Author's Note: First off, this story is somewhat a continuation of my Roxas and Xion story "Life Left to Go", but you don't need to have read that to understand this. Basically, it's a Days AU where Xion returns Sora's memories to him without returning to him, and becomes her own person. After many trials and tribulations (like fighting Xemnas alongside Demyx), Roxas and Xion finally find peace and get to be together. They even get married in the fic. And Olette's psychic in that story.
Now, more importantly, this story crosses over with Restoration Book 1: Awakenings. Now here's a brief synopsis of Awakenings so you'll better understand this fic. The story revolves around twelve Speakers. Now Speakers are chosen by the Master as a way to keep balance amongst the worlds' creatures, really. If they have a specific Relic, the chosen one can be found by a fairy and then Awakened. There's one animal for each Speaker and they're sort of spokesperson for that animal. You see, the twelve Speakers can talk to the twelve different types of animals, but more than that, they have certain powers from the animal in which they represent. For example, the Eagle has the power to see the past, present, and future in this series. The Eagle Speaker, then, can do the same thing. Also, the Speakers can somewhat read each others' minds, and see all of each other's memories when a new Speaker is Awakened. However, that part isn't really important to this fic. Fairies are the ones who awaken the Speakers and also become a Guardian to them (one Guardian to one Speaker). Obviously the Guardian's duty is to protect the Speaker, and they're quite literally bound to each other. One can only go so far from their Guardian or Speaker. Also, it should be known that the fairies and twelve brethren (the magical animals) can't understand each other, but obviously the Speaker can relate information between the two species.
Anyway, the story basically starts off where a villain kills all of the Speakers and steals their Relics (under the belief that he can be made to possess all of the Speakers powers). After this happens, there isn't another choosing for many, many years, and by now most humans believe the Master and all of the Speaker stories to be a myth. Anyway, when someone is chosen again for the first time, there's something different about him than all the others. He's evil and a murderer. Shaken to the core after that, the fairies decide to never Awaken a human again. Magi Asheford, however, doesn't agree with this. So when one of the book's main protagonists, Xari, is chosen, he steals the Otter Relic, and goes looking for the person who was chosen. In Awakening Xari, he becomes an outcast to his people and can never return to Fairlight Forest, as he's now seen by them as a "shvri".
There's much more to it than that, and that's only the opening of the book! So many amazing things happen in that book, but I don't want to spoil it for you people. This summary, though, should give you a general idea about what's happening in this fic. Go and buy Awakenings, and enjoy!
And if on the slim chance, the person reading this is an Awakenings fan and not a KH one, I'd just wikipedia KH. That'll tell you everything you need to know about it:)
Now on with the story!
And At Last I See the Light
Xion sat by the dying campfire with her face hovering over the flames. She watched the reds, oranges, and yellows create patterns in the night sky until she almost couldn't remember which had come first: the sky or the torch in front of her. Perhaps it was her own chicken and the egg theory. It didn't really make sense, of course. If she really thought about it, she knew the expansive atmosphere above her had to have come before something cavemen had created. She knew this, but she chose not to face reality when dealing with fire. Actually, she chose not to face reality when she was dealing with Roxas. For too long reality had been a harsh stranger when it came to her and the love of her life.
Roxas... Roxas was nothing but the fire in her heart. Xion was gladder than words could express that her heart had finally learned how to contain Roxas' flame without it losing control or going out. They were now in a stable environment. She was a stable environment.
Hmm... That was quite odd to think about. Especially upon knowing her very existence had been meant to destroy Roxas for the longest time. Xion shook the thought away instantly. They had overcome that now. Why wasn't she thinking nice thoughts? Like how the night was nice? Or that her memories with Roxas and Axel were what she lived for? She was oh so glad the fire that had threatened to destroy Roxas and her both had been contained (because they, despite everything, couldn't live without each other).
Huh. Now that was a good thought. A good one, indeed. Xion, finally relaxed somewhat, and allowed herself to fall back onto the grass behind her. Her feet nearly danced over the burning paper before her, but they didn't touch the licking flames. Maybe that was all that counted. Any time now and the fire would be extinguished completely. Xion looked at the stars above her dreamily, as she thought how relieved she was to be visiting worlds.
Tiredness sweeping over her, though, she found herself putting her arm over her eyes. Then the stars were dotted out. Then she wasn't a problem on anyone's radar. Not her or even the girl quite similar to her. Xari Oth'ilin.
"If you aren't careful, the last bit of sparks might just find their way onto your legs, after all. Believe me, if that happens, you'll never hear the end of it from Anathriel. She may think that trousers are unfitting of a woman, but I find that they keep me safe from the elements. And you..."
"Might be stealing the fire you mean to ignite her closed mind with?" Despite herself, Xion found herself opening her eyes a sliver and trying to take in the Westerlorn girl sitting beside her. It was no use. Feeling like a puppet whose strings were being pulled (though she truly hated the analogy), Xion got up and regarded Xari with a slight smirk. She hadn't commented on Xion's punny interruption. Then again, maybe she wouldn't. Having spent so much time with her somewhat seasoned and serious Guardian, Asheford, Xari had a strong respect for certain things when it was appropriate. That was probably a good thing. They were too much alike already. Xion, through the darkness, could make out the red of Xari's outfit. To Xion it read fire. Dangerous. To Xari, she knew it would mean strength. If only she knew the strength she really needed was protection from herself. It wasn't time to talk about such things, though. Not yet. Xari wouldn't understand, but she would eventually.
