This is it everyone. This is the last chapter of the circie story. I wasn't planning on ending it here but the words just came out and wrapped themselves up so perfectly that I couldn't bring myself to change it. Honestly you have no idea how hard it was for me to end this story. It's been a work in progress for just about 9 months now and I've put time, effort, passion, and soul into it all. As cheesy as it sounds it's true and that made it even harder for me to end things.

I am not going to change this story's status to 'complete' though and I never will. No I'm not being vain or clingy (even though it is taking everything in my power not to be) I'm not changing the status because this story will never end. The life of the circies will go on and my imagination will continue to fathom their doings, and I will write out side stories of theirs from time to time. They may have occurred before or after this story, and could be anything that pops into my head, so who knows who the stories will focus on? Not me!

This is it everyone! The last chapter is just below this line! Enjoy!

Chapter 26

Time To Go

"You know, it's been 16 years since I've been in prison," Xigbar said idly. He was taking their jail cell residence the easiest.

Luxord was in a similar position and nodded, "I remember that night. You me and Jak were cow tipping and one of the cows ended up crushing the sleeping barn boy we didn't see." They both laughed and while the others shared a few laughs with them it was obvious they were taking this rough.

A silence soon fell over the cell, a familiar sound they'd gotten used to over the past 7 hours. In that time officers had come in to pull out one of the circies every now and then to interrogate them individually. In those hours only Larxene, Axel, and Xigbar had been interviewed and it looked like it was going to be a long stay.

"Think smart kid, isn't this violating our rights or something?" Larxene asked, sprawled out on the cool floor and looking like a mad cat.

Sora assumed she was addressing him and he nodded, "Quite a few actually but…the problem is you guys aren't actually registered citizens in this world."

"But we signed entry papers; doesn't that entitle us to some kind of amnesty?" Axel was mad about the whole situation and it was clear he wasn't meant to be behind bars. The jail cell was about the size of one of the bedrooms on the train but with all the circies in it, the space felt smaller than manageable.

"No, it just lets you do what you applied for, in your case: reside for a month and perform. There's absolutely no protection clause," Sora said. Technically he, Roxas, and Kairi all had full rights and shouldn't even be sitting here, but the officers didn't know that.

There was another lengthy silence and it was driving them insane. They were all tired but couldn't bring themselves to sleep, unsure of what kind of situation to expect when they woke up again. Roxas was easily the most shaken by this whole incident, and it was more than obvious. He was sitting in the corner with his legs hugged to his chest and his chin on his knees. Axel hadn't left his side once the entire time, saying nothing though because he knew that was the best way to help him right now.

"…It's so quiet," he said under his breath.

Axel nodded, and through the silence everyone had heard him, "We're not designed for this kind of stuff Roxy. Circies don't do well inside walls."

Roxas said nothing but they all looked up when they heard a door down the hall open and Sora looked down the hall, from his angle spotting two officers coming down the hall with Riku in custody. An officer unlocked the door while the other unlocked the handcuffs binding his wrists before pushing him into the cell with the others. The first officer looked over the circies and pointed to Demyx, "You, come with us."

Demyx was scared and swallowed the lump in his throat, looking back when he felt Xigbar squeeze his shoulder to reassure him he'd be fine. Demyx nodded and stood up, heading for the door where his wrists were immediately bound by handcuffs and he was led away while the other guard shut and locked the door.


The officer looked back at Riku when he heard him and saw his hand extended through the bars. The officer realized he was still holding the hat they'd confiscated for searching before he went into the interrogation room. He handed it too him and laughed before leaving, and Riku realized shortly there after why he was laughing. While his had may fit through the bars, his hat would not.

"Well?" Sora asked, posing the question they all wanted to ask. His interrogation had taken the longest so far, exceeding the others by almost 2 hours.

Riku sat down, still holding his hat through the bars with one hand, "These guys don't know what they're doing," that was more than obvious, "Apparently an hour before the show started somebody set fire to the church in town, and forensics can't find evidence to nail a suspect to the wall yet."

"And so they blame us?" Larxene scowled, rolling over to see him.

"Yup," Riku nodded, "We're, and I quote, 'A lousy bunch of prostitutes who've been threatened by the church since last years visit,' and thus this was our motive to take action against the church."

Luxord shook his head, "That's such crap. We were all too busy getting ready for the show to evil think up something like that, let alone go out and do it in time to make it back for the opening."

"I told them that and I got clubbed over the head," Riku said with a sigh, "You figure for such a 'sinless' world, this place wouldn't have abusive police officers."

"Maybe they just didn't like you, the rest of us have come out fine so far," Axel pointed out with a bit of a grin. He knew Riku had said something to make them mad, it was just the way he was, and if a blow to the head resulted then it was his fault.

