Long Overdue Moving In

Plot Room 2

Tolbana is well known for many different reasons. Being right outside the Aincrad Tower, primary inhabited by Adventurers and a hub of commerce due to those two factors. It's a place many of those in Scale call home away from home, even if some of them don't exacly have a place to call their own. Some of those, either it be frugal with their funds or not wanting to be tied down to one location, prefer to live out of inn rooms. And if anyone where to question Klein about why he doesn't have a house, he would say he's squarely in the first camp.

But letting a certain someone know that he doesn't have a house did not go over well, many of which he didn't actually pay attention to. What he did get was pressure to spend a sizable chunk of his savings on a house, though! And the house didn't come with furniture, so there was a bit more spent...

Pushing the door open with a boot, Klein takes his first steps into what is rightfully his first property in this virtual world. It wasn't too outragous, but for a guy who's surely going to be out on the road, it's was downright spacious. A front porch, a kitchen/dining room/living room as the main room (complete with fireplace), several rooms that could easily be made into bedrooms or studies, and a large backyard. What plans he has for it yet, Klein doesn't yet have a clue, but he's sure he'll get some ideas.

Materalizing a large table and several chairs from his inventory, he sets them near a back wall and calls over his shoulder. "You know, you didn't have to come and help me, Asuna!"
Plot Room 2

    Asuna thinks having a place of your own is just a healthy thing to do. Which is why she has a nice spot in Mac Anu and.. yes.. another in Tolbana. Granted, her Tolbana space is really tiny. Not nearly so big as what Klein has here.

    "I suppose I didn't, but I like you quite a bit, so I would prefer to be part of this!" And blush. Ugh. Be cool, Asuna!

    "It's a great place, isn't it? So much room! The fireplace is really impressive, too." She's so happy for him! And also doing her best to not show her blushing issues.

    Asuna distracts from herself by mussing about in her inventory, too. "I have some rugs that might work for you, and the little things that are so easy to forget." She has dishes and towels, plus an oven mitt, knife set, spoons, forks, glasses, cups, a teapot...

Plot Room 2

Compared to what Klein is used to for the last few years, having a house this kind of size is a major step up. In all honesty, he really just found a location that was similar to Asuna's house in Mac Anu and called it good. Besides, this is a house meant for company to be over, so it had to have plenty of room.

Grinning at Asuna as she sets down more than just a few 'little things' he absolutely forgot about, he knew he had to tease her just a little upon seeing that blush. "Aww gee, I like you too! I'm glad you like me so much, hahah." Laughing and fully expecting a towel to the face for that, he scrolls through his inventory and starts on getting the living room ready.

A large couch and two loveseats with red cushions go on top of a styalized white rug, with a mahogany coffee table in the center. A smaller rug and two pillows are set down right next to the empty fireplace, and finally an empty black vase goes in the center of the coffee table. "So much easier moving in here than when I moved into my apartment back in the real world. I lived on the fifth floor, so it took ages to get anything up there."
Plot Room 2

    Klein's teasing does get a response. But it's more serious. She turns, hands on hips, and looks at him intently. She is blushing, of course. Fortunately she takes a moment to gather her wits before replying.

    "You know, Klein, I was being quite serious! You should be very careful with something as tender as the heart of a young woman."

    Then she throws the towel at him. And laughs. For reasons unclear, she darts off away from the main room and into one of the other rooms. She suspects she has found the master bedroom. Which lets her tease in turn!

    "I'm glad this is much easier for you. You can help me move in! Now! Which room is mine?"
Plot Room 2

Klein gives Asuna a mock bow, arms at his side and bowing deeply, but that grin of his only grows. "But Asuna, surely you know not to mess with a man of good standing like so. Surely people may get the wro-ACK!" The towel whacks him in the face and he goes tumbling over, falling over onto his new couch. It's lucky he just set it there! "Hey, get back here!" Climbing back to his feet, he chases after Asuna, towel still in his hand.

Oh! Well, looks like he's already jumping into this. "Nuh-uh, no way, the room is mine!" He didn't spend an insane amount of money just to get booted out of his own bedroom. There are limits to how far he's willing to take a joke, and a man has to have some boundries!

