A Shoulder To Cry On

A/N: This was my entry for a contest on DeviantArt, it is currently a one-shot, but I am considering expanding it, although that won't be for a while, so don't get angry if it takes a few months to set up.


Theme: Any and all themes (read the rules though)
-It can be any kind of text: fanfiction, poem (avoid Haiku please), drabble, etc.

-You're not obligated to use official characters, but it must at least be SAO related somehow.

-The first line must be one of these (you can change the gender):

-He hadn't meant to scare the child

-There was a strange wailing sound coming from the next room

-The fire was getting closer

-As soon as she walked in, she felt the tension

-Must be PG-rated

-You can submit as many entries as you want, but you can only win with one.

What gives you more chance of winning
-Good spelling and grammar. (You will be penalised if too many mistakes impede the readability of the text)

-Originality. (Avoid cliché storyline)

-Be creative!

Summary: Some things aren't meant to stay the same. What if Kirito was a girl, and was in fact YOUNGER than Suguha? How would things be different in SAO then? Klein/Kirito Big Brother/Little Sister No Pairings Kiriko (Fem!Kirito)

There was a strange wailing coming from the next room. Klein wasn't sure why it sounded like a kid, but, being the man he was, he couldn't stand to around while someone was crying without trying to make it better. Although more often than not he got smacked for it... Okay, every time, but come on! What's wrong with being gentlemanly?

Moving slowly, so as to not startle the person within, Klein gently opened the door and looked inside. His eyes roamed the room before finally settling on the blanketed form of the kid he had heard, huddled up on the lone bed in the room, shaking every so often with a strangled whimper. He nearly walked away, but, not wanting to leave someone so obviously young by themself in a death game, he steeled his nerves and softly padded over to the bad and knelt down beside it.

His hand reached out to gently shake the small kid, trying to wake them up from their obviously terrifying dream. A small head appeared after a minute of him starting, looking trying to figure out who woke them up, furiously wiping away the tears that were on her face. When she finally noticed him, she began to blink furiously, as if not believing that someone was actually there.

Klein smiled softly, "Hey there, my name is Klein, can you tell me yours?"

She blinked a bit more before giving it up as a pointless endeavor."Koyuki," she said in a quiet voice.

"So Koyuki, what seems to be the problem?"

She started to shake again, tears leaking out of her eyes as she suddenly remembered where she was, and that her nightmare was in fact reality. But she was startled when two strong arms wrapped around her, pulling her into an armored chest, her head nestled into the crook of his neck.

"Hey, don't cry, everything is going to be alright." He rocked her gently in his arms, holding her close as she cried her heart out.

When the tears (however digital in composition) finally slowed, Klein pulled back and, not

wanting to leave her by herself again, asked, "Hey, how would you like to come with me? I am meeting up with some friends from real life and we plan to start a guild. So what do you say?"

Sniffling, Koyuki simply nodded, not trusting her voice at the moment.

Klein smiled brightly, "Sweet! I'll tell them to meet up in the town square. There isn't enough room here for all of us. I hope you don't mind, but it'd be faster if I carried you." She shook her head, and that was all he needed as he lifted her up onto his hip, an action he had seen his neighbors and mothers do with their kids. Fortunately she was small and light enough that it worked, otherwise he would have had to carry her on his back.

Standing up, he quickly opened his menu and started typing a message to his friends, an action that proved difficult as he only had one free hand. He was starting to regret picking the girl up so quickly, although if he put her down now she might think he changed his mind about taking her with him, so he had to make do.

It was different, to be sure, meeting his friends with a tagalong, especially one so young. Parents had never trusted their kids to his care before, not that he had ever complained about it, but it certainly made things more awkward when he tried to explain just WHY he was looking after a child now that he was part of a death game. That he could barely understand it himself was secondary as for all his inexperience he knew it would have probably been worse for the kid if she had been left alone for much longer, seeing as she was so young and without anyone to look after her. He hadn't heard of anyone taking in the kids that were playing the game, however few there were, so until something like an orphanage could be set up, she would be his responsibility.

