|||||it's, like, happy!||]|
|||||Tomorrow - Full Metal Panic||]|
I have FINALLY fnished with mechan's b-day present! Present-ing (gah, the puns!)...the last tale of Keybearer!Megumi and her band of merry idiots!!!
P.S. And if there are typos...shoot them.
Happiness and Forever
"What’s yer name?"
Such an innocent question, and from one so young…it had to be one of the newer children on the islands. New families moved here from time to time, bringing with them individuals so few in years that they didn’t know the stories, didn’t know what legendary figures inhabited—or had inhabited—this place. True, those days were becoming legendary in more ways than one; years were passing without her notice, time slipping by as she sat upon the rocks, or walked along the beach, or watched the eternal stars. She was alone now, she knew, the others having gone their own ways, into time and space and that beyond place that no one knew. No one came to play on this island anymore, the residents of the surrounding island chains leaving it to her use out of respect, awe, and misunderstanding.
She never wanted to be alone.
So that was why she knelt beside the child—so young to be venturing out on his own, barely old enough to steer a small skiff—a smile on her otherworldly face, and in her golden eyes.
"You may call me Anima."
"Close enough," she replied, ruffling his dark, wild hair with a slender, clawed hand. "What are you doing here, little one?"
"I’m not little!" He cried, revealing that indeed he was. Only six years, at most! What kinds of boats were they creating today that allowed one so small away from his home? How long had she been simply watching the sea, waiting…? "I’m Shiro!"
"Well then, Shiro, I’m sorry for calling you little," she told him in a genuinely apologetic voice, kneeling on the sand next to him, her long antennae brushing against the approaching surf. "What are you doing here all by yourself?"
"I came lookin’ for something!" He proclaimed proudly, chest puffing out beneath his well-worn blue shirt. "I heard from Ginger that it was here!"
He leaned in close to her, glancing quickly around as though suspecting someone of spying on them. "…the Heartless!"
Anima’s mouth quirked at that, laughter trembling in her chest before she managed to suppress it. Oh, how long it had been! It was so refreshing to talk to someone again, to smile! Riku and Sora’s great-great-grandchildren had passed away so long ago…to be with someone again, to talk and feel alive…what a gift it was. A gift she had been waiting for.
Waiting so very long…
"And what will you do when you find it?" Anima asked with all seriousness, belying the mirth in her eyes.
"I’m gonna catch it and take it home!" Shiro proclaimed, twinkling azure eyes bright with accomplishment and purpose. "I wanna prove to Jade-neesan that I’m not afraid of them no more!"
Anima grew truthfully serious then, gently clasping the boy by the shoulders and looking him in the face, seeing his confusion at her sudden change. But she had to know, if even in these times… "Why are you afraid of Heartless?"
"I’m not afraid!" He proclaimed at once, cheeks puffing with indignation, but the air went out of him a moment later, his sandals shuffling in the sand. "I just used to have bad dreams…stuff about shadows and a forest and losing somebody…"
A starlit clearing, a pool of blackness, a burst of creation’s light…a Keyblade…
"But I’m not afraid! I never was!" Shiro continued, oblivious to the distant, far-reaching expression on Anima’s face as memories long scattered twinkled into existence like the stars in the night sky. "I was just…sad. Sad for a long time. But, as soon as Ginger and Av and them told me about the Heartless here, I wasn’t sad anymore! I just wanted to…bring it home."
Darkness all around, a loss unbearable, countless eons wandering in the abyss, and then…an awakening…
"I’ll protect you…"
"Arccy and Neala are waitin’ fer me back at the boat," Shiro finished, glancing back over his shoulder at the gradually setting sun. "And I made a bet with Dagas…"
"A bet…?" Anima asked softly, something profound in her voice that the little boy could not grasp…not yet.
"Yeah!" He replied, all happy business again. "I bet ‘em that I would find something ta bring back! Not just the Heartless, but somethin’ special!"
Anima smiled, realizing again something that had been lost a long, long time ago. How simple it was…even now, who knew how many lifetimes later. She stood, the warm sea breeze flickering over her black skin while the sun inched ever closer to the horizon. She pointed to another area of the island, a tiny, nearly completely hidden indent in the wall. There, besides a cool, eternally still pool without a bottom—which had once been a waterfall—was a tiny passageway, nearly inaccessible now except to the very young.
