Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts belongs to Square Enix, not me. I could never come up with something so good. Heck, my last strawberry shortcake didn't turn out so well either, and I smothered that thing in chocolate.
Chapter 1 – Unwanted Hellos
Brling! Brling! The sound of a working security system had long ago become white noise to the citizens of Radiant Gardens. Though there was no reason to keep it active, it was still functional just in case. Heartless were still around, they never would go away, but there was not any threat. They could only be found lurking in alleys and abandoned buildings by those looking for them. And who would go looking for those things? They did not attack others, seek out hearts, or appear in more than a pair at a time.
Of course there were a couple of veteran fighters that just could not accept the peace. After fighting for so long they had a hard time settling into the inaction that surrounded them. Plus, their lives had involved them in just one battle after another. Who knew, the next one might be the coming up Tuesday or perhaps it would not arrive until Cloud and Tifa had finally exchanged rings. Just in case, members of Restoration Committee would clean up the world once a week so they could prevent any rust from forming.
They were planning the weekly hunt for that afternoon, so Leon and Cloud were browsing the shops for the most updated armor and accessories. Not that they needed them to take on the variety of heartless hanging around, but old habits died hard. Plus they liked to be prepared for anything. Impromptu spars were not that uncommon to the tall fighters.
"All set?" Leon called to Cloud over his shoulder as he paid for his purchases.
The stoic blonde made his was to the counter. "Yeah, just let me pay for these."
Purchases made, the two of them made their way two stores down to fill their packs with hi-potions, ethers, and the like. Again, a useless gesture considering their planned activities but who knew when unplanned ones would crop up?
A familiar, but not recently heard sound of jingling chains caused a smile to grace both warriors' faces.
"Stocking up for something?" A voice from behind said.
"Nope not at all," Cloud placed his payment on the counter and walked by the teen with out looking at him, the corners of his lips upturned minutely.
"Really?" The teen pouted. "I was hoping for some fun,"
Leon chuckled as he paid the store owner before turning around to study the boy who joined them. Brown spiky hair, attention grabbing blue eyes, oversized shoes, and more chains than anyone needed. Yup, Sora had not changed a bit since he saw him about four month ago. Leon walked past the small brunette, ruffling his hair as he walked passed. He was not surprised to see it did not effect the teen's hairstyle.
"We're going to clean up the streets later today. Wanna help?" Leon leaned back a little bit, putting more weight on his right foot.
"Of course!" Sora exposed a toothy grin. Why wouldn't he join them, the teen loved any type of activity.
"Need anything from the shops?" Cloud joined them after checking to see if the moggle had anything new to offer.
"Hmm," Sora placed his hands on his hips and looked down in thought. "I could use a couple of things."
He turned and grabbed four blue baubles and a green one from the display behind him. After setting them on the counter, Sora dug through his money pouch for the right amount.
"Where's Donald and Goofy?" Cloud asked.
"At Merlin's house. Cid told us you were planning to take care of some heartless today, so they opted to stay there while I went to look for you guys." Sora threw a grin over his shoulder at the men behind him.
"So you already knew what we were doing, you little punk," Leon's insult was affectionate.
Cloud shook his head. "Anything else you need before we head back to Merlin's?"
"I need to give some things to the moogle, but other than that, no." The keyblader shrugged and a small sound of tinkling sang out from his chains.
Leon slung an arm around Sora's shoulder. There was just something about the young brunette that brought out the warmth in his soul. "Come on then, lets get going. Once we clear the town of heartless, what do you say about a friendly match?"
"You're on! And then once I win I'll take on Cloud. What do you say?" Sora looked up at the blonde walking along side him.
Cloud shook his head with a smile. "Ever optimistic, that's you Sora. What have you've been doing these last four months, laying on a beach?" He shot the teen a teasing grin, "Leon and I have been training. I think he'll win." The blonde winked at Leon over Sora's head.
"What?!" Sora threw his arms up, freeing himself of Leon's arm and using a finger to poke the lower end of Cloud's chest. "I'm not lazy. Riku and I have been doing the same thing! I can beat that guy any day!" A thumb was jabbed at Leon.
"Guess you'll just have to prove me wrong then," Cloud gave a small yank on a hair spike and smirked at Sora.
