Disclaimer – I do not own .hack. I do not live in nor are associated with the Chiba prefecture of Japan or Ichikawa city. I also do not attend nor have never been affiliated with the Ichikawa High School, mentioned in this fiction. I own none of it.
A/N – Well, pain and late nights appear to be my muse. I was wondering why I couldn't get into the mood to write, but here I am. I am sorry, those who have read and expected more fiction of me, but I'd rather none of it sound forced, which I'm sure it would be without proper inspiration. I am glad to see the responses to Reminiscing Realization, as I fairly enjoyed writing that fiction and even reading it myself, as a fan of the series. Hopefully this can live up to everyone's expectations, my own included. The title of this is also a .hack sound novella, or something of the sort. It fits, but involves the characters from Legend of the Twilight Bracelet.
Just as a note, this fiction will contain spoilers for all three games of the .hack conglomerate (Rebirth, Reminisce, and Redemption).
-Let's Meet Offline-
A multi-chapter Fanfiction by,
Chigusa Kusaka, the player behind Epitaph-User Atoli in "The World: Revision 2" stumbled backwards in her computer chair and fell to the floor with a start. Her eyes wide, she removed her M2D module from her head before lightly massaging her temples. The sudden force of the fall had jarred the module into her head and, while causing no damage to the module itself, had pressed it hard into Chigusa's forehead.
With the beginnings of a headache, Chigusa rose up from her not-so-comfortable spot on the floor the glance again at the message that had given her such a shock.
You mentioned you lived in Ichihara, in the Chiba prefecture, right? Father mentioned he had some business out that way, and...Well, I asked if I could tag along. Think maybe we could meet up somewhere? Just figured since we worked as a team as Epitaph-Users and stuff, we should at least get on some type of a personal basis...heck; we've saved each other from comas numerous times and all. I don't know, if you want to, you should call my cell in two days. I'll get myself dropped off somewhere and we'll meet up. Number is: 555-9597. If I don't get a call, I'll just assume you decided it's in your best interest not to meet up. See you, maybe.
Chigusa reread the message, and gulped in a large amount of air. Haseo, coming here? Her secret crush, coming to meet with her in real life? Chigusa and Haseo had never even traded pictures, and had barely only told each other their real-life names and locations.
Needless to say, Chigusa was completely terrified when she read the message. Chigusa's thoughts turned to everything she would need to do to prepare for Haseo's arrival, but a sudden thought jarred her. Her parents would never allow her to get a makeover, much less walk out of the house with her hair and makeup redone...Chigusa was going to have to dress and go out made up as usual: lame. Haseo would see her, dry heave a little at the sight of her, and run away screaming about how ugly she was...
'I'm going to be so embarrassed...' thought Chigusa, until she was struck by another thought. 'But wait...I've never even seen Haseo either...what if he's...no, he's not some type of freak, but what if he's shy too?' Chigusa giggled a little, imagining her strong Terror of Death pacing nervously, and yelping when she spoke to him. 'Although...that's only a fantasy. He'll be strong and cute...but, he won't want anything to do with me...' Chigusa thought, her mood running into self-loathing and depression once again.
'I guess...I guess the best I can do is go see, right?' She thought, before turning off her computer, putting up the M2D, and going to get ready for bed.
'Haseo...' was her last conscious thought before drifting off to sleep.
---( 2 Days Later, Morning )---
Chigusa slowly approached the young man she caught standing against a wall. He looked extremely arrogant and seemed displeased with something.
"Excuse me, are you...are you my Haseo?" she spoke, gently.
"My Haseo? Since when do I belong to you, Atoli!?" The young man, apparently Haseo, roared. "I belong to Shino, understand?!" He yelled at her again, hatred pouring from his eyes and directing full-force at Chigusa, who stumbled onto the ground, crying. "You're pitiful, you know that?! Why did I even bother to come here and meet you, you filth! You can't stand up on your own, you can't face me, and you're a damn ugly sight to behold too!"
"Ha-Haseo...please! Please, stop!" Chigusa pleaded with Haseo, between sobs and gasps of air.
"And the worst part is, you're not even dressed for the occasion!"
"But what do you...!" Chigusa suddenly realized she was stark naked in front of an entire street of people, not to mention Haseo. It was about this time that Chigusa bolted awake in her room, clutching onto her covers for dear life.
"Oh, what a horrible nightmare..." Chigusa muttered, sitting up and holding her head. "What's today again...?"
Seeing the date, Chigusa gave a noise that was something between an excited squeal and a yelp of terror. On her calendar, she had marked today with a small heart. "Today...already? Oh, what am I going to do...?" Chigusa moaned to herself, placing her head into her hands. "I guess...Won't he be angry with me if I refuse? I don't want that..."
