AUTHOR'S NOTE: Not dead John.

So. It's been over a year. 16 months to be exact. Yerp. I'm still here. When I say imma finish a fanfic that means IMMA FINISH A FANFIC EVEN IF IT IS LITERALLY TAKING ME FOUR YEARS.

If KH3 comes out before I finish this fanfic I swear I will make my address public and you can all come and murder me.

BUT YES. THIS IS HAPPENING.

Thank you very much to Rocco151, Queen Mickey, sailorsenshi13, 159, Windy, Hayashinkage17, RikuHanaFangirl (still the best name ever FYI), NINA, nma, Jilly and eight guest reviewers for reviewing the last chapter.

Also thank you to my best friend who reviewed the last chapter about two hours ago and is the reason this update happened cause I've made her promise to bug me into updating if I leave it too long. She's more heavily invested in this story than she is in the actual plot of Kingdom Hearts at this point :3

This chapter is dedicated to loking3, YveltalFan Patriot the wonder club, Wrayth-Pariah, Daisuke-the-Skyhaven Prince and Freerunner4427. And just anyone in general who is actually still here!

DISCLAIMER: Kingdom Hearts is owned by Disney and Square Enix. I own my OCs Hana, Machi, Chizu, Hisano, Mariko, Yukiko and Hainoki.


Chapter 28 - Murashi

~Machi's POV~

Everyone else was gathered tightly around Hisano, gawping at her new keyblade. It was beautiful, if slightly terrifying looking. It suited her in all honesty, just like Mariko said.

But I couldn't bring myself to feel excited about it.

It had been playing on my mind ever since Hisano and I had gone to Game Central Station on our mission from Master Yen Sid, but I'd been trying to ignore it. But seeing Hana and now Hisano get their own keyblades and knowing that the reason we needed them was because of what lay ahead of us I now couldn't escape it.

I was completely terrified.

I honestly didn't know why I was there. I wasn't as strong a fighter as the others, and my magic may have been a bit better than the five of them but Kairi, Lea and Aqua were all significantly better than I was. The others kept saying that my healing magic was really impressive but Mickey and again Aqua both had more powerful healing spells than I did, and Leon had promised to provide everyone with potions before we went into the big battle with Xehanort.

I just felt useless.

But I couldn't say anything to anyone.

I knew that it wasn't healthy to bottle things like that up, but I couldn't help it. I knew that everyone else would be just as scared as I was, but because of that I didn't want to burden them with my worries on top of their own.

So while everyone was distracted by Hisano and her new keyblade I slipped away.

Walking on the beach round to the other side of the island I sat down under a palm tree and tried to take some deep breaths to calm myself down.

But it didn't really work.

All that was running through my head was the fact that this wasn't a game. This was actually happening to us. In video games if you die then you just pop back up and can try again. But we were actually going to be fighting for our lives. I didn't think of myself as a coward but in that moment if anyone had offered me a way out of that situation I probably would have grabbed it with both hands.

I dropped my head onto my knees and tried to hold back the tears I could feel pricking at the corners of my eyes. I hated this. I hated this so much.

"Machi?"

My head shot up and my eyes met with the bright blue ones staring down at me.

"K…Kairi!" I stammered. "I didn't think anyone saw me leave…"

She sat down next to me. "I was worried," she explained. "You've seemed kind of off all day. You weren't really excited about Hana's keyblade and you actually looked ill when you saw Hisano's."

It surprised me that she was being so matter-of-fact about it and not sugar-coating it whatsoever, but I actually appreciated it.

"Sorry," I cracked a smile. "I guess I was a bit overwhelmed."

Kairi nodded. "I get that. Are you worried cause you don't have your own keyblade yet?"

"Not exactly…" I said slowly. "It's more complicated than that."

Kairi said nothing, just looking at me expectantly.

"Um… Well… Okay, if I tell you then you have to promise you won't tell Hisano and the others," I said.

She looked worried, but Kairi nodded in agreement. "Okay, I promise."

I licked my lips as they'd gone all dry suddenly and looked down at the sand. "Well… I'm terrified. Not just because of this big battle; I know everyone is scared about that. But…I'm terrified that I won't be of any use to my friends. And worse, I'm terrified that one of them might get hurt because I couldn't do anything to help them."

"What do you mean?" Kairi sounded worried but I still didn't look up at her.

