carnaval des coeurs



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Audo

press △ to sora
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
5,361
Age
27
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • Key of Destiny
  • O, Purest of Hearts
  • Savage Nymph
  • Graceful Assassin
  • Come So Far


- carnaval des coeurs -

[TABLE]
[TR]
[TD]
TITLE
[/TD]

[TD]
FANDOM
[/TD]

[TD]
PROMPT
[/TD]

[TD]
LINK
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"Everyday Words"​
[/TD]

[TD]
BioShock​
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[TD]
N/A​
[/TD]

[TD]
[x]​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"My Darling, Stay Gold"​
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[TD]
Kingdom Hearts​
[/TD]

[TD]
N/A​
[/TD]

[TD]
[x]​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"How to Leave Organization XIII"​
[/TD]

[TD]
Kingdom Hearts​
[/TD]

[TD]
N/A​
[/TD]

[TD]
[x]​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"I'm Not Afraid of the Darkness"​
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[TD]
Kingdom Hearts​
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[TD]
Essay/Meta​
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[TD]
[x]​
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[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"Consolation Prize"​
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[TD]
Kingdom Hearts​
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[TD]
Drabble​
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[TD]
[x]​
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[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"Between Sorrow and Bliss"​
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[TD]
Final Fantasy XV​
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[TD]
Valentine's Day​
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[TD]
[x]​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"Only the Wind Knows"​
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[TD]
Kingdom Hearts​
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[TD]
Tinny's Birthday​
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[TD]
[x]​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"808"​
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[TD]
Night in the Woods​
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[TD]
101 Word Stories​
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[x]​
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[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"Something You Feel"​
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[TD]
Kingdom Hearts​
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[TD]
Post-KH3​
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[TD]
[x]​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"Where the Pieces Lie"​
[/TD]

[TD]
Kingdom Hearts​
[/TD]

[TD]
KH3 Countdown
Drabble Collection​
[/TD]

[TD]
[x]​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"How to Survive the End of Everything"​
[/TD]

[TD]
Kingdom Hearts​
[/TD]

[TD]
KH3 Countdown
Tinny's Birthday​
[/TD]

[TD]
[x]​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]
"tarte-a... whatever-it-was"​
[/TD]

[TD]
Kingdom Hearts​
[/TD]

[TD]
Valentine's Day​
[/TD]

[TD]
[x]​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

Like with my original fiction thread, I thought it would be a good idea to make one for my fanfiction as well! This thread is going to have links to all of my fanfics above, as well as be the central thread for any oneshots or twoparts. Fanfics that have multiple chapters (such as Everyday Words) I thought would be best to have their own thread, to keep things neat, so they will just be linked in the table above instead of reposted here. As is the case with my other thread, I'm going to start by reposting old stories in here, but then pretty soon I'll be adding new ones! Any comments and critiques are always appreciated :3
 
Last edited:

Audo

press △ to sora
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
5,361
Age
27
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • Key of Destiny
  • O, Purest of Hearts
  • Savage Nymph
  • Graceful Assassin
  • Come So Far
This was originally written as a gift for goldpanner~

[HR][/HR]how to leave organization xiii.
FANDOM: KINGDOM HEARTS
CONTENT WARNING: N/A

Consider your birth like winding up a clockwork heart. There's something artificial about the entire thing, like the gears inside your body once turned without help, without a key, but they rusted over and each turn now feels forced -- each breath needing thought to come forth. Stumble about the world without registering a thing. Your mind struggles to catch up with your body and you nearly collapse. And then you do. Feel a haze clearing as your skin collects the new, yet somehow familiar, sensation. The tickle of grass. The smell of pine. The warmth of light. The sound of darkness cracking the world open as footsteps approach. Get back on your feet and watch the man in the coat come closer. Tell yourself to run but rust in place instead.

You seek answers, he says.

From the first day that's what you want, all you want.

I can give you purpose, he says.

He raises the hand and translucent letters appear in front of you. Barely register the name "Sora" as it suspends in the air. The letters swirl around you, blurring, until they stop with a sudden snap. They spell something different, yet you recognize the familiar letters within it. Roxas. A new name, born from the old, just like you.

The world opens up again and a man with red hair steps out of the darkness. He smirks as he looks you up and down at first, but it fades rather quickly. Watch as he talks with the man from before in a volume that tells you they don't care whether you hear or not. Think of yourself as inconveniently placed furniture in their life as they discuss what to do with you. Ownership changes hands as the red-haired man steps closer to you and says his name is Axel. The man from before disappears into the darkness whence he came.

Axel puts an arm around your shoulder and points out at the old mansion situated behind an iron gate. He tells you a story about a castle from his other life. About trying to break into the gate to get to the answers on the other side. About not liking what he found once he did. Try and figure out what he means but groan from the weight the words press on your mind. He takes his arm off of you.

You're so young, you hear him say.

Too young to be in this mess, he says.

The way he scratches the back of his neck as he says all of this clues you into the fact that he is mostly thinking out loud. When he notices you noticing him he lets out a strange sound and smacks you on the back. He calls you his little zombie. Something in your hollowed chest tells you to hit him back. An urge to prove yourself rubs against the gears and your first clenches like muscle memory. Run past him int the forest ahead of you. Think of it like a race along a beach that no one agreed to as you rush through the trees to the exit on the other side.

Grasp your knees and tell yourself to breath. Recollect what little sense of self you have and take in your surroundings. A town. A tram. Roads and paths and houses. Follow the nearest brick road toward the centre of town. Pass by kids around your age. Hear the same strange sounds Axel made come from them. Watch the way they smile and play and eat ice cream. Feel a pang in your heart -- a sick desire to be like them, to have what they have -- even though you don't know why. Axel puts his hand on your should and says you're pretty fast for a zombie. Hear the smile in his voice as you watch the friends play. Look away and find Axel staring at you with concern. He walks to the store near you and buys two ice creams, just the same as the kids. When he comes back, he puts his hand on your shoulder again and in a swirl of darkness you disappear from the tram commons and reappear atop a clocktower.

Sit.

He says it like doesn't care if you do or don't but you see him watching you to make sure you don't fall. Axel passes you one of the ice-creams and tells you to hold onto it. Try and figure out whether he means the ice-cream or the moment. Decide it's both and a take a bite. Feel your consciousness root itself as the salty sweet flavour coats your tongue.

Tell him it's really salty, yet sweet and notice the relief on his face to hear you talk for the first time. Find yourself smiling even though you don't know why someone smiles. Recognize laughter for what is, even though you shouldn't know. Feel the envy leave the heart you do not have and turn to stare out at the sunset.

It won't last, you hear him say. The moment, I mean.

Finish your ice-cream anyway. Read the writing that is scrawled along the stick. Watch the eternal sunset before you and contemplate what it means.

WINNER.


Join Organization XIII officially that night. Struggle against the constriction of the coat as you step into the Round Room with Axel and look up at your fellow members. The man that found you sits atop the highest throne and he looks down on you with his fist pressed against his cheek, propping up his face. A mixture of contempt and intrigue fills his features as he studies you. Memorize the feeling of Axel's hand on your back as you shrink against it.

Let us all welcome one of the Keyblade's chosen, the man says.

Realize you have no idea what a Keyblade is, but say nothing.

Later that night, sleep on your new hard bed. Dream about a storm. Thick black clouds cover the sky. Lightning cracks as you race over a bridge to a tiny island. A boy with silver hair is there, and he turns to you and tells you the door is open. Reach out for him when the darkness overtakes him. Struggle to grab his hand as the darkness winds along his chest and arms like vines. Shut your eyes when the darkness covers you both.

Wake up in your tiny bed in your dark city. Find the Keyblade clutched in your hand. Wish that you could've reached him instead.


Days pass and you become comfortable with the routine. Fall into the pattern of going out, slaying Heartless, and returning to the hollow castle. Don't question why. Let the unremarkable days pass with only the bare minimum of recognition. Know the number of days, but struggle to remember their contents. When Saix tells you and Axel to visit a new world, act like you couldn't care less.

Arrive at the new world and immediately get taken aback by the desolate wasteland that greats you. In the distance, dust storms loom and the horizon is speckled with towers that just out of the lifeless desert. Everywhere you look are piles and piles of garbage -- some loose and some compacted into cubes. As you and Axel move farther into the world, realize that the towers are made of thousands of garbage cubes. Take note of the various billboards and advertisements for a company no longer around. Piece together that this world crumbled due to an organization. Fail to make the connection to your own life.

Explore the empty streets with Axel. Point out the odd discoveries you find in the bricks of garbage. Axel follows behind you murmuring in agreement that the doll head is creepy or that the discarded Twister game looked like it could've been fun. He doesn't answer you when you suggest salvaging it back for the members in the castle. Push him for an answer.

Everyone's gone, he says.