Only minutes later though they heard a scream, and an all too familiar one that made them all get to their feet and hurry over to the bars, shouting down the hall, "Demyx!"

It was madness that they were confined in this space and unable to go help him, and there was no way of knowing what was going on. "God damn it!" Xigbar swore, jerking on the bars but there was no give in the metal, "This isn't right! We didn't do anything!"

"We know that but they don't," Axel hissed, however Roxas looked pale again and he quickly led him back to sit down.

"Don't make so much noise," Sora insisted quickly, "You're in their custody and in this situation they'd be more than willing and able to send a few thousand volts through you and believe me they have the right and power to do so."

"Don't make so much noise? How the hell can you say that?" Xigbar snarled, turning on and stepping toward Sora "You're not even a part of this group so shut up and don't tell us how to behave!"

Sora kept his mouth shut and looked down quickly, however, tensions were running high and Riku stepped between them, "Go sit down Xigbar, there's nothing we can do so no sense pitching a fit."

There was a lengthy glare between the two of them and while Riku had superiority over him it was obvious Xigbar had more to say. "Stop arguing," Kairi quickly intervened before a fight broke out, "We all just need to calm down! We didn't do the crime so we shouldn't worry! We just need to sit down and wait this mess out!" She was right, they all knew it, and after a few moments Xigbar gave up and returned to the bench to sit and wait. There was a silence again that suffocated them and it was hard to keep a clear head without going crazy.

"Riku?" Sora asked quietly, scooting over next to him. He was still sitting at the bars with a hand through them holding onto his hat and his head resting against them. His eyes were shut and Sora wondered if he was sleeping but when he nudged him, Riku opened one eye and looked over at him, and Sora said, "Sing something."

He shook his head though, "Not now Sora."

"Come on, it'll make us all feel better," Sora said, hugging him a bit and putting his head on his shoulder. He needed something to take his mind off what was happening and he was sure the others felt the same.

"…I would, but I can't," he replied, for the first time he was drawing a blank and couldn't think up a single song. Sora understood but it was a hard truth to accept, the circies just couldn't function properly in this situation and that made them more human than most people thought they were.

"Hey guys!" In no time all the circies were back at the bars when they heard Demyx, and he came grinning down the hall under custody by two officers, "Guess what? There's a protest going on outside for us!" This was news indeed, and it made them feel much better after seeing him well and unharmed, "It must be half the town! More even! The people are on our side!!"

"Ofcourse they are! Unlike these thick stiffs, they know we're innocent," Axel cheered, making a point of insulting the officers as they released Demyx back into the cell.

The officers said nothing though, restraining themselves and instead roughly grabbing Sora. He let out a bit of a yelp at the surprise as his wrists were restrained behind his back. It was obvious Riku didn't like the fact that the officer's were taking out their tempers on Sora, but when he moved toward them Axel grabbed his shoulder and gave him a look to remind him of Sora's warning. They were still in custody and aggression could be severely punished. Reluctantly he watched them go and when they were gone Demyx told them about what he'd seen.

"We were on our way to one of those question rooms and I saw it on a T.V.! They've got signs and posters and face paint and everything! It's so cool!" Demyx was practically beaming and the others couldn't help but share his happiness.

Xigbar was curious still though, "So is that why you screamed?" Demyx nodded and they all felt better to know he hadn't been hurt.

"So what does all this mean?" Riku asked. Since Sora wasn't here, the next most well read on politics was Luxord, whom thought it through before answering, "Well it depends on just how out of hand the protest gets. I can guarantee that this will push the police to quicken their search for evidence and piece together a solid case for what really happened."

"Good. Because I don't know about you guys but I'm ready to get out of here," Demyx said in a half whine half sigh. Everyone agreed and Larxene hugged him before leading him down to the floor to try and get some rest. The circies hadn't slept for almost 24 hours now, and while a few had managed to doze off for a few minutes in the cell, most were too nerve racked to even consider sleep despite their need for it.

"Don't worry. In no time we'll be back in our own beds and getting ready for tomorrow's show," Larxene assured them all, "Bet the others will be glad to see us." Zexion, Lexaeus, Vexen, and Marluxia were still back at the circus, probably because the police hadn't thought enough into the case to bring in others who obviously weren't even involved.

"Zexion's probably getting sick of babysitting too," Kairi smiled a bit, knowing they were all taking good care of Kadaj. Poor Zexion though was sick and wasn't even performing during the show last night, so they imagined he was having it the roughest.

Luxord chucked and shook his head, "I'm surprised you don't."

There was a bit more talk going on in the room now that the circies knew there was help on the outside, but it was still very toned down for the next hour. Finally the door opened again and Sora came back looking pleased, and when the circies asked what happened he announced, "You're all free to go!"

As soon as the cell door opened they all threw hugs on him, smothering him with circie love, "Incredible!! How? How did you wing that?"

