• Hello everybody! We have tons of new awards for the new year that can be requested through our Awards System thanks to Antifa Lockhart! Some are limited-time awards so go claim them before they are gone forever...


Fanfiction ► This Time, I'll Fight :: A Post-CoM AUFic

Not open for further replies.


phantom thief
Mar 14, 2005
Hey there, everyone.

Back in June 2005, I began writing a post-CoM sequel, beginning with Kairi's return to Destiny Islands and Sora's awakening from his memory-restoring sleep--"This Time, I'll Fight", essentially how I thought the story should continue. The plot of KH2 is ignored in the writing of this fiction.

Now, two years later, I am 25 chapters in and still going strong. I hope you guys will enjoy it.

<PLEASE READ> I began writing this as a sophomore in high school, and am now heading off to college. My writing style evolved (for the better!) quite a bit throughout this time, and throughout the fic. Please don't judge too harshly in the first few chapters, as it improves greatly as it goes along. <3 Thanks!

This story has enjoyed a good bit of success on FanFiction.net (I am Perhelediel, found at fanfiction.net/~perhelediel), so I hope you all enjoy it too! Thanks so much for taking a look!

[ the door is still shut. ]
by Perhelediel (aka Oathy)
Kairi manages to escape the Destiny Islands in search of best friends Sora and Riku. Together with old friends and new, all the worlds become caught up in an epic war of light against darkness, and the world-between. The struggle to open the door to the Light will not be an easy one.

Chapter One: Return

It was certainly not a morning she would call a “sailor’s delight”.

Rowing around the island would probably only result in a thorough soaking before she returned to dock. Selphie scanned the horizon, seeing ominous rainclouds gathering. She sat on the end of the pier, her nunchaku jump rope rolled around itself and resting in her lap.

She missed the children's island. She had woken up one morning, three months ago, to find it gone, undisturbed ocean right where it had used to be. The only evidence of it ever existing were the photos they'd taken there, and a few splintered pieces of what used to be the dock washed up on shore like driftwood.

Selphie stood up, pacing across the wooden planks, swinging the rope of her small weapon around in a pinwheel. Silently deciding she’d rather risk it, she climbed down to the waterfront to untie her small rowboat. A rasping cough immediately to her right startled her out of her wits as she worked on the knot. She dropped the rope, glancing frantically around for the source of the noise.

Selphie saw a slight figure laying inside one of the other small boats. It rocked slightly as the person coughed again.

Slowly she approached. Curled up on her side, a girl in a purple skort and white camisole, and dark red hair masking her face, was fast asleep.

Selphie stared dumbly, not believing what she was seeing. Was it possible? She had been gone for so long, now to simply show up, asleep in her boat?

Carefully she leaned across the boat, and pushed the long red hair from the girl's face. Before she got a good look, the person's eyes flew open, and she sat bolt upright, startled out of sleep. Selphie shrieked, falling backwards into the dampened sand. The figure stumbled out of the boat, which had capsized in the commotion, and landed on her hands and knees.

"Kairi?!" Selphie cried, her eyes widening.

"Let me get this straight..." Selphie said, on her stomach in a beanbag chair on her bedroom floor. "You...uh, lost your heart, and came back to life. Sora lost his heart, you brought him back to life. You're a princess...you've been to three worlds other than this one...and Sora...is some big hero with a giant key?"

She didn't like the wording, or the way that Selphie made it sound like complete idiocy, but Kairi nodded fro her spot on the bed, where she was on her stomach clutching a pillow to her chest.

"Jeez...if I didn't see that island disappear with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe any of it."

Kairi grinned, rolling over to stare upside down at the younger girl.

"So...what now, Kairi?"

Kairi pushed her long red bangs out of her eyes, groaning.

"Unnnghh...I don't know. I'm so mixed up."

She rolled back over and slid off the bed, onto the floor.

"I'm not even sure how I got here. I was in our secret base with Leon and Yuffie and Aerith...then they decided to go back to Hollow Bastion to see what was going on. I don't really know what happened after that. Sora came back once to check up on me. Then I was alone for a day or so...all of a sudden I was on this sandy platform in the middle of the darkness. This huge, dark void...but Sora came running up, and..."

She was blushing furiously. She flopped backwards onto the bed with the pillow over her face.

Selphie was slowly understanding. She grinned and yanked the pillow away from Kairi's burning face.

