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Emotion Eater

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“SORA! SORA!”  Sora turned around and almost fell over as Kairi skidded to a stop in front of him.  “I need to ask a favor,” she said.

“Okay…” he stood up straighter and waited.  “What do you need?”

“I need to borrow Roxas tomorrow if that’s okay?” She asked, her face edging on hope.  “Christmas shopping and all that. Aqua said she might take Ven out too if that’s okay and I know Xion is in there but I don’t know her that well but I’m willing to learn and maybe we should try Vanitas but that might be a bad idea and-”

“One at a time. “ Sora said, his hands up.  “I mean it. Only one of us is in charge at a time. I know it’s usually me but I think Roxas can take over tomorrow.”

“Good, and I may take Ven out too if he wants to get something for The Family.”  Kairi switched to her ‘muttering because she is thinking out loud’ voice. “Anyway, ten O’clock, tomorrow morning, by the fountain, is that okay?”

“One second.”  Sora closed his eyes and tilted his head.  “Yep, they all agree. Except for Vanitas but-” Sora opened his eyes and shrugged.  “I’m still working with him. Ooh, maybe I can do that tomorrow!”

“Sounds like a plan!” Kairi said, then gave Sora a hug. “Thanks!” And then she ran off.

***

The next day, Roxas opened his eyes.  

As he knew this would happen, this was not as much of a shock as it would have been.

With a yawn, he stretched and opened the blinds. The sun was already high in the sky. The light filtered into Sora’s room.  Sora was nice and TRIED to make it welcome for everyone. But Xion is the only girl, Vanitas just wanted to beat things up, and that meant there were quite a few broken dolls on the floor that Sora was trying to repair.  The patchwork blanket Sora slept in had colors they all suggested.

ROXAS!   Xion half shouted. We have to go meet Kairi!

I know Xion.  Just…

 

You already are wearing your clothes, Roxas.

 

Thanks, Sora.  Do you promise to not peek too much?

Normal awareness like you have.  Unless you want me to stop, then just let me know.

Got it.

AND if you get embarrassed or confused or don’t know what to do, ask me for help.

 

Yes, fine, Vanitas.

Roxas finished washing up and opened the door.  

As he stepped outside, he became aware again of how bright it was. SOunds echoed and the sun glinted off the snow.

“ROXAS!”  Kairi ran down the street, a muffler wrapped around her neck and dressed up comfortably in a long coat.  “Do you have a coat?”

Inside, right of the door, on a hook

 

Thanks, Sora

 

Roxas went back and got it. It was Sora’s coat, black with splashes of color.  And that stupid crown symbol is sewn on the back. But it was better than nothing.

With a sigh, he turned around and went right back out.  

And walked into Lea.

“Roxas,”  Lea said, and dropped the bag he was carrying.  “Roxas, what are you doing here?”

“Going Christmas shopping with Kairi,” Roxas said casually, but a grin started to flick over his face.  It didn’t help that Xion felt like she was jumping up and down in… well… wherever they normally stayed anyway.  “I think she wants to get some stuff for Sora and the rest of us. But sort of needs Sora out of the way.”

“Oh,” Lea said flatly.  “Why don’t you bug off and hang with me and Aerith?”  

Roxas peered around Lea and a few feet off, her face tilted up to enjoy the snow, sat Aerith.

“I want to, but I promised Kairi.” Roxas started to say.  He could hear someone behind him crunching through the snow and when he turned around, Kairi was there.

“Hello, Axel.”  She said grimly.

“Kairi, my name is Lea.” He responded.  Both crossed their arms as they stood on either side of Roxas.  Who looked around and suddenly thought that their place seemed oddly enclosed.

VWORP


“Uh, guys.”  Roxas started to say.  But Xion started to bounce up and down again and it was giving him a headache.

“Right. Right.  But that is how you introduced yourself when YOU TRIED TO KIDNAP ME.”

VWOORP

 

“Seriously.  Xion calm down.  Guys. I need you to look around.”  Roxas said louder as something DEFINITELY metal and shiny flickered into existence around the three of them.

