Hi people! Betcha didn't see this coming, did you?
This was supposed to be a one-shot, but a lot had to happen so it ended up becoming a two-shot.
I rather liked the universe I came up with for No Goodbyes, and I didn't want to leave it alone. So, this was born. Where NG was more focused on Sora and the Kingdom Hearts aspects of the series, this is supposed to focus more on Gibbs and how he handles things. Sadly, Donald and Goofy don't make appearances.
Warnings: Character death, angst.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts or NCIS. If I did, things would be a lot more interesting, wouldn't they?
He tasted sand, dirt, and copper in his first bleary moments of wakefulness. His head pounded from the tropical sun burning his eyes even before he'd opened them, myriad red dancing counterpoint to white hot lights of pain. The ground under him was hard and uncomfortable, sand worming its way into places that he knew would be torture to get out of later. The last thing to return was his sense of self, his whole body aching from something he couldn't remember.
Groaning, he opened his eyes, taking in a hot morning sun low over the horizon, a stretch of beach under him. It was perfect until his gaze fell closer, where the tan sand took on an ominous color.
Suddenly the copper taste made sense. Aches forgotten he surged upwards, unruly brown hair shedding a shower of sand and bright blue eyes widening at the scene he found himself to be in the middle of.
Red colored the once-pristine beach, splashed seemingly at random across sand and the occasional tropical plant. He wasn't immune, his own clothes noticeably stiff though the black betrayed no color. His arms were stained red, sticky and horrifying in a way that even he hadn't seen. In the midst of all the red…
"Wakka," he blurted out, his voice hoarse. The other teen's dead eyes stared at him accusingly, throat an angry slash of crimson, blitzball deflated under his arm. "What… what happened here?"
He stumbled backwards, away from his dead friend. His feet met water and kept going, and soon he found himself waist-deep in the calm ocean, faced turned upwards into the sun. He tasted salt on his lips, mind stuck somewhere back in his waking stupor.
He didn't know how long he stood there. His bones were chilled before he heard the splash of oars and he turned his head to see who had come.
"Riku," he greeted, voice barely a whisper above the quiet ocean waves. "Kairi. Wakka… Wakka…"
"Sora," the girl whispered, horrified. Her red hair was messy and her clothes were rumpled, but her blue eyes were wide awake. "What happened?"
"I woke up next to Wakka," Sora answered numbly. "He's back there, and he's…" He couldn't bring himself to say it. Fortunately he didn't have to. Riku's green eyes were sharp as ever, glancing behind him and understanding what had happened in an instant.
"Kairi, call the main island. Tell them we found Sora and Wakka. And tell them…"
Kairi nodded in understanding, finally seeing what the older boy had. "I will."
Sora turned away from his friends, facing into the tropical sun once more. They couldn't persuade him to move from his spot, not until the motor-powered boats from the main island arrived with policemen and coroners. Riku and Kairi were ushered away from him but he didn't mind, his heart taking refuge in the numbness that had claimed him. If he allowed himself to feel, then the carnage would become too real and he would break.
A psychiatrist waded into the water next to him, a woman taller than him with short-cropped brown hair and understanding brown eyes. He ignored her soft voice and gentle touches, instead enjoying the sun on his face. It had moved up since everything had begun and was now burning cruelly above his head.
His first reaction came when the police came to him, none-too-gently grabbing his shoulders. Only then, in response to that harshness, did he make his move. Keyblade in hand he leaped free of their grasp, landing on once-tan sand and glaring at them. He paid no mind to the various swords and guns pointed at him, only interested in ignoring reality and returning to his sun-drenched dream.
His friends, whom he trusted implicitly, were the ones to betray him. Riku caught him from behind, his own Keyblade drawn, and with one quick strike to the head darkness returned.
