My writer's block for this fic is unbearably large. So, instead of letting it continue to sit and rot I figured I'd just upload the chapter even if it is rather short. Finally watching .hack/GU Trilogy put me in the mood to try and force it out. Huh, ironic considering the chapter title.

Regardless, from this point on the fic is breaking off from canon events. I was planning to follow the game a bit longer, but after game 3 I realized it wasn't going to go where I wanted and figured I'd just break off early. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing and putting up with me!

Use By Force

I'll show you all! I'll win the tournament without my avatar!

Skeith was not watching Haseo on his monitor for the first time since he found his partner. Data bugs crawled around beneath him on the titled squares of data, but Skeith paid them no heed. He was too upset to be bothered with their annoying presence. The words that came from Haseo's mouth had stung. Didn't Haseo need him? Hadn't they been having fun together? Haseo had liked the power Skeith had given him, did he not?

Skeith was sure that they had connected before when they defeated Tarvos. They were invincible together. That had to mean something; Haseo wanted to win and Skeith could help him do it with ease. The Avatar drooped in his place and slowly resolved himself to turn the monitor back on. Even if he didn't want to see Haseo; he wanted to see Haseo. Skeith was confusing himself. It was all Haseo's fault for making him doubt himself!

"Oh get over yourself." Morganna huffed, her voice echoing throughout the outer zone. Skeith had been sulking for hours now and she was getting sick of it. The avatar should be out collecting data with that pathetic excuse of a player, not feeling pathetic because he misunderstood a statement. "He just said it to prove a point about his strength. It's an ego thing."

But he should need me! Skeith huffed. It didn't make sense. Skeith was pure strength and power. He was the Terror of Death. Why would Haseo chose not to utilize that power to crush his enemies? To bring death to those who oppose him? The point of having power was to crush others with it; fairness didn't come into play. This has nothing to do with ego; just pure force. It doesn't make sense.

"It's not supposed to make sense, he's a teenage brat."

Don't call him a brat!

Skeith grabbed his head and screeched when the pain coursed through his data. His core shook from the anger.

"Remember your place." Morganna shouted and released her painful hold. "You may own that boy, but I own you."

Of course. Skeith answered quietly, but it didn't help his own feelings. Morganna hated the boy, so Skeith doubted her word concerning him. Skeith just hoped this was a phase the boy was going through. Skeith turned on the screen with a lazy hand and smiled inside when he saw the boy with Atoli. Maybe she would encourage him to use his avatar more. Haseo...

"Are you alright, Haseo?" Atoli asked quietly as she watched the adept rogue sitting in the field. Haseo had already taken out all of the monsters and cleared the treasure, but he had yet to leave the field. "You don't look so good."

"I'm fine." Haseo huffed and kicked a tree. When the chim chims scattered, he watched them indifferently and kicked one when it got too close.

Atoli didn't believe him and rubbed her hands around the handle of her stave. "Are you worried about the upcoming match with Alkaid?"

"I'll win it."

Atoli sighed at the gruff response. She was hoping that Haseo would lighten up a bit and share what he was feeling, but that was probably too much to ask. "It'll be an interesting match to be sure. It's good that we're out here training for it."

"Yeah." Haseo muttered and started walking through the field. Training, huh? Fighting these monsters in fields was nothing like one on one fights with players. That had to be the point the others were making when they warned him of Alkaid's strength. "Let's go to another field."

"Alright, Haseo!" Atoli smiled brightly and trotted to catch up to the rogue before he could get to the warp point. "Can we go to a tower dungeon? I found one the other day and I think that they're rather neat. I like the echos in the halls when we walk."

"Alright." Haseo nodded. "That sounds fine."

Atoli smiled and warped out after Haseo. Maybe if she distracted him enough, he'd relax a little before the big match.

Why am I losing? Haseo gasped as he hit the ground yet again. He had been warned by the others that Alkaid was strong, but he didn't believe them. He should have been stronger than Alkaid, but wasn't faster. Haseo was the Terror of Death! He'd taken on a hundred players at one time and defeated them. He'd fought and taken down hundreds of strong player killers with ease. Haseo had even mastered summoning an avatar with his own strength. So why then was he losing to this cocky brat? Haseo held in the scream when Alkaid delivered another blow to his character.

"Ready to quit yet, loser?" Alkaid smirked as she braced herself. This was too much fun beating that prat into submission. "Or are you going to just cheat like you did before?"

