A/N: Well, here's the story behind the long wait for this particuler chapter... I had it done a while ago, and then almost imediatly afterward, I was attacked by another story that I wrote out. After that, I got writer's block, and I've had it for about 2 1/2 months, so I'm hoping that finally publishing this will help. This is the last chapter! Read on!

Disclaimer: For the last time in this story, I will say, I DO NOT OWN KINGDOM HEARTS!


Chapter 13: United

Zexion charged, Keyblade held straight, ready to impale Riku. Deftly, Riku dodged, stabbing back. With a calculating glance, Zexion snapped his fingers, enveloping the two of them in Darkness. Riku gasped, looking around, unable to see. Through the Darkness, he could hear Zexion chuckle. Riku's grip on Way to Dawn tightened as he looked around.

"Come out, you coward!" he yelled, turning in a circle. "Fight me instead of hiding behind your illusions!"

From somewhere behind the dark shroud, Zexion laughed again.

"You were once a force to be reckoned with." he sneered, "A rare person, able to use both Light and Dark, master of both. But now, you are a mere shadow of your former self. Your decision to embrace the light has once again diminished you. Though you didn't before, again, you fear the Dark."

Riku fired a spell into the void in the direction of Zexion's voice.

"Come out and let me show you how scared I am!"

~*~

"Riku!" Kairi called into the Darkness, "Can you hear me?" No response. Oh, I hope he's okay...She thought.

"Kairi?"

Kairi turned to see Sora running toward her, Roxas close behind.

"Sora!" she cried, rushing to meet him, and pulling him into a hug. "You're really here!"

"Kairi..." Sora muttered, burying his face in her hair.

~*~

Zexion laughed again.

"Really, things couldn't get any better." he said, his smile evident in his voice.

"What in Kingdom Hearts are you talking about?" Riku snapped, still struggling to spot the Cloaked Schemer.

"I had planned to use the girl against you, but why stop at her? See for yourself." A spot cleared in the Darkness, and through it, Riku saw Sora holding Kairi as though he would never let go as Roxas stood off to the side.

"Leave them alone!" Riku exclaimed, "They haven't done anything to you!"

"On the contrary." Zexion replied, "Sora and Roxas have caused me insurmountable trouble, and as for the girl, well, what use does the Organization have for a heart with no Darkness?"

As he spoke, the Darkness moved toward the others.

"No!" Riku cried, running forward, only to find the way blocked.

"Despite having turned your back on the Darkness," Zexion continued, "Your heart is still considerably Darker then theirs. This is how you've survived this Darkness without being driven mad, or losing your heart all together. Imagine then how the hearts of your two best friends will react, having little, or no Darkness what so ever."

Riku stared in horror as his friends disappeared into the black.

"You-you..." he gasped, lost for words in his anger.

Zexion only smiled.

~*~

Sora looked around in alarm as Darkness gathered around them.

"What's going on?"

"This happened to Riku after he started battling one of the Organization members." Kairi replied.

"Short blue-gray hair that goes in front of his eyes?" Roxas asked suddenly. Kairi nodded, though Roxas could barely see her by that time.

"Zexion."

~*~

Riku looked around frantically. He had to take out Zexion as soon as possible. He only had a few minutes at the most.

"And to think," Zexion continued cruelly, "If you were still Master of the Dark, you could save them."

Riku gasped. Maleficent's curse! he thought, time pressing against the back of his mind. Suddenly, as if Riku's thoughts had called it, a jet of green fire streaked through the Darkness, illuminating it for a second, revealing Zexion standing nearby on Riku's left. In that second, Riku turned, dealing a number of sharp blows to Zexion's stomach, throwing the Nobody back.

As Zexion fell, the haze of Darkness, along with the fake Keyblade, disappeared. Sora, Kairi and Roxas came back into view, looking no worse for wear.

Riku turned, facing Zexion as the Nobody's body began to disappear.

"H-How?" Zexion snarled, watching in horror as black smoke curled off his body. "Even now, weak and disillusioned as you are, merely the Light's pawn, still you survive? How?"

Riku shook his head.

"You don't get it, Zexion." he sighed, "I guess you never will. I would rather be the Light's pawn with my friends, then the Dark's master without them."

Zexion scoffed as his body disappeared. However, his last word hung in the air after him.

"And that will be your undoing."

Riku stared silently at the place where Zexion had been.

"Riku!" Sora exclaimed, running toward him. Riku turned to face his best friend.

