.hack//G.U. – Infected
“Infected” by Ryuuzaki Kusakurin
DISCLAIMER: I think I’ve written disclaimers enough to safely say that I own nothing. *sigh*
Warnings: Language, yaoi,
Characters: Haseo [Misaki Ryou], Endrance [Ichinose Kaoru], Kuhn [Kasumi Tomonari], Atoli [Kusaka Chigusa], Pi [Saeki Reiko], Yata [Hino Takumi], Sakaki [Tooru Uike], Sakubo [Nakanishi Iori], Azure Kite, Azure Orca, Azure Balmung, Skeith, Taihaku.
Theme Songs: Alberio [T.M. Revolution], White Breath [T.M. Revolution], Vestige [T.M. Revolution], High Pressure [T.M. Revolution], Take a Little Hand [Gabriela Robin], Fragile [T.M. Revolution]
Pairings: Haseo x Endrance, Kaoru x Ryou
This fic is brought to you courtesy of math class and inattentive substitute teachers of America. ❤
This’ll probably be posted on my LiveJournal, although it’ll be higher-rated, but who knows… *shrug*
Among other things, he loved the raw energy of battle. It was enthralling, and if one was in a rainy field, the programme would lag just enough for one to see the raindrops as they fell to the ground from the darkened sky. It was something he never grew tired of, but right now, it wasn’t what he wanted to see or hear.
Ryou had thrown him out with nary a second glance, probably tired of seeing Kaoru constantly glued to the computer. So here he was, four days later, absently tracing patterns in the water around the glowing tree in Indieglut Lugh. He was tempted to drift to the bottom of the lake once again, as he had when he had lost the thing he had called ‘Mia’, but…
It was something Endrance would do. It wasn’t necessarily something Kaoru would do. Once, his game persona and his own personality were inseparable, but then Ryou had changed things for him… Ryou had let him experience the world as well as he could in the few minutes he was off the computer.
“I don’t want… I don’t want to be alone again…” Saku wasn’t even here, and had she been, he would have gladly taken her company. If it had been Bo, he probably would have used the boy as an object to hug. If it had been AIDA… He sighed dramatically, not even having to think about it. He knew that if AIDA was to appear in front of him, he would accept it with no complaints whatsoever, just to be rid of this terrible loneliness.
Almost predictably, someone warped in as soon as the thought had finished itself. Endrance didn’t even bother to turn; what did he care? He wasn’t even able to fool himself – the only character he wanted to see was Haseo.
“And what would an Epitaph User be doing out here? Without his precious Haseo, no less?” Sakaki. Endrance inwardly shuddered just thinking about the man; his time spent around Ryou had made him more emotional, it seemed. He refused to answer, although that didn’t stop him from cursing at the man mentally. “Not talking, hm?” Sakaki was right behind him, and with a smile that fit his AIDA-possessed character, he kept speaking. “You look… lonely, perhaps. Shall I offer you a cure?” As if on cue, black bubbles made their first appearance. “Relax. If you pledge yourself to my cause… you will not need to lose your mind. You could be like me, strong enough to challenge the Terror of Death itself!”
“I do not understand your motivation for this,” he murmured, still tracing patterns in the mercurial waters of the Lost Ground. “You could have infected me… from your throne…”
“Perhaps,” the former Moon Tree guardian replied, appearing to consider it. Even with this new appearance, his cunning mind was still sharp as ever. “I will even allow you to take the ‘Terror of Death’ down, if you join me.” Endrance tilted his head, actually considering the offer. He had no reason to exist, now that Haseo had chosen to live without him. It… it actually hurt him physically, and he didn’t know it, but tears were streaming down his face.
“Very well… I will join you… on that condition,” he replied, closing his eyes and waiting as the bubbles of the virus neared his PC.
“Excellent! We can control this world together, you and I! With you as the sword, Haseo and his precious avatar will fall before us!” Smiling before more or less planting the virus in the former emperor, Sakaki pictured the priceless look on Haseo’s face as he realised that a former ally was the one to take him down.