“I DIDN’T GO THROUGH WITH IT AND I JUST WANTED ROXAS BACK!”

VWORP!

Roxas didn’t know what happened but he was DEFINITELY standing in someplace different.  SOme sort of circular metal room with all sorts of wiring and a big shiny tube in the middle with something in it.

“WELL EVEN IF-”

“XION!” a voice that sounded vaguely like Scrooge McDuck’s voice said.  At that point, both Kairi and Lea stepped back and suddenly realized the shift in location.  

“Xion?” Lea asked.  As they all looked around at the strange room that had suddenly appeared around them, an older - but still healthy - man with graying hair and a suit with no tie came from behind the machine.  

“Xion, did you regenerate?”  The man asked as he grabbed Roxas’ hand by the wrist and turned it over.  “I see you switched to a man.”

“What?” Roxas asked.  “Who are-” he tilted his head.  “Xion says you aren’t “The Doctor” because you don’t have brown hair, you sound different, and look older. And she also says you have to be The Doctor because he’s the only one to fly the… TARDIS?. Is that correct? Are you or are you not the Doctor?  I’m Roxas.”

The man stepped back and looked him up and down.

“She spoke a lot about you.” He finally said, then tapped his temple.  “ The Doctor. Time Lord, Ripple Effect Proof memory. Somewhat like your friend Max.”  He smiled. “I remember Xion. All of the stuff we did, the stuff we saw. That ice cream we ate on Neptune.” He gave a wink.  “I told her, she was safe with me.”

Roxas tilted his head again.

“She also says that you mistimed that Neptune trip and she ended up fighting off three alien species who wanted to use that ice cream as a power source and one that used blood for space travel.”

“Right. That too.” He gave a nod.  “Well, they aren’t all winners! THough that one was.  Best ice cream ever in the known universe after all! Which is why I’m here.  Oh, who are your friends?”

“Lea,”  Lea said cheerfully as Kairi rolled her eyes.

“I’m Kairi,”  Kairi said as she held out her hand.

“Yes, you do look a bit alike, if you had shorter hair.” the Doctor muttered.  “Anyway, as curious as I am to hear about your regeneration and name change-”

“Didn’t regenerate.” Roxas cut in.  “Xion did something and went back to Sora. I followed.  Ven was already in there, as was Vanitas. More like… I’m borrowing the body for the day and then handing it back.”  He shrugged. “If I had paper and time I could probably explain it better. But Xion keeps chattering on and on about how if you brought the TARDIS to us you need us so-” he paused. “And she doesn’t want to switch out. She wants me in charge. Sora agrees. Ven is just very confused and Vanitas always wants to be in charge so…” he shrugged.  “Something about it being a great adventure.”

 

“Yes, it will be!”  The Doctor said as he hurried to the other side of the console.  “I am also sans companion right now so I thought I would pick Xion up again! But it appears she is… otherwise occupied.”  

“She’s the peacemaker in this heart whenever Sora is not.”  Roxas agreed. Kairi and Lea had stopped arguing and were too busy looking around the place.

“You two, don’t touch anything.” The Doctor called out.  “Well, you can sit in that chair, but I only have one and you might need to share it. Or put your jackets there. You won’t need them where we are going.”  

Kairi ran over to take it, and Lea stood next to her and stared.

“You are a Princess of HEART,” Lea grumbled.

“So is Princess Leia, and she leads a rebellion,” Kairi said cheerfully.  

“She is-”  Lea started to say, but a piece of chalk hit him in the head.  “Ow.”

“Quiet you two!” The Doctor shouted then turned back to Roxas.  “So, Xion-”

“ROXAS,” Roxas growled. “ I am Roxas.  No one else. If you want Xion, I’ll get Xion.  But unless Xion hands over the reins you are dealing with me.”  

“See,” Lea said to Kairi. “That’s why I don’t like you calling me Axel.”

“There is VERY little difference between the two of you. I think you just lost your tattoos.” She said, then sat back in the chair.  Lea grumped but sat on another chair a bit over, this one not as fluffy.

