thelectureroom: Mog! (Default)
[personal profile] thelectureroom
(I'm pretty sure you all have this spiel memorized by now.)

I Say/Notes: The end is finally here... and it got so long we overshot dreamwidth's post limit and had to break the finale into two parts, like we're any recent movie-based-on-best-selling-book-series. Yes, this fic is so bad it has forced us to become the fad we hate.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
Part Twelve
Part Thirteen
Part Fourteen

25. Whispering Sweet Nothings

[[Hi, Tabbi and Mokyn here to break the illusion for a bit. Starting from here, the fic has a slight subplot involving a Sherriff Garber finding the helicopter and now dead pilot that took the baby Dusks from Hawaii to the mainland. Usually we’d just keep this stuff in the spork but the more we read the more we realized just what a blatant waste of time that whole bit was. Honestly, the only reason I’d suggest you read it for yourself is to see how hilariously unlikeable they try to make this guy; it’s the sort of junk I'd expect from me in middle-school. He’s ugly, fat, and likes country music BECAUSE ONLY THE PLEBES LISTEN TO COUNTRY, AM I RIGHT OHOHOHO! So right off the bat you’re told not to get invested in this character, he only shows up two times anyway and without any form of resolution, so allow us to just cut out the whole thing and share with you the jokes we’d planned:

“Sherriff Garber? More like Sherriff Gerber, because he’s about to be baby food!”

…That’s it, that’s all we got! A few hundred words of content cut and the only interesting thing we took from it all was a lackluster pun! How appropriate though. Here we are at the end of this mess and our first comment is on what a waste of time the story is.]]


(In the lecture room proper now. Everyone is in varyingly visible forms of excitement, waiting for Mog to start everything up one last time.)
Roxas: It's here! We're finally in the last session and after today we'll never have to look at this depraved fanfic ever again!
Mog: Here we go, kupo! *from notes* We’re in the hospital with Isa. Hayner joins.

"What happened?"

Isa frowned briefly. "Can you believe she fired me? That bitch. I gave her everything, and she just left me."

Marluxia: Time to join up with the Organization over a minor problem.

Hayner frowned. "You mean Aqua? Why would she do that? She loves your company."

Roxas: Maybe she was sick of how her tragic past is only used to give the Big Strong Men reasoning to shelter her from all those Big Bad Men that want to hurt her, like she’s more delicate flower than person. I'm sick of it.

"Because I fucked her, Hayner," Isa said. "I crossed that line so that I could help her stay awake. You should have seen the look on her face when she came. It was like I had given her God's greatest gift. And you know what? She spat it back in my face."

Larxene: (as Hayner) Way to be a hypocritical dick, buddy. And don’t toot your own horn there, I’m your lover too and I know there’s no way you’re that good.
Mog: *from notes* Hayner starts crying.

Hayner hugged Isa. "Please. Just come back with me. Please…"

Isa relaxed as Hayner pushed the button, releasing another dose of Morphine. Isa smiled and hugged Hayner back, whispering a barely audible thank you in his ear.

Axel: Yes, give him a morphine addiction so he won’t complain about not having a girlfriend.

"Okay. We can go back to Philly. But, you have to promise me something."

Hayner wiped his tears away. "What?"

Isa smiled. "Let's go to Ohio first."

Hayner smiled back. "Why?"

Isa fell back into his pillows. "You said you wanted me to meet your parents one day, right? Maybe when I get out…we could see each other. Bet they'd love that."

Larxene: Goody, another love triangle. Just in case you were on the edge of the seat wanting to know who Aqua will go with, now we get to see who Isa will go with.
Terra: From Isa’s perspective, isn’t it a love quadruple?

Hayner laughed. "You promise?"

Isa nodded. "I promise. But, you need to go first. I don't know if anyone saw me at the airport. And besides, my leg is not going to make it on a plane. I'll meet you there."

Marluxia: (as Isa) I’ll crawl my way to Ohio.

Hayner nodded and climbed off the bed. His sadness almost instantly evaporated,

Xion: How do you do anything almost instantly? It's an instant... either you do it or you don't.
Roxas: I'm amazed we've went this long without talking about this fic's overuse of modifiers. Everything's "slightly" this or "a bit" that. It's like the writers are allergic to any kind of commitment.

and the normal twinkle in his eye returned. He blushed and took Isa's hand again, holding it to his chest.

"I love you.".

Isa frowned. "Don't. You'll only hurt yourself."

Hayner kissed him gently before pulling away. He held up two fingers. Isa did the same.

"I promise to see you in Ohio," Hayner said instructively.

"I promise to see you in Ohio," Isa repeated.

Roxas: (as Isa) I promise to set up a blatant "coming out-kicked out" scene to try and say this fic isn’t totally homophobic.
Xion: Maybe the fic is trying for an Emmy this year.

Hayner laughed and back out of the room, preparing himself to pack for his trip back home. Little did he know, Isa crossed his fingers and let his hand fall as he pressed the button again, dulling that pain that was in the back of his chest.

The pain of a broken heart.

Axel: (as Isa) Aqua’s such a meanie for breaking up with me. Time to do the same with Hayner, except stringing him along beforehand. Gawd, I’m so much better than everyone else!

11:52 AM

The plane had just landed. Riku was nervous and fidgety. Aqua had left on sour terms, and he wanted to make it up to her. All he had to do was talk to her; make her understand what was going on. But, he had no idea where she was.

Lexaeus: You could try that studio apartment you already know the address to.
Roxas: Which he does later anyway so I don’t know why this is even here.

He had called Sora and Don as soon as he had landed at the Trenton-Mercer Airport. He had missed them, though, and he grew frustrated as he stepped back onto the plane and headed to New York. He was getting annoyed at always having to wait for hours before he could do anything. And he was beginning to feel useless.

Axel: Oh? Is it annoying to spend hours on nothing? Now you know how the audience feels!

But, he was ecstatic when he saw Sora. It had been a long time since he had seen his best friend face to face.

Zexion: No matter how many times you say they’re friends, none of Riku’s actions support those claims.

He had even hugged him, but regained his composure.

Xion: (as Riku) Sorry, I was almost cute for a moment.

Sora was smiling, though Riku could see he was slightly troubled by something.

Terra: We’d hope dead parents but we know that won’t happen.

"How is everyone?" Riku asked as Don drove them from the airport.

Sporking crew: We’ve had better days.

He sat in the back seat with Sora, relaxing. He hoped that Sora would make his anxiety disappear.

Sora smiled. "Everyone's fine. Kairi will love to see you. She misses you, but she's with Goofy right now. They're going to find Demyx."

"I thought you had him already," Riku said quickly. "Before I left you guys. He was there."

Roxas: (as Sora) Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

"He escaped," Don grunted. "We underestimated his ability.

Terra: His ability of phasing through walls because SERIOUSLY how’d he get out of the place with no one noticing?

I promise that will never happen again."

Riku nodded. He really wanted to go to sleep and wake up twenty years from now. He wanted everything to just wait so he had enough time to pull himself together. He looked at Sora, who was frowned,

Zexion: It is such an overused word Sora has just become the frowned.

his face scrunching in pain. Riku sat up more.

"Sora? What's wrong?"

Axel: (as Riku) No one ever frowns in this fic unless something direly important is about to happen!

Sora frowned. "Don, stop the car."

Shift…

Larxene: Hooray, more random flashbacks to hide bulky exposition dumps the authors randomly throw at us! I missed them so much!

She must have been fourteen years old. Freshmen in high school, and she was walking alone. Her hair was an elegant black that display its innocence like a beacon,

Xion: Wow, my hair usually just sits there. I wonder what conditioner she uses?

and she was smiling. Her backpack sat at her waist as she hurried home.

Axel: And she’d just got a new puppy and a million bucks and it was her birthday and Christmas and EVERYTHING WAS SO HAPPY BEFORE WHATEVER TRAGEDY THE FIC THROWS HER WAY!
Mog: *from notes* Predictable sexist stalkers, past!Axel scares 'em off.

"Thanks," Lawrence mumbled. "I needed that."

The stranger smiled, answering in a thick Italian accent. "No problem. Name's Luca. I'm new."

Axel: (as younger self) And don't be surprised when my thick accent completely disappears in the next five to ten years. It does that in my family.
Roxas: If Demyx’s Aussie accent disappeared immediately
Mog: It does explain later that Luca/Lea changed his identity later complete with classes to change his accent. But you got me on what’s up with Demyx, kupo.

"And already starting trouble, huh?" Lawrence asked. "Well, you're alright. I'm Lawrence. Lawrence Eiseman."

Zexion: Why couldn’t his name have simply been Isaiah and he shortens it because he doesn’t like how archaic his full name is? Why can’t we have a nickname that makes some cohesive sense?

"Luca Cardano."

Marluxia: (as Luca) Let me introduce myself twice so we can really hammer in this new name.
Xion: Maybe the writers realized they’d never hear the end of *Mario voice* "It’s-a Lea!" puns and wisely changed it up.

Luca had a mop of brown hair and green eyes that didn't hide his overactive imagination and deceit. He looked like a troublemaker, but his charming smile quelled any doubts that instantly rose.

Larxene: Friendship’s sure easy when the writers want their new plots points to happen.

Lawrence wrapped his arm around Luca's shoulder. "Come on. I know this great ice cream place. It's just around the corner."

Shift…

Angelina, Lawrence, and Luca often spent their weekends together eating ice cream from the place around the corner.

Lexaeus: And yet Axel never did anything similar with Roxas and Xion.
(The Days trio is unhappy.)

A year had passed, and they had become a sort of clique, defending each other like a close-knit family. Luca still had his thick Italian accent, but he had styled his hair into a spiky coiffe that was becoming fashionable in his home country. It was still brown, and there was evidence that he had tried to dye it.

"So, what are you going to do about your classes, Lawrence?" Angelina asked.

Lawrence frowned. "I don't know. I was thinking about it for a while, but I'm still not sure. What do you think, Luca?"

Luca shrugged. "All I know is that I have plenty of time to think about stuff like that. I just want to set things on fire."

Terra: (as Lawrence) Thanks, that really helps my class situation. Why am I friends with you again?

"You should be careful," Angelina warned. "You could get hurt."

Luca smiled and waved her off. "You don't know what you're talking about.

Axel: (as self) Fire doesn’t hurt, you silly woman.

I know what I want to do, just not yet."

Lawrence smiled again. "Yeah, we have plenty of time to think about our future. Plenty of time."

Roxas: (as Lawrence) *laughing* I mean, what could happen? We all become part of giant crime groups that never accomplish their only goals and then try to kill each other? Plenty. Of. Time.
Mog: *from notes* Predictable sexist stalkers cause more problems so Luca goes off to smack ‘em.

Shift…

Angelina sat on her porch, sobbing as softly as she could. Lawrence kept an arm around her, trying to not let his sadness show.

Terra: (as Lawrence) *gritted determination* Must. Not. Convey. Human. Emotions!

Luca stood in front of them, trying to smile as best as he could.

"Hey, don't worry about it," he said. "We'll meet again, I'm sure. It's just…my parents are moving somewhere else. Too many bad memories here. I'll visit if I can. I promise."

"You shouldn't have done that," Angelina cried.

Xion: (as Aqua) You shouldn’t have tried to erase BEN!
Roxas: See? We can do it too, it’s not that hard.

"You wouldn't have to leave if you had just left them alone."

"I don't let my friends get hurt," Luca said confidently.

Axel: MY ONLY CRIME WAS LOVING TOO MUCH!

"Got it memorized?"

Larxene: Just in case you didn’t get this was Axel yet. I know they’ve been real subtle til now.

"You need to work on your grammar," Angelina said, half chuckling. "You still aren't saying it right."

Marluxia: Because that’s what makes his catchphrase annoying. Not that he won’t shut up about it, but that it’s not grammatically accurate.

"Whatever," Luca said, shrugging. "I guess I'll see you in the future. Ciao."

Axel: (as self) Maybe you didn’t get that I’m Italian, have I mentioned yet how Italian I am?

Luca turned and got into his parents' car, waving and smiling. He tried to not cry as he left them behind, but one tear betrayed his carefree attitude.


Xion: Hey, that’s from the Whisked Away spork.
Terra: Maybe Moe Girl will make a triumphant return. I miss Moe Girl, she reminds me of more innocent days.

He knew he would never see them again.

Xion: So he passed by his former best friend on the subway and didn’t recognize her just cuz her hair had blue highlights?
Zexion: It’s almost as if the story just makes stuff up as it goes and disregards continuity at every turn.

Shift…

Mog: *from notes* Already summed this up earlier, classes, identity, blah.

But, he met up with Lawrence again, and became friends, instantly recognizing the same fierce overprotection of Angelina. Only, over the years, it had become a full blown obsession.

Axel: WHOA, DEJA VU!

Lea remembered Angelina as well and courted her for a short time, being able to coax her into bed with him a few times without Lawrence finding out.

Xion: So he passed by his former best friend plus lover on the subway and didn’t recognize her just cuz she had blue highlights?

"I don't know why you're so scared," Angelina whispered after another night with Lea. "Lawrence won't do anything to you."

Lea frowned and lit a cigarette. "I just have issues with people knowing stuff about me all the time."

Terra: Wasn’t his canon issue wanting to be remembered? Once again! Opposite ends of the spectrum.

Angelina nodded and curled up next to him, humming softly. "Maybe you should let loose once in a while. It'll do you good."

"Not a chance, Angelina," Lea whispered back. "Not. A. Chance."

Shift…

"Oh…Lawrence…"

Angelina was lying in bed with Lawrence,

Mog: Hey, look, it’s that romantic moment I talked about a while ago! I never get to reference stuff twice.
Roxas: Except of course for—
Mog: OOOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIIII!

but they had each changed drastically. Lawrence no longer had black hair, but a crazy shade of blue instead. And his face had grown beaten and worried all the time. He seemed to have regained some of that youthfulness, but he still seemed out of it. And Angelina was still pristine,

Roxas: Because of course she is. A wrinkle or a single stray hair might make her unlikable. HORRORS!

maintaining that feigned innocence, but she was harder. Stronger. More commanding. And she moved in rhythm with Lawrence, moaning his name, and whispering her desires in his ears.

Larxene: Just in case we haven’t degraded a so-called empowered woman enough, here’s ANOTHER scene of her bumping uglies with some dude.
Axel: Women can only be strong in that exact way the writers find sexy. It’s like Joss Whedon took over.

Lawrence huffed and pulled her over into a state of complete unity, where he offered his affections in exchange for acknowledgement. And they both connected to each other in ways that could not be fully explained without opening books upon books of personal history.

Xion: Wow. The first time sex is not only described but shown to be a loving connection between two people, and we already know it ends terribly.
Terra: Why does this fic only get squeamish around happiness instead of everything else it's ever showcased?

They were one.

Xion: It's their pride, deep inside, they are one.

And not even a whole hour afterwards, was Angelina leaving Lawrence in pursuit of her own selfish desires…

Roxas: Only men get to be sympathetic! Women can only remain b-words!

Angelina was in New York. The building looked familiar, Central Park was visible in the distance, and fashionistas and struggling artists strutted down the street below. It was Greenwich Village for sure, but there was a darkened air about it.

Something had changed.

Zexion: Why does the story take 27 chapters to try and delude people into thinking something ever changes when we only needed 15 sessions to point it never does?

Shift…

Axel: And in none of that did it explain how Riku first met Aqua and where this epic romance started. It’s a mystery for the ages!
Roxas: But we got another backstory for Axel, the fourth one now. Who are you, the Joker?