"I know my rights," Sora grinned, "I declared my right to council and went straight to a judge, whom saw all the flaws I did in this case and agreed that there shouldn't even be the slightest cause for imprisonment." The cheers that followed were almost deafening as each circie unleashed their own form of thanks.

Demyx was right about the protest outside the prison, over half the town had to be there. To avoid having to face the crowd, the circies had to be escorted back to the train, and as exhausted as they were relieved that they didn't have to walk. They wouldn't have minded saying hello to the public but honestly they were too tired and not in the mood for anything, so as soon as they got to the train they went straight to bed without so much as a word to the others.

"How'd you get so smart?" Riku mumbled tiredly as he finished changing and slumped down into bed next to Sora, whom changed much more quickly since he didn't have as many costume pieces.

Sora grinned, glad his knowledge had actually served as something more than a tool to get A's in school, "I spent my high school years taking advanced government classes rather than performing in a circus."

"How unfortunate," Riku said, hugging Sora when the boy scooted closer to him, "You know, I think I thought of a song."

"Finally," Sora mumbled, "You couldn't have thought it up when we were all miserable could you?"

"Nope," was all Riku said, "Because this one is all for you."

Sora was curious now and he opened his eyes, "Well? Are you going to sing it for me?"

"Nope," was again all Riku said and Sora looked baffled, "You may not like it, and if you don't I'd be upset and not be able to sleep."

Sora was even more curious now though and he scooted closer and nuzzled his face into Riku's chest, "Come on, please. I got us out of jail after all."

"Well it's short, so you'll have to finish it," Riku reasoned and Sora nodded before Riku grinned and sang:

Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing,

Telling me to give you everything?

Seasons may change, winter to spring,

But I love you until the end of time.

Sora listened to the short song, waking up a bit and indulging in the words meant for him and only him. They were sincere and hung in the air for several minutes before Sora kissed him and did as he'd agreed, he finished it with just as much heartfelt emotion as he'd been given and felt:

Come what may,

I will love you until my dying day…

And it was as simple and complex as that. A realization that couldn't be expressed or understood before tonight and now it was openly accepted and felt. That was love for you, you never know when or how it sucks you in, but it had hold of both of them and wouldn't let go. Without another word, Sora smiled and leaned in to kiss him and Riku returned it. It was brief but enough and left Riku grinning, "It's a good thing you kiss better than you sing." Sora stuck his tongue out before laughing a little and hugging him tightly, sighing contentedly and easily falling to sleep in his embrace.

The circies were very rudely awoken only an hour later though when they heard loud talking and banging on the door to the first room car. Axel was the first to respond to the relentless banging and he swore loudly as he climbed over Roxas and out of bed. Roxas tried to follow him, but he was so tired he couldn't pull together enough strength to get up, resulting in him rolling and falling out of bed. When he heard him hit the floor Axel ignored the noise from outside and picked Roxas up and put him back in bed, "Wait here, I'll be back," he assured him and Roxas nodded groggily before easily falling back to sleep as he left.

By the time Axel reached the hall, Riku was stumbling out as well as Demyx and Sora, all looking pissed and exhausted, not a good combination for this bunch. Demyx reached the door first and as soon as he opened it there was a wave of noise and flashes that shocked him to the point where he fell back into Sora and they both fell back and hit the floor.

The din of the dozen reporters and photographers was intolerable and other circies were sticking their heads out of rooms down the hall to see what the fuss was. Neither of the standing circies said anything as the questions rang through their head, and this went on for several minutes before Axel finally said, "Please shut up and go die a fiery death of doom-ness."

Then there was silence, nobody sure how to respond to that, but they all wrote it down anyway on their notepads. Riku used that silence to the fullest though and pointed to a different reporter for each answer, "Yes. This Sunday. No. Never. No. Yes. That's true, but not for all of us. One year from our departure. Here. Seven tomorrow night. No. Yes. It's possible. And no further questions," and with that finished he shut the door before anything else could be said.

Axel didn't question what just happened, or the validity of the answers since he didn't even know what the questions were. The noise was gone though and the circies returned to their sleep instantly. Demyx got off of Sora and crawled back to his room after Axel had moved out of his way, and Sora was too tired to get up so he hugged Riku's ankles until he picked him up and carried him back to bed. On a normal day the circies would have thrived and enjoyed the publicity, but today wasn't normal. In fact, this was definitely going to be a hangover sort of day that they were more than willing to sleep through.

And sleep they did, and the whole time the world around them was busy discussing the latest gossip about the circus. None of them cared though, after Sunday they would be worlds away and far away from the troubles that had plagued them over this month. Though, they'd be lying if they said some good hadn't come from it all.

