Some of you might seriously hate me for this. This is actually the last chapter. I never intended for it to be, but I have nothing much to really add to it and I have another KH story in mind (whoops, promised I'd get back to Death Note after this, lol!). I had actually meant to put in the FF characters that were in the games in here as well, but they're in my next story, so it's alright. ^_^

Again, forgive me for suddenly springing this ending on you. This chapter actually shatters a few of the backstories I created and instead follows canon to the video games, but I think you guys will be able to keep up. Regardless hope you enjoy it.

Masterless and Free

If last week's craziness had taught Saix anything, it was that Demyx could be hazardous to him. His strange dog transformation only occurred when in Nine's vicinity. Or…maybe other special circumstances were needed as well? Regardless, he took care now to stay away from him.

Granted, the meetings forced him to have to sit next to the young man anyways. Xemnas had just called everyone to order. Thankfully, sometime ago, he had dropped his stupid 'brotherly bonding Monday' idea, meaning today was about business. Then again, with Xemnas, you could never tell if what he was going to say was really important or just important to him.

"It gives me great pleasure to announce that Kingdom Hearts is now over halfway complete," The man was telling them. "You all are doing an excellent job. And Roxas' Other is as well, what with the heartless infestations he's been having to control, thus giving us even more hearts."

Roxas gave a very audible huff and muttered, "Frickin' showoff."

Xemnas continued. "Our old master Ansem once did not want us to continue our exploration of the heart…but now, we are very close to going beyond any research he was ever willing to conduct. We can cast away the pathetic bodies of our own Others and—"

"Wait a moment," Luxord suddenly spoke up. His eyes were slightly bleary, working off yet another hangover. "Did you say Ansem? The guy that everyone calls Ansem the Wise?"

"Yes…wasn't aware you had heard of him," Xemnas said. "Did you too study under him?"

"Xiggy, let me steal your line for a moment. As if!" Luxord told him. "That's my father."

The room went still.

Luxord seemed to be struggling with something in his mind, until whatever it was dawned on him.

"It was you people!!! You're the ones that wrecked his lab! Do you know how much you financially fucked us over?! Do you know how distraught he was after all the hard work he put into his research all for his assistants to pull a B&E (read: breaking and entering) on him?! He actually had to be put in a mental hospital! And now he's a crabby ass old man with a split personality named Diz and spends his time yelling at kids to stay off his lawn and creating horrible inventions like an electroshock potato! You people did this to him!"

Everyone starred daggers at Xemnas. "Oh don't you all look at me like that! Half of you were right there with me! Vexen and Zexion, you told me exactly where everything was! Lexaeus, you put the man in a sleeper hold! Xigbar, you shot him for good measure! The rest of you helped loot the lab and Axel, you looted Ansem himself for his valuables! Don't act like I'm the only bad guy here!"

"Opps, heh-heh…" Axel chuckled. He slipped off a very nice watch from his wrist and tossed it to Luxord. "I was just, um…keeping it safe."

The blonde shook his head. "I think I need another drink. Or maybe I should send all of you to the prehistoric ages and just leave you there."

"Well then, Luxord, please tell your father we send our deepest apologies," Xemnas said, going into his deep, dramatic voice. "I'll be sending along an edible flower fruit arrangement as well."

Luxord gave an incredulous splutter, but said nothing else.

"Alright then, meeting adjourned," Xemnas told them. As always, he vanished first.

As Riku was leaving the room, he saw an unfamiliar figure walk by the door. It wasn't until he had done a double take that he recognized the person…as him! But it was a younger version. And the clothes…it was the side of him that was wrestling with darkness some years ago. Man, he was scrawny back then!

"Whoa, mini me," he whispered. The boy stopped in front of him, sneering.

"I am nothing like you. I have embraced the darkness in my heart. I am more powerful than you because of it. Namine gave me this good luck charm to protect her and I will because I'm—"

"No I didn't!" Namine said, suddenly beside them. She looked at the paopu fruit chain the young boy was holding out. "I've never seen that thing in my life. And I've never seen you in my life either! Where the heck did you come up with all of this?"

"Sorry, that would be me," Vexen told them. Turning to the boy he said, "Repliku, you weren't supposed to come out of the basement. You're never to be topside. Now, go back to your room."

"But Dad!" The boy cried out. "I can make you proud! I promise! Just let me defeat this weakling and you'll see!"