"Sora?" Riku shook Sora gently.

Sora had fallen out of the car as soon as he opened the door, and struggled to hold himself together as the flashes of Angelina Godfrey flowed through his mind. And not only did the flashes of this woman attack him, but he was drowned in a pit of anguish over missing her, loving her, and losing her.

Larxene: Riku’s wangst has become so overpowering it’s infecting other people.

"Angelina…"

Riku frowned. "What are you talking about?" He gasped. "Visions?"

"The woman with the blue highlights…" Sora sputtered. "She's in danger, I think. Or…something. I can't make it out."

Riku frowned.

Lexaeus: Again.
Zexion: Can you people figure out a different way to express your two-bit emotional states? We need new material to mock soon.

"Where is she?"

"I-I…think I might love her…" Sora muttered. "She means everything to me…"

Riku shook Sora. "Where is she?"

Sora trembled. "I…would do anything for her…" He looked scared and Riku cursed himself for not being able to help him.

Axel: (as Riku) Curse me for being in a story where no one’s ever able to do anything!

The only thing he could do was sit there and wait for Sora to become coherent again. "My Sleeping Beauty."

Riku breathed shallowly. "Sora. Where is she?"

Sora swallowed. "Greenwich Village. At an apartment. You need to help her."

Riku rubbed Sora's back. "What's wrong with you?"

Roxas: The same thing that’s wrong with you? Now would be a nice time to make some kinda connection between all those crazy visions people keep having.

Sora stood with Riku's help. "I think I might…be peeking into your thoughts. I'm not sure. I just know that you need to help her. I can't. I don't love her."

Riku nodded. "But, you need me."

Don stepped out of the car.

Xion: What, was he just listening to the radio while Sora was having some sort of fit?
Axel: (as Don) Help you in a sec, kid, I just got to the banjo part.

Sora shook and collapsed. Don picked him up, growling under his breath.

"She needs you more," he said roughly. "Go. Meet with us tonight at Mick's place. I'll tell him."

Terra: (as Don) Go, Riku! Who cares about those aliens and helping your best friend and that interesting stuff when we can have a generic pairing fic GO!

Riku smiled, but frowned shortly afterwards. "I feel like I'm always leaving you alone. I'm not even doing what Mick tells me. I feel so useless."

Roxas: I really swear the fic is just reading our thoughts by now and trying to lampshade our annoyances but it don’t work.
Lexaeus: If you know your characters are spending most of their time accomplishing nothing… just give them something to do.

Don thumped him on the back. "You have your reasons.

Terra: For being useless? What kind of excuse is that, Don?
Marluxia: (as Don) Yes, I know you’ve been failing at the one and only job we’ve given you, but that’s okay. You have your reasons.

Mick understands a lot better than I think you give him credit for. He will not be angry. The Heartless are gone. You have fulfilled your mission."

Axel: Yeah, that intro to the entire fic is suddenly gone without accomplishing or doing anything of long-lasting worth. Yippee, feel our excitement. Did I say excitement, I meant RAGE.

Riku nodded and backed away. "I'm sorry. Tell Sora I'm sorry."

Don nodded and put Sora back in the car. "I think he already knows."

Roxas: (as Riku) And I think a grapefruit has more brain activity than he does. Tell him anyway so I know he knows.

"I—"

"Don't worry about him," Don said quickly. "He's not the same child you picked up a long time ago. He's different."

Riku paused. "I guess he is."

Marluxia: We’ve come so far, and yet gone nowhere at the same time.

1:30 PM

Aqua had turned her back on everything. She had worked so hard to keep her empire from falling, and she just handed over, all because she had feelings for someone.

Xion: So is Mother Gothel going to pop in to replace her at some point?

Emotions that had clouded her judgment. And now she had to pay for it.

She only had twenty-four hours.

Axel: Unless you need to find four giants to stop the moon from falling, I don’t care.

So, she locked the door to her Greenwich Village loft, turned off her phone, and began planning. The walls were covered in maps, the floor littered with ripped papers and broken markers.

Zexion: She spent hours tacking maps to walls and breaking Sharpies to give the appearance that she’d been planning. All in all, a productive afternoon.

She sat in her bathtub, mumbling under her breath and dipping her head under water, trying to figure out what it was she really wanted.

And she stayed like that until her doorbell rang.

Marluxia: She’d drowned about five times by now but the story still needs her for eyecandy so death was avoided.

Aqua frowned and hoisted herself out of the water, hastily wrapping a towel around her shoulders.

Xion: Ah, she’s in her apartment in a sheet again, good memories.

She rushed to her intercom and pressed the button.

"Who is it?"

"Aqua!

Terra: (as Aqua) No, I’M Aqua!

It's Riku."

"Go away, Riku," Aqua growled. "I left you in Miami for a reason. That was not an invitation for you to follow me."

Axel: (as Riku) But you’re a woman! What would you do without me, have a personality? I need to be here to make you important!

"Please let me in," Riku said. "We need to talk. It's important."

"Go home."

"Angelina," Riku whispered. "Please…"

Aqua frowned deeper.

Roxas: Y’know, we’re just going to ignore that word from now on. We’ll find something new and fun to dogpile on.

"Give me a minute."

Five minutes later, Riku was standing in Aqua's apartment, flushed and out of breath. Aqua stared at him intently.

Zexion: Why is he still out of breath from running here several minutes later? Did he decide to pass the time by jogging up and down the hallway while she got dressed?

"You have thirty seconds."

Riku frowned and took a step forward. "Why did you leave us?"

Aqua smiled briefly. "I had business I had to attend to."

"But Isa could have died."

"He was in exile," Aqua answered quickly. "It wouldn't have mattered. And I don't understand why you care. He hates you."

Larxene: By this point I’d like it if all the love triangles just got together and had one massive hate-fuck threesome. I know it’d be the most unsexy thing ever written but it would be a lot more entertaining than their constant bickering!

"You're not the same."

"People change, Riku."

Xion: (as Aqua) For example, you’re supposed to have a character arc based around a deal with the devil scenario that fuels you wanting to right the wrongs you made against your friends. But that’s boring so we changed it to you being upset some lady doesn’t have the hots for you.

Aqua glanced at the clock on her wall. "Time's running out."

"What happened to you in Miami?"

Aqua spun around. "It's none of your business. Is this really that important? Your thirty seconds is up, Riku."

Riku trembled. There was so much he wanted to say, but he couldn't find the courage or the words to say it.

Axel: To be fair, trying to explain how "my best friend had psychic visions about your sex life and told me to come save you" probably wouldn’t fly.

It was like Aqua had stolen his voice.

Roxas: Well, you've still got your looks, your pretty face, and don't underestimate the importance of body language.

"Leave," Aqua commanded. She stood in front of a table and picked up a pen.

Terra: (as Aqua) I have to start writing GOOD fanfics to fill the void this one has left in its wake.

There were different maps strewn across the table, and she marked them carefully.

Roxas: So the story really isn’t going to tell us what she’s planning.
Lexaeus: I don’t know why you expected any more from it.

Riku stepped forward hesitantly. "Angelina…"

Aqua whipped around, teeth bared. "Don't you dare come in here thinking that you're Isa. You can't say whatever the fuck you want." She pointed to the door. "Now get the fuck out of my house."

Riku didn't move. Aqua turned back to her table, picked up a gun, and pointed it at Riku.

Everyone: *leans forward with anticipation*
Axel: Is the giant cast about to be thinned?
Xion: Nothing personal, Riku, we just want one less person to make jokes for.

She seemed crazy, emotional in the worst kind of way, and she stared into Riku's eyes with all the anger she could.

Lexaeus: To me, it seems she’s less ‘crazy’ and more ‘rightfully annoyed this boy barged in here.’

"If you don't get the fuck out of my house right now, I'm going to kill you." Aqua cocked the pistol. "I mean it."

Riku held up his hands. "I'm not sure what's wrong. What ever happened between you and your Captain is your business. I just…"

"Riku! Get out!"

Riku frowned.

Zexion: If anyone in our audience still gets annoyed at this verb, just start a drinking game by now. Preferably with water or juice otherwise you will be dead within an hour.

Aqua seemed very upset for some reason,

Marluxia: Perhaps it has something to do with you not leaving her home when she’s asking you to.

and he was determined to calm her down. Sora had said she was in danger, and Riku had every intention of helping her, but she seemed more distant. Almost unreachable.

Larxene: Almost like she wants you to leave her damn home.

"You're not going to shoot me," Riku said as confidently as he could.

Aqua squeezed the trigger, and a bullet buried itself right by Riku's foot.

Axel: If only her aim was just a little off…

Riku jumped in place, losing that confidence instantly.

Larxene: Along with a few other things out the back end, I’m guessing…

Aqua roared at the top of her lungs, becoming a dragon in human skin. She was possessive, violent, enraged.

Xion: She’s more like Maleficent than Maleficent so far.

"Don't you underestimate me, runner!" Aqua cocked her gun again. "Now get out!"

Riku took a step forward. He knew that not listening to her could get him killed, but he was so sure that he had to save Aqua from herself.

Roxas: Fic, stop. Whatever you're doing, just stop and go away where no one can ever hear you again, maybe meditate on a mountaintop somewhere so you can stare into the cosmos and work out whatever weird problems you have on your own.
Mog: *from notes* So then he hugs her and that somehow makes everything better. She explains she messed up in Miami because of a deal she made long ago.

"I only had to fulfill the terms of the contract. That's it." Aqua sat down and tucked her legs underneath her. "I only had to repay my debts, turn over a third of my profits, and leave the past in the past."

"Aqua…"

Aqua frowned. "Don't disturb me, Riku. This is important. You need to change your game if you're going to survive."

Roxas: What would other games given this "realistic" treatment be like?
Axel: *dramatically* Olimar is captain for a troop in interplanetary war and has enslaved the normally peaceful Pikmin race as his soldiers. While his methods usually get high death rates and anger from civilians, he knows he’s Doing The Right Thing and sacrifices have to be made. Hyper-realistic blood is shed, the company president is a blatant allegory for capitalism, all 100 pikmin have their own individual subplot, maybe there’s a half-hearted industrialism versus nature theme, and Louie is a cannibal. Just because.

Riku swallowed again.

"I contacted my former Captain." Aqua laughed. It was bitter and confused.

Terra: A good way to describe my feelings towards Eraqus’ brief inclusion in this story.

She was trying to figure out her plan of action even though she had already lost. "That was a direct breach of contract. And now, I have to give up my collateral."

Zexion: Mog, you didn’t skip anything important during your big summation of the Miami scene, right?
Mog: Nuh-uh! I am always awesome in my note taking! She and Eraqus were all "I need a favour, grr I don’t do favours, swear word swear word swear word— you’re just a hooker!— swear word swear word swear word" and then we followed Isa until he found the two napping on the living room carpet after they tried to overdose the other on secobarbital. I’m sure Mr. Estevez wasn’t too happy about that so that might be why she’s thinkin’ she’s losing everything cuz he would probably get back at her for it but… Well… Keep reading.

"And, what's that?"

Aqua smiled and patted the seat next to her. "Sit, Riku."

Xion: (as Aqua) Now roll over! Give me your paw!

Riku obeyed. He had expected to feel an intense fear rise in his chest as he settled next to God, but he felt nervous. And excited.

"I have to give up myself," Aqua whispered. "It's Fair."

Everyone: *leans back a bit*
Terra: As in "all’s in love and war"? Because otherwise that capital letter means...
Roxas: No. No, Zach was already in the story and exploded to get out, he can’t be coming back to be a sexist jerk towards Aqua.
Mog: Yup, turns out Aqua’s boss is out of the story. So let’s introduce a new Aqua’s boss!

Riku trembled. "I can help you. You just need to give me some time."

Aqua laughed again. "That's impossible, Riku. You don't have what it takes."

Riku stood up. He spun around. "How do you know? I can do whatever I have to to get things done."

Axel: (as Riku) I can have sexy fanservice for the story too!

Aqua stood up as well, her presence become hostile again. She pushed Riku forward and growled. "I know you don't have what it takes. I can see it."

"You don't know shit!"

Larxene: (as Aqua) You don't know shit about shit!

Aqua picked up the gun off her table and handed it to Riku. "You think you can do what I do? Prove it."

Riku took the gun and stared at it. This wasn't the first time he had carried such a dangerous weapon, but the way Aqua spoke was making him nervous. For some reason, it scared him.

Marluxia: Which is what ‘nervous’ entails, you redundantly vague prose.

"There's an eleven year old boy who lives down the hall," Aqua said quickly. "His name is Stephen. Tomorrow, the police are going to question him about a possible drug ring going on in the building across the street."

Riku paled.

"He needs to die," Aqua spat. "Today. You think you can do what I do, then kill him. Right now."

Riku shook and seized up. Was Aqua crazy? Was she serious?

Axel: Why you asking us? We can’t keep track of this bonkers plot.

"You don't have what it takes to go and knock on his door," Aqua said, calming slightly. "You don't have what it takes to tell him that his parents sent you, and that they just want him to be safe. You don't have what it takes to ask him about what he knows in such a caring way, then shoot him in the fucking face to protect your lifestyle. You. Do. Not. Have. What. It. Takes."

Xion: You know, the Lecture Room doesn't have an equivalent of an Ansem rating, but even if we did I don't think we'd apply it to this story. It tries so hard to be an Ansem that it somehow fails at even that.
Terra: You can't just put in dark material and hope that stands up on its own as making a good, compelling story. Maybe in a better fic this scene could work, but all I hear now is "I'm a fictional character who has to go kill a fictional kid living fictionally next door to solve a fictional problem."

Riku gave then gun back to Aqua, who placed it on the table.

"And," Aqua turned back to him. "I'm thinking that neither do I anymore. But I have no choice."

"You always have a choice," Riku muttered.

"No, Riku," Aqua corrected. "You don't. I don't. Not anymore."

Roxas: (as Aqua) The sexism snowball scooped me up and is rolling away with me, like an offensive Katamari Damacy.

Riku took a step forward. "Yes, you do. I can help you. I can get you out of this."

Aqua smiled softly. "You're too good to me. I don't deserve you. You should leave, before you don't have a choice."

Riku hugged Aqua quickly, resisting the urge to cry. He couldn't just abandon her. "I'll stay. I'm not afraid."

Larxene: (as Aqua) Good for you, but could you be not afraid an inch back? You’re kinda squishing the ladies up front.

"Riku," Aqua hummed. "Think about it. I'm ten years older than you. Think about all the things I know, the experience I have. The things I've done."

Riku shuttered. "I…"

Terra: (as Riku) …did all the same stuff really early in this story so I don’t see why we’re making such a big deal of this.

"Go home," Aqua whispered.

She pushed Riku away and sat on her couch again, shutting herself off from him and ignoring his desperate attempts at saving her. Riku let his arms fall by his sides. He had no intentions of leaving her by herself.

Xion: (as Riku) I have to save her from the worst thing ever. I have to save her from HERSELF because I am AWESOME and she is a sad little bunny rabbit that needs PROTECTING!

"Aqua…"

Aqua frowned. "Go home, Riku. We're done here."

Axel: Just let the scene die away before it gets more repetitive. Please!
Roxas: These long talking scenes are becoming the most painful ones to sit through. It’s hard to find anything funny when characters take in-universe hours to say five seconds of useful information.

Riku looked at her. He reached his hand in his pocket and pulled out a wad of money. He stared at the money, swallowed slowly, and tossed it at Aqua.

"What's that?"

