Well, here is the final chapter. It's not my longest story, and maybe it's not my most dramatic story, but this was all a heartfelt experience. This is a story I wrote per Nami the Writer's request, and it has been a joy to do this for her. I hope she enjoys this humble offering.
It was dark outside as James knocked on the white door. He opened it without waiting for a response. "Namine, it's time to go."
The young blond moaned quietly as she stirred it her bed. She hardly had the time to look up in order to see who it was, before she was pulled out of bed. Before she knew it, she was being pulled out of bed by her new friend of several months. She rubbed her eyes as she looked up at the man. "James? James, what's happening?"
"We're leaving tonight," the blue-haired man stated uncharacteristically bluntly. He looked out the door to the room quietly, wondering if there was any chance anyone would be watching them. He ducked back quietly as he saw a shadow pass the lights in the hall.
"James, quit being such a coward!" The door flew wide open as Jessie kicked it in. She was half-strangling Meowth as she carried him. In case you haven't realized, we're in a bit of trouble." She swung Meowth up to meet James face-to-face.
The small feline Pokémon struggled for breath for a moment, pulling at Jessie's hand around his neck
Jessie dropped Meowth. "Honestly, Meowth, you can be so pathetic at times."
"Well, excuse me for needing air! Honestly, whaddya t'inking?! I wanna get outta here with my skin in one piece, too, youse knows!" The two-foot-tall loudmouth whirled his forepaws in the air.
"That's why we're escaping, right?" James nodded. "I mean, you make it sound like they're coming for us right now."
"Dat's because they are, genius!" Meowth shouted. "Dat Xemnas guy is going berserk! Keeps talking about keys and nobodies and making us nobodies and-"
Namine gasped as she listened to the squawking cat. "How did you outrun them? James hasn't told me about either of you teleporting yet."
Meowth grimaced as he pranced in his indignation. "Well, I'd give all nine of my lives to be an Abra right now! Let's vamoose!"
"Like he said." Jessie began running along with her only current Pokémon acquaintance down the hall, leaving James and Namine in the dust.
"Come on, Namine, we have to go." James began leading Namine along again. "Meowth's ideas might not always work, but he usually knows what he's talking about, when dangers involved." The door was wide open now, and if this was a manhunt, he knew he'd need all the speed he could get right now."
"But wait, my drawing materials." Namine paused and tried her best to stay James. She looked back quietly.
James stopped at Namine's request, just as a series of icicles stuck into the wall in front of him.
"Oh, trying to get away?" An elderly gentleman carrying a blue shield cackled as he appeared in the hallway. "Let me stop you."
James turned quickly on his heel. He knew that those images in the room were important to her. They were the best substitute she had for her memories, though they were all just manipulations of another's memories. They were the only thing she had, though.
He ducked beneath a volley of icicles. "Hey, quit ignoring me!" his attacker shouted.
James shooed Namine. "Go get them." He flicked a rose out of his sleeve. "I'll hold him off."
At this time, Jessie had turned around to check on her associates' progress. "James! Don't just stand there!" She yelped as a formidable rock erupted from the floor, followed by the even more formidable looking Number V. "We can't just stay here."
"Hey, I'm just looking out for Meowth!" The cat scurried towards the staircases, only to be closed off by an eye-patched man. "Well, lookee here. Boss man has been wanting to talk with you." He aimed a rather nasty-looking gun at the Pokemon. "We know something's weird about you guys."
James was stuck trying to defend himself while Jessie dodged her goliath and Meowth was in retreat mode. They all were pretty stuck.
Rose met icicle in mid-air as James defended his position against the chilly academic. He kept pulling roses out, but this was getting much too reckless for him. The roses he threw could only slightly deflect the icicles he was being bombarded with, and he still had to dodge. However, it was in order to help Namine. That was reason enough for him to keep up the fight.
Jessie's agility was more than enough to dodge the silent hero's ungainly attacks with his tomahawk. She was not into the fight, though. She swept low and ran past her opponent, catching Meowth and spiking Number II in the face, before heading down the stairs. She didn't even bother to look back.