The owners of the garbage cross your mind for the first time. Connect the garbage blocks to the Proof of Existence back at the castle. Consider what you will leave behind is a lowly tombstone. Wonder if that is better or worse than a city made of the remnants of thousands of lives. Admit you don't know the answer, but only to yourself.

Axel grabs you by the collar and you both vanish in a Corridor of Darkness. Emerge from the darkness atop one of the many towers. Come face to face with the vast emptiness of the world. Note that there would be no sunset here, as the entire horizon is hidden beneath dust storms. Sit on the edge of the tower. Dangle your feet. Promise to see the sunset at least once more. Wonder why Axel never took you back since the day you were born. Remember how much you longed for the light while sitting alone in your room in the dark city.

Begin to ask him, but stop when he points at something. Far below something moved through the streets. A trail of dust kicked up in its wake, it leaves the city and heads for a structure just beyond the city outskirts.

Looks like some kind of bunker, Axel says before taking you to it through a corridor.

Hide behind one of the medium piles of garbage, careful to keep your footing, and watch as a small box shaped robot approaches the bunker. Become aware of Axel's breath on your neck as you both huddle close to avoid being spotted. The robot moves up to the bunker, glancing around as if to take in its surroundings. While looking elsewhere, it accidentally rolls over a cockroach on the path and shows both surprise and panicked remorse. It touches the bug lightly for signs of life and appears relieved when it springs up alive. Face Axel and whisper. Have your suspicions confirmed when he tells you it has a heart. Feel an odd sensation inside of you like being lifted against all odds. A desperate hope for the same. Grab Axel by the wrist and pull him closer to the bunker.

Be careful not to be discovered as you maneuver through the garbage piles and close in on the bunker. The robot has left the door open, perhaps by mistake, and when you and Axel peer inside you see it watching a movie on an old screen. Two people are singing and holding hands on the screen and you find yourself just as drawn in to it as the robot is. Realize you had never considered what it meant to hold someone's hand. That, up until now, you only thought of it as a way to make them follow you. Consider your own empty hand now. Wonder what it must feel like -- to be with someone, walking side-by-side, hand-in-hand, as equals. Mirror the robot when it holds its own hand. Stumble when Axel grabs your shoulder and pulls you away.

Roxas, you can't tell anyone about this. Especially Saix, he says.

Just don't, he says. Trust me.

Clench your fists at being left in the dark. Know you should be asking more questions. That you should be questioning what the Organization would do with the robot if they knew it had a heart. Kick at the dirt instead. Resolve to trust Axel. Trust that he would only blind you for the right reasons. Conjure up a corridor of darkness and witch it swirl in front of you, inviting. Unclench your fists. Don't look back.

Freeze when you feel Axel's hand slip into yours. Resist the temptation to look at your intertwined fingers with wonderment and awe. Resist expressing the beauty you find in something as simple as crossed bones. Resist letting on that you care. Instead, tell him you want to see the sunset again. Then, step into the darkness.


Let the days blur into one. Let your dreams of lives you never lived in worlds you never saw become the only marker of what seems real to you. Commit to memory the desperate hope when you found the silver-haired boy again. Remember how he called you Sora. How he said he would look out for you, now that you had found each other. How you lost him all over again. Accept these dreams as your memories even though you don't remember them in your waking life. Begin to question which of your lives is the most real. Consider that nothing when you're awake amounts to anything. Wander through the alleys of the Dark City, searching for natural light. Settle for endless neon. Wonder when Axel will keep his promise. Question whether you should've trusted him after all.

Allow the seed of doubt to plant in your clockwork heart. Roots snake around the gears with each passing day. It becomes harder and harder to continue on in the face of the unknown. Every world you got to now causes the gears to grind when the Organization's intentions weed inside you. Realize you know nothing. Feel the roots chock your heart. Try to deny it all.

Bring up your dreams to Axel. Don't take the dismissive tone as a good enough answer. Don't listen to the ridiculous stories he passes off as his own dreams. Don't believe in his tales of dreams within dreams or how he could've sworn his legs really did turn to jello. Instead, mention the name Sora and watch the way he scratches his neck. The way he avoids meeting your gaze. Know you shouldn't give up on pursuing the truth when he says he'll take you to see the sunset. But, smile anyway.


Swing your legs over the edge of the clocktower and lean into the familiar feeling of a near-forgotten memory. Try to piece together what you remember from the last time Axel brought you there, back when you first took breath. Feel a warmth run through you and blame it on the sun. Smile when Axel plops down on the ledge beside you and offers you a Sea-Salt Ice-Cream. Remember the WINNER stick you kept back in your room. Think about asking Axel about it, but say nothing.

Tell him today is the two hundred and fifty-fifth day you've been in the Organization. Tell him you had to hold onto something, the number, even though all those days meant very little in retrospect. Tell him the ice-cream is salty, yet sweet and playfully smack him when he makes a comment about how much of a zombie you used to be -- still are. Don't admit you're happy. Whatever that means.

Hey Roxas, he says. Betcha don't know why the sun sets red. You see, light is made up of lots of colours. And out of all those colours, red is the one that travels the farthest.

Laugh with him when you nudge him again and call him a know-it-all. Imagine your laughter and warmth mixing with the red light of the setting sun, the light that travels the farthest. Vow that, no matter what happens, you'll never forget this moment, this calm, even when the days blur into one.


A hundred days pass and, aside from the last sunset, all you really remember are your dreams. Try as hard as you are able to push out the doubts of the Organization's intentions within you, the lies they are telling you, the truth they are keeping from you. Fail every day, but fail this day the hardest. Dream of the silver-haired boy kidnapping a puppet with a heart of his own. Wake up with tears along your cheek and realize that the Organization isn't where you should be. Confront Axel in the Grey Area about Sora once again. Struggle to rescue the truth from him, but only be met with more avoidance.

You're my best friend, he says.

Demand to know what he has been keeping from you. Demand to know who Sora is and how he relates to you. Demand to know why the Keyblade has chosen you, of all people. Demand to know what the Organization really wants.

I can't tell you, he says.

Tell him this isn't what best friends do. Tell him they don't keep shit from each other. Tell him that you need the truth. When he finally answers, recognize the hurt expression in his face is the same one he gave you the day that you were born. Recognize the look of one of resignation of the inevitability of your life. Of the tragedy that awaits you.

I didn't want you to leave, he says.

And though you hear an impossible pain in his voice, tell yourself that he is only pretending to care. Yell at him. Scream at him that it's too late for that. That you're going to run away and find the answers you seek. That he already lost you.

Return to your room knowing this will be the last night.

Dream about losing the Keyblade to the silver-haired boy.


Before you leave the Organization, find yourself in Axel's room. Put the WINNER stick in an envelope and leave it behind for him on the window sill. Outside, Kingdom Hearts hangs in the sky and its glow catches in your eyes. Contemplate what it really is and realize you have no idea -- never had one. Think about how much you invested in blind faith. Question when you lost the ability to see for yourself -- if you even had it to begin with. Pinch the skin around your wrist to keep from getting angry. Try to convince yourself that there had to be reason, one good enough to keep you in the dark, to keep you blind, even though all you wanted since you were born was to see. Pinch harder. Leave Axel's room for the final time.

As you walk though the empty neon-blasted streets, promise yourself to start a new life somewhere the light touches. Brisk past Axel as he waits for you on the outside of the city, stop when you hear him speak.

Your mind's made up?

Remind him how you need to leave. Tell him you need to find the truth about Sora and yourself and the Keyblade. Realize you're not even sure that's what you actually want -- if those answers would honestly help you at all -- but know that you can't stay here even if you have nowhere else to go.

You can't turn on the Organization! Get on their bad side and they'll destroy you.

Tell him no one would miss you.

Pretend you didn't hear him say he would.


Doubt your decision to leave. Recognize your own hopelessness as you wander through the Corridors of Darkness with nowhere to belong. Deny the realization forming inside you that you belong with Sora, that he's your other. Spend the endless hours in the dark wondering about the best friend you left behind. Break through the darkness and step onto the wasteland of a warm memory.

Thread your fingers together as you walk through the city made of garbage. Try to remember which tower you saw the world from with Axel and fail to find it. Head to the bunker on the outskirts.

Don't bother concealing yourself as you leave a trail of footprints in the dust. Reach the bunker and feel your clockwork heart fall apart. Gears rattle in your chest as you approach a lifeless heap of metal in the middle of the path. Notice the familiar bootprints of the Organization all around the robot. Cradle it in your hands. Let your eyes burn as tears tumble from your face. Hold the heartless creature to your equally hollow chest.

Bring it into the bunker, its home. Put the movie on and watch the people on the screen hold hands and sing. Turn off all the light except for those emitting from the screen. Collapse onto the ground beside the robot, and hold its hand until the movie ends and you're cloaked in darkness. Something awakens inside you, gears turning in their proper place. Summon two Keyblades instead of one, and make the robot a promise to get its heart back. Head to the Dark City.

