So, for awhile, I had an author that was going to take this over. She hasn't contacted me in months though so I guess it falls to me. I decided I'll just keep pushing this story out until I can't push anymore. I can't guarantee this is going to be quality writing because like I said before, I hate this story.

I am moving all of my stories over to Archive of Our Own though, and I realized that if the fanfic bot ever deletes my account, I'm going to have to repost ALL of my stories for my fans. And you guys are the best fans ever and I owe it to you to keep going. Before this gets posted on Archive, it will be rewritten entirely. In case the bot nails me before I can finish it here, I suggest going to Archive of Our Own and getting an account. My username is the same there as it is here. Without further ado, enjoy this next chapter.

Vincent rubbed his sore eyes as the sun began to rise, and the sounds of the camp being packed away reached his ears. The night had been sleepless, for his mind kept jolting into Riku's thoughts and he had to suppress the need to slip back into the teen's tent and have his way with him. Slowly, he made his way back to the camp, catching Sora's gaze as the brunette emerged from his tent.

"Sora, leave your tent up. I need to break our bond still," Vincent said quietly, leaning down to murmur in his ear.

"Um...okay. What about everyone else?"

"They can go on ahead. We shouldn't be more than an hour," Vincent told him. "I'll be back in ten minutes."

He slipped back out of the campsite again, trying to get his thoughts together as he went. He knew how to break the bond, in theory. Just deconstruct the shield he put up and find any places in Riku's mind that they had ended up twining together. The problem was, they had bonded together in so many places, he wasn't sure if he could find them all. The damage Ansem had done was too extensive, and every part he and Riku had bonded was every part Ansem had destroyed. And of course, he would be running the risk of just reopening all the wounds he had healed by breaking the bond.

Oh shut up. You're acting like a scared little girl.

Now's not the time Chaos.

So you bonded with him. So you molested him a little. Big deal. Just break the bond and if his brain starts bleeding out his ears, think of something else to fix him.

Vincent threw up a wall to block out Chaos's voice. At times, the monster was wise and able to help guide him through difficult choices, and at others, he simply mocked Vincent mercilessly for being so, as he put it, sickeningly human. He regretted what he had done the night before, but it was like he was out of control. Ha. Out of control. He was never out of control. His self-control was so great, people thought he was a psychopath due to his apparent lack of emotions.

So what had happened? The bond was strong, so maybe it had broken his control. But he didn't want to admit that he wasn't strong enough, though the other option wasn't that pleasant to admit either.

Shaking his head, Vincent headed back, a little surprised to see the rest of the group already packed and gone. Sora was sitting outside the tent, staring down at the ground while worrying his lip between his teeth. Upon hearing Vincent, he looked up, gaze wary.

"Just so you know...I know what happened with you and Riku. And it's okay. Just...I just thought you should know. You don't have to hide it from me or anything, or be afraid if it happens again while you guys break the bond," Sora said.

"I'm sorry. I did not-"

Sora smiled and shook his head. "Don't worry about it. Just do what you gotta do."

"It would be best if you come inside with us," Vincent said. "In case the damage returns. It might help him if you're there."

Sora nodded and slipped inside the tent, leaving Vincent to follow in after him. Riku sat up when they entered, looking just as tired as Vincent was. He hadn't gotten any sleep the night before either, for the exact same reasons as Vincent, only he had the added stress of, if he caved into his desires, he would be hurting the only person who truly understood him.

"Let's just get this over with," Riku said. "What do we have to do?"

"Lay down again," Vincent ordered, moving to sit beside the teen's head as Riku obeyed. "And try to relax as best you can. Do not fight me."

Riku nodded and-

Vincent was inside his mind again. He recognized his presence, and as a result, did not strike out against it like he used to. In fact, feeling their minds touch like this made him feel better, made something inside him sigh in relief. He shuddered as the other's mind curled around his own, feeding him warmth but then, it was ripped away, as if startled, and it left him longing for more.

A sharp twinge of pain distracted him briefly. And then another. And another. Soon they were happening more frequently, more violently. It felt like his mind was being ripped apart, bit by bit until finally-

He gasped, eyes flying open. Vincent was above him, propped up on his elbows with his forehead touching Riku's. His eyes were closed and he groaned, rolling off Riku and pressing his clawed hand to his forehead. It was then that Riku felt the pain in his head rise up again, a throbbing thing that beat incessantly at him.

"This isn't going to work," Vincent muttered.

"What's wrong?" Sora asked, his hand twining with Riku's.

"It hurts us both too much to tear apart the bond. I don't know what we can do," Vincent said. "I could draw out the process, and destroy a little bit of it each day, but that just runs the risk of our souls merging anyways because our minds would spend so much time linked together. I don't know."

Riku fought the lance of fear that zipped down his spine, refusing to let Sora see it. "So now what? If you don't know how to fix this...who do we turn to?"

Vincent didn't look at him. "Riku. We're going to have to just do it. It will hurt, both of us. But if we just rip apart the bond quick, then it'll all be over and we can just wait out the pain."

The silverette wanted very much to say no and walk away. "If we just break everything in one go...will it damage my mind?"

"I don't know. It's up to you, how we do it," Vincent said.

Riku swallowed and leaned into Sora. "Just do it."

Vincent gave a short nod and Sora wrapped his arm tight around him. There was a twinge, a flash, and he was gone.

-.-

"Is this normal? Is this supposed to happen?" Sora asked, staring down at the now passed out Riku in his arms.

Vincent was getting to his feet, legs trembling for a moment before he fully straightened. "I don't know. We should catch up with the others though. I can carry him until he awakens."

