The shadows having been dispelled by the team, Heartless took their place, puffs of smoke appearing all over the Graveyard floor with creatures slinking out of them, squirming and twitching, all heads lifting to the larger and feared behemoth in the sky, its arms bent out ahead of itself with a red and black aura forming a circle around its hands.
Feeling a harsh vibration building beneath, within the air and under the ground, the creatures shook with it, the wind picking up within the blasting radio, rocks shifting and lifting like reverse rain or something. They were within the circle of what that sphere would destroy, "Mother," a few hissed fondly, another few growling a "Queen," over and over again, more and more Heartless greeting and calling to the much larger one above them.
Xander growled in irritation and confusion, able to hear the voices from the little monsters, though it sounded more like it was all within his skull. He flickered his gaze around, apprehension building and growing, scratching beneath his skin as he continued shifting away from the monster ahead of him the larger the ball of power grew, its eyes fixated on him.
"You cannot destroy me, you filthy monster! I am your MASTER!" Xander snapped, scowling at the beast of a Heartless with venomous rage building in his chest. He refused to acknowledge the light sweat peppering his skin beneath the black coat and at the base of his neck. He refused to admit the concern and apprehension warning him to back away, to leave.
The way it cocked its head, seemingly amused with a heavy feeling of patronization reaching him from the creature, Xander feeling as though he were seen as a child by the monster.
"You are not," its tone, soft, deep, female. It echoed very slightly with a rhythmical thrum to its voice, and then "Die!" it suddenly hissed, sharper, razor-like in comparison and hot with rage. Its arms shot out towards him, straightening. He saw the attack, the ball or blast heading straight for him.
Fear had struck just as it reached him, seeming far larger than before. And the pain, he was engulfed by the attack, body burning. Screams left his throat, raw and loud, chest heaving with the shriek that clawed its way up to his throat, breaking through his widely agape mouth, form heating and heating, feeling as though it were on fire. The pain rushed through him, spiralling throughout his body like boiling water, volcanic water!
While aflame, the wind did nothing to douse it as he fell, falling faster and faster with the ground coming in quick, his straining eyes barely focused but he could still just about see it closing in.
Riku felt nothing but justice when he saw the man hit the ground, almost able to feel the vibration in the ground on impact. He deserved what he got and felt as though he should have gotten a worse attack, not that he assumed Avonia held anything back. Not that he knew the Heartless or anything.
Flickering his gaze from the unconscious body, he let his eyes drift to each Heartless as they gradually poofed out of existence, his blue stare lifting across the way towards the mother and Sarafina, jaw clenching tight as he saw the two descend slowly, gently landing with the creature holding the girl in her arms, Avonia having shrunk some along the way.
He swallowed thickly, fixed on the two. Without thought, his legs started moving without him, leaving the others behind as he jogged over to where the Heartless and Sarafina were sat. His heart pounded in his chest, beating fast and loud, even in his head, pulsating with worry burning in his veins. Having closed the distance, he had to quickly slow down so as not to run into them, coming to a halt dead ahead of them, directly above the girl.
He felt the eyes of the creature lift to him, her stare boring through him, but not in a way that made him feel uncomfortable, his own too focused on Sara to properly acknowledge whatever the sensation was. He hesitated to lower himself, not wanting to disturb if that would be the case, but then he felt an odd soft fur against his hand, Riku's gaze flicking to the hand that had encased his own and drew him down, the silverette dropping none too gracefully to his knees directly beside the girl and in front of the Heartless.
She was shifted, Sarafina being inched into his own arms and cradled gently, softly, comfortably. He had no clue what he was meant to do, finding himself curving his body to press his forehead against hers, feeling the chill from cold skin. There was still life, just barely. The corners of his eyes burned slightly.
"Come back," he muttered softly, wanting her to wake up, wanting her to see his face, to see that she'd saved them all. That they were all safe because of her, "Please!" he whispered, straining as his eyes burned, feeling wet around the edges as a single tear broke through his resolve.
Attention faltering some, he saw the faded and light blue hue being cast over them, Riku slowly lifting his tearing eyes to the sky, grim awe crossing his features as he saw the clouds parting around the massive heart-shaped moon in the sky, hung directly above them. He gritted his teeth, more tears flooding as the realization came to him, having heard Ventus' tale from his and Vanitas' fight, how the moon had a part in rebirth, but needing to remove the being to help return the being later.
