A/N: Somebody needs to seriously play some funeral march right now. So sad.
Last Chapter. For realz now, people D:
I hope I shall do this justice :I
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He was back in the darkness again. When he had finally given into both himself and his weariness and fallen asleep, he immediately was back in this place. He eyed the area around him a new sense of nervousness and fear, something that he had managed to keep at bay before now. But with the new image of Xemnas's eyes following his every movement was enough to make the hairs on the back of his neck raise altogether. Taking in a deep, shuddering breath, Sora forced his legs into motion, marching forward and trying to find the way out.
His footsteps echoed in the large space, and Sora found himself getting faster and faster. Just in the need for comfort, Sora willed his keyblade into his hand, taking a small dose of courage with the light that sliced through black for a moment. But then it was gone, and all he was left with was his keyblade and the darkness. Two very separate qualities, he felt miles stretch in between himself and Merlin's study. He got faster and faster until he broke into a full-out run, testing the limits of his newly-healed leg. The limp had gone to a small twinge in his ankle, not even making the slightest difference in his strides. But he hadn't run like this, yet.
It seemed to be holding up pretty well, just like the rest of him. Besides his bandaged arm, which was still strapped firmly to his chest. That wasn't going to heal anytime soon, Merlin had told him. Patience would be most at thin with this injury, Sora had thought dully. Just a matter of time. Which would be what described his end unless he got out of this hole. But there seemed to be no exit, he realized as he skidded to a clumsy stop. He looked around fully, turning in a small circle as he did so. But he couldn't see anything. Not even Roxas, who he had thought was always here with him, showing him the way.
That didn't seem to be the case here. Sora wanted to fall down on the ground and wail with dismay. If he couldn't find his own way out of here, then what then? Would he wake up if somebody shook him? Or would be dead to the touch unless he got out of here his own? His knees locked together, and he heard his keyblade clinking before he even knew that his hands were shaking. The darkness was too tight, too suffocating. His throat closed in on itself, his shoulders braced as if holding up a weight of great force. He had never thought that he was claustrophobic, but this seemed exactly like what would happen if he were. The darkness was slamming down on him.
"You need to calm down." A dry voice spoke from behind him, making him freeze.
It took him a full minute to get enough courage inside of him to turn around. Slowly, like he were made of ice, he shuffled around to face wherever the voice had come from, blue eyes wide. Even when he turned, he didn't relax even then. His brain dragged on, and it was a moment before he could catch up and notice who it was. Immediately, he rushed forward, hands flying out as he ran as fast as he could. He slammed into the person, almost trying to knock them over, but not quite. "Roxas!" He yelled, voice coming out a million octaves higher than it was normally.
The blonde smiled for less than a second, then recovered. Scowling, he shoved Sora off of him, watching sourly as the boy caught himself, straightening with that same odd grin on his face. It was like he never stopped smiling. "About time." He grumbled, looking the brunette up and down. "You gave up on me, I thought we had a deal here."
Sora's smile wavered for a moment, but then he shook his head. "I didn't." He said simply, sounding unbothered. "Not entirely. I got out of here, didn't I? Without you." He added, like he wanted Roxas to kick him in the stomach. But his eyes glinted with mischief, and Roxas figured that it was better than having him mope around all the time, too depressed to even walk right. "But…thank you." Sora went on, surprising Roxas even more, if possible. "…For everything, Roxas. I mean it."
Roxas shrugged, stuffing his hands into his pockets. He opened his mouth to say something, but snapped it shut, eyes widening at once. Sora started, tilting his head to the side with a concerned look at his Nobody. But before he could say anything, Roxas darted over to stand right beside him, gripping his wrist with an odd amount of strength. That's when Sora finally caught on and heard it as well. Footsteps. Footsteps coming closer, right for the two of them. A figure showed in the gloom, and it only took a few minutes before they were close enough to recognize. Sora stiffened like a board at once.
"Well, isn't this sweet?" Xemnas cooed, yellow eyes flashing as he spoke. His lip curled with distaste, eyeing the two like somebody would a dead skunk on the road. "How I do hate sweet things." He locked eyes with Sora as he said this, and the boy's blood immediately turned to ice. He suddenly forgot how to swallow. Roxas glanced over at him swiftly, tightening his hold on Sora. He seemed frozen, unable to say anything.
