wanted to bug her. Really, she should just ignore him, but you never knew…

Mimiru shrugged. Right now, she could handle a dungeon. It was really best to ignore Sora. He would probably leave when she didn't come right away; after all, it wasn't like she was special to him. She approached the Chaos Gate and went to a random field.

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Sora lay on his back in the middle on a grassland field. With one arm cushioning his head and the other resting on his stomach, he was very relaxed. It was a warm day today, so it was appropriate to go to a warm field. What better place to meet Mimiru then in a warm sunny field, white clouds drifting by… it had been twenty minutes when he fell asleep on the grass.

Sora dreamed he was in a field not unlike that which he had left in the waking world. He was standing on a hill, and beyond a valley was another hill, with Tsukasa-kun on it. 2 Tsukasa-kun smiled and waved, shouting for him to come over. Sora paused for a moment, then Kite-kun stood next to Tsukasa-kun and joined in inviting Sora over. He shook his head: the valley became a deep ravine, and he wasn't sure he could jump it. Then Mimiru shouted for him to come over, a bright smile on her face, as if chastising him for not being able to make one little jump.

Sora made a running leap over the ravine, not wasting aerodynamics with fancy moves. He miraculously landed on the other side, but he lost his balance and fell down. He found purchase right away on the edge of the cliff, and a hand appeared, reaching for him. Sora grasped it, grunting as he pulled himself up. He looked at the hand and realized it didn't belong to either Tsukasa-kun, Kite-kun, or Mimiru. He looked up and froze; it was Skeith. Slowly, Sora felt himself being pulled up into the air, arms locking into a spread eagle…

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"Hyah!" Mimiru cleaved her oversized sword into a Great Sled Dog. As its hit points reached 0, the monster fell to the ground and turned gray before fading away entirely. With only one EXP point for her trouble, Mimiru waited a moment to see if it would drop any treasure; it didn't. However, yellow block letter covered her screen, "ALL DUNGEON PORTALS CLEARED", and she smiled. Checking the map upon which she had used a Fairy's Orb on earlier, she saw the next room was the Gott statue and headed toward it. 3

"Hmm, not the worst" Mimiru said, grabbing the treasure inside, "I bet I could sell it to someone on this server." Without further ado, she used a Sprite Ocarina and logged out of the field.

Now at the Root Town, she checked the time. There was still about half an hour until she could do homework. Although… she did blow off Sora, and she got the email twenty minutes ago. Surely he would've left. All he did was tease her. Always. Still…

"Damn it." She muttered to herself, saving then doubling back to the Chaos Gate to go to Troubling, Dark, Dream.

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Mimiru looked around as she gated into a grassland field, sun shining. The field fit the weather in real life perfectly, so it was slightly unnerving to feel the perceived temperature. It was almost like being in the game. Maybe that's why Sora chose it..? shaking her head, the tan Heavyblade found a dark figure on the edge of the map and ran to it.

It was indeed Sora, but something wasn't right; he was lying on the ground, twitching and whimpering, eyes closed but a frightened expression on his face. Mimiru dropped to her knees and shook him.

"Sora, you lazy bum, did you fall asleep? Stop dreaming and wake up." She shook his shoulder roughly, but he was still asleep, but he muttered something loud enough to be picked up by the microphone:

"Stop… don't… hurts."

"C'mon, wake up! I don't have all day!" Mimiru stood up and kicked him, her hope that it was an act evaporating; it wasn't like Sora to expose weakness.

With out warning, he sat up straight, awake, with a "-miru!".

"Huh? See what?" 4 Mimiru asked, "You ok now?"

Sora panted a little, eyes roving over everything and stopping to rest on Mimiru. Standing up, he said, "Yeah, sorry. It was warm today, and I fell asleep on my desk. But hey" he dropped any remnant of his former emotion and pouted, "Mimiru, I hope you're not so rude to others, you made me wait almost half an hour! That's not too niiice." He pretended to whine.

"Oh shut up, I have better things to do then answer every invite I get." Mimiru frowned, crossing her arms.

"But you came, you came!" Sora chimed, "I must be a pretty special guy if you chose to come with me over all your other invites, Miss Popular."

"What-! No! I just came because… er, because I had nothing else to do! I was bored. Besides, I hate you."

"Didn't you just say you had other things?" Sora accused with a smirk, "Is little Mimiru a liar in addition to being rude?"

"Shut up!" Mimiru shouted at him, "I don't like you, you're a jerk." Sora started laughing, "And what's so funny?" she spat.

"You're so cute when you're angry" Sora said, laughing, "like an irritated kitty."

This deflated her a bit, though she was still angry, "Be quiet, I could blackmail you."

"With what? I doubt you have anything on me? Nyah" he stuck out his tongue.

Mimiru narrowed her eyes and tilted her head in an accurate portrayal of a contempt Tsukasa, "Oh? You were talking in your sleep: 'Stop, don't, it hurts'. I wonder what could make the great PK Sora so scared, huh?"