Sarafina would be taken from them, from him. He sobbed gently, barely audible. He held her tighter, returning his forehead to hers with his eyes shut tight, wanting to hide his soft cries but unable to.
"There is no greater power than the sentiment you hold for the one you cherish," the creatures voiced echoed comfortingly within his head, the feeling akin to a soft, warm blanket or warm milk soothing an aching throat. He didn't move, not even as a gentle hand was placed on the back of his head, the Heartless finding it in her to reassure him maybe. It didn't stop the next sob, his cheeks wet with tears.
He couldn't control his emotion, Riku blinking behind the water and seeing nothing but blurs for a long moment. Wiping his eyes upon reluctantly separating their foreheads, he watched her, her peaceful appearance making his heart ache, his blood running colder and colder at the thought that she wouldn't wake up.
Sniffing softly, he gradually lowered himself again, reluctant to let go of her. He gently pressed his lips to hers, a soft, chaste kiss, Riku having thought that it would have been one-sided, but she'd responded, though just barely.
"Her last act, she's given to you," the voice thrummed warmly, the creature's tone coming over pleased. Sarafina kissed him back as the last act?
Another sob choked him, Riku letting his voice lace with it as the light grew in intensity, getting brighter and brighter, and focusing on both himself and the girl, mostly on her. He could almost feel the weight of her being lifted, his gaze sadly lowering to her to see her form glow and shimmer like glitter, twinkling from catching the light above them.
Lighter and lighter in his reluctant hands, and she was suddenly gone, the glow dulling and dimming, Riku being left in just the fading light of the moon as clouds began to re-gather and crowd in the sky, only the centre of the heart being left before the rain suddenly struck, pouring by the time the heart was hidden behind the dark clouds, a sound of thunder booming gently from above. And then he was alone, a hole in his chest, Sarafina nowhere in sight, not in his arms. He felt cold, frozen.
Another, slightly colder, hand braced his shoulder, Riku not even lifting his head to confirm that it was Sora. He could tell by the touch, but who his best friend was.
"Riku?" the soft tone reached his ears, the silverette nodding slightly, unmoving from where he knelt in the drowning mud and dirt, knees getting wetter and wetter along with the rest of him. He couldn't stand the feeling, unable to comprehend how lost he suddenly felt without her. They'd known each other, though barely chatted, barely spent an hour talking. He'd liked her from the start without realizing…
"I wanna stay here for a bit," he informed quietly, in a mutter with no emotion lacing his words, cheeks wet from both his tears and the rain that drenched him, matting his hair and soaking it to his face. They'd all lost a friend, but he felt as though he lost something else, something akin to a limb. How could he say that to the others?
"Okay," he felt the hand slowly slip from his shoulder, no steps being taken as of yet, "I'll see you later," and there they were, Riku finally hearing the boots against the wetted ground, splashing softly and expanding the distance between them as his friend returned to the group. He wasn't the only one hurting, the others were as well. It was a matter of how to deal with it… and he was slightly different in that case.
Without really registering Sora's comment that Riku would be hanging around in this world, Vanitas waved a hand, a few of his portals opening in a fluttering of purples, blues and mostly black, leading to different worlds. Though just as he did, the brunette copy suddenly sobbed, his voice cracking slightly with tears running down his face, teeth clenched to hold back any other sounds. They all felt like that, wanting to let it out. Vanitas could see it on their faces, Ventus just barely keeping it together by the expression.
Glancing between the others, they'd steeled themselves, finding comfort in whatever physical contact they could from the ones they held closest. Terra, Zack's arm being slung over his shoulders. Roxas focusing on Axel as Cloud and Cid helped lift the other to get him through one of the portals Vanitas had just opened. Aqua was strong, she found it best to hold it until she was alone. And then Sora, who was now held against Leon's chest, arms cradling him and muffling the sobs.
Reaching out to the blonde, Vanitas drew him close, directing him towards the portal that led to The World That Never Was while the rest followed behind. The ravenette could come back later for Riku, aware that the other would prefer a neutral party that wouldn't blubber and could hold himself better than the best of them. The perks of being darkness, he supposed.
Not that he wasn't hurt and wouldn't mourn. Vanitas, much like Riku, would be alone when he let out whatever feeling he had.