Thanks to everyone who decided to read on to chapter 2! I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Sword Art Online :'[

Chapter 2. Dreams And Warmth

"Ahh, that was even more amazing than yesterday's dish!" Kazuto sounded to be in complete bliss, as usual, after finishing one of Asuna's homemade meals.

This was their third picnic together that week, and Kazuto was convinced that if he could do this every day for the rest of his life, he would happily drop out of school and become a worthless, but well-fed NEET.

"I'm glad." Asuna nodded, satisfied with his response to her cooking. In the VRMMOs, flavors and foods were all just recreations and falsified flavors sent to the brain, which was the precise reason why Asuna was so determined to make her food in reality so much more satiating.

They had lucked out every day that week with beautiful weather, warm sunlight, and delicious food, but Asuna still could not push away the feelings of excitement that had been welling within her all week as they began to rise now. In just a few more hours, her house would be empty and theirs for the taking and would be until the next evening.

Gah, I'm such a weirdo, getting so happy over something like this. Surely if Kirito-kun knew I was looking forward to this so much, he would misunderstand, just like the first time we stayed together in SAO… Such thoughts had been popping up to worry her all week, and though she had absolutely zero to negative intentions to do anything foolish with her boyfriend that night, she still felt that she was getting too excited. It's just… we've never spent a night together in real life before. Of course the games are wonderful and nothing can compare to the atmosphere, but I've always just been wondering what it's like in this world… Then, her teenage-female state of mind kicked into overdrive as she began to fret even more. Oh no. What if it's nothing like I imagined? What if it's really awkward and uncomfortable and we can't enjoy it? What if he-

"Uwah!" Her jumbled thoughts were abruptly cut off as she felt a poke in her side and she reflexively let her body go into self-defense mode. Poor, unsuspecting Kazuto who had merely been trying to wake her from whatever trance she had been under had his kind efforts rewarded with an elbow to the cheek as he was knocked sideways.

Asuna, who had both hands protectively covering her sides instantly snapped back into reality when she realized what she had done. "E-Eh? Kirito-kun? W-What? Eek! I'm so sorry!" She quickly reached over and helped him sit up again as he rubbed his cheek.

"Nah, I guess that was kind of my fault." He chuckled, only sounding slightly regretful.

"It kind of was." She agreed before leaning forward, brushing his hand aside and replacing it with a gentle kiss on his cheek. "Forgive me?" She pleaded with playful eyes.

"Mm, it's still a bit sore." He shrugged, hardly believing he was acting this part. Asuna giggled once before she kissed him again. "Okay, we're good." Kazuto announced.

They packed away the remnants of their picnic and folded the blanket together. As they began walking back through the park with the breeze tugging their hair back, Asuna fidgeted with the basket's handle.

"S-So, you're coming over now, right?" She checked.

"Y-Yeah. That is, if you still want me to." He scratched his head a bit awkwardly.

"O-Of course I do! I just wanted to make sure…" She trailed off, trying to think of something more to say. "D-D-Do you p-plan on sleeping in that?" She blurted out without fully wanting to and quickly covered her mouth with one hand, hoping maybe he had not heard it, but of course he had.

"This is fine." He shrugged, looking down at his black pants and gray t-shirt.

"Right." Asuna nodded once before falling silent again. It took her a moment to comprehend that he had just officially confirmed that he would be spending the night at her house that evening and she felt the blood rush to her face again.

"You okay?" He glanced sideways at her.

"Y-Yes, I'm fine, I'm fine." She knew the repetition and the stammer must have been the most unconvincing things in the world, but Kazuto merely smiled.

As her right hand was occupied by the picnic basket, he reached down and took her left, entwining his fingers with hers. He did not miss the small smile that lit her face at that moment; he knew she loved holding hands and he always had great fun in surprising her with it. However, she had once told him that although the feeling of their hands together was much warmer and more comforting in reality, she felt a great weight in the emptiness on her left ring finger. Kazuto had regretfully agreed with her before vowing he would someday refill that emptiness in this world as well. He remembered that perfect smile she had shown him at that time, the very same one she had shown when he had first proposed to her that night in SAO, years ago.

I promise, I'll make you show me that smile at least one more time. He swore inwardly.

