Chapter 1: Prologue
Look outside your window
Tell me what you see
Do you see the world ending?
Because to me… That’s all I see
The house was silent; it stood up on the hill not a breath of life there.
The last family, the Strife family had fled the house when two opposing Supernatural sides of Twilight Hill had risen up and consumed everything.
The Silhouettes and the Spirits had split everything up including the family and in the end taking young Roxas’ life.
The Spirits are finally at peace, the Silhouettes live on…
This incident happened nineteen years ago.
It was bordering up dusk when the sun sank beneath the house, it cast a long eerie shadow across the overgrown terrace.
“Let’s hurry up and go inside the house before it gets too dark”
“You wimp, we are getting money if we do this, everybody says that this house is haunted but I don’t think so.”
Two boys reached the entrance gates and looked up the wrought iron bars that were choked by weeds and entangling vines.
Jasper and Isaiah were sophomores at Twilight High. They were currently on a dare from fellow friends to venture up to the abandoned house on the hill.
It was supposed to be haunted but they were only made up stories and Jasper wanted to prove everybody wrong.
It was an old house.
Isaiah on the other hand had listened to the tales circulating around the town. Apparently the Strife family that live on the other side of town had been the last owners of the house. They moved in with two sons and only came out with one.
Jasper heaved himself upwards and the gates groaned under the weight. A screech echoed out when the steel scraped up against each other and he hissed, “Come on Isaiah, you gone chicken?”
Isaiah frowned and put his torch in his pants and jumped up after his friend. They jumped down to the dirt road and they turned around to see the house loom above them on the hill.
The sun quickly disappeared and the sky was streaked with violet and pink.
The boys shuffled up the drive and the flashlights flickered to life.
The light shone over a fountain caked with grass and flowers, the water had stopped long ago by the looks of it.
Jasper shone his torch to the front door and Isaiah followed his gaze, the porch was overgrown with wild roses and the front door hung open revealing the insides of the house.
The boys paused and stood at the porch stairs and they felt a gush of warm air envelop them. A groan came out and Isaiah jumped to Jasper’s side and gripped his arm. His friend pulled away and gave him a disgusted look “Gross, you wimp Isaiah, get away from me you girl.”
Isaiah gulped and bit back down the terror welling up and saw Jasper venture up the stairs and disappear into the depths of the house. The other boy was transfixed by fear shining his torch to the ground. He jumped violently when a hiss echoed from the doorway, “You haven’t gone all scaredy-cat on me have you Issy?”
Isaiah shined his torch and saw Jasper cringe and cover his eyes when the light hit him in the face. He wanted to run away and go home, it was only a stupid bet, why had he agreed to come?
Jasper spun back around and shined his light around the house and heard Isaiah step beside him. Two golden beams of light illuminated the room in front of them. The house wasn’t completely empty, a lounge sat in the middle of the room in front of an empty entertainment unit that used to house a TV.
The kitchen was still decorated in small ornamental statues and plates and cupboard doors hung open and Isaiah saw dishes and glasses still packed up neatly in the cupboards. A dining table set with four chairs sat beside the sitting area and as Isaiah walked over to the table he saw a handprint in the dust.
It was definitely recent.
He saw Jasper on the right hand side of the sitting area and he was gesturing to Isaiah wildly. The boy walked over cautiously and Jasper whispered pointing the light, “we haven’t been the only ones to come here Issy.”
Two sleeping bags were lined up against the wall under a window. They must have belonged to squatters that came here a while ago. They were incredibly dusty and all Isaiah saw was one of the sleeping bags had been ripped by an animal of some sort.
Two small bags of belongings sat beside the sleeping bags and Jasper picked up a wallet and looked inside. “This was the guy that used to live in the drains at Station Heights, remember him?” Jasper held out the wallet and Isaiah saw the ID was definitely a homeless man that had disappeared about four years ago.
Isaiah’s torch wavered slightly and his eyes were drawn to the wood of the floorboards. Panic started to make his chest heave and he whispered hoarsely, “Uh Jazzy, look at this.”
He shone the light and Jasper stepped over forgetting the wallet and mumbled, “Heck.” Long claw marks were gouged in the wood, but on closer inspection Isaiah saw a full fingernail embedded in the wood.
A human fingernail.
He jumped back letting out a wobbling cry and said, “A human done that? What happened?”
Jasper snorted and said, “Probably a homeless guy came here and one was already here and they fought who got to set up residence here.” The boy shrugged and said, “Come on Issy lets keep exploring, we get a hundred bucks if we do this.”
Isaiah let a cry mumble in his throat and tears started to sting the back of his eyes. “I don’t wanna do this anymore; I just want to go home.”
Jasper sighed and he spun Isaiah around and rummaged through the backpack his friend had. He pulled out a video camera and said through grit teeth, “You sook, there is nothing wrong, we have to go up the stairs and just get footage of this stuff.”
Jasper flicked the camera on and waved it around the house, “Is this thing even on?” The lens adjusted and on the screen it showed the frightened face of Isaiah. Jasper chuckled and headed for the stairs, “Come on lets do this.”
The boys walked towards the stairs, the darkness surrounded them as they reached the stairwell. The air got instantly muskier and nineteen years of dust billowed around the boy’s shoes.
The stairs creaked under the double weight and through the filming of the camera Jasper’s voice was heard saying in a soft monotone, “This place must be like ancient, look at all this junk.”
The boys reached the top of the stairwell and Jasper handed the camera to Isaiah and pointed his light right down the dark hall. Every door in the hall hung open, either on hinges or lying flat on the ground. The attic door was pulled from the roof and the rungs of the ladder lie broken and scattered over the floor.
Isaiah swung his light around and whispered, “Come on Jazzy, maybe this isn’t a good idea, forget the money.” Jasper scoffed and ventured to a door on the left and peeked in, Isaiah had no choice but to follow.
He stopped at the door and Jasper walked in partly and said, “It’s a room, the bed and everything is still in here.” Isaiah glanced in and whispered, “Jazz, there’s a bathroom look inside that.”
Jasper walked to the ensuite of the bedroom and saw grime decorating the once white tiles. Broken plaster and tiles littered the floor. The showers door had been pushed in and leant up against each other and a gaping hole revealed the ancient plumbing.
Isaiah backed to the door and said in a shaking voice, “let’s get the rest done and get out of here Jasper.”
Jasper backed out of the room and headed down the left hand side of the house, Isaiah glanced in with the camera, greeted by empty room after empty room. He sidestepped the rubble and Jasper pushed a door. They jumped back when it fell backwards, snapping the hinges and landed with a loud ‘bang’. Dust swept up in a cloud and gasping Jasper covered his nose and said in a muffled voice, “Looks like a Master bedroom.”
Isaiah swung the camera around jumping when he heard footsteps coming up the stairs. The hairs at the back of his neck instantly began to prickle and he saw nobody. Jasper looked at him with an eyebrow quirked and said, “What! What’s the matter?”
He hadn’t heard anything.
Isaiah gulped and stared at the stairs a little longer then stammered, “n-nothing, I thought I heard something.” Jasper frowned at him and snorted, “It’s your imagination you baby, now hurry up, I need the camera.”
The camera started to wobble precariously in Isaiah’s hand as they wandered over to the other side of the house. A smashed bathroom was all that was seen when they turned from the bedroom up the front of the hall; Jasper went to a door that was firmly shut.
Isaiah stood some distance away as Jasper pushed up against the door. It was stuck.
“How dare he, we should do something before he pisses them off, you know what Axel is like.”
“Hush, it won’t be Axel I am worried about, you know how Roxas gets, he has really harnessed his power now.”
“We can’t sit here and do nothing, I am going to try and scare them off.”
“Demyx! Don’t - sigh- why do I even bother?”
There was a rush of wind, followed by a low growl. Isaiah froze and squeaked to his determined friend. “Uh Jazz, did you just hear that?” he got a simple grunt in response as Jasper threw himself against the door.
A bang echoed down the hall and Isaiah could only shiver with fear.
All he wanted to do was leave. He was terrified. Just because Jasper wanted to prove himself against some stupid dare.
He stared down the hall until he heard Jasper whisper, “Isaiah, get a load of this!” the small brunette boy spun around and he Jasper pointed to the bottom of the door. Isaiah pointed the camera down and with shock and wonder they saw the darkness from under door suddenly light up.
It was like somebody had opened a window and the sunlight had flooded in.
Thing was, it was getting later at night.
