The Legend of Kingdom Hearts.


"Exodous! My lord!" Exodous looked up from the table three years later. Expecting more bad news, he stood, walking to the door to meet the Phoenix that had brought it this time.

"Yes?"

"News." the young bird gasped. He leaned against the door, panting heavily. Just how far had this Phoenix flown?

"I figured as much."

"S-sorry. The containment room has been finished, but Menkth had to sacrifice himself to do so."

"What?" Exodous blanched at this. Ayan hurried over from the sink, placing a hand on Exodous' back. "Menkth, did that…why?"

"He said protecting the lost heart was more important. He told me to tell you that his passing is one of great importance, and he was glad to go. His spirit is now the door." Exodous nodded. Smiling sadly.

"Shall I?" Ayan asked. He nodded again, and Ayan hurried to the Twins rooms. Now eleven, they had been told a bit more of what had happened that night three years ago.

"Kalen, Siren, Daddy and I have to go out."

"Is it to put uncle Shita's heart away like you are planning?" Kalen asked.

"Yes. He can rest in peace now."

"Okay, be careful Mom." Siren said.

"I will." Ayan hugged her children and then went to the closet. She heard Exodous go in to say goodbye to the kids, and they were off.

Ayanlooked about the enchanted woods in awe. The trees seemed dead, but they were fairly glowing with life. She gently touched one, and jumped about three feet into the air when leaves burst from the branches. Exodoussmiled at he surprise.

"It's because you are so pure of heart. The trees react to people like you. See, watch Anset." Ayan looked, watching the soldier walking among a small section of trees that had been 'Brought Back to Life.' He reached out to touch a small bush, smiling as leaves burst up from the white branches. Ayan smiled herself, having never seen this side of the rough man before. "The entire woods was once watched over by someone, but after they left, they kind of went to being this. Waiting for the return of a guardian."

"I hope they come again soon." Ayan smiled. Exodous returned it, holding her hand.

"I knew you would say that."

"Almost there." The Phoenix in front of them said.

"Right."

Suddenly, a large pair of doors appeared along witha massive tree. Over the line in the doors where they would separate, was a Phoenix. It had it's back to the doors, it's wings spread out, one on each door, and it's neck stretched up, looking towards the topmost branches. Exodous smiled sadly at the image.

"Thank you, Menkth. Thank you." Exodous said, touching the tail feathers of the image. Ayan gazed sadly at the doors, her grip tightening on the box.

"Ready?" She asked. Exodous nodded.

"I'm the only one who can unlock these doors. Not to mention I can unlock any door I set my sights on." Exodous grinned. Ayan smiled as the doors opened, admitting them into the tree.

The inside was nothing but white glowing walls, covered in shelves upon shelves, separated along their length by small walls, just large enough for a heart. The pair walked down the hall to a staircase, and took these all the way to the top, several hundred stories up. They arrived at that floor sometime later, looking about sadly at the shelves that were filing up.

"It's so sad that so many have lost themselves to the darkness." Ayan said as they walked along to the spot made specially for the first heart lost, Shita's. once there, Ayan carefully removed it from the box, and placed it in it's spot, smiling sadly as she cried. Exodous placed an arm around her shoulders, and kissed her head.

"I know he wont be coming back, but it's so sad to think about, that I don't want to think about it."

"Don't forget. That's the most dangerous thing to do at the moment." Exodous said. "To forget about him, would cause his heart to vanish for good."

"Right, can't let that happen at all!" Ayan said, smiling. Exodous nodded, grabbed her hand, and the pair bowed to the last bit of Shita before leaving.

;*;

Shinya sat chewing a nail, wincing at the throb it still had from Exodous' attack. Snarling at the memory, Shinya made the final touches on it's appearance, taking on Shita's form.

The heart of the world, that's what he wanted. The miserable heart of this rotting planet. He looked down at the crawling shadows, many now contained the hearts of those they had attacked, but the hearts didn't satisfy them. Some had more than one heart, and had evolved into more powerful forms. Why did he hate the Phoenix so much?

Oh, right, he was a freaking ego case, crossing forbidden lines, having those freaky children, actually thinking his marriage would be overlooked….the list could go on.