"I'm going to get you out," Riku said. "I'll pay whatever I have to."

Terra: (as Aqua) Are you attempting to buy me? Don’t you find that a bit tasteless?

Aqua giggled softly. "That's yours. You keep it. I'm not interested in your money. I have plenty."

"It'll free you."

Aqua laughed harder. "You are such a child, babe.

Xion: Oh look, it’s the Lecture Room’s favourite word.

It'll take a hell of a lot more than that." She stood up and scooped the money together, handing it back to Riku in a neatly folded roll. "You're a good person, Riku. I don't want to taint you more. Consider yourself free. Please, just go back to your family.

Lexaeus: That family he doesn’t have because we’d already guessed and it's later confirmed Riku is an orphan.
Zexion: At least he’s the only one that can’t make "my parents didn’t compliment me enough" excuses. Or the only one that can rightfully use them, it works both ways.

Be a kid for as long as you can. Don't tie yourself to me."

"But, I want to," Riku replied. He hugged her again. "I can make this work."

He pulled out a small box and opened it behind Aqua's back. It was beautiful, shining even in the warm light of the afternoon. His lower lip quivered.

Roxas: He just pulled a romantic Tex Avery.

"Marry me," he whispered.

Axel: We need soap opera commercial break music for times like these.
Mog: You mean like this?
Zexion: That’s n—Yes, good, Mog. Perfect. Your pop culture knowledge truly astounds me.

Aqua laughed and held Riku at arm's length. She seemed much more relaxed and at ease, obviously flattered by Riku's request.

Marluxia: Either that or thinking it’s the best joke she’s heard in a long time.

They stared at each other for a long time. Aqua mulled it over in her mind, and kissed Riku.

"I—"

But Riku didn't wait for her to answer. He kissed her back, becoming quickly excited and assertive. He pressed himself against her and squeezed her.

Roxas: (as bicycle horn) Honk honk!

"Riku—" Aqua gasped. "Don't do this."

Xion: (as Aqua) You’re setting up a bad "I’m your main squeeze" pun and even I don’t find that funny.

Her commands were half-assed, for she was just as excited and eager. She turned Riku around on the spot and sat in his lap as she forced him onto her couch. She didn't let him go for one second as she kissed him along his neck.

"I mean it," Riku breathed. "Marry me. I'll take care of you."

Terra: (as Riku) We have no stable shelter, we’re both on several hit lists, have no legal income, and I’ve been concerned I’m losing my mind, and have already once lost control of reality and attacked my best friend. It’s the PERFECT time to settle down and start a family!

Aqua paused briefly. "I'll think about it."

Riku smiled, feeling his head lighten as nature and his selfish desires took control. He was disappointed when Aqua dismounted and swept away. She looked back, smiling gently. Riku growled under his breath at being rejected, and flushed in embarrassment as he tried to pat his erection down.

Larxene: Look at that, genitalia was almost mentioned! Maybe the writing is finally getting ballsy enough to actually write real sex scenes, with foreplay and erogenous zones and everything!

"Fuck," he whispered.

"You're welcome to follow me, if you like," Aqua called. Riku stood up, still blushing in embarrassment. Aqua spun in place and turned the corner.

Riku was hesitant at first.

Marluxia: Don’t know why, you already had sex with her.

He had never been any farther into Aqua's apartment than the front room. But, she was saying just the right thing, giving him just the right look, and expressing her permission.

Roxas: Other stories never feel the need to point out when consensual sex is about to happen. Just thought that was worth a comment.

As they connected to each other again, Aqua was sitting on top of him. They had not yet undressed, but Riku was growing more and more eager with every touch.

Terra: Have I mentioned yet that I wish I’d never been shoved in here? I think it needs to be brought up again.

Aqua was taking control of him and he loved every second he had with her. But, then she did something unexpected.

Xion: She turned into a shoggoth!

She pulled Riku's shirt off and massaged his chest slowly. Riku's heart drummed in his ribcage, and he quickly stripped Aqua to nothing but her panties. She was gorgeous, but tiny scars and evidence of abuse marred her once perfect skin.

Larxene: Oh no, hope that doesn’t ruin your fap material.
Axel: And, again, we bring up that they’ve already had sex together. This should not be new!
Roxas: More info from the unhelpful wiki! Turns out that boy at Eraqus’ house is actually Aqua’s son. But stretch marks? Who wants those unsexy skin impurities? She’s gotta be perfect to let us know she and Riku are meant for each other!

She paused, straightening to her full height.

Marluxia: (as Aqua) I changed my mind. I’m getting the gun and threatening you to leave again, that seems more fun.

"I'm going to give you something I haven't given to anyone for a long time."

Riku's skin tingled and dusted over with a red blush. Aqua rolled over onto her back and pulled Riku on top of her.

"I'm yours," she whispered.

Xion: (as Aqua) I BELONG TO MEN BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT HAD ENOUGH OPPORTUNITIES TO BE SEXIST YET, WHOOPEE!!

2:30 PM

Zexion opened the door to Oblivion Labs. He was exhausted, and wanted so badly to flop on the couch in the lounge and go to sleep, but his imagination would not relent in its torture.

Zexion: Let me guess. Kairi complaining?

He could not get Kairi out of his mind, and now that he was in New York again, he was sure that she would be much more easily accessible. He groaned as his body reacted to his fantasies.

Zexion: Why do I even bother asking.
Axel: Did anyone out there ever want a fanfic written about the "tfw no gf" guy? Well here ya go!

"Jesus fucking Christ," He muttered.

Lexaeus: That was God expressing His own annoyance at this character.

"Zexion?"

Zexion turned around as Larxene stepped out of the elevator. She seemed to have lost that arrogant sadistic confidence she once had in favor of jealousy and anger.

Larxene: The army of evil exes is amassing.

"I thought I was alone," Zexion said, frowning. He paused for a long time. "I'm glad you're here."

He, at once, noticed her hair. It was short, and his insides squirmed as he attributed it to the same hair cut Kairi had the last time he saw her.


Axel: They could pass as twins on their haircuts alone!
Larxene: Yeah, we even got the same green eyes.

His heart beat in his chest and he swallowed, but he did not let his calm face betray the swirling ocean of misery that was growing in his soul.

"Me, too," Larxene said. "I've been meaning to have some alone time with you."

Larxene: (as self) We were the first couple to ever get any action in this mess of a fic! Remember us!
Mog: *from notes* They start having funtimes when…

"Kairi…"

Larxene locked up, and that satisfaction was taken from Zexion in an instant.

Xion: Dun-dun-dunnnnn!
Marluxia: Ah, saying the wrong name in bed. It’s rare we get to comment on the most boring of the clichés.

"Who's Kairi?"

Zexion frowned. "Shit."

Roxas: Nope, nope. Can’t let it die. Why, why, out of all the verbs that exist in the world do you keep using that one? It’s not even a good word; it’s like the most passive form of ‘slight upsetedness’ you could use. You have the beauty of language at your fingertips! Describe body language, use amazing adjectives, just stop using the word ‘frowned’.

"Were you fantasizing about someone else?" Larxene barked. "While you were fucking me?"

Zexion cursed himself and jumped out of Larxene's bed. "Of course I was." He stepped into her bathroom and cleaned himself in her sink.

Larxene sat on the bed, frowning, almost on the verge of tears.

Zexion: Haven’t I already read this?
Xion: Oh yeah, that Troubled Memory story. On the bright side, no plushies this time.
Larxene: On the down side, no drinks this time.

"How could you?"

Zexion dressed, zipping up his pants and picking up his robes. "Easily. You are the only girl in the Organization. I knew you would be like some kind of call girl. I took advantage of the fact that you sometimes lack confidence about your self image as is common with most women your age."

Roxas: (as Zexion) It’s not sexist, it’s just statistics!

As Zexion explained himself, Larxene's face transformed. It went from a sadistic happiness, to an ugly sadness, then melted into hatred.

Xion: Hooray, Larxene gets to join me, Kairi, and Namine on the My Defining Characteristic Is My Boyfriend bus! We’ve been looking for a new partner in our Scrabble games.

Zexion frowned. "You were meant to keep my sexual urges to a minimum so I could focus on my missions. And, as your superior, I give you top marks for that. But, I don't need you anymore. You are useless, because I still feel the same. The only thing I accomplished was ejaculation. Nothing more."

Axel: (as Zexion) My balls are empty just like my soul.

Larxene couldn't believe what she was hearing. The man she loved more than anything else had just turned his back on her. And he dumped salt all over her wounds. It was like she had died.

Larxene: *snort* Whoops, sorry, Me. Didn’t mean to laugh at your totally legit problem there.

What little humanity she did have, disappeared as she bit her lower lip to stem the tears that rolled down her cheeks.

Larxene and Xion: Men men men men MEN MEN men men!

Zexion zipped up his robes and departed. He stretched as he paced down the hall. He had work to do, and was quickly becoming obsessed with Kairi.

Lexaeus: He was quickly devolving into a single trait.

More than he had ever been before. He knew he would be able to find her. He just needed the right tools. As he opened the door to his room, Larxene pushed him back, wielding a silver scalpel.

Roxas: Quick! Give him a lobotomy and remove all the grey matter involving Kairi! Make him focus on something—anything—other than Kairi!

"You're a motherfucker!"

Zexion shielded his face as Larxene hacked at him. The leather that was protecting his arms gave way easily, and his skin split open. He screamed and fell to the floor.

(Larxene stands up in her chair and throws her arms out so she can fully embrace everyone else cheering her on.)
Axel: For this much assitude of a character, violence is always justified.

He grabbed his arms, trying to keep pressure on his wounds until he could get Larxene away from him.

Marluxia opened his door and peered out, hissing at the disturbance of his quiet time. Larxene froze.

"Attacking a superior?" Marluxia hummed. "I'm confused. Very confused. An act of treachery? Is Twelve a traitor?"

Marluxia: (as self) Join me!

Zexion resisted the urge to nod his head.

Larxene: Because that would leave an opening for your jugular.

He knew that letting Marluxia attack one of his own would open a door to chaos that wouldn't be able to close again.

"Marluxia, Larxene is of no threat," Zexion said. He stood. "She is merely expressing anger at the failure of a mission, and will be punished by Superior as soon as possible. Please escort her to her room."

Marluxia giggled and opened his door wider.

"There's no need," Larxene spat. She glared at Zexion. "I hope you burn in Hell, you obnoxious self-absorbed dick."

Marluxia: Larxene. The true hero all along.

She turned on her heels and ran into her room, slamming it and locking it from the inside. Zexion looked at Marluxia. Marluxia stared back with a sinful glee in his eyes.

"I will kill her, yes?"

Axel: No, join her! You two take over the Org, get shit done, WONDERFUL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!

"No," Zexion muttered. "Call Xehanort. Ask him what to do. I have work I need to attend to."

Zexion: Liar.

Marluxia frowned and closed his door. He flipped his phone open and called Xehanort. As he paced around his room, a certain impatient excitement rose in him. Only one more day. One more day, and he would be making a child with Xion, ripping open the present Axel had bestowed upon him, and cutting Roxas to pieces.

Xion: I feel by now I should just laugh at paragraphs like this because I know it’s the exact opposite of what the fic wants. Everyone, let’s laugh at this attempt at grimdarkness!
All: Ohohohoho!

"Marluxia?" Xehanort asked. "Why are you calling me?"

Roxas: (as Marluxia) So, Superior, what are we gonna do tonight?
Axel: (as Xehanort) The same thing we do every night, Pinky… fail at taking over the world.

Marluxia whined. "The Smart One told me to. Larxene attacked him, and I must know what to do. Do I kill her?"

Xehanort sighed heavily. "Why is everyone falling apart?

Marluxia: (as Xehanort) It’s almost like I’m a really crap leader or something.

We are so close. We must calm ourselves before we lose sight of our purpose." He paused. "Marluxia? Would you like to have a drink with me when I return?"

Larxene: Yup, certainly wouldn’t want to waste more of our readers’ time. Let’s go get hammered!

"Nothing would make me happier," Marluxia said, giggling. "But, with all due respect, you know damn well I can not partake in boozing. Zoloft, sir."

"Then why don't you simply stop taking it?"

Roxas: (as Xehanort) We haven’t had you be ENOUGH of an insult to the mental health community, go portray illness as psycho-crazy-bonkers-murder some more!

Marluxia frowned and shifted nervously. "I get crazy when I don't. I wouldn't want to disobey you, Superior."

Terra: …Is this story really about to justify Marluxia’s murderous ways by vilifying medicine of all things? That’s like saying if you took away an asthmatic’s inhaler they’d immediately turn around and kidnap a child. You should know that’s not how it works!

Xehanort laughed. "Nonsense, my good friend. Go talk to Vexen. He will give you something that will flush your system completely. Then you could go to your favorite restaurant. And eat there for a change instead of simply staring at it. Does that sound good?"

Xion: (as Xehanort) By the way, my boyfriend died a couple days ago, you’d think we’d bring that up by now.

Marluxia smiled. "Of course. I would love to."

"I will meet you there providing I do not run into any obstacles."

Roxas: Did Xehanort decide for Marluxia to become even more insane just so he can have a drinking buddy?
Marluxia: That’s the only ulterior motive I can see. Unless he likes the idea of me killing everyone else so we can have Kingdom Hearts all to ourselves before I kill him too.

"Oh, goodie!" Marluxia cried.

Axel: (as Marluxia) Goodie goodie gumdrops! I'm so scary!

Xehanort laughed again. "I will see you there, my friend." And he hung up the phone.

Terra: Have we ever talked about how strange Xehanort’s characterization is?
Lexaeus: We’ve alluded to it but an in-depth discussion wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Roxas: I’m taking a guess they attempted to make him charismatic to explain why so many people are willing to follow him to the death. But instead he comes off as flippant and unaware of what his own plans are. And Ryan didn’t need to meet the guy before he decided to blindly follow along.
Zexion: Even his immortality seems like a tacked on excuse for why he’s the main big bad. Xehanort doesn’t win any situation through his own cunning or initiative, he simply knows he won’t ever lose because he’s been made invincible.
Axel: The guy might as well open every scene he’s in announcing “I cannot be harmed which means nothing interesting will ever happen around me. Enjoy!”
Xion: They tried to keep Xehanort as ‘evil man that will soon rule the worlds’ and somehow ended up with ‘everyone’s favourite grandpa,’ and we cannot be scared by everyone’s favourite grandpa.
Mog: *from notes* Even Zexion’s getting sick of how he won’t stop talking about Kairi. Literally! He goes to a restaurant restroom.

While in the bathroom, he glared at himself in the mirror, noticing his appearance for the first time in a long time.

Marluxia: Good, this old cliché. The story is giving us so many presents at its end.

He was pale; to the point where he was surprised nobody had asked him if he was okay.

Larxene: If they did, you’d most likely complain about it. Here, allow me to put up the words for you: Lesser human beings tried to comfort me, but I pushed away their pity because I know those pockets of pustules they call hearts can never understand my agony and trauma over the fact some girl gave me a boner two years ago and I never figured out how to deal with that.

The dark circles under his eyes had sunken in, and he could see the thin bluish tinge of blood running under the surface of his skin.

Roxas: And there it is, there is the closest thing to that dumb foreword about dark-eyed pale people we’ll ever get. I’ll take it.

His hair had become dusty, like an old man's

Axel: Also looked a bit like an inverse mullet.

and his lips were drawn into a taunt, permanent frown.

Zexion: If it’s so permanent why do you keep using it?

"Hey, are you okay?"

