The Legend of Kingdom Hearts.

"Will she be alright?" Exodous asked weakly as the aged phoenix walked out of the room where Ayan was.

"She will be fine. The contractions are just a bit much." He placed a hand on Exodous' head. "She's okay, trust me." He smiled, and Exodous returned the gesture.

"I'm sorry, I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, aren't I?"

"No, the birthing of young is always a big deal, and it is the biggest for the parents."

"Do you know how much longer, Menkth?"

"About a half an hour." Menkth said, rubbing his red hair, the highlights sliver instead of gold, showing his age. "If you can restrain the urge to ease her pain anymore than I say, you can go in, my lord."

"Please, don't call me that. You know I hate that term."

"Ah, but no matter how far from the royals you go, it will not change what is in your blood. You have only lived one life, and you are young at that. I have lived 17 lives and 300 years. I know the way this world works."

"I know…" Exodous sighed.

"Mister Phoenix doctor!" Miia called, hurrying out of the room. "Her contractions are closer!" Ayan gave a muffled cry that moment, making Exodous pale. Menkth smiled.

"Come on." Exodous didn't need a second invitation. He was beside Ayan in an instant, making her laugh through the pain.
"This is kind of scary…" She said.
"Just a bit, but exiting too." Exodous said, gripping her hand. Menkth then took over, telling Ayan what to do and when. Exodous held Ayan's hand, resisting the urge to help out, and was almost startled when Menkth ordered him to help the child inside turn. It was being stubborn. He placed his free hand on Ayan's stomach, and blanched.

There were two.

"Exodous Rethnier!" Menkth's voice brought Exodous back to earth, and he slowly pried the two apart, feeling their panic.
"You'll be together again soon.." He murmured.
"What?" Menkth asked, finally able to see something happening.
"There were two…" Exodous said, grinning at Ayan. "We have twins!" Ayan smiled through her tears, gripping his hand.

Shita and Oran stopped by later that day, having been unable to get off of work. Shita felt worse than he had 9 months ago, but he was able to hide it very well. It was an odd sensation he always got when he saw Ayan and Exodous, hate and love, at one time, like his heart and mind were going two different ways. Only problem was, he couldn't tell what was feeling what.
"Sounds painful…" Greki commented as Ayan yelled. Oran winced in sympathy, while Shita nodded. Kyani came out, and turned to his human form for their convenience, looking for all

the world like Miia's twin brother. He gave them an update before heading back in as the first cry was heard. Shita felt a stab of pain. He had hoped that relived laughter coming from Ayan would have been for their children.

"So it's okay?" Greki asked, leaning on Oran's head.

"This one. Exodous noticed that there were two, not one, so we have another on it's way." Oran said.

"I think we're in for a rough night…" Shita said.

Sure enough, at dawn the next day, the other was born, and the three in the kitchen area were allowed in. Ayan and Exodous both looked awful, but happy, Ayan holding the boy, Exodous the girl.

"Name them yet?" Shita asked, smiling. The sight of the children eased his heart for some reason. Any relief at this point was welcome.

"Kalen is the boy, Siren is the girl." Ayan said. "Want to hold one?"

"S-sure…" Shita said, Nervously taking Kalen at Exodous' nod.

"You need to sleep now, Ayan." Exodous said, kissing her cheek softly.

"And so do you." Oran said suddenly, taking Siren carefully. The twins fussed a bit, but relaxed soon enough. Miia turned to say something, but stifled a giggle.

"Hey, you four, get over there, and be careful not to wake them." Shita, Greki, Oran, and Menkth did as told as Miia and Kyani set up a camera before hurrying over. The camera snapped, getting the group, Ayan sleeping soundly under the covers, still sitting up slightly, Exodous across her lap. Miia giggled quietly as they walked out into the kitchen.

"I can't wait until these are developed!" She said. Menkth shook his head.

"Okay, can you two place the children into that crib there? The phoenix asked. Shita and Oran complied, taking turns, and their time. "Now, all of you, go home, get rest, and then come back, okay?"