"Screw that damn bird." Shinyamuttered. That's right, he remembered the night of his own creation now. Shita's mind had broken when he had seen his son, unable to come to terms withthe fact that he had had a child withanyone but the woman he truly loved. He had wrenched his own heart from his chest. But somehow the feelings he held for her had crystallized it along withthe wish of her being happy, even if it meant she would be withthe Phoenix. "Damn that pathetic human, too bad his was the only body I had available. Now I'm stuck with this form."

Standing, Shinya glowered. How much more time had passed? It was time for him to take care of this. He would have his own mind now, he would not be chained down by that useless thing called a heart. Where did that damn bird stash it anyway? Glowering again, Shinya took to the skies, looking down at the world as he tried to figure out where to look. He had to look for the light, and maybe he would just knock of that blasted bird while he was at it. Shinya smirked and alighted, first he had to see how much more time had passed. He crept up to a tavern, and not seeing any windows, slipped inside using the shadows. It didn't take long to get the date, as the drunks were as ridiculous as ever. It had been three years then, from the time of his creation…

"Anset, that's quite enough."

"Ah, shut it, Cyan. I've only had two shots."

"You promised Ayan and Exodous you would quit drinking." Cyan said. Shinya almost started laughing. Why was a fire bird like a phoenix named after a shade of blue? Though it did havean odd purple mark above it's right eye. Perhaps one of it's parents had been a water spirit. Cyan blew a strand of hair out of his eyes in exasperation, watching as it floated down again.

"You should cut your hair back, ya know?" Anset grinned. "That mop get's in the way too much."

"I like my hair, thank you very much." Cyan said, glaring at his human in an affectionate way. Shinya snarled silently at this. Why was it, that everywhere around him, spirits connected themselves to humans, usually before the human was even in the outside world. Deciding to leave before he puked, Shinya made for the door.

"Hold it right there, Shinya." Anset said, downing his third glass. Shinya glared at the man over his shoulder. "Come one Cyan."

"Aye." Cyan said, transforming.

"Outside, you freak of nature." Anset growled. Shinya smirked. They were playing on his grounds.

"Fool…" Shinyasaid, sweeping out the door. The fight lasted less than five minutes, and Shinya stood looking toward the sky as heartless swamped the lifeless bodies before him. He felt power, and rage. He had to find Exodous, killing him would put him at peace. It was all that damn Phoenix's fault, everything.

;*;

"WHAT!?" Exodous yelled, slamming his hands on the table as he stood. The young Phoenix from before stood in front of him, shaking.

"Y-yes sir. Shinya is on the move, and He killed Anset and Cyan…" He flinched at the look in Exodous' eyes, even if the glare wasn't meant for him. Exodousforced himself to take a calming breath when he felt Ayan take a hold of his arm. Turning, he smiling sadly at the twins.

"I'm sorry, your 14th was supposed to be so much fun…"

"It's okay." they said together. But the night was ruined, and despite what they said, they were disappointed. Exodous collapsed in his chair, holding his head and trying to make sense of the world around him. All this was his fault, if only he had seen how Shita felt before, when all of this started, the day they met…

Would he have not fallen in love with Ayan if he had stood at a distance and let Shita court her? Would he have fallen into darkness through despair as Shita had done?

"I haveto face off with this demon myself…" Exodous muttered. Ayan kneeled down beside him. It was hours later, the messenger long gone and the children sleeping.

"I know." Ayan whispered. "And I'll be right there, helping."

"No. You are going to stay here. You will look after the twins, loosing one parent will be hard enough."

"Exodous, you can't think like that!"

"I'm not!" Exodous said fiercely, his eyes fairly glowing in anger. Ayan flinched back a little in surprise. "I have no doubt that I can win. I have strengthenough to fight and either seal or kill him. But I do not know if I have strengthenough to survivethe battle. There is a strong possibility that his strength has grown these past three years, enough to rival my own. The strain could kill me." Ayan covered her face in her hands, trying not to cry. She knew this was true, she had thought of it many times, but it was so much harder hearing it. Exodoushugged her, slipping down onto the floor withher. "I'd trade places with anyone right now, believe me I would. But I let this happen, and I must fix it."