Zexion turned. Sora stood next to him, washing his hands.

Xion: *suddenly gives Axel a solid backhand to the face*
Axel: *still reeling* What the heck was that for?!
Xion: That was convenience smacking you in the face! And Mog won’t cut out the use of that word because he likes me!

Zexion swallowed slowly. He couldn't believe what was happening.

Marluxia: You must be new to how this fic uses coincidence alone to drive its plot forward.

"Uh, yeah," Zexion blinked. "I'm just tired."

"My friend says that when people look like their having a bad day, you should ask them if everything's okay." Sora smiled. "You look like you needed it."

"Uh, thanks…?" Zexion muttered.

"Sora."

"Thanks, Sora."

Sora nodded and dried his hands. Zexion washed his hands and quickly followed him out of the restaurant, once again being swallowed by New York's massive population. Sora was only a few feet ahead, walking with Don. The friendly teenager had been replaced by a concerned agent, and Zexion was slightly alarmed by the transformation.

Zexion: (as self) Within a single glance, I can see into the facets of your very soul… but the writing isn’t strong enough to convey that, so allow me to inform you of what you should be feeling, readers.

"What are we going to do now?" Sora asked. "I mean, Demyx is out there. As soon as the other Organization members find out about Lexaeus, they'll be looking for us if they haven't already started, and we are no closer to their whereabouts then when we first started."

Marluxia: And the story informs us it’s wasted our lives away for the third time now.
Larxene: It’s like the fic knew someone would scrutinize it someday and went "Not if I get there first!"

"Calm down, Sora," Don grunted. "We'll get there. I'm awaiting orders from Mick. Until then, we have to focus. Do you understand?"

Sora frowned. "Yes, but I feel so useless."

Terra: This fic is filled with enough self-loathing to give the cast of Neon Genesis Evangelion a run for its money.

He hung his head briefly, then looked at Don again. "What if the Keyblade does what it did to Lexaeus again? What then?"

Zexion: Would anyone believe me if I said I was joking when I said I was looking forward to Sora mourning his death later? Because I didn’t really want that useless uncontinuity to happen again. It was hard making fun of it once, twice is impossible.
Mog: *from notes* Zexion sticks around just long enough to hear Kairi’s gone. WHAT A CO-WINKY-DINK! Now we’re with Aqua in the subway, who is upset over all that implied killing a fictional kid thing we talked about earlier, when...

"You're not planning to do anything you're going to regret, are you?"

Axel: Not going to start a spork that takes nearly four years to complete, are you?

Aqua spun around. Two police officers stood behind her, and several more filed into the station. Some of them set up barriers to keep people from coming in. Aqua smiled and laughed under her breath.

Larxene: (as Aqua) Pff. NOW you guys show up. Don’t you have to go fight white criminals to make some point about police corruption or something?

"I'm emotionally compromised," she said mockingly. "Not stupid."

The police officers laughed with her, giving off this false sense of ease, though the tension could not have been tighter. One of them pulled out his own gun and held it pointed to the floor.

"I assumed I had more time," Aqua growled. "Not until tomorrow, he said."

Roxas: So now her weird map-marking and plan-making ends up going nowhere! You gave up, fic! You gave up on even freakin' trying!

"Well, he says a lot of things, Angelina."

Aqua tensed.

"You're going to have to come with us, or we will arrest you," said one of the officers. He seemed nice, and genuinely concerned for Aqua's safety, but still, he had a gun, and was willing to use it. "He doesn't like to wait for things very long."

Aqua rubbed her temples. "He's not going to make this easy for me, is he?" She paused. "I should have known. Making a big spectacle out of himself. Nothing's changed."

Zexion: I feel we don’t even need to be here anymore. The fic is so repetitive and so aware of its repetition that there’s literally nothing new we can add.

The nicer officer approached Aqua warily and took her gun, putting it into a bag after dumping the bullets. "We appreciate your cooperation, ma'am. Mr. Fair will be very pleased you didn't retaliate harshly."

Terra: No! He’s dead, fic, you ain’t bringin’ him back to stretch this mess out any longer! Just end! Eeeeeennnnnd!

"Aqua!"

Aqua spun around, and all the officers in the station pulled out their guns, getting ready to kill whoever dared to disturb their unofficial business meeting. Cloud jumped over their barrier and rushed to Aqua. Aqua frowned.

"What the fuck are you doing here?"

Roxas: (as Cloud) *scared* I DON’T KNOW!

"Put your hands up!"

Cloud stopped in his tracks, raising his hands as the tension increased exponentially.

Lexaeus: Simply saying the word "tension" does not add tension.

Everyone was already in a bad mood, and the nicer officer's partner was an antsy fellow, ready to pull the trigger when it wasn't necessary. He pointed his gun at Cloud and screamed at him.

Axel: (as officer) EXPLAIN WHY YOU’RE HERE ALL OF A SUDDEN!

"Wait!" Aqua cried. "Calm down! There's no need to get angry."

Terra: Yeah, why get angry when you can be thoroughly confused.
Roxas: Seems like the theme of this entire spork.

"I said put your hands up!"

Xion: In the air! Wave ‘em like you just don’t care!

Cloud raised his hands and growled back. "I need to talk to her!"

"Shut up and stay there!"

"I just want to—"

Marluxia: (as Cloud) —magically pop into being to add relevance to a scene.
Mog: *from notes* They search him for the weapon he doesn’t have.

"I told you to stand down," Aqua said. "I still own this city, and you will listen to me."

Larxene: (as Aqua) I still have power YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITAY!

The nicer officer grinned. "I'm sorry, Angelina. But, you have no power anymore. It's Fair. You know that. You knew that for the last ten years. And he wants you now. It's up to you whether you keep your spotless record intact."

Xion: *anger slowly rising* Of course she doesn’t have any power. Why would we want to see Aqua doing anything or saving anyone or being in any way amazing? Not like earlier it outright referred to her as a strong female character, and she and everyone around her saw her as powerful as a god. Why have strength when you can have sex with and be saved by the all-important MEN! No strong female characters HERE! WE’RE SORRY, MARIO, YOUR BADASS IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE!

Aqua looked at Cloud and sighed. "Can I at least see what he wants? You don't have to make this any harder than it already is."

The nicer officer shrugged. "I suppose so. You have five minutes, then you come with us, and you never have to see New York again. Deal?"

Axel: Deal! Take me away, Mr. Nicer Officer. I promise if you save me I won’t make fun of your name.

"Fine."

Aqua stepped up to Cloud and helped him up, but instantly pushed him back into a wall, spitting poison. "What the fuck do you think you're doing here? I thought you ran."

Cloud held up his hands, his face sorry, and his posture desperate. "Please, I need your help."

Roxas: How did he even find her? Did he just happen to be getting ice cream for Namine and saw the police filing into the station and decided to follow for fun? Or did he run into every subway station he could find screaming "Aqua!" until he got an answer?

"Fuck you," Aqua spat. "You ratted Jerkbutt out. That makes you a traitor."

Terra: Also could be held responsible for Ven’s death, but I’m sorta glad we’re pretending he never existed.

"Please, Aqua," Cloud burst into tears. "I just needed to help Namine."

"I don't care why you did it." Aqua wrapped her fingers around Cloud's throat and squeezed with all her might.

Zexion: (as Aqua) How dare you get someone you loved out of a horrible situation. You should abandon them at the drop of a hat and succumb to never-ending guilt, like me.

She wouldn't have been able to do anything fatal, but her message was still the same. "You betrayed Jerkbutt, which means you betrayed me, which means you die.

Lexaeus: (as Aqua) Even though Jerkbutt died by my order for betraying my trust, so I don’t know why this bothers me so much.

Whether it's by my hand is still up for debate."

Cloud choked. "Please, Aqua. I didn't say anything about you. I just…needed to help Namine. Please, just hear me out. I beg you."

Roxas: What is he so upset about? Any time we have a scene with him he's going on about how perfect his life with Namine is, now he's acting as if they're about to die.
Axel: Maybe he’s having a delayed reaction to (as Cloud) HOLY SHIT, I SAW SOMEONE BE ABSORBED BY A SYMBIOTE! THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THIS TOWN?

Aqua frowned deeper.

Xion: I just feel sorry for the word now. I want to save it and wrap it in a blanket and reassure it “No one will ever hurt you again, Frowned, you’re safe now.”

"I'm not in a very good mood. I'm on my last legs, and you think you can just waltz in here and ask me for something? Give me one good reason why I should help you."

Cloud hung his head. "I just want Namine to be safe. She's my girlfriend, and she's pregnant.

Xion: Those six words sum up Namine's entire role in the story.
Roxas: It's like they're writing about a Barbie doll. Looks pretty, fulfills fantasies of adult life, and has absolutely nothing going on inside her squishy little head.

I want to make sure she's safe, by any means necessary. Please, I beg of you. I'll do whatever you ask of me. Anything."

"You're running out of time, Aqua," chided the nicer officer.

Aqua glared at him. "You shut the fuck up, or I'll kill you myself."

Marluxia: (as officer) With what? I took your gun.
Terra: (as Aqua) I can murder you with empty threats!

The nicer officer, though arrogant and mocking, was not about to underestimate Aqua's ability to keep her word, and closed his mouth.

Larxene: You know what, screw it, you’re not getting me out of this fic. What kind of identity is "nicer officer"? What, are you going to teach me to look both ways before crossing the street? Are you going to teach little kids the importance of wearing their bike helmets? Get back in your picture book and let the story meander on without you taking up space.
Mog: *from notes* Aqua agrees to help, with two favours in return.

"First," Aqua whispered quietly, holding up one finger. "You need to protect Riku. He's in my apartment." She handed him a set of keys. "You'll find the address scribbled on a sheet of paper that's stuck to the bottom of that bench over there."

Xion: (as Aqua) You can have the gum I used to stick it to the bench with, if you’d like.

Cloud looked back. He could barely see a little piece of paper fluttering under the seat.

Roxas: So… Cloud, who had no idea Aqua would be here, just hopped into the scene and Aqua, who had no idea he’d show up and also didn’t know the police would find her here, taped her home address on a random bench for anyone to find? I, just, what? Whaaaat?

"Second," Aqua continued. "I need you to promise me that you will never, ever, let your child do what I did. Don't let them go. Ever. Make sure they go to college. Make sure they can be normal. I don't ever want to hear about the Strife family again unless it has degree attached to it. Do you understand?"

Lexaeus: It’s so rare we find paragraphs like this; paragraphs that give you the glimpse of a better story, a story that cared more about pathos and hope rather than gore and sexism. I like it, therefore I hate it.

Cloud nodded. "Okay."

Aqua hugged him. "Thank you. I'm so sick of being the one responsible for ruining so many lives.

Terra: Especially since it is the exact opposite of your character.

But, it's too late for me to change anything."

Cloud shook his head "It's never too late."

Axel: Nice try on the optimism, man, but that doesn’t mean much coming from the guy that was bawling two seconds ago cuz you had no way to help your future family.
Xion: (as Cloud) It’s never too late if you can find someone to just take away all your problems!

Aqua laughed. "You are just as naïve as he is. It is too late. For me at least. God, I'm so sorry."

Cloud frowned as Aqua let him go and left the station with the officers. Something about the way she sounded made him uneasy. Like she knew something was going to happen, and was just choosing not to tell anyone about it. It was like she had the secret to the universe.

Roxas: Yes! She does! Aliens, Keyblades, she knows all about them! Why have all the abundant flashbacks never explained that?

Cloud rocked on his feet and waited until the barriers had been pulled down, and people once again bean to flood in to catch the train.

Xion: Instead of a gravy train, New York has a baked bean train.

He hurried over to the bench and pulled the paper from underneath of it. Within its folds was another set of keys and a number.

Marluxia: Why’d she give him two sets of keys? Is one for her apartment and another for the storage unit she wants him to clear out for her?

Cloud pulled out his cell phone, rushed above ground to Namine, who had been waiting for him at a nearby café, and dialed the number.

Xion: (as Namine) Did you get my ice cream?
Roxas: (as Cloud) Nope, sorry. Had to literally jump into a scene to remove one more woman's agency from the plot.
Xion: (as Namine) Sounds normal.
Mog: *from notes* Cloud calls an unhelpful Isa.

He hung up and looked at Namine, who seemed a little more relaxed.

Zexion: Being female, she’s not allowed to be let in on the plot until it endangers her life.
Terra: Namine is one of the most powerful characters that exists in our universe, and yet here she's demoted to a demure little housewife, except without the fun and gifts of even being married yet.

His heart swelled in his chest with this intense need to protect her. She was sipping a cup of tea and she smiled when she noticed Cloud had been watching her.

Axel: Ooh. They’re sharing a scene together. Are they going to do something saccharine and gooey?

"I love you," Cloud said.

"I love you, too."

Axel: Mm! Taste that artificial sweetener!

Cloud stood up, placed his last few dollars on the table and took Namine's hand.

"Where are we going?" she asked.

Lexaeus: To a bank, I’m assuming. You’re going to need some more money.

"I made a promise to someone," Cloud answered. "I'm going to go get a friend."

Terra: Off to the friend store we go!
Mog: *from notes* Axel’s got the whole exploding hotel plan set in motion, so he goes to talk to Kairi to reason why she’s even in here.

"Let me go!"

Axel shrugged and stepped into the bathroom, washing his hands and filling a cup with water. He handed it to Kairi, who drank it gratefully, but reminded herself that Axel was bad and stop abruptly.

Zexion: And then she spat a mouthful of water into Axel’s face. Maybe his obsession with fire will cause him to fizzle out of existence.

"Don't worry, I didn't poison it." Axel looked around. "Do you mind if I smoke? Jesus, I haven't gone this long since high school. And this is the only safe place."

Terra: (as Axel) Fire, smoke, things going boom, it’s all I am anymore!

He lit a cigarette, sucking in the smoke greedily. His tense face instantly relaxed and he smiled. "Look, I'm sorry, alright?"

Kairi frowned. "Why are you doing this?"

"I'm sure you're a nice girl," Axel said. "And I really didn't want you to be a part of this, you know? But, this is about Marluxia, not you.

Zexion: Because he’s the only one this story cares about.

And I need to help my best friend. I'm sure you would do the exact same thing."

"I wouldn't want to kill anyone!" Kari blurted. "No one deserves that."

Axel laughed and stretched. "You have no idea about anything, do you?"

Xion: (as Kairi) Oh, deary me, no. I’m just a delicate little girl and thinking hurts my dainty feminine brain.

Kairi growled at Axel.

"Here, I don't think you quite understand what Marluxia is." Axel paced back and forth for a while before he spoke again. "Maybe I should give an example."

Zexion: So we get to see yet another scene of Marluxia killing someone for no reason… barring Marluxia even being here. Why does this story even bother having the illusion of a plot, it should stick to its one strength of random gore that goes nowhere.
Terra: Technically it did. The authors started another fic detailing his backstory we already know everything about.
Marluxia: Why would you read that? Why do you know that?
Terra: Because researching this fic is like watching a family of badgers steal a minivan and get into a high-speed police chase before swerving off a bridge, screaming "You’ll never take me alive, coppers!" right as they hit the water. Weird, and a little bit tragic, but you know you’ll have a story to share with people later on.
Mog: *from notes* Axel gets touchy-feely.

Axel almost touched his nose to Kairi's cheek when she head butted him. Axel reeled back, nose bleeding, screaming in pain.

Roxas: We make fun for how underwritten she is, but in the last few scenes she has managed to kick more butts than all the guys combined. While kidnapped.