The couple continued to walk through the soft grass until it turned to pavement, and before long, they were standing outside of Asuna's house. She flicked her eyes over to the driveway to confirm that no cars were present before she took a step toward the house, pulling her boyfriend along with her. She said nothing as she placed the basket down, and, still holding his right hand with her left, fumbled to grab ahold of her house key in her skirt pocket. "Well, Kirito-kun, welcome to my house!" She beamed as she led him in.

"Excuse me for intruding." He muttered as he took in the spacious area.

There was a living room with couches and a TV and rugs upon the wooden floor to one side, and the other direction led to a tiled kitchen. As Kazuto removed his shoes and left them by the door next to Asuna's, he slowly followed her into the kitchen. She seemed exuberant as she put the basket away and cleaned the counter off.

Kazuto watched her with fond eyes until she straightened and turned back to him. She held up one finger, indicating him to wait a moment as she dashed off, practically sliding along the smooth floor and causing him to think she was about to fall. She reappeared a moment later with 2 sets of Nerve Gear.

"Let's play for a bit." She smiled, handing him a helmet.

By the time they said goodbye to all of their online friends for the evening and removed the Nerve Gear, the sun was on the verge of setting.

As Kazuto stretched, Asuna pulled him up off the couch and led him to the back of the house. She slid open a glass door to reveal a very modern, wooden porch with a cushioned couch overlooking the back yard.

Kazuto gazed in amazement at the expanse of grass, encompassed by colorful flowers around the perimeter. Directly in front of them was a very small forest, but the trees parted down the middle in order to allow the view of the sunset beyond the horizon perfectly.

Asuna urged him to take a seat beside her and they both leaned back as they took in the breathtaking view.

"Ever since I was little, this has always been my favorite part of this house." Asuna's small voice danced on the wind as the bright yellow sun began to sink. The sky was a brilliant red that gradually melted into orange, dying the clouds in pink and violet.

Asuna rested her head against his shoulder as her hands found both of his. They were both compelled to close their eyes but battled against the urge, wanting to see every last second of the wondrous view before them.

It lasted for several moments, but it felt like only seconds had gone by before the sun had vanished and the sky had begun to turn dark. Kazuto sighed, a little disappointed, and Asuna felt equally so, knowing that she could probably never share this view with him again anytime soon.

The light material of her blouse did little to protect her from the evening breeze and Kazuto rubbed her arm before suggesting they head back inside.

Closing the sliding door behind her, Asuna froze as she realized she had no idea what to do next. S-Should I take him to my room? Isn't it still a bit early? Maybe he should sleep in Aniki's room after all…

As she was contemplating what to do, Kazuto gave her her answer.

"So…can I…see your room?" He requested.

She knew he was not trying to be nosy, but simply trying to smooth her ruffled hair, and she gave a small smile and nodded.

"Follow me." She padded away in her socks and Kazuto followed, turning a corner with her and carefully making his way up the stairs she practically flew up. She stopped at the second door and slowly opened it, flicking on the lights to reveal a hotel-like suite.

There was a neatly organized desk against the wall and a small television on the opposite side beside some drawers. A bed that looked far too large for her petite figure sat slightly off from the center with a large window behind it. Books lined the shelves above the desk and a stuffed teddy bear overlooked the room from there as well.

"Welcome to my room!" Spreading her arms wide, she sounded like a super-excited tour guide. She turned around the chair at her desk and offered him the seat. Kazuto gratefully accepted but voiced his wonders of where she would sit. "Oh I'm going to go get changed. Just hold on for a moment, okay?" She plucked an article of clothing from her drawer and slipped out into the hallway, leaving Kazuto slightly dumbfounded.

Unsure of what to do, he let his eyes wander around the room, fixing on the large bed covered in a thick comforter with a single large pillow. Yes this is definitely too big for one person. He concluded. He imagined Asuna lying alone there each night in the darkness with so much cold, vacant space surrounding her on all sides. Dammit. I should have been beside her every night since I met her, and I should be every night after this one for the rest of our lives. But I can't... He gritted his teeth, chewing his bottom lip as he vowed to make this night good enough for all those he had missed.