Life was normal for one Leroy Jethro Gibbs. His workload was thankfully light, no Navy personnel dead or dying or in danger on his watch. An event like this happened very rarely and he was enjoying the time off his boss had thoughtfully granted to him and his overworked team. As usual he was in his basement, hard at work on another boat. His grey hair was smothered in dust and he had the air conditioning on a few degrees too warm for the weather. As a result he and his clothes were soaked with sweat, but that didn't seem to be bothering him in the slightest. He seemed to revel in the physical exertion.
He didn't flinch at the creak of the stairs behind him, though his hand strayed from the hammer he'd been reaching for to the gun sitting beside it. "Identify yourself here or at the hospital," he ordered calmly.
A snort. "You couldn't hit me if your life depended on it."
Gibbs knew that voice just as surely as he knew his team's. "Riku Replica, I presume," he identified coldly. He picked up his gun anyway, pointing it at the unwelcome intruder. "Here to kill me since I stopped you from killing Sora?"
The silver-haired teen glared at him, green eyes cold. He still wore the black coat from Gibbs' last encounter with him, though it was unzipped this time. He wore black pants under the coat and a white shirt that was rumpled and dirt-streaked. "If I were you'd be dead already. Peace, all right? I have some news and a favor to ask."
"Uh-huh. How often have you used that tactic?" Gibbs asked sardonically.
"Sora's in trouble."
"And the sky's falling. Get out."
"I'm not playing around!" Riku Replica exploded, dark fire bursting from his hands and scorching the wood he stood upon. In the blink of an eye he'd descended the staircase, seized Gibbs' gun, and had the taller man backed against the wall. Gibbs struggled futilely at the iron hand gripping his wrist and shoulder but the other's slight build was misleading. He stared Gibbs in the eye, green boring into blue. "Sora's going to die if you don't help him. I don't know what else I can do, you're the first one I thought of!"
Gibbs stared the teenager down, weighing the other's body language and the desperate gleam in his eye. After a moment he nodded. "Fine. Let me go and explain everything."
Replica backed off, running his hand through his hair. "Sora's been accused of murdering his friend Wakka. All evidence points to him so far as the authorities are concerned. If you don't help prove him innocent he'll be executed." If Gibbs didn't know that Replica had once tried to kill Sora, the other would have looked exactly like a flustered friend. He paced the few steps Gibbs kept around his boat, coat knocking aside loose nails and screws.
"He'd have to be tried and sentenced, it could take years. What do you need me for?" Gibbs wanted to know. He'd finally lowered the gun, though he kept it in his hand. Just in case.
"On the Islands, execution is the mandatory sentence for murder," Replica explained. "Where I'm from, the police stop investigating once they think they have the right guy and the evidence agrees. Two weeks, maximum, is allowed before the culprit is punished."
"That's insane," Gibbs protested. "If someone were framed, an innocent man could die!"
"Quite a good deterrent, right?" Replica asked sardonically. "Murder's the rarest crime of them all. No one wants to die."
"All right, so what do you want me to do?" Gibbs demanded. "I can't exactly waltz over to the Islands. I don't have any credentials over there, and who's to say they'll even listen to me?"
Replica hung his head. "We have to try, right?"
There was no denying that. "Fine. Let me get my gear and my team together." Gibbs pushed past Replica and made his way up the stairs, trusting the silver-haired teen to follow him.
"I can't bring your entire team," Replica told him. "Not enough coats. I can bring just one, then deliver whatever you pick up to your lab."
"Coats?" Gibbs asked. They'd reached Gibbs' bedroom by now and Replica obligingly waited outside. Quickly the older man ducked in and out of the shower, scrubbing sweat and filth free with the ease and speed of long practice. Replica obligingly raised his voice over the water.
"These black coats. They'll protect you from the Dark Corridors," the teen explained. "Without them you're in danger when you pass between the worlds."
"Should I ask where you got them?" Gibbs said sarcastically, dressing quickly in his usual field uniform. His field kit was already together, easy enough to grab and go if he was ever called to a scene from his home.
"Lea and Ulmaria." If Gibbs didn't know any better, he'd say there was a touch of remorse in that voice.
