Chapter 20: Curtain Call-THE GRAND FINALE (www . youtube . com/watch?v=Hr74WAZ2gUI)

Memo: *sob* *sob* WAHHHHHHH! *falls down in a heap of sobs* This is so sad. Right after I typed the last sentence of Chapter 19, I started bawling. XD This is so sad, wahh! And yet so happy! I hope this is what it's like when we die! :) Thank you, everyone, for sticking with it so long! You have been a great audience, and until the next story, adeiu! -Emi Hikari

Sora lifted his head from the arm of Nexus' couch the next morning, for the first time awake before anyone else. The only thing he could think about was Nexus, and if she would talk to him again today as she had yesterday. Or if she would talk to anyone else.

So, hopeful and naive like a child, Sora got up quietly and walked to Nexus' bedroom, quietly opening the door in case she was still asleep.

And she was asleep, but not in any way Sora could ever reach her.

"Nexus?" Sora murmured, walking over to her. Her eyes were closed, but he could tell she had been crying because her cheeks were stained with fresh tears. In her arms was a giant stack of papers, clutched to her chest, and on her face was the smallest but most sincere smile Sora had ever seen.

Curious, Sora began to pull the papers out of Nexus' arms, hoping it would wake her up. But instead, one of her arms fell off to the side, the other one draped over her waist.

"Nexus?" Sora said at normal volume. He reached out to touch Nexus' outstretched hand, and when he did, he felt its icy cold sting, and his throat burned.

"Damn," he muttered, setting the papers down next to her and holding her hand. "Damn!" He collapsed to his knees, his heart breaking. She was gone. Forever.

"Sora?" E gasped, walking in. Namine and Kairi followed her. Sora looked up at them, tears rolling down his cheeks. They understood, and soon they had joined him, letting their tears fall for her.

Soon all of them had come into the room, all of them were kneeling by her bed, all of them were crying for her. For him. For both of them.

When she finally could catch her breath again, E spoke.

"She's at peace now, though," she whispered. "She won't have to suffer anymore. You all could tell, too, right? She died of heartbreak. She was like a lovebird."

Everyone stared at E, puzzled as to what she was talking about.

"Lovebirds are bought in pairs, so they always have their mate," E explained, looking at Nexus with tears in her eyes. "When one dies, the other one does, too. It has to follow its love."

"...This is the second time I've seen her suffer and then die," Sora said, lowering his head in shame.

"And hopefully the last, for her sake," Kairi added, gently stroking Sora's cheek.

"I don't think she died of heartbreak, though," Namine said suddenly, staring at Nexus as everyone turned to look at her. "No...I think...she just wanted to be with him so badly, and she wasn't patient enough to wait any longer. I think she died because her heart...her love...was too strong."

"...That sounds like Nexus," Riku admitted, nodding a little.

"Impatient, but passionate," Roxas agreed, solemn.

Everyone's gaze fell on Nexus, and for the first time all morning, they remembered her life, and in their hearts, they celebrated it.

...

The news reached Hollow Bastion and every other world she had ever been to, and soon hundreds of people were mourning her death, clutching their hearts and crying out.

Even her children were shocked, and together they went home to see her, all at a loss for words.

But then, everyone realized that this was not just about her death, and how tragic this ending was.

It was about her life.

She had lived such an incredibly full life despite having come from such a dim start. She had reached her dreams, and she had been happy. At these memories, people began to smile for her instead of cry.

Yuffie and Aerith remembered the times they had spent every Christmas, and even the first time they had ever met Nexus. Even Leon could remember, and so together they celebrated.

Tifa remembered always seeing Nexus when she least expected it, and how they would always be able to read each others' minds, and so she celebrated.

Brent, Aila, Kisa, and Elisa remembered her as their funny girl, their fiesty teammate, their wonderful sister who was always there to help them when they needed it, and so together they celebrated.

All the friends she made in various worlds remembered her and her sense of humor, her sly and sarcastic remarks, and her dedicated and loyal personality, and so together they celebrated.

King Mickey remembered how compassionate and loyal she had been when it came to Sora and his friends, and how-despite her rough exterior-she really, truly cared about them, and so he celebrated.