What Klein then does is playfully cover Asuna's eyes with the towel and turn her around to face a door opposite from his own in the hall, leading into a slightly smaller but still a good sized room. "I -was- going to keep this as just a guest room...but...well, if you need a place to stay and don't want to stay at your own house here...well, I just thought to offer." While Klein is doing his best to play this coolly, there's no way he can hide the blush creeping into his cheeks. Even if he's sure Asuna's going to reject, he's been planning this ever since he saw this house.
Plot Room 2

    She is the flash, so she can move quickly! But there aren't many exits and she's not about to go crashing through a window. Who knows what rumors might rise from that!

    So she is cornered. She tries to stay playful, of course. And tease!

    "Ohh, so this is your room! Well in that case.."

    Having her eyes covered stops her from running off. Running into a wall would not be very impressive, after all. Then he turns her to face the door to the other room. And well, then he says.. that!

    Her first reaction is a blush. He turned it all around on her! She tries to say something, but it doesn't come out. At all. Think Asuna. You have to play this cool, you have to... you have to respond by raising the stakes!

    "Well, if you want it for a guest room, I suppose that works. I don't really need a separate room when I spend the night with you."

    It takes her a moment to realize what she just implied. The blush is so much worse now. Her ears are turning pink. She did not think that comment through at all!

Plot Room 2

Klein is smirking triumply in his head at managing to see Asuna's blush grow and her trying to say something. She's also just not rejecting the idea outright, so that's certainly a good thing!

And then Asuna says -that-. Red alarms start flashing in his head as the pressure suddendly increases a thousandfold from Asuna. 'Wait a second, this isn't how it was supposed to go!' But then he realizes...they have, technically, slept together. Well...actually, not even technically!

Coughing into a fist as he realizes this and gets out of his shock, he just walks past Asuna into the master bedroom before materalizing his bed from his inventory. It's a western style canopy bed, clearly large enough for two. It looks a little odd without the rest of the furniture in the bedroom just yet, but it clearly looks comfortable. While an army marches on it stomach, sleep is just as important as food. "Well...I guess you're right about that. And it might be a bit comfier than your couch, right?...wait, not to say it's not a nice couch, just that it would be better than a couch and...ugh." And the scruffy samurai's head dropped as he bungles that sentence. Way to stay cool, Klein.
Plot Room 2

    You know, how did it just get escalated again? Sure, this is mostly Asuna's fault, but still. How did she manage to push Klein this way and just what does he think she just promised?

    For that matter, what did /she/ just promise?!

    "It looks, well, yes.. it is very comfortable. Plenty of room for two people to sleep... in."

    Her voice is a bit on the faint side. She's just not sure. Is he.. is she? What is she doing?

    "So I think... I.. FOOD!"

    She blurts the last so loud that she manages to startle herself.

    "This calls for a celebration! I'm going to make some food! In.. your kitchen!"

    As opposed to heating things up in the bedroom, apparently. She sure knows how to retreat quickly!

Plot Room 2

It's only after that Asuna heads for the kitchen (or bravely advance in the opposite direct) that Klein lets out a sigh and leans against the wall. Sure, they're together now, but that was moving really fast! Having a girlfriend is certainly a lot more stressful than trying to find one. "Whew...man, they make it look so easy in video games."

No, he's not going to think about the severe irony here.

Composing himself, he returns to the kitchen and dining room. While Asuna may have a lot of the smaller things planned out, he did think about the major furniture! Setting down an ice box and then a wood stove, he gives Asuna a quick flourish before leaving the master to her work. No way is he willing to burn his house down on the first day! "I'll go ahead and set a few more things down! And...thanks, Asuna. Really. No way I would have remember the teapot. Soujiro would have my hide if I did."
Plot Room 2

    Asuna was losing at her attempt to be playful and teasing. Mostly because she doesn't understand that teasing isn't supposed to come off like a promise. Plus she has no idea what she's doing here. The kitchen gives her space to do what she really does best. Beat herself up.

    "Stupid. Honestly. He's going to think horrible things about you. Did you forget everything your mother taught you?"

    She's chopping vegetables up and with more than her usual gusto. It's more like combat, frankly. She has bowls popping out of thin air and plates and well, it's rather chaotic how she can manage so much at once.

    "Asuna.. just try to shut up a bit more. Klein is a good guy. If we just stop acting like a stupid chi.."

    Oh yeah, she's still in the same house as he is.

    "-hiiiiya Klein! Umm, and please, it's okay. And sorry, I'm just a bit excited about you. I mean about being in your house. I mean for you to have a house!"

    Nailed it! She looks rather like a tomato, really. All bright red. She tries really hard to stop herself from talking. Shutting up is the best strategy here.

