thechosenkeybearer said: … Something wasn’t quite right. It had looked like the King… didn’t recognize his title. And there was something else, but Sora couldn’t quite put a finger on. He frowned just slightly, brow creasing with concern “… Everything alright, Mickey?
Mickey. His name. So the boy wasn’t mistaken. Did that mean- was he truly an honestly royalty? It would make sense. That would explain why everyone seemed to know him… but In that case, how did he end up in that scary cave earlier? What happened to him? Why-
He shook his head to clear his scattered thoughts.
“No… I don’t think I’m all right, pal…”
He knew it. He knew it. He could just tell that something just wasn’t right. Any trace of the grin vanished from Sora’s face, leaving the concerned frown in its place, and he knelt down to be more on the King’s level. “What’s the matter?” he asked quietly, tone laden with concern, “How can I help?”
Xemnas rolled his eyes again when Isa became like dead weight in his arms. “I hope you do realise how unnecessarily difficult you are making things when I will get my way in the end.” And with that he briefly, very briefly loosened his grip on Isa, only to hoist him up in his arms, carrying him bridal-style—except the fact that he held one arm drapped uncomfortably tight around Isa’s throat to keep him in place. The portal was near now.
Isa gave a snarl of fury, which was quickly choked off by the arm against his throat. That was the last straw, and Isa blanked out as his Berserking took hold. Ignoring the pressure on his throat, Isa reached up to try to claw at Xemnas’ face, kicking furiously and blasting waves of Darkness out of himself. He was not holding back even a little bit; he’d never wanted to eviscerate someone so badly in his life
Two chunks of ice and snow came hurtling out of nowhere, both aimed toward Xemnas. One of them missed him completely, where as the other clipped Xemnas’ ear. A warning, given by a very pissed off looking Keybearer holding his ground just a handful of yards away.
In a heartbeat the Keyblade was lowered and Sora fell into a tense, aggressive stance, visibly a hair’s breadth away from violently launching himself at the Nobody. “Let him go, Xemnas.” It was a demand, not a request.
Confusion made Axel shift his jaw. It called to mind a certain clone of Vexen’s that had been running around awry, as he recalled, and a clone in denial at that—not that the encounter had amounted to much when Axel’s attention shifted in the middle. A multiverse would explain that, but the thought of more of him crowding the worlds and stealing his thunder was so intolerable that Axel decided Sora must have hit his head somewhere.
Anyway, he was already smiling in spite of himself at Sora’s indignant response. The fact that Sora valued that connection enough to get huffy over an implication like that was…well, touching. There, he thought it.
“Well that’s for sure,” he said with a mischievous jade flash. ”Otherwise it’d be pretty tough to live on in your memories, if I had to.” It was unlike Axel not to jump on the debt in question, but recalling the way he’d acted back then made him want to scratch his head ruefully. So he pushed past the thought quickly. ”I take it you found her,” he added, eyes flicking up and down Sora to check for any grievous wounds from a clash with Xemnas that he might’ve overlooked.
Sora snorted, and any remaining indignation vanished to the wind. “Like I’d need a name to remember you after you pulled a stunt like that!” He leaned forward a bit with hands on his hips and a lopsided grin on his face to emphasize his point.
But even his goodnatured teasing couldn’t last long when faced with a statement like ‘I take it you found her.’ Sora scratched at his neck while both his posture and grin straightened out, the latter growing warmer and practically glowing with gratitude. And all the movement had the added bonus of showing off the fact that while he hadn’t gotten away from the fight totally unscathed- there were still a few pinkish scars here and there- he was in one piece and otherwise long-since healed.
“Yeah, I did. Or- well- Riku got to her first and had her safe by the time we got there,” Sora amended, more than willing to admit it, “But that doesn’t really matter. We got her back and took out Xemnas, and everyone’s finally home again. And that’s all that matters in the end.”
For once, Sora wasn’t racing around the worlds, getting into fights and saving people and making friends. He’d fought very hard for nearly two years to find all his friends and get back home, and he was damn well going to enjoy being home again. No matter what his learned wanderlust might want otherwise.
And so he was perched on the paopu tree, enjoying the sun and the smell and sound of the ocean. It was calm in ways he hadn’t gotten to enjoy in far too long. Not long ago, he had noticed a boat coming from the mainland, but Sora hadn’t registered it until he saw a very familiar redhead out of the corner of his eye, meandering along the beach. And the moment he saw her, a broad grin spread onto his face.
