Well everyone this is it…the final chapter. Thank you to everyone who reviewed, I just love the positive feedback. Well it's time for the conclusion…it's been a fun ride Please enjoy!!
Aerith sat by her husband's side as he and Ansem negotiated on a way to become permanent allies without having a marriage between their children. It had been only a day after the events of the crashed wedding and Xehanort's deception. She folded her hands in her lap as the voices of Cloud and Ansem had droned out of her mind.
'I knew all along that Cloud really didn't want Namine to go through with it,' she smiled gently.
He may not be the easiest person to talk to, but he cared for her and their children more than anything in the world. Deep down, Cloud was a very kind person who only showed a tough exterior. That's why Aerith had fallen in love with him in the first place, because he seemed like he could act like himself around her and not just like a king. Aerith would always be there to support her husband because she knew that he needed her.
"Aerith?" Cloud asked with slight concern in his voice as he gently touched her shoulder.
Her emerald eyes open slowly as she let out a soft yawn, noticing Ansem had already left the room. She didn't realize that she had fallen asleep while getting lost into her thoughts. She turned to look into her husband's mako eyes. Another soft smile graced her lips as she noticed that he always seemed to worry about her.
"Sorry Cloud, I didn't mean to doze off like that…I was just a little tired," she explained.
Cloud nodded silently before turning away from her, placing his hand delicately over hers.
"So? How did the negotiations go?" she asked curiously.
"Well we were able to develop a treaty that will bring our kingdoms together as allies…without Roxas and Namine marrying each other against their wills. The only condition is that if their kingdom is on the verge of war…than we have to supply them with supplies and troops," he explained.
By the look in his eyes, Aerith could tell that he was worried by these terms. She caressed her thumb against his, causing him to meet her eyes once again.
"You're worried about that aren't you…that if that ever happened that Riku and Sora would have to go fight."
Cloud nodded, "I…just don't ever want to see Namine or Kairi unhappy again, they'd be devastated if those two had to leave. Besides I have kind of taken a liking to Riku…kind of." She smiled as Cloud's fatherly side started to show.
Aerith placed her head on his shoulder, "You're a good king Cloud…and a good father. You always do what it right for your kingdom, this alliance will be no different. Like I told Namine…everything will work out in the end."
She heard her husband chuckle softly, "Now I remember the reason I fell in love with you."
"Why is that?" she asked, lifting her shoulder to stare into his countenance.
"Because you are always able help me to steer away from my dark thoughts. I can open up to you about anything," he started, putting his arm around her waist, "Around you…I never had to be somebody I wasn't. That was why from the first moment I laid eyes on you, I knew that you were special and that I wanted you to be my queen. Even though it was an arranged marriage."
Aerith smiled tenderly before placing a hand on his cheek, "I love you Cloud."
He pulled her close to him, "You don't know how much I love you," he replied, he didn't know what he would do if anything happened to his wife or children. That's why he always made sure they were protected.
"I'm glad that Namine is happy again," she stated, remembering how her older daughter's eyes lit up at the sight of the silver-haired boy at the wedding.
"Hm…I am too," Cloud replied. Things really did manage to work out.
Roxas sat in his temporary quarters reading a book that he had found on his nightstand. It wasn't anything interesting, but he wasn't one to complain. He tried doing anything that kept his mind occupied. Each time he would be alone with his thoughts they would always drift back to the certain brunette haired
girl. He hadn't seen her since yesterday and felt a little hurt because of that. After all he, his father, and Axel were going to be leaving for Twilight Town tomorrow after noon. There was a knock at the door.
"Come in," Roxas said nonchalantly as he turned to another page of his book.
"Hey Rox," his best friend said in the doorway.
The prince waved at Axel slightly, not taking his eyes off the page he was reading. The red haired man huffed, a book was more interesting than him? A mischievous smirked appeared on Axel's face as he conjured up a plan on his vulnerable best friend.
'This'll teach him,' he thought as he rubbed his gloved hands together.
Axel carefully tiptoed to the bed where the unsuspecting prince was sitting, his full concentration on the book in his hands. All of a sudden, without warning, he jumped onto the mattress. Roxas felt his heart climb up to his throat as he began to bounce around on the bed, losing his book in the process. His heart thumping loudly from the surprise attack as he glared at Axel.
"What was that for?" he exclaimed angrily.
"Well that's what happens when you don't acknowledge your best friend's presence," Axel simply stated as he examined his fingers.
Axel's jungle green eyes looked up to him, "Now Now Roxas no attitude from you."
"Whatever," Roxas stated as he got off the bed and picked book off the floor.
"Your father sent me to see if you will be ready to leave tomorrow," Axel said.
The prince looked over at the few possessions that he had brought with him, all piled together in the corner of the room.
