Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts or any of the characters mentioned in it.

And Sora's back


Vibrant blue eyes stared up at the clear sky of the Phon Coast, cinnamon spikes fluttering in the breeze.

"Hey, Sora!"

The youth tilted his head to look down at Zack, a small smile crossing his lips. He pushed himself off the edge of the hunter's shack he was perched on and landed beside the tall brunette.

The small youth was promptly pulled into a headlock.

"I'm gonna go out with some of the hunters again, kay? We'll be back by lunch. Do you want me to bring ya back anything?"

Sora tilted his head slightly in thought, the warm sun glinting off the small vines of Shadow that edged across the left side of his face and neck. "Scales and feathers would be nice." He said, voice echoing slightly. "I'm making a Traveller's Charms."

Zack grinned cheerfully. "Sure thing, Spiky! See ya later!"

Sora watched the larger SOLDIER run off towards the group of hunters before turning his gaze back to the sea and sand that reminded him of Home.

(space)

Alice stalked down the halls of Hallow Bastion, Lock, Shock and Barrel giggling along behind her.

The Library should be around here somewhere.

She wanted to know more about the Princes of Darkness and what those damned Lighthuggers were planning to do with Sora and his Nobodies.

(space)

"I just don't think it's right, Cloud!"

The blonde SOLDIER looked away from the girl. "I know, but what can we do about it? It's not like we know what really happened back there, let alone what happened to Sora, but for a Nobody to exist..."

Aerith folded her arms around herself and looked away. "I don't trust what Riku says, Cloud. There is something in him that frightens me and it has spread to Kairi, Donald and Goofy. And that man, DiZ, is even more frightening than Riku!" The Cetra shook her head,holding back tears. "I just don't know what to do anymore, Cloud!"

Cloud drew her into his arms, unable to say anything that would comfort the woman. He thoughts turned to the Darkness at the back of his mind.

The Bond he had with Sephiroth had been oddly quiet since Cloud had found out Sora had fallen. The few times he had crossed paths with the One-Winged Angel, the fight had been half-hearted at best from the Former-General. There was little bite to the Man's verbal barbs and His behaviour had been listless and uncaring; the maniacal grin was more an irritable grimace and the healthy flush to the Man's ivory face had given way to a stretched, sickly paleness with dark circles around His eyes.

What little he could gather from the Bond, it almost felt like Sephiroth felt grief for the Keybearer's passing. A grief that had awakened an old hurt that spiralled into despair.

Cloud did not like this change in his Other's behaviour.

But a few days ago, a spark of Hope and fierce, joyous determination radiated from across the Bond.

Cloud closed his eyes and spoke into Aerith's hair.

"I will find Sephiroth. I feel he knows something..."

The figure in the shadows jerked sharply at the name.

Aerith pulled back and looked at the blonde swordsman with teary green eyes. "Sephiroth...?"

Cloud nodded, not looking at her. "In his own way, Sephiroth greived when Sora fell. But a few days ago, the apathy from His side changed to determination. Whatever he is involved with, it has to do with Sora."

The Cetra's lips tightened, but she nodded her agreement.

(space)

The two silver-haired figures clashed in the green-illuminated darkness of the Underworld, Sephiroth's Masamune clashing with Repliku's new Muramasa as the two sparred.

This was how Cloud and Aerith, and the shadow that followed them, found the two.

Repliku's levels had risen drastically in the short time the two had been together, rapidly approaching the same skill levels as the Original Riku, just on different skill paths. Riku had trained as some motley of Knight/Magic Swordsman, while Repliku was rapidly rising on the SOLDIER path with some Wutian aspects thrown in. Riku leant towards themore powerful elemental spells,

Sephiroth was more stable than he had been for a long time.

"Sephiroth!"

The man glanced across the Soul Pool and rock islands the two were sparing on as he sent the youth he was rapidly beginning to consider more his son than Riku.

His Puppet and Zack's Cetra were hovering at the edge of the pool, weapons near to hand.

The former general paused a moment too long to stare at the blonde swordsman and began to slip down the rock, having to jump across to a new rock to regain his balance.

…He morbidly wondered if his subconscious was trying to tell him something that Cloud looked exactly like a male version of Riku's mother, Misty...

(space)

Alice regarded the open scrolls she had pried from the locked safe that had been in the plastered-over wall.

The largest was a grainy, worn picture of a black silhouette of a slender male surrounded by purple Shadows, Heartless rising from the long shadow he caste, two black Keyblades in hand.


Sora and Zack are on the Phon Coast from FF12.

Review and hopefully next chapter will be longer.