The Distraction: Ignis’ Birthday FFXV Fanfiction

Prompto’s in on a surprise party for Ignis, and he’s been tasked with being the distraction. It’s harder than he thought, but he won’t let the guys down!
(Forgive the Promnis vibes, I’m trash for them.)

Words: 3073 words (10-25 minutes) | Chocobros

cplCF7B


This was it, the big day for their surprise party for Specs… Prompto was in charge of being a distraction, probably the hardest job of the whole thing. He tried telling the others that, but they swore up and down that he could do it, no problem. Riding in the passenger seat next to Iggy like usual, Prompto figured out that was probably because they didn’t wanna do it. Not ‘cause hanging with Iggy was bad or anything, but keeping him distracted when he was designed for laser-like focus was gonna be the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life.

He convinced Ignis to take him along to the Crown City mall half by saying he wanted to check out some places and half by saying he should learn what Ignis does for Noct, so he could be a backup if he needs it. And that only worked by stocking up Iggy points with little favors to make his job easier. Y’know, to prove he could be a good backup!

Which was kinda part of his day-to-day anyway. Iggy worked so hard doing stuff for them all the time, and Gladio and Noct didn’t really do that whole ‘helping with dinner’ thing. But hey, that’s what made it such a good cover story!

“We’ve arrived,” Ignis announced and the doors automatically locked once he put the car in park. The morning sun gave a little extra warmth to the winter air, but he couldn’t complain about the cold when it meant Ignis broke out his sharp, double-breasted wool peacoat. All his friends were supermodels, but he had to give it to Ig, he looked extra good dressed for cold weather. Like the Six knew it when they set his birthday in stone.

“Gotcha,” Prompto answered, springing out of the car with his camera around his neck. Just in case! Never know when you’ll see a shot you just got to take, and it was a great reason to draw out their trip if he had to. Ignis always stopped to wait when Prompto wanted to take pictures, and he was pretty patient about it too.

And really, Prompto was banking on that. They still had to decorate, put the gifts together, make a cake… And they hadn’t even started wrapping yet. Leaving all that to Noct and the big guy felt like a recipe for disaster, but all he could do now was his part. Going at a light jog to keep up with Iggy’s longer, purposeful stride, Prompto followed him into the Crown City mall.

“So! What’s our first stop?” There wasn’t much of a crowd, since it was mid-week. No luck there. Just made Prompto think about how he wished there was more color in their uniform.

“We’ll be visiting just the one shop: a specialty dining store,” Ignis answered and led the way. “There are certain cooking instruments designed for the road that will prove essential on our journey.”

“Hey, Iggy!” Prompto raced ahead of him, eager to get started ‘cause this was gonna eat up hours. …Okay, maybe one hour. For his first distraction, Prompto picked up a cup-like thing with a little curve for pouring, some weird plunger thing, and measuring lines on the side. Turning around with a bounce in his step, he showed the tool to Ignis. “What’s this gadget do?”

“Hm?” Ignis strode over to the table Prompto picked out. Even here, he did the driving and pushed the cart along too. There was a lotta stuff here he didn’t recognize, so Prompto had plenty of ammo to keep his attention. “Ah, that is a milk frother, primarily used for lattes and other such beverages where foam is a key part of the experience.”

“Right, right. Y’know, I’ve never had a latte.” He put the frother down by the others, twisting it so it’d match its family of frothers before he took off after Ignis. “Think you could use it in hot chocolate?”

“You certainly can. I’ll show you sometime.” Ignis had a hint of a smile as he wound artfully through the rows and rows of cooking stuff that was either high-end normal stuff or specialty stuff.

“That’d be real sweet of you,” Prompto shot back a pun, giggling while he followed after Ignis.

Maybe if he wasn’t so caught up looking at grills, Iggy might’ve given as good as he got. Probably better, he did a lot more reading than Prom and that gave him more material to work with. Comparing little portable grills to each other with wordless hums and silent notetaking on his phone, Prompto was pretty sure he could do a dance and get nothing from the royal advisor. Or just a quick glance, anyway.

“Hey, uh, Igster,” Prompto ventured an interruption when he looked just about done. “Isn’t this thing just a slab of salt?” He held up a swirled dark and light pink rectangle about two or three inches thick labelled with just ‘mineral salt block’ on the side.

“It is far more than that.” Ignis finished up a note on his phone, picking up a boxed version of the grill he settled on and putting it in the cart. “That is for grilling or stovetop cooking for the right stove, and it imparts a lightly salty flavor with the various health benefits of its mineral composition to—” Ignis sighed, picking up on the overwhelmed look on Prompto’s face. Probably. “It’s good for the food and for those who eat it.”

“Ah, gotcha. So Noct’d hate it, huh? Too healthy.” He put the block down, smiling at Ignis’ laugh.

“It doesn’t feature the same textural concerns Noct has with beans, but… I suspect you may be correct.”

Of course Prom got a text right then, and he hoped it was Gladio or Noct saying everything was fine and ready to go. Pulling his phone out of his pocket with only a little extra flair, he brought up the message from Noctis.

Need more time.

Only one way to answer that. Tossing in an exasperated emoji, he sent back just what he thought of that.

y tho

And the picture he got from Noct was so depressing, it was truly a loss for mankind. What was once gold cake was a bit more brown-and-black-ish, and big chunks of it were still stuck on the pan while the rest was somewhere off-frame. Uh, he hoped.

Noooooct

Thank Gladio.

smh how much time u need

A few seconds turned to a minute and Prompto kept checking his screen every few minutes before Ignis finally spoke up.

“Prompto, do pay attention,” he advised.

“Right, gotcha.” He pocketed his phone for the last time. Maybe. Still, left on read by Noct! If it wasn’t for Iggy’s birthday, he’d be in for a parade of emojis until Prompto got an answer. Or maybe not, but it sounded kinda fun to do. Trotting to catch up to Ignis again, he started up conversation. “So, you do all this by yourself?”

“Typically, yes,” he answered, though he sounded pleased rather than put out. Even looked the part smirking like that when he pushed up his glasses. “Gladio has little patience for it and Noctis has other responsibilities. It’s only natural this should be entrusted to me.”

“Yeah, but on your birthday?” Oops. He was so not supposed to say that, and Prompto’s stilted laugh when he figured out his slip-up didn’t do anything to throw Ignis off his scent. He even stopped to look at Prompto, examining him for answers. Or maybe it just felt like that and Prompto was worrying too much! He just to chill like Noct said to. Yeah, just… chill.