He chose to ignore it. "I'm going to call Ziva," he said instead. "She should be ready by the time we get over there."
"Mind if I raid your fridge?" Replica asked. "I haven't eaten since yesterday and I'm starving."
"Go for it." Gibbs listened until he heard the teen's faint footsteps vanish down the stairs before dialing Ziva's number on his cell phone. She picked up on the second ring.
"Gibbs? Do we have a call?" she asked, voice brisk and professional as usual.
"Of a sort," the man replied. "Get your gear together, I'll meet you at your house in a few minutes."
"Got it. Do I need to call Tony and MgGee?"
"Just you and me on this one, Ziva."
There was a pause. "What sort of a call is this?" she asked cautiously.
"Sora's in trouble and it's up to us to save him. Not enough room on that trip for more than the two of us. And don't shoot when I get there, I'm bringing company."
A disgruntled noise from the other end of the phone line before Ziva voiced her assent. "Fine. Shall I pack some extra ammunition?"
"Whatever you think you'll need. See you in ten."
Gibbs found Replica in his kitchen wolfing down a plate of leftover takeout. "You don't want to heat that up?"
Replica shrugged, gulping the last bite of food. "Don't want to blow up your house. This world has weird stoves. What's a microwave?"
"Nevermind. Want to take your shortcut or you feel like riding the slow route?" Gibbs, kit in hand, went to the door and paused for Replica's answer.
The teen tossed his mess into the trash bin and tugged his gloves back on. "I'll ride with you, why not."
Ziva was sitting on her step when Gibbs pulled up in his car, her kit next to her. Her dark hair was tied back into a ponytail, her dark eyes keen. Her attire was exactly the same as Gibbs': black jacket, black pants, and black baseball cap with the letters "NCIS" proudly in white on the brim.
"Are you certain I cannot shoot him?" she asked when Gibbs and Replica stepped out of the car. Her gaze was cool and unyielding as she regarded the silver-haired teen.
"We need him. Long story short, Sora's back home and he's being accused of murder." Gibbs jerked his head back towards Replica. "This guy here says that murders on the Islands get an automatic death penalty two weeks after arrest."
"It's been two days already," Replica put in. "In case that helps."
"What are we waiting for?" Ziva asked. She and Gibbs looked at Replica expectantly.
"One second," Replica replied, vanishing into a portal of darkness. He returned in less than a minute, two long coats, identical to his, slung over his arm. He shook them out, scrutinizing Gibbs and Ziva for a moment before handing them each a coat. "Looks like you're about Axel's size," he told Ziva. "Always thought he looked like a girl."
"Then this was Ulmaria's," Gibbs said, eying the fabric distastefully.
"He's dead, I'm sorry, let's go," Replica dismissed, pulling his hood up over his head. "Put them on and follow me."
The NCIS agents did as they were instructed. Gibbs found that his assigned coat was a bit too short but fit well otherwise, and it smelled of cherry blossoms. Once they were both ready Replica turned around and held out a hand, a portal of darkness opening around it. Clutching tightly to their kits, they followed the teen into the portal.
Going from overcast weather bordering on rain in one second to nuclear sun in the next was a shock. Gibbs stepped out onto sand and instantly broke out into a full-body sweat. He wasted no time in shedding the black jacket, draping it over his arm and waiting for Replica to say something.
The teen gestured around them. "This is the main island. The police are off that way, you can tell them whatever you'd like. Riku and Kairi have been staying at the jail with Sora, I'm sure they'll take you to the crime scene. The murder happened on the play island. Good luck."
Gibbs, looking around at the normal-looking houses threaded through with sand-dusted walking paths, turned back to Replica at the others' words. "You're not sticking around?"
"I'm sure you can figure out why. Meet me back here tonight and I'll ship whatever you have to Abby. If you're not here, I'll come find you." Replica waved and vanished into a pool of darkness.
