Sometime mid-January, 2012
A/N: Welcome to Cinderfella. As you can see from the publish date, this fanfic is considerably outdated. That being said, this isn't the worst I've written (you can find worse on my author profile, haha,) but this needed an edit and to be finished.
For starters, I yanked all of the in-text author notes. They're still listed at the end of chapter if significant, but oh god I can't believe I ever did that… (puke)
That being said, there's some grammatical corrections, but not much content was changed. I won't talk much about the content due to spoilers until it has already been revealed. I'm trying to hold back on author notes in my new works, but I feel that some of this warrants some explanation (maybe to make myself feel better). Totally skippable notes if you want to go right to content.
The first two chapters have received considerable corrections, but because filling in many of the loopholes requires a total make over, I've settled for mostly grammatical changes. So the first two chapters are almost wiped clean—the ones following are just clean up. Otherwise this would take me forever!
THOUGH I MUST MENTION NOW—Please do not let the first part turn you off to reading. Part of the beginning involves some Japanese dialogue, but it's a passing thing and this fic will not be littered with out-of-place honorifics and Japanese expressions. (Just… read, you'll understand.)
Alright, off to chapter one with you!
Chapter 1 – The Prelude
Everything changed since that night. His home, his family, his world.
A six-year-old boy was curled in a ball in his new bed. His sobs and snuffles went unheard, muted by the sheets so he wouldn't pop his head in. Why had this happened to him? It wasn't fair.
Why wouldn't Mom and Dad come and save him?
Cinderfella – The Prelude
Two weeks before, in Japan...
"Now, Sora, remember, we'll be back when you're asleep. And you'll be asleep," a woman laughed. Sora giggled and wrapped his arms around her waist. Her son had a habit of being wide-awake when he should have been in bed hours prior. "So no sugar for you, or you won't ever get tired!"
"Yes, Mommy." He giggled again. The man next to the woman chuckled at their son's antics. "I will be asleep! I'll go to bed right now!" As he turned and began to sprint for the bedroom, he was lifted into the air by the same man that had laughed at him moments before.
"It's only 6 o'clock, silly boy," his father said. He swung Sora in the air in circles, and the boy squealed in delight. He was then handed to his mother who, in her gentler nature, balanced him properly in her grip.
"We'll see you in the morning." She planted a kiss directly on the boy's forehead. Sora gave her a sweet smile, appreciating the gesture. He was set back down on the floor, and both parents were on their way out for their date. "Bye!"
"Bye Mom! Bye Dad!" Sora waved furiously with his hand to send his farewell.
"Bye! I'll make sure he's in bed by eight!" Emi, Sora's babysitter for the night, stood next to him. Sora continued to wave until the door slid shut, and Emi looked down at the boy. "Wanna go watch the television? We can play your favorite movie if you would like."
"Sure!" He followed the girl in pursuit, parents forgotten for the moment.
Emi looked over at the lump of blankets on the floor. He had fallen asleep earlier in the evening, so she had settled for watching game shows. But has she had started to just fall asleep, the phone's loud ring brought her back to reality.
"Ozawa residence, this is Emi." There was a silence, which was broken by Sora's squeaking under the covers and his messy head peeking from underneath. "That's terrible," she spoke quietly. "Yes, their son is here... no, he's the only one. Okay... I'll tell him that. Thank you." Her face was solemn as she hung up the phone.
"Sora?" She looked over at him, thinking he was asleep. But he was already awake, his stare already on her face. Even he could tell something was wrong, young as he was.
"What's wrong, Emi-chan? You look so sad..."
"Sora..." Emi could hardly bear to tell the boy the news, and the only thing she could think of was to hug the boy.
"You only give me hugs when you leave! Does this mean you're leaving? But Mommy and Daddy aren't back yet, silly!" He heard her choke sobs. "Emi-chan?"
"They... aren't coming back ever, Sora. I'm sorry."
"What do you mean? They said they'd be back when I woke up, tomorrow! Aww... don't cry..."
"S-sora... your parents... they're dead." Her voice fell to what was barely recognized as a whisper.
"Dead? They... what?" Dead? He heard that word before but didn't understand its meaning. "But if they're not coming back tonight, won't they come back tomorrow?"
"I'm so sorry, Sora," was all she could say. How to make him understand? And when Emi started to cry, Sora cried. But he cried because she was sad. He had yet to understand that they weren't coming back. Not that night, not the next day, or the day after that.
Cinderfella - The Prelude
Emi decided to take Sora down where his parents' ashes rested before leaving Japan for his new home. It was her last attempt to make him understand, but at a child his age, it was doubtful if he would even understand what he was looking at.
He looked at the grave inquisitively, running his finger tips over the engraved characters on the tombstone. Although he did not know how to write these, he'd begun to recognize them.
Emi crouched next to Sora, pointing at the first line. "This is your father's name," and her finger drew across the next name. "And this is your mother's. They're both resting here now. I brought you to say goodbye."
Sora turned to look at Emi, bewildered. "So they're sleeping underground?"
