Kiyomisa: Hey y'all. I need some loving from you 'cause I just got a few flames on one of my older fics. sniff I know it's crap, but they don't have to say it like that. Anyways, hope you enjoy the final chapter! The final confrontation! And if you haven't seen the movie The Labyrinth by now, you should!

The quartet didn't flinch when the Heartless appeared. Cloud merely handed Riku a dirk form his hip and they charged in. At first there were no problems, but more and more Heartless arrived, swarming them and making it hard to fight.

"We're being swamped!" Jack shouted.

Beast threw a big Heartless into a crowd of smaller ones, then threw his head back and roared. His companions dropped to their knees, covering their ears and the ground began to shake from the sound. Cracks split through the void, shining with a bright white light. As the cracks grew, the Heartless fell in, shrieking in terror. And still Beast roared.

When all of the Heartless had fled or fallen into the light, Beast let his roar die out, slumping down to the ground in exhaustion.

"Beast!" Riku cried, going over to his friend. Beast looked at him with tired, half-lidded eyes.

"I'm fine, go, you don't have much time."

Riku hesitated.

"I'll say with him, go," Jack said firmly. Riku nodded, stood up and began for the castle again, Cloud right beside him. They dispatched the few remaining Heartless that stood in their way and were soon standing before the gates of the castle. They entered cautiously, blades always at the ready, but the place seemed deserted.

Riku shivered when he saw a staircase leading form the empty throne-room. "Ansem's up there," he said, not sure how he knew, but knowing it was true.

"Let's go then," Cloud said and started for the stair. Riku grabbed the blonde's arm, shaking his head.

"No, I have to go alone."

Cloud studied him, then slowly nodded. "I understand, but if you need me, I'll be there." Before Riku could respond, the blonde had cupped his face and kissed him gently. When Cloud pulled away again, Riku blinked at him. The blonde had a soft blush across his nose, but his sapphire blue eyes were clear and serious. "Now go, your love awaits you."

Riku blinked again, coming out of his shock. "Right." He went to the stairs, then paused a the bottom to look at Cloud again. The swordsman smiled and nodded. Riku nodded back, then charged up the stairs.

At the top of the stairs was a room almost impossible to comprehend. Stairs went up, sideways diagonal and upside down. Doors too went every which way and for a moment the sight made Riku dizzy.

Then he caught sight of someone walking along the ceiling.

"Sora!" he called out. The brunette looked at him curiously, then continued walking. Riku couldn't breathe, he felt as if a needle had been thrust into his heart, and was now bleeding slowly from the puncture.

Then he remembered Ansem's peach and how he'd forgotten Sora. With a stubborn and determined set to his jaw, Riku began climbing stairs after Sora.

"I don't know what that bastard did to you, but I'm getting you back."

"Poor little Riku," Ansem's deep voice echoed throughout the chamber. "Having trouble finding something?"

"Fuck you Ansem!" Riku snarled into the room, still jogging towards the door Sora had disappeared through.

The Heartless King's laughed rang off the stone walls. "I believe that was the idea dear boy."

Riku gritted his teeth and continued, vowing to ignore the rest of Ansem's taunts. He darted through a doorway, catching sight of Sora once more. The youth was now walking down the side of a wall.

"Sora!" Riku cried again, but the youth didn't even turn to look at him.

"You're too late," Ansem murmured in his ear, but when he turned to look, the Heartless King was not there. Growling, Riku dashed towards Sora again, following the youth through a sideways door that Riku had to jump through or risk tripping on the half-foot of stone.

He looked around the other side, but there was no sign of the boy. "Where is he?" Riku muttered, forcing down the panic that was growing within him.

Laughter floated up from a circle in the floor; familiar laughter that made his heart skip a beat. He ran to the edge and looked down.

Sitting in what should have been a domed skylight, about fifteen feet deep, Sora gazed intently at one of Ansem's crystals, laughing at what he saw in it.

"Sora," Riku said quietly, looking for a way down. There was none and Riku squared his shoulders. If I die doing this, I hope you'll be free of Ansem, he thought and leapt into the open air. Riku closed his eyes and braced for an impact that never came.

Opening his eyes again, Riku found himself gently floating in the starry void of the End of the World, surrounded by floating chunks of the chamber he'd just been in as if it had exploded without a sound. His feet touched down on one of the larger chunks, and he was grounded as if that one piece held the gravity of an entire planet. From a darkened doorway, Ansem strode out, the shadows sticking to him momentarily like cobwebs.

"Are you happy now Riku? You have sent my Kingdom into chaos."

"Ecstatic," the pale youth replied flatly. "Where's Sora?"

Ansem strode forward, a look of fury on his handsome visage. "Is he the only thing you can think of?"

"Yes," Riku answered without hesitation.

"Why? What is it about him that entrances you so?" the king demanded, ember eyes flickering like fire. Riku cocked his head and gazed at him coldly.

"Don't you know? You spent nearly thirteen hours with him, surely you have at least a guess."