It was suddenly apparent how much danger James was in now. He flicked his wrist to call in another rose, but nothing came. As he dodged an icy blast of air, he looked down his sleeve to see that it was empty. He swallowed as he made a mad dash towards Namine's room. "What kind of crazy place is this?! I know what Jessie said, but this is ridiculous! I might as well be fighting Articuno back home in Kanto!"
As he entered Namine's room, he regretted the fact that there were no windows to look out of in this room, or much any of the rooms. He could only hope that Meowth and Jessie were safely outside. It was probably a vain hope, given the ax-crazy lunatics who apparently inhabited this building. He was breathing heavily as he slammed the door shut.
Namine looked up from her gathering of papers and pencils to see James. She dropped her drawings and ran over to him. "James, are you okay? You're not hurt or anything, are you?" Her tears began forming as she nuzzled his chest in sorrow. "It was stupid coming back here, wasn't it?"
"Wha?" James shook his head as he realized what Namine was saying. He chuckled nervously. "Of course not. It's not like we're in any danger," the criminal lied. "Things just got complicated."
"Because of me." Namine sighed and pouted. "If only I'd just gone with you, we wouldn't be in this mess. You should have just gone on without me."
"No." James took hold of Namine's hand and tilted her chin up, so he could look her in the eyes. "Trust me, I've been through worse than this. At least it's not Pikachu." He leaned forward slightly as the door began to feel icy cold.
Namine stepped back, pulling James with her. "But now you're probably going to die. And I know it might mean you'll be a Nobody with me, then, but I can't stand to think about you dying. Especially not when it's my fault."
"It won't be your fault. I chose to stay, didn't I? I told you I would never leave you, didn't I?" James patted his chest confidently. "Let me tell you something, Namine. I might be a crook, but when I give my word, I give my word." He cupped the young woman's chin again. "Besides… I love you."
Namine's face became emblazoned in blush as she heard James' words. However, before she could reply, the door smashed open to reveal a dangerous-looking Number IV. Vexen, the castle scientist, stalked across the floor as it froze beneath his footsteps. "Oh, you're a wiry fellow, aren't you? I'm sure I could reanimate you in some way useful to the superior." He reached his hand out as icy power collected in it.
His confidence deflated, James picked up Namine and began running. Unfortunately, he slipped on the frozen floor and slid along on his face until he crashed into a wall, trying his best to keep Namine safe all the while. He sat up, slightly dazed.
James looked up to see that he was in the furthest corner from the door now, and there were to windows to jump out of, once again. He looked up as Vexen neared. He held a gasping Namine close to him as he curled up. No matter what, this psycho wasn't going to lay a hand on her.
The chilly academic raised his hand higher before thrusting it forward, releasing a blast of icicles and razor-sharp snowflakes. As the snow flew, though, it began to melt, before falling in a mess of slush harmlessly just out of reach of a screaming James.
"Woah, woah, woah. I thought I told you to memorize my name. You know. Give a call. At least a whistle." Axel tsked as he stepped out of a portal. "Seriously, James, I thought you were dead there for a moment."
James and Namine both looked up at the familiar redhead. "Axel?"
"That's my name, get it memorized." Axel smirked. "I'll give you this freebie, but you better call properly next time. I'm not always so charitable."
"Axel, why are you interfering, you useless whelp?" Vexen demanded. "You should know that we need to dispose of these cretins who dared disdained our premises with their own brand of uselessness."
Axel shrugged. "Pardon my eavesdropping, but I remember the Superior saying to 'get rid of them' not 'dispose of them'. Those are two completely different things, and you better remember that." He raised a thumb up at James. "I already got your two pals out of here. At least they know my name."
James nodded quietly as he held a blushing Namine closer. He was still wary of Axel as well. The rescue seemed a little too on cue.