Ziva and Gibbs traded glances. "Did he really just strand us here?"
Gibbs sighed. "'This way,' huh?"
"As you say, shall we pound feet?" Ziva asked brightly, striding forwards.
"That's 'beat feet', Ziva," Gibbs corrected automatically.
The police officer looked them over skeptically, their badges in hand. "So you're detectives from another island that just so happened to be in town when this happened? And you want to clear Sora's name?"
Gibbs was glad that Ziva had remembered Sora telling them, all that time ago, about the major rule of world-hopping. "The borders between the worlds have to be preserved," he'd insisted over a bowl of sea-salt ice cream. They'd gone to the place Lea had found to reminisce, and so they could all taste the odd treat.
Gibbs had shot him a look at that. "So why're you telling us?"
Sora had just grinned. "Who else would believe you?"
"So you just world-hop and tell everyone you're from some far-away place on their world?" Abby had asked, interested.
"Yeah. I'm not supposed to meddle in the affairs of other worlds," and Sora had looked as if he was quoting from memory, "but I can't help but stop and help people, you know?"
Gibbs grinned, remembering how Abby had pounced him from across the table and strewn ice cream everywhere. At the policeman's look he quickly resumed a serious expression. "That's right, officer. I'm certain Sora couldn't have killed Wakka."
"Uh-huh. One second." He vanished inside with their badges, leaving Gibbs and Ziva standing at the door to the jail. A few bystanders whispered behind their hands, which they ignored in favor of more important things.
"Gibbs, that man had a sword on his hip," Ziva said in disbelief. "A sword! What are they thinking?"
Gibbs was more interested in the electric lights dotting the twilit path. "They have electricity and cars, but they still use swords here," he mused. "Really different."
"Despite the fact this is a… foreign land," Ziva continued, "we can understand them! There's no language barrier here, at all, although I have no idea what a paopu is. Why do you think that is?"
Gibbs shrugged. "I'm trying not to think about that. Maybe it's magic?"
"Lightning and ice and fire, oh my," Ziva deadpanned.
"Something like that," a familiar voice replied. Gibbs turned to the door to find a silver-haired teen there, dressed in jeans and a yellow vest. His green eyes were wary but not hostile, a hand covered in something white brushing back a few strands of chin-length hair. "You must be Gibbs. Sora told me about you."
"You must be Riku," Gibs returned, offering his hand. "I heard about what happened and thought I could help."
"And how exactly did you get here?" the teen asked.
"A boy who looks an awful lot like you," Gibbs replied. "Goes by the name Riku Replica, and I can really see why. Can we come in?"
Riku shook his head. "The police are still talking to Sora. He hasn't said much, I think he's in shock."
"What about this play Island of yours?" Ziva asked. "We should look at the crime scene."
"I'll take you. Let me just tell Kairi where I'm going." He vanished back inside.
"So, my Replica's still alive." Riku didn't seem particularly surprised as he rowed, his face impassive. "I'm sort of glad."
"Why?" Gibbs wanted to know. "I'd be creeped out if someone made a clone of me."
The teen shrugged. "It's not his fault. He was made to think he was me, and then he wanted to be someone else. In the end all he had was my identity and he tried to kill me for it." Riku looked a bit sad. "I just defended myself and ended up killing him instead. It wasn't right."
"He's not dead though," Ziva pointed out. "He said he'd be back tonight to take our evidence back to our world."
They arrived at the island shortly after, Riku tying the boat to the dock expertly and assisting Ziva up and out. Gibbs clambered out on his own, surveying the scene expertly.
"This way," Riku said, leading them down the beach and towards a shack set into the base of a cliff. The cliff sported its own waterfall, water crashing merrily into a shallow pool at its base. A platform had been built amongst the trees, forming what looked like a city full of tree forts in the branches. Above the beachside shack a bridged snaked out, connecting the shack's roof to a mini-island a few yards from shore. It was under this bridge that Riku led them.