"What the fuck did you do that for?"

Xion: (as Kairi) Because you invaded my personal space, you wingnut!

Kairi didn't answer, but kept a slightly smug smile on her face.

Larxene: (as Kairi) I’m a damsel. I’m in distress. I can handle this.

Axel stood up, tilted his head back and shuffled into the bathroom. Kairi waited until Axel had cleaned up before she growled at him in the most commanding voice she could muster.

"Let me go."

Axel wagged a finger at her. "I don't think so. Not after what you just did. Quite a temper. You remind me of this bitch I used to know. Angelina. She was a real piece of work.

Axel: If we keep bringing up this new fact maybe people will forget I passed her on the subway and didn’t recognize her.

I guess I'll be going now."

Kairi frowned as Axel turned off the light and closed the door.

Xion: (as Kairi) I'm about to die. Frowning will encompass my despair!
Roxas: I never thought that f-word would be what we harped on the most by the end of all this.

Maybe he wouldn't rig that room to explode. He actually kind of liked Kairi, and if he hadn't fucked up his whole life by joining an Organization

Marluxia: Because he’d been bored at the time.

that was hell-bent on destroying the human race—and he had been a little younger—he might have actually taken a stab at her.

Roxas: (as Kairi) Not if you were the last man on Earth.
Xion: (as Axel) Well, that’s sort of my plan—
Roxas: (as Kairi) The answer’s still no! You finding my conventional attractiveness appealing to your own whims is NOT a compliment!

But, for now, he had to stall.

Axel: No comment.
Mog: *from notes* So then Marluxia kills someone, cuz it hasn’t been established that can happen yet. Now on to chapter 26! You’re almost done, guys! Almost!

26. Debts Almost Paid in Full

The Second Night

7:15 PM

Aqua had been kindly escorted to Wall Street, where she was greeted by a hulking statue of a bull that looked like it was ready to scour any enemy with its pointed horns. Aqua knew exactly what that bull meant,

Xion: The energy, strength and unpredictability of the stock market?
Roxas: Placed there by its creator for the heck of it and it stayed because people liked it?

and her soul shivered in place as she stepped onto an elevator with the police officers and rocketed up to the top floor.

Terra: She went flying through the ceiling, into the stratosphere, and is happily enjoying her new life away from Badfic Earth.

The building was just like any other.

Roxas: So she’s not going to even bother explaining that exact meaning behind the bull statue?
Zexion: Guess we’ll have to make up our own interpretation and then attribute it to her to prove this story is smarter than we are.

Taller than man's imagination was comfortable with, gleaming in last dregs of sunlight that could barely be seen hanging in the west, and littered with the fluorescent lights of late staying workers. Aqua's stomach fell to the floor as they shot higher and higher, entering a world that was far beyond reach.

Lexaeus: I never knew the Babylon Tower was moved to Wall Street.

When the elevator doors opened, a hallway lined in linens

Xion: It’s laundry day inside the offices today.

led to a door that had leather stretched over it, with brass doorknobs. It was gorgeous, and it gave an air of superiority that Aqua found distasteful. The nicer officer knocked on the door,

Terra: (as nicer officer) My name’s Neil, by the way, you can stop calling me by that silly epithet.
Mog: *from notes* A new person appeared! Who could it possibly be?

"I'm Yuffie." The woman extended a hand. "Nice to meet you."

Roxas: Nice to see you suddenly cameo, Yuffie! Enjoy your inevitable break from character.

Aqua ignored her hand and turned away. "I wish I could say the same thing."

"Are you in trouble?" Yuffie cocked her head. "Is there something I can help you with? I'm really good at helping people, you know."

Xion: (as Yuffie) I’m so helpful I’ve created the very first scene in this entire fic where two women share a conversation.

Aqua scoffed softly and folded her arms. She wasn't sure why Yuffie was posing such a threat to her.

Larxene: Woman. Fic, don’t like 'em. Moving on.

She smiled too innocently, spoke so proper, and bounced on her heels like a child. She was seemingly perfect, hiding under a mask that wasn't as well put together and believable as her own. Aqua blinked slowly. Something wasn't right.

Terra: She’s HAPPY. Something is clearly WRONG.

"Ah, Angelina."

Aqua spun around, and came face to face with an older gentleman with graying hair and twinkling eyes. She froze and dropped her mouth open into a small crescent that betrayed her shock and panic.

Axel: (as Aqua) It’s an old guy! This story doesn’t know how to write old guys!

Before her stood Julian Fair. It was an unwelcoming sight. A nightmare coming true in its most basic form.

Xion: Well, some could argue rich old white men are the most scarily overpowered people in America, but I don’t think that’s the idea the fic was going for.

Aqua almost cried, but pulled herself together and smiled dangerously. She was ready to fight. Maybe with much more than words.

Marluxia: We’ll see if the fic is feeling up to a creative stretch of the muscles today. I give it a full minute before we return to breasts, intercourse, or descriptions of what blood is coloured.

"I see you've met your possible replacement." Julian smiled widely and motioned to Yuffie. "Yuffie, this is Angelina Godfrey, or 'Aqua'."

Aqua hissed. "Don't tell her who I am."

"It's okay, Angelina," Julian said. "Yuffie is Yolanda Brecht.

Zexion: Because everyone must be double-named in this universe, just to make things even more clunky and impossible to follow.
Axel: At least the Lea thing finally died. Now I am Luca! I get my own pointless OC name!

Now that you two know each other, I hope you will learn to become great friends."

Aqua spat at Yuffie. "I am not training my own replacement. She can go fuck herself."

Larxene: (as Yuffie) Well, it’s all the story lets you do any more so why not give me some pointers?

"Now, now," Julian whispered. "Play nice. You don't even know what she's here for yet. I promise you she's no threat to you or your empire. At least not yet."

Terra: (as Aqua) But all women are threats! I've been taught since birth that other girls are just competition that I have to constantly put down to prove I'm better than them. Societal pressures cannot be wrong!

Aqua frowned slightly. "What do you mean 'not yet'?"

"Come," Julian said motioning to his office door. "Let's talk in private. I'm sure Miss Brecht wouldn't mind."

Yuffie smiled. "Of course not, Julian. Take your time."

Roxas: (as Yuffie) Man bossing me around, why WOULDN’T I mind?
Mog: *from notes* Let’s get right to business.

Aqua nodded and placed her glass on Julian's desk. "Fine, you can have it. I don't want it anymore."

Julian laughed, long and hard. He stood by the huge window that sat just behind his desk, allowing all of New York to figuratively bow before him. Aqua was beginning to hate him more and more as his laughter echoed in her ears.

Axel: (as Fair) MeheheheheHEHE HA HA HAAAAA MWEE HEE HEE HAH! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA- oh there’s that punctured lung acting up again give me a sec here—oh ho ho, almost ready, tra la la, okay one more try MWAA HA HA *wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze* AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ooh, I love it when I’m nasty.

"That's a lie, and you and I both know that," he said, sobering. "You want to keep your empire so badly, that you were just about to do the second stupidest thing in your entire career after contacting Eraqus."

Zexion: (as Fair) You tried to drag your father figure into this mess. How dare you.

Aqua paced the room, wishing so badly that she had a gun so she could shoot something.

Terra: (as Aqua) Goshdangit, why is the fic deciding NOW violence isn’t the answer to everything? I could just clip a flower vase, that could still be cool!

"I know I breached the contract, okay? I'm willing to hand it over to you, right here, right now. So, get your ego boosting speech done and over with and I'll get out of your hair."

"Now, there you go again," Julian interrupted, "jumping to conclusions as usual. Angelina, please, allow me to explain to you why you're here today."

Roxas: Thanks, we’re kinda confused on what the fic is doing with her anymore.

Aqua sat in the only seat available to her and crossed her legs defensively.

Larxene: Good stance for any of the ladies so far.

Julian placed his glass on his desk and sat across from Aqua, folding his hands in front of him and leaning over the polished wood.

Axel: Cool it there, Gendo, wait until you do something before trying to be intimidating.

His carefree face swirled from a peaceful happiness to a concentrated missile. He frowned deeply, taking on an exterior of dominance.

Zexion: Because FROWNED.
Mog: *from notes* There’s a long conversation here about contracts and deals, but even Aqua does a good job explaining why it should be skipped:

"Oh, Julian," Aqua hummed. "You never fail to point out the obvious."

"So, we're on better terms now, are we?" Julian teased. "I should make you suck my dick like a little cunt."

Everyone: Wh-

Aqua's mouth dropped open.

"Shut the fuck up," Julian hissed.

Everyone: -at?
Terra: So it is physically impossible for a character in this story to go five minutes without swearing.

"You are not in power here."

Aqua narrowed her eyes but did not speak.

"You have two choices," Julian said, dropping that dark tone. "You can either give me your empire so I may pass it to the current owner of the Golden Coast."

"You mean that child out there is my West Coast equivalent?"

Xion: It’s not Mother Gothel, but I was right on the dot with someone coming in to replace her.

Julian nodded silently. "Or, you could give me something worth more than all the drugs in the world."

Silence.

"I see your curiosity is lacking."

Axel: Yup, sure is.

Aqua blinked. "I don't think I'm going to take your deal."

"If you don't, you lose everything," Julian said. "I'll take everything you have. Your house, your cars, your legitimate businesses. Everything.

Terra: (as Fair) Your National Geographic collection, your beanie babies, that old SNES that doesn’t even work anymore but you keep around for nostalgia. Everything!

I won't leave you with a pot to piss in. And then we'll have another foreclosure crisis."

Aqua jumped to her feet, slamming her fists on the desk. "You will not coerce me, Julian!"

Julian jumped to his feet as well.

Roxas: And then Aqua jumped on his desk, then Julian jumped on the ceiling fan, then Cloud jumped in—

"And you will not disrespect me. I pulled you off the streets, you fucking whore. You listen to me."

"I will level this entire city if I have to!"

Axel: Do it! End this story for once and for all!

Julian huffed angrily, but did not retort. He eased back into his chair and sipped his wine quietly.

Marluxia: (as Fair) Mmm. Not enough blood of kittens and puppies to make me blatantly evil.

"I just want to make a deal. Please, let's leave the past in the past, shall we?

Xion: (as Fair) We could, shall you say, let it go?

I mean, after this, we'll never have to see each other."

Terra: I at least appreciate how he knows what a useless character he is already.

Aqua sank into her seat. "Your second option?"

Zexion: Yes, let’s get back to that sudden misogyny.

Julian nodded. "When you get to be my age, you begin to feel this certain pull in your heart that tells you that you are about to die. This feeling gets stronger everyday, and I fear that I may pass on from this life without being able to secure my affairs."

"Why does this concern me? I don't care what you have to do."

Xion: You and me both, Aqua.

Julian

Roxas: Wait wait! Let me take a shot in the dark here. He’s unhappy so he…

frowned deeper and sighed.

Roxas: Yup. Saw that coming a mile away.

"I need something that I don't have. And this something is can only be provided by someone such as yourself."

Aqua scoffed. "But, I'm just a little whore, remember? Why should I help you?"

Julian

Axel: Ooh oooh! One more totally obviously uneducated guess. To show he’s still in charge and a smug bastard heeee…

smiled

Axel: Yes! More predictably laughable emotions. Keep it up, fic, this is the only good thing you have going so far!
Mog: *from notes* Even Aqua doesn’t pay attention to him rambling on.

"I want an heir," Julian said finally.

Larxene: So Julian Fair is only here to be a deus sex machina?

Aqua paused. She wasn't quite sure if she had heard him right. "You want an heir?" She thought for a moment. "Don't you have one already? Your son…Zack, right?"

Lexaeus: Heaven knows how he managed that since he opened this demanding oral sex. You do know that’s not how fertilization works, Mr. Fair?

Julian laughed. "Yes, I have a son. And, yes, Zack is his name, but he will never be my heir.

Terra: (as Fair) He’s just a brief cameo.

If you remember our deal from before."

Aqua grimaced. That incident hadn't even crossed her mind. Which meant she had, once again, made a bad decision. She cursed herself inwardly and

Larxene: Let me guess…!

frowned.

Larxene: GODDAMN! Think up a better word!

"So, you want me to give you an heir," Aqua said slowly. She was already planning. "I could find you one."

"No!" Julian cried. "No, you must make me an heir."

Roxas: Whhhhhyyyyyyyyy? Why is this happening? Why have you taken a character who you continuously say has the power of a god and go "You have a womb, you must be reduced to sex FOUR SCENES PRACTICALLY IN A ROW!" This is ALL she is now! It’s so bizarre!
Mog: *from notes* Aqua storms out, sorta kicks Yuffie outta the story, and seems ready to mope in the streets when this happens…

And she didn't snap out of it until she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder.

Her first instinct told her to attack the person behind her, but she could find neither the strength nor the will to do so. She turned her head slowly.

"I'm sorry for your loss," said a strange woman.

Xion: (as woman) No one deserves to see their canon selves die a slow and painful death like you have.

Aqua furrowed her brow. "It's okay. I'll be fine."

The strange woman shook her head. "We needed him to help us. He is safe. He joined us willingly. And, soon, so will you."

Everyone: *slowly tilt heads*
Axel: …Kay. Where you going with this one, fic?

Aqua frowned. This woman had to be under the influence of some kind of drug. A drug that had probably been bought in Miami, shipped through a runner, and sold in the streets. For all she knew, she could have the woman's last twenty dollars in her pocket right now, and this thought greatly depressed her.

Terra: Aqua debuted in this fic talking about aliens and Keyblades, two of the biggest kept secrets in this world. No, I don’t care if you have this women’s dope money. I want to know where you got that information from. I want to see you as an intelligent and knowledgeable person.

"What do you want?" Aqua asked.

The strange woman smiled. "I've been watching you."

Larxene: What even.

Aqua stiffened.

"You are such a good person," the strange woman said. "You are just on the wrong path. But, you have shown us that you belong with us. This is rare."

Marluxia: Why even.

Aqua didn't answer.

"I will help you," the strange woman said. "I will help you the same way you help others."

Lexaeus: How even.

Aqua let the strange woman walk away.

Axel: Good call! Did Aqua pop into another story for a second, the hell was that all about?

She was slightly concerned about what she had been talking about, but was for too burdened to care. The strange woman disappeared into the crowd of the city, and Aqua turned on her heels, preparing herself for her next step.

Xion: So weird lady may as well drifted in front of Aqua, wriggling her fingers menacingly, and hissing "Fooorrreeeshaadooowwiiiinnnggg" for all the good that did anyone.

She had to reform her empire in an extremely short period of time and wasn't quite sure what she truly wanted anymore.

Roxas: If even she doesn’t know where her story is going anymore, than we may as well give up too.
Mog: *from notes* So in the next scene Hayner comes out to his parents—
Larxene: I DON’T CARE! Does this have anything to do with aliens? NO! Does this have anything to do with the Organization? NO! Does this have anything to do with Sora’s parents? NO! A thousand subplots later and not a one of them has to do with our three plot initiators! Just. Shut. UP ALREADY!
Mog: *turtled into all his fluff the instant yelling started*
Xion: I think what Larxene meant to say was "Sometimes a minor character should just stay a minor character."
Mog: *still scared stiff*
Roxas: So… should we continue with the scene anyway? It’s not very long and it’ll give Mog time to recover.
Larxene: *relaxes* Sure, why not equally waste people’s time. Sounds like fun.

9:15 PM

Hayner hated knocking on his parents' door for two reasons.