"Come on," Leon ruffled Sora's hair again and continued down the street. "Let's pick up Yuffie and go hunting."
Sora held Oathkeeper in front of him two handed, feet apart in a wide stance with his left one more forward. Across the battlefield Leon stood tall with his feet together, gunblade resting on his right shoulder, glinting in the sunlight. He looked relaxed, but Sora knew better. The brunette had won a battle or two against the other, but luck had played a large role. Granted, Sora was faster, more agile, and had a greater repertoire of attacks but Leon had more experience, a lot more experience, with a strong upper body, which meant bone jarring sword strikes. He would have to move quickly, not give Leon the time required to make a full swing and make quick attacks that would wear him down. Dodge roll and his long distance attacks would be important here.
The keyblader narrowed his eyes at Leon. They had been in this position for a few minutes, and neither had moved. Sora was getting antsy, he had never been a patient person and usually by now his fighting partner had made the first move. Gah, he might as well do it this time.
He charged, running toward the older brunette. Leon shifted his left leg out a little bit to gain leverage. When Sora was two gunblade lengths away from Leon he released his first attack.
"Strike Raid!" Oathkeeper went spinning toward Leon as Sora dodge rolled to the diagonal right. He placed his right hand out, braced it with his left and yelled "Fire!" Leon had brought his sword down to block Oathkeeper, leaving his side exposed to the spell. Sora watched Leon stumble back from the blow as he ran in closer to the man, calling Oathkeeper back into his hand.
"Rraawh!" Sora leaped into a high jump, keyblade swinging down to land a hit on Leon shoulder. Leon had other plans though and brought the gunblade up in time to stop it. Sora landed on the blade in a crouched position, Oathkeeper's prongs on level with Leon's eyes. He grinned at the man below him.
"You have been practicing. I didn't know you could cast a spell with out a keyblade."
"Ready to lose?"
"I could ask you the same thing."
Leon grabbed the end of his sword with his left hand and shoved upwards. Sora widened his eyes with surprise and performed a crude back flip. The landing was rough; a small pinch of pain was felt in his ankle and informed him it was twisted. No matter, it was not large enough to heal and he had fought with worse. He glared at Leon and received a chuckle.
The gunblade was pointed at him as a fireball shot down its length. "Blizzaga!" Sora yelled pointing his keyblade at the opposing spell. The two clashed with a sizzle as they canceled each other out and steam enveloped Sora. He circled, looking for a sign of Leon, quickly healed himself since the chance presented itself and downed an ether as a precaution.
"Hello there, young keyblader." The voice was low, cold, and smooth like satin velvet. Sora found himself frozen for a brief moment, even though he knew that voice was malevolence in sound waves and his back was exposed to the threat. As soon as he could move the brunette ripped around and put his strength in an areoga spell.
Leon came at him from the side, both hands on the hilt of his weapon for a full powered swing. Sora gave a cry and brought Oathkeeper to defend. The force of the blow sent tremors down both his arms and Sora felt the earth cave a little underneath this feet. He winced.
"Not so cocky now, eh Sora?" Leon smirked.
"Leon, there's someone else here."
"What?" he lifted the gunblade up a little, relieving the pressure on Sora's arms.
Sora dropped his voice to a whisper and spoke slowly, "Someone else is here. He spoke to me in the steam."
Leon completely backed off and returned the gunblade to his shoulder. Sora stood to his full height, keyblade in his right hand and pointed downward. He could launch a strike raid at a moment's notice.
"Who was it?"
"I don't know, I just--" There was a flurry of midnight blue, fresh silver, and reflected sunlight before Sora found himself rocketed away from Leon. He heard the brunette shout his name in alarm before his back met with an immovable force and he slide down it, the texture roughing up his back even more. He landed with a thud and rocks came crashing down on him from the cliff he hit. Hastily, he eructed a shield to prevent from being crushed.
Groaning he cast curaga and swallowed another ether. As soon as he ran out of magic he was finished. Potions he could do without because of the cure spells he knew, but once his mp was depleted he could only last so long.
