I seem to have forgotten to mention this, but this splits off from Bound at chapter 30 (the beginning of 31 and chapter 1 was just an odd coincidence.) Just a reminder I'm playing with KH canon like whoa. As in, cut it up, shuffle the pieces, put it together and tie it into a pretzel. KHII spoilers are still nonexistent at the moment, seeing as I can't play the game till May 5th, though some may pop up in the future, at least in terms of concepts.
This was posted on LJ awhile ago. ; Forgot people read it over here.
Pairing(s): Same as Bound, at the moment.
Rated: R (overall)
Still don't own the FFVII characters or the KH ones. And Bound doesn't belong to me either.
Riku felt a painful lurch in his chest when Sora called his name. The keyblade he had carefully tended these past seven years leapt at his friend's voice, attempting to spring back into the Sora's hands. Exerting his will, Riku managed to quiet it for the moment. How long that would last, he didn't know. The keyblade's dull burn had lead him this far, through the maze of worlds that had separated Riku from Sora. There had been times when he had wished to give up, but whenever he even considered the thought the power had become blisteringly hot to the point he had almost died. In truth it was the keyblade in control and Riku was merely its vessel. It would not be long before he had no control over it at all.
Maleficent had once told Riku that the keyblade was his by right, that Sora had stolen it. The young man knew now that was completely false. Any keyblade – much less The Keyblade – belonged to no one. It tolerated certain people and placed them on the paths that fit its own ends. How anyone could even think they could "control" the weapon was beyond Riku's comprehension.
Sora's arms grabbed him and held him close. Riku returned the embrace carefully; though he barely recognized the figure before him, he knew his friend's essence anywhere. He could tell his blue eyed foster brother had gone through a great deal of pain during his absence. The thought hurt, but worse still was the knowledge of the task that lay before him. Riku had accepted the keyblade of his own will. Sora would have to do the same, even if Riku had to convince him to take up the burden again.
"Cloud, get back." That was the gunner, the dark-haired man Sora's companions referred to as "Vincent." Riku had noticed the darkness rolling inside of the man as soon as he had begun to observe the group, stronger than in any of the others. He didn't trust Vincent, well aware how seductive such darkness could be. The man represented a weakness in the group, at least from his perspective.
The fact he was trying to take Sora away probably didn't hurt either.
Sora relaxed his death grip on Riku to give the red-clad man a strange look over his shoulder. Enlightenment suddenly blossomed in his blue eyes as he turned, his right arm still about Riku's waist. "He's not a clone, Vincent." His arm tightened, pulling Riku against his side. "He's always looked like this. And I've known him since I was six."
"Which is more than I can say for you," Riku interjected, staring up at Sora, something he had never had to do before. "What in the world happened?"
"This and that. You know me. I'm always getting into trouble." Sora grinned, an expression so memorable to Riku it nearly broke him to see it on such an unfamiliar face.
"Do I ever," Riku replied teasingly, willing to let the reason he had come here rest for a bit.
"Sorry to break up this little reunion," Reno interrupted, "but did you write this note?"
Riku mentally sighed. Apparently Sora might be willing to ignore the serious business, but his companions were not. "Yes, I did. That was for Sora."
"Who?" Zack asked, looking confused.
Riku pointed at the youth who had firmly attached himself to the silver haired man's side. "Him."
"I've heard Spike be called quite a few things but Sora was never one of 'em," Zack observed, eyes narrowing. "So why – "
"It's a nickname," Cloud quickly explained.
"When Kairi and I first met Sora we didn't speak the same language. She called him 'Sora' because the color of his eyes matched the sky." Riku added. He noted Vincent's eyes narrowed ever so slightly in thought, no doubt because the name was similar to a word in one the languages spoken here, that the red clad man had spoken to the young thief they had run into a short time ago. The common tongue spoken on the rest of the planet was rather different.
Thank goodness keybearers received the gift of tongues, or else Riku would have spent most of his time just trying to figure out what people were saying, much less how to find Sora!
Sora elbowed him in the side. "Where is Kairi anyway?"
"As far as I know, back on Hollow Bastion," Riku answered.
Riku couldn't help but note the sadness in Sora's voice. The youth obviously missed the girl who had practically been his foster sister.
"Ahem." Reno flapped the note to recover the pair's attention. "What exactly was meant by this?"
"Sora knows," Riku replied softly, glancing at his friend.
Sora took a step way from Riku, blue eyes narrowing. "We finished that, Riku. We're done. I can't go back now."
"Its not that simple, Sora." Riku sighed and switched to the language spoken on Destiny Islands. "We were wrong, Sora. It didn't work."
Sora shook his head, sending white locks flying wildly then replied in the same language. "I can't go back, Riku. I'm not that person anymore." His eyes were wishful. "Things were simpler back then. I was a lot simpler back then. I can't- there are too many people depending on me now."
"There are more than you think, Sora. More than you want to remember," Riku reminded his friend quietly. "More than any one planet can hold."