Terra: Both those reasons had to do with the fact the door was made of rabid weasels. Teeth and claws, perfectly valid concerns.

First of all, he really didn't like to disturb his parents so late at night, and sometimes their reactions weren't too pleasant either. And the second thing that tortured his brain was the fact that he hadn't spoken to his parents for a long time.

Roxas: By this point in the fic, I’m surprised you even have parents to speak to. The fic doesn’t know how to write responsible adults so it shoves them aside for more twentysomething screw-ups.

But, to his surprise, when the wooden door opened, he was greeted by his mother, who was a stern looking woman, but not because she was angry, or worried. No, she had the look of a devote Christian, and her piercing stare was because she had been in the middle of prayer.

Axel: Hayner has done nothing important so far but DAMMIT we still wanna hate on religion for no reason whatsoever! We just GOTTA take the time to put in this scene.
Marluxia: I'm honestly surprised she didn't come to the door clutching rosary beads in one hand and a crucifix in the other, spitting holy water at anyone who dares cross her doorstep.

But, she softened slightly when she saw her blond son standing on her doorstep.

"Hayner!" she cried. "You're back!"

Hayner nodded, smiling slightly, but frowned again when his father came to the door. He had been expecting a hug and cries of joy, but he had been denied such a luxury. His father thumped him on the back and invited him in.

Larxene: (as father) Sup, son-guy. Come in so I can be a dick to you.

"We thought you'd never come back," he said. "I was beginning to think you had forgotten where you lived."

Xion: (as father) Hey, lookitthat, I just pointed out why the conclusion to this scene won’t be all that warranted emotionally because you have no connection to this place. I took my smart pills today, son, we should play some Trivial Pursuit before I kick your butt to the curb.

[[Two paragraphs of non-joke-worthy flavour text that we'd feel bad forcing you to read for no reason later…]]

"Those Philly folks treatin' you right, son?"

Hayner sipped his tea. "Actually, Dad, Philadelphia is a very nice place. The people are nice and it's clean. Not as clean as here, but the streets are taken care of."

Zexion: (as Hayner) There’s not a single homeless person to be seen because that would mean the story was aware of world problems.

"Are you going to church every Sunday?"

"Well, sometimes my schedule doesn't allow me to, but I pray everyday."

Hayner's mother beamed in approval, but his father huffed.

"I don't believe you, boy." He folded his arms. "You sound like them. I can hear it in your accent. You been there too long."

Axel: They don’t have churches in the far off lands of Philadelphia! They’re a whole one state over, it’s like a foreign kingdom in Pennsylvania!

Hayner frowned. "That's what happens when you live there, Dad. You start to sound like the people who live around you."

Xion: (as Hayner) I’ve also become Amish while over there.

Hayner's mother could hear the anger in her husband's voice, and decided to quickly change the subject. She smiled as sweetly as her face would allow and sipped from her own cup of tea.

Larxene: I betcha she's drinking a punny name brand. Nothing tastes better to mock Catholics to than Pietea.

"Did you meet any nice girls?"

Roxas: Because kids LOVE to hear the constant "So do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend yet?" That’s a conversation that always goes well.

Hayner paled. "That's actually what I wanted to come talk to you guys about."

"Oh, you found one?"

Hayner opened his mouth to speak, but both of his parents were beginning to get excited. He could see a twinkle in their eyes, and a small twitch of the lips. They were happy, and they looked as if this had been the first time this had happened in a long time.

Larxene: Everyone wants grandkids and they’ll stop at nothing to get them!

Hayner smiled half-heartedly, and didn't want to tell him that his 'nice girl' was actually a drug dealer who had just been shot.

Terra: To be fair, even if Isa was a girl, I still don’t think they’d be happy to hear that.

"Tell us about her."

Hayner frowned briefly. "Well, this person is wonderful company. They always listen to me, except when they are really busy with business. And they care about what I think most of the time. And they return my affections—"

"Do you fuck her?"

Xion: Wow, way to make the conversation really awkward, Dad.

Hayner nodded. "Yes, and he is respectful towards my sexual choices—"

Hayner's mother laughed falsely. "You mean she?"

Hayner paused. "No…I mean he. His name is I—er, I mean Lawrence. And I love him more than anybody else in the world."

Hayner's father bristled. "You fuckin' men?"

Roxas: Is that any less embarrassing than how you talk?

"No," Hayner said. "I fuck only one man. And I love it."

"I'm not going to have no faggot living in my house."

"Come on, Dad." Hayner stood up. "You didn't even meet him yet. He promised me that he was on his way, and he said he would love to meet you."

"I ain't havin' no faggots in my house!"

Axel: (as dad) I ain’t havin’ no proper English in my house neither because we Stereotypes have a proud history! Your cousin may have died on that boardwalk for shovin’ a nerd around but he died proud, dag gummit!

Hayner pushed his father. "Why can't you just be happy for me? I mean, it took a lot to even tell you this. Please, Mom, Dad, just hear me out."

Roxas: (as Hayner) Mom, do anything. The fic’s gonna hate on you for no reason anyway, may as well own it.
Xion: (as mom) No thank you, deary. I have tea to drink. Very time consuming activity, tea.

"I ain't gonna have no gay son. I don't appreciate no cock-sucking man in my house!" Hayner's father pushed him back.

Marluxia: And so began the great Pushing War of Small Town, Ohio.

"You get the fuck out!"

Hayner stood his ground. "You haven't even met him. You don't knows anything about him at all."

Terra: (as Hayner) You’ll love him when you find out he’s a gang leader that’s killed multiple peop—This is not helping is it?

Hayner's father grew red, and Hayner could see that staying any longer would pose a threat to his life. He collected himself together, grabbed the only bag he had brought with him and headed to the door.

Xion: Quick! Befriend two men at a pizza shop so you can live forever trapped in a college dorm with no responsibilities other than looking cute and sleeping!

His mother hadn't done a thing to help him, or come to his defense at all, and he hated both of them for that.

Roxas: (as Hayner) I hereby curse all your teabags to bust inside the cup and for your water to instantly cool! May your tea always be cruddy from here on out!

"Well, while we're on the subject," Hayner spat at his father. "I quit business school, too. I'm an accountant, you unloving mother fucker. I hope you rot in Hell."

Terra: You have not earned this. This fic doesn’t deserve to talk about any issue, let alone this one. Yeah, we dogpiled on ‘He’s Gone Away’ for a lot of things, but it tried—it honestly tried—to talk about the issue. This? Hayner has had no relevance to the story, much less did his parents have any relevance, so to throw in the whole "oh poor gay kids their lives are so hard I read that in the newspaper once" is so unjustified. And "rot in hell"? No, fic. No, you don’t get to have a badass one-liner. Disownment and homelessness are not badass and for you to take it and use it WHEN IT’S NOT EVEN IMPORTANT TO THE STORY is nothing short of disgusting. May you rot in hell, fic, and may your suffering last an eternity!
Xion: Wow, you got really passionate there.
Terra: *scowl* I don’t like seeing kids get hurt.

Hayner stormed out, never to look back at his parents again.

Lexaeus: It’s as if he never lived with them for the entire story.

He had only gone a little farther than the next house when he realized he had nowhere to go. Panic instantly rose in his chest, for the last light on the street before the winding road was right above him, and the only thing ahead was darkness.

Roxas: But Hayner, haven’t you ever heard of a thing called love? Just listen to the rhythm of your heart!

He pulled out his phone, tears welling in his eyes and burning the bridge of his nose.

"I'm sorry, but the number you are trying to reach is unavailable at this time, please leave a message after the tone—"

No sooner had he heard the beep, did Hayner break down. He sniffed, trying to keep his voice level as he let his fear show.

Xion: But, Hayner, there’s a chance we can make it now.

"It's me, Isa," Hayner sobbed. "I'm not going to be home anymore. I have to go Cleveland. My parents don't want me. I wish you were here.

Roxas: We’ll be rocking til the sun goes down!

I'm all alone…" Hayner sniffed again, trying desperately to pull himself together. "Please don't forget to come get me…I love you."

Hayner hung up the phone, and after a few more minutes, made his way into the darkness.

Roxas and Xion: *singing* I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOOOOOOVE!

The main road was only a few miles away, and it wasn't like he had never traveled those dark roads before.

Axel: Oooooohoooo GUI-TAR!

It just felt scarier as he left his hometown, by himself, not knowing that Isa would never come for him.

(Everyone still distracted rocking out to ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’. Even Mog breaks out of his paralysis and joins in with a few squeaky 'touching you, touching me's.)

And, at the moment, he truly was all alone.

Roxas: Oh, were you having a melodramatic moment? Sorry, we were too busy having fun to pay attention.

Day Three: The Night of Detonation

Love.

Xion: Is a many splendid thing, love lifts us up where we belong! All you need is love!
Marluxia: Are you three done with your song references yet?

The most powerful ambition a person can have. It is what makes a human a human.

Larxene: Along with some other scientific mumbo-jumbo, but sure, let’s go with that.

Words can't come close to illustrating it, for love is such a beautiful fragment in the stained-glass window of nature that it is indescribable.

Zexion: Never stopped the prose before.
Axel: That sure was a weak metaphor. But is there some way this fic can make it even worse?

It is a blanket woven with heartstrings and covers many. The sociopathic and remorseless do not feel such things; deem it unnecessary to feel for other people, and so their hearts are cold and outside of the blanket's loving warmth.

Roxas: The Blanket does not accept your puny human emotions!

They have nothing to give to the blanket, and so they do not meddle within the affairs of those wrapped inside it.

Xion: The Blanket is a mighty being beyond mortal comprehension! Even a single glimpse of the Blanket will drive man insane!

Then, however, there are those who have been kicked outside of the blanket.

Larxene: The Blanket demands blood sacrifices!

And for that, they resent the blanket.

Marluxia: They turn their faith instead to the great god Quilt.

To them, the blanket has given nothing but grief and misery, so they work everyday trying to best it, trying to train themselves to live outside of the blanket without feeling the coldness of sociopathy.

Axel: In the name of the Sewn, the Gusset, and the Holy Surger, we cast you away evil Blanket! Begone vile spirits! The power of fleece compels you!

But they find themselves incapable. They lead lonely lives, entering doorways to emptiness, walking on foreign and deserted sidewalks.

And so Zeke Fender walked on the quiet sidewalk in Chinatown.

Terra: I was thinking this was a few paragraphs expressing sympathy to poor Hayner. But I was wrong and now I’m mad. That poor kid has gotten nothing but the short end of the stick this entire story.
Axel: Hilariously over-the-top emo pretension? Nah, that’s Zeke’s endearing character trait.
Xion: But did he walk a lonely road, the only road that he has ever known?

The street to the side of him was made of some brick-like material that he had always enjoyed looking at, finding it to be much more interesting to look at than the everyday black roads with the yellow cuts in their middles. These were roads that were enjoyable, a nice change from the norm.

Roxas: *sing-song* Follow the brick-like road! Follow the brick-like road! Follow-follow-follow-follow the probably-cobblestone-but-this-story-never-researches-words road!
Larxene: Why do they keep telling us Zexion’s so smart if he doesn’t even know what asphalt is?

This entire situation was a nice change from the norm as well. Kairi was missing, or rather, Kairi had been kidnapped. Zexion had not stuck around the get anymore details from Sora's conversation, and for that he was currently kicking himself. This city was humongous. Hell, Manhattan alone was humongous. Shit, the world was humongous.

Terra: (as Zexion) Holy guacamole, the universe is humongous! I feel so small and insignificant in comparison to its vastness!

Who said Kairi was still even in the United States by now? No. No, right now, he would look for Sora again. Try and get some more information about her kidnapper.

Marluxia: He could have just stalked him and Don for a bit longer, but then we would have missed out on that amazing spiel of the Holy Blanket of Love.

It had shocked him to hear Kairi's name from the Keyblader that had fought Roxas and caused so much trouble for the Organization.

Axel: Oh yeah that ONE fight and killing off that ONE guy that never did anything. Dang, what a troublemaker.

Very disturbing. If Kairi was with Sora, then it would be easy to believe that she was also working with him. And if she was working with him, then she was working against the Organization. Which meant, technically, she had to die.

Roxas: He sure is lucky there’s only one Kairi in the whole wide world. Ten million Christophers, but somebody somewhere knew "No, this name is sacred!"

But alas, he knew that he could never lay a finger on her. In high school, he could hardly stay in the same room as her without being overcome with misery and longing.

Xion: (as Kairi) Hey everybody! If you’re wondering what I’m up to today, I’m studying for upcoming finals, completing the numerous assignments teachers have given me, working part-time, attending drama club this evening, and doing volunteer work for local charities to help better the world!
Terra: (as Zexion) I’m doing absolutely nothing with my life. How come Kairi never has time to notice me?! She’s so mean!

That feeling was back now, and more intense than ever. He wanted to save her, yes, but not to be a knight in shining armor. Zexion was no hero.

Roxas: Oh, we already knew that, fic.

He wanted to find her to confront her. To tell her everything. Because now that the old hurts and pains had resurfaced, Zexion felt awful.

Axel: Zeke, do us all a favour. Cry me a river, build a bridge, and GET OVER IT!

In his true heart, or whatever remained of it, he felt as though he was going down. That this was it; that it would all end for him with this recent kidnapping.

Roxas: Once again, in case anyone needs reminding: This is all happening because three guys Marluxia kidnapped for no reason died and people made the wrong assumptions.
Lexaeus: It is the most boring way this story could have ended; therefore, it is the most perfect way this story could have ended.

Underneath his business-attire that he had disguised himself in, Zexion had a rather large handgun. In it were bullets intended for Kairi's kidnappers, and perhaps Kairi herself.

Larxene: (as Kairi) Is that a large handgun in your pocket or are you just obsessed with me?

He would not touch her, no, not without telling her off first.

Terra: Telling her off? I think you’re the one who deserves a tongue-lashing, young man!

Not without telling her how flawed she was.

Marluxia: She’d have to be given a scrap of character for flaws to come into play.

Not without telling her how unjust and illogical and heartbreaking she had been to him. Then he would kill her.

Zexion: Maybe if I wish hard enough, Kairi will break free, kick the gun out his hands, reprimand him for all his numerous shortcomings, and knee him between the legs.
Roxas: Can she maybe give Ryan a severe talking to as well? That’d be nice.

And suddenly Zexion felt an overwhelming sense of purpose that almost brought him to his knees. Yes, he had a mission now. Like his entire life, he was a chess player and everyone was a pawn…except for Kairi herself, who played the opposite side of the table. And he, like always, intended to win this game once and for all.

Xion: But Kairi was much more intelligent and always beat him like a computer.

The game was the game of his life. Since the day he had been born, since the day his parents had decided to procreate, this game of wits and emotion had been waiting for him to take a seat and play it. His entire life's work, his ambitions and desires, every fear and hatred, every thought and idea, had all been working up to this very moment. He could feel it.

Marluxia: I like how, in that giant ramble about chess, did he never once mention the rules or strategies of chess.
Larxene: But he’s SMART! Only SMART people know that chess is a thing that exists!

The rash itched like hell. And now he had ulcers in his mouth, even feeling one growing in his throat. These wicked pains would only go away once he had control of the situation again…if he ever did.

Will I truly, though? Will ending the girl I love truly rid all this? Somehow, I doubt it. Somehow, I think all of this is my fault. The ulcers, the rash, the headaches, Larxene, the constant pain in my chest…it's all me.

