Jack Sparrow, Riku, Marluxia, and Zexion were heading for the hills, so to speak. They didn't know how long they had before Sephiroth broke free of the pub and rushed after them.
Sparrow was having a hectic enough day, what with the recent shipwreck, the scuffle in the bar, the escape from the bar, and the fact that the only opportunity to get rich he had just found thus far was offered to him as a bribe he HAD to refuse, as much as he felt like trading Riku in some days. However, there was just one more thing Jack didn't need, and it was this:
"Hey! YOU OWE ME A NEW BOAT!"
Jack slowly, reluctantly turned to see an enraged woman, dressed in trousers and a white shirt, stomping toward him with fire in her eyes.
"Who's that?" asked Marluxia.
"Some people like to call it Anamaria," Jack sighed.
Anamaria stormed right up to Jack, looking him in the eye. "Take the Pearl from me, eh? Promise me the Interceptor, eh? Well, now you've got the Pearl, and the Interceptor is lying across Davy Jones' locker! Why do I get the feeling this is YOUR fault?"
"It wasn't me!" Sparrow put up his hands defensively. "If I ever find him, I'll SHOW you the man what did it! Name of Luxord! Cocky fellow with a gambling problem!"
"Why do I not believe you?" Anamaria spat. "And what, may I ask, has become of the Pearl?"
"Lying on the floor of an altogether different ocean," explained Sparrow. "Again, very much not my fault."
"You broke your word!"
"I promised you the Interceptor. You got the Interceptor."
"You promised me a SHIP!"
Screams suddenly came from the streets behind them. "Oh dear," said Sparrow, "that would be him figuring out we're not in the bar and coming after us…"
"What have you done NOW?" Anamaria shrieked.
"Tell you what," said Sparrow. "I'll get you your boat. Don't worry about that. But in return, you've got to help us get away from THAT guy."
"The one chasing us. And believe me, you want to get out of his way before you see him."
"Deal," growled Anamaria, "but only because I don't want to suffer whatever fate this man has planned for you either. And you had better hold up your end of the bargain!"
The now expanded group of five took off running for the town limits.
"One more thing, dear," said Sparrow.
"And what is that?"
"Should this fellow happen to catch up with us…you should prepare yourself for a fight."
Several pirates lay bruised in a heap on the floor of the tavern.
"Take that, codfishes!" Peter Pan cried before leaping out the window and searching for more pirates to fight.
King Mickey opened his eyes. "Where am I?" he asked no one in particular. He looked around. The other members of the resistance were sprawled out on the same shore as him. Some were awake. Some were unconscious. Some were missing. Mickey counted off who was gone…Sora, Kairi, Skellington, Ariel, Axel, Myed, Riku, Zexion, Marluxia, Larxene, Peter, and Sparrow.
He hung his head, hoping nothing horrible had happened to his strong allies and dear friends.
Mickey turned to see Goofy behind him. "Yes, Goofy?"
"I think I know where we are! See that town over there? That's the town of Port Royal! That's where Will and Elizabeth live!"
"Though I shouldn't," said a new voice, one of serenity and strength. Will Turner, his wife Elizabeth, and their young son had joined Mickey and Goofy on the beach.
"Will Turner!" cried Goofy. "Good ta see ya!" He pumped Will's hand in an energetic shake. "And it's Elizabeth, too!" he said, repeating the handshake with a great grin. "And who's this?"
"Our son, James," said Elizabeth proudly…but there was a hint of melancholy in her voice.
"Will Turner?" Merlin sat up and rushed toward him. "No, no, no. This is simply not right…not right at all…"
"I couldn't agree more," Will said sadly.
"What's wrong?" Mickey asked.
"Will is supposed to be the captain of the Flying Dutchman," said Merlin, "and the ferryman of the dead."
"Unfortunately," said Will, "when Davy Jones and Cutler Beckett unexpectedly came back from the dead, they deposed me from that position and took over the Dutchman once more. Immediately, it returned to the deplorable state it had been in before I captained it. Even worse, the captain and Lord Beckett have still got my heart locked up somewhere on board that ship."
"So you're a Nobody too," groaned Xaldin.
"Join the club," said Xigbar.
"Unfortunately," said Elizabeth, "while we have heard of those who exist without hearts…it is different for the captain of the Flying Dutchman. If the captain, the ship, and the heart are separated…the captain only has ten days to live. And since Beckett has willingly given his heart over to the ship, he may very well become the new captain if Will dies, unless Jones returns first." Her eyes stung with tears as she pondered the possibility of her love dying.
