Many thanks goes out to my beta skyandland and my friends, Sensibly Tainted and Neurotic Seduction. All of whom helped me greatly with this story and kept it going. Even is Nes refused to tell me her opinion.
Epilogue: And So They Lived…
Two weeks after Roxas was released from the hospital, Riku, Sora, Axel, and Roxas disappeared. Two days later, Kakee and her new husband followed. No one knew where they went or even that they were leaving. A moving truck appeared in the driveway of Sora and Roxas' home and packed everything up. Though people looked desperately, there was no sign of the four boys. The movers did their job and left without a word.
A little less than a month later, Demyx received a letter. It only had an address and Axel's untidy scrawl spelling out three words.
Got it memorized?
Two days later, Demyx and Zexion kissed their mothers goodbye, promised to write, and then disappeared as quietly as their friends had a month ago. The next day, Leon and Cloud followed.
Being together in a gang free city was like a dream come true for the world-weary teens. Riku tested out of high school and started college with Axel. Sora and Roxas picked up school where they had left off while Demyx and Zexion chose to go straight to the working world. Cloud and Leon volunteered at a center for troubled teens while going to school at night to become councilors. Only Riku was surprised at their choice of profession (he always took their support and advice for granted). Everyone else had expected it.
Riku himself was studying to get a teaching degree for high school level students. On happier nights, he would also claim he could probably teach art as well, seeing as how that was all Axel ever talked about. He had learned more about art from the redhead than he ever had at school.
Axel, as expected, became an art major. Roxas being the main focus for nearly all his work. Sometimes, when he felt creative, he would draw Roxas and Sora together. The two always had the most entertaining pictures. Other times, when he felt depressed or retrospective, Axel would draw scenes from that final night of the gangs. He would disappear into his study for days when he drew these pictures and, afterwards, Roxas was the only one privileged to see them.
Demyx had begun his road to rock star-ism (as he loved to call it) with the help of Zexion. Zexion took the role of manager and would often enlist Axel's help in creating posters. He made sure Demyx got as much publicity as he could manage and always found the best gigs for his lover. The two were doing very well for themselves and gaining popularity fast. Demyx was so grateful to his boyfriend, he practically made himself Zexion's slave in thanks. Not that either of them minded, of course.
Roxas had become a writer. He had discovered his love for the pen while he had been in the hospital. All those long hours with only the wall to stare at had inspired him to try writing. He wrote about the gangs and the struggle people that are part of one go through. It didn't take long for him to be published and gain popularity. He was praised for his realism and intense emotion. It felt real to the readers, as if it had actually happened. The eight boys would roll their eyes at this reaction and make jokes, wondering how anyone could possibly think his stories were real.
Back in Hollow Bastion, things were in chaos for a long time. Small groups would pop often, trying to resurrect the Heartless or Nobodies. Whenever this happened, it was Kadaj who would appear and put an end to it. The gangs had lost him his favorite brother and he swore they would never come back so long as he lived. Loz and the former Neutrals helped him out as well, glad that the fighting was finally being stopped.
Vincent stayed by Rufus' side as the man was elected official mayor, not just temporary one. Sephiroth retained his position as head of the police. The three worked well together, though Sephiroth was never allowed the same freedom as he had before. He was constantly being kept in check by Vincent and Rufus.
Yazoo had never forgiven himself for trying to kill Riku and almost killing Roxas. For awhile he helped Kadaj fight the gang wanna-bees, but, eventually, Yazoo disappeared. He would show up every now and again in different cities around the country. He was often hailed as a hero or vigilantly, going around and taking out gangs everywhere and creating peace. Despite all the good he did, Yazoo would never forgive himself for what he had done.
Out of everyone, Sora took moving the hardest. He had no plans for the future and no desire to go to college. Instead he became the "mother" of the group. He kept the eight males in contact, took care of everyone, and managed the money. It wasn't until Roxas and Riku sat him down and told him to stop that Sora began searching for himself. He often came up empty-handed, finding many things of interest, but nothing he wanted to do permanently.