"Roger!" Miia said with a salute.

;*;

For Shita, the children acted as a continuous pain reliever. When he was near them, he could pretend that they were his, even though Kalen's hair was bright red and spiky, and Siren's was long and a creamy blonde like her mothers with red and gold highlights. Kalen had been born without a familiar, like his mother, but Siren had several things that appeared to be fairies. Combined they made one, but it seemed to prefer to split itself.

When he was old enough, Kalen had declared he didn't need a familiar, he was strong enough on his own. This had made the adults laugh, and ruffle his hair. They were eight years old now, eight years of bottling his emotions up. Shita looked at himself in the mirror, hardly recognizing himself anymore. He had grown his hair out, and it now reached his waist, not to mention he was still trying to separate what part of him hated Ayan and Exodous from what part liked them. Sometimes, when he was alone, it almost felt as if something was trying to tear his heart from his chest.

"Uncllllllle Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiita!" Shita jumped at the dual voices ringing out from his back step. He splashed his face real quick with the water from his sink, and hurried out to let the kids in, drying his face as he went. The sight of him with wet hair and a towel made Siren laugh.

"Uncle Shita is all clean!" She giggled.

"Yes I am." Shita smiled, hugging the small girl and feeling himself return to normal, the constant ache in his chest going away.

"Uncle Shita, can I have a snack?" Kalen asked, his hands behind his back, blue-gold eyes wide.

"Of course you can. I was even making some for you."

"Yay!" The twins cheered, sprinting to the kitchen to see what Shita had made for them that day. The man smiled softly and followed, watching their excitement from the doorway.

"Are your parents leaving for the Gathering soon?" Shita asked, joining them at the table. The twins nodded.

"Yup! And we get to go this time!" They said happily, their eyes wide, their grins reaching their ears. Shita laughed at the sight.

"Is that so? Then you'll be gone for most of the summer?"

"Uh huh. It's gonna be fun!" Kalen said, the spark of adventure in his eyes. Shita smiled and ruffled the boys hair.

"I bet it is. Come on, lets go play a game." The twins agreed to this, immediately forgetting their candy. Shoving his dark thoughts to the back of his mind, Shita followed with a smile on his face.

Several hours later, Ayan and Exodous appeared at his garden gate, and Shita smiled at them as he always did.

"Shita, you really need to cut your hair, you know that?" Exodous laughed, grabbing at the long ponytail.

"So what If I like my hair long?" Shita asked, snapping playfully as he yanked his hair back. Ayan smiled.

"I think it looks nice. Miia seems to like it."

"She likes everything, don't she?" Shita laughed. Ayan smiled, agreeing as her children swamped her with the days happenings.

"Thanks for watching them, Shita. It helps a lot with the preparations." Exodous said. Shita shrugged.

"It was no big deal, you know I love those kids."

"I know." Exodous laughed. He and Shita watched Ayan and the kids run around for a bit, before Exodous looked at his watch and sighed.

"Ayan, it's getting late!" He called. He held out a hand to Shita, shook it, then gathered his small family up to head back home. Shita watched them leave with a sinking heart. He had watched Kalen and Siren every other time before now, so what would happen to him this time?

He would live the pathetic life he did everyday.

Wake up.

Eat.

Clean up.

Go to work.

Eat.

Work.

Go home.

Eat.

Sleep.

Day after day, it was the same. Always the same. Always alone, always. Alone… he hated the word. Hated it. He hated it because it was the truth, and the truth ate at him.

"Shita?" A young woman was now in front of him. One with soft brown eyes and light brown hair. Plain, yet pretty

"Mai." He'd been with her secretly for some time now, fooling her into thinking he loved her, trying his best to fool himself in the same way.

It would never work.

He would never love anyone but her.

Ayan…

Ayan…

;*;

"What?" Shita stood in shock. Mia held in her arms a tiny, blue/green eyed, silver haired child.

