The Interference II: Curse of the Crimson Elixir

Journeys Led By Farewells

Alex sighed. "Good grief," he muttered, plopping his head back down onto his pillow. It was the dead of night, and even then he couldn't get much sleep. Then again, with another personality inside your head, it was usually difficult to get any sort of peace.

Alexander felt the presence of his dark counterpart, Joumae, appear from wherever he'd been hiding in his mind. Well, you have all the right to feel like staying up late, Joumae mused, his voice only audible to Alexander and those who also had other selves in their hearts. Your fifteenth birthday is coming up in a few minutes.

The boy glanced at the digital clock again. It now shone 11:55 in bright red digits. Five minutes until August 15th, his birthday. Alex shrugged. "Yeah, well, I think I'm also not used to this world's sleep schedule yet, either..."

Really? Joumae grumbled sarcastically. It's been two weeks already! Surely you would've gotten enough sleep by then! ...Or is it something else?

The boy didn't reply. On the early morning of August 1st, Alexander Karsath had tried starting a new game of Kingdom Hearts II. For some reason, his heart ended up connecting with some aspect of the game in that moment, and he accidentally created the Kingdom Hearts universe and got sucked in. Alex found himself living out the game himself, but his presence slightly interfered with what really should have been happening. He became dubbed the Interference, because of the nature of his presence inside the game universe.

The sleep reference was because of the fact that... well, within the game universe, the adventurers don't require so much sleep. That's why Sora, Donald, Goofy, and the others could go through the game in one shot, and why Alexander had been so tired when he had returned.

But one factor of interfering with the game universe is that time completely stops in the real world while the Interference is within the game. Likewise, the game universe's time stops when the Interference returns, so that the real world's time can catch up. Alexander had been in Kingdom Hearts II for eleven days. Which means that three days ago, that universe's time started up again.

Alexander looked at the clock again. 11:57. "Well, what do you expect?" Alex finally asked. "After all that adventuring, after defeating thousands of Heartless and hundreds of Nobodies, all I have to show for it is you and the Lockshield!"

Ah, yes, the Lockshield. A dark green medium-sized shield with a sharp edge, a Heartless emblem in the middle and a small keyhole in the center. The direct equal and opposite of Sora's Keyblade, with similar powers and properties. The weapon Alexander had gained early in his adventure in Kingdom Hearts II. Joumae was actually the representation of the Lockshield's will. It had been a big help, mainly because it had allowed him to fight, but it had also allowed him to seal the Dark Corridors.

Dark Corridors were the gates that Heartless and Nobodies used to get into the worlds. Alex had sealed pretty much all of them, so those enemies would be staved off for a while. It was probably one of the biggest Interferences he'd made.

Alexander looked one last time at the clock. 11:59. It had been showing that for a while now, so he figured the minute was probably already up. "Happy birthday to me..." he mumbled.

12:00 AM. Alexander Ephiram Karsath was now fifteen years old.

Suddenly, he heard a door open and close. A faint shadow passed over the light shining through the cracks in the door frame. Someone had walked by. Alex groaned, realizing who it must have been. Slowly, he got up out of bed in his pajamas and walked out of his bedroom.

Alexander leaned on a corner of the wall and looked into the small living room of their apartment. Erica was there, reaching for the PS2. Erica Michelle Karsath was Alexander's younger sister. She was thirteen years old, going on fourteen in a month. She was a head shorter than Alex, and she had long golden-blond hair that hung down her back to her waist.

"What are you doing?" Alex asked pointedly, startling Erica. Erica turned to face him with a sheepish grin on her face, and a PS2 game box in her hand. Alex sighed. Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir.

"You're such a fangirl, you know that?" Alexander muttered as Erica turned on the PS2 and took out Kingdom Hearts II, putting it in its own case. Erica shrugged, putting her own game in. "I know," she replied nonchalantly.

Fullmetal Alchemist was Erica's absolute favorite anime. Alex had nothing against it; he had been quite a fan himself. It was just Erica's fangirl nature that ruined it for him. She had a whole bunch of merchandise, and drew sloppy transmutation circles when she was bored. Those were just examples of Erica's fangirl tendencies, but Alex didn't really want to know more. But it really wasn't surprising that Erica would play a game based on an anime in the dead of night.

Alex had also played that game, as well as its predecessor. They were actually pretty good games, and they had been developed by Square-Enix. Alex had also beaten FMA 2 once, but Erica...

"Just how many times have you beaten that thing before?" Alex asked. Erica grinned as the game began to load. "I beat it for the third time a week ago. Now I'm gonna play through again."

Alexander rolled his eyes. Again, Erica was such a fangirl. But this franchise of games had one rather interesting aspect. If you saved a Clear Data, you could start from the beginning again with all of your items and equipment. No doubt Erica was about to do that now...

The title screen showed up. Erica selected Load Game, then hovered over her Clear Data. With great aplomb, she pressed the X button. Then there was a flash of light...