Xari, seeming to have something on her mind, put her black braids behind her shoulders to better see Xion's face. Or so the once Replica assumed. Turning just so the moonlight lit up her face like polished porcelain, Xion noted just how dark skinned Xari looked compared to her. Even with the moon and fire fighting over who would illuminate her face the loveliest. Who was Xion to judge Xari so much when she'd just met her? When she was still more messed up then Xari could ever be? And where was Roxas when she needed a boost of confidence?
Seeing Xari slightly move to the side, and the earring on her eyebrow glimmer with the motion, Xion knew she was in for a long conversation. She all too well remembered when she wanted a tattoo to prove how strong she was. Xari was trying to prove her might in a subtle way, too. For her, however, it was with the ring she adorned upon her brow.
Xion had learned much in the four years since Organization XIII had created her. She didn't want Xari to make the same mistakes she had. Despite not wanting to avoid coming face-to-face with her past defeats, it seemed she would have to face it head on. Maybe that was for the best. And maybe it would be easy to show Xari why she shouldn't follow in her footsteps. After all, they did have common ground. "I understand 'Namine' is spelled with an 'O' around her rather than an 'I.'"
"What of it? Zeth tells me it used to be spelled with an 'I', but it changed over time. Traditions do that, you know. And despite all that Zeth sees..." Of course. Zeth was Xari's group psychic as Olette was Xion's. The similarities ended there, though. Well... maybe besides the fact that both psychics knew how to tease people and had a brownish cast to their hair.
Shaking her head to rid it of longing for the friend she so dearly missed, Xion returned to the matter at hand. She would like to have this conversation while Ashe was asleep. She didn't want his views of the Master conflicting with Xari's own ideas about what Xion would tell her. Ashe and Xari were very much one half of a soul with their bond, but Xion knew there were some things about Xari that Ashe would never agree with. As sad as it was, Xion needed to draw on that to help her. Because if they wanted their Roxas and Immen to be alright...
"Things don't change so much. I could never really forgive Naminé. And I sense there's something you can't forgive, too." Though Xari didn't say anything, it was clear by her silence that Xion was right. Xari was very talkative, and it'd gotten her in trouble at the orphanage a lot. That was one place where Xion varied from her. She let things spill out when she was upset, but Xari really didn't. Her silence marked her unbalanced feelings more than anything. Drawing on that (perhaps the one opportunity she would get when Xari was the least bit vulnerable), Xion sat up in a quick, fluid motion. In her eyes there was nothing but truth and certainty when she told Xari, "You need to forgive the misdeeds you carry with you. Rather your own or another's. There will be a war starting soon, Xari. There always is. You have to show people that to believe in the Master is their best chance again. Because in believing in him… They'll believe in the good of everything that he created. But how can you love when you carry such hate? As a Speaker, you're supposed to guide these people. You need to let go of the past." The problem with all that Xion was saying was that she was beginning to forget just why she'd once taken her own advice. She was falling back into her old self and she couldn't do that. It wasn't just because Xion was being a hypocrite, either. As intelligent as Xari was, Xion didn't doubt she'd soon be called out on her double standard.
And when she, in fact, was… She had to wonder if a certain prophecy she'd made happen had given her a bit of Seer blood the way it had Olette.
Though Xari was now trying to speak to her, and Xion knew she really ought be listening, the simple ability to hear the warrior out seemed much harder than anything Xion had ever faced. The fire's light showed an eagerness burning in Xari's eyes as she sat across from Xion. Xion had to wonder desperately if Xari was trying to figure out what lie behind her exterior as a way to not really look at herself. Xion knew the curiosity in Xari's expression well. It seemed she, like Xion, could get quite excited over things. At least she wasn't like Ashe, though, Xion mused. He could go on about something for a good length of time without even really getting to the point. Yes, Xion could definitely value that Xari hadn't picked that trait up from her Guardian.
A wry smile graced Xion's lips as the last of the fire died away, and the once Replica noted the reluctant look in Xari's eyes. Clearly she'd given up on ferreting out information and was focusing on something else. Or rather someone else. Immen. In a way, the proud Westerlorn girl seemed more wary of visiting Immen than Xion was seeing Roxas. However, the reasons for the uncertainties were very different. For instance, Xion could note very easily that Xari was falling in love with Immen (and afraid of it). Xion's aversion at seeing Roxas, though, stemmed from something else.
Could I really be a Speaker? Is there more to our Chosen One story than just the Keyblade portion? Xion knew by now that she would get no answer to this. The fire would illuminate only what it chose to; it would not show her the path she should be taking. Thoroughly exhausted for many reasons now, Xion curled herself into a ball on the comfortable ground. Over the years of her and Roxas' adventuring, she'd become much more than accustomed to sleeping on the dirt instead of a bed; the prospect was no different now. Closing her eyes—and seeing Roxas amidst the colors dancing behind her eyelids—Xion fell fast asleep.
