"Well, I'm sure you know why you're here...but why did you come in?"

Kureha looks at her hands. She's shaking slightly. "Because,..well...I… Dammit!" She quickly gets up and leaps onto Jaymes' her lips crashing into his.

That's as far as Jaymes has currently processed in his muddled mind as Kureha herself suddenly breaks the kiss and falls off of Jaymes, landing on the table behind her. If he is puzzled, she is quite horrified. Not only did she kiss Jaymes', she did it spontaneously, impulsively. That...is not her, is it? No way, Touching her lips, she looks to Joshua, who is looking back at her.


"I shouldn't have done that," she says. "I'm sorry, but I shouldn't have done that. After all, I'm not good enough for you. I brought you into this game, expecting to be you're superior at every step. However, you have become strong these last two months, like Kirito and Asuna, but me, I'm the average player. You're our squadron leader. I don't deserve to be around you as is. You deserve someone like...Zeliska. Or maybe Strea, Rain, or Philia. Maybe Arfa...she loves you too, they all do. Heck, Lisbeth just said she would date you!"


"And don't think I don't know what you've done with them! You're worse than Kirito! Or maybe better, I don't know, surrounded by all these women and then sleeping with all of them. Two of them are AIs, for crying out loud. Did you fuck them all except me? Well thank you, Jaymes, for proving that I am just as worthless as everyone thinks. SO forget this happened and I'll be on my way."

"Momiji." Jaymes says her real name sternly as he stands up, making Kureha pause between him and the door. In her defense (and to his knowing) he has spent much time with the girls she named, though Arfa is unfair since she is his AI. She turns around, in which Jaymes reads her expression as trying to hold it together. Sighing, he looks to his bed, his ultimate chick magnet. "Look, I don't really understand it myself, but I will agree, I am much like Kirito, but...better, if I may say so proudly. Arfa, Rain, Zeliska, Philia, and Strea have spent several nights with me...and if you must know, so has Itsuki-"


"No. Never. I like girls. I don't even know why I mentioned that." Rubbing his head, he steps up to Kureha, taking her shoulders in his hands. "Look, yes, they are all beautiful women. Some have...commendable assets. Each have their quirks. But, there's one thing I have done with you that I have never done with them, and that's what I'm doing right now. Looking at you, the girl who is my best friend in one world and my one true partner the other. In both, I love you."

Kureha blushes. "You can't say that knowing what it does. That's unfair. But, still, you could-"

"You right, I could. Besides Arfa, who is like a sister to me, I could have done it. Believe me, Strea and Zeliska were practically asking for it. Do you know how hard it was to have you turn me away yet Zeliska try to convince me? Especially after seeing her in a rare attire? It was tough, but I stayed true to myself. The last two days, I sent Arfa with you in my place because I wanted to hash things out with them, to let them know how my relationship as friends with them stand. Four times I had to pronounce that I choose you. I'll do it again if I must."

Kureha, letting a single teardrop fall, leans on Jaymes' chest and allows the taller boy's arms to surround her. She smiles as she listens to his virtual heartbeat. "I'm sorry. For doubting you. Truly, I doubt myself too much. Yet… I look at the other girls and I see them beside you because they are strong. I am not."

"I'm not looking for strength. I have you. You've always been my rock, and I, yours. You do downplay our childhood a lot though."

"Sure." Smiling, Kureha looks up and steps away from Jaymes. Patting him on the shoulder, she walks around to the bed in the back left corner of the room, standing above it. Lisbeth's words about "'it is possible'" make her curious. In the real world, she has never done it, and it doesn't really count in the virtual world. But if what Lisbeth says is true (and Asuna has done it herself as well?) then… Yes. Yes, she wants to. She has thought about it for days at a time, took care of it herself, but now, she wants him to do so. She brings up her menu, goes to her inventory, and selects an article of clothing, switching it out from her normal attire.

From where he stands Jaymes watches as Kureha changes into the rare outfit he gave her. But unlike before, she doesn't care he is there. She doesn't freak out. She looks at him, smiling with a blush. "Jaymes...no, Joshua, can I ask you something? You are allowed to say no, of course."

She called him by his real name. It must be serious. "Yes."

"Is that arcade still open? The one we always went to with the capsule machine?"

