Here is a little senseless fluff that just kinda came to me. Repeat: Senseless fluff. Don't like, don't read :3
Takes place during SAO during the first few days of their honeymoon, before meeting Yui. Also, reading the volume 8 side story, Aria in the Starless Night might help a tad.
Disclaimer: I do not own Sword Art Online.
A warm breeze caressed the air in Aincrad's weather system, slipping through the rustling leaves overhead.
Bright, emerald grass reflected the slightest ray of virtual sunlight that also sparkled, dazzling and vibrant, on the water's surface of the nearby lake.
It was Kirito and Asuna's second morning together after having purchased their home on the 22nd floor for nearly all the Col they possessed.
The newlywed couple presently sat on a hill near their house that overlooked the beautiful, peaceful scenery. They had not yet thought of plans with which to fill their suddenly freed schedules and had currently decided to enjoy the rare weather setting, just for a while.
Kirito sat with his legs crossed, his arms around Asuna who knelt beside him, leaning slightly onto his chest. He rested his chin on her shoulder and gazed dreamily out at the lake, unable to remember the last time he had felt so utterly relaxed within the past 2 years.
Neither said a word as they enjoyed the comforting virtual warmth on their skin. Kirito found himself getting drowsy very quickly as he watched the water's undisturbed surface. Asuna had already gone limp in his embrace, her cheek softly resting against the side of his head as she breathed gently in his arms. This is fine. Kirito thought as his eyelids lazily began to close. This is good enough. If I can spend the rest of my days in SAO just like this, I don't care if I never escape... He knew it must have been an incredibly irrational thought, but at that moment, it was his true feeling.
As he felt himself on the verge of falling over from dreariness, he let go of Asuna with one arm and leaned his hand on the grass behind him to keep himself up. Immediately, a small, uncomfortable feeling crept up his arm and encompassed his shoulder and he winced out of his dreamy state back into the virtual reality.
Of course, there was no way to feel the full effects of physical pain in SAO, although emotional pain was an entirely different story, but as he had discovered in his first days as a beta tester, one could feel strong discomfort.
He did not have the slightest clue as to what had been wrong with him for the past 2 days; his legs had felt sore, his arms felt flimsier, and most notably, his shoulders were constantly aching. Is this some kind of paralysis from staying in this forest for 2 whole days and nights? He wondered.
As his mind began to concoct all sorts of outlandish explanations for his discomfort, Kirito failed to realize that the arm he was leaning his weight on was beginning to grow numb. Then, as if it were an item that had suddenly lost all its durability, his elbow bent and Kirito's weight shifted as he let out a short shout of surprise before falling onto his back. Asuna, who had just fallen into a sound slumber, came crashing down on top of his stomach with a yelp, unintentionally digging the side of her shoulder on top of his.
"Guh!" Kirito coughed ungraciously as he felt the impact of both her body and the ground colliding with him from opposite sides.
"K-Kirito-kun? Ah! S-Sorry!" Asuna quickly scrambled off of him and unruffled her skirt and blouse as she took his hand and pulled him up. "What's the matter?" She asked nervously, looking him over with a swift glance; he could be clumsy at times, but she could count on one hand the amount of times he had actually collapsed.
"Sorry about that..." he mumbled, rubbing the back of his head. "I don't know what happened. My arm just started acting up." He shrugged.
"Idiot." She sighed. "You're supposed to be on vacation right now. You need to take it easy while you can. We don't know how long it's going to be before we'll be back on the front lines again." She reasoned, with a hint of a lecturing note in her tone. But then her caramel eyes softened and her lips flashed a smile. "Later I'll perform some healing on Kirito-kun's sore shoulders."
"H-Healing?" He repeated like a dumbfounded parrot. "So like... with crystals? Is there a crystal that can heal soreness...?" he wondered. Asuna rolled her eyes.
"Of course not, dummy." She huffed with a pout. "I'll be using my own technique."
"T...Technique?" he blinked. "What-"
"Okay now, enough questions!" Asuna raised her voice a bit to drown out his confusion. "I'll do it later, so for now just let me nap, okay? You should nap too; isn't this one of those rare 'nicest weather setting days'?" She winked. Kirito blinked again in confusion before letting the topic of her 'technique' go and then nodding to her current question. "Okay then. Now go to sleep for a while." Asuna ordered playfully, sounding not unlike he had the very first time she had caught him napping and offered her a spot in the grass beside him.
