.hack/End Game

Note: In this fanfic, I will be following the ages of the two main characters of the .hack games exactly as they originally were. Kite is 14, and BlackRose is 16. I believe this will be my last .hack fanfic (hence the title), but it's possible that I may write more in the future.

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(From this point forward it's Chapter 1)

Kite and BlackRose both slashed through the creature, killing it, and thus ending the battle. They both sighed...Both were exhausted. The area had been a LOT harder than they'd expected, and both were exhausted. BlackRose looked over at Kite, and he returned the look. Neither were willing to admit they were worn out. BlackRose grinned.

"So...Ready to go back to Mac Anu?"

"...Maybe. How about you?"

"Well, you've only got five HP points left, so if we stay any longer you'd probably be in trouble..."

"What about you? You've only got four HP points left."

BlackRose shrugged.

"Yeah...But I'm still at a higher level than you. Thus, I could last longer than you cou-"

Kite's eyes widened, and he jumped at her. He knocked her out of the way, and raised his arm.

"DATA DRAIN!!"

The creature that had almost hit BlackRose from behind was weakened instantly, it's data obsorbed by Kite, who then slashed it once, killing it. If he hadn't moved and attacked when he did, BlackRose would have been killed, and all the experience points she'd earned all day long would have been gone. Kite sighed, and fell onto his back. Whenever he used Data Drain, the gouge of the virus would go up, and if it reached 100, it might have a lethal effect on him. The gouge now read at 99. He felt as if he was going to die as his body shook violently for a few seconds, and then stopped. The virus was spreading. If this was what 99 felt like, then he was terrified what would happen if it went any higher. He searched his inventory for a Health Drink, and groaned when he realized he was out. Suddenly, he felt his energy recharged. He sat up, and looked up. BlackRose was smiling at him.

"I gave you my last Health Drink...I can always buy more, you know?"

"...Thanks."

"You saved my life, Kite...I should be thanking you."

"It was nothing, really."

"Nothing? If you hadn't done what you did, I'd have lost all the experience points I'd earned today. You risked all of yours for mine. Why'd you do that?"

"I don't know...You're my best friend in The World, and I look out for my friends."

BlackRose smiled sweetly.

"...Thank you."

"No problem. But seriously, now...I'm ready to go back to Mac Anu."

"Same here."

With that said, they both teleported back to Mac Anu...

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They both sighed happily as they ate at one of the local restaurants in Mac Anu. About an hour had passed since the battle, and both of their HPs were, by now, fully recharged. Kite looked over at BlackRose, smiling.

"You know...I just realized something. We're pretty much best friends in The World, but we don't even know each other in real life."

"Hey...You're right. Where do you live?"

"I live on Tasogare street. Know where that is?"

BlackRose's eyes widened.

"Oh my god! Are you serious? So do I!"

Kite's eyes widened next, and he grinned happily. They both continued talking, and both were shocked to realize that they only lived three houses apart from each other. BlackRose grinned.

"Wanna log off and go get something real to eat?"

Kite returned the grin.

"I'd love to."

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Kai, the player behind Kite, walked outside. He looked around, and saw a girl who didn't look much older than him walk outside, too. They both grinned when they saw the other, and ran towards them, embracing in a hug. The girl, Akira, hugged especially tight. When it became apparent that neither was ending the hug, they both did at the same time, blushing brightly. Kai was nervous; sure, they'd known each other for a long time, but he wasn't good at talking to girls in real life...This was no exception. Akira looked at him, concerned, when he turned away quickly.

"Kai? Are you okay?"

"...I'm sorry, it's just...I'm not good with girls outside of The World. I always get nervous."

Akira smiled, and put her arm around his shoulder. He turned towards her, wondering what she was doing, and when he did she kissed him. When she ended the kiss, he tried to talk, but she put her finger over his lips, silencing him. He merely blinked in response, and her smile grew wider.

"I know what you're going to ask, Kai. 'Why did you do that?' I did it because I've wanted to for a long time. Pretty much the whole time I've known you, in fact. That's why I did it...Because I wanted to."

Finally, Kai smiled. He moved forward, and this time, he kissed her. They both closed their eyes, enjoying it. When Kai ended it, he started laughing, and Akira stared at him, confused. He grinned at her.

"I can't believe you bought that nervous crap..."

Her eyes widened, and she punched him in the arm.

"Ow!!"

"That's for playing my emotions!"

"But it worked, didn't it?"

"...I guess so."

"Akira, the only reason I did it was because I had to make sure you felt the same way about me that I feel about you. If I'd made a move, and you didn't feel that way, I would've looked like a total idiot. I'm sorry."

Akira's look of anger slowly faded as she understood why he'd played her. She sighed.

"...It's okay, Kai; I know why you did it, and I forgive you."

Kai smiled again, and so did Akira. This time, they kissed again, using only their genuine emotions. When it ended, they put their arms around each other, leaning their heads against each others'. After a few minutes of just standing there, Kai spoke.

"...Still wanna go get something to eat?"

Akira smiled.

"I'd love to."

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Kai and Akira sat down in a McDonald's (yes, they have them in Japan), and began eating. Kai grinned at her.

"No wonder the Americans love this...This stuff's freakin' awesome!"

"I know...But it makes you fat."

