Eugeo thinks it’s a bit strange how much he prefers this sky to the one of Rulid.
This sky, streaked with shades of pink and purple and blue and dotted with fluffy clouds, isn’t even real—but then again, the sky in Underworld technically hadn’t been real either. There he couldn’t even tell that he was all artificial data, and that every blade of grass had been generated by a system. Here it’s a bit more obvious.
Even with ALO’s clear giveaways to being a virtual world, Eugeo still prefers it to home. He misses Rulid, fiercely, misses the dense forests and endless crop fields, the sound of bells ringing exactly on the hour and the quaint, easygoing atmosphere amongst the townsfolk. Even so, it can’t compare to this—to the vast, open sky begging to be explored by a pair of wings, to the realistic-feeling breeze swaying through the trees, and most importantly, to the person who is curled up fast asleep on his lap—and that person is more real, a more solidifying presence than anything in the world.
The blonde hums a soft tune. It’s a lullaby his mother used to sing him as a child, and one of the only remnants of Underworld’s very existence. He combs his fingers through Kirito’s hair, who has his arms draped around Eugeo’s waist, a subtle lay to claim and gesture of affection. Eugeo’s been “awake” here in the real world for two months now, and Kirito is still insanely clingy. It’s definitely toned down a lot since his return, because Kirito doesn’t hover nearly as much as he used to, worry deep-rooted in his very expression, but Eugeo knows he won’t be off the hook for a while. (Dying would result in that kind of attachment, he supposes. Eugeo doesn’t blame Kirito, and wouldn’t want to be in any other position anyway.)
Eugeo gently tucks a stray strand of silky black hair behind Kirito’s ear, his finger catching on the tipped point of it. Fairies. He’d seen a lot of fantastical things in Underworld, but fairies were never part of that equation. Getting to be one is a whole other experience he never thought he’d be able to have. When he first joined ALO, walking on unsteady legs and getting used to the fact that his sword skills were all controlled by a system now, even more than they were back home—Kirito had dragged him up into the air and into a very informal and hasty flight test. Eugeo spent the day learning how to fly—to fly!—and had only crash landed a couple times, much to the black-haired hero’s chagrin. (Eugeo later learned from Leafa that Kirito’s first attempt at flight had not ended well. He supposes Kirito’s a bit jealous at how easily it was for him to master the art.)
He likes this world, more than he originally thought he would, and likes it even more because he gets to share it with Kirito. Kirito—and Alice, and the rest of the friends they’ve made. Eugeo had shared twelve years with Kirito, and it might be greedy to think so, but getting to share in more of his life is what he wants more than anything. The two of them have spent countless nights curled up together in Kirito’s bed, their legs entwined and their foreheads pressed together, talking about Kirito’s life. His childhood, his middle school years, everything in SAO, all the way up until his involvement with Rath. Eugeo refuses to admit it, but he’d always cling tighter to Kirito whenever the raven admitted to doing something reckless, something that almost cost him his life—which was pretty much every other sentence of his story. Honestly. Why did Eugeo have to fall in love with such an idiot?
His idiot burrows deeper into his stomach, mumbling happily, and Eugeo fondly rolls his eyes. He’s still the same Kirito he’s always been, even now. Eugeo can’t resist smiling down at him, fingers combing through his hair, watching as Kirito’s lips twitch in the beginnings of a pleased grin. He’s still asleep, Eugeo knows—all too familiar with his sleeping patterns. But still, Kirito’s reaction causes a soft warmth to bloom in his chest.
He’s so very, very lucky.
Lucky to be alive, lucky to have made it out to the real world and not have been erased—lucky to have been able to reunite with Kirito, and more than anything, lucky to be able to hold him like this. To touch him, to be with him like this.
Eugeo resumes his humming, closing his eyes and savoring the moment. The air smells sweet, like flowers and rain. And Kirito. It smells like Kirito, too. Like home.
It is completely silent for a while, save the occasional chirp of a bird or rustle of the trees. But Eugeo is perceptive, more perceptive than most, so when his ears twitch and his gut tells him he’s no longer alone, he listens.
The bushes behind him are moving. Soon, a whisper follows after.
“I think I saw them go this way,” someone says, so quiet that if Eugeo weren’t straining to hear, their voice would be lost to the wind.
