A/N: Okay! These chappies are relatively short, but there'll be a lot of them:D Hope you like it! Please review to tell me what you thought! (I have it finished, so the more reviews I get, the faster I update.)

Logging On

Chapter 1

Kite and Blackrose logged on together. Blackrose looked around in amazement, whistling appreciation as she studied the graphics and new character designs. Kite glanced at his map and frowned, his cerulean eyes scanning the surface of the river to the left of them. Player Characters bustled around them, barely giving the two characters a second glance.

Blackrose cocked her head, "Um…"

"Yeah…" Kite blinked, glancing at a character passing by. He was dressed in a bright yellow robe, complete with teal circles just above each eye. Bright green hair topped his head, and he clutched a large staff. Kite took a shaky step forward, trying to wave at the character.

"Um, hello? Can you help us find someone?"

The PC stopped and looked at Kite, taking in his outfit all the way to the clumsiness of how he handled his avatar.

"Back off, noob, I'm busy," he scoffed at the previous dot-hacker and stalked off, his yellow robe whipping behind him.

Blackrose stared at the retreating character in disbelief, "Noob?!" she repeated, clenching her fists. Kite shook his head as his partner continued to rant. He had known that this was a bad idea from the start; both he and Blackrose were in college, and they didn't have time to be playing video games. Still, when one of Akira's friends had found out that they hadn't played the most recent version of The World—called The World R:2 now—she had instantly gotten them a copy of it and sat them down in a room with two computers and two advanced FMDs.

Akira had been thrilled to get back into the game that had introduced them to the online world and each other, but Kite had been less than pleased. He knew that The World, while enjoyable to people young and old now, no longer held a place for the legendary dot-hackers. Most everyone else—Mistral, Elk, even Kazu—had stopped playing after The World crashed in 2015.

Once they had decided to get back into the online craze, Kite had contacted Helba and prayed that she would respond to her old email address. She did, and she agreed to transfer both Blackrose's and Kite's old player character data. Therefore, when they logged into R:2 for the first time, they still had their old avatars, complete with their regular weapons and attacks.

Blackrose's friend had agreed to meet up with them at the main bridge of Mac Anu, and she had described her character briefly. However, a 'wavemaster with puffy pants and a tank-top' didn't give them much to go on, and that was completely ignoring the fact that the map of Mac Anu had changed since they had last logged on.

"I think the bridge is that way," Blackrose pointed right. Kite shook his head.

"No way, it's obviously left."

She stared at him, "How do you know?!"

He shrugged, "I don't. I'm just guessing." He grinned as Blackrose threw up her arms in defeat.

A PC approached them, "Hey, you guys are noobs, right?"

Blackrose scowled, "We are not!"

The PC, a male twin blade, chuckled, "Really? You sure act like it. Anyway, I wanted to ask where you got those old avatars. They look like they're from the original World!"

Kite nodded, "Well, they're an older version, that's for sure…"

The PC sighed, "Yeah. It's too bad that they're really not from The World, but I guess that all those old designs got wiped out when the Goddess Death occurred."

He walked away, leaving Kite to glance at Blackrose with confusion evident on his face.

"Goddess Death?"

She shrugged and began trudging slowly left, looking around for her friend. Every once in a while, she would lose control of her sight, and her avatar would begin spinning in circles due to inexperience with a controller. Kite always went over and stopped her with relative ease, quickly getting used to the new controls of the modified game.

Finally, after wandering around for about a half hour, and having Blackrose threaten everyone from her elementary school friends to Kazu, they stumbled upon the bridge. Kite pointed out a wavemaster who was scanning the crowds for someone, clad in rose pink pants and a black tank-top, clutching a wand as big as the avatar. Blackrose grinned in triumph and strutted forward, quite the expert at walking after practicing for what felt like ages.

"Mitsuki! Look, we got here easily! And you were worried!"

Kite rolled his eyes.

"Akira—I mean, Blackrose, right?"

The previous dot-hacker grinned, "Yep! I'm back, baby!"

Mitsuki blinked, "But I thought you had never played this game before?"

"Oh, she hasn't!" Kite quickly intervened, clearly not wanting to boast about what they accomplished in The World, "She just, uh, being dramatic."

Mitsuki nodded in understanding, "Well, either way, don't call me Mitsuki here. You have to role-play in this game, and I go by the name Kisu."

Blackrose looked away and mouthed what her friend had said in a mocking tone, as if offended that Kisu would think to tell them that. Kite elbowed her in the ribs, grinning and nodding at Mitsuki.

"We'll keep that in mind. By the way, I go by Kite in the game, okay?"

"Sure!" Kisu beamed, shouldering her wand, "Well, shall we go, then?"

Blackrose raised an eyebrow, "Where?"

Kisu giggled, "You need to level up so you won't be considered a noob anymore!"

Kite had to restrain his partner once again as she gripped the hilt of her sword, "If anyone calls me a noob one more time…" she muttered darkly. Kite laughed nervously, patting her back.

"Just keep it together, Blackrose," he thought for a moment as they set off after Kisu, "Hmm. It's pretty weird to be calling you that again, Akira."

Blackrose nodded, "It's been a long time. Almost five years, if memory serves."