"I'm glad you made it, Sora." he said, "Wouldn't have wanted you to miss all the fun."

Sora laughed, then he paused.

"Hey, Riku, what happened in there?"

"I-I'm not sure..." Riku replied, looking slightly confused.

"I think I know." A high voice behind them inserted.

"Your Majesty!" They exclaimed as the mouse approached. Mickey nodded before turning to Riku.

"Riku, what, exactly, did you see in there?" he asked.

"A green flame." Riku replied, "But, Your Majesty, was it her?"

Mickey opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted by a cold voice.

"I can answer that myself." Maleficent said as she stepped out of a column of green flames. "It served me best. If the Nobodies triumph over the Light today, they will come after the Dark tomorrow, so we must work together now to stop them. I've changed my mind since our last meeting, and I am offering my magic, no stings attached, as long as it is understood that after this alliance, things shall return to the way they were between us." Looking stunned, the others nodded in agreement, and the witch turned. "In that case, I will go to the battle. Oh, and Riku," She gave the boy a withering look, "I saved you this time, but I do not suggest you cross me again. The curse I placed on you, may have played out favorably this time, but if you anger me, the next one, I can assure you, will not."

Riku smiled.

"I'll have to make sure you don't get any chances to curse me then, Maleficent."

~*~

"Zexion as well." Xemnas muttered, looking to the spot where the Cloaked Schemer had last stood, "No matter. This battle's end will see more hearts for me."

Behind him, two Corridors of Darkness opened, Saïx and Axel stepping out.

"Xemnas, what now?" Saïx asked.

"We take advantage of our enemy's weakness and use it to bring them down."

Axel scoffed.

"Excuse me, oh wise Superior," he said, "But it seems to me that we are the ones who are weak. Almost all of the lower Nobodies have been defeated. Not to mention there are five Keyblade bearers out there, out for our skins. Wouldn't it be better to just cut out losses and run?"

Xemnas chuckled as he motioned toward the sky.

"But Axel, this battle has been a great success. Exactly what we intended it to be." Saïx and Axel looked up as the clouds cleared, revealing Kingdom Hearts, shining in the sky.

"Here," Xemnas continued, motioning around him, "In Radiant Gardens, the place where I first became this thing we now call a Nobody, I will fulfill my purpose, regaining my lost heart and becoming master over it. This is my true purpose!"

~*~

Where's Naminè?" Roxas asked, interrupting the current conversation.

"I haven't seen her since I left camp to find you guys." Kairi answered, "But I'm sure she's okay. I would have felt it if something had happened to her."

Roxas nodded, just as a bright light illuminated the world around them. The friends looked up to see Kingdom Hearts hanging above them in the sky.

"Crud!" Roxas exclaimed, breaking into a run.

"Roxas, wait!" Sora cried, taking off after him, the others following suit, but Roxas didn't hear them.

Kingdom Hearts is complete! He thought as he ran, I have to stop Xemnas from using it. I promised her I would!

~*~

Xemnas smiled as one last solitary heart floated up into Kingdom Hearts. It was time.

"Stop, Xemnas." A voice behind them cried, The three Nobodies turned to face a battle ready Roxas who was joined by Sora, Mickey, Riku and Kairi. "We can't let you do that."

"What are you talking about, Roxas?" Axel asked, stepping toward his friend, "This is a good thing. Kingdom Hearts can help you too. This is your chance to become your own person."

Roxas shook his head.

"I can't let Xemnas get Kingdom Hearts." he replied, "I...I think I promised someone that."

Axel paused, looking confused. Sora, who, though he had been the first to chase after Roxas, was the last one to arrive, swayed slightly on his feet before falling over, panting.

"Sora!" Riku and Kairi exclaimed, hurrying to the boy's side.

"I-I'm fine." Sora gasped, pushing their hands away.

"No, he's not." Roxas replied, glancing back quickly, "He's sick."

Saïx smiled. Taking advantage of the distraction, he grabbed Kairi, pulling her toward him, and placing his Claymore at her throat.

"Kairi!" Sora gasped, attempting to stand, only to fall again.

"If any of you draw your weapons, she'll be the first to go."

Riku and Mickey put their hands up slowly as Saïx turned to Roxas.

"You too, Number XIII." he continued, "Put them away."

Glaring, Roxas dismissed Oathkeeper and Oblivion. Saïx smirked before handing Kairi over to Axel.

"Here, Axel, keep and eye on her."