O o O
To say Sephiroth had been shocked by Cloud's actions would have been the understatement of the century. His lover had never been exactly eager to touch another, though he lacked Sephiroth's distant attitude. Worse still, Sephiroth couldn't feel any of Cloud's emotions the way he had been lately, so he couldn't understand what the youth was doing. Despite all that lay between them, Cloud had never mentioned this Riku to his lover, and that hurt more than Sephiroth wanted to admit.
Sephiroth mentally sneered at himself. To think he had boasted just a short time ago that he had discovered all of Cloud's secrets. It appeared he had been quiet incorrect in that assumption.
The former could barely understand what was going on between the pair as they were apparently speaking in code. Once they switched to another language he found it impossible to follow the conversation at all. "Cloud!" The mental summons went unanswered. Sephiroth reached out to grab the blond only to run up against a strong, invisible barrier. The elite stared at in shock and then in silent fury. He thought Cloud had managed to break that back in Reno's helicopter. Apparently it had reappeared with Riku's arrival.
Just another reason Sephiroth didn't like the Clone-look-alike.
At least now Cloud was withdrawing from the silver haired man. Sephiroth took advantage of Cloud's emotional instability and wrenched control away from the teen, eyes immediately changing from blue to green. "I suggest you leave Cloud alone."
"Seph-" Cloud sighed in exasperation. "Don't be mad at him. It's not his fault, really. If what he is saying is true…" He trailed off, sinking into his own thoughts.
For his part Sephiroth ignored the gentle rebuke, pressing his verbal attack. "You have invaded our company. I suggest you leave."
The former general's attitude had not gone unnoticed. Riku slipped into a defensive stance, hand outstretched as if holding a weapon. Sephiroth couldn't comprehend the pose; it served no practical purpose for hand-to-hand combat but the young man wasn't armed either. Cloud, what is he doing?
"Oh crap. Don't hurt him, Seph!"
He doesn't even have a weapon.
Shock rolled off of Cloud. "You can't see it?"
"Never mind, it's probably not that important. But I have a good idea about what's going on… Cloud shoved Sephiroth back none too gently and raised his hands in a comforting gesture. "No, Riku. Not Ansem. Not even Like Ansem."
"Cloud, who is Ansem?
He bothered Riku a while back. Cloud didn't even have to look to see the upswept eyebrow signaling he should continue. The former blond grimaced. Possessed. This time the elite's eyebrows rose in disbelief. He did. And Riku has been a little jumpy about that sort of thing ever since.
"Regardless, he is trying to force you do to something. We cannot allow this to continue.
Cloud sighed, running a hand through his hair. "It's – complicated, Seph. There's a lot going on you don't know about. A lot I don't know about either…."
Sephiroth nudged Cloud back, assuming control again. Riku ignored the eye color change. "Look, if I had a choice I wouldn't be here, Sora. I know you deserve peace more than anyone else I've ever met. You've done more than your share. But I don't have a choice, and neither do you, really. Some things are stronger than either of us."
"Perhaps stronger than you – "
"Sora, you're already pulling on the power without even thinking about it," Riku interrupted, ignoring Sephiroth's words completely. "Or does your hair change color naturally?"
All eyes in the room abruptly focused on the joined pair's hair, shocked to see several pale blond streaks streaming through the silver white.
O o O
Just seeing the young man sent off an explosion in his head. Memories abruptly blossomed in his mind. He could remember the door he had found in the mountains, hidden from most people. The others in Nibelheim had called him a liar when he told them it was there, but he had known the truth. After gathering his courage he had gone through the door. Instead of the usual cold, gloomy Nibelheim landscape he had found himself in a tropical paradise….
By the sea he had found his first friends. Riku and Kairi, who had arrived literally just a week before him, though at the time he hadn't known that. As time had gone on the boys had developed a notion that Cloud had come first and Kairi second; only later talking to Riku's parents were the trio able to figure it out. Still, the three had bonded instantly, and the rest was history.
Unfortunately, that history hadn't been all joy and peace. They had faced more than their share of trials, first separated and then together. In the end they had all made one last sacrifice, an act that had all but guaranteed they would never see each other again. Yet here was Riku, as if things hadn't changed.
But so much had changed it wasn't even funny.
The youth known both as Sora and Cloud sighed. It was unbelievable he had forgotten all he had; even more shocking that he had done it to himself. Briefly he wondered if that actually made him older. They had reset time to shortly before his fourteenth birthday, but it had taken at least four years, possibly more for them to actually do it. He certainly felt older; Cloud knew he was more experienced too.
The truth was, if had they successfully closed all of the paths between worlds he never would have been able to meet Riku again. This meeting meant they hadn't accomplished their goal, which in turn implied the Heartless were still causing havoc.
Fighting with Sephiroth for control while trying enough by itself but having to sort through the information suddenly appearing in his brain was quickly driving him to exhaustion. But Cloud wasn't about the let Sephiroth get hit by the keyblade, even if he probably would survive it. That thing could really hurt. It was rather odd that Sephiroth couldn't see the keyblade, considering his other abilities. However, that was a puzzle for another day.
