Chapter 11

Renale's POV

The days came and went in a blur after Lumaria's death. Numbness wasn't even the best word to describe my state of misery. I would sit on Lumaria's bed for hours on end, trying to remember his scent, his voice, and those crystal-clear blue eyes that held me rapt every time my gaze met his. Reality never seemed to set in for very long nowadays, all reality brought back were painful memories and sorrow. In my heart, Lumaria and I were still together laughing and smiling together. Everytime a rose claimed my sight, I immediately thought of giving it to Lumaria, but reality always reminded me that he was gone.

The heartless problem also grew worse. It wasn't just in Traverse Town, but everywhere. No one could go out onto the streets anymore without a weapon to defend themselves. A pouch of hand-carved knives never left my side, even when we re-located ourselves back to Radiant Garden, now called Hollow Bastian. Back where my past life resided. Cid stayed up late and even whole nights, trying to get the problem under control. Even on the extra room, I could hear Cid cursing over the computer and Leon yelling at him to keep it quiet. I rolled onto my side to face the window and sighed, why can't everything just go back to normal?

I sometimes wish that Lumaria and I didn't run away. We wouldn't have gotten dragged into this, we wouldn't have gotten involved in that fight, Lumaria would still be here, and I wouldn't be drowning in my own pool of bereavement. Sure, we would still have to live with the heartless problem here right now, but we would still be together. I sometimes even think that maybe being dead would be better than living with a hole in your heart.


"Renale, report. Heartless population in the Marketplace." Cid demanded as soon as I walked in from one of my rounds. Eat, sleep, help control heartless problem, and repeat. That was my unchanging schedule nowadays.

"The Marketplace is completely clean, it's now a clear area again." I replied.

"Finally, some progress!" Cid exclaimed and recorded it into the computer.

I collapsed onto one of the couches in the next room over and closed my eyes, resting my head against one of the armrests. Everyday, I would come back here with my whole body aching along with my heart. Two years have passed since Lumaria's death and I should've moved on with my life by now; accept that he's dead and I can't do anything to bring him back. No matter how many times I wake up in the middle of the night after the horrid nightmares of seeing him die again and no matter how much I still cry over this, he won't come back.

My mind must've slipped into the realm of sleep because when I woke up, it was dark out and the smell of stew swam through the air. I pushed off the mysterious blanket that had been draped over me (by Aerith must likely) and headed to the tiny room we called a kitchen. Sure enough, Leon, Aerith, and Yuffie were gathered at the table and Cid was cursing at the computer in the other room. I poured myself a bowl of stew from the giant pot on the stove and joined them.

"You look beat, Rena." Yuffie noticed, calling me by her personal nickname, handpicked by her.

"I am, I spent all day in the Marketplace but I completely cleaned it." I replied.

"One area down," Leon stood up and dropped his bowl in the sink. "Only about twenty or so more to go. I swear, we've been at this for nearly two years and made barely any progress."

"Look on the bright side, we've been able to protect the citizens in the process." Aerith pointed out.

"I feel like we'd make more progress if Cloud or Tifa were here." Yuffie added to Leon's statement.

"We probably would, but Cloud has his own problems right now." Leon sighed and shook his head. "I'm going to try to help Cid, I don't want to wake up to the lovely sound his voice in the morning." He said with a hint of sarcasm and headed into the computer room.

Without a word, I put my half-finished bowl of stew on the counter and headed off to my own room. I lie on my bed beside the window and let my eyes examine the crystal-encrusted sky. It was on an exact night like this one that Lumaria and I fled from here, fled from our old lives seven years ago. And here I was back to where I started, back to square one. A whistle blew from my lips and I let my mind get lost in my jumble of memories.


"After Lumaria's death, Renale was really that upset?" Marluxia asked the Savage Nymph as they sat on a bench.

Larxene nodded, her eyes still holding a thick coating of nostalgia. "She was depressed, really depressed. Ever since that incident, she always liked to be alone with her thoughts." She uncrossed her legs and turned herself to face the assassin. "That was probably the reason why she went out early that morning, so she could have more time to think later."

"But that morning is what brought her back to Lumaria." Marluxia smiled a bit at Larxene and placed his hand over hers.

She nodded. "You're right, but he wasn't Lumaria anymore. He was you."

Marluxia smiled a bit more. "We're getting to the best part, do continue."


The sun wasn't up yet; it was still budding over the horizon and sent tiny petals of orange across the sky. It was just enough light to wake me from my light slumber. I quickly changed into a sleeveless acid-green shirt with black boarding the edges, dark Capris, and black combat boots. Cid must've fallen asleep during the night, because it was oddly quiet in the house. I peaked into the computer room and I was right; he was slumped over his computer, his goggles askew and his hair was a flaxen cotton ball on his head. Scribbling down a quick note saying I went to do my rounds early, I left.