The older Riku put a hand to his temple and started rubbing it. "Okay, real quick. Why did you create a replica of me, of all people? And what is his real purpose?"

Vexen sighed. "Forgive me Riku, but long before you joined the Organization, I was conducting experiments on those close to your little Keyblade wielder's friends. That's how Xion came about, through him, and how Repliku came about, through you. I was continuing Ansem's work long before Xemnas decided to get together this group, but no matter. It all worked out in the end, except I found I didn't need Repliku. I haven't the heart (ha ha!) to destroy him, so I'm just keeping him in the basement."

Xion came into the group as well. "So…that means…I have a brother?" She looked at the other boy."Er…Riku and I are…um, ya' know…dating. And this is my brother…AUGH! I'm dating my brother!!!!"

Xemnas chose that moment to appear beside them. "You know, Namine is also a Nobody. That redhead girl's' Nobody…the one from your island, Riku. I never bothered to remember her name, seeing as she had this way of doing this gigglesnort thing, especially when she was younger. Anyways, since Xion is made from her as well, that means she and Namine are sisters, in a way."

Xion looked over at Namine, who smiled brightly. She herself though fainted over, complete system overload. This does not compute.

She at least managed to wake up in time for dinner (why everyone ate around the dinner table like a family was beyond her). She walked into the dining room to find that her spot had evidently been moved to in between the Riku replica and Namine. Grudgingly, she flopped into her seat.

"Hey Dad, tell me that story about the birds and the bees again. That was really interesting," Repliku said.

Everyone at the table choked on their food.

"Um…another time, son," he muttered, refusing to look him in the eye.

"Sooo…are you my dad as well?" Namine asked. Her question seemed innocent, but her slightly wrinkled nose said it for her. She was repulsed by the idea of him being her father.

"No, I didn't create you Namine. Your 'parents' would probably be Kairi and Sora…which is awkward considering they're the same age as you. As for why Xemnas says you're his niece, if I were you child, I'd just embrace that more sensible side of the family and not argue about it."

"I'm happy someone also thinks all of this is a bit crazy as hell," Xion remarked.

"Watch your language, young lady!" Vexen told her.

"Bite me!" She snarled.

"Don't make me spank you!"

"I'll scream that you're abusing me!"

"I'll send you back to Sora's memories!"

Repliku put a hand on Xion's. "Don't anger Daddy. He's a little rough around the edges, but once you get to know him, he's a really nice guy."

She had to still the hand that wanted to sock this boy in the face for his blind devotion.

In the middle of the meal, a loud crash was heard out on one of the balconies. Everyone froze as they could hear a voice muttering to itself before heavy footsteps sounded above them.

"Um…none of you invited a guest, did you?" Xemnas asked. The others shook their heads no.

"Shall we check it out, Superior?" Saix asked, looking irritated to have his meal interrupted.

"Uhh…I say we should send, um…Lexaeus!" Xemnas said. "Yes, Lexaeus and Larxene, could you go check it out?"

Larxene made no attempt to hide her dislike of the other man. "Ew, could you have paired me with a bigger ox?" She whispered heatedly as she stormed out.

"Did I have to get stuck with the hateful bitch?" Lexaeus muttered, following her.

"Aww, they'll work out their differences," Xemnas smiled unconvincingly.

Out in the hallway, the other two turned to each other. "I say we should just teleport up there, zap whoever it is, and then just chuck them off the ledge. Whoever's breaking in evidently doesn't know what the hell they're doing and shouldn't be allowed to live," Larxene stated.

"Are you saying that incompetency is justifiable for death?" Lexaeus asked.

She rolled her eyes and continued walking. "Look, killing the bastard would just save us time. Or we could torture whoever it is. I REALLY wouldn't mind that!"

"Oh yes, I'm quite sure you wouldn't…"

The balcony above the dining room was situated on a walkway on the outside of the castle. There, they saw a figure wrapped up in robes, getting up from a fall. Several potted plants that had been sitting on the terrace were broken, dirt spread everywhere. The person slowly got up, grumbling more obscenities to their self.

"Damn Nobodies…how senseless to plant anything. And in a world devoid of sunlight at that! Now let's see here…" He picked up a device of some sort and began to set it up.

"On three, we attack," Larxene whispered from where they stood out of sight around a corner.

"No…something about him seems familiar…" Lexaeus said, holding up a hand to stay her. He crept closer to the figure.

"You jackass! That's how people in the movies always get killed! This person isn't who you once thought they were, so you don't have to feel any shame about killing them!" She hissed back.