Kirito nodded once and straightened up again, crossing his legs and opening his arms to her. However, Asuna unexpectedly shook her head at him; his expression must have appeared stricken, because she justified her denial of his embrace. "No, Kirito-kun is hurt right now. I'm not going to make it worse by falling on top of you again." She said softly, her eyes somewhat regretful, but her mind was made up nonetheless.
Kirito opened his mouth to object profusely, but Asuna just turned away from him and laid down on her side in the grass. Kirito watched her back rise and fall several times before scowling at the distance between them.
Then, as he slowly laid himself down beside her, he instantly found that the nicest weather setting was at least 50% less nice now that he was missing her warmth; it was then he decided that this accursed soreness was probably one of the worst effects he could feel while in Sword Art Online.
About an hour later, Kirito awoke from his nap, which, considering his significant lack of contact with Asuna, he had not found to be all that refreshing.
As he blinked his eyes open, he found that the scenery had darkened slightly and the bright blue sky was now speckled with thick clouds.
Asuna already sat up beside him and was also gazing downheartedly at the declining weather conditions, but as soon as her hazel gaze locked with his, she smiled instantly. "Morning." She greeted. "Did you sleep well?"
Kirito groaned as he pushed his aching body off the ground into an unceremonious sitting position.
"Not particularly." He mumbled, the previous soreness seeming to have enhanced in his stiff shoulders.
"Me neither..." he heard her agree softly and glanced at her questioningly. She smiled a little ruefully before declaring, "I've officially decided... not being able to sleep beside Kirito-kun... I hate it." She murmured. Kirito quickly nodded his agreement.
Of course they had slept beside one another, but it was the utter lack of contact that had caused the ruination of both of their naps. "That was my fault, so I'll make it up to you now." Asuna decided. "Sit up." She ordered, offering him her hand. He gave her a puzzled look but gratefully accepted, swaying a bit as he sat up and causing Asuna to catch him in a fluster. "Geez, what is wrong with you?" She mumbled, sounding more concerned than anything else.
"Sorry." He apologized sheepishly. "I don't know what's gotten into me. There must be something in this forest..." It was beginning to get on his nerves now, this unknown pain that crept all over his body.
"It's okay. I know just the thing." She placed her delicate hands on his shoulders and straightened his posture. Kirito could only observe her with a confused expression as she shifted until she sat behind him, lifting herself onto her knees. Before he could ask what she intended to do, she rested her hands on his shoulders and slowly began moving her fingers. Instantly, Kirito let out a sound of satisfaction as her warm fingertips brushed over a sore spot.
"A... A massage?" He clarified.
He imaged her 'healing technique' would be some new kind of food or potion, but of course he was not complaining at all about what she actually had in mind. The thought of massaging had never occurred to him in the past 2 years, but now that he thought about it, even if it was not an official sort of recovery treatment to the system, it was still contact between two players that offered a favorable result.
"Of course." She replied, moving her fingers around in circles. "What other cure is there for a sore back?" She asked reasonably. "Naturally you'd be feeling strange after two full years of training every day to suddenly not fighting at all for three days. Your body hasn't been able to remember what it feels like to relax because you've done nothing but push yourself all this time."
As he listened to her explanation, he realized she was entirely correct as to the causes of his ailments and he felt foolish for not thinking of the possibility. But instead he just said, "Ah. So that was it..." in a slightly muffled voice as she continued to rub his shoulders.
Her years of training and leveling up with her rapier had obviously strengthened her hands, and he briefly wondered if massage could be offered as a career in SAO; it would definitely prove just as prosperous as any blacksmith shop.
As the thoughts leaked lazily through his mind, Kirito declined the harassment notice that appeared before him and let his eyelids fall shut, a goofy grin constant on his face as he felt the tight muscles in his shoulders begin to loosen from Asuna's touch. She rubbed her palms over his shoulder blades with a gentle firmness probably only she could convey and occasionally used her knuckles to loosen a knot.
Kirito was sure he was in heaven. Even in this hell of a death game, there was certainly a level of heaven and he was definitely in it right now, he was sure of it.
