Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy. They belong to their respective owners. I do own Castle Infinity, however.
And here it is!! The final installment of Carousel! Please enjoy.
Vincent and Axel froze at the sight of Xemnas. He was standing, armed with the aerial blades, in front of Vincent.
"The boy…" he spoke, motioning to Sora.
Vincent turned so as to protect Sora more. "Never."
Xemnas grinned evilly and raised a hand, throwing one of his blades. Vincent spun around and ducked, cradling Sora, but heard a clanking noise above his head. He looked to see Axel's chackram locked with the blade.
"Go!" Axel shouted, nodding in the direction of the ship. Vincent nodded and took off at a dead sprint.
"So, it's you and me again," Axel said smartly.
"So it would seem."
Vincent bounded onto the ship and ran to the back room. Cloud and Leon were staring at their companion and Cloud yelled, "What's going on out there?"
"Xemnas." Vincent spoke the one word and approached the bed next to Roxas, placing Sora down on it.
"Oh good, you've found him."
"Wasn't that hard. I'm going back to help Axel." Vincent stormed from the ship, only to stop at the door. Axel and Xemnas were locked tight in the battle.
Both were throwing their weapons roughly but skillfully, each locked onto the other.
Xemnas threw a surprise attack and Axel jumped back, receiving only a scratch across the bridge of his nose. He stood and cancelled his weapons, sending them away. Xemnas watched his inferior with curiosity, waiting for him to make a move.
Axel rose to handfuls of fire to the sky and brought them back down, hugging himself. Fire soon consumed the entire area, throwing itself everywhere and burning anything in its path. Xemnas tried to ward away the beast, but it came on even stronger. The fire encroached itself on Xemnas's blades, slowly creeping up to the man. The Superior dropped his weapons, but the fire was relentless and chased the man.
Axel withdrew his hands and threw them out, as if greeting a large audience. Fire spread out of his fingers in waves, going every direction. Heat was drying the air out rapidly, forcing Vincent to take cover in the ship and close the hatch.
The fire started to turn white hot, scorching the area without contact. Xemnas screamed in agony as the fire devoured him. The flames continued on into a violent explosion; everything was shrouded in a blanket of smoke.
As the smoke began to disperse, the hatch to the ship opened, falling to the ground and unloading three passengers. Cloud and Leon ran to the edge of where the fight had erupted, not daring to take another step. Vincent strode up and past his two comrades, looking for survivors.
Smoke still littered the last few feet off the ground, making it hard to walk without constantly looking down. Slowly and cautiously, the three men made their way onto the field, fearing the worst.
A slight groan was emitted from the smoke. Cloud, Leon, and Vincent hustled towards the noise to find a body.
Axel rolled over onto his side, coughing up blood. His hair was singed and his face covered in what appeared to be ash. The distinct facial markings were hidden under a layer of soot. He tried to lift himself onto his side, pushing up with both arms. "Xemnas…"
"He's dead," Vincent stated, having previously scouted the area with his vision.
Axel weakly nodded and dropped back to the ground.
"Come on," Leon spoke up. "We need to get you to the ship." He snaked his arm under Axel's arms and behind his back.
"I don't need any ship," Axel protested, trying to pull himself away from Leon.
Leon tightened his arm around Axel's back and hoisted him up, letting the man lean on his shoulder. "Look, just get some rest."
Axel huffed and looked away. "Fine."
The two stumbled to the ship, Cloud and Vincent trailing. Once they were on board and had Axel lying down on the last spare bed, the three walked up to the controls, taking their original seats; Leon was command, leaving Cloud and Vincent as seconds.
"What are we going to do now?" Leon asked, looking back at the three injured passengers.
"We can't take them back home in their current condition. Should we see if Merlin can help?" Cloud asked after giving it some thought.
Leon nodded, considering the idea.
"What about Axel?" Vincent asked, pointing to the guy.
Leon shrugged his shoulders. "Ask what he wants."