"I know… I know.." Ayan sobbed.

"I'll spend tomorrow with the kids." Exodous said, stroking her hair, trying no to cry himself.

;*;

"Daddy! Daddy look!" Siren cried happily. Exodous smiled at his daughter as she ran up to him. "The yellow one! Look!" Exodous held the tiny yellow light, his eyes widening to see that it had developed the shape of a fairy.

"Goodness, this is the first one, right?"

"Uh huh!" Siren said happily.

"You must help the rest along, okay?"

"I will!" she hugged Exodous, then skipped off to gather flowers. Kalen watched his father carefully. He could tell something wasn't right, Exodous was a lot quieter than normal.

"Dad, are you okay?"

"Hey Kalen." Exodous smiled, throwing an arm around the teen. He was already almost as tall her Exodoushimself, and the phoenix feared he wouldn't live to see him get much older.

"Dad…" Kalen said, a little impatiently.

"I'm fine. This whole Shinya business has me stressed out." Exodous said sadly.

"He keeps killing more and more phoenix's, doesn't he? What's he looking for?"

"I have no idea, Kalen…" Exodous lied. It was all he could do to keep his composure. "I wish I knew."

"You wont leave us, will you Dad?" Kalen asked, looking up at Exodous. Exodous wanted to cry, he could not make a promise he was not sure he could keep.

"Not by my own hand. I could never leave you three willingly." He finally said. Kalen grinned, hugged Exodous, and ran off. Exodous swallowed his tears, he had to try his best to return to them. If not, he would be betraying his son.

They returned home near sunset, to avoid the heartless that came with the night. Ayan smiled as they came in, laughing lightly at the exhausted twins. Exodous watched them hug their mother goodnight, then he walked up being her, hugging her as the doors to the kid's rooms shut. He let out everything he had held inside, hiding his face in her hair.

"I told him I wouldn't leave… why did I do that…?"

"You wont, you could never leave…" Ayan said, leading him to their room, thankfully on the opposite side of the house. Ayan sat calmly, crying herself at the sight of the Great Bird so broken, so torn apart by duty and love. She held him tightly, and they cried together through what they knew would be their last night together.

;*;

"They shouldn't wake before I leave." Exodous said as he dressed. "I can't decide weather or not I should wait until they do."

"Wait at least for Kyani and Miia. They said they would bring more news."

"I'll wait for that at least…" Exodoussaid, looking out the window. He had dreaded this morning with every fiber of his being. He and Ayan watched the sun rise, not talking, simply enjoying this last moment of peace.

When Kyani and Miia arrived, the dragons was flying at a rate faster than he should, Miia clinging to his neck almost desperately. Not knowing that Ayan an Exodous had seen him coming, he roared, landing roughly outside the house as the couple opened the door.

"Exodous! Ayan! Shinya just took down our last defenses. He's headed for the Heart Kingdom. The last Phoenix's fairly threw us out of those blasted woods. We would have stayed to help but…"

"I'm going." Exodous said. The rest of the birds didn't stand a chance, and he could feel them dieing. He hurried to hug Ayan, clinging to each other for several moments.

"Be safe, okay?" Ayan said, almost choking on her words. Exodous nodded.

"I'm so sorry…I'll come back, I'll come back even if it kills me. I'll be back." With one more squeeze he broke away roughly, ordered Miia and Kyani to stay, and shot into the air, unaware that Kalen and Siren had seen the whole thing.

;*;

Kalen glared sullenly out of the window. It had been several days since Exodous had left, and he hadn't even said goodbye. He had always though his father was a loving, caring head of the family, but he had shoved Ayan away, and taken off without a word.

He didn't know how Siren and their mother acted like nothing was wrong. Ayan had told them their father had gone to fight Shinya, and to protect Uncle Shita's heart. But his sudden departure hurt, and not a day after he had promised not to leave them.

"Hey, Kalen, what's up?" Ritsu asked, shutting the door. "Mom said Uncle Ex left."

"He did. He promised he wouldn't." Kalen said, looking at the younger boy. Ritsu had just recently cut his sliver hair short, so it was odd fro Kalento see him with slightly spiky hair. Kalen's own hair seemed to defy gravity, and he hardly ever combed it.