"Yep. It's crazy how much things have changed," he motioned to Mac Anu, "Makes me miss the old days…"

She nodded sympathetically before halting just behind Kisu and staring at the Chaos Gate. It was still the same, still a deeply colored blue orb with gold rings rotating around it. She sighed, "At least some things don't change."

Kite nodded, glancing up at his partner. He chuckled, "This is insane. I'm looking up at you, for the first time in years."

A grin of triumph spread over Blackrose's face as she measured her friend with her crimson eyes, "You're right. It's kind of nice to be the tallest again."

He shook his head as Kisu turned to face them, "Here, accept this invitation."

A white envelope floated before each of them, and it opened to show a card with curvy letters saying 'Join Kisu's Party?'. A 'yes' or 'no' alternative followed, and Blackrose reached over to tap the yes option. Kite did the same, and Kisu's health bar showed up on each of their screens, along with their designated partner. Grinning, Blackrose glanced at Kite, who mirrored her expression. He may have been doubting this earlier, but now that he was actually in the game, he couldn't resist getting caught up in it once more.

"Let's go!" Kisu typed in some keywords and two blue lights swirled around each player, pixalating them out of Mac Anu and transporting them to a simple grassland. Kite surveyed the area, folding his arms.

"At least the levels are still sort of the same," he confided in Blackrose, who nodded enthusiastically.

"I'm so ready for this!" she started forward, running to a cluster of monsters. As soon as they got close enough, a large blue force field formed a circle around them. Kite pulled out his daggers, and Blackrose her sword, clearly confused by the field that prevented them from running away.

"What?" Kite began, looking around.

Kisu laughed, "This is a force field. They put it up so you can't flee. Otherwise you'll never learn anything!"

Blackrose gripped her hilt, holding it in front of her and crouching slightly as she watched the three monsters before her, "Kite, I could use some help here!"

He nodded, running forward and taking his usual position behind her. Kisu stepped back, allowing her friends to handle this, as they needed the expirence more than she did.

They performed very well, surprisingly so, almost like they had done this hundreds of times before. They fell into line, attacking with perfect synchronization at the top, then jumping back to the ground to swipe at the face of the crab-like creature. The monsters decreased in HP at the same pace, and each were dead within the first stab. Kisu raised an eyebrow in amazement.

"That was impressive, you two," she congratulated, "But how come you guys could kill those monsters in one hit? They're pretty high level for this area."

Kite thought for a moment, "Um, I think we're a bit higher in level than you think, Kisu…"

Blackrose glared at him, but he sent her a look that clearly said we've-got-no-choice.

Kisu blinked, "What? What level?"

"Um, 99…?" Blackrose gave her a small grin.

"99?!" Kisu repeated in astonishment, "Akira, that's insane! I'm only at level 34 right now!"

Kite sighed, "Listen, Kisu. This isn't the first time we've played The World…"


"Remember the original version? You probably didn't play it back then," Blackrose pointed out, "But Kite and I were hardcore players."

Kisu hesitated, "Level 99, though? That's really high…"

"It's as high as you could go in the last version," Kite supplied, "We spent a lot of time leveling up back then. We had to."

Akira's friend stared in disbelief, "Why?"

Blackrose glanced at Kite, who nodded slowly. She stepped forward, putting her sword away, "Remember when I told you that my brother fell into a coma? Well, he wasn't the only one, and it happened because a virus infected The World while he was playing."

"The dot-hackers…" Kisu murmured, closing her eyes.

"Exactly. To save my brother, and Kite's best friend, we had to use his bracelet to defeat the eight phases. Then, when we did, we put the gaming world behind us and just became real-world friends," Blackrose smiled at Kite.

Kisu frowned, "Wait, you guys are the two most famous dot hackers?"

Kite grinned sheepishly, and Blackrose beamed.

Akira's friend was shocked, and she glanced around the level four field anxiously, "Um, I guess you'll have to level up on your own, then… I can't be of much help if I'm about 70 levels below you."

"Oh, don't feel bad, Kisu," Blackrose told her friend kindly, "You had no way of knowing, and we were trying to keep quiet about it…"

Kisu shook her head, smiling, "I'm not upset, are you kidding me? I personally know the infamous dot-hackers! This is awesome!"

Kite chuckled at her enthusiasm, "So people remember us."

"Oh yeah! I mean, no one remembers what you guys look like, and even the names are sketchy, but the things you guys did are crystal clear! You guys revived a lot of people from comas, and you risked falling comatose yourself to save them!"

"Blackrose did fall into a coma," Kite looked depressed at that thought, and his partner scoffed.

"Only for a little while. Barely a day. Stop beating yourself up over it, Kite," she scowled. He rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably. They had been over this several times before, but the guilt was still there.

"On a lighter note," Blackrose continued, "you still need to teach us the ropes of R:2. Things are way different here now-a-days."

Kisu beamed in response and began going over the necessary points of the field. Once she finished describing chim-chims, battle circles, the bike, and other vital points, she warped them back to Mac Anu to tell them about the city life. For the rest of the day, Kite, Blackrose, and Kisu went over everything from save points to guilds, and by the end of the day, both Kite and Blackrose felt much more confident about this strange new World.

A/N: Ok, there you go! Please review to let me know what you thought! (Once more, I have all the chappies finished. That's right, FINISHED. And all I need are some reviews to get me in the posting mood. ;) )