"Fine." Vincent walked over to Axel and tapped his shoulder.
Axel groaned and rolled onto his back. "What?"
"What did you want to do now?"
"I want to sleep."
"What about afterwards? Are you going to stay here?"
"Are you freakin nuts? I'll live somewhere else."
Axel stared right into Vincent's eyes. "I'll go wherever Roxas and Sora go." He abruptly turned over and shut Vincent out.
"Even if they don't want you to?" Axel didn't reply. "Alright." Vincent went back to Cloud and Leon and told them what Axel had said.
"Well, if he's going back to Destiny Islands, where exactly is he going to stay?" Cloud asked.
"No one knows," Vincent said.
"Well, now that he's made his choice, let's head to Merlin's and see if we can't help Roxas out at all," Leon stated, turning on the engines.
Cloud and Vincent took up the controls of take off and selecting the location. Leon thrust the ship into drive and took off, to Radiant Garden.
Upon arrival in the new world, Cloud and Vincent took to the tasks of carrying the two teens from the ship; Cloud carried Roxas and Vincent carried Sora, both bridal style. Leon helped Axel walk, by supporting him, and the group hustled over to Merlin's.
When they arrived at the house, Leon knocked. "Just a minute!" Merlin answered, shuffling some things around. A few moments later, he opened the door and almost dropped his jaw. Leon smiled sheepishly.
"Not again!" Merlin said angrily. "What have you done this time?"
"Hey," Axel greeted, throwing out a hand. Merlin looked skeptically at the gesture, but took it.
"Uh…nice to meet you. Now, like I said, who needs to be fixed up?"
Cloud stepped up. "Him first. We couldn't do much to help, though."
"No problem, boy. Bring him here, on the bed."
Cloud stepped into the house and laid Roxas, stomach down, on the bed.
He stepped up and let Merlin work. Everyone else patiently waited in the opposite corner of the room, waiting for Roxas to be healed.
After an anxious half hour, Merlin stood up and said, "All patched up. He'll be fine, but won't wake for a few hours more."
"Thank you, Merlin," Leon said. Vincent brought up Sora, but didn't set him down.
"His heart was ripped from his chest and he turned into a Heartless. He was probably like that for a few hours, but when we returned his heart, he showed signs of life. He was breathing but was instantly unconscious."
"Alright, I'll see what I can do." Merlin took Sora from Vincent's arms and laid him on the bed. He worked for the good part of an hour before turning to the last four.
"All's well with these two," he said, motioning towards Roxas and Sora.
"Looks like I'm next," Axel interrupted, trying to stand.
Merlin looked him over real quick and handed him a vial, filled to the brim with an iridescent green liquid.
"Here, drink this."
"No special treatment?" Axel grudgingly took the flask and downed the whole of it.
"You should feel better within the hour," Merlin informed Axel, who nodded curtly and looked away.
Leon looked up to Merlin. "Thank you, for healing everyone. Even on short notice."
The wizard waved his hand towards Leon as if he was dismissing the thanks. "No problem, my boy."
"Well, we'd better get going," Cloud said, picking up Sora. Vincent followed the gesture and picked up Roxas, minding his back. Leon stood by Axel to make sure no man was harmed in the making of the march to the ship.
All four waved their thanks as they departed from the house. Axel limped and staggered all the way. "'You should feel better within the hour.' Yeah, right. I feel like crap."
Leon punched his shoulder. "At least you are going to feel better."
"I almost died! The bastard just doesn't want to give me special treatment because I was part of the Organization."
"Watch it! I wouldn't either."
"Axel!" Leon yelled vehemently, slapping the man across his already-punched shoulder.
"Fine. Whatever. Let's just go." Axel abruptly stopped the conversation and hustled towards the ship, which was looming ever closer.
Once aboard, the boys were dropped back onto their beds and Axel flopped down onto his, carrying a slight attitude. The other three went up to the controls and turned the beast on, heading for Destiny Islands.