Kai stared at her blankly, and then shrugged.

"Oh, well. It's worth it."

She shrugged too, and they laughed. Akira sighed.

"You know...I'm enjoying this. The two of us, I mean."

"I know; to be honest, you're the first person I've ever cared about. I mean, my father's a total asshole, and I hate him. Yasuhiko is a good friend, but he can be kinda a jerk at times. So, like I said...You're the only person I really care about."

Akira stared at him, sadly. She put her hand on his, and gently squeezed it. She knew his father was an abusive alcoholic who didn't care about anyone but himself, and Kai was forced to live with him everyday. She couldn't possibly imagine what Kai felt, having to live with that man. She sighed.

"...My parents are the same way. They're not alcoholics or abusive, but they only care about themselves. My brother Kazu's the only one in my family I care about. You're the only non-family member I have that I care about."

"You're lucky; at least you have someone in your family to care about."

"...I'm sorry you have to live with your father."

"Thanks. It just gets lonely sometimes, you know? Having you here makes me feel better."

Akira, still holding Kai's hand, leaned across the table, and gently kissed him. She smiled.

"...If you ever feel like talking or need a place to hang out, you can always come over to my house. I'll always be there for you, Kai."

Kai moved from his seat over to the one next to her, and leaned against her. She held him, comforting him. Even though he was only two years younger than her, she could tell that he wasn't as emotionally mature as she was. She could only guess that having a father like that was the reason why. She didn't care...She loved him, and she'd always be there for him, just like she knew he'd always be there for her. He didn't cry, but after a while, he felt better. Bringing up his father was a hard thing emotionally for him. She wasn't going to bring it up anymore unless he did so first. He sighed sadly.

"...I'm full."

"Same here."

"...What do you want to do now?"

"I don't know...Wanna go see a movie?"

"...Nah. How about-"

He was cut off mid-sentence as he heard his cellphone ring, and picked it up. He answered it, and cringed. It was his father, just as drunk as ever. Even though he was trying to keep it quiet, he saw Akira giving him a sad look. She could hear every word of it. All Kai could do was just say "okay" and "sure" over and over again, and then hung up. He lowered his head, trying to avoid her gaze. He took a deep breath, sighed, and looked over at her.

"Akira...Could I please hang out at your house for a little bit? I really don't want to go home to that."

She smiled, and kissed him on the cheek.

"Of course you can."

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Kai and Akira walked in the front door of her house, and Kai sighed sadly. She smiled.

"My parents are on another business trip; they're never home. So, make yourself at home."

He looked at her, smiling.

"Thanks again, Akira...This means a lot to me."

"Hey, it's no problem; you're always welcome at my house."

"I'm just sorry that I've gotten you involved with this thing about my dad and I-"

She stopped him, speaking sternly.

"Kai, listen to me...You're not inconveniencing me in any way, and you're always welcome here."

He tried to hold back tears of happiness.

"...Really?"

"Really."

"...Thank you."

She smiled.

"It's no problem."

"...I'm sorry I'm like this. It's just, you're the only one besides Yasuhiko who's ever been nice to me."

"There's nothing to apolagize for, Kai. You haven't done anything wrong."

Kai smiled, and sat down on the living room couch. Akira smiled in return, but was actually deep in thought.

My god...What has his dad done to him? I've never seen Kai like this before...What happened?

"Akira? Akira, you there?"

Akira snapped out of thought, returning to reality. Kai was looking up at her, concerned. She looked at him, puzzled.

"What is it, Kai?"

"You had a funny look on your face, and when I asked if you were okay, you wouldn't answer. I was worried."

"...Kai, can I ask you something kind of personal?"

"...What is it?"

"...What happened?"

Kai's eyes widened in fear, but he tried to cover it up; Akira could see through it though. He smiled feebly.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, why are you so nervous and scared today? Even though we just met each other earlier, I've known you online for a long time now. You've never acted like this. So, I'm asking you...What happened?"

He sighed sadly, and he looked directly into her eyes. She looked back, surprised. Inside his gaze, she saw sadness she couldn't ever have dreamed of seeing. She saw a couple of tears roll down his cheeks, and she was more worried than ever before. He gulped.

"You-...You really wa-...Wanna know?"

"...Kai, we love each other; even though neither of us admitted it until earlier, we've loved each other for a long time. I want to be there for you."

"...Here."

Kai turned around, and lifted up his shirt. Akira gasped, and her eyes widened in horror. A giant X had been carved into his back. What increased the horror was that it still looked like it was fresh. Now, with him crying, she felt a few tears roll down her face as well.

"...What did he do to you?"

"It happened last night...He was more drunk than I'd ever seen him before. I'd finally had enough; I stood up to him. He stared at me blankly, drank the last of his liquor, and smashed the bottle. Holding a jagged piece of glass in one hand, he overpowered me, pinning me to the floor. And-...AND HE DID THIS!!"

"...Kai, I'm so sorry..."

"Don't be...You didn't do anything wrong."

"...Kai, you can't live like this! If he did that to you, who knows what he'll do next!"

"Well, what am I supposed to do? If I try anything, he'll just cut me up even more..."

"...Stay with me."

"Huh?"

"Stay with me; get out of that house. Write a letter claiming you're running away, and come stay with me."

"What about your parents?"