Ansem growled. "True the boy has a sweet, naive charm, but you risked you life for him; several times; why?"

Ocean met fire as Riku stared at the king. "I love him."

Ansem flinched, as if struck by a physical blow, then straightened again. "And yet you do not know if he feels the same for you."

Riku shook his head. "It doesn't matter, I'd still love him."

"Even if he chooses Kairi?" Ansem dug.

Riku had to close his eyes to stem the sudden desiore to cry. "If she truly makes him happy, then so be it." He opened his eyes, cold and unforgiving, towards the Heartless King. "But I will still love him. And you cannot change that."

Ansem held up a crystal, with an image of Riku on Ansem's throne inside. "I can give you the whole kingdom, all the power of darkness. Would you forsake a life of absolute power for one of loveless uncertainty?"

Riku watched his crystal self command shadows and armies at will; taking Sora from Kairi, making him his. Riku shook himself free and turned gaze to Ansem's instead. "No matter how much power you have, you can't force someone to love you."

Riku paused as Ansem withdrew the crystal, a frown marring his handsome features.

"You have no power over me," the youth said with absolute finality.

An unseen clock began to chime the thirteenth hour. With a calm, but angry and resentful expression, Ansem threw the crystal into the air and vanished into the shadows. Riku watched dispassionately as the crystal arced. On the final chime, it struck the stone and shattered, the tinkling of its shards harmonizing with the sound of the bell.

The shadows enveloped everything, even the stars, until there was no light at all. Then a glowing figure phased into existence, light emanating from it's very being.

"Sora?" Riku murmured, not really aware of the familiar beach of Destiny Island forming beneath his feet. There was a giant pulse of power that rushed out in a circular wave with Sora at it's center and Riku had to shield his eyes against the sudden bright light his friend produced.

When the light subsided, Riku was home on Destiny Island, standing fifty feet from Sora, who was also standing, though with his eyes closed.

"Sora?" Riku called to his friend cautiously.

Sora opened his eyes bright and blue like the clear sky above them. "Riku? Riku!" and he launched himself at Riku, who ran forward to meet him. They almost knocked each other over with the initial force of their embrace, laughing and crying at the same time.

"I'm so sorry-"

"You're all right-"

"I didn't know how to-"

"You're not hurt-"

"act around you-"

"I never meant to hurt you-"

"Because I love you," they chorused, finishing at the same time. Sora's eyes widened in surprise, but Riku wasted no time in kissing the brunette, holding him tightly and reverently. It was only a split second before Sora was kissing back, clutching him just as tightly. Both closed their eyes as they reveled in the moment of a dream long awaited, realized.

Riku pulled his head away briefly to catch his breath, then kissed Sora again, claiming the other youth with his lips and tongue. Sora gave in happily, matching caress for thrust and pressing up against the lithe body of his love. When they broke apart again, Sora rested his cheek on Riku's shoulder, hugging him tight and close.

"I didn't mean it," Riku murmured. "I never meant for him to take you away from me."

"I knew you would come for me," Sora answered warmly. "Even when he told me you weren't, I knew you were coming."

They stood in silence for a while, stroking each other's backs and savoring the embrace. Then Sora pulled away slightly to look up at Riku. He was lightly blushing and the look he was giving the silver-haired youth was half shy innocence and half hungry seducer. Riku felt his pulse quicken and his throat dry at the sight.



" you want to spend the night tonight? I'm sure Mom won't mind."

"I'd like that very much," Riku answered with a warm smile. His stomach suddenly growled and Sora laughed.

"But first, dinner!" Riku announced, putting a hand on his stomach. "I'm starving!"

On the way back Riku told Sora briefly of the things he'd encountered and the friends he'd made. When he was done, Sora asked, "Do you think Ansem's gone for good?"

Riku shook his head. "I don't think so, but he'll be too busy rebuilding his kingdom to mess with us any more."

"Good," Sora said emphatically, snuggling into Riku's side.

"Still, I wish my friends could be here too," Riku said, almost to himself.

The next day, all the islander's were gathered by the Mayor to the town square, for someone new was moving in. Three someone's to be precise.

The first was a very tall, very thin and very pale young man with shiny black hair and twinkling black eyes. When he smiled, he looked almost like a jack-o-lantern.

The second young man was also tall, but with very broad shoulders, shoulder-length golden-brown hair and striking blue eyes. He seemed to move with the gracefulness of a wolf and strength of a lion.

The third was a shorter young man with fairly slim shoulders, but wiry, dangerous looking muscles. His blonde hair spiked up as well as fell in front of intense blue eyes.

Riku felt his breath hitch. A warm breeze caressed his ear, and a voice, deeper than the earth and softer than the sand murmured, "My parting gift to you."


Kiyomisa: Ahh...yeay! There you go, here's the end. Thank you all for being patient with me and for all your support. It's readers like you guys that help me keep writting. I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writting it. See you on some of my other stories! wink wink, nudge nudge)