On the Gummi Ship, in the rear cabin, a boy slowly stirred from unconsciousness. Sora groggily pulled himself up on the bed and swung his legs over. He rested his head on hands, propped up from the elbows on his knees.
The boy rubbed the grime from his eyes and looked about, taking in the new scenery. He stood and lazily walked to the front of the ship, stopping just behind Vincent's chair.
Vincent, being the cunning and strangely adept man he is, turned just as Sora approached. "You're up." It was a statement, without a hint of surprise.
"Yeah. What happened?" Sora asked, rubbing his head.
Cloud turned and joined the conversation. "What's the last thing you remember?"
"Just this light…and a lot of pain, here." The boy tapped his chest, just above his heart.
"What happened to Roxas?" Sora asked, looking around the cockpit area.
"He was in the bed next to you. Did you not see him?" Leon asked, slightly concerned.
"Guess I must have missed him. Where are we going now?"
Sora fell silent. "I get to go home?"
"Well, yeah," Cloud said. "Why don't you go see if Roxas and Axel are up."
"Wait a second. Why is Axel here? He was trying to freaking kill me!"
"No, he wasn't. He's part of the reason of you being here, alive."
The last sentence hit Sora hard. "Well, then what's the other part?"
Leon flicked on the Autopilot switch and turned around in his seat. "Well, we kind of helped, too. But we'll talk more about that later. Right now, someone wants to speak with you," Leon stated, motioning for Sora to turn around.
Sora turned to see Axel; he was leaning against the wall. Roxas was standing next to him.
Uneasiness filtered throughout the ship as Sora and Axel continued to lock eyes.
"Well, seeing as this is getting us nowhere, I guess I'll start the talking?" Axel asked, waving out a questioning hand.
"Maybe you should," Sora mumbled.
"Alright, well when the tragic event of Sora loosing his beloved heart occurred, Xemnas was preparing on using it and Roxas's keyblades to finally open Kingdom Hearts and restore hearts to him and his Organization. He nearly succeeded, though I was planning on stopping him, when Vincent showed up and took my spotlight. Together, he, Leon, Cloud, Roxas, and I finished the Organization. We restored your lost heart to you and then went to go see Merlin. The old fart healed us and here we are now, going home."
Sora stared at Axel, not quite sure whether to be mad at him or not. "Is this it?" he finally said.
Axel mentally questioned the boy's question. "Well, yeah. The Organization is finished and Kingdom Hearts won't be tampered with anymore. You can go home and never have to worry about any of this stuff."
"That's what I thought when I killed Ansem's heartless."
"At any rate, though, you're done with this whole keybearer business. Just leave it at that and enjoy life." Axel turned and returned to the back cabin; Roxas stayed where he stood.
"Hey, crew," Leon suddenly spoke out. "We're here."
"Finally," Sora said in a relieved sigh. He ran over to a window and saw the world they were rapidly approaching.
Within minutes, the ship landed and Sora and Roxas were practically on top of the hatch, waiting for it to come down. As soon as it did, they jumped out and ran for the island, not even bothered by the fact that they would have to swim.
The rest of the group took the time to absorb the scenery and calmly walk to the dock, where a boat waited for their departure to the island.
Meanwhile, on the coast of the island, Sora and Roxas greedily tore up the sand and raced for the other side, anxious to see a familiar face. As they barged onto the familiar tarmac, two kids turned.
One, a boy, had long silver hair pooling around his shoulders. The other, a girl, had brightly colored crimson locks that just reached her shoulders.
"Sora!" the silver haired boy gasped, racing towards his life-long friend. He embraced him in a tight, but brotherly, hug. "I though you were going to be gone forever!"
Sora was too happy to speak; he held on to the hug.
After a few moments, the two pulled apart and Riku approached Roxas, holding out a hand. Roxas took it and Riku pulled him into a hug, too. Roxas returned the gesture.