"Like I said earlier, they're never home. The last time they were home was about five months ago. They're rich and always on their business trips, so they just let me take care of myself and Kazu."

"...What if they find out?"

"They won't; I'll make Kazu swear to secrecy."

"What if my father finds out?"

"...We're going to have to figure that out if it does happen. This way, though, you'll be free from your father, and we can stay together."

"...You really mean it?"

She smiled lovingly.

"Of course I do, Kai."

They both kissed and hugged, and he flinched when she accidently put pressure on his back. She pulled back, concerned.

"...We've got to go to the hospital, Kai; your back's horrible."

"No! If we go to the hospital, they'll call my dad since I'm still a minor. He'll find out I told someone, and then he'll hurt me even worse!"

"Well, what are we supposed to do?"

"...We're going to have to bandage it up, but other than that, there's nothing more we can do..."

"...Kai..."

Kai smiled sadly.

"...You'll still love me if I have a giant X on my back, won't you?"

Akira returned the sad smile, and kissed him again.

"...Of course I will; I love you, Kai."

"...I love you too, Akira."

"...Let's put some alchohol on your back, bandage it up, and then get started on our plan..."

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(From this point forward it's Chapter 2)

Kai groaned in pain as Akira slowly put dabs of alchohol on his back. The wounds had already started to heal, and the scars looked bad, but at least it wouldn't get infected. Kai turned his head around, and she smiled sadly.

"...It still looks bad, but the alchohol should prevent it from getting an infection."

"...Thanks, Akira."

"It's no problem, Kai...But I've still got to bandage it up."

Kai groaned loudly; the alchohol had hurt like hell, and it was only half over.

"Oh, god..."

"Please...Keep still."

"...Fine."

Kai sighed, and let Akira put the bandages over the giant, jagged X that would be forever scarred on his back. And, it was all his father's fault. After a few minutes of pain, Akira finally finished putting on the bandages. Kai sighed contently, glad that the pain was over with. He leaned forward, and managed to stand up. It didn't hurt as much when he stood up; that was because when he sat down, it stretched the muscles in his back. He looked at Akira, a look both serious and happy.

"...My dad will be home in a couple of hours. We've got to get everything together and in your house before he does."

"...Then let's get going."

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Kai and Akira lifted up Kai's computer moniter, and the three of them carried it down the block to Akira's house. Surprisingly, either no one was home on the block to see them, or no one cared, because no police came or no one walked outside to see what they were doing. The moniter was the last of the things they'd decided to get; everything else was already in Akira's house. After putting it in a spare room, they walked back to Kai's house. Kai looked around, knowing that this would probably be the last time he'd ever see the inside of this house. He sighed, and then, surprising Akira, he slammed his fist up against the wooden panelling of the nearest wall, actually breaking it and leaving a small hole. He pulled his now-bleeding hand out, and whispered to himself.

"...Good riddance..."

He turned around, and Akira saw that his scowl had been instantly replaced by a content smile.

"Come on, Akira...Let's go home."

They both turned around to leave, when Kai stopped. He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a note. He walked into the kitchen, and sat it on the counter. He looked back at Akira.

"Can't believe I almost forgot the note..."

They both walked out of the house, and on the note, two large, distinct words could be read...FUCK YOU.

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To both of their surprise, nothing happened after Kai's dad came home and found the note. He didn't call the police or anything. He didn't even care.

Even though he was staying at Akira's house, he'd still walk every morning to his school. He got out earlier than she did, so he'd walk home and wait for her. Then, on a Monday, even though he waited for at least two hours, she didn't come home. He waited another hour, but he didn't see her coming down the street. Starting to get worried, he tried calling her cellphone, and on the third try he finally got through to her.

"Akira? Where are you?"

To top off his concern, he heard her crying.

"Akira? Are you okay? What's wrong?"

"Kai...It's Ka-...Kaz-...Kazu..."

"What's wrong with him?"

"Kai...He's been sh-...Shot..."

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(From this point forward it's Chapter 3)

Kai ran down the street, quickly and barely dodging people as he ran. The hospital was only a few blocks away, and he could see it just ahead. After running for a few more minutes, he turned a final corner, and saw it right down the street. He ran straight towards it, and just as he less than thirty feet away from it, a car slammed into him. The force knocked him onto the windshield, knocking the air out of him. Still rolling, he went up the windshield to the top of the car and finally into the air, where he turned a few times and then landed on the concrete. A small pool of blood was slowly forming around his unconscious form...

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"Where am I?"

Kai looked around, trying to figure out where he was. He was floating in what seemed like an endless pool of vast blackness, and he couldn't see a single thing around; not even his hand in front of his face. Suddenly, he heard a voice.

...Kai...

"Where's that coming from?"

...Kai...

He tried looking around, but he still couldn't see anything. It was like it coming from everywhere, yet at the same time, nowhere.

...You're quest isn't over...

"What are you talking about? Who are you?"

...I'm talking about The World. You're quest in The World isn't over. It needs you, BlackRose, and the .hackers...

"What am I supposed to do?"

...You'll learn more in due time. But now, you need to wake up.

"Wake up? What do you mean? I'm not asleep!"

Kai, please...Wake up...

"But...I'm not asle-"

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Kai felt a brightness appear over his closed eyes, and he heard another voice. This time, it was one he knew and loved. It was Akira.

