Kingdom Hearts: Different Hearts

Hello there folks, Arganaut here with the latest chapter of Kingdom Hearts: Different Hearts. Now, in our last chapter the strange new travelers joined up with Sora, Donald, and Goofy in hopes of finding their own worlds (and perhaps helping to save the universes on the way). In this chapter we hope to actually get off of Traverse Town, and into the vast expanse of Gummi Space, and to a new world. But, before we do, there's the small matter of reviews I must get to:

Paintball-Gamer- Thanks, and I'll be sure to remember to keep focused on my sentence structure in this chapter.

GreyMonkey- While those are good ideas, you'll just have to wait and see what my co-author and I implement.

FictionReader98- Well, there's a lot of questions there that'll be answered in that chapter. As for the King Idiot question, well, we'll have to wait and see how long it takes for the others to do something stupid.

Well, with these reviews out of the way, its time to begin the next chapter of Kingdom Hearts: Different Hearts!

Normal Speak- Hello

Al-Bhed- Rammu

Chapter 3: All Aboard the Highwind II

---------- Traverse Town 1st District ---------

In Traverse Town's first district, just beyond the jewelry shop, and across from the, normally, blocked off entrance of the Moogle's furnace, there was a tiny little street-side shop that, when compared to the other in-door shops of the 1st district, seemed oddly out of place. The goods that the shop sold, Gummi-blocks for Gummi-ships, also made the shop unique and, quite frankly, the only shop in Traverse Town that sold the mysterious building materials.

The owner of the shop, who was currently leaning back in his chair, reading an old newspaper, also seemed out of place. While most of the shop-keepers were rather well dressed and attentive, this man was about as casually dressed as you could get: wearing brown-green slacks that had old stains splattered all over them, as well as several burns. His boots, brown, had heavily worn soles, the laces seemingly just barely holding together. Above a plain white shirt he wore a navy-blue flight jacket, its sleeves rolled up to his elbows. A pair of brown engineer gloves covered his hands and forearms, seemingly even more worn that anything else he was wearing.

On his forehead were an old pair of flight goggles that kept his blond hair from his face, the right lens of which were cracked.

Cid Highwind had worn these clothes for a long time, they carried stories with him that he felt he couldn't afford to ever forget. The old gummi-ship builder sighed as he pulled a cigarette and lighter from his pocket, preparing to light the tobacco-stick... well, before a certain brown-haired ex-SeeD promptly snatched it out of his hand.

"Cid, I thought Shera wanted you to try and cut back on the cigarettes?" Leon said sternly as he crushed the cigarette in the palm of his hand, Cid slamming his hands on the counter of the stand as he glared at the boy.

"Dammit Squall!" Cid shouted, recoiling only after he saw the look Leon gave him. "I mean... dammit Leon! Why the hell do you only show up when I'm about to have a smoke!" Cid shouted as Leon shook his head. "That would've been my first smoke of the day dammit! I've been cutting back but dammit unless I have some tea I'm going to be craving a cigarette, and if I'm craving a cigarette I start getting pissed off, and when I get pissed off I start screaming my head off!" Cid shouted, getting progressively louder and louder as he went on.

"So unless you want me to start screaming at you, don't stop me from smoking!" Cid roared, ironically enough, as Leon just stood there and listened to his old friend's rant.

"You done?" Leon asked in an impatient manner, Cid sighing as he leaned back in his seat once again.

"Pretty much." Cid replied in a still tense manner, leaning back in his seat. "Anyway, what're ya here for Leon? You don't normally stop by to chit-chat." The old gummi-ship builder asked, his eyes locked on the young man's eyes.

"I need you to work on the Highwind." Leon said in a curt manner, Cid shaking his head.

"For the hundredth damn time boy, I ain't fixing up my baby just for ya to go out an-"

"I don't want you to do it for me Cid-" Leon quickly interrupted Cid's sentence, which merely annoyed the old engineer, and caused him to interrupt the ex-SeeD just as quickly.

"'You need to do it for the others': I know the whole deal boy, and quite frankly I'm getting sick and tired of you trying to browbeat me into letting you take my baby right back out into the fray for no damn good reaso-"

"It's for the Keyblade Wielder and others traveling with him." Leon stated quite simply, which promptly forced the blond pilot sitting in front of him to silence himself, only staring blankly at the young man as he blinked repeatedly. Leon could only inwardly chuckle as he watched his normally loud friend try to come up with something, anything, but ultimately fail each time, only able to come up with a gargled mess. Finally, Cid stood straight up, glaring at Leon for a mere moment before he reached to his sides for the small stand's sliding curtain.

"Give me three days." The blond growled out in a haughty manner as he slid the curtains closed, Leon merely smirking in victory as he began walking away, deciding to resign himself to watch over those nine 'warriors' fix up the districts.

Cid, in the meanwhile, sighed grumpily as he exited the little shop, hands shoved into his pockets as he made his way across the 1st District, giving dirty glares to people he crossed along the way. Finally Cid came around to a house at the very edge of the city, right beside the giant gates that lead out of Traverse Town.

Cid just popped the door open and walked into a pretty barren room. The engineer let a sigh loose as he turned around and locked the door behind him. "Those damn kids never lock the damn door before they leave..." the blond man muttered to himself, too far into his sour mood to even shout like he normally would: after all, aside from the hotel in the 2nd District, this was their main base of operations, and Cid really didn't want it open for any snoops to just walk in and see what was happening.

The room actually looked rather normal, nothing outstanding about it, aside from a large red switch on the side of the farthest wall from the front door. Cid casually strode over to the switch and flipped it down.... then flipped it back up and then down.

"......" Cid just stood there and stared at the infernal switch for a moment, before he just took one step back, and then kicked the entire switch in. Suddenly, grinding gears could be heard as the floor around Cid began to sink. The floor lowered through a small shaft, stopping at the bottom to a blank metal door, which slowly slid to the side to reveal what Cid would jokingly call his 'home away from home'.

Cid walked across a hanging walkway into a large hanger bay, which he and the others had discovered when they first tried to land in Traverse Town. Cid and the others had been told about Traverse Town by King Mickey when they were traveling... well, by the time they had gotten anywhere near Disney Castle they were more or less floating through space. Traverse Town, from the beginning of this mess, had been a place where refugees from destroyed worlds would end up... if they weren't swallowed up by the darkness. So the hanger was constructed to receive these immigrants.

