notes There is a lot of stuff on my hard drive written about Kingdom Hearts. A ton. Most of it is finished, but I'm not ready to post it yet. I'm ready to post this. This is a long-rambly, semi-semblance of a story thing that should really be titled, What I Think of Hollow Bastion. Uhm, right. Notes. Well, for a surprisingly large amount of time, I debated over whether to use Radiant Garden or Hollow Bastion. Radiant Garden is probably more correct for the kind of timeline this fic resides in, but Hollow Bastion sounded more right. So, uh, pretend this is…early KHII? Because it's definitely KHII.

Quite a few bits are taken from what I could glean off of the KH manga. Such as their cooking styles, and Aerith's strange drinks.

This is supposed to be gen. But…I don't know. You might see hints of things.

In game, kinda.

disclaimer I don't own Kingdom Hearts

An Inch of Nothing

Leon was the master of crappy Do It Yourself. Everything in the world (according to Leon's silent and—Yuffie says—crappy opinion) could be fixed with a gunblade. You whack it a couple of times, maybe shoot it a couple of times and if it doesn't work it probably wasn't worth fixing in the first place.

Yuffie loudly refuses to get near Leon anytime she's the least bit hurt, even if he's yelling at her that he knows Cure and she's rusty with it and she's screaming back that getting her arm shot up was probably not the best way to be healed. Sora usually lands right in the middle of this kind of argument and secretly likes it when Yuffie hides behind him or when Leon wants him to talk sense into her.

It doesn't work because Sora thinks that Leon's method of fixing things is the coolest thing ever, and since whenever he shows up in Hollow Bastion they are in the middle of fixing something, the sound of hammers and saws and the crack of Leon's gunblade has become the background music for the world.

If Leon is the master of Do It Yourself, then Yuffie is the master of living dangerously. And since for one reason or another, the two are rarely apart, their styles tend to combine in the strangest of ways. Yuffie invented blindfolded hammering, for example. (In case you're wondering—Donald never does, just gets a horrified look on his face, Yuffie says it's a practice in hand-eye coordination, only it's not so much as hand-eye, as hand-and-hope-you-don't-miss. Sora thinks it might be vaguely useful if he needs to hammer something in the dark or something, but also it's fun. They don't get hurt as much as Aerith thinks they would. A lot of it is them yelling "A LITTLE TO THE LEFT!" and then giggling. This is probably why Leon never assigns them anyplace important to fix.)

Sora doesn't particularly like to admit it, but he kind of likes it when he shows up and is given a hammer and ordered to the West Wall, where Yuffie is waiting with some rope and a wicked smile, wanting to know if he wants to do something Really Cool.

The Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee Honourable Member cards are really Leon's way of saying sorry. It also happens to be Leon's way of making something a really big mouthful to say. It's his way of saying, sorry I forgot and it'll never happen again. Leon is the kind of person to realize exactly how important memories are.

Sora keeps it in his…kind of wallet. It's really just a pocket of his pants that he shoves munny into whenever he can, and he uses it because it's handy, and he doesn't have to fight with buckles and buttons and belts when he has a Heartless leaking out their next meal ticket. (And the munny to pay for that accessory he's been eyeing for weeks. The moogle had been stubbornly refusing to give them a discount, even though he was the Keyblade Master, and what good was that title if he couldn't even get 10 per cent off on a skill ring?)

He likes that whenever he puts his hand in there, he can feel the smooth, hard edges of the card. It reminds him that he belongs somewhere.

(Honorary member, Donald grumbles later on, we saved Hollow Bastion!)

Sora likes Hollow Bastion broken because it's cooler to skateboard off of. He knows though no one tells him that Leon is fixing it up because he hopes people will come home, and he hates having to witness futile things.
He likes Aerith's drinks. They're inventive and funny to say and really, really good. Him and Donald drink pitchers of whatever she makes while Leon eyes them with horror in the background, and they always end up arm wrestling for the last glass. Sora always wins, even when Donald bites him in the middle of it.

He likes Yuffie's cooking a lot less. She's enthusiastic, and it's not that the cooking is bad, it's just that everything is so strong—it reminds him of Kairi, just a bit. She learned it all from Cid, and speaking of disasters, Donald swears up and down that the man put rocket fuel in his soup, and all Cid can say is that he wasn't expecting more company and that he needed something last minute to throw in the pot, and something last minute means something handy. This is horrifying to Sora because the only things handy to Cid are things that are flammable. Him and Donald are careful with Fire for weeks afterwards. Goofy likes it though. He says Cid's cooking has flavour. This causes Cid to put his arms around him and tell everyone that he and Goofy are Real Men.

