My second SAO fanfiction! I'm putting a spoiler alert on it for anyone who hasn't read the first 4 novels. Please enjoy!
A/N: When they're in-game I use 'Kirito' (cause it's his avatar's name) but in reality I use 'Kazuto'.
Special thanks again to Noah Gabriel for helping me on some things!
Disclaimer: I regretfully do not own Sword Art Online. I cry every night before bed.
Waking Up To You
Chapter 1. Nightmares And Thunderstorms
Thunder crashed, booming loudly and seeming to shake the entire house.
6-year-old Asuna Yuuki whimpered as she clutched the covers tighter to her body, stuffing her face into her pillow.
Lightning flashed brightly through the curtains, illuminating her room in a ghostly light for a second before black darkness consumed her once again. She would have turned on the lamp and tried to play with her stuffed animals, make up stories and try to ignore the storm until it went away and she could sleep again. But tonight was one of the rare nights when her somewhat luxurious house had lost power, and so Asuna was forced to lie in shadows as she waited for morning.
The hissing rain pattered noisily against the windows and roof, and it would bring a momentary silence, an armistice from the storm. But just as soon as she thought it had ended, another loud boom would shake the house, and she withdrew into her covers once more.
"R-Rain, rain, go away..." she mumbled the chant she heard so many times, but it never seemed to work. Another bright flash of lightning made her squeal out loud. M-Maybe I can go see Mother and Father this time. Maybe this time... they'll let me stay with them, since I can't have my lamp.
Gathering her courage, the small girl forcefully threw the blankets off herself and crawled out of bed. Her white nightgown could hardly defend her from the cold air filling the room, and when her bare feet made contact with the wooden floor, a shiver shook her entire body. She clutched a stuffed bear in her arms as she clumsily headed for the direction she knew the door to be in. When the lightning flashed again, she pushed back the fear and used the light to locate the doorknob.
Once into the hallway, an eerie echo of the rain-sound reverberated all around her and she hugged her bear closer. Leaning against the wall, she slowly made her way to her parents' room. Not once before could she recall asking her parents to let her sleep with them and them giving permission, but she thought this time it might be different since the power was out.
She reached the door and slowly extended her tiny, trembling fist and knocked once.
"M-Mother? Father?" She called out in a small voice that was drowned out by another burst of thunder. She whimpered and called out again, louder. "M-Mother? F-F-Father?" She waited a moment in silence, listening to the rain until she heard a sound from within.
"What is it?" Her mother's drowsy and annoyed voice cut into Asuna's chest like ice. "Do you have any idea what time it is? Oh great, the power's out." Asuna heard some rustling of the bed sheets as her mother mumbled something inaudible to her father.
"M-Mother?" Asuna tried again, not wanting to give up when she had come this far already. "Can I sleep with you and Father f-for a little while?"
"Don't be ridiculous." Her mother chided from the other side. "You're a big girl now. Go back to your own room. But don't fall down. God knows the last thing we need is to go through the trouble of calling an ambulance in this weather..." The sour voice brought tears to Asuna's eyes.
"Y-Yes. I'm sorry. Good night, Mother." She said back, trying to keep her voice from breaking. Her mother made no more comments and silence ensued.
Asuna wanted to go see if her brother would let her in, but she soon thought better of it. Her mother would surely get angry at Asuna, saying how her brother needs his sleep for school and could not be bothered with his troublesome sister.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as Asuna stumbled her way back to her room. But the thunder and lightning did not really scare her anymore, so she did not understand why she was crying.
Asuna slowly blinked her eyes open to a room filled with pale yellow sunlight.
As the remnants of the dream from her past began to fade away, she sighed with relief as she realized that it had only been a dream; presently, she was in her shared bedroom on the 22nd floor of Aincrad once it had been added onto Alfheim's World Tree.
She slowly pushed herself off from the bed slightly in order to roll over, as she did so, she found her face mere centimeters away from the person she shared this bedroom with.
Kirito slept quietly with his mouth slightly ajar and Asuna quickly relaxed upon seeing his precious sleeping face; she had nearly expected her mother to be hovering over her, chastising her for harboring such childish fears. Asuna pushed the dream completely out of her mind as she focused on the man in front of her- her husband.