Cid had actually thought it was a fortunate stroke of luck that had brought the group to Traverse Town. He thought that he'd be able to spend time fixing up the Highwind and getting it ready to go back and take back their home... that is, until Mickey filled them in on what happened.

Radiant Gardens... no, Hollow Bastion, was now a dump, filled with near-never ending hordes of 'those little black things', as Yuffie had so generously named the Heartless at the time, and that their leader, Ansem the Wise, had disappeared completely... heck not even the seemingly all-knowing King Mickey knew where he was. Add to that Hallow Bastion was now also surrounded BY the little Heartless bastards, which had nearly destroyed the Highwind on its way away from the place…

This only had deeply demoralized Cid. The old engineer had seen his masterpiece ship torn up once, and even if he rebuilt it, he didn't think it likely they could take back Hollow Bastion. What gave finality to Cid being unwilling to rebuild the Highwind was Leon's irrationality on the manner. The boy kept on pushing Cid to rebuild the Highwind for this reason or that, and frankly Cid eventually grew tired of it. He wasn't going to rebuild the Highwind just so that brown-haired fool would wreck it on whatever crazy expedition he'd try to take it, and the group, on.

'Speaking of the Highwind...' Cid thought rather mournfully as he flipped on the hanger bay lights, illuminating the entire bay... and revealing one messed up hunk of junk in the middle of it. Of course, this hunk of junk wasn't always a hunk of junk: in fact, in one point in time it was the greatest airship ever built... and at another point, the greatest Gummi Ship ever built. When Ansem had first discovered the 'Gummi Blocks', as they would soon find they were called, Cid became enthralled with them, becoming nearly obsessed with finding out every little bit about the material.

Soon enough he replaced most of the material on the Highwind with Gummi Blocks, making a fast ship faster, a durable ship more durable, and the greatest ship even greater. Of course... when they had to jettison from Hallow Bastion, those little bastards weren't exactly keen on just letting them go. They attacked, and though Cid had done a good enough job holding them off the first time... they weren't exactly safe all the following times.

Cid wasn't thrilled about sending his old masterpiece back out into Gummi Space... but then again, this was the Keyblade Wielder... and Cid wasn't going to be the one who doomed all the worlds to darkness.

"Looks like its time to get you back in shape old girl..." Cid said as he took a very deep breath, his face turning a bit red in the process. "SHERA!" The blond man shouted as the sound of his voice reverberated around the hanger. Cid waited patiently for a few seconds, and as he prepared to shout for the woman again, he felt a hand on the back of his shoulder.

"Yes Cid?"

"HOLY HELL!" Cid suddenly shouted as he nearly jumped out of his skin, turning to look right at the brown-haired, be-spectacled woman that had so easily snuck up on him. Her attire consisted of of a yellow blouse and black pair of pants. "Dammit Shera, don't do that!" Cid shouted at Shera, but said woman just smiled, combing her left hand through her hair, a small gold ring on the ring finger.

"Sorry Cid, you called?" Shera asked with a small laugh as Cid calmed down, turning back to look at the Highwind.

"Shera, it's time to get the old bird off the ground and back into space." The engineer said slowly, his wife merely blinking in amazement.

"So, Leon finally convinced you?" She asked in a stunned manner, Cid nodding as he took off his jacket.

"Yeah, it's hard to turn down the damn Keyblade Wielder, after all..." Cid said, his comment causing Shera to begin gaping at him, surprise after surprise hitting her as Cid just narrowed his eyes. "Well, stop gawking; we got a lot of work to do! We need to redesign the schematics to improve the ship; we have to strip away what we get rid of, and then use whatever the hell we have on hand to rebuild the ship, no time to waste!" The engineer raved as he began heading towards the far end of the walkway, a small door at the end of it.

After Shera's shock passed, she looked back at Cid, a small smile forming on her face.

"Would you like some tea as well?" She asked, stopping Cid dead in his tracks.

"Yes I'd like some damn tea!" Cid shouted back at her, before continuing to walk, leaving Shera to chuckle to herself as she prepared to make her husband's tea.

---------- Traverse Town 2nd District ---------- 3 Days Later ----------

"Alright guys... let's do this! One... two... three!" Sora exclaimed as he, Donald, and Goofy pushed all together, pushing a large board up along with the rest of a fresh house frame. As soon as the board was up, Goofy left Donald and Sora to hold up the board as he tossed his shield into nails that had been placed into the board, solidly nailing the board into place. The three inspected their handiwork with grins all around... well, Goofy and Sora were grinning, Donald was still upset that they had been roped into helping the other 'six stooges' fix up Traverse Town in the first place.

"Gawrsh, this place is starting to look good as new again," the Knight Captain said in a jovial tone, despite the fact that his feathered friend was hardly in a similar mood.

"Aaaah, phooey!" Donald said as he began squawking like crazy, the white duck having ranted and raved about the mess for the past few days. Sora shrugged, taking Donald's mild slip into insanity as a sign that he had just about had it.

"Look, we only have to keep this up for a while longer, then we blast off into space to look for my friends..." Sora said, Donald huffing at the Keyblade Wielder.

"After we find King Mickey!" The court magician shouted, Sora and Donald about ready to go at it as Goofy grabbed a hold of both of them.

"Now hold on now, maybe we'll be fortunate and find both at the same time, Hy-uck!" Goofy said. Donald just sighed at his long-time friend's never-ending optimism.

"Yeah, maybe!" Sora said, Goofy's smile having quickly infected Sora as, suddenly, they all heard a slow cough. The three turned their heads to see Leon walking towards them, a rather stern expression on his face as he approached them. "Oh, hey Leon! Is the ship ready?" Sora asked the man, tilting his head to the side as Leon curtly nodded.

"Yeah, it's ready: gather up the others and meet me by the large gates in the 1st District..." The gunblade-user stated firmly, Donald feathers quickly getting ruffled.

"Why do we have to go and get them?!" The magician squawked, as Leon merely sighed.

"Because I said so, now get to it." Leon said in an annoyed manner, as Sora and Goofy dragged off a very annoyed Donald, who merely muttered under his breath as he glared back at Leon.