Xi-Xi, as Axel taken to calling her on many occasions, yawned and stretched in every meaning of the last word. Though she'd been merely trying to get the kinks out of her body as she arched it in places, she had to admit how impressed she was with how flexible she was for this early in the morning. Going off of that, the ebony haired girl began working on routine stretches and the like. Her years as a Keyblade wielder had trained her body well, and very soon she was as alert and ready for the day as any warrior with her training should have been.
Her careful composure did break for one moment, though, when Anathriel sent her a scathing look for allowing her pajama shirt to ride up. Whoops. Well, that certainly wouldn't warm her to Anathriel any more, would it? It wasn't enough that she'd made Anathriel horrified by her choice of clothes (men's clothes to Anathriel), but now she'd shown some of her bare midriff (by accident, of course).
Yeah… Xion didn't doubt the proper and lady-like handmaiden would be even less sympathetic to her case now. It really was like the love-hate relationship she'd had with Naminé all over again. But probably more accurately, Xari and Anathriel were another version of that relationship. Still… at least she had Nami had worked it out in the end. If the fact that Anathriel was getting even more riled up by bugs lately was any indication, Xion didn't think there was any hope for her relationship with Anathriel. Xion, as it was, had always been somewhat fascinated by insects, and thus too kind to kill any if she could avoid it.
"I've no idea how we can be sure this girl and her husband weren't in league with Mortén," Anathriel said quite loudly and dramatically when she came into close range of Immen. Xion knew that despite Anathriel's issues with how she acted, she had legitimate reasons to not trust Roxas and her. Still, she was somewhat surprised Anathriel would think them connected to that vile man.
Rubbing her temples slightly as a headache came on, Xion had to wonder just what she and Roxas had gotten mixed up in. She'd never been one for politics. In some regards it was probably a good thing she'd never gotten into it all before… On the other hand, it seemed as though she needed to know how governments worked now. Maybe it would have been good to learn more before. She needed to set things right in this world. Somehow.
"You seem deep in thought, Xi."
The afore mentioned girl reckoned she must have leapt fifty feet into the air as Roxas came out of nowhere and poked her in her ribs. Growling sharply after she'd regained her bearings, Xion whirled on Roxas and summoned her trusty Keyblade to her side. Using Blizzara, Xion made sure Roxas got his just desserts for poking her when she so hated it.
"Jeez, Xion!" Roxas hissed (whilst laughing and completely ruining his fake anger), as he rubbed at his side to create friction and heat it up. Oops. Maybe she'd gone a wee bit overboard with that. She'd only meant to chill him similarly to how he had her in the past by placing a cold can of soda against her cheek. Clearly her shock and bit of irritation had made her act without thinking.
"I'm sorry, Roxas!" Xion exclaimed hastily as she dove into Roxas' arms (and nearly knocked him back into the gray tent he'd just come from). "You startled me is all. Please forgive me?" At this the cropped haired girl made her eyes as wide and glassy as they could go; she stuck her bottom lip out a bit and allowed it to quiver. She looked to all the world like the most miserable thing that had ever walked the face of the earth.
And when Roxas returned her embrace, and dropped a kiss to her forehead, she knew her plan had worked. Because even though there was a lot going on, and things they needed to figure out about this Master's world, Xion knew that when she left this place, it would be Roxas alone that was by her side. He alone would be the one person to always be with her, and she wouldn't want it any other way. Despite the worries and guilt that was worrying away at her again, Xion had to make certain that Roxas knew her problems were with herself. But then again, she assumed he already knew. She'd always been rather self-deprecating, hadn't she?
Before Roxas got the chance to respond to the unspoken things Xion was telling him, the lovebirds were interrupted by none other than Roxas' new bffs, Zeth and Jesper. Xion smiled in true amusement at the young boy (she refused to think of how he was a term-slave and all that might mean for him if she and Roxas didn't succeed) grabbed onto Roxas' arm and begun ushering him to the remade campfire to join everyone else. Jesper, too, was hot on their heels. It was truly a curious thing to behold; Zeth had seemed to take to Roxas like a pupil would a role model. Though he seemed the eager type anyway, (some of the sarcastic comments he'd made to Anathriel really made Xion's day) there definitely seemed to be another part of him coming alive when he was around the strong, somewhat mysterious (at least in Zeth's eyes) Roxas.
Jesper, on the other hand, was serious to a fault. Though Xion didn't claim to know many fairies, Jesper seemed much more down to earth than any Xion had ever met before. This, of course, was probably because he'd spent his entire life trying to rein his best friend, Flute, in. However, ever since Roxas had first showed up at the group's camp with her, Xion had noted something change in Jesper, too. He seemed more… relaxed. More willing to have fun. Xion supposed it had a bit to do with Zeth, as they seemed quite close. Even so, she had to wonder if her dear Roxas had something to do with it. Maybe in Roxas' presence he didn't think he needed to be as responsible? It seemed odd to think this, and yet, it seemed so undeniably true that Xion knew for a fact that she was right. Deep down, she was more than a little happy for the fact Jesper was loosening up. He seemed to have grown up way too fast. And he was still a Sprout for goodness sake!