Taking the hint, Roxas grinded his teeth together, lurching forward but still clinging to Sora. "Get out of here, Xemnas!" He yelled, voice coming back to him as it echoed dimly. "You know you don't belong here! Get out or we'll MAKE you leave!" His keyblade flashed into his free hand as he spat the threat, as if enforcing his words. Xemnas looked at him, looking almost bored with the challenge. Which just seemed to fuel Roxas's bubbling anger.
"I hardly doubt it." He remarked dryly. "You couldn't defeat a flea."
"That's it!" Roxas yelled, anger bubbling over faster than he could even try to stop it. Letting go of Sora's arm, he ran forward, bringing his keyblade up in the air as he pelted forward. Sora jerked, as if roused from a dream. Blinking wildly, he let out a sharp yell at Roxas, having just enough time to watch the blonde leap into the air, coming down hard on Xemnas. Sora didn't know whether to call him back, run away, or join in the fight. Could you kill somebody that was already dead? Wasn't this supposed to be HIS heart in the first place? WHY WERE PEOPLE EVEN IN HERE?
Xemnas's blade gleamed into his hand, the man swinging deftly, blocking Roxas's attack and also managing to send the boy flying back many feet, skidding more than five when he landed. "Roxas!" Sora yelled, spinning around with a panicked look on his face. Roxas let out a muffled groan, holding his stomach as he tried to push himself up. But it was useless. He grimaced, flopping back down to the ground in a heap, unable to get up.
Sora tensed himself to dash over to his friend, but in less than a moment, Xemnas was standing in front of him. His yellow eyes gleamed with hunger as he looked down at the boy, and Sora immediately backtracked quickly. "What is it?" Xemnas cooed, advancing towards Sora with a slow stride, like a funeral march. Sora reacted by skittering backwards clumsily, gripping his keyblade so tight that his knuckles bleached white. "Is the little keybearer unable to fight without his friends protecting him?" The man went on, Sora nearly stumbling over himself in his haste to get away.
Suddenly, Xemnas lunged forward, catching Sora's arm and shoving him down to the ground. Slamming his head against the ground, Sora's gaze was fuzzy, the boy blinking rapidly to try and clear it up. Xemnas glared down hotly at the child, freezing cold eyes boring into his own blue ones. "Let's see how far into darkness you can travel." He mumbled, nose nearly touching Sora's own. The man plunged down, sinking his sword into Sora's side, the boy responding with a shrill scream. Surprisingly, Xemnas got off of him, letting him scramble to his feet without even trying to stop him. "Let's see which one of us is more POWERFUL." He scoffed.
Blood roared in Sora's ears, his side becoming sticky and hot. His mind raced a mile a minute as he stood, trying to catch his breath. But oddly enough, his thoughts were clear and calm, everything seemed to be in slow-motion. He's offended, Sora thought. He's offended that I managed to escape his castle, he thought that nothing could get past him. But was this really Xemnas? Something told him it was. The gleam of hatred, the red on his blade glinting in his eyes. That was something that Sora could not even try to think up. And the wound in his side showed that this was no ordinary dream. Somehow, Xemnas managed to come back, and Sora's only hope would be beating him now.
That just left him to wonder how he would do it.
Xemnas took the first blow, both swords struck out at his sides as he ran for Sora. The boy tensed himself, forcing his legs to stay rooted to the ground, even though his mind screamed at him to move, quick. Waiting for the right moment, Sora shot up into the air, getting a good few feet with the best jump he had ever managed in his life, thankfully. Xemnas looked slightly surprised, but he couldn't stop himself fast enough, he had been running too hard. Sora let himself fall, keyblade stuck out to the ground instead of his legs. His keyblade slammed into Xemnas's shoulder, sinking into the skin with deadly accuracy.
Wincing, Sora threw his weight forward, forcing himself down. He managed to scrape up enough strength to whirl Xemnas around with the blade still inside him. He slammed the older man to the ground, just like he had done for him. The sound was enough to make him flinch away, Sora was sure that he had taken half the battle with that move. He didn't even know where it had come from. But he snapped his keyblade back to him, jumping away from Xemnas as the man started to get up. Pain was creased on his face, and his voice dripped with anger as he got up. "You'll regret that." He rasped, spitting out blood as stood upright.
Sora flinched as a wave of pain crashed into him like an ocean, pressing his hand against his side. It came back bright red. Muttering a curse underneath his breath, Sora shook his head to clear it, locking his jaw back as he stood up as brave as he could against the enemy. "I don't think you could even manage to beat a kid like me." He boasted, making his voice sound confident and lofty. I think I'm too above you for you to even think that you could win against me. You couldn't even keep me in a room!"