Plot Room 2

It's certainly a good thing that Klein didn't happen to hear Asuna, or he certainly would have something to say about all that negativity. That and he's caught up in his own thoughts over Asuna's promise while he's setting stuff down, hence why he tried to change the subject.

"To be fair, if you hadn't insisted I get one, I likely wouldn't be doing this. The last time I furnished anything in a MMO was..." Klein pauses for a moment, taking a moment to recall. Then he remembers exactly where, and his smile became a little wistful. "...was back in Fragment when I was made guild leader of my guild."

It has been a while since he thought about his guildmates like that. After two years, he's sure they're not in ETO, but there's always a nagging feeling in his guts that they could still be elsewhere. You just never could be sure.

Shaking off that bad mood before it could take root, he just flashes Asuna a thumbs up. "I know what you mean, it's fine! But to be fair, you are the first person I ever had over here alone..." Trailing off intentionally just to egg her on a bit more, Klein gets back to furnishing the main room, including some stools close to the bar table in the kitchen so more people could eat when they're over.
Plot Room 2

    "What was it like? I mean, being a guild leader."

    It's a safe topic, right? And she is making progress with the meal. Though at a glance, it isn't clear just what she's making. There is pizza dough, a salad, a big pot of water with meat in it that is likely to end up as a stew, and... she has a wok ready, too? Even one unfamiliar with cooking will likely notice that something is not adding up here.

    Asuna was just starting to get her focus back when Klein draws her off the path again. She doesn't cut herself, but it's mostly because she drops the knife entirely.

    "Klein, you know.. I don't want to give the wrong impression."

    She's going to give the wrong impression. It's obvious. She's been giving the wrong impression the whole time. Or wait, has she? She realizes she doesn't truly know. Isn't it true that she really likes him? Why shouldn't she stay over? She slept so peacefully with him that.. oh god don't think of that, Asuna!

    "I... Klein I think I really do want.."

    Blush. Big blush. No, much bigger than that. If she had a higher magic score, she'd probably make the entire kitchen blush.

    "... that is, I mean. I want.."

    She looks away from Klein's eyes. She was staring, wide-eyed. To the right. She needs.. she wants...

    "Another side dish!"

    Cause, well, you know, three separate main courses, a salad, and some kind of vegetable stir fry clearly isn't enough.
Plot Room 2

Klein takes a seat at his new counter, a fond smile on his lips. "Amazing, honestly. If this was any normal game, I would have absolutely started up Fuurinkazan here. Uh, the name of my guild." It's been close to a decade since he first met everyone. "It was a small guild in Fragment, about six people including me, but they're all great guys. The first two guys I met, Dale and Harry One, needed a third guy for their party before trying out a new dungeon. Ended up fighting a really tough Dullahan...and we ended up finding rare Wavemaster gear for our reward." At least that armor sold for a ton!

Asuna's red face could certainly put any tomato to shame right now, and a good part of it has been Klein's own teasing! Well, half of it likely is Asuna herself, especially if she really did mean that she didn't mind sleeping in the same bed...wait no, bad Klein! No way to think of that this early in a relationship! He stares back, givng Asuna his full attention...then she starts work on a new side dish! But...wait a second...

Looking down at what she's cooking for once and seeing what is clearly the start of a feast, he realizes that maybe he might need to step in here. If Asuna keeps on going, she might end up cooking enough for half of Scale. Reaching over the counter, he gently grabs Asuna's hand and shakes his head. "Asuna, please don't. I don't want to find out if I can't wear my armor if I get too big for it!"
Plot Room 2

    Hearing Klein talk about his former guild does help calm her down. It's a good distraction from her own thoughts. Which are a bit disjointed. Kind of like the meal she's preparing. If there was an achievement for overdoing it, she'd have earned it already.

    "Harry One? That's an interesting name. But it sounds like a fun group. Do you think any of them are in here with us?"

    Even calming down, she's still blushing. And very distracted. Fortunately, Klein calls to her attention the fact that she's got a really great start on three or four totally unrelated meals here. It takes some adjustment, but it helps her focus. Soup. Salad. Pizza. Stir fry... hmm.. she'll figure that one out.

    It's surprisingly smooth the way she shifts the ingredients just enough to tie it all together again. Gruntie steak. She throws pieces of it into the soup, she fries some of it in the wok, she puts it on the pizza. For a good three minutes, she's basically silent and focused. Listening. It clears her head. Her blush mostly goes away. She can think.