That moment, the door reopened to reveal Asuna dressed in a light pink, short-sleeved nightgown that floated down to her knees. Her long, chestnut hair had a silky wave to it, as her braid had been let down, her bare feet lightly tapping the floor as she closed the door and crossed the room with a shy smile on her lips.

This was the first time he had seen her in such an appearance in reality; the night of their marriage in SAO, she had looked very similar, and many nights after that, but never before had Kazuto ever experienced such a feeling as the one that coursed through him at that very moment; it was as if he had been expecting to see a fairy but saw an angel instead.

She avoided his eyes for the moment as she walked to a small closet in one corner, rummaged around for a moment, and then turned back to him and tossed him something. Kazuto flailed his arms as he was nearly knocked off his chair as he grabbed the object; it was a soft, white pillow.

"What, you don't think that one is big enough for the two of us?" He asked, a bit puzzled.

As she walked past him, Asuna beckoned him toward the bed with her. He hesitantly followed and they sat down together with a small bounce of the mattress.

"That's not it at all." She said as she dug her own pillow out. "That's your shield."


Before he even had time to be confused, Kazuto's vision went white as he felt a slight impact on his face. Asuna pulled her pillow away from his face to reveal his baffled expression and puffed-up hair.

Asuna found it perfectly hilarious as she tried to hold in her laugh, which only worked for about 3 seconds until she burst out into laughter.

"Oh, that's funny, is it?" Kazuto grimaced as he grabbed his pillow with both hands and swung it horizontally at her. But «The Lightning Flash» easily saw through his actions and ducked gracefully, even though she was still sitting. She popped her head up from behind her pillow-shield and narrowed her eyes smugly, issuing a silent challenge to him.

"It's on now. You asked for it." He swung his pillow in every direction possible, left, right, up, down, and diagonally, but amazingly Asuna really lived up to her SAO title in real life as she dodged each of his attacks. Almost as if she were wielding her beloved rapier, she jabbed him in the side with her pillow whenever she could, and often landed blows to his head as well.

She then firmly planted her fluffy shield in front of her, curling her body behind it and only peering out over the top. She waiting for the attack she knew was coming, and as soon as Kazuto lifted his arms, preparing to hit her from above, Asuna jumped up at him from below, knocking him backward onto the bed.

Kazuto realized by now that he was putting on a pitiful performance and tried to redeem himself as he straightened up and came at her again. "Eep!" Asuna seemed shocked at his quick motion and stumbled backward. Kazuto realized a second too late how close she was to the edge, and before he could reach out to her, she flipped backwards off the bed and onto the floor with a thud.

"Asuna!" Kazuto quickly leaned forward to peek over the edge, expecting to see her lying winded on the wooden floor. But he blinked in bewilderment as an empty floor stared back at him.

He thought he must have lost consciousness from one of Asuna's hits and was currently hallucinating because he was absolutely certain she had just fallen off the bed.

As her confused boyfriend looked over the edge, Asuna had stealthily crawled with her pillow underneath her bed and came up on the other side. She aimed a blow at the back of his head and triumphantly jumped onto him while shouting, "Surprise!"

"Woah!" Kazuto yelped as he felt her weight on his back and he was forced to push himself backward in order to not have them both tumble over this time. "Why you... did you actually go under the bed? That's no fair! I'm in unfamiliar territory!" Kazuto clutched his pillow before him as Asuna pushed him onto his back and landed on top of him, their pillows squished between them and their faces mere inches apart.

"Well then, maybe we should familiarize you with this territory, Kirito-kun." She smirked. A loose lock of her hair hung into his face and Kazuto blew it away. "Do you surrender, Kirito-kun?" Asuna asked, trying to lean more of her weight onto him.

But Kazuto returned her smirk with one of his own as he gathered all his strength in his arms, and with a grunt, surged upward quickly. Asuna's caramel eyes widened in shock as he lifted her off of him before swiftly flipping her over onto her back, reversing their positions as he landed on top of her and she let out a small "oof!"

"I'll never surrender." He stated proudly. "Will you?"

"Never!" Asuna declared determinedly.

Kazuto thought there was no way her slender arms would be able to push his weight away, but to his utter surprise, he felt her pour her strength upward as she managed to lift him a little. She pushed up and then quickly to the side, causing Kazuto to roll off of her and land at her side.