This new tactic was a stupid one, but a smart one at the same time. He would try and get Xemnas so angry, he couldn't think straight. But with an enemy like him, Sora couldn't rely solely on that hope. It just wouldn't happen. It might work a little bit, but not that much. Xemnas was too level-headed, too calm and collected. An enemy greater than anybody Sora had faced before. He had his work cut out for him with this one. He didn't want to know what would happen if he didn't manage to defeat this guy.
As expected, Xemnas barely reacted. He merely scoffed at his attempts, eyes narrowing into a twisted scowl. He came forward again, and Sora realized with a jolt that he was a lot closer than Sora had thought he was. He grabbed Sora's by the throat, yanking him up in the air, holding him tightly. His air was cut off, Sora gasping for air, eyes wide as he tried to smack the man's hand away. But Xemnas paid no heed to it. Only squeezing tighter.
"You're a fool, Sora." He said, voice calm despite the new injuries sketched across him. "You're a fool for thinking you could have beaten me, and you're a fool for not listening to reason." On the last word, he tightened his hold, Sora thinking that his eyes would burst out of his head. The teen tried to struggle, kicking and clawing his way free, but nothing seemed to work. "You should thank me, child." Xemnas went on, eyes slanting down angrily. "I actually gave you a purpose in life. What were you doing before? Running around taking orders from somebody less than half your size? Helping your FRIENDS? Tell me if I'm wrong, but I don't think friends are ones to give up secrets as easily as those two wretched people did."
Sora's struggles were growing weaker by now.
"I'm doing you a favor by killing you now. Or better yet, let the darkness consume you. Let it cover your every being, and that way you might show a little promise." Sora was fighting to keep his eyes open. Xemnas paused a moment, then shook his head with a little clucking noise of disapproval. "No, there is no hope for you." He mused finally. "I suppose I'll just have to do it now." One of the shimmering red blades came up to press against his skin, Sora hearing a small sizzling sound from the glinting sword. It stung him where it was, and Sora gaped, letting out a silent scream from the touch.
But suddenly, the blade was gone. The hold on Sora released, and the boy fell heavily to the ground, gasping painfully for air as he held his bleeding throat. Looking up through hazy eyes, Sora jerked, surprise and shock radiating off every inch of him. Roxas was up again, eyes burning as he and Xemnas fought head-on. The Nobody's keyblade was a blur in his efforts to both block the older man's attacks, and also to rain down a few of his own. He was pacing backwards as he did so, Xemnas bearing down on him hard. The man's eyes were burning with anger at the thought of being caught off-guard, powering his attacks, it looked like.
That was when Sora noticed Roxas's look. He was panicked. Scared. Over his head. Something that Sora thought was impossible for Roxas to show. He needed him. Scrambling to his feet, Sora wiped at his throat one last time before drawing his keyblade once more, rushing forward to aid his friend. His steps were clumsy at first, head spinning like a top from the lack of air. But gradually, it cleared, giving Sora back his sharp senses. Alert now, the boy rushed in from behind, dealing rapid, powerful blows to Xemnas's unprotected back.
Roxas smirked as he saw Sora, but the boy didn't give a signal that he had noticed. Xemnas spun around, but Sora was already gone. Rushing his side, Sora stayed out of his line of vision, swiping and jabbing whenever he had the chance. It was like they were dancing, Sora having little to no time to put power behind his strikes. They were just dull blows, they weren't helping much. But it was better than nothing, Sora thought in between pants for breath.
Finally, Xemnas managed to swipe across Sora's cheek, splitting open the old wound and making the boy stagger backwards. The man let out a rage of anger, and Sora froze with alarm as he saw what seemed to be a million lightening bolts shooting off of the man, going in all directions. Roxas started, getting down on the ground like there was a fire. Sora took his advice, ducking his head and rolling away from what he hoped was a majority of the attacks.
But something caught his shoe, immediately cutting off his movements altogether, making him jerk backwards. A burning sensation spread like wildfire through his body, and the teen had to clamp his teeth together to keep from yelling out in pain. The pain coursed through him for what seemed like years, and even when it stopped, the boy continued to jerk, as if the current were still going through him. His blue eyes were closed tightly, and his hand balled into a tight fist. Everything was silent, that was how he heard the slow footsteps stop over him.
Xemnas's breath was short too. The fight had been going for a long time by now, where was the other's breaking point? Where was Roxas? The man stooped down, trying to grab the boy by the collar. The touch roused Sora at once, and by some miracle, he managed to whirl around and aim a fireball directly at Xemnas's chest. The ball exploded into a small blaze of ember, and Xemnas immediately skidded backwards. Struggling to his feet, Sora swayed where he stood, eyes narrowed with fierce determination, despite the fact that he was losing for sure by now. He waited, unable to move at all while Xemnas recovered.