"He's yours." Mai said. "You left on that trip just before I found out. I left soon after, and when I came back I told people I had adopted him." Shita stared in shock at the child, now a year and a half, staring right back at him with those huge eyes. He couldn't understand what he was feeling, so many emotions at once. Love, Hate, Confusion, Disgust, enjoyment, sorrow, happiness. Each one caused him pain, so much so it felt like his heart would burst.

"..ut…"

"Shita?"

"Out…" He was shaking, his hand visibly trembling as he brought it to his face.

"Pa?"

"OUT!" Shita screamed, slamming the door, then gripping his head in agony.

"Shita! Shita what's wrong!?" Mai cried from the other side of the door. Shita only yelled again, an inhuman sound. The boy in Mai's arms started to cry, and the young woman looked about helplessly. Help was so far away, the Phoenix was the closest, and they were several miles at the least.

"Come on, Ritsu." Mai said, hearing something break inside the house. She strapped the child into his seat on her small motorbike, and headed out. She hurried and wiped the tears away from her face. Something had been seriously wrong, and she didn't know what, or how to help him.

;*;

Ayan looked up in surprise at the sound of a motor. She walked to the kitchen window to see a bike with a young woman on it. She couldn't make out who it was in the twilight, but the terrified cry of a small child floated over the breeze.

"Exodous, there's someone outside." Ayan said, grabbing her coat. Exodous stood as well, confused at the tension in the air.

"Stay here, okay kids?"

"Okay, Daddy." Kalen and Siren said in unison, turning back to their game. Exodous hurried to follow Ayan, tugging his coat on as well. They reached the young woman at the same time. She was crying and trying to comfort her child at the same time.

"What's wrong?" Ayan asked, bringing out a hankie.

"Y-you're friends of Shita Kenno, right?" Exodous nodded. "I'm Mai, we've been dating for a few years now, and, when I introduced Ritsu here to him, his own son, he freaked out. Something is wrong with him, but I can't do anything, he's locked himself in the house." Mai started to cry again, letting Ayan take Ritsu. Exodous stiffened, drawing on the energies in the air.

"Ayan, get her inside, lock all the doors. I'll go to look."

"Please be careful." Ayan said.

"I will be. We have our connector, remember?" Exodous indicated his necklace, kissed her, then jumped into the air, changing as he went. Ayan watched for a minute, then led Mai inside, instructing the twins to lock the doors and windows.

Exodous arrived at Shita's house in several minutes, landing in his human form at the beginning of the pathway leading to his front door, watching the entrance warily. Something was more than seriously wrong, it was devastatingly wrong. He had never before felt like this, it set his heart to quivering

"Shita! Shita are you in there!?" Exodous called, looking from one darkened window to the next. Nothing moved. After a moment, Exodous walked to the back of the house, being sure to give the building a wide berth until he knew what was going on. He froze in his tracks, as half of the back of the house was in shambles, like someone or something had thrown a fit, and set off a bomb. But the shadows there were moving. And so was the rubble.

Set by set, pairs of yellow lights appeared, staring at the phoenix in curiosity, some tilting one way or the other. Exodous was frozen to the spot, his eyes widening in shock as someone stood from the rubble.

"S-Shita? Is that you? Are you alright?' Exodous asked, stepping forward. Who ever it was threw something at the phoenix, a glowing object in the shape of a crystallized heart. It rolled to a stop at Exodous' feet, and he slowly bent to pick it up, his hands shaking.

It had Shita's aura.

"I have no use for that." The figure at the house said. Exodous snarled.

"You fool! Whoever you are, you are the worst kind of fool! Some of him is still there! And it will always search for the heart he lost!"

"What do you think these are?" Exodous looked at the moving shadows again, now able to see their shapes.

"You will never be at peace! Never!"

"Is that a curse, or a challenge?" The figure held up a hand, and the darkness rushed at Exodous. The phoenix gritted his teeth in anger, sending a ball of fire at the darkness, then leaping into the air to make his escape. He quickly placed a charm over the town, shielding the residents' hearts from the darkness sure to attack them. At least the darkness couldn't get inside the town now, though if someone left, they would be at risk. He landed outside the house moments later, and hurried to unlock the door and get inside, turning to re-lock it as Ayan and Mai stood up form the table. He leaned against the door, shaking.