Asuna contented herself with the adorable, muffled sounds of bliss that would slip from his lips from time to time, and she often ended up giggling herself upon hearing such sounds come from the notorious beater The Black Swordsman.
She continued the massage for about fifteen full minutes, apologizing sometimes when she touched upon a particularly sore spot too roughly and made him wince. But his tense shoulders had relaxed long ago, and now Kirito thought he must have turned into a jelly item as he swayed forward and backward slightly under the motion of her palms.
He knew he could die happily now, but the thought of losing consciousness before Asuna had finished her work caused him to keep hoping to live just a second longer.
After twenty minutes, Asuna let out an accomplished sigh and ended the massage by sliding her arms around his torso and hugging his back to her chest. She seemed exhausted as she leaned heavily on his back and her fingers were trembling slightly on their own, but he could hear the smile on her lips as she sighed.
"That was a bit harder than I'd imagined." She confessed. "Do you feel any better, Kirito-kun?" She wondered, lifting her head from his shoulder.
He did not reply for a long moment, as it took him that long to revive from his nirvana back into the 22nd floor of Aincrad. He sleepily opened his eyes and turned around in her arms, giving her his answer with a long kiss. Asuna let out a small squeak of surprise, but soon her lips smiled against his as she hugged him tighter. When they pulled apart Asuna giggled, "I'll take that as a yes."
"I can't believe such a technique is applicable in SAO." He muttered. "It could definitely open a business or two." Asuna blinked once thoughtfully, as though briefly considering the idea, but Kirito immediately continued. "But not you." He declared. "Someone else can do it. It' d be an absolute waste for Asuna's beautiful and strong hands to abandon the sword and start massaging other random players."
"Oh, you just want me all for yourself." She puffed out her cheeks with a knowing look in her hazel eyes.
Kirito pecked her cheek. "Exactly."
She chortled cutely before hugging him again. "Don't get used to it though," she warned. "That was a special occasion. Don't expect massages every night from now on."
He had to admit he had not been expecting such an unbelievably generous offer, but hearing her say it anyway made him sigh a little.
"Okay." He agreed. "Are you sore from leaving the front lines as well?" The thought suddenly crossed his mind and he felt compelled to ask. "If you are, I could try that technique on you."
At the mention of a role reversal, Asuna's face instantly turned red.
"N-No that's okay. I'm not sore at all." She stammered before calming herself a little. "I don't mind doing things like this for Kirito-kun from time to time. Don't think you have to instantly repay me every time."
"Okay." He nodded as the two of them got to their feet and sauntered back to their house, hand in hand.
However, unbeknownst to the both of them, Kirito would end up repaying her much sooner than expected.
The next morning, Kirito awoke with a warm sensation blanketing his body.
Aside from the blankets themselves, his back felt incredibly recovered and comfortable as he lie on his side, and his chest and arms were presently being warmed by Asuna's sleeping figure; never before had he experienced the feeling of "I never want to get out of bed" so strongly.
Asuna had woken up about ten minutes before him, but had refused to get up just yet, which he had no objections to whatsoever.
When she asked if he was feeling better and he had replied with a wholehearted affirmative answer, she had smiled so happily, so relieved that it made him feel comforted inside; for someone to be so honestly glad that he was feeling all right... he could still not fathom this expression of joy and love he felt within his chest.
They laid there, nestled cozily together for a while longer before growling stomachs and embarrassed chuckles roused them to their feet.
While Kirito selected his simple blank pants and gray t-shirt for appearance, he was constantly amazed at the quantity and quality of Asuna's outfits. Today, she selected a grass-green blouse with pink ribbons tied in front and on the sleeves, along with a sky-blue skirt, white leggings, and brown boots; complete with her golden-chestnut hair flowing down her back and over her shoulders, she was nothing short of bright and beautiful.
As she was preparing breakfast, Kirito heard her mumbling something under her breath and inquisitively asked what it was.
"Hm? Ah. I was just thinking we should try apple picking today." She smiled, her hazel eyes wide and bright with excitement. "I've never done it before and I've always been dying to make this special kind of pie..."
He could feel his mouth watering simply at the mention of more of her goddess-level cooking abilities and eagerly agreed.
After a flavorful breakfast of eggs, toast, and bacon, the two of them set out with nothing more than a picnic basket between them. Kirito also took a simple kitchen knife along, but he kept it in his inventory as they walked.