Sora watched Roxas and Riku and suddenly turned back to the girl. She ran forward and threw her arms around Sora's neck, lightly crying onto his shoulder.
"Kairi," Sora whispered, wrapping his arms around her, drawing her even closer.
"Sora, I thought you were gone. Forever. But now…" She burst into another fit of tears.
"It's ok now. I'm here. I'll always be." Sora gave one last squeeze to the hug and pulled Kairi off. He held her hands and looked into her eyes. "I'll never leave you again. Not like that."
A smile drifted to her lips and she hugged Sora again, not wanting to let go. Her face was buried in the nape of his neck. "I'm so glad you're back."
During the hugging ceremony, Leon, Cloud, Vincent, and Axel made their way around the island and stopped when they saw the kids. Roxas and Riku exchanged a quick brotherly hug while Kairi and Sora were hugging as if their lives depended on it.
"They are just too cute," Axel said, watching Sora and Kairi.
"Leave them alone. Now go see if they will even let you live here," Leon spoke, pointing to the shack.
Axel sauntered towards the kids, hoping for a positive answer. He didn't have anywhere else to go!
Roxas and Riku watched as Kairi and Sora finally pulled apart.
Kairi wiped away her tears with the back of her hands and laughed a little. "What?" Sora asked, peering into her eyes.
"Nothing. I just can't believe you're back."
"Hey!" a voice called out. The four kids turned towards the call and saw Axel jogging up to them. The man walked right up to the kids and stopped. Sora and Kairi dropped hands, shocked at the sudden and ill-timed appearance of Axel.
"Hi?" Sora said, unsure of why the guy was even there.
"Well, I have a question for you. Would you mind it if I just kind of lived here?"
Everyone gaped at the man. Sora turned to Roxas and Riku, both of which shrugged in a 'yes' answer. Kairi nodded. "Well, I guess. But where are you going to stay?"
Axel did a quick scope of the island and saw the shack. "There?" he asked, pointing to the little abode.
"Go for it," Riku answered.
"Thanks! I guess we're forced to be friends now. And no hard feelings about the whole kidnapping scenario?" Axel asked Kairi.
She reminded herself that Axel had saved Sora… "None at all." She said through a slightly forced smile.
"You're all just perfect. I'm going to say my farewells to the other three guys and then I'll make for 'home'."
Riku looked questioningly at Sora. "Other three?"
"Oh, yeah. Cloud, Leon, and Vincent helped save me and kill the Organization," Sora said.
"Who's Vincent?" Kairi asked.
At just the right moment, the three guys crossed through the tree barrier. Axel was with them, exchanging farewells.
As the guys approached, Axel branched off and ran to his new home.
"Kairi, Riku, meet Vincent," Sora said, pointing to the cloaked man.
"Vincent Valentine," the man said, his voice deep and intriguing.
Kairi and Riku both muttered a hello, a bit intimidated.
Leon stepped forward, speaking to Sora. "We have to go now. We have our own worlds to help."
"Alright, well thanks! For everything," Sora said.
Roxas stepped up. "Same here. Thanks."
Cloud and Leon nodded and turned back to their ship, shortly followed by Vincent.
The group turned back in to face one another. Roxas, though, faced Sora.
"Hey, I know it's been fun, but I think we should…you know…" His hands came together, palm to palm.
Sora chuckled. "I know what you mean. Thanks for coming."
Sora and Roxas both stood tall, eyes closed. An electric blue aura enveloped the two boys. Roxas slowly started to fade, and then he was completely gone.
Riku and Kairi smiled; the trio was back together, permanently.
"What do you want to do now, oh great keybearer?" Riku asked.
"How about a nice, long walk around the beach?"
"That'd be nice," Kairi said, sliding her hand into Sora's.
AN: Yay! It's done! Well I hoped you all enjoyed this story. Thank you for sticking with it all the way. Sorry for all of those long update-less time periods. I've been at band camp for the last month and a half.
Thanks for reading and reviewing! See you soon (and hopefully with a new story!)