It would kill him if one so young and innocent died for a madman's dream.

His friends were all gathered in the square of the Town of Beginnings, looking around, trying to find him, when the largest one noticed him. His eyes widened before he started laughing uncontrollably. His antics drew the attention of the other 4, and soon enough they were all rolling around on the ground, clutching at their stomachs as they roared with laughter.

Koyuki looked at them uncertainly, but Klein was quick to reassure her that they were an alright bunch, just a little rough around the edges.

After getting that out of their systems, although a couple still chuckled every so often, the 5 friends walked over to Klein and Koyuki, the tallest one, eyes softening as he drew nearer, poked Klein in his free side, asking jokingly, "Hey, when did you have a kid? I didn't know you were dating anyone."

This of course set the others off again, but instead of drawing a smile from the kid, she instead shrunk against his side, hiding her face in his neck, shuddering slightly as she attempted to not cry.

Realizing that it was time to get serious, he motioned to the others to settle down, and soon they were all gathered around their friend and eventual guildmaster. He smiled softly at the little one in Klein's arms, "Hi young lady, the name's Kunimittz. I'm a friend of Klein's. The rest of the guys are Dale," here he pointed at the largest of the group who waved back with a broad smile on his face, earning a small smile and a tiny wave in return, "The next one is Dynamm," here he pointed at the guy with a bandanna covering his entire head who was slightly shorter than him, "Following him we have Issin (the one with spiky brown hair that pointed backwards smiled at her) and then last but not least we have Harry One (the one with the youngest-looking face waved and winked at her, she giggled into the hand that wasn't clutching at Klein's armor). So, what's your name?"

During the walk to the square, Klein explained to Koyuki that nobody was using their real name in-game, and that she should give out her username instead. So, with this conversation firmly in mind, she smiled shyly at the 5 males before her and replied, "Kiriko, my name's Kiriko."

The boys all cooed over her, then upon realizing what they were doing, promptly stopped and started poking fun at each other, eliciting another giggle from the younger player.

Smiling secretly at their success getting her more comfortable around them, Klein drew them back in, "Everyone, while I know we're still on the 1st floor, we need to get to the 3rd one to start a guild, so until then we'll just group together. Of course, since the maximum in a group can only be 6 (he learned this reading the guidebook handed out by Beta Testers) One of us will have to go without, but we won't leave anyone behind, so I was thinking that we did a group of 4 and 3 instead, so that everyone's in a group. What do you guys think?"

None of the guys were opposed, and so they just had to figure out who would group with who (except for Kiriko, as it was obvious she would be staying with Klein). In the end it was decided that Issin, Kunimittz, and Harry One would group together. Leaving Klein, Kiriko, Dale and Dynamm form their own group, although thankfully it didn't take any extra time to explain to Kiriko as she had been a Beta Tester, thus knowing much of the game's mechanics that they wouldn't have without reading the guidebook.

Over the next month the groups would fight off mobs, trading drops for Col or if they were something one of them had a use for then they would pass it over. They were open and friendly, something that Kiriko was surprised about having been forced into fighting a mob by another Beta Tester named Coper who had thought it would be easy to get her killed and take the quest reward for himself, not that it worked, resulting in his death and while Kiriko did get the Anneal Blade, she was greatly disturbed by the event, leading to her hiding out in an Inn, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Dale was surprisingly the one who had coaxed that story out of her, and was the one who ended up comforting her as the dam burst again, but after getting it off her chest, she felt much better afterward, thanking the heavyset male with a watery smile.

When the call was put out that the Floor Boss' room was found and they needed fighters to clear it, Klein almost went to join, but stopped when he considered that, although he and his friends were all pretty high in level (they were all levels 11-12, although somehow Kiriko had managed to get to 13 without any of them noticing) he still didn't feel comfortable taking a kid into that kind of situation, no matter how skilled, and so when the time came for the clearing group to fight the floor boss, it was announced that unless they got more people to help that they wouldn't be able to pull it off.

