Streets to the Summer
Track 07: "The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me"
Olette sighed and stared off into space as she sat on the couch in her friends' usual spot. It was the kind of sigh she tended to make when she was bored, but there was no limit to activity going on lately. In fact, ever since Sora had first appeared, Twilight Town stopped being such a sleepy little village and was starting to become noticed by the rest of the worlds. Nobodies were attacking a little more frequently, and not just against Sora's friends in town. It had Hayner, Pence, and Olette worried that the Heartless might soon follow. Some people had started to talk of moving to some place safer, now that Twilight Town wasn't the haven it used to be, but others—like Seifer and his friends—chose to fight against the town's troubles. The Twilight Town Disciplinary Committee, in fact, had started to become a small civilian Nobody-slaying organization, and the police were torn between feeling thankful that there were kids on the streets determined to stop the troublemakers, and wanting to tell them to stop interfering in their business—if fighting creatures without hearts even was their business in the first place. Hayner and Pence had even taken a more active role in stopping the Nobodies before they attacked—Pence had his taser to work with, and Hayner had gotten a nail-covered baseball bat that was doing wonders for him. So things weren't quiet. But it didn't keep Olette from feeling restless. Everyone else seemed to have found a place, but she hadn't.
I guess I might as well take a walk, she thought. There's really nothing better to do.
She walked over into the tunnels, hoping that nothing would attack while she was in there. It would be hard to run from Nobodies in the tunnels, what with the narrow passages and all. But things seemed to be fairly quiet, so she wandered around the passageways, picking up occasional items that had been left behind by other travelers.
Candlelight in one corner caught her attention, so she snuck a peek. Vivi, who was usually practicing with his Struggle bat, was lighting and extinguishing candles with magic. Occasionally, he would look in a book and make the flames rise higher, and then he'd lower them. With enough concentration, he managed to alter the shape of the flames, creating a burning halo over one of the candles. But afterwards, he sat down, panting.
"Wow, that's really good!" Olette declared. Seeing her, Vivi started. "I'm sorry. I was just watching your magic. How long have you been practicing?"
"A few years," Vivi admitted. "I'm not very good."
"But that was great," she insisted. "I usually only see magic used for offense. I didn't know it could be used like this."
"It's just practice," he replied.
"Think you could teach me some?" she asked.
"I don't know enough," he confessed. "I won't be a good teacher."
"Okay," she answered, still reluctant to drop the issue. But then, remembering the pyrotechnic mock-battle on the Destiny Islands, she asked, "What if I found us both a teacher? Then you wouldn't have to practice in the tunnels."
Vivi looked confused. "But who?"
"Just let me call him and see if he'll help, okay?" she asked.
She stepped away for a minute and pulled out her communicator. To be honest, Donald would probably be the best choice for a teacher, but he was most likely busy with whatever a court magician was supposed to do. So she put in Riku's frequency instead.
"Olette?" he asked, surprised.
"Hi, Riku," she answered. "Think you can come by Twilight Town sometime? I wanted to know if you could teach me and one of my friends some magic."
He sounded a little unsure and distracted for a minute, but he finally answered, "All right. I'll come by tomorrow."
"Thanks!" she replied. "I'll let him know." She placed her communicator back in her pocket and walked back over to Vivi. "Riku says he'll come tomorrow. I guess we'll meet him at the station, since I'm not sure how much he knows his way around town."
"Uh, okay," Vivi agreed reluctantly.
"Don't worry," Olette assured. "He's nice. He's one of Sora's friends. I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Okay," Vivi answered.
"I promise you it'll be okay," she added. "Riku's a little hard to make friends with when you first meet him, but he values his friends a lot."
"Like Seifer?" he asked.
Olette blinked, never once having made the connection. Riku didn't seem to be the same kind of person as Seifer, but maybe, deep down…
"Yeah, I guess so," she replied. "Maybe."
"Okay then," Vivi agreed. "See you tomorrow."
The next morning, Vivi was already waiting at the station when a yawning Olette came over. She waved and declared, "Sorry I'm late. I was up all night reading books on magic. I never realized the library had that much information."
Another train pulled in, but Riku wasn't on it. It had been the third one to come in already, so Vivi asked, "Which one is he supposed to be on?"
"I'm not sure," Olette answered. "He didn't say, but I'm sure we'll see him soon."
It was then that one of the Seven Wonders of Twilight Town decided to pull into the station. Everyone was used to the passenger-less train from nowhere and so paid it no mind. The lack of interest in the train made it easy for Riku to slip into the crowd and make his way over to Olette and Vivi.
"Are you both ready?" he checked. They nodded. "Good. The train will be leaving soon, so follow me."
As they started to board the mystery train, Olette asked, "Where are we going? I thought we'd be going to the sandlot."
"Too many people around," Riku explained. "Yen Sid's tower on the edge of the world is better. But there are Nobodies around, so let me deal with any we find, all right?"