Axel grabbed Kairi's shoulder, and avoiding Roxas's glare, pressed a chakram against her throat. He kept his eyes down, willing himself not to think about what was bound to happen. I warned him. He thought, I told him this would happen. If something happens to him, it's his fault for not listening to me. No matter what Axel told himself, however, nothing made the knot in his stomach disappear.

Xemnas smiled as his Ethreal Blades appeared in his hands.

"Now that Kingdom Hearts is finally complete," he announced, "Your parts are over, Keyblade Bearers. You serve the Organization no more purpose. All there is to do now is clean up." He walked over to Roxas, who stood straight a defiant look in his eyes, "Traitors first."

"No!" Axel cried, throwing Kairi aside as he ran forward. As soon as Kairi was out of the way, Riku summoned Way to Dawn, driving it quickly into Saïx's chest, causing the Nobody to cough painfully as he disappeared.

"Axel!" Roxas cried as the others turned to see Axel and Xemnas tottering slightly on their feet. Xemnas fell to his knees.

"You traitor." he gasped, his hand pressed against his stomach, covering the place where Axel's chakram had caught him as his body began to dissolve.

"I've always been a traitor, Xemnas." Axel replied with a small smile, "At least this time, I finally betrayed the right person."

Xemnas scowled as oblivion took him. The collective sigh of relief was broken as, wincing, Axel too, fell to his knees.

"Axel, are you okay?" Roxas asked, worried.

"I...I guess he got me better than I thought." Axel replied, clutching his stomach. He looked up at Roxas. "I don't think I'll be around much longer." All around his body, the smoke-like tendrils began to weave their way into the air.

"Don't say that!" Roxas snapped, "You'll be fine."

Axel smiled, sadly.

"I'm sorry, Roxas. I was an idiot. It should have been me who rescued you, not Demyx, but I guess I never learn. Some best friend I am."

"Axel, it doesn't matter what kind of best friend you were." Roxas insisted, "You were- are my best friend. You'll get through this!"

Axel chucked.

"I wish that were the case, but I'm almost out of time. Roxas," he paused as their eyes met. "I'll be waiting."

He was gone.

"Axel!" Roxas cried, tears running down his cheeks, "No, I just got you back!"

Riku walked up behind him, putting his hand on the sobbing Nobody's shoulder.

"We should probably go." he said, turning back and casting Curaga on Sora. "The battle is over."

Sora offered Roxas a hand up, and the other boy silently accepted it, not speaking all the way back to camp.

"Roxas!" Naminè cried as soon as they were within sight of the camp. She ran out toward them, catching Roxas, mid-stride, in a hug. "You're okay!"

"Nam..." Roxas whispered, burying his face in her hair. Naminè felt her hair grow wet as Roxas cried.

~*~

Sora and Kairi lay together on the roof of one of the buildings as night fell over Radiant Gardens, watching the stars appear.

"Where did Riku get to?" Sora asked.

"He's probably with the King, doing whatever it is you do after a war."

"Should we go help them?" Sora asked, sitting up. Kairi laughed, pulling him back down.

"No." she replied, "After all, Aerith said that you needed rest after what you've been through."

"And I told her that I'm completely fine." Sora muttered in reply, though he unconsciously rubbed his right arm where Vexen had made the injections. Kairi laughed again,

"Besides," she continued, "Riku can handle it." She turned away from the stars to look at Sora, "He's a good leader."

"I know." Sora replied as Kairi snuggled closer. "I've always known that. I think the only one who didn't was Riku." Kairi nodded.

They sat together in comfortable silence for a little while as the stars all came into view.

"I wonder which one is home." Sora said quietly, "It's been a while since that night, during the Destiny Festival, when we sat like this, watching the stars. I..." Sora paused, gathering courage, "I had planned on asking you to share a paopu fruit with you the next day, but then everything happened, and I didn't get the chance."

Kairi looked shocked before scrambling to reach her bag.

"But, I have a paopu fruit!" she exclaimed as she reached for it, "I had Selphie bring it from home, and – oh!" Kairi pulled her hand out of the bag. It was covered in juice. "It...got squished..." she looked crestfallen and about to cry as she turned to Sora, "I'm so sorry!"

Sora laughed good-naturedly.

"Of course it got squished, silly." he replied, "You had it in your bag during a battle! Besides, we should probably wait until Roxas and Naminè are here to share one anyway. It would just feel weird without them."

Kairi nodded, smiling as she lay back down, her head resting on Sora's upper arm.

"I guess you're right." she replied, "We'll just have to wait until later."