Even though they had achieved the marital status back years ago back in the old SAO, he still had the same adorable sleeping face. His Spriggan avatar was slightly different, his onyx hair less spiky than it had used to be and his skin a bit lighter too, but he was still undoubtedly her Kirito, her Kazuto.
Although they both were able to log out of the game and go back to their real bodies, they had agreed that they would try to stay in the game together at night and log out in the morning. Asuna could still recall his exact words, "Honestly, I'd much rather be waking up to you every morning in this room than alone in my real one." Asuna had wholeheartedly agreed, and so they had promised to spend nights together in-game whenever possible, and then log out in the mornings.
This usually only happened on weekends, though, which was why Asuna was so ecstatic about their current full week and two weekends off from school. She would be able to sleep next to him and wake up in his arms for another 8 nights and mornings still; just thinking about it brought a smile to her face.
But there was something even more exciting about it all. In another 6 days, that upcoming Friday, both of Asuna's parents would be away for the weekend on business, and her brother would be at University. She had immediately made plans to have Kazuto over that night, which he had hesitantly but happily agreed to. They never really got the chance to be alone together in the real world, and she could not remember ever taking a nap beside him, therefore Asuna was a bit more excited than she thought she probably should be.
Asuna poked Kirito's cheek playfully as he continued to sleep, his uptight defense barrier melted away like the morning dew. But upon seeing the white of the nightgown she wore now, Asuna was quickly reminded of the unpleasant events of her dream. Her smile went away as she pictured her mother's angry face, but then Asuna immediately felt bad. No, I shouldn't be thinking this way. Mother allowed me to continue going to school with Kirito-kun; she's changed. These are just feelings from when I was younger. Things are different now. She reminded herself.
She jumped suddenly as she heard a small voice coming from above her head.
Asuna looked toward the top of her pillow to the source of the voice. Yui, in her pixie form, had been peacefully asleep, using Asuna's sky-blue Undine hair as a blanket. The tiny girl stirred and pushed herself up into a kneeling position, stretching her wings out behind her.
"Oh! Good morning, Yui-chan!" Asuna beamed. "I'm sorry." She whispered a little softer. "Did I wake you up?"
"Mama?" Yui mumbled sleepily, her clear black eyes fixing onto Asuna's gaze. "Are you okay? Up until just now, Yui sensed that Mama wasn't feeling well. You didn't sleep a lot last night." Worry shown in her small irises but Asuna could see it as clearly as the morning sunlight.
"No, no. Mama's just fine, Yui-chan. Just a bad dream." Keeping her smile, Asuna admitted that much, for she knew Yui could sense her emotions more strongly than anyone else.
"Yui has never had a dream..." the pixie stated. "But I know they can hurt. Do you hurt, Mama?" She asked, gazing up at Asuna with her sparkling, innocent eyes.
"Mama's just fine. It doesn't hurt." She reached out and scooped Yui into her palm and carefully nestled her against her cheek. "Thank you for worrying about me, Yui-chan."
Beside Asuna, Kirito finally stirred and yawned as he opened his eyes, blinking away the slumber.
"Uh...what happened?" He muttered, looking up at Asuna. "Why are you hurt?"
"Eh? Oh no, nothing's wrong. It was just a sad dream, that's all." Asuna clarified as Yui fluttered from her palm, exclaimed "Good morning, Papa!" and cuddled into Kirito's cheek.
"Morning, Yui." He said with a smile before glancing back at Asuna. "You're sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine now." She promised. "Oh, that's right! We should probably get going soon. We've got to meet up to go see that movie today, right?"
"Ah you're right." He agreed and the two of them sat up facing one another. Yui giggled as she glanced back and forth between the two of them and the couple burst out into laughter as well when they noticed one another's bedheads. Asuna carefully arranged his slightly spiky hair back into place while Kirito only ruffled her head playfully, making it even frizzier. Asuna pouted at him before they crawled out of bed together and logged out.
That night, the married couple lay in bed together once more in their room on the 22nd floor, reminiscing about the events of the day together.
"That was a really good movie." Kirito commented as they changed into their sleepwear. Asuna pulled her long blue hair out from her white nightgown as she replied.
"It was! Except that one part was kind of scary..." she shuddered.
