So….this is the final chapter of This World.
I feel like I should make a really epic and memorable speech but I'm really drawing a blank here.
I didn't really have a message in mind when I started writing This World but I guess it would be this:
'Follow your heart because it knows what you feel and follow your head because it knows what is right.'
I'll probably put some stupidly long A/N at the end that will have some IMPORTANT NOTICES so everyone can look forward to that XD
Some final thanks to Enflamed Keybearer, SisterOfScarletDevil, 3582, memwwms, bitterbeauty813 and Twisted-Virus for reviewing last chapter, to everyone who has left a review and to all the favouriters and alerters. Without you guys, I would have stopped writing long ago. I would also like to thank Just-in-4-da-fan for being a wonderful friend throughout the life of this story and giving me the idea for the ending.
Well, here we go
Warning: Some people may find parts of this chapter slightly disturbing. I don't think it's M rated but just to be safe, read with caution and have a teddy near you if you get disturbed easily *clutches own teddy as begins to write*
Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy. That's right, I still don't own 'em. Quel surprise.
20 years later…
I woke from a nightmare-ridden sleep to the blaring ringing of the home phone. My barely functioning hand managed to grasp the phone before it went to voicemail. I put the god damn thing to my ear and grumbled a sleepy and irritated "What?"
For all I knew my Sergeant could be on the other end but at two o'clock in the morning I really couldn't care less. Even if I knew it was the Queen on the other end I wouldn't have responded differently.
Thankfully it wasn't some important official that was trying to get in contact, just a good friend.
"Is that any way to greet the most-awesome-hacker-ever that has been oh so generous to you all these years?" the voice chirped.
"Rikku, you do know that normal people are asleep during the night? Which means you don't friggin' call 'em and wake them up," I half-heartedly chastised, belatedly realising that I had spent many nights myself awake. All part of the job though.
"Oh, come on, Ax. You're acting like an old man! Anyway, I just wanted to make sure that you got all the details for the assignment you're taking on Tuesday? I sent you an email about it all but my computer has been messing around again and I wasn't sure it had sent through."
"Yeah, yeah I got it. I still don't get why you had to call at this hour to check though."
"I had to do it now before I forget to check again. Anyway, I'll speak to you on Tuesday. Nighty-night!" and she hung up. I tried to put the phone back in the charger but it ended up on the floor. Meh, it'll be fine.
I rolled over in bed, trying to get more comfortable, knowing that there was little chance of me falling asleep now. The nightmare, although already fading from memory, still held the prominent fear of eerie orange eyes and angels with ripped off wings. And Rikku had brought up that stupid assignment…
Minutes later, I was in the dingy little kitchen making coffee. If I wasn't going to be asleep I might as well be awake.
The caffeine sent a buzz to my skull, thrumming with the nervous thoughts of Tuesday's mission. I had been worried about it since the briefing, losing sleep and eating less. I rubbed at my eyes, thinking back over the years, how everything had happened after Roxas had left.
I finally started paying attention in school. Enough to pass my exams and attend college. I took a gap year and did some sight-seeing, discovering the world I was a part of. I had especially enjoyed going to St. Lucia, a beautiful island in the Caribbean. The sand, the water, the rainforest, the people were all so charming that I stayed there longer than I intended.
When I returned to Twilight Town, I joined the police. Three years into the job, Rikku joined the force as an elite hacker, paid for her illegal hobby to find information on dangerous criminals.
We were a team for a while. Rikku would look up some hidden away scumbag, find where he was and I would go in and arrest the bastard. We'd also managed to convince the force to let us capture some people that we knew had committed terrible crimes.
For five years, we hunted down the survivors of the fire at the laboratory. Xemnas, Xaldin, Luxord and Larxene were all locked away, the others claimed by the blaze. I felt guilty about causing people to die but I knew, deep down, they deserved it.
After that was over, I felt like I could breathe again. I went back to being a regular police officer, occasionally working with Rikku. Two years ago I was offered a job in the child's protection unit. Hunting down paedophiles,saving abused kids…I took the job.