--------- Traverse Town 1st District ----------

Leon stood outside of the primary hideout in the first district, tapping his foot quickly as he awaited the arrival of the Keyblade Wielder's group. In his mind, this was the moment, this was the time to start turning the tide against the Heartless... and frankly, he was beginning to wonder if just sending out the Sora, Donald and Goofy to get the others was a good idea.

Aerith had told him that they needed to learn how to be civil with each other without him bearing over their shoulders and browbeating them into behaving. Admittedly, he had thought her right at that moment, and relented, allowing her plan to take hold... of course, now he was beginning to wish he had ignored the idea and followed along, if only because it would mean he'd have dragged all of them here by now.

When Leon had just about had enough he suddenly heard rather ruckus yelling coming from behind the other side of the district. Sure enough, the group was deeply involved in yet another shouting match, with Donald squawking down the mutt, Inuyasha, the pipsqueaks, Edward and Naruto, and the punk, Yusuke. Sure enough Sora, Goofy, Lloyd and Kenshin were merely standing at the side, trying desperately to diffuse the situation.

'Alright, Aerith's plan isn't working... time to get back to the tried and true method.' Leon thought to himself as he raised his right arm, a small ball of energy gathering in his palm. Meanwhile, amongst the in-fighting, Sora was still trying to stop the fighting amongst the other members of the group, thinking that as the universe saving hero of legend he should be able to somehow reign in these guys. Of course, when trying to rationally stop the shouting, he tried the only logical option left: shouting.

"Hey guys, please, stop fighting!" Sora yelled at the others which, while it didn't have an immediate effect, did seem to calm them down right after a red ball of energy blew up right at the group's feet. The either members of this hastily assembled team looked at Sora with a bit of a horrified expression, the teen looking at the ground where the explosion had ripped through with a small grin. "Cool, did I do that?!"

"No, I did." Leon said slowly, causing all nine of the other-worlders to look at the Gunblade wielder. "Now follow me, we don't have much more time to waste." Leon continued as he turned back towards the house, having the group follow him... somewhat reluctantly.

The ex-SeeD led the boy and his lot into the house, the extremely normal interior of the home throwing off some of the group members.

"What, we going to have tea in your little home before we get out of here?" Yusuke said skeptically, Leon merely glaring back at the young teen.

"Just get over here; we need to move, fast." Leon said in a stern and, seemingly, anxious manner that caused Donald and Goofy to raise their eyebrows, never having quite ever known Leon to exhibit that sort of tone. Without further word, though with many snorts of derision about the house's floral patterned walls, the nine other-worlders moved over to the area around Leon, the more insightful members of the group noticing the switch on the wall.

"Welcome..." Leon began, flipping the switch as the mechanisms of the elevator kicked in, the floor descending into the hanger bay... inspiring a sight that caused everyone, save Leon, to drop their jaws in amazement. "To the Traverse Town Hanger... and what will be transporting you across Gummi Space: the Highwind II." Leon finished, Sora, Naruto, and Lloyd leapt forward and looked down at the ship, the rest of the group merely standing back with their collective jaws slackened.

"COOL!" The three shouted as they looked down at the newly refurbished ship. The Highwind II bore many striking resemblances to its former form: the main flight deck of the ship was still right at the front of the ship, the glass window curved around the nose of the refurbished craft to allow for easy vision to what was directly ahead of the ship. The two giant fans that had propelled the original ship were still there, and the old 'Highwind' lettering was still on the side of the ship, though it was now joined by two dashes.

The largest changes to the ship seemed to be its propulsion: The old thruster turbines that had once moved the Highwind were still in place at the backside of the ship: however they were now far more streamlined than the original turbines. Said turbines were now not the only forms of propulsion that would push the Highwind II along, the ship had at its back two large thruster engines on a moveable axis alongside six smaller thrusters alongside the bottom of the ship, each on their own axis as well.

The rough and rusted exterior had been replaced, and now the ship's main body was pure a constant gleam of silver, interrupted only by weld marks and bolts to help hold the material together. Higher up on the body from the propellers and before the cockpit, two small wings from the old ship still remained, meant to help stabilize the ship. Underneath the main body was a small bay connected to the underside, much like the previous Highwind, with a small plank of gummi material outlined from the rest of it, likely the entrance to the ship.

Every single person in Sora's group, even Donald and Goofy, who had seen a fair amount of gummi ships in their time, heck, having even arrived in Traverse Town on the comparatively tiny Kingdom. This... this was just massive, and was probably the most impressive ship they had ever seen in their entire life.

"Just... unbelieveable..." Goofy said; his eyes wide with shock and delight. Donald just nodded dumbly as Leon shrugged.

"Cid never disappoints...." Leon stated rather dryly as the elevator stopped, and the ten of them walked off of it. Leon simply walked along, leading the Keyblade Wielder's group along the walkways of the hanger, the group merely staring at the ship the entire time. Leon guided the group down to the bottom level of the hanger, before suddenly shouting.

"Hey, Cid, get out here!" Leon's voice rang in the hanger, as some banging could be heard in the bottom bay of the Highwind II. The sounds of gears grinding suddenly started up as a plank began lowering from the bay.

"Alright, alright keep your pants on boy!" Cid's gruff voice could be heard just as the walkway finally touched the ground, and footsteps could be heard making their way down. As Leon led the group in front of the bay's entrance, the nine fighters now could plainly see Cid, taking a long drag on a cigarette that was freshly lit. "Alright, I'm here, now where is the Keyblade... Wielder's..." Cid question died off as he looked up at the group, his eyes rolling over the entirety of the group very, very slowly. Cid blinked for a while, before taking another drag on his cigaratte.

"Leon, there seems to be a mistake: you told me you were bringing the Keyblade Wielder's group... NOT THE !#$ING CIRCUS REJECTS!" Cid screamed at Leon, who merely slapped his forehead, Sora and the others merely sweat dropping at Cid's rudeness.

"Hey, old fart, you'd better watch what you say!" Yusuke suddenly shouted, already not liking the aged engineer, a feeling which Cid returned in full.

