Epilogue: Separate Ways
Destiny Islands provided the group with an interesting sight upon their return. There were signs of fighting everywhere, but nothing threatening was in sight. Sora sprinted ahead, running back to his house. He was worried, but found his mother, Naminé, and Rikki sitting in the front yard, drinking lemonade. The Soul Eater, a garden rake, and a baseball bat were sitting in a pile near the folding chairs they were occupying.
"What happened?" Sora demanded.
"There were these strange white creatures…" Mrs. Hikari explained. "Funny-looking ones that looked like living clothing, or something. And then there were other ones that looked like they were wearing armor, with guns."
"Dusks, and Xigbar's Snipers." Naminé clarified. "Is it safe to say that you upset him?"
"Probably…" Glancing at the Soul Eater and the improvised weaponry surrounding it, he asked, "You fought them off?"
"Everyone helped. Most of the town." Rikki said. "We got all of them, and no one was really badly hurt."
"What about you, Sora?" Mrs. Hikari asked. "Did you stop Xemnas?"
Sora nodded. "Xemnas, Xigbar, and Xaldin… We had to kill them. We told them they could give up… and they refused." He looked at the ground. "It was… difficult. But… the universe is safe now. That's what matters, right?"
The rest of the group caught up to Sora, and from there it was a round of introductions for Sora's mother and the remaining Organization members. Vexen was pleased to see Rikki again, glad that his two most successful Replicas had been deemed worthy of hearts, and Naminé reconciled with Marluxia and Larxene. Everyone, really, spent their time catching up and discussing plans for the future.
Eventually, people started leaving, telling each other where to find them so that visits could be made. Luxord excused himself first, citing that he needed to return to where he was living, or it would look strange. Marluxia and Larxene left soon after, and gradually everyone returned to the homes they had created for themselves in the two months since their return to life.
Marluxia and Larxene returned to Traverse Town, where Marluxia could take care of his flowers in peace, and Larxene could raise hell with no repercussions. Eventually, a few people made their way to the town, and it started on its way to returning to its former liveliness. Moogles returned to reopen the synthesis shop, and a few shop owners also resumed business. Again it became a haven for those without a home, and Marluxia and Larxene got to finally realize their dream of being in charge of their own world.
"Marluxia? Some guy is in the lobby insisting that we need to deport the moogles as illegal immigrants. Can I stab him?"
"As much as I think that is an idiotic statement and would like to say yes, no you may not. Tell him that he is a fool. This is Traverse Town. There are no such things as illegal immigrants."
Vexen went back to Twilight Town to continue his analysis of the computer program in the mansion. He was certain that there was a practical application for an entire virtual world, outside of using it as a prison. At the very least, he could program in things that didn't exist in the real Twilight Town, or even program new areas entirely. So, just because he could, he programmed in a snowy mountain in a different file, and spent afternoons happily skiing.
"Vexen's Log, Experiment Seven: Master Ansem apparently still favored the same amusing little computer games that he did back in Radiant Garden. Using the data transferance scanner to place myself within these games was a bad idea. The Solitaire cards were the size of three of me, Minesweeper proved extremely dangerous, and I much prefer my program to that rather strange SkiFree. I had to transfer back, or risk being consumed by an abominable snowman. I believe I will stick to safer locations in the future."
Lexaeus and Saïx chose to return to the world of their birth, Radiant Garden. Both were determined to live normal lives. Lexaeus became a sculptor, using his powers over earth to create brilliant works of art. Saïx chose to live a quiet life on his own. Their friends visited them often, and they were never lonely. Not to mention, Saïx finally got to realize an unfulfilled dream from his childhood.
"You never got to go in the old castle, did you?"
"As I recall, you and Dilan were always there to throw me and Lea out. It's not my fault we never got farther than the entrance hall."
"You could go there now, you know. I'll go with you. I want to see if it has changed."
"I thi... Wait, really?"
Luxord returned to Las Vegas, where he continued to gain a reputation for cleaning out casinos. By the time he was banned in every casino in the city, he had several trillion dollars. He bought himself a huge house and settled down to live a modest life where he never had to work again. He also struck up a friendship with Doctor Dunos, the man who worked at the mental hospital, and entertained the idea of opening his own casino. Life had dealt him a pretty good hand.