"I’ll tell you a secret," she whispered softly. "If you go in there, you’ll find something someone lost. There might not be a Heartless here anymore, but I promise that what’s in there is more important than anything else."
"…really?" Shiro murmured, awed by the serious, smooth-voiced words. "What is it?"
Anima pushed him gently in that direction, knowing he would go on without looking back, even without her answer. It was a good thing, as her body, everlasting thus far, was beginning to fade, tiny stardust particles of red and black and gold slowly lifting clear of her to disappear into the sky. It seemed like death, but she knew what it really was. She knew. The truth was, this body wasn’t needed anymore. She had been waiting…waiting until the day when she could finally let it go, when she finally found what she had been without all this time.
A heart, Yoshiro. There will be a heart you lost, a long time ago…
And there indeed was, in the form of a little girl his age, with soft brown hair and dual-colored eyes, with a happy, loving smile that, somehow, someway, he remembered.
At the exact same moment, three figures stood dumbfounded at the far end of the beach, wondering why the hell they had bothered in the first place.
"So…we really didn’t need to do anything."
"We could have just died, been reincarnated over and over again, and by some means of benevolent intervention, ended up together again?"
"And, in all likeliness, the friends we’ve lost so far are here, too?"
"Then…why did we get stuck having to put up with being immortal, wandering around Kami-knows how many worlds, and ending up as comic relief most of the time?"
"…right now, I’m blaming Rem."
"It certainly seems like something she would do…"
"Wanna kill her as soon as we figure out which one of the squirts around here is her?"
"Hmm, but how are we supposed to get reincarnated ourselves?"
Twenty Years Later…
"So…you got my message, right?"
"You know I’ll go through with it, right?"
"You know, if he treats you wrong, it won’t be a problem…right?"
"Yes," Megumi replied for what felt like the hundredth time, waving an unworried hand as she tried to fend Rem off. "I’m telling you, you have nothing to worry about. Yoshiro’s a good guy, and we all know it. I think you just want a chance to prove that ‘Chopstick-Fu’ isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds."
"It does not sound ridiculous!"
Megumi only rolled her eyes. Leave it Rem to somehow manage to end up in a profession more…colorful than her last one. Seeing as there were mages on this world but no samurai, she was now a pirate/mage and, once again, had a substantial criminal record. Although, it wasn’t much better for the rest of her ‘old’ friends. Due to a noticeable lack of demonic assassins, Akai was now a pirate/assassin. Now lacking physical wings, Star was a pirate/captain, taking it upon herself to learn how to pilot—aka crash—Gummi ships. Squeak contented herself with watching over Chocobos, making her a pirate/rancher.
Quite frankly, the only people Megumi knew were pirates. But that was just fine, in her opinion. Having a bunch of thieving, uncivilized braggarts as friends resulted in quite memorable parties, as this one was turning out to be. The ‘regular’ wedding had been several hours ago, the attendees including her acquaintances from the larger ring of islands—although, they were hardly more normal then this group, especially when she thought of Sabinae and Ari, not to mention Taelow—as well as her adoptive family and Yoshiro’s grandparents.
It had been a beautiful affair, small but precious and elegant in its own way, moreso perhaps than their first wedding had been. There was just this irrefutable sense of peace in the air, upon the wind, a gentle whisper of happiness and contentment and completion that she just couldn’t ignore. It had been so long…longer than she could ever hope to fathom. She couldn’t even comprehend the time that had passed, all sense of endlessness gone now that she wasn’t a Heartless. Time felt fickle now, quick and slow and in ever-changing intervals, giving her the moments needed to feel and love and learn and remember all over again.
Just being able to look into his eyes once more, and to see the love neither of them had ever forgotten, made the lifetimes upon lifetimes of turmoil and sorrow and loss worth experiencing.
"So, happy, are we?"
Blinking once, Megumi glanced sideways at her still red-headed but now violet-eyed friend, Akai offering her a small, knowing smile. Megumi returned it, gazing at the sunlit beach that a pair of Keyblade Masters had walked upon 420 years ago. "…yes, I am."
"Well, I would hope so!" Said another voice, Squeak plopping down next to her, the deep, dark pool behind them reflecting their images as perfectly as a mirror. "I mean, really, what’s not to be happy about?"
"Your driving?" Star put in with a smirk, leaning over the edge of the little nearby hillock that hid the remands of the Seaside Shack. "You practically killed us on the way over here."
"Yeah, well, at least I don’t stink like a stable."