"I mean I'm useless to them. They're all stronger than me, most of you can use magic better than me, I don't have any knowledge about any of the people we're going to be fighting like Hana and Hisano do… I'm just useless. I can't help them. And what if one of them is being attacked and because I'm useless I can't help and they…and they…"

Kairi's hand on my shoulder stopped me before I could get the words out. My eyes were now full of tears and I looked up at her. I honestly expected her to look a bit shocked or surprised at what I'd been saying but instead, what I was met with was a looking of understanding.

"Machi, I get it."

"…Huh?"

Kairi smiled softly. "I get it. I know what that feels like. That's exactly how I felt back when this all started, when Sora and Riku were fighting to rescue me and get my heart back. I felt useless, because I really was back then. I couldn't do anything to help them. Even when I eventually got my keyblade, I didn't know how to fight! Sure, some of it is instinct but that can only take you so far. I might have seemed confident to Riku but inside I was so scared that either I was going to get hurt or I was going to cause someone else to get hurt because I didn't know what I was doing. Even now, I know that if in this final battle I somehow end up being one-on-one with someone from the Organization, I'm going to be in a lot of trouble. That's why I'm glad I know Hisano will be with me since Master Yen Sid asked her to stick by me."

I wiped my tears away from my eyes and sat up properly. "So...you actually do know what I'm talking about?"

"Of course I do," Kairi replied, "but I also know that it's all lies. You are not useless Machi, and neither am I. We both have our strengths and weaknesses, but that's why all of us together are a team. You didn't just happen to magically appear here with your friends; all six of you were called here for a reason. Don't forget that you're the only one of us who seems to be able to use Dream Eaters!"

As if on cue I felt something bumping against my leg and turned to see Rin rubbing against me. I let out a tiny laugh and petted his head. "I guess that's true," I admitted.

"See? You're not useless," Kairi smiled, putting her arm around me and giving me a hug. "I completely understand why you feel like that, but I'm here to tell you that it's not true. You have a reason for being here, even if you can't see it yet. I promise."

My smile grew slightly as I hugged Kairi back. It felt so good that I'd actually spoken to someone; a huge weight had been lifted off my chest.

"Thank you Kairi," I sniffed.

Just as we separated I felt a shiver down my spine.

My keyblade suddenly appeared in my hand.

And lo and behold, it wasn't the Kingdom Key anymore.

Kairi started screaming in excitement while Rin was bouncing around, and my small grin grew into a proper smile.

It was much shorter compared to Hisano's, or even compared to the Kingdom Key, but I didn't care. The handle was silver and shaped like that of the Kingdom Key but with the edges rounded off. The actual blade was purple in colour, and the metal at the teeth of the blade was curved into beautiful intricate swirls, but the curves were still sharp and could clearly still inflict some serious damage. I had to laugh when I saw that the keychain was a purple cat's pawprint.

Maybe Kairi was right. Maybe I could do this after all.


~Chizu's POV~

Machi and Kairi had come screaming, literally, back round to the rest of us with Machi brandishing her new keyblade. She seemed much more relaxed than she had done for the past few days, which was a relief to all of us. Whatever Kairi had said to her had clearly helped.

It was now dark. We'd spent the majority of the day with everyone else sparing with Hana, Hisano and Machi in order for us to see the full capabilities of their new keyblades. The short reach of Machi's may have seemed like a disadvantage but to make up for it, her magic was significantly stronger now. She may have nearly set another tree on fire but Aqua quickly sorted it and everything was fine.

Hisano on the other hand, with her keyblade being a lot longer now, discovered that her magic did almost no damage compared to how it had before, but she didn't mind in the slightest as she didn't really like to use magic. Instead it was now a lot easier for her to go on the defensive because she could stay further back from her opponent and still land blows. She and Kairi took on a few of us as a team and they worked really well together.

Hana didn't gain in any one area significantly, but rather her attack, speed and magic were all a little better than they had been with her Kingdom Key. Her new keyblade seemed like a good all-round weapon and she was very happy with it.

Yuki and Mariko had been chatting together next to the fire all night, imaging what their keyblades might look like when they got them, with Lea and Aqua throwing their ideas into the mix. I on the other hand was being uncharacteristically quiet.

Three out of the six of us getting out keyblades in less than 24 hours was huge, and it was great news. It meant that Yuki, Mariko and I were pretty much guaranteed to get them at some point. But I was starting to get nervous. What if we didn't get ours before the final battle? I didn't want the others to feel like they had to keep one eye on us because we still only had our Kingdom Keys. I knew it was silly and that we could still fight with the keyblades we had now, but it still made me feel worried that I was going to be a burden.

Which was silly, as that was exactly what Machi had been worried about, and when she told us all after she got her keyblade we'd all immediately said she should've told us and that none of us thought of her that way. And I knew it was the same for me so I knew I was being an idiot…but I couldn't help it.

I am awful at hiding my feelings, and I usually don't see the point in even trying, so it didn't take long for Ven to realise something was up. I saw him whispering something to Hana who glanced over to me, smiled, and whispered something back. Ven then walked over to me, but rather than asking me what was wrong he simply took hold of my hand, gently pulled me to my feet and led me away from the rest of the group.

I didn't say anything and neither did he. We just walked round the beach until we couldn't see the campfire or hear the others anymore. He sat down and patted the sand next to him for me to join him. I did, and like a reflex once I was sitting next to him I put my head on him shoulder. He rested his head on top of mine, squeezing my hand gently.

"It's their keyblades, isn't it?" he asked after we'd been sitting in silence for a few minutes.

I nodded. "Yep."

"You're worried that you're not going to get yours in time?"

"Yep."

"And you're worried that if you don't then you're going to be a burden on them and the rest of us even though you know that's not true and you're just being paranoid?"

"Yep."

Ven let out a mixture of a chuckle and a sigh before he kissed the top of my head. "You are an idiot, you know that?"

"Once again, yep," was my simple reply.

Ven laughed again before he stood up. "Close your eyes. I've got a surprise for you."

I raised an eyebrow in curiosity before I did as he asked. I heard the sound of his keyblade appearing in his hand before he murmured something so quietly that I couldn't hear. Then he seemed to just be standing in silence; I couldn't hear him moving about or anything.

It was a good two or three minutes before he said, "Okay, open them."

I did so and looked around. "Um…what did you do? I can't see anything different."

Ven grinned as he sat down next to me. He put one arm around my shoulder, gently pulling me into his chest, before he slowly lay down on the sand, bringing me with him. As he did, my eyes went up to the sky and I gasped as I saw what he'd done.

Hundreds of tiny balls of light were floating gently up into the sky, looking just like the lanterns from Corona.

"How…how did you do that?" I asked, my voice suddenly very quiet.

"I combined a fire spell and a gravity spell," Ven smiled. "Aqua taught me how to do it. I wanted to surprise you after the final battle was over but…it seems like you could use it now."

I looked up at him and my heart started beating loud enough that I was sure he could probably hear it. I stretched up so I could kiss him and he cupped my cheek and softly kissed me back. When we moved apart again he kept his hand where it was.

"Chizu, you'll get your keyblade when you're meant to get your keyblade," he murmured. "Having the Kingdom Key hasn't held you back up until now and it isn't about to suddenly start to. And no matter what happens, I promise I'll protect you."

I smiled. "I'll protect you too, I promise."

"I know you will," Ven smiled back before kissing me again.

We lay there together looking at the lights dance in the sky until we both fell asleep.


AN: Chapter name explanation – as you may have noticed the chapters in which the girls gain their own keyblade are named after that keyblade AKA Hana's keyblade is called Twisted Ivy (title of Chapter 26) and Hisano's is called Snake Fang (title of Chapter 27).

Going to be straight with you guys, Machi's keyblade has been the hardest for me to design, but I managed in the end. Her keyblade is called Murashi which is a mixture of the Japanese words "murasaki" which means purple and "ashi" which means paw. Honestly mostly just cause I could not for the life of me think of an English name that didn't sound absolutely terrible :3

(Also fluffy Chizu and Ven moment is for you Ruru. Thank you for always pushing me on with this story. It really means a lot that you care about it that much, so I hope this kind of makes it up to you ^^ )

But yeah! I do genuinely hope you guys enjoyed this chapter, whoever actually reads it, and all credit if you are an old follower of this story and you've actually taken the time to read it. Please know I am so grateful and I promise you that no matter how long it takes I will finish this story. I swear that to you all.

Take care guys!