“I didn’t realize you knew.”

“Yeah, well, y’know.” Crap, he was very un-chill right now. Prompto shrugged, eyeing the shelves next to him for a way out of this conversation. “Noct brought it up, and I guess it stuck.” Gotta find a distraction and quick. It’d just buy time, Iggy’d never forget a slip-up like that, but time was all he needed. Prompto snatched up a waffle iron at the end of a really long stick from a display by the camping stuff. “Oh em gee, check this out! Waffles at camp, can you imagine?”

“If you’re willing to make them one at a time,” he teased with that slight smile, turning back to push the cart ahead. That’s right, Iggy, focus on the to-do list and forget that little blunder from Prompto.

“Aw, I’d never keep up with the big guy,” he mourned, dejectedly returning the specialty cookware to its box and catching up to the birthday guy again.

“Indeed not.”

After gathering the rest of their supplies in preparation for the coming trip in the warmer weather, Ignis checked off the final item in his phone.

“And that concludes our shopping for the time being.” The cart was expertly packed just so everything fit in and was even sorted for putting on the belt in an orderly fashion at checkout. Seriously, Ignis’ brain should be melting from all the stuff he thought ahead on. But Prompto was keeping up with him for now, anyway—maybe he really could be halfway-decent at this back-up thing.

“Really? You do a ton, but you really make it look easy. And that’s not just flattery to distract you, I mean it!” Dammit, he was getting bad at this. Thankfully, Ignis pretended not to notice it. Probably. He doubted he really didn’t realize. Ignis, miss something? Next, it’d rain ice cream!

“I should thank you.” With the last item rung through checkout (Prompto didn’t even dare to look at the total), it was as good a time as any, but so weird. Yeah, Prompto got it, he’d do the same if he were Iggy, but… He laughed, shrugging it off. Like always, Ignis kept going undaunted. “As much as I don’t anticipate I’ll need a substitute for my duty to Noctis, it never hurts to be prepared.”

“Hey, uh. No problem! Least I can do, really.” Prompto was spared being even more awkward somehow when Ignis gave his attention to checkout. Plus, it got him a second to text Noct without spectacles maybe seeing what he was up to if he didn’t figure it out yet.

omw home

Not yet.

Prompto let out a groan, slumping in defeat. The shopping trip was over, Noct! What now?

“Stocking the cart might go more smoothly if your hands were free.” Uh oh, that was the informative warning tone. Ignis was audio-coded to hint at what he was thinking and Prompto was getting a code yellow.

“Uh, right.” Putting his phone away, he helped moved the grill and cooking stuff he didn’t exactly recognize into the cart. They were almost done and Prompto blurted out his only idea before he had a chance to think about it enough to stop. “Actually, wanna go someplace cool after this?”

“Pardon?”

“Y’know, ‘cause it’s your birthday! There’s guys who can take this stuff back to the castle, yeah?” He really hoped Ignis would buy this. He couldn’t be the one who screwed up and ruined the surprise, the guys were counting on him! “Isn’t there a place you’ve always wanted to check out, but never got to?”

“Not especially,” Ignis answered after a brief pause. That mildly wide-eyed look was way too caught off guard… Could it be Iggy never thought about stuff he wanted to do before? Seriously? Prompto wanted to not believe it, but with all the stuff he’s always doing for everyone else under the sun, it’s, y’know… Possible. If not super likely.

“Then I’ll show you around. C’mon, it’s just one day, not even. Two hours.” Ignis pulled the cart to the side and out of the way, which wasn’t a yes but it wasn’t a no yet either. He could still get away with this! Prompto flashed the smile that usually worked on Noct, tossing in an eager bounce to cover his bases. “Birthday trip? Birthday trip!”

“There’s snow outside, Prompto.” This answer was just a little bit weaker, not reinforced with the typical Ignis brand crisp certainty that came with every sentence. And what kinda sharpshooter would he be if he didn’t take this opening?

“So? We’ve got boots.” Prompto bent his knee and held one foot up like he needed to demonstrate. Paired with the grin, he could tell—he was winning this round.

“I have to return to the castle for dinner preparation.” Ignis’ gaze darted to the shop windows and the city guard posted outside. The ones that could take all this back to the castle for them and buy the guys some time before Iggy came back.

“How’s this—you go on the birthday trip you so deserve, let me take a couple cool shoots to remember it by, and I’ll help make dinner.” He offered his hand to Ignis, leaning into his field of vision to get his attention. “Deal?”

With a sigh and a signal the guards outside, Ignis gave in. “Very well.”

“Woohoo! You’re not gonna regret it.”


After their side trip, they had to get someone to give them a ride and man, was it weird to have Ignis riding in the back seat of a car next to Prompto in calm quiet. Not a bad, awkward quiet—he was so used to those—but chill. He was usually in front too so Gladio could get the extra leg room, so at least being next to Iggy was just like always. Prompto dug out his phone again, sending one last warning text. They’d gotten another hour or hour and a half outta this, he hoped they figured it out.

omw 4 real

“When you said cool pictures, I hadn’t thought you meant literally on the ice.” Ignis only just glanced his way, his face still slightly red from spending time in the cold February air.

“Hey, that pond is a prime photo op!” He slipped his phone into his pocket, swapping it out for his camera. “Check it out,” he offered, bringing up a photo of Ignis in the light, warm glow of the late afternoon winter sun glittering off the ice, a faint plume of his breath in front of him and a delicate blush to his cheeks. Say what you want about the royal advisor, but it’d better be a compliment—he was gorgeous. “My best one yet.”

“Oh, so you collect them?”

“Ah, well, y’see, I—” Shoot. The car was slowing down and he caught a peek of the castle entrance. Thank the Six! “I take pictures of all you guys, yeah? Hey, look, we’re here!” Shuffling out his side, half-stumbling out, Prompto fled to safety. Almost over, this was the home stretch!


“They keep falling!”

“And whose fault is that?” Familiar voices reached Ignis and Prompto as they worked their way back to one of the smaller, casual family dining rooms in the castle.

“The tape.” Ah, classic Noct. Ignis turned to Prompto with a questioning brow and he just smiled back, nodding him to go first. Nothing left to hide now! Ignis pulled the door open and stepped into the room, which… kinda looked like elementary schoolers decorated it, but hey. Not everyone was a perfect party coordinator like Iggy.

“Gladio? Noctis.” Was that disbelief or patient warnings at the sight of lopsided streamers hanging all the way over to Noctis, who stood on a chair taping the last corner up. For the millionth time, from the sounds of it. Mostly decently wrapped presents sat on one end of the elegant dining table and at the other were three whole separate two-layer cakes and enough fancy takeout for a family of six. “What is…?”