"I don't cheat!" Haseo would not lose this! The rogue pulled himself up and snarled in the woman's direction. He was going to wipe that smirk off her face once and for all with his own power! "Take this!"

Alkaid smirked as the boy charged at her. This was a piece of cake. "Suit yourself!"

Why!? Haseo thought to himself as the hit smacked into him again and the arena wall smacked into his back. He felt himself falling back and his head was as muddled as his balance. He was going to lose. Haseo was going to lose. He didn't want to lose! Damn! Damn! Damn!

The sudden stabbing pain that entered his chest caused Haseo to shout out. That wasn't a hit from Alkaid.

Let me help.

Haseo felt like time was stopping. It was that voice again. The one he had heard before when he first summoned his Avatar. What?

Let me defeat her. Skeith pushed and breathed his power in short bursts into Haseo trying to encourage their merge. The Terror of Death had seen enough. He would not sit by and let Haseo lose because he was too stubborn to use the resources he had. Pride, honor and fair-play were useless notions that had no purpose. All that mattered was crushing what stood in one's way. Summon me!

No! Haseo shouted back in his head. He'd rather hit the ground and lose than go back on his word! Stay away!

Nonsense! Skeith shouted and reached out his power towards Haseo. Call me! I'm here!

Haseo grit his teeth and wished he would hit the ground already. Was time really moving so slowly? Go away! I can do this on my own!

You'll lose! Skeith shouted back, sending a wave of power to Haseo. Maybe he should remind him just who they were.

I said I'd do it on my own! Get out of my head!

Skeith jolted at the force behind Haseo's words. The avatar was not amused. Skeith would not see his partner lose. If he would not cooperate by choice, than Skeith would just have to force his hand. The Terror of Death did not lose. I have found you.

What? Haseo stopped short from hitting the ground, his body bent back and knees bent in mid motion. He was frozen in place and gripped his chest when the pain laced everything and the pulsing beat of his avatar raged in his veins. He knew that the red markings were forming around him in sign of the inevitable. Haseo knew this feeling; his avatar was coming! No! No! No!

Skeith engulfed the boy through force and surged in delight when they connected. Skeith reached out the desire to win that Haseo had smothered and clung to it. The boy's mind was in chaos as he tried to deny what was happening and Skeith summoned the scythe with ease. Haseo could stay in his own mind and rest; Skeith would take down this opponent for him.

Haseo found his body moving without him, the now familiar avatar wrapped around him. It was unreal; Haseo had no idea that the avatar could be the one in control and he was scared. Terrified. This was bigger than breaking his word to win the fight without his avatar; this was raw uncontrollable power. Haseo could do nothing but yell as the scythe slashed down into Alkaid.

Haseo could only pray she could get up after.

"What were you thinking, Haseo!?" Kuhn shouted at the black rogue. The boy was reckless but he had gone too far this time! Avatars were dangerous and they couldn't afford this from him. "You're lucky Alkaid woke up after the fight! You could have turned her into a Lost One!"

"But I didn't, did I?" Haseo countered. At the end of the fight, Skeith had left him. Haseo could still feel the satisfied smirk that came from the beast for winning. Almost as if it was trying to say "I told you so" or "See? We won" or some equally annoying remark. Regardless, Haseo was not going to let anyone know he had lost control that badly. Alkaid was fine, thankfully, and Haseo would just have to make sure that never happened again. He would get control back again. "It was fine."

Kuhn grabbed the boy by the front of his outfit. "It was not fine. It's dangerous and the avatars aren't toys to play with!"

"It's mine and I'll do whatever I want with it!" Haseo countered. "Now get off my back!"

Skeith nodded in agreement from his place in the outer zone. That was the truest statement his Haseo had spoken to date. He wished Haseo would call him to put that blue haired one in his place. Skeith was beginning to be annoyed with his constant attempts to smother Haseo's power. If Skeith had his way, Haseo would use him for everything.

"Don't you two fight him in the next round, my pet?" Morganna spoke with an amused voice that echoed. The rage Skeith was building for Magus was amusing, and she could use it to her advantage. "Why don't you make sure to get his avatar data as well? The Magus would be quite useful."

Skeith nodded, mood suddenly much happier. They were going to fight with Magus next! And Skeith could feel it – this time Haseo was going to summon Skeith on his own! They'd pound that nag into the ground and destroy him. Skeith smiled; his earlier hurt and pain for being discarded forgotten. As long as he was with Haseo, anything was possible.