His armour had become black where it had once been Mia’s favourite shade of purple, and red where it had been gold. The long, skirt-like garment that his PC wore had become black as well, and where his left hand had formerly been was a black claw, almost identical to what Sakaki’s hand was now. Almost as an added bonus, the cat-creature that he had called ‘Mia’ not too long ago had reappeared on his shoulder. Even though he knew it was AIDA, it brought him some amount of comfort where he had thought he would never again feel it… It fit what he was going to do, either way – he was going to take the green-haired PC down with him. The whispers of a nearby Epitaph startled him; the AIDA that was now embedded in his PC was telling him that Magus was near. He chose to ignore it. Kuhn wouldn’t look here; he was most likely heading towards the Tri-Edge symbol that led to his favourite area, the Lost Ground. His suspicions were correct; the Steam Gunner passed without a second glance. He was about to sigh in relief when he saw Haseo chasing after him, disentangling his foot from a weak monster and kicking it away, which spared him the trouble of having to actually fight it.
“Pi said there was a pretty strong AIDA signal here, too…” Haseo looked worried. Endrance steeled himself for what was to come, trying to suppress the emotions raging within him instead of letting AIDA take control. ‘Mia’ meowed quietly, and he reached a gloved hand up, stroking her head. She wanted to fight, as she was an entity created solely from the virus, but for now, he was the one in control. He was only using AIDA as a means to an end. Never again would it overtake him.
“Magus says there’s something strange around here,” Kuhn offered, pointing over in the direction of Endrance, although he didn’t know it. “Let’s check it out.”
“Have fun. Last time ‘Magus sensed something weird’, it was actually you sensing a pretty girl,” Haseo complained loudly. Kaoru shook his head and his PC mimicked the action. It really was just like Kuhn to say something like that just to find more potential girlfriends.
“No, seriously. I’m heading that way.” And what’s the use…? They’re going to find out at the next G.U. meeting… Tugging his flowered hat off of his PC’s head, he carelessly threw it off the ledge of the small cliff he was on, half-hoping Haseo would see it and leave him alone. Not only that, of course; if he was going to change something, it was going to start with the flowers that reminded him of the true Mia. She wasn’t actually here, and he didn’t want to dishonour her memory like this.
“Hey, Kuhn? Wait up a second,” Haseo called, spotting the black hat and jogging over to it. “Is this Endrance’s…?” Taking in the colour change with wide eyes, he looked up at the cliff where it had probably come from just in time to see a flash of blue hair. “Come on, Kuhn! Endrance! Wait up!” He didn’t realise that his fellow Epitaph User was walking down to meet them, if nothing else. Only moments later when they made their way to the top of the plateau, he saw Endrance’s right side, not able to see ‘Mia’ or his infected arm – all he saw was the colour change.
“So, what’s with the colour? Never knew you were into black,” Kuhn joked.
“Oh, it’s nothing… I just felt like… a change…” He tipped his head back and let the false breeze blow through it as he turned, revealing the monster he had truly become.
“Endrance… you…” Haseo fell to his knees as he gaped at what Kaoru had turned his PC into. Red-veined skin of black had taken over his entire left arm and leg, and there were tendrils that had crept up and onto his neck.
“Stay there,” Kuhn warned his partner. “Endrance, you don’t know what you’re doing!”
“Oh, I know perfectly well what I’m doing,” he replied coolly, the falsetto dropping enough to be passable as his normal voice. “And you’re not going to get in the way…”
“Endrance! Please…” Haseo was begging now, which made Kaoru want to curl inward and cry. He had never wanted this… but he had to do it, now that he’d infected himself and chosen his own path. Ryou no longer needed or wanted him, and so he had no purpose other than what he decided on doing for himself.
“I made up my mind… Haseo. I will follow my own feelings… I’m sorry…” Closing his eyes, he wrapped his arms around himself and called upon Macha. “Macha!”
I’m here, she murmured in his mind, adrift in the strange realm that was uniquely her own.
“Don’t hurt them… Especially Haseo…”
I understand. You’re holding it back this time, aren’t you?
“Yes,” he replied, knowing that she was speaking of AIDA. “I will not succumb… until my debt to Haseo has been repaid.”
Very well, the Temptress told him. If that is your resolve, then it shall be mine as well. Calling forth rose petals, the purple Avatar prepared to attack. No malicious intent was in it, although she could feel the acute pangs of pain and sorrow behind her user’s facade of resolve.