The last two years had been stressful. Every night I would go to bed, worrying over whether little Xion would be safe, if her Mum had really reformed, hoping that nasty pervert was caught before he raped any more kids.
Some nights I had not slept well at all. I ended up thinking about the past a lot as well. I called all my old school friends, seeing how they were getting on. Marluxia was a secondary school teacher, his subject being Biology. He was married to someone as well but her name always eludes me…
Zexion…I felt my heart lurch at the thought of Zexion. He had gone to some top-notch University and was a lawyer now but…he wasn't happy. Him and Demyx had something between them but his parents whisked him away to Hollow Bastion as soon as they discovered their son might be gay in the final weeks of school. They had to get him away from 'the bad influence'.
Zexion was part of a high-class family. Even in this day and age, it was still frowned upon to be homosexual. He was expected to marry a girl of equal or higher class. It was tearing him apart.
I knew it was killing Dem as well. He had a steady job as a sound technician but he wasn't happy either. I still considered him a good friend but with this job, we didn't talk much anymore. He was lonely, almost in tears when I last spoke to him over the phone.
And then there were Rikku's friends I had gotten to know. Yuna, Paine and Tidus. Yuna worked in some area of archaeology, a really smart girl. Paine was doing something similar, travelling out to do major digs. Tidus…
Even more painful were the memories of Tidus. I met him at college, only then realising he had gone to the same school as me and that he was a great guy. Bubbly, funny and had a good heart. He had been engaged to Yuna, absolutely in love with her. Then, a few weeks before the big day, he had died.
It had been a road accident, some idiot driving too fast, putting an end to his dreams of a family and a life with Yuna.
I now looked down at my stained, empty coffee cup. Why was there so much sadness? Why was this world such a rotten, miserable mess? I was glad, in a way, past all the lonely nights and gloomy days, that Roxas was out of this place, hopefully somewhere better.
Sometimes, Rikku and I, or Demyx, Marly or Zexion, would talk of Roxas. It was unspoken but they must have known I missed him dreadfully. I knew I talked to remember, to relive but they talked to console and wonder if it had really happened.
I trudged up to the bathroom and brushed my teeth of the coffee. Stubble coated my jaw and was promptly saved off, making me look less like a homeless person. The angles in my face were sharper and I felt my body was weaker. Instead of muscles my torso now flaunted my visible rib cage.
Everything…it was all too much. I felt…tired. I just wanted to rest. Be free of the constant anxiousness and niggling possibilities that innocent children might gain another bruise because I hadn't done my job properly.
Things.…just weren't right.
~ This World ~
"Xehanort Griffin, a.k.a Joe Megarty," I read aloud, looking at the grainy CCTV image of the man. He had to be in his 50's, maybe older, with his balding head and stooped posture. I switched to a clearer image, depicting his hawk-like features. And those amber eyes.
"Yup, he's the target," Rikku said, sitting beside me with her feet on the desk. Seriously, that girl got away with everything in the office, probably because she knew she was too useful for them to even threaten to fire her. We were looking over the case file for Tuesday's mission.
Xehanort, or his alias, Joe Megarty, was a renowned paedophile, befriending children on the internet and, in some cases, meeting up with them and….well, it's pretty obvious what a disgusting guy like this does. Rikku had gotten hold of his email address and we had another guy pretending to be a young girl, chatting to Xehanort (or Joe) over msn. Xehanort had asked to meet 'Angela' on Tuesday, at 8:00pm during the Autumn Festival.
The Autumn Festival was a big thing in Twilight Town; there would be stalls and fireworks, games and food. It was the perfect place to take someone on a date but I doubt that's what he chose it for.
"Ax, you're spacing out again. What's got you all like this?" Rikku asked, bringing me back to present. I sighed and pushed back my hair, absently wondering if I should get the red mane cut.