Her eyes turn downcast to the ground. She gave up trying to explain. "Yes, Sora. They've gone to sleep now, but they can no longer wake up."
"Why can't they wake up?" But Emi just embraced Sora, trying to hold back her tears. "Emi-chan?"
Cinderfella – The Prelude
Sora was so unfamiliar to the surroundings about him. The signs were all wrong and the scenery was completely different. He was scared and therefore almost completely silent.
When the car stopped, the man in the car spun around. His bangs hung in his eyes as he spoke to Sora in Sora's native language. "This is your new home, Sora." The man departed from the car, and he opened Sora's door and guided him out. Sora clutched the backpack in his hands.
The house was huge at a full two floors—it was much larger than Sora's previous apartment. It towered over any other house in the suburban area; the houses on both sides appeared shrunken in comparison.
Sora's eyes explored the grandiose entranceway as he was gently pushed towards the door by the hand on his back. The man rung the doorbell, which could be heard from outside. A minute or two passed before a man answered the door. He looked very strange to Sora with his silver hair and tan skin. He wore a business suit, as he had returned from work shortly before Sora's arrival. "Good day, Mr. Strife. I came with Sora here…" The man bent down and pulled Sora around, who'd been hiding behind a leg. "Say hello to your new father."
"You don't have to be so formal with me, Yuki. Call me Ansem." His smile was firm and tight-lipped as he stared down at the nervous child. "Come on in, you must be tired from the long trip." Sora nodded silently and practically stumbled into the house. Yuki went back to the car to retrieve the remainder of the belongings as Sora was introduced to his new home.
Sora gasped loudly when he saw the inside. It was even better than the outside: every window was adorned with silk curtains, the carpeting was perfectly cleaned and soft, the furniture was unique with weaved patterns and remarkable designs, and of course, every statue, decoration, lamp, and doorway was beautifully crafted, giving Sora an overwhelming feeling of fantasy. This was where he was going to live? Were there butlers and maids too? Would he live a life of ease and fun? And this was only the first room of the home. It was almost as big as the whole apartment in Japan.
"From now on, you may call me Dad." Snapped out of his daydream, the boy looked up and nodded silently. "This is where you will stay from this day forward, starting with the living room. You are not to go in here and play. This is where I will have guests over as well, so do not make any messes." His point was well taken.
Sora was guided through a hall before they reached a room about twice the size of the previous. A table stretched down the room, and the wooden floors were perfectly shined. "This is the dining room. This is where we eat dinner." He turned his head to Yuki walked in with arms full of bags and a pillow.
"Where should I put his things?" he asked, lightly panting.
"Set them by the stairway, we will take care of them later." The redhead nodded, and walked away to put them where appropriate. When he returned, Ansem shook his hand. "Thank you so much. Have a safe trip back."
"Thank you for your kindness," Yuki took a step back and honored Ansem with a bow. He then bent to one knee and ruffled Sora's hair. "See ya."
"Bye Kimura-san!" The door opened and once more closed as Yuki Kimura left. He did not notice his guardian wince at this, and glanced back down at his new son.
"Shall we finish the rest of the tour?"
Cinderfella – The Prelude
When they finally reached the upstairs, they passed a room, where loud rock music could be heard. Ansem tapped on the door, and after the music turned down a boy answered the door, trying to tame his messy blonde hair with a hand. "Yeah?"
"Cloud, this is your half-brother, Sora." They both looked at each other in surprise. Brothers? That would explain their stunning resemblance... "And Sora, this is Cloud. He's eight. And you're... five, right?"
"Six," Sora corrected.
"Off by a year or less." He seemed to chuckle, but it was noticeably strained. "You two will also be living under the same roof, so I expect both of you to behave together." They nodded in obedience, their silent quality another common feature. As both walked away from the room Cloud closed his door, and the music reached a louder volume again.
They finally reached Sora's room. It was considerably smaller than Cloud's room had been, and most of the furniture was not as high-scale. However, there were still curtains on the wall and with a flick of a switch, the room became well-lit. Sora blinked as Ansem dropped his bags at the entrance.
"And this, boy, is your room." Sora could sense the switch in Ansem's personality by the change in his tone. "Unfortunately, I had to change the guest room into your new bedroom, so do not ruin it. You'll receive instructions tomorrow about expectations while you live under my roof. For the night, I ask you behave and unpack your things." And he was gone like that, leaving Sora to put away his own things. But he was well-practiced in putting things away thanks to the lessons from his mom and dad.
The first bag he opened was full of clothing, and he unzipped the next one to reveal another bag stuffed with outfits. The plain dresser that sat in the corner of the room seemed to stare at him with resentment. It's revenge for Sora's invasion was dealt when Sora pricked his finger on the wood. He yelped in surprised, and when he assessed that no horrific damage was done, he set out to put his clothing in its proper place.
