Pairings: Riku/Sora, Leon/Cloud, Axel/Roxas, more pairings later?

Warnings: AU, I guess spoilers or something for people who haven't seen all the way through the end of the game, medieval stuff, possibilities of violence and bloodshed and sexiness

Author's Comments: Sorry it's a little late. :( I was trying to editting any little things last night and well...passed out with sleepiness. But here it is now! Hope you guys enjoy it.

Princely Garbs 32

As Cloud got closer to the light, he frowned hearing Auron's frantic voice and hearing the voices of soldiers long dead. It made him pause on the edge of darkness and stare into the light worried now about what he would see. What was inside the light? Was it something he would regret remembering? At the sound of screaming and crying woman and children, the moans of the dying, and those that begged for their lives, Cloud took a step back. Going into the light would mean reliving everything he had remembered and everything he had forgotten. He would see all the horrors of his people being slaughtered by the creatures of darkness. He would once again see Sora taken away by the soldier, after the death of his parents. He would once again see the accusing eyes staring at him with fear and hatred.

Wait...why would they look at me...like th-

"Cloud!" Cloud lifted his head up quickly at the voice, Auron's voice. It was strong, strong enough to push the darkness away forcing Cloud into the blinding light. Once again it started dissipate leaving Cloud in a new place. But what met his eyes was not what he had expected.

"Cloud..." The sound, the voice of his king wasn't one of relief but instead it was quite the opposite. When Cloud looked up he found his eyes staring into those of the king's desperate ones. There was a hand, his hand, around the neck choking the life from his king. No matter how hard he tried to fight it, to pull his hand away, to move his body, it wouldn't respond to him. All he could do was watch the hand clenching tighter around the delicate skin bruising it, not giving any relief or even a moment of breath. He could hear King Tsunami's struggling, jagged breath in his ear, almost as if it were his own breath though far too irregular. The king's eyes were clouding over making Cloud want to swallow the lump he felt, the lump his body ignored as it followed its own will. "Cl...oud..."

The king's hand reached up, shaky and unstable as it moved closer and closer to his face. Just as Cloud was certain he'd felt the brush of chilled fingers against his cheek, the king's eyes went wide in pain. He coughed, blood exploding from his mouth, some splattering on Cloud's face as his buster sword went through the king's chest. His mind screamed as he tried to fight his body. He stared with horrified eyes as he dropped the dying body of his majesty on the ground like a piece of rotten fruit. Cloud wanted to look away from the dying eyes but he couldn't even will his body to do this one act.

"No!"

"CLOUD!" His hands were covered in blood even as his foot rested on the king's chest, and a hand reached down to pull the sword free. As he stared down at the king, seeing a shaking hand reaching up to him, Cloud mentally clenched at his hair before he yelled out, feeling the darkness surrounding him stealing his consciousness leaving only the sight of his dead king's eyes staring at him accusingly.


"Riku!" No matter how hard he tried, Xemnas's clone was pushing him back. He couldn't expect help from the others considering everyone had their hands full. Even with Riku and Sora fighting together against the clone, with Riku inexperienced with a keyblade, he couldn't do much to hold back the darkness, which only made Sora want to protect him more.

"Stay focused!" Riku yelled out making Sora flinch and stop on the spot trying to rush to his aid. He'd just gotten Riku back from the darkness; the last thing he wanted was to lose him again now.

"But..."

"You'd be smart to listen to him," Xemnas's clone said coolly, taking his hand and punching Riku so hard he flew across the room.

"Riku!"

"Don't..." Riku said as he sat up slowly wincing with obvious pain. "We have to...defeat him..."

"But...he'll kill you!" Sora yelled holding up the keyblade and running towards Xemnas's back. It wasn't a perfect run. His ankle still hurt like hell. Even with his staggering movements he managed to keep up, holding his hand to his injured chest. He tapped into the power of light, his keyblade glowing as he took aim for Xemnas's back in hopes of landing at least a hit on him.

"Sora, stop!"

"Anger only leads to bad judgement," the clone said, sadistic grin on his lips as he vanished from in front of Riku. At the look on Riku's face, Sora panicked turning around and his eyes going wide as he saw Cloud standing in front of him. It was almost surreal, the time seeming to slow down as he found himself staring up into dark unseeing eyes. The buster sword that should have been hidden by Auron was in his hand. It was already on the move, Sora not having enough time to defend against the large blade. The brunet's eyes went wide, the sound of Riku and Roxas screaming his name ringing in his ears just as he felt the blinding pain of Cloud's sword going through his chest. For a brief moment, Sora felt regret for not telling Riku how he truly felt…and then his vision got blurry before he felt himself falling into nothingness.


"Kairi, are you ok?"