Frowning, he looked over Kiriko's head to look meaningfully at Dynamm, who was entertaining Kiriko at the moment, who nodded shortly before returning to playing with the young girl. None of them wanted her to be stuck in the game any longer than she had to be, she should be out in the real world playing tea party and other little-girl games, not stuck in a madman's nightmare, forced to fight for survival.

Klein, quietly gathering Kunimittz and Harry One, both of whom were level 12 like he was, and went to join up, leaving the others behind to make sure their little friend didn't charge after them.

The fight with Ilfang the Kobold Lord was far tougher than they had anticipated, not that that was really a surprise, but they really would have liked it to be a bit easier. Klein and his two friends were tasked with killing the mobs that appeared throughout the fight, although that all changed when Diavel, the leader of the clearing groups, charged in recklessly, and only survived the surprise-change in weaponry by Ilfang when switched to a nodachi instead of a talwar like in the previous version, by the timely intervention of Agil, a large, muscle-bound bald black man who pulled him out of the way just before the blow could land, saving his life in the process.

The resulting beat-down was so bad it wasn't even funny as everyone that wasn't in the red pressed the attack and Klein, by virtue of striking the final blow, something Diavel seemed putout about, figured out why shortly after when he saw he got what was called the Last Attack Bonus. Giving him something called Ancient Samurai Armor. Wanting to become like a samurai in the game, he was intrigued and immediately equipped it, smiling when he saw his new look, Kunimittz and Harry One congratulating him on getting the gear drop.

Since no one died (although it was a very near thing), and they managed to clear the floor boss, others began to become involved with the clearers for the upcoming floors, although Kiriko was never involved, no matter how much she might have argued or attempted to sneak out. Once everyone reached the third floor, they looked around until they came across a guy offering a quest, and the reward was founding a guild.

Surprisingly, the quest was rather easy, and soon enough Fuurinkazan was created, with 7 members in total. And while many people thought of Kiriko as their mascot, she was anything but, somehow managing to level up faster than all of them (something most attributed to her status as a Beta Tester) and for all that she might seem meek, she was a lioness in battle, and no matter how much damage she took, she never gave up.

Many wondered how she was so good, but because she was so young, none of the more malicious rumors ever spread. After all, who would want to hurt a little girl in such a way? A spiky-haired swordsman named Kibaou tried to insinuate she was a Beta Tester, but because she was a member of a guild, no matter how small, it showed she wasn't a loner, so it was ignored as quickly as it was heard.

Almost 2 years passed before the game was cleared, and, although many had died fighting for freedom, the 5 thousand-odd players that made it were happy to be alive.

Suguha Kirigaya, older sister to Koyuki, although the younger was adopted and was really her cousin, couldn't run fast enough to her hospital room when the news was released that the trapped gamers were waking up at long last. She stopped in the doorway, as she came across a sight that she wasn't expecting.

There was a red-headed male with shaggy red hair holding her little sister who clutched onto him like he was her lifeline.

It was only when she accidentally bumped the door causing it to squeak slightly that they broke apart, although the silence was broken when Koyuki started to tear up and hold out her arms for her big sister, who rushed forward before a teary "Onee-chan" could leave the little girl's lips and was soon crying into her hair, which had grown out greatly since she went under.

Smiling softly from where she was standing outside the room, Midori Kirigaya wiped her eyes as they began to tear up, happy to see her little girl finally awake.

After finding out that the red-head's name was Tsuboi Ryoutarou, and that he had taken up the task of looking after her during her time in-game, the elder Kirigaya was happy to invite him over for a playdate with her adopted daughter, as he was incredibly fond of her and she knew that Koyuki had trouble making friends her own age, cause of her incredible shyness.

She looked on as Koyuki told Suguha all about what happened in Sword Art Online, and for the first time in 2 years, their family was whole again.