“Happy birthday, Specs,” Noctis said, smiling as he stepped down from the chair and came over with Gladio.

“Didn’t think we forgot, did you?” Gladio clapped his hand on Ignis’ shoulder, his too-perfect smile coming as naturally as ever. Maybe a little more, even.

“I… Suppose this was what the escapades were all about,” he remarked, glancing back at Prompto.

“Whoa, three cakes?!” Gotta change that subject, Ignis, they didn’t know about any escapades! It was just supposed to be errands. But it was their fault he had to draw it out, wasn’t it? Chill, Prompto—chill. “All this food… I’m just gonna have to run more tomorrow.”

“After running around all day today too,” Gladio joked, thankfully getting the hint. Probably.

“What’s this about escapades?” Noct was not so merciful, and that is why Gladio got all the ladies, Prompto thought to himself. Okay, yeah, it was always great to see him smile, just—not at Prompto’s expense!

“Hey, you guys told me to keep him busy!”

“And you did very well. I haven’t been ice skating since Noctis was a boy and that pond was rather scenic.” Ignis to the rescue even on his birthday, what a saint. He did fall into a thoughtful silence, looking like he was trying to find life’s answers in the present pile. “Though I had figured you out by then, of course. I am curious why you kept me preoccupied for so much longer than necessary.”

“Gladio wrecked the cake.”

“Okay, Princess,” he dismissed. “Told you to set the timer.”

“And I told you I was busy.”

“Never heard you.”

“Getting old already,” Noctis said like he was in mourning, giving as good as he got and ducking out of a headlock from Gladio by just a hair. He’d better be faster than Gladio after all that childhood of training with him.

“Regardless of the kitchen mishaps I’ll contend with later,” Ignis got their attention back. “Thank you. I admit, I am at a loss for what else I might say.”

“No big deal,” Noctis answered, obviously proud of himself. “You could start by having dinner. I’m dying to try these skewers,” he suggested, leading the way to the meal.

“Speaking of that, I do believe Prompto owes me a standing offer to help with dinner.” Ignis picked up his own plate and shot Prompto a smile. “An awfully easy suggestion when you know there’s takeout on the table, hm?”

“You don’t have to resort to birthday blackmail, dude. I got your back,” Prompto promised. And snagged a plate of his own, he had to get to this food before the big guy got it all. “Still, though. Uh, happy birthday, Ignis.”


Support your artists:

Commission writing

Patron_Button.JPGBuy me a ko-fi

full moon through a window on a cloudy night

A Way Forward: Kingdom Hearts Fanfiction

Word count: 679 (2 to 6 minutes) | Rating: T | Note: Spoilers, nightmares, scarring, and canon character death | Characters: Ienzo, Axel, and Riku Replica


“He’s as good a place to start as any.”

He didn’t need a heart to feel the fear cut into him. “You can’t do this,” Zexion insisted, barely able to stand upright, never mind fight back. And yet he tried as the Riku replica slammed him into the wall as easily as if he were a paper doll. The magic channeled between them was searing and numbing all at once as the hand closed around his throat.

An exact recreation of the person he just fought and nearly lost to stared at him, smirking as darkness ate the edge of Zexion’s vision—and his form. His hands grabbed at the replica’s arm holding him above the floor and tightening on his neck as the magic continued eroding his body. Zexion could calculate the very rate of the energy transfer from his heartless body to that of the Riku replica, and he did not have long now. Yet his greatest fear was in not knowing what was to come after.

Would he be with Lexaeus and Vexen? Would this distant, aching pain endure into that next life? Smoke billowed around his hands, and his grip failed. Zexion could only barely make out Axel watching him die on his deceptive suggestion, eyelids fluttering shut while the last of him transferred to the replica.

Deplorable. What of the ties that held us together, Axel?

Ienzo jolted from sleep with a gasp, keenly aware of the cold Radiant Garden castle air. Perhaps because the faded navy blanket was on the floor and his grey sheets were tangled around his legs. Certainly, the sweat soaking his long-sleeved turtleneck sleep shirt didn’t help the matter.

“Just a dream,” he breathed, reassuring himself against the tingling, burning sensation around the scar on his neck and trying to slow the thundering heartbeat in his chest. How interesting that the sleeping world could follow him into the real one so intensely.

The first order of business was to free his legs, getting up from the bed to change his shirt. Whatever he chose to do next, he wouldn’t be comfortable in that. He paused for only a moment to calm himself further and took a moment to appreciate the silver-blue glow of moonlight washing over his familiar bedroom.

This room had been his before the Organization and fall of Radiant Garden, though all but the furniture was new. Well, aside from the bed. He didn’t grow to be tall, but he had indeed grown since he was a little boy.

Peeling his shirt off and into the hamper, Ienzo took a towel from his armoire drawers to dry off the residual sweat. He tossed that in the hamper as well and paused again, this time by the mirror. Even in the late evening light—or was it early morning?—the scars were too visible. Ienzo traced the path from his neck scar to the Lichtenberg-like scarring splintering out and down his torso and arms.

He had some muscle definition now, at least. Perhaps because he was slight as it was, but he preferred to credit the short exercise routine that Aeleus and Dilan devised for him at his request. Still, he did not look well. Pale with tired eyes, Ienzo felt only a glance would betray how truly fragile he felt in this life. And he resented that fact completely.

Everyone was recovering. He didn’t need to match their pace, but he refused to slow them down. Ienzo picked up his latest book from the nightstand along with his gummi phone, leaving his bedroom to warm up water for tea. Returning to sleep was not an option, not after a nightmare like that one. He had tried in the past with little success. More often, he was greeted with another nightmare if sleep came at all.

He would overcome this too, in time. He had to. There was too much on the line and more still to make up for. Ienzo may be haunted by the past, but he would find the path to this future in those mistakes.


Support your artists:

Commission writing

Patron_Button.JPGBuy me a ko-fi

Ienzo and Demyx in Radiant Garden

Red String of Fate: Zemyx KH Fanfiction

The corridor came out on a wooded path dotted with large rocks and tall grass. Zexion read plenty in the past life and this one, so he had expected as much from The Land of Dragons.

 

“Hey, uh,” Demyx started up with his usual preface of needless words as his mouth caught up to his mind. After instructing him in recon over several assignments, Zexion had grown accustomed to the musical member’s many quirks. “What kinda trees are these? They’re like grass but sticks but trees.”