Leon is never around when it's Cid's turn to cook, and come to think of it, he's never around when it's his turn to cook either. Aerith tells him on the sly that Leon is better off sticking to fighting; this is the most remotely uncharitable thing Sora has ever heard her say, if you don't count that time she stubbed her toe, or that time that someone tried to charge rent on the Little Room in Traverse Town and Aerith was the only one home. She's scary, Goofy says with feeling, and Sora shudders and agrees.

Sora kind of has many homes, but Hollow Bastion is the only place that they keep a permanent room for him. Well that, and his actual home. He hates his room on the gummi ship with a passion. It's cramped, and for some reason there are always crumbs in his bed. And if he's sleeping, that means Donald is at the wheel, and Donald at the wheel means they crash into meteors and other ships more often than not. And if it's not Donald, its their bass-ackwards AI system. Which tends to detonate missiles. A lot. On themselves. Whenever they are between worlds, and Donald and Goofy are arguing over who to visit next and are stuck between worlds for the night, Sora always presses for making it back to Hollow Bastion. (Donald says Aladdin, but his eyes really say the treasure chests at the castle, and Goofy says Ariel because he likes musicals, and swimming. Sora would agree with Goofy on principle, but being underwater and having gils made him feel like he was slightly suffocating, and that he didn't belong. Donald says no place should have that much water. Donald is surprisingly unduck-like about many things.)

This makes for some pretty late nights, him showing up when the morning tinges pink on the horizon. But he knows that the door's open (not open, really. The Heartless are too much of a problem for that. As Leon put it, "We would like to wake up with our hearts still in our bodies.") and his bed is made and more or less aired out.

And the next morning, there will be breakfast. Somehow, Aerith always knows. He can look forward to fighting with Cloud for the last of her bran-and-malt-muffins. He can count on getting a good lunch to take with him

He misses home so much that sometimes he wants to curl up and cry. He wants to throw down the Keyblade and just concentrate on remembering the sound of the waves, the colour of the sunset, and wondering if the sand is still that perfect mix of gritty and silky, and still that annoying when it went down his pants. He wonders if Wakka and Tidus ever did manage to finish inventing that game of theirs. He promised that he'd be on their team. (You can be our gopher, Tidus told him comfortingly). He wonders if Selphie ever did reach one million jumps in a row. He wonders if Kairi—

The thing is, he wants to give up, but fighting is what's bringing him closer. He just knows it.

Until he gets there, he has Aerith's hot chocolate with grapes, Yuffie's smile, Leon's silent support, Cid's gruff kindness, and Cloud looking out for him

Sometimes he hates it in Hollow Bastion. The people there are living for the past. He'll be skateboarding in the postern and run into Leon who's looking at a particular section of the wall like he lost his first love there or something. When Goofy and Donald catch up, out of breath, and he thinks to ask them about it, Goofy tells him not to bring it up.

"Gawrsh, he probably did," is his comment. He asks Yuffie though. Yuffie goes hmph, and tells him that there used to be a girl that made even old Squall smile. There used to be.

Cloud is the one that's most living in the past. He has good days, and he has bad days. The good days are the ones where he'll know where he's going, and laugh a bit, and think maybe he's human. The bad days…Sora thinks Cloud is kind of like a Heartless that hasn't quite turned into a Heartless yet.

He doesn't want to burden everyone with his problems, but sometimes he wonders if he'll ever find Riku, or Kairi, or home, or anything.

He wishes for the brightness of home so much. He wishes he never had to see any of them again, 'cause he'd be too busy hanging out with his mom, or going to school, horrible as that is. He wishes that they were farther, and he wishes that they were closer, and he wishes that they weren't, but somehow they've become like a family.

When he's away he swings between wondering what Leon's next project is and hoping that when he gets there everyone has found their happy ending, even though he knows, he knows, it's not wise to wish for a happy ending. He should instead be wishing that everyone was happiest with what they had, or working towards some form of that.

He'd give it all away for Riku and Kairi, he'd give away the gummi ship, his Keyblade, everything—

But mostly he just misses them.