"Well," said Hercules, sitting up, "you've come to the right people. We're here to set everything that went wrong right again."
"We'll get you back your ship and your heart," said Mulan, furrowing her brow in determination.
"And that Beckett fellow can simply kiss the position goodbye," said Luxord.
"I thank you," said Will, "for your sympathy."
"It's no problem!" said Mickey. "Helpin' people out is what we do!"
It finally dawned on Xigbar. "Wait a minute…captain? Are you a real PIRATE?"
"Actually, no. 'Ferryman of the Dead' is the proper title."
Xigbar ignored Will completely. He rushed to observe him, squealing, "Dude! A real pirate! I'm so jealous! I want to be just like you!"
"Is this one all right in the head?" Will asked.
"We've never been exactly sure," Xaldin responded honestly.
Sparrow and crew had left Tortuga a while ago on foot. They ran through the forest of tropical trees, hoping Sephiroth had lost their trail.
They stopped in a clearing. "I don't think your madman is after us," Anamaria pointed out.
"You can never be too careful…" Sparrow gingerly looked all around him. Unfortunately, the one direction he didn't look was the direction from which his pursuer came: up.
Sephiroth landed on his hands and feet, absorbing the shock from the descent with his bent limbs. He straightened up to face the party. "Looks like game over," he challenged.
Riku couldn't stop staring at Sephiroth's back. The angel had one full gray wing, just as he had when Riku last saw him, though the feathers of the wing now looked hastily sewn together in awkward clumps. Sprouting from the other shoulder, however, was a smaller but more batlike black wing.
"I thought you only had one wing," Riku breathed.
"I did." Sephiroth smiled. "I got the other one from a certain FRIEND of Sora's. Now I demand that what I want is given to me, or you shall all die an unnecessary, painful death!"
Sparrow stood between Sephiroth and Riku. "You'll have to go through me first!"
Anamaria was stunned by Jack's sudden sense of protectiveness, but she took her place next to him. "And I as well," she growled.
"And me!" said Marluxia, drawing his scythe and stepping to Jack's other side.
Zexion deliberately walked out in front of Sparrow, gripping the Lexicon tightly and with purpose. "First," he snarled, "you shall have to go through me."
Sephiroth laughed. He laughed long and loud. He threw his head back as he cackled. He then brought mounds of gold from his pockets and threw them to the ground harshly.
"What was that for?" Jack asked, suspicious.
"Because," said Sephiroth, "Jack Sparrow, you have managed…though it be by complete error…to give me exactly what I want!"
Before anyone could question him…
Before anyone could draw a weapon on him…
Sephiroth pounced. He took his prisoner in one arm…not a difficult thing to do, as his quarry stood right in front of him in the open.
The angel spread his wings and darted off into the sky, Zexion clutched to his side. The last thing the others heard the Schemer scream before he left earshot was "MARLYYYYYYYYYY!"
"NO!" Marluxia stretched his hand up to the sky, as though he could pluck Zexion from it and bring him back down.
Then the remaining four stood in the clearing, stunned.
"So," Riku said at last, "explain to me EXACTLY why you thought Sephiroth was looking for ME."
"He said he wanted the son of the silver-haired maiden!" Jack said in his defense.
"And it never occurred to you that he could have meant ZEXION?" Riku bellowed.
"Of course not!" Sparrow retorted. "That man's hair is BLUE!"
Riku stood and stared at Sparrow for a long time. Then he lowered his head into his hand for what seemed like the thousandth time since the adventure had begun. "You…idiot."
"Hey!" Sparrow yelled. "With the way you carry on doubting my intelligence, sometimes I wonder if protecting you was really worth it!"
Atop the highest stone peak of the Isla de Muerta, Sephiroth stood looking out over the ocean's glow in the moon. Zexion stood behind him, watching his winged back and the silver hair that gently blew in the wind.
"What do you want from me?" Zexion cried.
"Simple," said Sephiroth, not taking his eyes off the ocean. "Like Jenova, you have the blood of Micaiah, the Silver Haired Maiden. I was worried at first that since you were the Nobody of her son Ienzo, rather than the actual Ienzo, your blood wouldn't be able to heal me. But Xehanort assured me that the genetics were sound. Your blood is indeed what I need to be restored to my former glory."
