Recent Content by Destiny's Force
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Epilogue: Prelude to Kingdom Hearts 3
"Yeah. What do you think?"
"Sorry, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. You actually managed to hack your copy of Kingdom Hearts 2 and play as Kairi and Naminé?"
"Well, I had to take a few liberties. I did some model swaps, custom animations, new audio files, and a 'clothes dynamic system' which allows the girls' clothes to get ripped apart from damage."
"But you're a girl. Why would you want the girls to be getting stripped instead of the guys? If you were capable of doing that to Kairi and Naminé, you could've just as easily done it to Sora and Riku."
"What? You think just because I'm female doesn't mean that I'm not into ecchi fanservice?"
"No! I didn't mean it like that!"
"Uh huh. There was no real reason. I did it for the challenge."
"I'm surprised you managed to do the whole Vs. Organization XIII battle. No one has ever been able to get more than three different Organization bosses at the same time since the game can't handle all of that data simultaneously."
"Well, the Kingdom Hearts 2 discs can't. That's why I ripped the data onto my computer and worked from there."
"So it's not really hacking KH2, just creating your own fangame based on the current software's capabilities."
"Kinda reminds me of that fanmade Chrono Trigger midquel that bridged Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. You know, before Square sent that C&D letter?"
"Meh. Not my fault that they didn't think of it first. Besides, I'm not going to make any money off of it. In its current state, the game is still in beta and most computers wouldn't be able to handle the mods."
"Wait. What's that file right there? 'Nomura.DAT?'"
"I haven't been able to figure that out yet. It's one of those key files that seems to hold the entire game together. It can't be modded or hacked without severely corrupting the entire game."
"Maybe Nomura put his own secret avatar in the hidden depths of the game where no mere player can see him?"
"Yeah, right. If that were true, the internet would've heard about it by now."
"Still, you really think it's a good idea to alter the very essence of the game itself?"
"Why not? I beat the game legitimately hundreds of time. I think I deserve it. Besides, it's not like the changes will affect anything in canon anyway..."
* * *
"Wow. Just wow." Kairi closed her eyes and let out a sigh of contentment as she snuggled up closer to Sora. After a plethora of "physical activities," Sora and Kairi lay outside on the deck of their honeymoon suite. There was a slight chill in the air as the couple cuddled underneath the starry night backdrop. To stay warm, Sora had offered his half-jacket to her, but that didn't stop them from pressing up against each other for body heat.
The Keyblade master smiled at the lovely girl curled up against his chest. "Not bad for our first time, huh?"
"Are you kidding? That felt so..." Kairi's shoulders bunched up from happiness. "...exhilarating!"
Sora gently brushed his fingers through her long, red hair. "You're sure you haven't done it before?"
"When I'm with you, I feel like I can do anything," Kairi murmured dreamily. Her eyes suddenly snapped open when she felt something hard pressing up against her thigh. "Um, Sora..."
She raised her head up slightly and smirked at him. "Is that your Keyblade or are you still happy to see me?"
Sora couldn't hide his surprise at the playful accusation. He immediately reached underneath the makeshift blanket, rummaged around for a bit, and pulled out Kairi's Keyblade. "Does this answer your question?"
Kairi giggled. "I was wondering where that went." The Princess of Heart took it from his hands and casually tossed it aside before resting her head back against his chest. "You haven't done this with any other girls, have you?" she asked mock-suspiciously.
Sora knew better than to take her seriously. "Why? Jealous?" The sound of his heavy breathing felt soothing to her ears.
"Maaaaybe." She traced a finger lazily over Sora's chest. "Doing it under the stars is the best part." Then her head perked up. "Can we do it again?"
Seeing the excitement in her eyes, Sora flashed a toothy grin. "You're not exhausted?"
Kairi laughed. "No way! I love it!"
The bushy-haired youth inhaled deeply and let out a satisfied sigh before replying, "Of course!"
"Careful, Sora," Roxas said. "If this keeps up, Kairi might break you."
"Oh, buck up, Roxas," Naminé teased. "How many times have we almost died now? Your body can take it."
"I still can't believe it," Kairi said. "I really flew! If this is what sex feels like, then I can't wait until we get married for real!"
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Kairi," the Memory Witch replied.
"It was nice of Peter Pan to give us this honeymoon package even after calling off the wedding," the redhead continued.
Sora nodded. "Tell me about it. I've always wanted to take you back here ever since I learned how to fly. Almost wondered if you'd actually believe me or not."
"It's all about the happy thoughts," Roxas added.
"Happy, not perverted, right?" Naminé joked. "No English nannies or chimney sweepers needed!"
Kairi sat up with Sora following suit. "Seriously, Sora. We would've been mobbed if it weren't for you..."
* * *
Olette's eyes fluttered open in a daze. She found herself sitting in a pew in-between Hayner and Pence, who both seemed groggy themselves. Looking around the wedding hall, she realized that she wasn't the only one who was confused.
"What's going on?" Hayner rubbed his eyes sleepily and stared at her.
"I have no idea. Last thing I remember was that Sora was up at the altar and we were taking bets whether Kairi would go through with this or not." He glanced up at said altar. "Speaking of which, where is Sora?"
"Riku's missing too," Pence observed.
To everyone's astonishment, a corridor of darkness erupted out in the middle of the aisles, causing everyone to rip open their smuggled packages and don their weapons. Donald gave a sideways glare at Goofy.
"Uh, Goofy?" Donald began. "I thought you were in charge of security."
"Yup!" Goofy thrust his chest out proudly. "I'm Captain of the Royal Knights!"
"Then how did all the wedding guests bring their weapons inside with them?"
Goofy shrugged. "Gawrsh, I dunno. All of 'em were carrying long, thin boxes for the weddin'. I thought they were the presents."
Donald crossed his arms and started tapping his webbed foot in impatience. "Were they wrapped?"
"Hmm..." Goofy took off his hat and scratched his head. "Now that you mention it, I don't believe so." Donald smacked his forehead in disbelief.
"Kairi, wait for us!" The Princess of Heart burst out of the portal followed by Sora and Riku. "We're back!" Sora exclaimed. The corridor evaporated, leaving the group smackdab in the middle of a circle of weapons, causing them to flinch.
"It's them!" Selphie yelled. There was a collective sigh of relief as blades, guns and magic were lowered. The other teenagers ran up to the Keyblade wielders and gave them affectionate hugs.
"Kairi! Why aren't you wearing your wedding gown?" Olette raised an eyebrow. "Did you get cold feet after all?"
"And what happened to the tuxedo I lent you?" Tidus asked Sora.
Before the former bride and groom could answer, Riku cut them off. "I think we better get the announcement over with. The sooner, the better."
Kairi cleared her throat and cupped her hands in front of her mouth to shout over the commotion the other wedding guests were making. "Attention, everyone! I'm sorry, but the wedding's off!"
There was a moment of silence as her words sunk in. Then everyone responded with a huge "WHAT?!"
"I know this will be hard to believe, but this entire wedding was a plot to destroy everyone's worlds again!"
"Don't worry, though. We took care of it!" Sora chimed in.
Riku walked up to King Mickey and got down on one knee to speak easier.
"I'm sorry, your Majesty. The letter you got from Ansem the Wise was actually forged by Xehanort beforehand."
The King looked slightly wary. "How do you know this?"
"It's a long story and now might not be a good time to give you the details. But we're telling the truth." King Mickey shifted his gaze towards Sora and Kairi, who affirmed Riku's statements with quick nods.
"If what you say is true..." The King smiled warmly at the trio. "...then there's no reason to continue the ceremony, is there?"
"So what happens now?" Olette asked. "You're not seriously thinking of sending the guests home after all the trouble of getting them here, are you?" Indeed, the crowd was getting restless and Kairi didn't know what to tell them. She turned to Riku.
"Any ideas?" Riku crossed his arms and dropped his head deep in thought.
Surprisingly, it was Sora who came up with the solution. "We're still having the reception!" he called out. "So, free food!"
The wedding hall went silent again, only to be broken by Jack Sparrow shouting "To the rum!" Everyone misheard him say 'room,' but cheered nonetheless. With the mob crisis averted, the wedding guests began clearing out to the reception hall.
The Destiny Island trio waited until the wedding hall was empty before releasing sighs with relief.
"Figures," Kairi said, shaking her head. "Of course they wouldn't care less as long as there's free stuff."
"Almost like they're pirates," Roxas observed.
"Well, one of them is a pirate," Naminé corrected him. "I guess that would make the rest of them his crew?"
Sora wrapped an arm around Kairi's waist, giving her a quick one-armed squeeze. "Looks like you're not going to have to worry about ruling Radiant Garden after all, Kairi."
The redhead winked at him coyly. "Just because I'm a Princess of Heart doesn't necessarily mean I have to rule over something. Look at Alice and Belle!"
"Regardless, I think we should keep the rest of the exposition to ourselves for the time being." Sora and Kairi looked stunned at Riku's suggestion, making the silver-haired teen chuckle. "I mean let's enjoy the party first. No reason to spoil it!"
The trio snapped out of their private conversation bubble when the sounds of expensive china breaking and Stitch's cackling echoed from the reception hall.
"Somebody catch that panda!" Mushu's voice rang out.
The Keyblade wielders looked at each other with smiles of amusement and without another word, headed off to rescue their friends from an ever-increasing catering bill...
* * *
"You know, it's odd," Sora said, stroking his chin thoughtfully. "I looked around for Tarzan, but he seems to have vanished out of existence. I asked around for him, but no one knew who I was talking about. Maybe Nomura wasn't able to restore him or something."
"Could he have swapped his data with Tron?" Roxas suggested. "I'm surprised that he was outside the datascape this time around."
"Now that I think about it, I don't think you ever mentioned Tarzan at all until the wedding," Kairi pointed out.
"I haven't? Strange. Maybe Naminé didn't put all my memories back exactly the way they were."
"Hey, don't blame this on me. It's not my fault that a naked man in a loincloth wasn't imprinted deep into your psyche."
"Aren't we all naked under our clothes?" Roxas quipped. "Goodness knows you girls have proved that."
"How exactly do you know that?" Naminé gasped in surprise. "You shouldn't have any memory of me being naked!"
"What?! I was talking about Kairi! When were you naked?" Roxas paused in thought. "You Mind Crushed me again, didn't you?"
"No," Naminé responded flatly. "To prove my point, I will now perform the Jedi Mind Meld."
"Naminé? Let him be." Kairi pursed his lips. "You can't solve everything with a lobotomy."
"Not to mention you combined Star Wars and Star Trek again," Sora added.
"As tempting as it is, changing Sora's alter egos whenever something bad happens to us might be stunting his maturity growth," Kairi said. The corners of her mouth started to twitch downward.
Noticing the slight frown on her lips, Sora could tell there was something on her mind. "What's up, Kairi?"
"Nothing, just reflecting." She stifled a yawn. "Remember when I said to you 'Don't ever change?'"
"How could I forget? Sunset on the dock with just the two of us." Sora absentmindedly caressed the tips of his fingers down Kairi's neck, causing thrills down her spine. "If anything, you ended up changing more than me."
Kairi flashed him a mocking grin. "You're still the adorable, lazy bum I grew up with."
"You know, I've been wondering about that for a while now. What kind of bum are you referring to? A lazy butt or..."
"What, did you want Sora to don a beige trenchcoat and an orange knit hat shaking a styrofoam cup and shouting 'Change?! You got change?!'"
Naminé's voice shivered. "Gee, thanks a lot, Roxas. Now I can't get the image of Sora with facial hair out of my head."
Sora smiled from ear to ear and began rubbing his thumb and forefinger near the edge of his lips. "I've always wanted to twirl a curly mustache."
"I swear, you can forget about kissing me if you end up with a face full of fuzz. You know how prickly and uncomfortable that can be?"
"It's like if we forgot to shave our..." Naminé stopped herself. "Just...don't grow anything, okay?"
"I really doubt we'll turn into a werewolf like Saix's mother," Roxas replied.
"I feel a bit guilty about Riku," Sora said suddenly.
Kairi raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
"All the hustle and bustle for our wedding and I don't think Riku was able to pick up any girls."
"Please. That's because he wasn't even trying. But now that you mention it, who was that girl with Tidus? I don't think I've seen her before."
"Her? That was Yuna. She's actually a faerie taking on a human form," Sora explained. "I think that she's dating him now."
"Interesting." Sora looked slightly taken back from Kairi's indifference. "What?"
"You don't seem that surprised about her being a faerie."
"Sora, we live in a universe with yellow canary-ostrich hybrids and Moogles. Faeries turning into human girls are considered a normal thing around here."
"You know, it's strange," Naminé commented. "Even though they have no memories of fighting alongside each other, everyone still seemed to be drawn together into groups by game."
"Like Leon and Selphie? Or Auron, Tidus and Wakka?" Sora shrugged. "Maybe they were destined to meet regardless. Getting everyone together for the wedding just happened to speed up that meeting."
"Speaking of games, doesn't it bother you to know that our entire lives have been chronicled into a video game franchise?" Kairi took a look around at her surroundings warily. "There are literally thousands of people out there that know our private lives, watching every move we make, holding power over whether we win or die." Even though she had body heat and Sora's jacket, she couldn't help but shiver slightly. "Now that it's pretty much been confirmed we're not completely in control of our journey, there's always going to be this tiny part of me that doubts whether I'm in full control of my actions or not."
"I wouldn't worry too much about it, Kairi." Kairi tilted her head, curious. "If anything, everyone will be watching me, Riku and Roxas."
"Not to mention my panties," the redhead muttered darkly. "Seriously, Nomura couldn't have just made underneath my dress a black hole?"
Roxas started to say something, but quickly decided against it. "I'm not touching that with a ten-foot pole."
"Or any other part of your body," Naminé countered.
Sora suddenly grinned. "Okay, how about the rest of your body?"
Before Kairi could react, Sora flipped her over and straddled her, locking her arms against her sides.
"So, I can't touch...here?" He gave a quick tickle poke to her ribs, eliciting a squeak from Kairi. "Or...here?" Sora swiftly prodded her other side. "Or here, or here, orhereorhereorhereorhere..." Dropping all pretenses, Sora rapidly began tickling up and down Kairi's ribcage like playing a keyboard with her giggles as the symphonic piece.
"NYAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" The redhead tried to buck Sora off of her, but his body weight kept her helplessly immobile. All she could do was kick her feet wildly in the air with endless mirth.
Despite having been ruthlessly tickle tortured a few times throughout her adventure, Kairi was surprisingly okay with Sora doing this to her. Although he was being merciless in making her laugh, the feeling of his touch on her body sent tingles pulsating throughout her nervous system. Maybe it was the strong bond of trust they had with each other or the fact that she had wished that he'd always be close to her, but there was no fear or reluctance within her mind or heart.
Kairi was truly enjoying herself, but had a daring idea in mind. When Sora let up for a few seconds, she burst out with "Hey, Roxas! Want to get Naminé too?"
"WHAT?!" Naminé protested, but Kairi was already in the middle of shifting bodies. Naminé struggled to remain out of the nerve endings' reach, resulting in both girls to be in a melded, limbo-like state. The boys were slightly taken back to see Naminé with Kairi's shoulder-length hair and red highlights.
Not to be shown up like this, Sora and Roxas attempted to do the same thing, resulting in Roxas with Sora's brown hair with blonde highlights, giving the illusion of a brilliant gold flame on their heads.
"Roxas! Don't you dare!" Naminé tried to plead with a cute doe-eyed pout, but the adorable gesture backfired as it only spurned more motivation for the ticklers to continue. The boys dug their fingertips into the girls' closed armpits and began vibrating inside the soft, sensitive hollows.
Both lovers somehow managed to teeter in-between identities, synchronized to be able to enjoy and experience simultaneously. Naminé was reminded of the last tickle torture session she had experienced with Xemnas and the tentacles, but the difference this time was that she had an outlet for her laughter.
The endorphins running through the girls were given a sudden spike when the boys quickly stopped the assault and planted their lips over the girls', eliciting surprised, but welcome, moans of pleasure.
"So soft..." Kairi thought as she melted in Sora's arms. When they finally broke apart, Kairi had reverted back to her complete self while Sora had done the same. She could feel her face radiating with warmth from both blushing and recovering from the tickles.
When she finally regained her voice, she asked "What brought that on?"
"You sounded like you needed some cheering up," Sora said, still grinning. "It's not like you to still be brooding when everyone we care about is alive and well."
"But what about-" Sora placed a finger on her lips.
"I'm not leaving you behind this time." Sora rolled off of Kairi and gently brushed her cheek with the back of his fingers. "I promise."
Kairi smiled a non-forced grin this time. "I'm sure you say that to all the girls," she giggled.
"He probably does," Naminé chimed in. Roxas couldn't help but laugh.
Kairi got to her feet and extended her hand out to Sora. "We'll go together."
Sora enthusiastically grabbed her outstretched hand and nodded. "Yeah!" As soon as he was upright, Kairi dragged him hurriedly toward the nearest railing and over the edge of the deck. Adrenaline pumped through their bodies as the two tumbled into freefall, plunging into the great void.
"WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!" As soon as the couple dropped far enough, the thoughts of being with each other filled their hearts and they began spiraling upward into the starry night sky. Looking back, they watched in awe as their honeymoon suite, Captain Hook's stolen pirate ship, sparkled with fairy dust in the soft moonlight. They hovered silently in one spot, gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.
"There's something I've been wanting to tell you for a while now..."
"I love you, Kairi." Kairi's eyes widened at Sora's sudden confession.
"You dork! I was about to say that!" She smacked him playfully on the shoulder.
"Well, there's nothing stopping you from saying it now," Naminé said.
Kairi sighed. "Fine. Sora, I lo-"
"Get a room, you two!" Sora and Kairi jumped at the familiar voice. Riku was flying toward them with an amused expression on his face.
"Oh, come on!" Kairi glared at Riku. "Really, Riku?! Really?"
"What? I needed to ask-"
"I was about to...ERGH!"
Riku glanced at Kairi and then back at Sora. "Oh. You two were having a moment. Sorry about that." Awkwardly excusing himself, the silver-haired teen flew around the other side of the ship and out of sight.
Kairi rolled her eyes. "Why's Riku here again? You know what, doesn't matter right now." She waited a few seconds to make sure there weren't any more sudden interruptions. Sora looked at her expectedly. "Sora, I-"
The redhead's jaw dropped. "What."
"Sorry, that's my phone." Sora reached into his pocket and looked at it. "Oh, it's from the King. I wonder what he wants." Before Sora could pick up, in her unvanquished frustration, Kairi snagged the phone and chucked it back onto the ship.
"Damn it, Sora! I love you, okay?!" And then in a quieter tone, "I love you, Sora. With all my heart." Kairi leaned in and kissed her shining knight with all of the passion she had reserved for him.
When their lips broke apart again, Sora chuckled. "Hmm...I think I can get used to this."
"Congratulations, you've been promoted to make-out partner," Kairi teased, lightly tapping him on the nose.
"Wait, what was I before?" Kairi only giggled. Taking his hand in hers, she gave him an affectionate look.
"Ready, SIR Sora?"
"But, of course, PRINCESS Kairi!"
"Shall we, SIR Roxas?"
"I'd be honored, PRINCESS Naminé." And with that, they tightly grasped each other's hand, sealing their hearts' connection eternally and soared through the night sky to wherever the force of destiny would lead them...
*TO BE CONTINUED IN KINGDOM HEARTS 3*
*...THE HACKED VERSION...*
*...OKAY, PROBABLY NOT...*
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On September 30, 2007, I wrote what was originally a One-Shot of what I imagined could happen immediately after the epilogue of Kingdom Hearts 2 for the KH-Vids forum. Surprisingly, I had positive feedback to continue with the scenario, which spurned me on to keep writing. At first, I was able to get at least one chapter a day. But as time went on, I started to lose speed, motivation, and eventually, I burned out. I stopped updating on Chapter 39 because the ideas wouldn't come to me naturally anymore. I had plans to extend the free-for-all into an elimination battle, but it ended up being more than I could handle.
It was two years later that I realized that the reason I had lost interest was because I was no longer focusing on Kairi and Namine anymore. When I realized that, I scrapped the elimination idea and limited it to the four parts as seen in the final draft. With newfound motivation, I kept working at it, even going so far as to breaking my self-imposed rule of not involving anyone else beyond the first three games.
And now after over five years, I can finally say that I've finished my first multi-chapter story. I hope you've enjoying reading it and I'd like to say thank you for all the support and not giving up on this.
Final Count: 50 chapters, ~524 pages in a Word Document, ~140,997 words.
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Author's Note: Chapter 50 is the final entry for this series. :)
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The New Mickey Mouse Club
Kairi was the first to summon her Keyblade and assume a battle stance (or as best of a stance as she could considering she was floating in white void). Whether this was the real Nomura or not, she didn't want to be caught any more exposed than she already was. Taking her cue, Sora and Riku summoned their weapons as well.
"You've got to be kidding me!" Sora exclaimed.
"I'm with Sora on this one!" Kairi added, not letting her gaze waver. "Are you telling us that you were the one behind all of this? You?"
The man dressed in the black casual business suit only smiled. "I'm not the one responsible."
Naminé sniffed disbelievingly. "You really expect us to believe that?"
"Let me guess, your role in this is going to be a big exposition dump." If Roxas had fists, they would be shaking with frustration. "I swear, if you tell us that this whole journey was just a dream..."
Although there was tension in the void, it wasn't from fear of being erased from existence. It was the feeling of anxiousness that if this man was really their creator, he could easily prolong their journey even further than it already had. An overwhelming god-like aura permeated from his body, but after the numerous "final boss" battles they had to endure, power alone wasn't enough to convince anyone of his true identity.
"There's no need for your Keyblades here." Nomura waved his hands downward trying to calm the Keyblade wielders. Unlike the others who were floating, he seemed to be standing firmly on some invisible floor that they were unable to set foot upon. "You've finally reached the end of this journey, so you can relax."
"I don't believe he's lying." Naminé sounded confident enough for everyone to lower their weapons a smidge. "Whether he's Nomura or not, I don't sense any hostility coming from him."
"He hasn't attacked us yet," Roxas agreed. "The least we can do is hear him out." The trio looked at each other for a few seconds before nodding in silent agreement and returning their Keyblades back into the light.
"Fine, but could you please give us some clothes?!" The Princess of Heart shuddered as goosebumps formed across the surface of her nude skin. "Me being naked is one thing, but I think guys look better when there's at least some parts of the body left to the imagination."
"That's entirely up to you," the creator calmly replied.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Kairi rubbed her hands rapidly over the length of her arms. "Where exactly are we anyway?"
Riku gazed around at the white emptiness of the void. "I know it's not the realm of darkness, light or in-between."
Nomura chuckled. "This, my protagonists, is the realm beyond the fourth wall."
"The fourth..." Kairi shook her head in disbelief. "That's the stupidest thing I've heard since Roxas' last words to Xion."
As soon as the words left her lips, a faint cloud of thought popped into existence above her head displaying the scene of Xion dissolving in Roxas' arms. "Who else will I have ice cream with?"
Kairi blinked. "W...What is that supposed to be?"
"In my defense, I said something completely different in the Japanese version," Roxas said. Then he did a double-take. "Wait a minute. How in the world did you know about that?"
"Since you are no longer within your universe, the confines of reality don't apply to you. Until your return, you have access to all of the knowledge of everything that has happened within the entire Kingdom Hearts franchise."
Nomura swept his arms out in a dramatic flourish, signaling numerous thought bubbles to pop up all around the group. Every single cutscene that had ever been recorded and uploaded were now playing, filling the white void with random soundtracks and voices from their past. Time seemed to have no meaning as the Keyblade wielders were able to absorb hours of footage in the matter of seconds like a giant memory dump into their metaphorical hard drives.
"Wow..." Sora gave Kairi a pitying look as he finished reviewing her scenes from Kingdom Hearts 2. "You really were screwed from significant character development. I can see why you have haters."
Jealousy sparked slightly in Kairi's eyes as she saw Sora's younger self flirt with Alice and Naminé. "Really, Sora? I'm out of your sight for one night and you go ahead and start hitting on other girls?"
"Well, technically that second time was my fault," Naminé corrected her.
Kairi was about to retort when she saw her past self sitting comatose with Riku watching over her. "Is that what I really looked like when my heart was taken?" The girl's face scrunched up at the image. "I'm surprised my body wasn't drooling."
"Believe me, I was thankful that you still had the instinct to hold your bladder the entire time," Riku replied. He frowned at a thought cloud displaying Sora on his knees when he was finally found in his "Ansem, Seeker of Darkness" form.
"I looked everywhere for you!"
Riku sighed and gave Nomura a weary look. "I'm starting to wonder if you created those cutscenes just for fanshipping material."