Upon setting foot in the World that Never Was, defend yourself against the swarm of Neoshadows that greet you. Head tot he castle as you vanquish anything that attempts to deter you from your path. Reach Memory's Skyscraper and become overwhelmed by the swarm. Recognize the silver-haired boy perched atop the building and scale the skyscraper to reach him. Toss him the Oblivion and return the ground. Work together to eliminate the Heartless, then turn to eliminate each other.

Deflect blows and force him down.

Why, why do you have the Keyblade? He says to you and you wish you could answer him, answer yourself. Instead, tell him to shut up and move to finish him, only for him to knock you back. Collide with the ground. Feel your Keyblade slam beside you. Get up. Fight. Strike him down. Resist what he tells you, that he knows you're Sora's Nobody, that you have no existence of your own. Feel yourself tear apart in anger, in desperation.

When your Keyblade lands against his chest he cries out. Realize that you are truly scared for the first time in your short life when he removes his blindfold. Find something hauntingly familiar in the gold eyes that look back at you. Shudder against the scream he releases as darkness spurns froth from him and he overtakes you.

Begin to lose consciousness. The neon-lights paint the back of your eyelids red. Remember Axel and sunsets and that red travels the farthest. Hope wherever you end up -- in this life or the next -- that the red light of the setting sun will reach you, always.
 

Audo

press △ to sora
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
5,361
Age
27
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • Key of Destiny
  • O, Purest of Hearts
  • Savage Nymph
  • Graceful Assassin
  • Come So Far
While not technically a fan-fiction story, I thought this would probably be a decent place to share a Kingdom Hearts essay/meta I wrote a loooooong time ago focusing on Riku's character in the first game.

[HR][/HR]i'm not afraid of the darkness.
FANDOM: KINGDOM HEARTS
CONTENT WARNING: ESSAY, LOL

Of all the scenes in the first Kingdom Hearts game, one of the ones that always stuck with me happened near the very end. Standing on a corroded shore, Riku stared out at a sea of darkness all around the island. Except it wasn't Riku.

Xehanort's Heartless stood on the destroyed shores of his own homeworld in Riku's image as he proceeded to single-handedly explain Riku's entire character effortlessly to the boy who cared about Riku the most, but wasn't able to save him from himself. The words hauntingly spoken by the enemy held a double meaning for he wasn't speaking of just Riku, but of himself. Within these words we're shown how both he and Riku fell from where they were, and, if Riku continued down that road, the place that he would eventually end up.

Take a look at this tiny place. To the heart seeking freedom, this island is a prison, surrounded by water. And so this boy sought out to escape from his prison. He sought a way to cross over into other worlds, and he opened his heart to darkness.

The problem, however, is that Xehanort mistook what he saw in Riku as the exact same thing as what he saw in himself. They both had turned to darkness as a way to gain power, but their reasons why were completely different. Xehanort accepted the darkness to gain power and knowledge for the sake of having it Riku turned to darkness because he was desperate for freedom, but for a freedom that would lead to him gaining the power to protect the things that mattered to him: his friends. And this one distinction is why Riku would never become Xehanort, no matter how much darkness entered his heart. Riku's darkness was his own -- it wasn't Xehanort's.

Ever since Riku was little his heart craved freedom from the world he was born into. He wanted to leave the small islands for the big adventures that rested just beyond the horizon. But, more than anything, he didn't want to do this alone. He wanted to go on adventures with his best friend to become strong so he'd be able to protect him. And then, one day, someone promised him all of those things and more.

When Terra showed up on the island he did more than simply pass on the ability to wield the Keyblade. In that one meeting was the set-up for what would inevitably set Riku on the path to darkness. In that meeting came a promise: a promise that there was more to the world than just their islands. That there was so much more out there waiting for Riku once the sea stopped caging him. It was a promise that, one day, Terra and Riku would be together and Terra would teach him everything. That Terra could show Riku the world that he had always dreamed about and help get him the strength and freedom he craved in order to champion the ones he loved. It was, however, the beginning of Riku's true desperation.

Once Terra had left, Riku was alone with a secret. Over time he probably wondered if ti had ever happened at all, meeting this stranger who promised him all these things. Perhaps over time, he convinced himself he had made it all up. After all, it wasn't like he could talk about it to anyone. And the more time passed the more it seemed that Terra was never coming back.

But then, within the same day, Riku received two separate confirmations that there was something to believe in. One night, nine years before the events of Kingdom Hearts, Xehanort sent Kairi out in the hopes that she would lead him tot he Keyblade Bearer. An act of fate brought her to Destiny Islands, and to Riku. The man that had promised Riku that there was something more out there had unknowingly sent him proof. Kairi landed on Destiny Islands and Riku was reminded that there was another world out there beyond his own. And the next day, for the very first time, he saw the Keyhole.

And while his friendship with Kairi blossomed over the years, there was still no sign of Terra himself. But Riku had new hope now. Every day he had confirmation that there was something beyond the prison walls and slowly that fact grew into an even deeper desperation to break free. Darkness grew within his heart from his obsession with freedom, and the hope that a promise would be fulfilled.

And then, in the most twisted of ways, it was

Xehanort's Heartless arrives at Destiny Islands because of Terra's promise to Riku. We can only surmise what he must have told Riku that night that Destiny Islands disappeared, but based on Riku's conversation to Sora and his scene with XH as shown in Re:Coded, I think we can make a safe bet as to what went down. XH showed up and instantly Riku must have thought that his promise was being fulfilled, that XH had returned to show him the world beyond. It's because of their promise and Riku's desperation for it to have been real that Riku trusts XH when he tells him to open the door. He tells Riku to let Destiny Islands succumb to darkness, and for Riku to accept the darkness in his heart. Only then would he get his freedom. By opening his heart to darkness, XH would tell him, he could finally be free of his prison.

And Riku believes him. He trusts him, because when he sees XH, whether subconscious or not, he sees Terra. He sees the promise. He sees the hope that he had. He sees confirmation once again that it was possible to break out of the cage he was in. And then when XH's word proves true -- when the world and Riku begin to fall to darkness, yet bestowing freedom upon him at the same time -- Riku truly trust KH. Imagine, "if you let the darkness in, you'll get the freedom you've been wanting."

And then he does. And forever since that point, Riku directly associates darkness with freedom. The darkness was his freedom from his prison. It was the freedom he would need to be able to protect those that mattered, but in the process of his desperation he lost sight of why he was desperate to begin with. His obsession with freedom that had led to darkness being born in his heart had taken a new form where he directly correlated freedom to darkness. And this tragedy becomes his story in Kingdom Hearts.

But all the freedom in the world didn't matter if he didn't have someone to spend it with. In his mind, I'm sure Riku believed he was doing this for the good of everyone -- that this is what they all wanted, no matter how it happened. He craved the freedom from the islands so much, how could Kairi and Sora not be craving the exact same thing? He made sure that they would be with him on the other side, and while he didn't anticipate being separated, he knew that he would find them again.

Unfortunately for him, Xehanort's Heartless had different intentions. He knowingly sent Riku to Hollow Bastion to fall under Maleficent's scheme and push Riku's desperation onto a steady path that would eventually cause the darkness within him to grow exponentially. It was there that Maleficent whispered malice in Riku's ear, telling him of the Keyblade and Sora's new friends that had replaced him. While Riku had put everything on the line for Sora and Kairi, Sora was gallivanting, going on the adventures they were supposed to go on together. But Riku didn't believe it at first. He didn't think Sora would do that to him, so Maleficent took him to Sora directly. And it was in that meeting that Riku grew desperate for a new kind of freedom.

While Riku had toiled away trying to find Sora, Sora had been off having adventures with brand new companions. When Riku finally found Sora again his entire being was shaken for so many reasons. The moment they find each other again is a happy one, but it becomes clear to Riku quickly that things have changed. While Riku is talking about Sora not having to worry now that they were together and that they'd find Kairi, Sora quickly destroys a Heartless that had been creeping up to them. He says to Riku, "Take care of who?" While to Sora this just meant as a boyish rivalry -- I can do it just as well as you can -- kind of statement, to Riku this is perhaps one of his worst nightmares. Everything he had done to get them off the island, for their freedom, suddenly felt void. Riku wanted to leave the islands so he could grow stronger to protect Sora, and yet here Sora was, off the islands, free, without him, with new friends, and strong enough to take care of himself. To Riku, this simple moment was validation of everything Maleficent had been whispering into his ear. Sora didn't need him as a friend. Sora didn't need him as protection. Sora just simply didn't need him at all.

His friendship had been replaced. His protection had been replace.d And at the root of all of that was the one thing that he had been promised all those years ago, the thing that had caused the desperation and the darkness to grow in his heart -- the Keyblade. For some reason Sora had been granted what Riku had waited ten years for, and, because of it, Riku was now expendable to Sora. It was a cruel twist of fate that the thing that Riku believed would make him strong enough to protect his friends, was the one thing that was now driving them apart. And so, the Keyblade became to Riku a symbol of everything that had gone wrong. It was a symbol of him being replaced, of him no longer being needed, of his heart's new found worthlessness.

