A/N: The sequel to You Don't Miss It 'Till It's Gone, in case you didn't bother to read the summary (which I seriously doubt that you forgot to do so).
Warnings for violence, blood, language, the works. It's not rated T for nothing.
Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts (c) Square Enix. Plot is mine, however.
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All hearts are one
One heart is all
In other words the kingdom's heart
That is the great heart
And hidden within is great darkness
Fingers brushed smoothly against a faded yellow page, torn notebook holes gracing its sides. Hurried writing scrawled across the ruled lines, in a poem that neither she nor the heads of the court could make head or tail of. It had been ripped from a looseleaf notebook in desperation. She had tried to understand why he had done such a thing.
She had been trying to understand why for over a year now, but understanding evaded her, like everybody else.
It was like her heart was slowly being torn in two, not knowing why.
It was only a simple question, but it had haunted her dreams, her thoughts, her life.
White curtains swayed in the breeze and caressed her skin, blowing through the thin silk of her bodice. She paced the room once again, white slippers touching the carpeted floor silently, hem of her dress kissing the floor with a faint swish. They were late.
She had called for them for almost thirty minutes now, and her lips curved downwards into a frown.
Desperate times called for desperate measures, and this definitely qualified as a desperate time. People were breaking out in riots and taking out their anger on the palace guards. Her advisers were talking behind her back. No matter how she tried to maintain peace, they had always clamored for one thing.
And today, that's what she'd be granting them.
It would good not only for her World, but for his as well. After all, his World had been thrown into chaos because her kingdom had burst into chaos.
She resisted the urge to yell. Breathing deeply, she tried to calm herself, but in truth, her fingers were ice-cold and her knees were actually shaking with nervousness.
The gilded marble door to the room opened, and two people filed in, looking as emotionless as ever. She observed the two as they walked inside, and took in every detail like her life depended on it.
The first one was a teenager of about eighteen years, with her choppy flaxen hair swept over one shoulder. A cream white sundress hung gracefully off her pale body, showing off her figure and concealing it quite innocently up to the middle thigh. Cerulean eyes narrowed as she took the room in and her gaze settled on her.
The second one, who closed the door after he entered, was another teen, nineteen years if she wasn't mistaken. A crown of spiked golden hair stuck out in angles on his scalp, trailing down and shadowing his stormy blue eyes effectively. A black coat covered the rest of his body from a v-necked collar with a hood, and the sunlight sparkled off his hood's cords and zipper. His gloved hands flexed open and closed, and his pouting lips set themselves in a straight line, not betraying anything that he had felt.
Both got down on one knee simultaneously and fixed their eyes on the floor. "Princess," they intoned flatly.
She inclined her head in acknowledgement. "Sir Roxas, Lady Naminé. I have decided."
Roxas glanced up briefly, and a shadow of a scowl flashed across his face. "We stand by whatever your decision is, as Captain of the Guards and Lady Regent of the Court."
Naminé nodded, agreeing. She noticed that her pale fingers clutched the hem of her sundress tightly.
"I have given him an ultimatum, and he refuses to concede. Therefore," she choked slightly on her words, but recovered quickly.
"Princess --- " the blonde Lady started, but she pressed a gloved finger to her cherry-red lips.
"Your orders are to bring him back for questioning. If, however, he refuses to come back, you have my blessing to execute him. Bring back proof if you have killed him. However, it's much better if you bring Sora back alive."
Roxas stared at her.
Naminé nodded to the floor.
The blonde spiky-haired teen shook his head. "We have no idea where he is, Princess."
She smiled weakly, and handed Roxas the torn sheet of notebook.
His eyes widened, and he read it out in a whisper to the girl peering over his shoulder. They blanched, and simultaneously looked up at her.
Naminé's cerulean blue eyes reflected pure astonishment. "K-Kairi..." she stammered weakly. "You didn't just --- "
He shook his head slowly, and got to his feet, biting his lip as he did. The blonde girl followed suit, expression a veritable mix of stunned anger and pity.
"Creator guide you, Princess," they murmured in one voice, bowing. Naminé looked ready to burst into tears, but Kairi knew she knew better than to do that. They both spun on their heels and walked towards the gilded door, leaving the note to flutter belatedly to the floor. Roxas opened the door for his girlfriend, and paused as she stepped out, turning back to face Kairi.
"Well, Kai, it's been fun," he chuckled, shaking his head. "G'bye."
Kairi bit her lip, and looked away. "Goodbye, Roxas."
He closed the door.
She fell to her knees and wrapped her arms to hold herself, trying to ease the coldness she was feeling inside.
