Title: I have no idea
Rated: PG? It's pretty lighthearted
Warnings: Well, I tried to make it near cannon, so Kite is obviously a little young (though I may have aged him up a year cough). Balmung's age is only a guess but is estimated using the manga, .hack/Legend of the Twilight Bracelet.
Pairing: Balmung/KiteA/N: Since we never find out what their real names are, they will always be referred to Balmung and/or Kite (or Balmung's user and whatnot).

"Ummm...I-I really like you, Balmung," Kite stammered out. Then he forced his trembling arms to his sides and waited.

Balmung stared in wonder at the character data before him. His controller almost fell from his strong grip. Though the actual user could not be seen, even the avatar was shaking with apprehension. If the situation had been different, he would have been marvelling at the realism of this mere computer game.

Balmung's true face was red with embarassment and awkwardness, and he wondered if his winged avatar was showing the same. What could he possibly say in this situation?

The truth was, an internet relationship had never once crossed his mind. Then again, the only person he had ever really considered a friend in The World was Orca. It had been months since the other had fallen into a coma and even longer since the two had fought together to find the problems in The World.

He began pacing around his internet friend. "You are Orca's age, are you not?" Balmung finally asked, trying to keep his voice from cracking. Kite hesitantly nodded, his head tilted down but his eyes following Balmung's movements. Balmung just sort of nodded his head to acknowledge that he had heard.

"And you're a boy?"

Kite nodded again. And then, "M-maybe I should go," he said, his avatar moving to grab a sprite ocarina to teleport him out of this dank dungeon.

"No!" Balmung commanded impulsively, his right arm reaching out. Kite recoiled a bit. "Wait," he continued with a softer voice. His hand slowly receded as Kite shifted back to a standing posture.

Balmung turned away from Kite, clearing his throat. "Um..." That was probably the first time he had shown his uncertainty to the other gamer. He shook his head, trying to get himself together.

"There's..." Balmung started, "there's a difference between fantasy and reality." Of course, a smart kid like Kite knew that already, but the other boy continued to listen with hidden anticipation.

Balmung started pacing around Kite once more. He wasn't sure why; he could've easily stopped by using his controller. There was a long, uncomfortable silence throughout the dungeon. Balmung suddenly wished that a level 100 monster would come out and kill him. Maybe even make him comatose like Orca, though that was nothing to joke about.

"You're...you're very young compared to me, you know," Balmung explained. "We're at least 5 years apart in age." Kite nodded and bowed his head, thinking about the iminent rejection.

"And...and I don't look like this in the real world." Balmung gestured to himself. Heck, he didn't even have the white hair. "The World is just deceiving you of my appearance." Balmung personally didn't think he looked good in real life. He was just some gamer dork in college, but his avatar was definitely well-liked in the game.

Kite nodded his understanding. "But it's not your avatar I like," he said nervously, accompanying it with a half-hearted smile.

"That's nice to know," Balmung replied with a face more grim than he would have liked. Then he stood right in front of the other user, crossing his arms. "Kite." The other looked up at him.

"If you are serious about this, give me time to think." Kite nodded at this. "Please contact me in a week, alright?"

"Okay Balmung-san," Kite agreed. Ah, the "san." Kite was already distancing himself from him, Balmung reasoned, but the winged user said nothing about it.

"Perhaps I will see you later," Balmung said. Then he used a sprite ocarina, leaving Kite alone in the dungeon.

Balmung's user sighed as he logged off and took off his headset. Quite frankly, he wasn't sure what to think, though it was very flattering to have someone like him that manner. Sure, he had his own online fanclub, but most of its members barely knew him. They mostly liked his status and special appearance. That wasn't the kind of admiration he was looking for.

At the very least, Balmung knew he had a very good companion and comrade with Kite. The boy was always sincere, and he had a maturity that almost made Balmung ashamed for how he had treated the other earlier.

This new situation really threw him for a loop. Balmung ran a hand through his hair as he lay down for a nap on his bed. He wasn't even sure that he liked guys in that manner. Sure, he had had crushes on his female classmates before, but those had never gone the way he would have liked.

But the age difference was so...so daunting. A lot of things would change by the time Kite grew up. Large age gaps seemed to matter less as people grew older, but the two of them were both still very young. Balmung really didn't want to be labelled as a pedophile either. He groaned and covered his face at that notion.

Kite could be making a big mistake by asking for a relationship at his age. For all Balmung knew, it could just be something that Kite would eventually grow out of. Being the older one, Balmung felt like he should be the responsible one in this decision.

There were other factors to consider, of course, such as the possibility of a long distance relationship. Kite lived in Japan, he knew, but where in Japan? And what if Kite became tired of Balmung after awhile or even vice versa? Reality, after all, was not fantasy.

But when Kite had said that he didn't like Balmung just for the avatar, he knew that the boy had meant it. That message was very clear to Balmung, even through the cords and fiber optics. Maybe even gender didn't matter to Kite, as the case certainly seemed to be. Balmung smirked. Kite really was mature for his age. Of course, Balmung himself had probably never grown up considering that he still played video games obsessively.

With his head swimming with thoughts, Balmung fell asleep.

The time limit had passed by quickly, and Balmung had still not received a response from Kite. It seemed as if the boy wasn't even online. Balmung was positive that he had not gone comatose from a Phase attack, so he became convinced that Kite was simply avoiding him for now. He knew Kite wouldn't avoid The World forever lest Orca remain in his current dismal state. Even so, Balmung stubbornly refused to give chase.