Sora looked up at the larger, frowning. "But what if he never wakes up?"

"I think he's just resting," Vincent said. "Now come on, we have to catch up with the others."

Sora looked down at Riku, the silver haired teen's expression twisted in some form of pain. He smoothed out the furrow in his brow with his fingers, feeling a little better when the older sighed and relaxed in his arms. Now they just had to hope for the best.

-.-

With Vincent leading the party once more, the group was able to move quicker towards their destination. No one commented on that fact that Riku still hadn't awoken, and after a quick lunch break, Vincent handed him over to Naruto to carry.

"So uh, where is it we're headed exactly?" Yuffie asked Sakura, who was travelling beside her.

"Well, given the current path, we're about to enter the Sand nation, but we've still got another day's worth of forest to get through," Sakura said.

"In two hours, we will arrive," Vincent said. "He has a hideout, beneath the trees. It's hard to detect normally, but the stench of darkness will lead us right to the front door. An actual plan would be nice to have before we arrive."

"How many entrances does the place have?" Vexen asked. "We have a large enough group where we could split up."

"There are three entrances," Vincent said.

"Three groups of four, with team leaders," Sakura said. "We'll need to make groups based on strengths and weaknesses. I can start breaking everyone up if you guys tell me which way you fight the best."

"Riku and I are staying together," Sora said. "We fight better that way."

"If he wakes up anyways," Naruto said. "I can go with them, Sakura."

"Dibs on working with Vincent!" Yuffie said.

"No." Vincent didn't even turn to look at her.

"Sakura! Allow me to be in my own group! I will show these heartless and Orochimaru that the Leaf Ninja are not to be messed with!"

Sakura shook her head and began to form the groups in her head as everyone gave her their input. The next time they stopped, a half hour away from their destination, they had three groups decided on. Naruto gently set Riku down, propped up against a tree, before joining the others.

Vincent had taken maps from the other ninjas, marking out the three entrances of the hideout. "The entrances are at the base of trees and require a password to get in. If we aren't caring much for stealth, you can just break the doors in and go. I'll take Yuffie and Tifa to go wipe out any sentries they have. We should be back within the hour."

"And if you aren't?" Sora asked.

"Then keep waiting," Vincent said.

"Allow me to assist you in eliminating the sentries! I will move too fast for them to see!" Lee said.

Vincent nodded, to most everyone's surprise. "We'll return as soon as possible."

The four left the clearing they had settled down in, leaving the rest to break out rations to eat and rest before they began the big fight. Sora sat down beside Riku, checking his pulse before opening up one of the snack bars Sakura had given him. Riku hadn't so much as stirred the entire time they had been walking, and if he didn't wake up soon, Sora wasn't sure what they were going to do. It wasn't like they could just leave him in the middle of the woods while they went to fight.

"How's he doing?" Naruto asked, crouching down in front of them.

"Hasn't moved," Sora said.

"I could try slapping him," Naruto said, smiling when he was able to get a chuckle out of the brown haired teen. "Hey, it isn't that bad an idea."

Sora crooked an eyebrow up. "How about this?" He shoved Riku lightly with his shoulder, and as he began to fall, the teen jolted awake, flailing as he face planted into the ground.

Surprised, Sora and Naruto looked at each other, eyes wide, only to burst into laughter. "That's all we had to do? Really?" Naruto said.

"What? Where are we?" Riku asked, looking at them both.

"You passed out when Vincent broke the link," Sora said. "How are you feeling?"

Riku frowned, eyes glancing to the side as he thought. Ansem was still blocked off, but as hard as he thought about Vincent, nothing happened. His vision didn't waver, or blur, or show him what Vincent was seeing as it had before. "I think I'm okay. Nothing feels wrong."

Sora hugged him tightly. "Good."

"And, we're almost ready to go take out Orochimaru and find your keyhole thing," Naruto said with a bright smile. "Vincent and the others are just taking out sentries and then we get to do all the fun work."

"Oh, great," Riku said. "Anyone have water?"

"I think Sakura does," Naruto said, pointing across the clearing to where Sakura and Kiba were. "Do you need help up?"

"No, I got it," Riku said, bracing himself against the tree as he stood.

Sora bit his lip worriedly as Riku began to walk away, his movements stiff as he made his way over to the others. "I hope he'll be able to fight when we get there."

"He'll be fine," Naruto said.

Sora tilted his head, noticing that despite his smile, Naruto's eyes were just as worried as he felt. "What's wrong?"

"Eh?" Naruto looked at him, brightening his smile, but realizing Sora wasn't falling for it, he frowned. "I'm just worried about Sasuke. If he isn't there, or if he doesn't want to come back with us, or if...if he beats me and gets away."

"Well, you're best friends, right?" Sora asked.

"Yeah, but he ran away the other times too," Naruto said, sighing. "I've tried to get him to come back so many times, and every time he beats me or tells me I'm stupid and gets away again."

"Riku did that to me a lot," Sora said, watching as Riku took the canteen from Sakura and took a sip. "I chased him around a lot, trying to find him. I came close a few times, only to have him slip away again. He hated me for awhile, and was convinced I didn't like him. When we finally got him back, I think he realized that...I was going to be there for him. Maybe Sasuke just hasn't realized that about you and Sakura yet."

"But we've told him a million times," Naruto said, his voice turning into a whine. "He's got such a thick skull sometimes."

"Keep trying," Sora said as he shot the ninja a smile. "Eventually it'll stick. Maybe it'll stick this time."

"I can hope," Naruto said. "He's my best friend."

"Then if he listens to anyone, it'll be you," Sora said.

Thank you guys, you're awesome. For you, I'll finish this thing.