Disclaimer: Don't own Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy or Disney. I own this story and the OCs. (Skip the letter in the beginning if you wanna, I don't care.) I'll talk more later.
Chapter 1: Reunite and Fight
Thousands upon thousands of diamonds twinkled in the opaque, velvet black sky stretched over the city. Chilly breezes combed through the sprinkle of trees scattered throughout the hushed town. All was quiet.
It was night time in the Dayspring Villages, the world of the dawn, and it couldn't have been more peaceful. The door to darkness had closed less than an hour ago, and already the night didn't seem as monstrous as it had grown to be in the past week. Dark monsters that lurked in shadowy streets and alleys perfumed with haunting death were no where to be seen.
The heart of this world was the West Village, very similar to a modern town. The East Village is a resort town that takes up the whole island that's in the sea, to the east obviously. Despite the name of village, they're almost as large as cities. And in the West Village right now, a lone dog's barking became discreet over the buzzing of crickets deepening the night's tranquility.
The alleyways and streets were empty tonight, except for that one stray dog that had finally ceased his barking, now proceeding to investigate the gritty ground.
He shuffled through the looming shadows, hurriedly sniffing everything as he traveled up the alley. The King's loyal dog padded up, the faintest of moonlight spilling out on the main street up ahead. He wagged his long thin tail, pink tongue peeking out of his open jaw. Letting his curiosity take over he ran ahead to play in the pale light. With a playful growl he rolled on the street, relishing the moonlight until unfamiliar barking called out to him.
Pluto skidded to a stop. Raising his ears he looked down a street and stilled, seeing a half German shepherd, half border collie dashing for him in excitement, her big brown eyes focused on him standing up to her.
Pluto met her halfway, wagging his tail as she sniffed out. After a few seconds she barked her approval at him. Pluto was just about to nudge her, wondering why she called him out when a young man's voice rang out.
"Heeeey! Angelo! Come back here, girl!"
Angelo's perked up, her fluffy tail thumping side to side as she looked behind.
"You come back here, girl—Rinoa will claw my eyes out if I lose you," a guy wearing a black cowboy hat called out, pointing at her. Pluto yipped at this stranger, bounding up to this interesting looking man. He was seventeen and exactly six feet tall. Long, auburn hair was in a ponytail under his cowboy hat, with a long and thick khaki-colored jacket dressed over his purple shirt, as well as brown chaps over his black pants.
Irvine raised an eyebrow at Pluto, noting how strange tonight was. It was raining light earlier and now a yellowish dog popped up out of nowhere. Not to mention his friends had disappeared off the face of the earth, and hadn't even bothered to say 'see ya, wouldn't wanna be ya!'
His hands, covered in fingerless black gloves, suddenly sprang up in defense, blue eyes widening. The dog ran up to him and tackled him into the street, ripping a cry from his throat. Irvine's head collided into the concrete, causing a bunch of dancing stars to burst around him. He couldn't recover himself in time from a slippery tongue licked him, leaving a unwanted trail of drool on him.
Gross, gross, gross. That was all he could think.
"Off! Get off of me!" Irvine laughed, wringing his arms out to push Pluto off. Pluto barked happily, thumping his paws in his chest. Abruptly a pained yelping screeched from where Angelo had been.
At once they sprang up, searching for their companion. Irvine gasped, seeing someone standing over the brown crumple on the ground that was Angelo. The person was tall and slim, and part of the midnight blue cloak was parted away, revealing a long black skirt with a long slit cut up the left side. Her shirt was also a dark shade but styled oddly—her right arm and shoulder were bare, but her other arm was covered by a complete long sleeve.
Looking closely now, Irvine saw a white hand reaching down for the creamy white neck of Angelo. He stood up in a hurry, whipping out his shotgun from his coat.
"Back off!" he called out and sent a bullet flying. The hooded woman turned her head toward him. Irvine glared, catching her hand work in a snap while her other hand raised, stopping the bullet in a flash of pale light. Whooshes of darkness followed the action. The sniper cursed, watching the shadows swirl and form the same monsters he had spotted for the past few days. Ever since she disappeared...
He couldn't think anymore: Something stinging hot just slammed in the left shoulder, making him stagger back before it sunk in his flesh. Irvine cringed but ignored it. Ducking down he grabbed Pluto, who started growling at the Heartless. He twisted around as the rest of them swiped forward for their hearts, dodging and jumping this way and that in a dizzy disarray until his back hit a wall.
"Oh no," he whispered in horror, seeing the Heartless close in on him and Pluto. He dropped the dog and swept in front of him, loading his shotgun up.
A Heartless was already jumping in the air when he got his load in and raising his arms for aim, but he already knew he was too late. As if responding to his panicking thoughts, a dark blur flew into the Heartless, sending a chop of wind into his face from the speed.
"Yo!" a guy's loud and amused voice asked over to him. Irvine jerked as Pluto peeked around his legs.
Gripping the bridge of his nose for a moment, he collected himself and opened his eyes again. A guy with dirty blonde hair spiked slightly and a dark tattoo on the left side of his face raised a gloved hand in the air.
"Missed me, dude?"
Irvine stared on in confusion at his friend before a streak of a sky-blue cape rippled in his line of vision. He got poked once in the chest, causing him to stare into big, brown eyes framed by sleek strands of black hair, a few highlights of brown dyed in.
"Hellooo! Irvine, are you alright?" she asked with a chime of laughter. Irvine stared ahead with a strain before gripping his shoulder, pain overshadowing all of the emotions racing through his head. "Irvine!" she cried again, holding him up. Her eyes widened when he lifted his hand from his shoulder. Something dark was dripping from his shoulder with a stinging sensation trickling into his bones.
"Rinoa, as happy as I am to see you...what are you doing here all of a sudden?" Irvine asked sharply. Zell finished off the Heartless with a few of his special attacks, now planting himself in between his friends and the woman. "Zell, don't, she's not human," he warned. Zell smirked, glancing back.
"No duh. She's a Hunter, a Heartless that held onto its mind and feelings. That's why they look human."
"But don't let their appearance trick you," Rinoa continued, remembering how one easily knocked Zell out. "They're really strong—" She broke off, seeing Angelo crumpled on the ground at her feet. She sprang up. "Angelo!"
The woman laughed at her scream. Hooking her long, black-painted nails under her hood she slipped it off her head. The trio narrowed their eyes. She was, simply put, average on the scale of beauty. Her yellow eyes were shadowed by heavy, dark eye makeup, making her pale skin look lighter.
"I haven't seen you before," Rinoa noted quietly, holding Irvine up while stifling the urge to run out for her dog. Pluto started growling at the Hunter. The woman sneered at the sorceress and lifted her chin, auburn hair falling forward.
"Still a spoiled brat, as usual. Aren't you?" the Hunter mocked. Zell shifted; this one didn't feel human like the three he encountered before. Rinoa raised her eyebrows, captured at the resonance of remembrance in her tone.
"What do you mean?"
She giggled, a lust for blood gleaming back at Rinoa. "I thought Aoife was the only one with her memories messed with, not you three."
"Wait." Zell and Rinoa looked back to Irvine studying the Heartless. He pushed a step forward out of Rinoa's arms, squinting at her face. "You were...you were there when they..!"
The Hunter narrowed her eyes, waiting for him to remember. Pluto stopped growling, staring up at Irvine with everyone else. Irvine's jaw dropped slightly, putting blue in her eyes instead of that pale yellow.
He gasped, realization hitting him in the gut. "No...you are from this world."
"What?" Zell turned his back on the Hunter to stare incredibly at Irvine. "The hell you talkin' about, man? I think that hit is getting to your head."
"It's not my shoulder, idiot," Irvine snapped back, gripping onto his shoulder again, drips of darkness falling away. "We may just have been little kids back then, but..."