Roxas was silent as scenes of his existence unfolded in front of Sora's eyes, from being found in front of the Twilight Town mansion to his remerging with his other half. To Sora, seeing the events that took place in the year that he was asleep made him feel both sadness for what he missed and guilt for what Roxas gave up for him.
"Roxas, I know it's late, but I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Sora. I know in your heart that you wish that Naminé and I could exist in our own separate bodies apart from you and Kairi. But we're kinda content with the whole switching places now."
"Besides, now that we know it's possible, it'll probably be a matter of time before we can finally find a way to create new bodies for us just like the data Organization did with Kairi," Naminé added.
Meanwhile, Kairi was staring intently at the scene when Sora asked Saix to take him to her.
"Is she that important to you?"
"Yeah, more than anything!"
"Show me how important." Kairi's heart felt like it quadrupled in size as Sora got down on his knees and touched his face to the ground, begging to be reunited with her. She placed her hand over her chest by the sincerity of the moment, before remembering that she was still naked.
She reluctantly tore herself away from the cutscene archive which immediately zapped out of existence and looked back at Nomura again. "A-anyway, what did you mean that clothing is up to us?"
"See for yourself." The redhead tilted her head questionably and looked back down. To her astonishment, her outfit had reappeared without her noticing.
"What? But how?" She glanced over at Sora and Riku, who were just as surprised to find themselves dressed as well.
"In this realm, anything you can dream will come to life."
"That sounds almost suspiciously like we're dead or something," Naminé observed.
"I assure you that you're not dead."
"Anything you can dream, huh..." Roxas murmured.
Sora's face lit up suddenly. "Ooh! There's this one place that I've always wanted to go to!" He closed his eyes and his face scrunched up in concentration. Riku and Kairi saw their surroundings fade in from blank white into tangible shapes. Brightly colored buildings and contraptions glittered into existence around the group with red-bricked paths shimmering into existence underneath their feet. To their surprise, they were standing in the middle of a circular clearing, surrounded by brightly colored buildings with Princess Aurora's castle looming proudly over them. Random food carts and trinket booths were staffed by numerous Moogles that busily zipped around the area. Standing in the center of this activity was a bronze statue of the King and a dapper-looking man holding hands.
"Wait a minute..." Kairi gave the boys a quizzical stare. "Is this where I think it is?"
Riku shrugged and turned toward Sora, who let out a nervous laugh.
"Well, we've never been to Disneyland before and I figured this would be a good time as any." His eyes widened excitedly. "Ooh! I've always wanted to try Splash Mountain!" Before Sora could make a run for it, Kairi yanked him by the back of his collar.
The Princess of Heart couldn't help but let out a sigh. "Out of all the places you could come up with..." Not content with their current surroundings, Kairi closed her eyes and concentrated on changing the world around them. She was met with disappointment and confusion when their surroundings remained unchanged. "Hey! What gives?"
"You all share the same ability to create using dream logic," Nomura explained. "However, Sora's experience in dreaming allows him to create bigger and more complex objects than you or Riku."
Kairi's shoulders slumped. "You mean we can't do anything about it because Sora has narcolepsy?"
"It does make sense in a way. He does tend to sleep at the most inopportune times," Naminé teased.
"Hey!" Sora crossed his arms in a huff. "I'm standing right here!"
Kairi thought for a moment. "Could we create bodies for Roxas and Naminé?"
"You could. But keep in mind that they must merge back before leaving this realm. Otherwise, they will cease to exist."
Kairi nodded and closed her eyes once again. This time, both her and Sora's body lit up with a warm, dazzling glow. After a few seconds, the ghostly forms of Roxas and Naminé stepped out of their counterparts. The Nobodies looked down at their bodies as they solidified into corporeal apparitions once more.
Roxas stared at his fingers and wiggled them as if to make sure that they were working correctly. He almost lost his balance when Naminé threw herself at him, wrapping her slender arms around his torso and squeezed as hard as she could.
"I've wanted to do this for a while," Naminé purred softly in his ear, causing the blonde boy to blush. Nomura smiled and continued as if nothing else had happened.
"You may have noticed over the past few months that everyone you've ever known has been making nostalgic references that relate to them whether it be movies, films or other game franchises." Nomura placed his hands behind his back and slowly paced away from the group as he spoke. "The main reason is because the spiritual energy of this realm has been leaking through cracks in the fourth wall and into your universe. That is why you knew the existence of me and your roles as video game characters."
Roxas finally broke his embrace with Naminé, but kept one of his arms wrapped around her waist. "Even if what you say is true, how did this happen in the first place?"
Nomura turned back toward the group and jerked his head toward the bushy-haired brunette. "You should ask Sora."
All eyes fixed upon Sora, who looked just as shocked as everyone else. "How would I know?"
"The Codebreaker. May I ask where you got it?" Nomura asked.
Sora grinned confidently. "Easy! I got it from..." The smile faded from his lips as he was struck dumbfounded. "Huh. I honestly don't know. All I remember is that it was in my pocket sometime after we returned to the islands."
"So what you're telling us is that this whole mess was because someone corrupted the save file of our universe?" Naminé asked.
Nomura nodded. "It was like a virus, injected into your reality, altering past events in very subtle ways, but just enough to cause a butterfly/domino effect that's resulted in the current situation. The power it held resonated within Sora's very core, affecting everything and everyone that has ever come in contact with him."
"That seems plausible," Kairi said, stroking her chin. "I always had this odd feeling that everything that was going on wasn't supposed to be happening. Almost as if we were experiencing some alternate timeline or something."
"Do you regret it?" Kairi looked thoughtful at Roxas' question.
"On the one hand, it wasn't exactly fun to get beaten up and humiliated." Then she smiled. "However, now that I think about it, it was nice being the one in the spotlight for once."
"You said it, sis," Naminé agreed.
"When the Codebreaker was destroyed, it released residual energy that not only erased all of the combatants in the Keyblade Graveyard, but was absorbed by Data Xemnas. This resulted in returning to his Xehanort form as well as summoning the King and Kentauros forms. His defeat released that energy, transforming into the gateway that led you here."
"Erased?!" Sora's face hardened as he realized that his friends' plight was because of his carelessness.
Sensing Sora's guilt, Kairi gave him a comforting hug from behind. "It's okay, Sora. You didn't know that would happen."
But something was bothering Riku. "Wait. Xemnas became Xehanort, right? That would mean he returned to possessing a body that wasn't his. When he released his heart, shouldn't the body he discarded be returned to its original owner?"
"That body...was nothing more than a shell," came the reply.
"You mean he was a Nobody pretending to be Xehanort?" Riku pressed.
Nomura looked a bit pensive before answering. "Yes and no. The Garden of Assemblage was originally created to house data on the Organization. Their experiences and memories were recorded in real time until their...defeat. However, that was all they were: data replicas of the original Organization."
"That would explain why my doppelganger didn't recognize Naminé," Roxas mused. "After all, I didn't meet her until the last week of my existence."
"I remember one of the Secret Ansem Reports said something about life needing a body, soul and heart," Sora said. "Their data probably acted as an artificial soul while they needed Kairi to create brand-new bodies and hearts."
Tired of standing, Naminé led Roxas to the bronze statue of Mickey and sat down on its pedestal. "Considering how many people were created out of you, I'm surprised you weren't the one they kidnapped instead."
Kairi suddenly remembered something that bothered her as well. "Why did they believe they were trapped in the computer? Considering that their individual memories ended as soon as their Nobodies were destroyed, shouldn't they have realized that they were computer programs?"
"Hey, it's not as simple as you might think," Roxas interjected. "I was clueless about the data Twilight Town until the Dusks started hacking the system."
"Or maybe I'm just that good at what I do," Naminé teased. "I'm like a brain hacker."
"Age of the geek, baby," Kairi added. When the boys gave her a blank look, her face reddened slightly. "Never mind."
"They didn't realize they were programs because their data remained locked in stasis until they were activated," Nomura explained. "This was probably around the time that you received the bottled letter from King Mickey. As soon as that letter was delivered, their consciousnesses were awakened, allowing them to remotely summon and control Heartless and Nobodies from within Radiant Garden's mainframe."
"If what you're saying is true, that would explain why Xehanort's body disappeared as soon as he released his heart." Riku's face looked grim. "He wasn't sacrificing someone else's body, it was his own."
Kairi's eyes suddenly flashed with anger. "If the Organization XIII we fought wasn't real, are you telling us that we went through all of that for nothing?!"
Nomura shook his head. "You didn't fight in vain. I wanted to make sure you were prepared."
The redhead didn't like where this was going. "Prepared for what?"
"Since you know the entire Kingdom Hearts timeline up to this point, you know that Xehanort, the REAL Xehanort isn't defeated. Ever since you defeated both his Nobody and Heartless with the Keyblade, he will make his return." He gave the group a sweeping gaze. "And when he does, it'll be up to the five of you to defeat him once and for all."
"So this whole incident was a test?" Naminé asked.
"More like a tutorial. The threat to your entire universe is bigger than any of you could possibly imagine."
"Try us," Roxas challenged.
"I'm sorry, but I can't give you any spoilers. Let's just say that Sora, Riku and Kairi are at the heart of the matter." As he noticed their faces fell, he smiled. "Don't worry, you'll figure everything out soon enough."
"Even Sora?" Naminé teased.
Kairi figured now was the best time to ask the lingering question on everyone's mind. "Do we still have to get married?" Nomura stroked his chin thoughtfully as if thinking about it. After a few moments, he shrugged.
"That's entirely up to you. Data Xemnas wasn't lying when he said Ansem the Wise's decree was a forgery. You don't HAVE to get married. Personally, I would rather you wait until you were older."
"So what happens now?" Sora looked downtrodden. "Even if we return to our universe, our friends are all gone."
"Don't worry. They're not dead." That caught everyone by surprise.
"Really?!" Sora's heart immediately filled with hope. "How did that happen?"
Nomura chuckled. "I'm your creator, remember? I have their backup data."
"And Radiant Garden?" Kairi added. "There's no point in them returning if they have no place to go back to."
"With the Codebreaker destroyed and its residual energy dissipating, the cracks in the fourth wall have finally begun repairing themselves. When you return, all of the collateral damage from the incident will be restored to their original states."
Riku stood silent throughout all of this with his head dropped to his chest and his arms crossed in thought. He finally spoke up. "There's a catch to all of this, isn't there?"
"When you leave this place and return to your universe, the fourth wall will not be the only thing that's sealed up. This realm's energies still flow throughout your bodies, but cannot exist without a consistent connection outside of its natural source. As soon as you return, your memories of me, the Kingdom Hearts timeline and everything you've learned since the wedding will be erased. At least-"
"What?!" Kairi couldn't believe her ears. "But what about all the progress we've made over this entire journey? If everything goes back to the way it was, I'll end up not being able to use the Keyblade anymore!"
"Yeah! It's not fair that you made us go through all those tutorials and ended up going the entire dream sequence route!" Naminé snapped. "Sora already went through all of this in the beginning of the first game!"
"Not to mention, what was the whole point of dumping all this exposition onto us if you were going to make us forget anyway?" Roxas added.
"I already had my memories messed with in Chain of Memories!" Sora exclaimed. "Doing this to Kairi and Naminé makes any character development they obtained null and void!"
"Calm down! Let me finish!" Nomura cleared his throat. "What I was about to say before you interrupted was at least that's what WOULD have happened. However, as we've been talking, I've been trying to restore the timeline to its original state, but the alterations are too far embedded into your universe's code that it's virtually impossible to erase the events of everything that you've encountered from your memories."
The girls exchanged excited looks. "You mean that I'm still going to be a Keyblade-summoning Princess of Heart?" Kairi asked enthusiastically.
Nomura smiled and nodded. "Now that I think about it, all of you were eventually going to stumble upon this information in one form or another. There's no harm in letting you retain knowledge of the past as it doesn't spoil what's planned for Kingdom Hearts 3. Your memories will remain untouched. However, I can only restore everyone else's memories up to the point of before your wedding was rudely interrupted." Nomura raised his hand and pointed it at the gaping castle archway of Aurora's castle. A giant black and purplish portal erupted, taking up the entire opening. "This Corridor of Darkness will take you back to your universe. It's a one-way trip, so I suggest you take all the time that you need here."
He began stepping through the portal.
"Wait!" Nomura stopped at Kairi's outburst and looked back over his shoulder. "Are you really Nomura?"
The creator only responded with a mysterious smile and a twinkle in his eye. And with that, he was gone.
"Huh." Kairi exhaled a cleansing breath. "Nomura was actually a lot nicer than I thought."
"Yeah." Naminé giggled. "Remember how we were worried that he could easily write Sora a new girlfriend?"
Roxas and Sora looked surprised. "You two were actually worried about that?"
The boys took their fiancées' hands in theirs. "I can't think of anyone else I'd rather be with than you," Sora said with a shy smile.
"Same here," Roxas agreed.
Naminé raised an eyebrow. "What about Xion?"
"Don't ruin the moment."
"Technically, he already wrote Sora a new girlfriend when he replaced Kairi with Naminé," Riku said. Before the others could retort how he ruined the moment, the silver-haired teen quickly changed the subject. "Anyway, Xehanort's still out there somewhere. No matter what we do or where we go, our paths will cross again."
"I say we've gone through enough for now," Sora replied. "If anything, I think we should just enjoy what time we have left before our next big adventure."
"Nomura was right, though." Kairi's eyes narrowed into a determined gaze. "Despite everything we've had to go through, there's no excuse not to take me along this time."
"Oh! One last thing!" Everyone flinched as Nomura's disembodied head popped back in through the portal. "Could you please apologize to Cloud for me next time you see him?"
"Why?" Naminé asked. "What happened?"
"He was in my office complaining about there not being a Final Fantasy VII remake in the works. I was telling him I'd have to talk to him about it later when he gripped his sword in what I think was a passionate gesture, but security took it as an assassination attempt. They got a bit...overenthusiastic." The creator looked slightly embarrassed. "I think they ended up sending him careening into the Great Maw." Nomura gave them a final wave farewell and departed, leaving the group in awkward silence.
Naminé was the first to speak. "Well...we have this entire theme park to ourselves." She threw out her arms and twirled around for emphasis. "And it's not like we're in a rush to get back."
Sora placed a curled finger under Kairi's chin and gently guided her face up to his. "So, Kairi...where do we go from here?" Kairi knew what Sora meant. He wasn't asking what ride or attraction they should go on first. He was asking if she wanted to be by his side and take their life's journey together. Her eyes quickly flickered to Riku, who only shook his head as if saying "Leave me out of this." She glanced over at Roxas and Naminé, who went and embraced each other tightly.
The Princess of Heart wrapped her arms around her Keyblade Knight's neck and pressed her forehead against his. With a smile playing across her soft lips, she uttered words that she had been wanting to let him know for as long as she could remember.
"To infinity and beyond, Sora."
Startled by the sudden knocking, the blue-haired woman's head jerked up from her drawer rummaging.
"Who is it?"
"It's Xion," came the muffled reply through the closed door. As she walked toward the door in lacy periwinkle underwear, Aqua lazily raised her arms above her head, stretching out her spine. Opening the door revealed a short black-haired girl holding up a fluffy, purple towel around her damp, naked body. "Have you seen my conditioner?"
Aqua motioned for Xion to come in. "I believe Ven has it." Xion shuffled into the bedroom and sighed.
"Again? Why doesn't he buy his own? I mean, his hair keeps draining the bottle faster than Pooh chugs honey."
"Don't worry about it. I'll lend you mine." As Aqua headed back to her dresser, she looked back over at Xion. "What happened to your clothes?"
Xion fidgeted slightly underneath her towel. "I forgot to take my clean clothes with me to the bathroom and accidentally locked myself out of my room." Then she noticed Aqua's state of dress. "What about you? Why are you in your underwear?"
"Before you continue to ogle my cleavage, could you please close the door behind you?" Aqua shot a quick glance toward the open door, straining her ears for sounds of movement in the hallway. "I don't think either of us want the boys to get some free fanservice."
Xion giggled as she complied with the request. "Well, that's what happens when you open up a temporary lodging for the "lost" characters of Kingdom Hearts in a magical pocket dimension at the edge of the universe. You end up housing more guys than girls here."
"Until the series needs us directly involved, we need somewhere to live off-screen, right?" Aqua held up a clear, plastic bottle with a creamy, turquoise substance inside it. "The only conditioner I have right now is this two-in-one anti-dandruff shampoo."
"You still didn't answer my question, though. Why exactly are you half-naked?"
"One, it's my room. I can dance around completely naked if I want. And two, you just caught me after my daily yoga. I was about to head for the shower myself." She handed Xion her shampoo and stopped herself. "Wait. Did you say that you locked yourself out of your room?" Aqua raised an eyebrow. "You can summon a giant key that can unlock any keyhole."
"But I lost that ability when Roxas absorbed me." There was a curious tone in her voice that made Aqua think that Xion was just grasping for an excuse not to be wrong, but decided to let it go. Xion suddenly asked, "So have you read it yet?"
"The story about Sora and Kairi's wedding? I think it's sweet." Then Aqua pursed her lips. "Although, I feel sorry for Kairi being stripped repeatedly. And I can't imagine going through all that tickle torture," she added as an afterthought.
"Why? You ticklish?" Xion gently poked Aqua's exposed left side, immediately making the blue-haired woman squeak.
"Hey! No tickles!" Aqua giggled. Although she was trying to be serious, she couldn't help but grin despite herself.
Xion had a sly smirk on her face, barely hiding the fact that she wanted to continue her assault. However, she realized that the resulting tickle fight would cause her towel to come off, exposing her in more ways than one. Instead, she decided to get back to the point. "So who do you think is behind all of this?"
"You don't think it ends with Xemnas?"
"I think it's more complicated than that. He may be power hungry, but I doubt that he was able to come up with this by himself."
Aqua shrugged. "True. Although I think it would be pretty stupid if the mastermind ended up being Walt Disney's ghost."
Xion peered at the bottle in her hands. "Why do you need anti-dandruff shampoo? Does your head look like a blizzard in summer without it?" she asked playfully.
"Okay, that's it. Give me back my bottle." Aqua made a grab for it, but Xion backed up and stretched her arm out of Aqua's range. Her calf hit Aqua's bed and she tumbled backward onto the mattress with a soft ploomph. Unfortunately for her, Aqua quickly dove in and grabbed both of Xion's wrists and pinned them above her head.
Xion's eyes widened in shock as she realized what Aqua was planning to do. The black-haired girl struggled to free herself, but with Aqua's body weight straddled on top of her, all she accomplished was loosening the towel wrapped around her body.
Aqua smirked and shifted her grip, easily pinning her victim's wrists with one hand. She gently placed the fingertips of her free hand on Xion's forearms and began lightly tracing down the length of her arms. Xion struggled not to let her tormentor know this was affecting her, but the corners of her lips couldn't help but curl upward.
"Now what was that about my head looking like a blizzard?" Aqua rested her fingers on the taut surface of Xion's right underarm.
"I-I-I'm sorreheehee!" Xion burst into musical giggles as Aqua took her pointer finger and began applying ticklish pressure into the armpit.
"Oh, you're laughing at me now?" Aqua asked in a mock-offended tone. "I guess I can see how this is all funny to you." Xion shrieked with laughter as Aqua's fingers curled into a claw and rapidly tickled through the fluffy towel's surface.
The younger girl's body bucked as her entire upper body was mercilessly tickle-tortured. She squirmed with helpless ticklishness, trying to desperately push the blue-haired beauty away with her hips, but Aqua was older, taller and stronger than she was. Her legs kicked uselessly at the air, unable to get a decent foothold to dig into. Xion was quickly running out of breath when...
"Hey, Aqua?" The girls froze at the sound of Ven opening the door. "Have you seen-" The bushy-haired teenager stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of the scantily-clad girls on the bed. Just as Xion predicted, her towel finally dropped open, revealing her nude form before the boy. Before Ven could comprehend what he was seeing, Aqua rushed at Ven and gripped the first blunt object she could wrap her fingers around.
*WHACK* Ven's head snapped forward as Aqua cracked him across the back of the head with his old wooden Keyblade.
"Ven, you pervert! Next time knock before you enter a girl's room!" The Roxas look-alike squeezed his eyes shut and flailed his hands around in a panicked frenzy.
"I swear I didn't see anything! Not even that star-shaped mole on your-" A stray hand accidentally pawed against Aqua's bra cup, pulling it down slightly.
*WHAM!* Ven slumped to the floor in an unconscious heap. Aqua sighed as she readjusted her bra.
"Xion? Next time I ask you to close the door, please make sure you lock it."
* * *
Kairi's Keyblade clattered across the floor as Xemnas disarmed her. Although winded and worn out, the Princess of Heart had no intention of giving up. She threw her arm out and summoned it back to her hand, only for Xemnas to rush up and knee her in the stomach with his Keyblade-turned-greave. As she doubled over in pain, Xemnas intertwined his clawed fingers together and slammed a hammerblow in-between her shoulder blades, sending Kairi sprawling to the floor.
"Naminé, has our magic recharged yet?" Her biceps trembled as she struggled to push herself back up.
"No, it's-" Before Naminé could say any more, Kairi felt Xemnas crouch down and wrap his pointy claws around her wrists. He jerked her body upward, suspending her into a "T" shape.
"NO MORE." Kairi let out a blood-curdling scream as she felt deep agonizing pain jolt throughout her body. Xemnas had roughly yanked her arms out of their sockets like a Thanksgiving wishbone, causing the Keyblade to fall uselessly from her lifeless fingers. Knowing full well that she was virtually defenseless, Xemnas unceremoniously tossed Kairi onto her back. With her hair disheveled, dress ripped and the lack of endorphins to ease her throbbing paralyzed limbs, Kairi finally broke down and began to cry.
"YOU ARE BEATEN, PRINCESS." Xemnas pointed his Keyblade at her helpless body. "YOUR HEART WILL BE SET FREE FROM ITS VESSEL AND PROVIDE THE POWER TO FINISH WHAT I STARTED."
"Naminé..." Kairi murmured. "...help..."
"I'm trying! It's not working!"
"Can't...end...like...this..." Kairi gritted her teeth as she willed her fingers to move, but they didn't even twitch. Xemnas calmly placed his foot on Kairi's stomach and steadied his stance. He raised his Keyblade, ready to stab without interference this time.
"FAREWELL...KAIRI." Kairi closed her eyes, bracing herself for oblivion.
"In brightest day..." A familiar voice echoed through the arena, causing Xemnas to whirl around and swipe his Keyblade, only to whiff air.
"In blackest night..." Through her tear-blurred eyes, Kairi became aware that Sora's body had disappeared from where he had fallen. Hope flourished within her heart.
"Beware our power..." Xemnas' gaze slowly swept the battlefield, unaware that Sora and Riku's Keyblades had vanished as well.
"Kingdom Hearts...is LIGHT!" Xemnas felt a ghostly presence pass through his body along with two Keyblades that slashed through his very core. The Armored Superior buckled to his knees as his attacker ran up to Kairi.
Floral bells chimed above the Princess' body, washing over her a blissful, comforting feeling that one gets from soaking in a warm bubble bath. The next thing Kairi noticed was that she could move her limbs painlessly again.
Sitting herself up, Kairi was greeted to the sight of a grinning Sora holding out his hand toward her. "Miss me?"
"Sora!" She enthusiastically grabbed Sora's hand and before either of them knew it, Kairi had pulled him in and met her lips with his. She felt herself melt with pleasure as relief and attraction coursed through her body. As soon as their lips broke apart, both parties couldn't help but blush.
"Wow, Kairi. It took coming back from near-death to finally kiss me?"
Kairi could only giggle bashfully. "Hey, I kissed you! Back at the wedding hall when I woke you up, remember?"
"Pecks don't count," Sora teased.
"Roxas!" Naminé couldn't have been more relieved. "But you were dead, weren't you?"
"Once More and Second Chance abilities," Roxas replied.
"How are you feeling?" Sora asked Kairi.
"Besides the need for a tailor that can create damage-proof clothing and a warm, private shower, I'm feeling completely refreshed!"
"And no, you're not joining us in that private shower," Naminé quipped. "But what did you do? Curaga doesn't restore magic yet we're both maxed out!"
Sora ruffled his bushy head with embarrassment. "I completely forgot that Queen Minnie gave us a Megalixir to give to you when we came to rescue you."
"And before you get on our case, it's a good thing we saved it or else we wouldn't have been able to survive that stab wound," Roxas added.
"Even so, we're right back where we started." Kairi's hope began to dwindle as she realized the severity of the situation. "We may be at 100% now, but Xemnas doesn't seem to be any weaker."
"Not entirely accurate," Sora argued. "You've managed to crack open his armor, giving us a target. Better than what we were facing before."
"And Sora was in Limit Form," Roxas chimed in. "Ironically, that limited our attacks. But Sora's regular form doesn't have as many restrictions."
As Xemnas climbed to his feet, Kairi pursed her lips in thought. "We're still missing that edge. Xemnas outclasses us in strength, speed and skill. The only advantage we have is the numbers game."