- - - - - - - - - -
He knew it. He just knew this would happen. And he was stupid enough not to do anything about it. He was stupid enough to trust her.
Summoning the Kingdom Key, he kicked the window of his room open and slowly backed towrds it, the morning breeze ruffling his cinnamon locks. He narrowed his eyes and forced a cocky smile. "Didn't think you'd find me here..."
Leon scowled at him, flinging out an arm to hold the Radiant Garden soldiers back. He drew out his own Gunblade. "Don't think you can escape, Sora."
Sora swallowed painfully as his heart pounded in his chest. "Do you honestly believe I could've done such a thing?"
"You wouldn't have run if you didn't," the tall, brooding head of the Restoration Committee growled. He lifted a hand in signal to the armored guard behind him. Said guard poked his head back out the door and yelled something.
Sora backed away a fraction of an inch, tensing his calves in preparation to jump out.
A black-coated figure with blonde spiky hair swept into the room, stormy-blue eyes dark and impassive. "I'm here, fine, fine!" he glared at Leon, and then turned to Sora. Their eyes met for a brief second, and Sora saw nothing there but death.
"Roxas..." he whispered, but his Nobody cut him off.
"On the order of the crown princess Kairi Dalmasca-Leonheart, you are under arrest for the murders of their Majesties Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and for the murder of Sir Riku Alcaia," he intoned, before pausing. "You come back with us, or we hunt you down. Either way, you'll still end up dead, Sora."
"I didn't do it!" Sora shrieked, swiping at the edge of his eyes.
"Then who did, Sora?" Leon asked tonelessly.
He shook his head desperately before whirling around on his heels and vaulting out the window, heeding the shouts of "Don't let him get away!" behind him.
Oh God, why did he trust Kairi in the first place?
- - - - - - - - - - -
The battalion of soldiers hurtled through the marketplace, and the townspeople scattered out of the way. Leon paused every once in a while, shouting that it was all right, that the townspeople had nothing to worry about. Behind him, Yuffie ran as nimbly as he did, rolling her eyes at him.
"Suuure, Leon," she said sarcastically, shuriken held loosely in her right hand, ready to throw at a moment's notice. "We're just a bunch of fully armed deadly soldiers who's going after a murderer, who, by the way, has a Keyblade. And oh, is that a gunblade you're holding? Is that normal?"
Leon stifled a chuckle. Only she could make him smile in the most inopportune moments, being the bouncy and optimistic girl that she was. "Shut it, Yuffie."
She bopped him lightly on the back of the head.
"Sir Leon!" the captain of the guards suddenly yelled. The entire company had halted at the edge of the cobbled plaze they were running through. "The prince had run into the forest!"
Radiant Garden had its outskirts flanked by an extensive forest; and the forest itself did not have the same protection as the city. The town's defense systems were no match for the Heartless lurking inside the dense woods. Understandably, the soldiers, trained as they were, were apprehensive to enter Radiant Woods, seeing that aside from Heartless there was a psychotic Keyblade Master somewhere inside.
Leon sighed and cocked his Gunblade, slinging it over his shoulder. "Fine. I'm goi--"
He raised an eyebrow as Roxas walked out of the throng of soldiers, Naminé trailing behind him with a frown on her face and her hands clenched at her sides.
Roxas threw his head back and gazed at the sky. "You don't stand a chance if Sora goes Antiform on you, Leon."
Leon looked to the side. "You can't go up against Sora, Roxas. You know that."
"It can't be helped," the blonde boy shrugged nonchalantly. "Somebody has to finish this once and for all, and that somebody is actually a Nobody, which is me," he laughed quietly. "Cliché...My light has to do away with Sora's darkness...so damn cheesy..."
Naminé had frozen beside Roxas, pain etched on her face.
"Well...'bye, Leon, Yuffie," he said cheerfully. "Say goodbye to Aerith and the rest for me."
Leon stared. The boy had one of the hardest resolves he had ever seen. Granted, he had no emotions, but still!
Roxas turned heel, Oathkeeper and Oblivion flashing to life in his hands, much to the awed stares of the soldiers. He then crossed the Keyblades in front of him and summoned his Final Form, white flames blazing to life on the hems of his black coat. He floated to a stop a feet from the ground, white orbs of light bobbing at his side.
Leon couldn't help but feel he was watching the beginning of a final showdown...
"It's been nice working with you people!" he yelled, waving Oathkeeper in the air in acknowledgement as he leant forward and started gliding towards the forest.
The guards and soldiers started whispering. Clearly, they had no idea what Roxas meant.