Convincing herself it would be best for Haseo if she showed up, Chigusa reached for her cell phone and punched in the number Haseo had given her. Pushing the button to send the call, Chigusa took a deep breath and waited. Once, twice...with each ring, the thought that she could hang up before he answered swam through her mind, yet she persevered. Until...
"Hello?" came the unmistakable voice of Haseo's player from the other line.
"Ha...seo?" Chigusa started, uncomfortably.
"Atoli? Heh, I thought you had chickened out." Yes, the voice – and attitude – definitely belonged to Haseo.
Chigusa frowned a little. "You think that lowly of me, Haseo?"
"Well, no. I guess the more I thought about it, the creepier the message I sent seemed to be."
Chigusa laughed a little at that. She smiled a little mischievously and then asked, "So, does the player live up to what one would expect from the Terror of Death? I wonder..."
Hearing Haseo's obviously irked stutter from the other side, Chigusa gave herself one small victory over him. "Wh-what's that supposed to mean?! Don't be stupid!" Haseo seemed to regain his composure. "Besides, I could ask the same of you..." Chigusa's victory suddenly came crashing down around her. "And if you want to know so badly, why don't you come find out yourself?" Haseo now had the mischievous hint to his tone.
"All right, I will!" Chigusa spoke, the words coming out before she registered what they meant.
"Good then. Alright, I escaped from Father and his business partners, and I'm standing by some school...Ichikawa High School? Know where that is?"
Chigusa blushed a little. "Er...You're standing about two blocks down from my home..."
"Great! You can come find me then. I'll wait out here for you. See you, Atoli."
"Right, see you..." Chigusa shut her phone with a pale look. Haseo was two blocks away, and she was not prepared at all. 'Oh, he's going to hate me...' thought Chigusa bitterly, feeding her small birds quickly, and then rushing to prepare herself.
---( Roughly an hour and a half later )---
Chigusa ran quickly down the blocks to her school. She was very, very late, and she knew it. 'Oh, please don't be gone Haseo...!' was her main thought as she turned the corner. It was then she saw him.
The young man had dark black hair, which Chigusa thought in retrospect, she shouldn't have expected to be silver, like his character. For the most part though, her assumptions had been accurate. His hair fell somewhat like Haseo's design had in his Xth form, and he wore a black jacket, giving off the 'Terror of Death' aura from his previous forms. The most striking thing, and the thing that caught Chigusa off guard, were his eyes.
'They're that deep auburn color...just like his character...' Chigusa realized that she had been staring at him, and he was now staring back.
"Chi-Chigusa, right?" he said, the voice again unmistakably belonging to Haseo.
Chigusa nodded a little, her legs feeling weak. "R-Ryou, correct?"
Ryou Misaki nodded once, and stood. Just like in 'The World', he stood a good five inches taller than Chigusa herself. The two of them stood at what seemed like opposite ends of the world from one another, simply taking in each other's presence...this time, for real.
Ryou spoke first. "Chigusa?"
Chigusa started a little, blushing and regaining herself. "Um...yes?"
Ryou cracked a small smile, but not exactly the cocky one Haseo tended to have. "I thought you were supposed to be the ugliest thing alive? There's no need to lie, you know."
Chigusa's blush now deepened, and she swore she could feel it spreading all over her body. "We-well...uh...um...th-that...well, it's a wonder girls don't fawn over you, too!" Chigusa blurted out the last bit, blushing more when she realized she had said it.
However, it was now Ryou's turn to tinge red as well. The two of them avoided eye contact for a couple of minutes, the awkward air pervading heavily between the two of them.
"Well, good thing we've got the introductions out of the way." Ryou said, a light jest to the situation.
A/N – I guess I am making this into a multi-chapter fiction. The entire meeting and everything I have planned from here on out seem to be too much to fit into a chapter, at least by my standards. Even if it is multi-chaptered this will not be long, I am estimating about somewhere from two to four more chapters. Ichikawa is a real city in the Chiba prefecture of Japan. I made Atoli live there because it is only established that Chigusa Kusaka lives in the Chiba prefecture. The Ichikawa High School is also a real private high school there; I threw that in for the sake of realism. I attempted to do research on Japanese phone number format, but as it grew too complex, I simply stuck with American number format. The only other thing I can think to address is that Atoli (Chigusa) gets random bursts of self-confidence in this fiction because quite frankly, she needs more than she has in the games for this to not turn into an Angst fanfiction. Angst is fun by all means, but it's not what I am aiming for with this work.
Until next chapter,
Take care, Dear Reader.