Seifer looked up hearing Selphie talking to Riku's cousin. He watched as the young girl shook her head and smiled even as she wiped at her eyes as more tears fell. But it wasn't as if Seifer blamed her, his own feelings of frustration and anger messed with his own judgment not long ago.

Maybe it was because he was stuck here in Kingdom Hearts instead of being out there fighting with the others. Maybe it was because so much had happened over the past few months that he didn't really understand. Hell, maybe he was just worried about the others only to get mad at himself for worrying.

The feeling he'd gotten just moments before wasn't helping either. Something must have happened, and it must have been bad whatever it was. It felt like things were getting darker, that whatever hope they had to survive was already being snatched away from them. From the looks on the others' faces, they must have felt something similar.

"You're not about to suddenly start crying too are you?" Tidus asked, sounding sincere as his big dopey face appeared in front of Seifer's view.

"Shut up before I give you something to cry about," Seifer said, frowning at his auto response. Yes...he was on edge. And he'd be damned if he let this little punk get to him.

"Hey, lighten up would you?" Tidus didn't even seem fazed by the older male as he moved leaning against the wall beside him, arms folded almost mimicking Seifer's exact pose. "Ever since Sora and Riku left, you've been on edge."

"Because this isn't something some wussy little kids should be doing."

"But you're still a kid yourself!"

"I'm seventeen," Seifer grated sounding a bit indignant, his right eye twitching. Maybe it would be easier to just take him out now. "And what are you guys, like twelve?"

"Sixteen," Tidus said sounding just as insulted now. "Look, either way, trying to rush off to some unknown place to fight some weirdo, is just…suicide."

"So is staying here and waiting for said weirdo to come and kill us," Seifer said pushing off the wall. "I'm not saying we should just rush in," he continued starting to walk away. "But we could at least do…something."

Tidus sighed before he moved following after him. "I take it that you felt it too, that really bad feeling that something horrible just happened."

Seifer didn't answer him directly, just gave a nod of his head as he shoved his hands into his pockets. It was true that he was really itching for a fight, but what Tidus said had definitely hit it right on the nail. Something had happened…something that shouldn't have…and he was certain it involved one of his comrades.

Damn it, this is so annoying!

"Why don't we spar a bit?"

"Can't. You're too much of a weakling to match me." The words were cruel but true. Seifer was a senior close to joining in ranks with some of the higher ups. Hell, if it weren't for his need to pester Leon and getting too overbearing in his attacks during practice, he'd be up there with Cloud right now.

"You won't know until you try."

"I think not," Seifer said, not even bothering to look back. As Seifer kept walking he felt a bump against the middle of his back and turned seeing Tidus standing there grinning and holding up the fist he'd used to hit Seifer. It hadn't been a hard hit, more of a playful hit but it was enough to entice Seifer…well a little bit anyway. "Oh so you want a piece of me, squirt?"

"Sure, bring it on!" Tidus said, grinning as he ran off.

"Tsk..." He tried to act like he didn't care finding himself turning around watching the younger boy running off. He was about to leave it alone, to not waste his time with such childish antics until he saw Tidus stick his tongue out at him and pull one of his eyelids down mocking him. "...I'll kill him!" Seifer yelled out giving in and chasing after him. He gained a bit of satisfaction, a smirk lifting to his lips as he saw the surprised look on Tidus's face when he pulled his gunblade out moving with determination. Hell, if he was going to pay back a certain blond idiot, he might as well do it full force.

"Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!" Tidus moved quickly running the fastest he'd ever ran in his life. He was trying to break free from the hot heels Seifer knew he was feeling on his tail. He ran towards his friends, something that didn't slow Seifer down. "Run for your lives, there's a raving mad dog behind me!" he yelled out running past them looking like he was having too much fun. They didn't seem too worried about him though, Kairi and the others smiling and giggling cheerfully, probably the most they'd laughed since coming here.

Good, at least they aren't moping...wait what did he just call me?

"Who are you calling a raving mad dog?" Seifer yelled out swinging his sword just barely missing him. Of course he missed on purpose. He had no intentions of really hurting the younger male despite how annoying he was. But giving him a scare would at least teach him to learn his place.

"Gah, are you trying to kill me?" Tidus replied ducking and running as fast as his feet would carry him.

"No...I'd rather torture you nice and slow." He let the words slide out in a deep, menacing way to hopefully spark some fear into Tidus. It must have worked because there was a moment of hesitation in Tidus's movements before Seifer reached out and grabbed the back of his shirt stopping him from moving. "Gotcha."

Tidus stood there in shock for a moment before he threw his head back covering his eyes with the palms of his hands. "Aww man! Can't believe you caught me already!" It wasn't over though as Seifer found himself pushing Tidus back against the wall and grabbing the younger boy's wrists pinning them over his head, the boy looking up at him in surprise and confusion. "H-Hey! What are you do-"

"I'm paying you back by torturing you nice and slow," Seifer said unsure himself of what he was doing.