All it took was the mention of the name "Micaiah"…
And he remembered…
A family lives in Daein. They seem like the perfect family: there is a mother, a father, a son, and a daughter. The daughter is a few years older than the son. Both have inherited their mother's silver hair, although it is darkened by the influence of the teal hair of their father. The children have also inherited Micaiah's great powers, which she herself inherited from the great magician Merlin.
Micaiah's tome of Light, which she also calls the Lexicon, is sitting on the top shelf of the very tall bookshelf.
Six-year-old Ienzo is curious. He loves books. He has read all the stories in his own collection many times. When he comes across a book that is beyond his reading level—an occurrence that gets rarer and rarer, as his intellect is growing quickly—he still has to run his hands over the cover, flick the pages with his thumb, smell the paper, hold it close. He absolutely loves books.
He wants to see the Lexicon, which his mother has set so carefully out of bounds. He runs to the kitchen and brings out a chair. He stands on the chair, trying ever so hard to reach the tome, but he is still too short. He is small, even for his age.
He shifts a foot to the thin back of the chair, hoping to launch himself up momentarily and grab the book. The plan does not work. The chair falls over backward, taking Ienzo with it. His head tumbles forward and hits the corner of the chair. The pain is incredible. He feels blood running down his forehead and begins to sob.
Jenny is the first to hear the thump. She comes running in, giggling with delight. Unlike Ienzo, with his communication skills that surpassed his years, she does not say anything intelligible, though she knows how to talk. She takes pleasure in one thing: others' torment.
Jenny sees her brother lying on the floor. She rushes to him immediately in order to find the wound. What at first seems like an attempt to heal is in fact a more sinister gesture. She finds the thin gash and drives her fingernails into it, making it wider. She does not care that the screams of agony are those of her own brother; they are music to her ears.
Micaiah and Sothe, the parents, come running into the room when they hear the screams. "JENOVA!" Sothe screams. He knows what to do; he has needed to do this many times before when she has assaulted Ienzo or one of her playmates from the village. He runs to capture her in his arms, dragging her into the corner and locking her in his tough embrace while she kicks and screams. However, Jenny is getting older and harder to control. Sothe sweats as he tries to keep her in check.
In the meantime, Micaiah rushes to tend to her darling Ienzo. "Ienzo, my light," she croons, standing over the wounded boy. Her eyes travel to the source of the blood on his forehead. "Did Jenny do this?" she asked.
Ienzo closed his tear-filled eyes and shook his head. "N-no. She just made it worse. It was my fault I got it."
Micaiah places her hand over Ienzo's forehead.
"Micaiah!" Sothe scolds.
"It's okay," she reassures her husband. "It's only a small injury."
She pours some of her own energy into Ienzo's cut, using the healing spell known as Sacrifice. She will be sapped of strength for a while, but Ienzo's forehead is now whole, and the blood is gone.
"I'm sorry," the boy sobs. "I only wanted to see the Lexicon. I…I shouldn't have tried to reach it."
"That's right," said Micaiah. "It's dangerous! You will see it when you are older…when you are ready." She kisses the spot on his forehead where he was hurt, scoops him into her arms. She would pick him up, but she is still weak from the Sacrifice and so he must stay on the ground. "Don't be sad, though. You know you made a mistake. I'm not angry with you, and neither is your father." She has to speak for Sothe because he is still grappling with the violent Jenova. "The wound is healed. Go on and play, now. Or read some of your books."
"Thank you, Mother," says Ienzo.
A few nights later, Ienzo is just walking from his bedroom to the kitchen to get himself some water. On the way, he hears his parents talking from behind their bedroom door.
"I don't know what to do about Jenova anymore," says Sothe. "She's becoming too large and powerful to control. I'm afraid that one of these days, she will really kill Ienzo."
"I'm afraid of what we may have to do," says Micaiah, concerned.
"Perhaps we shall cast her to another world, where there are others like her, or at least strong enough to put up with her."
"It does not seem like such a horrible idea," Micaiah sighs. "However…before that…an interesting opportunity arose to me today. It will ensure Ienzo's protection."
"What is that?"
"I met a man in the marketplace today. You have no doubt heard of the genius Ansem the Wise?"
"This was him in the flesh."
"But he lives in a different world…"
"He can travel between the worlds. He came here on a vacation, but when word reached him of Ienzo's powers and higher-than-average marks in the school…he came to me and offered to take Ienzo as one of his apprentices for his studies back in Radiant Garden."
Ienzo's eyes widen. Does Micaiah really want him to leave?