Night had fallen completely.

~*~

Roxas stared into the camp fire, his face serious as he recounted his and Sora's experiences with the Organization.

"Demyx sacrificed himself so we could get away.." Roxas looked up and King Mickey and Riku as Naminè grabbed his hand. "Axel is died to save my life. He's gone because of me."

"Roxas," the King replied, "It's not your fault. Axel knew what he was doing. Demyx too."

Roxas didn't reply, looking up at the stars. Huh, he thought, That's weird. That one star is getting brighter... By that point, the star had attracted the others' attentions also.

"What the heck is that?" Riku asked, standing up. King Mickey shook his head. They all jumped back as the star moved suddenly, coming closer.

Sora and Kairi ran into the clearing just as the star touched down, lighting the clearing up like it was day.

"What's happening?" Sora asked.

"Beats be." Riku replied. Suddenly, the light dimmed revealing a women with long blonde hair, and a kind smile.

"Hello." she smiled, placing her hands together in front of her. "I am the Blue Fairy."

"The Blue..." Sora muttered, astounded, "Jiminy told me about you! I pictured you smaller though, like Tinkerbell."

The Blue Fairy laughed.

"There are many types of fairies, young Keyblade Master." she smiled.

"Milady, we are honored by your presence,"the King said, "But to what do we owe this great honor?"

"A little while ago, these five children each made a wish on a star." the Blue Fairy replied, "It is because of those wishes that I am here."

Sora, Kairi, Riku, Roxas and Naminè looked surprised. In light of the recent events, they had completely forgotten about the wishes.

"Mine came true..." Sora gasped.

"Mine too." Kairi replied. Riku and Naminè both nodded. They turned to Roxas who stood silent.

"Roxas?" Naminè asked.

"I-I think I wished for the wrong thing." Roxas said quietly, looking up at the Blue Fairy, "The dead are best left dead."

The Fairy smiled, placing a gentle hand on Roxas's cheek.

"Never second guess your heart's deepest wish, dear." she whispered as silent tears began to run down Roxas's cheeks. "You needed a chance to say good-bye. If you can think of wishes you would rather have now, it's because you have matured, but you needed that closure before you could have a different wish."

"But, did he have to die?" Roxas asked.

"Even Kingdom Hearts can not bring the dead back indefinitely. Axel is in a different place now. But, do not despair, young Keyblade Wielder. Your wish could be the most important one of all." The Blue Fairy stood up straight, looking at the rest of the group. "You all know the story of how the worlds became separate?"

They each nodded, and that's when they noticed that the stars were moving, slowly circling.

"Roxas, your wish to have your best friend back was fate's stepping stone. With the Organization back in action, Light and Dark were forced to work together in a way that hasn't been seen since the worlds one. Not merely co-habitating, but entwined both sides profiting equally as they have always meant to be. Together, your five wishes have done something that the worlds have been trying to achieve for a very, very long time..."

The Blue Fairy trailed off, looking to the sky. The others followed suit, just in time to see the collision.

~*~

Sora and Kairi sat on the paopu tree. Before them was a stunning scene, the sun reflecting off of the ocean, but Sora and Kairi were too busy paying attention to each other, and the paopu fruit they held between them.

"Y-You ready?" Sora asked nervously. Kairi nodded. Within them, Roxas and Naminè were practically jumping up and down from anticipation. They took a bite.

~*~

Riku took one last look at the letter he held in his hands. It had taken him nearly an hour to write it, not because it was long, but because he hadn't been quite sure what to say. Eventually, he had just settled for the short and simple way of saying it. With an air of finality, he dropped it into the mailbox. Well, there it was. Riku hoped she got it soon, after all, he had written some... important things in that letter.

~*~

Merlin never saw it coming. One second he was casting a dirty look at the bills he had just fished out of the mailbox, and the next, he had been ran over by an ecstatic ninja girl holding a letter. The letter read:

Dear Yuffie,

I love you.

Sincerely, Riku

~*~

All was quiet at Disney Castle as Jiminy Cricket finished up the last entry in his journal.

Much has happened since the Blue Fairy appeared.

In a bright flash of light, the worlds reconnected,

returning to their original places. There has been

much discussion since then of exactly how this

happened, but no one is able to come up with

a good explanation. All that can be said for sure

is that that day will always be remembered.

After all, it was the day that the worlds

United.

The End


A/N: Well, that's it. Thank you all of you who stuck with it to the end, even though after I while, I was hardly consistant. You are all awesome! :D