Full Metal Maid(en)

Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

    When you care about someone, you simply have to show it. One of the many things she was told would be her duty in the future was to take care of the house. Work success or not, her mother insisted that Asuna be a proper and traditional woman. Which meant cleaning, cooking, and carrying herself with grace. Today, she is handling that first bit.

    To get into the proper mood, Asuna partnered with her friend Gwen to get an outfit that matched the work. Sure, she was vague in her request, but she trusts Gwen! What could go wrong, right? Besides, the clothes are so beautiful. Asuna imagines it's just her particular bodyscan result that somehow makes the skirt a bit on the short side. But with the stockings she still feels reasonably covered.

    It doesn't distract her long, in any case. She has cleaning to do. And so she will. The Flash is thorough in her work, and she's giving every room her best effort. It must be spotless!

Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

Having a house to call your own is something that one has to get used to again after living on the road for the last several years. No way he's going to forget having a house after how much he spent on it, knowing that you'll always have at least one place that will always welcome your arrival is a wonderful feeling. It's just something Klein has to get used to again, and certainly a change for the better.

After some grinding on the latest floor in the Aincrad Tower came to an abrupt halt due to having to save some lower leveled Adventurers who pushed their luck a bit too far, Klein decided it's likely time to just head back to his home and unwind in peace. Opening his front door, Klein walks inside and closes the door behind him...before realizing that something is off from what he was expecting. "Asuna?!...wait...what are you wearing?"

Exhaustion is quickly forgotten as Klein's brain takes in the full sight of Asuna wearing what has to be a french maid outfit that screams Gwen's handiwork. The sight of seeing his girlfriend (and that's still something he was getting used to) dressed up is a wonderful sight, just unexpected! After all, there's many cafes back at home offering this sort of fantasy to guys. "It...looks fantastic on you. But...?"

Klein's unspoken question certainly leaves a lot to ask about.
Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

    Asuna didn't expect Klein to come home just yet. She was still debating whether she should share this particular look or if it was a bit too, well, much. She figured she had at least a good hour or so to make up her mind yet!

    Of course it would hardly be fun if all went according to plan, and so, when she hears Klein enter she stands up rather suddenly from her dusting and hides the feather duster behind her back. She's not entirely sure why she does this, but she does!

    "Klein! You are... home early! I was just going to start getting the food ready."

    She looks down at herself when Klein reminds her that she was really getting into her cleaning task. Her mind dimly notes that there sure is more of her hanging out than she first noticed in the mirror. She was way too distracted by the super cute headband and the pretty shoes that she could barely walk in. She's got that down now, though!

    "This is my... cleaning outfit. You... oh, you like it! I'm so relieved! I wasn't sure if it might be, well, a bit too much."

    She's only blushing a little. She shifts uncertainly from foot to foot, then forces herself to stand still.

    "How did the grinding go, by the way? Get any rare drops?"

Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

Klein didn't exactly see the feather duster, persay, but seeing the classical yet also revealing maid outfit certainly didn't leave much else to be imagined. Almost makes him wish he had a tuxedo outfit to match it. Maybe something to think about on another day.

Hearing Asuna mention getting food ready in what is an adorable outfit on her is enough to give Klein a goofy grin for a split second before quickly shutting the door on that train of thought. Even if it was exactly the kind of thing a younger him would be wishing for. "Uh, yeah, things got a little harrowing when a party of three tried pushing to the front lines too early. Had over half a dozen Pestering Bees chasing after them."

Asuna's 'cleaning outfit' absolutely deserves any praise given to it, but before he could make any further comment, her last comment about 'grinding' caused his brain to have a BSOD due to sudden overheating. What was just a normal and innocent question any other day of the week takes on a whole new light considering her current attire, and Klein breaks out into a coughing fit as he chokes from shock.