He wasn't listening. Quietly, he drew closer until he stood less than a few yards away.

The other person seemed to sense his presence and whipped around at him. "My goodness. Aeleaus?!"

"Master Ansem?!"

"You back-stabbing bastard!!!" The old man shouted. He tried to fling himself at the man, but tripped over his ropes and fell flat on his face again. Lexaeus decided to take that time to retreat. He cast open a portal for both he and Larxene, fleeing the scene.

"Your old fart of a teacher is here," was the first thing Larxene said when she entered back into the dining room. Collectively, silverware was dropped in surprise.

"Wait…my father…is here?!" Luxord asked.

"If that old guy that was their teacher is really your father, then yeah."

Lexaeus threw her a reproachful glare. "Have more respect for Ansem the Wise."

"HA! You guys didn't when you ransacked him! His own pupils! Why should I?"

"Hm…good point…"

"Alright, so what do we do about this?" Zexion asked.

Xemnas sighed. "I guess we have no choice but to confront him." He got up from his seat and led the way through another portal out onto the balcony.

Ansem was still setting up his tripod device, leaning part of it over the side. "Adjust the transmorgifier…calibrate the photoneurons…render the plutonium cells…"

"Hello, Master," Xemnas greeted him.

The man spun around quickly, clearly seething. "Hello, Xehanort. How's your little group of nobodies coming along?"

"Oh, we're holding up. Say, can't help but notice that big laser looking thing you have there. Mind explaining what you're about to do?"

Ansem gave a harsh laugh. "I'm getting rid of that damn thing up there! No Kingdom Hearts, no hearts for any of you!"

"Dad, please, think of me before you do this!" Luxord spoke up.

"You're nothing but a drunk that helped to sink me deeper into debt!" The man yelled.

Luxord gasped, clearly hurt. "You cut me deep, father. You cut me real deep."

"Oh, I hurt your feelings, did I? You're a Nobody, in more ways than one. You have no feelings. Nor do you even have the right to be."

Roxas, who was pretty lost to all of this, turned to Axel. "He really is bitter, huh? Looks like you guys chose the wrong one to piss off."

Axel flushed in shame for a moment, then shook his head. "Hush, Roxas, this is grown-folks business."

Roxas kicked him in his shin, then stepped forward. "Sir, do forgive them for what they did. They were only doing it in the name of science. You as a scientist should understand this. Besides, they're the ones that lost their hearts, all you lost was—"

"My money, my laboratory, my credibility!" Ansem spat. "I'm destroying this damn thing and then I'll forever be rid of you all!"

"Nobodies don't die though!" Namine spoke up. "We disappear into the darkness, but we're not dead."

Everyone did a double take at her. "How the heck do you know?" Repliku asked.

"I…I just feel it," She said, nodding as though it made sense.

"I'm not seeing the scientific reasoning to back that up…" Saix said. He walked up to the device Ansem had and kicked it over. Instead, it suddenly turned on and shot out at the moon.

"WAY TO GO, SAIX!!!" Everyone shouted at him.

"WHO WANTS A CLAYMORE TO THE FACE?!!!" He shouted back. They all flinched in fear.

The device began to violently shake and he too backed up. "Yes, collect the hearts so that they may be returned to their rightful owners!" Ansem encouraged.

But it only began to shake even more. "Hit the dirt!" Xigbar shouted. He was the master of space though and wasted no time in simply disappearing to another location, much quicker than it took to open a portal.

The others were left to save themselves. Luxord put up large blocks of cards, but it was Vexen that surprisingly did most of the work. He cast an ice barrier and as the laser gun finally exploded, he shielded the rest of the group from the explosion and debris that flew everywhere.

When at last the smoke cleared, he smoothly reminded them who the hero was. "Oh yes, all of you would certainly be dead had it not been for me. I think I deserve a higher rank for that."

"Thanks, pops," Xion and Repliku said, clapping him on the shoulder as they walked by. The others acted like he hadn't spoken at all.

Luxord ran to the front before all of them. In the place of the laser was a scrap of a red robe and a large burn mark.

"DADDY, NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" Luxord shouted dramatically, falling to his knees. Right on cue, it began to rain.

This didn't seem to be enough for Demyx, who cast his usual spell to quench the rest of the remaining small flames. "Dance, water, dance!"