Cloud? We may have a problem.
Cloud blinked and stared at the silver hair, shocked by the blond dancing in the depths. "Uh oh."
What's going on?
I'm not a hundred percent sure but…." Cloud focused, and felt the energy about his rise. Even as the pair watched more blond appeared in their hair. "Definitely not good."
Cloud. Explanation. Now.
"I'm pulling on an external energy source. I shouldn't be able to anymore; we sealed it away a while ago."
Then he brought it back?
Disturbed by Sephiroth's tone of voice, Cloud hastily moved to calm his lover. Or at least keep him from committing murder. "Don't kill him, Seph. That won't help! In fact, it might only aggravate the problem. The power has to go somewhere and I'm the most likely candidate for the job." He sighed. "Maybe I should just take it back. It's not like its going to hurt me. I was using it for years."
What is it?
Cloud smiled faintly. "The keyblade."
Which would be?
"Something that they've been trying to classify for centuries but have had no success," Cloud impishly replied.
"Only telling you the truth, Seph."
He wants you to take this 'keyblade' back? Sephiroth asked, trying to understand exactly what was going on between the pair.
Cloud nodded. "More or less…."
The mental conversation had barely taken a minute. Riku was still waiting. Seeing neither soul had chosen to speak, he continued his plea in his home tongue. "Sora, I don't want to force you to do this. If I could I wouldn't even be here."
Cloud gently shoved Sephiroth aside and looked deep into Riku's eyes. They reflected weariness in their deep green depths, but more than that, they showed sincerity. Riku truly believed in what he had said and Cloud knew that Riku had done everything to make this day never come. In the end it might be Cloud's decision, but if he left this in Riku's hands, wouldn't he just be running from his responsibility? He had handled the keyblade first, only to give it to Riku when everything was all over. There really was no decision.
"I believe you, Riku," Cloud murmured faintly in the same language and then switched back to the one commonly spoken on Gaia. "Before we do this, I want everyone to promise you won't interfere. And that you won't hurt him no matter what happens. We're dealing with some unpredictable stuff so neither of us know what will happen."
"Cloud – " Zack opened his mouth to protest.
The youth was already shaking his head. "Riku's right. Neither of us have much of a choice – and if we don't do this now there are likely to be consequences."
Seeing Cloud's resolute position, Zack reluctantly nodded. Vincent's head barely moved, but Cloud could sense his agreement. Reno shrugged and Katal didn't seem to have any urge to interfere. That left one more person. Seph.
"No." Flat out, no holds bared refusal.
Cloud ground his teeth. Seph, this is something you don't understand. I need you to support me on this! Please. I can't promise you I'll be all right. All I can say is I will try to stay in once piece. Still no reply. I'll do this without your agreement, if I have to.
"Fine." Sephiroth snapped sharply.
Thank you, Cloud replied, pretending not to hear the sharp tone. He withdrew into their mind for a moment, grabbing Sephiroth's neck and pulling his head down for a final kiss. I'll see you in a bit.
The teen reassumed control of their body and reached out his hand. Riku summoned the keyblade and held it out. Cloud glanced around and noted no one else seemed to be able to see it either. Shrugging the thought aside he reached out to clasp the cool metal hilt –
Heat exploded in his heart, nearly knocking him over. For a second, Cloud wondered if he was having a heart attack, only to the have pain ease as the fiery hot presence settle into a comforting warmth. And then, he began to see things….
He was Agrabah, with the blowing across his sands and the days long and hot….
He was Traverse Town, where the sun never shown yet all came to hide from the darkness…
He was Halloween Town, where the dead lived….
He was the Olympus Coliseum, where warriors fought and bled for glory…
He was Hollow Bastion, the place darkness had once taken refuge and found one of their strongest fighters….
He was Destiny Islands, a sleepy haven where people waited for the future to unfold..
He was that which held all of the worlds together…
O o O
Sephiroth couldn't see what Cloud was reaching for, but the minute the teen's hand touched the blade he could feel it. His chest exploded in pain, moving outward as if hot wire had suddenly replaced his veins. It hurt more than anything he had ever experienced, even in Hojo's hands….
Yet suddenly, with the soft sound of a lock opening, it was over.
Sephiroth blinked, suddenly uncomfortable aware his clothing was far too tight. He quickly stripped, ripping the material apart in his haste, gasping as he could breathe again. A moment later he found himself wrapped in Zack's bathrobe.
"What happened?" The former SOLDIER asked, staring at Sephiroth's appearance. The former General looked exactly as he had before Nibelheim.
"I've never seen anything like that," Reno muttered.
"It couldn't have been Black Jenova," Katal thought aloud.
Sephiroth was more concerned with something far more important. Cloud? The query went unanswered, as a sense of emptiness overcame him. He suddenly felt more alone than he had since he had awakened after Nibelheim. The ex-General advanced on Riku. "What did you do?"
Zack grabbed his shoulder. "Whoa Seph. Hold on – "
Sephiroth shook off his friend's hand. "Cloud's gone."
O o O
O o O