Isaiah heard another noise, it sounded like a footstep. He spin around and through the camera’s screen he was able to see a figure coming out of the darkness. It took a shape of a human and Jasper whispered beside him, “Do you see it too?”
Isaiah let a wobbly cry escape his throat, his hand was shaking so badly that the camera started to wobble as well. The shape jerked towards them and Jasper let a yell of fright rip from his chest. He jumped about a foot in the air and barricaded back into the door. There was a shudder and the door slammed inwards.
It slammed against the wall with an ear deafening bang and Isaiah spun around with a yelp. The light inside the room vanished and Jasper scrambled up and spun around.
“There is no way I’m going in there, Axel will flip the lid.”
“I told you not to do it Demyx, now; you will watch what will ensue.”
“NO! You will watch Demyx. Then you will deal with Axel and Roxas.”
Isaiah was the first to recover and he lifted the camera and looked around the bedroom. It was semi empty, a large bed sat in the middle of the bedroom. A dusty bedside table sat beside it. A broken bookshelf sat in the corner and an empty TV cabinet stood against the wall.
Other than that, it was empty. And incredibly dusty.
Isaiah swung the camera back to Jasper and whispered furiously, “This is what you wanted to see Jasper! Can we get out of here now?” Isaiah stepped back towards the door.
They paused when there was a brief flicker of fire that danced in the corner of the room. Isaiah turned to camera to the corner and a small flame continued to burn. Jasper looked fearfully to his companion and they both backstepped to the door.
They both jumped and screamed when the door slammed shut, Isaiah dropped the camera. It was still filming as it hit the floorboards.
On the screen, behind the door stood a black clad figure.
It was a boy, he had wild golden spikes and his blue eyes were quickly dissipating and turning black. Red and black veins raced up his face and he opened his mouth, rows of sharp teeth glinted in the dimness. A loud hiss erupted out and a low raspy voice whispered out. “What are you doing here?”
Isaiah turned around desperately and let out a large yelp when he saw another black clad figure stepping beside them. He had fiery red hair that was even wilder than the boys. His face was deathly pale but his eyes were green and not black.
He let out a fierce chuckle.
“You boys are going to regret coming here, Roxas gets terribly unhappy.”
“Roxas!” Jasper gasped, “Roxas Strife, he’s the boy that died.” He cast a glance to the golden haired boy who let a frown cement his face.
“How dare you” he rasped.
His fists clenched at his sides; “You have no right to be here, then to come into my bedroom and say that I am”-
He struggled with the word and the red head folded his arms and glared menacingly at the boys.
“We aren’t dead you little bastards.”
Isaiah stepped over the floorboards, his voice wobbling and tears rolling down his cheeks. “I’m so sorry” he blubbered “We will go, wont we Jasper?”
The smaller boy cast a fearful glance to his friend and was despaired when the arrogant boy stood defiantly.
“Well you cant be dead can you? You are standing right in front of us. You shouldn’t even be here.”
The red head smirked “Then why are you here?”
Jasper pursed his lips together and Isaiah murmured “Jazzy they’re giving us the chance to run away!”
Roxas scowled “And you lost that chance the minute you entered our house.” His face went a dark red colour and a soft golden light shone down his sleeves before wicked looking claws appeared.
“You will regret you ever came here.”
He revealed long, sharp fangs and lunged.
The abandoned Twilight Mansion that eerie night, erupted out in a long shriek. The front door swung open so hard that the old hinges snapped and the large wooden door fell to the balcony with a deafening ‘thud.’
Jasper let a scream rip from his chest, the blood still dripped from his cheeks and staining his shirt. He dashed for the metal gates and lunged at them, making them rattle noisily. He cleared the fence and disappeared down the road screaming;
“Somebody help me!”
Aaliya Strife walked away from the roaring fire behind her; all around her, her friends laughed and continued to fuel the fire in the Tram Tunnel.
Got that glitter on my eyes
She clicked her large leather boots on the concrete. She started the countdown under her breath.
Suddenly; there was an almighty 'Bang' The flames rose up so high that they seemed to hit the stars. Aaliya let out a hysterical cackle escape her and her friends all bolted for the darkness and they stopped to grab her.
“Come on Ali, before the cops come and decide to bust us.”
Throwing her long, brown and blonde hair over her shoulder, Aaliya slung her arms around the shoulders of her two best friends and bought them to her. “To the Nightclub. I can already hear the alcohol calling my name.”
Aerith scowled at the morning news.
“Vandals” she scoffed “Ruining our town! Why can’t they leave us all in peace?”
“Mhhmm” came Clouds response from the kitchen table.
“I’d be horrified if my children were cavorting about, making grief and destroying our town.” Aerith walked around the kitchen counter and out to the hallway muttering to herself under her breath “Blowing up the Tram tunnels. Honestly, what is this society coming too?”
She stood at the entrance of the hall and then called out; “Aaliya, Come and get some breakfast before you leave sweetheart.”
Aaliya brushed out the wild tangles out of her long hair before pulling it back and securing it into a ponytail. She brushed down her skirt which barely hit her knees and fixed up her school shirt and adjusting the collar.
She turned around and stared at herself in the mirror; she scowled. It was the reflection of the plain; sensible Aaliya Strife.
Her reflections face twisted into a frown and Aaliya hissed to the mirror “I hate you.” She looked herself up and down and her nose crinkled in distaste “So-plain.”
She turned to the bedroom door and wrenched it open; “I hate my life” she sighed. She strode out to the hall and wandered down it. She reached the kitchen and kissed her mother good-morning and muttered a hello to her father.
Her gaze wandered to the news on the kitchen television and she had to suppress a smile to herself. Her work on the Tram tunnels the night before, it had been plastered on every news and radio station all morning.
She walked behind the counter and had to stop herself from giggling. She pulled open the refrigerator and started to raid the contents inside before changing the subject off blown up tunnels. “Have you heard the other story on the news Mum?” she asked; her head still in the fridge.
“The Mayor finally decided to pull down that creepy old mansion on the hill.”
She stood straight and stepped away with a jar of raspberry jam and she shut the fridge with her foot before reaching for the bread and the toaster.
Aerith felt her chest tighten and her gaze fleeted to the picture frame of her family nineteen years ago. To this day, the grim smiling face of Roxas still haunted her; she would always- always blame herself for the death of her baby boy.
Aaliya shook her head, seeing the reaction her mother said and knew who she was talking about. Her older brother Roxas had been killed just before everyone moved out of their old house. She didn’t know the exact reason why and why her parents told her nothing, but it had a huge impact on her mother and her other brother.
She cocked her head to Aerith and slammed down the loaf of bread before wrestling two out and placing them on the counter. “Stop beating yourself up about him Mum, we all die for a reason and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Aerith sighed “I can’t Ali, I look at pictures and I just can’t help but think that he died hating me, because I wasn’t there for him.”
Aaliya rolled her eyes and popped the bread into the toaster, “That would be a load of bull Mum and you know that. You don’t have that much pictures of Roxas anyway, how could you know he hated you?”
Aerith was a little hurt from her daughter’s blunt accusations and her heart dropped considerably when she had pointed out that she had no photos of Roxas.
She had a lot…actually.
Just… the pictures she had out, were the better ones of the blonde.
Aerith walked to the small set of drawers near the corner of the hallway and the lounge room and opened the top draw and rummaged under a lot of paper before pulling out a bundle, secured by rubber bands.
“You know how much Olette loved to take photos? Well she took some, a long time ago and gave them to me when we had the funeral. I never wanted to put them out…for good reason.
Aaliya left the kitchen and went to where her mother was standing and took the pictures off her mother.
“Olette was always around Sora, came over every day after school. Though the boys didn’t really enjoy it, they still allowed her to take photos. Not that they really noticed anyway.”
Aaliya looked at the pictures of her dead brother and a small frown decorated her face. All she saw was a very unhappy teenager. The unhappiness seemed to ooze from the photo and Aaliya felt bad herself. She began to feel awful, looking at the pictures of her suffering brother.
How Aerith had described him as being a bright and happy person had Aaliyah baffled. In any photo she had seen, Roxas had always looked gaunt and unhappy.
She started to get a bad feeling when she flicked through photos of Roxas and Sora. Some were photos that were taken when they had been unaware. Sora looked like he was talking to himself in one picture.
Then at the last picture, Aaliya gasped and dropped the entire bundle on the floor. Fright hammered in her chest and her mother rushed over and put her hand on her daughters shoulder before bending down and picking up the pictures.
