By Chronic Guardian
Written for Twelve Shots of Summer: Hexa-Code Kernel, Week 8: Refresh()
"Okay," Lea squinted at his Keyblade, trying to lock his fingers around it in some way that felt natural. "Sooo… we're just gonna train ourselves, huh?"
Kairi, standing across the bluffside, gave him a non-commital shrug before resuming her staring match with the perpetual late-afternoon sky. "Sora taught himself," she pointed out. "Maybe it's something to do with finding your own path and listening to your heart."
"Uh… yeah, nuh-uh."
Kairi looked back at him. "No?"
"Well, I mean, if that were the case, then why would Master Yen-Sid keep hittin' the reset button on him? 'Oh, hey, Sora! Good job followin' your heart and all, but let's start over and see you follow it harder!' Not like we're runnin' on a time limit or anything."
"I mean… the two of us aren't," Kairi said, working her way across the grass towards him. "Merlin said time flows differently in this realm so we'll be able to catch up to everyone else in time for the final battle."
"Okay, yes, and that's good," Lea nodded. "But he's basically throwing Sora right back out into the thick of it and expecting something different to happen. If he still doesn't think the kid's gettin' it, don't ya think the old grump would at least send a lesson plan with us? For all he knows, we're just smackin' the trees til the cows come home."
"Oh, puh-lease," Lea ran a hand through his carmine spikes and looked away. "Were you seriously expecting a sparring match from a teacher like me?"
"Not until we learn cure, missy."
"Okay, so how do we—?"
"That's my point! Ugh… it's like he wants Xehanort to win! If all we do is 'follow our hearts' out in the middle of nowhere, then he's basically hoping whatever comes natural is better than what anyone else can teach us. You know what I'm a natural at? Burning things! You ask me to 'be myself' and I'm gonna end up turning this magic forest into a magic desert! And I sure hope you figure out water magic by then, or we are both gonna burn like—!"
Bursting through the trees, the erstwhile Keyslinger himself crashed the party, much to Lea's surprise. Judging by the strangled squeak Kairi gave, she hadn't seen this coming either.
Looking between them Sora's customary smile settled into a light frown. "Uh… Did I interrupt something?"
Taking the initiative, Kairi jumped in before Lea could sort out the mix-up. "Lea was just wondering about the best way for us to learn on our own," she supplied. "You wouldn't happen to have any pointers on that subject, would you?"
"Hmm? Oh! Kind of." Digging into his pockets, Sora brought out what looked to be an extra thick card pack from Castle Oblivion with a screen for the face instead of an actual image.
"Oh good, a booster pack," Lea mumbled, squinting at the device. "Did a guy in a black coat give you that? You probably don't remember this, but you should really be more careful about taking cards from strangers, man."
"I'm… not sure I get it," Sora answered, "but this is a Gummiphone."
"Okay, a Gummiphone," Kairi wove her fingers together and gave a prompting smile that probably wasn't as pointed as Lea imagined it to be. "What does it do?"
"Oh, a bunch of things! Keeps records, tracks treasures, takes pictures—"
"Ahem," Lea cleared his throat and dangled his Keyblade by one pinky.
Thankfully, Sora got the message and cut to the chase. "Basically, it's like an upgrade from Jiminy's journal so we can keep track of everything we've learned."
"Great, so you've got a few lessons from your latest ability wipe?"
Sora held up a hand. "Hang on,"
Lea arched an eyebrow. With a poke like that, he'd been expecting a little more fight out of the kid. Chosen and whatnot as he was, Sora still had a little bit of a temper when it came to things beyond his control. Whatever this Gummiphone did, apparently it was slick enough to keep him mollified.
"Here." Finishing his prep work, the Keyblade's original hero of light turned his Gummi-device around to face his friend—who was conveniently located next to Lea. "Check this out."
Taking the phone, Kairi gave the odd man out a sidelong look before leaning in so he could see the screen too.
"'Battle records'?" Lea read from the highlighted folder. "Okay, so that's..."
He trailed off as Kairi selected the icon and revealed various subfolders. "Parts one, two, Oblivion, Coded..." She looked back up to Sora. "What's this all about?"
"Jiminy compiled it for me," the boy explained, putting his hands up behind his head as he beamed back at them. "It's a comprehensive list of all the abilities I've used over the years. Er… I mean, not the last one. He said those were abilities I technically might be able to use. Anyway, we can worry about that later. The important thing right now—"
"You need a partner to learn with," Kairi cut in. "Right?"
Sora smiled and nodded. "Pretty much, yeah. And I figured, well, it's… been a while."
"What, since you two had some quality time?" Lea grunted. "Sounds great. Can I borrow it when you're done, though?"
"...'Actually' what? You don't think I'm much of a reader? I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge fan, but—"
"No, not that," Sora shook his head. "It's just… hard to explain. We didn't actually hang out that much but..."
Lea stared back as the pieces clicked into place.
"Yeah," Sora looked away. "Like I said: it wasn't a bond we shared, but still—"
"I get it." Kairi, interjecting before they could stumble over any more words, stepped up and took Sora's hand. "Sounds like a good refresher course, right?"
Of course, the boy didn't have any objections. "Right!" He agreed, looking rather relieved to have someone who understood him.
Turning around, the girl offered her other hand out and smiled. "Lea?"
Slowly reaching back, Lea felt something familiar inside him.
"Yeah," he answered. "I guess that's alright."