    "Sorry, I'm acting so strange today. I want to tell you the truth, Klein. I'm.. I know that lots of people probably think I'm likely to be a great girlfriend, but the truth is, well. I don't know how to do this. I've never been with someone. Not for real. I can cook, though. And I can help you decorate, and clean, and so on. If you'll put up with my fumbling and silly behavior, I promise I'll figure it out. What I'm trying to say, really is... well..."

    She has to think a moment. To really be very, very clear.

    "I really, really like you. I want to spend more time with you. I want to be your girlfriend. And I'm sorry to put you on the spot like this, but, I think maybe you want me to be with you a lot, too. I just feel clumsy with my words, and I act like I have experience because I think maybe that's what I need to do. I mean, sometimes it's also what I think I might want to do."

    Annnnnnndddd the blush is back. But she doesn't take back what she said.

Plot Room 2

Rubbing the hairs on his chin, Klein gives voice to something he thinks about often. "It's been a few years, so i'm thinking the chance of that is low, but...I wish they were and weren't at the same time, if that makes sense? I couldn't ask for a better group of friends to be teamed up with in here, but i'm hoping for their sake they didn't end up here." Shrugging his shoulders, he just puts it off to the side like he has often done. "If they are here, though, i'm sure they're just fine."

He just watches Asuna from across the counter as she manages to works the three seperate meals into something closer to one, honestly just happy to watch her cook. She makes it look so seemless and so easy that even a monkey could manage to make something passable in the kitchen! That monkey would also be a better cook than Klein. Seriously, it's like the Goddesses have something against him even making a sandwich!

Sighing heavily, he listens as Asuna lets out her pent up feelings and doesn't try to interupt. This is a lot going on for her, and...it honestly feels good to him that he's not the only one feeling a little unsure about what he should do. Offering Asuna a room was honestly the best thing he could think up of how to show Asuna just how much she means to him now, but...well, words are needed instead of action, it seems.

"I figured as much, and you're fine, really! I have no clue on how i'm supposed to actually date someone. The furthest I ever got with anyone was someone actually thinking about it when I tried to flirt with her. Flirting...well...if you don't push yourself to do something and constantly hold yourself back because you're afraid of what could happen, you're going to regret never choosing. I think...that's the reason why you put on that VR headset, right? I'm trying to figure things out...and the fact that you're willing to try with -me- of all guys makes me wonder if i'm still in a dream."

Reaching over the counter again with both hands, he gently holds one of Asuna's hands.

"I really like you too, Asuna and maybe even l-love you as well. I'm kicking myself in the head for not even trying to ask you out and I still feel like I have absolutely no clue what i'm doing most of the time...but I want you. I still don't think I deserve you, but I want to do my best to make myself worthy of you. So...as long as you're willing to give us a shot, i'm all for it."

Blushing slightly, he gives Asuna a soft smile. "Besides, I promised you i'll be here for you forever, didn't I?"
Plot Room 2

    Asuna nods in response to Klein's suggestion. He's right, of course. Hopefully his friends are safe. Safe and not trapped in a game world with no way out.

    At the same time, though, this game world is more than a prison. It's so much more than that. Without it so many things would never have happened.

    "You have given me so much to think about, Klein. But more than that, you have given me so much to feel. I didn't reallly know what to expect when I came to this place. I put on the helmet because it looked fun and my brother thought I needed to learn to relax. But.. then I couldn't get out again. It's been hard, but you know all about that already."

    She looks down at his hands, closed around hers. Her eyes drift up shyly to meet Klein's. A few steps get her around the counter, closing the distance. Not just closing the distance, removing it entirely. She's so close now.


    Her face is so near he can probably feel the breath that carries that sound.

    "You don't have to kick yourself. You don't have to question if you deserve me. I'm more than willing to give this my all. I don't know if I can make it feel like a dream, but I will try."

    She's somehow closer yet. It's a moment where she is distracted. What does she do with her hands? It's probably really funny in some respects, but it's terrifying. It's frustrating. She just.. stops worrying about it. And she's closer still, and she wets her lips nervously.

Plot Room 2

When Klein has found himself trapped inside this virtual world, he focused primarily on getting back out. Like many of those who came to join Scale, but he also knew not to simply ignore everything else in this new world. But at times, it seems he should have been watching a bit more than he had. If he had, there's no telling what could have been. But that was a possible future, this is the present.

