Title: Once Upon a Princess and a Hero
Genre : Romance, angst
Word length 1608
Sypnosis He didn't have armor, or even a face, yet he helped the young Princess better than any knight in shining armor could.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Kingdom Hearts characters. This is purely for fun, not profit.
"Listen, I asked nicely the first time-"
Kairi isn't listening. All of her concentration is focused on struggling to get out of the other redhead's grip. For such a skinny guy, he sure is strong! she thinks to herself, gritting her teeth together as Axel's fingers just dig harder into her arm. However, she refuses to quit struggling. She may be a Princess of Heart, she may not have had sword fights with Riku or Sora every other day, and she may like pink, but all of that doesn't mean she's some girly girl damsel in distress!
She's run with hard-headed boys before. She knows how to make them behave.
"Jeez, I'm actually doing you a favor, you know-" Kairi cuts him off by suddenly twisting around so that she's standing in front of him. Glaring up into shocked green eyes, Kairi does the one thing every Destiny Island girl learned form their fifth grade teacher:
She drives her knee right up between his legs.
One strangled, high pitched yell later, and Kairi is off running to the nearest portal out of the dark corridors while Axel lies on the ground cursing. She'd kick him once more, just for good measure, but hey. Now, he should have learned his lesson.
When she stumbles out of a portal, finally, Kairi gasps for air and wipes the sweat off her brow. As she looks around, she finds herself, predictably, in unfamiliar territory. A dark sky is stretched up over her head, stars glittering in a sky not too unlike the Islands' own. Warm brick and cobblestone make up the buildings and streets. The town, from what she can see of it, is completely empty. Despite its emptiness, the streets are lit by flickering lanterns and even the shops look invitingly open. When Kairi peers into one, however, it is desolate and abandoned.
Feeling as though she's walking through a town made of bones, a graveyard given the hollow mimicry of life, Kairi gently closes the shop door. What a strange place this is, and she doesn't know how to leave it. Refusing to let go of her hope, Kairi forces herself on, shivering at the light chill which pervades the air. Back in Destiny Islands, summer had just ended. Here, summer is apparently long gone, and her summer dress is of little use to her.
Rubbing her arms, she begins to walk to the short steps which lead to a small town square, only to pause. Hunched down on the steps is a large, faint and shadowy figure. While its bulk takes up half of the stairs, its form is nearly see-through, as if it will disappear at the slightest breeze. Somehow, Kairi can tell it's not a Heartless, but... something else.
Taking the chance that it's not a Heartless, Kairi steps forward just a little bit. "Hello?"
Slowly, as if moving is an enormous effort, the shadowy figure turns to her. Now, Kairi can see that the figure was once a man, or perhaps still is. The details of his face seem washed away, nonexistent, and the same goes for the rest of his body save for the short waves of his hair and the coat he wears. With a sinking stomach, Kairi recognizes the design. The figure, unlike Axel, doesn't try to capture her, or even come off as threatening. He only nods his head in greeting. Hello, Princess.
"How did you know?"
There are signs he says, although the deep hum which preludes this hints at something else. It's clear that he won't say more, but that's alright. People have their secrets, and Kairi can tell he won't do her harm.
"What is this place?"
Traverse Town. For those lost, or without a home, they tend to drift here.
"There aren't a lot of people."
The worlds have been restored. They had homes to return to.
"Oh." Kairi falls silent, looking over the man carefully. "What are you?"
Nothing, now. Before, Nobody.
She doesn't quite understand, but Kairi presses on. "Was there a before that?"
Yes is the answer, and Kairi feels her heart twist at the odd sad-but-not tone of his voice, and the wistfulness. You may call me Lexaeus.
Taking a few more steps closer to him, Kairi smiles. "My name is Kairi. It's nice to meet you."
And in a way, it is.
As the days pass, Kairi learns a few things about Lexaeus. For one thing, while he shares appearances via his coat with Axel, Lexaeus is the exact opposite of the red haired man. He treats Kairi with courtesy, and even helps her around Traverse Town, finding her both food and shelter in an old hotel in the Second District. From then on, he's her eternal companion in the abandoned world. She really doesn't need a bodyguard, as the Heartless have left this world for places with a better feast. Still, the company is appreciated, and she learns through long conversations and her own observations that Lexaeus is not that bad of a person.