Gibbs eyed the rust-brown sand, the outline of a person created by small rods driven into the sand and tied together with rope like a giant connect-the-dots puzzle. "All right Ziva, you know the drill. Bag and tag everything you can think of."
They worked methodically, hardly needing to speak as they collected bits of everything they could think of. The sun, having set on their way over to the island, was rising over the beach by the time they finished.
Riku had vanished sometime during the night, leaving Gibbs and Ziva alone on the beach. It was a surprise, then, when his voice startled them out of their work. "Finding anything?"
"A lot, but we won't know what it means until we have more info," Gibbs replied, wishing dearly that he had thought to bring some coffee. It'd be long since cold but it would make him feel better, he reasoned. Then he realized that he smelled coffee and turned towards the scent.
"Replica," he said neutrally, eying the black-clothed teen and the Styrofoam cup he held. "Sorry we missed the deadline."
"Eh, no big deal. I'm here, aren't I?" Replica handed the coffee off and stepped back, eying the scene. "Got everything you need?"
"I think so," the elder replied, signing off on the last evidence bag and tucking it into his kit. "Deliver this to Abby and tell her to run the usual tests." Ziva gathered her bags and camera memory cards together and deposited them at Replica's feet before stretching with a groan.
"I could certainly use a nap," she said.
Replica smiled ruefully. "I took the liberty of putting a couple of sleeping bags in the shack. It should be okay for a few hours, right?"
"Heavenly," Ziva agreed.
Gibbs surfaced from his coffee long enough to agree. "I'll meet you in the shack," he told Ziva. "You go on ahead."
Ziva entered the shack without complaint, leaving Replica and Gibbs alone on the beach. The elder turned towards the teen. "Thanks for the coffee. Incidentally, what do you call yourself? I've just been calling you Replica."
The other shrugged. "I haven't thought about it. I haven't needed a name, I don't talk with people much. You can just call me Replica if you want."
Gibbs held back a snort, instead reaching into his pocket for his notebook. He hastily scribbled a note and slipped it into the evidence bags. "All right, Replica. Tell Abby to look at that note while her tests are running, I know they'll take several hours."
Replica was obviously interested in the note but chose not to read it. He gathered the evidence in his hands and nodded. "Sleep well."
One morning of blissful sleep later Gibbs and Ziva were once again at the police station, once again facing down the policeman from before. They reclaimed their badges while the officer smiled apologetically.
"Sorry about that. It's hard to be sure of anything what with the situation lately. Sure is hard to believe that Sora would kill anyone, he's such a nice kid." The officer shook his head, running a hand through his hair. "Guess everyone has their breaking point. You shoulda seen him when we tried to arrest him! Stood still as stone in the shallows just staring at the sun for hours. Thought it'd be easy, right? Then when our guys grab him, he flies off the handle. They're in the hospital with broken bones while he's sitting here quiet as a puppy."
"I'd really like to talk with him," Gibbs said. "I need to hear his side of the story, and a list of everyone who's involved. Anyone who would have motives, anyone who knew Sora or Wakka."
"I'll get that for you while you talk to Sora," the officer nodded. "Good luck, though. He's hardly said two words since he woke up in our cell. We had officers talking to him all day yesterday and he didn't say anything."
"What about his friends?" Gibbs asked.
"They haven't been allowed to see him. Don't want to taint his testimony. You're investigating this, though, so you're allowed." He waved them inside and led them through a roomy interior, uniformed officers moving with purpose, still sporting the weird mix of weapons from before. In addition to swords there were guns and even some balls that looked like volleyballs, as well as a variety of staves and – Gibbs had to look twice – even bubble straws.
"Welcome to the Twilight Zone," Ziva whispered.
They passed the office areas and went underground, sand leaking from cracks in the floorboards to cover the stone floor. Despite the perfect setup for an underground dungeon the cells were clean and organized, the walls paneled with wood and a few paintings on the walls facing them for flavor. The floor was polished, shining through the thin coating of dust. Windows high in the walls let in some natural light, supplemented by warmly glowing overhead lights.