"Any suggestions?" Naminé asked. As if in answer to their prayers, a soft light began to trickle over the cockpit. The combatants looked up and felt a wash of rainbow light blanket over their bodies. For Sora and Kairi, it gave them a feeling of soothing strength. Xemnas, however, was starting to look apprehensive. "Do you feel that?"
Kairi nodded. "Yeah...it's the other Princesses of Heart. They're lending us their light!"
"This seems really cliché..." Roxas said. "But at this point, we'll take it!"
"NO!" In an uncharacteristic display of panic, Xemnas summoned his wings and soared upward, channeling the darkness for another burst. "BE GONE!"
Sora and Kairi tensed up, bracing themselves for the oncoming attack. To Roxas and Naminé's surprise, neither of them seemed to make any attempt to evade the attack.
"Uh, guys?" Roxas had an understandably worried tone in his voice. "This isn't exactly the time to play chicken with explosions."
"You're not seriously going to take this without defending, are you?"
"Have faith," Kairi replied. "The power of all seven hearts of pure light are being combined and given to us. Don't you know what that means?"
"We can summon Captain Planet?" Sora joked. As the other three groaned at the pale attempt at comedy, Xemnas released the darkness, engulfing the battlefield in an earth-shattering eruption.
The Armored Superior hovered in the sky, peering through the dissipating clouds of darkness for any signs of life. His eye slits seemed to widen slightly as two levitating bodies of light shone through the haze. As Xemnas descended from the sky, the dust cleared to reveal Sora and Kairi in their Final Forms.
Sora had floating behind him not one, but TWO Ultima Weapons, the other one in the form that he had wielded back when he was 14. Kairi, however was not wielding her floral Keyblade. Instead, she was also possessing two Ultima Weapons. Unlike Sora's, however, the two Keyblades actually seemed to have a combination of characteristics from the original two with their blue, white and gold appearances.
"Hey, Xemnas..." Sora flashed a confident grin. "Eat your heart out."
Kairi glanced over at Sora and rapidly batted her eyelashes teasingly. "Really, Sora? That's the best you could come up with?"
"Um...how about 'Suck on my big, fat f$#*$@g heart?'" Kairi's jaw dropped open at Sora's quotation.
"Okay, first of all, language. Second, out of character. Third, where in the universe did you pick that up?!" A white, gloved hand patted Kairi on the shoulder from behind.
"Don't worry about it, Kairi. You know how the darn-fangled information super-highway impresses upon youths today." Kairi whipped around and was stunned to see Naminé's corporeal body floating behind her.
The memory witch was sporting a new outfit consisting of vanilla knee-high boots, a sky-blue cocktail dress, and white elbow-length gloves. Levitating around her was Kairi's flowery Keyblade along with the blue and gray one from earlier.
"We'll worry about that later," Roxas' voice cut her off. Sora turned and was just as surprised as Kairi to find Roxas hovering right next to them. Unlike the other three who were wearing different clothes, Roxas was now donning steel blue, gold and black armor in a style similar to Xemnas' and the Lingering Will. In his left hand was Two Become One while his right held a Keyblade that sported a black handle, gold pommel and a gold rain guard. "Ready?"
Naminé sighed. "Really? We only get new pieces of fabric and you get to wear armor?"
Roxas shrugged. "Hey, it's not like I knew this was going to happen."
"If you say so." Naminé pointed her gaze and the flowery Keyblade toward Xemnas. "Let's end this." The group glanced at each other and shared a nod of agreement. The four of them swept their Keyblades above their heads before transforming into apparitions of light. Soaring up to Xemnas' level, they circled around him like sharks to blood.
Xemnas threw out his arms, sending phantom Keyblades towards them, but the projectiles passed through them like illusions.
"Xemnas!" Kairi's voice boomed. "Everything that's happened to us is because of you! You used Sora, Riku and I as guinea pigs for your twisted experiments!"
"You see hearts as just tools, an energy source, yet blind yourself from its true essence," Naminé added. "It's not about light and darkness. And it's not just a heart by itself. The true power comes from the connections each heart resonates with one another."
"By throwing away your heart, you waste your true potential," Roxas chimed in. "Raw power is nothing without the bonds to support it."
"You never cared about anyone but yourself." Sora's voice was unwavering as he spoke. "You rely on only your power alone. For us, there will always be someone new to meet, someone to connect with. That's why our hearts' radiance is infinite!"
Xemnas' armor clattered as the light's energy overwhelmed him. The beings of light stopped at the four corners of the ship and zipped straight at their target in the center of the makeshift cross.
"TAKE THIS!" Sora's body pierced through the small crack in Xemnas' armor, causing pieces to chip off leaving a bigger hole.
"TAKE THAT!" Roxas continued where Sora left off; his attack made the cracks travel up into the chest plate and across Xemnas' back.
"NEVER AGAIN!" Kairi's strike shattered Xemnas' chest plate into pieces, forcing the cracks to finally reach his helmet.
"UM...FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC!" Naminé finished the Limit by smashing her Keyblades onto Xemnas' head.
As Xemnas' armor burst, Roxas glanced over at Naminé. "Really, Naminé? 'Friendship is magic?' Out of all of the finishing quotes you could come up with, you chose 'My Little Pony?'"
"Hey, I was under pressure, alright? I don't do many finishers like you guys!" Naminé shrugged. "Would something like 'I will change your mind' have worked better?"
"It's okay, Naminé," Kairi reassured her. "You'll get another chance." Their attack complete, the four of them sank gently back to the ground. There was another burst of light, leaving Sora and Kairi back in their normal outfits with only the original three Keyblades in their hands. Roxas and Naminé felt tinges of sadness as their bodies faded into the echoes of consciousness for their respective counterparts once again.
Xemnas fell to the ground hard, landing on his knees with a sickening metallic creak. Sora and Kairi raised their Keyblades in ready stances, waiting to see if they had finally managed to put their opponent down for good. To their surprise, Xemnas seemed to no longer notice them.
"No...More...Uh..." Chunks of his remaining armor clattered to the floor in pieces.
Kairi's eyes narrowed as the remnants of the helmet finally began to flake off. "Wait...that's not Xemnas." Indeed, the armor's occupant had a lighter skin and hair color than what she remembered.
The image of a young man's portrait in Ansem the Wise's study flashed through Sora's memory. His eyes widened as the face was finally revealed. "You're right! That's Xehanort!" There was no mistaking it.
Xehanort clutched at his head before tossing his head back and yelled out in pain.
"NO...MORE...AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!" As the rest of his armor dissolved into ashes, Xehanort rose to his feet, his eyes eerily blank. He raised his Keyblade and stared at the couple with a renewed, but dwindling second wind. "I WILL NOT ALLOW IT TO END THIS WAY..." The unmasked Xehanort took his Keyblade, and to Sora and Kairi's astonishment, pressed the blade's tip to his heart. "THIS BODY HAS SERVED ITS PURPOSE." An orb of light popped out of his chest and hovered wistfully as its master started to chuckle. "OUT WITH THE OLD AND BRITTLE VESSEL, AND IN WITH A YOUNGER, STRONGER NEW ONE!"
"Wait a minute. 'This body?' Naminé repeated. "Was Xehanort being possessed this whole time?" With startling speed, the orb ruthlessly flew toward the couple.
The same chilling thought popped into both Sora and Kairi's minds and they didn't like their choices. Taking the hit for the other person meant that their bodies would be possessed and forced to fight each other. Letting the other sacrifice themselves would end up with the same result. Unsure of what to do, Sora and Kairi could only lift their Keyblades up to guard and hope that they would be able to retain control after impact.
"You need some new material, Xemnas." Riku flew in from above, landed in front of his friends and threw his palm out. Amazingly, instead of being possessed, the orb of light smacked against Riku's hand, only to be trapped by his curled fingers. "You can't possess someone who's already rejected you before." Riku summoned his Way to the Dawn to his free hand and tossed the ball up into the air. "Stop stealing other people's bodies and vanish with your own!" He shifted his weight and took a batter's swing with his Keyblade, knocking Xehanort's heart out into the cold oblivion of Gummi space.
With heart and body defeated, Xehanort's form dissipated into darkness, leaving no traces of having ever been there.
Kairi ran up to Riku and gave him an appreciative hug. "Thank you, Riku!"
Sora chuckled and gave Riku's back a hearty pat. "Always the one with the last word."
"But is it over?" Naminé asked hesitantly. The ground beneath them rocked at an angle, causing the trio to almost fall over. Kairi instinctively latched onto Sora's arm to retain her balance.
"What's going on?!" she yelled as an enormous din began reverberating throughout the cockpit.
"Without Xemn-, I mean, Xehanort, this Kentauros Form can no longer exist!" Roxas replied. "We've got to get back to the Gummi ship!" As if on cue, the rainbow tunnel of light faded from sight, effectively trapping the Keyblade wielders.
"You've got to be kidding me!" Sora exclaimed. "Is it just me or do we have the worst luck of surviving final boss fights in one piece?"
"At least it can't get any-" Naminé started to say.
*KABOOM* The combatants looked up in horror to see an exploding fireball where their Gummi Ship had been.
"No! The Princesses!" The Heartless had finally managed to overwhelm the remaining survivors. Instinct turned their attention toward the only hearts left in the vicinity. Kairi groaned. "Did you really have to say that, Naminé?"
"Look!" Riku pointed toward the spot where Xehanort previously occupied. A growing pool of darkness began to gush upward like the ship had a broken wound torn open, seeping out like purplish blood that consumed the battlefield. With nowhere to run, the darkness began to pull the Destiny Island trio down, sinking them into the endless abyss like quicksand.
"I'm getting déjà vu here," Roxas exclaimed. "This is the part where Naminé reaches her hand out and pulls us up, right?"
"I'm a little busy here, Roxas!" Naminé snapped.
"Hey, at least you had help, Roxas," Sora said. "I went through this twice and it's not like Kairi was able to help me either time."
"Well, excuse me for having my own problems," Kairi shot back.
"Okay, seriously? What is with you four?" Riku struggled to pull his leg out from the darkness, but it was no use. "You act lovey-dovey one moment then start bickering like an old, married couple the next. Make up your mind already!"
"Kairi! Cast Holy!" Naminé suggested. Kairi tried to lift her Keyblade to cast the spell, but to her dismay, her weapon was already halfway sunk into the darkness. Her arms quivered as she grasped the handle and tried to pull it out. Unfortunately, the Keyblade wouldn't budge and only caused her to pull herself even deeper.
"I can't! It's stuck!" With the darkness making its way up her midriff, Kairi was starting to lose hope. "Wait a minute! Sora!" She whipped her head around at him. "When you sank into the darkness, did anything bad happen to you?"
Sora's eyes rolled back as he thought back to the previous times he had been in this situation. "Other than losing consciousness? Not that I can think of. Why?"
"I hope this works." The Princess of Heart stopped struggling and closed her eyes. Her chest heaved slowly as she took deep, long breaths.
"Kairi, what are you doing?!" Naminé cried in a panic. "We can't give up after all we've been through!"
"Nothing bad happened to Sora, right?" Kairi smiled. "Besides, there's one thing that I have that the boys don't possess." She took a deep breath and dunked her head into the darkness, allowing her body to be swallowed whole. As Sora's jaw dropped in disbelief, Riku shrugged.
"She's right, you know," Riku said. "There's nothing to fear from the darkness. Just like light, it's only bad depending on how it's used. The darkness itself isn't to blame." And with that, Riku plunged his whole body under, leaving Sora and Roxas waist-deep and sinking.
"You don't think they're just talking under stress, do you?" Roxas asked rhetorically.
"We know them better than that. They showed no fear or hesitation. Why should we?" Sora let himself fall backward, the darkness catching him with a soft poof. The deafening explosions happening around him quieted to a muffled murmur as Sora's ears sank underneath the darkness.
The last sight that flashed before his eyes was the oncoming Heartless swarm before blinking out. Sora's entire body felt virtually weightless, almost numb from the lack of any pressure against his skin.
The calm, almost eerie silence seemed to amplify the sounds of Sora's heartbeat and breathing.
"Did we finally die?" Roxas asked.
"Considering the sound of our heartbeat, I seriously doubt it." It was a few moments before Sora realized that his eyes were still squeezed shut.
His pupils shrunk from the blinding whiteness as his eyes snapped open. Two formless pinkish blobs floated in front of his vision, growing in size. Sora rubbed his eyes to reveal Kairi and Riku floating up to him.
"Sora!" Kairi threw her body at her lover, pressing her soft chest close to him in a tight embrace.
"Riku! Kairi!" Then Sora realized why he didn't recognize them at first. "Why are we naked?"
"At least it's not just me this time," Kairi said.
"I call it karma payback for being naked in front of the guys," Naminé replied.
"Insert obvious SoRiKai threesome comeback here and we'll move on with our lives," Riku joked.
Sora ruffled his bushy head. "Where are we? What happened?"
"I'm a Princess of Heart. Heart of pure light trumps pure darkness," Kairi reasoned. "I figured that if all three of our hearts are in close proximity together, my hidden powers would negate any negative effects from the darkness."
"That still doesn't explain where we are," Roxas said. "It's not the realm of darkness, that's for sure."
"I can't believe everyone's gone, though," Sora lamented. "The other Princesses...Donald, Goofy and the King..."
Before they could ponder any further, a wise, gentle voice echoed throughout the white void.
"Well done, Kairi. Sora. Riku." The three of them looked around for the source of the speaker.
"Who is that?" Kairi exclaimed.
"And why does he sound so familiar?" Naminé added.
The trio glanced up and recoiled in a mixture of surprise and fear.
It was him. The creator of the universe.
The one entity that no amount of light, darkness or nothingness could hope to deter.
The one that could create and destroy their very existence.
"Am I...dead?" Sora tried to get a feel of where he was, but all he could see was complete and utter darkness. "Because if I'm dead, why does my body ache all over?"
"Roxas? You're in the afterlife too?"
"No, you foofie. Try opening your eyes." Sora's eyes snapped open to Gummi space and a familiar-looking cockpit. As his vision refocused, he was greeted to the horrific sight of Armored Xemnas raising his arm back, preparing to impale cold, heartless metal into Kairi's chest.
Time seemed to halt to a standstill as Sora quickly rolled over and gripped the floor with his hands and feet. Ignoring every nerve ending that told him his body was completely broken, Sora pushed off from his position, flinging himself toward the two combatants. Instinctively restoring his clothes by reverting back from Limit Form, his entire body ran on adrenaline with only the thought "I can't lose her again..." running through his head.
Roxas didn't even have to say anything as Sora was reacting the same way he would've done for Naminé. Without any regard for his own personal well-being, Sora dove in front of Kairi's battered body.
Kairi's heart stopped as Xemnas' Keyblade pierced straight through Sora's back and burst out of his stomach. The mortally shocked expression on Sora's face at the realization of many ruptured vital organs in his torso would haunt Kairi's nightmares for a long time. Blood splattered over her dress as the weapon withdrew from the Keyblade master's back, causing his body to flop lifelessly onto the Princess of Heart.
"No..." Kairi carefully rolled Sora off of her and attempted to push herself up with her trembling forearms. "Sora, you're going to be fine, right?"
Sora tried to play off his rapidly dropping HP by giving her a weak smile. "I've...felt worse..." The color draining from his face said otherwise.
"Remember when...erg...Keyblades could only be used to unlock hearts?" Roxas coughed in pain. "I miss those days..."
"Sora! Don't die on me!" Kairi cried. Looking into the eyes of her knight, her biceps quivered as she struggled to stay upright and pressed her hands around his. Sora's smile began to grow fainter.
"It's okay, Kairi," Sora whispered. "All that matters is that you're safe." His eyelids began to flutter closed.
Naminé desperately tried to think of something they could do. "Roxas! Can't you just switch out with Sora?"
"I'm...trying..." Roxas' voice staggered as he felt his own essence fading as well. "I think...that blast did...something to us..."
Sora's breathing became hard and shallow as he clung to life. "Kairi...I..." His voice trailed off to a barely audible murmur.
"Sora, please..." Tears streamed down Kairi's reddened cheeks. "Don't leave me alone..." She could feel his hand give one last gentle squeeze before finally falling limply out of her grip.
"No...Roxas..." Naminé sobbed.
Overwhelmed by the loss of their loved ones, Kairi lost what little composure she had left and threw her head back, screaming out in anguish. Her pained and sorrowful cry echoed throughout the cockpit and carried out into open space.
Naminé was at a loss for words. Usually she would say something to keep their spirits up, to not give in to hopelessness and keep moving forward. But with the loss of Sora came the loss of Roxas. Both of them had made her feel loved and confident in her existence. Anything that the memory witch could think of saying to comfort and support her other half would only come off hypocritical.
Kairi buried her face into the non-bloody part of Sora's chest, a few inches above the stab wound. Her hands gripped at his shirt, clenched at the incomprehensibility of the situation. She didn't care that she was in the middle of a fight or about the loss of any dignity. All Kairi cared about was that her true love had sacrificed himself for her. He died believing that Kairi would still be able to survive this.
"HOW UNFORTUNATE," Xemnas taunted. Kairi's sobbing slowed as she lifted her head up. Despite the fact that Xemnas could've killed her in her mourning, he had only retained his fighting stance, calmly waiting to see if the Princess of Heart would still continue to fight. He pointed his Keyblade skyward. Kairi looked up and was astonished to find the Gummi ship that her friends were driving had been overrun by Heartless. "YOUR FRIENDS HAVE BEEN VANQUISHED. YOUR BODY IS BROKEN. YOUR HEART'S TRUE DESIRE LIES DEAD AT MY FEET. YOU HAVE NOTHING LEFT." Xemnas' armor creaked slightly as he repositioned his feet. "DO YOU TRULY WISH TO KEEP FIGHTING?"
Kairi aimed a deadly glare through her tears, irritated by his smugness. Xemnas had proven he had the power to kill the girls right now, yet he was still toying with them. "You may be right. I've tried everything to defeat you. Sora and I combined couldn't do it. My Final Form couldn't do it." She looked down at her hands. They were stained with Sora's blood from clutching at his shirt. "And yet..." The tears had finally stopped as her hopeless depression was replaced with righteous determination. Grunting in pain, she began to stagger to her feet. "If we give up right now, you'll destroy our worlds. If Naminé and I don't fight, then Sora and Roxas gave their lives for nothing." Kairi summoned her Keyblade back to her hand, clutching it close to her chest. "HEAL!" Although her body still ached, she was able to stand again.
"Naminé..." The redhead fixed her unwavering gaze at her opponent. "...Switch."
"Gladly." Kairi awaited the changes she had experienced multiple times before...
But nothing happened.
"I...I'm trying, but it's like that fight with Zexion. The only difference is that this time you can hear me."
"Maybe when our Final Form broke, it disrupted our ability to switch?"
"Think we should chance transforming to reverse it?" Naminé asked.
Kairi shook her head slowly. "We were lucky last time. He's not going to let us get another chance."
"I'm out of ideas. All we can really do now is to stall long enough for our magic to recharge."
"It may be futile..." Tightening her grip on her Keyblade, Kairi let out a slow exhale to steady her breathing. "...but it's not like we have anything left to lose."
* * *
"I'm really missing my Keyblade right now," Riku muttered as he slashed through a Neoshadow. The Heartless had finally managed to make their way to the bridge and most of the crew members were now locked in a desperate attempt to keep them from destroying the equipment. Snow White had replaced Chicken Little at his station since he was more capable of fighting than she was.
The small poultry straddled Bambi as they galloped around mule-kicking Shadows that were erupting from the consoles.
"No one messes with 'Ace' and his mighty steed!" the vertically-challenged fowl crowed.
"With fighting experience like this, I'll be the Great Prince of the Forest before you know it!" Bambi stated proudly.
Since the other Princesses were busy, Aurora was attempting to multitask between different systems at her console to keep the ship running. "Where are Chip and Dale? I don't think I can keep tabs on these by myself!" Queen Minnie threw out some balls of light at a few Soldier Heartless that were closing in on the former Sleeping Beauty.
"They went with Pluto to try to get the external defenses functional again!"
Lady Daisy had taken residence in the pilot's seat, clutching the steering wheel to keep the Gummi Ship steady. She glanced over her shoulder at Alice who had managed to take out a trio of Invisibles with a swipe of her new blade.
"Why did you choose a butcher knife of all weapons?" Donald's girlfriend inquired. "Let me guess, American McGee?"
"I'm not anything like that auburn-haired psychotic!" Alice snapped. Then she giggled. "The day I can turn into butterflies will be the day Jack Sparrow becomes the Mad Hatter."
Cinderella suddenly made a shushing noise. "Do you hear that? It sounds like..." The unmistakable sound of Kairi's scream of anguish bombarded the ears of everyone onboard, filling everyone's heart with an uncomfortable feeling of heaviness. It didn't take Yen Sid to realize what had happened.
"Sora..." Riku's fists shook with barely contained anger. "Out of my way!" He began moving towards the exit corridor, but a couple of Fat Bandits appeared in front of him, barring his path. He swung his blade with ferocious tenacity, but his weapon bounced off their enormous girth.
"Riku, jump!" Not questioning the sudden outburst, his body rode into automatic as he leapt up. A split-second later, Belle's rose whip swished underneath his airborne form and knocked the two heavy Heartless off their feet. Riku felt Jasmine rush past him as she flipped through the air and slipped through the small opening that was created between the Fat Bandits and the doorway.
The Heartless dissipated into darkness as the Princess of Agrabah sliced her scabbard cleanly through their nonexistential mass.
Jasmine winked at Riku as she adjusted her grip. "A little something I learned from Aladdin."
"Incoming!" Snow White shouted. From the viewing screen, Xemnas' Kentauros reached out an enormous hand and snagged the Gummi ship in its clutches.
Riku gave the Princesses another look. "You sure you'll all be okay?"
"The only way to finish this is if Xemnas is defeated, right?" Jasmine and Riku flinched as the creaking of metal reverberated throughout the ship from the Kentauros' slowly tightening grip.
"Once Chip and Dale get the defenses running again, we should be fine," Aurora stated.
Seeing Riku's hesitation, Belle gave his shoulder a reassuring pat. "Don't worry about jumping from the ship. We'll provide a path." The six Princesses of Heart looked at each other and shared a mutual nod. Each of them gripped at their chest before flinging their arms out, harnessing the powers of their light to create a rainbow tunnel outside connecting the two ships. "We'll hold it as long as we can."
"Everyone..." Riku's gaze swept over the crew with an appreciative smile playing among his lips. "...thank you." And with that, the Dawn Wielder headed for the outside.
"Good luck, Riku," Queen Minnie said.
* * *
Sora's sky-blue eyes slowly opened to the warm sunlight basking his face. He sat up with a yawn, seeing nothing but the peaceful shoreline of the beach. What was he just dreaming about? Something about a wedding? It seemed so bizarre...
He lay back down, stifling another yawn only to find himself looking into the face of his redheaded crush. Sora let out a yelp of surprise and quickly sat up. He felt slightly embarrassed that Kairi had caught him napping.
"Gimme a break, Kairi!"
"Sora, you lazy bum," she giggled. "I knew that I'd find you snoozing down here!"
"No! There was this..." Sora stopped himself. His tongue felt weird in his mouth all of a sudden. Kairi playfully smacked him on the head.
"Are you still dreaming?" She smiled at him with a tinge of amusement, but Sora's mind was racing.
"Say, Kairi..." There was definitely something wrong, but for the life of him, he couldn't quite remember what it was. "Is that a new outfit?" He casually looked up and down her body. "What happened to your pink dress?"
Kairi's smile was replaced with a look of concern. "What are you talking about, Sora? I've never owned a pink dress."
"Yeah, you did," Sora insisted. "It had these zippers and your hair used to be longer...'
Kairi frowned. "Are you feeling okay, Sora?"
"Hey!" Sora's bushy head whipped around and noticed his silver-haired friend holding a plank under the crook of his right arm. "Aren't you guys forgetting about me?"
Sora quickly leapt to his feet. "Riku! You're..." His voice trailed off. That nagging feeling he was forgetting something became even stronger.
"...Doing all the work for you two?" Riku finished. He casually tossed the plank toward Sora. Instead of being knocked down by it, Sora took a quick step back, allowing the wood to land in the sand with a small poof.
"Riku? Wasn't your hair much longer?" Riku looked slightly taken back by the question.
"What are you talking about?"
Kairi nudged him. "That's exactly what I said." There was an evil twinkle in her eye as a wicked idea came to mind. "I think Sora's still half-asleep."
Riku understood immediately. "Maybe he just needs a little..." He started flexing his fingers menacingly. "...jolt."
"Sora!" Thankfully, Sora was rescued from the tickle ambush as Riku and Kairi turned toward the unfamiliar voice. All three of them were surprised to see another bushy-haired boy running up the sandy dunes toward them. He was sporting blonde hair and looked slightly older than Riku.