Waving a hand to wave off any concern, he takes a deep breath to try to collect himself. "Y-yeah, actually! Some Sparkling Honey from one of them, and I don't think there's a lot of info on that just yet." Just in case Asuna wanted to see it herself, Klein materalizes it from his inventory, holding up a small jar over to Asuna for her to see. It certainly lives up to its name, glittering in the sunlight from outside.

He was also pointedly making sure not to look down her dress, that would just be rude!
Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

    Nothing quite reduces the heat like showing a lovely girl in a revealing outfit a jar of honey. The potential uses! Thankfully (or not?), Asuna is way too naive to compute this situation in the naughty sense. Not that her comments help matters.

    "Oh wow. I do love honey!"

    Somewhere, in another universe, this is being made into an anime with a very different ending than this particular situation will lead to. The Asuna in this world is only thinking about potential uses for baking.

    "Depending on what you would like, I bet I can make some really yummy sticky buns with that."

    One land mine to another, obviously. But she uses the moment to banish her feather duster into her inventory. No need for that. A breath is drawn in and she uses a brief pause to make sure everything is in place. Hopefully without being obvious.

    She is totally obvious.

    "It's a good thing you were there to cover them. They probably would have lost some memories withour your help. I'm surprised people aren't more careful, considering what's at stake now."

Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

Klein is realizing that there might actually be a little truth to some of the anime he used to watch that occasionally had some fan service. One would expect a fully grown woman to realize that some of the things she's saying right now could lead to interesting situations. One also need to keep in mind just what kind of upbringing Asuna had.

And then there's the sticky bun comment! If the scruffy samurai didn't know any better, he would say Asuna was intentionally saying this just to mess with him. Blushing a brilliant red to rival his outfit, Klein takes the chance of putting a few other small cooking drops in his icebox to cool himself off, literally.

Walking back over and -very- glad for the change in topics, Klein takes a seat at his table and just shrugs his shoulders. "They just got overconfident and wanted to check out the new floor. It got a little hectic when I managed to get all the Bees' aggro, but everyone got out just fine. I made sure to chew them out for that!" Grumbling as he remembers some of the excuses he heard while he was chewing them out, Klein calmed down enough to finally ask the important question. "So...uh...how come you were cleaning my house? Not that I don't appreciate it, but...I certainly wasn't expecting that!"
Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

    "Well, I'm your girlfriend."

    Asuna thinks that really explains it all. She slips in behind Klein when he sits. A moment later, and her hands are on his shoulders. She's apparently... going to give a go at providing a relaxing massage. That should go smoothly!

    "I want to do nice things for you. Cleaning seemed like a good choice."

    She shifts her focus back to the much safer topic. After all, they are both samurai and fighting is their thing! Well, one of their things. And it's safely far from the relationship talk that is new and difficult to talk about casually.

    "I imagine the bees have a pretty big social radius, and if they are more like wasps they might pursue a long time before giving up. Easy to beat singly, but with a tendency to swarm up fast. Newbie bait. It's funny how often people have to learn that lesson. Insect mobs are a lot more dangerous than they first appear."
Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

Girlfriend. Such a simple word yet one that has a lot of weight to it. For several years now, Klein has been trying to find that special someone that he could honestly see himself spending the rest of his life with. And now that he actually has a girlfriend?

He has no idea what to do next. He honestly thought he would never get this far.

He tenses up for a moment in surprise when Asuna reaches around to start massaging his shoulders, but her arms are quick to loosen up those muscles and he moans a little in surprise. After a few moments of enjoying the massage, Klein turns his head to look up at Asuna and gives her a fond smile. "Same here. I...just don't want you to feel like i'm pressuring you to do stuff you might not like." Reaching a hand up, he squeezes one of her hands once. "You mean a lot to me, and I don't want to ruin what we have."

Asuna sums it all up in a neat package, and he just nods his head once. "There's a lot more insects than there are humans in the world, at least back at home. It doesn't change anything if they're suddenly a hundred times bigger. Just need to make sure no one loses any memories if they can help it."
Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

    Asuna will address the easy part of the conversation first. She's not exactly a coward, but. Okay, well she is a bit cowardly on some topics. That's not something she'd deny.