“Okay. Well. She explained you were a nobody and had no emotions.” The Doctor said as he started moving around and pressing buttons.  It wasn’t random, exactly. As Roxas watched he could tell that there was some sort of meaning behind it, he just couldn’t tell.

“And” the Doctor continued.  “I need to go to a planet that runs on emotions. And someone with the lack of them will be a GREAT help here.”

“Oh no,”  Lea said stood up. “Um, Doctor I-”  But something shifted, and Lea fell back into his seat, straining against what felt like the entire universe and dark matter for five seconds, before the machine ground to a halt.

Roxas, who had been standing, fell down onto the metal floor and the Doctor stood up as straight as always.  Kairi groggily got up out of her seat.

“What-” She started to say, then staggered over to the stairs.

"So, as the no emotions-” The Doctor said as he walked toward what was apparently the door.

“I do have emotions,”  Roxas said as he stayed by the controls. “We all do.”  

“Ah.”  The Doctor said.  “You… all of you?”

“We got our hearts back,”  Lea said as he staggered down the steps.  “And then we had them anyway. Long story short, Xemnas lied to us about a lot of things.”

“A LOT,” Roxas repeated, nodding.  Then suddenly switched to a dark haired girl, who gave the Doctor a hug.

“Xion?” The Doctor asked at the short girl around his midriff.

“Yep. I got like five minutes.” Xion gave a smile.  “Let’s see. I’m a replica based on Sora’s memories. I think I told you that.  I convinced Roxas to kill me but I don’t think he remembers that so don’t tell him.  Xemnas knew what I was and lied the entire time…” She frowned, then turned. “HI KAIRI!”  

“H… Hi,”  Kairi said as she stood up. “You’re Xion?”

“Yep!  Sorry for looking like you.  Something to do with what Sora was thinking about.” Xion gave a shrug.  “AXEL! OH AXEL! I would give you a hug too but I forgive you and I’m mostly just here to say hi and back up that Xemnas lied and we all have hearts. EVEN ME!” Then she waved and went back to Roxas.  

“She’s…. Energetic.” Roxas finally said. “When she’s not worried or sad.”  He shrugged. “We share a space with Ven and Vanitas. And sometimes Sora if someone else takes over.’

“Ah…” The Doctor said again.  “So, that is how that works? And” he sighed.  “Can you pretend not to have emotion?”

“Lea doesn’t have to pretend,” Kairi muttered from her seat.  Lea glared at her.

“Because I need travel partners.  Bad things happen when I don’t.” The Doctor looked out at the three. The boy with five different people in him. The girl who hated the man next to her. And the man who looked distraught. “And bad things may happen with you three.  BUT! You are my only hope-”

 

Knock knock knock

“Right. That’s our cue.”  The Doctor said, straightened up, and opened the door.  “Yes, yes, I’m here.”

“Here” was a building. But their windows that showed scenes outside.  Roxas wandered out, with Lea running after him. Kairi was behind them.

The floor was some sort of metal. It clicked under their feet as it gently led itself to pots were unknown plants grew.    There were hovering screens of bizarre scenery that Roxas didn’t recognize from any of his trips off-world and aliens of all types wandered by the group.  Some gave them a look, others didn’t. Either out of politeness or they were buried in their energy screens.

“CATS!” Roxas shouted.  He almost jumped up and down. “Lea, look, Cat people!”

“Oh… yes… that they are.”  Lea said quietly. “I…” Kairi too was speechless as a human-sized cat who walked on two legs walked over to where the Doctor and Roxas stood. She was closest to a tabby cat and wore a long blue dress.  Her ears twitched towards the group as her whiskers moved in what was probably not a nice gesture. Her eyes were about as green as Axel’s and slit.

“Doctor, you said you would bring emotionless help.”  She sort of purred. The Doctor shrugged.

“Uh… why is she speaking Romanian? Why are all of you speaking Romanian?”  Lea said as he backed up slightly. The Doctor turned to him.

“The TARDIS translates all languages into the person’s native one. You… are not a native English speaker?”