"I don't know. If something goes wrong on Tuesday and I don't catch Xehanort, it'll be nearly impossible to get hold of him again. During that time he'll exploit more kids and I'll be to blame." I looked dejectedly at my feet.
"You're the best Perv-Catcher we've got so don't sweat it. Just wait near the meet up point and then, when he's all like, 'Where is the innocent girl I was going to do unspeakable things to because I'm a soulless pervert that has no morals,' you jump in, stick him in cuffs and get his miserable carcass into a prison cell. Simple, right?"
"Sure," I muttered, looking back at the image of Xehanort. Something about this didn't feel right. It felt like there were coiling snakes in my stomach, tightening around it and preparing to strike.
~ This World ~
The streets were bustling. Children were crying out for piggy-back rides from weary parents, trudging through the crowds. Flashing lights decorated the shops in the Tram Common, the tram itself a sparkling haze of colours as it glided past, making its way round the area.
The sky was clear, perfect for fireworks. Stalls lined the streets, offering gifts, games and other goodies. I would have looked around, maybe brought something back for Rikku since she barely left her computer. 'Strange gifts from the outside world!' I would say. Then promptly get smacked upside the head.
I stood close to a jewellery stand, blending in with the shoppers and the night sucking in my dark police uniform. I had a clear view of the Dodgems , the meeting point of Xehanort and 'Angela'. It was a little past eight o'clock and already the night was dark and chill. Unfortunately I was not allowed my police jacket because it stood out too much so I was left in the T-shirt and bulletproof vest.
My hand snaked to the breast pocket of my shirt and felt the soft touches of Roxas' feather. My Sergeant would probably bust a lung if he knew I carried it with me. Prohibited items and all. I liked having it close though. It made life a little more bearable.
The slight breeze patted my bare skin with frosty kisses, making me shiver and quake. Where was this damn bastard? The sooner he showed up, the sooner I'd have him behind bars.
I saw him slipping through the crowd, heading to the Dodgems. His hawk-like nose and eyes gave him the gleam of a predator, silent and dangerous. He was hunched over, hands clasped behind his back.
When reaching the meet-up point, he looked around, slightly confused, and checked his watch. When he turned to look in the other direction, I made my move.
Walking briskly, I marched over to him, readying the handcuffs. He turned and saw me stalking towards him. His tan face visibly paled at the sight of my uniform and the silver chains that would soon bind him.
He sneered at me and took off at a run with speed that should not have belonged to an old man. I chased after him, pushing angry citizens aside, yelling into my radio that he was making a run for it. My colleagues in the police car would come to back me up, maybe send for some more people if things got bad.
The air now slapped against my skin, biting and abusing. I gritted my teeth and followed him down the alley, whipping out my metal baton, preparing to knock this sicko into the ground. I knew Twilight Town well enough to realise that this particular alley led to a dead-end.
He stopped running when he came to the wall and turned to face me. It was dark down here, harder to see him now. I would have got out my torch but I didn't want to take my eyes off him, lest he try anything while my attention was elsewhere.
I walked over to him, bringing out the cuffs.
"Xehanort Griffins, I am arresting you on suspicion of-"
He let out a hoarse yell and shoved his elbow into my stomach. The uniform protected me but it caught me off-guard. How was this geezer so strong? Or was I weak?
I wheezed from the blow, dropping my baton in surprise and he punched my face, nearly sending me sprawling to the glass-littered ground. I righted myself quickly and evaded his next punch. I sent my fist into his unguarded chest, drawing my arm back to give another to his jaw.
But his leg struck out, connecting with my thigh and making me stagger. I felt a flare of pain in my head as he cracked down on it with both hands fisted together. I hit the ground, dizzy from the blow.
I was seeing coloured lights against the sky….the fireworks? Distantly I heard whizzing and banging sounds, people cheering and gasps of awe. I was about to get back up, teach this arsehole a lesson, but agonising pain erupted in my chest, preventing all movement.
