So yeah, here's an actual more than a single chapter story of mine that I'm trying to write, and I've already started on the second chapter, so here goes nothing.

Oh, in case you didn't notice, I DO NOT own Kingdom Hearts. Seriously, if I did, would I be writing mediocre fanfictions on the internet? No. I would wallowing the money that KH has brought in...which would be quite a lot. If you didn't get the original message, I don't own Kingdom Hearts.


yeeeeeeee!


The Only Light

Written by Claude Riddle,

also known as Every Heart Bleeds.


Lonan sighed as he entered the accessory shop. The shopkeeper, Cid, greeted him with a swipe across his nose. He was smoking a cigarette, as usual. Nothing ever changed, it seemed.

"What'll you have?" the pilot asked. Lonan answered with the usual, not bothering to look up. He had been there so many times he no longer had to think to order supplies. Cid noticed his silence and his frown deepened.

"Hey, what's wrong, kid?" he asked, leaning over the counter. Lonan shook his head stepping back from the smell of smoke that always lingered around the older man.

"It's nothing," he said. "Just…the weather." As the kid was leaving, Cid looked out the door, and saw only the light dusk that always accompanied Traverse Town days. Cid shook his head regretfully. Something was wrong with that kid, and he knew it had nothing to do with the weather.

Lonan made his way through the nearly empty streets toward the second district. He ran a hand through his brown hair and reminded himself to take a shower when he got back. Not that there was anyone to impress around this beat up town, but he felt dirty anyway. Besides, the water could wash away the monotony of the town, and maybe even help him remember the life he used to live.

The door to his two-room house was locked, as usual. Lonan shoved his key into the lock and turned it fiercely, the only way to get it to open for him. He set down his bag and placed a foot on the doorframe, gripping his key with both hands. With a sudden jerk, he pulled the key free, nearly falling backwards, if it hadn't been for some quick footwork. The door swung open with a creak, Lonan grabbed his bag, and he walked inside the dark house.

"I'm home," he called. He didn't know why he did, like the three-legged cat didn't come anyway whenever she heard the door slam. Lonan heard the awkward padding of his cat Goblin's feet on the floor and smiled, walking over to the counter of his kitchen and living room combination. In its usual place sat a lantern and a small matchbox. Lonan lit the lantern and carried it into the next room, his bedroom.

It was nothing special, just an eight-by-eight room with a bed, closet, bathroom, and a chest of drawers. Goblin hobbled after him and jumped up onto his bed, curling up and closing her eyes. The cat was still sitting up. Lonan smiled. He pulled off his shirt and walked into his tiny bathroom. He only hoped the water heater would work at this time of day, but no one could ever tell. He turned the knob and felt for the water to change in temperatures. The water slowly got warmer and Lonan was vaguely aware of his bill rising. Only fifteen, and he was already living on his own in this gods-forsaken town where the people either always slept or never stopped working. And to think, his life had gone down the drain only two years ago. It felt like an eternity. Lonan dragged his pants and boxers off, stepped into the shower and closed his eyes, reminiscing about his childhood friends and life.

The quiet was soothing, only because it was not completely silent. In the background, Lonan heard his friends playing, most likely chasing each other or wrestling. A girl's laughter rang out amongst the others and Lonan smiled. He had three good friends in this place, and he never wanted to let them go.

His home was peaceful, a sort of forest with a village smack in the middle of it. He and his friends loved to run around the woods and jump around the creek, pretending they were great warriors of a past time or act like they were enemies and try to fight with sticks whittled to points. Life was easy, especially for the kids.

Lonan's two best friends, Kristopher and Saran, were the oldest of the group, at fourteen and fifteen. Lonan looked up to them, especially because of how great they were at fighting. They had taught him everything he knew, but he could never beat either one of them, and they could never best each other. The two were like older brothers to him. Kris had stark black hair, always lying flat and hanging into his deep, blue eyes. Saran was the exact opposite, with dirty blond hair and brown-green eyes. Saran normally kept his medium-length locks in a ponytail at the back of his head. In fact, he almost didn't look right unless it was up.

Then there was Elsa. She was the only girl in the group of friends, and always laughed at how the boys fought. She and Lonan were the same age. Elsa never took part in the rough games, but she could run like there was no tomorrow. She was always the best at tag, and never lost a race, unless it was on purpose. Saran was her older brother, and her only remaining family. However, the only way one could tell was their eyes, both a dark brown with small, green flecks rimming them. Elsa always clung close to all the boys. She needed love, and she got it.