“Lea’s a polyglot!” Roxas said cheerfully.  Lea shrugged and Kairi looked at him warily, but with slight interest.

“I’m Romani, was born traveling, and have a talent for languages.” Lea shrugged. “You pick stuff up.”

“Right..” Cat lady said.  “I’m Joanne.” She gave a quick curtsy, that Kairi mimicked.  Roxas and Lea looked at each other and shrugged. Lea bent at his waist, but the way he put his legs out it was almost as if he was performing. Roxas kept his legs straight as he bent at the waist.  

                                                                                                                                          

“I’m Roxas, this is Kairi and Lea,” Roxas said as he introduced the two.  They nodded as their names were said. “Why do you need our help?”

“This way.”  She walked down a side hallway.  The Doctor strode after her, Roxas followed, then Kairi, while Lea took up the rear.  If Roxas had watched, he would have noticed that Lea moved much lighter on his feet and spent his entire time looking around, but he never noticed that when they were in the Org anyway.  Lea was a performer with people who wanted to kill him regularly. Best way to avoid that was to keep an eye on EVERYTHING.

“We have an emotion eater in the basement,” Joanne said as she entered a room. SHe closed the door behind them with a clang


“An emotion eater?” Roxas asked.  The room was pretty spare, like his room at the Organization, but it was missing a bed.

“Yes,”  Joanne said as her ears twitched.  They were cute ears. “It releases a pheromone that causes people to speak the truth so people’s emotions to boil over and then it feeds off the emotions.  This would not be horrible, in fact, it could be quite useful for therapy, but-”

“But this draining will also drain the electrical impulses that allow the brain to function causing one’s brain to slowly shut down.”  The Doctor finished.

“Our director isn’t that worried about it, he claims as it’s in the basement we can keep it there until we figure out what to do, but it has been hurting people who do maintenance, and it could always escape into town.  Which is why I asked the Doctor to find someone who could be immune to the initial emotional burst.” Joanne said as she sat down on a chair. “They could keep from dying and then we could figure out what to do but-”

“Apparently Xion went and got herself a heart, and became a guy. Somehow.” The Doctor said grumpily. He then turned to look at Roxas. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

“Actually we always had hearts,” Lea said from behind Roxas.  “We just didn’t realize we had them.”

Roxas shrugged.

“We didn’t find that out until this year.”  He said a bit sheepishly, then tilted his head.  “Xion said she had guessed that a while ago but didn’t have any proof.”

“So, you now have,”  Lea said as he glanced around.  “A guy with multiple personalities, including at least one violent one.”  Roxas shifted to Vanitas who chuckled, then switched back. “Me, who had fire powers and every implication that give. And Kairi, who may be the angriest Princess of Heart in existence.”  

“Belle can get angry!”  Kairi tried to argue. “And Jasmine rules a country! She is not only angry but can get manipulative in order to protect her people.”  

“This isn’t helping,”  Joanne said after a moment before they all devolved into squabbling.  “Doctor, send them back we need-”

“We’ll do it,” Roxas said after a moment. He untilted his head and stood up.  “Sora’s been listening and wants to help. Roxas does too. Xion wants to work with the Doctor again. Vanitas just kinda wants to destroy everything but we can keep him in check.  But I can’t do it without Lea and Kairi. I need both of them.”

“What,” both said.

“You both know me, different parts. More than I know.” Roxas said.  “I can’t do it alone, we need to work together on this.”

“I’ll do it,” Lea said and stood up straighter.  “I want to help Roxas.” There was still a smidge of performance about it, but somehow authentic.  Maybe it was how he held his hands. Maybe it was the tilt of his head. Who knows. It was there.

“Fine,” Kairi grumbled after a minute.  “The Doctor is right about it though. We are three very emotional people. Maybe we can overload it.”

***
Against Joanne’s better judgment, the three made their way deep into the bowels of the space ship.  Words in unknown scripts graced the walls. Roxas strode ahead, through the muck and grime. Lea followed, a flashlight in his hand.  Kairi held another flashlight and her hand was ready to summon the keyblade. Other than the slosh of their feet and a few odd noises, it was completely quiet.