Zexion: Mog, with so many characters dying simply because the story grew bored of them, can you at least promise me that Zeke Fender does not survive the end?
Mog: He gets told the final line.
Zexion: Oh. Alright then. *puts head on desk again*
Terra: Are you really going to ostrich your way out of the rest of the fic?
Zexion: No. Just these scenes.

She's the puppet-master to my irrationality, and she doesn't. Even. Fucking. Know.

Xion: By this point, he should hand in his Organization badge. This isn’t terrorism, it’s a temper tantrum.

Well, then. I intend to make her acknowledge it.

Axel: Good luck with that. Let me know if she's less bored-to-tears by your one trick pony than we are.

Maybe I'll kill her, maybe not. Do gods feel mercy?

Larxene: Mythology is going to point to a big fat no on that one.
Roxas: Certainly not to you, since you’re punishing a girl for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Perhaps we shall see soon.

He continued his search.

It was 12:00 PM.

Axel: OMIGOD IT’S LUNCHTIME!

Vexen sat in his laboratory, staring at a small strip of light held by a tube.

Lexaeus: For the sole purpose of giving himself eye strain.

The light glowed bright yellow-orange, and was the only thing illuminating the room besides the small IPod player behind him, which was playing the mellow tunes of Radiohead.

Roxas: Really? Vexen is a fan of Radiohead? I'm not judging, but I figured his tastes would fall more under the obscure.

Vexen studied the strip of light with a small scope made of gold.

"Mmm," he muttered to himself. "Yes…yes, I see. How fascinating…the spectrum, when looking at sodium, shows all visible light…muy interesante…God, I hope no one heard me say that…"

Zexion: (as Vexen) It's Spanish instead of Italian, I've practically sinned.

He looked through the rainbow being formed through the spectroscope enjoying the hues. The green was the most powerful of the colors, but soon all seven colors intensified as the door to Vexen's room opened and the lights were flicked on.

Xion: SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

"Dammit," he muttered, placing the spectroscope on the table in front of him. He called to the person behind him, "C'mon in, I wasn't busy or anything."

Roxas: (as Vexen) I’m not sarcastic or anything. PUHLEASE come in and interrupt me more.

Saix laughed heartily and said, "Many apologies, Vex'. What is that you've got there? Sodium light?"

Terra: (as Saix) Can I play with it, pal?

"Indeed. I wanted to see what light had the highest wavelength in its spectrum."

"I never figured you for a chemist. Is this Radiohead playing?"

"Yeah, it is.

Lexaeus: Because Radiohead is a thing people know of? Why is this necessary to bring up twice?
Marluxia: They don’t even mention a song or an album. Is he just listening to 'Creep' on a neverending loop?

And, I dunno. My entire life has been around biotechnology and biology in general. I guess I want to delve into other subjects now that I've created the Mona Lisa of the virology-world."

Roxas: Mona Lisa! Because… that’s something famous, right?
Axel: You ever see the Mona Lisa up close? Not all that impressive.

Amused, Saix asked, "And you chose the electromagnetic spectrum?"

"I like color. Always have.

Zexion: (as Vexen) Which is of course why I’ve never mentioned it up until now.

I'm also studying temperature nowadays. Gotta strange case of the chills."

Xion: (as Vexen) And they’re multiplying.

"Really?"

"No, I'm just yankin' your chain.

Roxas: *splutters* What was the point of referencing his ice powers if you immediately remove it?!

But I do want to head up far North to study some glaciers. Their preserving skills fascinate me."

"What are you planning to preserve?"

"Not a clue.

Marluxia: (as Vexen) I would like to spend a long time on absolutely nothing, which is also why I’m having this conversation at all.

But if I ever find the need to do such a thing, I wanna be damn sure that I'm ready."

Terra: Whatever happened to that magic bracelet he had earlier? You’d think that Frozen Pride thing would be relevant to bring into this icy discussion.

Vexen stood up and went over to his computer. He sat down at the desk and began to open up some complex codes. "What'd you come in for, Superior? Anything I can help ya' with?"

"We're going to witness the empire of humanity one last time before we begin our utter destruction of it, remember?"

"Yeahhh.

Xion: Whaaaat’s with your character vooooiiice in this sceeeeene?

About that…Saix, that idea is ridiculously stupid. I think we all know what we're going to go through, and what we're going to put humanity through. The politics of this hardly concerns me. Just accomplishing what I joined to accomplish is the only thing that matters, really, plus the survival of my friends. Count me out."

Zexion: So that’s why he rarely shows himself in the story: he knows better.
Mog: *from notes* They talk about Zexion for a while and I can already see you guys gettin’ ready to groan so no more of that part! Vexen makes a computer.

A good hour and a half later, the computer had been entirely assembled. Although still a dusty old thing, it was able to turn on with no problem. Instead of the usual logo and jingle that came with all the late 90's computers, this system went automatically to some sort of strange coding-program that took up the entire screen.

Marluxia: Otherwise known as a command line interpreter, but why look up terms about computers when the entire story is fixated on computers.

A small cursor blinked on and off.

Frowning, Vexen typed in: . Nothing. . Not a thing. start. Nada.

Lexaeus: I’m assuming there were numbers there at some point, but fanfiction.net has nonsensical spam filters, so we’ll let this one slide as a technical glitch.

However, suddenly, the top of the screen read: Incoming call from ##proxy…Accept? Decline?

Xion: Aww, no old-school y/n?

"What in the…"

Vexen moved the mouse and clicked Accept.

Zexion: If it accepts mouse clicks, it’s probably not a "strange coding-program", it’s just… a program. We have words for these things.

A chat-log opened up on the screen. He read the first message, then replied. The conversation began…

THE CHAT LOG:
##proxy: Hello, there.
##anon: Hello.

Roxas: (as anon/Vexen) …my darling, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal.

##proxy: Who might this be?
##anon: I was going to ask you the same thing.
##proxy: I do believe YOUR identity is more important than mine at the moment. You reassembled the computer?
##anon: Yes. And my name is Vexen. What is yours?
##proxy: I am the Proxy. That's all I'm known as.

Terra: (as proxy) Sorry, I’m sorta boring.

##anon: Are you a bot? AI?
##proxy: No. I am very much real. Where on Earth did you find the parts to this computer?
##anon: A computer store across the street from some hotel in Manhattan. It's been closed for a while.

Axel: Every closed shop has a functioning sign out front and an unlocked door. Duh.

##proxy: Name of the store?
##anon: I do believe it was once called Juan's Circuit City.
##proxy: Juan Alex Martinez, graduate of P.S. 119, father to none, online alias "Killswitch013", not married, owner of Juan's Circuit City, small-time computer store. Went missing June 4th of this year, body found in the Hudson River with no clear signs of cause of death. Possible electrocution from an extreme source of energy, namely "the Keyblade".

Lexaeus: In a single paragraph, we know more about a man that has and never will appear then we do Sora.
Larxene: Is Sora a homunculus that popped out of his test tube just in time to go for a vacation in New York? That kid has no past to speak of.

##anon: Holy God. Do you know where the Keyblade is?
##proxy: Locating…
##anon: Hello?
##proxy: Purchased by Martinez four years ago by a man named Shady Sam who also died on June 4th from unknown causes. Samuel's seller is currently unknown. Last public sighting of the Keyblade: on the city streets, used in combat against two feigned-Keyblades.
##anon: Do you know a lot about the Keyblade?

Roxas: (as proxy) No, I only know its previous two owners down to the most precise details and have logged its actions throughout this fic YES I KNOW ABOUT THE KEYBLADE YOU DENSE BUTT! Ugh. Hope your virology skills are better than your comprehension.

##proxy: I do.
##anon: What is it? What is its purpose?
##proxy: A weapon. A storage device. And a compass.

Terra: Also magic key. If it has magic locking/unlocking powers that would explain the computer shop being open because presumably whoever wanted Sora to find it would unlock the door for him. Use canon to make your fic make sense, it's more enjoyable for everyone involved.

##anon: A compass? That points to where?
##proxy: To the Pin.
##anon: What is the Pin?
##proxy: The Pin is what holds existence together. An extreme amount of energy from an unknown source. Classified in U.S. documents as "Kingdom Hearts".

Lexaeus: …Really? Even Kingdom Hearts itself needs an alias?
Xion: At this point the fic is doing everything it possibly can to distance itself from its source material, which is the worst thing you can do in a fanfic.

##anon: What is in the Pin?

Axel: (as proxy) Kingdom Hearts, the whole reason your stupid virus exists LEARN TO READ AND PROCESS, MAN!

##proxy: One must go and see, though the journey is not easy.
##anon: How can we start? What can we do? Where is the entrance to the passage to Kingdom Hearts?
##proxy: You can start with activating the Keyblade with a loyal and true heart.

Larxene: So hunt down Sora so you can rip it out of his hands. When he gives you puppydog eyes just upfront tell him "I have better need of this than you. Piss off, kid."

What can you "do"? You can use the code to start. The entrance is in the code.
##anon: Where is the code?
##proxy: The code is in the computer you are using right now.

Marluxia: (as anon/Vexen) What’s a code?

##anon: Where is it specifically?
##proxy: I have it.
##anon: What do I have to do to get it from you?
##proxy: Nothing. You assembled the computer. Would you like the code?

Axel: So what you’re telling me is you could have just jumped right to "Here’s what ya need, buddypal!" and skipped this whole conversation.

##anon: Yes. Please. I'm begging you.
##proxy: No need to beg. I am not a briber. I am the Proxy.
##anon: Thank you very much. Can I thank you in person?
##proxy: Yes. I am easily recognizable on the city streets, for I wear

Roxas: …You wanna finish that sentence anytime soon, Proxyman?
Xion: I’m willing to bet he was about to say he’s the mysterious tuxedo-wearing man from Mog’s chapter, but maybe he hit ‘enter’ at the wrong time.

#anon: Okay. So…

Mog: So then the scene suddenly goes into a whole lot of binary coding that I don’t really know what it means.
Larxene: I could read it for you.
Terra: You can translate binary on the fly?
Larxene: *insulted* You make it seem like the only thing I ever did was threaten people. I was part of Castle Oblivion, I’m smart too. Alright, Fluffy, hit me up with some ones and zeroes!
Mog: *humming Jeopardy music as Larxene skims over the piece of paper he handed her*
Larxene: *reading* Okaaay, lessee here… "it hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts dying" blah blahdy blah nothing interesting… Alright, here we go. "The way to the Pin is within all of us as energy, it’s eternal, we’ll all ascend there" —so Kingdom Hearts is just the Rapture now, okay fic that hates Christians, whatever—"the way to physically enter the passage is to" and then it just goes right back to repeating "it hurts" again.
Roxas: So it doesn’t actually answer how to get there?
Larxene: The stuff ends in a dramatic "dot dot dot" so maybe the fic just flipped us the bird and told us to wait for the answer.

Vexen watched as the code revealed itself. Eventually he was able to translate the first part, which was rather confusing and nonsensical. When he messaged The Proxy again, the code resumed.

And Vexen almost passed out from shock.

Larxene: Why? It’s confusing and rather cryptic, yeah, but not faint worthy.
Zexion: Maybe he made himself sick from trying to read binary code on a 20-year-old monitor. Does anyone remember how bad refresh rate hurt? That would make anyone collapse.

Sora ran his hands through his hair for possibly the thousandth time after he had been told of Kairi's kidnapping.

Xion: That’s one explanation for his gravity-defying hair.

Don and Goofy looked at him from across the well-polished table of Suzie's Diner;

Zexion: Out of all the things this fic has forgotten about, this diner is what makes a triumphant return.

despite Sora's lack of appetite, the agents were ravenous for some breakfast even though it was 1:30 in the afternoon.

Terra: Kairi’s in mortal danger, but let’s stop for breakfast! They couldn’t just grab a snack from a corner store, omelettes and pancakes are more important than your girlfriend.

The only thing Sora ordered was a coffee that he sipped on once every minute.

"Lea, you say?" he asked Goofy for not the first time today. "The guy's name was Lea?"

"Yes, Sora," said Goofy.

"Tall guy, red hair?"

"Yeah."

"Fuck," Sora cried. "Fuck, fuck, fuck. I knew him…I had met him…at Club Heartless.

Lexaeus: Then why did he need to ask this question more than once?

He must've been trying to keep an eye on us for Xehanort, whoever the fuck that is.

Terra: Wha, what do mean 'whoever that is'? You know who he is, he killed your parents what more do you need?!

I owe that sonofabitch scientist a punch in the face."

"That'll be harder than you think," a voice said from behind them. Sora turned and saw Mick in his usual outfit of green,

Xion: And not red because...?
Roxas: It's like a game of "How well can we earn the Lecture Room's 'ignoring canon' tag?"

along with Officer Everett who was wearing his police uniform.

"Senator!" said Don. "What a surprise…"

Axel: Everett! What a… whatever you could possibly add to this situation…

"It is not Senator anymore, my loyal and trustworthy agent," said Mick sadly. "I resigned."

"What?" asked Sora sharply. "Why?"

Marluxia: (as Mick) Because they kept getting mad at how I threatened them with gay sex and profanity. They don’t understand me.
Zexion: The Senate will miss his many contributions to the Swear Jar.

"After a brief battle with Xehanort, I've decided politics do not interest me any longer. My main focus needs to be the Organization. And, for that, I'm going to have to have all my soldiers."

Roxas: I still don’t understand why he can’t be a senator to do that. Don’t even have a joke, just don’t understand.

"Where's Braig?"

Larxene: Where’s that other guy that hung around your side for no reason at all?

"Gone," answered Everett sadly. "We don't know where, but gone."

Terra: (as Everett) As you can see, I’m heartbroken over this development.

"Where's Riku?" demanded Mick.

Marluxia: Why don’t we just try and figure out where EVERYONE is and what they’re doing. Maybe it would make this tangled plot make a lick of sense finally.

"He…he went to find someone," said Sora. "Someone he loves."

"The mobster," whispered Mick. "Son. Of. A. Bitch." His voice trailed off and he looked into Sora's coffee, deep in thought.

Axel: (as Sora) …do you want your own coffee? Cuz you can totally get it. Stuff costs like a buck fifty.

"S-sir?"

"Forty witnesses to a drug dealing killed in the last week. Men, women, and children. Dead." Mick looked up into Sora's eyes. "Riku loves a sociopath, a monster with a mask. 'Aqua', she calls herself. It was her gang that he got wrapped up in. I thought I could bully her into cooperation, but it seems she's even more psychotic now than she was before all of this.

Roxas: Yeah, but you also thought that anything the Organization did for most of this fic was actually the Heartless’ doing, so as far as I know Aqua had nothing to do with any of that. I have trust issues with you, fic.

If Riku stays dedicated to her, then he's done with all this. It's over for him. A life of a criminal is what awaits him, although I am not surprised he never redirected his fate."

Terra: Go ahead, Riku. Mick won’t be mad. Isn’t that right, Don?

"That's bullshit. He can do both…hell, he has done both! What would all this be for, if not for a better world?"

Xion: If I were Sora I’d point out Mick’s hypocrisy in saying Aqua uses Riku as nothing but a tool when this is the same man that said "Hey, sneak into the Library of Congress to steal a whole bunch of info I’ll take credit for although I won’t help you in any way whatsoever", but sticking up for his friend is a good course of action too.

"For her," growled Mick. "That crazy cunt. That witch. Riku hated the Heartless because she hated the Heartless."

Roxas: Ignoring the obvious misogyny, and how Mickey and Aqua were instant friends and he saved her life… what even is this character? He’s such a jerk to everyone he talks to yet we’re supposed to like him simply because the narrative keeps telling us "Cuz I said so."

