Okay, this is the end! For real. Thank you to EVERYONE who read not only this story, but Dearly Beloved and In Fate's Hands as well. Completely overwhelmed by the number of readers and reviews I've gotten since I've started writing here. I hope you enjoy the end!
My thank you's: FallenAngelx3, KaelyntheHedgehog-Silverpelt14, ccsakura21, NinjaSheik, phantombullets240, pandabearmusic, stifledcreativity, Hidden Fairy Tale, teamhalo13, celtic-roses, Catalyna Cullen and AoZ. You guys rule.
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It took a long time, but Riku and Sora had finally defeated the giant mechanical dragon. It collapsed into the void and disappeared. There was a flash of light and the duo found themselves in what looked to be a giant, empty space with swirling portal of grey and white coming from every direction.
Xemnas stood before them, his cloak having changed colours from pure black to black and white.
"Heroes from the realm of light," he began. "I will not allow it to end this way-not yet. If light and darkness are eternal, then surely we Nothings must be the same. Eternal."
"You're right. Light and darkness are eternal. Nothing probably goes on forever too," Riku countered. "But guess what, Xemnas."
Sora glowered. "That doesn't mean you're eternal!"
Xemnas let out a low chuckle. "No more eternal than that radiance of yours."
Sora and Riku poised themselves for battle. Xemnas rushed at them in a flash, tangling them up in black vines that shot at them from every angle. The pair had to do their best just to dodge them while Xemnas rained attacks from the sides.
Riku clenched his teeth as Xemnas struck him from behind and he fell to the ground. He could faintly hear the sound of Sora fighting him off with his Keyblade and forced himself to his feet. He ran back into battle and he and Sora slashed away with their weapons.
Xemnas smirked and suddenly grabbed Sora by the collar and threw him up in the air. With one hand, he used his powers to hold Sora in an orb of darkness, slowly draining the life from his body. With his other hand, he sent Riku flying into the distance.
"Sora!" Riku yelled as he got back up. He ran to his friend, but Xemnas copied himself and his clone was blocking Riku's path. He fought it off, throwing his powerful magic spells at it until he finally got to where Xemnas was. He struck him with the Keyblade and freed Sora, casting a Cure spell over him once his feet landed back on the ground.
Soon, Xemnas eclipsed them in darkness. Riku's eyes darted around, as did Sora's. They were completely surrounded by a dome of laser bullets, all poised to be set off.
Xemnas' voice boomed, "Fire!"
Sora and Riku twirled their Keyblades in their hands, blocking as many shots as they could. After a while, the number of bullets diminished and they were back in the grey area once again.
They were both down on their knees. Riku looked up, only have Xemnas' laser sword knock him backwards.
Xemnas held the sword by Sora's neck. Sora glared up at him, as if daring him to make his strike. Riku got up quickly and dove into Xemnas' lane and blocked the blow. He pushed Sora aside as Xemnas made a counterstrike, hitting him directly in the back. Sora sprang up and grabbed the Keyblade from Riku's outstretched hand.
He flew at Xemnas and started barreling attacks onto him, slicing away with both of the Keyblades in his hands. Xemnas let out a strangled cry as Sora administered the final blow.
Riku got to his feet as Xemnas clutched his chest where his heart would have been. He reached his arm out as his hand formed a mangled claw and he slowly disappeared into oblivion.
"We did it!" Sora declared.
Riku looked around as Dusks started to appear out of nowhere. "I wouldn't be too sure of that."
The Dusks circled them. There must have been at least a thousand. Sora got ready to battle, but there was a sudden flash of light and when his eyes readjusted, they all disappeared one by one and Riku had fallen to his knees. Sora knelt down as Riku used his hands to support himself from collapsing onto the ground.
"Don't say another word," Sora ordered. "It's not over. It's just not."
He helped him to his feet and Riku let out a grunt. "How can you say that? Even if we could go on…look at where we are."
Sora smiled. "Aw, c'mon, Riku. You've been hanging out in darkness too long. You gotta try and think positive."
Riku felt himself smile too. "Sora?"
They walked on for a bit, Sora supporting Riku so he wouldn't fall. Sora looked up and something nearly blinded him.
"You know," Riku began. "I always figured I was better at stuff than you."
Sora grinned. "I always figured you were better at stuff than me, too." The two of them shared a chuckle and kept walking. Suddenly, Sora said, "Riku-look. What's that light?"
Riku stared forward, not speaking. The two of them just walked toward it and hoped that there was something better on the other side.