"Hey, Lonan!" Lonan lifted his head from the rock he was lying on. Kris was standing there, his wooden sword slung over his shoulder. He had a hand on his hip and was frowning. "What're you doing lying around on a day like this? You can't go around sleeping all day when you suck so bad at fighting." He smirked and held out a hand to help his friend to his feet. Lonan picked up the long, straight stick that served as his sword and smiled evilly. He suddenly lashed out at Kris, but his older friend expected it, parrying easily. Before Lonan had time to react, Kristopher had smacked him in the side with a well-aimed swing. Lonan grunted and fell to one knee, holding the newly forming bruise.

"Jeez!" he exclaimed, glaring up at the older boy. "Why do you have to hit so hard?"

Kris shrugged. "Your real enemies aren't going to take it easy on you, so why should I?"

Lonan snorted. "Like I'm ever going to face any real enemies," he said. He smiled, sitting back on his knees. "Unless you or Saran decide to kill me," he added, smirking.

"That's unlikely, Buddy. Now come on. Saran and Elsa are waiting."

None of the children had ever thought that there was something evil in their tiny village.

Saran and Elsa were at the creek, both sitting on rocks. Elsa's bare feet were swinging in the water. A few tiny fish zipped around and away from her and she smiled. Saran was lounging on his favorite rock, one that jutted out from a huge hill behind it. It was higher than any other rock, and only Saran and Elsa knew how to reach it. The brunette swore to her brother she'd never tell, either. It was just Saran's way of saying that he was older and wiser than the rest of them were.

Saran jumped down, landing easily on his feet beside Elsa. He rested his sword on his shoulder and smiled. "Hey, you two. You ready to test your skill, Kris?" The boy nodded, grinning evilly. "Good," replied the blonde, smirking. "Cause I would've got you anyway."

With a feral shout, Saran lunged at Kris, holding his sword high above his head. He and Kristopher met; nearly breaking each other's swords. Kris was always silent during his fights, always thinking about his next move and his opponent's. Lonan jumped back from the two, opting not to get stuck in the middle without any decent defense. Elsa beckoned for him to sit beside her and watch.

Kris and Saran both knew that a thrust was one of the stupidest moves to make during a battle, especially when your opponent was still up and running. But Saran tried anyway. His techniques often seemed aimless, but always there was a hidden sequence. Saran thrust directly to the left of Kris's head, missing by inches. Just as the younger boy swung up to knock it away, Saran arced it down to hit him in the side. Kris winced as the wooden sword hit its mark but took the split second that Saran held it there to attack as well. He swung around and smacked his older friend in the side as well, causing Saran to growl in pain.

Kris jumped back, putting space between them. His techniques always involved jumping around, evasive actions, and quick, painful attacks. Sometimes Lonan couldn't even see him move. Both Kris and Saran glared at each other, holding their wooden swords with two hands in front of them.

"I bet Saran goes first," said Elsa, smiling. She always expected him to win.

"You're probably right," replied Lonan, still staring at the two opponents. Elsa sighed and looked down at her hands, then back at her brother and friend.

Saran didn't let either of them down, running forward. Kris held his ground, turning his sword around in his hand so that it was pointing behind him. As Saran reached him, he slammed his sword down, aiming for Kris's chest. Just as he was about to make contact, Kris brought his sword up, crossing his arms so that he was holding the hilt with one hand and pressing against Saran's attack with the other. He smiled and Saran immediately knew what was coming.

Kris forced Saran back, shoving his sword away and jumping away. He flipped his sword around once more and dashed forward, holding his sword behind him. Saran tried to twist out of the way, but he wasn't able to get away in time. Kris swung behind him as he ran by, smacking his opponent in the back and knocking him to the ground. Not fully expecting Saran to fall, he had to skid to a stop and whip around, ready for an attack. But Saran was on the ground, groaning. Kris edged forward, wary for a trick. As he stepped close enough to his fallen friend, Saran tried to lift himself. Immediately he felt Kris's wooden sword flick under his chin. Saran, Lonan and Elsa all felt their eyes widen at the sight that Kris had actually ended a fight. Normally it was a draw, and the only reason that they stopped was because they both decided they were too tired or their mothers called them in.