"He's in the last cell. Good luck. I'll get that list while you're talking."
Gibbs and Ziva traded looks. "I'll go with him," Ziva decided. "Sora doesn't know me very well and he talked to you more than anything."
Gibbs nodded, setting off down the row of cells. They were mostly empty, the occasional rumpled figure smelling of alcohol or sporting weapon-shaped bruises on their foreheads glaring out at him. A particularly underdressed woman leered at him suggestively.
Finally he reached his goal, staring sadly at the boy curled up as far into the corner as he could press himself. Sora's eyes were open but weren't seeing anything, blankly staring somewhere into the space in front of him, and his normally gravity-defying spikes were sagging around his ears.
"Sora?" Gibbs asked, stepping up to the bars. "Sora, you okay?"
Vacant blue eyes flickered towards him for a mere moment before returning to their previous position.
"Come on, Sora, say something. Tell me what really happened on that beach. I know you couldn't have killed your friend."
At the word "killed" Sora flinched, eyes closing. His next breath was just the slightest bit uneven, but after a moment he'd returned to his previous position.
"Sora, you have to say something. If you don't, you know what'll happen."
No response. Gibbs growled, shaking the bars in frustration. "Come on! Don't just roll over and accept responsibility for something you didn't do. Fight!"
Sora just sat there, arms wrapped tightly around his legs. Gibbs closed his eyes and rested his head against the bars, thinking.
"I'll be right back," he promised before retracing his steps. He found the officer in charge of guarding the cellblock and planted himself in front of her, menacing scowl planted on his face.
"What can I help you with, Agent Gibbs?" the woman asked, sword strapped to her back and making a mess of her ponytail. She was filling out some paper work and didn't look up.
"I need to take Sora for a walk," Gibbs stated.
"No can do, sir. He's the prime suspect in Wakka's murder and he's a flight risk. He has to stay rooted in that cell until the police finish investigating." She signed a form and flipped it over, starting on the next one.
"Sora is currently catatonic and can't assist in his own defense," Gibbs growled. "Let me take him for a walk. I won't leave the grounds with him."
"That can't happen, sir." She tossed her head, freeing her ponytail, and kept working on the form. Gibbs leaned down until he was at her eye level, waiting until she looked up to peg her with his best withering glare.
Two minutes later Gibbs was unlocking Sora's cell and dragging the boy upright. "Come on. You can't stay like this forever."
Sora didn't resist as he was dragged upstairs and through the station. Gibbs only paused to ask where officers practiced swordfighting. Once there, he planted Sora in the middle of the arena, glaring the pair sparring out of the way.
"Stay there," he instructed the brunette, turning without waiting to see if Sora would obey or not. The practice arena was circular in shape, the station apparently built around it. Racks of weapons were built into the station walls and dummies were set up in a rough circle around the sparring area in the center. Officers in various states of dress were scattered around the area, all looking at Gibbs and Sora with interest.
Gibbs found the rack with wooden weapons and selected two, a sword for Sora and a dagger for himself. Thus armed he marched back to the arena and tossed the sword towards the teen. Without blinking it was caught, Sora standing with it held loosely in his hand. Whispering started up then, the officers wondering none-too-quietly what Gibbs had in mind. Their curiosity was satisfied when Gibbs took a swipe at Sora, his wooden dagger easily deflected.
"Come on, Sora, do something," Gibbs taunted, feinting left and striking right. His attack was easily thwarted, the Keyblade Master moving swiftly to counter. He didn't move otherwise, just stared at the ground at Gibbs' feet. The NCIS agent stepped back, frowning.
"What happened, Sora?" he demanded, voice a bit louder than he meant for it to be. He went back on the attack, his combat training still as fresh as his days in the armed forces, and with every blocked attack he stopped pretending a bit less. "Tell me what happened, Sora! What happened with Wakka?"