    "It's always the same thing, really. The game lulls in newbies and then punishes them. I ran into a lot of trouble with the gnolls because of that. Trying to defend a newbie camp nearly got me. Fortunately Yuuki showed up at the perfect time."

    Asuna laughs a bit at the memory. It's funny now that it's all far behind. And she had no idea just how much was at stake at the time.

    "That one is a pretty crazy fighter. I've never seen anyone who likes fighting so much."

    A little quiet follows. Asuna isn't sure exactly what to say. She is overthinking things as she often does. But eventually, she figures out what she wants to say.

    "You aren't pressuring me at all, Klein. And as long as we are true to each other, I don't see that we'll ruin anything. I mean, unless I let you try baking a pizza! You've made it clear that you could do some damage in the kitchen. I hope you will be satisfied being my expert taste tester."

    She keeps up the massage. It's helping her get used to things. Being close, sharing a level of intimacy.

    "It's funny, isn't it? We've spent so much time together as friends and nothing ever seemed difficult. Now that we are getting just a little closer, everything seems so important and, honestly, a bit scary. I'm afraid of disappointing you. It makes me think of doing, well, things that I'm not convinced are smart. I mean, just not yet."

    Klein probably doesn't see her blushing. Embarrassed or not, though, she wants to have a real conversation. To not leave anything unsaid.
Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

This isn't the first time that Klein has heard Asuna mention Yuuki and the gnolls. It was a very good reason why he was so cautious when he was helping to find keystones for the door in their lair. Forewarned is forearmed, after all. "Maybe one day I can finally meet her in person."

The silence that follows isn't awkward. It's the kind of silence that one enjoys when you spend time with those you truly care about. Nothing needs to be said to show that you just enjoy being around a person. And what Asuna does say helps to ease him even more, even more than what her hands are doing. It helps to ease the burden that is more than just physical, as physical as it can be in this world.

Klein leans his head back a little, eyes closed in thought. "You make it sound easy, putting words to what I been struggling to say. Asuna, there's no way you can disappoint me. Hell, i'm always trying to do my best not to ruin that smile I always see you having. As for why it's so scary...? It's because we're scared of destroying something we're trying to build together."

A bit of laughter slips out of Klein, and he just shakes his head. "I said it before that I feel like i'm not good enough for you, and we both know that's not true. But then you do something amazing like...well, surprise me with just doing something like this, something I never thought you would do."

Taking a moment to search through his inventory, Klein materalizes a paperwrapped bundle, complete with a red ribbon bow on top. "And, I know it's really early, it's almost summer, and i'm certainly no Gwen...but I hope this shows how much you mean to me." He then gently forces it into Asuna's hands, happiness in his eyes.

Inside the bundle is certainly an odd gift for the middle of June. A mostly white scarf with hightlights of red along the edges, woven what has to be wool. And this wasn't just something something anyone could find from an Lander's shop. If Appraised, it would show clearly at the bottom.

Crafted by Klein.
Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

    Asuna laughs softly. She waits a moment to react. A soft, relaxed sigh is let out. It helps calm her a bit.

    "We have something that is stronger than it is delicate. If you do something I don't like, I promise to tell you. I won't just let it fester. Honestly, hard as I try to think of an example, nothing really comes to mind. You have yet to do anything of the sort."

    The offered gift surprises her. She is so curious when he mentions it is early. Early or not, though, she is excited to get a gift. She's not used to that! What is inside surprises her even more. She's more delighted when she realizes it is made by Klein himself.

    There's no hesitation, either. She puts it on. Sure, it's not cold! It's just so cute, though. It's comfy, too.

    "I love it! I'm so happy I can wear something you've made. It makes it so special."