"Yeah, you were clinging to me so tightly." He chuckled.
"T-That's because I thought they were going to die!" She defended.
The idle chatter continued for several moments as Yui flitted back and forth between them, asking questions about what movies were like. The trio got into bed and Kirito dimmed the lights in the room.
"Good night, Mama! Good night, Papa!" Yui chirped as she kissed them each on the cheek before settling down on the pillow above their heads and folding her wings. They wished her good night in turn before Yui closed her eyes; she would not wake up again until 7AM the next morning, therefore, this was the time Kirito and Asuna would be able to partake in private affairs without having to worry about Yui.
"So what will we be doing tomorrow?" Asuna inquired.
"Hm. How about we go to the park and have a picnic?" He suggested.
"Oh! I'd love that!" She exclaimed, giving a little bounce.
"It's decided then." Kirito smiled back. Asuna nodded as she laid her head down, careful to give Yui some space. She moved as close to Kirito as possible and brushed her nose against his, to which he responded by kissing her. They embraced tightly for a moment until they needed to part for air.
"Good night, Kirito-kun."
Kirito waited until Asuna had closed her eyes before he turned off the lighting completely by using the control panel at his fingertips. He then wrapped his arms around her small back and rested his chin upon her head.
He let his eyes fall shut, but seemed to open them again only seconds later.
He was standing in an empty space, surrounded by black emptiness on all sides. He glanced around, as if searching for something he knew should have been there, but froze when he heard an all too familiar laugh. It was a sinister sound that echoed through Kirito's ears and shook him to the core, a laugh he associated the utmost terror with.
"Tsk tsk, Black Swordsman-sama." The voice mocked, bellowing eerily, seeming to shroud Kirito's entire body in paralysis. He swiveled his gaze in all directions but failed to find the source of the voice.
"Jonny Black." He spat. "What do you want?" Fighting to keep his voice from cracking, Kirito reached for his sword, but found nothing but empty space, and he had no wings either; he was merely a normal person right now.
"You should have been more careful." The voice chuckled with a gruesome gurgling sound to it. "Didn't you say you were going to protect the person closest to you?"
Kirito felt his blood run cold as he finally made out the shape of «The Red-Eyed Xaxa», clouded by darkness, but unmistakably the Laughing Coffin member. But what terrified Kirito beyond words was not Johnny Black, but the other person with him. Asuna struggled weakly under his cruel arm that was locked around her neck, crushing her throat.
"Asuna!" Kirito shouted and tried to dash forward but was unable to move, as if his feet were rooted by the shadows. Johnny laughed menacingly as he tightened his grip on Asuna. She gasped and clutched at his arm with her hands, but they had no effect on his strength. "Let her go!"
"So sorry, Kirito-kun. You should have been more careful." The voice apologized.
Kirito watched in sheer terror as Asuna's breath hitched. She used her last breath to call out his name feebly: "Ki...ri...to...kun..."
Tears streamed down her cheeks as her breath came to a stop. Kirito watched, utterly powerless as the light left her chestnut eyes.
The shadow behind her guffawed insanely as he let Asuna's body fall to the ground like a broken doll.
"Asuna! Asuna! ASUNA!" Kirito shouted.
"Wha-!" Kirito's eyes flew open to reveal the darkened bedroom he had fallen asleep in. Asuna was facing him, her eyes lit with panic and threatening to cry as she looked at him.
"Oh, thank goodness you're awake! You were thrashing in your sleep and I kept calling you but you wouldn't open your eyes. I was so scared..." her voice trembled before she continued. "What's wrong, Kirito-kun?"
He still felt incredibly cold but his face was covered in sweat and his body was shaking.
"Asuna..." he finally managed to whisper.
"Yes...Yes I'm right here. What is it?" She begged for his answer as her soft, warm palm pressed gently against his cheek. Kirito slowly raised his trembling hand to cover hers and at last let out a sigh of relief.
"Kirito-kun?" She prompted, fighting to keep her voice as level as possible.
"Sorry. It was just a nightmare." He whispered, closing his eyes and savoring the warmth of her hand against his clammy skin.
"Do you want some water? Do you want to log out?" She offered, still troubled.
"No, it's fine. I don't need anything. Just…" he blinked up to lock his onyx gaze with her eyes like pools of crystal. Asuna exhaled as she nodded, understanding exactly what he meant.
"Come here." She gently wrapped her slender arms around his shoulders and pulled his head to her chest.
Since the beginning of SAO over 3 years prior, the gaming system had enhanced to be more realistic, and though it was not necessary, had created the replication of the heartbeat. One could feel it themselves during a period of high activity, such as during and exhilarating battle or after a mad dash, but the only way to feel another player's heartbeat was to press closely against them, something only married couples usually did. Therefore, it could be said that hearing another player's heartbeat could be considered a very rare and very intimate experience.
Kirito let his eyelids fall shut as he nestled against her collarbone and listened to that beautiful sound.
Asuna knew he would do anything to protect her at any time for any reason against any enemy, and she had to do the same for him, even if that enemy was a figment of his simulated dreams, and even if it happened all night every night; she would rather become an insomniac in both worlds than see him suffer.
Kirito let a small smile form on his lips as he felt Asuna's body tense just a little; he knew she was in her defensive mode now, silently challenging any nightmare that dare try to threaten him. He felt her small hands strongly yet comfortingly rubbing up and down his back and could feel her soft breath on his neck.
He could sense the possessive protectiveness of a girlfriend for her lover, a wife for her husband, an angel for her soul mate.
Therefore, just this once, Kirito thought it would be fine if he fell asleep before her.
He heard his alarm going off, meaning he knew he should be getting up right now, but several factors kept Kirito exactly where he was.
One such factor, and the most prominent one, was the sensation of Asuna's palms still caressing his shoulders, and he wondered if it really was morning already or just a few moments after his nightmare. He certainly wished he still had the entire night ahead of him, but the bright, milky light revealed before his eyelids suggested otherwise. However, for the moment, he decided to ignore his alarm and try to savor this moment for as long as possible.
Past the faded sound of Asuna's heartbeat, he could hear her voice that was sweet enough to put sugared honey to shame as she spoke in a hushed tone to Yui.
"Good morning, Yui-chan." He could hear the beautiful smile in her words.
"Good morning, Mama!" The little pixie replied. "Mama? Yui felt something last night but since she couldn't wake up she didn't know what it was. Is Papa all right?"
"Papa's just fine. He had a bad dream, that's all." Her tone was exactly that of a mother soothing a worried child.
"Papa had a bad dream, too? Just like Mama? Why do you have bad dreams? Don't they hurt?" Yui, frustrated at her own inability to experience dreams, asked a slew of questions, to which Asuna replied calmly.
"Sometimes they hurt, but that's why we have each other. Yui-chan's never had a bad dream before, but it's like seeing something really scary happen right in front of you and you can't run away, or sometimes it's a bad memory you can't change no matter how hard you try." He could hear traces of regret laced in her voice now and a feeling of helplessness overcame him; her dreams were the absolute only place where he would not be able to save her.
"I don't like that." Yui sounded very unhappy. "Why do Mama and Papa have to get hurt even when they sleep?" Now she sounded as if she was pouting, angry at the system of the game.
"Well it's true that the dreams are scary while you sleep," Asuna agreed. "But that's why it's so wonderful to wake up next to the person you love."
Kirito was at an absolute loss for the feelings that swelled up inside of him at that moment. How many times had he marveled at her honest and courageous heart? It was impossible to count. It was simply indescribable how many times she could make him feel so empowered through words alone.
A comforting silence ensued for the next several minutes as Asuna continued to brush her fingers through his hair, humming along to the peaceful BGM melody. Kirito knew he could easily fall back to sleep again and probably continue to sleep like this for the rest of the day. But a small twinge of hunger he felt then reminded him of the picnic they had planned for that day and he decided to finally commit to waking up.
His hands, which had been curled as his side, shielded between Asuna and himself, made their way around her slim waist. Asuna let loose a small yelp of surprise as he pulled away from her and opened his eyes.
"Morning." He grinned.
"Geez. How long have you been awake?" She mumbled, a faint blush showing on her cheeks as she moved a bit until their faces were level. He leaned in and pecked her cheek, earning a light giggle.
"Let's get up. We've got a picnic to attend."
A/N: This is only a 2-chapter story so please wait patiently for next week! Chapter 2 is twice as long!