Somehow, when she looked at Jesper (and even Flue), Xion was reminded of her painful early years. Years she'd spent with Roxas. Looking at the fairy and her love now, Xion knew Roxas wasn't just improving Jesper. No. Roxas' new friends were making him happier, too. In that, Xion knew they were meant to come to this place. Already they were making a difference, and anything good for Roxas was all right in her book.
And… And what had she been doing since she'd come here? Though the idea that she could be a Speaker had brought up a lot of things she'd wanted to forget about (like how much the Keyblade had made her and Roxas go through when it had chosen them), she shouldn't have been reverting to the way she'd used to been! Rather, she should have been helping guide these people around her in the best way she knew how! After all, she'd been through something like this many times before. She could help them prepare for what lied ahead; so why was she wasting so much time with this foolishness? Worse, she'd unconsciously been pushing Roxas away during it all, and that was the last thing she should have been doing. She should have been setting an example; Xari especially needed to know what mistakes not to make.
So lost in her thoughts was she, Xion didn't even notice when the shvri fairy, Heron, settled down beside her in front of the slight flames. However, Xion would never refer to Heron as a fairy out loud, as not to create any discord. As Xion gazed out from the log (she hadn't been sitting on) from the previous night, she had to squint her eyes as the brightness of the fire and the bright morning sun wrestled over which should damage her eyes more. She had a strong feeling that it was the sun that was the most harmful. The flames (though slightly warm and corporal) blended in nicely with the warm colors of the day, and the terrain the unlikely group found themselves in.
The sun, however, was as much of a brilliant, burning star as it always was. Though the air around them was humid, and seemed somewhat charged (perhaps hinting rain), the sun peaked around the clouds as if it was fighting for its life. Even the clouds couldn't quell the sun's need to shine. In fact, Xion almost wondered if the fire in front of her had been born from the glaring light. After all, what was the moon really but reflections of the sun? Maybe the fire Xari had made was from it, too. It definitely wasn't very grand in comparison to the radiating sun. Though Xion had begun trying to like the moon better lately (after having compared herself to it, and therefore hating it, for too long), there was no denying that the sun carried much more splendor.
Landing on Xion's shoulder now (and dang it, finally getting her to focus and stay focused for the morning), Heron whispered kindly in Xion's ear. "It's not best to dwell on things that can't be changed. Because even though we might feel we've lost out on something in the past, it's ourselves we'll lose if we think too much on it." And, finally, that was the final nail in the coffin. This time, though, the phrase wasn't meant for a bad thing. Quite the contrary; it was meant for a good reason because Heron's words rang truer to Xion than anything else ever had. Now… Now she could put these things behind her, and not even feel guilty for doing so. Now she could be the guide these people needed (it was, after all, the reason they'd been called to this place in the first place).
Perhaps reading on Xion's expressive face that he should go ahead, Roxas rose to his feet and summoned Kingdom Key to his hand. It seemed as though he was borrowing Sora's Key for this lesson, but Xion couldn't fault him for it. In fact, it made perfect sense, because if there was any proof in the Master, the Keyblade was it. "The Keyblade's like a Relic," he said to the interested looks of all those gathered. Xion could tell that Xari and Immen were the most interested in the weapon as they were swordsmen themselves. In fact, Xari had been raised and trained by one of the most celebrated sword smiths their world had to offer. "You don't have to worry about convincing me, Xari. I know it didn't happen by accident, and because of that I believe in the Master. And you're right. Xion and I have taught many worlds what's been happening behind the scenes, and this world needs to remember its truth, too. The very foundation of your world is and needs that."
Xion looked on with a strange mix of happiness and relief as Xari was so moved by Roxas' words that she sprung to her feet and applauded. A crystalline tear glistened in her eyelids until it trailed down her cheek. She wasn't sad, though. No. There was no mistaking the jubilation in her smile. Not everyone was as moved as Xari and Ashe, though. Anathriel seemed to at least be trying to consider the possibilities. As it was, Zeth seemed skeptical to it all, but that wasn't really too surprising for Zeth's character. Immen, at least, seemed to have come to believe what Xari had been trying to show everyone for some time. Flute and Jesper just looked slightly bored with it all, but it was the shvri that seemed the most uncomfortable.
"None of us are saying you're right or wrong," said Zeth at last as he turned blurry eyes on all of his gathered friends. He seemed to especially smile at the shvri (many of whose names Xion didn't even know), and Xion felt herself become even more thankful to the boy who very well might have been having a vision if his carefully chosen words, and distant eyes, were anything to go by. "The thing is, we just really need to get to Fairlight to find Anathriel a Guardian fast." At this, the young term-slave stuck his tongue out at the beautiful, snooty blond girl.
Not being able to hold it in any longer, Xion got up and threw a reassuring hand around Zeth's shoulder. "A little faith is all we're asking from you people. And if you are going to find it, what better place than in Fairlight Forest? As I hear it, the place is quite beautiful and magical. Who knows, maybe it's even inspiring."