Sora looked through a gap in the rocks that had fallen around him to see Leon fighting with the intruder and cursed. Long unbound moon silver hair, a single wing such a dark blue it made the sky look pastel, blue eyes the color of the Arctic Sea and just as cold, and a thin sword longer than he was tall. Sephiroth was a living killing machine; he did not stop until those who opposed him were taken care of and seemed to have no weakness. Sora had always been the worse one off when they met, and while it seemed Leon had a better chance against the death angel there was no way the gunblade wielder could win. The only one who could hold a candle to the villain was Cloud. Sora and Leon could only hope to hold Sephiroth off long enough for him to show up.
Closing his eyes in concentration Sora called up his valor form. It was the only drive form he managed to transform into without help, but even then the time limit was shorter. He would have to make this quick. Pushing rocks away he dashed toward Sephiroth and his exposed back.
"Arc Arcanum!" He leaped and brought Oathkeeper on the silver haired man's back, only to be swatted away by a heavy wing.
"I was wondering when you would come out and play keyblader." Sephiroth abandoned Leon and swung his long sword at Sora. He dodge rolled out of the way and cast a blizzaga at the other man's feet. The moment of immovability allowed Leon to land a blow on Sephiroth's back. Without even a wince the silverette flicked Leon aside and proceeded to break the ice encompassing his feet.
Sora leapt back in surprise as Sephiroth ignored Leon and rushed after him instead, eyes gleaming with ill intent. They clashed swords once, twice, thrice. Sora lost count of the clangs as he barely managed to parry and took damage each time. His volar form had already vanished and he was being forced backwards with each blow. Out of the corner of his eye the brunette saw Leon make one try or another to halt the strings of blows, only to be whacked aside via a wing or a magical spell.
What was going on? Sephiroth usually pushed him aside and preferred to do combat with stronger fighters. If this barrage continued, Sora knew he would last five minutes, top. Especially since he could not find the time to heal himself. A gasp escaped his lips as he slipped on a stone, falling on his back. Sephiroth swung upward to deal a finishing blow and Sora took advantage of the extra time in the swing to roll out of the way.
Sora popped up in a wide, low crouch in time to see Sephiroth growl at him. His sword was embedded in the earth, but a strong jerk would free it. Quickly he threw up Oathkeeper to cast curega; if he was fast enough he would have time to dodge the next attack. His eyes widened in fear as he saw the one-winged man prepare a swing before the cooling feel of a healing swathed him. There was no way he would survive this!
A rush of green draped around him as a twang of metal on metal met his ears as Leon stepped in between the two of them. Leon grunted in effort and did his best to keep Sephiroth from forcing him back.
"Sora! Go get Cloud! I'll hold him off." He shifted his feet to stabilize his stance.
"Gotcha," Sora dashed off toward town, increasing his speed as he heard Sephiroth release a graviaga spell. He did not know who it was aimed at, but his running was unhampered.
Out of now where there was a hand on his chest and Sora felt the stiff feeling of a stopaga spell settle around him. The hand slipped down to his waistline and undid the buckle to the belt that stored his money, potions, and ethers. They clattered around him as they fell and shattered, the glowing substances in the containers staining the ground at his feet.
"Without these, you won't last very long, will you keyblader?" Sephiroth removed his hand from Sora and fondled the hilt of his sword. Without warning, the man slammed it down on Sora's extended right forearm. The spell wore off and Sora collapsed with a cry of pain, Oathkeeper hitting the earth with a dull sound like a bag of sand being dropped. His arm was broken and useless.
Sora looked up in time to see a swirling mass of purple energy gather in the palm of Sephiroth's extended hand, pointed directly at him. The spell went wide, over Sora's left shoulder, as Cloud slammed into his nemesis's side. In an instant, Leon was the teen's side with an open hi-potion.
"You all right?" the scared man asked as Sora took the healing agent with a shaking hand.
"Give me a moment," Sora tipped his head back and drank, emptying the vessel in two gulps. Leon placed a supporting hand on his back while watching Cloud and Sephiroth duke it out. Something was odd, the villain kept on trying to escape from Cloud's fighting sphere but the blonde was not allowing it.
"Any idea why he keeps coming after you?"
Sora shook his head as Leon helped him stand. He rotated his arm for a quick check and looked over to where the other two were fighting in time to see Cloud succumb to a graviaga and stopaga spell in quick succession.
"No, but here he comes! We'll just have to beat him, right?" Sora shot a cocky grin, shaky around the edges at the older brunette before charging. Leon was just a step behind.
