This fanfic is only for entertainment purposes only. There's nothing profited here. Characters belonging to each series or franchises does not own by me. Sword Art Online and its characters are owned by their respective owners. I only own the OCs and the story. Any claim of ownership of copyrighted materials such as Sword Art Online may result in sue, arrest and imprisonment.

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So yeah, not much to say here other than enjoy. Note that I wrote this just for fun and maybe, to get rid of the writer blocks that stopped me from writing other stories that are my top priority. So the quality of this fanfic may be just low, apologies for that.

Also, a bit of warning; this is edgy and brutal story which centered on OCs. No, he doesn't replace Kirito. Kirito still exists in this story and will still be the Hero. This OC of mine is similar to Hikigaya Hachiman from OreGairu. If you don't like it, then please leave. Don't write down your preferences, I will not accept it. Unless it's a reasonable criticism and stupid flames, I won't care for it. Ah, don't worry though. I won't delete it even if you wrote it down.

I got nothing more to say so enjoy.


"In Search for Something Real"

Relationships created upon this reality are fragile.

Really fragile to the point of even making one mistake, it'll all be over.

Like a bridge on the brink of collapsing. One wrong step and it'll all crumble down into the abyss as it became nothing more than what once were, a memory left behind to be loathed. I'm no relationship expert, but I know how weak a relationship can be depending on the people.

Try to look to the side, perhaps you see a girl talking to another girl with smiles on their faces. Now, for "normal" people, it may look like they're having a fun chat about things they enjoy or share interest about. However, for me, it's a different case. Those smiles...are nothing but a fake. I can see clearly that they're seeking advantages from each other. What will befriending him give me? Fame? Ikemen's (handsome boys') contact numbers? Attention? To look more cute? To remain a status quo? Perhaps...a stepping stone towards the highest order of the social ladders in school?

Seeing those smiles always sickened me. This is reality, there's no such thing as "real" friends or lovers. There's only greed, selfishness and lust. If you think about it, what makes a high school girl famous? Ah, let me change that question. What is the first thing that makes girls or boys stands out in high school or preferably, society?

Looks, of course.

Their physical appearance.

His long and handsome face.

Her round and cute face.

His messy hair.

Her long eyelashes.

His grin.

Her smile.

It has always been looks, hasn't it? If you're thinking; "Outer appearance doesn't matter, only the inner appearance." Then let me tell you this, you don't know what you're saying. Once again, this is reality. This is not some fiction where the concept of friendship and the aforementioned metaphor applies there-no. This is the harsh, cold reality of which those two things doesn't exist here. There are only ideal replicas, lies that relieves your mind and truths that crushes you heart. Open your eyes and look around you, are there actual real people around you?

No, of course not.

Look into their eyes, read their expression, see the superficiality and you'll come to your senses.

Everyone is wearing a mask.

No matter where you go, you'll see façade as it is the everyday occurrence.

There's no end to it.

Professional expressions, forced smiles, fake happiness, invisible aggression between people and many, many more. Ideal replicas, what a perfect word to describe. The idea of accepting such society filled with fakes, the harsh, cold reality of which there are no something genuine is a riajuu way of thinking. I'll never accept it, I never will. I hate it, I loathe it, the feeling I had may be something even words can't describe. Why? Because I was once a blind person like these people until the reality force me to open my eyelids.

What an ugly pattern. What an ugly system. What an ugly society.

I'll never accept it, no matter what.

My name is Iwasaki Hitori. With a name like "Hitori", you can already guess I'm a loner. A born loner who achieves things without the help of anyone. You'll think "His parents must hate him if they name him with that kind of way." And I'd say, you're wrong. First of all, I don't have parents. Ironically enough, I was abandoned and was taken in by a person from an orphanage. Yuusaki Sunshine Orphanage, if I recall correctly. The one who took me in named me that because I was always alone. Ah, before you complain, I wasn't name anything until I was 6. I simply got called as "shounen (boy)" or just "you". Harsh, I know.

You can blame that asshole of a caretaker for that. Him and the other kids were the one who named me that, in the first place. And yes, I really hate them. They're the reason why my life is harder back then. Now, I'm a free person who independently lives by himself, alone in a cheap apartment and a stable part-time job. Now, I'm not a genius, I know that but when it comes to self-preserving, no one beats me. I'm the best at it as I can preserve myself for years or even decades if I have to. And I'm someone who avoids problem all together. Whether it be debt or saving some damsel in distress in an alleyway, I won't do it. Screw all of that, that'll only ruin my life.

My life is fine as it is and I love it. Well, not all of it but the good side of it overwhelms the other so I still love it nonetheless. If you're wondering what I don't like about it, you can guess what it is already. That's right, school.

I'm in high school right now, sitting in a class as I monologue. Naturally, I sat alone in the classroom with no one coming to talk to me. I'm a loner and loner doesn't have friends. I'm sitting literally in the middle of the room, in the middle of the seats arrangement. I'd say it's a curse since the middle is like a spotlight. I dislike getting attention but luckily, no one paid a mind to a loner like me and even if there is-like that guy over there-they merely gave me disgusted glances. And yes, my appearance is below normal. You can only blame my genetics for that. Like you look better, damned riajuu. What's with you stupid hairstyle? Unlike me, you can change how your hairstyle looks.

As you can see, this school is filled with superficiality and greedy people. There's no one here who wanted a normal, stable life. They all want to be great someday and school is a perfect place for them to do just that. You see, there's a social hierarchy established here.

Starting from the top if of course, the extremely gifted people. I don't know much about the famous ones in our school but I heard there are idols and ikemens in the school. Geniuses, damned people with unordinary talents and wealth. I couldn't care less, of course.

Then there's the riajuus, the popular people with narcissistic behavior like the basketball player, volleyball player, tennis player and more. They'll actively going on about their achievements, gloating shamelessly and look down on people especially the ones like me. Just die, already.

The next would be the mobs or normal people. You usually see them around, acting completely "normal" (which is to fake expressions and whatnot). That only goes for most of the boys, of course. Not being a sexist here, I'm being a realist. The girls (most, not all) are the ones who are responsible for spreading stupid and baseless rumors. A very minority of boys as well but it's very small in amount. If you have a stupid rumor stuck up your ass, blame it on them. I don't actually like these girls who are trying to be famous or popular. They're desperate girls who just wants the ikemens' (in rare cases, idols') attentions. Well, ikemens (or idols). Don't worry if there's a note on your house written in blood saying they love you. They'll be sure to kindly and carefully take care of you.

Kami, gotta hate the people above. Drown in liquid flames of Hell, stupid riajuus.

And the last is of course, the outcasts. Loners like me and people with..."special" attribute but am isolated from the rest of the school for being too "different". They're people who goes to shops alone, goes to arcade alone, goes home alone, avoided by many people, gets bullied and harassed, and gets to be left alone by the society. Thankfully, I wasn't being treated that harsh. The quality that stands out for me would be my appearance. My face is decent but my eyes are lifeless and seemed incredibly creepy for people. Naturally, people avoided me and once again, especially the girls because they thought I'll sexually assault them or whatever. Maybe they thought I'm a rapist or a serial killer in disguise, I don't give a crap what they thought of me. It doesn't change my perspective on them.

Yes, appearance matter in this crappy world.

Otherwise, you'll end up like me.

Oh, yeah. Actually, there's only one outcast in this school which is me. Thankfully, only very few people ever has the time to pay their attention on me for a bit but then didn't mind. So, banzai (cheers) for rumors not spreading and people not glaring at you like some kind of plague!

Ahem. Anyway, after school would be home. I recently heard of this game console everyone's been gawking about. NerveGear, was it? Yeah, that. Actually, the store opens tomorrow and I got someone to go ahead and buy it for me. Yes, I lent my money of course, I'm not blackmailing anyone. She owed me something so I used it for her to buy one of those NerveGears. Now, you'll think; "Why would you buy a riajuu game?" Tell you what, it's merely curiosity.

Internet is a place where many lies can be find. But it is also where many truth resides in. I'm not talking about social media, I'm talking about the people who doesn't show their physical appearance in the internet. Believe it or not, these people showed their true faces. Why? Because no one actually knows them. Perhaps some may have met in real life but that is very few in numbers. People in the internet didn't know each other or how exactly they looked like. Then again, social media isn't included since people can always show what they actually looked like due to the chances of getting laid or getting..."lover" is pretty decent. Those who showed their actual appearance doesn't count here.

It is quite ironic to know that despite the place we called internet filled with lies and rumors, it was the one place where I can find genuineness. Whether it'd be bad or good, it it's genuine then it's a preferable place for me. The classroom in that school is really cancerous. No, wait. Let me take that back. The school itself is cancerous and no, I'm not talking about the study session or anything related to what people should really do in school. I'm referring to the social ladders. I don't really like how people there interact each other comfortably despite knowing that they put on a façade. Talk to me with that façade and I may just throw up on your faces, regardless of your gender-I don't give a damn.

I had some acquaintances in the internet, one of them actually being my neighbor. I've met her when I made a thread regarding advices and things you could do in this game. She's a newbie in that game so she needed a lot of advice. So I did just that, gave her a lot of advices and pointers to get her started on the game. Now, before you started "Why would you help someone who could be a riajuu?" then let me tell you about the game. It isn't a MMORPG, it's simply a singleplayer game to which only born loner through-and-through like me really liked to play. Reason being I'm the only one who actually has a mind of its own playing in that world so it's a game perfect for me. I don't really like online games, they're always filled with obnoxious people and not forgot to mention, some fanbases of online games can be extremely cancerous (for example: the incredibly old game that people still play, Fortnite).

So when she genuinely wants to actually play this game carefully, I can't really help but give her just that. In the end, she ended up owing me and asked me to meet in real life. Of course, I first declined this but she was incredibly persistent. You don't know how many days she constantly asked me to meet IRL until I finally agreed to it. We met in a café and suffice to say, I was surprised to know that she's actually a college student and she's surprised to know that I'm younger than her. I thought she'd be disappointed with how I look but she was neutral about it. I was also a bit surprised that she isn't just like everyone, putting up a façade. She's actually being true to herself and I really liked that. Here I thought the world is full of façade and it seems I'm wrong. Heh, I didn't completely search around the world. So we talked a bit and of course, I had a hard time keeping up since conversing is not my cup of tea.

After we were done, I offered to send her back home to which she respectfully agreed to. And both I and she was surprised again when we discovered that we were actually neighbors. Our apartment was literally next to each other. So yeah. That's how I met her, Kitamura Haruno.

Now, she paid her debt on me by buying me that NerveGear and that game. Why don't I just go on my own? First, the popularity of the game is insane so many people wanted to buy it and I'm not fond of crowds. Second, I don't like waiting and my patience may be thin with all the noise and crowd. Third, I have school to attend since the sale is happening in the morning. Fourth and the last, she's undeniably beautiful so I could use that to my advantage. Perhaps some guys might give her the gentleman treatment and let her cut the line.

I was curious about it, like I said. Reason being it's the first full-dive virtual reality game console. It isn't just some VR console that you use with controls and headset-no. This is actually a console that lets you fully enter the game, requiring no other controls other than your brain. So when you moved in that game, your body in real life won't move because that movement is created by your brain. Your real life body is put to sleep but your brain is fully awake. Now, doesn't that sound amazing?

The downside of it is that the well-known game called "Sword Art Online" is an MMORPG which I'm suck at since I don't like online multiplayer games. Furthermore, there are about 10,000 copies of it so if it's sold out, then you know how much people there are in the game. Ah, there are also the beta testers. Of course, if you're a beta tester, then you already know a few things about the game. It's basically having a first-hand knowledge which could put you in a huge advantage. Perhaps you know secret weapons that can be found in the game? Maybe a secret request that you can spam until you're at a high level? Probably even getting legendary-tier armors or weapons, who the hell knows? It's kinda similar to cheating, but they worked for it.

But I'm not really playing this game for that, I wanted to know if something I seek can be found here. This is the first full-dive VR game so I don't know yet. And because this is a game where your appearance can be customized and am multiplayer, maybe I can find something real here? Perhaps, perhaps not. I don't know unless I get it. Thankfully, I still got most of my allowance. I barely use it other than to buy necessities and some light novels. So I still got a lot to spare even after buying the NerveGear.

School ends and I head home. As usual, some people looks at me in disgust but I ignored it. I become used to it at this point on and I can't wait until I'm over with school, entering the world of adults. I'm aiming in becoming a househusband but how actually? Anyway, dream aside, I'm guessing Kitamura-san already bought it. I was nearing to the complex apartment building where I lived at and just saw Kitamura-san entering her apartment. Definitely, she already bought it. After climbing a few flight of stairs, I stood in front of her door and press the bell button.

"Hai~!" I can hear her voice replying inside the apartment, "Coming!" I waited for her and the door opened, revealing the brunette college young woman wearing her casual clothes. "Ah, Iwasaki-kun."

"Did you get it?" I asked and she nodded, smiling. "Good."

"Do you want to stay inside first and enjoy a cup of tea while I get it?" That's nice, but no thanks.

"Thanks but I respectfully decline." I raised my hand, my face devoid of any expression even as I said that. "I got something to do after all."

"Che~! (Boo~!)" She puffed her cheeks but then smiled, "Okay, then! Just wait."

She left the door opened as she went in to get it. I just stood there waiting before I took out my phone and looked at the time. Well, still got a lot of time till' dinner. Perhaps I should get some veggies for dinner? I waited while tapping my foot and playing my phone. Memes, memes...let's see, ah. Now, that's hilarious. I covered my mouth with my hand and muffled a soft and quiet laugh. This is to avoid people getting suspicious on me. I mean, they usually see my laugh or smile as creepy but what would you think if there's someone standing before an apartment with the door opened and laughing creepily? Yeah, that's what I thought. You would get suspicious of course. That is why I covered my mouth when I laugh or smile.

A minute passed (I estimated) and Kitamura-san appeared. She had the box along with the game. Thankfully, buying the console comes in with the game free of charge. She brought it with that fancy game bag and handed me it.

"Thanks, Kitamura-san." I bowed, being respectful to someone older than me.

"Mou, at least speak to me casually! Don't be so stiff." She said and puffed her cheeks once more. "But you're welcome! Debt repaid, right?"

"Yes." I nodded and started to walk away. "With that, you can stop interact with me. Have a nice day."

I used my key to unlock the door to my apartment. Just as I entered in, I heard she said something.

"You don't have to be so cold too, Iwasaki-kun!" She said in a loud voice as I entered my apartment.

I let out a sigh and went straight to my room. I threw the bag to my bed and changed my outfit to the ones I usually used in home. Yeah, this apartment is my home. Quiet, peaceful and a lot of space. I don't have a case of claustrophobic but having a small space to live in can be really irritating with how limited your movement could be. Once I completely changed into my usual outfit, I went back out and head to the kitchen which is connected to the living room. I made a small meal consist of balanced protein, carbohydrate and vitamins. A roasted steak, two cups of rice and a few slices of lettuce, pretty balanced if you ask me. I'm able to maintain my BMI with these meal.

After having my stomach filled, I decided to just use the NerveGear. Hah, the new volume of Valiant Utopia isn't out yet so it's not like I have much to do. I don't watch TV, it's not my type. I rather watch animes or some action and brutal movies than watching TV so that's an out. Well, Sword Art Online it is then.

I went back to my bedroom and started unboxing the NerveGear. Of course, I wasn't careless with it so I unboxed it carefully. After seeing a rather impressive design that is NerveGear, I raised my eyebrows. It looks like a helmet and a plugin from the back. This is for the plug of course, to make it work since it does need electricity obviously. But wait, doesn't this thing has external battery or something? Ah, whatever then. After unboxing it, I need to use the two tools to calibrate my body for some reason. Nevertheless, I used said tools and calibrate my body. After that, only plugged the electric plug into the sockets left.

I did just that and placed the game box onto the reader. This reminds me of the good ol' Nintendo console, ah really nostalgic. I closed the lid on top and stretched my body. Well, this is pretty exciting to be honest. I've never full-dive before so I wonder how it feels like. Heard that it doesn't feel any different than in real life other than the graphics and whatnot. Though, the beta testers of SAO said that the graphics are crazy realistic so I have hopes for it.

I looked at the time and it was already 12:58. Guess it's time to test this game and see if there is something genuine here like the internet and unlike the real world. Let's see if friendship here are real and are far stronger and genuine than the ones in the internet. I can't help but excited...huh?

I blinked, "Why do I feel like something bad is going to happen?" I shook my head and just let out a sigh, "Maybe I have a bad premonition of me embarrassing myself in front of a crowd...damn it. Let's hope that's not the case."

I lay down on my bed then closed my eyes. Breathe in and out, breathe in and out, breathe in and out. Alright, it should at least take me two minutes to prepare my mind so it is already 1:00 in the afternoon already. Sword Art Online, NerveGear and the creator. Hope you don't disappoint me.

"Link start."

Prelude End:

"In Search of Something Real"

Yeah, yeah.

I know.

That was full of pessimism and cynical thoughts there but that's not the perfect word. The preferred term would be "realism" and "reasonable" thoughts.

Sorry for being so edgy.

Thing is, I'm a huge fan of OreGairu. You can say that most of my realist thoughts may have been influenced by Hikigaya Hachiman in some ways. The OC, Iwasaki Hitori is clearly inspired by him and I won't deny it. Well, in the first place, I already did told you readers that the OC is similar to Hachiman so what's the point?

So anyway, I thought I'd took a different approach in making an OC like I did with some of my fanfics (please don't read the incredibly old cringe ones, please don't). SAO fans, cut me some slack with your love for Kirito and his harem okay? Maybe I'm just taking one person from the harem, a certain pink-haired one since she's my favorite. I'm not aiming for a harem here, I don't think my OC truly deserves that. At the very, very, very, very best, he might just get in a love triangle and that is a might.

Once again, I do apologize if the quality of the fanfic is lacking. I wrote this just to get it off my mind and to get rid of my writer's block like I said earlier, so sorry if you find it to be a crap just like my other fanfics. Well, I mostly write for fun but I do aim to improve. So if anyone has a good criticism, I'll appreciate it if you refer it to me.

With that being said, do leave a review-I guess a fav and a follow as well if you willing to. Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of you day.