"Kai, please...Wake up..."

He weakly opened his eyes, and saw Akira sitting next to him. When she saw his eyes open, a huge smile spread across her face. She quickly leaned down, and hugged him, accidently making him cry out in pain. She quickly pulled back.

"Kai, I'm so sorry!"

"It's okay...I needed a hug. By the way, where am I?"

"You're in the hospital. A car rammed into you, and nearly killed you."

Kai's eyes widened in realization that he was in the hospital.

"The hospital!? What about Kazu!?"

Akira smiled.

"...He's going to be okay. They were able to successfully remove the bullet, and he should make a full recovery. You, on the other hand, are in horrible shape."

"...Has my father arrived yet?"

"No. He hasn't been answering any of the calls."

"...Good."

"Kai, I'm really worried about you. You nearly died."

"Did they see the scar?"

"...Yeah, they did."

"And?"

"And, they put some sort of gel on it that's supposed to make it heal faster."

"...How long do they think I'll be in here?"

"Fortunately, the car didn't break any bones, so you'll probably be out of here in a few months."

Kai sighed.

"...That's good news."

"Yeah...It is."

She kissed him softly, and he smiled.

"Don't worry, Akira; I'll be okay."

"...I know, it's just I'm worried about you."

"I know you are; if you were here, I'd be worried, too."

"I love you, Kai."

"I love you too, Akira."

"...I'm gonna go get something to drink. Do you want anything?"

"Yeah, maybe some water."

"Okay, then."

She smiled at him, which he returned, and then she left the room. He sighed deeply to himself. He wasn't going to tell her about his vision just yet. He was going to wait for a while, and try to figure it out for himself...

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Inside the Net Slums of The World, two figures stood in the shadows. None of their features were visible, only their dark, red eyes. The first one, though unseeable, grimaced.

"What the hell happened?"

"It appears, Master, that Vexen has betrayed us. He has given the boy information."

"How? The boy wasn't even connected to The World!"

"It appears that, during what the CC Corp is calling 'The Twilight Incident', Vexen somehow managed to put some sort of signal inside of the boy's head, making him able to talk to him while he's unconscious."

"...Where is Vexen now?"

"...We do not know, Master; he has vanished."

"...Find him. We cannot afford to let him jeopardize any of our plans."

"Yes, Master."

"And when you find him, dispose of him."

"...I understand."

"Does the boy suspect anything?"

"No...Not yet, at least."

"What about Aura?"

"She is now under our complete control."

"...What about Balmung and CC Corp?"

"We have been unable to stop Balmung, but the rest of CC Corp has been blocked from The World. We are now in complete control of the entire system."

"Excellent. Everything is going according to plan..."

"Yes, Master."

"...And about Kazu?"

"Unfortunately, the hitman wasn't able to kill him. We disposed of him, though."

"...No matter. Only a minor formality."

"What if the .hackers find a way to stop us? After all, they stopped the Virus we created..."

The first one grinned.

"Do not worry. If they come, then this time, we'll have a few surprises in store for them..."

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(From this point forward it's Chapter Four)

Akira walked down the hallway of the hospital. She turned a final corner, and arrived at the entrance of the cafeteria. She got herself some sushi and a root beer, and got Kai a cup of ice water. She walked back toward the room, smiling.

Kai's going to be fine...He just ne-

Her thoughts were instantly broken as she felt her head start pounding violently. It was so violent, in fact, that she dropped the tray carrying their food and drinks, and then she too fell, slowly losing control of her consciousness...

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Akira looked around, and she was instantly terrified. She was floating in empty, endless darkness. She couldn't see anything...Not even her own hand in front of her face. Then, she heard a voice, but from where she was unsure. It seemed to come from everywhere, and at the same time, nowhere.

...Akira...

"Who's there? Where are you?"

...I am talking to you from a hidden location; one where they can't find me...

"Who are they?"

...I'm afraid that they're the ones who tried to kill your brother.

"WHAT!? WHO ARE THEY!?"

...I'm sorry, but I can't tell you anymore at this time. They might find out my location.

"When can you tell me more?"

Talk to Kite; I have already talked to him. All I can say for now is that I've visited each of the other .hackers, and I have told them what I have told you. I want you and Kai to meet the others in the real world, for The World is now under the control of them. I want you to meet them at-...

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Akira woke up, and looked around. She was lying in a hospital bed next to Kai's, and he was smiling at her. He grinned happily.

"So...Sleeping Beauty finally awakes."

"...What happened?"

"Well, from what the doctors said, we both apparently had minor stress-induced seizures."

"...And what really happened?"

"...I'm not sure."

"...I had a vision, Kai. It told me that it'd already visited you."

Kai cringed, and looked at her sadly.

"...I'm sorry, but I just didn't want to worry you until I figured out more."

"You should have told me, though. We're a team, Kai; we work together."

"...I know that, and I'm sorry."

"...Don't worry about it, Kai. The voice told me that we need to get out of here."

Kai gave her a puzzled look.

"How are we going to do that?"

"...We're going to have to create a distraction."

Kai slowly nodded.

"What do you have in mind?"

"...I've got it."