"It is!" Fluttermouse exclaimed excitedly, as she flew around and around. Finally, she decided on flying as high into the sky as she was able, but the key words in that sentence are the last ones. Because though Flute could fly higher than Xion could ever even dream of, the fact was Flute seemed to have worn herself out from all the fast flying she'd done (even if she was always full of energy she still had her limits). As such, she began falling back to the ground from just the height of Anathriel's shoulder. Amusedly, Zeth plucked his Guardian out of the air and held her before she could hurt herself.
Asheford, as it was, seemed to be thinking along the same lines of Zeth. However, the battle worn fairy (for it was he who abandoned his people, and everything he knew, to follow the Master's will) didn't seem nearly as amused as Zeth. "Fluttermouse," he deadpanned with his arms crossed over his chest. "You're not acting very Guardian like. Show some decorum, Sprout."
Though Flute seemed more than a little agitated for being called a Sprout, she made a motion of zipping her mouth closed and throwing away the key. With a quick nod towards Ashe, she signaled that she would be calmer and that the discussion should continue.
Which, of course, meant all eyes returned to Xion. Gulping slightly—as she'd never been one to thrive under the spotlight—Xion looked over at Roxas for support. She had never been gladder that her heart was connected to his then in that moment. Roxas seemed to have read her mind (which wouldn't have surprised her honestly) when he instantly grabbed Xion's hand and placed a kiss to it without her even saying a word. "I say we have to go to Fairlight, then. Xion and I are here for a reason. And even though you almost killed us when we first approached you…" At this Xari smirked; clearly she was remembering exactly what had happened when Roxas and Xion had first come upon them late in the night, "Well, that just shows you're even more qualified to aid Xion and me. So let's buck up and head to the fairies' forest, yes?"
Though Roxas' words weren't meant with any form of agreement, the way in which everyone began picking up their belongings and getting everything together seemed agreement enough. "Actually," Immen muttered when walking in front of Roxas and Xion to douse the fire. "We probably should have left before this. We'll be walking into the night now that we're beginning at this late hour. And as such, when we begin walking in this bright daylight…"
"You fear that we'll walk right into Jospherus and one of his men, don't you?" This question came from Xari who had come to join the group that really should have been dubbed, "The fighters". Her eyes locked interestedly on Immen as she waited for his answer. And Xion… Well, she was fighting the very strong urge to nudge Roxas and point out the chemistry between the two. For their own good, Xion hoped they wouldn't be as dense about their feelings for each other as she and Roxas had once been.
"I suppose so, yes. At least if we're walking tonight they can't see us, then. It's really the same amount of risk it always is this way, but I'm still worried. If nothing else, I'm relieved we have a plan about what's best to do and what way to take."
Xion nodded unthinkingly at this. Yes, they had figured everything out, hadn't they? Biting her lip, the Keyblade bearer felt more than a little guilty for having been lost in her thoughts and not helping aid with that. Oh well. She wasn't a very good navigator, anyway. Especially in foreign lands. It had always been Roxas that would figure out things like using Tinker Bell's fairy dust to fly around Neverland. As the memory occurred to her, Xion very much found herself wishing these fairies could make them fly. Things would be so, so much easier if they could simply soar across the land and sea and find themselves in Fairlight. Of course, when had fighting to show people the Light ever been easy?
Perhaps feeling excluded from the adults' conversation, Anathriel hiked up the long shirt she'd begun wearing over her trousers and joined the group with a slight groan. Xion was quite prepared for Anathriel to begin complaining about missing wearing dresses again, but instead she brought up a fairly decent point. "I will not continue trotting around in the evening! Some of the most vicious creatures awaken then. Not to mention the fact that the most evil of men call night theirs. I've been risking my life enough, and I won't continue to do so in that way, thank you very much."
Technically, the situation probably wouldn't have been as dire as Anathriel was letting on. Roxas and Xion, and all of the fairies at least, had magic with which they could light their way. And even then, Roxas and Xion's senses were keen from years of fighting the Darkness. If they did decide to rough it at night, Xion knew they'd be more than okay. Immen was quite skilled himself, and in earlier having Xari's curved blades pointed at her throat, Xion didn't doubt that Xari was a force to be reckoned with at all. But Anathriel did have good reasons.
Heron also seemed to be of the same mind as Anathriel. "This child is quite right. We shvri have our weapons, but our eyes fail us in the dark. I don't want to risk our necks, either. Especially when we all start feeling groggy. No, we'll rest this coming night and you fairies will make good on teaching us magic."
And it was there, in Ashe's stiff nod, that the agreement was made. Having nothing else to sort out, and therefore no more reason to dally, the group carried everything they could with them and began walking down a dirt path to their next destination. Having been to many rural worlds, Xion knew just how long such a winding road would go on. She missed civilization. While it was true she now could sleep perfectly well on the ground, she did miss nice warm beds and showers. It seemed like it had been forever since she and Roxas had been able to properly settle down. From the moment Sora had defeated Xehanort once and for all, King Mickey had enlisted as many Keyblade wielders as he could to go to other worlds and spread the Light. Roxas and Xion had done this perhaps more than anyone, as they'd been world jumping ever since she and Roxas (along with Demyx) had defeated Xemnas. Their efforts were tiresome, but worth it. So very worth it.