It was another clear day as the couple walked through the forest, squirrel-type creatures often scurrying through the undergrowth and birdsong sounding from all directions. As they headed toward the apple orchard, more players became visible.
Apple orchards were fairly rare in SAO and only existed in some of the first floors and got scarcer as the number of floors ascended. Kirito only knew of one orchard above the 22nd floor's, and that one was fairly small and the apples harvested were often small and green. Although this orchard was not nearly as plentiful as some on the floors below, it produced some of the best-tasting apples in SAO. Most players assumed the best apples came from the first several floors and lacked in taste on higher floors, but the secret of the 22nd floor's orchard had been kept silent to only selected players thus far and it was an understood silent rule that they should tell as few people as possible.
Kirito came to a halt as Asuna selected a medium-sized tree as their target and placed the basket down in the grass. She gazed eagerly up at the topmost branches of the tree where numerous, bright red apples dangled.
Kirito nodded in satisfaction before calling out his kitchen knife. He was not particularly leveled-up with his aiming and throwing skills, but he assumed this would be the best place to practice, considering the lack of monsters and the rewards he would claim once he improved.
But before he could take aim at an apple, Asuna quickly grabbed his arm.
"K-Kirito-kun! What are you doing?" She shrieked. He was understandably confused as to why she was so high-strung.
"What's the matter?"
"Geez, have you really never done this before?" She sighed, seeming relieved that she had managed to stop his hasty actions. "Look around you." She murmured. Kirito obeyed and glanced at their surroundings and then realized what she was getting at.
There were probably about 15 other players present, but not one of them was taking aim and hurling weapons at the trees. Rather, they were climbing the trees and carefully plucking the fruits off before dropping them down into a basket or a companion's awaiting hands below.
"Ah." Kirito made a small sound before returning the knife to his inventory.
"Geez, I should have expected you'd be the first one to think of throwing knives in this kind of place..." Asuna grumbled.
"I didn't know!" He defended, embarrassed. "I figured that'd be the fastest way. And didn't you say you've never done this before either?"
"I've at least read about it!" She huffed, then took a deep breath and calmed down. "The apples won't fall here unless they're picked by hand. If throwing knives and swords worked in getting them down, there'd be so many injuries no one would ever want to go apple picking!"
"I guess... you're right." He admitted. "But my climbing skill isn't that great."
"Then we can improve it this way." She decided. "I'll go first and show you some tips." He wanted to ask exactly how she planned on making it to the branches of the tree, which were a considerable distance off the ground. But as if guessing his dilemma, she gave a swift wink before turning toward the direction of the tree.
Taking a few running steps, Asuna jumped into the air like a lioness, gracefully twisting her body and angling herself to grab onto the lowest branch before using her momentum to swing herself forward. Her body flew up over the branch and she landed steadily on her feet with an accomplished grunt. "From here, it's easy." She called down with a smile.
He watched, a bit on edge, as she climbed higher into the tree, wincing every time her foot skidded a little. But she quickly reached the bountiful portion of the branches and halted, taking a deep breath as she gazed out at the scenery. She could easily see over many other treetops as far as the lake and even their house. Asuna was stunned at the altering of beauty in this world simply from being at a higher elevation. It's definitely boring seeing everything from the same height. She decided at that moment, thinking that even a ride atop someone else's shoulders would be more entertaining...
"Oy! Asuna?" Kirito called out from below, cutting off her thoughts. "Everything okay?"
"Yes, fine!" She called back. "I'll start picking them." Kirito lifted the basket and watched from below as she began gathering the apples, letting each one fall into the basket with perfectly executed aim.
It only took her several moments to clear that level of the tree of fruit, but there were still branches above it full of apples and it would probably be completely full again by tomorrow.
Just as he was wondering as to how she intended to get down, Kirito got his answer as she suddenly dropped from her branch. Kirito knew she would take some damage from falling from such a height, but she grabbed onto another branch midway and greatly lessened the impact as she reached the ground.
"Geez, don't just jump off like that without warning." He scolded, knocking his knuckles against her head.
"Sorry." She beamed. "Do you wanna try, Kirito-kun? It's so beautiful from up there..."