"Exodous… Exodous, what happened? Is Shita okay?" Ayan asked as the bird sank to the floor, clutching the heart to his chest. He shook his head no, lowering his hands. Mai and Ayan gasped, looking at the crystallized heart.

"I don't... I don't know what happened to him. This is all that's left." Exodous gasped, still shaking. "Somehow, he lost his heart, and what ever took it's place, is not Shita. I put a guard around the town, the darkness spawning at his house can't get in, but if someone wanders outside, they will be at risk."

"He…fell to darkness?" Ayan asked. "But, how?"

"I have no idea. Do we have a spare box around?"

"Yes, hang on…" Ayan hurried away. Mai stared at Exodous in shock, unable to look away from Shita's heart.

"I'm so sorry…" Exodous said. "I couldn't help him. He was to far gone. Perhaps if I had seen sooner…" come to think of it, why hadn't he sensed anything before? Had he known subconsciously, but blocked it out?

"It's okay, we both tried, we both failed." Mai said. "All I can do now, is raise Ritsu the best I can."

"He will be strong, in both body, mind, and heart. You must be also, do you understand?"

"I do." Mai said.

"Okay, go get Ritsu, Ayan, can you get the twins?"

"Yes." Ayan hurried away again as Exodous gently placed the heart in the pile of cloth Ayan had placed in the box. He hurried to seal it, and then placed it in a bag. Ayan then appeared with Kalen and Siren.

"Daddy, is Uncle Shita okay?" Siren asked. Exodous smiled sadly.

"No, He's not feeling well right now."

"Oh…"

"Okay, hold on tight, I'm sending an emergency call to the members of my family." Exodous said, opening the door again as Ayan and Mai took hold of him. They took off quickly, Exodous holding onto each woman's arm in each foot. He started to sing once he was high in the air, calling the remaining royals.

By noon the next day, the village had been warned, and the other phoenix's were arriving. Out of the 15 that came, only one brought a human. He was a stout man with brown hair cut military short, his black eyes glowering at the news he had also received.

"Alright, Mr. prince, what is going on?" He asked. Exodous grimaced, but complied, explaining the recent turn of events. Ayan and the twins sat nearby, while Mai and Ritsu waited outside.

"Sounds like a load of trouble you let happen." The man said. The Phoenix beside him flinched.

"Anset, please! You said you would hold your tongue!"

"It is quite alright." Exodous said. " I expected someone to make that point, I thought of it myself. I had no idea what was happening to Shita, until Mai came to us."

"Mai?"

"Shita's lover." Exodous said. "Not only had he been able to hide from us his true emotions, he was able to hide an affair."

"Well, bring her in! what are you waiting for?" Anset barked. Exodous nodded to Menkth, who opened the door, placing a hand on Mai's shoulder as she came in.

"Mai, what exactly happened last night when you went to see Shita?" Exodous asked kindly. The poor woman was scared out of her wits, but she restated the events clearly, and in a strong voice. She then sat next to Ayan while the birds all talked over the new information. Exodous blocked them out, pondering every memory he had of the man, starting at the beginning. It came almost immediately, his eyes widening in shock as the answer came up, clear as day.

"It was jealousy…" He said, standing. The only good thing he saw in his position to gain the title as head Phoenix was that everyone shut up the moment he gained his feet. "Jealousy did it. His jealousy of me."

"Why would Shita be jealous of you?" Ayan asked.

"He loved you. I just saw it, I remembered the way he used to look at you, in fact, he always looked at you that way…" Exodous said, cursing himself for not seeing this sooner. "He was mad at me, he wanted you." Exodous said. Ayan had covered her face with her hands, finally seeing it.

"This still doesn't answer why he turned into, what ever he turned into." Anset snapped.