“Why do you hate me.”  Lea finally said. “Look I have done some-”

Kairi whirled around, and Lea was briefly grateful that unlike most other Princesses of Heart, she had short hair.

“YOU. Kidnapped. Me.” She growled.  

“A year ago…”  Lea tried to whine, but Kairi’s face hardened.

“Talk to Kate if you want to bring up how it isn’t bad, but that’s not half of it.” Kairi continued. Lea fell silent. No, that was right.  Kate still had trouble sometimes. “Sora doesn’t remember the Castle, but I do through Namine. And Riku knows too. Does Roxas? Xion?”

“Yes, I do!” Xion called from her space in front.  “Listen, we need to have this conversation. Maybe not now, but we do.  Somehow with, er-”

“No, I’m not having a part of this.” Ven popped in. “With Vanitas, maybe. But I knew Lea for all of five minutes and never saw him again until this body sharing thing started.  It’s Xion, Sora, Roxas, and you two that need to have this conversation.”

“WOULD YOU STOP.”  This was Roxas, breathing heavily. His keyblade manifested in his hand.  “All of you in me, just shut up., YOU TWO.” Kairi and Lea fell quiet. “Tell me what happened right now.”

“Uh, humans?”  This Doctor’s voice came over some loudspeaker.  “I think the creature is getting closer. This might be a good idea to not have this conversation right now unless you want to die.”  

“This has been a LONG time coming, Doctor,”  Roxas said. “I need them to start talking.”

“HE SAID HE WANTED YOU BACK SO HE WAS GOING TO KIDNAP ME TO HAVE SORA FALL INTO DESPAIR SO YOU WOULD COME BACK,”  Kairi said quickly.

“YOU ARE MY BEST FRIEND AND I WAS GETTING DESPERATE! AND I HAD NO CLUE I HAD A HEART SO I WASN’T REACTING WELL!” Lea tried to defend himself but faced Roxas’ stone cold glare. “Roxas.”  

“We NEED Sora,”  Roxas said as he strode forward.  “The entire universe does. And even back then, we knew it.  You had no idea if it would work. I was actually almost at PEACE when you did that if I got my timelines right.”

“How-”

“KAIRI is a Princess of Heart! The ENTIRE UNIVERSE DEPENDS ON HER LIFE.”

“But-”

“What were you thinking, just grab me and run from Xemnas’ wrath!”  Roxas split. Faintly, they were all there. Roxas’ anger. Xion’s sadness at her friends fighting.  Sora was looking at Kairi in worry. Ven was confused. Vanitas kept on looking over his shoulder, but when those eyes saw Lea… Lea shuddered. Sora’s face should never be that evil.

“AND YOU KAIRI!”

“What do I have to do with this?” Kairi asked. “All I want is him to say sorry!”

“And that is fair and you should get it! But stop yelling at him the instant he sees me!  I didn’t know what he did and I haven’t seen him in a while!” Roxas started breathing heavily.  “I have no clue what happened with everyone. I am not conscious the entire time as we all agreed Sora should be in control.  So I have one day. One. To spend with my friends. Something maybe only Ven has, and it’s not complete. Yes, Kingdom Hearts Yes, I would love to spend time with you.  But Axel has been my friend for a while, I have no idea what Lea is like and while what he did was WRONG I haven’t seen him!”

Roxas stared at the two, who looked faint and then fainted.

“Ah, there we are.”  The Doctor said. “I’m coming down right now. WHAT Did you!”

 

Let me out.

 

Roxas disappeared.  Vanitas stood in his place.  His keyblade formed and he strode into the darkness ahead where the monster lay.

“You feed on pain?” Vanitas laughed.  “You cause people to tell the truth? Let their anger overflow?  You poor fool.”

The monster appeared.  It was some sort of a cross between a crab and a slug.  It made a noise as Vanitas’ yellow eyes glowed.

