Disclaimer: Shadow Horizons does not own Kingdom Hearts, or anything by Disney and/or Square Enix. He only owns his original plot and characters.


"The fate of all is always dust."

Monday, July 5th, 4794 P.C.

Devin Mayes let out a sigh as the last seal formed over the vault door, locking away Oath Breaker from the rest of the universe.

Try as he may, he couldn't get the image of pure terror the young Wielder had had on her face when she called him back to the Destiny Islands out of his head. She had all but thrown Oath Breaker into his hands to get it away from her. It didn't take a genius to figure out why.

But, he had more pressing matters to attend to. Casting his gloves aside, Devin removed the silver ring with parallel red bands from his middle finger and tossed it into the air before him. The ring flashed red and remained at the zenith of its ascent. Three translucent images of two men and a woman flickered into existence in front of it.

"Maleficent has the Cornerstone of Darkness."

The three projections were silent for a moment before the woman on Devin's right spoke up. "And Jonathan?"

Devin hung his head.


Wednesday, July 7th, 4794 P.C.

Destiny Islands

Citizens from all over the Islands lined the streets of Exinn, each person garbed in traditional funeral wear. Dark cloaks were draped over everyone's shoulders, with hoods pulled low to conceal their faces. Each person clutched a small candle in their hands, the tiny flames providing the only light along the roads.

Kairi peered through the gap in her curtains as people walked by her home in a solemn march. Grieving families and friends moved in tight clusters as they moved toward the eastern-most coast of the island.

She gently allowed the curtain to fall closed as a knock sounded at her door. The door creaked open as she turned. Naminé stepped partially into the room, one hand kept on the door. No words were shared between the two. There was no need. Through the sadness in Naminé's eyes, reflecting the same in Kairi's own, the message was clear.

Time to go.

Out in the hall stood Melissa, dressed in an ocean blue dress instead of traditional mourning colors. Kairi had called her out on it earlier, but Melissa had simply smiled and told her daughter that Jonathan once made her swear to not wear black to his funeral. In mourning or not, she was simply making good on her promise.

Melissa pulled Kairi and Naminé into a tight hug as soon as they stepped into arm's length. They stayed there, wrapped in each others' arms and shared their grief for a minute or two before Melissa broke the hug and led her daughters outside.

I thought I heard the old man say:

"Leave her, Johnny, leave her."

Immediately, Kairi's eyes fell upon the open casket resting at the bottom of the steps to her home. Her heart leapt into her throat at the sight of her father. For a brief instant, her mind's eye was filled with the memory of him collapsing in the sand, a Keyblade thrust through his chest. The feel of Naminé's hand in hers brought her back to the present before the panic she felt that night could set in.

The look Naminé gave her was clearly a reminder to take deep breaths. Kairi nodded weakly and did just that. She looked back down at the casket, doing her best to fight back tears that threatened to form as she stared at her father.

Tomorrow ye will get your pay,

And it's time for us to leave her.

Nestled there in the casket, Jonathan would've looked as though he were simply sleeping to those who didn't know him as well. Kairi knew better. The persistent crease in his brow he had had when sleeping was absent. And her father would never fold his hands across his chest. He always had one arm behind his head when he slept or relaxed.

Leave her, Johnny, leave her.

Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her.

Kairi's mother brushed past and gently placed her hand atop Jonathan's. Her eyes were shining with the beginnings of tears as she stared down at her husband. Melissa was strong, and for the first time since the end of the Festival, Kairi caught a glimpse of just how truly devastated her mother was.

For the voyage is long and the winds don't blow,

And it's time for us to leave her.

Tearing her gaze away, Kairi looked around at the small crowd gathered near the casket. Her friends were easiest to spot, dressed as they were in the black cloaks worn by the former Organization. Riku's parents and Sora's mother were already by Melissa's side, offering her condolences in hushed tones. Bael Stoutiron sat in his wheelchair close by, attended to by Nikki.

Oh, the wind was foul and the sea ran high.

Leave her, Johnny, leave her.

Bael's head was hung in a mixture of sadness and shame. After the Heartless attack on the Islands, he had been found in Fatum's city hall, beaten, battered and bruised. The warrior hadn't said a word to anyone other than Melissa, when he had practically thrown himself at her feet to beg her forgiveness in his failure to protect Jonathan.

