AN: Well, I finally finished this chapter. I guess four months isn't too bad, right? Heh, well at least I finally got back to the fic. First of all, a big thank you to all of those who have read and reviewed my story. I can't believe some of you actually read it all! Now I hope to get updates up sooner now that this chapter is up. It should get a lot more interesting from here on out. Anyway, read, review, and enjoy, and pray that I actually come out with the next chapter sooner!

Disclaimer: I do not own anything from .hack or My Life as a Teenage Robot. I do own the online personas of Kakera, Aoshi, Rai, Tobira, Jamie, Taka, Youkai, and Akumu.

dot hack dimensions

Chapter 13: Confrontation

Some time later...

Jenny moaned as her systems came online. "Not again," she muttered, sitting up. She was on the floor of her bedroom, the headset from the game sprawled on the ground beside her. Jenny got up and shook a bit to wake herself up. The room seemed to be a lot darker from when she had started playing. A glance on the clock showed it had been four hours since Taka had killed her once again.

"What? Four hours this time? But... how did..." Jenny sat down on her bed, thinking. "The first time I was only out for two, and this time for four. Is it double each time or something? Well, at least Mom didn't find me this time. I won't have to go through all her tests again." Jenny lay down on her bed and stared at the ceiling. "This is not good, I gotta figure out what's going on."

"Hey, Jenny!" called a familiar voice from the window.

"Oh, hey Brad." Jenny sat up to see her friend climb into the window.

"Sorry I couldn't get over here sooner, as soon as the battle was over I logged off, but then my dad had me and Tuck do house work. I didn't want to mention the fact that you might be offline anyway, or I would have gotten here sooner..." Brad glanced at the discarded headset on the floor. "Uh, you haven't picked up anything since you woke up?"

"How could I?" replied Jenny. "I just woke up."

"What! But it's been-"

"Four hours, I know." Kakera sighed. "Brad, I'm getting worried. If Taka took me out for this long this time, then what is gonna happen to me next time? 8 hours? 16? 32?"

"Whoa Jenn!" Brad sat down on the bed beside her and put his arm around her shoulders. "What makes you think there will be a next time?"

"You saw how Taka easily got me this time. I'm sure its gonna happen again."

"Not if I can help it. Aoshi sent a report to the system admins as soon as you left. There are rules against player killing newbs. Repeated attempts are punished harshly."

"You think that'll help?"

Brad shrugged. "It's worth a shot. There's also something else we could try... go to the fan girls themselves."

Jenny paused and thought. "Yes, that would be good. That could be very interesting indeed..."

Sheldon sat on the roof of his home, staring up at the night sky. It was a beautiful andclear night, the moon shining bright on the street. It was rather late, so no one noticed him sitting up there.

"Kakera..." he whispered, and sighed. "I'm worried." He pulled his legs tighter to his body, and reminisced.

"Mommy!" called the little boy in his thoughts. "Mommy!" It had been a bright perfect day. He was hurrying to show his mother his very first report card. "She's gonna be so happy," he said. "I can't wait!" He saw his street and ran down it, until his house came into view. He stopped dead in his tracks.

The ambulance was parked in front of his home. There were a few men in white coats speaking to his father, and neighbors were crowded all around.

"Daddy?" he asked, running over to his father. The neighbors parted for him to get through, all giving him looks of sadness. The boy was simply confused by them and hurried to his father. "Daddy, what's going on?"

His father looked at him, tears on his face. The boy was startled, his father had never cried, then what...

The answer came as two men wheeled out a cart with a body covered in a white sheet.

"Mommy..." he whispered.

"I heard there are more incidents, only a few other deaths though," he heard one of the neighbors said. "Downtown everything is going haywire. Anything run by a computer."

"Their home must have been completely automated," said another. "Very few around here are yet."

"Mommy..." The boy walked over to the ambulance, tears in his eyes. They were about to close the doors.

"No... No!" he screamed. "Don't take her away! She can't be gone! Mommy! Mommy!"

Sheldon awoke from the nightmare, his body covered in a cold sweat. He wiped away the tears in his eyes. "I hate them," he whispered. "All those viruses. If it hadn't have been for deadly flash, Mom might still have been alive. And what will happen if Taka's virus evolves and hurts Jenny? Or if the Twilight virus has returned." He shook his head.

"I have to protect her. To quit the game if I must. But how can I? Unless I betray her through Aoshi...

"I have to find a way. I love her too much to see her hurt. I couldn't save Mom, but I will save Jenny."

"You sure you want to play in here today?" asked Tobira as they walked through Dun Loireg. Pocky was on his head, sleeping as usual. "Since you got killed by Taka yesterday."

"Don't worry about it Tobira," said Kakera. "I don't think she'll strike at me two days in a row."

"But Kakera, you don't know what she's capable of," argued Rai. "You saw what happened. She struck at our exact weakest moment."

Kakera shrugged. "We won't get caught off guard again today."