"Yeah, and what are ya going to do, slick, use all that grease in your hair to make me slip?" Cid said with a loud laugh, Yusuke's teeth grinding against each other as the ex-pilot turned his head towards Leon. "Now Leon, I know ya ain't stupid, but this is probably... no, IS the biggest damn Hail Mary I've ever seen anyone throw in my entire life! Even given that Donald and Goofy are with 'em-" Cid said with a curt nod to the Court Magician and the Knight. "-there's still the fact you're putting the fate of all worlds in the hands of a bunch of kids!" Cid shouted as Donald and Goofy nodded back to Cid, while everyone else mentioned gave him an extremely agitated look, save for Kenshin who meekly raised his hand.

"Actually, I am twenty-eigh-" Kenshin tried to explain, as Cid interrupted him.

"Whatever!" The engineer said, disregarding the samurai with a mere wave of his hand, leaving Kenshin a little dumbfounded. Leon, having listened to Cid long enough, kept the pilot from continuing.

"Look, they may not be the most experienced looking lot we've ever met." Leon said, dropping another insult on the already beleaguered self-esteems of the collective group. "However, I have seen them fight, and they fought well, and since we need to stay here as a last stand before Disney Castle, they're the only ones who can go with the Keyblade Wielder." Leon said as he jabbed his thumb over towards Sora, who raised his head up a bit. Cid, evaluating Sora, just shook his head, a small series of curses strung underneath his breath as he looked at the group as a whole.

"Well, what the hell are you all gawking at, get the hell up here!" Cid roared as he walked back up the walkway, Sora and the others looking at each other before all nine of them ascended with Cid, Leon watching them as they did.

"Hey." Leon said suddenly, catching the nine's collective attention. "Good luck." Leon stated simply as he walked off, the group watching him leave as, suddenly, the plank they were on began to raise itself up, sealing the lower bay of the Highwind II up. The nine looked around the bottom bay with little interest: really it was just a loading bay, room enough for large supplies, or copious amounts of people, to get in and out of the Highwind. Cid stood by a set of large metal doors which opened nearly the moment the nine walked in.

"This here elevator will take ya to the main body of the ship: your pilot'll give ya a quick run around the ship to make sure you all know what not to touch." Cid said quite simply, Donald walking forward to the old man.

"Pilot, why would we need a pilot, I'm capable of flying a Gummi-"

"You've flown tiny little Gummi Ships, Donald." Cid interrupted the white duck, causing Donald to huff a bit. "The Highwind II is just simply out of your league, so you lot are going to need someone to get this ship around Gummi Space." Cid said as Edward just crossed his arms.

"Why wouldn't you be our pilot? After all, you built this thing, who'd be more suited for the job?" The alchemist asked, the old engineer just shrugging.

"Hey, I would, but I gotta stay here and help out with refugees..." Cid began, before thinking a more private thought.

'That and scavenge for some new parts for the Highwind II...' The ex-pilot thought, before shaking said thought from his head.

"Anyway, just get your asses up there, the pilot you have is capable." Cid said in a 'and that's that' tone, as the nine merely complied and walked into the open doors, finding the elevator to be quite spacious. "Hit the top button." Cid said as Sora complied, hitting said button as the doors closed, Cid throwing one last wave at them before disappearing from their sight.

The nine rode the elevator up the trip to the main body of the ship being a rather long one.

"So, who do you guys think is going to be the pilot?" Sora asked the rest, everyone shrugging.

"Gawrsh, I don't know, but whoever Cid chose I'm sure we can trust." Goofy said as Donald nodded, if a bit halfheartedly, in agreement. Naruto just huffed as he crossed his arms.

"The pilot's probably going to be just like the smelly old guy." The orange-clad ninja said as Inuyasha, for the first time, agreed with the runt.

"How much you wanna bet the pilot's an even bigger bastard than that Cid guy, and they're just dumping him off on us." Inuyasha said, as they all looked expectantly at Donald and Goofy.

"Hey, we didn't even know we'd get a pilot other than me or Goofy, alright?!" Donald said, Goofy nodded in agreement as the group just sighed, waiting to get to the top of the elevator. In reality, all of them were quite anxious to see what the ship was like: after all, most of them never even heard of an airplane before, and now they were inside the most advanced spacecraft known throughout the worlds? Heck, Lloyd was practically vibrating with excitement at the prospect of flying in such a ship, a sentiment that was clearly shared with Sora.

Suddenly, there was a small 'ding' as the elevator came to a halt. The nine immediately forced their attention to the opening metal doors.

"Nice to meet you all, my name is Shera, and I'll be your pilot." A voice from the other side of the doors said as they opened completely, stunning all of the nine as what was, in fact, not some old, smelly, angry old guy, but was a very pretty woman, slightly younger than Cid himself, and wearing a flight jacket and pair of cargo pants similar to Cid's, if cleaner and much more official looking than the aged engineer's. She even had a blue pilot's hat, to boot. All nine of the group suddenly felt their jaws slacken, as Sora was the first to finally get his head back on straight.

"Ummm... nice to meet you too... I'm Sora, and these guys are-" Sora began as Shera just chuckled a bit.

"Leon already told me about all of you." The pilot said as Sora, Donald, Goofy, Kenshin, and Lloyd all smiled at her, while the others began sweating, thinking that the Gunblade Wielder wouldn't have been so kind in his description of them. "So you must be... Donald, Goofy, Inuyasha, Yusuke, Kenshin, Lloyd..." She named off each of the group as she pointed at them, before stopping at Naruto and Edward with a bit of a curious look.

"Naruto and Edward?" She said, pointing to Ed as she said 'Naruto', and the other short blond when she said 'Edward'. This, of course, caused both to blink.

"Actually, I'm Edward, this punk over here is Naruto..." The alchemist said, causing the ninja to glare at him. Shera looked a tad sheepish as she laughed nervously at the two boys.

"I'm sorry, the only description Leon gave me of you two were 'short blonds'." Shera stated honestly, as both short blonds immediately wigged out.

"What?!" Both shouted as they tried to push the elevator button to go back down, everyone else stopping them.

"Let me go, I'm going to teach that bastard a lesson!" Naruto roared as Ed nodded in agreement.

"He'll pay for saying I'm as big as a single grain of sand!" Edward screamed alongside his fellow blond, the rest of the group still holding onto the two 'shorties' for dear life, while Shera chuckled a little bit, drawing the attention of the nine.