"Yeah…" his voice trailed off.
"Looks like somebody is on your mind Rox," Axel began, "And I'm pretty sure I know who that is," the older man smirked.
"Shut up!" Roxas exclaimed, feeling flustered.
"You see I was right," he said triumphantly.
A soft knock was heard coming from the other side of the oak door, causing both boys to turn.
"Come in," Roxas called.
The door opened slowly to reveal Olette with a solemn look plastering her pretty face.
"Hi Roxas," she greeted with a small smile.'
Roxas cleared his throat, "Hey."
Axel looked between the two before getting up off the bed and heading for the door, "Well this is getting to awkward for me…I'll let you two lovebirds have a chat amongst yourselves."
Olette flushed a deep shade of crimson at the mention of the word lovebirds. Axel put a hand on her shoulder, giving her reassurance before shutting the door behind him with a click. The air was tense in the room as neither spoke a word to each other.
"So…I heard you are leaving tomorrow," Olette finally said.
Roxas looked up from floor to gaze into her dark viridian eyes as he rubbed the back of his neck, "I see…you heard?"
"Yeah…" she replied, turning her head to the open window.
"Olette…something has been bugging me since yesterday," he started, noticing he had her full attention, "You were about to say something before Axel saved us. What was it?"
Olette felt like her heart was working ten times faster than normal, what was she to say?
"Does it really matter Roxas?"
"Yes…you see it's been bothering me."
How could she start? She couldn't just go out and say that she had feelings for a prince, wouldn't that be wrong? An image of Riku and Namine appeared before her eyes, they were never afraid of admitting their feelings for one another, even under the most dire circumstances. Riku would always be there by her side, never afraid to admit that he loved her. She was going to be like that, her heart continued to pump loudly against her chest as she gathered up enough bravery.
"I was going to say that I was glad that Riku interrupted the wedding," she began, "Because ever since you helped me with my arm that day and that I have gotten to know you I…" his cerulean eyes were focused entirely on her as she tried to finish the sentence.
"I…" she stuttered as she walked over to him and leaned her head against his shoulder, feeling him tense at the contact.
"I have really strong feelings for you," she confessed, finding it easier to not stare at his face.
Roxas didn't know what to say, he was too shocked to even move. He wondered if he had actually heard her correctly, that she really just told him that she loved him. She had made him feel different, he found it easier to open up to her even more than his best friend and it was because of her that he had started to question his and Namine's engagement. Was this what love feels like? He quietly wrapped his arms around her waist, unable to talk due to the lump in his throat. They stood there for several minutes before he gently pulled away.
"Since I met you…I always wondered what made you different from my ex-fiancé. How I always acted different around you, more like myself…now I understand why," he stated as she listened intently.
"I feel the same way about you too Olette," he acknowledged, "And I wanted to know if you would like to come back to Twilight Town with me…of course you'll get to come back here and see everybody. So what do you say?"
Her eyes lit up in happiness as she silently nodded her head, she was happy that he felt the same and she would go anywhere as long as he was by her side. She wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Of course I will Roxas."
"So it seems that we are now permanent allies Ansem," Mickey stated while shaking the old man's hand.
Cloud had instructed Mickey to escort Ansem to his chamber quarters so he could be filled in on some of the terms that would involve the Knighthood.
"I'm glad that things had turned out so smoothly old friend," Ansem replied as they walked through the halls of the large castle.
"His majesty said that there were some terms that our castle's Knighthood…specifically the Keyblade Division had to agree with. May I ask what they are?" he asked with curiosity.
The king nodded, "Of course. You see if either of our kingdoms are at war with an outside enemy. We will need support. I requested that if worst case scenario, I could call upon the Keyblade Division of this kingdom because our land only has one keyblade master and doesn't even know it," Ansem explained.
"You mean Roxas?" the mouse asked.
Ansem's amber eyes widened in surprise before nodding, "How did you find out?"
"Since I am a keyblade master myself, I can sense if somebody has what it takes and your son has the potential to wield a keyblade," Mickey explained.
"As for our cooperation…do not worry about that. You already have it, in times of war…you will have our full support."
"Thank you old friend," Ansem said gratefully as they had reached their destination.
With Sora and Kairi
Sora and Kairi silently walked through the castle gardens side by side. The air around the palace seemed to have lightened a great deal since the events of yesterday had occurred. Kairi lifted her hand over her face as she looked into the clear blue sky, at the golden orb that seemed to float in mid air. She smiled, it seemed like an eternity since she had last seen the sun. The rays of the sun warmed her inside and out, it felt wonderful.
"Kairi let's sit over here," Sora motioned to the marble bench next to the large fountain.
She nodded in reply and quietly sat down next to her, simply enjoying one another's company.
"Sora?" Kairi asked causing the spiky hair boy to glance at her.
"I've been wondering…how were you able to find us in that dungeon? I mean we could have been anywhere, it would have taken days."
Sora looked over at the red haired princess, she wasn't looking at him, instead focusing her attention on a bed of lilacs not too far from them. Sora slowly got up from his spot as Kairi turned her attention to him, curious as to where he was going.
"After you were taken I was worried that…that imposter was going to hurt you. You should've seen me Kairi, I had never been so scared in my life," he began as he stopped over the lilacs, "Mickey had given me the Oathkeeper and told me that if I concentrated with my whole heart that it will create a bond between myself and the most important person to me," he explained as he pulled a lilac from the ground.
Kairi was speechless as Sora stopped right in front of her, holding out another lilac to her.
"I…am your most important person?" she questioned, reaching out for the flower.
When her hands touched the stem of the flower, Sora placed his other hand over top of hers. She looked into his face to see him smiling at her.
"You are…more than anyone in this world Kairi. Over the past few weeks since I have met you, I sensed a connection between us. The very first night I saw you sitting against that wall in the hallway was the day that I had fallen in love with you," he confessed as he leaned closer, his forehead touching hers.
Tears filled her eyes as she smiled back at him, "Oh Sora…"
She felt his lips touch hers, feeling her insides melt. This was her first kiss and she wouldn't have wanted to share it with anybody else. When they finally broke apart, Kairi leaned her head into his chest.
"I want you to stay by my side Sora," she stated. "So that we can be together everyday."
She felt Sora begin to play with her hair, combing his fingers through her red locks. She didn't see his smile as he continued caressing her hair.
"Kairi I wouldn't have it any other way."
With Riku and Namine
Namine sat on the balcony outside of her room in her favorite chair with her sketchbook in hand. Riku sat against the railing staring over the horizon at the small village that was in the distance. The two of them were inseparable since the events of yesterday. She glanced up to look at her savior and smiled lightly, things had seemed peaceful ever since the engagement was officially over. Namine looked up from her sketching to notice that Riku was clutching his lower abdomen rather tightly.
"Riku do your wounds still hurt?" she asked with worry, causing Riku to look towards her.
He shook his head slightly, "No Namine. I'm okay it's just a scratch," he explain, he really hated to trouble her.
Namine placed her sketchbook on the table and got up from her seat. She smiled as she took note of the confusion that was evident in his aqua orbs.
"Please Riku…I want to heal you," she pleaded, her entire family had to know certain magics and the cure spell was at the top of the list, "I won't stop worrying about you."
Riku smiled at the girl as he allowed her to touch the lower part of his stomach, "I'm sorry for making you worry…you know when I was caught in that spell," he stated.
A green light emitted from Namine's hands as she focused her magic power on that particular spot, "Don't worry Riku. I was fearful because I couldn't bear the thought of losing you."
"I almost gave in…you know?" he said, causing Namine to look up to his handsome face, "The pain was excruciating…my body couldn't handle it any longer. I couldn't see, I couldn't hear. All I felt was numbness. Until I heard your voice Namine."
When she had finished curing the wound she stood up from her kneeling position and gently pulled his head against her chest, feeling Riku tense at the contact. After a moment he had wrapped his arms around her waist as she combed her fingers through his hair.
"I couldn't lose you Riku…do you know how devastating that would be to me? Please…don't ever leave me again," she pleaded.
She felt his grip on her waist tighten as he stood up from his spot on the rail, pulling her into his chest.
"I will never leave you Namine…you have my word," he promised.
"You know…I never thanked you for stopping the wedding yesterday," she chuckled.
Riku laughed slightly as well, "Well I couldn't let my princess be married off to another man now could I?" he asked, she could practically hear the smirk on his face.
She felt the heat spread across her face, "Yeah…you are right."
A flock of white doves flew past them as they stood in each other's embrace, both happy that yesterday was not the end.
"I love you Riku," she said as she looked into his countanence.
Namine felt his soft lips press against hers, feeling like eternity had passed when they had finally broke apart.
"I love you too…I always have," he said before kissing her once again.
She was content at last as she remembered the day they first met, the promises he had made to her. It was then that she realized that all of the promises Riku had made to her had been fulfilled. They now had the chance to live a bright future together, side by side, with no burdens. And Namine wouldn't have had it any other way.
Well that's all she wrote folks. I hope you enjoyed the ending, although if you look closely there are hints that I may write a sequel. That's only if you guys are up for it, although I wouldn't be able to start on it just yet because of my other stories. It's been fun writing this story and I want to thank all the reviewers who have stuck by me, even when I was going through hard times. I truly hope you enjoyed reading and tell me your thoughts about a sequel because I DO have some ideas for one. And as always reviews and criticism are welcome.