Luxord caught a giant wave to the back of the head, only saved from being washed away by the bars on the balcony. "Thank you, Demyx…really could've lived without that though."

"Tee-hee," the blonde giggled.

"Did he have to ruin my beloved plants?" Marluxia lamented, holding up a sodden fern. "Does he not know how much hell it is to grow mariju—I mean…marigolds without sunlight?"

"Why not just plant lunar flowers, faggot?" The old man's voice suddenly said. He too had taken cover, farther down the path. "They don't require the sun and make a hell of a lot more sense to grow in a god forsaken world like this."

He didn't wait for Marluxia to answer before turning to Luxord. "Stop that blubbering, boy. I taught you better than that. Now come buy your father a drink. Dealing with you people is raising my blood pressure."

Luxord quickly ran over to his father to open a portal for him. He paused for a moment though upon noticing Kingdom hearts was disintegrating in the sky. "So…what now?"

Xemnas was their leader and called the shots. But he was horror-struck that his beloved moon was gone. "I…can't believe this…Kingdom Hearts…where is my heart?"

Suddenly, one of the hearts landed directly on his head and his body glowed for a moment before dimming.

The same happened to Xaldin, who stood only a few feet away. "Well I'll be damned…" he mused. "I still don't care too much for having emotions though."

Everyone else eagerly awaited for a heart to land on them as well. Roxas was jostled aside just as one was about to come to him, so instead it landed on the ground. He tried to reach down and grab it, but someone stepped on it and it snapped in half.

With trembling fingers, he picked up the pieces and held them before the one that had done it. Axel. "You broke my heart…" he whispered.

"I…I'm sorry, Roxy!" He stammered. He looked around frantically for a moment as though he could find another, then held out the one in his hands. "Here, you can have my heart."

In their bubble of glee, dimly they heard Namine and Xion go "Awwwwwww!!!"

"Okay, this is turning into a total dangle-fest," Ansem muttered. "Let's go, boy. You know what I usually get, a tea and heavy on the rum." After a heart had landed on Luxord, they both disappeared into a portal.

The hearts continued to fall from the sky, giving each member one (and Axel a replacement). Even Xion and Repliku, who weren't really Nobodies, received one.

"So you're just another version of Riku," Xion said to him. "And I'm made from Sora's memories. I guess you're good to go, but what happens to Sora?"

"Well, if you're your own being, I guess…Sora's just going to have to do without remembering his friend," Repliku supplied. "And I'm a real boy now! Not just a replica! So I guess you guys are just going to have to call me Riku as well."

"To hell we are," Riku said. "How about we call you Pip, short for the pipsqueak you are." The two began to argue with themselves, but everyone else was celebrating their newly acquired hearts.

Saix looked over to Xemnas. "Well, our objective was accomplished. I'll admit, I never expected you to do it. In fact…you really didn't do it! But it happened anyways. Maybe I underestimated you."

Xemnas beamed, then gave him a glomping hug. "I can actually feel, Saix-puppy!"

"Yeah, so can I, and I'm about two seconds away from losing it if you don't let me go," Saix grumbled.

"Aww, don't be like that! Oh, can we still be roomies?" Xemnas asked hopefully.

"NO!" Saix yelled at him. "It's been hell living with you. And I'm too old to have a roommate."

"Yeah, figured you'd say something like that…which is why I took out a lease for the apartment right next to the other one! Best friends for ever and ever and ever and ever!!!"

Saix couldn't hold it back any longer. Be began to sob right then and there at the prospects of his future.

- - -

The members went their separate ways that day, but occasionally, friends would check in on other friends and members, keeping together the bonds they had formed while in the Organization.

Xemnas went into theater and put his dramatic speaking to good use. He's one of Broadway's biggest hits.

Xigbar, always in denial of his age, became a DJ at a club meant for patrons half his age. His choices in music aren't bad, but they're still trying to get use to the old guy at the turntables. He also picked back up his 'boogie board' and began surfing once more. Due to his manipulation over space, he wins all contests.

Xaldin decided to use his wind abilities to turn it into energy, and became extremely rich by starting his own wind and solar power companies. He plans to convert the entire world and thus reduce the need for oil. He resides in his lavish Kyoto home in Japan.

Vexen joined a team of scientists bound for Antarctica, which suit him perfectly. He grew accustomed to the penguin there and even named a few. His favorite was a chick he helped raise named Oliver (he got misty eyes when it was time to say farewell). He decided to stay on with the team of scientists though and returns to Antarctica every year to continue research (and check in on Oliver).