"My, excitable lot aren't you?" The wife of Cid said as the group blinked, Naruto and Edward's anger almost immediately disarmed by Shera's calm response. "At any rate, before we launch there are some others I'd like to introduce you around the ship, so if you would follow me." She said as she beckoned the nine to follow her which, after dropping the two blonds back on the floor, they did.

As the group meandered down the halls of the Highwind II's main body, they all stared in amazement at the architectural wonder before them, Edward specifically taking in every detail of the ship's make up. Shera merely smiled as she looked back at them.

"I see you all rather like my husband's work on the ship." Shera said, which caused all of the group to snap their heads at Shera.

"Yo-you mean that jerk is your husband?!" Yusuke shouted as the others looked just as surprised, Shera merely nodding.

"He's a bit abrasive, but yes, Cid is my husband." Shera said, knowing that even the word 'abrasive' was rather light compared to the reality.

"Sorry we seem so surprised, but we would've never guessed that when Cid was talking about having a wife he was talking about someone like you.... I mean." Donald began as he suddenly realized what he just said must've sounded like, Goofy stepping in to help his buddy out.

"What Donald means is that Cid can be abrasive, we would've never guessed he'd have married someone... well, nice and quiet." The Knight Captain said, causing Shera to laugh.

"I understand, and believe me, you're not the first one to have been surprised by that." Shera said, recalling all the way back to when they first told their friends of their engagement: Leon had looked like he was about ready to pass out from the sheer shock of it all. Before the conversation could continue, a sudden aroma filled the group's nostrils, causing them all to stop and take in the delicious smell.

"Wow... that smells really good..." Sora said as the rest agreed with the Keyblade Wielder, Shera nodding as she stopped in front of a door, slowly opening it to allow a full blast of aroma to leak out of the room.

"Well then, this will be our first stop then: the kitchen. Also I'd like to introduce you to the cooks." Shera said as she waved the nine in, the guys all slowly walking into the kitchen, their eyes closed as the aroma drew them in. When they opened their eyes... they went wide with shock as they took in the scene in front of them.

Rats. Rats everywhere! Rats by the sink, rats by the oven, rats in the cupboards, rats around the food, rats with their little grimy claws in the food! Out of the entire group, only Goofy, Donald, Inuyasha and Shera were completely calm. The others, in the meanwhile:

"What the- WHAT ARE RATS DOING IN THE FOOD?!?!?!" Sora suddenly exclaimed, even the islander knowing that rats plus food was not an equation that worked out well.

"Somebody get an exterminator!" Yusuke screamed... which immediately drew the absolute attention of all the rats, whom looked at the panicked members of the group with a bit of a scowl... which only freaked them out more because there were rats, scowling at them.

"He used the 'e' word...." Donald said with a small cackle, as Lloyd snapped his head over to them."Wh-why aren't you guys more freaked out!?!?" Lloyd said as, suddenly, one of the smaller rats, a black furred one, approached the group, Donald, Goofy, and Shera smiling a bit.

"Gawrsh, he's why." Goofy said as he walked forward, and leaned down towards the tiny rat. "Hy-uck, hey there Remy." Goofy said to the rat, said rat waving, WAVING, back at Goofy.

"Hey there Goofy, how are ya doing?" The little rat, Remy apparently, said back to Goofy... which once again sent most of the group into an uproar.

"IT CAN TALK!??!" Naruto and Edward blurted out, Kenshin quickly following up.

"IT HAS A NAME?!" The ex-Battosai exclaimed with a shocked expression, Donald merely rolling his eyes at them all.

"You've seen a duck that can do magic, a dog with a shield, and that mutt over there with the ears, and you're freaking out about this?" The foul tempered mage said with a raised, expectant eyebrow. Inuyasha, while feeling slightly embarrassed at having to agree with Donald, joined in with his own comment.

"... I'd hate to admit it, but the duck is right, there've been stranger things than this to be seen..." Inuyasha said, he and Donald once again trading glares with each other as the others, rather sheepishly, looking off to the side.

"Sorry." They all said in unison, as Remy waved it off.

"Don't worry about it, when Disney Castle would have visitors we'd get that a lot." Remy the rat said with a broad smile, as Shera stood, facing the group with a smile of her own.

"Donald and Goofy could probably tell you this, but Remy and his clan were the royal cooks back at their home." Shera said as Remy nodded.

"When I heard that the Keyblade Wielder would need someone to help make food for him and his group, my clan and I jumped at the opportunity." Remy said as they walked over to the rest of the rats. "Though I just hope Daisy will forgive me for just leaving the castle with my dad and the cooks in training." Remy said as Donald suddenly sighed and shook his head.

"Ooooh... Daisy's not going to be happy..." Donald said slowly, Remy's father and the rat cooks in training being infamous for... sub-par cooking... and Daisy was well known for having a bit of a temper... and taking it out on Donald. The guys slowly looked around the kitchen, admiring the... organization of it, despite it being run by rats.

"Soooo... how do you guys... ya know, keep clean?" Sora asked, at this point beyond the fact that rats were cooking for them, and more concerned with how clean they were.

"Oh, don't worry about it. I have made sure that we keep a very clean set of hands working on the food. We always walk on our hind legs so we don't get our front paws on the floor, and even if we move on all fours, we make sure to wash our front paws before working on the food. Also, there's a steamer over there which we're required to go through every hour." Remy said, pointing over to said machine, which rose and revealed a thick steam which slowly floated away from underneath the machine. A group of rats ran out from through the mist, going back to their assigned station.

"Anyway, the first meal of the trip will be finished in... about twenty minutes." Remy said, turning to the group. "Donald, Goofy, Shera, good to see you all again, and the rest of ya, well, I hope you all will enjoy our cooking." Remy said with a small nod, before noticing something out the corner of his eye. "No no no! It's not two pinches of rosemary and a spoonful of salt, its two pinches of salt and one pound of garlic!" Remy said with a small sigh as he ran off to help correct the misguided members of his clan. Shera laughed slightly as she watched the little rat run off.