“Come on, come on… I’m… right… here! SKEIIIIIIITH!” The Terror of Death came into existence at his cry, forcibly breaking into the strange realm. Unbeknownst to the players, the avatars were speaking with one another.
Good day, Temptress, Skeith offered.
And to you, Terror of Death, she replied with the barest hint of a smirk in her voice.
I thought that you’d have been taken over by now, like it was last time we fought, Skeith snorted, floating quite calmly.
He is holding it back, Macha murmured, longing in her voice as she gestured to Endrance. It will come at great cost to the both of us. He plans to sacrifice himself to rid our world of the contamination that we used to be controlled by.
Interesting. It looks like those two mean to fight, though.
They will not be able to purge any of the virus from us though. The only way to do so would be to attack the AIDA within him instead. Macha shook her cat-like head gently as she ‘spoke’ to Skeith.
And below them, a battle of the words was already raging.
“How could you have… I thought… I thought that I meant something to you!”
“You no longer needed me…” he whispered, thoroughly uncomfortable with the discussion. “You said you didn’t want to see me again, Ryou.”
“I was just angry! I didn’t mean for it to end up permanently!” Haseo kept protesting, but was silenced by the sound of a few footsteps as they came toward him.
“Do you… do you mean that, Ryou?” Another step towards him. “Do you honestly mean that… or is it because of what I chose?” Another step, and another, and another… He finally stood before the Rogue.
“Why did you do this to yourself, Kaoru?” the teenager begged, gently running a hand over the blackened skin, feeling the pulsating red veins beneath it. “I can feel,” he breathed in wonder, blinking back tears.
“It’s this place… the influence of the avatars… I don’t understand much, but this is real…” He shuddered when the PC touched the place where the AIDA fringed off and met his regular skin. Jerking away, he watched ‘Haseo’ warily.
“I asked you a question,” the boy replied, his eyes piercing. “Answer me, Kaoru! Why?!”
“I did it… to help you,” he offered gently. “I have enough strength… to destroy Sakaki now.” Haseo stared at him wide-eyed for a few seconds, and Kaoru let himself relax before the coming storm. The teen took a deep breath, and he inwardly winced, preparing for the angry shouts.
“Damn you!” At least he wasn’t really being mean… “Damn you, Kaoru! You didn’t even think about yourself, did you?” It was only a second later that Ryou’s voice cracked and he stumbled towards Endrance. “You’re going to end up as a Lost One… like Alkaid… like Shino…” He fell to the invisible ground of the realm, crying. “But… we won’t be able to bring you back. You’re not invincible, Kaoru… Don’t you get it?” He weakly posed the question, and when he recieved no response, he stood up, wiping tears from his eyes with the back of his sleeve. “Don’t you GET it?!” Slumping forward, into Endrance’s waiting arms, he sobbed.
“Yes… I understood what I was doing when I did this… Ryou, look at me,” he gently demanded. “My feelings… they haven’t changed,” he whispered into Haseo’s silver hair. “I think… that this is what love is,” he murmured. “I don’t have long left… and if I stop playing, Sakaki will just find another to replace me. Do you understand?”
“Yeah,” he muttered fuzzily. “You’d better come talk to me later though. We’ve got a lot to say to each other.”
“I agree,” the blue-haired PC replied, holding Haseo firmly against his blackened armour. “When you wake up…” He leaned close and whispered in his ear from then on. “When you wake up, may I come over?”
“Of course, you idiot,” he murmured, grateful for the forgiveness in his boyfriend’s voice. “Wait… when I wake up?”
“Sakaki’s watching this,” he hissed cautiously. “I have to do something… or else he will suspect.” Pulling away quickly, he raised his fist, which signalled Macha’s attack. Haseo would have blocked, but he trusted Kaoru… and he was glad that he did.
Haseo and Endrance appeared out of nowhere, glowing with the power of their avatars. Kuhn expected Endrance to keel over, given how strong Haseo was –
Haseo hit the ground and fell with a moan of pain.
“What did you do to him?” Kuhn demanded. His avatar couldn’t sense any AIDA in the lifeless form, so that meant… “He’s not a Lost One, is he?! You… bastard!”
“I had no intention… of putting him in a coma,” Endrance replied. “He will awaken soon enough…” Warping out, the former emperor logged out as soon as his feet hit the ground of Lumina Cloth.