    She had slipped in front of Klein to model his work. And, well, she is excited, so she kisses him on the cheek. It isn't immediate, but rather a second or two later that she blushes just slightly. Still, blush or not, she is going to make herself get used to this.

Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

Klein chuckles a bit and gives Asuna a thumbs up. "Please do, because i'm sure that i'll do it eventually. And while you have certainly given me your own surprises, they have been fantastic ones. Especially this one."

He doesn't plan to forget the sight of Asuna in a french maid uniform anytime soon.

A scarf may not exactly be the most ideal gift for this time of the year, but it's one he's very proud of as he sees Asuna wears it. Even with the different colors of her current attire, Asuna wearing it warms his heart. And the kiss on the cheek warms his cheeks. Standing up, he leans in close and kisses her gently on the forehead. "And that makes it all worth it. I wanted to make you something more summer-y, but...well, you know, it just seemed right. But I got a better idea for my next gift. That's a promise."
Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

    Asuna looks thoughtful as she considers. It's hard to imagine Klein being anything but wonderful and sweet. Still, part of her imagines that eventually they will both find traits in each other that aren't so ideal. It seems inevitable. But what is not inevitable is handling it like adults who care for each other.

    "Of course at some point I imagine I will irritate you. I have tendencies that can be trying. I will try my best not to nag over silly things. Or claim too much of your time for myself."

    She doesn't go on, though she probably could. She's thinking carefully enough about it to make some realizations. But she also has this idea she's playing with. But, well, she doesn't want to demand it, or even suggest it.

    The problem is, though, that Klein is so nice, gentle, and patient, that she has to be very clear about what she wants. She has to be honest. Like she knows she should be.

    "I like it when you kiss me."

    It comes so softly; so abruptly. It's just in her mind for a short while and then it escapes into the world. She prefers to bake out her feelings a bit more slowly.

Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

Like Asuna said earlier, things were simple enough when they were just friends. It's once they realize that there's more than just friends that they became worried that there might be flaws that destroy something precious. It was like looking at a statue just for the flaws in it's perfection. And while this statue of love may have flaws that show eventually, there's no flaws Klein can see when he looks at Asuna.

Oh geeze, this metaphor really got away from him.

"While I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt...you're right, you might do something that irritate me in the future, but that's what we do. If we don't open up with one another, it just makes things worse and leaves miscommunication to ruin things."

Asuna is quite familiar with how Klein is with communication when it comes to the matters of the heart, and she tells him loud and clear exactly what she likes. He would have to be a worse fool than someone else he could name to ignore this neon sign. Cupping his hand under her chin, he lifts her head up softly. "Like this?" He leans in as he kisses her directly on the lips, full of the passion and care he finds it difficult to put into words.

Even if this is virtual reality, it still beats actual reality in this regard: kissing the one he loves while she wears a beautiful outfit.
Aincrad Tower: Tolbana

    Asuna wishes she could be a bit more cool about these things, sometimes. But Klein seems happy with her as she is. Brave in some moments, nervous in others. Stupidly stubborn, silly, playful, and in this moment, she feels as fragile as thin glass.

    Her eyes meet his shyly, but she doesn't look away. Instead, once he starts to draw close, her lids close and she trembles. This is the kiss she wanted and she's sharing it with the right man. The road here hasn't been terribly direct, but she has arrived.

    That it is just the beginning of how good things can really be is something she's aware of, back in a deeper, more wise part of her spirit. For most of her, though, the moment is everything. She winds her arms around Klein, just like he's managed to weave her heart and his own into a single, more beautiful fabric.

    Later, there will be more everyday things. Food to prepare. A meal to share. Stories to go over for the tenth or twentieth time. And even some words about the world outside this place, where they both hope to return. Asuna knows they are both out there and her heart is set on making this a relationship for all times and all places. Part of her wants to race off and wipe out the whole tower, then find him in the real world. But most of her doesn't want to be farther from Klein than an arm's reach. It makes it easier to slip into more of these kisses.