"Thank you for inviting me to dinner, Greg. It was very nice of you."
"You've been a good friend, Rould. It was the least I could do. Kel!"
"What, Dad? I was in the middle of the epilogue!"
"Rould, this is my daughter, Kel. Kel, this is my friend, Rould Luxord."
"OH MY GOD!!!!"
Demyx stayed on Destiny Islands, near the beaches he loved so much, and after much consideration, Zexion had decided to stay with him. The blond was a good influence on him, as Lexaeus had pointed out on a rare moment of teasing. So he spent his days listening to Demyx compose music, occasionally using his skill with words to offer up lyrics. Demyx slowly gained recognition throughout the islands as a brilliant performer, but Zexion preferred to leave the blond to his spotlight and stay back in the shadows. And tease Riku when he could, of course.
"What do you think of 'Cacophony of Silence'? It would be a good song name!"
"Do you have lyrics for it?"
"I have a melody... I was kind of hoping that... well, that you'd..."
"...Yes, Demyx. I will write you lyrics."
"YAY! You're the best, Zexy!"
"...stop calling me that."
The Hikari family was fine with gaining two new members. Roxas and Xion got to experience having a parent for the first time in their lives, and they were more than happy. Naminé was adopted as Kairi's sister, and Riku's parents had been perfectly willing to accept Rikki into their family. Axel had his own house in the little town, but more often than not he could be found at the Hikaris', spending time with his favorite person.
"So this is your clone?"
"'Clone' is really not the best word, Dad. He was a replica. He's a person now."
"I understand the whole Nobody thing. Namine is a sweet girl. But I really don't understand this."
"Don't worry about it, Dad. Just accept that Rikki's my brother and let's move on. We're going over to Sora's for a movie, and we need to be there early to make sure that Axel isn't sitting close enough to molest Roxas while we're watching."
"All right, Riku. ...I will never understand these kids."
The sun had just dipped below the horizon, washing the beach and the three teens sitting there in the glow of night. The three Hikari siblings were sitting side-by-side, staring out at the play island. Roxas was in the middle, Sora on one side and Xion leaning her head on his other shoulder. Sora leaned back on his hands, looking over at Roxas and asking lazily, "So, when we were talking to Xemnas, you said something about how "he" was both of us. Who were you talking about?"
Roxas smiled. "You don't remember anything yet?"
Sora frowned. "No."
"I'll tell you when you start remembering. You went to Oblivion too, after all." Roxas laughed, seeing Sora pout at the response. "That won't work on me! You'll just have to wait."
Xion giggled, sitting up to look at them both. "Don't worry about it, Sora. Just be happy that we're all here. It was worth it, wasn't it?"
"Of course." Sora replied immediately. "Saving the universe is always worth it."
Roxas looked thoughtful. "To think… if we hadn't gone to Never Was trying to free me… And if we hadn't gone to Radiant Garden we wouldn't have run into Axel. Xemnas could have taken over the universe, and we wouldn't have even noticed."
"Let's not think about that!" Sora yelped. Roxas laughed, snatching up a fistful of sand and trying to put it down Sora's shirt. Xion joined in as well, splashing both boys mercilessly. It dissolved into a water fight, like they were kids. Mrs. Hikari was going to have her hands full with three world-hopping, universe-defending teenagers. But in the end, everything had turned out perfectly.
Obligatory Ending Author's Note
…Well… That's the end. No, I'm not explaining about Sora and Roxas and "Ve". Go play (or watch on Youtube) Birth by Sleep. I guarantee you'll understand by the end.
This was actually a lot of fun to write, even if I got stuck sometimes. The final battle didn't come out nearly as cool as I saw it in my head, but that's okay. Now I can go work on my AU story. I'm eleven chapters in already and it is absolutely epic. In my completely un(totally)biased opinion. XD
I wanted to have all of those silly little italic conversations there at the end, just to show how everyone was getting along. I can just imagine Marluxia in politics, or Vexen trapped on a Minesweeper board, or me screaming like a giddy fangirl if Luxord showed up in my house. (If it was Zexion I would faint, then revive, then scream, then glomp him.) I had a great time writing this, and I hope you guys had just as much fun reading it. See you next time!