"Good luck Remy, see you at dinner." The pilot of the rebuilt ship said quickly as she turned back to the group. "Well, let's get going, there are a lot of other people on this ship you should meet." She said, the nine travelers nodding as they let Shera lead them out of the room, and down another corridor. Shera walked along for a few minutes until, suddenly, one of the doors in the hallway opened, a bunch of hospital tools being thrown out of the room and onto the floor.

"Now dat dose are out of de way, it is time to begin installing my latest equipment!" A somewhat high pitched, if zany, voice exclaimed from inside the room, as the door quickly slid shut once again. Shera sweat dropped as she turned back to the group, a sheepish expression on her face while the new members of the ship merely stared at the equipment with raised eyebrows, Donald himself looking a little puzzled.

"Well, it looks like our doctor is getting rather excited again..." Shera said as she prepared to continue, before Lloyd suddenly shouted.

"Hey, what's that?!?!" Lloyd interrupted as he pointed over by the medical equipment, everyone immediately looking at the junked tools. What Lloyd was screaming over was something that looked like a little tiny metal box that was moving around on tank treads, had little tiny arms at its side, and had a long, thin metal pole coming out of the box's top, with a rectangular object on top of the pole that had two glass lens on the end of one part of the rectangle, acting, seemingly, as eyes. The little box began cleaning up the medical equipment, shoving them into a small opening in its chest while Shera smiling at the little robot as she waved over to it.

"That, Lloyd, is the ship's janitor." Shera said as the tiny robot stopped in its actions, turning on its treads to face the group. The little robot waved over at them, the group following Shera just weakly waving back. "Hello Wall-E." The pilot said with a smile.

"Wa-all-E!" The little robot said back, the grin on Lloyd growing as a similar grin formed on Sora's Ed's, and Naruto's face.

"Cool!" The four younger members of the group declared, while Shera merely chuckled at their show of enthusiasm. Suddenly, Wall-E's head stopped, and quickly turned left and right, before settling on the corridor just behind the group. In a matter of seconds, a small, white, ovular shaped object flew over the heads of the group, flying over towards Wall-E. The little robot swung his arms around excitedly, as slowly two little flaps came off the side of the white oval, a black screen that had been on the front of the white oval lighting up with two, thick blue lines, representing eyes.

"E-E-EVUH!" Wall-E exclaimed as the white robot, E-ve, brought one of her flaps to her front, seemingly giggling into it as her eyes curved slightly.

"Wall-E." E-ve responded to the little bot. Shera smiled as she walked over to E-ve.

"Before you ask, this is E-ve, a scout robot Cid built to go along with the ship. Her job will be to float out in front of the Highwind II, and inform us when another world is near, or when there's an imminent threat to the ship." Shera said while Wall-E and E-ve continued their little conversation. The rest of the group laughed a little, as Goofy chimed in.

"Gawrsh, looks like these two have gotten rather friendly." The knight said as Shera nodded.

"Yes, they have." Shera comment idly as E-ve, after a few moments, flew off, Wall-E finishing up the cleaning of the supplies, regaining Shera's attention. "Anyway, the person who threw those was likely the ship's doctor." Shera said as she walked over to the door, opening it for the travelers. The entire group walked in one after the other, the back of the room obscured by a large veil that came down from the ceiling. When a drill was thrown from the other side of the veil, which Inuyasha had to duck to avoid, a brown-haired girl wearing a white and blue dress, walked backwards through the veil, her hands up as she looked worriedly through the veil.

"Please, sir, this equipment is still usable." The girl said as Shera coughed, the young girl turning to see the group, taken a back by their sudden appearance. "Oh, umm... hello." She said, bowing her head a bit as Shera laughed a little.

"Hello Yuna." Shera said, looking back at the veil. "Looks like he's at it again, eh?" The pilot enquired as Yuna merely nodded, Shera laughing again. "Must be tough at times to be his assistant." Shera joked as Donald stepped forward.

"Say... Shera... who is the doctor you all chose?" Donald asked cautiously, already suspecting a certain relative of his. Before Shera could answer, however, a small explosion rocked the area on the otherside of the veil, large plumes of smoke coming out from behind the veil.

"OH HO HO HO HO HO HO!" Raucous laughter was heard from the otherside of the veil as movement became apparent. "Yuna, did you feel dat?" The same voice from earlier rang out, as suddenly a white duck, though covered in soot, came out from behind the veil. Under the soot, an old brown vest underneath a brown coat, his glasses' frame crooked and somewhat snapped. Donald suddenly groaned when he saw the duck, as said duck began cleaning a pair of spectacles.

"It must have been some pretty bad wiring in de..." The duck began as he put back on the spectacles after cleaning them, the duck's eyes widening a bit as he looked at the group. At first, he merely looked interested by the new people, before his eyes settled on Donald. Said eyes sparkled a bit in recognition as the bespectacled duck ran over and hugged Donald.

"Oooooh! Nephew, it is so vunderful to see you!" The new duck said as the entire group looked down at Donald, who merely sighed as he hugged his uncle back.

"Hello Uncle von Drake...." Donald said... before suddenly going off, shaking his Uncle off of him. "What are you doing here, when did you learn about medicine?!" The mage shouted back at Ludwig von Drake, who merely tapped his chin.

"Well, maybe it was the time in between studying chemistry and psychology... or maybe in between engineering and physics..." Ludwig began thinking, as Yuna jumped in.

"You see, Mister Donald, Docto-"

"Professor!" Ludwig suddenly said while Yuna was speaking, before continuing trying to figure out when he studied medicine.

"Sorry, Professor von Drake." Yuna said with a respectful bow, before once again facing Donald. "Professor von Drake learned medicine a while back... and since I couldn't finish my studies back at Radia... well, my world, Professor von Drake took me under his wing." Yuna said, Drake laughing as he pointed to his hand, adding a 'Literally' as she finished.

"Right." Shera said, facing the others. "For what its worth, Yuna here was a part of the SeeD program back on our old world. SeeD was a small force created by our world's leader in order to help protect it from various threats to our safety. You've met a lot of people who were a part of the program: Leon, Yuffie, Aerith, and even Cid were part of it." Shera said, putting a hand on Yuna's shoulder.

"When we were forced to leave our home, some of the younger members of SeeD weren't able to finish the training in their fields." Shera added, the nine giving Yuna a sympathetic look.