“Feedback loop and I’m always honest.  Quite frankly, under normal situations, I would try to figure out a way to assimilate you. You would be fantastic as an Unversed.”  

Darkness flowed from Vanitas and manifested as a few creatures, then flowed back into him.

“I’m not human, but I’m in a human body. You kill it, you kill me and I can’t have that.”  He raised his blade. The monster shifted and focused, Vanitas felt things overwhelm him. Being truly awake for the first time in front of Xehanort.  The time he spied on Ven in the Land of Departure. Xehanort talking about how he will never be as good as Ven.


Vanitas laughed. Darkness flowed out again then the creatures were bigger.

“It’s a feedback loop, you idiot.” Vanitas grinned.  “Whatever pain you inflict, whatever emotions you bring out, they just become unversed, who come back to me.  I am your eternal food source.”

The monster moved forward, and Vanitas didn’t move.   “You really want to try? Are you interested in killing or are you just starved?”  

“HOLD ON, I'M COMING!” The Doctor shouted.  Vanitas ignored him.

“So, here is the deal.  Quite frankly, I like you.  I find you nefarious. However, I don’t want your existence to cease and I, more than those idiots, know what it’s like to have something you can’t control.  But if that guy finds you.” He jerked his finger over his shoulder. “He may kill you.”

“What are-” The Doctor said, and was then cut off.  

“So, you may want to leave.  Find someplace where you can survive for a bit until it gets sorted out. Not a town though, they will kill you there. Maybe I’ll come find you. If Xehanort doesn’t destroy everything.”  Vanitas gave a grin, and his cracked helmet formed. “Or I can kill you. One or the other.” The monster glanced, then scuttled out.

“VANITAS!” A feminine voice shouted.  Vanitas turned around.,


“Ah, the goody two shoes.”  He grinned. Aqua stood there, her keyblade out.  “What are you doing here?”

“Leon saw the TARDIS. I went from there.”  She looked older. Were those Wrinkles? “What did you do with ROXAS and VEN?”

 

“HI AQUA!”  Ven appeared and shouted.  “Don’t worry, Roxas let Vanitas be in charge for a bit.”

“Oh… okay?”  Aqua blinked.  Water swished as someone ran up behind her.


“VEN!”  

“ZACK!”  And it was. There was Zack Fair, looking almost the same as when Ven last saw him.  Looking at Aqua, he could see why Vanitas thought she might have been older, but that was care. Not age.  

Another groan, but one that was more animalistic.  And had glowing eyes.

“HEARTLESS!”

 

“It’s Cloud.”  Aqua rolled her eyes and put her hand on Ven’s weapon to push it down.  “Tifa is here too. We’ve traveled with the Doctor before.”

“He almost got us drowned for witchcraft,” Zack added.  

“We left after that.”  Tifa came in all smiles.  “I see he changed.”

“There you are.”  The Doctor came in and Ven reverted back to Roxas.  But he could feel a smug Vanitas in the back of his head.  “I saw you changed forms.”

“Yeah.”  He shrugged.  “I-”

“Uh, guys?”  Lea wandered into the room, rubbing his head.  “Um, There’s some stuff here in English.”

“So?” The Doctor asked, twirling around so his coattails flared out.  

“You are talking to me in Romanian,”  Lea said flatly. “I didn’t learn to read English that well. It’s well enough, but if a native English speaker could…”

“Ah. Got it.”  Tifa nodded. “I think you should have some talks with Kairi.”

“I figured,”  Lea muttered as Zack walked over to high five him.

“I see and read everything in Greek,” Zack explained.  Lea gave a chuckle and returned the gesture.

A few feet away, Tifa was examining a wall. She glanced over the words, which did make perfect grammatical sense to her, and tried to figure out what they were doing there.  
“TIFA!”  Tifa looked over and saw Kairi running over, but occasionally she staggered and held her head.  “Tifa, it’s good to see you.”

“Well, if the Doctor gets you, you need back up,” Tifa said, then went back to the wall.  “Yeah, this is weird.”

“What is it?”  Kairi asked as she stood next to Tifa.  