"He threw his heart away, possibly out of confusion." Menkth said, holding up the box Exodous had shown him. "Here resides the heart, crystallized." A great clamor went up, every bird trying to get in to look at the box, trying to feel the aura of the object within. It took several minutes for Miia's voice to reach Exodous, and once it did, he had to spend several more getting everyone to sit back down.

"What is it Miia?" Exodous asked.

"It's Shita! He's just killed Oran, and Greki isn't doing so hot." She grabbed the phoenix's sleeve, dragging him from the room. Ayan left the twins with Mai, who was to scared to go out.

The small crowd was led to the outskirts of town, where many of the villagers had already gathered.
"What exactly happened?" Exodous asked.

"A little boy ran outside the limits, and was almost overtaken by these little shadow things, when Oran ran out to help him. Then Shita appeared, and, sport of ripped his heart out of his chest, but it looks all funny." Exodous sighed. It had already begun. The heartless creatures weren't the only ones looking for a heart. What he had told that being stood true. He directed everyone to stand back, walking forward with Ayan on his arm. He tried to help calm her at the sight of Oran on the ground, his eyes frozen wide in shock. Greki was still sitting beside him, looking dead himself despite his bright colorations.

"Greki." Exodous called, soft but firm. The lizard turned his head, and blinked. "Bring Oran to this side of the barrier." Greki turned around to look at Oran before complying. Miia quickly joined him, cuddling and rubbing his head. Exodous looked back outside the town, to the figure standing there. It was actually hard to tell weather it was a man or woman, but there was no doubt about it, whatever it was, it had Shita's eyes.

"Give me your name, Creature of Darkness." Exodous ordered. The figure smirked, giving a sarcastic bow.

"I, am Shinya."

"Even the name sounds the same…" Ayan murmured. Exodous nodded, turning his attention back to Shinya.

"Shinya, stop this foolishness. Let Shita take back his heart, and vanish from this world."

"After I was only just born? Do you take me for a fool?" Shinya scoffed.

"In fact, I do." Exodous snarled. "You picked a fight with the wrong Phoenix. Ayan, remain here."

"Right." Ayan nodded. Exodous then sprinted outside the barrier, straight at Shinya. The manifestation of darkness dodged easily, making Exodous look like he was merely running about without a clue. And since he wouldn't toss fire balls when he was facing the village, Shinya tried to remain between Exodous and the village.

Several minutes in, Shinya gestured with it's hand, and small shadows appeared again, shooting for Exodous.

"You let your guard down!" Exodous yelled. "DUCK!" And he shot a fire ball at Shinya, eliminating the shadows, and knocking Shinya to the ground. The result was lots of little fire balls shooting out everywhere, so it was a good thing the villagers had did as they were told. The only ones who didn't were the other phoenix's, Ayan and Anset. They stood calmly as the fire shot past them.

"Lets go." Anset said. He, his Phoenix, and Ayan left the village limits to help. Exodous changed to his animal form, and perched on Ayan's shoulder, glaring at Shinya who was trying to regain it's feet. Ayan bit her lip as she got a good look at it. Shita's face was definitely there, and the hair was the same length as his had been, just not tied back anymore. It hurt to see so much anger and hate in his eyes, but Exodous' presence helped her stay steady, and convince herself that it wasn't Shita anymore. Shita was gone, and the only thing of him left behind was his heart.

Shinya finally staggered to it's feet, glaring at the four before it. It hissed, holding one arm in the other. Then, a door materialized out of nothing, made up of swirling tendrils of darkness. It was through this that Shinya and the shadows made their escape.

"Exodous, you need to leave here." Menkth said. "Shinya will be back once it regains it's strength, and come after you and your family again."

"I know…" Exodous sighed. "Ayan? Are you okay with that?"

"Exodous, you know I am. If it means staying together with you, and keeping the kids safe, I'll do anything."

"…Okay…" Exodous smiled down at her, linking their hands together.

"It's going to be alright." She said as she leaned her head on his shoulder.

"I know. We'll fight this together."


There you go, chapter 2! ai know that these are long, and i'm sorry about that ^^; if you have any questions, just ask in a review or message me.