“Liz, I really don’t think this is a good id—”
“Come on! Don’t tell me you don’t want to see it too.”
Eugeo withholds a snort of amusement. He’s not surprised Liz is trying to sneak up on him—she’s done it plenty of times before. He relaxes a bit, fingers gently scruffing Kirito’s head, and waits.
The bushes shake again, leaves being brushed aside by their assailants.
“Wait—wait, there! I see them.” Liz.
“Where’s Kirito-san—oh.” Silica.
A moment of silence.
“That’s adorable.” Totally sarcastic—Sinon.
“Look at them,” Liz grumbles. “The picture of perfection.”
“They deserve it,” Asuna states, although she sounds somewhat embarrassed. “And besides, it’s not like they can’t do these kinds of things—”
“They snuck off right after our mission briefing to cuddle! Klein owes me 500 Col.”
Silica sounds amused, yet incredulous. “You made bets on where they were going?”
“Hey, I’m not going to waste an opportunity to get free mone—”
“Are you done now?” Eugeo finally huffs, not even bothering to turn around. A chorus of surprised squeaks and a knowing scoff (Sinon) follow his outburst. He’d be laughing if he weren’t so affectionately irritated at them for interrupting his alone time with Kirito.
“Looks like we’ve been caught...” Silica laughs, and the four of them emerge from the undergrowth.
“How’d you even know we were here?” Liz whines, crossing her arms.
“Intuition,” Eugeo replies, sparing a glance at them over his shoulder. His hand never leaves Kirito’s head—instead he curls his other arm around the teen protectively, even though he knows there’s no threat.
Asuna gives Liz a pointed look. “You were being pretty loud, Liz.”
“I was not!” The pink-haired girl exclaims.
“It’s okay, Liz, we know you don’t have any tact,” Sinon teases.
“Wh—why are you all ganging up on me all of a sudden?!”
Eugeo chuckles at their antics as they bicker back and forth. Kirito certainly has an...interesting group of friends, that’s for sure.
“A-anyway, come on! You two have canoodled enough; it’s time to come back. We have a dungeon to raid and a boss to beat!” Liz declares, pointing a finger at the offending party.
“Okay, okay,” Eugeo chuckles. “Go on ahead, we’ll be there in a bit.”
At the looks full of suspicion he gets, he hurriedly amends, “I swear! I just have to wake this doofus up.”
Liz snorts at that, her grin wide. “Alright. But if you take longer than ten minutes we will leave without you. And then Kirito will whine and whine because he’s been wanting to do this quest for ages—”
“I got it,” Eugeo sighs, raising a hand in surrender. Yeesh.
Asuna gives him a friendly smile before unfolding her wings. “See you soon, Eugeo-kun!”
“Don’t be late,” Liz warns him again, and then she flies off.
“Make sure Kirito-san’s fully awake before we take off!” Silica laughs. Sinon nods, and soon enough, the clearing is empty again, and Eugeo is left with his thoughts and a black-haired fairy who is now drooling on his thigh.
Eugeo grimaces a bit before he decides, yeah, it’s about time Kirito stops napping.
“Wake up, Kirito,” he murmurs, leaning down to press a kiss to his forehead.
“Mmh,” Kirito mumbles, shifting in his lap.
Eugeo grins and continues his ministrations, covering the teen’s face in soft kisses that make him squirm.
It’s right when Eugeo catches the corner of his mouth that Kirito finally comes to full awareness, his eyes blinking open slowly. When he meets Eugeo’s gaze his expression immediately softens, and Eugeo feels his heart seizing in his chest. Kirito never looks at anyone else like that—the blonde wants to horde every single longing and heartfelt emotion in Kirito’s face made only for him forever.
“Time to go?” Kirito asks sleepily. He looks adorably rumpled.
Eugeo nods. “Mhmm.”
Before he can even blink, Kirito surges up to kiss him fully. It’s firm and strong and totally assured, like Kirito wants nothing more, like he’s wanted this his whole life. Eugeo melts under his touch.
When they part, Eugeo sees nothing but an ocean full of stars and the sky reflected in Kirito’s eyes. It really is the sky he prefers the most.
His hero smiles brilliantly at him. “Lead the way.”