Once upon a time, in a not-so-little forest sectioned off from the rest of the world, there was a little boy with a pocketful of crumbs and a black fort at the farthest edge of a black valley

The boy was looking for a magic compass that would tell him where to go and was sitting quite cluelessly on an old oak stump, near a dirt path. Many people passed by, but they all seemed to be too busy to spare a word for a little boy with nothing but a pocketful of crumbs

One girl and a boy did stop, well into the afternoon. They were dressed in the livery of some noble house and the boy had a short sword strapped to his back and a cap covering what would otherwise be hair too fair to be blonde. The dark-haired girl, on the other hand, carried a little satchel, the contents of which seemed very precious indeed.

"Why are you sitting there, boy?"

"I don't know where to go," he told them. "Might you know where I can go?"

"Everyone has somewhere to go," the girl said, not unkindly. "I have things waiting for me back home. A mother and a father and a little sister"

"I too, have someone I must return to," the boy with her said quietly.

"But I don't have anyone like that." The boy on the oak said.

"Then you must find what it is that you need to find."

"Oh, I'm looking for a compass, a magical one, and my father was to leave it for me to find my way. "

"A compass? I heard of one, once. I think it was at the Black Fort."

"But it'll be dangerous, the shadows gather in that haunted fort. And we do not have the time to spare. Our master is not kind but he is stringently fair. Would you like to go with us instead? " The other boy asked

The boy shook his head, no. "I must find that compass."

"Then we wish you the best." The girl hesitated and took something out of her long purple kirtle, handing it to him. "Take this. May it help you."

The other boy and the girl left soon after, promising that if they ever crossed paths again that their doors would be open.

The boy tucked the little cloth-wrapped parcel the girl gave him into his pocket without crumbs and waited once more.

Soon, night came, blanketing the world in violet-black. And nobody was passing by anymore.

The boy, Sora, took out the cloth parcel and opened it, revealing a large portion of bread and cheese. He was about to bite into it gratefully when someone came by.

It was a man with his hood drawn up. He smiled at him and asked to share his food. Sora agreed. There was more than enough

During the meal, Sora told the stranger about his plight. That he had nowhere to go and a compass to find.

The stranger listened. At the end of his story, he drew his hood back and told him, quite simply.

"I'll help you."

That was how it began.

His name was, Axel, this man. And he had been a warrior. Now he wandered as aimless as he.

They made it to the end of the forest to the black valley to the black fort. Withstanding all the tests and trials of the treacherous paths and the blackened trees with their hidden monsters. A riddle, a fight, fire. Nothing seemed to stop them for very long in their journey to the edge of the forest. There were setbacks, but with the help of a black-gloved hand on his back and a cock-sure smile, there didn't seem to be any at all.

And then when the last shadow had fallen in the vast chambers and metal halls, there sat upon a small white open shell, the compass he'd been seeking.

Sora took the compass into his hands, looking at it wonderingly.

And quietly put it back down.

"This is the one," he proclaimed to the echoing room. "But, I no longer need it."

"Why?" Axel asked, his weapon still rife with shadow-blood.

"Because, I met people who told me where they go and I've known you." Sora smiled up at him, hands closing the pristine little shell over what he thought he sought.

"I know now, without a doubt, that I will always come home to you."


And they lived happily ever after.

The end.


A/N: haha, I have to say, it's always pretty interesting to just type and see what comes out. :3 This was my IM conversation with afairysharp who was having trouble sleeping—thus , an impromptu bedtime story. The story itself has changed very little from what I originally typed up in short phrases in our IM window so it may be a little rough.

But I had fun and I guess I'll be keeping it that way in the spirit of things. :3 I just thought I'd post it in case anyone else might like it.