Riku instinctively shielded Kairi. "Who are you supposed to be?"
But the BHK ignored him and stared pointedly at Sora. "Sora! You've got to wake up!"
"Wake up?" Sora didn't know who this boy was, but there was definitely something familiar about him. "But I just woke up!"
"We're not dead yet! There's still a chance we can finish Xemnas once and for all!"
Kairi and Riku looked back at Sora, who began clutching his head between his palms as he struggled to remember. "Sora, do you know this guy?"
"I..." Sora looked up and was stunned to find that the clear, blue sky had immediately darkened to a dull, purplish hue. Debris was being whipped around as bits and pieces of the island were being sucked into a vortex replacing the spot where the sun used to shine. Riku and Kairi had disappeared, but the blonde-haired kid still remained.
"Think, Sora!" He grabbed Sora's shoulders and shook with great vigorous movements. "You have to remember where you are!"
Sora rapidly blinked his eyes in an effort to regain his sense of reality. "I don't understand..."
"So, you have come this far and still you understand nothing!" Sora whirled around and saw a flash of a man with tan skin, orange eyes and long white hair. The name 'Ansem' quickly ran through his mind, as if his brain were a computer streaming data into it.
"Why? Why can't I remember?" The sand beneath Sora's feet hardened into white tiling.
"No surprise, seeing as you also couldn't remember her name!" Finding himself standing in a corridor of white, Sora noticed a blonde woman in a black coat glaring sadistically at him. "Talk about heartless!"
"I get it now..." the blonde teenager said. "This must be what they mean by your life flashing before your eyes!" He gave a reassuring pat on Sora's shoulder. "Sora, don't worry! Just ride these memories out!"
"You would knowingly shackle your heart with a chain of memories born of lies?" This time it was a pink-haired man in a black coat speaking.
"Lies? What is he talking about?" Sora's head was spinning as familiar voices, ghostly images and events danced around his body. Although his heart felt conflicted, Roxas ("That's his name...Roxas") stood by him the entire time, alleviating the burden.
"Is she that important to you?" A man with blue shaggy hair now stood in his path. Although his face was expressionless, an aura of rage seemed to be stirring in his core.
Sora was finally starting to remember everything. Organization XIII. Kingdom Hearts. Heartless and Nobodies. His search for Riku.
...His promise to Kairi.
He was at Destiny Islands again at the usual tree. Riku was sitting on the trunk as he and Sora looked out toward the horizon. Kairi ran up to them clutching a bottle. Inside was a note from King Mickey.
Then more recent memories began to play in front of his eyes. The wedding ceremony. The invasion. Kairi's kidnapping. The fight to rescue her...
...The numerous times of seeing her stripped.
Time slowed down from its speeding through nostalgia until he finally saw himself freeing Kairi from the tentacles and taking every opportunity he could to protect her. Sora had flung Kairi to safety before Xemnas triggered a huge explosion that overtook his body. He saw Kairi become Final Form once again, only to be defeated. Xemnas stood over her, his Keyblade hovering above her heart...
"This is it, Sora. Are you ready?" The Keyblade master closed his eyes as he felt his consciousness finally seeping into the present.
Being a Princess Doesn't Make You Useless
"My head hasn't felt this bad since I took those Skittles shots as a dare!" Kairi groaned through gritted teeth. Her head was throbbing from Xemnas' clawed gauntlets squeezing her skull like a juicer from hell. Despite Sora and Kairi's Keyblades being free, they couldn't get enough leverage to free themselves from Xemnas' vice-like grip.
"Aren't you underage?" Roxas asked.
"That doesn't matter right now!" Naminé snapped. "Kairi, I think I may have found a weak spot!" Peering through the miniscule gap that her opponent's merciless palm left her, Kairi's eyes zeroed in on the only unarmored part of the body within kicking distance.
"Way...ahead of you, Naminé!" Her lilac boot shot out at the exposed black pants, half-expecting Xemnas to have his crotch protected too.
She should have listened to her instinct.
A dull clang rang out as agonizing pain shot up through Kairi's toes. "OW! He's wearing armor! Of course he'd have it protected!"
Xemnas chuckled quietly as he hurled the stunned girl straight upward like a dart toward a helium balloon. Despite his bulky appearance, the Armored Superior was deceptively agile as he rocketed up past the airborne Princess of Heart, swung Sora around by his head, and spiked the poor boy's body straight into her, causing the couple to crash into the ground with a thundering impact. Before either of the betrothed could recover, Xemnas' arm bracer shifted down his body into a greave around his right shin as he targeted his metal boot at the fallen Kairi.
"KAIRI!" Catching the incoming attack out of the corner of his eye, Sora twisted his body around and shoved Kairi out of the way, leaving him to take the full brunt of the stomp. The sheer force crushing into Sora's stomach caused splatters of blood to rupture from his lips.
"SORA!" Xemnas' head snapped up as Kairi hoisted her body upright and raised Riku's Way to the Dawn toward him. "FREEZE!"
He raised his shin, transforming the Keyblade back to its original state before its blade retracted into the handle and doubled in size. A barrier of dark energy pulsed out of its center, effectively shielding Xemnas from the icy blast.
"Okay, seriously?" Naminé groaned in disbelief. "How many forms does that Keyblade have?"
The Armored Superior lunged to grab Kairi, but she barely managed to backflip out of range. Without hesitating for an instant, Xemnas commanded his Keyblade to shift again, this time into demonic-looking wings that fused to his shoulder blades and he took to the air. An amorphous purple cloud of darkness began forming around him.
"What..." Before Kairi could react, phantom Keyblades shot out of the cloud and began homing in on her. Rising to his knees and clutching his stomach, Sora's arm shook with painful tremors as he raised his Keyblade and took aim.
"RAGNAROK!" A sphere of light burst from the tip of his weapon before splintering off into multiple beams that snaked and homed in on Xemnas' attack. With the resulting explosions distracting Xemnas, Kairi took her chances.
"THUNDER!" Bolts of lightning streaked through the sky and blasted Xemnas in full force. "Yes! Direct hit!" Unfortunately, Xemnas used his falling momentum to hurtle himself boot-first at Kairi again. Despite his weakened state, Sora threw back his Keyblade-wielding arm.
"STRIKE RAID!" Sora's Keyblade smacked Xemnas enough to alter his trajectory. The Armored Superior sailed harmlessly over Kairi's head and slammed his heel into the ground, causing a small shockwave that made the cockpit's floor vibrate.
Xemnas ruthlessly rushed at Kairi with the aggressiveness of a football player. The redhead inverted her grip on her Keyblades so they ran down the length of her forearms. Xemnas' Keyblade crashed down onto Kairi's, locking themselves into a test of strength. Her knees buckled as she strained against her opponent's brute force.
"I don't suppose a panty shot will work this time?" Kairi grunted.
"He's already seen you naked," Naminé reminded her. "I don't think you can flash any more than that." Knowing full well that her petite frame couldn't withstand the full weight being pressed on top of her, Kairi decided to give herself some breathing room.
"FIRAGA!" Flames encircled Kairi, causing Xemnas to recoil from the attack. As soon as the fireballs had passed, Xemnas quickly came back in with an overhead swing, forcing the Princess of Heart to Dodge Flip out of range.
Meanwhile, Sora shook his bushy head to clear out the dull, throbbing pain that was subsiding.
"Sora! You okay?" Roxas asked. Sora wiped the blood trail from his mouth with the back of his arm.
"I'm fine, Roxas." Gaining his second wind, he leapt at Xemnas from behind and took a batter's swing at his opponent's shoulder. As the Keyblade connected with a satisfying smash, Kairi pirouetted around and windmilled her arms, slashing into Xemnas' other shoulder.
Enraged, Xemnas quickstepped behind the two, pulled back his free hand and fired off a Dark Firaga burst. Sora shifted his balance and raised his Keyblade to Guard while Kairi twirled around and shouted, "WIND!" The fireballs of darkness fizzled on contact with Kairi's wind barrier.
Unfortunately, the Dark Firaga achieved its purpose of distracting Kairi long enough for Xemnas to blitz in and body check her with his pointed shoulder. Kairi involuntarily coughed as she felt the steel prongs dig deep into her stomach. Naminé couldn't help but be thankful that Kairi's stomach hadn't been penetrated.
As the Princess of Heart flew back, Sora rushed forward at Xemnas, who stood calmly waiting for the incoming attack. No sooner had Sora swiped his weapon, Xemnas had already slipped around behind him with a quick reversal. Sora was caught off guard and felt Xemnas' Keyblade crunch into his spine. The Keyblade master rotated his torso around and met Xemnas' weapon with his own. As the two continued to trade blows, Sora was stunned how fast and precise his strikes were.
"Is it just me or does this remind you of that other armored guy we fought back at Disney Castle?" Sora muttered as he did his own quickstep behind Xemnas.
"The 'Lingering Will?' Yeah, I was thinking the same thing." Sora's Keyblade flashed as he took another swing, but Xemnas had already turned around to guard.
"Where do you think they get that armor anyway? Is there a 'Ye Olde Blacksmith' shop we don't know about?"
"Nah, these things look like they were forged at least eleven years ago."
A few feet away, Kairi took some deep, staggered breaths to get oxygen flowing back into her lungs. Gritting her teeth with a mixture of pain and frustration, Kairi jumped back into the fray swinging. Despite the two-on-one advantage, Xemnas was somehow able to keep up by parrying back and forth between his opponents. It was as if he were anticipating every attack they were to make, fluidly countering strike after strike.
"This is unbelievable!" Roxas cried. "There's no way Xemnas is this good!"
"He couldn't have been holding all this power and skill back, could he?" Naminé asked hypothetically. "I swear, this better not turn out to be some mental illusion and we're actually fighting each other..."
Xemnas did a quick slide step back out of their range, his opponents' Keyblades whiffing air. He merged his Keyblade into a greave again and cyclone kicked both Sora and Kairi across their faces, knocking them back. Kairi managed to land on her feet, but Sora wasn't as lucky as his head cracked against unforgiving steel floor.
The Princess of Heart rubbed the side of her face with her shoulder.
"I've felt worse," she reasoned. Xemnas once again shifted to an arm bracer as he blitzed Kairi. She attempted to Dodge Flip away, but Xemnas managed to catch her in mid-flip with an upward slash by his Keyblade, sending her careening into the air. A mist of darkness congregated around her, dispelling her Aeroga barrier. The air around Kairi became so thick that her body was completely immobilized. Numerous phantom Keyblades appeared out of the darkness, all pointed straight at her.
Unable to move or defend herself, Kairi braced herself for the upcoming pain. Sora was still disoriented from the blow to assist her and could only watch helplessly as his fiancée was pierced simultaneously from all angles. Kairi could feel her clothes once again ripped to shreds before she felt her body released from paralysis and drop toward the ground.
Sora shook the cobwebs out from his head and staggered slightly as he rushed forward to catch Kairi. He made a miraculous dive, squeezing her close to his body as they tumbled to a halt. As she felt Sora's welcome arms soften her fall, Kairi was afraid to look at how much of her outfit had been removed.
"How bad is it this time?" she asked Sora.
The Keyblade master loosened his hold on her and gave a quick scan of her stripped female form. "At least your panties aren't showing."
"You know, I'm glad that it's Sora on our side," Kairi murmured internally to Naminé.
"Who else would it be?"
"I don't know. Maybe some random OC that we've never heard of in the context of this universe."
"Yeah, and going to high school as twin sisters," Naminé added.
"Last I checked, Sora got impregnated with my heart, so I'd be more of your father than sister," Kairi reasoned.
"I don't know. You'd be surprised how many pictures of Sora in labor are out on the internet..."
As they got to their feet, the couple glanced up and saw Xemnas had begun twirling around with his wings expanded to their full length.
Kairi couldn't help but feel worried. "What is he doing?"
"It's like he's drawing in the darkness around us and absorbing it!" Roxas guessed.
Indeed, the air around them began to feel dry and stuffy, as if all the oxygen was being replaced with stifling sawdust. It was Sora who realized what was happening first. Without any hesitation, he whirled around, yanked Kairi's arm and hurled her clear across the arena. Her body rolled around painfully before finally skidding to a halt.
Kairi weakly lifted her head just in time to see Sora flash her a quick grin before...
Kairi and Naminé's heart stopped as an ear-shattering explosion engulfed Sora. Even though they were safely out of range, the girls could sense the overwhelming waves of excruciating pain that Sora and Roxas were experiencing.
"NO!" Kairi cried. As the smoke cleared, she could make out the Keyblade master's ravaged body lying sprawled out uselessly on the ground. The redhead let out an exhale of relief to find Sora was still breathing, albeit shallow. To her surprise, the explosion had managed to burn away most of his clothes, leaving a few well-placed tatters around his crotch area.
"Wow. Sora's actually been working out," Kairi groaned weakly from the ground.
"I can almost hear hundreds of fangirls squealing from the implied nudity right now," Naminé replied.
Xemnas casually kicked Sora's Keyblade out of his hand and pointed his own reformed weapon at Sora's throat. Kairi propped herself up with her Keyblades and with a roar of anguish, she charged at Xemnas, her Keyblades glowing as she channeled her heart's power into them.
"HEARTBREAK STARBURST!" Swinging both weapons out in a wide arc, a tidal wave of heart-shaped bubbles flew toward Xemnas, exploding on contact in a dazzling display of light. As Xemnas shielded his eyes from the blinding distraction, Kairi flung her flowery Keyblade at him and dived for Sora's fallen weapon.
The projectile snapped Xemnas' neck back, giving the Princess of Heart the seconds she needed to wrap her fingers around Sora's Keyblade. The instant her fingertips made contact, a cool, tingly rush of power surged throughout her body as her outfit tinkled from pink to translucent silver. Wings of light burst out from her shoulder blades. As Sora's Keyblade transformed into Naminé's, Riku's Way to the Dawn made its own surprising transformation. His blade shimmered from the purple, red and blue falchion into a straight, thin, navy blue Keyblade.
"Well, that's new," Kairi commented. As Sora and Riku's Keyblades hovered on each side of her, she extended her arm and summoned back her own Keyblade, bringing her weapon count to three.
"Wait a minute. We didn't transform into Final Form when we had our Keyblade and Riku's. But as soon as we toss ours away and grab Sora's, it works? How's that make any sense?!"
"It's magic. Are you really questioning it?"
Xemnas growled as he regained his bearings. To the girls' surprise, the Armored Superior hesitated for a few moments when he saw the new, blue Keyblade in her hand.
"YOU...YOU DARE?!" Xemnas fused his Keyblade back into an arm bracer and made a lunging stab at Kairi.
The Princess of Heart grabbed the new Keyblade out of its levitated state and held it up horizontally to guard. To her surprise, her body was encapsulated within a sphere of light similar to Sora's Reflega, absorbing Xemnas' attack. The sphere exploded into shards, giving Kairi the opportunity to counter. She swapped her Keyblade for Naminé's and shoved Xemnas' extended arm out of the way, allowing her to duck underneath and take a stab at his exposed middle. Xemnas managed to cover up with his free hand, causing the Keyblade to clank against his forearm, but reading its owner's thoughts, Kairi's flowery Keyblade flew up and over his occupied limbs, smacking Xemnas upside the head.
As the Armored Superior staggered back from the blow, his Keyblade reformed into wings and flew him upward to give him time to recover. However, unlike last time, Kairi was no longer grounded. Kairi's Final Form flapped its wings as she rocketed up to continue her onslaught.
"Wonder what got him so mad?" Naminé wondered.
"Bet he's missing using those laser blades of his right about now."
Xemnas threw his arms out, sending out phantom Keyblades like heat-seeking missiles.
"Oh yeah, almost forgot he could do that." Kairi backed up and mimicked her opponent's motion. "HEAVEN'S WING!"
Feathers of light shot out of her wings and intercepted the Keyblades in midair, resulting in miniature explosions. Under cover of the smoke, Kairi burst through the screen and let out a warrior's cry as she blitzed at Xemnas. Determined to stop the Princess in her tracks, Xemnas cocked back his arm and fired off a Dark Firaga barrage. Kairi took hold of the navy, blue Keyblade and pointed it toward him.
"PRISM RAIN!" Rainbow colored lights burst out of the weapon's tip and eradicated the Dark Firaga on contact. Xemnas seemed to be at a loss for words and hesitant on what to do next.
"Kairi! Now's our chance!" Just like she did with Twilight Thorn, she began rotating her body and raised her Keyblade over her head. As she spun faster, the other two Keyblades joined Kairi's outstretched one as she spun into a needle dive towards Xemnas.
"Taste the rainbow, mofo!" Her multi-colored drill speared straight through the armor's core, causing Xemnas to grunt out in pain and his wings to return to Keyblade form. The Armored Superior plummeted to the ground, landing on his knees and clutching at the spot that she managed to hit. With deep satisfaction, Kairi smiled inwardly as Xemnas pulled back a clawed hand to reveal a newly-developed crack in his armor.
Kairi dive-bombed at Xemnas, channeling all her heart's energy into her Keyblades.
"NEVER A-" Just as she ended up in range, Xemnas quickly sidestepped her charge and grabbed her by the leg. "...gain?" Kairi felt sudden whiplash as she was yanked out of the air. Before her other Keyblades could react to defend their owner, Xemnas tightened his grip on Kairi's leg and began spinning into a giant swing. Her body flopped around like a rag doll as he rotated his shoulder, leapt up and seismic-slammed Kairi into the ground, shattering her crystallic wings and destroying Kairi's Final Form.
No longer being supported by magic, Riku and Sora's Keyblades returned to their original states and clattered uselessly to the floor. Kairi's fingers twitched as she struggled to make her body move, but her nerves were too numb with pain to function properly.
"I'm starting to think that Final Form isn't all that it's cracked up to be," Naminé stated.
Kairi moaned as Xemnas calmly positioned himself over her helpless body. He carefully set his Keyblade so the tip gently rested over Kairi's left breast.
"CAN YOU SPARE...A HEART?"
* * *
"There's got to be something we can do!" With the Kentauros' roof open, the remaining heroes had regained visuals and could only watch helplessly as the fight between Sora, Kairi and Xemnas unfolded before their very eyes.
"Riku?" Queen Minnie noticed the Dawn Wielder was heading toward the exit with a determined glint in his blue-green eyes. "Where are you going?"
Riku's silver hair shimmered as he looked impatiently back over his shoulder. "I think I've rested enough. Those two need help. I'll-"
"Hold it!" Chicken Little yelled. "Your Majesty! We've got hostiles!"
Queen Minnie's hands flew up to her mouth in shock. "What?!"
"Multiple giant Heartless just appeared out of nowhere and are targeting us! Smaller ones have also materialized on the ship itself and are attempting to break their way in!"
"How did they manage to follow us all the way out here?" Lady Daisy asked.
"Maybe it has to do with the fact that there are six hearts of pure light all in one place?" Riku suggested with a barely noticeable tinge of sarcasm in his voice. "It attracted them to us like sharks to blood."
"Our reinforced hulls are taking a beating!" Alice cried. "The ship can't repair itself fast enough to compensate for the damage!"
Riku shook his head. "I'll hold them off."
"But Kairi still has your Keyblade," Snow White reminded him. This made the former "Ansem" vessel hesitate. He could easily summon his Way to the Dawn back, but...
"No matter how small the chance, I believe they can still make use of my strength," Riku reasoned. But he still couldn't help feel doubt cloud his heart.
Stitch suddenly leapt out of the pilot seat and skittered toward Riku. He belted out some alien gibberish, motioning toward his seat with one pair of arms and pointing toward the exit with the other. The Dawn Wielder looked around helplessly for a translator.
"I think he's saying you should take the wheel and he'll deal with it," Bambi said. Stitch nodded excitedly, whipped out two blasters, and dashed out the corridor, leaving behind the echoes of "Cowabunga!" ringing throughout the ship.
Cinderella placed a warm hand on Riku's shoulder and gave him a reassuring smile. "Someone once told me that strength of heart will carry you through the hardest of trails. Although we might not be able to do anything to physically help Sora and Kairi, we can't underestimate the strength of their hearts."
"Kairi's a Princess of Heart and Sora's heart is powered by the bonds he has with his friends," Snow White added. "I'm sure you'd agree that the deep connection they have with each other will be more than enough to win."
"Of course," Belle chimed in, "it wouldn't hurt to have a little more faith in them."
The corners of Riku's mouth slightly twitched upward. The Princesses' words lightened the burden a bit, but didn't completely vanquish it.
Onscreen, the outside of the mecha seemed to be swarmed with ants with only a fuzzy blue dot futilely fighting back. The Gummi Ship was also doing its best to take down any giant Heartless that happened to attack with its blades. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, Experiment 626 was eventually knocked off the ship, hurtling into oblivion.
"The hull's been breached!" Jasmine reported. "All external weapons are offline!" The ship's arms dropped uselessly to its sides, allowing the giant Heartless to attack undeterred.
"Rerouting power to internal security!" Aurora said.
Alice slammed her palms down onto the security console, eliciting a few sparks. "They're making their way to the bridge via the ventilation system!"
"ETA?" Lady Daisy asked.
"Five minutes max. The internal security systems are slowing them down but they're not able to fully hold them back."
Riku clenched his fists in frustration. The helpless feeling of not being able to assist his friends was not an emotion he enjoyed. "I don't suppose anyone here has any weapons?"
Jasmine smiled. "Hey, we may be princesses, but we're not useless." She pressed a few keys on her console. A trap door slid open in front of the captain's chair and up rose a circular rack stocked with swords, pieces of armor, whips and a few projectile weapons. The Princess of Agrabah calmly walked up to the display and unsheathed a scabbard.
"Wait a minute." Cinderella looked at the rack curiously. "I thought only Keyblades were the only weapons that could defeat Heartless."
The Dawn Wielder couldn't help but cough. "Tell that to virtually every other wedding guest that fought alongside Sora. I heard someone once took down Heartless with just a stick." At the word 'stick,' Pluto's ears perked up and started wagging his tail happily with his tongue rolling out.
"A stick?" Cinderella didn't know whether to take Riku seriously or not. "You're joking."
"And yet Sora couldn't even take one down with a wooden sword," Riku thought to himself. Belle grabbed one of the whips and gave it a few tugs to test its flexibility.
"Gear up, girls. We can't let Kairi be the only Princess of Heart who can fight."
Whatever Lies Beyond This Morning...
With the darkness barriers disintegrating, light washed over the cockpit as a newly-transformed Limit Form Sora blazed through the air. To his utter shock and disbelief, below him was the sight of a completely hysterical, naked girl with metallic tentacles lustfully running themselves all over every inch of her sensitive body. Her musical giggles and gyrating hips almost had the teenager hypnotically captivated by hidden male impulses, but as soon as the thought came to mind, he immediately hardened his resolve to rescue her.
"I won't let Kairi suffer!" Sora reminded himself. The Keyblade Master flipped around and landed lightly on the floor, a glint of focus in his eyes.
"You know, I'm starting to feel sorry for Kairi," Roxas said. "Being stripped over and over can eventually traumatize her into exhibitionism."
"Please, Kairi's much more stubborn than that."
"Did you forget she was willing to take off her clothes a half hour ago?"
"Pretty sure that was post-traumatic stress. Besides, I think she'd be less inclined to be naked if she keeps associating it with negative reinforcement."
"You mean all this might drive her to stop wearing skimpy dresses and wear full-body outfits?" Roxas groaned. "Xemnas is going to pay for this."
Sora quickly took a glimpse of his surroundings, noticing the floor of purplish darkness and the tendrils that grew from it. He also took in the sight of Armored Xemnas sitting on his throne through the wall of tentacles shielding him. The Superior barely moved as if daring Sora to rush in and attack recklessly. As a dull circle of light began to form under his feet, Sora was reminded of his fights with Xehanort's Heartless, Marluxia and Vexen. Because of this, he knew exactly what to do.
Knowing full well not to get caught within reach, Sora made sure never to linger in one area as he circled around the helpless girl. Tentacles burst out of the floor and retracted every few feet behind him as he searched for any sign of a weak spot he could exploit.
"I don't think random hacking and slashing is going to help here. Any ideas, Roxas?"
"Maybe we shouldn't have went into Limit Form. We can't cast any spells!"
"Hmm...I guess if we're the 'Riku' in this situation, we should analyze the situation like he does."
"Well, if we were Riku, I think I'd say something along the lines of not focusing on what we can't do..."
"...and focus on what we can," Sora finished. "Even if we can't cast magic, that doesn't mean we don't have other attacks at our disposal." Sora held the Keyblade behind him. "Time to bring in the retro!" Light began to emanate from the weapon's tip.
"SONIC BLADE!" Sora dashed forward and thrust the Keyblade through the massive entanglement. His weapon clanged with each pass as his attacks made contact with its target. It was apparently weakening their hold due to Kairi's flailing limbs being given more slack with each successful hit. As he geared up for one last pass, the ticklers shivered from the damage. But before they could turn their attention to encasing a new victim...