Roxas suddenly appeared beside Sora, looking just as worn out. Even more so from the nasty wound he had received earlier. He was more transparent than before, just like he was when Sora had last seen him. Looking at him now, and knowing that fact, it was all Sora could do not to give up all hope. Blue eyes fixed intently on Xemnas, he stood still while the man advanced, slower than before. His face was creased with fury and hatred, cloak sizzling, a cloud of smoke drifting behind him. He eyed the two for a moment before speaking, voice condescending. "Roxas, I never would have thought you to be weaker than the keyblade master. I suppose that's saying something."
"Shut up." Roxas spat, Sora surprised to hear the venom coursing in every syllable of his Nobody's voice.
Xemnas gaze switched over to Sora, eyes flashing. "And you." He said coldly. "Don't you see it's all for nothing? Everything in the world, it's worthless. Nothing is right, nothing is sane. You're just another player in a game that never ends, and you can't even see that." His voice had changed by now, not entirely aggressive, just most of it. There was another emotion there too, but Sora's head was too dizzy to even try and figure out what it was. "Don't you see?" Xemnas repeated. "You're worthless. Everybody is. Only the darkness holds the true answer."
"That's not true!" Sora yelled, before he could stop himself.
"Oh?" Xemnas asked, cocking an eyebrow at the brunette. "You witnessed the darkness' power, did you not?" Sora stopped at the words, eyes widening somewhat. "The way it took you from your troubles, hid them away. It solves everything, Sora, you know it does. That's why I'm here after all. I was created from the darkness inside your heart, and I am the voice of reason you are supposed to listen to. You know this to be true, I've heard you think of it myself."
"…That's not the way it's supposed to be…" Sora mumbled, almost like he was trying to persuade himself. Roxas glanced down at Sora's feet, and the boy followed his gaze slowly. The shadows were seeping forward once again, having reached his feet by now. They slowly crawled up his legs, freezing cold to the touch. He raised his eyes up to meet Roxas, expecting the boy to yell at him. But by now there was only a calm question in their blue depths.
"Well? What are you going to do, Sora? Which path will you take?"
Sora closed his eyes, breathing out slowly. He could go back in the shadows, it would be better…right? Back where nothing can hurt him. He thought of the way that Mickey left without saying good-bye. Of the way that everybody was treating him different nowadays. The way he couldn't leave the house without getting screamed at. Riku's change, the new tension between them. It would all go away, and Sora would never have to go back to it ever again. He could just stay exactly the way he was now, free from care and without anything to ever do. Without anybody to let down.
His forehead creased.
The shadows were past his knees.
He thought of the way Merlin always had his eye on him.
The way Leon and Yuffie were always together without him.
Past his waist.
The way that nobody liked Axel.
It was all a jumbled mess.
"…But…no…" Sora muttered, blinking open his eyes little by little. He thought of the way that Kairi always looked at him now, eyes gleaming with love. The way that Yuffie had forced the two of them underneath the mistletoe in front of everyone, the ninja's laughter in the air. The way that Aerith had made Sora hot chocolate with more marshmallows than everybody else combined. The way that everybody gathered together at night and told stories of what happened while Sora was gone. The way that nobody asked him to tell them what happened to him at the Organization's castle.
Past his chest.
There WERE things wrong in his life. But there were things wrong in everyone's life as well. It was the little things, the small, carefree tidbits that you had to collect and save. Store in your mind so that when you have one of those bad moments, you were able to struggle through it. That was the point in life, wasn't it? To take the good and the bad? The cherish the good ones and storm through the bad? "No." Sora whispered, eyes snapping open fully. Roxas smiled. Xemnas's eyes narrowed. The shadows stopped, slowly melting off of Sora like rainwater. His hand balled into a tight fist, and too a menacing step towards Xemnas. "NO!" He screamed.
That seemed to be all it took. A wave of shimmering golden light radiated off of Sora, glinting like a star, and lighting up the place around them so it looked like daytime. Roxas screwed his eyes shut, holding up his hand against the sudden glare. Xemnas tried to shield himself from it, shrinking under it, it seemed. "YOU'RE the one who means nothing!" Sora yelled, the glow only getting brighter and brighter. "Just because you're too stupid to see what matters most, doesn't mean I have to do the same! I know where my heart lies, and it's with my friends! You're just somebody too thick-headed to see the real light! I'm not scared of you! You have NO control over me ANYMORE!"
