Riku has been sacked.

Axel has been sacked.

This joke has been sacked.

Disclaimers: KH is not mine.

Alright, in all seriousness, I was unhappy with how this chapter came out so I rewrote a part of it to make more sense. If you read the first draft, read this instead.


Chapter Fourteen: Protector

I run faster down the halls, skidding around the corner and nearly falling on my ass. Holy crap, I was going to die now. Move, Sora! I dodge the wall I had skidded around and jump into a group of kids that were going the opposite way. I hear them yelling at me but I don't give a damn right now.

"Hey!"

"Watch it, freshman!"

Yeah, yeah, love you too, bye! I move my way around them, trying my best not to accidentally knock anyone over and get them into the firing range. What feels like a million elbows shove into my sides as I wade through the crowd of students and for once, this doesn't piss me off. It just makes me move faster. Had to move faster, had to keep going, had to get the innocents out of the way! I swear I could feel him right on my ass and if I don't move faster-

"HEY! NEW KID!"

Aw, hell. I feel a very inappropriate smile cross my lips as the crowd of kids that had previously surrounded me and hid me suddenly parts, leaving me stranded in the middle of the hall. Oh come on. I turn around and watch as the kid who looked like my brother walks slowly towards me like he was some sort of scary bad guy in a movie. Yeah, I'm so not scared. My eyes drop down to the spikes of ice around his knuckles and I gulp, knowing that every single one of them has my name on them.

The kid growls, sounding freakishly close to what I imagine a very pissed off tiger would sound like. I gulp again as he takes another few steps and I watch his ice-covered fist in fear. Rai, as big as he had been, had gone down from one hit of the stuff. What if it was magic? Well, of course it was magic and all that but what if it did something else-?

The boy's fist whizzes past my ear, startling me out of my thoughts as the ice on his knuckles slice through my skin. I let out a startled yelp as the ice particles freeze onto my earlobe; when the blood went trickling down my aching ear, it felt like I had suddenly gotten frostbite. Son of a bitch! Catching my eye, the kid smiles as he pulls his fist back to give me another one. Oh, this was going to hurt, this was going to hurt a lot.

Normally, this is the point where I would have fallen over in pain and started crying out to not be punched again but this time... my body had other ideas.

I find myself dodging the second punch, seeing it coming like I was some sort of insect-based superhero. The kid's fist swings by me wildly, nearly making him spin around and fall over. He stares at me in utter shock, obviously asking me how the hell I was able to do that. He blinks a few times before looking at his hand and then back up at me. I just give him a little shrug, just as confused. Hey, I'm not doing anything, the legs did it all on their own.

He keeps staring at me for a minute before dropping his hand to his side, obviously thinking over what just happened. And how I apparently had superpowers now because I'm freaking Super Sora. Wait, focus. Quick, Sora, this is your chance! I start to carefully sidestep towards the nearest classroom so I could grab a teacher and beg for protection. No idea what to do when I actually get inside, but hey, maybe they can stop the ice mutant.

Someone help! Anybody...?

The kid stares at me a little more before he suddenly backs up a little, and before I knew what was going on, he kicks me in the stomach and sends me flying. And when I mean flying, I mean I woke up again in a minute next to a wall feeling like it had just punched me. Hot bile gurgles up my throat, threatening to come out as I clutch my stomach in agony, trying to keep from screaming. God, it hurt, god it hurt! The kid smiles a little as I find him crouched next to me, studying my face as I begin to cry. Yes, I'm pathetic. I struggle to keep from going into full out wailing, instead just letting one or two big tears fall down my face.

But the kid still stares at me with that strange little smile on his face, like he was confused but he was beginning to figure things out. He reaches out and grabs a fistful of my hair, dragging my face up to see it clearer. "Hey you," The boy that looked like my brother says, "What the fuck is wrong with you?"

Oh geez, where do I start?

I say nothing, just keep my eyes down so that he doesn't get into alpha male mode and beat me up even worse. For the first time, I hear the kids around us talking. "Telling you, it's got to be the blond. Brunet's not putting up a fight." "Mage students are fighting, place your bets!" "Yeah, put my money on Roxas." Instead of helping me out, the older kids were just talking to each other and putting munny units into another kid's lunchbox. Bet money. I wince as the kid, as Roxas, lifts my head up more, pulling out a few strands of hair out in the process. My eyes remain focused on the older kids. Was this... some sort of game for them?