Naminé had finally unfrozen and she caught Roxas by the wrist, tears shimmering at the edge of her eyes. "Don't go..."
Now Leon felt like he was intruding upon a very private moment.
Roxas stopped, and touched down on the ground. He placed both hands on the flaxen-haired girl's shoulders and peered into her eyes. "I have to. Or we all die. You die."
"I can't die, Roxas, I'm not even alive, remember?" she shot back, voice broken. "Let Leon go...he's got a chance."
"No, he doesn't,"he replied, looking away. "Listen. You know I'm always with you..."
"...and you know it's not the same!" she yelled shrilly, crystal tears pouring down her cheeks. "If you kill Sora, you'll disappear too! I don't want to lose you again, Roxas!"
The clearing fell silent. Apparently the soldiers had figured it out.
Yuffie frowned beside him. "Naminé can't change his mind. Keyblade Masters are the most stubborn pieces of work in the universe."
Leon nodded, eyebrows furrowing. Experience had taught him that Nobodies don't feel anything, because they don't have hearts. However, the Captain of the Guards and the Lady Regent of the Court were clear exceptions. Or maybe he hadn't noticed it before...Nobodies may not have a heart, but they still had a soul. He wondered if it was enough.
"I don't have a choice," number Thirteen said gently. "I'm sorry, Naminé..."
He leant forward and placed a chaste kiss on her lips, before turning away and gliding into the forest, leaving a stunned Naminé staring after him.
Leon stepped forward. All they could do now was wait. "Naminé..." he whispered as he and Yuffie knelt beside the silently crying girl, hoping his and the ninja's presence would provide comfort.
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Sora bolted through the forest, slashing at the foliage blocking his way with his Keyblade. He could feel bile rise in his throat as he dodged and jumped through the gnarled roots poking up from the ground.
Fortunately, beams of sunshine filtered through the leafy crowns of trees, illuminating his way enough to run without stumbling.
He was on the run from the people he considered friends. Best friends. Even brother, in Roxas' case.
Maybe Fate really, really hated him.
Sora ran on, until he came into a rather large clearing in the middle of the forest. Tall, imposing trees loomed high above his head, and the jade-green grass rustled under his feet, accompanying his harsh breaths. Panting, he put one hand on a nearby tree and struggled to catch his breath.
The back of his neck prickled, and he immediately flipped over. He looked over his shoulder to realize, with a shock, that he was standing back-to-back with his Nobody, Roxas. The blonde had both Keyblades out with the Oblivion pointing at where the back of his neck had been before.
"Roxas," he voiced out. The name tasted bitter on his tongue.
"Sora," Roxas nodded. "Come peacefully, or I'll be forced to use violence."
Sora laughed harshly, an unwilling smile working itself onto his lips. "We'll both die."
"I know," the blonde replied simply.
"Any last words...?"
Roxas laughed, whirled around, and charged.
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Another bolt of energy, this time of pure black, shot out from the forest once again, making birds rise up and fly away.
Leon swallowed painfully as Naminé made a strangled sound, her pale fingers digging uselessly into the cobbled street. The soldiers flinched and some of the horses whinnied, stomping their feet in agitation.
The battle had been going on for a good fifteen minutes, and the only signs were the random bolts of pure light or darkness bursting out from under the forest's canopy. Apparently, Roxas was giving it his all, but Sora was doing the same. The sky was starting to turn grey with stormclouds, seemingly in tune with the fight on the earth below.
The flaxen-haired girl squeaked as a bolt of light answered the darkness.
Another bolt of light followed soon after, but it was cut short by two short bursts of swirling black. Something made a large flock of birds fly away, scared and the living daylights frightened out of them.
Naminé was whimpering, cerulean blue eyes fixed on the sky above.
A bolt of light, but it was met by no less than thirteen small black ones.
"Roxas!" the girl screamed, and broke free of Yuffie's grip, sprinting into the forest herself.
The ninja jumped to her feet, and Leon cursed under his breath for the girl's stubborness as they followed, shouting for the soldiers to do the same, regardless of their fright of the forest or whatnot. He could see the Lady Regent's pale figure right in front of him, foliage whipping everywhere as he and Yuffie cut the branches down.
A few minutes later another bolt of light burst out at the same time as a black one, and Leon swore Naminé ran ten times faster.
Fortunately, Yuffie was faster, and she managed to catch the blonde Nobody in her arms. Naminé was sobbing hysterically and was struggling violently against the black-haired ninja.
"Let me go! Roxas needs help!" she pleaded miserably.
A bolt of light.