Rinoa lowered her gaze, trying to remember what Irvine deliberately was not able to say. The Hunter started stalking toward them with a predator's confidence. Until a hand tapped on her shoulder from behind, gloved in midnight blue with criss-crossing lines of violet, two tiny angels wings of a foreign, pearly-white metal. Rinoa and Zell recognized it, the latter raising his fist to the newcomer.
"Don't ever kick our dog..."
The Hunter gasped as Irvine gawked. Rinoa was smirking, giving the voice a nod to let her have it. The darkling spun around, meeting gray-green eyes coolly awaiting her.
Aoife tilted her head. "Bitch."
The Hunter opened her mouth but the girl's arm arched toward her face. The sound of cracking bones under her fist satisfied the girl's anger. Sucking in air Aoife latched unto the Hunter's arm with her left hand, throwing her knee into her gut.
"Damn brat!" the Hunter shrieked in fury, wringing her free hand up to latch onto Aoife's face. She tried to twist away, her wavy-curly black hair tangled in the darkling's fingers. Zell started to run for Aoife.
"Why?" Zell called back to Irvine.
"Don't break up the cat fight," he replied as if it were the most obvious thing.
Rinoa rolled her eyes. "You're obviously still alright."
Irvine smiled over to her, but shivering agony from his shoulder made him wince, forcing him to fall on his knees.
"Irvine?" Rinoa reached for him again, scooting over to look over the lagging shoulder. It shadowed darker, making the victim cry out. She grabbed his arms. "Hold on, we can get rid of this."
Rinoa drove her shining eyes up to Zell staring ahead at the two women in a nasty scuffle. The older woman just sliced her nails across Aoife's stomach, who had evaded from her at last. She winched to a stop and threw her arms up in her fighting stance. Zell ran up, getting into his own stance behind the woman. She looked over her shoulder to him, haughtily smiling.
Stealing her moment of distraction Aoife reached down to Angelo, feeling along her arched back from any broken bones. A sigh of relief flooded out of her lips when Angelo started beating her tail against the concrete, not afraid of the Organization robes Aoife was wearing.
Aoife grinned softly, curling her fingers to her so Angelo could lick them affectionately.
"Good girl...yeah, good girl," Aoife whispered, rubbing her neck, making her tail wag more. Angelo tried to stand up but pain in her stomach made her whimper back to the ground. Aoife's eyes widened in fear and searched the ground. Her heart fell into her stomach when she touched something wet and sticky on the ground, eyes grazing through the moonlight to see red smears on her fur coat. Tenderly she petted her head once and stood back up to face the Hunter watching her.
"Hey! How about you get out of our home?" Aoife called out, glaring hotly at the darkling. "Valentina."
Pluto barked in agreement...even though he was a guest.
"Ahh..." Valentina breathed out, slowly looking over to Aoife through half-lidded eyes. "The typical response of a victim of the memory witch."
Rinoa completely forgot about worrying over Irvine, baffled at the words being thrown at her friend.
"The ward of Organization XIII," Valentina said with a mocking smirk. Zell shifted his weight while Aoife gave no response to her title once upon a time. The Hunter traced her mouth with one long fingernail. "Heh...more like, the whore of Organization XIII!"
Zell shouted something foul at Valentina. Pluto whimpered and watched Aoife's facial expression slowly crack away into desolate pain, trembling coming off her arms and limbs. Valentina smiled happily as the girl turned her face to the side.
"I think I struck a nerve," she breathed, satisfied when she couldn't meet Aoife's eyes. Rinoa's mouth parted open, surprise widening her eyes. They couldn't come back with more tough words, seeing Aoife give up so easily to that. But it didn't suppress the rage starting to boil.
Hot blood rushing in his veins Zell pushed his aching legs forward, not caring if he was about to stick a woman with her back turned. Valentina didn't even turn her head. A willowy blanket of darkness intercepted him, slowing dancing in hypnotizing, obscure swirls until a wolf Heartless was positioned defensively in front of her. Growling at him with lips skinning back from its razor-sharp white teeth, it dug its heels into the street, just daring Zell to come closer.