His breath hitches as Asuna leans in closer, across the counter, and suddenly his throat became dry. Why is it doing that now?! And why was his heart pounding in his chest?! A part of him knows why, though. This is different than comforting Asuna as she slept in his arms. And somehow, much more.

In answer, carefully, as if he's afraid he would hurt her by doing so, Klein leans in and kisses Asuna on the lips. He's afraid, unsure...but there's passion and trust there, and even some hope. And even with just that gentle kiss, it's enough to take his breath away.

Pulling away and panting slightly and just as red in the face as his overcoat, Klein gives Asuna a goofy grin. "Well...I can say this is one dream I want to keep going on."

And a part of him feels like he just gave Asuna enough cheese there for a hundred pizzas. And he doesn't care.
Plot Room 2

    Klein's not the only one with a pounding heart. This moment is important. Very important. While Asuna knows that in time, this memory may not burn quite as bright as the moment which forged it, it is something she wants to hold onto tightly. This is a virtual world. It is a game. But if anyone suggests to her that kissing Klein here is somehow less important because of the place it happened she will bludgeon them senseless.

    It's so soft. The touch of lips on lips. It's what she wanted and needed. Somehow it gives her confidence. It's such a simple, sweet, delicate thing.

    She's not breathless for long, thankfully. She feels flustered, but so pleased. It's like everything is right with the world.

    "If that is your wish, Klein, I will make sure that the dream keeps going."

    It's not cheese. Not to her.

    She moves closer. It's faster this time. She is diving into that kiss and throwing her arms around him. Her heart is racing again, and she's not letting up. It's a more passionate expression of how she feels and she's not blushing, she's glowing.

Plot Room 2

Many things can be said about VRMMORPGs, but the most important part of that is the R. Even when this is inside a virtual world, it is still a Reality in of itself. There's swords, magic, and stuff that could only be the stuff of dreams that are possible in ETO, but it is still Real in the sense of people being people.

And this was indeed once the stuff of dreams.

As Asuna leans back in over the counter, he returns her kiss with fervor and pulls her in close, both arms pulling her in tight. Heart pounding with the heat of the moment, her lips on his, it just feels right, as if nothing else should matter.

But a thought comes to him in this timeless moment, and carefully, tenderly, Klein pulls himself away. He feels like there's not enough air in the room, and there's too much heat, but he knows that's just him. "Oh...trust me, I don't want it to end...but I don't want to rush it, either. I want to savor this dream and make sure there's no regrets." Running a hand through his hair, he reaches over and squeezes Asuna's hand again just to make sure she's fine. "We're not going anywhere, after all."
Plot Room 2

    Asuna is more than fine. She's floating on air. She grins at Klein, then looks down shyly. She fumbles with some words in her head and finally settles on what to say.

    "There's no rush at all. And no need to dwell on things we wish we had done so much sooner. Umm."

    She squeezes his hand in return and laughs softly. She focuses on Klein's face. For a time, she's just looking. But not just casually. She's really trying to focus. To remember what she sees. Yes, it's just a virtual representation, but it's what she can see. It's him. But she has more to say, and it's not what she thought she would be saying.

    "I want to be clear. You see, I'm.. I'm 22 out there now. I mean, if things work the way I expect them to. If and when we get out, I want to be very clear. I want to find you there, too. I mean, if you are interested. This is not just something for a game world. Not to me."

    She takes in a deep breath. Swallows. Wow it sounds so loud to her when she does that. Has it always been so loud?

    "Oh! And.. umm.. can you kinda..."

    So awkward again!

    "I like it when you touch my hair."

Plot Room 2

That is certainly a weight off of Klein's shoulders. He had heard too many horror stories about those who rushed too quickly, only for their relationship to crash and burn. He doesn't want that to happen when he finally found something he has been searching for years now. To hurt Asuna like that is the last thing he wanted to do.

And he wanted to protect that smile.

Telling someone your age is certainly uncommon in ETO, an unspoken rule to hide any personal details from everyone. To give even your age up to someone is a sign of true respect and trust. And he's not going to let that go unspoken. "Hmmm...I'm 24 here now, and if we ever get out of here, i'm going to do everything I can to look for you as well. And of course i'm interested!" Klein puts on a air of fake hurt and disbelief, but couldn't keep it up for long.

He lets go of her hand and makes his way around his new counter to reach Asuna in the kitchen. He strokes a hand through her hair, carefully and full of the love he has for her. "Like this, then?"

There are things more important than food.