"He'll be back." Ritsu said. Kalensmiled at the seven year old' blind faith. Exodous had become like a father to him too, since Uncle Shita had 'died.'

"No. I heard him and mom talking the night before he left. He doesn't think he'll be back alive."

"Then you have to believe for him." Ritsu grinned. Kalen looked at the boy, a bit surprised.

"Hey, you want to color?"

"Yeah!" Ritsu's blue/green eyes widened in joy, sparkling at the idea. Kalen sighed and smiled as he followed Ritsu out into the hall so they could raid the closet. He was still mad at his father, but he would do as Ritsusaid and started to pray that his father would come home alive, so he could yell at him for breaking his promise. And for making his mom cry.

;*;

"I SAID STOP!" Exodous yelled as yet another Phoenix fell at his feet from blocking a hit from Shinya. Shinya laughed, smirking.

"You can't even control your own subjects! That's why these are so useful!" He yelled, waving his hand so another wave came at the last 50 Phoenix. Exodoussnarled, forming a fireball and hurling it at the wave, watching the collected hearts vanish. They would soon come to rest in the Heart Kingdom.

Satisfied with this at least, he sped head on into the fight, breaking through to Shinya to fight hand to hand again. Each had enshrouded their hands in their corresponding power, Shinya with darkness, Exodous in fire. He had to beat this creature, he had to get home. Kalen was probably so mad at him, he had to apologize. He flung Shinyaaway with a roar, succeeding in lighting a fire to Shinya's coat. This forced Shinya to shed the article, revealing a painful sight of someone who resembled Shitaphysically. Witha great deal of effort, Exodous created a sword, watching as severalPhoenix fell under a wave of heartless. He had to end this soon, or else he would be the last.

But his strength was fading. He could feel it. His bones were aching, and his entire body was screaming at him to stop. Shinya's power had increased drastically, the cause was most likely the Phoenix's he had slain by his own hands. He let loose his wings, and shot at Shinya, and his blade had almost reached Shinya's throat, before his own black sword blocked Exodous'. Shinya swung his sword, and hit Exodous' chest, sending the bird flying.

"What's the matter, you're not breathing to well anymore, are you?" Shinya mocked. Exodous blocked the comment out as he breathed heavily. The hit had cost him some ribs, possiblymore, but he had gotten what he wanted. Dropping the sword, he placed his hands in front of each other, one on top of the other, his palms facing Shinya's rapidly approaching form, ignoring the phoenix's moving mouth. Exodous felt several birds die, and called upon their loosened power to help. They were the last. He was now alone in the world, the last true Phoenix.

The terrain changed and Shinya froze, a foot away from Exodous' hands. Behind him were a pair of double doors, and they were opening further the longer Exodous chanted.

"What are you doing?!" Shinya screeched.

"You will be sealed away for all eternity, forever searching for that which you lost, and that which you want."

"Don't start on that heart crap again!" Shinya snarled, showing fangs.

"No. Shita has long left your body, his spirit is once again good, and resting in the Kingdom of Hearts. You, Shinya, desire a heart of your own, having been denied one at the time of your birth. You long to be human, yet you never will." With those last words, Exodous finished the spell. Chains flew out of the gap between the doors, wrapped around Shinya, and dragged him screeching into the abyss. Once the doors were shut tight, Exodous collapsed, breathing heavily, feeling like a knife was being driven into his side each time. Heaving himself to his feet, Exodous wrapped an arm around himself, and began the long trip home.

;*;

Ayansat at the kitchen window as she had done for the past month, waiting for sight, sign, or word of Exodous. No messenger of any kind had appeared. Kalen's lingering bitterness had not wavered, but he seemed to accept the reasons for Exodous' sudden departure, and she had heard him praying one day. She watched the sunrise, trying not to cry as she remembered every other time they had watched it together. He heart cried out for him. They needed him to come home, at the least they needed some proof that he was still alive.

"Ayan, are you okay?" Miia asked as she walked into the kitchen. She and Kyanihad been living with Ayan and the children for awhile, keeping the three company.

"No, I…I'm so worried. There hasn't been anything going on. It scares me so much."