Her green eyes went a slight shade darker when she saw the photos of her dead son and Aaliya shivered again, the image now imprinted on her memory. The face of Roxas, gaunt and pale, snapped in the hallway of an old house.
A large shadow seemed to be behind him with vicious white pupils loomed behind him with the small gleam of fangs.
Goosebumps raced up and down her arms and Aerith looked at the picture before looking back up to her and asked questionly “Are you alright honey?”
Aaliya nodded and she spied the picture on the top of the pile and saw that it was normal. No black spectre with glowing eyes was in the picture. Just a picture of a pale Roxas.
But…She swore that she had seen something
She shook her head and Aerith opened her mouth to ask a question before the door swung open and averted everybody’s attention.
Sora strode into the house and Aaliya rolled her eyes and spat “Do you just waltz into the house all the time? Ever heard of knocking?”
Sora looked to his younger Sister and his eyes widened in mock surprise “Oh my, who are you? Do I know you? Because my sister is never home anymore because she thinks she is so grown up.”
Aaliya wasn’t amused at her brother’s sarcasm and she scowled at him “Har-Har you think you are so funny Sora.”
The eldest brother gave her a dirty look and walked to the kitchen and Aaliya muttered under her breath ‘Prick.’
Aerith gave her daughter a stern glance and Aaliya ducker her head and left her mother’s side and walked to the kitchen and exclaimed out in annoyance when she saw her brother take the toast out of the toaster; her toast, and begin to eat it.
“Hey!” she snapped irritably “Back off old man, that’s my breakfast you’re shoving in your mouth!” She stormed into the kitchen and tried to snatch the other piece off her brother but Sora swallowed his food and then slathered his tongue over the other piece.
Then he went to go hand it to his sister, whose face twisted in disgust and she snorted “Act your age, not your shoe size.”
Sora let a slight frown cement his face; his age was a delicate topic with the brunette. He didn’t want to admit that he was aging; he always got angry when you mentioned it. A touchy subject that would make him deflate and go into a brooding mood which confused Aaliya.
Then he dropped the toast onto the counter and then grabbed for Aaliya, yanking her down and proceeding in giving her a painful noogie and pulling her hair from her ponytail. Aaliya protested angrily and tried to pull away.
Aerith put the pictures on the kitchen counter and she looked at her children disapprovingly “Please! Sora you aren’t 19, do not do that to your sister.”
Sora faltered and Aaliya was able to duck away and she poked her tongue out at her brother and pulled the elastic out of her hair and began to fix it. Sora gazed to Aerith and snorted “Jeez, I remember you saying that nineteen years ago Mum, just change said sister into a brother.”
Aerith wasn’t amused and Aaliya smirked “Nice to see that you’re still an asshole.”
She ducked her head and her mother scolded her “Aaliya, watch your language.”
“Soo-ory” she mumbled
She went to the counter and tore off a piece of toast that Sora hadn’t licked and shoved it into her mouth and in a muffled tone she sang out “Alright I’m off.”
She grabbed her bag and swallowed the bit of toast and went and quickly kissed her mother on her cheek and Sora smirked at her behind her parents back making kissing motions, so quickly, Aaliya flipped the bird to her brother whilst mouthing ‘Watch it old man!’
The door shut behind the teenager and when she was down the pathway, Sora’s smile dropped off his face and he turned back to Aerith and went to the counter and picked up the pictures of Roxas and glared at it.
“What did she see?”
Aerith looked at her oldest son then to the pictures in his hand and she shook her head, trying to hold back her tears.
Sora sighed and sat them back down onto the counter and from the kitchen table, Cloud flicked his newspaper and turned the page.
Nineteen years on, Cloud was still a simple man. He didn’t believe that his deceased son was a so called ‘Demon.’ Roxas was dead and that was it, he thought his wife and his son were over-reacting and keeping their past secret from their daughter was unfair as well.
“C'mon Mum, don't hold back, She could have seen something that would give away everything.” Aerith scrunched her face up before handing the picture to Sora who scrutinised it before sighing. “I wonder what she saw?”
Aerith sniffed back her tears before whispering “G-Give me a moment?”
Before her son could stop her, Aerith left the kitchen and across the dining area. She slid open the sliding glass door and disappeared out to her vast green garden beyond.
Sora could only sigh and reach for the loaf of bread and start to cook more toast for himself.
“He's right you know.”
Aerith looked at the black mist that rode over on the wind towards her. She gulped back her tears as the mist manifested into a solid shape. The black continued up and up before the long pink spikes fell from the confines of his hood.
Aerith saw Marluxia pick a rose from her garden and bury his nose into it before he looked down at her as he leant casually against the tree.
“You cant continue to hide behind the Cross of the Lord Aerith, Your Faith may be strong but its not going to stop us, because...we aren't technically beings from 'Hell' we're just...troubled spirits that have been cursed with immortality.”
“I like to think I'm protected” Aerith whispered “I just didn't want Aaliya to be caught up in the mess that we had to deal with, I already lost Roxas and I don't want to risk it if I had to lose Aaliya as well.”
“Aaliya has been different from the day she was born Aerith” Marluxia said dropping his casual stance and walking beside Aerith who sat on the bench under the tree. “Whether you like it or not, the Silhouettes will find her, or that she will get bored of having things hidden from her and go up to the mansion herself.”
Aerith disagreed with the Silhouette on that part. “Aaliya has heard too many stories, she is a good girl and she wont go against the rules I have set for her.”
She didn't notice Marly roll his eyes at the comment.
“I'm actually surprised” he finally mumbled “surprised that Roxas hasn't come around to see you guys. Not even a glimmer of him, sure I have felt his presence but he's always kept his distance.”
“He's probably off in that 'Between' dimension” Aerith sniffed again, dabbing her eyes with an already wet tissue. “Isn't there a warped sense of time in there? Minutes could pass in there and years would pass out here?”
“I don't know” Marluxia sighed staring down at the woman, “Things are going to happen sooner or later Aerith, I'm not as strong as the other Silhouettes if they choose to come down here. I cant keep protecting her. She's growing up and you know-what kids that age get up to. Remember Sora and Roxas?”
Aerith began o sob all over again and Marluxia could only shake his head in defeat, “There's no getting through to you Aerith, but when all hell is released, don't say that I didn't warn you.” Then at the next coming breeze, Marluxia misted away and left Aerith by herself in the garden.
Aaliya rolled her eyes as her friends joked around her that afternoon at lunch.
“You know that they're going to demolish that old freaky house on Twilight Hill?”
Her friends voice broke through her daydreams and Aaliya turned to her “Its was on the news” she grumbled and her blonde haired friend nodded, “Well Dad owns the Demolition Company that were asked to do it, apparently they're going to do it the day after tomorrow.”
“I never got a chance to go up there and see what it was like” another friend interjected “How about we do a dare and go up there?”
“Didn't you hear what happened before? Remember those kids...Isaiah and Jasper? The young one was killed. Jasper has been hunted and been blabbing about walking shadows.”
“They were only in Primary School” Aaliya interjected “We don't believe the crazy stories that come from them? What's stopping us then? I'll go, who wants to come with me?”
Her group of friends stopped talking and looked at her incredulously.
“We were only joking Aaliya, we're not going to go up there. People have died going up there. Its better off if we just leave it to be demolished.”
“You were only just talking about going up there to see what it was like. Doing a Dare! How stupid can you get? I'll do the dare.” Aaliya said outraged “You're a bunch of pansies, scared about a couple of stupid stories.”
“Alright” her friend challenged “Ali, you go up there, take a photo of the front of the house and come back and I'll give you a hundred bucks.”
“I don't need your dirty money” Aaliya snorted “I'm just going to prove that you guys are bunch of whiny pussies and didn't want to go up to the scary house on the hill.”
“Do it this afternoon then” he friends chorused “We want to see the pictures on Monday.”
“Fine” and Aaliya agreed to the challenge.
Sora smiled down to the plaques all in a line as he stood up on the Breezy Hill Cemetery.
He knelt down and brushed away the dust on the golden plates on saw the engraved name upon it.
He looked up to the others and saw Kairi's and Namine's plaques as well.
Sora had made sure to be respectful to his friends and had small grave plaques made to honour their names, since they wouldn't have had that done by their families back when they first died.
He didn't even know their last names.
All he had was their names and the date they were born and died.
