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Sword Art Online was never intended to be that kind of game.

True, if you fell in with the wrong (or right) people or wandered down enough dark alleys, you could always find a private chat session or a seedy den full of likeminded players willing to role-play your digital fantasies. All Virtual MMOs are like that, humans being what they are. But, really, SAO was never intended to be that way, and it did its very, very durndest to make sure nobody ever got their monkey on.

During the pre-launch press junket, the developers had been keen to present SAO as a wholesome game that you wouldn’t have qualms about letting your young teenage children play. They had promised anti-modification watchdog programs. They had promised an extensive reporting process and random inspections, both real-world and gameside. They had promised an army of GMs armed with metaphorical (and not-so-metaphorical ) banhammers.

There was no way those chipper young members of the marketing department could have anticipated thousands of sexually-frustrated players getting trapped in the game world for an unfortunate number of years, however. And even then, considering that a sufficient number of orangutans on typewriters are capable of churning out the works of Shakespeare, it should have been a surprise to absolutely no one that those players would eventually get around the remaining safeguards.

Which leads us to this moment.

They were both stripped down to the least amount of clothing the game would allow them to de-equip: for Asuna, her bra and panties; for Kirito, a pair of (black, naturally) boxer briefs. They were laid out in the bed in the lake house, her body on his, and together they writhed

Skin, as much skin as they could touch, could push against, could rub—

The problem, though, was there wasn’t much to rub. Kirito was pretty sure that both their virtual selves were as featureless as cheap plastic dolls beneath their permanent underwear. It made sense, in an unsettling sort of way. The less there was below the belt to start with, the less chance there was that some hotshot hacker could smash the game’s rating to pieces with a meter-long attempt at over-compensation.

So, the newlywed couple did the best they could. Three of Asuna’s fingers were in Kirito’s mouth, and he sucked them for all he was worth. Her other hand was occupied with nipples, thank god he still had those (Asuna said once none the girls’ avatars had any). Kirito’s own hands were wrapped around her backside, kneading the perfect rear that her skimpy underwear—thank you, extremely sexist character designers—left mostly bare.

She was close. He was close. Today’s sex is good sex, Kirito thought hazily as Asuna ground her disappointingly not-anatomically-correct pelvis against his. He wasn’t sure which mechanism in their brains let them turn a purely virtual exercise into a physical orgasm (with the accompanying rush of hormones and neuro-chemicals), but he knew from experience it didn’t work all the time. Sometimes only Asuna got off. Sometimes only he did. Sometimes—and not for lack of trying— neither of them did.

Their first time they had attempted to consummate their marriage had been particularly memorable. They had lain together for hours and hours, and Asuna had come five times, all while Kirito wrestled with the horrifying idea that he just might be sixteen years old and impotent.

But today was not like that. Not like that at all, definitely, definitely not, Kirito thought as Asuna made a sound low in her throat. She yanked her fingers from Kirito’s mouth, fisted her hand in his hair instead, and pulled. Kirito wasn’t one for pain, but his digital body was starved for sensation and it was something, anything

Anything

And there it was. A flash of white. A mind-melting pulse of energy throughout every fiber (optic?) of his being. A crackle of static and a mysterious, angry beep like his NerveGear headset rebooting—

Which, maybe it actually was. Kirito had once speculated that they might be able to escape the game if they crashed their hardware by having enough sex, but Asuna had only blushed and stammered and smacked him in the face with a pillow—

And then it was all over. Asuna rolled off him and onto the rumpled bedsheets, and two of them just lay there in silence, staring up at the lazily-twirling ceiling fan.

There wasn’t any warm, fuzzy afterglow. No feeling of release in his avatar’s muscles. Kirito felt exactly the same as he had earlier that evening (hungry—for food—they hadn’t eaten dinner yet) before Asuna had beckoned him to bed with the lacey flutter of her skirt.

And, er, there weren’t any bodily fluids, either. That hadn’t been much of a surprise the first time, considering biological processes in general didn’t exist in SAO. But, hell, they weren’t even sweating.

After a long, uncomfortable minute, Asuna turned towards her husband and gripped him hard by the shoulders.

“Kirito,” she hissed, her face wearing a fierce, frustrated expression that made him sure—though he’d never asked—that she was older than him. “If we ever get out of here, you’re going to find me and pound me into the nearest mattress, okay?”

“Okay,” he promised.

Apparently realizing what she’d said, Asuna flushed scarlet and curled forwards to press her forehead against his chest. “I didn’t mean it like that,” she mumbled. “I just want to feel you. To touch you… but for real.”

Kirito draped one arm over her bare shoulders and drew her close. His other hand rose to cup her face, his thumb stroking her cheek while his fingers threaded themselves through her hair. Asuna looked up at him through her eyelashes shyly, then turned her head to the side and kissed his palm.

Her lips were soft. Would they be as soft in the physical world? he wondered. It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter at all. They’d be real.

“I know what you mean,” he said.