Vivi and Olette were wowed when the train set off, leaving behind most of Twilight Town in an orange haze. They were equally amazed at the island floating in the middle of nowhere—even though Olette had traveled to the Destiny Islands, this was still impressive to her.
When they disembarked, several Nobodies were slinking around, so Riku took care of them before motioning for his students to sit on the grass.
"So, how much do you know already?" he asked, looking at Vivi in particular.
The young mage tried not to shrink from his gaze as he replied, "Some fire, ice, and time magic, and a little bit of lightning."
When Riku looked at Olette, she added, "I started trying a couple of fire spells last night with my mom's candles. I nearly burned one of my curtains."
"All right," Riku answered. "Vivi, I don't know much about time magic, so I'll have to find a few books for you. But for now, we'll start with elemental magic—specifically fire, since it's the easiest to focus on." He took out a box of candles and lit them with some matches. Olette stared at him in surprise.
"Couldn't you just use magic to light them?" she asked. "You have those silver flames…"
"Dark Aura isn't a fire-based attack, no matter what it looks like," he explained. "And experimenting with darkness is too dangerous." There was some lingering regret in his voice, so neither Vivi nor Olette pressed the issue.
Handing each of them a candle, he said, "We'll start off with manipulation. Try and change the size and shape of the flame as much as you can without burning yourself or anything else."
"What shape?" Vivi asked.
Riku considered it for a moment before replying, "Since we're going easy right now, do a ring."
He called it easy, but Olette was having a rather hard time with it. She'd experimented with size manipulation and shape manipulation the night before, but not both together. Vivi was struggling a little bit too, but his greater experience was showing in the much larger size of his ring. Olette was having a hard enough time maintaining a ring the size of her hand without the fire dying. Finally, she sat down and let the flame return to its normal size and shape. She felt shaky and had a hard time trying to catch her breath. Riku came over with a cube of ether and told them both to take a break.
"That was good," he insisted. "Now that I've got a feel for what you're capable of, I know how to teach you."
After a break, they continued with fire before switching to air and ice for a little while. Aero was the easiest spell for them to catch onto, since the element was always around them, and the only effort it took was to call it over to them. Blizzard turned out to be more difficult than expected—by nature, things did not just spontaneously freeze. But with a bit of the wind magic they'd just learned, they managed to carry the spell.
"That's good for today," Riku informed when both felt like they were about to collapse. "Tomorrow, meet me on Market Street so we can get you some staves. It'll make things easier for you."
Hayner walked into the usual spot, confused as to why no one was around. He knew that Pence had a few errands to run first, but Olette should have been around. He wasn't feeling all that patient today, so he threw some darts into the board before grabbing his Struggle bat and heading off to the sandlot. Picking a fight with Seifer—that'd keep him from being bored, all right.
But instead of Seifer, there was a new blond kid in the sandlot, practicing alone with a Struggle bat. Hayner thought he recognized him, and he decided to trust his gut on this. Still, he had to be sure…
"Hey," he called out. The kid turned to him and looked like he'd seen a ghost. Strike one. "You're new here, right?"
"Just visiting," he answered, managing to keep a calm voice. Strike two for Sora's excuse.
"Since you don't have anyone to practice with, mind playing against me?" Hayner asked, pointing to the Struggle bat with his own. "I'm not in the tournament, but I still like to practice."
"Yeah," the kid agreed. "I'd like that."
A few seconds in, Hayner had to admit that he was good. The kid was definitely a fighter, but he knew how to rein in his strength so that he didn't hurt his opponents when he didn't have to. Furthermore, he knew Hayner's moves and knew how to counterattack. Not even Seifer could fight him so effectively. Even more, it felt right to be doing this, practicing with him. It really was strike three.
When they reached the one-minute mark they'd agreed on, Hayner called out, "Hey, I'm out. You beat me."
The kid was barely even winded when he declared, "You're good."
"You too," Hayner agreed. "Most people I fight can't keep up with me that way."
"Well, I've had practice," the kid answered.
"I'm sure you have, Roxas." Roxas stared at him in shock for a minute before settling in a somewhat depressed expression. Hayner looked at the kid who could have been his best friend and asked, "You want to talk about it?"
Riku wasn't surprised when Olette and Vivi arrived to Market Street later than they'd agreed. Both were tired from the magical exercises of the day before, so he made a mental note to teach them a little lighter today. Before heading to the weapons shop, he pointed them in the direction of the nearest café and bought them breakfast. They protested over the money and the extra food, but he gave them an even stare until they finished everything. Once he was sure they weren't going to fall asleep on their feet, they went to check out the staves.
"You should choose something appropriate for your power," he advised.
"Teaching?" asked Wallace, the weapons master. Riku nodded. "Let me help. You two are beginners, so you'll want something a little above what you're capable of—the Victory Bell or the Comet Staff is probably the best right now. You can always upgrade to something better." He said this as he looked at Vivi, who was gazing at a Wisdom Wand. It was pricey and out of his skill range.