“I think things are going to get awry now Riku” Sora sat flopping back on the grass “Whether Mum wants it or not, I think Ali is going to find out about the Silhouettes. I know Marly has been trying to protect her, but he's not as strong as Axel or Zexion. Maybe even Roxas now, I bet he was a special case.”
He sighed and looked up at the clouds passing by “I'm 38 years old and look where I am. I really wish that you guys were here with me, if I could reverse time and do something to stop you guys from going, if you has stayed with me. I'd-...I'd be happier.”
There was a pause “I miss you guys, this time around...its me that's the unhappy one. I should be happy with what I have, I don't want to sound selfish...But there's nothing going for me.”
Sora trailed off and continued to watch the sky, it was going onto late afternoon now and he really didn't want to get up and go home.
The saying, Home is where the Heart is?
Well Sora' heart was up in the clouds.
There was a breeze that fluttered around and Sora looked around to see Marly manifesting into the scenery, his long pink hair was frazzled and his eyes were worried.
“Thought I'd find you here” was his abrupt response.
“What do you want Marluxia?” Sora said with a frown decorating his face “This better be important, you know I don't like talking to you.”
“Its Aaliya” Marluxia said “She's gone up to the Mansion.”
Song that inspired this chapter: We R Who We R- Kesha
Chapter 3: Revelations and Sadness
Aaliya looked up at the gates of the Mansion and quirked her lips to the side. The whole driveway up to the house was gloomy and dark and she wanted to be all-tough and go up there by herself. She was only curious and since it was going to be knocked down, she just had to see it before it did.
She walked up and grabbed the wrought iron bars to the gate and strangely enough, they felt warm to the touch.
“That's weird,” she said as a cold breeze suddenly enveloped her and goosebumps raced up and down her arms.
She got ready to jump up and climb the fence then:
“What are you doing up here?”
At the sharp stern voice, Aaliya sprung away from the gates and she spun around and saw the very familiar figure of her brother.
“Sora!” she yelled, “You freak! I could ask the same about you!”
“You wanted to go snooping around the mansion didn't you? You know how dangerous it is up there!?” Sora said disapprovingly and Aaliya snapped, “Can it old man.”
She went back to the gate “I wanted to see what it was like and see if the old ghost stories are true; and since ghosts aren't real, the stories aren’t either!”
She grabbed the padlock in her hand and went to pull it before the metal arc connected the lock itself turned to rust and crumbled in her hand. Aaliya dropped it like a hot potato and Sora said, “Allie, we have to get out of here. It’s not safe, the stories you have heard aren't fake.”
Sora grabbed onto Aaliya and as he clasped her arm there was a low dark voice on the wind “What are you doing here Sora? You should have known better.”
In the afternoon sun, a shadow appeared and it began to grow and manifest into a solid shape in front of them.
“What-the-hell” Aaliya said slowly, her eyes widening “Sora! What the heck is going on here? Shadows can’t do that! They can’t talk!”
Sora grabbed hold of his little sister as the black shape split and a mop of golden spikes emerged sightly obscuring a white face with large sapphire eyes. The young boy looked at the humans and Aaliya's jaw dropped before wrestling away from Sora.
“That can’t be?”
“Hello Roxas” Sora said grimly “We were just leaving, so there's no need to attack us.”
Roxas looked briefly hurt before he held out his hands “Cant I just walk out every now and again and say hello to my older brother and his pretty little pet?”
He smirked and Sora said grimly “She isn’t my 'Pet' Roxas, This is Aaliya. She's our sister.”
Roxas froze and there was a loud laugh that echoed in the darkness behind him “Sora! You sure have gotten old! Look at the wrinkles you old bag of bones!”
A wild mess of red spikes appeared and Aaliya 'eeped' when fiery emerald eyes searched her up and down “My, my you do look like old Aerith, how is the mother anyway?”
“Just back off Axel” Sora sighed rolling his eyes “We didn't want to drag everybody down.”
“Why not?” Axel said with a wicked grin, “I could invite the whole coven down? I'm sure Demyx would be delighted to see you again.”
While the two argued Aaliya watched with rapt attention to the boy walking closer to her.
This was her brother Roxas, the one that had died 19 years ago. He didn't look a day over 18 and he looked the same in all of her mother’s pictures.
“Y-You're Roxas?” she asked hesitantly and the boy nodded “So, she called you Aaliya? It’s a nice name.” He gave her a weak smile “Mum probably hasn't told you about me.”
“She said you died 19 years ago,” Aaliya said and Roxas quirked his lip, a trait Aaliya had and done often when she was trying to think or explain something.
“Technically, I did die but I didn't fade away. To put it straight; I'm a Silhouette.”
Aaliya had the terrible urge to cry as she stared at this person that was her dead brother. Does he live in the house?
The young woman spun around to her brother who was looking at her cautiously and the lanky red head was smirking.
“Explain” she said in a trembling voice and Sora shook his head “Allie, I promised Mum and-...”
“EXPLAIN!” Aaliya screamed, a tear rolling down her cheek.
Sora hesitated and Roxas said, “She was going to find out sooner or later” Axel interjected “Yeah especially since she has one living in the house with her, 'Mother's' secret best friend.” Sora ran a hand through his faded brown spikes tiredly and he said:
“Alright, nineteen years ago our family moved to Twilight Town. We moved into this Mansion, at first we didn't think it was haunted, it was an old story. But when we moved in, there was more to the house than what we previously thought.”
“So he's saying” this 'Axel' drawled “The House was a Mental Hospital that closed over a century ago, the head 'Doctor' per-Se was found torturing his patients. A lot of us died and we either turned into a Spirit or Silhouette.”
“The Asylum was knocked down and transformed into a house,” Sora explained “But they could never leave, bound by pain and suffering in that particular mansion. I'm going to put it straight. The Spirits inhabited one-half of the house and the Silhouettes the other half. I got tangled up with the Spirits and 'jerkface' here” he jabbed a thumb in Axel's direction “Thought he could bind himself to Roxas. Hence, our little brother got wrapped up in their web of secrets,”
“Alright this 'jerkface' has a name and it’s Axel 'Got it memorised?” Axel drawled “and secondly... you talk too much. Let me explain.”
The redhead Silhouette swept up to Aaliya in a rush of black smoke “Silhouettes are demons; there are eleven of us living in the house on the hill. One with your mother. The Head Doctor, Xemnas was the one that killed us was locked in the attic until Roxy-Bear here let him out. Blah, Blah, Blah he scared us into the next afterlife, then bam he killed Roxas and I had no choice but to bring him back as a Silhouette so I wouldn't die either. Got it?”
He smirked at the girl, but what he didn't expect was a fist to rise up and punch him in the face. “You left my family in suffering because you were selfish?” Aaliya screeched, “My mother thinks about Roxas every freaking day. Knowing that he lived up here as a Demon must be torture!”
Axel's nose went black and he pulled back and readjusted it with a crack “Feisty one here, you would get along quite well with Larxene.” He looked to Roxas “Come here and join your little family reunion. Can’t stand back and look like a little lost Spirit.”
Roxas looked sad and Sora said hesitantly “Axel, you haven't heard anything from you-know.” Axel looked at him with his jade eyes “No can’t say, haven't seen them since that day they disappeared. Asking that question is like me asking you if you had seen Vincent before he killed Xemnas.”
Sora nodded “Oh its fine, I was just asking” he looked towards his brother who walked slowly to the group “I'm sorry Roxas, it’s been so long. We have never forgotten you.”
The Blonde Strife brother shook his head “Oh no, it’s no big deal, I was abandoned by my family who wanted nothing to do with me. Just chilling up in a house that's falling apart and just dealing with the misery of being me.”
“He means me,” Axel whispered loudly to Sora “He's had enough of me.”
“Mum abandoned you?” Aaliya said incredulously “I knew I should have come up here earlier, why don't you come home?”
Roxas looked at Aaliya like an alien had sprouted from her forehead “You're kidding right? I can’t go there. It would kill Mum to see me again and then-...” he trailed off looking at Axel “Then I would have to bring him and if he comes, then Demyx would wanna come and Zexion would have to-...I can’t handle that!”
“It wouldn't hurt” Aaliya urged “Wouldn't you want to come down and see what has changed in Twilight Town? Besides Sora getting old?”
“Ha I like this girl” Axel laughed, “She's got a sense of humour.”