 

Giving his attention to the woods, Zexion examined them briefly. “I don’t recognize every species,” he explained, knowing there were others than what we would or could mention. Turning to Demyx, he continued. “But I believe you mean the bamboo trees.”

 

And as his gaze turned to the blond, he caught sight of a thin red cord. It was only for a moment, and the thread was gone when he simply looked. And yet… He did see it. Reversing his magic, Zexion tried to look through any illusions in place around Demyx or himself only to have the red string reappear.

 

It hung in a way that betrayed physics, almost appearing to float between its two anchors: one little finger on Demyx and Zexion respectively.

 

“Umm, whatcha looking at?” Demyx interrupted his thoughts. Zexion dropped the magic from his view and the string disappeared. “There’s a big monster behind me, huh?”

 

Zexion smirked. So he couldn’t see it. That made sense, given that his ability didn’t lend itself to seeing what was hidden. That made it all that much easier to mislead him and avoid questions that Zexion had no answers for—yet. “Maybe.”

 

And he turned around to continue down the path. After a small, nervous whine, Demyx followed a few paces behind. He was taller with a longer stride and easily could’ve gone ahead, but that would be work and his laziness was legendary.

 

…perhaps during their reconnaissance, Zexion might gain more information on this thread.

 


 

They gathered their data largely unnoticed, though Demyx was markedly less subtle about it… Zexion couldn’t deny that he at least got results even if he didn’t report on his findings properly.

 

“This world is threatened by war,” Zexion remarked out loud as he retraced their original path with Demyx. Thinking aloud was an old habit from his last life, one he’d yet to shed—to his own chagrin. “Heartless are sure to follow.”

 

Soon, this world would be a prime location for the dark power those creatures could offer the Organization. Xigbar would likely be sent in that case to recruit anything or anyone of value to their efforts. Though this did nothing to solve the red thread mystery, and it was irritating Zexion to even consider that they would RTC with that unresolved. And yet, he would sooner fade away than entrust Xigbar with that information.

 

“Super tough Heartless,” Demyx agreed. “Hope they don’t send me here when stuff goes down.”

 

Zexion sighed. Truthfully, he would be good in the field of he wasn’t… Himself. “What makes you say they would be tough?”

 

“The people,” he answered matter-of-factly. Zexion found that simply asking Demyx what he thought cut out most of the floundering and sputtering other members faced from him. “Gathering up their stuff, you can tell they’re used to fighting, and they got a culture packed with all kindsa gods and beasties.”

 

Glancing to him, Zexion finally started to take visual stock of what Demyx picked up. His arms were full of hastily wrapped up finger foods (entirely useless to the Organization) and some children’s toys and books that added only slightly more credibility to his work today.

 

In that these items were often designed to demonstrate the foundation of a world’s culture in an easily understood format, it would aid the next members assigned here in understanding how to navigate their society. Though this was undoubtedly not Demyx’s intent.

 

And still trailing between them was the mystical thread—almost as a mockery at this point in their mission.

 

“Plenty for Heartless to draw on,” Demyx whined, unaware he was being studied so closely. “So it’s gonna be a huge mess. Here, listen,” was the only warning he gave before jostling everything around in his arms to get to one of the books.

 

“The red string of fate,” he mused aloud. One he hadn’t read yet, then. “Huh. Where destinies meet,” Demyx started reading in a lilting tone reserved for material he actually wanted to look over, “an invisible red cord shall be tied by the gods.”

 

Demyx continued undaunted by the sudden tension in Zexion’s body language. If indeed, he noticed at all. He was a scientist, and Zexion believed in neither gods nor destiny. But he listened intently, incredulous that it would be Demyx who found the answers he was after while still in his training phase.

 

“Those found in the embrace of a single thread shall embrace one another as decided by fate, buh buh buh,” the musician trailed off to skim for something that interested him more. “Destiny shall guide them to unite as they are bound by true love. Whoa.”

 

“Definitely matters of the heart,” Zexion forced himself to answer levelly. And of course it worked—illusion was his specialty in more ways than one.

 

“Whatcha make of it, Zex?”

 

He sighed, turning to Number IX and catching the glimpse of the red string once again. It could not be. Even if it was the case and their match was inevitable…

 

“A meaningless legend, no doubt,” he dismissed. “Though one they must hold in high regard.” He examined Demyx one last time to be certain that, yes, the string between them was truly there. At the castle, it would disappear again and he could eventually forget this… Though he knew he wouldn’t. “Are we ready to return now?”

 

“Uhh, guess so. I’m all set, anyway.”

 

“Let’s see it, then.” Demyx was nearly done his supervised training and would soon go on recon alone. All the better for Zexion. He did not believe in fate. “You won’t always have someone to call on a corridor for you,” he teased as a distraction from the situation in his mind.

 

“Yeah, yeah,” the musician sighed, reaching out to help himself focus and amazingly dropping nothing. After a few seconds, the corridor swirled open. “Ha! Got it.”

 

“Not bad,” Zexion conceded. “But you will want to improve your speed. In an emergency, a hasty retreat may be your only option.” Without waiting, he went ahead to the castle to the fading sound of Demyx spluttering about what kind of emergency that might be.


Support your artists:

Commission writing

Patron_Button.JPGBuy me a ko-fi

Riku, Sora, Kairi from left to right

Destined to Be: Kingdom Hearts Fanfiction

They had a rare free day, and Kairi suggested they take a break with it. Sora didn’t miss a beat and suggested San Fransokyo immediately. And who was Riku to argue? There were plenty of places Sora went that they hadn’t even heard of, never mind seen. He wanted a chance to see everywhere Sora had been and for Kairi to be at their side.

“Riku,” Sora broke through his thoughts, tugging on Riku’s sleeve and making the bags in his hand crinkle together. “Check it out!”

“What is it, Sora?” He didn’t explain, of course, just ran off into a massive toy store full of giant stuffed animals, blinking robots, and other things Riku didn’t recognize. He smiled, shaking his head, and waited behind. Kairi would be back any minute—someone should be here.

“He’s at it again?” Riku turned to Kairi’s smile, two bags in her hand from the shop behind her. Just putting together some outfits not made from fairies made her feel more at home, she said. Now that she’d thought of it, Riku was sure he’d do the same soon enough.

“Yep. You know him,” he answered warmly, nodding to the game store. Sora wouldn’t go far, he knew that without even looking yet.

And sure enough, Sora looked up from the toy train track just long enough to wave to Kairi with a big, boyish grin.