By Sunday morning though, the circus had been taken down but the magic it brought lingered over the town. The circies looked over the vacant grounds, wondering when they'd see this world next.

"We'll be back next year right?" Demyx asked.

Riku nodded, sure things had been rough but that didn't change their routine and obligation as a circus, "Ofcourse. Besides, I'm guessing the ambassador is going to require it of us," he said. They laughed but it was probably true since both of his sons were leaving with them now.

"Maybe we'll have less trouble next time," Larxene hoped, kicking over a rock but shrieking at the mob of ants that swarmed out of the hole.

Luxord looked around before noticing something, "By the way. Where are those two?" he asked, referring to Roxas and Sora. The others noticed their absence as well and Axel recalled briefly hearing something, "Sora said he was borrowing Roxy earlier, and then dragged him off but that must have been an hour ago."

"Better not make us late departing," Luxord sighed, but just to have fun he added, "Well…we could always just leave without them."

"Not a chance," the simultaneous response from Axel and Riku made the others laugh; even if it was just to tease them they meant it all in jest.

"Hey guys!"

The circies looked back at the train at the base of the hill, spotting Roxas and Sora with their heads out the window, "Hurry up! We've got a departure time to keep!" With a quick look to his watch, Xigbar realized just how close to noon it was getting, "Brats are right! Get going!"

When they reached the common car though and went inside they realized what Sora and Roxas had been doing in their absence. "Like it?" Roxas asked with a grin. There on the wall was a new collection of pictures as well as a poster from the show this month. Since they'd run out of space on the ceiling almost a year ago, the new show pictures and posters were hung around the walls now and this one was particularly interesting with all the events that had happened this month.

"Love it!" Demyx squealed, hurrying ahead to see first as the others followed behind him.

"I don't know. Some of this stuff I don't want to remember," Kairi said, looking at some of the ones from the after parties.

Luxord nodded in agreeance, "Pictures are only particles of memories, I prefer to keep a mental scrapbook instead."

"Only because you are mental," Larxene taunted and Luxord lunged for her but she evaded and scurried away, Luxord at her heels.

As the two gave chase around the common car Xigbar checked his watch again and headed down the hall to see if Lexaeus needed help getting the engine going, and Demyx followed behind him a few steps with a smile. Kairi heard Kadaj crying from down the hall in hers and Larxene's car, the noise of the chase must have woken him so she headed off to soothe him.

Sora jumped when he heard the engine start, grabbing Riku's hand as a reflex. Riku laughed and squeezed his hand reassuringly before whispering something indistinct in his ear that made Sora smile and turn a bit red. Riku looked around to see if anyone was paying attention before discreetly heading down the hall, leading Sora away with him.

Roxas stood there watching them all settle into their own acts, just like in the Big Top. They were a circus yes, but they acted as a family, each person having their own things to do but always remaining a part of the group. He couldn't help but smile as he looked around at what he was a part of. This was his home. This was where he wanted to be and stay. This was-


Roxas looked up at Axel, pried from his thoughts when he heard him. This was where Axel was. This was who brought him more happiness than he could ever had asked for or expected.

"You want to see something incredible?" Axel asked with a grin and Roxas nodded, following Axel across the room to the window. Halfway there the train started to move and Roxas stumbled, the movement addling his balance but Axel put a hand on his shoulder to steady him. He led him to the window just as they were picking up speed and Roxas sat down on the window ledge to keep from stumbling again. Axel was used to travel on train so he had no difficulty standing, but he kept an eye on Roxas carefully, "Now watch," he instructed, looking out the window.

Roxas looked out, watching the hillside pass by slowly, then faster, and faster. Then something strange happened, the hill faded from focus and the world outside became a bright collage of colors. He just started for several minutes before the colors faded into a solid dark blue and he couldn't help but gasp when he saw Twilight Town, the whole world, beside them, slowly leaving the window's view.

"We're…This is…" Roxas just stared, completely lost of words to describe what was going on. It was amazing and it defied all he'd seen in life.

Axel smiled and kissed his cheek, "Welcome to the circus Roxy."

….I'm not crying I swear…Twenty-six chapters and one short Christmas story…wow, I never expected this story to be as well received as it was. You guys have put up with my late updates and rantings before each chapter, truly I am grateful and you are all amazing. Feedback has been incredibly helpful and you've all got my eternal love.

This is not the end of my writings by far. Some of you have read my new story 'A Pirate's Life for Us' and that is now going to be my central project since this story is over. I hope you all go take a look at it, as I find it is growing on me with the same love I had for this one had. That along with little side stories for this story will ensure that there will always be more to read.

As always, I wish you all the best in all the world and I wrap up this story with a gigantic thank you to anyone that's ever reviewed, spread the word about this story, or even just taken the time to read. Thank you!

Your loving bohemian, Mad-TopHat-Ter