Everything that Riku had done in the hopes of becoming stronger to protect Sora and Kairi had been seemingly undone in a single moment. It left him feeling useless, with no role to play. All he wanted was to be strong for them, but it began to seem like Sora no longer needed his strength at all.

Because of this, Riku turned to the only freedom he had: darkness. He agreed to work with Maleficent, to use the darkness, to let it grow in his heart and channel it in order to escape the new sense of worthlessness that was entrapping him. Darkness was still the freedom he sought, but now it was freedom from a new threat -- from the pain that the Keyblade symbolized, the pain of no longer being needed. The only way he knew how to escape from the pain was to turn his focus onto his other friend, onto his friend that did still need him and his protection. Kairi still need him. He could still protect her, and with or without Sora, Riku knew he had to save his friend. And as the desperation grew for him to rescue Kairi, to grow strong enough to protect the ones he cared about, the darkness in his heart continued to grow -- all the while believing that this was what freedom looked like.

If he could prove to himself that he was still the one in control, that he was the one who would "take care of everything" as their friends back on the islands would always say, then he could be free from the pain of no longer being needed. He could be the protector again, be the one to make things right, be the one that Sora looked up to. Above all though, he wanted to remind Sora of himself and of Kairi. Remind Sora that leaving the islands was meant to be about them as a group, about their freedom. But as Riku grew more and more desperate to save Kairi, the darkness took more and more of a hold on him. He had turned to using the darkness as a form of freedom from Kairi's torment of losing her heart. If he used the darkness enough, he convinced himself, he could save her, free her from losing her heart. But the darkness began to cloud his judgement and his conscience. He began to lose sight of why he had used the darkness in the first place -- as a way to be able to protect his friends. Now his pain had caused him to use the darkness against Sora, as if that would somehow free him from his new prison.

When Riku finally found Kairi's lifeless body -- a symbol of the casualties caused by his desperation, by his failure to protect the things that mattered -- everything came to a head. Sora and his new friends found their way onto the same vessel that Riku had been using to take Kairi back to Hollow Bastion in the hopes of freeing her and himself. Riku accused Sora of not caring about Kairi like he should of, that he didn't do what Riku had done. While Riku had directed Sora's attention to Kairi, his anger was really towards Sora for forgetting ab out both of his real friends, and this shows significantly when Sora finally catches up to Riku again. Riku conjures up a shadow made of his own darkness, but the form it takes is a significant one. Instead of creating a monster that would represent Sora's biggest fear, Riku created a monster that represented his -- Sora himself. Riku's fear of being replaced, of no longer being needed, was symbolized by Sora having the Keyblade, and so it is fitting that when Riku conjures up an enemy, he really conjures up the enemy of himself -- Sora with his Keyblade.

He left Sora with the shadow of his own fears and head to the clock tower. He can feel the darkness taking over his heart, that he's losing control of it, and while he will still deny it to anyone who says so, he knows inside the truth. Kairi still wasn't saved, he still hadn't protected her, he still hadn't set things right, and with that in mind, he knew he couldn't give up. He had to keep trying. He had to keep fighting. The darkness was the only way he knew how, it was both the cage and the key.

When he returned to Hollow Bastion, Maleficent is quick to tell him that he has even more power resting within him -- his dark powers. And that, if he were to unleash their full potential, no one would be a match for him. Once again Riku falls into the trap of darkness, the idea that it is a freedom from his problems, and he opens his heart further.

It is at this point that Maleficent plays even deeper into his insecurities. She tells him how the Keyblade was meant for him -- it was never meant for Sora in the first place. If he were to just use the strength of his heart, of the darkness within it, the Keyblade would return to where it belonged. He would be free of his pain and jealousy as the cause of all of it would be back in his hands. He would have what he wanted all these years, though he had lost sight of why he wanted it.

He confronts Sora and the Keyblade transfers back to him. But when the power of Sora's bond with his new friends causes the Keyblade to return back, Riku loses it. Sora gained back the power Riku had sought for because of the people he had been replaced with, because Sora didn't need him, because, even with just a toy sword (a representation of their relationship before KH1 began) Sora could still protect himself. And so, Riku's desperation climaxed, it was beyond his control, beyond his reasoning, he was feeling more and more closed in by his failures: his failure to free himself of jealous, to free Kairi of her torment, to free himself of being useless. He was at his most vulnerable when Xehanort's Heartless approached him again. The man he had grown to trust for granting him the freedom from the islands so long ago was back at his side, whispering lies into his ears that if he were to simply open his heart even more to the darkness -- to the idea of freedom -- would he finally receive it. And in his desperation, Riku obliged.

But the darkness that had been filling his heart wasn't the freedom he thought it was, it was the arc that Xehanort's Heartless had been cultivating in order to sustain him, and when Riku accepted XH into his heart, KH used the darkness to take control, trapping Riku against his will in his own body.

As Sora fought Xehanort's Heartless on the outside, Riku struggled to gain control on the inside. When Sora freed Kairi's heart, and thus completed the final keyhole, XH sprang into action. He changed Riku's appearance to match his own, and when he was about to harm Kairi, Riku's heart reacted, stalling him enough to finally protect her. As he ran away to safety, XH rejected Riku's heart, sending it straight into the Realm of Darkness.

Inside the Realm of Darkness, Riku pleaded for Sora and Kairi. He apologized for the mistakes he made as he stumbled through the darkness. When he collapses to the ground, the darkness threatening to take over his heart, his strength finally shines through it all: he's not ready to leave this world, not until he sees Sora and Kairi one last time. The darkness backs off. Within the darkness, he hears the voice of Mickey, who tells him that he has been trying to speak to his heart all this time, but the darkness hindered his voice. He tells Riku that his hear has overcome the darkness, but that couldn't win back his body so only his heart was left behind, in the place where stolen hearts gathered.

Riku asks him what he should do, and Mickey tells him simply that soon the Door to Darkness would appear, and that, in order to close it, two keys and two hears are needed. Mickey believes that it's fate that Riku has come to the Realm of Darkness -- that Riku's heart and Sora's heart are what will close the door for good. Riku asks if Mickey knows if Sora and Kairi are safe. Mickey tells him that he should be able to feel their hearts, that how you perceive your friends is dependent on your own heart. Riku imagines Sora running to him, and smiles.

All this time his heart had been deceiving him into believing that Sora no longer needed him, that he no longer cared. It had caused the jealousy to grow and consume him as he was tricked into believing the illusion Maleficent and Xehanort had played on him. But once his heart had overcome the darkness, and he could listen to it alone, he saw the truth. He could feel his friends' hearts. Sora was running towards him, not away from him as he had believed. And in that moment, he had finally become free of the jealousy that had chained him. Sora and Kairi were safe, for now, and so, Riku stepped forward to realize what he had to do next.

Riku's jealousy throughout KH is far more complex than many people stop to realize. One the surface level, it is a story about a boy who turned to darkness and started siding with the wrong side. But when you take the time to look closer, to truly understand Riku as a character, it become evident just how heart breaking his story really is. Everything that happened in KH stemmed from Riku just wanting to go on adventures with his best friend, to grow strong to always protect him and be there for him. Something so innocent had become harmful to his very existence because of the desperation and obsession that took control of him. He felt caged where he was, locked in a tiny prison, but stilla ble to see through the cracks at the possibility that rested beyond the walls. Riku never wanted power for power's sake. He wanted it for the most noble of reasons, but the cracks in the prison wall deluded him from this. He began focusing more on the what instead of the why. He craved freedom, he was desperate for it to the point that he was willing to risk anything to get it for him and his friends, and he put his trust in all the wrong places.

He associated darkness with freedom -- freedom from the problems that were caging him in. He embraced the darkness nor for its power, but for the idea that with it he could achieve what he had dreamed of. That he could protect the people he cared about. But it slowly ensnared his heart to the point that it deluded what he thought was real: that Sora had replaced him, that Sora would leave him, that Sora didn't care about him and Kairi. It was only when his freedom was stripped away from him did the association between darkness and freedom finally disappear. It was only then that his heart overcame the darkness that had taken control of him. It was only then that he saw clearly -- Sora had always been running towards him and Kairi, even if he hadn't realized it at the time.

He was stuck in the Realm of Darkness against his will, but he was thankful for he was finally able to see through everything that had clouded his mind. He could finally hear the voice that had been talking to him all along. The voice that told him things would be alright. The voice that told him that he still had a role to play. The voice that told him that he still mattered, exponentially so.