"Ah... I'll pass for today." He decided; his back had only just been healed recently by her magic touch and he did not feel like re-injuring himself all over again from falling off of tree trunks. "Maybe next time. I do kinda want to improve my climbing skill, still."
"Okay." She smiled understandingly. "Let me just get a couple more." She decided as she glanced at the half-full basket in his hand.
She led him over to another tree that was smaller and lower to the ground, but the first branch was still meters above both of their heads. There were not many apples left, but Asuna had decided that it was just the amount she needed.
Kirito placed the basket in the grass as he watched her leap into the air, landing perfectly on the first branch before ascending higher. She dropped four more apples into the basket until only two remained in the tree.
He let his eyes wander for a moment around the rest of the orchard, but suddenly felt a bit uneasy as he looked at some of the other trees. The other players had left each tree with only a single apple left in its leaves and he was just beginning to wonder why that was as Asuna let the fifth apple fall.
"Last one!" She called down to him as she took a step forward toward the final fruit dangling before her.
At that instant Kirito realized what the situation was. The trees can't re-grow apples the next day unless there's still one remaining from the day before. If all the apples are picked, it becomes a normal tree and won't bear fruit anymore, which is probably why orchards are so rare and small. But surely there's some defense mechanism the trees have to prevent that last apple from being pulled... Just as his racing thoughts came to a conclusion, Asuna's fingertips brushed over the last red fruit on the tree.
"Asuna, don't-!" He shouted up at her, but it was already too late.
As a last resort, the trees would become weak as to deter any player from pulling the last apple; put quite simply, it literally threw them off.
Before she could pull the apple, the branch she was standing on wavered for a second and the support disappeared from Asuna's feet. With a shriek, she stumbled and tried to grasp the branch as she fell forward, but it faded out of solidity for an instant and her fingers slipped through it.
Kirito had not had enough time to react and did not make it in time to catch her; instead he was forced to watch Asuna crash to the ground several feet in front of him. He winced as he saw the impact of her fall, hearing the dull thud as she collided with the ground and lie still.
"Asuna!" He shouted as he reached her, falling to his knees. He carefully placed a hand on her back and shook her ever so slightly. "Asuna! Are you okay? Oy, Asuna!" He hissed, his voice thick with concern.
He remembered the first time he had met her outside the dungeon, before he had even known her name. She had fainted then and so he knew it was not impossible to lose consciousness in SAO. He was also unsure of whether players could receive damage from falling unconscious or if something as serious as amnesia was possible.
Asuna's eyes were squeezed shut and the expression of pain on her face told him she was still conscious, but probably wished she was not.
A root protruding from the ground was digging harshly into her stomach and her body was shaking; he knew if this were her real body, she would probably be sick and lose her breakfast.
Kirito gingerly slid his arms beneath her and turned her onto her back, lying her head in his lap. She looked like she wanted to tell him something, but her shortness of breath was painful to listen to. "Take it easy. Just breathe." He soothed, combing his fingers through her bangs and lightly down her cheeks to her chest. He traced soothing circles over her collarbones as she closed her eyes and tried to regain her breath.
Kirito reassured the concerned onlookers in the meantime until Asuna had recovered. Her HP bar had dropped a little from the fall, but would probably recover after few moments of rest. With one last great exhale, Asuna stopped trembling and opened her eyes as Kirito continued to brush his palms over her sore chest.
"Oww..." she whimpered, looking up at him with tears in her eyes. Kirito gave her a hopeless smile.
"I guess we should have read a little bit more about apple picking, huh?" He chuckled and she nodded wryly. "Can you stand?"
"Nn... not yet. My head hurts." She reached up and rubbed her temple slowly.
"Yeah, that looked like it hurt. I'm sorry I couldn't get to you fast enough." He muttered. What good am I if I can't even save her from a tree?
"No, Kirito-kun... was just figuring it out... when it happened, right?" She wheezed with a forgiving smile.
"Yeah, but still-" he was about to go off about how he should have been faster when a white finger reached up and pressed against his lips.
"Don't worry about it. I'm fine." She scolded with a pout. "Just give me a minute..." She closed her eyes briefly before turning her neck slowly from side to side, wincing on occasion when a dull throbbing disrupted her thoughts.