Screaming, barely audible over the sounds of the fireworks, I looked up to see orange eyes leering at me. The pain hit another spot in my chest and I scrunched my eyes shut, gritting my teeth. I opened my eyes and the eyes were gone - Xehanort was gone.
I looked down at myself. I could see nothing past the darkness here. Slowly, carefully, I ran my hand down my body, feeling for whatever was causing the agony. Involuntarily, I let out a little exhale when I felt my hands touch glass. Two large shards of broken glass were protruding from my chest.
Xehanort must have taken off my sturdy over-vest when I was still recovering from the blow to the head, I realised. They were easy to rip off, only Velcro head the piece crap on the body.
I scrabbled for my radio but it must have come off. Keeping a hand pressed to my rapidly bleeding chest, I took out my torch and flicked it on, sweeping the little ball of light over the ground, searching. I choked on a sob when I saw the little black square halfway down the mouth of the alley, most likely kicked by Xehanort.
My torch clattered as it hit the ground. I tried to sit up, get over to my radio, call for assistance, for help, but the agony burning, freezing, electrifying through me was too much to handle. I dropped back down to the ground, lying on my back. My hands shook as I tried to remove the tattered remains of the vest from me, hoping the use the material to staunch the bleeding.
It was too much. I couldn't move, it hurt too much, I couldn't get the damn thing off! My breathing was erratic, from fear and blood loss.
I tried calling out for help but I couldn't heard over the shrieking fireworks, the noisy crowds. They wouldn't even catch the light of my torch; I was in too deep into the alley. I was alone.
My hands were slick with my own blood, my face slowly getting wetter with my tears. It hurt so bad and I wasn't ready to die! I wanted to say goodbye, to Reno, to Rikku, to Dem, Zexion, Dad, Marly, Yuna and Paine and…and…
Ignoring the torment in my chest, I moved one of my hands to the breast pocket of my shirt, gently pulling out the feather. I held it above me, my hand making the ashy grey a bloody red but I didn't care. I held it up against the sky, watching fireworks starburst behind it. Red, green, yellow, purple and…blue. Crystal blue, like his eyes.
The strength in my arm gave out and I let it fall to the floor. The ends of my fingers were numb. I let my head turn to the right, looking at the feather, blood stained and tatty, silhouetted against the glow of my torchlight.
The tears ceased; there was nothing left in me. I felt chilly, like I was encompassed in snow, right down to the bone. I let out a last few shuddering breaths, thinking over and over one word, one name.
A split second before it happened, I knew this was it.
I had died.
~ This World ~
White. That's all there was in this place.
Well, I guess I was here and the feather too. I had it in my right hand, clasped tightly, hanging on. Everything seemed clear, yet hidden behind a fog. I knew, yet I did not know.
I looked around me, wondering if I should try walking in this void, finding some place. All I could see before me in every direction was white. It didn't feel right, though, to start walking. At least not right now.
The fog in my mind was starting to clear. Beyond were the answers. Everything.
Here, every 'who', 'what', 'where', 'when', 'why' and 'how' was answered. I could see, understand, everything that had happened. The most complex physics was laid before me like a simple sentence. For a moment, I could fathom every mystery surrounding Roxas. A hole in the carefully woven fabric between worlds. Roxas falling through and being guided back so the hole could be mended. I knew why he had given me the feather. Something of his, from him and his world, so I could remember him.
Now I was passing through the veil that separated worlds. I closed my eyes, feeling like I was flying, leaving one place and entering another. Time had no meaning here. I let myself be taken away, drifting to a better place.
Then the time came when I started to walk.
~ This World ~
The first thing I noticed was that I no longer held the feather. I had no idea where it had gone but if this world had Roxas in it, I was willing to let it go. I looked around the unfamiliar area, seeing it was just like the world I had come from.
Grass, trees, buildings and people.
I grinned to myself when I spotted a couple in the distance, both proudly wearing feathery wings on their back. I smiled even further when I noticed that they were both men. That meant it was acceptable here; we wouldn't be persecuted for our feelings.