Riku had been ingrained with the idea that he was the person that was supposed to protect everyone. He was the one that would take care of everything. He was the one that everyone looked up to. It pained him to see that he wasn't needed as much anymore, that Sora could take care of himself now. That caused a weakness to grow within his heart, but above all else, at the end of the road, he understood what was truly important. His story in the first Kingdom Hearts was all about accepting that it wasn't always going to rest on his shoulders. That, sometimes, the person who looks out for everyone else needs someone to look out for them. So he passed along his role as the protector to Sora, telling him that it was up to him to take care of Kairi.

And in the ultimate symbol of his character -- in order to protect the things that mattered most to him -- he willingly locked himself away in a new prison, sacrificing the one thing that he had cherished above all else for the people that he loved:

his freedom.
 

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a short little drabble i haven't shared here before, written for goldpanner. set after kh3d.
[HR][/HR]
consolation prize.
FANDOM: KINGDOM HEARTS
CONTENT WARNING: N/A

Lea dangled his feet over the edge of the Mysterious Tower's balcony and looked out at the swatches of orange and blue along the horizon. Beside him, Riku stared out at the same horizon, doubtlessly looking for signs of Sora. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a worn envelope. The edges had become torn with repetition. Lea flipped it over in his hands, inspecting these marks. "What's that about?" Riku asked. Lea opened the envelope and pulled out a single popsicle stick. He held it against the horizon, and swore he saw red.

WINNER.

"A reminder," he replied.
 

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God, these are really, really beautiful. The Wall E one needs to be published immediately. I can't believe I didn't see it coming, but it was so good. And I usually can't handle second person/present
 

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How to Leave Organization XIII

Wall E! No, how could they?! How dare they take his heart! I love how Roxas vows to get his heart back and summons the other keyblade in doing so. It got so emotional for me right when Roxas held Wall E's lifeless body in his arms. I felt so bad for Roxas and Wall E both. However, I did find it adorable when Axel held Roxas hand the first time they encountered this world. It's just a shame, what they saw lead to Wall E's demise. And it sucks to know Roxas did hear what Axel said about him leaving. But what Roxas did to seek answers was really brave of him after trusting Axel for so long; never questioning things until it got to be too much and too obvious he was being lied to. Which breaks my heart. </3 Seriously, this was outstanding.

I'm Not Afraid of the Darkness


What Riku's been through was really eye opening for me because, I never really gave a lot of thought to him as a character besides being a rival for Sora. To see him sacrifice what he cherishes most for his friends, and to hand the right to Sora to do what he always attempted to do... it blows me away. Everything about this was well written with a lot of thought put into it. The depth you went through to explain Riku as a character is absolutely astonishing. At the same time, everything fits into place. Including the bit about Riku's fear. Damn, I never would've saw it that was as a manifestation of Sora.

Consolation Prize


This hit me hard. To think Lea held onto that envelope for so long in hopes of seeing Roxas again. A reminder of him and their time on the clock tower was done painstakingly beautifully in a short amount of words. Straight and sweet to the point.

---

After taking a look at both Everyday Words and My Darling, Stay Gold, I've seen I commented on both threads in the past. So unless you'd like me to go over them again, let me know, Audo. In the meantime, I think I'm good with the reviews. :)
 
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How to leave Organization XIII

Loved it, loved everything about it. Though it went through Roxas's story so fast it was filled just as much, if not more, emotion than 358/2 was. You captured his feeling of emptiness perfectly with clock metaphor, which also went well with Wall-E. It makes me wish that Roxas had gone there and met Wall-E since the two have so much in common, and it would've been a good way to make the worlds in Days not feel so much like filler. It was cute seeing Roxas and Axel hold hands, which made it so sad when Roxas finally left.
Think about how much you invested in blind faith. Question when you lost the ability to see for yourself -- if you even had it to begin with. Pinch the skin around your wrist to keep from getting angry. Try to convince yourself that there had to be reason, one good enough to keep you in the dark, to keep you blind, even though all you wanted since you were born was to see. Pinch harder. Leave Axel's room for the final time.
This...this is amazing. In just one short paragraph you perfectly summed up why Roxas left. All he ever wanted were answers. Who was he? Why did he have the Keyblade? Who was Sora? The Organization had those answers, by the end he must've realized it, but he also realized they'd never give them to him. So he left, leaving behind the only life he ever knew, the only people he ever cared about, for answers that may or not even matter in the grand scheme of things. To do something like that took a lot of courage which is why Roxas is one of my favorite characters. And thank you for doing him justice.

I'm Not Afraid of the Darkness

I don't think I've ever read a more accurate description of KH1 Riku. When I was younger I just saw him as this arrogant punk who got manipulated by Maleficent to turn on Sora then redeemed himself at end. But as I got older I realized how deep his character was, and why he did the things that he did (turning to the darkness, siding with Maleficent etc.). His backstory may not be as tragic compared to some of the other characters but the way he changes, and owns up to what he's done, definitely makes him the best in my eyes. I would love to see you write an essay about him from each of the games (DDD and CoM more specifically).

Consolation Prize

Not much to say about this one. It was short and sweet. Though I kind of want a scene like this in KH3 now.

All in all, every piece was amazing, and I look forward to whatever you write next.
 

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a short little thing i wrote for valentine's day (tho the story isn't exactly v-day themed). there are major ffxv ending/story spoilers though so don't read if you don't want to be spoiled. let me know what you think (this is officially my like, first entirely new story in like two years!!! HIATUS BROKEN, HOPEFULLY??)
[HR][/HR]between sorrow and bliss.
FANDOM: FINAL FANTASY XV
CONTENT WARNING: FFXV ENDING SPOILERS


Noctis watched Insomnia from across the water. He had slept for ten years inside the crystal and yet, somehow, Insomnia looked much the same as it had the day of its invasion. Even now, as most of the world was without power, without light, it glowed. A beacon, no doubt, for his return, and what awaited him there in the throne room. Hours from now, in what would have been the morning, he would face his fate.


“You should rest, Noct.”


Noctis turned around to find Ignis climbing out of the tent. Behind him, he could make out the image of Gladio and Prompto unintentionally spooning amongst their sleeping bags. Noct smiled at the image of Gladio being the little spoon before turning his focus back onto Ignis. “I know,” he said, rubbing the spot where the Ring of the Lucii would soon rest on his finger. “A lot to think about.”


Ignis nodded, and sat in one of the chairs still circling the campfire. Noctis joined him in a chair across from him. They sat there for a moment in near silence, the only sounds coming from the low but crackling fire, and the soft hushed snoring from their comrades inside the tent. Even though he had told his friends of the fate that would befall him, he still felt like there was so much he had left unsaid, hanging in the air, weighing down his bones. Try as he might, he knew he would never be able to say it all. So much would have to live on between them as feelings and not words. Hopefully, he thought, that would be enough.


“You’ve come a long way,” Ignis said, breaking the silence.


Noctis looked over at him. The scar around his eye had healed considerably, but it was still evident, even behind Ignis’ dark shades. “Right…,” he said quietly.


He got up on his feet and began rummaging through the gang’s camping supplies. Ignis must have recognized the sound of the metal banging together as cooking equipment because he perked up at the noise.


“Was dinner not satisfactory?”


“No, it was. It was… perfect.” Noctis scratched the back of his head. “I’m just making a little snack. Something to settle my… nerves.”


“I can be of assistance?”


Ignis was already getting out of his chair before Noctis ushered him back down. “No, it’s okay. I got this.”


“All those times helping me with breakfast paying off?” he quipped.


Noctis smiled. “Something like that.”


He began getting everything ready for the recipe: added some more logs to the fire, set aside the ingredients, got the proper tools prepared. In truth, it was the first time he had ever made the dish, but he had seen Ignis make it so many times now that he was hoping — praying, really — that it had rubbed off on him instinctively. It was the least he could do.


“Can you…,” Ignis began as Noctis sat down by the fire with a pan. “Can you tell me what it looks like?”


At first Noctis didn’t know what Ignis was referring to, but something in his voice clued him in. Noctis looked back over the water to their home that awaited on the other side.


“It looks a lot like how I remember it,” he said. “Everything is still lit up.”


“The Chancellor.”


Noctis murmured. “It’s beautiful, though. All the lights are reflecting in the water. It almost looks… at peace.” He sighed. “It’s hard to believe it’s really been ten years.”


“Almost feels like it was just the other day that I was pestering you to focus on your studies.”


“Heh. Yeah….” Noctis looked down at the food he was preparing. “I’m sorry,” he said.


“What for?”


He tried to find the words, but no matter what he always came up short. How do you say everything that has gone unsaid between you and someone who’s closest to you? All the years and all the experiences and all the mistakes. All the times you were your worst self, where you deserved to be left behind, and yet he stuck with you, no matter what. Noctis was indebted to him, eternally, for his endless grace. In truth, he could not remember a moment where Ignis wasn’t there with him, by his side. Even asleep inside the crystal, it was the thought of him and the guys that kept him going, that pushed him to keep on fighting so that they could one day see the light.


All of this history and all of these feelings and he couldn’t find the words to release them, to just tell Ignis everything.