Jaymes nods. "Yes. I went there recently with Kirito, Asuna, Silica, and Lisbeth in the real world. I haven't been there since you left, so it was nice to see it still open. Mr. Iwata still owns it and recognized me instantly. Why?"

"I want that to be our first real-world date. This weekend, if that's fine with you. I would like to do that, and everything there is to do all weekend."

"Okay...but can I ask why you're dressed like that?"

"Oh… Because I know what I want to do now." She switches over the settings menu and clicks on the ethics code. Disabling a setting she exits the menu and nods to Jaymes. "I love you, Joshua. And I want to be the girl who is worth being loved by you. Can you give me more time?"

Joshua steps over, standing over Kureha but not touching her. Something about this outfit now makes it wrong to make contact without more consent than usual. "We don't have to do this if you're not ready."

Kureha realizes his confusion and laughs. "Oh, I'm talking about the real world. Here, in GGO..." she takes Jaymes by his arms and settles him on the bed, straddling herself above him. She holds him down by his shoulders, She leans down, her mouth adjacent to an ear, "...I'm ready now."

"Master! Kureha-AH!"

Kureha drops herself on Jaymes' body as Arfa suddenly enters the room, but after seeing the two together, pauses in place. As Jaymes allows Kureha to roll off of him in embarrassment, he sits up, holding his in much better than her as he sees Lisbeth, Asuna, and Leafa enter behind his AI. "Arfa, you see this?"

"I see that you and Kureha were-"

"That's the 'embarrassment' I've been telling you about. You just made it more embarrassing, though I suspect you're not the responsible party." He glares at Lisbeth, knowing her antics in the matter of love very well now. She is the only one laughing out the four of them.

"Aww, look at the lovebirds. Too bad your pistol is jammed now, Jaymes."

Kureha, slightly angry but totally embarrassed, grabs a few pillows and throws them at the group of girls. "Get out! Get out! Get out!"

Later that day

"Hey," Kirito says as Jaymes joins him on the balcony of his apartment. The Black Swordsman turns around as the Lucky Gunman waves and smiles. Leaning against the railing, Kirito bears a smile as he glances back at the city. "I heard what happened today."

"Which part?" Jaymes asks curiously.

"Heh, all of it. RIght down to the moment of embarrassment."
"Damn. Well, better than what you did. 'All I wanted was to spend the night with you tonight. Not the other thing.' Oh yes, Asuna told me too."

Kirito rubs his cheek, a sort of faint reminiscence. "No need to bring that up. It wasn't what I was expecting, but at least I wasn't caught."

"I'll give you that. Anyway, we're meeting up this weekend for the first time in years. She has a list of things we're going to do. If it is okay with you, I would like for her to meet you. The girls have agreed, so have Klein and Agil, and… I don't know, but I don't want all our relationships to be centered in one game or world. There's ALO that you guys love talking about, so maybe we can hope on there as well."

"Say no more," Kirito says. He stands straight up, holding out his arm. "It's only been a short time but we've connected so much, yet there's more to learn about each other. And...it'll be nice to have a guy my age around for once. So yes, we can meet this weekend, in real life and in ALO."

Jaymes extends his arm and both boys grip each other's elbows. "Thanks, Kirito."

"Hey, idiots." Kirito and Jaymes turns to see Asuna and Kureha approaching. The latter jumps in front of Jaymes, taking the arm Kirito just held. "Aww, look at the bromance Asuna. Have I lost you already?"

Asuna chuckles. "Well, it is no wonder they're so close in a short amount of time. Love truly prevails."

"It is not like that," Kirito says. "Can we just go now?" Asuna smiles and leads Kirito away, but as Jaymes follows Kureha halts him. Before he can ask her anything, she leans up and kisses him for the second time today. But for her, this wasn't an impulsive, spontaneous, out of control action. This time, it was done out of love.

"That's to make up from earlier. And I heard what you just said to Kirito, thank you." Moving away from him, she smiles and tugs him forward. "I love you, Jaymes."

"I love you too, Kureha."

"Also, because now that we are together, I will be commandeering your bed without warning from now on. Starting tonight."

Jaymes shakes his head as he breaks from Kureha's grip. "You kick me once, that privilege is revoked."

"What? You're the kicker! And speaking of that, I need that picture you got! Hey, where are you going?" Kureha pouts as she runs after Jaymes as they catch up to the pair ahead of them. "We're not done talking about this!"