What the hell was wrong with people at this school? I feel my hand curl up into a fist, the blood from my various injuries dripping down onto the floor. What was wrong with people? Nobody was willing to help. Nobody even bothered to help. An image of Miss Heartilly standing by as that kid Seifer cast his flame spell on Xion flashes to mind, making me grit my teeth in anger. I could feel it deep within me, a white hot rage that rankled my sense of justice and right in the world. Nobody was willing to help anyone else except me and I was getting punished for it. I had defended Xion and later Seifer from their bullies and now I was getting my butt handed to me for it.

How the hell was that fair?

'But you have the power to stop it, Sora.'

Huh? I look up to see a girl in white standing in the middle of the crowd of upperclassmen, the only one not taking part of the betting pool. Her eyes were firmly on me, looking at me as if she wanted to help. But for some reason, I know that she wouldn't be able to. She wasn't strong enough to take on Roxas. But the idea that someone wanted to help made me stare at her, grateful that maybe I had one more friend, one more person, on my side.

'You have the power to stop it, Sora,' She repeated softly, in a way that made me sure that she wasn't speaking out loud. Her lips weren't moving, but I could hear her anyway. 'To protect people. Don't you want to remember it?'

The power to stop it... the power... to protect people... I close my eyes again, trying to remember exactly what she was talking about. She had been there on the train with me, and once again, this chick was only talking in riddles. Dammit, why can't girls just say what they mean in plain English? Remember... I had to remember...

My right hand curls into a O shape, like there was something in my hand I was holding. What was I supposed to remember? I couldn't... see it... But my hand remains in that shape, like I was... holding something... something... with a hilt...? A weapon?

Roxas taps my jaw with his fist, forcing me out of my reverie. "Hey. What are you doing?" He asks me curiously, like he was a friend that was legitimately concerned for my well being. I ignore him and keep trying to remember, even as he starts to wrap his arm around my waist to pick me up. He lifts me to my feet and keeps me standing, even though I don't respond to him. I just stand there next to him, my head bent forward. Maybe he thought I had a concussion and that I needed some help and maybe I did, but the movement makes something click in my head for some reason. A smile crosses my lips.

I got it.

Immediately, I shove the kid over again and bolt down the hallway, completely ignoring the startled yells from the upperclassmen who had put their munny on the fight. Yeah, whatever, screw you too! As my dear old pa used to say, the best offense was always to be the fastest runner!

A blur of classrooms and students in the same two variations of uniforms, skirts and plaid pants, zips past me as I skid my way around a few kids to go around the corner. From the corner of my eye, the kid starts to recover behind me. Oh, I know he's going to be after me in about five seconds but I wasn't called the fastest kid on the Island for nothing. I was going to be gone, way gone by the time he picked himself up!

Then I feel the kid's punch connecting with the small of my back and I feel the air rip through my fingers as Roxas sends me flying into a wall again, slamming my head against it with a sickeningly loud crack. I tumble onto my back and hit my head again, this time feeling something inside of it split open a little. Ow... A line of blood trickles down into my eye, obscuring my vision. But I still see his annoyed expression and watch as he flexes his fingers, as if punching me hurt him a lot more than it did me. I struggle to breathe, feeling the air escape me in ragged little puffs of air.

'Sora!'

Not now invisible ghost lady, I'm about to get my butt handed to me.

I don't even know when the kid had gotten up. He cracks his knuckles, ignoring a teacher who was now clinging to his sleeve and trying to pull him away from me. "I don't care what you were doing, you defend Seifer, that makes you a part of the Disciplinary Committee. And that means you've got a problem with me." He informs me in a wheezy breath, obviously he was tired from chasing me. I'm so sorry that I'm being such a bother. I cough weakly, feeling something warm splatter against my lips. I close my eyes, not bothering to look because I know it's blood. Damn, I'm bleeding. The blond turns to his friend, swatting the older guy's hand off irritably, like the tall red-head was some sort of annoying bug.

Great... all that... and I still had to be beat up... dammit...

I wish I was home...