Kristopher was breathing hard after his quick sprint and Saran was practically breathless from the amazement that his younger friend had beaten him. Kris heaved a sigh and flicked his sword away from Saran's neck. Saran growled and stood. Lonan and Elsa ran over, shouting congratulations to Kris. He smiled.

"That was amazing, you two!" Elsa cried, never failing to acknowledge her older brother, even in the process of denouncing him. Kristopher grinned, and Saran grumbled a disgruntled response.

"There's no way I can beat you," said Lonan, smiling weakly. He smirked in Saran's direction. "Maybe Saran…" He grinned as the oldest boy's shoulders tensed.

"Shut up," Saran mumbled. He spun around, clutching his sword tighter than before. "I can whip your ass anytime I want, you little brat!"

He suddenly lunged at Lonan, leaving little time to block. Lonan yelped and leapt out of the way, having left his sword back at Elsa's rock. He fell backwards, landing with a grunt on his rear. Saran was ready to strike again, but Kristopher got in front of him.

"Leave him alone," he growled.

"Why should I?" asked Saran, an equal amount of venom in his voice as in Kristopher's. Kris didn't move.

"Because you're letting your temper get the best of you again, Saran," said Elsa quietly. Saran turned to face her and she stared at her feet. "You're just mad because you didn't beat Kris." She looked up at her brother, a frightened look in her eyes. She hated going against her older brother, and everyone knew why. Not only was he an excellent fighter, but he also had a terrible temper. Once he had let loose on Elsa, and she had run to Lonan's home, crying, in the middle of the night. Lonan and Kris had never let him get near Elsa when he was like that ever again.

Just as Saran was about to answer, a tremor shook the ground and everyone froze. An earthquake? No, no one had ever heard of such a thing in this place. Another, fiercer tremor shook the woods and all the children's head jerked to the creek. Three of the largest rocks fell to the ground with loud crashes, shattering as they hit the ground. Kristopher was the first to react, grabbing Lonan and lifting him to his feet before pushing him toward the village. Lonan didn't move, however, as the largest rock, Saran's rock, suddenly cracked, bending as if something was only pushing it down, rather than breaking it. As the four watched, a black, twisting hand reached out of the space between the hill and the boulder. The hand was black as a night without stars. Each finger was pointed, but without any nails. The black flesh was swirling and twisting, disconnecting itself from the hand, then slipping back into the eerie flesh.

The hand clutched the edge of the rock, pulling itself forward. The children watched in horror as another hand appeared, reaching forth out of the crevice. It was followed by a head, flaming white eyes piercing through the children's hearts. A grinning, bare mouth appeared next, licking the nonexistent lips. All the pointed teeth were exposed like a black skull emerging from a grave. The creature pulled itself out of the hole, sliding along the rock until it was "sitting" on it. The rest of its body was more like a snake, slithering onto the rock.

Before the children could do anything, the creature suddenly dropped off the boulder. It slithered across the creek, faster than any of them thought possible. A black spider web of cracks followed it and spread like a deadly disease. Everywhere it touched turned to ash, even the boulders that lined the creek, and the water in the creek as well.

Elsa screamed, bringing the boys back to their senses. Saran, forgetting his former anger, grabbed his sister's hand and dragged her back toward their village, with Lonan and Kristopher close on their heels. Elsa tripped once, causing Saran to lose her grip. He skidded to a halt, turning to her, but she was already back on her feet and charging away from the creature, faster than it could slide towards them.

"Help!" she shrieked, running as fast as she could. "Help! There's something coming!" she screamed at the village. The four friends reached the village to find it empty of all people. In their places were creatures, nearly the same as the thing that slid out of the crevice behind them. But these things were more humanoid in appearance, only that they were made of the twisting, eerie shadow stuff as the creature. Their eyes weren't white, either, but only black flames swirling in their places.

All the creatures turned to them, focusing all their attention on the four of them. Elsa shook her head, tears rolling down her cheeks. The boys only stared at the shadows, slowly creeping towards them. Suddenly, as though receiving an order, they shot forward, closing in on the helpless children. Elsa screamed, covering her head with her hands as the shadows reached them, diving in and instantly losing their shapes.

"Elsa!" Lonan screamed at her, grabbing for her hand through the wall of darkness that was covering them all.

Lonan felt her small, thin hand in his, but it was cold. He tried to see past the squirming shadows, but saw only darkness. It was pressing on him, suffocating him, killing him. He heard the others struggling with the shadows and above all else, he heard Elsa scream. She was suddenly cut off and he heard her choke out the words, "Help, Lonan!" Then all was quiet, except Lonan's final scream before he fell into oblivion.

