Kairi stepped out of the ship into the blinding afternoon sun. Cloud had parked the gummi ship near the woods that bordered the Balamb Gardens. A short hike found them at the gates of the gigantic military academy. Cloud scratched his head.
Fancy place Leon lives in, eh?
Kairi shook her head and smiled. They proceeded through the main gate and up the steps leading to the commons area. Students made their way through the various hallways, not giving the strange duo a second thought. Kairi quickly made her way around to the farthest end of the commons area, which held a hallway leading to the dormitories. Kairi found Squalls room, Cloud in tow, and opened the door. Squall sat on his bunk, polishing his Gunblade.
I figured youd be back, he said.
Im flattered that you have so much faith in me, Squall, Kairi replied, grinning.
Whos Squall? Cloud asked.
I am, Squall said, standing.
You told me your name was Leon, Cloud said, narrowing his eyes. Squall shrugged.
I was being pursued by the Heartless. What were my other choices?
Cloud huffed and leaned against a wall. Kairi shook her head smiling and turned to Squall. We need your help, she said.
Squall hefted his Gunblade onto his shoulder. Did you meet Sora in Midgar? Squall said.
Kairi opened her mouth and nodded. How did you know?
Lucky guess, Squall said, shrugging. Kairi eyed Squall suspiciously but nodded, and turned to leave.
I guess this makes us the new Trinity, Squall said. Cloud looked at him. Kairi thought for a moment.
Yeah...it does, she said, smiling. Suddenly her Keyblade appeared in her hand. It glowed blue and escaped her grasp to hang in midair. It spun for a moment, then returned to Kairis hand.
The new Trinity...I like that, Kairi said, staring at her blade.
* * * *
The sky parted as the gummi ship came in to land. Cloud steered the craft onto a large grassy plain and settled it down about a half an hours walk from the gates of Midgar.
So, we need to find the Keyhole for Fantasy World Seven? Squall asked. Kairi nodded. What makes you think its in Midgar? Isnt that a little obvious?
Too obvious. Theyre expecting us to overlook it, Cloud said. Squall narrowed his eyes but said nothing. The trio climbed out of the gummi ship and walked to Midgar. When they got a little ways in, they noticed something strange.
Notice those signs? They say Hail to the Black Army, long live Lord Barabas. What do you suppose that means? Kairi asked.
I dont know... Squall replied.
You got me, but theyre everywhere, Cloud said.
Suddenly a hand rested on Kairis shoulder. She started to turn but a familiar voice said, Stop. Dont turn. Just listen. Close your eyes.
Just do it!
Kairi obliged, and suddenly, she felt as if her stomach dropped at a fast rate. She tried to open her eyes, but they wouldnt. She tried to scream, but no sound came out. Then, as fast as it had happened, it stopped. Kairis eyes flew open and she gasped. Quickly spinning around, she faced the mysterious person. The young man had medium-length brown hair styled similar to Squalls. He wore a long black trenchcoat adorned with several chains and necklaces. Around his neck was a leather band, and attached to the band was a thin fishnet shirt. His pants had several areas where they could be zipped off, and he had about seven chains on each side.
Who are you? Kairi demanded. The young man smiled.
You dont recognize me?
Kairi studied the man closer. Suddenly, she realized...
Sora nodded. Kairi stared open-mouthed, unable to speak or move. She simply made a series of high-pitched squeaks. Sora waited until she could speak.
Because I am a wanted man. Youve seen the signs, Im sure, promoting the Black Army and Lord Barabas?
Kairi nodded blankly.
The Black Army refers to the Heartless. Barabas now controls them. I tried to break into his castle, but they found me. I managed to escape, but not before they could identify me. I had to change my whole appearance. I also gave myself a new name.
And it is?
Leon. Sora smiled.
Kairi managed a weak smile.
So whenever you speak to me in public, refer to me as Leon. Squall already knows about this, but Cloud doesnt. Youll tell him for me, wont you?