Sora dropped his composure a moment. Had he really talked in his sleep? How much did he say? How much did she hear? But he shook his head and pouted, "You're mean, Mimiru, taking advantage of me."

"Oh c'mon, like you haven't done so yourself! You always manipulate people! I mean, you used me, BT, and probably a lot of others! All you care about is yourself! I bet you could really care less about everyone else!"

"That's not true." Sora said, frowning slightly. Mimiru fell quiet; the quiet, insistent tone of his voice was very different from the silly reaction she was prepared for. "Don't say I don't care." He said, taking a step forward and looking her directly in the eyes, "It's true I manipulated people for my own enjoyment. It's true I hurt people for my own selfish reasons sometimes, but… but I do want…" He cut himself off, and turned his back to her, "Forget it. I've always known that you… hate me." He softly paused and inflected the word hate.

Mimiru softened, "No, I'm sorry, I don't hate you."

"No, you said yourself: 'Besides, I hate you.'"

Mimiru scrolled up on her dialogue box; she did say that. "Look," she said, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that."

"No." Sora shook his turned head, bandana ends whipping around wildly, "No, you shouldn't lie for my s-sake." A tremor stole over his voice, though suppressed.

"I didn't mean it!" Mimiru insisted. She sighed, "I don't hate you."

Sora paused, again then asked softly, "You really mean that?"

Mimiru smiled. "Yeah," she said, "You're annoying as hell, but I don't hate you."

Sora instantly spun on his toes and faced her, a goofy smile on his face, "See? You did come to see me! You don't hate me at all, huh? You just can't resist me, admit it"

Mimiru was shocked, then flushed, "What the hell?" she shouted, "You jerk! You can't lead someone on like that!"

"Hahaha, what'cha gonna do now? Whack me with your sword?"

"Yeah!" Mimiru grabbed her oversized sword with her hands and swung it down. An entirely fruitless effort, as he easily blocked it with his katars. Sora tossed his head, "Like I said, you're cute when you're angry."

With something akin to a growl, Mimiru blocked the parry and swung her sword back into position. "If you're only going to tease me, I'm gonna leave."

"No, no, there is a reason besides seeing your lovely face." Sora said, grabbing her arm. Seeing Mimiru's glare, he let go and put up his hands, smiling, "Ok, sorry. But anyway" he put his hands down, "You know the event coming up?"

"What?" Mimiru paused, "Oh, you mean the Valentine's day event. What about it." She snapped, eyes narrowed.

Sora merely laughed, however, "So suspicious! It's nothing really, I just need to get in the doors. And to get in, you need…"

"…A partner." Mimiru groaned, "And you want me to come with you."

He clapped his hands and bounced a bit, "Yes, yes! Such a clever girl! I heard there was going to be a good one-of-a-kind item, and it sounds interesting."

"Can't you get anyone else? I don't want to go with you." She snarled slightly.

"Well, I don't know any other girls, and I really don't think BT would want to go, right?" she smiled sweetly.

"Well, I can't help you," she said stiffly, "sorry." She added, not sounding so.

"Oh, c'mon, I'll give you compensation." Sora pouted, "If you put up with my company for one evening, I will give you…" he put a finger to his lips, an exaggerated movement, "How about a The Sun Fang?"

"A-a The Sun Fang?" Mimiru sputtered incredulously, "How did you get your hands on that?

Sora shrugged, "Can't remember; I think I got it from a Gott Statue somewhere on the Omega Server. Raging Mirror something-something." He shrugged offhandedly, "I can't remember. Y'want it? It's level 90, not too shabby."

Mimiru shuffled a bit. Would it really be that horrible to go to an event with Sora? 'Yes', a part of her said, 'He always teases me, and he's so annoying!' Still, The Sun Fang was very tempting, and there would be the event item as well. She could swallow her pride at least once. "Ok." She finally said, "I'll go, but you have to give me The Sun Fang, ok? And don't PK me afterward to get it!"

"Yay!" Sora leap up (quite high) into the air, and when he was earthbound once more, he clasped her hands and said, "Yes, of course! I just really want this" he said, logging out, leaving Mimiru alone.

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1 "Sensei" teacher. Because I can, dammit.

2 Sora calls Tsukasa "Tsukasa-kun"; since this is in his PoV, I will use that.

3 The Gott Statue rooms are very distinctive in size, shape, and chest position.

4 "Miru" means, "to see" or "to look" in Japanese, thus Mimiru's comment. And for those that are curious, Mimiru's screenname has nothing to do with that. Hers is in katakana, and is named after the Gardenia-like Long Arm from "Intermezzo", Mimika.

Wheee, the plot gets moving! nn Its kind of a short chapter, though, sorry. I think that Sora being DD'd would leave him with a really bad memory. Not much to say except review! And leave your email or something! I want to respond to each and every one of you!