"No!"

Lonan came to from his memory as he felt himself shivering under freezing water pouring onto his back. Besides, he didn't want to remember the next part. In fact, he wished he didn't have to.

He couldn't help but think about it now, but he at least climbed out of the shower and got dressed, preparing for work.

Lonan woke with a start as he felt cold fingers grasp his shoulder. Even beneath his shirt he could feel the cool seeping through him. He opened his eyes, staring up to where he was sure he would see the creature, opening its skeleton mouth to swallow him. In stead, he saw a young man, most likely in his early twenties. He had dark, grey-blue eyes and long brown hair that fell around his neck and spiked out at various lengths. A scar ran between his dark eyebrows. A pendant from around his neck hung down in Lonan's vision and he saw that it was in the shape of an eagle's head with something like a fleur-de-lis in the background.

"Found another one, Squall?" A young woman walked up behind him. She had short, black hair that barely hung to her neck in the back. A white headband held it back from her eyes.

The man sighed. "Yeah, looks like it. And I asked you to call me Leon. I can't live up to that name anymore."

The woman held her hands behind her back, staring at her scuffling feet. "I think you can," she said. "Squall, he's awake." The man looked back to Lonan, finally seeing that his eyes were open. His breath came in shallow gasps and beads of sweat began to form on his forehead. The woman gasped and knelt beside Squall, passing a hand over Lonan's stomach. He gasped and cried out, knocking her hand away.

"He's hurt," murmured Squall. "Yuffie, go to the hotel and secure a room for him. I'll be there soon." Yuffie nodded and turned to run. "Make sure to have first aid there, too," Squall called. She waved without looking back.

Squall looked down at the boy, then gently placed his hand beneath Lonan's head. He lifted him up, carrying the boy in his arms, and began the slow walk back to the second district hotel.

The pain in Lonan's stomach was increasing as the two made their way to the hotel. By the time they got there, Lonan was covered in a cold sweat and he was near to passing out. Squall tried to talk him through it, but he soon gave up. Yuffie met them just inside the main entrance to the hotel and led them into the third room, dubbed the green room, and rightfully so.

Squall laid Lonan down on the single bed that was stationed in the middle of the wall. A lush green bedspread was smoothed over it, and Lonan gratefully felt himself lowered onto the feather bed. He relaxed a little, but enough to relieve the pain. He was squirming, trying not to cry but at the same time wishing he could.

"Yuffie," said Squall. Lonan heard him as both a loud, harsh sound and one he could barely hear. Lonan saw Yuffie bend over him and gently lift his shirt in the front. He jerked forward at the sharp pain before Yuffie ordered Squall to hold him down. He was vaguely aware that she was telling him that everything would be all right, it's almost over, this will only hurt a little while.

A cool sensation spread over the wound and Lonan felt his breathing relax. He took several deep, shuddering breaths as the cold continued to linger over his stomach. He let his head fall back on the pillow and Squall's hands lift from his shoulders. Everything was better. Now he could rest.

"Look at this, Squall." Lonan reluctantly opened his eyes at Yuffie's voice; trying to will himself back into sleep. He looked up at the cuckoo clock on the wall beside him. Eight-thirty. He didn't know how long he had been asleep, whether it had been minutes or days. He didn't care, either. He just felt it wasn't enough.

"What is it?" asked Squall.

"The kid's blood," replied Yuffie. Lonan discreetly looked over at them and saw they were gazing at a bandage. It was covered in a dark violet color. Lonan was too tired to realize that he was still wrapped in bandages.

Squall looked up at Yuffie, frowning. "Blood?"

"Yeah," murmured the girl, just as confused as her comrade. "It's…"

"Black," Squall finished, sighing. "This kid really is weird." He glanced over at Lonan and he quickly closed his eyes, once more pretending to be asleep. "I'll ask around, see if anyone knows who he is. If he wakes up, find out his name," Squall said, turning toward the door and grabbing his black leather jacket off the coat rack. "See where he's from." Yuffie nodded and Squall left, closing the door with a slam. Lonan pretended to wake up then and rolled over, adding in a fake groan. Yuffie looked up at him and smiled.

"Hey," she said quietly. "How're you feeling?"

Lonan grunted. "Fine," he said. "What'd you do to my stomach?"