To both of them, actually. Sometimes it was so hard to believe they are all in the same space at last. Ready to face Xehanort together once and for all… But first, some time just… Together.

Kairi waved back, a broad wave with a bright smile in return. “I missed this.”

Years ago, back on the islands, he might’ve teased her. Expressing what he thought and felt seemed so impossible then. They’d all come so far since their childhood… “I know how you feel. It’s been way too long.” There was so much more to say, but none of it seemed to fit into words the way he wanted it to.

So he held out his hand, offering to take her bags too. Kairi just shook her head. “Oh, it’s alright! You don’t have to do everything yourself, you know.”

Teasingly, she nudged his shoulder and they both laughed—for a moment. Kairi trailed off into a sigh, turning to look out the large windows overseeing the city. Nothing like the islands he felt so trapped on, and so much more than he could ever have imagined. How weird was it that now, sometimes he wished he could go back?

“Being kids,” Kairi thought out loud, “We’re here doing what other people our age do all the time…” Finally turning to him again, her smile was steady.

But there was a trace of remorse in the ocean of her eyes. All those years, she waited without a complaint and only now did Riku realize she’d never talked to him about how that must’ve felt. “And together at last. Thank you, Riku.”

Caught off guard, his eyes widened. “Huh?” What did he do to earn that?

Kairi just giggled, leading him toward the toy store. “You helped him find his way back.”

Thinking back, she had a point… But they were the reason he had the strength to do that for Sora. Riku learned his lesson about being too prideful. “And you helped him see through to me when my face wasn’t my own.” He smiled her way, moving closer to keep together through the crowd. “We all fought for this, Kairi.”

Her smile softened, the sorrow vanishing from her gaze. Riku knew well that it just retreated to greater depths, still there and waiting for her to talk about it—when she was ready. He nodded to her. He would be patient, then.

“C’mon, you guys!” Sora rushed out of the store to meet them, practically bouncing with excitement. “You gotta see what they have!”

Riku had to chuckle at the sight. Sora really was incredible—he’d seen so many places, achieved so much, and that did nothing at all to his natural curiosity. To him, there really was beauty in everything. “Coming, Sora.”

Breaking out into a grin, Kairi matched his energy. “I haven’t gotten a toy in years! I wanna see all the best ones.”

Sora lit up, both of them feeding into each other. “You got it!” And he took her by the arm in a second, the two running ahead of Riku trailing with most of the bags.

“Right behind you!” He would catch up, that much was sure. In more ways than one. After all this time, Riku finally had the strength to protect what mattered.


Support your artists:

Commission writing

Patron_Button.JPGBuy me a ko-fi

A New Ally: Luxord Fanfic (Kingdom Hearts)

After he’d emerged from his comatose-esque state, Luxord tried his luck with poker against the second member of the Organization several times. Of course, they were both cheating, though Luxord still won more often than not… But Xigbar was simply not good for his debts.

 

The scarred Number II offered neither munny nor precious information about the secretive group Luxord found himself in. Only cheeky grins and partial might-be-truths. So Luxord simply stepped down a rung. Before him now sat Xaldin in a rare moment in the castle, not on some world seeking leverage for their shared cult. If Xaldin was aware he was being manipulated by “Lord” Xemnas, he had an excellent poker face. Everything he did, he carried out with the resolution and fervor of a true believer.

 

“It can still go either way,” he commented, breaking up the typical near-complete silence of their games. To Luxord’s surprise, he got a smirk in return this time.

 

More fascinating still, he did not cheat even once. Three games had transpired already and all with fair play. Considering that Xaldin had proven himself willing to sink to any low in service of the Organization, Luxord certainly wasn’t expecting morality of him. Not even among so-called allies.

 

“And here Xigbar told me you were a dirty cheat,” he answered, or maybe mocked was the more fitting term.

 

Luxord chuckled at the mental image of how Xigbar, of all people, might call someone ‘a dirty cheat’. “And did he catch fire on the spot?”

 

“Not yet,” he scoffed, and was that a smile? Be still his nonexistent heart, the man did know how to have fun after all.

 

They ended the game in silence, Xaldin leaving his payment behind for having lost—or rather, upon recounting, Luxord realized it was only half this time. He glanced up to Number III with an inquisitive smirk.

 

“When’s the next game?” Ah. The implication was he would get the remainder then, was it? Luxord sat back and nodded amicably.

 

“Next week, same time. Invite who you like.” He lied in that he had no plans for a next game until he was asked. But for his very first companion here, shall he say, it was well worth the small deception.


Support your artists:

Patron_Button.JPGBuy me a ko-fi

Sickness of the Dark

He was used to pain. Master Xehanort’s training was brutal, relentless. It’s part of why Vanitas was as powerful as he was. No one was going easy on him, and he’d destroy them if they tried.

But this? This was hell. The fever had him coated in sickly sweat that clung to him, every muscle aching at the slightest motion. And Vanitas wasn’t making a secret of it.

“Quit whining,” Repliku teased, his footsteps echoing in the barren room over to Vanitas’ bed. A heap of warm blankets fell on him, and Vanitas pulled them around him instantly.

Glaring out of the blanket cave with watchful gold eyes, he bit back, “This is worse than death. Go to hell.”

kingdom hearts vanitas close

“You have the flu,” his training partner corrected, a smug smirk coming to his stupid face. He dropped a box of tissues and a steaming bowl on the upturned box by the bed.

Turning back and dragging a chair over to the bed, Repliku offered up a bottle with a tiny cup over the lid. “Take this, and you can stop being such a baby.”

“Bite me.” Vanitas still reached past the overlapping blankets to grab the bottle and pull it into his lair.

“Not a chance. You’re infected.” Repliku chuckled at his own joke, and Vanitas heard him take a seat in the battered chair as it creaked. He threw the tiny plastic cup out at the silver-haired loser; what did he need it for anyway?

“The hell are you doing?”

“Isn’t it obvious? Watching over you.”

He didn’t have an answer to that, not yet. Did he think he was weak? What was this supposed to mean? Vanitas scowled and wrenched the bottle’s lid off, almost breaking it more than removing it, and had a drink.

…Immediately coughing. He couldn’t shove the bottle out fast enough to Repliku. “This is nasty. You trying to kill me?”

His ally’s callused fingers brushed against Vanitas’ hand as he took the disgusting medicine back. “So sorry, princess,” he taunted with a laugh. “They only had cherry, not grape.”

“Gross,” he snapped back, like that wasn’t obvious enough already. What an idiot, remembering the flavor he liked just to not get it.