"Still, Professor Drake has been a very good teacher... if a little eccentric." Yuna said with a small laugh, as the guys finally noticed that von Drake was poking Donald's head.

"So, nephew, are you still troubled?" Ludwig asked in a curious tone, as Donald merely grumbled in response. "Oh, so you are... maybe I should retry my treatment." The genius duck said in a cool tone... which quickly caused Donald to panic, and run quickly, squawking loudly as he tried to get away. The people in the room sweat dropped at Donald's action, as Ludwig merely shook his head.

"Poor, poor nephew... he is a depressed duck, and no one likes a depressed duck... well, unless you like de pressed duck." Ludwig said as he began laughing quite loudly, as Yusuke also began laughing along with Ludwig, the teen gaining rather questioning looks from the rest of the group who didn't quite understand the joke.

"Y-you see... pressed duck is a food and..." Yusuke began trying to explain, while the others still just looked at him like a nut. "Uh... nevermind..." Yusuke relented as he just stood back a bit.

CRASH!

"AH! Fryd dra ralg?! Fryd zicd nyh ehdu sa?! TEA TEA TEA!!!"

The loud crash was quicky followed up by the sudden scream of terror, which was also followed up with loud banging sounds that rung out with the repetition of the word 'tea'. Shera suddenly sweat dropped as she began moving through the group, trying to get through the door as quickly as she could.

"Oh dear..." Shera muttered as she ran by the group, heading down the same corridor Donald had run. The remainder of the group looked nervously at one and the other before running after Shera, leaving a parting 'goodbye' with Yuna and von Drake before they did.

When they finally caught up with Shera, the group was treated with a sight that sent Inuyasha, Yusuke, Edward, and Naruto into fits of laughter. Unconscious on the ground was Donald Duck, the Court Magician of Disney Castle, with three large lumps on his head, little stars circling around them. To his left was a small blond girl that sat on her rear, wearing an orange sleeve-less shirt that slightly exposed her stomach along with a pair of green shorts. The girl was taking in somewhat deep breaths, a wrench kept close to her as she looked up at Shera with a somewhat surprised look on her face. After a moment the surprised was replaced with a nervous grin, as she rubbed the back of her head with the wrench.

"Hehehe... Oops." The blond girl said as Shera just shook her head, looking back at the group.

"Sorry about that, by the looks of it Donald ran into our assistant engineer while she was fixing up some wiring." Shera said. Goofy helped Donald back to his feet, while Shera helping the girl off of from the floor. "Everyone, meet Rikku." Shera said as, quickly, Sora's head snapped to attention.

"Rikku?" Sora asked as a flashback to... Riku, back on the islands. Sora's eyes became somewhat distant as Rikku leaned forward a bit, snapping her fingers in his face, snapping the Keyblade Master out of his trance. "Huh?"

"Yes, that's my name." Rikku said quite simply, as Sora blinked a few times, before laughing nervously.

"Oh, alright, cool. I-I have a friend named Riku..." Sora said somewhat shakily as Rikku laughed a bit.

"Cool." The Al-Bhed girl said as Shera smiled.

"Rikku here was a part of a community of Al-Bhed back in our world, excellent engineers and builders." Shera explained as she looked down at the bunch of wires Rikku had been working on. "So, wiring again?" Shera asked as Rikku nodded in an annoyed fashion.

"Yeah, Chip, Dale and I wanted to check out all of the wiring before the launch." Rikku explained, as Goofy immediately jumped in.

"Gawrsh, Chip 'n' Dale are here?" The dog knight asked as Rikku nodded.

"Yeah, they're the main engineers aboard the ship while Cid stays back in Traverse Town." Rikku explained as she tapped her chin. "Oh! By the way, Shera, Jiminy wants you and these guys in the archive room to get some preliminary notes written." The assistant engineer added as Shera nodded.

"Alright, I'll take them there immediately." Shera said quickly as she quickly guided the group away, Rikku going right back to work checking the wiring.

"Jiminy's here too?" Goofy asked, with Shera nodding.

"Well, of course. As Disney Castle's library keeper he was responsible for vast stores of knowledge before. When a crew was considered for the ship we thought it'd be good if we had someone to keep information about certain worlds and the people in them in an organized manner... Jiminy was a natural choice." Shera explained as Goofy nodded, the rest of the group wondering just who this Jiminy fellow would be.

"Maybe it'll be another talking animal... like an owl..." Lloyd whispered over to Kenshin, whom merely nodded in return.

"Indeed, who else would keep watch over a library?" Kenshin whispered back, as the rest of the group simply discussed amongst themselves who it might be. Goofy, however, remained silent, chuckling to himself as he carried Donald around. Goofy knew who Jiminy was, he just thought it'd be funny to surprise the group with Jiminy's stature.

Shera led the group to yet another door, sliding it open to reveal a very nice looking room. It looked like an old fashion library, with old wooden shelves and wooden looking walls and floors. The group looked stunned at the library... before noticing something out of place.

"... Where are all the books?" Sora asked suddenly as the group walked up to the empty shelves, scanning them for even a single book.

"Well stranger, that's cause I haven't been able to get any written down yet." A lone voice rang out in the room, the guys looking around for the invisible voice.

"Huh, where'd the voice come from?" Naruto asked suddenly as he looked around, everyone equally perplexed. Inuyasha's ears perked as the half-demon quickly snapped his forefinger and thumb together, pulling his hand up to his face to look at his catch.

"I think I found the source." Inuyasha said quite simply as the others gathered around Inuyasha, looking closely at his forefinger and thumb. What they saw surprised them yet again, as between the grip of his digits was a black tuxedo coat, and wearing that coat was a small green cricket, wearing a blue top hat, black pants, and a pair of nice black shoes. The cricket smiled at the assembled group, chuckling as he tipped his hat at them.

"Greetings everyone: Cricket's the name, Jiminy Cricket." Jiminy said with a small smile, as Yusuke just sweat dropped.

"Suddenly, rats as cooks doesn't sound so ridiculous anymore...." The spirit detective said in a dull manner, Jiminy working his coat out of Inuyasha grip as he used his umbrella to float back down to the floor.

"Gawrsh, Jiminy's a real good archivist; he kept the records at our home just fine." Goofy was quick to defend his tiny friend, who just then landed on the floor.