"You two like each other, don't you?" she asked. Kairi's face blushed to an even deeper shade of red and Selphie shrieked, clapping her hand over her mouth.

"Oh my gosh...and to think I thought...you and Riku!...wait. What about Riku?" Selphie said all in one breath, regaining seriousness.

The smile faded from Kairi's face.

"Riku...Riku's lost his heart. I have no idea where he is. He...he tried to kill Sora to give me back my heart. Oh, he didn't know what he was doing," she said quickly, in response to the look of utter shock and revulsion on Selphie's face. "He was possessed. Last I saw him, he was...like a ghost. And, if Sora hadn't fought, Riku would have killed him. And then he would have brought me back only to kill me too."

Selphie sat back in the beanbag chair, staring at the ceiling.

"I'm sorry I asked," she said quietly.

Kairi smiled softly. "It's all right," she whispered.

Neither of them spoke for a few moments.

Selphie sat up quickly. "Kairi, I still can't believe...my gosh! You..." she held up one index finger. "...and Sora..." she held up the other. "I just..." She intertwined the fingers and dropped them into her lap.

She laughed. "It's so...romantic!" she cried, falling backwards and out of the beanbag chair.

Kairi giggled too, the color rising in her cheeks again, and she tossed another pillow at Selphie.

"Well, Miss Princess of Heart, you're back in your kingdom and I am your lady-in-waiting. What would Her Majesty like to do now?" Selphie said, regaining her balance and grinning.

"Uh...I dunno."

"Generous and articulate," Selphie remarked, shaking her head, and grabbed Kairi by the forearm and led her out the door.
"So what're you going to do?"

Tidus was hitting Wakka's blitzball back and forth between his two palms. Wakka hung precariously from the paopu tree's nearly horizontal trunk, his flip-flops skimming the calm ocean. Selphie sat on the trunk of the tree, and Kairi stood leaning against a palm tree with one arm.

"Ugh...I don't know. It doesn't seem right for me to just sit here and wait for them."

She kicked at the base of the tree absentmindedly, her eyes to the sea.

"What do you say to this..." Wakka began, swinging his legs up and over the trunk and maneuvering back onto the small islet. "Sora and Riku are still out there somewhere, ya? And it's just a matter of gettin' up there?"

He put both hands behind his head and stretched backward, his eyes searching the sky. Kairi glanced at him. That odd habit of his reminded her painfully of Sora, when he used to do it.

Selphie looked up.

"What's the last thing you remember before you ended up in Hollow Mashing or whatever?"

"Hollow Bastion," Kairi corrected automatically. "And I told you before...I don't remember. I was in the Secret Place one second, there the next."

"That's it, then!" Tidus said, tossing the blitzball up in the air and kicking it to sea expertly.

"I'll go take a look..." Kairi said doubtfully, turning and walking slowly back up the pier.
She ducked into the low tunnel that lead to the cavern in the hollow tree. The sun was finally beginning to peek through the clouds, and shafts of light played upon the floor as rays his the branching roots and pierced through.

She smiled softly as she emerged into its familiar warmth, and the sunbleached carvings seemed to shine clearer on the roughened walls in the filtered sunlight. She couldn't help it. Despite the fact that she was still in shock by all that had happened the past four days, the familiarity and the comfort of this place brought her nearly back to normal. She smiled wider, euphoria swelling within her. She admired the sloppy sketches on the wall, passing her hand along their shallow carving as she walked.

Kairi felt older. Her eyes had seen quite a lot since she'd last visited. This startling reminder of her long-past childhood was almost too crazy to contemplate.

She approached the great wooden door with dread, avoiding casting her gaze upon it. That door had been where it all began...
...and why it had all ended.

Instead, she looked down at the closest carving. She sank to her knees as her eyes fixed upon it, staring incredulously at the carving of Sora and herself. Her heart began beating painfully fast within her.

Someone had added to the drawing recently. Her fingers traced over the carving, and a fine powder rained onto the packed-dirt ground. It was fresh.

From the drawing of Sora there ran a sweeping tail ending in a hand holding a star-shaped something, connecting to Kairi's cariacature.

She felt her defenses breaking. A paopu fruit...?

A smile tilted her lips as she brought her trembling hand up to them, and laughed softly as she began to cry, a tear escaping down her cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned her forehead against the stone, an uncontrollable smile spread across her face.

This was too unreal. Now, Sora seemed like a distant memory, off in other worlds where she might never see him again, a hero she hardly knew.