"Don't worry about it. Simply healing potion. It fixes everything up." Yuffie sat down beside him on the bed. "So, what's your name, kid?"

"Lonan," he answered, sitting up. He shivered and pulled his cover farther over his shoulders.

"Cold?" Lonan nodded silently.

After a moment, he said, "Have you found anyone else? I mean…I was separated from my friends, and I don't know how I got here."

Yuffie looked up. Lonan followed her gaze, but saw nothing, and realized she was only thinking. "Well," she said. "After a person's world has been…swallowed by darkness," –she sighed– "some people die. They…don't survive through it. But there are others who do, and that means that their hearts are strong. Most of the time, the survivors end up here, in Traverse Town. In fact, I think everyone does. If…they survive." She looked back at Lonan with a sad look. "How many friends were you with?"

Lonan didn't answer. He stared at his feet, covered in blankets. He couldn't even comprehend the thought that Kristopher and Saran and Elsa…no, he couldn't think about it. They had strong hearts, stronger than his own, he was sure. He hugged his knees, closing his eyes.

"Your name's Yuffie, right?"

"Yeah."

"And that other guy…Squall?"

Yuffie paused for a second. "Well, that's his real name, Squall Leonhart, but ever since our world was destroyed, he's been wanting to go by Leon. He says he can't live up his name. I think…it would be best if you called him Leon." She smiled. He nodded.

"Do you think my friends are here?" Lonan asked quietly, still staring at his feet.

"Do you?" asked Yuffie, raising an eyebrow.

Lonan shook his head. "I don't know. They all had strong hearts, but even my mom and dad, and Kris's parents…they weren't there." He sniffed, wiping at his eyes. "They weren't human anymore. They were…black…they were just darkness." Lonan looked up at Yuffie, trying to fight back the tears he knew were coming. "If they didn't survive, then how could Elsa, or Kristopher or Saran?" A tear rolled down his cheek and he hurriedly looked away, wiping at his eye. He felt a gentle hand on his shoulder and he looked up to see Yuffie smiling at him.

"What about you?" she said. "If you survived, then don't you think that your friends did? Kids tend to have stronger hearts than adults do, because they have more compassion. I mean, kids are the ones who cry at the sight of a bug being smashed, and they smile if you give them a flower that would normally be called a weed. Their hearts are lighter, happier, than adults. They simply enjoy things more and see the light more easily." She took her hand away and looked back up the ceiling, swinging her legs back and forth. "Honestly, if your friends are anything like you, I think they're here." Lonan smiled.

At that moment, the door flew open, and Leon walked in.

"No sign of anyone new around, but I heard from Cid that a few people had seen new faces around town." He stopped, looking, at Lonan, then finally seemed to realize that his eyes were open.

"Uh, hey Squall," said Yuffie, scratching the back of her head. "This is Lonan."

"Lonan?" Yuffie nodded. "Where did you come from?"

"Uh…I don't really know," said Lonan, smiling nervously.

Leon raised an eyebrow. "Okay, what was your world like?"

Lonan frowned. "My world?" Leon nodded. "Like the place I grew up in?"

Leon sighed. "Sure. If that's the last place you remember."

"Um, okay. My…world…was just like a forest, and there was a little village in the middle. Me and my friends weren't allowed to go very far, so I don't really remember anything else about it." Leon and Yuffie both nodded.

"What was the village called?" asked Leon.

"It didn't really have a name. We just called it the village."

All three were silent for a moment, as it seemed that Leon was thinking. He stared at the floor, frowning, slightly nodding every once in a while. Finally he looked up and said, "I've got to go see about something. I'll be back soon." And he disappeared through the door once more. Lonan looked to Yuffie for an explanation, but she was still looking at the door.

She stood abruptly and turned to him. "You should get some more sleep. Don't worry about your friends. I know they're here." She smiled at him one last time, and then walked out the door, closing it quietly for the kid to sleep.

Without warning, Lonan's stomach gave one burst of pain, silencing the boy before he even had a chance to scream in agony. He fell back against the pillow, sweat pouring from his brow, and he once again passed out, falling into unconsciousness.


Yay! Tis over! Now, let the flaming, spitting and short bursts of high velocity machine gun fire comence! If you care to review, please do so, and if you care not to, then you once again do not have to. If you want to flame, I will be very sad, but will still post just for the heck of it. So hah! (Raspberry!)

Ehb