Just within Sephiroth's sword range Sora high jumped and flipped over his opponent. Eyes followed him, giving Leon a chance to strike. The gunblade bit into an upper thigh, causing Sephiroth to open his defenses for a heartbeat. Sora took advantage of the opening and peeled off a Raganok, dealing damage to the long-haired warrior on his left shoulder and lower chest. Sephiroth staggered back, but not before releasing the spell he had tried to hit Sora with before. "Poison," he hissed.
"Ung!" The spell had hit, but other than the force of the initial impact Sora did not feel anything. Though for some reason he was glowing a sickly purple color.
"Sora!" Cloud was at his side in a hurry.
"I'm fine, it didn't do anything."
Cloud only had time to toss him a doubtful look before Sephiroth brought his sword down. He blocked it with a two handed upward sweep as Sora dodge rolled out of the way. Himself, Cloud, and Leon now formed a triangle around Sephiroth and they would use their position and number to their advantage.
Sora charged Sephiroth. The silver haired man pushed off Cloud and brought his sword up to block. Oathkeeper slid off it like water on wax paper as Leon launched a firaga spell. Sephiroth used his midnight wing to shield himself, causing the flame to ricochet off and just miss Sora's head because he ducked in time. Burnt feathers had not even finished falling before Cloud brought his sword up to attack. Sephiroth swerved around it, ducked, and coffee ground in an attempt to knock Leon down that failed.
All three attacked, but could not seem to get in any powerful hits. Sephiroth maneuvered too well for them to land anything other then the quick and light attacks that did not need any prep time. It was nothing that would wear Sephiroth down quickly. On a side note, Sephiroth also did not land anything serious. Leon and Cloud were quick to prevent the preparation needed for such an assault and Sora was quick to avoid any that slipped past the other two. Strangely, but not unexpected by this point, all such attacks had been aimed toward the teen.
Despite no serious hits, or even a surplus of small ones, Sora's breath was coming in gasps and his body struggled to listen to him. The glow around him had become thicker and he did not miss the glances of worry Cloud and Leon shot his way. Nor did he miss the calculating look in Sephiroth's eye, as if he was waiting for the right time to strike.
Sora stumbled. Somehow he kept on taking damage even when not being hit. It had to be the spell cast on him. If only he could push himself a little more, do more damage to the enemy fighter before him. He stumbled again, his left leg crumpling as it gave out from simply supporting his weight. Both Leon and Cloud snapped their heads to look at him, fear for the teen in their eyes.
It was a bad mistake. When in a fight it was important to never take your eyes off your opponent because it leaves you open to attack. Sephiroth chose that moment to send out a wave of energy, using his wing to give an extra push in Cloud's direction, and all three shot off in different directions.
Sora heard the wind whistling a high pitched song in his ears, felt his jacket flap, and caught the sight of Radiant Garden's sun reflecting off cold, hard steel following after him. There was a thawk! as his head hit the rock wall first, followed by thumwp! as the rest of his body collided with rock. And then he was free falling forward, dead to the world before crashing to the ground below.
A/N: Hello all! This is the first of many updates for this story. Quite a different first chapter, ne? It still might change a little bit since this my beta's haven't gotten back to me on this yet. Betas by the way, who are freaking awesome! You can thank them for pushing me to see that I really needed to re-do this chapter. So thank you Skylexia and Yume Kaze! I would have waited, but my sister is always hassling me about updating this story. So this first chapter is dedicated to her, even when as she was reading this over for me she made every sentence sound like it came from an xxx novel and that every action or description meant that the sexual tension giraffe was near by and people were going to be nekkid by the end of the story. X_X This is not like that! The closest will be a topless Sora in the next chapter, maybe. Nah, that's a for sure.
And just for a heads up, don't expect the other chapters to be this long. This is a special one, so appreciate it and consider it a gift for not doing anything with this story for so long. Sorry about that -_-'
I hope you appreciate this chapter. I went through a lot of work for it. I was up to til 2 am before finally hitting the pillows after putting some music on my itunes. I woke up about 10 only to realize that my comp had died and the house had no power. (No did it for three days). So I had my sister drive me to the closet Borders so I could steal their electron juice. So tell me what you think! Be it good, bad, or just a shrug of indifference. Ask questions too if you have any! Knowing that people are out there reading is what keeps me and the other authors here going.