She shipped it green and none went by,

And it's time for us to leave her.

It all seemed slightly unreal to Kairi. Almost as if any second her father would spring up from his casket and shout 'Surprise!'. But she knew better.

She was vaguely aware of those who approached her and her family, offering their condolences and gently embracing them.

Leave her, Johnny, leave her.

Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her.

The small crowd took turns as they said their final goodbyes to Jonathan. It didn't take much time, and soon Kairi, Naminé and Melissa were the last to stand beside the casket. Each of them managed to choke out their final goodbyes, fresh tears forming once more.

For the voyage is long and the winds don't blow,

And it's time for us to leave her.

As they stepped back, nine members of the Defense Force, the pallbearers, moved into position around the casket. With flawless unison, they closed the lid on the casket and locked it into place. The Destiny Islands flag, a rising sun against a blue background, was draped over the casket before the pallbearers hoisted it onto a caisson.

I hate to sail on this rotten tub.

Leave her, Johnny, leave her

The procession that followed was little more than a blur in Kairi's mind. A color guard had led them, marching along the coast toward the eastern-most shores of Exin. The horse-drawn caisson followed, with Kairi and her family, as well as friends of the family, following close behind. Bringing up the rear, and marching along to the steady sound of drums was a company of the Defense Force soldiers.

No grog allowed, and rotten grub,

And it's time for us to leave her.

The darkness of night was steadily growing brighter as the procession reached the shore. Already, the distant horizon seemed to glow with several shades of sunrise as dawn approached. Kairi's attention, however, was focused on the small boat resting on the shoreline. An honor guard of eight Defense Force soldiers flanked both sides of the boat, snapping to attention as the procession approached. Other families gathered along the shore as well, bringing their departed to boats nearly identical to the one the procession came to a stop in front of.

Leave her, Johnny, leave her.

Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her.

Kairi watched numbly as her father's casket was lifted from the caisson and carried by the pallbearers to the boat. The honor guard accepted the casket and gently placed it in the boat. A lantern was lit and hung from the bow of the ship, to symbolize the guiding light that would lead all departed souls from this life into the next. Melissa, Naminé and Kairi stepped forward as the honor guard removed the lid to the casket and draped the flag over Jonathan's body, leaving only his head exposed to the world.

Each of them bent down and whispered a final goodbye to Jonathan. Naminé choked back a sob and was quick to retreat into Roxas' embrace. Melissa placed a gentle kiss against her husband's forehead, silent tears flowing freely down her face as she did so. Kairi hugged her mother tightly as they pulled away, doing her best to ignore her own tears.

For the voyage is long and the winds don't blow,

And it's time for us to leave her.

The honor guard stepped forward again and took hold of the handles built into the sides of the boat. Grunting with effort, they pushed the boat out into the water and set it on its way, gliding smoothly toward the horizon. Across the shore, other boats followed suit, floating away from land in an eerie silence.

She was vaguely aware of orders being shouted by the Defense Force Captain. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw fifteen soldiers snap to attention and raise their weapons in unison. Fifteen shots rang out along the silent shoreline. There was a brief pause before another fifteen shots were fired.

We swear by rote for want of more.

Leave her, Johnny, leave her.

Fires were lit along the shore as the first rays of dawn began to appear over the ocean. Archers that stood next to the flames ignited their arrows and took aim at the vessels of the departed. Kairi drew in a shuddering breath in anticipation.

But now we're through, so we'll go on shore,

And it's time for us to leave her.

The sun broke the horizon, casting its golden rays across the waters. Flaming arrows were launched into the air, at least a hundred of them, if not more. Kairi felt her mother squeeze her hand tightly as the arrows made contact. The boats were quick to ignite. With the colors of the sunrise, and the floating pyres the boats had become, the ocean seemed as if it were on fire.

For how long they stood there, Kairi hadn't the faintest of ideas. Her hand had gone numb from her mother's grip, and she had a suspicion that Melissa's had as well. They watched in grim silence as Jonathan's pyre was claimed by the sea.

Leave her, Johnny, leave her.

Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her.

The boat vanished beneath the gentle waves, and Melissa broke down into muffled sobs. She practically collapsed against Kairi and probably would've fallen to her knees had her daughter not supported her. Tears of her own streamed down Kairi's cheeks as she hugged her mother tightly. She bit her lower lip tightly as she struggled to not make a sound.

