Before I go on, a big thanks to Peach for reviewing the last chapter! (LOL, I noticed. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I'm really sorry it took me so long to update. :D Nope, you're right, Haruki's completely head over heels, and he knows it. XD In fact, Yoshi's probably the only one who doesn't know he is. Either way, they'll always care about each other deeply. ^_^)
Also, a big thanks to Anon for reviewing as well! (:D I'm sorry you had to wait so long to get the new chapter! Poor Yoshi indeed... :( Agreed, poor Haruki as well. Sometimes being the best friend rather sucks, especially when your friends don't want to listen... :P)
And so the reason Riku and Xion don't tell Haruki the truth when he's ten, as planned, and why his sixteenth birthday is so important are all revealed... Sorta, anyway. You'll see. Pleae enjoy!
"Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Master."
"It is no trouble."
Xion hasn't seen the Mysterious Tower in, what, five years? Though the three good fairies have left since the war ended to spend their days with their daughter-of-sorts, the tower looks exactly the same as she remembers it—desk tidy, books organized on their proper bookshelves, brown stone floor swept and corners cobweb-free... in short, the complete opposite of her own house with a toddler and Riku on the loose and all their friends crashing there on a regular basis. Yen Sid doesn't seem to have aged, either; her beckons her to sit in a chair across from his and follows suit.
"You said there was a matter you wished to discuss with me." Yen Sid folds his hands on his desk and fixes her with his trademark intense stare. The first time he had done so, Xion had been reminded of Xemnas and his stare that felt so piercing that she felt there was nothing she could keep from him because he knew what she would think before she even did. While that may still be true, there is benevolence in Yen Sid that was lacking in her former "master."
"Yes, Master." Xion bites her lip and takes a deep breath. "I was hoping you could explain Keyblade inheritance to me."
Yen Sid frowns and leans back in his chair, stroking his beard slowly. "In the past, the successors of the Keyblade Masters were chosen by the Masters themselves. The potential heir had to impress the Master with their strength and potential, be it in physical strength, magical capability, or most importantly strength of heart. When the Master saw the full potential of the heir, he or she would present the future wielder with his or her Keyblade and perform the Inheritance rites, at which time the Keyblade would assess the new wielder. If the Keyblade approved, it would emit light, and the ceremony was completed. This is how Masters Terra, Aqua, and Ventus were chosen—as was your husband."
Xion nods, still biting her lip. "But Sora was not chosen that way, and neither was I."
"Indeed not." Yen Sid's frown turns thoughtful. "There have been exceptions, though the majority of them have occurred recently. Sora, for example, inherited the ability to wield the Keyblade from Ventus's heart residing in his; when the time came that he had need of a weapon, a Master-less Key emerged and chose him. Similarly, Roxas's and your power came from your connection to Sora, and other Keyblades chose you to wield them."
"That's the only other way, then? A strong connection to another wielder?" Xion's hands curl around the hem of her shirt, knuckles turning white with her grip.
But Yen Sid closes his eyes and sighs. "...No, it is not."
Xion's shoulders sag, and she lets her head fall, staring blankly at the feet of the Master's desk.
"The only true prerequisite needed to obtain a Keyblade is a strong heart, whether it is aligned with the Light or the Darkness. If a wielder has not been chosen by a Master, then it is likely his or her heart was strong enough that a Keyblade answered his or her need." A cool, calloused hand settles over her own; Xion lifts her head to be met with Master Yen Sid's gaze, and for the first time he looks at her with pity and sympathy. "Neither you nor Riku wish for your son to be a wielder of the Keyblade."
Xion closes her eyes and shakes her head. "Any parent—any real parent—wants the best for their child, or at least better than what they had. I know Haruki's strong enough to handle it—everyone can see it, but—" She pulls one hand away, covers her mouth for a moment, and rests her head in her hand. "We've suffered so much because of the Keyblade—for the Keyblade—I don't want my only child to suffer like that."
"It is a difficult decision," Yen Sid admits, "and one that few Keyblade Masters are ever put in a position to make."
"Because they're smart enough not to take chances."
"On the contrary. Many of them are afraid to even consider the life you have built."
Xion laughs. "No, they're afraid of potty training. If this makes me braver than other Masters, then I'd like to trade jobs for a day." Hesitantly she pulls her other hand away from Yen Sid's; the Master returns to his former position. "...Thank you for this conversation, Master."
Yen Sid nods, rising. "I wish you the best of luck, Master Xion."
"And to you as well." Xion stands and turns to the door—
"If I may say so, however," he adds—Xion glances over her shoulder at him— "Haruki will make a fine Master one day should he be chosen, if his parents are any indication."
Xion smiles faintly. "Thank you, Master."
Haruki is flopped on the couch with his dad after the biggest tickle fight in the history of ever, trying to get back all the air he didn't get to breathe 'cause he and Dad were laughing too much, when the door creeeaaaks open.
"Mama!" Haruki can breathe all right now; he hops off the scratchy couch and runs through the living room, around the corner, through the kitchen, and right into Mama's arms. "You're home."
"Yup." Mama squeezes tighttighttight so he loses all the air he just got back, just the way he likes it. "Oh, Mom missed being home with you two today."
"Missed you, two!" Which is kinda lying 'cause Haruki was having too much with Dad to really miss Mama, but Dad prob'ly missed her, so it counts.
"Sura you did." Uh-oh—Mama's got that voice like she doesn't believe him but she's being funny about it. She knows.
"Why yes we did, didn't we?" Dad's in the kitchen now, too, leaning on the door like he usually does and looking really hurt. When Haruki turns to look at him, though, he gives him a big wink. "We had to play all kinds of games to keep our minds off the misery."
"I see." Haruki turns back to Mama with his best "I didn't do it" look, and she giggles. "Oh, baby, I love you so much," and she hugs him some more," and I'll be proud of you no matter what."
"You, too?" When Mama gives him room again, he pulls on her arm. "Come on, y'gotta play Go Fish with us now."