"ZANTETSUKEN!" In the blink of an eye, Sora seemed to teleport straight through the tentacles and reappeared right behind Kairi. A split second later, the tendrils were sliced into obliteration, finally releasing Kairi from her bondage. Sora whirled around and safely caught his fiancée in his arms. As the tentacles began to reform, Sora held out his Keyblade in front of him and pointed it downward.
"RAGING STORM!" Embers accumulated above his head before bursting into a trio of revolving pillars of intense flame that lifted his body off the ground. Kairi's giggles finally began to die down as her soft form trembled in his warm embrace. Her quivering limbs instinctively curled up close to Sora's chest and tears of relief flowed down her cheeks.
"Naminé! Are you okay?" Roxas' voice snapped Naminé out of her delirious state and realized that she was no longer being tickled.
"Wha...Roxas?" It was no surprise that Naminé's voice sounded shaky and weak. "Sora? What are you two doing here?"
"Do you really have to ask? We came because we were worried about you." Kairi blinked a few times to clear her vision as she realigned herself with reality once more. Sora softly brushed the remaining tear streaks off her face. "Do you think you can stand?" Kairi silently nodded and Sora gently set her down. The floor of darkness felt particularly cold under her bare feet despite the fire barrier heating the rest of her naked body up. Being the chivalrous gentleman he was, Sora removed his half-jacket and wrapped it around Kairi's body. "I'm surprised you're perfectly okay with being naked in front of me," Sora said with his eyes staring unwavering at her face.
"You've already seen me like this thousands of times today," Kairi explained as she pulled the body-heated half-jacket tighter around herself. Her nerve-endings were still tingling from the full-body assault she had endured. To her embarrassment, the tentacles that had been rubbing across her chest and between her legs had conjured up feelings that made her psyche bloom with naughty fantasies involving her and Sora that she wouldn't be ready to share for a long time. "Just don't get used to it. After today, the next time you'll ever see me naked is on our honeymoon."
"You know, if you were any other guy, the sight of a tied up, naked, aroused and helplessly giggling girl would be an appealing view to behold," Naminé said. "They'd probably have just remained inactive and watched the show."
Sora crossed his arms. "We're not perverts, Naminé," he replied. "We're just teenage boys."
"Not exactly helping your case," Kairi said. "Naminé?"
"Right." Not wanting to remain in hentai status for much longer, Kairi shifted to Naminé's form long enough for her clothes to rematerialize then immediately switched back.
"Huh. With my jacket, you almost remind me of Aerith," Sora commented.
With her dignity haphazardly repaired, Kairi picked up the Way to the Dawn off the ground and sighed. "This sucks."
Sora looked at her curiously. "What does?"
"Look, Sora. I appreciate you coming to rescue me, but the truth is..." Kairi let out a slow exhale. "I didn't want you or anyone else to put themselves in any more danger because of this spat that Xemnas has towards me." Sora couldn't help but chuckle. "What's so funny?"
"I'm sorry, but you're starting to sound an awful lot like Riku."
"But that's not all. You having to rescue me just reminded me how much of a gap there is between us when it comes to fighting. After taking on the Organization with no one but me, Naminé, and an irreplaceable Keyblade, I honestly thought that I had grown. But saving me just now from that..." Kairi's eyes were sent downcast. "It just makes me feel completely useless and nothing more than some damsel in distress that has to get rescued in the end."
Naminé felt sympathetic toward her other half. "Kairi..."
Apparently, so did Sora as he gently lifted Kairi's chin and gave her a warm, gentle smile.
"You're far from useless, Kairi. I already told you, you're just as capable at fighting as me or Riku. So you happened to get caught up in a trap. You don't think this hasn't happened to me before?"
"You mean you've been stripped, violated and humiliated too?"
"If you mean being turned into a Heartless, getting my memories rewritten or being made to beg on my knees, then yes." Kairi went quiet for a moment. Despite being rejuvenated physically thanks to her former bondage, she was mentally exhausted from everything that she had experienced over the past few hours. Every time she thought that she was about to finish the final boss, a new one always managed to up the difficulty.
"I don't know if I can keep doing this," she said. Sora took Kairi's hands in his.
"Kairi, we started this journey together. It's only fitting we finish it together." He flashed her a confident grin. "It's like I've always said..."
"Our friends are our power," Naminé quoted.
"And we are theirs," Roxas finished.
"Whatever lies beyond this, we'll go together." Kairi's lips quivered as she resisted the impulse to kiss him right then and there. A tinge of passion illuminated her cheeks as the romantic center in her brain was stimulated by his words.
"You're not alone, Kairi." Kairi felt a surge of confidence from Naminé. "We can and will finish this."
Kairi took a deep breath and gave Sora an assertive nod. "Thank you. All of you." She readjusted her grip on the Keyblade. "Okay, first things first. How are we supposed to get rid of these tentacles? We obviously can't stop them at the source."
But Roxas thought differently. "You're focusing on the wrong thing. It's not Xemnas we have to worry about, it's the darkness."
Kairi snapped her fingers triumphantly. "Of course! Get rid of this floor of darkness and they can't respawn anymore!"
Sora shook his head. "Problem. Neither of us have any spells or abilities that can destroy it. We might as well be fighting our shadows."
"Ugh, I really don't want to have to go through that again..." Kairi stamped her foot in frustration. "If only I could summon my Keyblade! I could probably change into Final Form again!"
Sora gave her a funny look. "I've been meaning to ask this for awhile now, but why exactly can't you summon the Keyblade?"
"Because I'm not an official Keyblade Master like you or Riku! Which totally sucks by the way."
"Um..." Roxas' tone sounded half-amused, half-puzzled. "Not to sound rude or anything, but have you ever actually tried?"
"Tried to what?"
"Tried to summon the Keyblade," Sora clarified. Kairi opened her mouth to answer, but stopped.
"You know, now that he mentions it, I don't recall ever actually trying," Naminé said. "This entire time we've assumed we couldn't."
Kairi held out her free hand and focused on summoning the Keyblade...
"You see? I don't think I was ever meant to be a full Keyblade wielder!" Kairi pouted.
"That's because you don't know how," Sora said gently. "It's not about focusing your mind. It's about opening your heart up to the light within the darkness." He gazed into her beautiful, blue eyes. "The heart may be weak, and sometimes, it may even give in. But I've learned that deep down, there's a light that never goes out. Don't try to force it. Just...let it happen."
Kairi nodded, took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
"Uh, Sora?" Roxas' voice sounded worried. "I hate to interrupt, but we're seriously running out of magic here."
Kairi attempted to block out the fear of failure and cleared her mind. She began to feel a warm, soothing glow begin to wash over her heart.
"That's it, Kairi!" Naminé sounded excited. "I can definitely feel something happening!"
SHWINK! A shaft of light burst in front of Kairi's outstretched hand and she instinctively closed her fingers around a familiar handle. Kairi's eyes snapped open and to her amazement, she was clutching her Keyblade.
"I don't believe it..." Her mouth hung open in astonishment as she examined her weapon with disbelieving eyes. "It actually worked..." Kairi then realized she was still clutching Riku's Way to the Dawn with her other hand. A satisfied smile creeped across her lips. "Looks like I'm a dual-wielder again." She swung both her Keyblades with a flourish. "And this time it's official!"
"Even in the deepest darkness, there will always be a light to guide you. Believe in the light, and the darkness will never defeat you. Your heart will shine with its power and push the darkness away."
Kairi shook her head. "Wha...What was that?"
"I...think we just learned a new spell," Naminé said.
"Just in time too!" As soon as Roxas said "too," the protective flames surrounding them finally vanished. With their barrier gone, the tentacles wasted no time in shooting towards their prey.
"Alright, you perverted strands of armpit hair! Take this!" Kairi crossed her Keyblades together. "HOLY!" A giant pillar of white light burst from the ground, melting away the pool of darkness and leaving the white steel of the cockpit in its place. Beams of light rained down from the sky, incinerating the tendrils until nothing stood in the way between the Keyblade wielders and Xemnas.
"Without his darkness to protect him, Xemnas is a sitting duck!" Naminé cheered. But Kairi wasn't letting her guard down.
"Don't worry, Kairi!" Sora assured her. "He never gets up from his throne anyway!"
"OH, REALLY NOW?" To the heroes' surprise, Xemnas stood up, tossing away his baggy sleeves and gazed down upon them. Without the tentacle wall in the way, the others finally got a better look at his armor. A single Nobody emblem was centered on the torso with thorns protruding from his greaves and wrapped around his boots. The crown and shoulder pad were gold, while the rest of the armor was colored in light shades of blue and silver. He had two silver belts on its waist and what seemed to be white feathers on his right shoulder in place of a spiked pauldron.
Heaving the giant sword upon his shoulders, the teenagers were almost frozen from the intimidating stare through his beak-like mask.
"Nice going, Sora," Roxas muttered.
"What? But Naminé also said-" But a single glare from the girls cut him off.
"IT SEEMS I HAVE UNDERESTIMATED THE POWER OF YOUR HEARTS." Xemnas' sword began to glow. "NO MORE." To the group's astonishment, the giant sword shrunk and twisted until it transformed into...
Kairi couldn't believe her eyes. "A Keyblade?!" Indeed, the Keyblade had a spiky, black guard resembling demonic wings, a horned, demonic head just above the handle, two barbed shafts, and teeth resembling a battle axe split into three almost claw-like protrusions. Its shaft and head were adorned with several twisting, silver patterns. It also contained two demonic, blue eyes; one on the Keychain and the other one on the head.
"Wait a minute." Sora held out his palm as if halting any further villainous speeches. "You've had this ability all this time, and you choose now to use it?" He shook his bushy-haired head. "You could've used it back on the Dragon Ship when it was only me and Riku! Or better yet, what was the whole point of the Organization or using me to collect hearts? You could've just transformed into this armor of yours and did the job yourself!"
Kairi's mouth hung open as she gave Sora an incredulous look. "You're worried about his strategy? I'd be more concerned that he can actually wield a Keyblade!"
"Speaking of Keyblades, why haven't we changed into our Final Form?" Naminé asked. "We're holding two Keyblades, so it should've worked, right?"
"Maybe it has to be specific Keyblades for it to work," Roxas suggested. "It probably only worked with Sora's because your bond is stronger with him than Riku's."
"Right." Kairi held out Riku's Way to the Dawn toward Sora. "Trade you?" The Keyblade in Xemnas' hand seemed to meld into his forearm, freeing up both of his hands. Before the couple could react, Xemnas teleported from where he stood to directly in front of them. His clawed gauntlets shot out and palmed both their faces, gripping his fingers around Sora and Kairi's heads.
"Oh, this is SO not cool!" Naminé complained. "Weapons I can deal with, but using just his hands is uncalled for!"
As his vice-like grip squeezed their heads like watermelons, Xemnas couldn't help but taunt them once more.
"YOU SHALL GO TOGETHER."
Fate Worse Than Death
"Huh? A beach?"
"Naminé? What...wait. Dreamscape?"
"Yeah. Since Sora and Kairi are sleeping, we're pretty much free to interact with each other here."
"Due to the lack of a clock tower ledge, I'm assuming that this is your dreamscape we're in. Looks like the usual island without all the wood buildings."
"I created this place while I was held at Castle Oblivion. I sometimes come here while Kairi's sleeping when I need to think."
"Well, it certainly seems peaceful here."
"Nice pajamas, by the way."
"Oh, like you should talk! You practically live in your sleepwear everyday!"
"It's okay, Roxas. I forgive you for being jealous."
"Aw...you're so cute when you think I'm serious."
"So...what are your thoughts about this whole wedding business?"
"Well, Kairi's obviously stressing out, but she's putting up a brave front."
"Same with Sora. He's having some doubts whether he can really go through with this. Let alone, if he's really the right guy for her."
"How so? It's no secret that he's had feelings for her."
"I think it has to do more with a lack of self-confidence. He knows that there are many other guys out there that are probably more suited for her. Like Riku."
"That's stupid and you and I both know it. Sure, Riku is smarter, can bench-press 300 pounds, has cheese-grater abs, long flowing hair, a balance of light and darkness, can be paired with both guys and girls; not to mention being able to pass for a trap character..."
"Um...anyway, what's important is that Kairi chose Sora. Although she might have a bit of affection toward Riku, her heart has always belonged to Sora both figuratively and literally."
"Huh. Thanks, Naminé. I'll make sure to tell him that when he wakes up."
"Besides, his name's already on the prenuptial agreement."
"Aaaanyway, you do realize that if they get married, so will we?"
"Honestly? Would getting married really be all that bad?"
"Roxas, are you proposing to me?"
"What?! No! I was just...I mean, there's nothing wrong with..."
"Since we're talking about it, I don't suppose you're one of those people who believes in sex after marriage?"
"What? It just popped up in my head all of a sudden."
"Wow. Way to ruin the moment."
"Good night, Roxas."
"...Was it something I said?"
* * *
"Kairi, are you crazy?!" The wind whipped through the Princess' red hair as she dive-bombed toward the rapidly closing opening in Xemnas' head.
"Don't worry, Naminé! This is skyscraper distance!" Kairi felt the tips of her boots narrowly escape the hole that sealed itself behind her, shutting out the light and plunging her into total darkness. Unable to tell how far she was from the floor, she quickly shouted "THUNDER!" Bolts of lightning streaked through the air, temporarily illuminating the room she was plummeting into. Kairi twisted her body into a somersault, tucking her legs in before shooting her feet out, landing gracefully on the ground. "See, Naminé? Those skydiving lessons were all worth it."
At first, the girls couldn't see anything but pitch black. Then without warning, the ceiling opened up to the outside natural light, temporarily blinding them. The girls' vision gradually adjusted to their new surroundings. They were standing in the center of a circular area, surrounded by large pointed tips that jutted out like skyscrapers. The walls were strangely white pastel, while the entire floor was purplish darkness that constantly shifted underneath their feet.
"It's like a mix of the World of Chaos, Castle Oblivion and the Dragon Ship," Naminé observed. "But yeah, it looks like we're standing in the middle of the giant crown." Kairi glanced up at the now visible sky and could barely make out their friends' giant mecha trying to search for another opening.
"Random thought. You remember Kari and Sora from Digimon?"
"You mean the two girls from the first two seasons? What about them?"
"I'm trying to figure out how people keep misspelling my name because of Kari."
"So you'd rather be known for 'light' than 'sea?' Although, I find it fascinating that Sora can be a guy or a girl."
"In an alternate reality, Sora could've been our yuri lover."
"Yeah, right. And Riku would be our jealous rival."
"With that hair? As long as he doesn't decide to cut his bangs, he'll always maintain the bishonen status." There was a slight rumble, making Kairi tense up as she fully expected Xemnas to expose himself in a dramatic fashion.
"YOU HAVE ARRIVED." She whipped around to see a fully armored Xemnas, sitting almost lazily in his throne. "I KNEW YOU WOULD NOT DISAPPOINT."
"He was expecting us," Naminé muttered.
"Well, he's got a lot to answer for." Kairi tightened her grip on the Keyblade.
Xemnas shifted in his seat. "HOW CONVENIENT TO DROP INTO THE VERY CONTROL CENTER OF THIS ENTIRE VESSEL."
"Oh my gawd, this entire room is the cockpit to this behemoth!" Naminé realized.
"I can't believe how low you've stooped. You've kidnapped me as a child and sent me to Destiny Islands. Your Heartless ravaged and destroyed the worlds. Your Organization and Nobodies took away the two people that were most important to me. You've kidnapped me as bait. You've ruined my wedding. You've kidnapped me a third time. You've forced me to become your pawn..." Kairi's eyes flashed with anger. "You want me so badly? Here I am, Xemnas! You and me! Let's finish this!" With a flourish of vengeance, Kairi charged at the armored Organization leader.
"I THINK NOT." Before Kairi could manage to get within striking distance, a wall of metallic tentacles erupted out of the floor, barring her path.
"What the-" She backflipped out of range as the tendrils made attempts to grab her. On closer inspection, they appeared to be coated with some form of chemical.
"Kairi, watch out!" Kairi looked down and saw a circle of light forming underneath her feet. A few seconds after sidestepping it, more tentacles burst out of the circle, flailing around for its prey before retracting back into the ground. "It's just like Marluxia and Xehanort's Heartless! They're tracking our movements!"
Not being able to hover along the ground, Kairi was forced to run and continuously Dodge Flip away. One stray tentacle managed to brush across her back. To the girls’ surprise, Kairi's dress disintegrated where it had made contact.
"Ah! That thing burnt through my clothes!" While she was slowed down from the distraction, another one brushed across the outside of her bicep. Kairi felt a familiar tingling sensation where it had contacted her skin.
"Oh no," Naminé said suddenly.
"What? What is it?"
"These tentacles...I know what they're for."
"You don't mean..."
"They dissolve clothing and make your skin more sensitive. And they're trying to restrain us." Kairi's jaw dropped as she put two and two together.
"Why the #$%& would Xemnas have a security system that performs tentacle rape on intruders?!"
"I don't know. Maybe it's some sort of twisted karma payback for willingly stripping in front of Sora?"
"Pfft. That's crazy, Naminé. You're crazy." Kairi raised her Keyblade. "WIND!" The Aeroaga sphere she had only used once surrounded her body, making her feel slightly safer. Numerous tentacles shot toward Kairi, bouncing off the wind barrier, but she knew better than to let her guard down.
"FREEZE!" Kairi shot a blast of ice over her shoulder, whirled around and aimed a kick at the frozen tentacles, shattering them to pieces.
"FIRE!" To her surprise, the flames integrated with her wind barrier, creating a shield of fire. Unfortunately, she was no closer to annihilating the threat than she was at harming Xemnas. Kairi cast every spell that she knew, but the darkness was relentlessly respawning them like the Hydra.
"Kairi? We can't keep using our magic like this! At this rate..." Kairi raised her Keyblade above her head.
"THUNDER!" Just as Naminé feared, nothing happened. "Uh, Naminé?"
"We're out of magic!" Naminé cried. To make matters worse, the combined Aeroaga/Firaga barrier dissipated into nothingness. Kairi shrieked as tentacles wrapped around her wrists and ankles, hoisting her helplessly into the air. She struggled against her captors, but there were too many for her to fight off. A couple of tickle pokes to her ribs and the Keyblade was easily disarmed. "EEK!" Naminé squealed. "Wait, wha-" She wasn't sure how, but despite being a mere consciousness, the tickling was affecting her as well. It was one thing to be tickled and restrained. For Naminé, being able to feel ticklish without a body was taking torment to a whole new level.
The soles of Kairi's boots became completely dissolved, allowing the tentacles easy access to one of the most ticklish spots on her body. The tips began lightly gliding across her arches, making Kairi burst out giggling.
"M-must re-heehee-sist..." She struggled to maintain as much self-control as possible, willing herself to climb up and over the metal appendages keeping her from her weapon, but this only resulted in her dress to become eaten away as her body rubbed against them.
She desperately stretched out an arm for the disarmed Keyblade. It was one thing to be frozen in bondage by Vexen. At least she had been still armed. But she was damned if she were to finally lose to her weakness here when she was finally face-to-face with the final boss. Kairi tried to block out Naminé's helpless laughter in her mind. Her fingertips were mere inches away, but this left her entire side and underarm completely exposed which the tentacles had no trouble in taking advantage of.
The tentacles wrapped around her wrist pulled her arm taut, forcing her to keep her limb extended as more began to poke and prod her increasingly ticklish ribcage.
"What?! NO!" Kairi squirmed and struggled against her bondage, desperately trying to pull her limbs in, but without the Keyblade, she was completely at their unyielding mercy. "STAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA NOHOHOHOHO-"The tentacles teased her by leaving their ticklee's body suspended just out of range of the Keyblade.
"PLEEHEEHEEESE STAHAHAHAP!" Naminé might as well have been a ball of ticklish flesh, because there was absolutely nothing she could do to stop the torture. Everything Kairi's body felt, she felt in turn. She couldn't squirm away or lash out. It was as if she were chained to a wall, unable to move a finger or bat an eyelash. Even though Kairi was able to resist, Naminé had no such defenses as all of the ticklish sensations immediately reached her consciousness, effectively making her nothing more than a gigglebox.
As if feeding off of the girls' laughter, the metallic ticklers began to pulsate with a yellow hue. "THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING ME WITH THE POWER TO TRANSFORM THIS VESSEL INTO ITS FINAL STAGE."
The tentacles coiled themselves firmly around her limbs and stretched out her body spread-eagle, making sure that no spot on her vulnerable body was left unattended to. Kairi instinctively tried to curl her toes, but the tentacles seemed surprisingly knowledgeable on the best hotspots of a ticklee. They snaked in-between her toes and bent them back, lightly feathering the crease where each digit met the foot. It didn't take long for the chemical coating the tentacles to dissolve the remainder of Kairi's boots.
"NYAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAH!" The struggling redhead hadn't been aware that the base of her toes was a ticklish area. Whether she wanted to or not, Kairi was being given an absolutely torturous, yet thorough lesson of just how many ticklish areas there were on the human body.
They scribbled across her arches and brushed lightly up and down her calves. Kairi's legs instinctively jerked as the tentacles scribbled both in front and behind her knees. Her thighs attempted to clench themselves shut as the soft surface of inside her trunks were teased with gentle pokes. A few tentacles began to pulsate around her hips, simulating a squeezing motion that made Kairi scream.
"NOHOHOHOHOHO! NAHAHAHAHAT THAHAHAHAHA-" The tentacles that coiled around her arms began to gently flick their tips inside the soft hollows of her armpits. Her biceps spasmed as they tugged against her ties, but the tendrils held firm, forcing her exposed underarms to endure the relentless tickles. Her nerve endings were shocked with ticklish electricity as the wiggling feelers slithered through her cleavage, beginning the process of dissolving her dress open. They traveled down the length of her girlish figure and lazily traced circles across the surface of her stomach. A couple of them swirled inside her navel. Kairi's body danced to its own beat with the metal tormentors playing her like its own musical instrument.
As most of the fabric fluttered into the open air, metal tips began circling up and down her exposed sides like a conveyer belt of feather-light touches that endlessly tickled her sensitive body.
Other than her most private of areas, not a single tickle spot was left unchecked as a tentacle wrapped itself around her neck and under her chin, just loose enough to leave her sporadic breathing unhindered, but enough to keep her head from blocking access to the tickles. Even her ears weren't spared as they flicked in and out like tongues.
"WHAHAHAHAYE AHAHAHAM AYEHEEHEE-" What Kairi was really trying to say was "Why am I not fainting?" Indeed, she didn't seem to be tiring, running out of breath or feeling lightheaded. It didn't make sense that the continuous stimulation hadn't eventually become numb to her nerve endings. Yet, Kairi felt just as sensitive and just as keyed up as the full-body tickling never seemed to decrease in intensity.
"YOU WILL NOT DIE OR FAINT. THESE POWER SIPHONERS SUPPLY YOUR BODY WITH THE NECESSARY COMPONENTS TO MAINTAIN ETERNAL CONSCIOUSNESS, ADRENALINE AND ENDORPHINS WHILE YOUR HEART POWERS THIS SHIP." If Kairi and Naminé weren't distracted, they would've sworn there was a smirk hidden underneath his armor.
Helplessly suspended in the air and completely restricted of any major movements, Kairi's will to fight was utterly shattered. Her only weapon was out of reach and with Naminé helplessly tickled to tears as she was, Kairi once again began to long for death. The extremely ticklish girl thought she had experienced the worst tickling ever when she had been tortured by Vexen. But at least Naminé was there to bail her out. Now stripped of her clothes, her dignity, her protection, and her friends, the Princess of Heart's entire world had been replaced with an eternity of laughter.
She begged and pleaded for the tickling to stop, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. No matter how much she laughed, it was never enough. Kairi had half-expected her face to hurt from the forced smile she possessed, but the endorphins were natural painkillers, leaving her in a comfortable, yet suffering state.
The tentacles had dissolved most of her outfit, leaving just mere patches to cover her naughty bits.
...Until tendrils had the audacity to start running their length between her open legs and across her chest.
"NYAHAHAHA! YOU PERVERT!" The sudden thrilling sensation made Kairi buck and took her laughter to a whole new level. Unwanted arousal and lust began to build upon the tickle torture she was forced to endure. Moans of pleasure began mixing in with her helpless giggles. The remaining censors of her female form were finally eaten away by the tentacles, leaving Kairi completely naked for the umpteenth time that day.
"HEHEHEHEHLP MEHEEHEEHEE SOHOHOHORAHAHAHAHA!" were the only comprehendible words that left the poor girl's lips before the combined pleasure and titillation finally overtook her sanity...
* * *
"HELP ME, SORA!"
Sora's head snapped up as Kairi's voice echoed through his mind. "Roxas, did you hear that?"