Alexander unshielded his eyes. He gasped at what he saw. All around him, everything was black and white, with the exception of his body (but, strangely enough, not his pajamas) and the PS2. But that wasn't what scared him. What scared him was the fact that Erica was nowhere to be seen. The television was still shining brightly.

"Joumae!" Alex shouted. "What the heck is going on!?" He heard Joumae sigh. Isn't it obvious? Your sister's heart has connected with the game Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir. Alexander glanced at the colorless surroundings. Sensing his question, Joumae added, Time has stopped in this world to allow her to go through the game.

Alex looked over himself. "Then how come we...?" Then it hit him. "Oh, right... I've been an Interference, so the failsafe law doesn't apply to me..." That's right. Everything that's been in the game universe is still mobile.

Alexander glared at the PS2. "Then we've got to do something." Joumae was surprised. Wait, what? What are you doing? he demanded as Alex trooped back into his bedroom and swung open his closet door. Pushing aside some of the clothes, he gazed at his traveling garments from Kingdom Hearts II, which had lost none of their color. "Isn't it obvious?" he asked, pulling the clothes out of the closet. "I'm going in after her."

He started to put on the magical garments. Dark brown boots, dark green baggy slacks with big pockets at the sides, a black undershirt, a dark red jacket, and gray fingerless gloves. Um... I'm pretty sure we can't do that, Joumae pointed out. It was her heart that connected with that universe, not yours. You can't get in like that.

"I had a feeling about that," Alex replied, putting on the last glove. The Lockshield appeared in his hand in inky black smoke. "But I've already thought of a way in." Joumae was confused for a second, but then it struck him. Oh, no...

"Oh, yes," Alex grumbled. He stormed into the living room and knelt down to the PS2. Without restarting the machine, Alex ejected the FMA game's disc and placed Kingdom Hearts II inside instead. Giving the game a few moments to load, Alex then pointed the center of his Lockshield at the television. "Unlock!" he yelled.

A bright beam shot out from the weapon and stabbed the air just in front of the television. The space rippled for a second, and a circular dark portal appeared. Without any hesitation, Alex jumped in.

A portal appeared in the middle of the back alley of Twilight Town. Alexander fell through, landing unceremoniously on his stomach with a surprised shout. Slowly, Alex got up onto his feet. "Well, at least I was awake this time..." he admitted. "Maybe next time I'll land on my feet."

Yeah, let's hope, Joumae sarcastically muttered. Alex rolled his eyes and glanced up at the large clock tower in the distance above him. "Funny... it's starting in the exact same fashion as last time..."

"Hey, Alex!" a boy's voice shouted behind him. Alex turned to see Hayner, with Pence and Olette standing behind him. "Hayner!" Alexander shouted back, excited to see his friends again.

"Back already?" Hayner asked. "You couldn't wait three days to come back and visit?" Alexander raised an eyebrow. Turned out that Joumae's hypothesis had indeed been correct. "Actually... it's been about two weeks in the real world."

This surprised them. "You mean... time doesn't pass in the same rate between the two worlds?" Pence wondered. Alex shook his head. "No. It means that time in my world had stopped while I was here. Time stopped in this world when I left so that my world could catch up."

"So time has stopped in your world again?" Olette finished. Alex nodded. "Well, it wasn't done by me, though..." He sighed. "This isn't a social call, guys. I just arrived, and I need to get moving."

Alexander quickly explained how his sister, Erica, had become an Interference in another game, and how Alex had come here so that he could get to that game's world. "You never told us you had a sister," Hayner remarked as Alex finished up his tale.

"You never asked," Alex responded, not wanting to waste any time. "Anyway, I'd better get going. Wish me luck."

His friends nodded. Alexander nodded back, then turned around and started running to the train station.

Alex used the so-called Ghost Train to travel to a familiar place. Yen Sid's tower. Hopefully, the wise wizard had returned, and would be able to help out. Fortunately, the Dark Corridor in Twilight Town had been sealed, so Alexander encountered no Nobodies on the way up.

Alex opened the door to the sorcerer's loft. True enough, Yen Sid sat in his tall chair at his desk in the center of the room. Alex approached the table and bowed. "Master Yen Sid. Good to see you again," he greeted the wizard.

Yen Sid smiled. "Alexander. It seems you've gotten used to formalities already." Alex smiled back. "I'm not quite so confused this time around," he replied. "It's that simple."

Yen Sid nodded, and said, "I've been expecting you." Alex sighed. "Why am I not surprised? So you are already aware of the situation?"

The wizard acknowledged that he was aware. Another note about being an Interference: When the world is created, some people become aware of their existence within the game. Usually it's the more wizened characters, but it really depends on the opinion of the Interference. Yen Sid, of course, had been one of those people.

"Well, you're probably wondering why I want to go after her," Alex proposed. "Well, that particular game has elements that are... quite a bit more deadly in reality than in this game. Besides, I don't think Erica has the..." He searched for a word that would politely describe his sister's fangirl nature. "...wisdom to prevent herself from changing too much. So I'll need a gummi ship to get to her world."