But here, in this place, he was the friend she had known all her life, her best friend who wanted to keep her safe and who would never change. And he, perhaps...even felt the same new feelings she had for him.

She swallowed hard as the thought occured to her, a thrill of mingled euphoria and fear making her tremble. A slow warmth spread from her heart and her hand flew up to cover it, to protect it.

He would always be right there, with her always.

On impulse, she took a sharp rock from the floor, and etched in an outline of another paopu from her to him. She smiled as she slowly ducked out of the cavern and into the Islands' sun.


Interlude One

His eyes slowly fluttered open as the pressing darkness gave way to light around him. His surroundings slid in and out of focus.

"Hello?" he slurred blearily, his senses returning rather reluctantly. He stretched out, but found himself closely confined to whatever he was standing in. Panic surged through him as full memory flooded back. He had been at the crossroads...an enigmatic man in a black hood...

Riku! Kairi!

The King! And where were Goofy and Donald?

Fully awake now, he forced his limbs as hard as he could against the cocoon-like chamber. Just as his muscles began to weaken with exhaustion, he was released. Out he tumbled onto a white marble floor, and his lip began to bleed as he collected himself.

"Hey! What's going on here?" he shouted, his voice echoing in the chamber.
"Sora?" said a voice softly behind him. He turned.

A girl about his age and about a head shorter than he stood timidly in front of him, her blue eyes looking up at him through her blonde bangs.

"Who are you?" he asked roughly, his frustration getting the better of him. The girl was visibly saddened by the question, though Sora couldn't understand why.

"I'm Namine," she said. The look on her face was so wrenching that some of the blind panic left him and he softened.

"Should I know you?" he asked.

"No...actually, I'm glad you don't. That means it worked," she said, seeming to be convincing herself more than anything else.

"What worked? What's going on?" He brought his gloved fingers to his temples, frantically trying to remember.

"The moment you set foot in this castle, all your memories left you. I've just relinked them," Namine began. She swallowed hard and continued. "You've been asleep for nearly eight months."

Sora's heart skipped a beat.

"Eight months?" he said faintly.

She nodded fearfully. Every time he moved, she flinched. What was she so afraid of?

Eight months...anything could have happened in eight months! They had wasted too much time here...

Suddenly, an all-too-familiar squawk echoed in the great room. Donald's hands flailed as he tried to catch himself, rolling out of the large pod they had been sleeping in. He somersaulted onto the floor, his Violetta staff catching him behind the head as he regained balance. He stood up, brushing himself off and muttering to himself.

"Sora!" he exclaimed, waddling toward him as fast as he could. "What's the big idea?"

Before he could answer, Goofy came toppling out of his pod, his large golden shield clattering away across the cold floor. He stood up, wobbling and scratching his head. He picked up the shield where it lay, and walking towards the group, slung it over his shoulder.

"Gawrsh, it sure is bright in here," he remarked, glancing around, his eyelids half-closed and a bemused look on his face.

Donald shook his fists. "You big palooka!" he quacked angrily, giving Goofy a sharp rap on the nose with his staff. Goofy stumbled, shaking his head, and his eyes opened wide and focused.

"Sora! Where ya been?" he said, cuffing Sora on the shoulder with one gloved hand.
The spiky-haired teen wasn't quite sure how to answer. He hardly knew, himself.

"There isn't much time," Namine said, putting both arms behind the group and pushing them toward the door. One arm braced a large drawing pad against the small of Sora's back.

"You'll need this to leave Castle Oblivion," she said, pushing a metallic card into Sora's gloved hand. "Use it at the door just ahead. It should let you through."

She fumbled with the lock for a moment and the door sprang open, revealing a long white corridor lined with vases.

"Anything else we need to know?" Sora asked amusedly, smiling at the girl as he pulled his Keyblade off its attachments at his hip.

"No..." Namine answered as Donald and Goofy began to walk away, down the hall. "You'll figure it out on your own."

Sora nodded to her and made as if to follow his friends, but Namine's fingers closed around his forearm.

"Wait," she said softly, reaching inside the pocket of her white sundress. "You dropped this while you were sleeping. I thought you’d want it back."

She held up by its chain Kairi's good-luck charm, a blue and pink star held together with twine, with a scrawled-on smiley face on its uppermost point.

He took it from her silently, looking over its simple beauty, relief spreading through him.