Sora suddenly went on the attack, wooden sword blurring through the air as blows rained down on Gibbs. The elder was forced on the defensive, struggling to keep up with the onslaught. This was a reaction, however violent it was, and Gibbs wasn't about to let up.
"Why were you on the beach with Wakka, Sora? You have to tell me!" Gibbs insisted between blows.
Sora's blade suddenly wasn't wooden anymore, the Keyblade appearing in his hand. Unlike its previous appearance this Keyblade was black, like wrought-iron. Jagged spikes curled out from the end to form the key shape.
Gibbs' dagger shattered on the first blow and with a swear he rolled clear, on his feet again in an instant. A nearby officer tossed him a real sword just in time for him to block a blow meant for his head.
"Is this what happened, Sora?" Gibbs taunted. "Did you lose your senses just like this? Did you turn on Wakka and attack him? What did he say to make you turn on him? Why'd you kill him?"
"I didn't!" Sora shouted, bringing his Keyblade in an overhead strike. Gibbs managed to catch it on the flat of his blade, a grin sneaking onto his face.
"Then what happened?" he demanded relentlessly, bracing himself. Sora put his weight into his blade, attempting to force Gibbs backwards. His eyes were finally focused and angry, shining with the light of unshed tears.
"I don't know," was the reply, Sora shaking his head. Gibbs took advantage of the distraction and threw his opponent off, backing off a few steps. Sora didn't let him rest, launching back on the offensive with a determined glare. "One minute I'm talking to him at his house, and the next I'm waking up covered in his blood! I don't know what happened. What if I really did kill him?"
"You have to remember," Gibbs insisted. He weathered the blows easily, ducking aside at the last strike and landing his first blow on Sora's torso with the flat of his blade. The teen grunted, falling back a few steps. "Why would you kill your friend? You couldn't kill anybody!"
"But I did kill people!" Sora insisted. "You know, don't you, what I did to the Organization? I killed them all, even the ones who were just doing their jobs. I'm no better than Riku Replica!"
Gibbs ignored the gasps that the name elicited. "Sora, it's not murder if they're trying to kill you first. You told me how each of them died, remember? It seems as if all your encounters with them had them trying to kill you first. That's a special exception to the rules, called self defense!"
Sora stopped, Keyblade falling until it was nearly level with the ground. "Really?"
"Yes, really! You're not at fault for their deaths, Sora, just like I know you couldn't have killed Wakka. So just tell me what happened, okay?"
Sora fell to his knees, Keyblade vanishing in a flash of light. The tears finally fell, his breath hitching in his throat. Gibbs tossed the sword aside and knelt next to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Come on, Sora. Let's get back inside, and now you can tell me everything, okay?"
It took two hours, several cups of tea, and lots of tissues, but Sora finally was able to tell his side of the story. Under the close supervision of the officer in charge of Sora's case, the teen recounted the night of the murder to the best of his ability.
"Me and Wakka were practicing Blitzball," he started once his first round of tears had ebbed. "It was supposed to be a group practice, us and Riku, Kairi, Selphie, and Tidus, but none of them could make it. We were playing one on one in the waves and were having a great time.
"Things get blurry after that. I think I saw someone else on the beach, and then nothing. I woke up the next morning face-to-face with Wakka." Sora had to stop there for a long while, Gibbs waiting patiently for him to regain control while the officers whispered behind their hands. "I was- I was covered in his blood, it soaked my clothes and hair."
"Why'd you go into the ocean?" the officer asked. "Why'd you attack the officers who tried to arrest you?"
"The ocean washed away some of the blood," Sora replied. His hands were shaking around his nth cup of tea, his eyes focused on the liquid within. "And… I felt so cold, and the sun was so warm. I thought that maybe if I could stay in the sun, I could ignore that Wakka…" He swallowed, hard. "The officers startled me, I just reacted. I'm sorry about that."
The officer nodded. "Still, there's only your word that your version of events is what happened. Until we get evidence to the contrary, we still have to hold you as a suspect."