The glow got so bright that even Sora had to close his eyes. But he didn't shrink away. He braced himself against it, finding strength and warmth from the yellow gleam of light. He had no idea what it was, and yet it was helping him. It took a few minutes for it to die down, and when it did, Sora opened his eyes with a startled gape. They weren't standing in shadows anymore. It was a grassy clearing, dotted with trees that displayed pure white roses, like from Alice's world that he was in so long ago. The sun was high overhead, and the sky was clear. The place was filled with a warm kind of aura, and the smell of roses wafted on the breeze.
Roxas looked stunned as he looked around. "It was light." He mumbled softly. "…Light." He repeated, as if the word were new on his tongue. Sora blinked, staring at Roxas a moment longer before managing a smile. And then a small nod. Roxas smirked, stuffing his hands into his pockets. Sora made it seemed like they were equals. The thought would have made him laugh earlier, but now he just took it with a soft grin. It was only then that they both remembered.
Sora whirled around, blue eyes narrowing as he looked down at Xemnas. The man was sprawled on the ground, breath coming in rapid gasps. His eyes were glazed as he met Sora's own, and his mouth opened, like he wanted something to say. Before he could, Sora marched forward, kneeling down beside him and giving him a sharp glare of fury. "This is my life." Sora said clearly. "Now get out of it."
And just like that, Xemnas was gone in a puff of smoke. Sora watched it until it disappeared in the sunlight, just like every shadow did eventually. "…You did it." Roxas said after a pause. "You actually defeated Xemnas. Never would have thought it." The blonde came forward to stand beside him, blue eyes drawn to Sora, who hadn't gotten up off the ground yet. He didn't respond. Itching to break the silence, Roxas went on, eyeing the new land around them. "I'll have to get used to this." He commented.
Sora pushed himself up, grinning once more. "You'll get used to it." He assured.
The pair's eyes were drawn to something in the corner. A door, painted purple with yellow and pink polka-dots. There was a bold text across the wood: EXIT. Sora made no move towards it. Roxas nudged him forward gently. "You go on ahead." He said. "I'll stay back this time around. You go have fun." He made it sound like Sora should be back before dinner.
The boy's eyes were oddly sad as he turned to look at the Nobody. "Will I ever see you again?"
Roxas shrugged. "I'll always be around. Like a cold you can't shake." He punched Sora lightly in the chest, right over his heart. The brunette smiled softly, sadness melting off like snow. "You were right, you know." Roxas added, just as long as he was being cheesy. "You do have some really cool friends. You shouldn't ever forget that anytime soon, or I'll find out about it."
Sora laughed. "I know you will."
They stood, staring at one another. Nobody moved. "You'll be fine." Roxas assured. "And…you know where to find me if you ever get into a jam. I'll come and save the day."
"Right." Sora said.
Looking over his shoulder, and then once more back at Roxas, Sora turned, heading for the door. The grass was springy were he walked, and flowers brushed at his ankles. A small breeze whistled through his hair, and a songbird echoed from far away. It was much different than the way it had been before, Sora reflected as he stopped in front of the oddly-colored door. But it was much better. So maybe that meant being different was a good thing too.
He reached over, throwing it open wide. It was a winding hallway, no doubt leading back the way he had come. He looked over one last time to Roxas, who grinned and waved back. Yes, everything would be fine from now on. The last part of Sora's past with the Organization was gone, save for Axel. But Sora was sure that it wouldn't be too much a hassle in keeping him around. Roxas was safe too, and so was his heart. Everything would be okay.
So, with one last wave to Roxas, Sora turned, stepping into the hallway and shutting the door softly behind him. Stuffing his hands into his pockets, he looked around one last time before starting down the path that he knew led back to his friends.
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…-poke- Did I do good? O3o
So I gotta get up a five in the morning for marching band, I gotta go D:
I hope you all loved this story, and I hope you'll stay with me to read any other future KH stories! Thank you SO much to ALL of my reviewers! We didn't make it to 600 reviews, but you know what, this is the most reviews I've ever had, so a HUGE thank you to EVERYBODY out there! I hope this was worth the read, and…YEAH :D
Thank you very much, I truly think this is the most well-done story I've EVER had. And I hope you think it's just as good. ^^
P.S: For the record I had this done at ten yesterday (AT NIGHT YOU'RE WELCOME) but the internet was down, so what're you gonna do? ; )