“I was a pain in the ass most of the time,” Noctis said instead, playing it off almost as a joke even though he was serious. “It must have been hard on you.”


“I was happy to do it,” Ignis replied. “We all had a duty, and being there for you was mine. It was an honour and a privilege. I wouldn’t have traded it.”


Noctis smiled softly. “Still, I could have made it easier for you,” he said. “I was a terrible Prince.”


Ignis considered this. “Perhaps,” he said. “But you make a fine King.”


Noctis felt a strong pang in his heart, somewhere between sorrow and bliss. He looked at his chamberlain, his comrade, his friend and felt himself well-up. Sharp, hot tears lined his eyes and for a moment he let them. Though Ignis could not see them, he had a feeling that he knew, with the way that the air around them had seemed to change. He didn’t say anything however, and soon Noctis wiped the tears from his eyes before they had a chance to fall. He got up, rummaged through his pockets, and pulled out his MP3 Player. Soft instrumentals filled the air and he watched as Ignis softened in his chair.


“It’s been far too long,” Ignis said, rubbing something from his eyes, “since I’ve heard music like this.”


The two bathed in the warm light of the fire and the warm notes of the music while Noctis continued to work on his recipe. It was a pleasant and calming moment between them as time passed.


Before long, Noctis put the finishing touches on his dish. He tried to make the presentation something Ignis would be satisfied with, and topped it off with a light powdering of icing sugar. Standing back, he admired his work. It wasn’t perfect, of course; how could it be? But it was something. He took the plate over by the fire and carefully placed it into Ignis’ hands.


“What’s this?”


“The least I could do,” Noctis replied.


Ignis’ expression was one of bewilderment as he carefully picked up the small and delicate pastry that sat on his plate. Almost instantly he seemed to recognize its shape. “Is this…?”


“Yeah,” Noctis said simply.


It was the dessert that Ignis had spent years trying to perfect for him. The Memory Lane Pastry that he had first had in Tenebrae so many moons ago. On their journey they had finally discovered the missing ingredient, and now, Noctis had returned the gesture, the best he could. Ignis smiled as he held it in his hands, taking in its shape and smell. He brought it up to his lips and took a nice, brave, bite. Noctis’ breath caught in his throat as he tried to gauge his friend’s reaction. Ignis chewed delicately, proper, and then swallowed. A moment passed before he finally spoke.


“It’s splendid,” Ignis said, just as simply.


All he could do was smile.


Noctis stood up and walked over to Ignis. He placed his hand against the side of Ignis’ neck, his thumb resting on his cheek. His friend’s warmth filled his palm. He thought back once more to all the feelings that remained in his heart. All the words he had wanted to release so that Ignis could finally hear them, and know them. Understand them. Looking at the warm expression on his friend’s face as he enjoyed the pastry just now though, he realized that maybe he had it all wrong. Maybe it wasn’t about releasing the right or wrong words. Perhaps it wasn’t about Ignis hearing everything that was in his heart, but feeling it instead.


Holding him softly, Noctis pulled forth all of those feelings from the depths of his heart and pushed them into two single words, filling them until they overflowed.


Within them, contained everything.


“Thank you.”
 

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Re: [FFXV] Between Sorrow and Bliss (NEW STORY) { carnaval des coeurs

I have not played the game, so I didn't really get a lot of it, but I watched the anime so I know the dessert reference ;___; Also pissy baby Noctis reference; I'm glad to see him getting a moment like this...
 

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Re: [FFXV] Between Sorrow and Bliss (NEW STORY) { carnaval des coeurs

I'm very moved by this piece. Touched. There are a lot of ways someone can read ff XV but I think that really diving into the friendships between the guys is the heart of the game and this story restored some of what the English translation missed from the final campfire scene
 

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Re: [FFXV] Between Sorrow and Bliss (NEW STORY) - { carnaval des coeurs }

Aw thanks guys :3

It feels good to have finally overcome my writer's block. Hopefully this is just the beginning of more and more stories from me.
 

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This was breathtaking. You really captured Noctis and Ignis extremely well in this story that I would've considered it to be a hundred percent canon. I wish this would've happened in those final moments in the game too. I did find it amusing to think Prompto and Gladio might be spooning in their sleeping bags though. You've outdone yourself, Audo. :)
 

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Re: { carnaval des coeurs }

This is a little birthday present for regular southern belle Tinny/Dandelion. It's basically a continuation of the gay Keyblade wielder storyline from Kingdom Hearts Unchained that happens in Missions 501-525. You can find a translation of the original storyline here by goldpanner (I like her translations better than the English localization) in case you haven't seen it or need a refresher. The Keyblade wielders are not named in the game, so I have given them names. Beau is the soft-natured curly haired one. And Adam is the green haired punk. It's rough, but I hope you enjoy~ Happy Birthday Tinny.

[HR][/HR]only the wind knows.
FANDOM: KINGDOM HEARTS
WRITTEN FOR: DANDELION
CONTENT WARNING: N/A

—
only the
wind knows
where it
will carry
our dandelion
souls


-A. R. Asher-
—

Long, long ago, all the worlds were still one.
One day, this world would be called the age of fairy tales.
It all began here, in Daybreak Town.

It was here that a boy named Beau was bestowed a Keyblade in order to help keep the light safe.
Under the watchful eye of Master Ira, the boy joined the Unicornis Union.
Through this fate Beau’s heart led him to another—
A wielder named Adam, whose own heart had experienced great hurt.

The hurt convinced Adam to push people away
And he closed his heart off to others.
So when Beau offered him his hand in friendship,
He turned him away.

However, Beau was not deterred,
And remained close by his side,
Even in the face of rejection,
For he knew what Adam needed most was other people.

Unfortunately, disaster struck.
Adam, in a foolish and reckless attempt at gathering Lux,
Charged head first into a battle he could not win.
And when the monster went to strike him down, Beau took the hit for him.

Adam rushed him away to safety,
And finally sought help in defeating the monstrous foe.
He realized the errors of his way in closing himself off
From people who cared about him, and vowed to make it up to Beau.

Weeks have passed since then,
And with Beau’s injuries finally mended,
Adam has asked Beau to join him as he takes him to his special place,
to show gratitude for their newfound friendship.



Beau and Adam made their way through one of the forests on the outskirts of Daybreak Town. Truthfully, Beau didn’t really know why Adam had brought him here, saying only that he wanted to show him something. They were just reaching the edge of the forest when Adam stopped him from continuing.

“Close your eyes,” he said.

“Why?”

“Just do it.”

Beau reluctantly closed his eyes. He took a few steps forward blindly, with his arms stretched out to hopefully keep him from running into any trees. It didn’t take much of this before Adam chuckled and took Beau’s hand in his, guiding him through what remained of the forest. Beau felt his cheeks burn a bit at the warmth of Adam’s hand in his, but he hoped that Adam was too focused on leading to notice.

Free from the shelter of the forest, Beau could feel a small breeze and the light from the sun against his skin. After a bit more walking, Adam let go of Beau and told him to open his eyes. They were situated on a hill overlooking all of Daybreak Town. The clocktower stood strong and majestic, of course, but Beau could also see all of the town itself with its stacked purple roofs, and past that, the rolling hills that stretched as far as the eye could see, looking almost like a serene painting made in soft pastels with careful brushstrokes. It was breathtaking and beautiful, and he felt so incredibly lucky to be standing there with Adam. He had given him a gift — a new perspective — on a place he had lived his entire life, one he had never even known about. It was so simple, and yet, it was almost too much.

“This is my favourite place in Daybreak Town,” Adam said quietly, watching Beau’s expression as he took it all in. “Do you like it?”

“I love it,” Beau said. “It’s beautiful.”

He looked back at Adam, who wore the gentlest smile he had ever seen on him. Usually Adam was all pomp and cocky, but here, showing him something that meant so much, he was quiet, reserved, vulnerable. As he watched the boy in front of him, Beau couldn’t help but feel that there was something there that wasn’t there before.

“Sit,” Adam said, as he sat down himself on the ledge of the hill.

Beau joined him on the ledge and for a moment the two of them simply stared out across the horizon in front of them. He found among the many houses and streets the spot where he first met Adam. So much seemed to have happened since then. They were barely even friends, and then something bended, and now… he couldn’t even imagine life without him. The past few weeks, while recovering from his injuries, weren’t hard because of the pain, but because he couldn’t wait to go out and do stuff with Adam. Go to new worlds together. Tackle new challenges. Just, be together, really. Ever a surprise, Adam had stayed by his side the entire time he was recovering, and now, here they were, still side by side. It was all he could want, really.

“So….” Adam scratched the back of his head. “Sorry I’m not really used to just… saying things, you know?”

“It’s okay.”

