Keyblades clashed and magic flew in every direction. Zack tried his hardest to evade the attacks of dark magic that flew in his direction, but his body was growing weary. He had already been fighting for who knows how long at this point and he really didn't know when it was going to stop.

At the start it seemed to be going well, he was fighting alongside Ventus and Aqua. They went up against the masked boy Vanitas and Terra-nort. Even Sora came along at some point to join in their fight against these two organization members.

They tried to split it off at first, with Zack and Aqua dealing with Terra-nort while the other two went after Vanitas. Eventually Vanitas had been defeated and faded away into darkness, only leaving Terra-nort. When it was just him, he seemed to grow even stronger, or just perhaps upped his game since now it was four against one.

But in the end they were enough to stop him. Darkness spewed off of him before he staggered forward, falling to the ground. Everything was still after that, amplifying the sound of Zack's heart pounding in his chest.

"Is it… is it over?" Zack asked as he watched Aqua and Ventus dismiss their keyblades.

"Terra!" they shouted at the same time before running forward to him.

Zack thought to follow them, but his body wouldn't move. He had an uneasy feeling sink into his mind as he watched Aqua and Ventus held presumably Terra back up onto his feet. Zack wanted to join them, but he realized he was still pretty out of place. Sure he was a friend of Terra, but he didn't know him like Aqua and Ventus did.

He watched as Aqua and Ventus spoke words of concern to Terra, while grunted in pain. With seeing Terra in pain, hearing his voice struggle, Zack finally moved forward. "Terra!" Zack called as he approached..

"Terra!" Sora added. "Your friends are here!"

Just as Zack was closer to the other three, Terra screamed letting darkness burst from around him and purple chains shot out in multiple directions. Zack barely had time to blink before he felt the chains wrap around him and yank him high up into the air.

Though he was struggling he looked around and saw that Ventus, Aqua, and Sora were all stuck in the same position as him. Down below Terra was still struggling, letting more darkness pool out.

Everyone started shouting to him, even Zack. He wanted to reach Terra just as much as the others did. Terra had helped him overcome the darkness once before and now Zack was going to help him. "Terra! Can't you hear us! We want to help!"

Eventually Terra, who Zack figured was once again not in control, laughed. "You'll never break free from these chains," Terra-nort laughed. "They're our bonds."

Swinging his arms he made the chains around Aqua and Ventus move violently around. The chains whipping them in every direction. Zack could only stay where he hung, watching them be flung around helplessly.

"Maybe I really can't do anything here…" Zack thought to himself. "Can't ever do anything to actually help." He really was just a helpless boy in a situation he didn't understand.

As he and Sora stayed chained where they were he could hear Aqua and Ventus screaming. It haunted him to hear such fear and pain in their voices, especially Aqua's. Despite his fears, his determination to protect Aqua came first. He would do whatever he could to try and keep her safe, and right now he knew he wasn't doing that.

"Stop!" Zack shouted when he finally found the confidence in his voice again. "Let them go! You need to stop and let Terra go!"

"You have no power over me!" Terra-nort laughed as he stopped his little game of swinging the other two around.

Zack paled when he saw how limply Aqua hung in her chains. "Aqua! Aqua, can you hear me!?"

She didn't answer, her body still hanging limp. Zack could already feel his blood boiling. If it wasn't for the fact that he was still locked up in these dark chains, he would have lunged at Terra-nort. He may have had the appearance of Terra, but he was not Terra. He knew that Terra would never do this to his friends.

But now the only thing Zack could do was watch as Terra-nort raised the chains of Aqua and Ventus, preparing to throw them down to the ground. Zack shut his eyes when he saw them start to fall, his heart already feeling like it was being torn in half.

Just as it seemed that Ventus and Aqua would hit the ground, the Heartless that Terra-nort had been controlling grabbed by and grabbed the two. It flew up, holding on to the chains in one had while holding Aqua and Ventus in the other.

It gripped the chains tightly before they snapped, faded away into nothingness. When the chains around both Zack and Sora also vanished, causing them to fall back to the ground. Zack;s initial footing was a bit shaky, but he was able to push himself back up to a standing position.

"What the heck…?" Zack asked aloud as he watched the large Heartless place Ventus and Aqua on the ground.

In the blink of an eye he was now holding onto Terra-nort, causing him to struggle, shouting muffled retorts. As he was trying to pull away the ties that covered his mouth, Zack looked over to Sora.

"What the heck is going on?"

Sora shrugged. "I don't know."

"One day…" the Heartless muttered, startling Zack and Sora. "I… will…set...this...right…"

"That's Terra's voice!" Zack gasped as he ran forward to where Ventus and Aqua were. As much as he was baffled by the Heartless talking, and sounding like Terra, he needed to make sure that Aqua and Ventus were okay.

Placing a hand on each of them, seeing that they were thankfully still breathing. With a quick bit of magic, he sent healing spells over both of them while Sora and the Heartless dealt with Terra-nort.

There was a blinding flash though that caught Zack's attention. He looked to see that the Heartless faded away and light was surrounding Terra-nort. When the light faded, Zack gasped as he saw that he was now staring at the much more familiar hair color that he knew Terra had.

Immediately he ran over to where Zack was kneeling. "Aqua! Ventus!"

"Terra?" Zack whispered. He saw not only was Terra's hair brown again, but his eyes were also blue once more. He was back to normal it seemed, and was just as concerned over Aqua and Ventus as he was.

Before he could ask anything he noticed that Aqua was trying to get up. "Hey, Aqua, take it easy," he whispered as he guided her to sit up while Terra held Ventus in his arms.

"Terra…" Aqua muttered as she looked over at him. Moving slightly, she shifted forward from Zack, but still remained carefully in his arms. "Is it you?"

Terra nodded. "Yeah. You never stopped lighting my way back."

Zack could feel Aqua trembling in his arms. Tears streamed down her face as she started to smile again. It had been a long while since Zack saw such an earnest smile upon her face. Even if it was also mixed with tears, he could practically feel the positive warmth radiating off of her.

"You're here…" Ventus muttered as he woke up.

"I heard you too, Ven. You found me, just like you promised.," Terra replied, his own tears spilling from his eyes.

Aqua finally fully moved away from Zack and into the arms of Terra as she finally let her emotions out. Ventus joined in too, completing their little circle. Terra smiled through his blurred eyes and nodded at the two of them.

Zack smiled, though he couldn't ignore the slight bit of emptiness he felt in his chest. He was working so hard alongside everyone that he had felt like he had always been there, but now he was reminded of the truth. He was just a boy out of his place, coming at the last minute to a situation he still had so much to learn about.


"Huh?" Zack lifted his head to see that Terra was looking at him.

"I could hear you back there. Right before I was back. Thanks Zack. You've really come a long way to being a hero."

"I uh, thanks Terra," Zack replied softly.

Aqua smiled at him as she pulled him in closer to their group. "You deserve to be here with us."

"But I didn't… I mean I'm not really," Zack started to say before being cut off by Ventus.

"You're our friend Zack! You've made connections with each of our hearts and been a real help!"

With a small laugh, Zack let himself be pulled into the group hug, wrapping his arms around Aqua and Ventus. The four of them embraced tightly, and Zack never felt more at peace in his heart. He felt like he truly had found his place in the universe, and it was right here amongst the friends he once looked up to. Now he was standing besides them, the same level of hero that they were.

Oh man after struggling to pull through this scene, I finally got the motivation to do it!

Ahh the story is nearing it's end though. Probably a few more chapters, but it's going to be fun!