"It's because you're so skinny, Kirito-kun." Though her breath was short and heavy, she wore an air of victory around her and Kazuto sighed in defeat.

They rested for a moment on the now ruffled bedsheets until Kazuto spoke up.

"Fine. It's a draw." He decided.

"I don't think so." She refuted.

"Well then, you may have won round one..." as he spoke he sat up and tossed his pillow onto the floor before taking Asuna's from her hands and doing the same to hers. She looked up at him, clearly puzzled, her long hair pooling out beneath her head in a disheveled, yet adorable curtain. "But there's no way you're winning round two." He finished, leaning over her.

"Why? What's round tah-ah!" Asuna's voice broke off into a shriek as Kazuto poked her stomach and she immediately curled up into a ball.

"I know all your weak spots, Asuna." His smirked remained on his lips as he quickly flitted his index finger down her spine. A chill temporarily paralyzed the girl as she squealed again.

"N-No, Kirito-kun d-don't, I won't be able to control myselff-" she slurred a bit as she tried to hold back a giggle. But Kazuto paid no heed as he reached down to tickle her bare foot. She yelped and kicked out reflexively, but amazingly Kazuto managed to avoid having his head struck a second time that night.

Over the years they spent together in the VRMMOs, Kazuto had gradually made note of her most ticklish spots, but never before until now had he ever gotten the chance to utilize that information.

He jabbed his finger into her side again and she rolled over onto her stomach. "S-Stop! Kya! Kirito-kun, you sadist!" She cried out as he brushed his fingers over the exposed skin of the back of her neck, causing her body to jerk.

"What was that?" He asked innocently as he slid both his hands down either side of her back before coming to a halt at her sides. Mercilessly, he jumpstarted her and she gasped loudly before the unstoppable hysterics took over.

The refined Asuna who could take out an entire army in less than 20 seconds and hardly ever showed her vulnerable side was now reduced to a crazily laughing girl in a ruffled pink nightgown with her hair spread out in all directions.

He continued to poke her sides as she laughed until she rolled onto her other side, now facing him. Her eyes were squeezed shut yet still somehow forming tears as she continued to giggle nonstop. Kazuto brushed his finger lightly behind her ear, and Asuna's hands reflexively flew up to cover her face, just as anticipated.

Her arms moved and her stomach was now entirely exposed to him and he instantly went in for the kill. He wiggled his fingers up her side and brushed his fingernails over her ribcage. Asuna kicked out again and squeaked loudly before her laughing fit continued.

"Kya! K-Kirito-kun! Not my si-iiide!" Her begging plea turned into more of a suggestion for him.

"What's that? Tickle your side? Consider it done." He poked her again and she tried to push him away, but her arms had long since lost all of their strength and she had almost no defenses now. As a last resort, she feebly tried to roll back onto her stomach, but Kazuto easily pushed her shoulder the opposite way until she was lying on her back, her arms still limply attempting to cover her sides.

"K...Kirito-kun, please. No more... I c-haah..." her voice melted into an irresistible giggle as he tickled her foot again. Asuna fought for breath as she tried to beg him to stop. "K-Kirito-kun, I can't...breathe..." she gasped, slowly opening her tearful eyes. Her face was flushed pink and her chest was heaving, but Kazuto still needed to hear her say one thing in particular before he would stop.

"Do you surrender?" He leaned down over her and asked in a threatening tone.


"Very well."

"W-Wait-" she grabbed his hand and tried to stop him, but he shook off her grip and mercilessly attacked her sides. "Kyaaaaaaahahaa!" Asuna thrashed about, laughing hysterically as he tickled every part of her he could get at, past her flailing arms and kicking legs.

"If you surrender, I'll stop!" He bargained.

"Noooo!" She cried in between bouts of laughter.

Therefore, Kazuto continued his apparently-sadistic antics of tickling and poking her until she could no longer even defend herself. Since his hands were growing tired and she was barely breathing anymore, Kazuto decided to pull back at last.