“I just wanted to bring you here as a way of… saying thanks, I guess?” Adam chewed his lip as he considered his next words. “For sticking by me, and all that. I was… a jerk, and I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve you — your friendship. I still don’t know why you didn’t give up. But… I’m glad. I’m glad you didn’t.” He looked back out over the ledge. “I guess it’s like what Master Ira said, you know? Our friends are our power. And when I’m with you, I feel it. Just being with you, I feel like… I feel, more, if that makes sense. Like something inside me has changed.” He faced Beau. “Am I making any sense?”

Beau nodded, feeling a little nervous as to what this was leading up to. He could practically feel his heart trying to break free of his ribs, it was beating so hard.

“So, what I’m trying to say is… thanks.”

Beau smiled. “You’re welcome.” He tried to calm the feeling in his chest. “Is that… everything?”

Adam chuckled. “No, it’s not. I actually have something else to tell you, too.”

“Oh?”

“I mean, it’s really because of you that any of this is happening.”

“What is it?”

Adam reached over and plucked something from the ground. “Have you heard about the Dandelions?” he said, holding one in his hand.

“The Dandelions?”

“It’s Master Ava’s doing. She’s gathering Keyblade wielders from all of the unions for a secret mission.”

Beau felt something lodged in his throat. “What kind of mission?”

“She says there’s going to be a war, and that it’s inevitable. So she’s gathering those with strong hearts, training them, and then when the time comes, we’re going to fly away to another world, to keep the light alive.”

“’We’? You’re one of them?”

Adam grinned. “Yeah, because of you, because of how our friendship has changed me, and made me stronger. Master Ava says she can see how much I’ve grown and she wants me to join them now. It’s all thanks to you.”

“Oh, that’s great, I guess.”

“It is!” Adam leaned back with a smile plastered on his face. “So much has happened, and I’m grateful for all of it. I can hardly believe it all.”

Beau looked away from Adam. He honestly didn’t know what to think or what to feel. He had thought that Adam was going to… nevermind. But this? Joining the Dandelions and, what? Leaving him behind? What was he going to do now? Now that they were friends and they were together, his life felt like so much more than it was before, and now it was all crumbling away, just like that, in a moment. The Dandelions will leave and then he will be all alone, again. How could this happen?

“Oh, shoot,” Adam said, sitting up. “I almost forgot. I have to run. There’s a meeting with Master Ava, I gotta go.”

Adam handed Beau the dandelion and jumped to his feet. He hurriedly waved goodbye, thanked him again, and then ran off towards the forest. Beau sat there holding the dandelion between his thumb and his finger precariously. The tiny white spores clung desperately to the core. It was all so fragile.

Just then a breeze picked up, and the seeds of the dandelions were caught within it. They blew out and away and Beau watched as the wind carried them far, far away from him.



That night Beau awoke from a fitful night’s slumber. He had been tossing and turning the entire time, unable to shake the day’s events from his mind. It was like his entire world had been flipped upside down, and he was trying to grab onto anything, but it all fell through his fingers. Adam leaving him. An incoming war. This feelings deep inside his heart… Sitting up in his bed, he looked out of the window of his room at the quiet outside. Daybreak Town was at peace, with no idea of what lay ahead. Soon after this, with a puff of smoke, his Chirithy appeared on the windowsill. Beau turned on the lamp beside his bed so as to not talk in darkness.

“What’s wrong, kiddo?” Chirithy said in a pleasant Scottish accent.

“It’s something Adam told me today… He said Master Ava is collecting Keyblade wielders from all of the unions. Said that they were ‘Dandelions’ and that when the war starts they were going to fly away to another world. That this is how they are going to keep light alive.”

“Hm.” Chirithy waddled closer to Beau. “Do you want to go with him?”

“I… I don’t know. I wasn’t asked.” Beau looked down at his hands. He methodically twiddled his thumbs slowly. “But even if I was, is it the right thing to do? What about everyone else who is left behind? What about our Unions? What about Master Ira? Can the war really not be stopped? And if it can’t, shouldn’t as many people as possible be taken to the world outside?”

Chirithy hopped off the window sill, onto the bedside table, nearly knocking over the lamp, and then into Beau’s lap. He looked up at his Master with a soft expression. “But doesn’t that mean you should go with them? To make sure they have as many as they can?”

“I can’t just leave everyone behind can I? Adam means so much to me… but can I really do that to everyone else in our Union? If Master Ava would even have me in the first place.” Beau carefully laid back down, shifting onto his side. Chirithy curled up in the space beside him. “I don’t know what to think, and I don’t know how much time I even have left.” He could feel sharp tears form along his eyes. “How many times do I get to see him until it’s the last time? Until there’s nothing left and I’m just all alone, again.”

Chirithy rested a paw on Beau’s chest. “Even if you stay, you won’t be alone, kiddo.”

Beau gave a weak smile. He petted Chirithy, feeling the soft plush-like fur against his hand. “Thanks, Chirithy.”

Together they eventually drifted off to sleep.



Beau sat on the fountain’s edge in the town plaza. He had been able to stop thinking about Adam and the Dandelions and what these things all meant. It was eating away at him, bit by bit, and it seemed that no matter how much thought he put into it, how much he considered all of the options and all of the possible routes, he always ended up back at the same place — being completely unsure of anything. If he stayed here, if he decided the right thing to do was fight, to stick with his Union… was it still the right thing if it ended him completely? If he knowingly sacrificed himself for nothing, for an end that would always be inevitable whether or not he was there to witness it, was that really better than leaving with the Dandelions? Was that better for the world, for himself? But even if he wanted to go with the Dandelions, who was to say they would even have him? Who’s to say that Adam would even want him there? After all, he still hadn’t actually been asked, by anyone, least of all Adam, to actually go, to join with them. Maybe he was just wasting his time, flirting with a possibility that wasn’t even open to him in the first place.

But what about him and Adam? Could he really just leave everything between them unsaid? What if their last time together was just on the horizon, and it simply ended, just like that? Would he be able to feel good about that? Or would it, too, slowly consume him? Beau groaned, all of this was too much for him. It was just an endless spiral that brought him no closer to revelation.

“Are you okay?” a boy said. Beau looked up to see a curly silver haired boy with a red scarf. “You look really down.”

Beau struggled to put his feelings into words, to either lie or to tell the truth, nothing came forth.

“Is it okay if I sit with you?” the boy asked, in a tone so gentle it almost made Beau want to cry. He nodded however, and soon the boy was sitting next to him.

“My name’s Ephemer,” he said.

“Beau.”

“You’re in Unicornis, too, right? I think I have seen you around.”

Beau nodded, again. They sat there in silence for a beat, the only sound being that of the fountain’s splashing water, and in the distance, the sound of other wielders going about their day. Though he couldn’t quite explain it, but just being next to Ephemer gave his heart some ease and he could feel himself calming down a bit the more time went on. Maybe it was just having another person there, to talk to if he needed it, or maybe there was just something special about this boy in particular, he couldn’t say for sure. But when Ephemer next spoke, he found it much easier to reply.

“You want to talk about it?” Ephemer said, leaning forward, his elbows resting on his knees, as he watched Beau’s expression carefully.

“There’s…,” Beau began. “There’s this guy, and… I don’t know. We’re friends. I care about him a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Like I feel happy when I’m near him, but it’s not just that I’m smiling, but that I… I feel it, deep.” Across the plaza, a bunch of flowers in a planter swayed gently with the breeze. “I thought he felt the same, and maybe he does, I don’t know. But he told me recently that he’s going to go away somewhere. And….”

“You want him to stay?”

“Yeah. I do.”

“Have you to—”

“I don’t think it’s even a thought for him. These feelings. I think he just sees me as… you know.”

Ephemer nodded slowly. He held his hands together tight for a moment. “You remind me of someone,” he finally said after a moment. “I once met someone from a different union than ours. Our time together was really short, but it meant a lot to me. We promised to meet up again, to spend more time together, but… I ended up having to break that promise to them.” He looked up towards the sky. A bunch of dandelion seeds were caught in the breeze. “I regret breaking my promise a lot, and I haven’t seen them since. For a long time I was really mad at myself for that, for letting this person go by, for letting them think I didn’t care when I did. It made me feel awful, and wanted to take it back so much, but I couldn’t.” Ephemer smiled. “I realized though that I could be sad that nothing happened, that I couldn’t tell them how I felt and that I was sorry and just accept that it was over, or I could hope. Hope, and know, that I would see them again, and when I did, everything would begin again.”

Ephemer turned back to Beau. “Do you know what I’m saying?”

Beau shook his head.

“You’re scared of telling your friend how you feel. You’re worried he doesn’t feel the same way. You’re worried he’s still going to want to leave. But isn’t it better to have the hope of it working out, of you two being together, than just accepting the reality of it ending? Shouldn’t you want to fight for that possibility more than anything else?”

He was right. If Adam really did mean this much to him — and he did — than how was this even really a difficult decision? His options were to not tell him how he feels, to stay behind alone, and have everything end. Or he could tell him, and at the very least, there would be a chance, a possibility, that this was actually not an end, but the beginning to everything. Beau still didn’t know what the future held for him, for Adam, for any of them. But he knew how he felt, and that was more than enough.