"This...T-this isn't sparring anymore," Tidus said, the voice coming out smaller now as he struggled to get loose only freezing when he felt Seifer pressed up against him. "We should g-get back to the others." True, they were the only ones here at the moment. There was no one in sight, everyone still back on the other side of the castle. He couldn't even explain what was happening, or why he saw Tidus's dorky face moving closer towards his own, or why he found the shocked look and hot, red cheeks adorable. But to see the annoying boy caught like this and actually quiet for once was pretty funny. Maybe he should just keep teasing him.

"S-Seifer? W-w-wait, d-d-don't-"

It seemed like fate chose that time to play a trick on both of them as the whole castle shook right at that moment, knocking Seifer off balance and causing him to fell into Tidus, their lips connecting. His own eyes went wide then not expecting this or for Tidus's eyes to glaze over in such a way. He would have questioned it more if not for the need to find out what had caused the castle to shake.

"What was that?" Seifer said pulling away and looking down the hall, giving himself a moment of distraction to pull himself together.

"I-I don't know," Tidus mumbled out, Seifer glancing back to find the other glancing around and rubbing at his lips with his sleeve, even though his cheeks were raving red much like his own must have been. "Should we check it out?"

"I will," Seifer said starting to head off down the hallway. "You go find the others and hide somewhere safe."

"Huh? W-wait a minute! I-" The words cut off as soon as Seifer looked back at him. Though it wasn't a menacing look at all, Tidus shut up quickly and glanced away clenching his hands at his sides. It wasn't hard to figure out what had caused the boy to go quiet. He was still thinking about that accidental kiss, much like how Seifer was having a hard time forgetting it.

"Right now, while Leon and Cloud are gone, I'm in charge. I don't need some wussy little kids getting in the way. So just do what I told you and go hide." When the boy didn't say anything else or move, Seifer sighed cursing his weaker side. He walked over, the sounds of his boots sounding off on the marble floor alerting Tidus who looked up quickly. He didn't even make it halfway to the young trainee before the other took off running past him, not even bothering to look back at him. The only words he left to him as he passed by him were 'jerk' before he was gone.

Sighing, Seifer looked back watching him run away before he turned and followed, though at a slower pace wondering what had happened. Things were moving pretty fast, not that he had intended for things to move at all. For some reason he felt a bit...protective of him. Well not just him, but the others as well. That's why he couldn't shake the bad feeling that something happened to the others at Hallow Bastion. The sudden tremors weren't helping things either.

Guess I'll go talk to Merlin and see if there's anything worth investigating.


Mickey saw it about to happen, tried to get to Sora to save him, but he just wasn't fast enough. He was just as shocked as the rest of them watching as Cloud plunged the large sword into Sora's chest, the keyblade in Sora's hand dropping to the ground before vanishing. As soon as he saw it happen Mickey's his eyes flickered over to Riku. He saw the other run to Sora, kneeling down and grabbing him shaking his shoulders. When there was no response, he saw the change on Riku's face that screamed with murderous intent. It was a warning for Mickey, who was quick to move changing into his human form and chasing after the raging mad prince catching his arms just as he was about to swing the keyblade in his hand down on Cloud's unresponsive head. The keyblade had darkened as well being smothered by Riku's darkness.

"Calm down," Mickey said in his ear, his eyes looking over Riku's shoulder to Cloud seeing the blank stare returned to him. Cloud wasn't aware of what was going on. If he remembered correctly, he'd heard about this from King Ansem, about how Cloud had suddenly been taken over by the darkness and attacked everyone, including the king and queen. He knew… This wasn't Cloud's doing. By the tenseness in Riku's arms, he knew as well. They couldn't blame Cloud, not when he had no control over his actions.

The prince stood there, his shoulders quaking in what had to be frustration. He was angry…and probably more than a little upset. To have his best friend stabbed right in front of him not knowing if he was dead or alive, of course he'd be upset. It wasn't helping that the person who stabbed Sora was someone Riku had known almost his whole life.

Mickey glanced back, gesturing for Goofy to take Sora's body over to where Axel was. If there was a chance that Sora was still alive, at least Roxas could try to heal him enough to keep him alive until they got out of this mess. He saw Roxas following after Goofy, the keyblade already appearing in his hand. Leon and Auron had come over and words were exchanged between the two men and the livid prince. Whatever the result, Riku wasn't hearing it, his facial expression just as blank as Cloud's though his eyes kept glancing at him in rage. Leon and Auron seemed to come up to some agreement, both males nodding to each other before taking off heading towards Sephiroth prepared to fight again.