"So stubborn..." he sighed, looking her over. Tears that had streamed down her flushed cheeks left behind trails down the sides of her neck. Her eyes were still tightly shut, and her mouth was agape as she gasped wildly for breath. Her body was trembling all over and her hair was a beautiful mess of chestnut shining in the light coming from the ceiling. "You really need to learn when to give in." He mumbled as he laid down on his side, facing her and draping one arm across her stomach to pull her in a bit.

She was still too short of breath to form words yet, but she replied to him with a quick shake of her head and he smiled; her unwavering perseverance and determination, even in a situation as playful as this, were just two more things about her that had made him fall for her in the first place, among countless others.

He waited a moment until he felt her rapid heartbeat slow down to a more steady pace, and her breathing became more regular. "Fine. It's a draw."

At his words, Asuna cracked one eye open and gave him a slight glare.

"Good." She huffed.

With one final exhale from Asuna, silence soon ensued in the room once more. She turned onto her side until she was facing him and she lightly pressed her forehead against his. The pair closed their eyes for a few moments, until the silence was gradually broken by a distant, hissing sound.

"It's raining." Kazuto noted, his voice sounding a bit too loud in the quiet air. He thought he felt her stiffen a bit, but brushed it off as his imagination.

"I'll go turn the heat up a little." Asuna offered, reluctantly slipping from his embrace and sliding her feet onto the floor. "Do you need anything while I'm up?"

"Maybe a glass of water?" He requested.

"Sure." Her sweet smile almost caused him to fall headfirst off of the bed.

As Asuna left the bedroom, Kazuto took it upon himself to gather up the pillows he had discarded and smooth out the bed covers. At the last minute, he put one pillow back into her closet, knowing full well they would not use it even if they kept it on the bed.

Asuna reappeared a moment later with her previously frizzy hair now brushed and silkily smooth once again. She closed the door behind her and handed him the glass of water in her hands. She turned on a small lamp on the table beside her bed before shutting off the main light. Kazuto placed the half-drained glass on said table before he slid off the bed and helped Asuna uncover the mattress from his side of the bed.

The rain began to pound harder and Kazuto sensed her stiffen again, but before he could question her about it, she said. "Let's go to bed now," with a smile still on her face. He gave a small smile back and nodded in return as they both slid their bodies under the thick, white bed covers.

Lying on her left side as she faced him, Asuna gazed into his onyx eyes, filled with love, and her heart pounded a little harder. Kazuto also felt a warmth inside his chest as he became immersed in her gorgeous eyes, filled with compassion and the purest, and strongest love.

Asuna reached behind her to flick off the lamp as the room became shrouded in shadows, but they could still clearly make out one another's features. She opened her arms toward him under the blankets and Kazuto accepted her invitation and moved in closer to her. "I won't let you have any nightmares tonight. I promise." She whispered, wrapping her slender arms around his shoulders and pulling his head to her chest.

Kazuto wondered how many times he had dreamt of this moment, to be surrounded by her caring, protective warmth, to take in her naturally enticing scent as he wrapped his arms around her slim waist.

It had always been an intimate and affectionate experience in the virtual worlds, but there was absolutely no comparison to the real thing.

It was exactly how they had been sleeping several nights before in their virtual home, but this was so much more wondrous. The imitation heartbeat he had heard was a meek flutter compared to what filled his ears now. Her heartbeat presently was absolute proof that she was beside him right now, strong, alive, and warm.

The sounds of the rain in the background accompanied by the rhythmic beat of her heart and the gentle rise and fall of her chest as she breathed were enough to send him into the realm of slumber within several moments.

Asuna watched him fondly as she curled her fingers through his hair gingerly, as to not wake him up. Once she was certain he was asleep, she brought her lips to his ear and began humming the calming BGM of their virtual home.

The rain continued to patter noisily on the roof outside, but she ignored it, focusing entirely on the man in her arms. He still has the same naive sleeping face. But it's just so cute! She mused.

She did not keep track of how much time had passed, but she assumed it must have been a little less than an hour since she had started humming to him, slipping in whispers as reminders that she loved him more than anything else and wanted to stay with him forever.

A yawn interrupted her quiet humming and she decided it would be best to close her eyes for now, for Kazuto was snoring softly. She made a contented sound like a sigh as she shifted to get more comfortable.

However, as she closed her eyes, a foreboding sound rumbled from a distance, sending a tremor to her core.