The shoes sat on the bottom of the second bag, obviously not belonging in his dresser with the rest of the clothes. At the apartment all shoes were set next to the door, but here he assumed that all his things belonged in his room. He placed a pair of sandals and a pair of sneakers next to the dresser, not ever having used a closet before. The next bag was full of toys, which were put in the closet space. There was no toy box in this room, so the strange tiny room could pose as one.
The last bag was full of the memories of the home he left behind in Japan. Pictures, miniature figures, other random trinkets... He set them in the small bedstand, leaving nothing by the lamp on top except for an alarm clock and a family photo.
Although this room was decent (and much larger than the bedroom he'd had in Japan), it just didn't feel like home. Mostly because his parents weren't there. Where were they? Why was he here, without them?
He crawled into the bed to take a nap, exhausted from his work. But he didn't want sleep. He just wanted Mommy and Daddy…
Cinderfella – The Prelude
Nine years later...
"Sora!" The shout shook him from his dream, and his body shot forth in a violent motion of wake. "Geez... it's just me." His breaths were shuddered, but they began to calm to as he looked at the intruder in the window.
"Sorry, Kairi, that was just loud and it woke me up. It was...too loud in fact." He looked at the one known as Kairi with an intense amount of irritation. "A little louder could have attracted my dad'sattention, which is the last thing you want."
"Right, right. No worries, he's still at work. It's only four o' clock, ya know."
"FOUR?" He looked at the clock, which only read three thirty-nine. He'd only sleep for ten minutes at most... "Kairi!"
She giggled at him sweetly. When she laughed like that, he couldn't stay mad at her. "Ah... I just wanted to see your reaction. Why do you get so worried?"
"Well... I just don't want to get my head bitten off. He has a temper."
"And I gotta start supper soon..." He fell back against the bed, yawning. "But I'm so exhausted..."
"After all the homework they've been giving us, you should be tired!" She crossed her arms. "You know, I think those teachers are trying to kill us..."
"You could be right," he agreed. "Especially with projects. I hate projects. They're stupid." He rolled over to lie on his stomach and felt himself begin to fall into sleep once more.
A "Well... way to be Captain Duh," snapped him from his half-conscious state.
"Maybe you had better get up so you don't fall asleep again..." His best friend said, poking him in the side. "I'm just gonna go back to my house, 'kay? I'll see you in school tomorrow! Bye Sora!" She climbed out the window and began to disembark, feet landing perfectly on edge ledge of the wall. She'd done this dozens of times before.
"See ya, Kairi," he mumbled, rising from the bed in response to her advice. He rubbed his eyes before walking downstairs and making his way into the large kitchen.
Tonight his dad would have to settle for something easy. He was exhausted from the load of schoolwork and housework to function completely well. Sora did all of the chores by himself, and although he made it look like he did it totally voluntarily, he was sworn to never tell that it was his condition for living under his roof. Even his brother Cloud didn't know he was actually made to do chores.
After setting water and fresh vegetables on the stove to boil, he began to patiently wait for them to steam and bubble. He laid his arms on the counter to cradle his head, knowing it'd be a few good minutes before anything would happen.
Still ready to go back to sleep, he slipped his eyes closed. I'll open my eyes in a few minutes, he promised himself. I just need to close them for a bit…
A startling amount of heat was detected on Sora's face, and his eyes snapped opened to see steam engulfing him. A new pair of hands turned off the burners and began moving the pots off the stovetop as Sora just watched. He felt like an idiot.
"What are you doing sleeping next to the stove?" Cloud inquired, giving Sora strong poke in the head. "You're gonna cook yourself doing that. And burn the house down while you're at it."
"Sorry…" Sora strutted over to the cupboard to gather up some dishes to set the table with. His older brother sent him a glare.
"Don't drop a dish yet. Why don't you let me take care of it?"
"I'm fine," Sora argued, reaching for a serving bowl.
"You're trembling." It hadn't escaped Cloud's attention that the plates were shaky in Sora's grip. But Sora stood his ground, scooping the bowl into the small pile in his arms and made his way to the table.
"Seriously! I'll be fine!" Although, his head was spinning a little, he assumed it would subside soon.
"Okay." The older teenager rolled his eyes. "I really don't understand why you make yourself do so much Sora…" He observed worriedly as Sora was wobbled awkwardly, nearly sending a plate to the floor. But Sora didn't break anything as they set the table for dinner.
"Yeah. You're telling me."
A/N: I actually made some significant changes here. Two points are worth mentioning, one more significant than the other.
First, I had to do some major rewritten of "baby" Sora. I was once stupider than I am now, and did not realize that children up to a certain age don't have the psychological ability to understand death as a permanent thing. Thus is Sora's misunderstanding of his parents "never coming back."
Second, I'd like to mention what I opted not to change. As you all can see, Ansem is actually "Xehanort." When this was originally written, we were up to Chain of Memories in terms of released games in the States, so the fact that Ansem = Xehanort/Xemas was not yet revealed and we all knew him as Ansem. I decided not to change his name here and will remain Ansem.
Although I tried to cut Cloud's ignorance, it's just too freaking complicated. Whatever. I was an idiot. We'll roll with it.