And this world seemed to have the most Light of all. If only they could get them to believe in their Master... Otherwise, the way the world was set up was more than beautiful. There was such equality between the humans, fairies, and animals. How anyone could doubt it was a deity's will, Xion could never know. Maybe in that it was true after all that she… That she was a Speaker, too.
"Say Xion, if you could choose any animal as your favorite, what would it be?" Xion whirled around in slight surprise when Jesper asked her this. Ridiculously she'd somehow imagined that it was Flute talking. Such a question definitely seemed like something she'd ask, but she hadn't. Contorting her lips into a firm line (to keep from laughing at how silly it had been to imagine Jesper with Flute's voice), the sapphire-eyed girl prepared to answer Flute, but was beaten to the punch by none other than Roxas.
Showing off in a way she'd usually associate with Sora, Roxas had climbed up into one of the trees they'd passed just so he could jump out of it and be further ahead than everyone else. Well, that was probably the intention, anyway. Because instead of shooting off like a rocket, he shot down so he was right beside his wife. Throwing an arm around her rather roughly (due to the force of his fall), Roxas put a hand to his chin and seemed to be seriously pondering the young fairy's question. "That's a good question, Jesper. I've always wondered the same thing. It is true that Xion can be very cat like, but I don't know. What do you think?" Even though Roxas seemed to be being as serious as Jesper often was, Xion couldn't help but laugh outright at her hubby's words. He would think she was catlike, wouldn't he? Turning to him with a smirk and raised eyebrow, Xion remarked, "You're asking this because of my black hair, aren't you? You think I'm a black cat."
"Actually, I was referring to how one minute you can be all loving, and the next you seem to want to scratch my face off."
And it was the worried expression on Roxas' face as the words came tumbling out of it, that Xion was able to wave any hurt she might have felt away deftest flick of her fingers. "Yeah, well, I doubt Nami was any better. Ms. 'I'm going to erase all of Sora's memories of Kairi so he'll love me'."
Ignoring the bit of banter between Roxas and Xion (and who could really blame him since he had no idea what they were talking about), Jesper carried on the conversation he'd been having with the former Organization XIII members as if nothing had interrupted it. "She could be the elephant Speaker. Xion seems quite tough like Xari. And elephants have rough skin, right?"
"I think that's rhinos you're really thinking of Jesper. Elephants are afraid of mice, after all."
"And how would you know?" Flute cut in a little angrily at Xari for Jesper's sake.
Xari didn't falter once. Instead, she pushed some of her own ebony locks out of her face, and remarked rather cheerily, "Because they've told me, of course. Quite talkative, elephants. But what can you expect with those loud trunks of theirs? Those pretty much tell the world they must be loud mouths."
"And where have you seen elephants before, Ms. Oth'ilin?" Immen asked, as he walked closer to Xari and gave her one of the group's water bottles. Whether Immen had given Xari the water bottle because he thought Xari looked thirsty, or because he just wanted the excuse to walk beside her, Xion didn't know, but she had to admit that Xari did look rather parched. That didn't keep Anathriel from glowering at the two behind their back, though. As she saw the look cross Anathriel's face, Xion felt a bout of sympathy for the Montressa girl. Immen was, after all, the man she'd once set her sights on marrying.
Horrified, Xion even felt a tear amidst her eyelashes for the girl. Instantly, Xion was trying to blink them away, but she could never fool Roxas in anything. Now he was handing her the other water bottle. While it was possible he was handing her the water bottle because he'd mistaken her tears as sweat, Xion couldn't help but feel it was for a different reason entirely. Like, with that simple gesture he was trying to show her he loved her just as much as Immen did Xari. Smiling at him with her eyes glistening with mirth, Xion aimed to show Roxas that she felt exactly the same.
"You would like water, Xari," Zeth said rather cheekily as he took the head of the group. As he passed in front of Xion, she could easily decipher the knowing look on his face. He, too, had figured out what was going on between Immen and Xari. Smart boy, Zeth, Xion found herself thinking. But, then again, most everyone probably knew of Immen and Xari's feelings for each other except Immen and Xari (and probably some of the younger fairies). "What with splashing around with the otters so much."
"And apparently the elephants, too."
Rather hotly now, Xari glared at Immen in what seemed a mixture of hurt, betrayal, and a bit of amusement. Behind her, Xion noted that Anathriel was eagerly listening now and had a very interested look on her face. It figured. Anathriel loved her gossip. Huffing, Xari completely ignored Zeth's comment and instead focused on what Immen had said. "Yes, I like water. But I did even before I was a Speaker. And I actually haven't had much chance to be around elephants at all, but they have found me, yes." As she spoke Xari's words seemed to morph from angry to practical.
Seeming quite bored now, most of the group stopped eaves dropping and returned to what they were doing before Immen and Xari's minor spat. Xion noticed that Anathriel particularly looked rather sad again.