"Thanks," he said finally, pocketing it. He turned and began to follow Donald and Goofy. As they reached the door out, he turned back to look at the thin figure standing on the threshold of the great hall.

"I'm not really sure why, but I feel like I should remember you! If I can, I'll try and come back!" he called, grinning.

Namine giggled and waved, and the door closed behind the trio. Amid her laughter, a tear of sorrow slid unheeded down her face and died on her lips.

{ in chapter 2: Escape }
Last edited:


Dec 17, 2003
Very nice, descriptive and interesting, just the right size and also barely any spelling errors.

One of the stories lately with the qualities that a good Fan Fic needs.

Keep it up.


phantom thief
Mar 14, 2005
Hehe, sorry guys, got sidetracked with vacation for a couple days. Here we go with CHAPTER TWO! <3

Chapter Two: Escape

"On the lookout again?"

Kairi jumped slightly, startled by the sudden voice from behind. The smallest of the ocean waves lapped around her clunky school shoes, slowly soaking into her knee-high navy socks. A slight chill was in the October air.

Selphie appeared at her side, and gave the horizon a quick sweep with her emerald eyes. She looked up at the older girl, whose gaze was fixed on the sky.

"You okay?"

Kairi looked down thoughtfully, brushing her long bangs from her face.

"Yeah," she said finally. The Islands looked so beautiful in this light...pink and gold clouds drifting lazily above the setting sun, and making the sheen of the palms shimmer like the ocean.

"You know," Selphie began, sitting down in the sand to take her shoes off. "It's Murphy's law that they'll show up exactly when you're not expecting them, if you spend all your free time watching."

Kairi crossed her arms.

"You're probably right."

The last year had been uneventful. Kairi had taken up permanent residence at Sora's house, where his mother still lived in relative grief over the loss of her son. It had taken an entire evening of reassurance, but Kairi had managed to convince her that Sora was still alive and in good hands. She had even confided that Sora had sacrificed himself to save her on one occasion. Still, the childless mother had her doubts. But it was the maternal comfort that came with caring for Kairi like she had with her son that kept her spirits up.

They had all gone back to school the autumn after her return, but nothing was quite the same. Tidus, Wakka, and Selphie were really her only good friends. The rest of the kids at school thought of Kairi as a bit of a tangible impossibility--someone who had died and come back to life again. Plus, if the rumors were true, she was a princess. And not just a princess...one part of a group of seven from other worlds. They simply chose to give her peace, which translated to ignoring her. She had a secret, they knew...one they didn't care to know. The fear of losing the comforting presence of a home firmly tethered to the ground, unaffected by darkness and terror, was all the motivation they needed to not press their luck.

The cool breeze blew Kairi's hair forward and into her face. She brushed it back roughly.

"Why did I ever let this grow out?" she said, annoyed, pulling it back into a ponytail with the holder she had around her wrist.

Selphie grinned at her, and rubbed her hands together before clasping them under her and sitting on them.

"It's freezing out here," she commented. "Want to head back?"

"Yeah...I guess," Kairi consented, bending down to pick up her backpack and using her other hand to flatten her plaid kilt from flying up in the wind.

"KAI!" Selphie cried in a hissing whisper, reaching up to grab at the edge of Kairi's skirt, nearly shanking her as she tried to pull her down.

"What?" Kairi said, realizing the urgency, being yanked down onto the sand beside Selphie.

"Look!" the younger girl cried, pointing to the skies.

Kairi squinted in the direction of Selphie's finger. She threw up her hand to shield her eyes from the sunset's glare, but she could just barely see a brilliant streak of white making its way across the sky. And another! Smaller and farther away. Shooting stars...

Her eyes widened. Selphie's finger slowly curled back into her hand and she faltered, completely at loss for words.

Both were motionless for a long moment, the only sound being the soft sloshing of the ocean waves as the tide came in.

A smile tilted the corner of Kairi's lips.

"Selphie!" she cried, grabbing her friend by the shoulders, making the younger girl jump in fright at the sudden outburst. "The barriers...the barriers are gone! I can get out of here! I can...I can go find them!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Selphie objected, waving her hands in front of her face. "Hold on. What are you saying?"

"Come on!" Kairi said excitedly, grabbing Selphie's wrist.


He hadn't visited the Rising Falls since he was ten years old. But the sound of the rushing water and the soft scent of the flowering ivy that grew around the small island brought something back out of distant memory.

