Summary: ·Storm Hawks/ Kingdom Hearts II crossover· Three people appear on the Condor out of nowhere. Right after, the Storm Hawks are attacked by things made out of shadows. Coincidence?
Thanks to Cyber09 for beta-reading. :) Thanks to all the people who reviewed, added this fic to their favs or story alerts also. :)
By Dark Ice Dragon
Aerrow was thankful that Talon uniform was 'one size fits all' because trying to find the different sizes that would fit Piper to Goofy would have been a nightmare in most circumstances, and especially now when they were trying to get things done as fast as possible.
They'd been able to sneak in a while ago and just gotten all the Talon uniforms for everyone. All that was left to do was reach the upper levels and try and find Master Cyclonis. He waved at the others to start moving.
He sighed in relief as he, Donald and Junko finished dragging the patrol into an empty room. All the other patrols had either nodded to them or ignored them as they walked past. He was surprised it had taken that long for someone to question the fact that one of them wasn't exactly very tall. Maybe they'd gotten used to Master Cyclonis' height or something.
By the time the door hissed shut, Finn and Goofy had caught up with them. That was okay because Aerrow was starting to recognise where they were - it was near where they'd been the first time the Storm Hawks had come here.
Just as Piper and Sora came around the corner on their right, Dark Ace rounded the corner on their left. Finn squeaked something that could have been 'eep'. Dark Ace didn't look any different from normal as far as Aerrow could see. Just ignore him, he told himself. You're just a Talon to him so he won't even glance at you.
Dark Ace stopped in front of them and snorted. "Storm Hawks," he greeted with a tilt of his head. "And friends," he added after taking a closer look at their number. Or he would notice and know exactly who you are, Aerrow thought with a wince. He drew his blades and regarded Dark Ace warily. With a shout, they would be completely surrounded and they wouldn't even know if Master Cyclonis was able to control the heartless or not.
Dark Ace's gaze slid to Aerrow's left and he seemed to freeze for a second. "Will that kill her?" he asked softly. Confused, Aerrow looked to see who was behind him: Piper and Sora. Tracking his eyes, he realized that Dark Ace was looking at Sora's sword.
Sora lifted it up and stared at it a little sadly. "It'll depend on how strong her heart is," he said. Aerrow had a distinct feeling that he was missing something. "If the darkness in her heart gets too strong, then the heartless'll turn on her." Sora's gaze was fixed on Dark Ace.
"I see." He was quiet for a few seconds before speaking again. "Turn on the first right, go down the corridor and it's the room on the second left – that's where she'll be."
Aerrow could feel his jaw drop. There was something very weird going on. Before he could catch his bearings, Dark Ace had walked past them.
Dark Ace stopped and looked over his shoulder, seeming bored.
"Don't you care?" Aerrow demanded in disbelief. He didn't know why he was so stunned that the Dark Ace would turn on Master Cyclonis (especially since he had betrayed the original Storm Hawks) but-
His thoughts were quelled by the cold look Dark Ace sent him. There was a touch of a sneer on his lips. "That is not the Master Cyclonis I swore allegiance to." He didn't wait for a response, turned around and started walking again.
Aerrow was at a loss of words. Stork had said that the controller had lost their sanity, so maybe Master Cyclonis was going the same way. But the Dark Ace... And why had his attention been on Sora's sword?
Only Piper, Radarr and Sora were still standing there with him – most of the others were already around the corner. Aerrow sheathed his blades and jogged after them, legs protesting.
A few minutes later, they stopped outside the door that Dark Ace had directed them to. Aerrow wanted to believe that it was a trap but what Dark Ace had said afterwards didn't seem right. Shaking his head to clear his mind, Aerrow opened the door and ran in.
The room was completely empty, unfurnished by anything. Master Cyclonis was standing next to the wall the furthest from the door, her back to them. Red light shone in from the large window she was staring out of. The room was unnaturally dark, which Aerrow found a little unnerving. He glanced up and saw that the lights in the room were actually on. It wasn't as if the lights were off but more like looking at the room through a pair of sunglasses. She didn't move when they entered.
"She's controlling the heartless," Sora murmured. "Look closely at her shoulders."
Aerrow did, not sure what he was supposed to be looking for. It was because she was standing in front of the window that he saw the wisps of smoke –or shadow- that rose from her shoulders. Okay, they'd confirmed that she was controlling the heartless but now-
"Welcome, Keyblade Master." Her voice cut through the silence, the mocking tone in her voice still there.
There was a swirl of light and Sora's sword was back in his hand. Sora stepped forward. "We're here to stop you, Master Cyclonis." Well, that answered a lot of questions.