Lexaeaus became a club bouncer at the very same club Xigbar works at. He's had to throw a drunken Axel out quite a few times. And even Luxord, for being overly persistent in hitting on reluctant girls.

Zexion started college and works part time as a library assistant. He's majoring in Psychology. He plans to write a slew of self-help books, get quick rich, and retire at a young age. He has the first two chapters written thus far.

Just living next to Xemnas was more trouble than Saix could stand. The man was overly raucous (probably on purpose) and finally he caved and let him move back in (didn't have the funds to just move away). He's a college professor at Zexion's school He's failing Zexion in his musical theory class (who knew the boy disliked music so much?).

Axel never could make up his mind on what he wanted to do, and thus drifts from job to job. Most would say that with his looks and charisma, he should go far, but Axel lacks drive and never liked working the same monotonous schedule of a workplace for any amount of time. He's trying to go into business on his own to start a pizza parlor, and thus also enrolled into Zexion's college. Sadly, he's failing the very business class he needs.

Demyx was able to showcase his talents and was temporarily signed on with such groups as Linkin Park, Breaking Benjamin, even Nickelback. He sang backup for awhile with Chad Kroger before splitting off to try to find his own band mates. Actually…he was kicked out of all three groups. None of them appreciated the fact that when he played his instrument, water soaked everyone. Demyx was always too lazy to properly train himself on how to control his water…

No knowing much about anything else, Luxord and his father opened up a bar. The other Org members sometimes drift in, if Ansem isn't around to chew them out. They're now doing quite well for themselves.

Marluxia was hired on at Vidal Sassoon and his flower hairstyles are the biggest hit in New York fashion shows. On the side, he sells mariju—I mean, marigolds, and other beautiful, unique flower arrangements.

Larxene actually managed to get married, have a child, abuse her husband (yes, not the other way around!), divorce her husband, and was sent to anger management classes because of all of this. When not teaching her daughter Lauren to be a cruel witch as well, she enjoys channeling her strength into demolishing things for the demolition company she works for.

Roxas started school and was adopted in by Axel. Thankfully, he turned sixteen quickly and was able to help pay the bills in lieu of his whimsy 'father'. Roxas is basically the adult of the house.

Xion and Repliku live with Vexen most of the year, but stay with Xemnas and Saix along with Namine whenever Vexen goes off to Antarctica. Saix believes their small two room apartment isn't meant for so many people and hates having the kids over. Uncle Xemnas (as they've begun to call him) loves having the children and keeps them entertained by doing one-man shows in the living room.

- - -

Riku kept minimal contact with the others, except for still dating Xion. He wasn't ever a Nobody to begin with and had only joined to keep an eye on them, knowing they harbored a slight fascination with his Keyblader friend.

Speaking of which, he was quite happy to be back on Destiny Island. When he saw his best friend, he gave him a half hug, clapping him on the back. "Hey, I'm actually pretty happy to see you again," he smiled.

"Yeah, you were really gone for a long time Riku! And man, your homework has piled up! I really hope you don't end up failing," Sora babbled.

Riku shrugged. "Eh, I'll manage. Say, where's Kairi?"

"Who?" Sora asked.

Riku narrowed his eyes at him. "Kairi. You know…red hair, seems to really like pink? Gave you that flower good-luck charm? Ya know…Kairi?"

"Ooohh…yeah, that girl keeps bothering me. And she seems to think I'm her boyfriend. She's cute and everything, but a girl that good looking has to be taken. Are…are we dating?" Sora had to make sure.

"Uuhh…yeah. Kind of…"

"What?! And I can't remember anything about being with her?! Oh man, I told her to get lost and never annoy me again! She'll never date me now!!" Sora whipped around and ran off down the beach, Riku following behind him.

Off in the shadows, Roxas smirked at Xion. "He who laughs last, laughs loudest," he said to her. She had to smile at that too.

They both left that world to meet Axel on top of the clock tower in Twilight Town, sharing sea-salt ice cream and conversation as was still their tradition.

And thus, that's it for this story! I have another one in the making (well…kind of…), so be on the lookout for that. It's a bit of a cliché school story with Axel probably being my main character, but meh, I have some ideas planned that I think should make it pretty interesting, ^_^

Alrightie, as always, thank you guys for all of your reviews and stuff! Really appreciate it! Please be kind one last time and drop your final thoughts and comments!

--A.D. Williams