Squall sat on the edge of one of the floating ice pillars, in deep thought.

Aerith and Yuffie had convinced him to take back his old name once Hollow Bastion was restored. But on a trip upstairs just two days ago, he had found the keyhole of the castle exposed again...and worse, a shadow heartless had appeared under his boot upon his inspection of the Grand Hall.

How could Sora have failed?

Squall stood up and picked up his gunblade. He wouldn't let the others know. He'd just go down to the Gummi Ship dock at the base of the falls, and find out what was going on.

He dropped lightly from step to step, sliding slightly across the top of one and stumbling. His Gunblade slipped from his grasp and fell to the solid ice below, burying itself to the hilt and sending shavings every which way.

He muttered angrily and dropped to the ground, wrenching the weapon out of the ice.


A voice from behind made him yell in shock. He turned around. A teenage girl stood in the portal, shivering.

"Kairi? Is that you?"


"What the HELL are you doing here?"

He ran across the ice and leapt up onto the brick platform. Kairi grinned at him, her arms crossed tightly across her chest and her knees knocking together lightly from the cold.

"Come on, let's get you inside," he said, reaching out to rub her upper arms in attempt to warm her up. He took his jacket off and draped it around her slight frame and helped her up the frozen stairway.

"Want to tell me how you got here?" he asked very seriously as they walked.


"Oh my GOD!"

Leon and Kairi had walked into the library only to have Yuffie come pelting towards the younger girl, to wrap her in a huge hug.

"Oh, man, I never thought I'd see you again! AAAH!"

Kairi laughed at the overly excited welcome, returning the hug. "Not too bad!" she answered as the ninja let go, beaming.

"Damn...it's been really lonely here, with everyone so much older than me. I missed you!"

Squall cleared his throat and crossed his arms, giving Yuffie a sardonic grin and a questioning look.

"I mean...not that it wasn't...one great, fun-filled year with you, Squall!" the ninja countered, swinging her bent arm in front of her exaggeratedly. Squall snorted, cuffing Yuffie across the top of the head with one gloved hand as he passed by and disappeared around one of the tall bookshelves. She aimed a weak kick at his retreating form but connected with only air. She turned back to Kairi, grinning.

"How on earth did you get here? Last time I saw you, we were all camping out in Traverse Town!"

"I...I really have no idea. I saw a shooting star, and I knew that the worlds had become connected again..."

Yuffie grabbed Kairi's wrist.

"Hold that thought...tell it to these guys."

She pulled Kairi around the winding bookcases until she began to hear the light murmuring of a small group talking. Kairi couldn't help but stare as they began traipsing up the staircase. It all looked so familiar, somehow, but estranged at the same time...

They emerged onto the upper landing. Aerith sat on the desk, her boots barely brushing the floor. Leon had his back to a tall bookcase, and two people Kairi didn't know stood nearby: one, a spiky-haired blonde with serious eyes and dark clothing, and the other an older man with windswept hair and pilot's goggles balanced on his forehead.

A loud outburst of confused greetings came from the group, and Aerith turned her head as the two girls clambered off the top step. She smiled welcomingly at Kairi and held her hand out. The teenager grinned and walked forward and Aerith gave her a one-armed hug.

Leon stood up straight.

"Kairi, this is Cid Highwind," he said, gesturing to the older man nearby. Cid gave a mock salute and grinned, replacing both hands on his hips. "How 'ya doing, Kairi?" he asked. His lower jaw chewed moved forward, making the small piece of straw he had between his teeth shift.

"And this slacker here is Cloud...Cloud Strife," he said, giving the other a dig in thefoot with the toe of his boot. Cloud nodded, murmuring “Hello,” and held out his hand, which Kairi shook.

There was an awkward silence.

"How is it that you got here, Kairi?" Aerith said gently, looking down at Kairi as the redhead got up onto the desk beside her.

Yuffie strode forward to sit on Aerith's other side. "She said she saw a shooting star...probably a gummi ship," the ninja answered for her, crossing her legs and planting her chin between her two fists.

"Kairi...was it a shooting star...or a disappearing one?" Cid asked, cocking his head.

"It didn't...disappear, I don't think," Kairi responded. "I watched it until I couldn't see it anymore, if that helps."

Leon nodded slowly. "Not a disappearing world...did you use a gummi ship, Kairi?"