"You idiot! We can't just let them go," Vexen scolded. "What happens, if they tell people our secrets-"
"What secrets, Vexen?" Axel folded his arms. "That cat was too drugged with enthrallment to hear anything, and we didn't even give the lot club jackets. They're just a bunch of yahoos from the far and illusory part of the world-verse. You know, those perimeters that seem to waver in and out. They probably got caught here while their world wavered. If they just keep walking north, they'll get home, and it's not like they'll ever meet up with Sora to tell him anything. Have you even explained anything about hearts to Jessie?"
His mouth slightly agape in frustration, Vexen pointed a hostile finger at Axel. "You… You… You think you're so clever, you little fink. Just wait until I tell the Superior about this."
"As if he'd even care." Axel began sinking into another portal. "Now jump in, you two. This isn't a tunnel of love." He shot a look back at Vexen. "You don't mind if they take her, do you? Your experiments with her have all failed miserably anyways."
Vexen grumbled as James and Namine jumped into the portal. If it weren't for his obvious type-weakness, he would have gone after them. One day he'd get those two, though. One day.
On the outside of the Castle That Never Was, a portal opened, and James and Namine were booted out. "Now get out of here, the lot of you. You don't belong here, and I can't promise that I can save your necks again. I did you a favor, now do me one and get out before Saix finds you and the real trouble starts." He shut the portal, without waiting for so much as a thanks.
James stood up and brushed Namine off. "Well, that was awfully rude."
"He did save us," Namine pointed out. "Though that is Axel for you. He seems to just do what he thinks will benefit him, so I wonder what we had to do with his plan."
"I don't really know." James looked up at the sky curiously. "Now, where's north?"
"This way, you idiot!" Jessie called from beside a strange phone booth. "It's about time you guys caught up. Meowth has been in there for ten minutes now. I don't know who just picks up a ringing public phone anymore."
"That is strange." James nodded.
"I'm just glad we're all safe." Namine sighed in relief. She smiled up at Jessie.
Jessie sighed. "Si, we're seriously taking her with us, then." She pinched the bridge of her nose, before chuckling evilly. "Well, I suppose it can't hurt to have another girl on the team. At least she can't be any dumber than you or Meowth."
"Hey, youse won't be calling me stupid, once youse guys hears what I just heard," Meowth chirped as he hopped out of the phone booth. "That was the boss. He wants us back in Kanto for some reason. Isn't this great? It might just be the promotion we've been waiting for all these years!"
Jessie turned quickly. "Wait? You mean that? Back in Kanto? No more chasing Pikachu?"
"Never say dat name again, unless it's a whole pack of 'em in de wild," Meowth cheered. "No more shocks, no more twerps. It's the high living style for us!"
"Well, that's awfully grand," James mused.
Namine shied behind James. "Boss? You mean the Superior?"
"Course not. We're talking about de big cheese, Giovanni himself." Meowth stood boldly. "No more serving second-rate mooks for us. Ha-ha!"
"Yes, Giovanni's actually a pretty nice guy, once you get to know him." James smiled warmly at Namine. "He just gets disappointed easily. And he worries about money a lot."
"Who cares what kind of boss he is? I'm just glad we can leave." Jessie ran giddily north, much like Axel had instructed her before James.
James and Namine made to follow, but they were stopped with Meowth jumping in front of them. "Hold on a moment. Dere's no way dat broad's going wit' us."
Namine's eyebrows rose, and James stood in front of her to defend her. "Now, come on, Meowth, what are you saying?"
A gleam came to Meowth's eye as he produced a red marker. He pounced and evaded James, lashing out at Namine. Quicker than a blink, he had drawn a crude 'R' on the front of Namine's white dress. "No way am I going to be seen walking around wit' a non-Rocket. Not since dose dopes back dere t'ought dey could get the best of us." He smiled to himself as he marched after Jessie.
Namine was staring at the mark on her dress, before looking up and smiling at James, tapping the 'R' on his unbuttoned shirt. "I guess we really do match now~"
James placed his hands on his hips and laughed triumphantly. "I guess we do, don't we?" He flicked his wrist to produce a final blue rose. He tucked it behind Namine's hair in her white-blond hair. He took hold of her hand. "Come on, let's go. Your new life, your real life and memories, start now."
Namine smiled and laid her head against James as they walked north after their two teammates.