Akira pulled out a match, and lit it. She got up, standing on top of her bed, and held it up to a smoke detector. The machine started beeping almost instantly, simultaneously setting off all others in the building. People standing the hallways started panicking, heading towards the exits. Akira got down off the bed, and helped Kai up, hoisting him on her shoulders. He flinched in slight pain, and she looked at him seriously.

"Can you walk, Kai?"

"...I think so."

She backed about a foot away, letting try to gain his balance. He took a step forward, and then another, and then another. Sure enough, he was walking. They both grinned at each other, and walked into the hallway. They headed towards Kazu's room, and saw him heading toward an exit. Akira called to him, and he ran back to them. Together, the three of them headed out of the hospital...

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"Kazu, I want you to go to grandma's."

"No way! I want to go with you two!"

Kazu crossed his arms, pouting. Akira put her hands on his shoulders, lowered to his level, and looked directly into his eyes seriously. She sighed.

"...Kazu, please; I wouldn't be telling you to do this if I didn't think you'd be safe. Please, Kazu; go to grandma's. For me?"

Kazu stared back into her eyes, and then he sighed.

"...Okay."

Akira and Kai watched him walk onto the dart train, and slowly ride off. Akira looked over at Kai.

"...Let's get going; the others should already be there by now."

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Inside the Net Slums of The World, the two same figures as before stood in the shadows. The first one, the "Master", grinned.

"...You have news for me, Xerion?"

"Yes, Master...We were able to figure out Vexen's wave signals, and used them to psychologically attack BlackRose and Kite."

"...Were they killed?"

"Unfortunately, no; we had some difficulty getting them to that level."

"...Is there any good news?"

"Yes. We found Vexen's hideout, and destroyed it."

"Did you capture or kill him?"

"...No, Master."

"Then how is that good news?"

"...Master, I-"

"There are no excuses for failure, Xerion. You will be disposed of."

Xerion screamed as the "Master" pulled out a small device, and fired it at him. Like the effects of Data Drain, it destroyed his avatar's data. The "Master" knew that in the real world Xerion was in a coma, and pulled off his head gear. He looked at a woman standing over the unconscious body, and he waved his hand.

"Get rid of the body; we can't let our plans be jeopardized."

"Yes, Master."

The "Master" leaned over Xerion's moniter, and deleted his account. Xerion's avatar vanished, permenantly erased from The World. The "Master" sighed again.

"...I guess I'm going to have to do everything myself..."

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(From this point on it's Chapter 5)

Kai and Akira turned the corner, and stared ahead. They were by the docks. Everyone who had effected The World in one way or another stood in front of them: Yasuhiko (Orca), Balmung, Helba, and Mistral. Kai grinned.

"It's good to see you all. You all followed the voice, right?"

The four of them nodded, and Kai nodded in return. Every one of them had been asked by the voice to meet there, and they all had. Now, all they had to do was wait. They didn't have to wait long either, because they all heard a mysterious voice behind them.

"So...The .hackers are all here."

They all turned around, and saw a figure standing in the shadows. Akira stepped forward.

"Who are you?"

"...I guess it's time for the introductions."

The figure stepped out of the shadows, revealing himself. He was a young man in his late twenties, and he had a huge scar going down the side of his face. Akira grimaced, shocked.

"...What happened to your face?"

"...They found out about me, and they did this to me before I escaped."

Kai stepped forward, ready for more information.

"That's enough! I want to know who you are, who they are, and why you called us here!"

"...My name is Vexen, and I have information that could either protect this world or destroy it, and the same goes with The World."

Akira just had to know why Kazu had been shot; she just had to. She stepped forward.

"Why was my brother shot?"

"...It was caused by the Group."

"Who are the 'Group'"?

"They are the organization I used to be a member of."

"Why did they try to kill my brother?"

"They want to wipe out all who have had contact or know of Aura's existence."

"Why?"

"Because they are using both her and The World to carry out their plans."

"...What are their plans?"

Vexen cringed; everyone noticed it. He sighed.

"...Aura has evolved to the point where she can do as she pleases with The World. They are going to use her to use The World as a weapon."

Balmung's eyes widened in fear, and he spoke up.

"...A weapon?"

"I'm afraid so. They have developed what is known as Virus X that, as soon activated, spreads to every part of the computer moniter, and when it does, it causes it to explode...Just like a bomb. When it activates, it will not only infect the computer, but will also spread throughout the internet to the WNC. When it does, all computer appliances in the world will shut down. And when everything shuts down...It's going to be chaos..."

"How-...I mean, can they do this?"

"...I'm afraid they're very close to succeeding. They've already taken control of Aura, and with her, they can indeed carry out their plans."

"...Why are you telling us this?"

"Because it's up to you all to save The World. You must go into the game, and destroy the virus. It is inside of Aura, and you must destroy it and free her."

"...Can we protect ourselves?"

"Unfortunately, they have hitmen in the real world, so at any given moment you all could be killed."

He pulled out a data disk, handed it to Kai, and continued.

"This disk contains the location of a secret computer room I've made. It's protected from the virus, so you all will be safe. And, the Group is unaware of its location, so you should be safe from them. When you play The World in the computer room, the virus won't be able to harm you. Take it; you've got to hurry before-"

Suddenly, everyone heard a gunshot. Vexen's eyes widened, and fell to the ground. Behind him was a black car, and a handgun was aimed out of the window. The window rolled up, and the car quickly drove away. Akira ran over to Vexen, and felt his pulse. There was none; Vexen was dead. She looked up at Kai, and shook her head. Kai cursed.