"No, no, why now..." She bit her lip. If I had just gone to sleep earlier I might never have heard it! She desperately tried to clear her mind, welcoming sleep, begging it to consume her in unconsciousness, but she was too awake with worry now and she ended up only waking herself up even more.

The small rumbles that had sounded so far away up until now suddenly compiled into a humungous crash that shook the house. Asuna just barely held back her scream and instead sucked in a tight breath, instinctively pulling Kazuto closer to her. She squeezed her eyes shut as a flash of white filled the room. She hated the way her shoulders began to tremble uncontrollably and she let go of Kazuto with one hand in order to pull the blankets up further.

The loud rain reverberated in her mind as it began to fall faster, and just when she thought the next blast of thunder would not come, it cracked the sky with enormous power and sound. Several times this happened, and each time Asuna grew more and more hysteric; she could count on one hand how many times a storm had been this bad. She was nervous sleeping through any kind of storm, but it was ones like these that made her too petrified to even move.

Due to her extreme efforts to subdue her screams and jolts, Kazuto was still quietly snoring in her arms. In all truth, she wanted nothing more right now than to hug him tightly and have him cover her back with his strong arms, but she could not do that. I'll just have to wait it out. She took a deep breath and tried to ceased her body's shaking by seeking out his warmth.

Asuna did her very best to hold everything back for a full twenty torturous minutes, but even then the storm showed no signs of letting up.

It was then when Kazuto woke up due to many different factors: one being an unintentional yelp from Asuna, another being the realization that the shaking he felt was not the house shuddering from the thunder, but rather her body trembling violently, and the last being that the wildly loud pounding he thought to be the rain turned out to be her heart.

He slowly pushed himself away from her a few inches and blinked his eyes several times.

"Oy, Asuna..." His eyes widened as he realized she was almost in tears, her palms pressed down over her ears. "Oy! Are you okay? What's wrong?" He raised his voice in panic.

Asuna only just seemed to realize he was awake then and shakily brought her hands down from her ears and curled them in front of her chest.

"K...Kirito-kun... I'm sorry, I woke you..." her small voice was truly apologetic, which made him feel a little frustrated.

"Idiot! Who cares about that? What's wrong?" He repeated.

Asuna was in no position to try and make up excuses for her inability to sleep, so she let out a sigh, wincing as thunder struck again.

"I...I don't really like storms..." she murmured, feeling the embarrassment hot on her face. "I-I mean ever since I was little I've had trouble sleeping in them. I'm not really afraid of them but-" she cut off with a yelp as lighting flashed.

"It's nothing to get all embarrassed over." He reached forward and put his hand atop hers. "I don't think anyone can really stand sleeping in storms, unless they're already asleep before it starts." He added. "You could have told me and I would have stayed up with you until it was over." He rubbed his thumb over the back of her cold hand, trying to suppress her trembling.

"I...I just... thought it was kind of weak..." she confessed. "Who would ever guess «The Lightning Flash» was scared of thunder?"

Kazuto sat up and moved closer to her in the darkness, finding her other hand and covering it with his own and having her sit up to face him.

"You're not weak, Asuna. You're the strongest, most courageous person I know. You're much stronger than me..." She recognized those were the exact words he had said to her on their first night together in SAO.

"But...being frightened by something like this..." she muttered, still unable to accept her weakness.

Kazuto said nothing as he moved his arms up to wrap around her shaking shoulders and back. She curled her fingers to his chest and buried her face in the side of his neck, letting out a long breath.

"Neh, Asuna. Do you remember what you asked me that one time? That if I married someone and found out something about her that I didn't know, what would I think?" He asked softly. He felt her tense up a bit, but her head nodded against his shoulder and she made a small "mm" sound. "And do you remember what I said to you?" He prompted.

Asuna was silent for a moment, probably already knowing exactly where he was going with this, but she had an obligation to answer him anyway.

"You said you'd be lucky." She murmured.

"Yes. And do you remember why that would make me lucky?" He stroked her back as her shivering began to lessen.

"B...Because if you found a new side and you were still in love...t-then there would be twice the love, right?" She recalled.

"Exactly. And guess what?" He asked, pushing her back until their eyes could lock.