When they walked through, they saw a dark beach. Trees that had been mangled by the wind stretched across to meet each other, forming a sort of arch that framed the full moon.
"End of the road?" Riku questioned.
Sora gave a nod. "Yeah."
Riku looked at him. "Put me down. I can walk." Sora nodded and slowly let go. Riku wavered slightly, but gave a nonchalant shrug. Sora smiled and walked closer to the shoreline.
"You know, maybe the darkness has gotten to me too," he said quietly as the calm waves lapped by his feet. He heard a collapse and turned to see Riku facedown on the ground. "Riku!" he yelled out, rushing over to help his fallen friend.
Riku slowly pressed himself off the ground and stared at the sand. "This world is perfect for me. If this is what the world really is, just this, then maybe I should fade back into darkness."
He kept going. "If the world is made of light and darkness, we'll be the darkness."
Sora sat back. "Yeah. The other side. The realm of light is safe now. Kairi, the King, the others are safe now."
Riku gave a sad smile, thinking back to the one person that could exist in neither realm that he missed so much. Turning to Sora, he asked, "Could you help me? I want to get down to the water." Sora nodded and helped Riku to his feet. He led him closer to the shore, and he said in almost a whisper, "At least the waves sound the same."
The two of them sat by the water's edge, staring out into the full moon that almost dipped into the ocean.
"What I said back there…" Riku started, "about thinking I was better at stuff than you…to tell you the truth, Sora, I was jealous of you."
"I wished I could live life the way you do. Just…following your heart."
Sora shrugged. "Yeah, well, I've got my share of troubles, too."
"Like wanting to be like you."
Riku let out a small laugh. "Well, there is one advantage to being me. Something you could never imitate."
Sora looked at him. "Really? What's that?"
He smiled. "Having you for a friend."
Sora grinned. "Then I guess I'm happy the way I am." The two of them kept looking out to the horizon. "I've got something you could never imitate, too."
They sat there for a long time, eyes closed, just listening to the sound of the waves and taking in the scent of the ocean. Everything reminded them of home, but they were contented to know that at least their friends were safe. Then something hit Riku's foot. He looked down and saw a message in a bottle. He plucked it from the water and took out the note, reading just a bit of it. He then tapped Sora on the shoulder and said, "I think it's for you."
Sora look the note and read it aloud. "Thinking of you wherever you are. We pray for our sorrows to end, and hope that our hearts will blend. Now I will step forward to realize this wish. And who knows? Starting a new journey may not be so hard. Or maybe it's already begun. There are many worlds, but they share the same sky. One sky, one destiny." As the last line of the letter rang out, light washed over the beach.
"Light," Riku said.
"The door to light." Sora rose to his feet and held his hand out to his friend. "We'll go together."
Riku nodded. "Yeah." And together they took their first steps to a new world.
Riku felt like he was falling. Like he was plummeting through the sky, his long silver hair whipping in front of his face. Then suddenly he felt water all around him. He broke to the surface and gasped for air, seeing Sora doing the same. Then they heard a voice.
They both whipped around and saw Kairi standing by the shore of Destiny Island. She waved to them, beckoning for them to come. Sora let out a laugh and he and Riku swam to where she was. When the water got to about waist-deep, Sora couldn't help the excitement that bubbled beneath him. He ran the rest of the way to the shore. He was nearly where Kairi was when he heard familiar voices calling from behind.
Soon he was tackled to the ground by a familiar duck and dog, hugging the life out of him. Sora couldn't help but laugh as Donald and Goofy embraced him. Mickey ran to Riku and he picked him up, giving him a hug as well. Everyone was together again. Or at least…almost everyone.
Riku watched as Sora and Kairi rejoiced together, as she took his hand and pulled him out of the water. He just stood there and observed, a small, sad smile tugging on his lips. Then suddenly, from not too far away, Riku spotted something that made his heart nearly stop beating. A lock of red hair blowing in the breeze.
He walked over and rubbed his eyes slightly to make sure he wasn't seeing things. Standing not ten feet away from him was a girl with red and brown hair, her violet eyes sparkling in the sun. She smiled at him, her cheeks tinting pink. Riku ran the entire way over to her and stopped right at her feet.
"Livia? Is that you? H-How…how did you…"
Livia calmly placed a hand on his chest. "My heart was here the whole time."
Riku felt a huge smile spread across his face as he lifted her off her feet and twirled her around. He set her down and ran a thumb over her cheek before softly placing a kiss on her lips. They broke apart and he rested his forehead against hers. "Please tell me this isn't a dream."
"It's not," she promised, savouring the feeling of being close to him again at last. "You're home."