"Goofy's right, King Mickey himself hired me to write the records, you all can depend on me." Jiminy said with a curt bow as Shera smiled at the small cricket. A moment later, the door slid open again, and one of Remy's cousins made his way through it.

"Hey, dinner'll be ready in a few minutes." The rat said quickly, leaving almost as soon as he arrived. Shera nodded as she looked towards the group.

"Well, you all should know where the kitchen is. I'll meet you there as soon as I launch the ship." Shera said plainly as the nine and Jiminy nodded, going off towards the kitchen while Shera began heading towards the main deck, arriving in only a matter of minutes.

Cid had actually managed to salvage the old deck from the Highwind, and was able to convert its inner-workings to function with the Highwind II, while still having the look of the old Highwind, the old pilot and engineer firmly wanting at least this much of the ship to be exactly the same as the original.

Shera got up towards the controls and began initiating the launch sequence, a voice blaring over the hanger's intercoms.

"Shera, we've finished our check-up of the ship's systems, and everything's a-okay!" Dale said over the intercom as Shera nodded.

"Thanks Dale." Shera said as she nearly completed the intial launch sequence, only to be interrupted by Cid's voice suddenly blaring over the intercom.

"Hey, Shera." Cid's voice could be heard, garnering the attention of his wife. "Be careful out there." The old pilot said simply as Shera smiled.

"I will." Shera said back to her husband as a small sigh could be heard on the other end of the line, the hanger bay doors opening a short while afterwards. The woman pilot sighed as she fired up the engines, while the propellers also began to spin, and the bottom row of engines helped elevate the Highwind II from the base of the hanger. With a deep breath Shera fired off the main engines, sending the Highwind II propelling forward through the hanger doors, blasting off into Gummi Space for the first time. As the ship flew off, Shera could see E-ve begin floating in front of the ship, stationing herself about 2,000 feet away from the ship's edge. Shera looked down at the console and picked up a small radio, lifting the antenna before speaking into it.

"E-ve? Would you mind sending me back a view of Traverse Town?" Shera requested curtly, as Eve slowly turned her body, and moved slightly above the top of the ship. Within quick succession a screen on the dashboard began to light up, and then an image of the quickly fading image of Traverse Town made its way to the screen, the tiny little world slowly seeming even smaller than before as the Highwind II propelled itself away.

"Thanks E-ve." Shera said back into the radio as she checked over the status of the ship, and finding everything to be in top condition, as Dale. "The Highwind II should keep on track with you till we approach the nearest world. Be sure to alert us if anything happens before we reach it." Shera ordered, as Eve responded by flying to a level position with the bay, still a few thousand feet away from the actual ship. Shera placed the radio down as she began walking back towards the kitchen, wondering if the group managed to cause any trouble before she would get there.

-Highwind II – Dining Hall-

"Jeez, when's Remy going to be done already, he sent us here five minutes ago... it took less time for Shera to launch the ship..." Rikku groaned and complained as her stomach gargled in agreement with the hungry Al-Bhed, everyone on the ship, save Remy and his cousins, were assembled around a long table in a large dining area. Even Donald was sitting at the table... albeit slumped down unconscious, seeing as how Goofy couldn't wake him up.

"My, my nephew, dat is very poor posture, you must sit up und straight." Ludwig berated his unconscious relative, not quite catching that Donald was completely unconscious.

"Ummm... Professor..." Yuna began, as suddenly she was interrupted by Shera finally joining the group in the hall.

"Hey there Shera, great launch." Chip said to the pilot, Dale nodding right along.

"Hehe-yup, barely felt a thing! Dale added, Shera just laughing a bit as she nodded her head.

"Thanks, but it was Cid's work with the ship that's making it run so nice." Shera insisted as she sat down herself, Remy and his cousins suddenly coming into the room, wheeling in trays that were carrying the most wonderfully smelling foods anyone in the room had ever taken in. The aroma was so great, that Donald suddenly snapped to attention, practically drooling already.

"Oh boy oh boy oh boy!" Donald said as he watched Remy and his cousins began placing the covered plates of food onto the table.

"Alright boys, since most of you have never eaten my clan's cooking before, we decided to go with a selection that would knock your taste buds out of the park." Remy said as he walked over to one of the covered plates. "We're starting you off with some 'pot au feu'." Remy said as the rats pulled off the first cover, revealing a large bowl of beef stew with many different vegetables, including carrots, broccoli, and lettuce tossed into the strew.

"Oh that looks good..." Lloyd said, the young man practically drooling over his own plate.

"Follow that up with some 'boudin blanc'." The rat chef said as yet another plate's lid was peeled off, revealing several flavored sausages.

"Vunderful!" Ludwig immediately said, watching Remy walk down the table.

"Of course we have some good bread, fine salads, and some nice soups for you all to try." Remy said, as plate lid after plate lid was pulled off of their respective plates, revealing said foods in order. "Add in one of my favorites, some ratatouille." Remy said as his cousins immediately revealed said dish.

"Oh, and the main part of the course." Remy said as he slowly walked up to the largest of the plates with the largest cover, everyone leaning in to see. "Big hand to my brother who decided on the main dish... he hasn't even told me what he asked to be cooked. So, let's see what the other magnificent chefs have cooked up for us." Remy said as he, along with several other members of his clan, pulled off the lid.

The dish underneath the lid caused many in the room to sweat drop, while Donald's and Ludwig's jaws dropped, and Remy had a somewhat horrified look on his face.

His brother had prepared for the main course... pressed duck.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Oh yes, times on this ship and for the people inside of it were only just beginning to get interesting.....

---------- Authors' Notes ---------

Al-Bhed Translations:

Fryd dra ralg?! Fryd zicd nyh ehdu sa?! TEA TEA TEA!!!

What the heck?! What just ran into me?! DIE DIE DIE!!!

Remy's Meals:

pot au feu- as said in decription, its basically mixed vegetable beef stew with a nice broth.
boudin blanc- once again description really says it all: its bratwurst (or sausage, not completely sure) flavored with various fancy flavorings.
ratatouille- basically a stewed vegetable dish usually served with bread or rice, or just as a side.

Greetings, from Zoneshifter D. I hope you've enjoyed our latest installment in this wacky story of ours. See ya next chapter.

R&R