At last, she reopened her eyes and said, "okay" as cue for Kirito to let her up. She shakily found her balance while leaning against Kirito who had put the basket of apples into his inventory so he could use both hands to support her. Pulling her right wrist across his shoulders and slipping his left arm around her waist, he gradually led her back home.
She was painfully aware of the slow pace she had set for him, and though he did not seem to mind, Asuna knew it must have been embarrassing. "I'm sorry." She murmured. "I don't know why it still hurts. I've been struck before from monster blades and claws and that pain dies away after a few minutes, but this is so dramatic!" She exclaimed, noting her heavy limp.
"Well, in battle you recover faster because the body needs to keep fighting, but out here we don't have any potions." He reasoned. "Also, a slash from a monster will only damage a specific part of the body for a short amount of time, right? But an impact like falling from a tree will paralyze multiple parts for a longer time. It makes sense; you don't have to apologize." He cast her a sideways grin that told her he did not mind the slow walk at all. "We're together, so we're supposed to lean on each other from time to time."
Asuna was touched by his words and blinked once in surprised flattery before looking down at the ground to hide her blush.
Leaning her weight on him, she managed to drag herself into their house where Kirito gently sat her down on their bed. The uncomfortable prickles that had previously been assaulting her left foot had disappeared, but the throbbing ache in her stomach had intensified and spread up to her shoulders. She hunched over on the bed and held her stomach as Kirito sat beside her and gently rubbed her back with one hand, placing his free hand on top of hers in her lap.
Despite the calming feeling of his hand on her back, several moments passed and Asuna hardly felt any better. Kirito noticed and decided on another method.
"Lie down for a bit." He told her. She could only comply as she brought her legs up onto the bed and lie down on her back, resting her head on the pillow. "Just close your eyes and relax." Kirito said quietly as he remained by her side.
She let her eyelashes fall shut and tried to fight the grimace off of her face as the dull aching continued to assault her stomach. She tried to will herself into sleep, however when she felt Kirito rest his hand on her stomach, she immediately opened her eyes again.
"What are you doing?" She asked, trying not to sound too startled.
"Well..." he blushed slightly and looked away for a second. "Whenever I wasn't feeling well, my mom told me 'you'll feel much better if someone you love rubs your stomach for you'."
Asuna could tell he was begrudgingly embarrassed about his actions and she let slip a small giggle.
"Sorry. But... this is a little embarrassing, no?" She mumbled.
"Just trust me." He sighed, remembering this would only be as awkward as he decided to make it for himself. Asuna nodded with a small smile before inhaling deeply and closing her eyes again.
Kirito slowly moved his hand in circles around her torso, ruffling her blouse slightly as he did so. Once the initial stage of embarrassment had passed, Asuna found herself becoming more and more relaxed by the second. His warm palm seemed to emit a healing effect all on its own as it traced soothing motions over her sore stomach. Before long, the dull discomfort vanished and a smile played across her lips as her furrowed eyebrows went slack.
Kirito continued to glide his hand gently over her stomach for a little while longer, as he could tell that she had fallen asleep from being so relaxed. Part of him also believed that she was now sleeping for the 2 years' worth of nights when she had barely taken breaks from fighting, when she had so glumly stated that sleep did not matter because in the end, she would die anyway. I won't let that happen. He vowed silently.
Kirito brushed his hand over her collarbones and then up to her petite, angelic face, caressing her cheeks and the locks of silky chestnut hair that pooled onto the pillow. He contented himself with gently poking at her cheeks, as he so often liked to do, and running his fingers through her hair until she stirred and blinked her eyes open dreamily.
"Sleep well?" He chuckled.
"Much better than before..." she mumbled. "When I wasn't holding Kirito-kun." He blushed again before slipping his hand underneath her back and helping her sit up.
"Why don't you let me pay you back for that massage now?" He insisted.
Asuna's sleepy expression vanished almost instantly when she heard those words.
"N-No that's perfectly fine!" She waved her hands back and forth in front of her. "I mean... you just did that for me, and it felt so nice..." she muttered, trying to hide the happiness in her voice before she continued. "You don't need to do anything more. Besides, didn't I say you don't have to pay me back for everything I do for you?"
"You fell out of a tree today."
There was no reply she could compose on the spot that would justify her denial of his offer any further. Defeated, she let her open jaw prepared for a comeback close with a sigh.