Master Cyclonis laughed and turned around. She seemed darker without looking that different somehow; Aerrow guessed it was because of the dimness of the room and the shadow that was coming from her. Aerrow wasn't sure if it was because of the lighting but she seemed paler (which made no sense to what he'd just thought before), her cheekbones more pronounced, and it looked like she had dark rings under her eyes. She flicked her wrist at them and the door behind them hissed shut. Aerrow's stomach plummeted. He was sure she hadn't been able to do that before, and she wasn't using a Crystal either.
"I hope this is an interesting fight." She looked at them through lowered eyelids and then the shadows shifted, condensed into heartless. In a second, Aerrow had drawn his blades and attacked the closest heartless to him. They were the same as the ones that attacked them in the Condor, just more of them. A lot more.
There was a screech in front of him and Aerrow was only able to duck in time. Unfortunately, he didn't see one of the smaller ones and it barrelled into him from the side. Most of the air in his lungs came out in a whoosh when he landed on the floor. It was on his chest, its glowing eyes staring down at him. One of its antennae twitched and Aerrow wondered when the window had been opened; it was getting cold.
There was a familiar flash of blue and the heartless disappeared. Finn appeared in his field of vision. "Don't tell me a little thing like that knocked you out!" he exclaimed incredulously. Aerrow's breath was coming better now, and warmth was spreading back to his limbs. What had been happening? Finn was already back on the move, his crossbow a blur. Radarr threw him his blades and scurried up to his shoulder, watching him warily. Was that what it felt like to be turned into a heartless?
Aerrow took a step back to dodge a swipe from a flying heartless and then stabbed it. It shrieked and disappeared. "I'm all right," he reassured Radarr. He heard a growl in his ear. "I am." Apart from the fact that he was feeling a little shaken at the experience and his limbs still weren't working as well as he wanted them to.
The floor seemed like it was moving under his feet – Aerrow jumped before two heartless appeared under him. He kicked out at one and Radarr leaped on the other. Quickly scanning the room, Aerrow could see the others were doing fine. How did the saying go? 'Don't fight the arrows; aim for the archer'. Something like that. Master Cyclonis was still exactly where she had been; she hadn't even moved her head. Maybe she needed to use all her concentration to control the heartless – it would be easy to knock her out then.
"Come on!" he called out to Radarr, holding out his arm. A second later, he was running towards Master Cyclonis, slashing at whatever jumped out at him. Sometimes he was too slow and got more than a few scratches because of it. He hoped that he wouldn't turn into a heartless because of them.
Reaching Master Cyclonis, Aerrow aimed for her head, wanting to knock her out. Just as the blade was about to connect, her eyes opened fully and she looked at him. The next thing he knew, air was rushing out his lungs for the second time in as many minutes, his back against a wall. Aerrow could feel where she had grabbed his shirt. Okay, so she had much faster reactions now. There was a flash of red and then yells of surprise. Aerrow ran at her again. Since when could a Crystal split off and do more than one thing at a time?
She held up her other hand at him and he could see darkness swirling in her palm. Suddenly she literally snarled and glared at her foot – Radarr was there, biting her shin. She pointed her palm at Radarr and a wave of shadows shot at him. He yelped in pain as he was hit and he flew a few feet. It was then that Aerrow's blades smashed into Master Cyclonis' outstretched hand, making her drop the Crystal. To make sure, he stomped on it before it had stopped moving. He didn't wait to see what her reaction was; he ran straight to Radarr. Radarr was already woozily getting to his feet when Aerrow got there. He scooped him up into his arms before Radarr was dive-bombed by one of the flying heartless.
"You okay buddy?" he asked him. Radarr nodded and scrambled back onto his shoulders again.
"Blizzaga!" A flash of blue that wasn't from Finn's crossbow shot from the other side of the room and headed towards Master Cyclonis. It didn't hit; a heartless jumped in front of the attack before it got anywhere near her.
They had to attack in groups, Aerrow realised grimly. He didn't know if there were limits to how many heartless Master Cyclonis could call up but he knew they wouldn't be able to last long enough to find out. Or it could mean that once she was beaten, the heartless got completely out of control and more of them would come out of nowhere, one part of him thought pessimistically.
There was another shout –this time from Sora- and then the whole room flashed yellow. Stunned momentarily in surprise, Aerrow whipped around to see more natural smoke was coming from Master Cyclonis, her clothing burnt in a few places. She was shaking, her arms tense at her side. Her face was twisted up with a sneer, her eyes were flicking, never staying in one place for more than a second, and she was saying something under her breath. She didn't seem to be doing anything though.