"...We've got to get this disk to a computer, and find the location. If we don't...Then the Group wins."

The others all nodded in agreement, and with the data disk, they knew it was up to them to save everything and everyone they loved. If they failed...Then all hope was lost...

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(From this point on it's Chapter 6)

The six of them sat in the computer room Vexen had told them about. They'd gone to Akira's house, and found the location. It was in a secret room underneath the floor of an abandoned warehouse by the docks. Inside, they found six computers...One for each of them. They all logged on, and prepared to fight...

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Kite and BlackRose looked at each other and the others. The .hackers were all together again, ready to face whatever trouble awaited them. They hadn't needed to look far, however. As soon as they'd logged on, they'd discovered that The World had changed. Mac Anu was gone; in it's place they'd found an open, barren wasteland. Damaged bits of code floated all around them, and the once-blue sky was now a deep, misty green. Small shocks of thunder occasionally flashed through it, and BlackRose got chills, and she felt tears begin to pour down her face.

"...What happened to The World?"

Kite put his arm around her, holding her tightly. He kissed her gently, and smiled sadly.

"...We're going to defeat them, BlackRose...I know we are."

She smiled sadly, and wiped the tears from her eyes.

"...I know we are, Kite. Let's go find Aura."

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The six of them wandered slowly through The World, trying to find any other players. Whenever they did, the avatars were frozen, stuck in place by hazy, purple electricity. It was the Group, making sure that no one could stop them. Kite grinned...The six of them would have a few surprises in store for the Group when they found them. Balmung shuddered.

"This place...Used to be so full of life. And now...Look at it..."

Kite nodded sadly.

"...I know."

Suddenly, the ground around them shook. They all looked around, trying to figure out what was causing it. Then, everyone's avatar except for Kite's and BlackRose's vanished; they were blocked out of The World. The ground around them began to break apart, and slowly, Aura rose out of the ground and into the air. But, it wasn't Aura. It was something else. It was Aura, but all around her body were tentacle-like vines that connected to her to something huge. It had no definite shape; it was merely a gigantic blog of flashing, depressing colors. Aura's eyes weren't their usual color, but were, Kite noticed sadly, instead bright red. Her skin had been altered to a greenish-blue color. Her appearance, over all, was horrifying. BlackRose moved closer to him, her eyes wide in fear.

"What-...What happened to her?"

"...It's the Virus X that's infected her; the Group's taken over her."

"...How can we stop it?"

Kite flinched.

"...I don't know."

Suddenly, Kite felt something happening to him. He looked at himself, and noticed that he was glowing a goldish color. He felt a recognizable power flowing through him...It was the Bracelet. The goldish glow formed around his left hand, and sure enough, materialized into the Bracelet. He stared at it, and then his eyes widened in realization. BlackRose looked at him, worried.

"Kite...What is it?"

"...I know what I have to do to stop the Virus X."

"What?"

"...I have to use Data Drain."

BlackRose stared at him, scared.

"...But that's Aura!"

"...I have no choice."

"Isn't there another way?"

"...No."

"...Kite..."

Kite stared intently at what used to be Aura, and cursed. He raised his arm toward her, and knew that if he had any other option, he'd take it. But, there was no other option. He had to do this. He pointed his arm, and grimaced.

"...DATA DRAIN!!"

Everyone watched in horror as the Data Drain ability fired out of Kite's Bracelet, and hit Aura dead-on. Her eyes widened as her data was drained from her body. Kite watched as the Virus X flew out of her body, and the blob she was connected to disconnected itself. It whithered in what appeared to be pain, and it's date burst into code. Everyone cheered...Except for Kite. His eyes widened in fear at what he saw was about to happen. But before he could do anything, it was too late. The Virus X data flew towards him, and on impact, filled his body with the Virus. BlackRose screamed, and backed away in fear. Kite dropped to his knees, and screamed in pain as the Virus began to change his avatar's appearance. A black smog surrounded him, and when it finally vanished, he was changed. His red outfit was now black with red stripes, and his tanned skin was now ghostly pale. But, the one thing most horrifying was his eyes. They were blood-red...

Above, Aura fell to the ground, and burst into data code. The code floated into the air, and all of a sudden, flew towards BlackRose. Her eyes widened as Aura's data filled her, and like Kite, began changing her appearance. A gold light surrounded her, and when it faded, she was changed. Her red armor was now bright gold, and her normally-white hair was now sky-blue. Virus-Kite grinned.

"So...This is what happens when Aura's date infects a little chrony..."

"Kite, this isn't you talking; it's the Virus! It's infected you not only in The World, but it's corrupted your mind as well!"

Virus-Kite shook his head, grinning.

"Shut up...You mean nothing to me."

"Kai...It's me, Akira! You know that!"

"The only thing I know is that I feel more powerful than ever before...And I like it."

All of a sudden, they heard laughter. They all turned, and saw a male avatar grinning at them. He walked towards them, still grinning. He smiled at Virus-Kite.

"Excellent...Absolutely excellent. The plans might not be carrying out the way I expected, but I don't mind."

Virus-Kite raised an eyebrow.

"Who are you?"

"I have only one name: the Master. I created Virus-X, and I am your Master now."

Virus-Kite glared at him.

"...Who says?"

The Master chuckled.

"Who says? I says!"

"I'm not your little puppet."

"I created you! You will do as I say!"

Virus-Kite smirked.

"...Fuck that."

With lightning-quick speed Virus-Kite appeared right in front of the "Master", and aimed his Bracelet, which was now sickly-green, right at his face. The "Master"'s eyes widened in fear.

"...You wouldn't..."

"Wouldn't I? I could send you into a coma in the real world...Maybe even do worse than that just by firing this at you. You wouldn't stand a chance."

"...The Virus truly is perfect after all..."

Virus-Kite stared at him, puzzled.

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"When I created Virus-X, I made sure that it would know nothing but power. It's goal was to destroy everything, leaving nothing behind. And now, you're going to succeed...After all, you are the Virus now."

Virus-Kite's eyes widened in horror, and he realized it was true. This wasn't him, it was the Virus that was doing this to him. He closed his eyes, and sighed sadly. He wasn't going to let the Virus control him. He couldn't. Suddenly, his thoughts were cut short as the "Master" pulled out a small device, and fired it at Virus-Kite. It began sucking the data out of him, a lot like Data Drain, and transferring it to the "Master". But, it wasn't his data it was absorbing...It was the Virus.

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(From this point forward it's Chapter 7)

The "Master" laughed as he absorbed the Virus into his character.

"THE VIRUS-X IS MINE!! IT BELONGS TO ME!!"

Virus-Kite managed to gather his strength, and raised his Bracelet at the "Master". He grimaced.

"DATA DRAIN!!"

The Data Drain, instead of attacking the "Master", instead attacked the thing draining Virus-Kite. The two drains cancelled each other out, ending them. Virus-Kite and Virus-Master stared at each other, glaring. Each contained half of the Virus, and each had its power. Virus-Master grinned.

"With the Virus, I am unstoppable. First, I'll kill you and your little friends, and then I'll proceed to destroy every computer file across the entire planet!"

This time, Virus-Kite grinned.

"You forgot about one thing."

"What?"

"...Me."

Virus-Kite charged him, and the two of them slammed their fists into each other, knocking each other back. They charged again, but every time they hit, they'd both get equally hurt. They were both equally matched. Virus-Master grinned.

"Face it, boy...You cannot stop me!"

"Maybe not, but I can sure try!"

Virus-Kite raised his Bracelet, and fired Data Drain at him. Virus-Master raised his own device, and fired it. The two drains, like last time, cancelled each other out. Virus-Kite raised his Bracelet to fire again, and was caught off guard as Virus-Master slammed his fist into him, knocking back a few feet and landing his body on the ground. Virus-Kite tried to get up, but Virus-Master kicked him in the side, knocking him back down. Virus-Kite grabbed Virus-Master's foot, and tripped him. Virus-Master landed on the ground, and kicked Virus-Kite in the face, hurting him even more. Virus-Master grinned, but it quickly faded when he saw Virus-Kite try to get back up. He kicked him again, and shook his head.

"...Why are you so intent on helping them?"

"...Who?"

"The human race, boy. They don't deserve to live!"

"...Some do."

"NONE DO!! THEY DESERVE TO DIE!!"

"...Is that why you're doing this? Because you don't like the way the world's treating you? Pathetic."

"SHUT UP!!"

Virus-Master kicked him again, and BlackRose ran toward them. Virus-Master punched her once in the chest, and she fell to the ground, unconscious. Aura's data flew out of her, and for some reason, went into Virus-Kite. Virus-Kite saw BlackRose fall, and his eyes widened in rage. All of a sudden, he quickly jumped up, and slammed his fist into Virus-Master's face, knocking him back at least ten feet. Virus-Master, however, only grinned.

"...BlackRose...The sister of Fumikazu, the boy I had shot."

Virus-Kite's rage only increased, and he he charged Virus-Master as he stood up. Virus-Master blocked his move though, and punched him in the gut. Virus-Kite cringed in pain, and Virus-Master punched him in the face. Virus-Kite fell to the ground, and Virus-Master stood over him, grinning.

"I'm pathetic? You're the one who's pathetic; you can't even protect the one who love."

Virus-Kite moaned in pain, and then, he heard a voice in his head.

...It's up to you, Kite. I've given you my data energy to help you win. Use it, Kite...Use it and you can win.

Virus-Kite's eyes widend in realization. Aura's powers were inside of him...All he needed to do was free them. He went deep inside his mind, and sure enough he saw them. He saw them, and he released them. He knocked Virus-Master back, and stood up. A gold glow surrounded his left side, and when it vanished, he was changed yet again. His left side was bright gold, but his right side was black from the Virus. Virus-Master smirked.

"You still think you can stop me? YOU CAN'T STOP ME!!"

"...We'll see about that. You've hurt people close to me; people I care about. And now, you're going to pay for it..."

Virus-Kite held up his arm, and his Data Drain cannon appeared. It was now half-gold, half-black; just like his appearance. But, the Bracelet hadn't made it appear...It'd appeared on its own. Virus-Master held up his drain cannon, and aimed it at Virus-Kite. They both had them pointed at each other. Virus-Kite grinned.