Rai sighed. It was no use convincing her to take a break from the game for awhile. Sheldon had spoken to him the night before about getting her off the game as well. With Taka about with her virus blades, who knew what would happen to Jenny next?

"Where is Aoshi anyway?" asked Tobira.

"I tried to contact him, but I didn't get an answer," said Kakera. "Maybe he had to go somewhere today?" 'I hope not,' she thought to herself. 'I miss him.'

"Yeah, probably just had to go somewhere," replied Rai. 'Where is he really?' he thought. 'Would he deliberately not play just so Kakera would lose interest?'

"Come on, let's go somewhere already!" cried Tobira impatiently.

"Okay, let's just go to a random level," said Rai, and led the way over to the portal.

From the top of one of the buildings, Aoshi sat in the shadows, watching them. "What should I do?" he whispered. "I need her to stop playing, but if then who knows when would be the next time she would speak to me again? Not in the real world for sure, even if I did tell her who I am." He sighed. "What do I do?"

"Oh, maybe you should just not talk to her altogether?" Taka jumped up on the building and sat down besides Aoshi.

"What the hell do you want?"

"I just wanted to sit next to the man of my dreams and help him in his train of thought." Taka grinned and twirled one of her daggers.

Aoshi glared at her. "What's stopping me from killing you right now?"

"Maybe because this is a no-killing zone anyway you put it. If you try to kill me, it does nothing. Plus since the area is so regularly inspected by admins, you would be hauled off and I would go free. You don't want that, do you?"

Aoshi grimaced. Taka was right. Officially Aoshi was allowed to kill Taka in the higher leveled areas because she wasn't a newb and had passed the protection levels. Still, certain areas had no player killings at all, such as Dun Loireg. The newbie dungeons also were under this, but admins and mods didn't look at them much, so player killers often got away with their misdeeds in these areas.

"What I want to know, Aoshi," continued Taka, "is what you see in that girl. She's not strong, her character design is quite plain, and she's a hopelessly lost noob. Why don't you go with one of the strong, beautiful girls who are after you? Hmm?"

Aoshi glared at her. "First of all, Kakera is stronger than you think, and she's the most kind and loving person I've ever met. Second, how would you know what I want? How do you know anything about me at all? All you see is this character design, but do you know the real me? No, you don't." Aoshi got up and started to walk away, when Taka spoke.

"And Kakera does?" Aoshi stopped in his tracks and looked at Taka. She rose up and continued. "Does she know who you are outside the net? What you really look like? And do you know about her? Aoshi, if this is truly how you feel, then tell her. Tell her who you are. See what she truly thinks." Taka lightened her look. "I too love you in this world, but if you want to make your point, and prove it to me and the rest of the fan girls, tell her."

"I... I can't." Aoshi looked down.

"Any particular reason?"

Aoshi shook his head. "Because... because I don't want to lose her!" He looked up, tears in his eyes. "Alright? Happy? If you or anyone else knew me in the real world, none of you would treat me like this."

Taka nodded. "Fine, then if you won't tell her, I will destroy her."

"Don't you dare..." whispered Aoshi.

"Don't worry Aoshi. It doesn't matter to me what you're like in the real world, for when I'm done with Kakera, I'll make sure to trap you in this world for all time." Taka jumped away off the roof, and was gone from sight.

"What have I done?" whispered Aoshi. "Jenny..."

Kakera stepped into the molten landscape before her. All she could see was lava and small brown mountains in the distance. The sky was a deep red, a mirror of the flame and lava below.

"It's so dark," said Kakera. "I'd never expect something like this in the World."

"It's a fire element stage," replied Rai, stepping beside her. "It's not any more dangerous than any of the other areas, just a bit more creepy."

"You mean alot more creepy," said Tobira. The little wavemaster shivered, but Pocky didn't seem to notice. The grunty was curled up asleep in his favorite perch, Tobira's head.

"Aw, don't worry Tobira," replied Kakera. "We'll protect you."

"Or we'll throw you to the monsters, whichever is more convenient," joked Rai. Tobira looked up to his brother tearfully, obviously frightened.

"Oh, fine," continued Rai. "Let's just find something to do."

About a half hour later, the group had covered most of the field and had gained several levels. Kakera and Rai had gotten their battle system down, but Tobira still didn't understand their definition of "support".

"I'll go through this again," said Rai, going over to his brother hiding behind a rock. Tobira had run away as soon as the monsters had appeared. "By support, I mean you stay standing near us and send your spells at the monster. You don't hide and do nothing!"

"But at least I'm leveling up," said Tobira. Pocky was still asleep, although he had been jumbled out of his comfortable position a few times due to Tobira's constant flees from the monsters.

"Cheap way to level up," muttered Rai.

"Oh come on, let him be Rai," said Kakera. "Let's just get moving, I want to check out the dungeon now that we've leveled up a bit. Maybe Aoshi will meet us there!"

"Alright," said Rai, "but don't expect him to be there. He probably had something to do today and couldn't get on."