"I did. We can't wait any longer! We have to..." Roxas' voice trailed off as Xemnas' body began to glow a sickening yellow. "What the..." The mecha's crew watched in horror as Xemnas' King Form began to rise, its crown's points swelling in size and spreading open like a flower. Sharp, giant blades burst out of its shoulders while more buildings began to replicate around its lower half like a virus.
"What's going on?" Riku asked as he propped himself up. Before their very eyes, a horse's body had formed, effectively making Xemnas a centaur. Or as the Greeks used to call it, a "Kentauros."
"Xemnas' power levels skyrocketed exponentially!" Chicken Little reported. "I'd make an Over 9000 joke, but..."
"The crown's defenses have not only repaired themselves, but they've been reinforced with barriers of darkness." A worried expression was written all over Aurora's face. "I've lost visual on Kairi."
"What's the status of Radiant Garden?" But Queen Minnie didn't even need to ask. With Xemnas' Kentauros form complete, the absorption process took only a matter of seconds. "No..." Radiant Garden was no more, leaving the only survivors floating in space inside their giant mecha.
"Okay, whose bright idea was it to invite Galactus to the wedding?" Roxas quipped.
And yet, Xemnas wasn't satisfied. The giant beast turned its attention towards the other worlds, most likely to assimilate them into its collective. And its next target...
Aurora quickly tapped a few keys at her console. "Based on Xemnas' trajectory and heading, he seems to be heading for-"
"Destiny Islands!" Riku exclaimed. "Other than Radiant Garden, our world seems to hold some significance to him."
"Don't know why." Sora ruffled his bushy hair. "Nothing really happens other than the occasional Godzilla attack."
"That's Japan, Sora," Roxas corrected him. "We're the ones that get the meteor strikes."
Sora tapped his foot impatiently. "Can't we go any faster?"
He glanced over at the chipmunks sitting on top of Pluto's head, but they only shrugged. "We could go Ludicrous Speed," Chip suggested, "but that'd just be insane."
"No, making Sora an expendable character would be insane," Riku said. "Right now we just need to catch up with Xemnas."
"And then what?" Dale asked. "As powerful as this ship is, I doubt we even have enough power to slow him down."
"What I don't understand is where he's getting all of that extra power from..." Chip added. Sora's head dropped as he placed a hand over his heart. He could feel Kairi's anguish and suffering pulsate through him. His fingers curled up into fists and his eyes narrowed into angry slits as he realized what was going on. Without a word, he began marching toward the exit. "Sora, where are you going?"
"Xemnas is getting that energy from Kairi!" Sora felt anger well up inside of him. "He obviously doesn't believe she's suffered enough."
"Sora, wait!" Lady Daisy tugged on Sora's half-jacket. "It was one thing to try to board while he was stationary. But even you can't glide fast enough to catch up to him!" But Sora already had a determined glint in his eye.
"Kairi's in trouble! Do you really expect me to just sit here and let her face him alone?"
"But how are you supposed to get past his barrier?"
With his fiancée’s squeals of torment resonating through his skull, Sora helplessly grabbed his head and said the first thing he could think of. "I don't know! Couldn't we somehow hack into the security system and temporarily disable the barrier?" Everyone looked at Sora, who was trying very hard to concentrate on his psyche not snapping. "What? I was just asking."
Aurora wagged a finger in contemplating thought. "You might be onto something." And with that, the crew members began working furiously to make contact with Xemnas' security system.
After a couple minutes, Alice snapped her fingers in triumph. "We're in!"
"Put it on the main screen," Queen Minnie ordered. The group was taken aback by the display. "What the..." The front display consisted only of a simple phrase followed by a blinking cursor underneath.
"A password?" Snow White peered closer at the screen. "It looks to be an anagram of...'It's Disneyland'?"
"What I would give to be there right now..." Roxas mumbled.
"Hmm..." Riku rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Try Destiny Island."
"What the..." Sora couldn't hide his astonishment as the password was accepted. "How'd you figure that out?"
Riku gave him an incredulous glance. "Really? I just finished saying that he had an obsession with it. Pay attention next time." But Sora didn't laugh. He was uncharacteristically serious for once.
"The main barrier is down, but the barriers of darkness are still surrounding the crown!" Alice blew some stray hair out of her face. "They're not part of the main system, so I can't shut them down."
"You can leave that to me." Sora's fingers tightened around the Keyblade's grip. "Just see if you can get into a position that will make it easier to board."
"We're on it!" The miniscule mecha sped up until it overtook the behemoth. With their destination in front of the forehead achieved, the crew maintained their position and speed for easier access.
Sora gave Riku a searching look. "You sure you're not coming?"
"Kairi grabbed my Keyblade, remember? Summoning it back isn't going to do any good if it leaves her defenseless."
"Why can't you just summon Kairi's Keyblade instead?" Roxas asked. "You're the one that gave it to her, right?"
"Using the powers of darkness," Riku reminded him. "I can't open Corridors of Darkness anymore, let alone summon a second Keyblade back. I'm not exactly a dual-wielder like you two."
"Before you go..." Queen Minnie handed Sora a Megalixir. "Goodness knows you'll both need it."
"Thank you, your Majesty." Sora gave one quick nod to Riku and headed out. Despite the neck-breaking speed the ship was achieving, Sora managed to steady himself out on the mecha's shoulders, taking care not to fall into the seemingly infinite space swirling around him. Xemnas' Kentauros Form felt more imposing to Sora and Roxas when seen in person. And yet...
Sora rolled his eyes. "Please. We've traveled through Gummi space so many times, something this big isn't that scary." Just as Alice reported, although the main energy barrier was deactivated, there were multiple layers of darkness still protecting the cockpit. "Any ideas how we get through those?"
"Remember what Kairi did against that Twilight Thorn's attack?"
"You mean while it was groping her?"
"No, I meant after that. The whole drill thing."
"You mean like I did against Sark when I leapt off that wall and drilled through his head?"
"Yeah. Just like that."
Sora took a flying leap off the mecha and shot off like a missile, a single point of light streaking through the void. Using natural momentum and with no air resistance to contend with, the Keyblade Master pierced Xemnas' defenses until his spinning ripped through the energy barrier. As Sora fell toward the cockpit below, the faint, anguished voices of Kairi and Naminé began growing louder in the boys' ears.
"Never thought we'd take the role of Riku," Sora muttered. Flashbacks of fighting Xemnas' Final Form alongside the Dawn wielder came to mind. Just like Riku had saved him from Xemnas' energy drain, it was Sora's turn to rescue Kairi. "Roxas?"
"Right, Sora." Sora tucked his arms and legs in as a familiar crystallic sphere enveloped his body.
"GIVE US STRENGTH!"
* * *
The Obligatory Ship Battle
"This should work, right?" After Kairi snapped out of her stupor (and put her clothes back on to the moaning disappointment of fanservice lovers), the group decided there was only one course of action...
...shoot a giant laser at Xemnas.
"If there's anything that can defeat a giant creature like that, it'd be the combined power of our hearts," Riku reasoned. "It worked for us before, so it should work here." The others couldn't think of any reason not to. The group joined their Keyblades together and took aim at the giant behemoth. Light congregated around the Keyblades tips as they opened their hearts and let their bonds of friendship flow freely. With their hearts joined as one, a thick beam of white light burst from their Keyblades and blasted Xemnas in the shoulder.
Unfortunately, despite the Keyblades' combined power, the attack was as effective as shooting a tank with a staple gun.
Sora couldn't believe his eyes. "That attack should've done something!"
"It did do something." Riku pressed his lips together in contained frustration. "It told him exactly where we were."
"Wait a minute!" Kairi pointed at a tiny pinpoint hole where their beam had hit. Xemnas' armor began to evaporate into fumes of darkness before their very eyes. They could make out underneath the armored shell was a jumble of lengthy steel and yellow glass. "They look like...buildings?"
"What the..." The sight of the shadowy buildings began to stir something up in Roxas' memory. "Why do those look so familiar?"
"Remember when we were up against his Dragon?" Riku asked. "We were flying over those exact same buildings."
Roxas gasped. "The Dark City? From the World That Never Was?"
"So, Xemnas has become a city? That's..." Sora ruffled his bushy hair.
"Pretty lame?" Kairi guessed.
"Great. Now we have to fight against some unused concept art," Naminé muttered. "Any other ideas, Riku?"
"Please. He's just like Batman," Kairi joked. "Only he doesn't spout 'My parents are deaaaaaad!' every few seconds."
Sora grinned. "What are these PAIR-ANTS you speak of? Are they like cockroaches?"
"Speaking of parents, I'm surprised your mom wasn't one of the guests, Sora."
A faint blush began to tint the Keyblade Master's face. "Er...yeah, about that..."
"Don't tell me you forgot to tell her?!" Naminé exclaimed.
"Are you serious? All these months and you didn't say anything?" Kairi threw her hands up in mock hopelessness. "That's it. Next time, I'll handle the wedding invitations."
"Next time?" Sora repeated. "You mean you're going to leave me and get married again?"
"You know, Kairi, that doesn't sound like such a bad idea," Naminé teased. "You could totally find someone more competent after this is all over."
"Hold up." Riku gave the girls an incredulous look. "Are you telling me that divorcing was an option out of that stipulation and you've now just realized this?" Then he shook his head, causing his silvery hair to ripple across his shoulders. "Whether Xemnas was bluffing or not can wait until later. Right now, we need to take the fight to him and I think I've got another idea." He broke into a run with Sora and Kairi tailing him. The trio streaked through the vacant cobblestone streets, ignoring the behemoth that was mindlessly absorbed pieces of the world into its collective girth.
Kairi suddenly skidded to a halt. "Wait!"
"What? Is it something that can help us defeat Xemnas?" Sora asked.
"Um, no..." Kairi pointed toward a rare concept in their universe: an outdoor public restroom. "I've been holding ever since I was abducted and there weren't any bathrooms in that cove!"
Riku rolled his eyes. "Fine. But, hurry up!" Kairi immediately disappeared behind the labyrinth entrance. "I swear, girls and their weak bladders. Am I right, Sora?" When he was met with silence, the Dawn wielder realized that Sora had disappeared. "Sora?" A loud flush echoed throughout the din of destruction followed by Sora calmly walking out of the men's side.
"Sorry, Riku. I've been holding since before the wedding vows. What were you saying?"
The tall bishonen sighed. "There are not enough facepalms to display the frustration I've experienced today," Riku thought. Out loud, he said, "Never mind, Sora. It's not important."
A few minutes later ("There was no toilet paper!" Kairi complained), the group made it to the Gummi Garage where the wedding guests' transportation vehicles were parked. Riku calmly walked over toward a familiar-looking apparatus with an aqua gift bow wrapped around its handle and a "Just Married" sign on its rear.
Kairi gasped. "Isn't that a Sidecar Glider?"
"It was actually going to be my wedding present for the two of you, but I guess now would be a good time as any to take it for a spin."
"Wow, Riku! This couldn't have come cheap!" Naminé exclaimed, to which Riku shrugged.
"Actually, it wasn't that hard to collect the munny. I just went to Yen Sid's tower and abused the Gamblers in the Moon Chamber." Riku gave them a wry smile. "Who knew that they could be so generous?"
Sora's face looked as excited as if he had just been given a free 'Triple-Chocolate Sea-Salt Supreme Sundae.' "In that case, I'm driving!"
"Wait a minute!" Kairi snapped. "Why do you get to drive?"
Sora gave her a quick smirk. "I've got a license!"
"Yeah, to drive a Gummi ship!"
"Besides, don't you usually crash?" Naminé added.
"That hasn't happened for a while now!" Kairi raised an eyebrow.
"Sora, you crashed the Gummi ship on the way here. Last I heard, Chip and Dale's bill was almost double the catering expenses."
"Are you two finished or are we just going to wait for the end of the world?" Sora and Kairi turned toward Riku already in the driver's seat. The couple nodded at each other in silent truce before realizing that there was only one platform connected to the glider. "This wasn't exactly built for three people. You're going to have to squeeze together."
"Isn't that a bit dangerous?" Naminé asked. "Not that I'm complaining, mind you."
"It's either that or one of you has to stay here." This caused some hard glares that made even Riku flinch. "Okay, okay. Both of you hang on tight and keep your balance." The vehicle lurched to a rocky start, causing Kairi to stumble. Fortunately, Sora's hands immediately shot out to steady her.
"Careful, Kairi. I don't want to lose you again." Kairi looked up into Sora's mesmerizing eyes, suddenly becoming bashfully aware that it had been awhile since he held her this close.
"Uh, Kairi?" Roxas sounded slightly amused. "Your face is red." Indeed, her cheeks were almost the same shade as her hair.
"It's adrenaline, I swear!" Sora only responded with a warm smile.
Within a few minutes, the glider had achieved enough altitude to make Radiant Garden look like a roadmap. Xemnas' King Form didn't seem to have noticed them yet as it continued its rampage by absorbing the bits and pieces of the world.
"Okay, the plan is simple," Riku called over his shoulder. "Although it looks it, this is not Xemnas' true body. His real body should be somewhere located near the "crown" of this monstrosity. All we have to do is get close enough to jump on and sacrifice the glider as a distraction."
"I thought you said that this was our wedding present!" Kairi protested.
"I'll make it up to you guys later," Riku replied with a dismissive air. "Right now, the only advantage we have right now is surprise. If we get caught, he'll most likely send everything he has at us."
"Uh, guys?" Sora tried to get their attention, but they didn't hear him.
"Exactly how many forms does this guy have?" Naminé asked. "I mean, seriously! We defeated his Heartless, his Nobody, and you've told us that you and Sora had to fight his armored form on a Dragon Ship. What's next, some bald geezer that sounds like Spock? Some younger version that sounds like you?"
"We really should-" Roxas began.
"We can't exactly rule out those possibilities." Riku tightened his grip on the handlebars. "For all we know, there's a female Xehanort form we've yet to encounter."
"The yaoi fangirls would probably kill us if that happened," Kairi muttered.
"You guys!" Kairi and Riku whipped around at Sora.
"WHAT?!" Instead of responding, Sora pointed at their target. The others followed his gaze and were horrified to see Xemnas' giant visage staring directly at the tiny vehicle looking to infiltrate its defenses.
"Geez, first Kairi, now you," Riku groaned. "How is it that you two are noticing these enormous giants before I do?"
"CUR-SED FOOLS!" The enormous, commanding voice reverberated throughout the air, its sound waves making the glider rock a bit.
"Didn't you equip this thing with weapons?" Kairi yelled.
Riku's internal facepalm counter increased by one. "I...forgot."
"Well, that's it." Roxas' voice could barely contain the sarcasm. "If Riku, of all people, messed up, we're totally screwed."
Sora and Kairi flinched as the millions of "windows" scattered across Xemnas' body began to pulsate with malicious energy. It didn't take Merlin to figure out what was coming next.
"Riku, floor it!" But the silver-haired teenager was already hitting the afterburners. As expected, lasers fired randomly at the group from all sides. The glider bobbed and weaved through the onslaught as Sora and Kairi attempted to keep their footing on the small platform. As good as Riku was, a stray beam finally managed to graze them, causing the vehicle to jolt. Although Sora had managed to keep his feet firmly planted, Kairi wasn't as lucky. The redhead's heart skipped a beat when she realized that her body was about to be caught in freefall.
"Kairi!" Sora instinctively made a grab for his fiancée, successfully managing to snag her leg. Unfortunately, this gave Sora an almost uninhibited upskirt shot.
"EEK!" Kairi clenched her thighs together and tried to hold her dress shut from her upside-down position. "Haven't you seen my panties enough?!" she shrieked. "No! Don't answer that!" Kairi added as Sora began to open his mouth.
"Look out!" Roxas cried. Riku turned sharply, but the flurry of lasers were rapidly increasing in frequency. The sudden lurch caused Kairi to lose her grip on her Keyblade, sending it flying.
"No! The Keyblade!" Kairi could only watch helplessly as her flowery weapon shrank out of sight.
Another stray beam finally connected dead-center with their vehicle, engulfing the three in a burst of fire and melted metal. Sora managed to remain afloat using his Superglide, but Kairi and Riku were not as fortunate.
"Naminé!" Kairi cried. "I can Glide too, right?"
"If by Glide, you mean plummet to the ground in a painful and agonizing death, then yes!" Naminé desperately searched for any more of Sora's memories that might've transferred over to Kairi.
There were none.
"Wait! What am I worried for?" A goofy grin played across Kairi's lips. "I've survived falling down a skyscraper with Xemnas!"
"I think there's a huge difference between a skyscraper and the stratosphere, Kairi!"
"Geez, where's anime physics when you need it?!" Kairi flipped herself around and was shocked to see Riku's limbs flailing lifelessly as she realized that he was unconscious. With debris flying past their bodies as they hurtled toward earth, the Princess of Heart suddenly became aware of Sora dive-bombing down to their altitude.
Her hope of another rescue faded as she noticed conflict written all over his face. It was clear that Sora was torn about who to save. He knew that he'd be able to carry one, but not both.
Seeing his hesitation, Kairi decided to give him some encouraging words to help make up his mind.
"Sora, you bum!" the redhead shouted. "Don't worry about me! Save Riku!" Sora looked at her with a painstricken glance.
"Sora, we can't..." Roxas gazed longingly at Naminé through Sora's eyes.
Both Kairi and Naminé gave their fiancées an understanding smile. They mouthed the words, "I'll come back to you. I promise." With tears beginning to streak from his eyes, Sora gave one last gaze at Kairi before bolting for Riku.
As her fiancée passed her by, Kairi relaxed the muscles in her body and went limp.
"So is that it? Giving up already?"
"I can't think of anything. Can you?" In the back of her mind, Naminé was shaking her head.
"I'm sorry, Kairi. I wish there was something we could do." The Princess of Heart's hair and dress whipped around wildly as her body tore through the sky.
"All of our friends disappeared with the Organization. We've lost the Keyblade."
"And we sacrificed Sora and Roxas to save Riku," Naminé finished. "It's times like these I wish I had powers beyond just manipulating memories."
"Despite everything we've been through these past few hours..." Kairi let out a quiet snort of amusement. "...I've never felt so naked and helpless in my entire life."
"You still have me, Kairi." Naminé would've hugged her if she had her own body. "You'll never be alone."
"Thank you, Naminé." Kairi sighed. "Sora...I'm sorry." And with that silent apology, she closed her eyes in solemn acceptance...
...So it took the girl by surprise to feel warm, familiar arms embrace her body, stopping her freefall. Her eyes snapped open and found herself gazing into the handsome face of the boy she loved.
"It's okay, Kairi," Sora said gently. "I've got you."
"But what about-"
"Riku's fine. They managed to catch him." Kairi turned her head, only for her jaw to drop. The girls couldn't believe their eyes.
"Is that a giant mecha?" Indeed, Riku was in the palm of a giant humanoid robot about the quarter size of Xemnas' King Form. The head was a pink and white helmet that had spikes adorning the top, sides, and back. The body seemed to be sporting a black, white, and pink jacket with black and pink gloves while the bottom half of the armor consisted of mainly black and gold, with gold and white shoes.
"I thought those only existed in manga and anime!" Kairi and Naminé gave Roxas (through Sora) a pitying look.
"As long as you don't make any Megazord, Voltron or Gundam jokes," Naminé teased. "I know I'm probably forgetting a few, so sue me."
"Wow, the shape almost resembles Sora a couple years ago," Kairi observed.
"Looks more like Xion's armor," Naminé muttered. "Don't ask," she quickly added before the other three could ask her to clarify.
With the glider no longer a threat, Xemnas had shifted his attention back to absorbing the world. He didn't appear to notice the mecha's presence yet. The betrothed watched as Riku was gently deposited onto the shoulder where a familiar-looking deer was waiting.
Suddenly, a white gloved hand waved from behind one of the helmet's side spikes. With Kairi in tow, Sora glided past some lasers that finally activated their payload last-minute and landed on the giant mecha's shoulder. Entering through the opening embedded where the ear would be, Sora and Kairi found themselves on the bridge of a Gummi ship more sophistically advanced than either of them had ever seen.
They were surprised to find that the ones controlling their robotic savior were none other than the Princesses of Heart along with Queen Minnie, Lady Daisy, Chip, Dale, Pluto and Sora's remaining summons. Belle and Snow White helped the unconscious Riku off of Bambi and began to administer first aid. The other Princesses of Heart were each occupying separate control stations while the Queen and Lady were in the captain and first officer's seats. Noticing Sora and Kairi, Queen Minnie leapt from her chair and greeted them.
"Where's King Mickey?" she asked.
"And Donald and Goofy?" Lady Daisy added. The bushy-haired brunette and redhead glanced at each other, unsure of how to respond.
Finally, it was Kairi who said, "We don't know."
"What about the other wedding guests?" Sora inquired. "Are they here too?" An awkward silence hung heavy in the room, answering his question. The Keyblade Master ran a hand along one of the soft, elastic walls. "What is this? It's like we're inside a giant Gummi ship with arms and legs."
"It was King Mickey's idea," Queen Minnie explained. "Honestly, I don't know what he was thinking, but at least it was better than the time he met with that rabbit at Toontown."
"Roger, Oswald or Bugs?" Lady Daisy asked rhetorically.
"Who's piloting this thing anyway?" Kairi's question was responded with a familiar cackling from a certain blue fuzzball up front at flight control. "Figures."
"Your Majesty!" Chicken Little was typing furiously, staring intently at the screen from his perch at his Tactical station. "Xemnas finally noticed us and is charging up his lasers again!
Queen Minnie pointed out toward the front with a dramatic flourish. "Raise the X-Ion shields!" The mecha raised its arms, summoning two pink lances fashioned into Nobody symbols. It guarded by crossed its weapons together as thousands of building lasers began to pummel their ship.
"Structural integrity is down to 75%!" Alice shouted from the Security station. "The self-repair subroutines are underway!"
Jasmine was next to her keeping tabs on weapons. "The Ragnarok Torpedoes are armed and ready to fire!"
"I've located the weak point, Capt...I mean, your Majesty!" Aurora reported. "It's located near the crown!"
"Evasive maneuvers!" Queen Minnie ordered. "Get in close so we can cut open a path!"
"When did this turn into Star Trek?" Roxas pondered.
"What is it with you and Star Trek, Roxas?" Naminé couldn't hide her amusement. "If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were a closet Trekkie."
"Or an otaku," Sora added.
"Says the Whovian believing in Haruhiism," Roxas countered.
"Shush! I thought we talked about this!"
"Um, Sora?" Snow White had looked up from her first aid and was giving him a confused look. "Why are you talking to yourself?"
As Sora stammered out an explanation, Kairi gazed wistfully at the unconscious Riku. Naminé could sense the girl's guilt rising. "Kairi, what's wrong?"
"This is all happening because of me."
"What do you mean?"
"If it weren't for me, our friends wouldn't have disappeared in that explosion, the world wouldn't be ending, I wouldn't have lost my Keyblade, and Sora wouldn't have seen me completely naked before we got married!"
"Kairi, you know none of that is true," Naminé argued. "Except for that naked thing. There's no way in the Underworld that would've happened in canon."
"I'm not going to let everyone else keep taking risks for my sake! Xemnas wanted me to begin with..." Kairi's eyes locked onto Riku's Way to the Dawn. "We beat him by ourselves before. We can do it again!"
"So your mind's made up?"
"Don't try and stop me, Naminé," Kairi warned. Naminé was silent for a few seconds.
"I...may not agree with your reasoning on this," she responded slowly, "but sitting here isn't going to accomplish anything. Alright, I've got your back, girlfriend."
"Thank you, Naminé." The girls were surprised that Sora and Roxas didn't hear their conversation, but the boys were completely oblivious as their attention was focused on the mecha swerving up and around toward their target. As they approached Xemnas' head, the giant mecha raised its lances and fired a burst of homing lasers from its shoulders, successfully penetrating the shielding around the crown.
"Direct hit!" Chicken Little reported. "We managed to create an opening, but it's already starting to close up!"
"I'll take him on!" Before anyone could stop her, Kairi snatched up Riku's Way to the Dawn and bolted out of the ship. A few seconds later, a moan escaped Riku's lips as he regained consciousness.
Sora's eyes shone with concern. "Riku! Are you okay?"
"My body feels like I got slammed into the ceiling by Lexaeus again," Riku groaned. "Where are we? Where's Kairi?" It didn't take long for Riku to get up to speed. "What is she thinking?! She's playing right into Xemnas' hands again!" He grimaced in pain as he tried to get up and failed. The Dawn Wielder grabbed Sora's collar and yanked him closer to his face.
"Sure, Riku," Roxas sighed. "Give the yaoi fangirls more fanfic material."
"Sora, go after her. I'm not really in any condition to help you right now, but I trust that you can keep her safe." The bushy-haired youth gave his friend a searching look.
"But what about you and saying that she'll be able to take care of herself?"