"I think I'll take this one," Olette decided, picking up a Comet Staff. Riku couldn't help but roll his eyes at the sight of the star-topped wand. "What?"
"Kairi and Selphie would have done the same," he said. "Is it all girls, or just the ones I know?"
"Now, that one won't exactly grow with you, but you can sell it for a better one," Wallace reminded her.
"I think this will be good," Olette determined. "After all, I'm not planning on any heavy duty fighting."
"Vivi, if you want something a little stronger, you might want the Victory Bell or the Lord's Broom," Wallace suggested. "Those will grow with you a little more and give you a little more room to learn. Again, if you need something stronger when you reach your staff's limit, you can buy something better."
After Vivi and Olette bought their staves, they stopped off to buy a few ethers and synthesize two elixirs before heading to the tower. This time, when the Nobodies appeared, Riku let his students try their hand at fighting, offering a few tips on how to quickly move behind the Dusks before they could attack. After the three of them had cleared the field, they began another practice. With staves, they were able to start moving away from elemental spells and start trying defensive spells. Vivi mastered Reflect quickly, as he was used to trying to hide behind the bigger kids when trouble came. In contrast, Olette was better with Stop, freezing an attacker in his tracks so she could escape. Gravity and Thunder were a little too dangerous to practice, so Riku demonstrated them before promising that in their next lesson, he'd find some way to ward the area against any slips.
"All right, we might as well head back," he decided. "You guys did good for today."
For some reason, he accompanied them back to town, but when they reached the sandlot, Olette could see why. In the middle of the Struggle practice area, Roxas was sparring and talking with Hayner while Pence stood to the side, throwing in a few comments. And as awkward and weird as it could have been, it wasn't. Roxas looked as if he'd always belonged with them, and Olette had to admit that he did, just as much as Sora belonged with Riku, Kairi, Donald, and Goofy.
"Hey, Roxas," Olette called out, walking over to him. "Nice to finally meet you." Behind her, Riku was explaining to Vivi that Roxas was one of Sora's relatives and had wanted to check out Twilight Town for himself.
"Yeah," Roxas agreed. "Nice to meet you." The grins the four kids had would have given away their secret if anyone else was around. There was no way they were meeting each other for the first time.
But before anyone could say anything next, Nobodies surrounded them. Hayner dropped his Struggle bat and grabbed the nail-bat he'd been keeping with him for just such an emergency. Pence pulled his taser out of his pocket while Olette and Vivi held up their staves and Riku revealed his Keyblade. Roxas, however, just took up both Struggle bats instead of using his Keyblade, as if he just wanted to pretend he was an ordinary kid. In retrospect, who could blame him?
The fight was absolute chaos. Spells, Dark Auras, and Thunder blasts went everywhere. Roxas and Hayner were a tag team, bashing the Nobodies with their bats as if they'd done it all their lives. Everyone tossed potions and ethers back and forth to keep each other from slowing down. Then, at last, the invaders were gone.
"Great job," Roxas commented. Then, to Vivi, he added, "I've never seen anyone move as fast as you."
Riku nodded. He'd kept a running count, and the small mage had taken down at least twice as many Dusks as any of the others had. "Yeah, Vivi. You did great. Same for you, Olette."
She smiled. "Well, we had a good teacher."
"Um, Riku?" Vivi piped up. "Think you can teach us Cure tomorrow? So the next time we fight, we can keep going?"
"The one Sora knows uses up all your magic," Roxas pointed out.
"I think I can find one that won't use that much," Riku promised. "I'll look it up tonight, and if I can find it, I'll teach you guys. If not yet, then we at least have Thunder and Gravity to cover."
"Guess we'd better go then," Roxas decided.
"Hey," Hayner interrupted. "You're coming back for the Struggle Tournament, right?"
Roxas smiled and nodded. "Sure. I'll cheer you on."
Hayner threw him a grin in return. "Guess I'd better sign back up, then. Can't have any of my friends cheering on Seifer." Then, with a look to Vivi, he added, "No offense. He's just my rival."
This got Roxas laughing. "Yeah. I'll be there. End of the summer, right?"
"Yeah," Hayner answered, and he and Roxas clasped hands as if in a secret handshake. Pence and Olette grinned. It looked like all four of them had found just what they were looking for.
I apologize for the extremely long wait in-between chapters. A massive case of writer's block hit me, so I had to wander off to other fandoms and other projects. This chapter is nothing like what I planned to have (originally, it was just Olette and Vivi), but I did want to bring "Streets" to a close and finish it off with Hayner and Roxas meeting and getting along like they'd always been friends. There were several other fun chapters I intended to throw in, such as an adventure with the Twilight Town kids, Kairi, and the Destiny Islands support staff against Heartless, a crossover with Kim Possible focusing on Kairi and Seifer, and a redemption piece for Pete. Alas, I could never reach them, but I did manage to finish it off rather nicely, I think. The title comes from "The Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie.