Title: A Fresh New Start

Summary: Taku's life hit rock bottom once he encountered Haru in Accel World, can he rekindle their friendship and move on? Kinda AU, OOC.

I love the Accel World anime a lot and wish that Taku got more screentime. I think he and Haru have such a great friendship, so I thought to maybe try to write a fic for it. Some events may seem out of place, but I hope you like it and don't mind if they seem a bit OoC, I think this is close to them but well, you never know. I do hope to continue, please give any comments and etc, really my first fic ever.

Chapter 1: Starto

Takumu stretched on his bed, deep in thought at the events that had transpired. The rough and busy day had almost took its toll on him but he couldn't sleep. How could he have allowed himself to get caught up in the Accel World so much that he would risk not only losing his friends, Haruyuki and Chiyu, but potentially have eliminated the defenseless hospitalized Black Lotus? Taku still couldn't believe that these events happened however, he was glad that he managed to, with Haru's help, not lose it all.

It felt awkward to spend that very same evening with Haru and Chiyu discussing everything that happened but it was an essential first step to redeem himself, he thought. Chiyu had been visibly upset and Haru already was quite angry earlier that day. But everyone managed to cool down once the explanations were shared. Chiyu had to be caught up on all things that dealt with Brain Burst but was as attentive and focused as she always is. Taku was surprised that they didn't stay frustrated for long and actually remained calm. It seemed that they understood what had happened and felt that because they both had treated him and each other wrong that they were all to blame. Chiyu hadn't seemed to be sincere in her feelings towards Takumu as she was trying to keep both him and Haru within her reach just to keep them from drifting apart. Taku had put both Haru, Chiyu, and Black Lotus in the line of danger, while Haru treated Taku wrong when Chiyu revealed that Haru was being bullied at school a few days prior.

After apologies were shared, Chiyu and Haru promised that they would always be with him, and asked him if he would only just be honest with himself and with them. They were his friends so he should trust in them. Trust and friends, Taku was glad that they did say this as it meant that they may have forgiven him. Now if he could only forgive himself, hopefully it would be easy, he thought to himself.

Haru, or Silver Crow, as he found, who looked quite stunning in the Accel World, offered Taku a position on his Legion, Nega Nebulous. To accept the offer would allow him to spend more time with Haru and try to rekindle and enhance their friendship. To not accept, well that was an option too. Perhaps giving up the Accel World would be a good option. The game itself was supposed to be fun and let you do things that aren't even possible in the real world while fostering a good community of friends. It was a nice pastime. Some of the abilities it allowed, like the Physical Burst to quickly accelerate and dodge objects in the real world, made it advantageous to have. However this all cost him dearly, and he didn't want to go through any of this again. No more sneaking around, no more potentially harming friends.

Taku drifted off to sleep as he deliberated over all these things.

"Hi Haru," Taku waved excitedly as he strolled up to him getting off the stairs close to the local deli. With this new day, Taku thought that it would be best to basically start over, start as if it is his first day meeting Haru and see where things go from here. He wanted to quickly forget about all that happened previously and just move on.

"Taku!," Haru said courteously as they strolled into the store. Partially excited to get his favorite sandwich after this rough day of school as well as meeting with his friend Taku, he couldn't help but have a smile on his face. Taku noticed this and felt a bit better. Somehow just seeing Haru's brilliant smile helped to take his worries away.

After ordering their food, and taking in the sweet delicious aroma of their savory bacon and grilled chicken sandwiches with a hint of honey dijon sauce, Taku broke the momentary silence.

"Haru, there's something I want to say." Haru kept eating while staring attentively at Taku.

"I know we talked yesterday, but I've been thinking. I think I want to give up Accel World, give up on Brain Burst, and just live my life normally." Taku said as he starred at his food trying to avoid eye contact.

Haru was surprised and dropped his fork, making a long cling on the table. "Taku don't you think that is a bit rash. You don't need to do that!" he said swiftly. A flurry of thoughts were rushing through his head but he tried to remain calm. Sure he hadn't had interacted that much with Taku in the Accel World so far, only having access to it for a few days, but he didn't want to go there without his friend accompanying him.

"But Haru, it has brought me nothing but sadness, grief, and distress. It even caused me to harm others. I'd rather not take any chances and avoid doing this in the future. It's just not worth it." He had convinced himself that this was the better option to take. Haru, or rather Silver Crow and Black Lotus, seemed to be strong enough on their own for Nega Nebulous and could recruit anyone else to their team, so he, Cyan Pile, wasn't necessary he felt. Not willing to admit his weakness he kept those thoughts to himself and just ended with, "I just don't feel comfortable going back there after what I did."

Haru was about to object, but as Taku took another bite he could tell that this had been a difficult decision for Taku to make. Taku seemed like he was holding back tears and suppressed a whimper. Haru felt that he needed to do something, so he got up from his seat and went to pat Taku on the shoulder. Taku fought hard to suppress his tears and reached up to grab Haru's hand, glad to feel the warmth, which he felt glad to have.

"Taku, we already forgave you for what you did. We understand the situation, you were under a lot of pressure from other sources and had a job to do. You don't need to do this to yourself," Haru said sincerely. Taku rubbed his eye, but remained silent. "Don't do it Taku, just wait a bit, if you want, just accompany me."

"But Haru," Taku said silently, he was trying to protest but couldn't form the words.

"No but's, Taku. If I'm with you, you won't have to worry, if you get out of line I'll just pummel you again," Haru smirked as he stood by Taku. Taku actually started to smile.

"That won't happen again, you were lucky, Haru, I'm higher level anyway," somehow he managed to feel a bit better. There was just something about Haru, Taku thought, that always made him feel a bit lighter, and as if Haru could take away all his pain and worries and make things better. It was a strange feeling but one that he would love to experience again. "Thanks Haru," he said lightly.

"Did you say something, Taku?" Haru asked, unable to hear what Taku just said there. Taku didn't respond and continued eating his sandwich.

Later that evening, Taku decided that he would take a few days away from connecting to the net and using Brain Burst, to just focus on doing everything the best he could unassisted with any special mental abilities. He needed to experience things fresh and new again, just as he did before he had the program installed. Part of this experience, though required a change in appearance. He decided to swap out his contacts and instead use his favorite pair of glasses and stick them on, opting as a reminder that he wanted to see the world through his own eyes. Secondly he decided that to truly have a new start he'd leave his current school behind and start at a different one. With all his faith put into Haru, he chose to attend that school starting at the beginning of next week. Just imagining the face that Haru would make when he found out they would be in school together, again made him chuckle and put him in a good moood for the rest of the evening.