“Axel...Shut your trap” Sora sighed, “I don't want you seeing what I have done with my life.” Axel smirked darkly “Like what? You married that brat Olette, because she pushed you around when you were 19, you have wasted your life and having a mid-life crisis and you're wishing you could see Riku, Naminé and Kairi again huh?”
“Well you nailed it” Sora sighed and Axel's face twisted up “You married Olette? How ugly are you're kids then?”
“Axel-...” Roxas warned, “Don't be prick for the sake of being a prick.”
Sora looked to the red head “We don't have kids”
“Oh so you're a virgin?”
“Axel! What did I just say?!”
“I'm not a virgin!”
“So you have touched her?”
“Axel you’re pissing me off!”
Sora heard Aaliya gasp and he spun around to see black smoke whipping around Roxas, his face white and the ever-familiar black veins running up his cheeks. His eyes had gone from blue to black with the piercing white pupils.
“Allie get away,” Sora shouted as Roxas turned to smoke and lurched to Axel, knocking the red head to the ground. As the blonde solidified, again Axel was looking up at him “H-Hi Roxy” he smiled “Have I ever told you that I loved you?”
“Don't play coy with me you bastard” Roxas snarled “How many times do I have to tell you to stop?!”
“You didn't” Axel said blinking his large green eyes “I didn't hear you say; Axel please stop being mean to Sora because he's so pathetic. Did you say those words?”
“That's it!” Roxas shouted, getting off Axel “I have had enough of you. You are over a century old Axel and you're acting like a ten year old! I'm going to the 'In-Between' and I'm locking you out!” Roxas spun around and Aaliya saw him drag his hand down in the air until she saw a misty, golden veil appear and Roxas disappeared in a burst of light.
Then it went ominously dark again and Axel got up and brushed down his cloak. “So fucking angry” he looked to Sora “What did I do wrong?”
Sora rolled his eyes and grabbed Aaliya's arm “Let’s get you back home before Mum has a panic attack.”
“It’s your fault I got locked out of the 'In Between'” Axel pouted waving his hands around looking for a gap to the other dimension “Your life is so laughable I just had to tease you, now Roxas is pissed at me.”
“You brought it onto yourself,” Sora said rolling his eyes “You know Roxas, you've known him as long as I have. Being a Silhouette had certainly made his temper worse.”
“Are you going back home?” Axel asked abruptly and Sora stiffened “You're not coming.”
“Oh I was only going to invite Demyx, Zexion, Larxene, Xigbar and Luxord to come along” Axel said and Sora said sharply “The worst ones? I don't think so.”
“Then what about Marluxia? Larxene is still cut about him leaving to go live in Aerith's garden!” Axel was cut off by Aaliya who looked up to her brother “There's one living in our Garden? How come I have never seen him?”
“Because they choose who sees them unless they give you the sight,” Sora said “Aaliya, we are going; now.”
“I'm going” Axel interjected and Sora said, “No you're not. Goodbye Axel, go back to the house and do what Silhouettes do.”
“But Roxas isn't there” Axel shouted and Sora yelled back “I don't need to know.”
Sora grabbed his sister and led her down the driveway and Axel shouted, “I'll get you Sora Strife and won’t there be hell when I get there.”
Axel disappeared in a plume of black smoke and Aaliya felt a shudder run down her spine. She didn't know whether or not she wanted to be scared, she strode beside her brother; “Will he come after us?” she asked timidly and Sora shook his head as they walked down into the forest “Axel likes to intimidate and antagonise others. He isn't that bad unless you piss him off, then he becomes the most volatile and dangerous Silhouette out of the lot of them.”
Aaliya heard a crow caw up in the trees somewhere followed by a rustle and she kept close to her brother. “Who was Riku?” she asked, “Axel said his name.”
Sora sighed, “Riku was a Spirit that I befriended; he tried to stop me from going out with Olette. You have seen the scars on my feet right?”
“Before we knew that the house was full of the Supernatural, Roxas and I were having a fight and I was on 'their' side of the house trying to get Roxas out of his bedroom. The floorboards became hot; turns out Axel burnt my feet because he was so hostile. Riku healed them and I ended up with the scars. It’s not so noticeable now, but at night, they glow, but only faintly because Riku and the others passed on. All he did was try and help me.”
They walked along the overgrown forest trail and Sora laughed weakly “It’s been a while since I walked through here. Brings back memories that I didn't really intend on leaving behind. But sometimes, you can’t help it.”
“I wanted to talk to Roxas” Aaliya said “I want to get to know him, now that I know that he had never left in the first place, but Axel ruined that.”
“He's good at that” Sora said “But its way of protecting Roxas, Mum did leave him behind when we moved and after that, the Silhouette left and every time I went back up there the house was completely empty. When kids started to go missing was when I knew that they had returned.” Sora sighed, “Anything about family would set Roxas off, seeing you would have stirred his past angers and griefs. Axel probably sensed it and tried to lighten the mood by teasing me.”
“He would have expected it sooner or later,” Aaliya said “Mum couldn't keep it a secret forever; besides, I've seen her sitting in the garden talking to herself. I thought she was going nuts but now I know that's there's a demon living in her garden!”
“He's not much of a demon” Sora muttered, “You'd look at him and mistake him for a fairy.” They walked through the forest until they saw the faint glow of the Twilight Lights and they went through the crack in the wall.
“Now let’s hurry up and get home. Mum will be furious.”
“You did WHAT?” Aerith cried exasperatedly as Aaliya stood in the entrance of the kitchen with her arms folded.
Sora cringed back and felt the burning gaze of Olette fall on him as well.
“You heard me” Aaliya said, “I went up to the Mansion and found your dirty little secret. How long were you planning on keeping him a secret for?”
Aerith wrung a tea towel in her hands and Aaliya scowled “Leaving him up there thinking that his mother didn't love him. He's spent nineteen years up there and you think living in your own little bubble would be ok.”
“He's a demon” Aerith stuttered, “He is an abomination against God and-...”
“Screw your religion Mum!” Aaliya said furiously “I know you didn't always follow faith until Roxas died. You thought it would distract you and keep them away from the house? I know there's one here!”
Aerith looked to Sora with sharp eyes and Sora snapped, “Oh Mum, we just didn't meet Roxas alright. He's never far behind. Axel and Roxas turned up when I confronted Aaliya at the gates, Roxas found out that Aaliya was the sister he never met and he was...sad.”
Aerith's eyes went glassy with tears “I just wanted you to be safe, I didn't want you to be entwined with the mess that we were in 19 years ago.”
“Were the Silhouettes nice?” Aaliya asked and Aerith shook her head “They were nasty and terrifying.”
“Oh Bullshit Mum” Sora said “The ones in Roxas' little posse were friendly enough, would you seriously call Demyx nasty and terrifying?”
“Well...no” Aerith admitted “But the danger they bring, the one with the blue hair and the other one-...”
“Xemnas and Saix are dead” Sora stated, “Zexion killed Saix and Xemnas was killed by Vincent from what Axel said. The others are just...lonely.”
“I want to meet them” Aaliya said bravely “I was only saying to Sora that's its unfair that I do have the chance to meet my brother, but I'm not allowed to because my mother is scared of him?”
“There's a chance that they might reject you,” Olette said from the dining table and Sora rolled his eyes
“That's because they didn't like you Olette, you smothered them and you scared them away.” Olette frowned at her husband “We were young Sora, I was curious about them. And still to this day I believe in my stomach that you did do something with Riku!”
“Hey!” Sora shouted “Don't bring my past into this either. It was hard enough moving on when I lost the three of them. Moving on with you where you would never let them go was even harder!”
“Don't fight!” Aerith called
“No!” Sora said tugging his hair “I look back at my life and see nothing, I haven't achieved anything! The best time of my life was in that blasted mansion with the Spirits! They treated me like I was part of their family, I would walk into the house and they would be glad to see me!”
“So are dogs” Olette said heatedly and Aaliya shouted “How did this turn into a fight about you two when it was about me wanting to meet the Silhouettes?! I'm Roxas' sister as long as he accepts me; I don't give a pig’s ass if the others don't. I want to meet my brother!”
Aerith hesitated and Sora grumbled, “I'm 38 years old, God! I wish I was 19 again!”
“Be careful for what you wish for” Aaliya said smirking and Sora looked to her with large, faded blue eyes “You be careful Allie, now that you have seen the Silhouettes, they will always be not far behind you.”
“She's different you know.”
The moon shone through the window and Axel lounged on the bed making the shadows dance around his fingers.