"No," she said firmly. "This might sound silly...but I swear I brought myself here just by remembering you all."

Leon perked up at this. "Believing...?"

"There was one other person who managed this. Do you remember, Squall? The Beast?" Aerith asked.

"Yeah..." he replied, nodding.

Kairi was slowly understanding. "So you're saying...that by seeing the shooting star, I believed it was possible to find you all again...and that was enough to get me here?"

"You must not have made your thinkin' specific enough. You wanted to find 'yer friends' again," Cid remarked, grinning. "Aren't we special! But you found us, and not Sora."

The mention of Sora made Kairi's heart skip a beat. "Yeah, I guess..."

"What's going on here?" Yuffie asked frustratedly, leaning back and gripping the edges of the desk.

"I don't know..." Leon answered, shaking his head. "Well, we've been sitting here waiting for any news--preferably good news, but beggars can't be choosers. We may as well try to figure out where to go from here."

Kairi looked at the floor.

"What is it?" Aerith whispered as the group began to get up and leave, her arm around Kairi's shoulder.

"His voice...it's left me," Kairi said quietly. "Maybe that's why I can't find him. Not yet."

Aerith smiled sadly and led Kairi to the lift stop.



out of order
Jan 22, 2006
I just finished chapter one. And I do say, this is one of the most well-written fan fictions I have ever read. Not one thing seems out of place. Everything compliments each other nicely, and you have a good sense of flow going. You keep a good, active voice, and a wonderfully expressive atmosphere.

I look forward to reading this next chapter. =D

~<3 Luff it.


phantom thief
Mar 14, 2005
Thanks, Deeman-nii! :D Here we go with Chapter Three. Just as a reminder, guys, these early chapters were written in 2005--so bear with the n00biness. <3

Chapter Three: Hollow Bastion

“You want a room? I mean, you’ve never had a proper stay here, have you?” Yuffie chuckled as they made their way through the winding halls.

“This here’s my room…there’s another empty one, with a door in between the two. We can be roommates!”

She turned an old-fashioned key in the lock and the door creaked open. Inside was a four-poster bed with green velvet hangings, a tall wardrobe, a cheerfully crackling fire in a large hearth, and a large oak desk in the corner. The stained-glass windows cast colorful patterns on the intricately woven rug on the polished wooden floor. Various weapons and clothes were strewn all over, the chair functioning mainly as a pincushion for her many ninja stars.

“Eh, it’s nothing spectacular, but it beats that cramped little house in Traverse Town,” she said, shrugging, making Kairi smile. She remembered it all too well.

“Can I borrow some pajamas or something?” Kairi asked, gazing around the room with interest.

“Of course you can. What are you wearing, anyway?” Yuffie said, rummaging through an open drawer.

Kairi looked down, scrunching her nose. If she had a choice, she wouldn’t have shown up in her school uniform. Though she did love her ribbed blue sweater…the only piece of clothing the school allowed without a monogram.

“My school uniform,” she replied with a little noise of disgust. Yuffie laughed and tossed her a pair of flannel pants and a tank top.

“Guess you weren’t prepared, then?” she asked, grinning, pulling on an oversized t-shirt over her tank top and stepping into the wardrobe, closing the door to change.

“Nope, guess I wasn’t,” Kairi answered, pulling off her sweater.

“Wait!” Yuffie said, bursting out of the wardrobe so fast that Kairi shrieked and fell off the bed in fright. “I have an idea!”

Kairi picked herself up off the floor, putting her elbows up on the bed and kneeling.

“Talk to me,” she said cheerfully.

“You’re not planning on staying here forever, right? I mean…you’re gonna go look for your friends. For Sora,” Yuffie mused, tapping her chin with one finger and cocking her head.

“And Riku,” Kairi asserted.

“Well, then, you’re going to need a killer outfit, aren’t you?” Yuffie asked excitedly, grinning and stepping out of the wardrobe.

Kairi raised her eyebrows. Now, come to think of it, she couldn’t exactly fight her way through anything in her school uniform, could she?

Yuffie padded over to the heavy door, turning the doorknob and sticking her head in the hallway, looking back and forth.

“There’s no one here to walk in on us…and the night is young,” she said, closing the door. “Now, what have we got to deal with here?” She turned back to Kairi and put her hands on her hips, cocking her head.

Kairi stood up and revolved slowly on the spot, before striking an exaggerated supermodel pose, making the older girl laugh.