"I understand," the teen nodded. He allowed himself to be led off to the holding cell, though he managed a small smile for Gibbs. The elder man watched him walk off.
"It seems like even his spikes have perked up," he commented to himself. He went in search of the officer who had greeted him and Ziva at the door.
"She took the lists you requested and went off on her own," the officer reported. "She said to tell you that she'll be back by sundown and you should wait for your contact until then."
Gibbs was offered a cot in the police station once the sun went down with no sign of Ziva. He took it gratefully, his few hours of sleep that morning not nearly enough. He kept his hand on his gun under his pillow, unable to fall asleep despite the fatigue settled into his bones. He was suddenly struck by the fact that he was in another world, that he'd taken off without so much as letting anyone know. He hoped he still had a job when he got back.
He thought back on a few training sessions he'd watched, quizzing everyone about the wide variety of weaponry he'd seen around the station. Apparently, he'd learned, the Destiny Islands were an island chain made up of hundreds of small islands, each one with its own manner of fighting. When technology had advanced and the Islands mingled, the fighting styles had become the only manner of knowing who had come from where. A variety of styles were encouraged as a result and the police force was well-balanced.
And the magic. That was something Gibbs still had trouble wrapping his brain around, despite the evidence he'd witnessed throughout the day. There were so many more types of magic than he'd seen Sora use all that time ago, support and healing and combat and noncombat.
It was no wonder, he reflected, that he couldn't fall asleep.
The door opened and he turned his head to see the arrival. "Ziva," he greeted, sitting up. "Find out anything?"
"Kairi showed me every nook and cranny of this place," the Mossad officer said, flopping onto the cot next to Gibbs'. "I interviewed everyone, took photographs of everything I could think of. I have been to Wakka's house, Sora's house, and Riku's house, and I have turned up nothing."
"I got beat up by Sora," Gibbs offered.
"You got off easily," Ziva scoffed. "This place is nonsensical. There were people floating in the air, Gibbs! They were practicing Wind Magic and they were floating up in the air. I was staring at them for ten minutes, making sure I wasn't just seeing things."
Gibbs had to give her that. "So we're no closer to exonerating Sora than before."
"Exactly. I hope Replica comes back with some good news."
They slept soundly through the night, waking with the rest of the officers on the morning shift. They were shown to the (coed) showers, which they made grateful use of, before finding their way to the cafeteria and inhaling the strange fruits and vegetables.
"So this is a paopu," Ziva commented. She held up the star-shaped fruit dubiously, watching how it wiggled with her movements. "Want to try it, Gibbs?"
"Sure, chop me off a piece." Gibbs was practically worshipping the coffee, reveling in the deep-bodied flavor. He was already on his third cup.
"There's a story behind that fruit," a familiar voice greeted them. It sounded like Riku, but when Gibbs turned around he found a stranger wearing Riku Replica's black coat. Replica had gotten a makeover, his silver hair streaked with green. He was wearing ripped blue jeans, a green t-shirt, and a tattered denim vest that had all sorts of designs inked into it. His left ear sported a silver stud and he couldn't have looked happier.
"Oh really?" Gibbs asked casually. "What is it?"
"They say that whenever two people share a paopu fruit, their destinies are forever intertwined." Replica slid into the seat next to Gibbs and grinned. "Poetic, don't you think?"
"Indeed." Ziva glanced around the room. "I thought you were more interested in staying hidden."
"From Sora, yes," Replica shrugged. "Thanks to Abby, I don't have to worry about it in general. Oh! She gave me a new name, too. A real name, just for me. You can call me Abyss from now on."
"Abyss? How'd she get that?" Gibbs asked.
"To quote her, I'm 'deep and mysterious'. Plus she wanted to see if just any noun would work as a name." Abyss grinned. "She's a bit crazy, don't you think?"
Feel free to leave a comment if you'd like! The last part will be popping up in a few days. See you then!