"Are you sure about this, Micaiah?"
"I trust Ansem greatly, Sothe. I have faith in Ienzo that he can rise to the challenge. And most importantly, Sothe…I want to get him away from Jenova until we can figure out what to do with her."
Ienzo starts crying again. He knows he is going to have to leave his home and family.
"You hear that?" says Sothe.
Even though Ienzo knows he has been caught eavesdropping, he does not feel the will to move. The door opens, and his father sees him.
"Ienzo?" Sothe asks. "How much have you heard?"
"You want to send me away," Ienzo wails. "I don't want to leave Daein!"
"Ienzo." Sothe kneels to place his hand on his son's soft hair. "We don't want you to leave Daein either, but you have to understand, it is for your own safety, not to mention the great opportunities that will arise for you if you work for Ansem the Wise!"
"I know that," Ienzo cries, "and I understand that. But I'll miss you so much! And I'll miss my home! And I'll miss my school! Everything there will be unfamiliar, and I don't want to go!"
Sothe picks Ienzo up and cradles him in his arms. "You won't have to go away for a while," he says, "and you'll see us a lot. I promise."
"Okay." The boy sniffles.
"Now, let's go back to bed," says Sothe, carrying Ienzo back to his bedroom. "I'll read you one of your stories before you go to sleep, all right?"
"I can read them for myself, you know."
"I know you still like it when I read them to you," said Sothe. "Don't try to lie."
"You got me."
Sothe reads him a story, then tucks him in. "Goodnight, Ienzo," he says. "Remember, no matter what happens, your mother and I will always love you."
Micaiah ties Ienzo's cravat on the day of his departure. It has only been two weeks since he first heard that he would have to leave.
"Too tight," he complains, struggling against the accessory.
Micaiah considers her job done, and steps back to admire Ienzo, all dolled up in dress clothes. "You have to look your best to make a good impression," she says.
There is a knock on the door. It is Ansem.
Once he enters, events fly by quickly. Jenny has been locked in her room so as not to hurt anyone. Ansem has a way of making Ienzo feel comfortable, and suddenly he doesn't feel so bad about leaving.
He knows he will miss his parents, though, and he gives Sothe and Micaiah each a tender hug with his tiny arms before leaving with Ansem.
He promises to come back and see them.
They promise to visit him as soon as they can.
Neither of them know that Micaiah and Sothe will die before Ienzo reaches age seven.
"Of course," Sephiroth muttered, "it would have been so much easier had I not killed both Micaiah and Jenova to begin with…"
It hit Zexion like a steamroller:
Sephiroth killed his mother.
Sephiroth probably killed his father too.
Sephiroth was the reason he was left almost all alone but for Ansem and his apprentices.
SEPHIROTH NEEDED TO DIE.
"I'LL KILL YOU!" Zexion screeched, lunging at Sephiroth.
Sephiroth spun to face him, surprised…but confident.
Peter Pan soared through the murky sky, looking out for new pirates to battle.
"Hey!" he cried to himself. "That looks like a tough pirate ship!" He made a graceful dive for the ship.
What a stroke of luck it was, that the first pirate ship to come within Pan's sights was the Flying Dutchman.
Xehanort, Voldemort, and Saint Dane gathered in Xehanort's chambers.
"I want to thank you for giving me the means to live on after Sora killed me," Xehanort said to Voldemort. "However, I have the feeling I shall need MORE of them."
"It is best to have six." Voldemort grinned. "However, you have to be extremely careful when you're making them. Splitting your soul is no joke. I had a Death Eater who I believed dead after she tried to make one of her own and the magic backfired. However, interestingly enough, I happened to run into what seemed like a hollow form of her…I believe you call that her "Nobody"…during the night of your ambush."
"Thank you, Voldemort," said Xehanort. "You are dismissed."
Once Voldemort had left, Xehanort turned to Dane, doubt for once showing in his eyes. "Dane…are you sure this is the best way to go about it?"
"Trust me," said Dane. "If anyone knows anything about how to control the feeble Halla, it is me."
"But the methods I am using to cheat death…they were your idea. Are you sure the science is sound?"
"Listen, Xehanort," said Dane, settling a hand on the Superior's shoulder. "Who was it that saved your life so often in the past?"
"You," Xehanort sighed.
"And who isn't going to let you die again?"
Xehanort looked Dane right in the eye and growled, "You, brother."
A/N: James Turner belongs partially to Wallofillusion.