Kairi nodded. Suddenly, unable to contain herself, she rushed forward and embraced Sora.
Ive missed you so much, she said. Sora returned her embrace, and whispered,
Ive missed you as well.
* * * *
Kairi and Sora returned from the void. Cloud and Squall were waiting for them.
There you are! Wait, whos he? Cloud said, looking Sora over.
This is Sor...er...Leon, Kairi said. Cloud sighed.
How many people in this universe are named Leon?
It is good to see you again, Leon, Squall said, extending a hand. Sora shook it, smiling.
Cloud gasped. Oh, my god. Youre that kid! Youre -
Dont! Kairi said loudly. Cloud looked at her, puzzled. Kairi simply shook her head. His name is Leon, she said with emphasis. Cloud took the hint, and nodded.
I assume youre all heading for the you-know-what? Sora said. Squall nodded. Sora nodded back and turned to leave.
Where are you going now!? Kairi cried.
This is where I leave you to your own devices. Remember, I have a mission as well. I will see you again, dont worry. He stopped, then suddenly turned back around and embraced Kairi.
Remember what you said before? he whispered. Im always with you too. Ill come back to you...
* * * *
The trio made their way down the abandoned street. Up ahead of them was a gigantic circular structure, the main support of Midgar.
So you think its in that? Squall asked.
Cloud nodded. Im positive.
But you dont have any proof, Kairi said.
Cloud shook his head. Thats a given. War is always a guessing game. The only certainties in war are death and a common enemy.
Youre so optimistic, Cloud, Kairi said in a fake tone of adoration. Cloud rolled his eyes and flipped his hair back. They approached a door set in the side of the structure. Cloud opened it and, unsheathing his blade, jumped in.
Nothing happened. The room was empty. There were several metal grate catwalks lining the side of the room, and there was an enormous clearing in the middle with a few boxes scattered about. In the center of the clearing was a metal pole glowing blue. Squall and Kairi followed Cloud, both drawing their weapons.
Cloud pointed to the pole. Thats the main support for the city. Its made from the strongest steel known to man. Im pretty sure thats where the keyhole is.
What makes you think that? Squall asked.
Its so obvious, its gotta be the place, Cloud reasoned. Squall snorted.
As Kairi approached the pole, her keyblade began to shake. It glowed yellow first, but suddenly changed to a dark red.
What the...? Kairi gasped.
Thats a no-no, Keyblade Wielder, said a voice from the shadows. A man stepped from a dark corner of the room, high above on the catwalks. He was dark skinned, and his hair was in corn rows, pulled back across his skull and secured in the back with a headband set low on his head. He had a blood red, pointy goatee that stuck out from his chin a ways. He was shirtless, but two strips of fur cuffed the tops of his shoulders. His belt buckle bore the Heartless symbol, as did a tattoo on his left shoulder. His wore simple tan baggy pants and heavy combat boots.
My name is Barabas. You might have heard of me. I rule these worlds, and I command the Black Army.
Youre Barabas? You control the Heartless now? But...but how? Kairi asked.
It is...a gift. A special talent, one might say, Barabas replied.
Did you know Ansem? Squall asked.
Barabas stroked his goatee. Not personally. I was a guard at his castle. One of the best, if I do say so myself.
What happened to you after the Heartless took over Hollow Bastion? Cloud asked.
Barabas grinned. Quite an amazing story, actually. I fell unconscious, and when I awoke, I was in a completely different world. The locals told me I was in Fantasy World Seven, this world. Of course, I had no idea what that meant. I was just happy to be alive after the massive battle with the Heartless. Well, it wasnt so much a battle as a massacre. We were decimated. I assumed I was the only one left alive. So I lived in Fantasy World Seven for a few years before I learned that other worlds existed besides the one I was on. Well, that sparked my interest, to say the least. I decided to embark on a quest to find these new worlds, so I bought a gummi ship with all the gil I had and set off. It wasnt long before I encountered all the other Fantasy Worlds. Then I encountered the Heartless. And it was at that time that I learned of my power to control them. I led them to a secret cave I had found. I kept them in captivity, bred them, grew them. Soon, I had a veritable army of darkness. And then, I began my conquest.