“You don't think I already know that?”
Roxas stood at his window looking out to the dark, overgrown terrace. “When I went near her, I could tell something was off. But Axel, she's my sister. This was the baby Mum was having before I died.”
Axel made a ball of shadows and threw it against the wall where it exploded into small black flames “I know she's your sister Roxas, but don't get too attached. Aerith will freak when she finds out that she and Sora were here talking to us.”
“Her names Aaliya” Roxas muttered “She seems like a strong girl, stands up for what she believes in.”
“You will probably find that she will be like Olette” Axel snorted, “She will drive you away. What if she wants to meet you, the real you?”
“Is she wants to meet me, good for her,” Roxas said turning around and facing Axel “I will go and meet her. I'm not giving her an ultimatum, I wouldn't mind if she didn't come back but I wouldn't mind meeting and getting to know her.”
“How about we go there tonight then?” Axel said sitting up and Roxas hesitated “Go into Twilight Town and bombard the house that my family is living in and scare my mother?”
“Well you are a Silhouette” Axel said “But they know us and we know them. They aren't a threat to us.”
Roxas sunk his sharp teeth into his lip “You know we won’t be able to leave here, somebody is bound to-...”
“WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”
A loud voice echoed through the empty hall and Roxas slapped his forehead “Were you eavesdropping again Demyx?”
The door to his bedroom opened and Demyx scrambled into the room and jumped on the bed next to Axel. “Can I come pretty please?”
Roxas looked into the ocean eyes that belonged to his best friend and sighed “But you'll make a mess and wreck everything.”
“B-But I-will-be-good” came the teary voice
“What is your problem now Demyx?” a stern voice came out and the young Silhouette spun around and said with a pouty lip “Axel and Roxas are going somewhere and they aren't telling me!”
Zexion looked at the golden haired Silhouette and Roxas said, “I ran into some interesting company tonight. Now that I think about it, I might need your opinion and what you think.”
“So we're going?” Demyx beamed and Axel sighed, “Stop! You're annoying!”
“What do you need?” Zexion asked suspiciously and Roxas said directly “We need to go to Twilight Town; give a family a little visit and see their youngest member.”
“We're going to visit Aerith and Sora!?” Demyx interjected again and Axel growled, “Demyx, shut your face. We don't want to bring the whole house!”
“It’s an odd request coming from you Roxas” Zexion said flatly, “I thought you wanted nothing to do with them?”
“I ran into Sora and a girl named Aaliya. Turns out she's my sister, she's 19 and when I got near her I felt a strange presence inside her.”
Zexion frowned and Demyx was bouncing on the balls of his feet, “Oh can we go please? I need to get out of this house. It’s making me miserable.”
“You make me miserable,” Axel said sourly to the bubbly Silhouette, “You defy all lore of the Silhouettes. It still confuses me.”
Roxas kept his gaze on Zexion and when the Master Magician agreed to go, he let himself relax. “We need to go now. If Demyx had time to be eavesdropping we could go.”
“Fine” Zexion said, “Let us go while the others are still out.”
Roxas opened his window and all the Silhouettes turned to smoke and lurched from the house. As they went there, one certain red head could only hope.
“Don't get your hopes up Roxas. Bad luck only follows us; I could only guess what would happen to us next.”
“Master they have risen”
A small voice broke through the silence of the cavernous room and large turquoise eyes glowed in the dimness.
“Are these the ones that Xemnas created?”
“Send the Guard out to Twilight Town and apprehend the ones that are there.”
“Are you sure you want to send him out?” a woman's voice broke through the darkness and the male one said, “I know he won’t be able to apprehend them, it’s just a test to see how strong they are and how easy it would be for me to obliterate them.”
“What about the two that can travel to the 'In Between'? After... Vincent was killed you would want to replace him?”
“We'll capture them, but that doesn't mean I will let them go lightly for killing Vincent. They will pay!”
Chapter 4: The New Problem
The shadows skimmed across the streets avoiding the streetlights that lit up Twilight Town.
They danced across the lamps and through the shadows off cars that were still driving through the silent town.
'I can’t wait to see everybody again.'
'Everybody will be asleep, you won’t see anybody.'
'I don't want you to see anybody.'
They reached the residential streets of Twilight Town and only briefly, did one shadow stop and flicker. He hadn't gone any further than this point, but with his comrades with him he didn't have the chance to stop.
So he kept going.
The large house at the end of the Cul-De-Sac just made even the stoniest of Silhouettes feel dread.
Roxas, Axel, Zexion and Demyx manifested on the front lawn and Roxas pulled down his hood letting his wild blonde spikes escape their confines. Axel and the others done the same and Demyx pranced ahead and looked at the house.
“Wow, they did good for themselves didn't they?”
“Yeah considering that they abandoned their son when they first moved into it” Axel grumbled and Zexion could only give him a quick glance from behind his fringe before they looked back to the house.
Demyx danced towards the front door and Roxas hissed “Dem- Demyx what ARE you doing? Get back here!”
The blonde chased after the musician, and Demyx faded in through the wooden door and Roxas went after him. There was thump and a complaint.
Aaliya slugged her way down the hall and into the kitchen getting a glass of water. She looked tiredly up to the clock, in all its digital green glory, the time read 1:27 a.m.
Aaliya groaned and grabbed a glass expertly in the dark and ran some water into it before taking a sip.
As she put the glass down on the sink basin, she swore she heard footsteps followed by a thud. She whirled around in the darkness and of course she saw nothing but the outlines of the furniture.
'What the hell?' she wondered.
Then she shook her head 'I'm too tired for this shit.'
Then she conceded and went to open the front door.
“I shouldn't ask if you're an idiot, ‘cause you are one!” Roxas hissed outraged “We may be dead, but that doesn't give us the right just to walking right on in into somebody else's house!”
Demyx stared up at him with large ocean eyes “B-But it’s your family’s house Roxas? I-I thought-...”
“No Dem” Roxas said after a hesitant moment “They still may be my family, but I'm not part of that any more, we might not be welcome here. So that's why we're here at night, so they don't see us.” Roxas stepped away and from beside Zexion, Axel had his arms folded “No matter what Roxas, you're still part of that family inside, whatever had you thinking that you had been even replaced is a load of crap. They still love you, they would still think about you every day.”
“Axel...Don't” Zexion warned “It will just make him unhappy, let him think what he wants. It will save him from the disappointment later on.”
Axel sighed “Zex, you know what I had to deal with after they left, he's never gotten over it. I don't expect him to go back to the way he was, but if they accept him for the way he is...It might make him feel better.”
“Don't get your hopes up” came Zexion's quiet reply.
“Don't worry Roxas” Demyx beamed, who didnt hear Zexion and Axel's conversation “I'm sure everybody would be glad to see you again, we can see Aerith and Sora, not your dad because he's no fuunnn.” He was singing the names and Roxas got a tick mark “Demyx can you just stop?”
Demyx was going to protest before all the Silhouettes froze as the front door open and a tired face that was definitely Aaliya poked out into the darkness.
In the streetlights illuminating the front yard all four Silhouettes could be seen. Aaliya could mistake them for murderers or something.
Roxas could see her eyes go wide and Demyx squawked pathetically “Roxas! This isn't your family! Aerith's young! Ruuunnnnn.”
Then Aaliya screamed.
Everybody in the Cul-De-Sac knew that Aaliya Strife was a troublesome child, everybody except Aerith knew that.
Friday or Saturday nights when a brazenly drunk Aaliya would stagger home and scream at the top of her lungs, throwing glass bottles, smashing them on the asphalt. At first, the police used to be called and it turned into a typical case of the 'Girl who cried Wolf.'
Nobody even cared now.
Roxas ran forward, jumping up onto the steps of the house. He pulled Aaliya to him, slapping his hand over her mouth but it didn't stop from her family rushing from their bedroom and the lights to the house flickering on.
Aerith's voice echoed through the house and from the opposite side of the Cul-De-Sac, another houses lights came on, the front door slammed open and Axel called out across the street.
“Oh come on? Seriously?! You live across the road from Mummy and Daddy?”
Sora came running from his house just as the front door to the Family house was pulled open and Aerith's face came into view as the porch light came on.
Her face went white as a sheet when she saw Aaliya in the grip of Roxas.
His large sapphire eyes were wide with shock as he caught sight of his Mother and he released Aaliya who stumbled back in shock. “Roxas?”