With a sigh for the younger girl, Xion hung back a bit and when Anathriel was about to walk in front of them, Xion signaled to Roxas to put an arm around her. Of course, Xion did the same. And amazingly enough, Anathriel actually didn't fight them off. That might have had to do with Roxas, though. Anathriel was smiling at him slightly now, and Xion wouldn't doubt that Anathriel might had developed a bit of a crush on him. Roxas was just charming without even trying. "Don't let everything get you down so much, Anathriel. Cheer up. Think of ridiculous animals to pair Xion up with."
Zeth had obviously heard the last part and reached his hand out for Roxas to high-five it. To Xion's relief, Anathriel was giggling at her expense now, but she didn't really care. No. This was what she wanted. But she still swatted Roxas on the head for good measure. "You watch out Roxas or somehow and way I'll make you the Speaker of squirrels!"
Ashe, clearly missing that Xion was joking, remarked rather dryly, "Squirrels aren't actually one of the brethren, Xion. Though it is true that someone can be Awakened without being chosen if they have a Relic."
To Xion's amusement, Roxas looked absolutely horrified at the thought. Not for knowing he could become a Speaker, of course. Speakers abilities were truly fascinating, and if she could have their way, Xion would have made everyone in this world a Speaker so they couldn't deny the truths staring them in the face (and so it would unite everyone even better).
No, what really worried Roxas was the thought of another responsibility. After having to deal with more than a few disastrous circumstances most of their lives, Roxas wasn't exactly looking to add to that weight.
Xion wasn't either, quite honestly. It was why she'd been so uncertain about things when Ashe first told her he thought she might have been chosen. But if she had to, she would do it. She would do her duty not just because she had to, but also because it was the right thing to do.
Choosing to ignore all of this for the time being, Xion tapped Roxas on the nose as he still looked like a frightened puppy at the prospect of becoming a Speaker. "I win that game, Roxas." And to lessen the blow slightly, she kissed her boy on the cheek. When he smiled back at her shyly, Xion thought Roxas may not have been as wary of becoming a Speaker as he'd let on.
She heard one of the shvri above them mutter something about kids today, but other than that the shvri were rather quiet. Maybe they were trying to meditate? They were going to work more with magic tonight, after all. And a sound soul dwelled within a sound mind and a sound body.
Deciding that maybe she should meditate on certain things herself, Xion closed her eyes and became abruptly serious and quiet. All of this was soon in vain, though, when Zeth said something about being a Speaker was fine save for the reading each others' minds thing. Not being able to be serious about anything after that, Xion poked one of her eyes open and began to work hiding her giggles. Out of the corner of her eye, she thought Roxas was laughing at his friend, too. Yes, he definitely was. As he laughed, it pushed his body even closer to hers. Taking that as incentive, Roxas took Xion's hand in his as they began walking to their own rhythm.
"It can be a bit annoying, yes," here Xari sent an unconscious glance at Anathriel, "But it can be very useful. Especially if you're far apart from each other and don't have other means to reach each other."
"Yeah, I can see how that would come in handy," Roxas replied dryly. Xari spared Roxas a curious glance (surely because of the emphasis he'd put on some of the words), but clearly didn't get the joke. Instead, she turned to Ashe and began discussing something in hushed whispers.
Xion opted to ignore them so she could focus on something else. That something was kicking Roxas in the shins. Honestly! Being able to read each other's mind when they'd been fighting Xemnas hadn't been nearly as bad as Roxas was hinting at.
Just like… Just like it wasn't as bad for Zeth and the others. He'd been just saying that! Understanding now, but not really being able to wrap her head around it, Xion staggered backwards, and nearly fell to the ground. Fortunately, Roxas' hold on her kept her from actually falling over, but as such he was somewhat pulled down with her. That, too, made so much sense now. Feeling in a bit of a trance now, Xion walked away from Roxas and to where Ashe was flying by Xari. She could feel the magic coming off of him, but more than that she could see. She could see…
"Xion, what is it? It seems as though something's troubling you."
"I really am a Speaker, aren't I?" Xion didn't allow for any inflection in her voice. She didn't allow herself to feel anything. That could wait. Now she needed to know the truth. Needed to know that what she'd just thought was correct.
Ashe smiled sadly at Xion, as he came to a halt. Obviously curious, everyone around them stopped what they were doing, too. Everyone except Roxas. He came tearing past everyone to get to Xion. Once he was by her side, he put a hand on her arm and looked at her somewhat alarmed. Xion, what's-
"Please, Ashe. Tell me."
And Ashe did just that. To Xion's ears, he sounded rather forlorn. Clearly he was mistaking Xion's lack of emotion in her words for hating the idea of being a Speaker. "Yes, you are. I could tell from the beginning that you very well could be the type the Master would choose. But even more than that, you can see me right now, Xion, and I'm invisible right now. That right there is all the proof you need that you're a Speaker. Even without a relic-"
Xion chose to ignore the logistics that without a Relic none of this really should have been happening for her yet. After all, she was a Keyblade Master. And from another world. Things were always strange when it came to her life. "I see everything so clearly now."
"What is it that you see?" Immen asked Xion clearly very interested in her epiphany. For a moment, she allowed herself to lose her train of thought and smile at him albeit sadly. Out of everyone present, Immen was one of the few that hadn't been chosen. Even more than that, he was one of the ones that probably should have been as his ancestors had been Speakers. Clearly, though he tried to hide it, he felt as though he must be missing some trait that marked the Speakers. Smiling at him, Xion tried to show him with just that how much he deserved it more than she did. She'd been so stupid, and yet it was what it was.