"Come on." He urged with a grin. "It's our honeymoon, and I can't have you going through it feeling all sore like I was."
"Yeah... but..." she avoided his gaze, only making him seek hers more. "It's..."
Silence. A muffled whimper. Then, "It's kind of... embarrassing..." she muttered, puffing out one cheek slightly.
"Oh, come on." Kirito laughed like an idiot. "Haven't we done much more embarrassing things than-"
"NOO! Shut up!" She shrieked, slamming the pillow onto his head. "D-D-Don't talk about those kinds of things so openly!"
"What do you mean? We're in our own house..." he muttered from beneath the pillow.
"No!" Asuna cried again. "S-Still! D-Don't talk about it..." she pleaded, burying her cherry-red face in the pillow on top of him as Kirito continued to chuckle underneath.
"Fine, fine. I won't talk about it." He surrendered, slowly lifting his head as Asuna timidly got off of him. "But you really just need to relax." His clear, onyx eyes met with her golden-hazel ones and she momentarily got lost within them. She could see the joking humor there, but beyond that was the undeniable desire for her to be happy in every way possible, even in a matter as trivial as this. Heaving a sigh, Asuna gave in.
"All right." Turning over to lie on her no-longer-pained stomach, she had no idea what to expect from Kirito's massage.
She folded her arms on the pillow and rested her cheek on one hand as she heard him move up beside her. When his strong hands made contact with her shoulders, she buried her face into her elbow due to some flustered embarrassment that prickled inside of her.
Normally, she did not think she would have been so awkward around her own husband, but his previous mention of their other, more intimate activities had put her into a current state of constant blushing.
As he began to move his hands over her tense shoulders, Asuna remained stiff until he called her out on it.
"Could you at least try relaxing?" He requested. "There's no way you'll be able to enjoy it if all you do is fret about it for no good reason." His voice still had that hint of a smirk that said 'we've done more embarrassing things than this before' in it, and she buried her face deeper. But gradually, his slow, soothing motions caused her body to relax naturally and Asuna could not help but let slip a sound of contentment. Kirito chuckled when he heard it and Asuna quickly clammed up again, but after a few more moments, the unintentional squeaks from her became more constant.
At one point, Asuna let out a small yelp, to which he immediately retracted.
"S-Sorry! Did that hurt?" He asked cautiously.
"Noo..." she moaned dreamily. "It felt really good somehow..." Kirito blinked in confusion before smiling and continuing, a tiny bit gentler. He moved his fingers slowly up and down her back, occasionally applying more pressure to more knotted areas with his palms.
"Uhuuu..." Asuna's attempts to repress her sounds of bliss failed as he cleared up a particularly pained spot. "K...Kiirito-kuuunn, we r-really need to make a business out of thiiiss." She mumbled, her voice distorting a bit as his hands continued to work their magic.
"Well it's certainly better than any healing potions," Kirito agreed. "But I doubt it does anything to help your HP. Potions are probably the best thing for that. Massaging probably just makes the body more relaxed. And still, even if someone did make a business out of it, probably not many people except couples would go..." As he continued to ramble on, he soon realized that Asuna, lost in the intense feelings of comfort, was probably no longer listening.
Kirito brushed his hands down her back and back up her sides, tracing over her ribcage before returning to her shoulders. The previously tensed muscles were now loose, and she seemed on the verge of falling asleep again.
When Kirito's warm hands left her back, Asuna let out a long sigh, half from disappointment and half from sheer contentedness.
"Haaa..." she breathed. "I could die right now and not mind..."
"That's exactly what I'd thought." He agreed.
"I never want to move again."
"Kirito-kun," she mumbled, still in the same position.
"What is it?"
"We may have to make this into a nightly thing."
"I wholeheartedly agree."
Although it was still early evening, Kirito assumed Asuna would not be willing to get up again for a while longer, and he decided that a nap sounded heavenly right about now.
Lying down on his side, he draped his arm around Asuna who managed to shift enough to turn and face him.
As she drew him near to kiss his cheek, he kissed hers as well, and within moments, with their foreheads pressed together and their lips curled into smiles, the couple fell into a warm slumber.
A/N: Aha I hope you liked it! I had fun writing something stupidly cute. Also, I thought apple picking would work well, considering the pictures seen in their room in episode 11 of Kirito and Asuna eating apples :3