Valentina wagged a finger at him. "Ah, ah, ah. You such be more welcoming for my homecoming." Zell rolled his eyes, tearing his gaze to bore into hers.
"Alright, one: I don't even know and or remember you. Two: You called one of my best friends a whore. And three: You kicked Angelo," Zell explained, ticking the points off on one hand. "So the only thing you're gonna get is my fist rearranging your face."
Rinoa ran up to his side, steadying the Blaster Edge for Valentina off the back of her left wrist. Unfortunately another wolf Heartless jumped in the way. Rinoa bit her lip as her weapon returned, the recoil shoving her back a little.
"Now what?" Zell asked. Aoife had knelt to the ground by Angelo, lest Valentina decided to sic her Heartless on Rinoa's dog. He glanced back, seeing Pluto nudged a panting Irvine seizing his shoulder with a wince. "This isn't good..."
"Tell me something I don't know," Rinoa shot back in frustration. She eyed the wolves observing them with blank eyes, waiting for their master to set them loose. But it never happened.
Suddenly, Valentina turned her face to the side, looking the street, sensing something familiar in the forest at the edge of town. Remembrance at whatever she was sensing made her shoulders drop.
Zell and Rinoa exchanged a look, confused at the abrupt loss of violence from her. She turned her body fully, an emotion crinkling light in her eyes. Not giving any explanation she summoned a dizzying amount of more Heartless, fleeing swiftly as they shaped from the darkness.
"Wait!" Irvine called out.
"Okay, what just happened?" Aoife asked. She ducked when a wolf jumped over her, the other canine Heartless following obediently after the Night Goddess. Aoife looked over her shoulder as they turned right a few blocks down. "And what's with them! Why didn't they attack us?"
"Zell, Aoife, you two go after her," Rinoa said, flicking her hair behind an ear, walking over to Aoife. She knelt in front of Angelo, exhaling heavily. "I'll take care of Angelo and Irvine...and wait up for Zack."
"Okay, but where should we meet up at?" Irvine asked, pacing towards them unsteadily, shotgun in hard. Pluto followed after him, panting excitedly.
"In front of our place," Rinoa answered, catching Aoife's eyes. She groaned inwardly; Caraway was going to blow his top when she got there.
"What about this guy?" Zell asked, bending toward Pluto. Rinoa giggled.
"I think he's okay. Hurry, before you lose her. I'm still confused about what she said, but..." Rinoa licked her lips, engrossed in her own worrying thoughts. She clutched Leon's ring that hung around her neck. Zell shrugged, clasping her shoulder once.
"I can handle her."
Rinoa nodded. Aoife waved to her.
Rinoa brought her eyes up to see her two friends running down the street and turn down the road Valentina went. A sigh fell from her frown.
"Was she lying, Irvine?"
He stared ahead, pensive. "I wish I could honestly say no."
Rinoa bowed her head.
Aoife ignored the sharp pain in her side, burning feet leading her to the slowest hound bounding after the others.
"OH YEAH!" Zell shouted wild, picking up his pace. Aoife laughed at him, his overconfidence spilling into her heart. She curved her fingers, readying for revenge.
Even chasing after Valentina seemed to only deepen the hole in her heart. The truth of what had happened in that empty brotherhood kept flashing by every street corner she sprinted through.
As much as much she wanted to make the Hunter regret messing with her friends, she couldn't harness any strength from her heart to attack for the name calling towards her. It kept crumbling and falling away into breaking emotions. Hating admitting it to herself, Valentina was right—she wasn't more than a pawn Xemnas was trying to utilize to the best of its uses, a pretty thing for one member to play with to keep from getting suspicious.
Too bad she exiled herself before she learned what her uses were for the Organization, much less as to why he even bothered wasting time on her. Too bad they probably wanted her back, willing or not. Too bad a piece of her heart got left behind, the one stupid flaw in her runaway to light.
Sooner or later, she'd have to go back.