"How selfish I'd been in not wanting to be a Speaker. In not wanting to embrace my destiny. The role of the Speaker is about selflessness and I've been anything but. I thought it'd all be miserable, but it's not. It's anything but. Hearing Zeth complain about the mind reading thing just now… I realized he was only joking about it. The kind of bond you three have formed with each other," here she paused to look at Xari, Zeth, and Anathriel (especially Anathriel who still seemed to have many doubts about being a Speaker) "is the only kind that could allow something like that. You've been through terrible things, but at the end of the day you still laugh because you have each other. And in the end that makes it all worthwhile. When Roxas just caught me from falling, and I nearly fell myself, I was fretting over almost making him hurt himself to help me when really I should have seen the truth of it. That without him I would have been hurt, but he prevented it at personal risk to himself. Because you're stronger when you're not alone. You're stronger as a team, and I'm so sorry I ever doubted I belonged in anything but that."
Though the words were really for everyone gathered (especially her fellow Speakers), it was Roxas that Xion really found herself saying these things to. In his eyes there was such vulnerability, and she was horrified to realize she'd never focused on it before. She'd only thought of her own despite her best efforts to be unselfish. As they'd once said before, she was being selfish in her selflessness. "Roxas, I've been hanging onto things I should have let go of a long time ago. I've been worrying when I should have been loving. Loving you for every minute of every day that we have each other. I'm so sorry. Can you ever forgive me?"
Though Roxas brushing a finger along her cheek seemed answer enough, there was something in the spiky blonde's eyes that she couldn't completely make out. She was about to question him about it, but before she could Roxas was already giving her her answer. "You seem to have gotten it right in some ways, Xion, but you're still wrong about other things. Like how amazing you are and always have been. Don't you see that you didn't want to be a Speaker because you thought you'd be a letdown, and this world deserved better? When will you ever stop torturing yourself, Xi?"
And when Roxas pulled her in for a very hypnotic kiss, she thought that might have been the answer. For the first time ever, she could completely see what Roxas meant. She could see herself as beautiful, and good, and strong despite her mistakes. And though she could think on all of the bad things she'd done in the past, she found she didn't want to anymore. In fact, she thought she never would again.
As she thought these things a Light emitted from her. It was as if it was acknowledging her words as truth. It was as if it was acknowledging her as a worthy Speaker (and Keyblade bearer), because when the Light receded, she was left with a mouse relic that looked strikingly like the Keychain on Kingdom Key.
"Well, well, well. It looks as though we succeeded in bringing the Light to this world, Xi."
"And in an uncanny way, too. I guess this world now has twelve Speakers and a thirteenth one that comes and goes." Despite what she'd expected, Ashe didn't seem at all surprised to Xion. In fact, he sounded as though he knew this would happen all along. Maybe he had. After all, he'd known to follow Xari when no one else had, and it was clearly the best decision he could have ever made.
Picking up on the Magi's words, Jesper flew towards Roxas rather reluctantly. Kicking at the air the way a human might at the dirt he said, "You're leaving, aren't you?"
And despite the sadness in what Jesper asked (and how he asked it), there was no trace of sadness at all in Roxas when he rustled the little fairy's feathers. "Yep. But Xion and I will be back. You'll need her, and I know my Xi will need her brothers and sisters. We'll see you soon. And we'll bring back even more Light, then."
Xion nodded in agreement at Roxas' words, but rather numbly. Looking back on it, she'd realize Roxas' words then were really the truest words she'd ever heard. Unlocking the Lanes Between, Roxas and Xion began fading from the place. Amidst waving at the friends who were waving back at her, Xion said one thing. "We'll be back. And then I can have my Awakening."
The Corridor closed up and to Xari and the others it was almost like the events of the previous day had never happened, but Xari knew better. Her heart felt lighter from seeing Xion sort out her own feelings, and maybe she would sort out hers now, too. After all, all of their hearts were connected, weren't they?
Author's Note: So, I had way too much fun with this. LOL. For the first time, I really want to write a sequel to one of my one-shots, but I probably won't. I have too many other stories to finish. Hahaha.
I wasn't originally going to write this for RokuShi day, but since I was so unsure of the fic I did write for it, I wrote this to counterbalance it. That one's cracky and funny, and this one's more angsty and canon-ish, so I hope you liked it (though this came out a bit more Xion-centric than I'd planned). And I hope you'll all read Awakenings now!
I'd dedicate this to Laura (Qwi-Xux on here) who's actually one of the authors of Awakenings, but I'm too nervous to. I know she hasn't been keeping up with KH, anyway. She definitely doesn't know Xion, so I guess it's good I won't tell her about this. But if you ever do read this, Laur, it's definitely for you, and I hope you like it. Same thing goes for you, Faith. (Sache8 on here).
Well, Happy RokuShi day, people! This is the last thing I made for the day, but never fear! I'll be posting crazily on SoKai day, too. See you then!