Everyone was still safe in their homes as I made my way through the sleeping town. The Marketplace was devoid of its sea of customers and the shops were boarded up tightly, to keep heartless from stealing merchandise during the night. I was soon out of the safety of town and was heading down one of the many rocky paths that surrounded Radiant-I mean, Hollow Bastion. The name still felt foreign on my tongue.

A once beautiful ocean-colored mosaic stretched out beneath my feet, cracked and wrecked by the heartless invasion. I looked back at Hollow Bastion, looked at how grey it is now. The beauty and peace that was once here was eaten by the damn heartless. These annoying little bitches are destroying everything and-

SCREECH!

I leapt to the side, narrowly avoiding the streak of black that flew through the air. The creature landed with grace and turned itself around to face me with its hideous yellow teeth bared. Gnarled horns grew from the heartless's head and the emblem was smack-dab in the middle of its forehead. I drew my knives as the heartless lunged at me again, and I barely dodged it again.

I charged at the heartless and tried to jab at it multiple times but it missed every single one. The monster lunged at me as lightning danced at my fingertips and struck the heartless, throwing it back. I charged at the heartless again and raked my knives across the heartless's body. Another screech almost busted my eardrums before it jumped above me and shot a purple globe at me. I jumped back at threw a knife at the heart-eating monster but it simply dodged and slashed at me with its black claws. My skin ripped and stung as I slumped over, clutching my bloody arm.

Ignoring the pain, I raised my knives in time to block a skyward attack from the heartless. I knocked it away and threw another thunder spell at the creature, causing it to flinch. Taking advantage of my chance, I jumped up and let loose the biggest thundaga I could muster and let it butcher the dark creature. More screeches disturbed the morning air but the heartless jumped up, almost completely unscratched by the thunder and slashed at me again.

More pain tore through my body. I looked down and saw a flower of red blooming across my side. Damnit, there was no way I could keep this up for much longer. The heartless came at me with a flurry of attacks, alternating between spheres of purple and slashes with its brutal claws. I pushed away the claws with my knives while ducking low, high, and side-to-side to avoid the other attacks it shot at me. Jabbing one if my knives into where I think its face would be, I turned and ran.

I continued down the rocky path, trying to discard the stinging in my arm and side. Stopping would mean certain death; the heartless couldn't be too far behind me. My feet rounded a corner and I was inside a cave full to bursting with crystals, illuminating the path that cut through it. I hid myself behind two good-sized stalagmites and flinched.

The wound on my arm wasn't too bad, but my side was a different story. The side of my shirt was no longer green, but a deep crimson. Damn, I didn't have a jacket or anything to put pressure on it. I held up my knives and an idea hit me. I sliced off the fabric from the bottom of my shirt, leaving my midriff uncovered, and tore that into long strips. Once my wound was covered with my makeshift bandages, I sat against the stalagmite behind me and restored my breath.

The little rest that I was granted was broken by the footsteps that echoed off the cave's walls. Persistence must be the name of this damn heartless. I slowly rose to my feet, still clutching my knives, and inched my way deeper in the cave. The uneven surface of the wall behind me scraped against my back and the exposed small of my back. I grit my teeth as the heartless picked up its pace, following my unseen trail.

Crack.

A tiny rock fell against the floor of the cave and the sound bounced off the walls, shit. For all I knew, the heartless didn't even hear it but I didn't take a chance and ran even deeper into the cave. The heartless defiantly heard my footsteps banging against the ground and was soon hot on my heels. Sunlight flooded the end of the cave and my heart lit up; maybe I did have a chance of outrunning this thing or at least slowing it down. I forced my legs to carry my body faster as I exited the cave and without catching my breath, I threw a couple knives at the rock over the cave entrance. An avalanche concealed the cave's exit, sealing the heartless inside it.

I smiled at myself despite my bloody, torn state. Tucking my remaining knife back into my pouch I began to head back into town, where Leon and Yuffie were probably wondering where the hell I was. Screw my runs for the day, it wasn't even ten in the morning and the crap was already beaten out of me. A nice day of relaxing an-

My body fell to its knees at the mercy of the heartless's sphere of darkness. Terror pumped through my veins as my breath turned into fitful gasps. A scream tore through my raw throat and more waves of pain relentlessly attacked my already-battered body. I finally gave into the numbness that now ruled my body. Darkness claimed me as my body fell against the ground. Death had embraced me.


Strong arms were carrying me, but they weren't the arms of the grim reaper. My eyelids refused to open and my ears were stuffed with imaginary cotton balls. The voices above me were barely audible and my body grew heavier and heavier with each step the person holding me took. I could still feel my homemade bandages against my wound and the massive cut on my arm stung. Slumber pulled at my being, but I forced my eyes open and did my best to throw it off me.

Grey was what my eyes saw. Grey. Grey. And more grey. Was I in limbo or something? My crappy vision made out the outline of an incredibly tall chair. Throne was probably the better word. More grey thrones rose from the ground and black dots were all occupying one. One yelled out something that I couldn't make out, jumped down from their seat, and rushed over to the person that was holding me.