"I know." Miiasaid, patting Ayan's shoulder. "but don't give up hope. He is your Phoenix."

"I know, he hasn't stopped drawing strength from me either. I think he's either in trouble, or he's still fighting."

"He's fine, don't worry!" Miia hugged Ayan who smiled. Kalen muttered a sleepy good morning as he and Siren came into the room. The young teen joined the woman at the window once he had a glass of milk. He gazed out at the sand covered path, and spit the drink out. He was out the door in two seconds, leaving it to bang on the side of the house, then back into it's frame. The three remaining stared as he sprinted for a collapsing figure not to far away, before they too were running out of the house, Miia calling for Kyani.

Kalencould hardly see through his tears at the sight of his father. He was a wreck, covered in blood, the backs of his arms exposing feathers that were broken or frayed. He was paler than death, and heaving for deeper breaths than the knife in his side would allow. He was gripping an odd sword so hard, Kalen could see the veins in Exodous' hand. Exodous looked up at Kalen, and smiled.

"I'm…sorry…"

"Don't talk dad! MIIA! HURRY!" He yelled, looking back at the other three. They skid to a stop, assessing the damage. Ayan started to cry immediately, cradling Exodous' head in her lap.

"Kyani, I need you to turn to your young form. Okay?" Miia asked as the hum of a bike sounded in the distance. "Kalen, get Mai to keep Ritsu away."

"No…let him come…" Exodous said, gasping.

"Okay, okay, just don't talk!" Kyanisnapped. He was now in a human form, waist lengthbluish hair tied witha deep blue bow into a surfer's pony-tail. His dark teal eyes scanned Exodous' body quickly, and the went to work. Healing the Knife wound was an easy task, all he had to do was send magic into the wound, heal the broken ribs, the lungs that had been punctured, all while slowly removing the weapon. This took several minutes as Miia stayed beside him, Ayan constantly stroking her husbands head. Kalen sat by, feeling utterly useless as he tried to dry his tears unsuccessfully and Siren explained the situation to Mai. She and Ritsu were soon there as well.

They all breathed in relief as Exodousbegan to breath evenly, but still trying to take shallow breaths. "Thank you, Kyani…" He said softly.

"I am sorry I cannot do anymore."

"What?!" Kalenyelled, leaping to his feet angrilly.

"He has lost too much blood." Kyani stated, the whirling wisps of hair around his face drooping. "And the only way he could get more, is from another Phoenix." Kalenstarted to roll up his sleeve, but Kyani shook his head. "No, lad. It has to be another pure Phoenix."

"I cannot stay here much longer, the rest of them were wiped out before I could seal Shinya." Exodous said, closing his eyes for a moment. "Kyani, Miia, thank you. Miia, you will be a great sorceress someday, and so will all those after you that share your blood." Miia nodded, blinking her eyes and wiping her cheeks as Kyani placed an arm about her shoulders.

"Mai, you and Ritsu have always been the kind of people to take off without warning, spreading your wings and taking your destiny into your own hands. You have a healing aura, and so, I grant you the gift of flight. You will also mother and father a long, long line of healers, enough to create a race." Mai started crying, burying her face in Ritsu's hair as the child looked on in confusion. "Be a good boy, okay Ritsu?"

"O-okay…"

"Siren."

"Daddy?"siren leaned closer, smiling at him through her tears.

"Here." Exodous handed his daughter a key. "You havea knack for creating things, and your hear is as pure as your mothers, if not more so. I give you the task of guarding the Kingdom of Hearts. You alone will know it's location the moment you find it. Whoever else had set eyes upon it will forget immediately. Those fairies are important, care for them."

"I will, Daddy." The young girl held the key close to her heart, fresh tears pouring down her face.

"Kalen…"

"I'm here." Kalen said stiffly, sniffing and wiping the tears from his face, only to have them replaced by more. Exodoussmiled softly at this action, and grabbed Kalen's right hand, placing the odd sword into it, then grabbing Kalen's left hand and placing it on the hilt as well, covering Kalen's hands withhis own so that Kalen was holding the hilt.

"This blade, is called the Key-Blade. It will open any door, no lock can withstand it's power. It is also the place I have chosen for my spirit to rest. The chain at the end can be switched out if ever you find another with a similar aura.

