Disclaimer: not mine
Jack laughed as he threw a snowball and Sora dodged, the vampire was even faster than him! And Riku was a challenge too. A vampire, a Dark Faerie, and a Princess of Heart…not that he was entirely sure about the last one but apparently it meant Kairi was special…and hunted. He'd never known faeries existed and Sora was like no vampire he'd ever heard of…because they were from another World. The idea of other Worlds was incredible and part of Jack longed to be able to go with them, but who knew what would happen to him away from the World of his creation and the power of the Man in the Moon.
He would just have to make the most of their time on Earth, of having people who could see him and were happy to spend time with him. It would hurt when they left but Riku had told him that now that they'd been to Earth once, they could probably find the World again and visit. He really hoped so. And Sora and Riku were basically immortal too, meaning he didn't have to worry much about them dying. He could tell they worried about Kairi and he couldn't blame them, what would they do when she kept getting older? He wished he knew of some way to help but if it was as simple as her becoming a vampire then surely Sora would turn her. Becoming a Spirit wouldn't help either.
Riku laughed as the snowball hit him, sparking blue flakes making him feel so happy. It was an odd power, but it suited Jack. He found himself laughing even as Sora tackled him into the soft snow. He slid his hand into wild brown hair and pulled Sora closer, kissing him. Sora grinned at him and then took off into the air, swooping down on a laughing Kairi to carry her up into the air. Riku looked at Jack who grinned and they took off after them.
Naminé kind of wished Dai had kept his hair longer, running her fingers through short dark blond hair as he slept with his head in her lap. They'd be leaving Olympus in the morning for the Coliseum. Apparently, Hercules had invited them to fight in the games since they were friends of Sora. She would watch but she didn't want to fight...except that wasn't fair on everyone else, was it? If they had to worry about protecting her if attacked then what would she do if they were hurt?
Maybe…maybe she could find a way to fight? Dai would fight to protect her but he didn't like fighting, not like Riku did. The two really had become so different, it was hard to believe they had once been the same person. She cared for Riku, but what she felt for Daichi was so much more.
She looked down as he stirred, pressing into her hand, cyan eyes slowly opening. He smiled sleepily and she smiled back at him, stroking his cheek Dai leaning into her touch. He lifted a hand to touch her hair and then tug ever so slightly and she went with it, leaning down, letting their lips touch.
Demyx scooped Ventus up and backed up, reaching for the water in the fountain behind him since he had his hands full of unconscious Keyblade wielder. Across the way, Neku groaned but rolled to his feet, staggering slightly. The hooded figure watched them silently and Demyx unleashed the water right at them at the highest pressure he could.
"Run!" he yelled at Neku, glad the boy followed as he ran back to the previous District, where they'd first woken. There was no water there but something about it felt safer.
He slumped against the stair rail leading up to a blocked off accessory store, panting softly. Neku was staring at him with wary eyes and Ventus was still out cold, even after Demyx shook him slightly, that was not good, especially since it had happened right in front of someone who appeared to belong to the Organisation, despite the fact it shouldn't exist anymore. Unless Xehanort was reforming it? Was…was that why not everyone had shown up at the Castle in Radiant Garden? Sure, the odds all of their Heartless had been destroyed were crazy high but now he wondered if they had and the reforming humans had been intercepted. They needed to warn the others but how when they were stuck in the Sleeping Worlds. Sending them in with no way to make contact was kind of crazy now he thought about it, but they had been meant to be together. Where was Aqua?
Sora sat with Jack on a log in front of the cave, talking softly to let Kairi and Riku sleep within it, a fire burning low inside for warmth. It was a magical campfire that Merlin had taught them all, to ensure there was no danger to anyone or any place they might need it for warmth. The cold didn't bother Sora at all anymore and Riku could now handle greater temperature changes, but if it got too cold or too hot it would affect Riku. Kairi was human, magical, but still human, hypothermia was a real risk.