"The light brings only weakness," Xemnas said drawing Mickey's attention to him as he swung at him forcing him away from Riku. "That's why the light can be destroyed easily by the power of darkness. It feeds on the feelings of angry…of suspicion and fear…of hatred and despair, all the feelings that humans try to run from. It comes from the people of this world, of all worlds. That is why it can and will always defeat the light. No person can keep the darkness out of their hearts, including the prince."

"!" Mickey looked quickly at Riku as the words were spoken, seeing the darkness swirling once again around him. Even if Sora and Roxas had stopped the darkness not that long ago, Sora's most likely fatal injury followed by Riku's own anger had completely converted him once again. Riku swung at Cloud with the keyblade that seemed to be absorbing that darkness. Despite the anger in the action, Cloud didn't seem bothered deflecting the attack easily, though he made no move to attack in return. This only fueled Riku's anger more as he started swinging faster, moving quickly around Cloud trying and failing to find an opening as each time just before the hit could happen, Cloud would block it. Despite this obvious attack on him, Cloud still didn't retaliate with attacks, staring off ahead with those blank eyes filled with darkness.

It confused Mickey, at least for a moment until Cloud looked up and his eyes turned quickly towards Roxas who was standing over Sora, eyes closed in concentration and so much light coming from the keyblade, it was hard to fully see what he was doing. When he saw the hand clenching around the hilt of the sword, Mickey felt himself tense up realizing what was happening now.

He's attacking the source of light directly.

That must have been the reason he had attacked the king and queen so long ago at Kingdom Hearts. He was programmed, more or less, to attack the light. Essentially, the family of Kingdom Hearts held the most light within them in all the worlds which made Roxas and Sora targets as well. That's why he didn't respond to Riku's anger, the anger that was only fueled by the darkness. Darkness was not a threat to him. It was, at this time, a welcoming companion. Honestly, it was a good thing that Leon and Auron weren't seeing this. They'd abandon their battle with Sephiroth in a heartbeat if they saw what was going on.

When Cloud turned to move, Mickey was quick trying to get to him only to have his way blocked again by Xemnas. "You cannot save the light. Give up now and join the darkness."

"Sorry," Mickey said holding out his keyblade, even as he felt himself surrounded by the other two copies. He almost smirked as he tilted his head back to slang his bangs from his eyes. "Even if I do have darkness inside my heart, I won't be allowing you to get what you want." He moved at the same time as Xemnas ran towards him, the two of them clashing once again.


Leon started to take a step towards Sephiroth before he felt the hand stopping him by landing on his shoulder.

"We can't beat him like this." Leon turned looking at Auron confused. It didn't faze Auron though as he gave a confident smile and rested his other hand on Leon's shoulder. "Just…trust what I am about to do. I'm going to lend you a bit of my power."

Leon took a moment to evaluate the other male before he finally relented giving him a nod. He wasn't sure exactly how he was supposed to borrow power from Auron but apparently the other knew something about it as he closed his eyes concentrating his energy. The hand on his shoulder caught Leon's attention as he looked down at it seeing the pulsing glow of red light surrounding it. He could feel the warmth flowing into him, could feel his power growing inside him, the red light mixing with his own blue light to encircle him in a purple haze. It was...electrifying.

"Can you hear my voice." Leon looked up frowning when he saw Auron staring at him. His mouth hadn't moved. Was the voice inside his head then?

Yeah, I can hear you.

He thought the words, but apparently it was enough as Auron gave a nod of his head as if relieved to hear his unspoken voice.

"Good. In this way, you'll be able to feel my actions and act accordingly. If we move together and act together, we should be able to take Sephiroth and Xemnas down."

Exactly what did you just do?

The answer glimmered before him for a moment as he looked and noticed that the time based on the hourglass that determined Auron's lifespan was even less.

"It's exactly as you think. I used my life's energy to help boost our power."

But you're just bringing yourself to an early grave!

"If it's to save Cloud's life, I don't mind it. Just promise you'll take good care of him once I'm gone. Besides…there's no reason to hold back the inevitable."

Leon hesitated before he gave a brief nod of acknowledgement. Even if he didn't agree on it, even if his dying was for a good cause, Leon couldn't fully approve of it. He couldn't approve of it because he knew that if Cloud knew Auron died protecting him, he wouldn't forgive himself. Leon had been around Cloud long enough to know this, so he wanted to believe anyway.

"Let's defeat Sephiroth here and now."

There was nothing that could be said against that one line. Right now…they needed to take care of Sephiroth and worry about everything else later.

The one eyed male turned with Leon as one to look at the enemy, prepared to go for one last hurrah.

TBC...

I swear this story feels like it has DBZ syndromes, what with all the long battles that seriously did not want to end for me no matter how hard I tried :grunt of frustration: RAWR!