Kakera sighed, thinking of the blademaster for a moment. There was so much about him that she still did not know. She pictured him in her mind, his bright eyes his flowing hair, his tight...

"Kakera, will you move it?" cried Rai, already fairly far ahead of the heavy blade.

"Right, right." Kakera quickly came back to herself. Her drifts into thought were more and more frequent lately wherever she was. Aoshi was just such a big part of her now; she didn't want to let him go, not even for a moment.

The group began walking towards the largest mountain in the area. Torches hung at an entrance in the mound, leading down into the dungeon.

"Stupid to put torches out when there's fire everywhere," said Tobira.

"I guess the designers were just trying to make the entrance easier to find," added Rai. "It is a bit dumb though."

"Well well well, like moths to a flame." The group looked up to the top of the mound to see a familiar face.

"Taka," Kakera muttered, her face moving into a scowl.

"What the hell are you doing here!" yelled Rai, drawing out his blades.

"Oh, just came to have a nice girl to girl talk with Kakera here." Taka smiled and jumped down to the ground in front of her. "No boys allowed though." The yellow twin blade suddenly threw two bombs out at Tobira and Rai, knocking the brothers to the ground. An electric current ran over them, and the two became motionless.

"Rai! Tobira!" Kakera screamed to her friends.

"Don't worry little Kakera, they're just fine. They just are unable to control their characters for the moment." Taka flipped one of her daggers in her hand, looking at it. "They don't need to be involved in this conversation anyway. You know why I'm here."

Kakera grimaced. "Aoshi."

"Yes, you and he are quite the little set of lovebirds, aren't you?" Suddenly Taka resheathed the blade she was playing with, angered. "Why, why is it you?"

Kakera was taken aback. "What do you mean?"

"Of all the people in the World, why did Aoshi pick you? A noob, and an ugly weak one to boot." Kakera stepped forward to speak, but was cut short by the dagger suddenly inches from her throat. "Now now little girl, it's my turn to speak. So what did you do? Bribe him? Hypnotize him? You obviously didn't threaten him, that never worked before. Well?" Taka pulled her dagger away and pushed the heavy blade to the floor.

"I, I..." Kakera stammered, lost for words. Aoshi had picked her, of all people, to be with. This thought kept running through Kakera's mind on an unending spiral. But why? Kakera had no idea herself.

"If you won't answer," said Taka, "then maybe you need a nice break from the World." Taka ran forward with her blades but was stopped by a long sword and a familiar face.

"Aoshi!" Kakera cried.

Aoshi pushed forward with his blade, and Taka pulled back. "So you'd rather put yourself on the line in front of the little bitch?"

Aoshi ignored the twin blade and looked back at Kakera. "Kakera, quickly, you have to get out of here."

Kakera shook her head. "No, I'm not leaving you here in danger. And Rai and Tobira."

"I'll be fine, just go. Rai and Tobira will be okay too. I just don't want you hurt."

"Aw, how sweet," said Taka. "Let's end this tender moment." Taka ran forward and attacked Aoshi. The twin blade was fast, and Aoshi had to concentrate hard to block the twin blade's attacks. Kakera sat startled a moment, then jumped to here feet and drew her own blade. She ran forward and started attacking Taka as well.

"Kakera..." Aoshi muttered, taking a glance at the heavy blade. Kakera merely grinned.

"I have a blade too. Why shouldn't I help?" The two continued to deliver blows at Taka, but even with two against one, it was evenly matched. Suddenly, Taka showed an opening for Kakera, but Aoshi pulled forward and took the blow.

"Rrr," Taka growled, pulling back. Aoshi slumped down, breathing heavily. It had been a deep wound, and had taken away most of his hit points.

"Aoshi!" Kakera dropped her blade and leaned down next to him. "Why?"

Aoshi smiled. "Because I love you. And I want to protect you, Jenny."

Time stood still for a moment as those words past Aoshi's lips. Aoshi immediately realized his error and grimaced, and Kakera held her breath, thoughts jumping through her mind. Taka was the first to react.

"So, your name is Jenny, hmm? Interesting." The twin blade sheathed her blades. "I'll leave you two alone for now; this is interesting enough to report." The twin blade disappeared in a portal, and in a moment was gone from the field. As Taka left, the effects of her bombs on Rai and Tobira wore off, and the two rose to their feet. They looked over to Aoshi and Kakera, Kakera now on the floor staring shocked at the blademaster.

"You... you know me? In the real world?" she stammered out.

Aoshi looked at her, eyes deep with worry. "I'm sorry," he whispered, and gated out from the real world. Rai ran over to Kakera as Aoshi left, the heavy blade still staring at the spot where Aoshi was.

"Kakera, you okay?" asked Rai, his arms on her shoulders.

"He... he knows who I am," whispered Kakera. "But he loves me..."

The fires of the area raged on, oblivious to the events that had occurred. Events that would not soon leave the minds of those present.