"Yeah?" he leant in slightly, bumping shoulders with the winter spirit. It was obvious Jack was desperate for contact and Sora had no issue with giving it, none of them did. Yeah, he was cold to a human, but he wasn't much colder than Sora was.
"Can I ask…what it was like?"
Sora frowned in confusion. "What what was like?"
"Turning," Jack murmured.
"Oh…I don't really remember a lot. She put me into a deep sleep first, I didn't wake up till days after it was finished. Dreams…the last I'll ever have," Sora shrugged slightly. "I don't remember anything until months later. New vampires, especially away from their Sire, are…well, basically animals. Though they said I wasn't as bad as expected, I'd hiss and growl, posturing basically, but wasn't mindlessly attacking or anything. There's recording, Kairi and Riku have seen them, but…"
"You don't want to see it," Jack finished, and Sora nodded. "I don't remember anything," he admitted, and Sora looked at him. "I've had a few comments over the years, other spirits are so sure I was human before, but…there's nothing. Just the ice and cold and the Man in the Moon. He pulled me from the ice of my lake and gave me my name."
Sora wrapped his arm around Jack's shoulders, pulling him close, feeling him tense before he went limp against Sora's chest. Sora stroked white hair gently with his other hand, offering comfort. To be told he'd probably once been a living person but to know nothing but loneliness and even hatred for being what he was…it was Sora's worst nightmares come to life, something he would have faced if Riku hadn't been adopted by Maleficent, if he hadn't had Merlin as his teacher.
"You've got us now," Sora whispered. "We'll come back Jack, promise. You're not bad, you're amazing." He kind of hoped some of those other Spirits showed up, see how they stood up to Keyblades and magic. No one deserved to be treated how Jack was by the other Spirits. Sora just wished they could do something to make the kids believe in him, that was what Jack seemed to want the most.
Kairi laughed as Jack gave her a push across the ice, Sora catching her around the waist, spinning around. They'd been on Earth for almost a week now and it was nice to just be able to relax, with nothing to fight. Jack was really coming out of his shell, his laugh real, his smiles brighter. Riku skated by and then laughed as Jack nearly tripped him with his staff, easily catching his balance, skating backwards.
Riku had shifted back to look human and Sora had his arm band on because Jack had told them it was the weekend and kids did come to the lake to skate sometimes. They didn't want to freak them out or anything.
"Oi! Leave 'em alone!" a stranger yelled, and Sora quickly stopped their spin, keeping her close. She knew it wasn't a slight against her skills, it was instinct to protect her for both boys as the weakest of the group.
"Bunny," Jack took to the air, obviously wary.
Bunny…sure enough there was a six-foot tall at least rabbit standing on his hind legs in the snow. A talking rabbit with a very interesting accent…and who was glaring at Jack.
Aster glared at the blasted winter spirit. Frost had been a pain for centuries; you'd think he'd learn better than to mess with kids. Granted, the three on the ice were almost adults and too old to believe but still…
"Jack isn't doing anything wrong," the taller of the boys spoke, silver hair catching the light. Silver hair…and cyan eyes were locked on him. So…maybe not as human as he'd first thought, another winter spirit?
Aster looked to the other two, they looked perfectly normal but their eyes were locked on Aster as well, the girl tucked slightly into the dark-haired boys' side.
"What do you want Bunny?" Jack was staying in the air, out of his reach.
"For you not to be a nuisance," he snapped. "Easter's next week."
"That's nice for you, but Jack has a job. If it's meant to snow, then it'll snow," the silver haired youth spoke to him again.
"You another winter spirit?" Aster demanded, and the boy chuckled.
"Hardly. Not that I think it'd be bad to be one."
"Could be fun," the other grinned.
"It isn't always," Jack murmured, surprising Aster when he actually sounded…sad?
"Not like we get winter back home. It's either hot and dry or wet and hot," the girl admitted.
"Never seen a talking rabbit before either."