It wasn't until an ordinary Sunday night, when Sora thought he was home alone, that something happened. Thinking no one would hear him, Sora sang as loud as he could while taking a shower. He held nothing back. The next day (despite Sora's protests) Demyx was ordering Zexion to change their posters to include his new singer.
With their lives settled and on track, the boys lived together happily. Their relationships bloomed wonderfully. There were bumps along the way, but really, when wasn't there? The only time anyone worried about a real break-up was when Sora and Riku were twenty-one. They had a huge fight and Riku ended up walking out.
He was gone for three days.
When he came back, it was a cold and rainy day. He stood in front of Sora on the porch, soaked to the bone, his lips blue from cold, and his eyes shining with regret. As Sora stared at his lover—no, soul mate—he impulsively blurted out the first thing that came to his mind.
"Will you marry me?"
Riku didn't need to think about it.
Six months later Riku and Sora had a small commitment ceremony with only their closets friends, Sora's mother, step-father, and his blood father and his family. An announcement was sent to Riku's family out of formality, but no one was invited.
Roxas and Axel broke tradition and paid for the honeymoon themselves. And then they spent the next two and half weeks worrying their heads off when the hotel called and informed them Riku and Sora never showed up. The newly-weds eventually reappeared, happier than ever before and blushing widely when asked where they had been. They never did disclose the truth.
A year later, on Valentines Day, Axel took Roxas out for dinner to a place Demyx and Sora were performing at. Axel had them play a slow, loving song, and then proposed to Roxas at the end. And no one believed Axel could be romantic.
Roxas had been so shocked he ran from the table and hid in the bathroom for a good ten minutes. Sora found him crying happily and laughed, informing his big brother that Axel was devastated because he thought Roxas rejected him. Roxas had immediately run from the washroom and into Axel's arms, screaming, "YES!" for the world to hear.
They were married two months later in a joint wedding with Leon and Cloud. Leon and Cloud hadn't done anything romantic together. They had just decided it was time to tie the knot officially. Everyone pitched in to send the four on honeymoons and, unlike Riku and Sora, everyone showed up at the vacation spots they had chosen.
On Demyx's twenty-fifth birthday, he was with Sora and Zexion playing a gig in Las Vegas. When the three arrived home, he sheepishly announced he and Zexion had eloped. Axel cursed and hit him. Sora diffused the situation by also announcing that he and Demyx had scored a record deal and would be releasing their first CD in three months. The eight men celebrated well into the night.
Throughout the years, the eight teens never left each other. Eventually, everyone moved into their own homes, but no one was ever more than a ten minute drive away. Sora and Demyx became famous, Riku achieved his dream while Axel and Roxas became a team, writing and illustrating books together. Cloud and Leon were the best councilors their center had ever seen and Zexion was still the perfect manager for his lover and friend.
And so, in the end, they all lived…happily every after.
A/N: Oh, how sappy was that last line? Well, there you have it. The final installment of Heartless Vs Nobody. No, no sequel will be made, sorry. But I think the epilogue pretty much wrapped everything up nicely. I really loved my epilogue.
The one thing I was never able to include was a little blurb about Riku's parents. I had wanted them to show up so that maybe everyone could get a glimpse of why Seph turned out the way he did. But it never happened. That made me sad.
I hadn't realized how long the final chapter was until I saw it posted and was reading through it. I was surprised, but pleased.
So, thank you to everyone who stuck with me and this story until the end. All the reviews, good and bad, were so encouraging. Except the ones that only said "Update." Those really did have enough substance to be encouraging. But they made the review count higher, so I guess I shouldn't complain. Lol. I do hope no one says to update after this chapter, seeing as how it's the end
Was there a point to this? Yeah. Thanks everyone for reading and double thanks to everyone who reviewed. This story made it to the end only with your help.
And, if you're interested in anything else of mine (as some people have mentioned) Treasure will be taken off hold and updated again in the next couple of days. The chapter's already written, it's just waiting to be posted.
That's all, then. Thanks for sticking with me to the end. Bye! (waves)