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Chapter 18 - Commitments

When the author's world is connected, she goes on a quest through time with Yuffie and Riku to find her way home. Appearances by the casts of FF7&8. Rated PG just to be safe. For anyone who's ever wanted to travel to other worlds. Comments please!

Chapter 18 - Commitments

Chapter 18 - Commitments
Chapter 18


The walkway of Third District was, for once, peaceful, as we slowly walked along it, remembering. I could almost hear the waves, feel the sun on my face, see the horizon stretching away to what seemed inifinite distances. Sora walked beside me. I was surprised at how he had changed. I wished we could go back to being the innocent teens we had once been. But life had not chosen that course.

There was one memory I treasured in particular...a cinnamon-haired girl with violet eyes smiled at me from the depths of my mind. I had tried so hard to save her heart...when what I had really done was take her to the very people who would abuse it. I had failed her. But there was that one promise between me and Sora..."Take care of her."

"I did my best, Riku. She's safe on Destiny Islands, now. Probably thinking of us as we speak." Sora tried to comfort me. But I couldn't stop blaming myself. How could I have been so blind? I'd even fought against my own best friend to make it come about; bonded with the very maker of the Heartless.

"Listen Riku," Sora grabbed me by both shoulders and truned me to face him. "I've told you, I forgive you. Can't you forgive yourself?" I tried turning away but he was stronger than I suspected. "You can even come with us. I'm sure Donald and Goofy would welcome you." He held my eyes with his.

I looked away. "I'm sorry, Sora, I can't. I think..." I looked up at the stars, hoping the answers were somewhere out there. "I think I need to choose my own path, this time. There can only be one Keyblade Master, you know."

The silence hung heavy between us now.

Finally I said, "I should get back to the hotel."

"When do you leave?"

"I'm not sure."

"I go tomorrow. I need to find out where this second invasion is coming from." Sora shouldered his keyblade with a sigh. Then, putting it away, threw his arms around me. "Take care of yourself, Riku." His tears were hot on my cheek.

I couldn't reply. I was fighting tears of my own.


"There's been rumors that Sephiroth is alive again." Barret was blunt.

Cloud nodded. "I've been searching for him on my own, but I could only find him once."

Tifa was sceptical. "Once? What do you mean once?"

"Exactly that. He came to me, taunted me, and I fought him..."

"Let me guess," Said Red XIII. "You don't remeber the rest."

Cloud nodded mutely.

Tifa pressed onward. "The cases of star-scar syndrome are multiplying back at home. Cloud, you need to come with us! If Sephiroth is anywhere in this system, we'll find him and fight him together! Then, maybe, the children will be safe."

This statement was followed by a roar of agreement. I said nothing. I knew very well that Sephiroth and Jenova were the most likely candidates for causing star-scar syndrome, and I wanted to go with my friends, but there was another world at stake besides my own. Another friend that needed my support.

"Um, guys? I kinda need to bring something up here..." The din quieted.

"What is it?" Aerith asked gently.

"I'm assaigned to go with the Weapon, remember?"

"Hmmppph. She don't look too dangerous to me," Barret grunted. There was a smattering of laughter.

I played it up. "Exactly! I'm going along as her bodyguard, see?"

"@#$% Yuffie, we were supposed to go as a group! That's what this whole trip was for!" Barret pounded the table in frustration.

"But I can come back after the whole thing and fight with you guys! I asked Leon about it and he said that once the points were connected, they could be traversed backward as well as forwards. And the beauty of it is, you guys won't even miss me! I'll reappear the same moment I leave." 'That is, if I survive...' I added privately.

"She has a point..." Aerith came to my aid once again. "Besides, we have to remember that this is all part of a larger war: The war against the Heartless. By letting Yuffie go, we're letteng her do her part." Brilliant. I coudn't have said it any better myself.

"Well, I guess it's settled then. See you all in the morning!" I said brightly to cover my nervousness, and then skedaddled to the hotel before Barret could change his mind.


"Why did you come?" Squall's voice echoed throgh the underground cave.

"I've told you." I sighed. "King Mickey gave Headmaster Cid direct orders to send the gummi with us when we went to look for our friends. I had no idea it had anything to do with your 'Weapon' problem."

"So..." Squall set aside his gunblade. "The Ellone Machiene no longer works?"

I shook my head. "They took it from the Ellone Machiene. That was it's most vital component."

"Then... you can stop calling me Squall." I started to protest but he cut me off. "The Squall you knew was a seventeen year old boy. What you see now is my future self. I have nothing in between. I lost eight years to time compression! Eight years, Rinoa! And I still couldn't save my home! That's why I've had to start over as Leon. Squall is gone."

I was crying now. In between my sobs I said, "It wasn't your fault the Heartless came when they did. You tried, Squall! And that's what counts!"

"It's LEON!" His shout rang off the cavern walls. Then he collapsed to the floor, sobbing. "I'm Leon...Leon..."

I sat down next to him and forced him to look at me. Using the powers of telepathy that came with being a sorcress, I told him, 'You can change your name, but you can't chage what's inside, Squall Leonheart. You are you. And I love you. That hasn't changed either.' Then I did what I had longed to do for so long: Kissed him.

A/N: Hope I didn't confuse you too badly there. Read this if you want to understand, but be warned it contains spoilers. In the new FFVII movie, Advent Children, the children of Midgar are being affected by a mysterious disease better known as 'star-scar syndrome'. A new group of villans (presumably Sephiroth clones) is searching for thier "Mother," aka Jenova, and Sehpiroth's voice comes to Cloud saying, "I will no longer be just a memory." Also, if you've seen the Showdown of Fate: Cloud vs. Sephiroth video (from the Final Mix) you'll notice that they never actually show who wins. I am assuming Cloud had one of his siesures or Sephy simply bailed (That's what he does if you actually manage to defeat him in KH)

I took some liberties with the Squall/Rinoa thing, assuming that the Heartless struck during time compression and somehow messed up his age, then he discovered that his planet was destroyed. Obviously, it's back now (since Sora defeated Ansem in KH) but he still feels guitly about it.

Please let me know if there are any innacuracies or if something doesn't fit right. I've tried to do my homework here, but I'm probably going to make some mistakes. Thanks!


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