"Come on Riku, there's probably one back at Mickey's, somewhere," the shorter boy grinned again.
So, the silver haired boy was Riku, an interesting name. Sounded…Asian maybe? Most of those countries didn't really celebrate Easter, though they were doing so more lately, mostly for the chocolate he thought.
"How can you even see him, us?" Aster demanded of the three.
"Why shouldn't we?" Riku asked, and there was something dangerous.
"Riku," the unnamed male called, soft yet firm. So, he was the one in charge?
"Guys, it's fine," Jack called, hovering lower.
"No, it's not Jack. It's not right or fair," the girl told him firmly. "Judging on what rather than who someone is, is pretty stupid." That was definitely aimed at Aster who bristled.
"I've got plenty to show he's no different to any other winter spirit," he snapped. "He ruined my holiday!"
That got some confused looks, so Frostbite was keeping secrets from his new friends.
"Easter '68, he buried the place so deep under snow people died." He felt the temperature drop, Frost reacting to his revealing his secret.
"You're saying Jack caused a blizzard?"
"Sora," Jack called, uneasy sounding.
The now named Sora looked up at Jack, studying him. "Yeah…don't believe it. Sure, he's powerful, but enough to cause a storm like that from nothing? And '68 was how long ago?"
Aster stared at the young man, Sora, and then glanced at Frost, seeing the shock in bright blue eyes and he felt…hope, coming from Frost. Was it possible? But he'd seen...
"It's alright Jack," Riku murmured, holding his hand up towards Frost who hesitated but then dropped down, letting the others shift protectively in front of him. "Can you tell us what happened that day?" his voice was gentle, something Aster'd never heard aimed at Frost or any winter spirit.
"It wasn't me," Frost's voice was soft, pleading. "General Winter…he was losing believers, started ranting about making everyone remember him…they were egging him on and he just…I tried to stop him, but I wasn't strong enough. I couldn't stop his storm either."
Aster stared. General Winter? He'd never met the Spirit but North had, had warned Aster to be wary of him. And…it made sense, more sense than a mischievous spirit suddenly turning deadly with no known catalyst. So…he'd messed up good.
Frost…Jack, glanced his way, and Aster swallowed but relaxed his stance. "Guess…I judged ya wrong," he admitted.
He felt the small spark of Hope in Frost and wow, it felt different to what he felt from other spirits more like…but that wasn't possible. Manny would have told them. Mother Nature was the one who made seasonal and weather spirits, and which even was Frost?
They could all feel the shift as the anger the Bunny felt towards Jack softened. Good, that was good. Maybe they'd never be friends, who knew, but at least now there was another Spirit who would think twice if told Jack had done something.
Riku glanced at Sora who smirked, flashing a little fang. Yeah, they'd be tracking this General down before they left. He'd killed people after all, so Kairi probably wouldn't object. They had to be careful, it was so easy to just do what they thought was right but it wasn't always. Riku hadn't really understood Sora's troubles until he found his own thinking changing, shifting away from human. Ven was still half human and yet he was slipping very easily in some ways too. What would they do without Kairi to keep them from forgetting their humanity entirely?
Aqua didn't trust the young man at all, and it was very interesting that the Dream Eaters of all kinds kept their distance from him. Who…or what was he? Was he a threat? Or simply a powerful being whose World had fallen to Darkness and the Sleeping Worlds?
"Joshua, why don't they ever attack you?" she asked, wondering if he'd answer, watching him.
"'They' being Dream Eaters?" he asked, and she nodded. There was something almost…sad in his eyes. "They won't go after you unless you're a dreamer. Which is funny, because I've got plenty of dreams."
"But they're definitely attacking me. So, you think I'm a dreamer?" that was interesting.
"Every human being is a dreamer. I had a friend once who said he never dreamed of anything, but it turned out that his were the most powerful dreams of all," he smiled wistfully as they walked through the Second District.