"It'll give me peace of mind." Riku released his grip as he plopped back down on the floor. "Besides..." He closed his eyes with a tired smile. "You owe me for that year-long nap when I told you to take care of her the first time."
I've temporarily risen from the dark depths of the internet to tie up one of my loose ends. :)
* * *
Replicas and Fanservice
"Are you serious?!" The outburst caught the attention of a certain silver-haired teenager. Seeing his short, black-haired friend slumped over the keyboard with disbelief written all over her face was a cause for great concern.
Her aqua-blue eyes were dimmed with weariness as the girl raised her head and looked up at him. "I've been following this fanfic about Kairi and Naminé fighting the Organization that's been building up to this huge climatic battle...only for it to end with something out of left field."
He leaned over her shoulder to get a closer look at the screen. "Are we in it?"
"Apparently we only get a breaking the fourth wall cameo that has nothing to do with the story."
"So we're just filler material?"
"Pretty much." She leaned back in her seat, pondering. "But something else has been bothering me ever since the whole thing started."
"Since I have all of Sora's memories, I should be attracted to girls, right? And yet I couldn't help but feel jealous that Naminé was the one to marry Roxas. Does that make me straight, bi or selfcest?" The boy flashed her an amused grin.
"Depends. Do you have any attraction towards me?" he asked.
"Why? Are you asking me out?" she countered.
"Well, you've got Sora's memories and I have Riku's. It almost puts the whole yaoi pairings into canon if you think about it." The girl's eyes widened with a mixture of surprise and disgust.
"That's...an interesting way to put things."
"Actually I've been meaning to ask you. I know that I don't, but since we both have artificial bodies, does that mean you have...you know..." His eyes flickered across her body. "...down there?" She blushed and gave him a disturbed look.
"Honestly? I don't think that's any of your business. But now that you mention it, did Vexen really have any reason to create those little details for either of us? I mean, we're replicas intended to replace our originals. I think the last thing he would be concerned about is if either of us got laid. Especially to each other," she added in afterthought. The silver-haired replica stared at his companion in awkward silence. "What?"
"I think you've been on the computer for too long." He motioned toward the door. "Come on; let's get some sea-salt ice cream. My treat."
It took less than a second for the Kairi look-alike to make a decision. "Oh fine, if you insist," she giggled. "I want the chocolate-dipped one, though."
"It's a date."
* * *
Kairi felt a warm, pleasurable sensation over her heart. Despite the dreary cold of battle, her muscles twitched as it sent tingles of titillation throughout her entire body. In fact, it felt sort of...moist.
Her eyes snapped open. To her unending and undying embarrassment, she realized that her chest had been smothering Sora's face.
"Kyaaa!" She quickly shifted her body weight off of him and instinctively slapped Sora. "You pervert!"
"Uh, Kairi?" Naminé seemed to be just as creeped out and confused as Kairi was. "This is Sora we're talking about. He would never willingly place his mouth on your b-"
"Oh my gawd!" Kairi placed one hand underneath his head and used the other to gently pat his face in an attempt to wake him up. "Sora, are you alright?!"
"...squishy..." was Sora's mumbled reply. Kairi rolled her eyes before leaning in and giving him a quick peck on the lips. Sora immediately sat up as if shocked with adrenaline.
"Morning, sleepyhead," Kairi teased. Sora took one look at her and immediately reddened. He quickly turned his head away from her, holding up a hand to block his sight. Confused about his reaction, she couldn't help but be concerned. Slinking closer, she asked "What's wrong?"
"K-Kairi...your clothes..." Kairi finally noticed a gentle breeze playing across her skin. She glanced down and found that every article of clothing she had been wearing had mysteriously vanished.
"Oh, come on!" she exclaimed as she quickly covered her naughty bits. "Why am I naked?!"
"It was probably the Codebreaker," Naminé muttered darkly. "Here, let me take over and my outfit should appear, right?" Kairi's hair tinkled into a brilliant blonde as Naminé's form took over. "Okay, how's that?" Sora took another glance toward the girl before quickly averting his head again.
"Oh...wow." Roxas' voice strained as he struggled to keep his voice neutral. "Could you look again? I don't think we got a good enough view."
This time it was Naminé's turn to blush as she quickly covered herself. "What's going on?! Why am I naked too?!" Feeling a tap on her shoulder, she whirled around to see Riku holding out a small scrap of fabric toward her. His eyes were closed as well. "Gee, thanks, Riku," Naminé said sarcastically. "This should be enough to cover at least one of these." Riku ignored the sarcasm, chalking it up to stress and embarrassment.
"Just trust me on this one." Curious, Naminé took the piece of cloth. "Now try transforming back." As Naminé changed back into Kairi, the girls were surprised that their outfit rematerialized completely whole. "You can't create clothes out of nothing," Riku explained. "Even a little piece of fabric is enough. It's like a graft. Just a little piece can cause the cells to replicate and heal themselves."
Kairi readjusted her top and cleared her throat. "You can look now, Sora." As Sora finally turned to face her again, something dawned on her. "Wait. How'd you know it worked if your eyes were closed?"
Riku shrugged. "I was blindfolded for about a year, remember? I can still "see" without relying on sight."
"Okay, I'll give you that. But why did you two get to keep your clothes? And what happened to that cheat device?"
"I was stripped of my Drive Form. Does that count?" Without the Codebreaker, Sora's outfit had reverted back to its normal state. "As for the second question..." Sora patted down all of his pockets. "Nope, I think it's gone."
"Still, Naminé..." Roxas sounded like he was in a daze. "That was the most-"
"MIND CRUSH!" Naminé interrupted. Roxas was silent for a moment as the memory witch quickly modified her moment of nudity.
"-traumatic sight of my entire life!" Roxas finished, unaware of what just happened. "Why was Riku wearing a G-string?!" Afraid that Naminé might modify his memory too, Sora kept his mouth and inner dialogue shut. Riku gave Sora a knowing look, but was also relieved he didn't have to explain how he kept his clothes.
Kairi finally took note of their surroundings. They were back in the charred ruins of the wedding hall. She also realized that besides Sora and Riku, there were no other occupants in sight.
"What happened? Where's everyone gone?"
"If they're not here, they're probably back in the Garden of Assemblage," Naminé guessed.
Kairi immediately stood up. "Then what are we waiting for? We have to get back there!"
But Riku shook his head. "I don't think that's possible. It took pretty much an army just to get through that mineshaft full of Heartless and Nobodies."
"But Riku..." Sora placed a hand on her bare shoulder and smiled.
"It'll be alright. They're fighters. They'll be able to take care of themselves." Kairi took a deep breath and nodded in agreement. With one worry pushed away to the back of her mind, other questions began to take its place.
"So what exactly happened? Last thing I remember was reality turning into a surrealism piece and then Sora's mouth was suckling on my..." Kairi shuddered from the memory. Riku streaked his fingers through his long, silvery hair.
"I honestly have no idea. I woke up a few minutes before you two did."
Kairi noticed that the light streaming through the windows seemed faint. "Wait a minute. How long were we in there?"
"It's been a few hours, give or take," Roxas said. "There was the whole search, destroy and rescue missions we had to go through before making our way to you two."
Sora clasped his fingers behind his head and leaned back in thought. "All I know is that we're losing daylight." As soon as the word 'daylight' left his lips, any traces of sunlight were completely extinguished. Sora blinked. "Is it just me, or did the sun just get swallowed up?"
Suddenly, the entire building began to shake, causing the pillar supports and walls to lose their structural integrity.
"It's not safe here!" Roxas cried. The group quickly broke for the doorway, only for the rafters to conveniently crash right in front of them, blocking their exit.
Not to give up so easily, Riku pointed toward a broken window thirty feet above their heads. "Through there!"
Kairi was about to protest when she remembered that she now possessed most of Sora's skills. Whatever he could do, she'd be able to. Kairi planted her feet firmly on the ground, pirouetted up into the air, pulling off a perfect Aerial Dodge, and landed gracefully on the window's ledge. She looked back over her shoulder and was surprised that Sora and Riku were gaping at her with astonishment.
"What? You didn't think I could do it?" she giggled.
"Guys, you can stare at her butt later!" Naminé called. "Get up here already!"
As soon as they made it to a safe distance from the wedding hall, the party let out a collective sigh of relief.
"If the chapel collapses during a wedding, does that mean bad luck?" Kairi wondered out loud.
"Only for the people unlucky enough to still be inside the building," Naminé responded.
Both Sora and Kairi turned to Riku. "So what's the plan, Riku?"
The Dawn Wielder gave the engaged a funny look. "Why are you guys assuming that I always have a plan?"
"Because you're tall," Roxas quipped. "Do we really need a reason?"
Riku massaged his forehead with his thumb and forefinger as he contemplated a new strategy. Meanwhile, the earthquake tremors were growing stronger in frequency, causing newly created construction sites throughout the town to collapse. After a minute, he opened his eyes. "Okay, first things first. We've got to find out what happened to everyone. Sora, you head into town and check to see if anyone needs help. Even with a defense system to prevent attacks, the town still needs a physical body to tend to the wounded."
"So you're practically sending me on a side mission?" Riku shrugged.
"Considering that every single world we've been in was a side mission, this shouldn't be any different. I'll go see if there's any other entrance into the Garden of Assemblage that we might have missed."
"You mean besides the one outside the-" Sora's words were drowned out by another building collapsing, keeping Riku from noticing that he had spoken.
"Kairi, you'll have to..." Riku trailed off as he realized that her jaw was locked open with her eyes widened in horror. "Kairi? What's wrong?"
"Um...Sora? Riku?" Kairi pointed skyward with a shaky hand. "Remember when you said you two fought against Xemnas in giant armor?"
The blood had drained from her face giving her skin a grayscale look. "Was he THAT big?!" The boys slowly turned to look at what she was pointing at. To their horror, the entire sky was filled with the form of Armor Xemnas. Only the upper half was visible as the rest of his body disappeared behind the horizon. The group stood in astonishment as one of his giant clawed hands slammed on top of Villain's Vale.
Instead of being crushed, the fortress seemed to shimmer before being replaced with empty void leading to the Realm of In Between. Almost as if it were erased.
"It's just like when the Heartless destroyed our home!" Sora realized. "Instead of being consumed by darkness, it's being consumed by nothingness!"
"It's the end of the world," Naminé lamented. But Riku shook his head.
"No." He gave the survivors a gloomy look. "This is the end of reality."
The five of them watched helplessly as pieces of Radiant Garden were enveloped by nothingness. After a few moments, Kairi let out a deep exhale and began unzipping her dress.
"Uh, Kairi?" Riku asked slowly. "Why are you taking off your clothes?"
Kairi gave him a wry smile as her face color began to match Axel's hair. "I've been stripped so many times, I figure it's only a matter of time before it happens again." She noticed Sora beginning to mirror her embarrassment. "If I'm going to be naked, I might as well do it myself instead of waiting for some perverted attack to shred my clothes to pieces."
"Don't you think that's going a little too far, Kairi?" Sora turned away and locked his gaze onto the giant behemoth, willing himself not to let his eyes wander toward his disrobing fiancée.
Naminé sighed. "Sorry guys, but I think Kairi's finally starting to crack."
Giving http://kh-vids.net/threads/a-kingdom-hearts-alternate-future-sora-and-kairis-wedding.28808/ closure.Status Update by Destiny's Force, Mar 24, 2013
The Reckoning (Part 4 of 4)
"Finally found you, Riku! Everyone's been looking for you!"
"Sorry, I just needed some time to think."
"You're excited about the wedding?"
"Riku? Is something wrong?"
"You're not...still in love with Kairi, are you?"
"It's okay, Selphie. I've accepted the fact that Sora and Kairi were meant to be together a while ago."
"That still didn't answer my question. It WAS Kairi, right? Not Sora?"
"What is with everyone wanting to pair me up with Sora? You might as well just make me female."
"Maybe if you got a haircut every once in a while, you wouldn't have to be all bishonen..."
"Hm. Regardless, maybe I'm just destined to be alone. I mean, who would want to date someone who's been living in the dark for so long like me?"
"I thought Sora was supposed to be the dense one! Seriously!"
"You're tall, you have killer cheese grater abs, are able to take care of yourself and the people around you, and even if you've been hanging around in darkness for so long, that doesn't mean that girls out there can't see the light within you! Take it from me, if you went up to a girl in town and asked her out, I'd bet Tidus' porn collection that she'd not only jump at the opportunity, she'd probably fling her body at you, wrap all her appendages like a leech and strangle you with love!"
"Selphie...Are you asking me out?"
"What? Of course not. I'm just telling you like it is. Besides, I'm already seeing this cute guy named Irvine. He's sweet, but I wish he'd stop flirting with every other girl he passes."
"Thanks, Sel...did you seriously just say I had cheese grater abs?"
* * *
"Wouldn't it be easier just to trap all of these guys into books and get it over with?"
Zexion shot a bored-looking Xigbar a glare. "You try maintaining this pointless illusion."
"Uh, duh? I'm keeping everything solid and I'm still fighting."
The Cloaked Schemer brushed some ice crystals off his lexicon. "I still can't believe they actually put this in ice."
"Kinda reminds you of when we used to hide Xehanort's textbooks in Even's freezer, doesn't it?" Zexion raised an eyebrow.
"All I remember is when Ansem managed to catch you doing it."
"Yeah...those were good times." Xigbar clacked his weapon. "Okay, let's go spank some brats."
In a bizarre twist of fate (or just bad timing), Simba, Mulan, Aladdin and Hercules somehow managed to be the ones to take on the Organization members that controlled their battlescape.
Mulan tightened her grip around her sword. "I feel bad that Kairi had to be seen naked constantly by guys."
"Because you can sympathize?" Mushu blurted out from behind her head. Mulan's lips twitched at the outburst.
"Wait." Simba tilted his head in interest. "When did this happen?"
"Let's just say that being a woman in an all-male camp isn't exactly the best time to worry about hygiene." A slight shiver tingled through Mulan from the memory. "From what I've seen of the male body, I'm not all that impressed."
"Good thing I'm not human then," Simba replied.
"Heads up!" Xigbar let fly a flurry of gun arrows that rained down from the sky. Having trained for this type of attack under a training montage sung by Donny Osmond (Jackie Chan in the Cantonese version), Mulan managed to avoid the projectiles with a backspin and shot her arm out toward the Freeshooter. Flowing with the momentum, Mushu rocketed off of Mulan's outstretched arm and landed smackdab in Xigbar's face.
"Gah!" Xigbar clawed at Mushu. "Get off me, you gecko!"
"This is for turning a fellow dragon into one of your Heartless!" Mushu bit, scratched and tore out Xigbar's hairs with all the annoyance of an angry lizard. He eventually went for the eyepatch when Xigbar's hand shot out and managed to get a strong grip around the red dragon's throat.
The Freeshooter pointed a gun arrow at the dragon's neck. "Gotcha now!"
Mushu could feel the sharp point scrape gently at the surface of his throat. "N-now wait a minute! I'm a guardian dragon! You can't do this to me!" he croaked.
Xigbar smirked. "Oh yeah? Well, sucks for you then."
Always willing to save those in need, Hercules and Aladdin blitzed toward them. "Time for a little teamwork, right Herc?" The two linked arms and with an Olympic discus throw, Hercules hurled Aladdin at the Freeshooter. Xigbar refocused his aim toward the incoming "street rat."
"No contest," Xigbar muttered to himself. Taking advantage of the sudden shift in focus, Mushu spat embers into Xigbar's eye, causing the sniper to reel back in pain. That was the opening Aladdin needed to swipe Mushu and the gun as he rocketed past.
Landing lightly on his feet, Aladdin deposited Mushu onto Simba's back and gave Hercules a thumbs up.
"Just like against Hades and Jafar."
The Olympian Hero raised an eyebrow. "Um...how is switching outfits the same as a 'fastball special?'"
"Aw, you're no fun."
Xigbar wiped his eye with his sleeve. "You'll pay for that, you little punk!" He whipped his weapons around toward Aladdin and squeezed. Instead of the familiar clicks of his guns, he was surprised to find banana mush seeping onto his gloves. "What the-"
"Hey! I didn't know we were fighting Abu's uncle!" Aladdin teased.
Almost seething with rage, Xigbar summoned back his weapons out of Aladdin's hands and began charging up a shot. He was so focused on his prey that he failed to notice Mulan sneaking underneath his line of sight until it was too late. Her palm shot out and smacked Xigbar's chin, cancelling his charge shot. While he was still stunned, she grabbed his outstretched arms and slammed him onto the ground. Mulan pressed her foot on Xigbar's jugular.
"What? You thought I only fought with swords?" The Freeshooter shot a glance over at Zexion.
"Hey, Zexy! A little help?" Before anyone could stop him, Zexion's lexicon began to flip its pages rapidly.
"I guess I have no choice now, do I?" Reluctantly, Zexion recited the words "Fio libri vultus!"
Although they had seen the replays of his illusion techniques, experiencing them firsthand caught the fighters off guard as the brilliant light enveloped their vision. Xigbar took advantage by grabbing Mulan's ankle and twisting her leg off of his neck.
"Don't underestimate the Organization," he laughed before the light swallowed his form up.
The light fading, Hercules looked down at his hands and was surprised to find himself clad in an Organizaion cloak. Glancing up, the entire battlefield seemed to have been transformed from rocky cliffs to the center of a whirlwind of books. The only figures he could make out were five Organization cloaks, one of them looking particularly laughable over Simba's body. With Xigbar and Zexion both having their hoods up, it was almost impossible to tell who the real targets were without causing friendly fire.
Mulan and Aladdin were having similar experiences. The absence of any sounds from the ongoing battle made it clear that they were no longer in the same dimension. Books divebombed at them like birds of prey, making it difficult to concentrate on who was the enemy.
Aladdin was the first to act as he whipped out his scimitar and sliced oncoming books. "If you guys think I'm going to stop fighting because of something like this, you don't know me at all!" He whirled around and charged at the nearest cloaked figure. Seeing him approaching with malicious intent, they didn't hesitate to reciprocate his fiery blitz.
Before any blows could be thrown, the giant, hulking creature in an Organization cloak used its head to get inbetween the combatants.
"Aladdin! Mulan! You really don't want to be fighting each other." The Lion King targeted one of the floating Organization members and slammed him with freight train force. The entire illusionary world shattered apart, dumping the combatants out of Zexion's book world. The Cloaked Schemer clutched his ribs in pain, staggering away from Simba.
"How? How could you see through my illusions?" Simba slowly slinked toward his opponent, his paws barely making any sounds across the earthly surface.
"We're animals. We don't need to see our prey to find them." An unwavering growl was bubbling behind Simba's words. "I believe the phrase Riku used was that 'you reek of darkness.'"
Mushu popped out from Simba's mane. "That's not the only thing he reeks of." The little dragon pinched his snout. "When's the last time you washed that cloak?" Zexion was about to snap back with a not-so-witty one-liner when Mushu spat a fireball into his face. "Sorry! I thought you'd prefer dry cleaning."
"You and Timon should get together some time," Simba said. "You could be interspecies twins."
Simba gave him a wily smirk. "You both talk a lot and you have the same body shape and size."
Mushu's jaw dropped at the crack. "You're actually comparing me to a meerkat, Mr. 'I Just Can't Wait To Be King?'"
Aladdin scratched underneath his fez. "What is with those two?"
Mulan shrugged. "I don't know, but if you replace Mushu with a donkey and give Simba the voice of Antonio Banderas..."
"At least Mushu's not as bad as Jafar when it comes to lousy puns," Aladdin replied. "Seriously, there should be a 'Pun Count' display popping up whenever he fights."
Hercules pounded his fist into his palm, causing a minor shockwave. "No more illusions!" Completely relying on his godly strength (completely forgetting that he had a sword), he lowered his head and bull-charged at Zexion. The Cloaked Schemer managed to brush the embers from his eyes only to be greeted to the sight of the bulky Olympian blitzing toward him. "You won't escape!" Herc cried. Suddenly, a portal of darkness burst open in front of a surprised Zexion and out popped Demyx, who almost crashed into him.
"Zexy! Is there anything I can do to..." Demyx's head whipped toward the heroic juggernaut barreling toward him. "Help."
Demyx's face slammed forward into Zexion's, forcing the two to become liplocked. The trio crashed to the ground with poor Demyx being sandwiched between the other two men. The impact of the fall left all three men unconscious.
Xigbar let out a slow whistle. "Oookay. A huge, sweaty muscle guy riding on top of a goth and a punk star."
As if on cue, Vexen came gliding up from his escape and took one look at the pile of testosterone. "If that isn't yaoi in action, I don't know what is."
With the illusion's creator out of the picture, the rocky environment flickered and faded to reveal the mirrored landscape that it once was. The sounds of battle lowered a few decibels, but the intensity remained unfazed by the sudden change in scenery.
Mushu sniffed. "Oh, that's not good."
* * *
"By the way, how's Max? Is he still going out with that girl?" Riku snapped his fingers as he struggled to remember the name. "What's her name, Roxanne?"
"Yup! She reminds me of Maxie's mother."
"I've been wondering; who exactly IS his mother?" Goofy's cheerful demeanor immediately turned solemn. Donald poked Riku on the arm and motioned him to come closer.
"That's still a sensitive subject," Donald whispered into Riku's ear. "It's best to leave it alone."
The final group of remaining heroes consisted of Riku, King Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Ariel and Auron against the Superior himself.
"Six against one?" Ariel bounced the Blitzball against the earthen floor. "This doesn't seem fair." Xemnas only chuckled.
"You are correct. Maybe I should fight all of you blindfolded."
"Hey, worked for me," Riku retorted.
"Xehanort!" With a serious glint in his eye, the King charged at Xemnas with Donald and Goofy trailing behind him.
"Like I told you before..." The Superior's blades clanged against the King's Keyblade. "...it is Xemnas." He aimed a boot at Mickey, punting him straight into Donald.
"Your majesty!" Goofy cried. He was in slight shock from seeing his friend being kicked like a football. As Goofy ran to help Mickey and Donald up, Auron decided that he had finished sizing up the situation and prepared to attack. He heaved his giant blade over his shoulder and glared at Xemnas.
"Your pain shall be two-fold." Holding his blade out, Auron reached over to his right hip expecting his jug to be there only to be surprised at his empty hand. Patting down his haori, Auron's good eye narrowed as he muttered "Sparrow."
"What is with guys and flashy attacks?" Ariel wondered out loud. "Sometimes the simple things work the best." She hiked up her dress, balanced the Blitzball on her foot and blasted it with her long, powerful legs. Despite the projectile hurtling toward Xemnas at breakneck speed, the Superior barely gave it a glance. With split-second precision, Xemnas whirled around and whacked the Blitzball back with his boot. The ball rocketed smackdab in the middle of Ariel's forehead with a sickening snap.
"Ariel!" Donald and Goofy gasped. Auron immediately ran up to her limp body and checked for a pulse. After a few heart-stopping seconds, he looked up at Riku. "Don't worry. She's still alive."
"Get her to safety." Riku brushed his bangs out of his face. "We'll take him on."
Auron hoisted Ariel's body into his arms. "No mercy," was all he said before carrying the unconscious woman to a safer place.
Riku and Xemnas stared into each other's eyes, completely void of any emotion.
"So it has come to this." Xemnas let out a slow chuckle. "Are you sure that you can defeat me by yourself?"
"How many times does this make it? Three fights now?" Riku sighed. "Is this going to become the theme from now on? Some form of you becoming the final boss every time the plot needs an antagonist?" The two combatants rushed at each other, their blades locking in a test of strength.
"You are correct that I still exist. But have you ever considered asking yourself why?"
"Honestly..." Riku broke the stalemate by plunging his knee straight into Xemnas' stomach. "...I don't care." His silver hair streaked behind him as Riku whirled around and slammed his Way to the Dawn into the Superior's left side. "That's for crippling me with a limp!"
Meanwhile, Goofy had managed to get both his friends back on their feet.
"Are you shore you two'll be okay?"
Donald muttered some undefinable obscenities before saying "We're fine."
"Ah think those anger management classes are working, Donald," Goofy said. "Remember when yur temper used to flare up?"
Donald sighed, rubbing his beak. "Don't remind me. Daisy burned my Paperinik costume because of that."
"I think it's our turn," King Mickey said. Donald and Goofy glanced at each other, confused. "Come on, fellas! Sora's not the only one to wield a Keyblade, right?" His Majesty put his hand out inbetween the other two. It took a few moments before the magician and knight realized what Mickey meant. Placing a hand each on top of Mickey's, an aura of power began building to signify the strength of their friendship with each other. Just as Sora, Kairi and Riku had done before, it was their joining that unlocked their ultimate attack.
Riku ducked, dodged and parried Xemnas' attacks, struggling not to end up crippling the rest of his body.
"What is the matter, boy?" Xemnas taunted. "No more quips?" Riku used a Dodge Leap to get behind Xemnas before taking a few more steps back.