"My stables don’t stink!"
"Maybe it’s just you, then? Bathe, woman!"
"What? Have you finally gone really cra—ACK!"
With that, Star made a dramatic leap from the top of the hillock, dove gracefully through the air, and tackled Squeak, the two of them falling back into the pool with a substantial splash. Quite substantial, actually, which was why, two seconds later, a bewildered Megumi and a rather annoyed Akai made their way down the beach, dripping as they went.
"Those two…," Akai sighed, but with an old, contented smile on her face. "Almost reason enough to be happy, then, eh?"
"Of course," Megumi laughed, though her eyes were elsewhere, watching further up the beach. So that was where Rem had gone…pitching her voice, she called out, "Just what do you think you’re doing? I don’t think he’s done anything incriminating yet!"
"Not doin’ nothin’!" Rem called back, and took off laughing, sharing a quick, conspiratorial glance with Yoshiro before she disappeared into one of the tree houses.
"I’ll go take care of her," Akai whispered to Megumi as they approached the smiling, dark-haired man. "You two just have some fun."
"You know what I mean," Akai said with a grin, giving her friend a good-natured shove. "You’ve got all your lives ahead of you, after all. What else can there be but happiness?"
Megumi blinked at that, but Akai smiled and walked off before she could ask for a clearer explanation. The next thing she knew, she was alone on the sands, Yoshiro—older now, and clad in shades of soft sky blue that perfectly accented his tanned skin and dark hair—walking towards her. He had his hands behind his back…was he hiding something? Megumi was wary of anything Rem might have given him, regardless of what it might actually be.
"So…how’s it feel to be a blushing bride again?" Yoshiro asked with a sweet smile, old memories twinkling in his azure eyes. He had remembered…from the very first time he had seen her, waiting for him in the Secret Place, he had remembered…for who could forget the deepest love?
"How’s it feel to be the same old romantic sap?" She countered with a gentle smile, wondering if it was actually possible to die of happiness. She was here…and, while she had loved the new friends she had gained along the way, and was proud of what she had done for Sora, and for Riku…she knew she would never give this up for anything. Not now, not ever. This was where she belonged, where those most precious to her lived and laughed and loved, ever and always. This life would end, yes, but…she had this happiness right here, right now, and that meant more than anything. "And what are you hiding, mister?"
"Just a little something Rem passed on to me," Yoshiro replied with a secretive grin, chuckling softly at the wary look on her face. "No, nothing like that. She said she was saving that for later."
"And that makes me feel so much better."
Yoshiro laughed out loud, then leaned in close and whispered almost seductively. "Close your eyes."
Giving him a look, Megumi did so, wondering if she would have to smack Rem later for this. But, much to her surprise, Yoshiro’s gentle hands took hers and placed a warm, almost fuzzy item in her palms. It was firm yet soft, and had the strangest shape…
"Okay, you can open your eyes now."
Megumi did so, looking down at the oddest fruit she had ever seen. It was a bright yellow, with a tuft of deep emerald leaves at the top, though the entire thing was in the shape of a perfect star.
"Rem found it just the other day. She called it a paopu fruit; it seems they used to grow all over these islands, but the trees died out a couple hundred years ago. She said she learned that when she looked it up at the archives."
Megumi knew of the fruit, not needing to search for the information. She had learned of the legend those centuries ago, when she had first come to the islands with the Keyblade Master of Hearts. But the trees had died...they had died the day Sora and Kairi had left this world, passing into the next life as old, old souls, laying together hand in hand. And the last fruit had finally withered as it lay on Riku’s gravestone, placed there by a silver-haired grandchild who had sky blue eyes. So why…why had they reappeared now?
"She was surprised when she came across it, but she said I should give it to you, saying you would know why," Yoshiro continued, watching the memories flicker through her expression.
Slowly, slowly, Megumi smiled, aware there were tears on her face, a mix of joy and sadness, love and hope. She looked up at her dear one, clutching the precious starfruit to her chest.
"If you share a paopu fruit with someone, you will spend the rest of your life with them. A long time ago…people that I knew shared them and, despite all the terrible things that happened to them, they were allowed happiness in the end. Then time passed, and so did they…but the trees didn’t die. They waited…"
She let her eyes fall shut, a pair of glistening droplets sliding down her cheeks.
"They waited for us. For us to be together…"
"What else can there be but happiness?"
Happy endings pwnz joo!