Along with food, Kairi tries to look for a way out of Traverse Town and to Sora. As she expected he would, Lexaeus has an answer, or at least a theory. A gummi ship engineer used to live here he says as she sits on the edge of her bed and he by the balcony. Perhaps some blocks will be left over.
"I don't know how to make a gummi ship," she points out.
And so begins their next task.
There are more gummi blocks scattered around town, and Kairi searches for them with all the enthusiasm she can muster. In a distant way, it reminds her of building the raft: searching for all the different supplies to build a way to get away from the place she's stuck in. Instead of two confident and dreaming best friends at her side, tumbling through sand, she has a towering ghost of a man gently accompanying her through old winding streets however. While Lexaeus is the very opposite of her best friends, from his calm and patient personality to his muscular frame, Kairi gradually finds herself growing just as attached.
In just a week after meeting him, Kairi lets him watch over her while she sleeps without fear. It is the first of many.
"Thank you so much," she says one day, smiling at Lexaeus while she stands knee deep in a fountain. A gummi block lies underneath the shimmering water, half extracted with Kairi's fingers dug into it. Her shoes lie on the edge, where Lexaeus also sits. "I don't think I'd be doing this well without you."
Yes you would. Lexaeus seems confident in this assessment, and Kairi has to smile at his next comment. You're one of the most capable people I know.
"Either way," Kairi says with a shrug, and sloshes over to him. "You've helped me out a lot lately, and I'd be really lonely without you." Carefully, she reaches forward and holds his face in both hands. Lexaeus' shadow skin seems barely solid, as if her fingers will sink through at any second. For now, though, they stay, and Kairi leans forward. Sweetly, she plants a chaste kiss on his mouth. "Thanks," she says for one last time, still smiling.
Shock, embarrassment, understanding- If Lexaeus feels any of these emotions, Kairi can't tell because of his featureless body and his usual silence. Suddenly, he lurches forward, and Kairi starts in surprise at the light pressure where his hand touches her waist and his loud booming voice.
She scrambles out of the fountain and vaults off of the edge, just in time. Something black and blue smashes into the spot where she'd been standing just moments before. Wide eyed, Kairi throws her hands up to protect herself from the spray and stares at the being which draws itself up. It's a man with long blue hair and a terrible x-shaped scar across his face. What Kairi really notices, however, is his familiar black coat and the frightening focus in his eyes as he looks at her.
"So, Kairi... This is where you've hidden yourself." Just by his tone, Kairi can tell he definitely isn't going to be friendly. Glaring, she tenses and raises her fists in front of her. The action makes him smirk darkly.
Without warning, Lexaeus steps in front of her, his faint yet massive form the only barrier between her and this new enemy. Run he tells her, his voice deep and commanding. Kairi hesitates for only a moment before she curses how utterly useless and pathetic she is in this kind of situation. Wanting to scream at the fact, Kairi twists around and runs, fast and hard.
Next time, she won't just run away or stay behind waiting.
Next time, she'll fight.
As Kairi disappears around a corner, the scarred man glares at Lexaeus. "You truly do not know when to give up, do you?" he asks, his tone condescending. "Almost an admirable trait. However, you were nothing more than an empty husk before. What can you possibly be now?"
Ignoring the caustic comments, Lexaeus draws himself up to his full height, towering over the other man. Leave her be, Saix he orders.
"You are no longer a proper Nobody, let alone number five of the Organization. You cannot order me. Now, step aside." Light gathers around one of Saix's hands before it forms and sharpens into a large, fearsome claymore. "Or I shall get rid of the last of your weak specter."
Lexaeus says nothing in regards to this threat. He and the entire party of Castle Oblivion had been long abandoned by the Organization. Saix's words only cement this theory. Instead, he readies himself to defend one of the last hopes to stop Xemnas' plans.
He readies himself for one last chance to live up to the title blessed upon him so long ago.
Fun fact - my sixth grade homeroom teacher actually made those her parting words, that advice on what to do if a guy was giving us girls trouble. XD I loved that awesome ol' lady. The only reason she was strict was because everyone else in my class were a bunch of idiots; she liked me and my best friend just fine because we knew better than to yell at the top of our lungs to have a conversation. Note passing, that's how we did it, bitches, and she was just fine with that. XD
Anyway! Thanks for reading! Reviews are kindly appreciated, but not mandatory.