"Since I have given this to you, I have chosen you to continue to protect this world from that darkness still here. Shinyawont give up, it will fight to escape it's bonds, and eventually, it may just succeed. I am counting on you, Key-Blade Master." Kalen nodded, holding onto the key as if it were the last thing he owned in the world. Exodous sighed, leaning back in Ayan's lap, his head turned to her slightly. For a moment, they group thought he had left without getting to say anything to his wife, but he opened his eyes again soon after, smiling up at her.

"Yes, my love?" Ayan asked, leaning over him a bit.

"I love you, so much." Exodous said. He held up a tiny bottle. "Take this once your time has come, and we can spend eternity together. Keep an eye on the children, teach them all we know, guide them. You are best suited for this…"

"I will." Ayan nearly whispered, her hand closing about his. The group sat in silence, watching Exodous slip further from them by the second as he relaxed more and more to the rhythmic stroking of his short, fiery hair. Just before it seemed he would be gone, Ayan started to sing the first song they had sung together. Exodous smiled, his mouth moving to the words slowly as her voice rose, and despite her tears the words were clear and strong. When his weight settled in her lap, Ayan burst into tears, falling over Exodous, hugging him. Kalen stood and walked away, sitting on a sideways growing palm tree. There he let himself cry, clutching the blade in his hands.

;*;

Several months later found Kalen once again sitting on that same tree. Siren and Ritsu were withhim, along with Ansest's son and Miia

"We gotta promise to always be together, no matter what." Kalen said. "Dad's counting on us."

"Right." Ritsu said, nodding. It was the last day they would all be together. They would be separating after today, each ones moving date soon after another's. Kalen, Siren, and Ayan had decided to stay on the Destiny Islands, especially since Exodous' grave was on an island nearby. Once Ayan thought she was ready, Siren would leave for the enchanted woods where the tree housing the lost hearts was located, and she would never be heard from again.

"And if we can't meet and be together like this again, let us at least see each other, however many times fate can allow." Siren added. Each person had their hand atop a star shaped fruit.

"We should make a promise." Senet, Anset's son declared. "I can start. I promise, no matter what, to study the workings of this world. That way I can help when something bad like this happens again. I'm going to make the best inventions ever, and bring peace to the world!"

"I'm going to become a world class sorcerer. And use my magic to help others find their way." Miia said. "I can even get a license in therapy." Kyani rummbled at this, nudging her lovingly.

"I'm going to protect the woods I have been given, and I am going to bring it to life once more." Siren said.

"I'm gonna be the best doctor ever!" Ritsu exclaimed. "I'm going to use all sorts of things, I've heard that even music can be used to heal someone." Everyone looked at Kalen who was staring at the fruit in determination.

"I am going to travel the world, collecting the other key chains that can be attached to this, and defeat the darkness, sealing it away for good. Dad isn't going to have sacrificed himself for nothing." He said determidly.

"We promise, no matter when, how, or why we are reborn, to support each other through the toughest times. Our bond cannot be broken. This oath we make upon the Paopu Fruit, representing the first star in the sky at night, the one we will always wish upon." They finished together, thus begining the legend of the Paopou fruit as they each took a share, the promise fresh in their minds as the sweetness almost seemed to clod their minds.

Miia and Kyani hugged the kids, and then they set off. Over time, they left, one by one,until it was just Siren and Kalen. They remained with Ayan until she was upon her death bed. They watched as she drank the potion Exodous had given her, then as she faded away. They buried her beside their father, then headed for the enchanted woods. Kalen saw her to the edge, watching as the trees sprung to life the moment she set foot in the woods, smiling as it continued to burst into bloom. Kalen then turned his back on the woods, the Key-Blade slung over his back, his gaze set ahead.

The new adventure, was just about to begin.

Okay, this is just a little thing I came up with after writing chapter 7 for part 2 of my kingdom hearts fan fiction. After this, you know the story. I never really though about how much time passed before the world split, causing so many little worlds. Obviously Shinya escaped again, so that kind of explains it. i had orriginally planed for this to be a one shot, but it got so long, i had to split it up. XD