A few days later, Balmung recieved the e-mail he had been waiting for. Meet at Delta Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground. It was an unorthodox spot, but he reasoned that there wouldn't be any disturbances there. He headed for the Chaos Gate, switched to the delta server, and warped to the large virtual chapel.

Balmung pushed the large chapel door open. The fake sun was shining brightly through the equally false stained glass, though the rainbow of colors it displayed on the floor was no less beautiful. Balmung was always amazed at how realistic this MMORPG could be.

Kite didn't even turn around at his entrance. He was standing at the front, staring at the statue of the chained girl. Balmung sucked in his breath, and while making his way to the boy, suddenly became immersed in the world around him. He could hear his armor clanking as his body moved and saw the shimmering off the glass windows. It all suddenly seemed so real. Balmung could've even sworn that he heard the reverberations off the expansive chapel walls.

Suddenly, Kite spun around. "I'm sorry for not e-mailing you sooner," he said hesitantly. "My mother thought I was playing The World too much."

"Don't worry about it," Balmung replied. The two of them continued to stare at the statue which held such a sad face, letting silence fall over the chapel.

"Kite." Said boy turned his head at the sound of his character name. His teal eyes looked up with curiosity, finding Balmung at this point to be totally unreadable.

Balmung turned to look at him. "Let's meet," was all he said.

Kite fiddled with the strings on his sweatshirt as he waited outside the train station. He'd given his picture to Balmung so that he could find him, but as Balmung hadn't given him a picture in return, Kite might as well be packed in a room full of kidnappers.

Well, it wasn't a definite yes from Balmung, but it wasn't a no either. Kite supposed that it was a good thing that Balmung wanted to meet him first. Kite was even a little embarassed at his own impulsiveness from that day in the dungeon. Perhaps it was the thought of love that had caused it. After all, he had gone to the dungeon with Balmung in order to get a present for his fellow gamer and online friend Mistral, who had recently had a child. Well, no matter. Hopefully, everything would tu-

"Kite?" The boy turned around.

"Balmung?" he asked. The young man nodded in response.

Kite hesitantly walked up to him, unsure of what to do next. The people exiting the train station were pushing around them impatiently, like what gushing water did against large, immovable rocks. Kite almost fell over once due to someone's baggage, but he was saved by Balmung's steadying arm.

The first thing Kite noticed was that he was quite a bit shorter than his older friend. Well, he hoped that would change in a few years. Then he reprimanded himself. They had just met and he was already thinking about their time together in the future. Perhaps he was being a little too optimistic right now?

Kite could clearly feel the butterflies in his own stomach, but then he slowly began to notice that Balmung wasn't so sure of himself either. The older boy was fidgeting in place, his hands jiggling coins in his pockets, probably wondering what to say next. Somehow, this made Kite feel relieved.

Kite closed the gap between the two of them, hugging the other boy around the waist. Balmung was startled at first, but then he returned the favor, his own arms slowly encircling the other. They seemed to stand there like there for a long time, though in actuality, it was a rather brief gesture. To the bystanders it seemed like some sort of renunion, and maybe it was, though without a computer this time. Kite reluctantly pulled away first, a slight tinge on his cheeks as he grinned with what he thought must have been a stupidly happy smile. Balmung chuckled a bit at this and appeared to have gained some confidence, his posture now a little different from before.

"Now that we're here," Balmung said with a slight grin, "Mind telling me your name?"

Four Years Later

Kite turned the key to Balmung's apartment. He had been promised some kind of good news or something, but Kite thought it was just a ploy to get him to visit more often.

He sighed as he walked into his boyfriend's bedroom. He was playing The World again. Kite himself had stopped some time after he had fixed everything in The World, but Yasuhiko, aka Orca, and Balmung continued to play.

Speaking of Yasuhiko, he had been pretty cool about the whole dating thing. Granted, he had been a little reluctant to accept it, for all the same reasons Balmung had considered, but in the end, he gave in. He even told them once, "If you party with me, no making googly eyes at each other!"

Kite wrapped his arms around Balmung's shoulders, and the other responded to the embrace by raising his eyebrows in half-surprise, half-eagerness. Balmung bid his farewells to whoever he was training with and properly greeted Kite in the real world.

The two of them leaned against Balmung's bed as they sat casually together on the floor. Kite leaned ever so slightly on the older boy, who was now out of college just as Kite was planning to enter it soon.

"Happy birthday," Balmung whispered, giving Kite a peck on the cheek. "Now I'm officially not a pedophile when I do that to you," he smirked.

Kite laughed. "So what's the good news you had?"

"Well," Balmung began, "besides dinner and going out and stuff I have planned tonight, I am proud to announce that I have found a job." He puffed out his chest proudly.

"Really? Where?"

"CC Corporation. They're making me an administrator. I'm going to be creating events for The World! Isn't that cool? I even get an assistant!"

Kite smiled at his boyfriend's enthusiasm. "That's like a dream job for you!" He hugged Balmung tightly in congratulations. Knowing his boyfriend, however, the poor assistant would probably get all the paperwork if Balmung could get the chance.

Balmung returned the hug eagerly. "Well anyway, I have much planned for you tonight, birthday boy."

As Balmung rambled off all the specifics with a light glow in his eyes, Kite listened eagerly, wondering in the back of his mind when fantasy and reality had fused together for him.