He wriggled his way to an opening in the blanket, frowning at Repliku. “That bowl better have something good to make up for it.”

“Already so demanding.” He still passed the bowl to Vanitas, who took it and nudged at the onions in it with a spoon. Why’d he keep bringing gross stuff? “You must be feeling better.”

“Whatever,” he muttered. “What do you want, anyway?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Vanitas rolled his eyes at that answer, not that Repliku bothered looking at him instead of the wall. No, loser, that’s why I asked. “I want my partner back.”

He felt the power of the Unversed pulling at him, eager to be called out. Vanitas learned to control them, so he held it back… The uncertainty. Or something like it, whatever. It’d been a while for that one, tch. What was he thinking, saying lame stuff like that?

“It’s boring, making fun of the others on my own. And no one spars like you. They cheat or don’t even try,” Repliku spat, his face contorting to a cutting scowl. “So.” His expression softened, a familiar grin taking over as he looked at Vanitas. “Now do you get it?”

riku replica kingdom hearts repliku chain of memories castle oblivion

Vanitas pulled back into the blankets, eating the soup in the dark there as his face warmed up. Maybe it was the soup or his breath heating up the blanket cave, there was no way he was blushing. He wasn’t weak, overcome by feelings all the time like Ventus.

“Yeah, yeah,” he shot back. “I’ll be fine in a couple hours. Then I’ll kick your ass.”

“Ha!” One sharp laugh, that was better than any stupid medicine. Finally, Vanitas had someone he could count on, not like any of those pathetic wimps.

He didn’t need Repliku, not like Ventus and his friends, and he wouldn’t turn on him for some dumb fake power play. They were both strong enough already. “I’ll hold you to it.”

Have a Good Scare

“Weeeird!” Demyx squeaked, twisting around and bending his arms to look at the fins sprouting from his limbs. Thin fog sat close to the ground in the graveyard and Jack o’ lanterns were skewered on wrought iron fence posts over the headstones. A grinning scarecrow pointed further into the world where Xigbar was assigned with Demyx to scope the place out. This was his first big mission without Vexen nagging him— or instructing, he called it. Not that it meant Xigbar was about to give blondie a break.

“Hey, ‘s no big deal.” Xigbar shrugged it off. “What, this your first transformation?” He nodded to Demyx, a smirk on his face. He could feel stitches pulling on his skin, but it didn’t hurt a bit. So he was some kind of Frankenstein’s monster and Demyx was a creature from a lagoon. If nothing else, at least the sneaky little slacker would get a chance to be scary for once in his life.

“Uhh… Yes?” Demyx frowned in confusion, but that got him standing still for a change. Sure, Xigbar recruited the kid for the cause, but even he had his doubts sometimes that he was really cut out to wear the cloak. Not that it mattered much in the grand scheme of things, anyway. And hey, Xigbar liked having someone fun around for once. The others were so uptight all the time, and when he ran out of munny to lose to Luxord (and steal back later), Demyx was always right there and ready to prank and be pranked.

“Ha! What’re you asking me for?” He shook his head, chuckling. “Don’t you know for sure?”

“Well, yeah, it’s just, couldn’t we go a place that’s less…” He tugged at the tattered, faded shirt hanging loosely over his scaled skin, eyeing the area now instead of dwelling on his new form.

“Less what?” Xigbar knew the answer, but he had to lead the kid on. Where’s the fun in not doing that? For a guy told all the time that he didn’t have a heart, Demyx sure gave the best reactions to his feelings. If people took him more seriously, that might’ve been a problem. Lucky for the both of them that he did barely enough to not be turned into a Dusk, then.

“Ah, y’know, it’s kinda…” Demyx dragged it out, leaning to look past Xigbar into the dark, shadowy town through the iron gate. “Kinda scary here.”

“Scary? As if!” Xigbar turned around, waving over his shoulder as he went ahead toward the town. “You don’t even exist, remember? Not like you can die again, Dem. What’s to be scared of, huh?”

Demyx groaned, shuffling along in awkward steps. He was never a graceful guy, but from the sounds of his steps, the transformation really screwed up his stride with all those fins made for swimming, not walking. “Fiiiine. Just a quick look, yeah? Then we run back and RTC?”

demyx1631438551.png

“Nah, we gotta get the whole job done right.” Not his favorite thing to do either, but what can you do? “Check your little card— says we gotta team up, infiltrate the world, and get intel. Maybe you like Saïx yelling at you all the time, but I didn’t sign up for that.”

“Okay, okay,” he begrudgingly agreed, trotting to catch up with Xigbar. Demyx was even quiet for almost a full thirty seconds when he found his nasally voice again. “Do you, uhh… D’ya hear that?”

Xigbar stopped, focusing on their surroundings when he heard a tune in the air. “Singing?” Of course he noticed the music before Xigbar did.

“It’s our town, everybody scream,” shrill voices sang, but even Xigbar was running into trouble placing exactly where the singers were. “In this town of Halloween!”

Whisps of white blurred around them and Demyx let out a shriek, bubbles forming and dissolving as he realized the ghosts already took off again. What, was Xigbar s’posed to pretend he didn’t see that? Turn a blind eye? The bad joke to himself just made him laugh harder.

“C’mon, man,” Demyx whined, rubbing his arm self-consciously. He really was a terrible swamp monster. “You’ve been laughing like that forever…”

“Exaggeration, much?” It’d been, what, maybe a few seconds. Not Xigbar’s fault he was self-conscious about being a scaredy-cat. “‘Sides, you’re in for a lot worse than that. You hear them over your squealing?”

“H-hey, it’s not a squeal, it’s— Enngh, never mind.” Dem caught sight of his smirk and dropped it then and there. He knew a losing battle when he saw one, even if he always just ran away from ‘em. “They sang about a town of Halloween, so that’s gotta be here. I mean, just look at the place. Spooky.”

“Oh, so you do listen?”

“Huh?” He tried playing innocent, scratching his cheek absently and avoiding all eye contact. As if that was gonna make him more believable. “Umm. Sometimes.”

“Uh-huh, sure,” Xigbar dismissed with a sneer. He could taunt Demyx about that all he wanted on this mission, but they did actually have work to do before the day was out and Saïx had a fit. Xigbar outranked him and all, but he was easier to deal with once he had what he wanted. “Alright, time to dig up some intel. Fear’s a good emotion to keep folks in check, so I betcha Lord Xemnas will love hearin’ about this.”