"...This time, no firing at the cannons; we fire at each other."

Virus-Master grinned.

"Sounds good to me."

They both shouted "DATA DRAIN!!" at each other, and fired. They both screamed in pain as the drain cannons hit them. All around them, The World began shaking, and the barren scenary began to break apart. The drain cannons were destroying the very foundation of the game. Virus-Master, surrounded in energy, screamed loudly.

"I...CANNOT...BE...DEFEATED!!"

Virus-Kite screamed too as his data was being drained, and then, it was over. Virus-Kite fell to the ground, and looked up. Virus-Master was standing there, his eyes wide. He shook, and spoke to himself.

"But...I can't die..."

Virus-Master's legs trembled beneath him, and then he fell to the ground. His avatar dissolved, along with the part of the Virus inside of it. Virus-Kite looked over at BlackRose; she was still unconscious. He smiled, and gently shook her awake. She opened her eyes, and looked at him.

"Kai...Is that really you?"

"Yeah, Akira...It's me."

She threw her arms around him, and he returned the hug lovingly. She looked around.

"...What happened to the 'Master'?"

"...He's gone."

"You did it, Kai...You saved the world."

Virus-Kite looked down, and he shook his head.

"No...I didn't. Half of Virus-X is still inside of me. As long as either this avatar and The World exists, the Virus won't be destroyed."

"...What are you going to do?"

"...What I have to do. I have to destroy The World."

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(From this point forward it's Chapter 8)

BlackRose's eyes widened in fear as she tried to understand what Kite was saying.

"...What are you talking about?"

"In order for the Virus to be destroyed, I have to destroy The World."

"You can't be serious..."

Virus-Kite looked at her, and she saw that he was very serious.

"...I'm afraid I'm very serious."

"...How are you going to do it?"

"Aura created The World, and her data is inside of me. I can use it to destroy The World and save the real world from destruction."

"...What about you?"

"...I'll be fine. I need you to log out, though."

"Why?"

"...Remember when we saved The World from that other Virus? People actually fell into comas because of it. This Virus is ten times stronger than it, and there's a chance that when I destroy the game, I might fall into one."

BlackRose looked at him in horror.

"No! I'm not going to let you risk your life!"

"...Akira..."

He looked into her eyes, and she leaned forward. She kissed him softly, and he looked down. She looked at him sadly.

"...You really have to do this, don't you?"

"...Yes."

She felt tears pour down her face, and he noticed them. He gently lifted up his hand, and wiped them away. He smiled sadly, and she sighed.

"...Be careful, Kai."

"...I will."

"...I love you."

"...I love you, too."

They hugged, and then BlackRose logged out for the final time. Virus-Kite sighed sadly, and went deep into thought.

...Aura, is this the right thing to do?

...Yes, Kite...I'm afraid it is.

...You won't be forgotten, Aura.

...Thank you, Kite. Now, it's time...

"...I know, Aura."

Virus-Kite opened up his Data Drain cannon, and pushed it into the ground. He closed his eyes, and tightened his grip.

"...DATA DRAIN!!"

The world began to shake and crumble apart all around him, and he felt the Virus leave his body. He looked up, and saw it disintegrate. He smiled. That part was done. Then, he saw Aura leave his body. He smiled at her, and she smiled back before she too disintegrated into nothing. He closed his eyes again, and sighed. Suddenly, he heard a small song playing in the back of his mind.

If you are near to the dark I will tell you 'bout the sun you are here no escape from my visions of the world you will cry all alone but it does not mean a thing to me...

Every time he heard that song, he'd had mixed emotions. On one side, it depressed him. But, for some reason, another emotion was contentment.

Glow in the sun I will sing till the darkness comes to sleep come to me I will tell of the secret of the sun it's in you not in me but it does not mean a thing to you...

He smiled, remembering when he first heard that song in the background of The World. At first, he'd had no idea what it was about...But now, he knew. Too bad he'd never heard it again.

The sun is in your eyes the sun is in your ears I hope you see the sun someday in the darkness it does not much matter to me...

Even though his eyes were closed, he knew what was happening around him. The World was turning into black darkness, and it was slowly creeping closer and closer to him.

I can feel it. It's getting closer and closer. I feel like I could just reach out and touch it. Maybe I can...Maybe I can...Maybe I-

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Kai opened his eyes, and looked around. He was lying on the floor of Vexon's computer room. Akira and the others were standing above him, smiling sadly at him. Akira helped him up, and hugged him tightly. He looked over at Balmung.

"I'm sorry, Balmung...I know how much you loved The World..."

"...It's fine. After all, this is a world, too."

Kai smiled.

"Yeah...Yeah it is."

Akira looked at him, and they kissed. When they ended it, she looked at him seriously.

"So...What happened to the Virus-X?"

"...It's just like The World...Gone forever."

END

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(From this point forward it's an Afternote)

I would like to personally thank everyone who read, enjoyed, and encouraged me to finish this fanfic. It is definately the longest I've ever written, and I enjoyed writing it like I've never enjoyed anything before (except sex). After all, this is the first real full-on action fanfic I've ever written.

Well, I don't want to keep you, so I'm just going to say thanks once again. So, thanks. It really means a lot to me... :)