Leon stopped, and gestured for the men behind him to halt. He shot Yuffie a look that told her wordlessly not to let got of Naminé under any circumstances.
"Roxas, you don't want to do this..."
"Shut up, murderer!"
Sora's voice. He was pleading, voice broken.
"Say goodbye, Sora."
"No! Roxas! Don't!"
A scream. Sora. Cut short.
A column of darkness shot out from the forest for a good twenty seconds, momentarily darkening the sky. Soon after, a column of white shone, a blinding manifestation of light.
The forest around them burst into flames, and the rain began to pour heavily, starting to quench the raging inferno until only the charred remains and stumps of trees remained. Yuffie started crying, her tears mixing with the drops of rain falling, with the blonde Nobody frozen in her arms.
Naminé then screamed a name, apparently breaking out of her reverie.
The flazen-haired girl wrenched herself free of Yuffie's grip and ran into the trees. Or rather, Yuffie let her go. It was over. Leon followed Naminé's footsteps heavily, swallowing the lump in his throat. Yuffie continued crying quietly as she walked by him, right into a clearing, surrounded charred leaves and blackened stumps and the marks of a battle fought and a battle finished in tragedy.
Naminé was there, kneeling in the middle of a heap of ebony-black ashes, holding a mythril cross-shaped necklace to her chest and sobbing.
Next to her was another necklace, cradled in a pile of equally black ash, drops of water sparkling on its silvery surface.
A mythril crown pendant.
Leon bowed his head.
- - - - - - - - - - -
"Hmmm?" Aerith paused, craning her neck to look up into the sky, where bolts of energy had been dancing for the last half hour. "What's happening?"
Rinoa set down a rose stem into the brunette's basket. "I heard Roxas and Leon went to hunt him down," she said boredly, picking up another flower and wondering where Aerith had gotten these plants.
Suddenly two columns of energy rose up, one after the other, each lasting for half a minute. The first one was black, the next one was white. Then the rain poured down, and Aerith winced. "Now what was that?"
Rinoa looked at Aerith curiously, then frowned. "Don't you know? Whenever a Wielder dies completely, their element is released, and the Wielder's body burns as it does."
The brunette blanched, and tears shimmered in her jade-green eyes. "Oh Creator, no...Darkness and light..."
Rinoa wrapped her arms around the now-sobbing florist, letting Aerith cry on her shoulder. She made sure to hide the smile that graced her own lips as she looked up into the stormy sky.
All four Keyblade Masters gone... This makes my life so much easier...
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Kairi watched the columns of energy that burst out from under the forest's canopy, hands clutching convulsively on the marble railing of her balcony. The gossamer curtains swayed in an unseen breeze as another bolt of light crossed with a similar one, now only of darkness. She wondered if there was any forgiveness for what she had just done.
No. It wasn't her that needed forgiving. It was him; he was the murderer. She just meted out the justice that he deserved.
A column of darkness shot straight upwards.
She was forcibly reminded of the same sight almost a year ago, only that it was a blend, a gradient, of orange and indigo and a few splotches of sky-blue. Twilight. Riku's element. A column of twilight signifying his death. All they ever found was his ashes and the Way To the Dawn's Heartless Keychain.
She had not seen the column of grey light that was King Mickey's, but she had been told it was the most terrifying sight Disney Kingdom had ever seen. In the King and Queen's ashes lay the Reverse Keyblade's Keychain, a gold rendition of the Disney insignia.
And now, a column of darkness.
Only one Keyblade Master used darkness, and she knew who it was.
Thirty seconds later, the darkness faded, and a column of light shot up a few feet away.
Naminé must hate her now. If Nobodies could feel.
Kairi fell to her knees and sobbed, pale hands scrabbling uselessly on the white marble floor. The note, the note torn hurriedly from a notebook, was spattered with her tears. She had already broken the Illusion on the note. Illusion, she discovered, was much like the one King Mickey had woven on his own note so long ago.
Hey, it's me. Keep on reading as if this is nothing, only you can read this note. The rest see only a poem.
I need your help. Give me a chance to explain. I request asylum, I already concede, I can't keep on running forever. You know that I'm not guilty, right? I'm staying at the Rin's Travel Agency here in Radiant Garden, room 138. I need to speak to you, Kairi. Please don't tell anyone else. You can tell the whole world where I am and what you think, but do that after we talk. Please?
I love you.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Ah. Well. I can say that went as planned. This really does happen; all events from now on will lead up to this one. But I'll start at the start, yeah.
Oh, the angst. -dies-
The italicized paragraph, if you didn't get it, was what the note really contained.
Flamers can go ahead and, well, flame.