I close my eyes, preparing myself for the beating of a lifetime. Forget all of the times that Wakka and Tidus had messed with me, this one was going to hurt. I didn't want to be beat up, I didn't want to go to this school, I didn't even want to live here. I just wanted to go home, I wanted to go home to Riku and Kairi.

I see my brother's face in my head for a moment, his voice saying that I was going to do well here. My hand curls up into a fist as I laugh bitterly under my breath. Of course not, Ven, of course I'm not going to do well. I'm not you. I don't do well with strangers.

Somehow, even as I think that, I know it's a lie.

'Sora... listen... you have to remember!'

Dammit, Ghost Lady, can't I just have a moment to pity myself before this guy beats the crap out of me?

A cool hand touches my shoulder, shaking it slightly as I begin to open my eyes. Alright, I'm up. The girl's eyes peer into my own for a moment as she lifts my head up, gently stroking my cheeks. They're blue, this amazing shade of violet-blue that takes my breath away. My breath is ragged against her skin but the touch feels good, soothing even. I let her wrap an arm around my waist and try to pick me up, though she struggles with it. I open my eyes completely, staring at the kid who was willing to get her butt handed to her from a crazed blond- wait, where the hell is Roxas?

I heard a loud thunking noise and I peer over the girl's shoulder to see Roxas slamming his fists repeatedly into the air, only to keep making that noise. Thunk! Thunk! Thunk! No matter how hard he hits the air, the air somehow blocks him from coming any closer to us. A... barrier? She... put up a barrier.

Why? To... protect me?

"Naminé!" The kid says desperately, his eyes right on my little protector. She ignores him, instead focusing on somehow getting my heavy ass upright. I grab her shoulder and prop myself up against her, trying to keep most of my weight on my legs rather than on her little body. Shit, I was tired... I cough up a little more blood, weakly staring at the two kids in front of me.

Naminé wasn't dressed in a school uniform, she was in a short little white dress and... I look down at her feet, seeing a pair of sandals on her feet instead of the regulation loafers. That had to mean that... she didn't go to this school. A thought comes to me as the petite blond somehow manages start dragging me down the hall, towards a doorway between two classrooms. There was a sign above it... I shake my head, getting some of the blood out of my eyes long enough to read the sign. 'Stairs.' She was trying to get me outside.

"Naminé! Why are you helping him? He's not on our side, he's just a dumb kid!" Roxas yells out, making the girl (and to a lesser extent, me) stop in mid-step. I feel the girl's dreamy air instantly vanish from her, replaced by this red-hot wave of anger that made me flinch and try to make her let go of me. I'm not going to be caught in the middle of this, precisely because I'm not dumb. Help, constable, help me!

She just turns away from him and continues dragging me down the hall, though she started hurrying up. But I still hear her speak, even if it wasn't directed towards me. "I made a promise. I made a promise to Sora. I'm on his side now." Naminé whispers softly, her voice so quiet that I could barely hear it. But... A promise to me? She's on my side? Did we know each other besides her being my supernatural stalker?

But there's no way around it. I just have to trust her. I allow her to lead me down to the stairs and I pray that her barrier will hold up.

888888888

Ven glances at his watch, looking up into the crowd of students in an uneasy despair. Where was he? He'd told Hayner to go get Sora and bring him back to the gates. He'd even seen Hayner earlier, but he had been alone. Ven leans back against the brick post at his back, shaking his head as he waits for his brother.

Where was Sora? He couldn't have gotten in trouble already. It was only the first day!

"Hey Ven!" A familiar voice calls out, making Ven look up. The older boy sighs irritably, resisting the urge to look back to the crowd of students to look for one head of brunet spikes. "You're late," Ven tells the speaker jokingly, giving him a smile that he didn't exactly feel up to.

The boy chuckles before wrapping his arm around the shoulder of the girl trailing at his side. "You know we wouldn't miss school, Master. Especially since Sora's going to be here. We haven't seen you guys in so long." The girl says with a shy smile before giving Ven a little wave, making the blond relax slightly. She had had always had that effect on boys, it had something to do with her beautiful violet-blue eyes and her cheerful smile.

Ven nods, allowing himself a chuckle. "Well, looks like the gang's all here." He starts to say as the boy sweeps back a strand of silver hair out of his eyes and as the red headed girl adjusts her plaid skirt. "How about we go find him, Riku, Kairi?"