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The constant ticks of the large, centuries old horologe ticked off the seconds as they piled up and dragged the minutes away. From the other end of the room came the mechanical beeps of the customized computer, at times demanding attention, at times merely announcing its existence. Both sounds, maddening should one be exposed to them for too long at a time, went unnoticed by the boy chosen by the Keyblade as he laid completely still on the single bed in the room. His soft, somewhat forced breathing proved to be the only human sound hearable between the cold stone walls that surrounded him.

It was by no means an indication he was alone.


It only meant that whoever was watching him was good at keeping quiet.
Only an idiotic madman would leave the Keyblade Master alone to sleep, after all, vulnerable and exposed after he had single-handedly defeated over a thousand Heartless – all on his own.
The boy was spent, exhausted, both physically and mentally, and while he was indeed arguably a madman, the man calling himself Leon was by no means an idiot.

"Still not waking up, huh..." He stated more than asked, seeing how the only one able to answer was still very much passed-out, curled up comfortably under the thin blanket Aerith insisted on covering him with.
"He's in a bad enough of a shape as it is", she argued in her ever calm, ever gentle voice; "we don't want him to catch a cold, too!"
He had very little to say against that. Not only did it make sense... but he was far, far too terrified of the woman to even attempt an argument.
Cetras; go figure.

Leon had to sigh and pinch the bridge of his nose at the memory, only to look up when he heard a rustle coming from the bed.
Yet it was only the boy rolling about in his sleep, now lying on his side and – for the first time since he was put there, a bit over a day before – facing the room.
Sighing again, the man crossed his arms and leaned back against the wall. Another false alarm, was it?
So he wasn't to see the boy's smile for another while, was that it? That smile... that never faltering smile.
It never ceased to amaze him how the mere sight of the boy's face was enough to cheer him up. To reassure him, to instill hope where despair and exhaustion reigned supreme. To make him think that maybe, just maybe – things will work out.

The first time they met? It was hardly so. He was still bitter then, frustrated, so engrossed in his own tragedy and loss despite the years that passed.
He attacked this boy who was hurting in exactly the same way all too willingly.
He deserved the beating Sora gave him, if only for underestimating him the way he had. That was the first and last time, however; he learned never to underestimate or look down at him ever again.

Well, not intentionally, at least. As much as Sora grew in that year, he was still a head or two shorter than Leon. No matter what, so long as that remained, so long as he kept goofily crossing his hands behind his head, so long as he kept kicking carelessly at the air, Leon could never see him as anything but a boy. A reliable, dear boy, but nonetheless – a boy.

But that boy wasn't waking up. Leon knew he was exhausted. Going from one world to the other, fighting, battling, never once finding so much as a clue about the people that mattered to him...

Leon couldn't really blame him if he chose to never wake up.

He would, though, that much was certain. Because Sora wasn't one to give up, to run and hide. Sora wasn't one to accept a lose and move on with his life just because his best wasn't good enough. The boy was, after all, the one who believe in it the most –
He was the Keyblade's Chosen One. His best had to be good enough, and so far he made sure it was all for the people he cared for.

That was the kind of amazing boy Sora was, and Leon knew that better than anyone else.

When Darkness covered everything, the Light remained only in the Hearts of children – and Sora still certainly was a child, a mere boy.

Leon blinked as he found himself standing then next to the bed, his body having moved on its own when he saw Sora try and reach in his sleep over his pillow. Soft lips parted slightly as he uttered out one single, two-syllabled word.
A name.

A frown rose to Leon's scarred face. So Sora was searching for him even in his sleep... Never truly resting, always yearning, longing...

Even asleep, the boy knew no rest.

"You'll find him." Leon promised, soothing his hand over the chocolate hued spikes. "If anyone can, it's you."

He hardly expected it to have any effect at all, and yet the boy seemed to relax. For the first time in the two day he was all but dead to the world – the boy finally seemed peaceful.

"...you really are a kid." Leon concluded as he tucked the blanket closer around the boy's body before finally letting Yuffie take over.
It was rather awe-striking, once he stopped to think about it... how all the boy wanted was some words of encouragement.
Leon couldn't help but smile as he kept pondering Sora's reaction. It felt nice, he concluded, knowing one was trusted by someone they held dear.

"You'll make it. I know you will."

And true enough, several hours later Sora was already gone, another spark in the skies as he went to bring truth to the older warrior's words.