“Yeah, probably,” Demyx agreed half-heartedly, kicking a pebble along the graveyard pathway. “He already scares me a lot, an’I… Xiggy?” When the musician kid wasn’t looking, Xigbar used his powers to teleport himself behind him. No harm in a little prank, right? ‘Course not. “Haha, reeaally funny, you… Ya got me.” Man, that nervousness was too real. The little water spout actually liked him, imagine that! He wasn’t gonna last long in the ranks at that rate.

Xigbar teleported himself behind Demyx this time and whispered, “Gotcha.”

“Eek!” Demyx elbowed him in the stomach, hard, and Xigbar coughed out a laugh.

“Look at you! Got some fight in you after all, just gotta scare it outta you first.”

“Wha? Me?” Demyx gestured to himself, panic in his amphibious eyes. This world really went all out on the transformation bit, not that it did a damn thing for the kid. “No, no, no, I just… It was instinct! C’mon, can’t we just look around and, I dunno, not scare me?”

“Ha! Not a chance. I’m just blending in, Dem,” he teased, empty friendliness and sarcasm giving his words an edge. “You really oughta do the same or they’ll find out you’re chicken.”

Demyx’s brow furrowed again and he stuck his tongue out, touching the end of it. “Ennnh, I bi’ my tongue!”

“Not even listening to me, what’re we gonna do with you?” He clapped Demyx on the back once, walking ahead. “I’ll show you how it’s done.”

“Really?!” Demyx brightened from his voice to his eyes, a light chuckle not far behind. So easily pleased, so easily scared. He had a heart, alright. Just a matter of time before he pieced that little fact together, but that was a problem for the future. As if he’d even act on it— this was Demyx, the king of lazing around in closets, the Grey Room, and anywhere he thought he’d get away with it. Even if he figured out part of their scam, it’s not like he was gonna do anything about it. “Hey, thanks, Xiggy!”

“It’s my job, Dem,” Xigbar reminded him drily. “Just be glad they sent me along to help you out and not cranky, old Vexen.”

Hearts’ Reunion: Zemyx

“I’m sorry you had to see me that way, Demyx,” Ienzo explained. It wasn’t much of a greeting for their agreed upon “chat” in the labs, but it had to be said sooner rather than later. Demyx seemed uncomfortable in the moment between Ienzo and Ansem the Wise, and it took Demyx speaking up for him to even realize that. Ienzo shook his head at such a serious oversight. And to think he believed he’d improved so much in understanding social cues since recompletion. He was proud of it, even.

“Nah, it’s no big deal,” Demyx dismissed with a wave, or as much of one as he could manage with two cups in his hands. Thick straws jutted out of the plastic film covering them and dark spheres sat at the bottom inch or two. Ienzo eyed the drinks, glancing up to Demyx questioningly. This was not part of their plans for this reunion and he couldn’t resist his curiosity.

A trait Demyx knew well from his regular visits to see him in the castle labs. He avoided his missions at all costs, but Demyx certainly always found time for social calls… Which led to their friendship and eventually evolved into something quite a bit more despite their lack of hearts. Pushing that thought away for now, Ienzo drew himself back to the present and willed his mind to stay on track.

“I just wasn’t really sure how to handle it. And, uhh, the others might’ve caught on if I dragged my feet.” After a thoughtful pause and a pout, he laughed. “Eventually. And Vexen, man, he is a terrible liar! He’d probably get me into more trouble with whatever story he cooked up.”

Ienzo chuckled at the thought. Even could keep his fair share of secrets, but it’s true that he had insufficient skills in impromptu lies. Given time to plan, at least, Even could deceive as well as any of them. But he had another question to address. “Demyx, what are those…?” He pointed to the cups and Demyx started as if he had completely forgotten they were there. Perhaps he had.

“Oh! Right!” He offered one to Ienzo, smiling from ear to ear. “You gotta try this! There’s a world out there with this stuff called bubble tea,” he answered with a shake of the cup he held out. The black orbs in the bottom jostled about to demonstrate his point that they were the reason for the name. Rather, Ienzo presumed that was the case. “I wanted to surprise ya, so I went with something I thought you’d like.”

“Thank you, but,” he trailed off, folding his arms as he examined the drink. “What is it, exactly? You’ve brought me a fair share of tea, but never anything like this.”

“I found it out—” Demyx cut himself off with a grumble, frowning. “Doing stuff.” Ienzo raised an eyebrow at that. Had Demyx taken up pretending his missions with the Organization didn’t exist? They were both well aware that he’d been deceived back into their ranks, so there was nothing to benefit from acting as though that wasn’t the case.

“It’s tea with some flavored milk, sugar, and they let you put a buncha stuff in it. I stuck with the classic chewy tapioca because the popping boba has this little flim that gets stuck in your teeth, and it’s just kinda weird. Still fun, though, you gotta try that next,” he ended through a giggle.

“Well, thank you,” Ienzo accepted, taking the cup from Demyx. “And now that we’re… getting to chat, I have some questions for you.”

“Huh?” Demyx fiddled with the straw in his cup, angling for the tapioca. “Umm, sure. Shoot.”

“The time at the castle… When we were both with the Organization, I…” Ienzo idly moved the cup around in his hands, busying himself to steady his mind. “Did it mean something to you?” It came out harsher than he meant it to. But what other way was there to ask and get an honest answer?

“You mean dating?” Demyx had a sip of his drink at the single worst time for Ienzo’s nerves, meeting his distressed gaze over the tea. “Aaah. I mean, sure. Even if it was in secret and all, like you wanted, I really lo— Sorry, sorry. I really like you.”

Ienzo sighed in relief, but it seemed there were more problems to resolve. “You can say love, Demyx. And I’m sorry I told you that you couldn’t before. Without believing I had a heart, I…” He shook his head, staring down at his untouched tea. “That was in the past, I suppose.”

Demyx watched him hopefully, brow furrowed but his smile intact. “Right, gotcha. I, uhh, I love you, so yeah, it, umm, it meant a lot to me, Zexion.”

“Please, call me Ienzo,” he diverted, not prepared for his confession even though he had prompted it. “I acknowledge that I am responsible for my actions as a Nobody, but I am using my human name now, and I… I love you as well.” To preoccupy himself, Ienzo finally had a sip of the tea. “Oh, this is delicious.”

“Ha! Called it!”