And it worked, evidently, Kairi said.
Barabas chuckled. My, we have a bright one on our hands. Yes, it did work. And now, I am the supreme ruler of Fantasy World Seven, and soon, all the other Fantasy Worlds as well. And I cannot allow you to challenge my accomplishments. The Keyhole remains unlocked.
The hell it does! Kairi yelled. She lunged at Barabas, but a large tremor stopped her. A gigantic armored monstrosity broke through the wall and roared.
Meet my new and improved Guard Armor. Have fun, kids. And with that, he disappeared.
I hate upgrades, Squall growled. He aimed his Gunblade at the Guard Armors head and fired one shot. The bullet struck an invisible barrier and ricocheted off of it. Yeah, I really hate upgrades...
Kairi launched herself at the Guard Armor and began to strike at it with her keyblade. The barrier became weaker with every strike, but it held. The Guard Armor reared back its head and brought a gigantic fist down into the ground. The floor shook violently. Kairi steadied herself and attacked the Guard Armor again. Cloud made his way to the top of the catwalks and jumped on top of the Guard Armor, driving his sword deep into the monsters body. The monster cried out in agony and attempted to fling Cloud from its back. Squall directed a constant barrage of gunfire at the Guard Armor. Kairi managed to break off one of its arms, causing it to explode in a flash of blue light.
Suddenly a figure dropped from the ceiling. It sliced downward at the Guard Armor, and nothing happened for a few seconds, but suddenly a line in the Guard Armor glowed blue, and then it exploded in a large flash of blue light. The figure turned its head ever so slightly and smiled.
Kairi gasped. He has a keyblade!
True enough, the figure held a keyblade. It was unlike any keyblade Kairi had ever seen, though. It was black, with a very sharp, jagged hilt. Jewels were set into the hlt every few inches, and the blade was wavy. The keychain was the figure of a double-door.
Who are you? Kairi asked. That isnt you, is it Sora?
No, I am not Sora, the man said in a deep, faraway voice. The man wore a helmet with a dark visor. Only the bottom half of his face could be seen. He wore metal armor, but it was armor unlike anything Kairi had ever seen. It looked...futuristic. His entire body was covered in the futuristic armor, except for his boots, which were tall leather boots with straps. Long, flowing, silver-blue hair protruded from the back of his helmet.
Then who are you? Kairi insisted.
The man looked at the ground. People call me Apollo.
The god of light? Squall said, disbelievingly. Apollo looked at Squall, but said nothing.
But thats just what people call you. What is your real name?
Apollo looked away. I cant tell you.
Kairi folded her arms and huffed. Fine. Thank you for the help, Apollo.
Let me come with you, Apollo said suddenly. Kairi looked at him.
Why? We dont even know your real name.
I am a friend of Soras.
Kairis mouth dropped. He never told me about you.
Well, thats Sora for you, Apollo said, smiling. Kairi stared at Apollo. Could she trust him? He knew Sora, but...could he be lying? Was he really an officer working for Barabas? Was the Guard Armor just a decoy?
Dont do it, Kairi, Cloud warned. We dont know enough about this guy.
You can trust me. As you know, Apollo is not my real name. That is because Barabas is after me, as well. I assisted Sora in the invasion of Barabas castle.
Kairi gasped. Squall did as well. This made both Kairi and Cloud look at Squall inquisitively.
What is it, Squall? Cloud asked. Squall shook his head.
Kairi looked from Squall to Cloud to Apollo. Squall and Apollo were looking right at each other. Cloud looked as clueless as Kairi.
Well, it looks like you all need new identities, Apollo said. It wont be long before the Black Army goes on the lookout for you three as well.
But we have to seal the keyhole and stop Barabas from conquering the other Fantasy Worlds! Kairi said.
Apollo hung his head. It is too late for Fantasy Worlds One through Six. They have been consumed by the Heartless.