The heartless were backing off, not attacking anyone anymore and Aerrow wasn't sure if that was actually a good thing or a bad thing. He glanced at the others, who were warily approaching her and then at Master Cyclonis again. Was this what the fairytale had meant when the controller went insane?
Master Cyclonis reached behind her and pulled out her staff, still muttering. A flick of a finger and it elongated to its full length. Aerrow edged forward, waiting for whatever she would do. Before, Aerrow had to squint to see the darkness rising off her shoulders but now it could be seen easily, almost billowing as it rose. Aerrow adjusted the grip on his blades, feeling apprehensive; that didn't look good.
Goofy and Piper ran forward at the same time and Aerrow shared a look with Junko, who nodded. They started running forward as well, to see Goofy being blasted in the shield by another Crystal attack. Piper used that as a distraction to attack Master Cyclonis from her other side but with her now better reflexes, she blocked the first swipe. Piper was able to get in another two attacks before getting a blow to the head that sent her sprawling.
Aerrow aimed low at Master Cyclonis' legs – as expected, she jumped, though she did an upward sweep with her staff and he was only just able to block it. Junko was there to meet her before she could land and his punch sent her flying. Darkness caught her in mid-flight and thick tendrils shot out of it, homing in on everyone in the room. Aerrow dived out the way and then slashed at the one that had wrapped around Junko.
"Thanks," Junko said once he was free.
Aerrow smiled in response and then checked to see who else needed to be freed. No-one did because most of the main part was being destroyed by Sora quickly hacking at it and Finn having shot at the tendrils that had caught the others.
Angrily, Master Cyclonis raised a hand and darkness completely enveloped her hand, acting like a flame.
"Thundaga!" Another flash of light.
Just as he was able to see properly, Aerrow heard and felt something hit the floor. When his vision cleared, Aerrow saw Master Cyclonis' form on the ground, Sora standing over her, Keyblade glowing softly. She wasn't emitting any more darkness and the shadows in the room were already receding rapidly. In under a minute, the room had the same lighting as the corridor did. Looking closely at her, Aerrow could see her chest was moving up and down, showing she was still alive.
"Is that it?" Piper was rubbing at the spot she'd been hit tenderly, walking up to them.
Sora nodded. "She can't control the heartless anymore," he confirmed.
Aerrow's heartbeat was starting to return to normal and now that the adrenaline was slowly leaving, the scratches he'd gotten, among the scattering of bruises on his side and back were making themselves heard with louder voices.
Sora raised his Keyblade, pointing it skyward. "Curaga." Green light haloed around him and suddenly, Aerrow didn't feel so sore. Lifting his arm up (it still hurt to do that though), he was astonished to see that the cuts and scratches weren't there anymore. They didn't have any Crystals that could do anything close to that.
Piper stared at Master Cyclonis worriedly before turning back to the group. "We should leave soon – a lot of people probably heard that."
Aerrow felt a little bad for leaving Master Cyclonis where she was, but she'd be found eventually. He led the group out and was relieved that the door slid open.
Until he saw Dark Ace leaning on the opposite wall, arms crossed. Dark Ace flicked his eyes at Aerrow and Aerrow nodded. He was sure he imagined the slight relaxation of his shoulders. With no other action coming from the older man, Aerrow continued on leading the way out.
He tracked them visually until all of them had rounded the corner and then waited a few more seconds to make sure that they didn't double-back for some reason or another. When they didn't come back, Dark Ace opened the room and walked in.
He hurried over to Master Cyclonis' form and checked her pulse; it was strong and regular under his fingertips. Dark Ace straightened her out and then lifted her up in his arms, collecting her staff at the same time. She was lighter than what he expected; when was the last time he'd seen her eat? Master Cyclonis wasn't one to normally miss meals, even if she was in the middle of something, because her hunger would eventually distract her from work, maybe causing her to make mistakes. With the discovery of the heartless and her ability to control them, she eventually shut herself in any room and wouldn't come out for hours, becoming steadily more and more obsessed with them.
Dark Ace carried her to her room, his long strides meaning it only took a few minutes. He placed her on her bed, after awkwardly pulling the blanket back. He had just covered her when she stirred. Dark Ace stopped, not sure if he should leave or stay.
"Mmm..." Master Cyclonis' eyes opened and she blinked at him in confusion. "Dark Ace?" she said muzzily. He started breathing again, relief flooding him. It wasn't 'you' or 'Talon' but his name.
Dark Ace smiled at her, the one that only he allowed her to see and no-one else. "Welcome back."