"How about I let my friends do the talking for me?" Riku gave Xemnas a mocking wink. The Superior narrowed his eyes in confusion when...
"BREAK!" The Disney trio flew from behind Xemnas and began battering him from all sides with numerous blows.
"Wha-" Xemnas instinctively put up a Spark Wall to give himself breathing room, but his attackers were already behind him.
"MAJOR DRIVE!" Before he could recover, the Superior found himself being peppered with small, yellow orbs that sprayed out of Goofy's shield.
"ULTIMA!" Xemnas was launched into the air, barraged with dozens of firework explosions summoned by Donald's wand. From his airborne position, he floated helplessly in the gravity well as the trio prepared for their finisher.
"ALL FOR ONE..." Goofy raised his shield.
"...AND ONE FOR ALL!" Donald channeled his power into the wand, placing it against Goofy's weapon.
"LIGHT, GIVE US POWER!" The King's Keyblade glowed with sparkling light as Mickey completed the unity.
"TRINITY LIMIT!" A huge sphere of energy warped around the airborne Xemnas, engulfing his body with blinding light. Riku's eyes narrowed as he tried to see through the explosion.
"Did we do it?" Goofy wondered. As visibility returned to normal, the lone figure of Xemnas was seen still standing upright with his cloak charred and smoking.
"Of course not." Riku mentally slapped himself for the oversight. "Sora, Kairi and I already tried this." Gritting his teeth, he raised his Keyblade again. Although Xemnas thought himself to be above emotions, it was clear that he was starting to become annoyed.
"Why don't you vanish?" Xemnas dashed forward to attack the "Duck Magician" in defense mode, only for his attack to be countered by Goofy's shield. Mickey went underneath Xemnas' guard and whacked the Keyblade upside his chin. Xemnas used his backward momentum to flip himself upright and took another stab at his opponents only to be parried by Riku. Although the heroes had the numbers advantage, it only meant that the Superior had more targets to hit.
Surrounded from all sides, Xemnas' body sparked with electricity as he enveloped himself with a giant blue sphere of light, forcing the combatants back. Long piercing beams blasted out of his protective barrier in random directions, sweeping across the battlefield. Riku managed to repel the attack with an expertly-timed Dark Shield while Goofy and the others ducked behind his own shield.
"First Roxas, now Xemnas." Riku instinctively reapplied the shield as the beams began travelling the other way. "What other laser-based attacks have you people been holding onto?"
The sphere dissipated with Xemnas preparing to teleport within a shroud of darkness. Without warning, a portal of fire ripped a hole in space behind him. Axel and Org Roxas popped out and took deep breaths.
"If I ever see another Blitzball again..." Axel caught a glimpse of Ariel's Blitzball out of the corner of his eye. His glare literally burned holes into the ball, eventually causing the sphere to spontaneously combust into ashes. Then he noticed Xemnas. "Oh, hey Xemnas. Didn't realize you were here."
"Axel, you were supposed to assassinate Sora and Kairi. Why..." Xemnas trailed off as the battlefield flickered back into its liquid mirror state. "What-"
"You're not getting away that easily!" The fighters looked up just in time to see Sora dropping down from the sky with Kairi in tow. The Keyblade Master daintily landed on his feet and easily caught Kairi in a princess cradle.
"Sora! It's Xemnas!" Naminé cried. Sora helped Kairi to her feet, making sure to steady her with his hand.
"Alright, Xemnas!" He pointed his Keyblade with a dramatic flourish. "Let's finish this!"
"Cursed fools." The Superior's eyes narrowed as he sized up the situation. It was now the Disney and Destiny Island trios plus Roxas and Naminé against Axel, Org Roxas and himself. "What have you done to our battlefield?"
"Don't look at us," Roxas responded. "We were just as surprised as you were."
"Sora?" Kairi looked up into Sora's beautiful blue eyes. "You can take your hand off my butt now." Sora quickly withdrew his hand away as if her shapely posterior had bit it.
"You honestly have no idea, do you?" Xemnas let out a slow, taunting chuckle. "I am talking about the wedding, of course." This got everyone's attention.
"Don't tell me that you had something to do with the wedding!" Kairi gave a toss of her head, flinging back some stray hair that had managed to drape across her face.
"That's not possible!" Mickey cried. "Ansem the Wise told me himself about the wedding clause!"
"Did he?" Xemnas shook his head. "Or did you happen to receive a letter that was coincidentally delivered to your castle a few days after you believed to defeat me? Perhaps a letter that was written in advance in case that fool-hearted Ansem disappeared?"
"Wait..." Donald looked over at Goofy with surprise. "So, Goofy was right?"
The engaged couples couldn't believe their ears. It couldn't be true. It just couldn't.
Was the entire wedding...
...their feelings for each other...
...the whole purpose of this gathering...
Xemnas took advantage of their hesitation and rushed at Kairi while her guard was down. Fortunately for her, Sora snapped out of his stupor first.
"Kairi, look out!" Just as Riku had done with Sora against Final Xemnas, Sora shoved Kairi out of the way as Xemnas' weapon made full contact with the Keyblade Master's leg. Everyone was taken by surprise as sparks began spurting out of the newly opened cut.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me!" Roxas cried.
"What's wrong?! What happened?!" Naminé yelled.
"He hit the Codebreaker!"
"The what?!" Kairi couldn't believe her ears. "You mean that thing was actually a plot device?" Reality began to warp around Sora's leg, the fabric of space and time glitched and swirled with disorienting force. Uncaring giant winds sweeped everyone within the area off the ground, both heroes and Organization members alike. Kairi became disoriented and nauseous as images of battle merged and blurred across her field of vision.
...Aerith being stabbed through the chest with Xaldin's lance; Cloud yelling "Not again!"...
...Hercules holding back Lexaeus' tomahawk in a test of strength...
...Pence, Tron, Ariel and the Prince, heavily wounded...
...Sora and Riku yelling something at her, but unable to be deciphered...
All of these events seemed to flash rapidly before Kairi's eyes before her entire world turned to darkness...
The Reckoning (Part 3 of 4)
(Author's Note: I know it's been a few years, but since I finished this piece, I feel like I need to give this story proper closure in the place where I originally posted it.)
"Remember that note you sent? You know, the one inside that bottle?"
"What about it?"
"How exactly did you know that I would eventually receive it?"
"To be honest, I didn't."
"And you did it anyway?"
"Pretty much. But..."
"There's something that I didn't tell you."
"That wasn't the only note in a bottle that I sent out."
"Um, I really missed you and all, so I ended up tossing a bottle in the ocean every day."
"A bottle...every day?"
"So what you're saying...is that you littered the entire ocean with hundreds of bottles and hoped that at least one of them would've made it to me, even though it was a million-to-one shot that they would even leave this world?"
"This from the guy who could Super Glide great distances, but couldn't even manage to jump across five feet and left his future fiancée by herself in the first place?"
"Touché. Where exactly did you get all the bottles?"
"I walked with Selphie every day after school and bought a bottle of milk."
"And you were actually okay with buying milk every day?"
"Sora. You think I became this well-endowed without drinking enough milk?"
"What are you talking ab...oh."
"Quit staring. My eyes are up here."
"Oh, sorry. Who would've thought that one letter would end up changing our lives?"
"It could be worse."
"The letter could've been some lame plot device that would send you on another adventure that involved searching for Riku for the third time in a row, stabbing yourself with the Keyblade and leaving me on the island acting as a Mary Sue...again."
"Heh. Maybe in some alternate future."
* * *
"Well, isn't this a @#$%ing predicament?" Cid and Marluxia's weapons were locked together as they struggled against one another. "What the hell are you supposed to be, sunshine..." Cid grunted. "...gay?"
"You insolent little..." Marluxia roared. Enraged, the Graceful Assassin shoved the Gummi mechanic away from their parry and swung his scythe straight down onto his head.
Before the blade made contact, Jack Skellington tackled Marluxia with enough force to temporarily stun him.
"Surprise!" Jack clapped Marluxia's head between his bony hands, further enraging the Graceful Assassin. Without even thinking, Marluxia spun the scythe in his hands and lashed out at the Pumpkin King, trails of petals streaming from the weapon's path. Using his unmatched flexibility, Jack bent the upper half of his body backward, the scythe whizzing by harmlessly. His upper half snapped upright and he twisted his bony face in the most grotesque expression yet.
"BOO!" Taken off guard, Marluxia instinctively took a step back. With Number XI distracted, Cid grabbed the opportunity to Dragon Dive from above. Skellington leapt out of range of the resulting explosion. The dust cleared to reveal Cid's spear wedged in the earth between Marluxia's legs. As Cid struggled to remove his spear from the ground, Marluxia jumped backward and swung his scythe, forming an energy wave that blasted its unlucky victim back with an enormous slash.
Meanwhile, Xaldin was getting increasingly frustrated with the Lord of the Jungle. Despite the six lance advantage, Tarzan was bobbing and weaving through every one of his swipes.
"Stay still, you animal!" As far as Tarzan was concerned, Xaldin's weapons were nothing more than a jungle gym. Although the Whirlwind Lancer was distracted by the opponent in front of him, the only other available fighter could only stand helplessly out of attack range. Because of his current human state, the former Beast knew he wouldn't have been able to react fast enough to dive into the fray.
"Who would've thought that regaining my humanity would also give me back my sense of mortality?" the Prince thought.
"ENOUGH!" Xaldin roared. Metal crashed through wood as he smashed through Tarzan's spear, splintering it in two. As if in response, the human gorilla snatched one of Xaldin's floating lances and slashed it across its owner's face. Temporarily blinded, Xaldin lashed out with all six of his lances like a giant blade. Tarzan managed to leap on top of one of the outstretched lances, ran along its length and headbutted Xaldin in the face with a concussion-forced blow, forcing the Whirlwind Lancer to the ground.
Not wanting to lose the opportunity of fighting an opponent on more even terms, the Prince charged in, his claws at the ready. Unfortunately, the lack of speed gave Xaldin enough time to recover. A victim of momentum, the Prince's eyes widened as one of Xaldin's lances gutted straight through him like a fish. His hands attempted to close around the lance, trying to pull the obstruction out of him, but his strength was fading fast and the claws on his hands made it almost impossible to get a good enough grip.
"You made a better beast than a human," Xaldin scoffed. The mortally wounded Prince sank to his knees, unable to remain standing. Adding insult to injury, Xaldin effortlessly lifted the lance in the air with its victim still skewered.
"At least I wasn't beaten up by girls," the Prince coughed.
"Your precious Belle took me by surprise!" Xaldin cracked his lance like a whip, cleanly sliding its victim off and leaving him bleeding in the dirt.
Cid picked himself off the ground and rushed toward the dying Prince.
"Get out of here!"
"I'm...not through yet..." the Prince growled through gritted teeth.
"Now's not the time to argue! That was a clean thrust through your internal organs and I know for a fact that it's very rare that anyone can be in fighting condition from an attack like that!" Cid whipped around toward Jack. "Get him to safety! Me and Mr. Loincloth will hold them off!" Before the Prince could protest any further, Skellington scooped him up in his deceivingly thin arms and strode for safety.
"Belle..." the Prince silently cried, "...forgive me."
Tarzan's knuckles and feet padded along the dusty terrain as he strode up next to Cid and offered him back his dislodged spear. Cid gave a quick sniffle, wiping his nose with his thumb as he tightened his grip on the regained possession.
"Alright, you &*!@#$!" He twirled the spear in his palm. "Bring it!"
"Come on!" Xaldin beckoned.
The two heroes lunged at Xaldin, vengeful intent flashing in their eyes. Xaldin charged to meet them, his Lindworms already pointed at their victims.
Cid hurled his spear directly into Xaldin's Aeroga shield where it immediately began hovering amongst the rest of the lances. Before Xaldin could contemplate why his opponent would deliberately sacrifice his weapon, Tarzan and Cid managed to grab a lance each and started attacking him with his own weapons. Number III tried to concentrate on summoning back his spears, but for every one that he managed to take back, another one was swiped in its place. The battle began to become reminiscent of a certain double-sided lightsaber duel.
All Xaldin could do was grasp a lance in each hand and parry oncoming attacks, forcing him to go defensive.
"Cid!" The Highwind pilot was briefly startled not by Tarzan's warning, but that he was actually speaking any English at all. Catching a sudden blur of pink out of the corner of his eye, Cid instinctively plucked his own spear out of the lances and parried Marluxia's scythe.
"Forgot about me?" Cid shoved Marluxia's weight off him and swiped his spear to give himself breathing room.
With the two Organization members surrounding them from both sides and without any other allies available to support them, Tarzan and Cid were effectively outmatched by Xaldin and Marluxia.
"Do you want to scream?" Marluxia asked, a cold smirk forming on his lips.
"Hey, that's my line!" The Pumpkin King sprang out from behind Marluxia and slammed his foot on the scythe, embedding it into the ground. Skellington followed up with a graceful spin kick to the face, knocking Marluxia's grip from his weapon. With an effortless twirl, Jack casually landed near Cid and Tarzan. "Are you two alright?"
"Nothing a Hi-Potion won't fix," Cid sniffed. "How's Mr. Chivalrous?"
"He'll be fine. He's being taken care of by that Pence fellow."
"You know, Xaldin..." Marluxia's body began to become engulfed by wisps of darkness. "I think we've been playing with these fools long enough."
Xaldin responded with a Cheshire-like grin. The Org members glowed with rapidly increasing brightness, signaling that they were ready to bring out their ultimate trump cards.
"What the #^@&!" Cid, Jack and Tarzan shielded their eyes from the sudden brightness.
"Stay on guard!" the Pumpkin King warned.
The light faded to reveal a giant humanoid Nobody that towered over the fighters. It resembled an angel of death with Marluxia's scythe in hand, his true power unleashed. Xaldin sidled up next to him riding his giant spear-formed dragon, its gaping mouth building up power.
"You'll now know REAL fear!" Marluxia taunted.
Jack scratched a spindly finger on his skull. "I'll give them credit for execution, but the presentation could've been better. One bright light doesn't exactly scream 'Fear me'."
Cid couldn't help but sigh. "What I would give to be fighting Shinra right about now?"
"#$%*$#," Tarzan said. Cid nodded.
"Took the words right out of my mouth."
* * *
"Hey, Tron?" Hayner pointed his blade at Lexaeus." What's your scouter say about his power level?"
"Well, according to these readings..." Tron furrowed his brow. "It's over nine..."
"Oh, will you two shut up already?!" Lexaeus snapped. "You know how annoying that stupid cliché is?! I mean, seriously!" His eyebrow twitched spasmodically.
"So much for being a 'Silent Hero," Tidus snickered.
"Are you guys serious?" Leon rubbed the bridge of his nose with the tips of his fingers. "That joke is so dated, it's not even funny."
"What joke?" Tron asked with a puzzled look.
"Move aside!" Saix snarled, pushing past Lexaeus. "These fools are dead!" Still powered by the faux Kingdom Hearts, he charged at Tidus and Hayner with berserk fury.
Not ones to back down from a challenge (even with the mismatch in power) the two boys lunged directly at the furious Luna Divider with their weapons at the ready.
His ragged blue hair flowing with energy, Saix whirled his claymore and slammed it down repeatedly, sending blue shockwaves that knocked Tidus and Hayner down gracelessly on their behinds.
While Saix was still intensely focused on the two teens, Tron attempted to slow down the berserker with a well-aimed throw to the face. The projectile almost hit its target when Lexaeus came in to swing his giant tomahawk, swatting back Tron's disc with such force that when Tron reached out to retrieve it, everything below his left elbow was blown off, leaving nothing but fragmented data bits in its place.
Tron collapsed onto one knee, staring at his digitally dismembered stump of an arm.
"Tron!" Leon rushed up to his wounded ally's side. "Hold on! I've got a..." He made a motion to reach for a Mega Potion, but his pockets came up mysteriously empty.
"I'm attempting to repair my data, but..." He gave Leon a worried look. "...I don't seem to have that ability here in the User world."
"Damn it! Where's Aerith when you need her?" Leon took a quick look around the battlefield and spotted Aerith being blasted by Larxene's lightning. "Okay, Plan B. Get to somewhere safe and see if you can find someone with a healing item." His Gunblade clicked as he shouldered it. "I'd go with you, but I can't leave the kids." Tron nodded.
"Understandable. Good luck." And with that Tron made for an escape to find sanctuary.
"Can't run!" Lexaeus shouted. A fiery aura burst from his body as he attempted to bumrush Tron with his giant girth.
"NO!" Leon's Gunblade shone with light as its owner raised it toward the sky. A single beam of light extended from the blade before Leon brought it crackling down into Lexaeus' path with a thunderous crash, forcing the behemoth to alter his trajectory.
Tron gave an appreciative nod toward Leon before making it to safety.
Meanwhile, Hayner and Tidus scrambled back to their feet, embarrassed and angry that they had been taken down so easily.
"Did that really just happen?" Hayner coughed. "To US of all people?"
"As Auron would probably say, 'This is your story and you're the comedy relief.'"
"Not on my watch!" Hayner's Gunblade clacked with fury. "Let's try this again!" Sharing a quick, subtle nod, the two boys ran at Saix for a second strike.
The Luna Divider had his eyes closed with his arms raised to the heavens, recharging his expended energy from the Kingdom Hearts in the sky. He seemed completely unperturbed that he was about to be attacked again.
Before they managed to get within five feet, Lexaeus' hulking body dropped from the sky and slammed the earth, causing powerful tremors to radiate from underneath his feet. The teenagers became nerve-rackingly numb as the quakes ripped through them. Hayner could barely control his body as the Gunblade began slipping from his shaking fingers. Tidus desperately tried to remain upright as he instinctively pedaled backwards.
Saix's eyes snapped open with renewed rage as he hurled his claymore at his closest target. Hayner tried to bring up his weapon to defend himself, but the sheer strength of the throw knocked the Gunblade flying out of his hands. He watched helplessly as the weapon twirled end over end until it pierced itself into the ground with a dull "SHOONK!"
"Hayner!" Tidus shouted. He attempted to run, but the teenager hadn't regained his equilibrium yet, causing him to trip over his own feet. Leon ran as fast as he could, but he knew he wouldn't make it in time.
"BE GONE!" Saix raised his claymore with killing intent in his eyes. Hayner cringed at the instrument of his destruction cutting through the air. It seemed that Saix would bring the underaged minor defeat count up to six...
...until a molten fireball slammed him in the face. As Saix roared with pain, Hayner could only stare in astonishment.
"Well, isn't this romantic?" came the familiar voice. Hayner's eyes widened as Seifer came walking in with his usual swagger. "Looks like you should've been the one to go back to Twilight Town." Hovering around his head was the unmistakable form of...
"Yuna!" Tidus cried. The faerie waved enthusiastically at him. "What are you doing here?!"
"I could ask the same to you," Hayner said as he quickly stood up, brushing himself off. Seifer smirked.
"I had some unfinished business with this loser," Seifer said, jerking his head toward Saix.
That's when Hayner recognized the weapon Seifer was wielding. "Hey! That's mine!"
Seifer only smirked, shouldering the newly acquired Gunblade. "You lost it, fair and square. Besides..." The weapon began to radiate with a faint, but powerful aura. "I think this fits me better than you."
"It wasn't easy to get here," Yuna explained. "Rikku and Paine are on the other side of this portal keeping the link open." She motioned toward a swirling, rainbow portal behind her.
"But won't the Organization be able to exit through this end?" Leon asked.
"No one can use this portal unless I allow them to."
"Well, we've got injured. Do you think you can transport them to safety?"
"INCOMING!" Seifer's warning snapped the group out of their conversation. Lexaeus and Saix charged at the group in a pincer formation.
"Hayner! Get behind me!" Weaponless, Hayner had no choice but to hide behind Leon.
"You little..." Saix's claymore scraped the ground behind him, his glowing eyes pierced Seifer with intense anger.
"Show me what you got!" Seifer raised the Gunblade. "I'll show you who's the better man!" The claymore slammed into the ground, causing a neon blue shockwave to pulsate outward. Unlike Tidus and Hayner, Seifer was able to jump high enough to avoid the attack.
"Come on! Don't leave me hanging!" Seifer taunted.
Meanwhile, Lexaeus and Leon were trading strikes and parries with each other. Leon almost felt his legs buckle as he took each earth-shattering blow as it came.
"Is this the best your heart can yield?" Lexaeus asked. Leon attempted to swipe underhand, but Lexaeus chose that moment to increase his power. With a giant's roar, a red and black aura engulfed his body. Leon struggled to maintain his footing, but was pushed back against the pressure released by the aura.
Lexaeus tossed his weapon up in the air and rammed his boot into the ground. The stomp caused rock formations to erupt from the earth, sending Leon flying into the air. In a single motion, the Silent Hero caught his tomahawk and slammed his foot down again. With the full weight of his giant frame and the heavy tomahawk, the ground was torn apart with stone pillars, battering the helpless "Squall."
Not to let their ally fight in vain, Hayner intertwined his fingers together to give Tidus the boost he needed to soar up into the air. Energy streams accumulated into his blade before transforming into blue fireballs that peppered the ground around Lexaeus' feet. The behemoth braced for the explosions, but nothing happened. He chuckled slightly.
"Is that all you've got, boy?"
"Wait for it..." As soon as the last word left Tidus' lips, the ground burst underneath Lexaeus where the fireballs had marked their territory. Not waiting for the dust to clear, Tidus plunged his sword into the ground and used it as a jumping point to hurl his body into the debris cloud.
He pirouetted in the air, flipped around and landed a solid bicycle kick straight into Lexaeus' rock-hard head. Despite the attack extinguishing the aura, Tidus' teenage body wasn't powerful enough to damage a reinforced body of iron.
Lexaeus' hand shot out and seized Tidus by the throat. Like a child throwing a rag doll across the room, Tidus' body was hurled straight into one of the landscape's natural rock pillars. His body went limp as Lexaeus smashed his tomahawk into the ground, forming a streamlined shockwave that tore through the earth.
Tidus could do nothing but endure the numerous stabs of rocks pounding across his body. It was when he finally stopped bouncing around that his mind registered how battle-sore he truly was.
"Tidus!" Yuna flew up to Tidus, grabbed his wrist and attempted to help him up.
With the annoyance out of the way, Lexaeus returned his attention back to Leon, who was struggling to stand up with the help of Hayner.
"Now where were we?" Leon's legs were still wavering as he maintained his glare at Lexaeus.
A few feet behind them, it had become apparent that Seifer was just toying with Saix. "Down boy! It's not my fault you were neutered at twelve!" Again and again, he jumped back and over Saix's shockwaves.
The head of the "Disciplinary Committee" kept backing up until he bumped into somebody behind him. He whirled around as his opponent did the same. Gunblade met Gunblade as Seifer and Leon clashed at each other's swords, almost cutting Hayner's head off. Leon raised an eyebrow with surprise.
"I thought you went back to your hometown, kid," he huffed. Seifer only smirked.
"And leave before showing off some of my moves? Dream on." He gave Leon and Hayner a sly wink before backflipping high into the air. Whirling around in midair to face Saix, Seifer swung the Gunblade as if drawing a cross onto the ground where the Luna Divider stood. Instantly a flaming cross engulfed Saix before the ground opened up from underneath, swallowing him into what looked like a flaming pit to the Underworld.
Hayner and Leon were awestruck.
"How are you able to wield the Gunblade so well?" Leon asked.
Seifer shrugged. "It just comes naturally, I guess."
"So, where'd he go?" Hayner asked.
"I honestly have no idea. I didn't even know I was able to do that." Seifer began calmly walking back toward Yuna's portal.
"Hey, Seifer!" The usually smug teenager stopped. "What happened to the others?"
"Oh, them?" Seifer waved his hand dismissively. "They're still back in Twilight Town. I just told them that I had a 'debt' to repay." He smirked. "Here, catch." Hayner jumped back slightly as Seifer's Gunblade stabbed into the earth just inches from where his left foot had occupied. "I'm done here." Puzzled, Hayner gripped the handle as Seifer gave him a quick salute goodbye before leaping through Yuna's exit.
After making sure Tidus was alright, Yuna began heading toward the portal herself when he stopped her with a gentle tug of her dress.
"Are you leaving?" Tidus asked.
"You should probably follow him," she replied with her back facing toward him. Yuna's cute face was gently etched with concern. "I don't want you to..." Tidus shook his head.
"Even if I'm not in the same league as Sora and Riku, I don't think I can just watch on the sidelines while my friends are fighting." Yuna considered this for a moment.
"Then I'll stay with you." She turned around and looked Tidus in the eyes with a shine of adoration. "I want to make sure you come out of this alive." Tidus smiled back at her.
Status Update by Destiny's Force, Aug 18, 2012
To those who wonder where I am, I've been busy with life and such. I'll post again when I actually have something meaningful to contribute. In the...Status Update by Destiny's Force, Mar 9, 2011