Beau jumped to his feet. “I have to tell him. No matter what happens, at least this give me a chance.” He could already feel his heart racing as he began to ran away from the fountain in search of Adam. He stopped before he got too far and turned back to Ephemer who sat smiling. “Thank you,” he said before taking off again.

“Beau,” Ephemer called out behind him, “I hope you get the answer you’re looking for.”



With the help of Chirithy, Beau was able to find Adam. He had been hanging out at the lighthouse across town. Adam was leaning forward against the railing, starring out at the horizon in front of him. The sound of the waves had filled the air before Beau approached him. When he reached him, Beau was so out of breath, his heart racing for so many reasons, that he couldn’t even formulate sentences. It was slightly embarrassing as Adam guided him to a nearby bench to sit down and catch his breath. Adam watched over him with great concern.

“I want—,” Beau stuttered. “I want—” He was still too out of breath, but he knew that if he didn’t say it now, there was a real chance he might not ever say it. Still, he tried to regain some composure before continuing. “Stay,” he said. “Please.” He got to his feet, looking Adam deep in the eye. “Please stay. Don’t go.”

Adam stared at him for a moment, the concerned look beginning to twist into one of confusion. “What are you talking about, Beau?”

“I want you to stay with me,” he confessed. “I want us to be together.”

“Beau….”

“Please.”

“Beau, I want us to be together, too. But we can’t stay here.”

Beau blinked. “What?”

“We have to go with the others. The war is coming and there aren’t going to be any victors.”

“You want me to go with you?”

Adam was shocked. He practically took a step back. “Of course I do! I already talked to Master Ava about it. Why would you — ohhhhh. Shit, Beau, I’m such an idiot.” He shook his head apologetically. He hid his face in his palm out of embarrassment of his own mistake. When he lowered his hand, his cheeks were flush. “Of course I want you to come with me. It wasn’t even a thought. I just assumed you would know that. I wasn’t going to leave y—.”

Beau kissed Adam hard on the lips. Adam stood there bewildered, at first, before realizing what was happening, and then, he leaned into the kiss himself. The two held each other close as they embraced. It was warmth. It was light. It was every possibility opening all at once. Both a little scared, neither one prepared, but willing to see where it would lead. Within that kiss, Beau could feel it all, and he knew, deep down, that a brand new beginning was stretching out in front of them, wherever the wind would take them.

They broke apart, and, seeing each other for the first time in this new light, they both instantly blushed.

“So, what now?” Beau finally said.

Adam smiled and held out his hand.

“We’ll go together.”
 

Dandelion

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Re: [KH] Only the Wind Knows - NEW STORY - { carnaval des coeurs }

Okay, well, I cried for like three minutes - and then once that had stopped, I read it and obviously I loved it - this was one of my favorite subplots in kh history AAAAAH THERE ARE JUST SO MANY GOOD THINGS HERE
 

KingdomKey

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Re: { carnaval des coeurs }

This was breathtaking, Audo. You have a beautiful way with storytelling because, I was enchanted the moment I started reading it. I really like how Adam and Beau's friendship developed into something so much more. I like the way Ephemer and Chirithy were there for Beau when he needed someone to talk to and get advice from. And oh my gosh, Beau asking Adam to stay had me on the edge of my seat in suspense! And Adam's reaction had my heart soaring with hope because, I couldn't stop smiling when Beau finally went in for that kiss. Best. Ending. Ever. <3 Audo, you're an amazing and outstanding writer. <3
 

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Re: [NITW] 808 - NEW STORY - { carnaval des coeurs }

This is just a short little thing. Back when I was in Creative Writing in highschool my teacher had an assignment where the goal was to write a 101-word story (including the title). I was wracking my brain over what to do for the Xaldin Award, especially with such a short deadline, and I thought I'd give this a try. Basically they are eight 101-word little drabbles/short stories focusing on characters from my favourite game Night in the Woods. So... here they are lol. They aren't in any particular order, and chronologically happen all over, so just keep that in mind. They are eight little self-contained things lol.
[HR][/HR]808.
FANDOM: NIGHT IN THE WOODS
CONTENT WARNING: ENDGAME SPOILERS


HOME AGAIN, HOME AGAIN.
Mae shoved the trash bags filled with her stuff into the bus compartment. Everything she had was in there, and, seeing them now, she realized it wasn't much at all. Her life summed up in two lowly garbage bags -- what college amounted to. She dropped out, called her parents, bought a bus ticket, and now, she was going home, where things weren't just things anymore. It had taken everything to do this, to fight for this. Soon, she'd be in Possum Springs.

Outside the bus, the last leaf clinging to the branch blew off in the wind.​

A SECRET SHAME BY LORI M.
The credits rolled on the third horror film Mae and Lori had watched that night. They sat on Lori's bed, huddled close around a laptop precariously balancing on their touching knees. On the windowsill dozens of disfigured metal men, squashed and contorted by the train running over them on the tracks, kept watch for strange unfamiliars beyond the way.

"What you wanna watch next?"

"Um." Lori started hyperventilating a bit. "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry." She clicked a file on her computer and shut her eyes.

"'A Secret Shame' by Lori" began playing onscreen.​

PROXIMITY CALLING
Mae slammed the handle on the slushie machine to the right and watched as the neon coloured drink filled her cup in swirls. She excitedly mixed and matched all the flavours that caught her eye, not even stopping to read what they even were. Once she had filled the cup, she put on the plastic bubble lid and cleverly -- she'd boast later -- filled the slushie up even more with coloured goop. She joined Bea at the checkout counter and placed her drink down by Bea's smokes.

"Anything else?" the cashier said.

"Nah," Mae said. "Just the slushie and cigarettes."​

DIE ANYWHERE ELSE
Tapping on her bedroom window. Mae found Casey sitting in the branches of the tree outside her room. He wasn't smiling.

They walked along the train tracks on the outskirts of town, he on one side, her on the other. They held each other's hand as they tried to keep balance. There was something in the air, something unsaid, but Mae didn't bring it up, she just held tighter. One of them tripped, bringing the other to the ground, too.

"I just wanna jump on a train," he said, staring up.

"Be anywhere else than here...," he said.​

ONE BIG STUFF SESSION
Mae stuffed her face with pancakes and hashbrowns. They were having breakfast for dinner, just like they used to. So much had happened over the fall, over the past year. It was still A Lot. Maybe it would always be A Lot. But sitting there in the afterglow of maple syrup and bacon, her parents on either side of her, finally home again, having dinner together, she felt like it was, at least, manageable, for maybe the first time.

"You ready to tell us what happened at college, sweetie?" her mom asked.

"Yeah," Mae said. "I'm ready."​

SOMEPLACE NICE
Gregg had fallen asleep on Angus' shoulder as they rode the bus into Bright Harbour. It was a long ways from Possum Springs, being on the east coast. Angus didn't know what to expect as they arrived. They had been trying to find someplace for them to move to. It was a goal they had had since they first started dating. He hoped they were finally getting close.

When they finally got out of the bus, the city lights shined back beautiful.

Angus felt Gregg's hand slip into his, as they stared out at the bright future awaiting them.​

HORRORSHOW
Mae bit her lip as she painstakingly attempted to paint the fake blood onto the artificial wound Lori had made. They had applied it to Gregg's bare chest, so now she just had to not screw the paint job up. Gregg winced as her brush touched his skin. "Dude, that tickles," he kept saying as he tried to hold in the laughs. Behind them Angus was setting up the lights. Bea, wearing half a monster costume -- the head resting on the ground while she smoked -- talked with Lori about the next scene.

Pretty soon, they'd have their own little horrorshow.​

SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING
The gang sat together on the band stage. Between them they each enjoyed a slice of the pizza they had ordered from the place by the highway (RIP Pastabilities). Mae looked around and saw the smiles on the faces of her friends. Soon they'd pick up their shitty instruments (and computer) and play some shitty songs. After everything, it was really something. She didn't know if it was all going to be okay, or if tomorrow the world would really end after all.

But at least for now there was still a whole lotta something to hold onto.​
 
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Dandelion

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Re: [NITW] 808 - NEW STORY - { carnaval des coeurs }

Once again I'm very pleased with your writing, and in particular with this being about a game I really enjoy I'm like, doubly pleased.

LORI M RULZ OK

I think the Casey one might be my favorite, especially in light of everything that happens to him later on. IT'S HAUNTING I LOVE IT IDK
 

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Re: [NITW] 808 - NEW STORY - { carnaval des coeurs }

After becoming a recent fan of NitW, I really love the one Something Something Something and Someplace Nice. Gregg will always be my favorite in NitW. And you hit the nail with the characters dead on too, Audo. Absolutely love all of these short stories, cause they're prefect. <3
 
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