Naminé's arms were around them both not even a second later, tightly embracing her family as they mourned.

For the voyage is long and the winds don't blow.

And it's time for us to leave her.


Altar of Naught

The World That Never Was

Maleficent's hands gently caressed the Cornerstone of Darkness. Her eyes were fixed on the incomplete, heart-shaped moon hanging high in the perpetual night sky nearby. Her plan to get both the Cornerstone and acquire the final Princess of Heart hadn't been fully completed, but that didn't ruin her mood. She still had the Cornerstone, and with its powers, she would become more powerful than ever before. It mattered little that she still needed Kairi to complete her plan.

After all, the deck was stacked in her favor now.

Kingdom Hearts would soon be hers.


Destiny Islands

The sun was setting in the distance, not that Kairi could see it make its daily descent toward the western horizon. Instead, she had her back to the west, sitting as she was on the eastern shore of Exin. She had been there for most of the day, eyes fixed on the gently lapping waves. Lost in thought.

The sound of footsteps in the sand drew her attention away from the ocean. A moment later, Sora was laying down beside her, arms behind his head as he stared up at the sky. The couple was silent for a long moment, with only the sounds of seagulls and water to accompany them.

"Was it this bad?" Kairi's voice was the steadiest it had been in days. Sora turned his head to look at her. Her tone was a grimly curious one.

"Was what this bad?"

"When your dad disappeared. Did it hurt as badly for you, as losing my dad is hurting me?" Kairi's voice cracked slightly.

A small hum escaped Sora as he looked back up into the sky, wracking his memory for an answer. "You know, I don't remember too well. He disappeared over ten years ago. Right before you came to the Islands, if I'm remembering correctly." To Kairi, he sounded distant. "No one really knows what happened to him. He went out during a storm and never came back. No boats missing, no sign that he had left the Island. He was just… gone."

"You're lucky," she whispered, hugging her knees close to her chest. "Your dad might still be out there somewhere."

"Maybe." Sora grimaced. "But it's not exactly fair to compare our two situations, especially since my side's a mystery to me."

Kairi sighed softly and glanced over at her boyfriend. "True enough." The pair shared another moment of silence, each briefly lost in thought.

"Axel got a message from the King," Sora mentioned after a few minutes of listening to the sounds of nature.

A nod was Kairi's response. "He came back here earlier to tell me." She stretched her legs out in front of her and laid back in the sand. "So, the stars are going out again?"

"Seems that way."

Kairi turned her head to look at Sora, and found him staring right back. "I can't come with you this time, you know," she said sadly. A nod. "Not right away. It's too soon and I can't just leave my mother all alone like that, not now. Not even for the other worlds."

"I know," Sora replied. "I would've been surprised if you were coming along right away."

Kairi swallowed a nervous lump forming in her throat. "When are you leaving?"

Sora didn't answer right away. "The day after tomorrow. I need to go see Cid about getting a replacement ship since Richard blew ours up protecting the Keyhole, so Riku's gonna give me a lift to Radiant Garden."

"And after that?"

Sora gave a noncommittal shrug. "I'll go check up on my friends on other worlds. You know, make sure everything's still going good for them."

Kairi smiled softly. "That's good. I bet some of them would like to hear from you." She missed the falter in Sora's serene expression.

"Probably. A few of them are probably realizing the thing about the stars." A sigh left him as he returned his gaze to the sky. "I don't know what changed, but there don't seem to be that many Heartless these days. So when I'm done revisiting everyone, I'm going to go out and figure out how Maleficent's making all the stars go out so quickly."

"I wouldn't expect any less from you." Kairi placed a hand on top of Sora's. "That's what I really like about you, Sora." He smiled back at her.

"I have something to give you," he said suddenly. Kairi's eyes were drawn toward Sora's free hand that he was now holding out to her. Resting in his palm was a small, clear crystal on a woven silver chain.

Kairi gave Sora a questioning look as she took the crystal from his palm and examined it. "What's this?"