“Well, these sleeves’ll do you no good, not if they get caught on something. I learned that the hard way,” she began, picking up Kairi’s sweater where it lay discarded on the bed. “And take that tie off. You’ll strangle yourself.”

Kairi grinned and yanked the plaid tie off, tossing it on the bed. She reached up and took her hair out of its ponytail holder, and there was a knock on the door.

“Kahin,” Yuffie said, her teeth working on a stubborn thread near the seam of the sweater’s sleeves and muffling the intended “Come in.”

The door opened slightly and Aerith’s head poked in. Her green eyes brightened.

“Is this what I think it is?” she said cheerfully, smiling.

“If you mean a fashion consultation, then yes,” Yuffie chided, with a little noise of satisfaction when the sleeve of the sweater came clean off.

“I need all the help I can get!” Kairi said, playing along, standing up and brushing her hair back from her face. She shivered slightly, the fire being inadequate to keep her from getting a chill in her thin school blouse.

Aerith entered and closed the door, pulling her boots off and using the desk as support. She eyed Kairi critically, sizing her up with her piercing gaze.

“You’ll probably need gloves. If you’re going to have a sword, which I’m sure we can hook you up with,” she said, grinning slightly, “your hands will get so calloused you won’t even want to look at them.”

She rummaged in one of Yuffie’s open drawers as the ninja began yanking frustratedly at the other sleeve of Kairi’s sweater. Aerith looked up and tossed Kairi a pair of fingerless leather gloves that fastened around the wrist. She put them on, flexing her long fingers and stretching the broken-in fabric.

The next two hours were spent with Yuffie and Aerith holding up various articles of clothing to Kairi’s slim frame and tossing the rejects every which way, as the three girls chattered cheerfully and critiqued every combination presented. At one point, Aerith even had Kairi sit at the desk so she could give her hair a trim. It was nearly midnight before the ninja and the mage stood back with sighs of satisfaction, with Kairi completely dressed in their new arrangement.

She turned around in front of the mirror. Yuffie had somehow cleaned up the frayed edges of her blue school sweater, which was now sleeveless over her white blouse. Aerith had convinced the ninja to part with a pair of her favorite khaki shorts that fit Kairi with a bit of work. A white belt was fastened loosely around her hips, which as a special touch, had been touched up by sewing on a large piece of Kairi’s old purple skirt with the scalloped hem that had come with her in the school duffel bag. She wore her warm navy knee socks she had come in, and Aerith had run to her room to fetch her a pair of high-laced brown boots that reached her mid-calf. All in all, she looked completely mismatched, yet inexplicably stylish.

Kairi leaned close to her reflection, brushing her now-shorter bangs out of her eyes. Her hair was nearly as short as it had been during the summer when she was 14, but she liked it that way now.

“Wow,” she breathed, her voice making the mirror cloud in its close proximity. “How’d you do it?”

She turned to Yuffie and Aerith, both of which were standing triumphantly with arms crossed.

“Is any of this supposed to match?” she asked, laughing.

“Of course not!” Yuffie replied jauntily, putting her hands on her hips and grinning at Aerith.

“But that’s okay,” Aerith reassured her. “You’re ready for anything in this outfit. Doesn’t matter if it clashes.”

Kairi beamed at them, and tried to strike what she thought of as a fearsome battle stance, making all three of them collapse on each other laughing.


Leon rummaged through the castle armory, pushing aside large metal shields and ridiculous-looking hinged helmets. All the swords he’d found were too big.

Finally, he saw it: a three-foot-long sword, curved and somewhat elegant, curling around once to form a pointed tip. Its hilt was silver and wrapped in toughened leather, a large green stone set into its crown. Black carvings drew in lazy circles upon the mirrored surface of the dulled blade, spelling out words he didn’t know nor cared to translate.

He picked up a sharpening-stone and forced his way back out of the musty and darkened chamber into the entrance hall.

Leon cursed under his breath. Squirming and sniveling near the fountain was a dark creature…yellow eyes, twitching antennae. His face curled into a scowl as he watched it shrink into the floor, a splash of darkest night moving like a shadow on the polished marble floor. The swordsman made a few quick strides across the hall before it emerged again. With a cry of fury, he hacked at it with the new sword until it exploded into wisps of darkness, leaving no trace behind.