"What?" Her chestnut eyes were sparkling in the shadows now.

"I'm still in love." He stated.

A smile broke out across her lips as he leaned in and kissed her. She closed her eyes as her lips met his and the usual spark that ignited within her chest flickered to life once more.

Every kiss with him was familiar, and yet somehow an entirely new experience, as though each kiss was the first.

A blast of thunder sounded outside, but Asuna hardly flinched as she directed her undivided attention to Kazuto.

After a moment, he pulled away and reflected her blissful smile, all traces of nervousness and fright completely vanished from her expression, although she was still shivering. "You're cold. Come on, let's get back to sleep." He invited, lifting the blankets up as they both laid back down, resting their heads side by side on the same pillow. "Have you manged to get any sleep yet?" He asked when she covered a long yawn with her palm.

"Not really..." she admitted.

"Then I'll watch over you until you fall asleep this time." He promised.

"You don't have to-" she began to object, but he pressed a finger to her lips to stop her.

"I'm doing it because I want to." He grinned. She smiled back and nodded once.

Kazuto embraced her and pulled her in again, resting his chin atop her head. Her body quivered underneath the blankets as she adjusted to his warmth. She coyly wrapped her arms around his torso and let out another long sigh.

"Thank you, Kirito-kun. I love you so much." She breathed.

"I love you, too." He murmured, kissing the top of her head.

The storm had finally begun to subside now, so only the light patter of the rain remained. He stroked her silky hair and rubbed her back to keep her warm, keeping his vigil until he felt her pulse slow and her breathing deepen.

Once he was certain she was asleep, Kazuto allowed himself to fall into slumber as well.

They slept peacefully and warmly through the rest of the night, until milky morning light shed through the curtains.

Kazuto awoke first and had to wonder why his alarm had not gone off before he felt a familiar figure pressed up against him and memories of the night before came flooding back to him. She was still asleep, several strands of hair displaced around her sleeping countenance and her mouth hung open a tiny bit as she breathed.

Kazuto contended himself with watching her for a while, knowing she had not gotten enough sleep last night. He spent almost half an hour curling and uncurling her long, luscious hair around his fingers and playfully poking her face before her eyelids fluttered open gently.

"Good morning, sleeping beauty." He chuckled as her eyes adjusted to the light.

She blew air up at her forehead to try and get the locks of stray hair back into place before she replied.

"Good morning." She beamed, the pure happiness at having him beside her as she woke up clearly written in her eyes.

"Did you sleep well?" He asked, helping her fix her hair.

"Mm." She nodded happily. "Did you?"

"Better than I ever have in my entire life." He replied honestly.

"Me too." Her drowsy eyes were sparkling with light and love.

"Do you want to go make breakfast together?" He suggested.

"Mm..." Asuna brought her finger to her chin as she pondered thoughtfully before deciding. "Not yet. I'm too comfy."

"I agree." He nodded. "But I think it's more comfortable like this." Before she could react, Kazuto shifted sideways a bit and laid his head upon her stomach.

"H-Hey!" She squeaked, but the only way he intended to move now was if she tossed him off, but of course she would not do that. Probably.

She was seriously thinking about it for a second, but ultimately sighed and decided against it.

Instead, she covered his shoulders with her arms and loosely hugged him as best she could.

They stared up at the ceiling in contented silence as the pale yellow color filling the room began to turn more vibrant. Chirping birds could be heard from outside, along with the distinct rustling of raindrop-heavy leaves. Asuna closed her eyes and sighed again.

"Oy, don't fall back asleep." He cautioned only partially to her, as he was also beginning to feel almost too comfortable to move again anytime soon.

They remained that way for a little while until his stomach made a loud noise.

"Let's go make that breakfast." Asuna giggled.

"Good idea." He sat up and she did the same before they slid off the bed and tidied it up.

They kissed one more time, and then he wrapped his arm around her waist as she led him to the kitchen.

After that night, Kazuto's frequent nightmares became more peaceful dreams, and Asuna's fear of thunderstorms mysteriously disappeared.

A/N: Ehehe sorry for the cliche ending and fluffy...everything. But I hope you liked it and will look forward to my next SAO work!

Please review!