“Roxas!?” Sora said surprised “What the hell?”
Aerith's looked faint, she looked up over the lawn and she saw Demyx, Zexion and Axel standing there as well.
Axel raised a hand in greeting “Hi Aerith.”
“Good job moron” Axel snarled smacking Demyx upside the head “If you didn't caw out like a fool you wouldn't have made her scream.” He thrust a thumb in Aaliya's direction as Sora put a wet cloth on Aerith's forehead on the lounge.
Aaliya was still pale with shock as she watched the scene between the 'demons' in her home.
“I'm sorry!” Demyx pouted “I didn't mean to make her scream! Why is everything my fault!?”
“I knew we shouldn't have bought you!” Roxas rounded on him “You wonder why I try and leave you out! You're worse than Axel... Why can’t I seem to get anything done?”
“Shut up you guys!” Sora said impatiently “You're lucky Mum's out of it and Dad's gone away on a job practise for a few days, what compelled you guys to come down here in the middle of the night? Why didn't you come during the day?”
“We're Silhouettes” Axel said to Sora as if he was handicapped, “We are beings of darkness, we just can’t walk down the street and wave to you guys, didn't you remember that?”
“I can’t believe you're so old” Demyx implied looking at Sora, “You're hair is growing thinner and you have a receding hairline! You've let yourself go.”
“Not you as well” Sora sighed “I've been getting enough grief off Axel already, I thought you were the nice one Demyx?”
Demyx blinked at him “I can’t be a nice Silhouette Sora, I try to be scary. But...I can’t, I still don't have my Sitar...It’s...”
Demyx's lower lip trembled “It’s still brooookennn” he cried “Zexion can’t fix it!”
Sora rolled his eyes the exact time Roxas rolled his and that received a small chuckle from Aaliya “You two are exactly alike.”
“No we're not!” Sora and Roxas chorused together before looking at each other in shock before chorusing again “I'm not like that moron!”
Aaliya laughed again, “Exactly the same, despite the now large age gap between you. You guys probably act the same way around each other like you did nineteen years ago.”
She rubbed her face, tucking wispy tendrils of hair behind her ears “I'm sorry I screamed, I was startled.”
She looked at everybody in the room, “So you guys are Silhouettes?”
“Yeahhh” came the cautious response.
“You're not like Olette are you?” Demyx asked bluntly “I didn't like her.”
Aaliya shook her head, “I'm Sora and Roxas' sister, so there's nothing to be afraid of.”
She looked to Roxas, “So you're my adorable brother? I have to pinch your cheeks later, they are so chubby and cute!”
Roxas pouted “I'm not going to let you pinch my cheeks, I'm not a child.”
Aaliya smirked and her gaze went to another.
“You're Axel? You never go anywhere without having Roxas with you?”
“Technically” Axel smirked “Just wait until you find out why we can’t be apart” he waggled his eyebrows and Sora snorted “You've just dug yourself into a hole Axel, Aaliya is a raging fan-girl.”
Aaliya couldn't help but chuckle at the last remark, before her eyes fell on Demyx and the silent Zexion in the corner of the house.
“I don't believe we've met? I'm Aaliya, what are your names?”
“I'm Demyx!” the musician cheered “I'm Roxas' best friend.”
“Yeah and Mr Silent over there is Zexion” Axel said jabbing his thumb to Zexion “Our resident Master Magician and the only one of this present moment that can actually get Demyx to listen!”
Demyx smiled “That's my Zexy.”
Sora shook his head “Nice to see that you guys haven't changed a bit in nineteen years. What trouble are you going to cause this time around? First it was Saix and Xemnas.”
“Hey!” Axel said sternly, jabbing his index finger to Sora “We were all prisoners and victims of his sadistic ways, his mongrel wasn't any better. That was hardly our fault, you had it easy anyway! Roxas was the one that died!”
Everybody trailed off into a shocked silence and Axel clamped his mouth shut and looked to Roxas , who was standing silently beside the lounge Aerith was laid on.
“Thanks a lot Axel” Roxas said quietly, his blue eyes sad “You didn't have to state the obvious. You-you still revel in the fact th-that happened?”
Roxas' voice was getting choked up “You still want to remind me every day that I'm dead? That I won’t age a day past eighteen? Go ahead Axel keep saying it.”
“Roxas” Axel said exasperated “I-I didn't mean it like that, you know I don't do that...Rox-...” he held out his hand helplessly as Roxas turned to mist “Roxas!” Demyx pleaded “Please.” His words went unheard as Roxas darted for the door.
Axel put his hand on his face and sighed “I didn't mean to-” he sagged and fell to the floor “I never wanted to hurt him, I try and try but I seem to get nowhere with him.”
Sora looked to the door with large sad eyes “I knew he would have taken this hard, but not to this extent.”
“You try and put yourself in his place for a day” the smooth voice of Zexion came out. His one large eye was icy as he regarded everybody in the room “At least you have the liberty to see your family, watched your sister grow up. Roxas didn't have that.”
He pointed to the door “For once in my life, I think I have seen a Silhouette who hates his life more than what I hate my own. From the first day he was targeted and he has suffered greatly for it, from what I recall Axel, he fought until his last breath didn't he?”
Axel nodded glumly.
“I don't want to hear about his ordeal from you guys” a voice came out.
The Silhouettes looked to see Aaliya standing up from her chair, “You guys let him run out like that when he's clearly upset? That makes me sick. I want to go speak to my brother alone.”
Aaliya walked from the sitting area and towards the backyard where Roxas had disappeared to and slid it open to peer out into the darkness.
She stepped out over the pavement and looked around before going to the side and flicking the switch to turn on the floodlight to illuminate the front half of the backyard.
“Roxas?” she called “Roxas can you come out and talk to me?”
She saw swirling blackness before a figure manifested, but it wasn't the person she wanted to talk to. This 'Silhouette' had long pink hair and a feminine face.
'If you met him, you'd mistake him for a Fairy.'
“You're Mum's friend” Aaliya said quietly “You're Marluxia?”
The Silhouette chuckled “My position has already been given away? No doubt you know how long I have been here for? I've seen you grow up into the young woman you are now Aaliya.”
“Alright” Aaliya said with an awkward smile “You talk yourself up to be a pervert, so yeah, where's Roxas?”
“Nice to see you for the first time in nineteen years Marluxia” the cold voice of Roxas came out from the darkness as the blonde emerged “Just wait your fate when Larxene gets her kunai into you, it wouldn't have hurt to come back and visit her or the others.”
“Y-Yeah” Marluxia said “Hello Roxas, you look as dashing as ever.”
“Get lost” Roxas spat “Let me talk to my sister in peace.”
“I can see Axel has rubbed off on you as well” Marluxia said with a frown “Can’t wait to be around you and the others again, I'm so thrilled.”
“I said 'Get Lost' you sarcastic prick” Roxas spat again “Or I will send Axel on your ass.”
And at that Marluxia disappeared.
“Real smooth Bro” Aaliya said as she watched the mist disappear, “Do you speak to everybody like that?”
“Only when they want to annoy me” with an irritated gleam, Roxas turned to his sister “Sorry about before, the others, can be kind of over-bearing.”
Aaliya led him to the bench under the tree, wrapping her arms across herself in the gentle breeze, “I can tell that they care for you Roxas, at least you’re not entirely alone.” She nudged him smiling “Just to let you know” she stated “Sora hasn’t gotten any smarter or wiser in these past nineteen years, he's still a dork. He only got old and wrinkly.”
“It’s weird seeing him like that” Roxas admitted “Same with Mum, to see the years etched on their faces where I am stuck like this.” He finally gazed to Aaliya, staring at her “Mum was only seven or eight weeks pregnant when it all happened. At that time, Sora and I rebuked her, we werent in the tiniest bit happy for her.”
Aaliya didn’t know whether or not to feel the tiniest bit insulted when Roxas stated this so bluntly, didn’t he want to acknowledge that she was his sister?
“At the time, we were just about to get attacked by Xemnas and Saix, the Creator of all the Silhouettes and his pet Mongrel. We were readying for a bloody battle and Mum comes home and announces that she's pregnant with you. It was quite a gutting, where I had the Silhouettes, Sora was living on the side of the Spirits, he had three good friends out of them and they agreed to a truce since they were enemies. We fought, I died.”
He cut the story short and Aaliya was dying to find out more, “The guys in there don't seem like bad guys though?” she tried to press, “Axel looks like he can be a bit of an ass but...”