Kairi stared at Apollo. Already, six worlds had been consumed? Why hadnt Sora told her this? So...the only ones left are...Eight, Nine, and Ten?
Barabas has succeeded in conquering Eight. He achieved victory moments before you met him. I was on Eight when it happened. There, I reunited with Sora. He told me you were on Seven, so I hurried over to offer my support.
Eight is...overrun? Squall said, disbelievingly. Apollo nodded solemnly.
What happened to SeeD? Balamb Gardens?
They are safe. Quistis led them to the mountains.
Squall smiled. Good old Quistis.
Yes, shes quite an amazing woman. I believe she could rival that of your mother, Apollo said, looking at Kairi.
You knew my mother? Kairi asked.
I dont believe now is the time to be discussing this, Cloud said. Squall nodded.
Come, follow me, Apollo said, I know of a person who could help you with new identities.
* * * *
So, you lot are being chased by the Heartless too, huh? Yuffie said.
Kairi nodded. Can you help us, Yuffie?
Well, sure. Anything for a buddy, eh? Yuffie said, laughing. Now, then, what can we do for Kairi, eh? Hmm...well, lookie here! How about my old duds? Yuffie held up her green turtleneck and arm bracers.
Okay, but different pants. Short shorts irritate me, Kairi replied.
Aw, thats too bad, you got great legs. You been working out? Yuffie nudged Kairi and laughed. Here, hows these? She held up a pair of black baggy cargo pants.
Perfect, Kairi said.
Not quite, Yuffie replied, we gotta fix your hair.
Oh, right... Kairi said uncertainly. Yuffie chuckled and led Kairi to a chair.
Just gonna take a little off the top, eh? Yuffie said, laughing. She pulled a pair of enormous scissors out of a glass. Kairi shut her eyes tight and waited. When Yuffie finally said, Done! in an enthusiastic voice, Kairi waited for Cloud, Squall, and Apollos verdict.
Nice, Yuffie, Cloud said.
Very sexy, Squall said, chuckling.
Apollo simply nodded.
Kairi turned in the chair and looked into the mirror. All of her hair was cut mid-neck length except for one clump which Yuffie had tied into a braid. Yuffie handed Kairi a headband.
Thisll complete the look, hun, she said when Kairi looked at her quizzically. Kairi tied the headband around her head.
Say, thats the same headband you wore, Yuffie, Cloud said. Yuffie nodded, apparently quite pleased.
Okay, Kairi change; Cloud, new duds for you! Yuffie said. Kairi entered the dressing room, and when she came out, Clouds hair was cut and slicked forward with spikes in neat rows leaning forward. He entered the dressing room and came out a few moments later with a dark blue turtleneck underneath nylon body armor. His pants were black zip-offs with a set of three chains on the left side. Squall hadnt gotten a haircut. Instead, Kairi gave him a dark blue beanie with light blue flames on it. He entered the dressing room and came out a few moments later with a long red overcoat that was tattered at the end. His shirt was a plain black t-shirt, and he wore black zip-offs similar to Clouds.
You make the dark look work well, Apollo said, a faint smile tugging at his lips. Cloud huffed and leaned against a wall, folding his arms and looking away.
Well, good luck to you guys! Have fun, and tell Sora I said hi if you see him, Yuffie said, showing them the door. The foursome exited Yuffies house and made their way back to the streets.
I told you guys I knew exactly where to go. Yuffies the best at that stuff, Apollo said. Kairi nodded agreement, looking herself over.
I like your hair, Kairi, Apollo said. Kairi fingered her braid. She liked her new hair, too. She wondered what Sora would think.
* * * *
The foursome made their way back to the main support. Kairi pointed her keyblade at the central pole and it began to shake. A spectral keyhole appeared and a thin line of blue light shot directly from her keyblade to the keyhole. A loud click emanated and echoed around the metal walls.
Well, thats it for Seven, Apollo said. Kairi nodded and the four turned to leave.
Mister X's Fanfiction