They arrived at Castle Oblivion moments later.
"No!" Terra cried out. He tore ahead of the others and stopped at the ruined doorway, dropping to his knees.
"We were…too late."
Zexion and Vexen approached the castle hesitantly, well aware that this was where they met their demise.
The place was in ruins. The doors had been smashed off their hinges, and the hallway beyond had been torn open, leaving a gaping hole in the floor below. Through that hole the two could see a massive throne, demolished and empty. The entirety of the structure absolutely reeked of Darkness.
Terra stared into the abyss numbly. "Ven…no…"
Zexion knelt beside him, putting an arm around his shoulders. "All is not lost, Terra. Aqua is free from the Darkness, and chasing Vanitas as well. In all probability, you and she will run into each other eventually. And then you can find Ventus."
Terra shook his head. "You don't understand. Vanitas is…Vanitas is Ven…if we kill him, Ven will…"
He broke off, burying his face in his hands. "This is all my fault. I was such an idiot."
"Stop that, Terra. This is no time to be beating yourself up. Pull yourself together, get up, and let's head back to the Skyscraper. We can patch you up, and then decide what to do next."
Terra let himself be pulled to his feet by Vexen and Zexion, and together they pulled him through a corridor into the Skyscraper.
Everyone was waiting for them in the lobby. Lexaeus hurriedly took Terra from the other two, and swiftly led him downstairs. Xigbar, perched on the arm of a chair, waved at the rest of the group, which now only consisted of Axel, Saïx, Demyx, and Luxord.
"I told 'em to wait until you got back to explain the whole thing."
Zexion sighed. "Thank you, Xigbar." He turned towards the rest of the group. "I suppose you have many questions you want answered-"
He was cut off by Axel.
"Damn right, Zexion! I want to know what the hell's going on! Some kid showed up that was like pure evil in a Sora-colored package, and he, Marluxia, and Larxene wiped the floor with us! What's going on?"
Zexion held up a hand. "Shush. I'm getting there."
He sat down in an undamaged chair, all eyes on him. "Very well. I suppose it's time you knew everything. Please don't interrupt me until I am finished."
"I suppose it all begins eleven years ago…"
"…so, that's how it is. Now do you have any questions?"
The four Nobodies sat openmouthed. Demyx was the first one to regain his composure.
"That's awful! How could someone hurt so many people like that? That Xehanort guy is the worst!" He crossed his arms. "We gotta do something. There's no way I'm gonna find something like that out and not help."
Axel jumped to his feet. "Wait a sec! Y'know, I met this Ven kid! Ten years ago…me an' Isa ran into him-" He stopped, stunned. "He looked like ROXAS! Damn, we gotta get Sora to help!"
Everyone looked shocked.
"Are you crazy, Axel? Sora would take one look at us and take us out! We're his enemies!"
Axel crossed his arms. "He wouldn't take me out. I helped him."
A new voice spoke from behind them. "Then you help him again."
They all turned. Terra stood in the doorway downstairs, leaning against the frame. "You're right, Axel. Sora, Riku, and Kairi are valuable allies. But then again, Vexen is also right. Riku, at the very least, would kill us as soon as look at us."
While the others recovered, Zexion spoke up. "Then what should we do?"
Terra shrugged. "Easy. Send Axel to Sora alone. They'll trust him, and he can help them on their own journey. We all don't have to travel together."
Axel perked up. "Sounds good to me. Saïx, you coming?"
Saïx frowned. "Axel, I think you're forgetting something. Sora hates me. You know, the whole kidnapping and threatening Kairi thing? Also, if Sora doesn't hate me, Roxas sure as hell does."
Axel grinned. "Aw, it'll be okay. Sora's a sweet little dumbass. He'll forgive you. It'll just be Riku we need to talk out of homicide."
"Wonderful. He already tried to kill me once."
"Oh, get over it. We'll be fine."
Saïx sighed in amused exasperation. "Oh, alright. You win. Let's go."
"Ha! I always win."
"Except when you lose. Like to Ven."
"Draw! It was a draw!"
The two continued bickering even as they disappeared through the portal.
Demyx coughed nervously as the first six began to talk softly amongst themselves.
Terra looked over. "Yes? Oh, Demyx. I'm sorry, I forgot you were there. What is it?"
Demyx took a breath. "I want to go find our hearts, Terra sir."
The others looked surprised.
"You, kid? But you're the most anti-work lazy bum I've ever met."
"Yeah, Xig, I know. But for once, I'd like to do something. I said I wanted to help, so I will. I'll go find our hearts."
Zexion raised an eyebrow. "How do you propose to do that?"
Demyx shrugged. "We were all strong enough to make human-shaped Nobodies, right? I figure if we did that, our Heartless are human-shaped too. Does that make sense?"
Terra laughed and nodded. "It's true. My Heartless was human-shaped. It follows that the rest of yours would be, too. So you're going to look for them? Alone?"
Luxord stepped forwards. "There comes a time when a man must gamble blind, not knowing the odds or the outcome. I believe this time, it is my turn. I will go with Demyx."
Terra smiled. "Demyx and Luxord, then? Alright, you two can go. I wish you the best of luck."
Demyx nodded brightly, and the two disappeared into another portal.
Now, the original six were left alone in the empty skyscraper.
"So, Terra. Do we leave now, too?"
Terra nodded. "Yeah. We have to do our part to fix this. We can't let the others have all the fun and take all the glory, can we?"
They all chuckled for a moment, then sobered up.
Xigbar hopped off the arm of the chair, looking a bit uncomfortable. "Not just that. It…it's kind of our fault this all went down, me and Terra. We have to put it right."
Terra nodded. "And we have to do our part to find Ven and Aqua, and stop Xehanort."
Lexaeus waved open a portal. "Shall we waste no more time, gentlemen?"
So they departed, leaving the World That Never Was silent once more.
-To Be Continued-
HA HA HA IT IS DONE
Aaaaand, now for three fricking more stories. Argh. Yup, i'm going to write all three darn adventures. ALL THREE.
Expect a bunch of SoRiKai and AxelSaïx bff-ness in Intertwined! Expect some awesome, kickass fight scenes with Terra and the six in Chasing the Wind and Waves! And expect lots of Demyx and Luxord-filled fun times in Reclaiming Hearts!