The grey that was ruling my vision was replaced with sapphire. Those eyes locked with mine…they looked so comforting, so familiar. Their whispers couldn't penetrate my clogged ears and their features were unclear. Gentle fingers caressed my cheek as I forced my brain to focus, despite the blackness pulling at my vision. Those sapphire orbs were still locked on mine as the fog lifted just a little bit from my vision. I made out the outline of their lips, the curve of their chin that was framed by cherry-blossom strands of hair…

My breath stopped. No, there's something wrong here. This can't be true…my brain gave into unconsciousness as a single word reached my eardrums.

"Renale."


Something warm encased my hand. The block of lead also known as my body ached with soreness. My head was throbbing and I forced myself to open my eyes. Grey walls, ceilings, and floors surrounded me yet again. Layers of soft sheets have been draped over me and my head was resting on a cloud-like pillow. Gentle fingers brushed away stray locks of hair that hung over my eyes and their fingertips turned my head towards them. I shook my and focused on the blurry outline of the person. Duplicates of them swirled around each other before they melded into a single person. That single person had resided within the walls of my heart for seven years.

"…Lu-Lu…Lumaria?" I couldn't keep my weak voice steady.

"Yes, it's me Renale." Hearing his voice again made tears gush down my cheeks.

I threw off the sheets covering my body and threw my arms around him. Lumaria was taken aback for a moment before he retuned the action and wrapped his strong arms around me. He ruffled my hair and let me sob into his shoulder. I thought he was dead. I thought he was gone for good. But he wasn't, he was here with me. My eyes locked with his for a brief second before he tenderly kissed my lips. His fingers ran through my hair and he hugged me again. I rested my hands behind his neck and deeply kissed back. We haven't had a moment like this in so long…I thought everything was back to normal for just a little bit.

But the word 'normal' probably didn't even exist in our dictionaries anymore.

Lumaria pulled away but I was still in his arms. His pink hair was cut short, only brushing against his shoulders as opposed to falling past them. He was wearing a long black coat with an array of silver beads adorning the front along with black pants and boots, the boots having a silver edge to them.

"Lumaria, you've been alive this whole time?" I couldn't break my gaze with his eyes.

"Yes, it's a long story." He began. "Whe-"

"Why didn't you tell me!" I yelled, making him jump.

"I had no way of getting to you. Believe me, if I had the chance to act on my own volition I would've told you sooner." He replied.

"No way of getting to me? What the hell was stopping you!" My voice climbed even higher on volume's ladder.

"Xemnas made sure I always had a mission to do. Even when I had a moment, I was forbidden from leaving the castle." Lumaria shook his head. "I'm so sorry, Renale. I missed you so much." He pecked a quick kiss on my lips again.

"Marluxia, have you spent the entire afternoon here when you should've been on reconnaissance in Wonderland?" A voice growled.

The voice belonged to a man with a formidable golden gaze that pierced through your soul. An X-shaped scar rested on his face, blue hair framed his face, and he was dressed in the same attire at Lumaria. He glanced at me, then at Lumaria.

"I have been here the whole time, Saix. I'll do that mission later." Lumaria gave him a curt reply.

"Along with that you will dispose of that obnoxious Wyvern that has been roaming around Halloween Town." The man, Saix I assume, glowered at Lumaria. "Being reunited with an old friend doesn't excuse you from carrying out your duties, Marluxia."

"Marluxia? His name's Lumaria!" I corrected.

Saix turned and faced me with that ghastly stare of his. "Marluxia didn't tell you a thing, did he?" He turned to Lumaria again. "How long were you going to wait to tell her she doesn't exist anymore?"

"Of course I still exist! What the hell are you talking about!" I snapped back.

"It's a very simple concept, you don't exist, you're nothing now. Or rather, Renale doesn't exist anymore…Larxene." Saix replied, the last word rolling off his tongue.

And being apart ain't easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you
Oh girl, you stand by me

I'm forever yours,
Faithfully

Faithfully by Journey

Author: HOLY CRAP AN UPDATE! Sorry for the long hiatus guys, I've been through a lot recently but I'm feeling a lot better now! I can't believe its been almost two years since I first published this thing O_o
I think this is one of the best fanfics I've ever written. I'm glad all of you like it so much and thank you for being so patient! I won't take a year to get the next chapter up! lol

~Yukihikari-chan (Yep, I changed my pen name a little bit)

The reasons why I have random Journey lyrics at the end of the chapter:

1) I listened to 'A Thousand Years' by Christina Perri and 'Faithfully' by Journey on and off while writing this chapter (which I typed up in one day ^_^") I didn't know which lyrics to put (or rather I didn't know which one was more appropriate for the chapter) so I just went with Journey.

2) Journey is one of my current obsessions in music. I'm still stuck in the 1970s-1980s with Journey and Genesis XD