They'd somehow gotten to where they'd hidden their skimmers without any incidents, despite their slightly torn and bloodied uniforms. Aerrow had a sneaking suspicion why but didn't tell the others. As he was getting on his skimmer and Radarr was settling into his co-pilot seat, Aerrow groaned at the thought of having to travel for over half the day before getting on the Condor again. He checked on the others to make sure they were ready to fly and then drove off the ledge they were on. After the wings had come out, Aerrow enjoyed the feeling of the wind blowing past before heading north.
Maybe two hours later, the clouds beneath them churned and parted. Aerrow tensed, ready to begin doing some aerial aerobatics when the Condor revealed herself as the ship under the clouds.
Aerrow pressed the radio button hesitantly. "Stork?" Had Stork been caught and the Cyclonians were using their ship to lure them into a false sense of security?
"It's me," came the slightly panicky reply. Considering they were in Cyclonian territory, that would have been his normal response. "There aren't any Cyclonian's on the Condor – they didn't take one step on her."
Aerrow stared at the speaker in concern. "Er... Stork?"
"I'll explain once you get on."
He'd seen and heard what Stork was like when the Condor wasn't in his control anymore and this wasn't it. It would be good to get his feet on the Condor again but... Aerrow sighed, shook his head and then steered towards the hangar bay. His instincts were saying that everything was okay and if he was wrong, they could easily fight a couple of Cyclonians.
The trip to the bridge was a little stressful, straining to hear if there was anything there that wasn't meant to be (after doing that for two hours constantly in Cyclonia), but nothing jumped out at them. Palming the door open, all Aerrow could see was Stork, driving.
"What are you doing here?" They hadn't sent any messages to him, and wouldn't have been able to anyway, with the distance. There was no reason why Stork was in Cyclonian territory.
"Someone threw a Message Crystal onto the runway," Stork explained, not turning to look at them. "The voice was distorted," he said wryly, "but I was able to reverse the changes." A pause. "It was from Dark Ace."
Aerrow blew the air from his lungs, not completely surprised. He'd thought that could have been the reason why they hadn't been stopped or caught; who else could control all the Talons apart from Master Cyclonis?
"You couldn't have believed that," Aerrow mused. A message from Dark Ace saying that no Talons would attack him? That easily sounded like it was a trap. Even if Stork had tested Dark Ace's words, it didn't mean that if he flew further into Cyclonian territory, they would jump him then.
Finn snickered. "You were worried about us!" he said gleefully.
Stork moved in a way that could have been a shrug. "Yeah, well..."
Any teasing Aerrow would have done was cut short by a bright light appearing out of nowhere. Everyone was staring at him. The familiar weight of his blades on his shoulders left and he whirled around to see his blades floating in mid-air, glowing and sparkling that didn't have anything to do with a Crystal. A second, softer light came from his right. Turning, Aerrow could see that the tip of Sora's Keyblade had lights twining around it. A few seconds later, both stopped glowing and his blades drifted back into his hands.
"What... just happened?" There was awe in Junko's voice.
Sora put his hands behind his head, keyblade disappearing and grinned at them. "A new path has been made," he said mysteriously.
Donald looked around and then at Sora. "We gotta go."
He nodded sadly. "Yeah."
"Wait, you know how to get back to your terra?" Aerrow asked them. He'd been worrying about them for nothing?
Sora shook his head, smiling softly. "I'm still trying to find that but I'll get back one day."
Aerrow frowned. So the technology they used to get on the Condor wasn't exact. Were they just going to keep on using it until they finally reached their home? "There isn't another way to get home?"
"Nah." Sora waited until Donald and Goofy were standing next to him. "This way, we get to meet loads of people and make new friends." That was an upside but if they couldn't control where they went...
"We'll come back to visit," Goofy said, waving. What? All three of them were waving, saying goodbye and then they disappeared with as much warning as they had arrived. Aerrow blinked and then covered his face with a hand, sighing. He hoped they would come back soon so that they could get all their questions answered.
He shook his head and walked up to the window, watching as the clouds sped by under them. They would have to get out of Cyclonian skies quickly - who knew how long the truce would last? Once they were back in safer skies, he'd help Stork go through his books to see what they could find about the Keyblade Master.
After all that had happened over the past week, they all deserved a vacation. "Who wants to go to Tropica?"
The question was met with a unanimous cheer.
The first thing he was going to do, however, was go to his room and sleep in his bed for the next day. He doubted the others were going to do much different.
:D Longest chapter I've written!
;P I remember that quote thing about the arrows coming from Xena - I couldn't find if there was an official saying.
The scene with Dark Ace and Master Cyclonis? The whole reason why this fic has friendship as a genre. :3
XD;; You can tell I'm not used to ending fics.
I may or may not have a sequel to this. It'll depend on how my planning skills go.
Thanks for staying with me and reading this. :)