AUTHOR'S NOTE: I just want to say that I am so sorry that I abandoned this fic! D:

I was way too caught up with life and such and had the worst writers block in existence. I got disinterested from the .hack universe, too, which wasn't too great. Now that I found out they rereleased the GU games, I had to rewrite my old fic, which had a lot of issues that bothered me. If you were a fan of my old fic, I am sorry, but I promise this will be better!

Now, onward towards the fluff!

"Kusaka-san, if I may be informal for a moment, that is no way in hell to treat your daughter."

Chigusa immediately looked for a place to hide, leaving her luggage on the staircase. She decided to make a beeline for the kitchen, which was conveniently sectioned off from the living room. Her mom's back was turned, but Ryou's wasn't. The kitchen was directly across from the stairs, but Ryou caught her movement, since he was facing the tiny hallway. His scowl turned into a smirk as he quickly focused on her mom, not wanting to give her presence away.

"Excuse me, young man! I can treat her however I want! She is my daughter! You should know your place before you talk!"

"With all due respect, Kusaka-san, being a parent doesn't automatically give you a right to treat her like trash." Ryou's hands were at his side, clenched in anger. He didn't show it on his face, though, determined to not let this woman get to him, especially when a certain someone was listening in on this whole argument.

Meanwhile, that particular person was in shock, covering her mouth to prevent her gasps from being heard.

I can't believe this is happening! What is Ryou doing here? What is going on?She silently panicked, back pressed against the wall. Although, hearing him stand up to her mom gave her a sweet sense of satisfaction. She wouldn't dream of saying those kind of things to her, especially knowing the dire consequences that will follow.

Chigusa peeked into the living room, aching to see more of him.

He was facing her direction, but his eyes were focused on her mom. He was wearing a basic black jacket with a hood, the opened front revealing a red and black striped sweater. Her eyes traveled further down to observe his dark-washed jeans and his all black converse shoes. She glanced back up at his face and blushed, suddenly aware of her actions. His eyes were still away from her. There was a slight smirk on his face, though, as her mom continued to yell at him.

"I will treat her like the trash that she is, boy! You have no right to speak to me like this! It is time for you to leave." She suddenly turned around, seeing her daughter's head move quickly behind the wall. She pointed towards the kitchen.

"And take my ungrateful daughter with you!"

Chigusa's heart skipped a beat, eyes tearing up as she hid her face in her hands. She was elated! This was my roommate? Ryou?!

The feeling was short-lived when she heard footsteps approach from the room behind.

"Hmph. Good riddance." Ryou grumbled as he made his way towards the kitchen. He was nervous as all hell to see her again, but it can wait. Nerves be damned, she needed out of this place.

Chigusa couldn't move. Her legs seemed to be glued to the floor. She wanted to hide again. Her face remained hidden, buried in her hands as she heard the footsteps enter the kitchen. Oh no...This is so embarassing...I don't want him to see me like this! She could feel a few stray tears trickle down her cheeks.

She then felt two hands grab her wrists, gently pulling her arms down. She hesitantly opened her eyes and what she saw made her eyes water even more.

He was smiling. Not a full-toothed smile, but a gentle one. His eyes held an affectionate gaze as he reached his hand out towards her. "C'mon. Let's get out of here."

Chigusa almost forgot about everything that had happened. She shyly looked away, focusing on the floor as she grabbed onto his hand. He guided her into the front room, ignoring her impatient, toe-tapping mother. Both of them didn't bother to look at her as her eyes followed their every move. Ryou helped carry the luggage after Chigusa quietly told him where she left it, stumbling over her words quite a bit.

He went out the front door, suitcase in each hand while Chigusa followed with a tote of her personal belongings. She didn't have much, just her clothes, computer, and a few knick knacks that held sentimental value. You can easily carry it all in one trip. Ryou didn't seem to pay attention to it, but the confusion on his face was clear as day when she confirmed that she had everything. I mean, two regular-sized suitcases, a tote, and a small purse was not a lot. Especially for an average 18 year old.

Chigusa wasn't average, though. Ryou knew that. Nothing was bad about her or anything like that. In fact, he kinda looked up to her in a way. She has dealt with far more than him and, yet, she still keeps a smile on her face. It was fake as hell sometimes, but not many can even find the energy to fake it in the first place. Plus, he was practically the only person who can truly see through her facade. It looked fake to him, but others didn't seem to notice.

Her mother slammed the front door behind them, making Chigusa flinch and resulting to her dropping the tote. It landed with a loud thud, the lid popping open in the process. Only a few things spilled out, but it was enough for her start crying. Ryou was fast and acted quick, immediately going to the tote on the ground. Not even a minute passed and everything was back the way the it was. She quickly rubbed her eyes, trying to compose herself.

"Th-Thank you, Haseo-sa...um...Ryou." She accidentally slipped his PC name, not used to calling him by his real one. He kept on reminding her to drop the honorific, too, whenever they were alone in The World or talking to each other offline.

He shrugged and gave her a lazy smile. "It's no big deal." He then reached in the front pocket of his jeans, pulling out a small packet of tissues and handing her one. "Here. Um, you missed a few." A light blush appeared on his face.

Chigusa blinked at him, staring at the tissue. She seemed to space out

He then decided to take matters into his own hands, wiping her cheek with the tissue in his hand. She snapped out of it as soon as he touched her face, blushing madly at his close proximity and not noticing his red face.

When he was done, he quickly turned around and started to make his way to the car, which was conveniently parked right in front of her house. Chigusa broke out of her trance when his trunk closed. She went to go pick up her tote when she noticed that it was missing. She also saw Ryou, leaning forward on the driver's side, smirking in her direction.

Her face heated up again in embarrassment as she hastily went to the passenger's side. "S-sorry!"

He shook his head, dismissing her apology. "Nah, it's fine." Unlocking the doors with this car remote, he opened his door and sat inside. It was a black, two door Honda Civic. A basic car that his mom gave him as a graduation present. His parents were well off. Dad was the CEO of a relatively popular mobile company and mom was a fashion designer. His dad, like Chigusa's, seldom came home. His mom, however, spoiled him rotten. He insisted otherwise, preferring to buy everything on his own, but it never worked. Sooner or later, he had his own apartment and, thanks to his parents, he only had to pay utility bills, thanks to his convincing. They were unhappy at his decision to get a job at his local grocery store, too. He honestly just wanted a taste of real world and hated being treated like he had a silver spoon in his mouth.

As soon as Chigusa sat down and buckled, he started the car, immediately going to the stereo and switching to one of his pandora stations. "You have any preference? I don't think I ever asked you about your taste in music."

She twiddle her thumbs, looking at her lap. "Um, you're gonna laugh, but I like...metal."

It was his turn to blink at her and space out. He almost burst out laughing. "Heh. I never thought you were a metal girl." He gave her a toothy smile. "I actually like it too. What bands do you listen to?"

She got nervous, fidgeting in her seat, blushing at his response. "Ah...um...anything, really. I don't really like the heavy stuff or any screaming. I guess I listen to a lot of american bands...You probably won't recognize the names." Her head was hung low again.

A hand suddenly placed a phone onto her lap. She looked at it in confusion and her eyes went to Ryou.

"Try me. Look into my Thumbs Up playlist and see if any names jump at you. Pick anything you like. We might take a while, since my apartment's in Tokyo." He smiled at her before putting the car in drive.

She smiled back, feeling more relaxed. Not even a minute passed as she instantly picked one of the first songs she came across. Wherever I May Roam by Metallica. Perfect.

With that, they drove off, windows down, as the familiar sounds of Kirk Hammet blared through the speakers.