"A way to keep in touch." Sora pulled an identical crystal that he was wearing around his neck into sight. "Just touch the crystal and say my name and we'll be able to speak to each other." Kairi draped the crystal over her head, letting it fall into place just below her collarbone. "This way, when you're ready to leave and come with me again, I'll be right back here to pick you up." Sora found his face buried into Kairi's shoulder, her hug squeezing him as if she would fall off the face of the world if she were to let go.

"You stay safe," she whispered, voice cracking slightly. Sora put his arms around her, only for her to squeeze harder. "You hear me? Don't do anything reckless. Because I can't lose you too. You have to promise me that you'll be safe." She pulled back from the hug and held out a pinkie finger toward him, something the two of them hadn't done in years. Sora's pinkie wrapped around hers.

"I promise."

Leave her, Johnny, leave her.

Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her.

For the voyage is long and the winds don't blow.

And it's time for us to leave her.


To Be Continued in Looming Darkness: Nightfall

Man, oh man. I cannot tell you all how good it feels to finally be done with Part I after working on it for about three and a half years.

Looking back at the first few chapters I wrote years ago, it's easy for me to see just how much Daybreak has helped me hone my writing talents. With the wonderful help of Infinite Chaos, my editor and best friend in the whole entire world, I don't know where this story (or myself, for that matter) would be today She's been keeping me in line and supporting me through the rough, writers-block filled patches.

On that note, I would also like to extend my eternal gratitude to Shire Folk. He's been nothing but a tremendous help during the 'Sun's Shadow Festival' arc, giving me plot ideas and even taking some of the burden off of my shoulders and onto his own.

I'd also like to thank Soviet Bacon and Dumbgamer99 for pre-reading and providing me with feedback that has helped shaped this story since I brought them on the team almost two years ago.

And of course, I want to thank all of you. Without you readers, this story would be nothing and I doubt I would've made it this far. Your comments and words of encouragement have helped me through some rough patches in life, gave me the mental fortitude to power through writer's block, and have been a neverending fountain of inspiration. So thank you. Each and every one of you.

So, fun fact time.

The conclusion of the 'Sun's Shadow Festival' arc was originally supposed to be the halfway point for Part I of Looming Darkness. However, after several discussions with my team, and some careful plot evaluations on my part, I decided that this was an appropriate place to end.

Another factor that led into that decision was the world choices I had lined up for the original second half of Part I (now the new Part II). Several of these worlds are going to be the toughest challenges I face when writing them, because in all my years of reading Kingdom Hearts fanfiction, I've never seen someone try to pull them off before. This also makes them the worlds with the highest risk factor in regards to reader reception. However, I wouldn't be moving forward with these worlds if I wasn't confident that I could do them justice (and having a team of four to pre-read them and make triple-sure they're practically perfect) certainly helps.

I'm very excited about Nightfall. Words cannot describe.

Onto other things:

Featured in this epilogue is the shanty 'Leave Her, Johnny'. This shanty was typically sung at the end of a voyage, or when sailors grew weary of life aboard their seabound homes. I felt it suited the epilogue, for it marks the end of Jonathan's voyage in life. There are many versions of this shanty floating around out there, so I'll put a link to the one I was listening to when I wrote this epilogue up on the Looming Darkness Facebook group.

Speaking of the Facebook group (Where Darkness Gathers), that is the best way to keep track of how soon a chapter might come out. I know that I'm awful about releasing frequently (I want to change! I promise! Blame life!) And, I'll be posting all kinds of fun stuff there (teasers for chapters, important news, pictures, music, etc).

The group is a place to meet, greet, and be yourselves. So pull up a chair and pour yourselves a drink. Anything posted there can become a story idea not only for Looming Darkness, but for anything any fanfic author in this tiny community might want to write. We can also talk about literally anything here. It's supposed to be a social place!

There's a link to the group on my profile page! So what're you waiting for? Join on up!

I'm starting to ramble. I'm getting kind of emotional now that I'm done with Daybreak. It's such a huge milestone for me and has been such a big part of my life for the past three and a half (or so) years. Anyway…

Thank you all so very much for reading! I really hope that you're looking forward to Nightfall!

Speaking of, I'm going to go get started on Nightfall. It's not going to write itself!

Aspicio, diluculo Infinitas Noctis.

Shadow Horizons

(With love from Infinite Chaos, Shire Folk, Soviet Bacon, and Dumbgamer99)