This place seemed nice. It was a mild day, some clouds lazily wandering the skies, wispy like smoke. Behind me was a stretch of trees and lush green grass. There was a cool breeze sifting through the leaves. This place felt great. I felt great too. There was energy in my muscles and something felt…younger…about me. I felt like I did when I was seventeen.
Now, where to find Roxas….
I would have ventured towards the town I could see a little ways off but something told me to head further into the copse of trees I had ended up in. I followed my feet, walking further and further into the orchard. Some of the leaves were turning a golden colour, getting ready to fall for the winter. I admired the scenery as I walked. This world seemed more…natural, like everything was softly breathing.
Then, up ahead, I saw him.
He was curled on a low, thick, branch of a tree, a book held between his hands. He looked exactly the same; sunny hair, small figure and great ashy wings. They were tucked behind him as he read, looking like he was using them to cushion his back against the tree. The sunlight that fell through the gaps of leaves in the tree put him in a spotlight, making him look all the more beautiful, just sitting there, reading.
The sixth sense that tells you if someone is looking at you forced him to look away from his book and fix his blue eyes on me. I smiled at him, looking up into the tree. He sat there, stunned.
Then scrambled up and leapt from the branch, landing lightly on his feet, book completely forgotten. At full speed, he ran over to me. Unable to help myself, I ran over to him and caught him up in my arms. I hugged him close, breathing in his sweet scent, burying my face in his soft hair.
He pulled away and looked up at me with tearful eyes. He lifted a hand to his face and wiped them away, smiling and laughing. I laughed with him, not letting go of him, never wanting to ever let go again.
"Axel," he said, his voice as beautiful as ever, "It's really you?"
I laughed and ruffled his hair.
"Yeah, Rox. I'm here."
And everything, at long last, felt right again.
And so, we reach the conclusion of This World.
 That's how we spell pedophile in good ol' England.
 The bumper-car things. I think they're called Dodgems….where you just drive around and bump into people. Yep, that's where I'll learn to drive :P
 I know there's no  in the story but I should point out that Axel does not have a gun, even though he's police officer. Low ranking officers don't get to carry guns but they get batons. I think that's how it works anyway.
I didn't want to put this at the beginning (seemed like a spoiler) but the warning was for the hints at paedophiles and what Xehanort was being arrested for. I personally find mentions of paedophiles very upsetting and disturbing but I know a lot of people are tougher. I just didn't want anyone to be shocked. *Still clutching teddy*
And here are the IMPORTANT NOTICES:
This story still has a lot of loose ends (what are the lives of Axel and Roxas like now, what will happen between Demyx and Zexion, how is Xigbar doing, is there another gap in the universe that Cloud might fall through, would Xemnas, when he dies and enters the after world, cause havoc?) There are still many possibilities. I do not plan on writing a sequel or prequel.
However, I am opening up this story to all of you. If anyone would like to write a sequel or prequel or sister story for this fic, you are welcome to. I would still own the original plot and story (I just like being able to say I own stuff XD) but everyone is welcome to add their own work. As well, if anyone would like to rewrite the story, as in keep the main plot but change little details or characters or the writing style in general, they are welcome to as well.
I only ask that if you would like to do one of these, please leave me a private message (PM) or leave a notice in a review stating what you are doing. This is just because I want to see what everyone is doing; I mean, of course I'm going to want to see what happens in any stories you guys write!
I may put some info on my profile about this fic, just explaining some things, how the original idea came about and so on. Nothing major, only little bits, like why I chose one thing and explanations. Just check it out if you're interested.
I think that's all. I might edit a couple of chapters in the future but that will be all.
So, I hope you have all enjoyed this story. I know I've enjoyed writing it and will miss writing it :'(
A huge thank you to everyone who has been with this FanFiction until the end, supported me, helped me and put up with my weirdness. I wish everyone the best for the future.
Thanks for reading,