Grunting, he lifted the blade and braced it behind his shoulder as he had always done, and pulled himself up onto the ledge, ignoring the stairs. He pushed into the library and closed the door securely behind him. No Heartless dared venture where more than one of the residents of Hollow Bastion gathered.

He ran up the stairs to the upper landing, where Cloud sat in the desk chair, leaning back so it supported him on two legs and his feet on the desk blotter, reading a beat-up old book on sword lore. His tattered red cloak masked the lower half of his face as his blue eyes flitted back and forth across the page. He looked up at Leon as he approached, a small grin tilting the corner of his lips when he saw the aggravated look on the other man’s face and the rusty old sword over his shoulder.

“What happened to you?” he asked, shutting the book and swinging his feet off the desk.

“Heartless,” Leon said curtly, pulling up another chair and sitting down to sharpen the blade.

Cloud frowned, folding his arms. “Where were they this time?” he asked, regaining seriousness.

“Entryway,” Leon said shortly, running the stone along the edge of the blade, sparks flying with the friction.

“Ah…and are you going to start answering with more than one word or can I ask what that thing’s for?” Cloud asked, grinning sardonically and dog-earing the page of the tome he had been reading.

“It’s for Kairi,” Leon answered, bringing the blade up close to his face and closing one eye to inspect his work. “I figured it couldn’t hurt for her to have something to fight with, too.”

Cloud grunted his agreement and looked around as he heard the loud crash that accompanied a lift stop’s arrival. Yuffie came pelting out of the darkened hallway that led to the lift.


She grinned at them jauntily, her hands at her accustomed place on her hips.

Leon stopped his work on the sword to look sarcastically up at Yuffie, grinning darkly. “What are you so hyper about? It’s too early for you to be this energetic.”

“Oh, nothing. We had a pajama party last night…that is, Aerith, Kairi, and I. Maybe we had a bit too much sugar,” she said, giggling.

Aerith emerged from the lift stop, the heavy step of her boots preceding her entrance. She cleared her throat and put her hands behind her back.

“Presenting,” she said regally, her seriousness getting the better of her and grinning. “Her royal majesty and princess of heart, Kairi!”

Kairi came out of the lift stop blushing furiously, as Yuffie ran over to her and clasped her hands in a the shape of a gun, putting back-to-back with her and making the two of them look like a bizarre parody of gun mages locked in battle.

Despite himself, Leon laughed and Cloud whistled. They had done a good job making Kairi look battle-ready, what with the gloves and the new haircut. Yuffie had even taken the liberty of fastening a kerchief around the crown of Kairi’s head, making her look uncannily like her ninja friend.

Leon reached up and tugged at the knot at the base of Kairi’s neck, making the kerchief slide off her face and onto the floor. “That’s the only part she can do without,” he said, grinning.

Yuffie gave a huff of indignation. “Hey, that was my idea!” She rounded on Leon, crossing her arms and leaning close to his face, a stern frown creasing her brow. Kairi leaned out behind the ninja, raising her eyebrows and mouthing “Thank you!” to the swordsman. Leon’s lip twitched, and he gave a small smile.

“Eh, you look good enough without it,” Yuffie conceded, turning her head to Kairi, but cuffing Leon behind the head with one gloved hand and receiving a sharp poke in her bare stomach in retaliation.

“You look great,” Cloud said generously, sitting back in the desk chair.

Aerith stepped forward. “Why, thank you, sir. So do you,” she said cheerfully, leaning forward and putting her hands on her knees and gazing into Cloud’s face.

“I wasn’t talking about you,” he said sarcastically, catching on and smiling at Aerith. She gave him a wounded look in jest, and he patted his left knee. She grinned and sat in his lap, his hand finding hers and interlacing their fingers.

“I’m starved. Who wants breakfast?” Yuffie asked, stretching.

“I do!” Kairi piped up.

“Wait…first, this is for you,” Leon said, standing up and passing the sword to Kairi, holding its hilt out to her.

Kairi gaped at the gleaming blade. She reached out and grasped the hilt, the leather of her gloves curving around it. It dropped slightly as Leon let go; she hadn’t anticipated its weight. She held it up, her startlingly blue eyes looking over every inch with wonder.

She swung it tentatively, making Yuffie jump back to avoid the swipe, even though it hardly would have made a scratch with the force which Kairi struck.

She looked up at everyone incredulously, the look of astonishment on her face honest. “How do you use this thing?”

Everyone laughed, and Kairi smiled sheepishly.
Not open for further replies.