She'd never even heard of Traverse Town before and wondered if any of the others had been there before, not that she could ask them.
"I gotchu now, Joshua!" a male voice called, and Aqua looked up at the walkway above to see a young man in a tank top and skull hat running along the pathway. He stopped in front of them and put a foot on the railing, pointing at his chest. "Once I take you down, yo, me and Rhyme is goin' back were we belong!"
"Beat," Joshua groaned. "How many times do we have to go over this? You've been tricked…by that rogue in the black coat."
"What?" Aqua's eyes went wide, that wasn't possible. "Black coats? But that's..."
"I'm telling you you've made a friend of our enemy," Joshua berated the young man, Beat, neither paying attention to her.
"Just can it, aight? Your inverse psychiatry ain't gonna work! Let's go, Dream Eaters!" he summoned Dream Eaters and Aqua quickly called on her own, biting back a smile when his Kooma Panda happily walks over to her Komory Bat. "What? Man, not cool!"
Joshua laughed but then more Dream Eaters appeared and Aqua summoned her Keyblade. Fighting alone was something she'd gotten used to in the Realm of Darkness but having Dream Eaters fighting with her made things easier.
Beat sighed angrily. "You know what? Forget it." He sat on the railing in defeat. "This is stale, yo."
"Playing the tough guy 24/7? I'd be worn out too," Joshua offered.
Aqua half listened to them, keeping an eye out for any sign of the boys or more Dream Eaters.
"I just...wanna protect the one person who matters," Beat sounded defeated.
"I know the feeling," she murmured, thinking of Ven and Terra, even Sora and the others now. Suddenly, she stumbled, feeling exhausted. "Why am I suddenly...so sleepy?" she looked up at the two but they were talking, their words becoming hard to understand as she crumpled to the ground, unable to fight the compulsion to sleep.
Ven slowly opened his eyes, jolting at the sight of Demyx leaning over him, way too close.
"Hey! About time Ven, you've been asleep for ages." Then he dropped his volume. "Thought you guys don't really sleep," he whispered.
"That…wasn't sleep, more like forced unconsciousness," Ventus grimaced, letting Demyx pull him to his feet, finding they were back in the First District. "Where's Neku?"
"Took off on his own, he's got that countdown, apparently it running out would be very bad so he's gotta keep moving."
"Huh," that was weird. "What about the guy in the coat?"
"No clue, I grabbed you and ran. I'm reconnaissance man. I couldn't beat Sora; no way am I taking on a possible Organisation member alone."
"Good point." That was why they were meant to be together.
Lea smirked, slashing through the Heartless. This was good training! Better than just one on one fights against each other. He kept a close eye on Daichi, kid had more experience with a Keyblade type weapon but he also hadn't kept Riku's joy of fighting which was interesting. What was shocking was Naminé having asked Phil for beginning training in how to fight, Hercules was even in on it, the two trying to decide what would suit her.
Sora watched as the large man dressed in some kind of frost decorated military uniform fade away. Kairi was with Jack, keeping him occupied and from realising he'd told them where the General usually hung out. Should they feel bad for doing this? Maybe, but he didn't and he doubted Riku did either. The Spirit had been a monster and they dealt with monsters. Honestly, it was surprising the Heartless hadn't come for his Heart before they had ever arrived.
Riku leant into him and Sora playfully tipped sideways, making Riku laugh but wrap an arm around him. Seconds later they were back where they'd left the other two. They'd be leaving soon, they could feel it, the magic deciding when it was time for them to move on. But they'd be back one day, hopefully by then Jack would have more friends. One look and it was obvious Jack had realised they'd be leaving, but he still tried to be cheerful.
Sora would miss Jack; he was a lot of fun! And they didn't slip away, letting him watch as they magic moved them on. "We'll come back!" he called as they began to fade away.
"Promise!" Kairi added, and Jack nodded.
"Have fun," he whispered, but they still heard as his World vanished.