Pawns on the Board

KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.8 FINAL CHAPTER PROLOGUE

Staring out the window at Kingdom Hearts and its pale glow, Xemnas reflected upon the current status of his plans— and the pawns in them. The greatest among them were a select few Organization members who believed they had greater significance on the chessboard. Those who aimed to prove their loyalty in earnest. Zexion, of course, was perhaps even more dedicated to Xemnas than Ienzo had been to Ansem. The thought brought him a biting satisfaction that could be likened to happiness.

Of course, Lord Xemnas knew they had an ability to regain their hearts should one pursue it. By convincing them that this was beyond their grasp without his aid, he controlled all the Organization members. A heart did not need to be complete to be receptive to seeds of doubt or empty convictions. Though they still lacked their final member, the certainty with which those already present held to this falsehood would be the only requirement to convince Number XIII of its veracity as well.

This fact brought Xemnas to consider his most determined pawn of all. Saïx was a relatively unexpected addition to their ranks, as was Axel. Unlike his former companion, Number VII instantly set to proving his worth within the Organization upon becoming a Nobody. Lord Xemnas saw it in his eyes— a resolute conviction so intense that its origins could only have been a memory from his old life. There was no finer motivation for Saïx himself to build his heartless non-existence around, and no better instrument for Xemnas to manipulate him with.

“Lord Xemnas,” the subject of his thoughts interrupted. “I have compiled the mission reports for your review.”

“As expected,” Xemnas responded, turning to face the self-appointed administrator of Organization XIII. It was convenient that he had done so. The members who had an inclination for order and paperwork managed to have even less patience for underachievers such as Demyx and could not be troubled to maintain the digitized filing system Saïx had arranged for their archives. Yet by far, the finest attribute of Number VII was his readiness to understand and excel at any expense.

“Before you begin,” he started, talking decisive steps towards his protégé— or perhaps project was the more suitable term. “I will impart another lesson to you. Though we lack hearts ourselves,” he stated to reinforce the myth, addressing both himself and Saïx in a fluid gesture. “Each of us recalls the memories of possessing one.”

“I understand,” Saïx acknowledged. His intense watchfulness fixated on Xemnas, the golden hue of his eyes and jagged scarring representing all that Saïx was willing to sacrifice for these fragments of knowledge.

“Your aptitude for injuring a heart,” Xemnas began, each word weighted and precise. “Will prove to be invaluable in realizing the future we desire.”

Saïx nodded, his grip tightening on the reports almost imperceptibly. “I would do anything to secure our goals.”

Lord Xemnas knew fully that this was not the whole of the truth. That meant little to him in the strategy for this piece on the board. Saïx’s blindness to his own readability that made his manipulation that much more rewarding. Every Nobody to don the cloak had been instrumental in creating the mental prisons they confined themselves within. Few were so rewarding to lead ever deeper into imprisonment as the Luna Diviner.

“Good,” he answered, pausing. “Bear in mind that you have tremendous power over those with hearts or even those who succumb to illusions of their former heart.” Lord Xemnas recognized a shadow of a smile in Saïx’s expression and continued on. “Pain, doubt, insecurity… Knowing which emotion will lead to which action will be of great use to us. How else would one direct the pawns to precisely where they must go to secure our hearts?” It was but a moment that Saix permitted his gaze to rest on Kingdom Hearts beyond Xemnas, and yet, it betrayed more still of his aspirations. Despite all his pretense in acceptance of the shattered void where his heart once resided, Number VII longed for its return. Truly, he was an ideal pawn that would sacrifice it all for hollow promises in return. “Refining your skill in manipulating hearts… This is the lesson I will impart to you time and again in preparation of what is to come.”

“Yes, Lord Xemnas,” Saix agreed without hesitation.

 

Guiding Light: SoRiku & TerraVen

sora riku soriku kingdom hearts

Returning to Ventus and Aqua was more than Terra ever hoped for. He truly thought he’d never be at their side again, never to train or sit beneath the same stars. But here he was after training with Aqua and Ventus, taking a seat outside the café in Twilight Town like any normal person would. They were there to get ready for the coming battle against Xehanort, but… Terra couldn’t resist a smile, however small.

“Terra,” Riku interrupted his thoughts. He had a hand of the back of the chair across from Terra and he gestured to it with his free hand. “Mind if I join you?”

“Of course not.” Seeing Riku grown up was… Time was hard to keep track of after all Terra went through. So he was careful to look at Riku as naturally as he could, not showing any disbelief he might be feeling.

“I’ve been meaning to talk to you, but it’s been—” Riku shook his head and Terra nodded. He knew all too well what Riku meant.

“Crazy, I know. It still doesn’t feel real some days.” He knew Aqua felt the same sometimes, but she worked through her troubles in her own way. And it didn’t work the same way for Terra. In the short silence afterwards, he had time to wonder why Riku wanted to talk— and he was sure it had to do with his own fall to Darkness. “I heard about what happened with you, Riku. I’m just glad you found your way back to the light. I took too long, but… I came back because of Ven.”

Riku breathed a laugh, a sure sign Terra hit the nail on the head. At least for one of the thoughts weighing on the younger Keybearer. “And Sora helped me.”

“The two of them are amazing, aren’t they?” He’d also heard of Sora protecting Ven’s heart while he slept and recovered, so he had to believe the bright-eyed friend of Riku’s was a lot like Ven. “Shining on everyone they meet like a million lanterns.”

“Or all the stars on a clear night,” Riku added, lost in his own thoughts for a second. A shadow crossed his eyes and his brow furrowed before he looked Terra in the eye. “When you were in the Darkness…”

“Every light I saw, I thought it was him.” In just a glance, Terra could tell Riku had the same experience when he was overcome by Darkness. They were alike in more ways than one, but to think he had to go through that alone across strange worlds, wishing he had the person he loved most at his side… It was all he could do to encourage Riku now. “Even when it wasn’t him, just the thought of him…” Terra trailed off, resting back against the chair. “I lost my body, my friends, and my home, but they couldn’t extinguish my heart.” He put his hand over his chest, continuing. “And it’s all because of Ven. I have him to thank for coming home.”

Riku smiled, propping his elbows up on the table between them. “We only met for a short time, Terra, but I knew we had a lot in common. I just didn’t know it was being lucky enough to have someone so bright to guide us home when we’d lost the way.”

“To have them love us.” Terra smiled at Riku’s surprise. He saw the moments Riku shared with Sora, and he recognized their bond as the one he shared with Ven. Even now, Terra was surprised himself that Ven asked him out. Maybe it was selfish, but he said yes because he couldn’t bring himself to say Ven could do better. “That’s another part that doesn’t feel real. But I’ll do my best to deserve it. To deserve him.”