“Lea said he could tell this was in English, but he wanted to double check how he read it.  It stuck out because it’s-”

“Supposed to be Romanian. I heard him say that earlier.”  Kairi muttered. “Why is he helping?”

“I think he feels guilty.”  Tifa sighed. “He shouldn’t have kidnapped you.  I think he knows that. But this whole mess is partly his fault. He wants to fix it.”

“I just want an apology,” Kairi repeated. “But he never says it.”  She held her arms. “I know we were all stressed out then but he shouldn’t have done it.  At all.”

“No, no he shouldn’t.”  Tifa agreed. “And yes, he is onto something here.”  

***
A few hours later, several people were gathered into the office. Joanne stood in the front, the Doctor was behind her with his sunglasses.  Aqua rested on Cloud’s shoulder, Zack and Tifa backed them up, and the focus was Roxas, Lea, and Kairi. The office was painted a shade of pink that clashed with Lea’s hair and a few strange fish floated in a fish tank.  Books lined a few of the walls and the desk in front of the focal window was twisted so it wasn’t straight but more shapely.

“What are you doing here?”  The director was another cat alien.  He stood in behind the desk, holding some files.  “I don’t know most of you. Joanne, what-”

“You did this.”  Joanne hissed. “You shipped in the creature, and it escaped. People are dead-”

“Why are you saying this?” the Director asked.  “I-”

The Doctor pulled the crate out of his pocket.  In English, it had shipping directions to the director and a note of what was inside.  

“We took pictures too,”  Zack added. “So proper context is in place.”

“Now,” the Doctor said. “I understand this was probably an accident that you covered up.  So, just resign, and we’ll get this figured out. There’s been enough death already and I would like to keep it from happening more.”

“I would love too.” The Director said, and Roxas wasn’t sure if it was sarcastic.  “But I need royalty to declare who-”

“Fine that,” Kairi said with a grin. “As a Princess of Heart, whose duty is to protect the universe and Kingdom Hearts, I hereby relieve you of your position and put Joanne, who actually cared enough to try to stop the monster so people wouldn’t get killed AND Acknowledged it’s use as therapy, to be the new director.”  

The Director was silent, then walked off.

“And as my first act.” Joanne turned around.  “You three. Therapy. Now. I heard ALL of that conversation.”  

Roxas turned into Ven and glared at Aqua, as she giggled.  

“Maybe we should do it too?”  Zack mused. “I mean, we are-”

“Yeah, we’ll do it later. I think they are a bit more critical.”  Tifa added. Cloud gave a quick nod.

“So, you three, and I mean Roxas not Ven, better get started,” Cloud added.  

“... Fine.”  Roxas said, his head hanging low.

***


A few days later, Kairi and Lea were practicing keyblade moves.  Kate Marsh was nearby, using a wooden one as she attempted to mimic the moves.  This was a bit harder, as she used an Xblade which had a unique double blade set up.  It was a bit harder to swing, especially for someone that was a bit smaller than her companions and had no real muscle training.  

“Hey, Kairi,”  Lea said as he spun around.  “I wanted you to know I really am Sorry.”  He blinked, and a tear ran down where his tattoos would have been. “I wasn’t thinking clearly, I had a bunch of emotions I didn’t know what to do with at the time, but I still shouldn’t have kidnapped you.  I didn’t have a real plan, and I don’t know if I could have hurt you, and no matter what I shouldn’t have done it.”

“I forgive you.” Kairi said after a moment (and a quick attack he blocked) “I know things were stressful, I just wanted you to apologize and that you know it wasn’t right.”

“Thanks,”  Lea whispered, then moved to attack again.  

You know, I think we’ll be okay, Sora.

Really Roxas?

Yeah. If our friends can get together like this… if Vanitas can jump in to help… I think we’ll win in the end.  Xehanort doesn’t know how to forgive and work together. We do.

I think you are right.

 

Yeah yeah, just keep me out of the sapfest.  

Fine, Vanitas. Sora gave a small grin.   But I still think you care about us, even a little.