“Kairi!” Sora hollered, twisting around and leaning precariously off the tree so he could wave at her. “Hey, Kairi! Over here!”
“And you think that you’re one to talk? I had to save your sorry ass the very first time you got in any kinda real danger. So I guess that’d make you even weaker than me!”
“‘Ey, ‘ey, ‘ey. Easy there, little guy. Sure, maybe you’re the one that helped me from da start, but look who’s the one that made it all the way to the top as ‘Keyblade Master!’ So, in the end, that still makes me the strongest of us two, yo. Now amirite or amirite?”
“Strongest? Pfffffft, please. All that means is that between us, you’re the luckiest!
just because i could never beat you in a fight it doesn’t mean anything. Luck might be handy out in the Real World, but it doesn’t actually mean anything.”
Isa’s eyebrows shot straight up, his mouth hanging slightly ajar at how quickly and firmly Sora had promised to help him. He should have expected such a reaction, knowing Sora, and yet it still shocked him how readily Sora offered his help up. He really was something else. A soft, slightly wobbly smile spread onto his face, and Isa dropped his head with a brief exhalation.
“…and this is why the Keyblade chose you,” he muttered, more to himself than to Sora. He looked up again, meeting the young Keybearer’s eyes.
“…Thank you, Sora. That means…an awful lot to me.”
At the sight of Isa’s wobbly smile, Sora flashed an encouraging smile of his own. “Any time, Isa. Besides, I’d never ask you to do something like this by yourself. You’re my friend.” Sora placed his hand on Isa’s shoulder again, squeezing it reassuringly. “If you want to find him by yourself, then that’s fine. But if I’m right at your side if you want help.”
‘Might still be’ wasn’t a hell of a lot of hope to go on, but it was plenty for Sora. There were times he had gone on less, after all. And anyways, he wanted to see Isa happy. So even if it wasn’t a very big chance, Sora still planned to help anyway he could.
“I’m sure he will, if he’s anything like the one I met. That one is determined, even after everything that happened between them.” Isa smiled at Sora, though the expression was a bit tight around the edges. “…it gives me a lot of hope, to know even that couldn’t destroy his faith in his Isa.” Isa took a deep breath and let it out through his nose. “…that’s something I need. Not just to face down Xehanort, but…because I’ve found out my Lea might still be alive, as Axel. That he may have become a Nobody and been drawn into the Organization.”
Sora’s reply was instantaneous, utterly serious, and he was very careful to meet Isa’s eyes as he gave it. “If you need help finding him or getting him back or anything at all, just say the word. Me and Riku will be there in a heart beat to help you if you do.”
It wasn’t even something he needed to think about. If there was even a ghost of a chance that Isa’s Lea was alive, even if it was as a Nobody, than Sora was going to help him. And he had a sneaking suspicion that the Riku Isa knew felt the exact same way. “You’ll find him. I know you will.”
“A Heartless yourself?” Isa shuddered at the idea. “…It’s strange to think, but I suppose you could have been. Xehanort’s Heartless acts as much like a person as a monster like that is capable of.” Still, the idea didn’t sit at all well with Isa. Intelligent or not, he Did Not Like Heartless. It was also strange to hear his own home referred to as ‘Cid’s place’ while he was right there, but that was a weirdness that had nothing to do with this discussion.
“Saix,” Isa corrected Sora’s correction. “As long as he belongs to Xehanort, he’s Saix. The x’s in their names were the training sigels, so to speak, for the Organization members. That’s what marked them as potential vessels. Isa and Braig are still Saix and Xigbar as long as they’ve got part of Xehanort within them.” Actually, Xigbar had seemed actively offended at being called Braig. Which meant Isa had called him that just to piss him off more.
“Lea, though…I’m sure you’ll meet him again, too. I…know a Lea, from another timeline, from after the Organization. And if the Lea in your world is anything like him, well…there’s no way you can avoid meeting him.”
For a moment, Sora felt like insisting that he had been a Heartless and pushing the point. But honestly, to properly do so he’d have to go into the whole mess that was killing himself to save Kairi. And Sora didn’t really feel like going into all of that just then, and so he let it drop.
”- Alright, then. Saix it is.” At the mention of Lea, Sora couldn’t help but smile. “I’ve actually met a Lea from another timeline, too. And you’re right; it’s pretty much inevitable that my world’s Lea and I will meet. And I’m positive that he’ll help us save Saix.”