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Aiya Quackform
March 6th, 2005, 07:11 PM
Commercial: Aura asks Helba a question. The same question, over and over. Why are you hiding from me, Helba? As Helba searches for the answer to this seemingly unfounded question, she is forced to ask whether something is wrong with Aura, or herself. (ONE-SHOT)

Disclaimers, Warnings, and Props:
No, I dont own .hack. I do, however, own the concept of this story. No ripping off, please, although secretly I might find it rather flattering Just dont, okay?

Id like to thank LilyPichu of PC for being an excellent test reader for this fic. You were a big help, and I owe you one!


http://img161.exs.cx/img161/8596/mindseye2qq.png
By Aiya Quackform

A fragmented monster with a howling expression frozen on its face hung upside down in the air of the Net Slums. Helba the dot hacker stood in front of it, her arms crossed. An odd thing, arent you? she said under her breath. The Net Slums were empty, as they increasingly were. Her only company was odd bits of data and program fragments that hung in the air, specters of creatures and programs long since gone.

As time went by in The World, the cases of severe problems in the game were few and far between. The few exciting things that did arise were generally directly related to Aura, and the goddess of The World left little of interest behind for Helba to pick up and horde within her domain. But, patient as always, she continued to wait for the day when she could understand The Worlds true final mystery - Aura.

Helba, why do you hide from me?

Helba frowned, though the gesture went unseen behind her golden mask. What? she said to the unseen speaker.

Helba, why do you hide from me?

Her frown deepened. There was no one else present in the Net Slums, but that voice Aura? she whispered.

Helba, why do you hide from me?

Helbas red lips twitched. Aura was speaking to her? Why? She hadnt had contact with Aura in years. What do you mean? I dont hide from you.

Helba, you have been hiding from me for so long. Why?

The womans digital image looked down for a moment, thinking. Are you asking why we havent had any contact? Aura, youre not easy to get a hold of. But you could always contact me, as you are now.

Helba, why do you hide from me?

An angry mask quickly washed over a seed of fear in Helba. All things concerning Aura could lead to dangerous complications. Aura, your communications program is oddly lacking. I have no idea what youre talking about.

Helba, everyone else in The World I can see. I never see you anymore.

Her back straightened suddenly. Do you mean that I dont spend much time in The World anymore? I suppose I do spend most of my time in the Slums. There was no response from the unseen Aura. Helba took this as a good sign. Very well, Aura, I will go visit The World.

Helba strode down the streets of Mac Anu, watching all the other players walk around, chat with friends, purchase supplies, and form parties. A large percentage of them were newbies, so her unique appearance would go largely unnoticed by their inexperienced eyes. It had been awhile since she had just visited The World with no particular objective; the many moderators and administrators made casual travel a risky venture for her.

After an enjoyable stroll through the intricately designed starter town, Helba made her way out to the grassy, secluded hills around Mac Anu. The number of other players quickly diminished, and soon she sat down at the base of a hill a reasonable distance from any of the other players. Aura, are you there? she said.

With a minor distortion of the graphics in front of Helba, Aura revealed herself in her opal-colored, innocent glory. Im here, Helba, she said. An unusually sad look was locked in her azure eyes.

Aura, is something wrong? Helba stood up, and put her hand on the others shoulder.

Helba, she said and paused. Youre still hiding from me. Why do you hide from me, Helba?

Helbas hand slipped off her shoulder. Aura, what are you talking about? Im right here, Im in The World.

Yes, Aura replied. But I cant see you, Helba.

Helba was becoming enormously concerned. Aura, is something wrong? Is that why you contacted me?

No, Helba, Auras large eyes intensified and she grabbed Helba by the shoulders. Theres something wrong with you! Youve been hiding! For so long now I miss you.

The fear Helba had been concealing was forcing its way to the surface. Aura, I dont understand! she exclaimed.

But Ive been telling you all along! Aura said. Youre hiding! Why?

I dont understand, Aura! Helba said with frustration. You keep saying the same thing over, and over, and over again! Im right here, whats wrong?

Auras eyes began to tear up. Everyone in the world shows themselves to me. I see them, as no one else sees them. I see their core, Helba. I used to see you all the time, in this World. But even though you are still here, I cannot see you.

The panic building up in Helba abruptly subsided. First there was the dot hack incident, and then there was Auras child. They were about Auras contact with the players, her desire to know them, her desire to understand them. To see them as they truly are, underneath the avatars - that was Auras desire.

Ive been hiding, Helba whispered. She touched the mask covering her eyes. In the slums, behind this mask of a hacker. I havent actually played the game of The World in so long, I forgot what it was like to learn about The World from the inside

Auras teary eyes became vibrant. Yes! Youve been hiding! Wont you please come out now?

Helba looked up into the eyes of the child. Aura, I do miss playing in The World. But few players would play with a hacker such as myself.

Well, Aura looked down for a moment. Do you have to be a hacker?

Helba smiled. Her pale hands touched the sides of her mask and gently pulled it away, revealing deep green eyes of a sparkling intensity. Not all the time.

Aura laughed in delight. Its good to see you again, Helba, she said.

You too, she replied.

__________________________________________________

Authors Notes: My first .hack fic! WooHoo! I am so proud of myself. But dont let my totally happy attitude get to you, I live for constructive criticism. Id greatly appreciate a review, you can put it on this thread. If you dont have the time to leave me a long review, just a comment or two would be wonderful, too! But if you dare leave without giving me some sort of feedback Ill send my dumbbell monster after you! MWAHAHAHA!!!!

Heh, all jokes/threats aside, Id really like to know in particular what you thought of my portrayals of Aura and Helba. Did I keep them in character? It seriously bugs me when fics take these perfectly wonderful characters and make them totally OOC. So, please let me know what you think of them!

Lion Heart
March 11th, 2005, 08:03 PM
I read the whole thing, I don't have a whole lot to do today lol.

I've never seen or played .hack (Not sure if it's a game or a show), but this was pretty good to read, I couldn't visualise what the people looked like as there was no descriptions, obviously it'd be better for someone who knows who they are though.

I think I got the "hiding" point pretty well.

Aiya Quackform
March 12th, 2005, 09:13 PM
I've never seen or played .hack (Not sure if it's a game or a show), but this was pretty good to read, I couldn't visualise what the people looked like as there was no descriptions, obviously it'd be better for someone who knows who they are though.
Wow, thanks for reading it! I'm sure it doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you're not familiar with .hack. It's best known for being an anime/manga, but there's also a .hack series of PS2 games. I'm glad you liked reading it!

I think I got the "hiding" point pretty well.
Thanks! That part was probably really odd if you're not familiar with .hack.