Donald and Goofy remembered traveling together, and how there was always something going wrong here and there, and how she was usually part of the problem, but she would just laugh it off and keep going, and they wanted to be like that too, and so together they celebrated.

Tidus, Selphie, and Wakka remembered all the brief meetings they had had with her, and how they wish there could've been more, because her spirit was so wonderful and lively that they couldn't help but adore her, and so together they celebrated.

Kaji, Yu, Misao, Tomi, Kiki, and Maki all remembered their beautiful, wonderful mother, who had always loved them for who they were, and had never played favorites or been unfair, and how she had always been there to hold them when they were hurt or afraid, or to embrace them when they wanted to be praised, and how she was always putting them first, and so together they celebrated.

Kairi remembered how awful and jealous she had been toward this beautiful young woman, who had always really been there for her and forgave her without a second thought when she apologized for being a huge, unappreciative jerk, and so she celebrated.

Roxas remembered how he had ruined everything for her, and yet how she welcomed him as her little brother with completely open arms, and how she was always there to make him smile or to say something he needed to hear, and so he celebrated.

Riku remembered how she had always been honest, even if it meant being harsh to do so, and how she had accepted him despite his physical form, and how generous she had always been to him, especially when it came to giving him advice, and so he celebrated.

Namine remembered how she had been like her older sister, always there to help her with anything she wanted, and how they had only had each other during their stay in Twilight Town, and how she would always make her feel better, and how amazingly beautiful she was, and so she celebrated.

E remembered meeting her for the first time, and being amazed at her inner and outer beauty, and she also remembered when she called her "beautiful" and meant it, and how they would get together every day for the longest time, and how much they loved each other, and so she celebrated.

Sora remembered meeting her and thinking she was weird, then realizing that she was actually one of the most wonderful, dedicated, passionate people he had ever come across, and how when she died the first time he felt so badly, but how happy he was when she came back, and he remembered all of the horrible, ungrateful things he had said to her, and how their last words were the most wonderful things he'd ever heard, and so he celebrated.

Everyone's prayers were lifted up with one final wish in forever.

...

HEAVEN

...

Nexus opened her eyes slowly, breathing and taking in the sweet smell of flowers. She didn't know where she was, or how long it had been since she died, but she felt young again, airy and light.

"Nexus?"

Her whole body trembled at the sound of her name. Slowly, she pushed herself off of the soft ground, noticing her clothes were from a long time ago, when she was young. She looked up to see who had called her name, but a blinding white light flashed in front of her, and for a moment, she couldn't see.

"Nex."

Her eyes shot open, and she turned her head toward the light. In the distance, she could just make out a figure, smiling at her. She jumped to her feet, her heart racing.

"..."

At first she couldn't even speak, she was so happy.

"Nex," he called out, approaching her from far away. She smiled, tears threatening to spill over.

"Axel!" she cried, running toward him. It felt as though she couldn't move fast enough, even though she was sprinting ahead at full speed. "Axel!"

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Nexus threw herself into Axel's open arms, squeezing him tightly, refusing to let go. Upon impact, she burst into tears, sobbing and eventually falling to her knees, her hands clutching Axel's arms, then slowly sliding down until her fingers could grasp his again.

"C'mon, Nex," Axel said, kneeling down in front of her. He lifted her head, and they looked into each others' eyes. "You should know that no tears are allowed in Heaven."

Unable to supress it any longer, Nexus grinned and lunged into Axel's arms, her lips meeting his again. They stood up, Nexus on her tip-toes, and embraced each other again.

"I believe in forever," she said confidently, wiping her eyes. "I do."

"I know. So do I. And now we're here," Axel told her. She wanted to scream in delight.

"I'll love you forever," he added, placing her hands on either side of her face. "I promise."

"I will, too!" she cried, sobbing. "Forever!"

Pulling her close, Axel kissed her again, and they stayed together like that for a very, very long time.

Forever.

The end.

With love,

Emi Hikari

One more note: I will being taking a short break for a while until I get my own computer. I'll be back no later than mid-August. In the meantime, review, message, rate, read, and enjoy! :)