12-Wishes and Wayfinders

By Chronic Guardian

Author's Note: Written for Twelve Shots of Summer: Trinity Limit [week 12:My Friends are My Power/These Days We Chance Upon]. For Amulet Misty, the best there is.

~§~

Ven opened his eyes. Then closed them. It was still dark. He was still alone. His back ached, resting against a stiff marble chair. He'd been sleeping sitting up again. A wry laugh managed to make it through his lips. He couldn't even lie down at this point.

Someone was talking on the other side of the wall. He could hear them faintly. It sounded like Aqua; soft, gentle, but strong. He couldn't tell what she was saying, but it was calming to know she was there. He still remembered the first day he met her and Terra, feeling their light break through the haze like a beacon. It hurt, but it was what brought him back into the world. It was kind of like waking up with a bad sun burn: It needed to happen, even if it felt awful.

Honestly, it was probably the best day of Ven's life. Waking up to find he had friends, that he wasn't alone; it made him feel whole again. He always knew he was broken at the back of his mind, but with Terra and Aqua that didn't matter. They filled in the pieces of him that were missing.

Letting himself sink into the smooth drone of Aqua's voice, Ven went back to sleep. She was still alive out there. Even if he couldn't touch her, couldn't see her, it didn't matter. In his pocket was a lucky charm she gave him. She said it was supposed to be made of seashells. That was all right. It reminded him of their friendship, that was what was important.

An unbreakable connection.

Ven smiled as the words echoed in his mind. His heart wasn't lost. Not just yet...

~§~

It wasn't long before Terra stopped feeling anything at all. It was kind of weird to think he was locked away in his own body. He was surrounded by darkness, creeping in and through him, but never quite erasing him entirely.

He breathed in and felt the darkness shrink back a little. There was light in him keeping it away, a single ray of hope that someday things would be right again. Terra fed that hope with thoughts of his friends. Even if he'd failed, they wouldn't. They would be strong. He looked forward to the day where he blinked his own eyes and moved his own arms again. He missed how they felt, how they smelled. He could imagine picking Ven up around the middle in a hopelessly outmatched bout of friendly grappling. Ven still fought anyway, he was scrappy like that.

He remembered practicing magic with Aqua, watching the way she moved, listening to the words she said, that faint scent that reminded him of riverlillies floating in the air. He teased her that it was magic, she insisted it was natural. He smiled as he mimicked her movements and made them his own.

He couldn't wait to live those days again, when he could use his own strength to fight with them. Until then, he would borrow their light to keep him warm.

~§~

Aqua kept moving. She'd been walking for what felt like ages, but if she stopped she knew the dark would swallow her. Sometimes she wondered if this was what was meant to happen, if her world was really meant to fall to pieces like this all along.

It was an odd thought for Aqua. She believed the worlds ran on a grand rhythm, a set of rules that stayed the same even if the players changed.

But that was just it, she'd come across so many faces she hadn't imagined fighting alongside before leaving on her journey. She'd seen so much and woven her story into their lives, just as they'd woven into hers. Even though they helped her do what she thought was right, the things that should happen, it felt silly to think they were playing it by a script. Sure, maybe destiny wasn't left to chance, but when she was living it out it felt so spontaneous. There were days where she felt like giving up and just fading into the dark, but her memories of others, those surprising moments of light in the darkest night, they kept her going. She kept walking down the road waiting for the day when she found the light again.

Because even though she was alone there in the dark, she could still see the light of her friends in the distance, calling to her.

She hadn't seen a sunrise in years. Indeed, the logical thing at this point would have been to accept she was lost and just give up.

Aqua kept moving and reminding herself of the days she'd chanced upon in the past, days when her friends had lifted her out of despair and doubt. Setting her eyes on the horizon, she lifted her arm and reached out to where she imagined her friends were reaching back.

~End~

Author's Note:

What? Did you think we could get away without doing a Kingdom Hearts story during a year called Trinity Limit? As if!

Of course, I do realize I tend to get awfully metaphorical with Kingdom hearts. For those of you wondering, Ven isn't actually awake in his section. More like he's just drifting in and out of coherence within whatever a broken heart dreams about.

Although these all read like snippets of thought, I'd like to think that's artistically purposeful. None of these stories are complete yet, they're all still stuck in their midst waiting for Kingdom Hearts III to happen (kind of like the rest of us. Pound-sign: real talk). These little snapshots aren't meant to show the resolution, but they can show the hope. This year of TSoS is over, and there's still so much left to say for each of us, but in the meantime it's important to remember where we've been and notice that we're not alone. "Wherever you go, I'm always with you", so to speak.

And speaking of referencing stuff way cooler than me, I'd like to dedicate this story to Amulet Misty, one of the first people to consistently read and review my work. We don't talk so much these days, but I still count her as one of my biggest influences in popular writing and a dear friend. Here's hoping we'll chance upon a few more meetings, Misty. I hope life treats you well.

Finally, as said above, this is my last shot for Twelve Shots of Summer: Trinity Limit! If you enjoyed it and you want more stuff like it, make sure to check out the Twelve Shots of Summer community and forum for more writers making awesome stories out of half-thought prompts. If you reeeeally liked it though, make sure to drop a vote in the "Last Rose of Summer" poll along with any other stories you enjoyed this summer. We appreciate your participation and would love to hear from you!

Well… that feels like enough rambling. Thanks for reading! May you chance upon many fine days, and may your friends always give you the strength to enjoy them.

I'll see you around,

-CG