Sora felt his heart sink at the thought of this. Was Riku not the person he had hero-worshipped? Was Riku truly just a broken criminal, determined to get someone he loved instead of doing what was right?

Larxene: He continues to be fickle, now in the new BFF edition.
Marluxia: (as Sora) All of my friends' actions are infallible— oh my, mild conflict. I immediately change my opinions to avoid any tough decisions.

If so, then Sora had been lied to, and now he was all alone.

"I'm all alone," he spoke on the verge of tears.

Roxas: I- tha- bu- wha- NO WORDS! THERE ARE NONE THAT CAN DESCRIBE HOW AWFUL THIS WRITING IS!
Xion: You just told then told again!

"On the contrary," said Mick flatly. "We'll be recruiting others. There are more to come. And we will rescue Kairi. Sora, I promise you that."

"What others?" asked Sora, deliberately ignoring Mick's pledge.

"We've got two pilots already. They're very good. Brothers, actually."

"Their names?" asked Don.

"Chip and Dale.

Terra: So what you’re telling me is you needed help and called Ch-ch-ch-Chip and Dale.

But that isn't important.

Larxene: Yeah, Disney characters in a Kingdom Hearts fic, who cares about them.
Roxas: To be honest, I don’t want to see their update to Gadget.

What's important is for us to find Lea, and beat the crap outta him until he tells us where he took my agent, and why he would do such a thing."

"How can we do that?" moaned Sora. "The city's such a big place…"

"Can the whiny bullshit, Sora, and that's an order," said Mick coldly. "I need a soldier, not a complainer, and if I didn't hire a soldier than you are worthless to our cause. Do you fucking understand me?"

Axel: On the one hand, you didn't hire a soldier, this kid just tagged along because he wanted to rescue his parents. But on the other hand thank you, thank you so much! Now go and tell the rest of the cast that exact same speech. Scream them into productivity for us, Mick!
Mog: *from notes* Hmm, Mick sure is snippy lately. What a good quality.

Finally, Sora said, "Okay. I'm sorry."

"It's fine, son," said Mick. "I know you truly mean well. You just want her to be safe. She's your friend."

"No…" said Sora, suddenly uncomfortable. "No, she's more than that. Kairi and I have been seeing each other. Ever since we met.

Zexion: Of course they’ve been ‘seeing’ each other, they’ve spent every waking minute together on the longest goose chase I’ve ever seen a fic drag out. If he’s shy, just say ‘we’ve got feelings for each other’.

There's something about her and I…it's beyond us, I guess.

Xion: Yes! Their month long romance is so pure that the very universe itself has fated them to be together!

That's the only way I can explain it. This might be Keyblade-Sora talking, though."

"'Keyblade-Sora'?" asked Mick.

"The Keyblade has been influencing a lot of what I've been doing, Mick. I know it sounds weird, but there's something about this thing that has embedded itself inside of me.

Axel: (as Mick) Oh thank the Lord. Here I’ve been thinking this whole time you really were that dense, heck I even nicknamed you Scarecrow in my head because I was sure you didn’t have a brain!
Roxas: (as Sora) Um, it’s really only taken control of me, like, two times.
Axel: (as Mick) ….My, this is awkward.

I can see things for what they are nowadays, and it's all thanks to this thing. I wish to God I knew what it was, but that's one of the only pieces of insight it hides from me. One of the things that I can see is Kairi and me. Everything in my life, every choice I have ever made, it's lead me up to her.

Marluxia: (as O’Reily ghosts) We love you too, son.

She's the ultimate goal right now for me, Mick. If I lose her, there's no sense in going on unless it would be to avenge her death by slaughtering her captors.

Larxene: (as O’Reily ghosts) Slow down there, boy, you might accidentally end up avenging us instead! Make sure you work hard at never getting your parents involved in this fic ever again.

"This stupid device and the adventures it's been putting me through have matured me more than I could ever imagine. I was a child a little more than a month ago, and for some reason I've been drafted into some war that's beyond me. And that child resurfaced when I heard Kairi was gone. But now I realize have to keep fighting. Fighting for her."

Lexaeus: This is not how you do character development.
Zexion: It’s also not how you do character speeches. There should never, ever, be a point in a story wherein a character sounds like a memo to another writer saying "Hey, this is what I want to do with this character, how do we get that across? Blatantly copy this note into his dialogue, ignoring any idiosyncrasies he’s shown so far? Yes, that sounds like an excellent plan, this would sound so natural if someone were to say it out loud. What realistic dialogue I’ve created!"
Mog: *from notes* Mick is super accepting of this vision talk and admits it’s probably the only way they’ll find Kairi.

Sora thought it over. It made sense; he had been receiving visions everyday now, all of them useful.

Marluxia: Until this morning you had two visions you and the story have never talked about since. "Useful" is really the first word that comes to mind.
Lexaeus: I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers have gotten Sora and Riku mixed up.

They had shown him his enemies, including the mob-girl. In fact, they showed him her friends as well, that cunning and sly Lawrence and the smart-alecky…

Roxas: Only the guys get to have adjectives for how intelligent they are. Aqua’s main trait is how womanly she is, so much so she gets called a ‘girl’ despite nearly being in her thirties.

"Oh my God," he croaked. "She knows him…she knows him…"

"Hmm?" asked Mick, taking a sip of Don's coffee. Don look at him disapprovingly.

Terra: (as Don) Why’re you so enamoured with other people’s used coffee? Dude, just buy your own!
Axel: (as Mick) Hey, I’m the one that doesn’t have a job anymore.
Terra: (as Don) Then how are you going to pay us for—
Axel: (as Mick) IT’S PERSONAL, DON!
Terra: (as Don) …that doesn’t make any—
Axel: (as Mick) IT MAKES THE MOST SENSE!

"Aqua," Sora whispered. "She knows Lea! They were friends, hell, she even made love to him! Maybe she's working for the Organization? Or at least maybe they're still in touch!"

Larxene: So that’s the only reason for surprise Lea/Aqua sex? To give the writers excuses to write as many gendered slurs as they want in as many scenes as they want?
Xion: ‘Misogyny’ is too kind a word for this fic. ‘Absolute disdain and hatred for all women everywhere’ is so much more fitting. Or ADAHFAWE, as I like to call it.

"Perhaps. Then you should get to her, eh? I have someone who knows of her whereabouts…let's just say I have other agents I send on other tasks. I can give you the address." He scribbled an address on a sheet of paper.

Marluxia: And then taped it under a random bench for anyone to find.

Sora was out the door and running down the sidewalk a second later, the slip of paper in his hand. He didn't even bother to say goodbye to the rest of Mick's crew; that would've been seconds wasted.

Roxas: (as Sora) So long, Everett, I can’t wait to see you add so much insight to a scene next time we meet up! Have a coffee on me!

He had sprinted as fast as he could, so it was no surprise that when he collided with someone, he fell backwards onto the pavement.

"Oh, Jesus," said the person. "I'm sorry. I…" The man's voice trailed off. Then, he whispered, "You. I remember you…"

Sora looked up into the face of Ryan Hall.

(At this point Roxas tries to do the convenience smack but Axel stops his hand.)
Axel: You can get away with once. The second time I hit back.

"Oh, bastard," muttered Sora. "Where's your fucking friend Lea?"

"Lea?" asked Ryan. "I know no Lea.

Xion: (as Ryan) I yes yes Lea!

You beat the shit out of me last time we met, didn't you?"

"Not sure," said Sora, teeth grit. "But if not, I intend to right now. You're a part of the Organization."

"Call me crazy, pal, but I don't think you're supposed to know that." Roxas' eyes narrowed into deadly triangles.

Axel: Look out, if he gets really mad his eyes will move up to deadly tetrahedrons!

"I'd be careful how you talk to me. I've killed people before…I think."

Zexion: So that’s the only importance the amnesia event had? A full chapter of memory loss and our reward for reading it is Roxas will just add a "maybe" onto his statements?

"Want a medal? Where's Kairi?" Sora took out the Keyblade and raised it menacingly. "Where's Lea taken her?"

"I told you, I don't know any fucking Lea!" Ryan shouted back.

Roxas: I don’t know my best friend’s first na— Actually, that makes a lot of sense for this story.

Sora watched as the teenager pulled out two Keyblades of his own and clanged them both against each other, creating showers of sparks. Onlookers on the sidewalk looked in awe at this.

Xion: (as crowd) Sparklers! This is even better than the castle!

"So you're the one who attacked me before," snorted Sora. "Sorry to say I've grown since our last fight. I don't intend on drawing again."

Terra: (as Sora) I want to PAINT instead!

Ryan laughed and said, "My man, I hardly know what the fuck you're talking about. I don't know any Kairi, and if you're looking for her, I feel ya'. My girl is in danger, too.

Roxas: Repressing so much rage at how he doesn’t even call his girlfriend by her name, just by the fact that she’s his.
Axel: And it’s HIS FAULT she’s in danger. No, I don’t feel ya.

I'm actually off to go meet her and my buddy. So why don't you just cool it?"

Marluxia: While I don’t like to agree with anything Ryan says, he makes a good point. They’re both busy with their own goals, there is no good reason to insert a fight scene here. The fic just told us this will be a waste of time but I know it’s going through with it anyway.

Sora laughed maniacally, "Oh, so now you want me to just leave you alone? After you attacked my friends and me? You don't understand, Hall; you're the enemy, and you're coming with me."

Terra: So Sora’s the violent one in this scenario. What great character development he’s had!

"Like Hell," said Ryan, face darkening into that of Roxas'. He swung one of his Keyblades and Sora blocked the attack with his own.

"Round two?" breathed Sora. "Perhaps so."

Roxas: You know, Sora and I are actually pretty good friends now. And even before, the whole conflict between us came out of an identity crisis thing. We didn’t have Pokemon rules of "We have made eye contact, now we must fight!" We’re technically the same person, it’d be nice to see the fic acknowledge that.
Mog: *from notes* Axel interrupts.

With one chakram in the wall, the other blazing in his hand, Axel was an intimidating sight that caused many of the men and women surrounding them to go back to minding their own business.

Lexaeus: And not call the police over this obviously dangerous fight.
Xion: Not just fight, obvious talk of a kidnapping and crime group.
Axel: I’m so happy we get to see the Goldfish Crowd again. They're like this fic's Greek chorus.

"Now, now," said Axel. "Can't you two kiddies play nice?"

Zexion: No.

Sora spat, "Fuck you!

Zexion: I rest my case.

Where is Kairi? Where've you taken her?"

Axel laughed maliciously. "Are you serious? That's what this is about? Give it up, my dude.

Terra: Why does he keep saying "my dude"? It’s such a spontaneous verbal tic to shove in this late in the game.

She's dead as a doornail. You're about to be the same, unless you step away from my friend and hand over the Keyblade."

Axel: That’s my friendly reminder that this was supposed to be about finding the key to the universe’s center, but instead it turned into killing girlfriends. Aren’t you happy you read this far?

Livid, Sora roared, "Like hell!" and moved towards Axel. The Member was surprised, and he dodged Sora's hasty attack, punching the young Keyblade-master in the back. Sora cried in pain and swung his blade around. Axel felt his torso cut and his belly underneath bleed. He looked down at the small slice, grimaced, then threw the chakram at Sora.

Lexaeus: Any other time the Keyblades fight people they have the power to chop off hands, slice bodies in half, or fire laser beams, but whenever they go up against Axel they give him a slight papercut.

Sora deflected it like a batter at a baseball game and the chakram went flying underneath a car, its fire put out.

Marluxia: Foul ball, Axel gets another free shot.

"Damn you, kid," laughed Axel, casually walking over to get his other chakram in the wall.

Axel: You know what’s a good way to make an already boring fight even more boring? Have one of the participants simply go "Well, whatevs!"

"I got 'im, man," said Roxas, grinning.

Larxene: This isn’t a tag-team, Roxas, just fight him together! One scrawny kid against two trained killers, the scene should be over by now.

He moved forward, slashing furiously at Sora. Sora jumped out of the way of the assault, and the car he had been standing in front of was reduced to scrap metal.

Roxas: Again, why doesn’t that happen when they hit Axel? Fic, just admit "Nonono he can’t die yet because we have this later scene planned!"

Sora delivered a kick to Roxas' diaphragm, and the boy doubled over. Taking advantage of the position, Sora kneed his adversary in the face, and Roxas fell backwards onto the sidewalk.

Zexion: He’ll be complaining for two hours about a broken nose again.

For a moment, Sora's chest roared with triumph that subsided in excruciating pain as Axel hit him with the side of a lit chakram. Sora stumbled back and hit the side of a taxi, but got right back up with murder in his eyes, death in his intentions, and coldness in his heart.

Marluxia: A burning spiked weapon smacks him upside the face and he’s fine. No cuts, no singed hair, not even ringing in his ears.
Xion: (as fic) Just accept that he’s fine, we’re busy writing about more boobs soon!

But Axel had helped his friend up, and now both were circling Sora like wolves surrounding their prey.

Help, Sora thought. I need help.

Suzie's Diner was too far away; Sora cursed himself for running so far.

Terra: His so-called friends are too busy drinking cuppa joes to help him out.

Which meant there was only one other option…

"Look, 'Axel'," said Sora, fighting to keep his voice calm. "Just tell me where she is. Please. I'm beggin' you, man."

Axel glowered at him. "After trying to kill me and my friend? Fuck you, Keyblader. I'm gonna kill you personally, right here and right now."

Sirens erupted as two police cars stopped on the sidewalk. Four officers emerged from the vehicles, all raising their guns at the three different freaks fighting on the street.

Zexion: Oh look. A police force. I guess someone did call about the obviously dangerous fight.
Terra: I give them five seconds of the scene.

"Put your weapons down and your hands up!" one cop demanded. "All of you! Or we open fire!"

"Oh, no, don't do that!" mocked Axel. Roxas laughed with his friend.

Axel: Roxas, don’t be that guy. Don’t be that chameleon friend that just follows everything. No one likes that guy.

That was it; Sora made a break for it down the sidewalk.

"Hey!" the cops and Organization Members shouted simultaneously.

Xion: (as police) Why are you upset about him running? We're the ones trying to stop him from beating you up.
Roxas: (as Axel) Why are you trying to be all nice and keeping the peace?
Xion: (as police) Maybe we should arrest you now and have a long chit-chat on the drive to the station.
Roxas: (as Axel) You can't do that, we're too busy trying to get some guy into a hotel where my buddy's girlfriend will be shoved inside to lure him out so he won't just kill her at our HQ!
Xion: (as police) ...That doesn—
Roxas: (as Axel) IT MAKES THE MOST SENSE!

Axel noticed that all four of the cops had mistakenly looked after Sora.

Terra: And the five seconds are up riiiiiiiiight…

"Fools."

Terra: …now.

He threw his chakram at one of the police cars, and there was a tremendous explosion of heat and fire as the vehicle blew up. When the damage had been done, Axel collected both his chakrams while the cops burned to death in front of him.

Marluxia: He and Roxas, however, died a slow agonizing death from second-degree burns from standing so close to an explosion and the few thousand car pieces that shrapnelled into their guts.

"Let's get this fucker already!" said Roxas. He looked eager to do some damage, and Axel was glad to see some of his old friend resurfacing.

Larxene: (as both) Wanton and unjustified murder, hooray!

"Hell, yeah!" laughed Axel, and the two ran after their adversary.

Lexaeus: Holding hands, bonding over their shared hobby of wrong priorities.

(Onward!)
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