Alex grinned. "I entered this game while Erica's game was still running. That technically provided a connection to her world from here. That means that I can easily get there by gummi ship."

Yen Sid nodded again. "Correct. But you should also be careful, Alexander. Because there is a connection between those two video games, there is now a way for the Heartless and Nobodies to enter that world." Alex hung his head in dismay. Yen Sid continued, "There might also be other connections between the two games, but I can't be sure."

This confused Alexander, but he decided not to think about it for now. He summoned his Lockshield. "So do you have a gummi ship I could use? I'd like to get going."

"Patience," Yen Sid chided him. "You'll need assistance. If your old foes do indeed enter that world, then your Lockshield won't be enough to fend all of them off."

"I'd suggest bringing your old friends from the Destiny Islands," the wizard explained. "They will blend in better than those at Disney Castle, and having several Keyblades' worth of strength will be a great help against the Heartless and the Nobodies."

Alexander nodded, taking this all in. "So I'll be crossing over from Kingdom Hearts II into Fullmetal Alchemist. Alright. Can I get going now?"

Yen Sid smiled, amused at the Interference's impatience. Out the window, Alex saw the gummi ship float up into sight. Alex nodded. "Well, I guess I'll be seeing you later, Yen Sid."

On Destiny Islands, Sora, Riku, and Kairi were on the little island with the paopu tree on it. Sora and Riku were sparring with wooden swords, and Kairi was looking on, smiling. Alex walked out of the little shack on the beach and looked up at them. "Hey, guys!" he shouted, waving to them.

All three of them recognized the voice, and turned to face the source. "Alexander!" Sora shouted excitedly, jumping down from the bridge to meet him. "Happy birthday!"

Alex was incredibly surprised by that last statement. "Uh, thanks... You remembered!?" He had mentioned his birthday only once before, and that had been a few days ago (in this world's time).

"So you decided to celebrate your birthday here?" Riku mused. Alexander chuckled, then hung his head and sighed. "I wish it was so... Unfortunately, this is no time to socialize."

Kairi became worried. "What's the matter?" she asked. Alex looked up at the three of them. "My sister, Erica... she has become an Interference in another game, called Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir. She's a total fangirl when it comes to Fullmetal Alchemist... and that game can be far more deadly in reality than this game. So I'm going in after her, to make sure she's alright."

"So why did you come here?" Sora inquired. Alex rubbed the back of his neck, a little nervous to be asking his comrades for such a favor. "Well... because I managed to create a connection between the two games, there's a good chance that there'll be Heartless and Nobodies at some point."

"Ah," Riku realized, "so you need us to help you fight them." On cue, all three of them summoned their Keyblades. Sora brought out his Kingdom Key, Riku summoned his Way to the Dawn, and Kairi wielded her flowery-looking Keyblade, which Alex supposed was called the Purity. He wasn't sure.

"Would you mind helping me out?" Alex asked hesitantly. Sora was quick to respond. "Of course! None of us will mind another adventure, right?" he added as he turned to the others, who promptly agreed.

You were right, Joumae. With Alexander's luck, we'd need to plan on seeing him again.The voice had come from Sora, but the Keyblade master's mouth wasn't moving. Of course, they all knew who it was. It was Roxas. Roxas, I think you're starting to act like Joumae now... another voice came from Kairi's direction, which startled Alex. "So... Naminè's talking now?" he asked. Kairi smiled and nodded.

Sora and Kairi's Nobodies were also able to speak in their others' minds. Alex could hear Roxas and Naminè through Joumae, and Sora and Kairi could hear Joumae through their Nobodies. Riku technically still had Xehanort's Heartless still within his heart, so he could hear them as well.

Alexander wasn't surprised that Sora and Riku would be willing to leave after only three days. After all, they had been gone from the world for over a year. Their families had most likely moved on without them. It was strange that way, but... Kairi, on the other hand, was most likely not going to separate from Sora for more than a second. So there was no point in trying to tell her to stay.

Alex smiled at his friends. "Alright, let's get going. We have a new world to explore." With that, they all headed for the gummi ship.

Alexander took another glance at the world map. There was another path stretching forth from Radiant Garden. It led to a new world, labeled "Amestris." That was the world where Erica was currently being an Interference. The world of Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir.

"I guess I'll just tell you guys up front," he stated, attracting his friends' attention as Sora steered the ship toward Amestris. "This world is not one of magic. It's a world of science. Things like magic and Keyblades and Lockshields would not be understood or easily accepted there."

"So, basically, don't use our abilities unless it's absolutely necessary?" Riku finished for him. Alex nodded. "No doubt my sister has already met that game's main protagonists." He shuddered, having imagined for a moment what such a meeting might have been like. "If we find them, we'll most likely find Erica. And we'll probably find trouble soon after," he added, already beginning to feel worried. The second chronicle of The Interference had begun.

Disclaimer: I only own Alexander, Joumae, Erica, and the Lockshield. Every other element of this story belongs to their respective owners. Namely Square-Enix.