She cocked her head and Roxas snorted “He is one, he was the one that instigated this whole Silhouette thing upon me. The jerk bit me, days after we moved into the mansion, then we had this whole freaky bond thing and we literally couldn’t be on the other side of the house without me dropping unconscious. We've gotten better now, but Axel's still a jerk.”
He looked back to the house “After Mum and everyone left, it snowed for the first time in a hundred years. I sat in the window of my bedroom and watched them leave, I knew Mum wouldn’t ever want to see me again. She was terrified of me and the others. So years passed like the blink of an eye to me, but I was always acutely aware of what was going on with the family that had left me behind. Nice to see that nobody hasn’t really changed.”
“Mum's really religious” Aaliya offered “But I don't think throwing water on you would make you burn?”
“No” Roxas answered “We're Immortals, not Demons that traverse Hell or anything.”
“Olette is still rather annoying?” Aaliya said “She's been pushing to have kids for years now, but now that she and Sora are getting older, their chances are slim. Accused Sora of still having an attachment to Riku?”
“Riku was one of the Spirits that Sora had befriended” Roxas said, running his hands through his wild golden spikes “Riku had a thing for him and Sora chose to go with Olette, when Riku died however, Sora regretted everything.”
He went to go speak again, but he was interrupted by a black misted swirling around him and Axel appeared.
“Can’t you see I'm talking?” Roxas said coldly “Axel, please leave.”
“It’s getting late Roxas, Aaliya and Aerith need to go back to bed. If you wanted to talk, you should have come earlier.”
Roxas hesitated and Axel held out his hand “Zexion has already forced Demyx to return home, its high time that we return to the others as well.”
Aaliya got a niggling feeling at the back of her head.
It began to annoy her and it began to become a ringing noise, when Roxas got up, she grabbed his surprisingly warm hand.
“The Mansion is getting destroyed” she said looking up at the Silhouettes “Tomorrow, they're sending machines up there to pull it all down.”
“WHAT!!” Roxas shouted “H-Why? That’s our home! We've only ever defended our turf, what have we done to burden society?”
“Listen!” Aaliya said standing up and clutching Roxas hand in both of hers then “Come back tomorrow and I will spill the beans, but Roxas..?”
Her voice went quiet.
“I want to know my brother some more, as far as I'm concerned, he's very much alive in my eyes.”
“Sora had gotten old” Demyx said with wide eyes, he traced lines across his face “Talk about his face becoming a bag, he seemed really self-conscious about it when I teased him too!”
“I can’t believe he lives across the road from Cloud and Aerith,” Axel snorted “Talk about Mama's boy. Couldn’t even go off and get a life outside of Twilight Town.”
The Fire and Water Mage sat back against the window sill and stared up to the stillness of the moon as Roxas was drawn out by Zexion to speak.
“It was good seeing them again but” Demyx admitted “Even though Aerith passed out. It made me feel...feel like nothing had changed, y'know?”
“Whether we like it or not, things have changed Dem; they will continue to change. They will die and we will live on, I think it only gave solace to Roxas.”
“What's the matter Zexion?” Roxas asked with a slight frown as they stood out near the crumbling mouth of the stairs. “I'm sorry about what happened, I had planned it on being different. I'm...”
“She's possessed...” was all Zexion bit out.
“S-Sorry?” Roxas fell over his words “What the Hell? How did you figure that! Zexion I swear if you don't have a good...”
“Remember when Xemnas captured her?” Zexion said sharply, holding out his hands “When he bit her?”
Roxas' heart sank to the soles of his feet “Yes.”
“I think he intended on infecting the unborn child, maybe he knew that he wasn’t going to live in the body that he had. A part of him resides within Aaliya Strife, she is possibly one step away from becoming a Silhouette herself. I think seeing her was a bad idea.”
“She can’t be” Roxas said shaking his head “I didn’t want to put this onto anybody, why her? We can’t hurt Mum and Dad again!” The blonde Silhouettes fist went a dazzling gold colour before he launched it into the frail wood of the wall.
It splintered around his fist and cracks shot up to the ceiling. “Xemnas is dead and he is still hurting my family. What can I do?”
“Nothing” Zexion said “From what I have observed, Aaliya has a wicked darkness inside her, there is nothing we can do to stop it. This was out of our hands the instant Xemnas bit her all those years ago.”
The door opened, Axel and Demyx came rushing out to see what the cause of the commotion was and Larxene's voice shrieked from downstairs “What the HELL are you guys doing up there?!”
“What happened?” Axel said “Rox, what's the matter?”
“We have bigger problems than that” Zexion stated “If you haven't already noticed, raise your heads and sense the presence that is coming towards Twilight Town.
Chapter 5: A New Face Arrives
“You're not on the drugs again are you?”
Her friends voice echoed out from the other end of the line, “Aaliya, you know what happened the last time. What happens...”
“I am not on the drugs again” Aaliya said exasperatedly “Stop jumping to conclusions, I only said I won’t make it to your party tonight, I'm not feeling well and I would rather stay home.”
“Are you sure Allie?”
“Yes! Jeez this is the last time I ring you up when I’m trying to be considerate.”
Aaliya hung up her mobile and shoved it back in her pocket as she walked down the Bazaar. “Can’t I ever get a break?”
Aaliya shook her head, moving long brown strands of hair away from her face “Back on the drugs?” she muttered to herself incredulously “No freakin’ way.”
Aaliya crossed the road, headed into the large undercover area of the Twilight Bazaar and saw people teeming everywhere.
She pushed past the crowds of people muttering one of the phrases every time, her eyes searched out the one shop that she was after. When she found her intended destination, she made her towards it.
Not aware of the impeding danger that was about to befall her.
Roxas lifted his head abruptly towards the sky when a chill tingled down his spine. He jumped off the worn and broken bed that had once belonged to him and strode towards the door. He flung his arms out either side of his body and the doors burst open with a gale of wind.
The blonde Silhouette stepped out onto the rickety balcony, his eyes searching the forest beyond the Twilight Mansion. His fingers scraped across the wood as he clenched his fists before he raised them and bought them back down with enough force to break apart the railing.
Clumps and splinters of old, mouldy wood fell to the grass and Roxas was about to jump from the balcony before a voice stopped him in his tracks.
“What has gotten you so worked up this morning? Why are you even up?”
Roxas turned his head to look over his shoulder, in wisps of black smoke, a figure manifested and the sight of crimson locks made Roxas roll his eyes and cast his gaze back over the overgrown terrace.
“I can’t shake this ominous feeling” he spat, “Somehow I just seem to know that we will be the targeted ones and my family will be in danger…yet again. They don’t deserve to be haunted like this!”
“Why do you even care?” Axel drawled, shielding his eyes from the rays of the morning sun “I know they’re your family and all but they have gotten on with their lives. As do you Roxas. Yet, you want to remain here and keep everybody else locked up here as well?”
Roxas sent a murderous gaze to Axel, but since he had his eyes covered with his hand, he didn’t see the seething blonde. “It’s my duty to protect them!” he declared “I’m not keeping everybody here anyway Axel. Only you, I wouldn’t object to the others leaving.”
“Yes you would” Axel said pulling his hand away slightly so he could stare down at Roxas “You would get upset if Demyx and Zexion left, you have separation issues Rox. Ever since Aerith left you! It’s been affecting you ever since.”
His jade eyes flashed in the shadows beneath his hand, Roxas stared back up at the sky. “Stop trying to get me off topic Axel” he muttered, “I’m doing this for myself; I…don’t want Mum to still think of me as a Demon. I want to prove that I am still me…That I am still the Roxas Strife from nineteen years ago.”
“’Cept a lot angrier” Axel joked, but the bite he was expecting never came.
“I haven’t…changed that much have I?” Roxas asked hopelessly, his eyes matching onto Axel’s “I’m not a…monster?”
Despite the harsh glare of the sun, Axel lowered his hand. His eyes squinted and his face recoiled in pain but he maintained his gaze with Roxas.
“You’re not a monster” Axel assured him “Roxas, to me…to all the others in this damned house. We would all agree on this. I still see you as the adorable little blonde with anger issues that I first met nineteen years ago. It doesn’t bother me that you don’t age, it doesn’t matter. The Silhouettes are your family now, we won’t ever criticise you.”
Roxas’ eyes started to go glassy and Axel sighed, “One thing I haven’t come to like about the Silhouette Roxas before me, is the rampid emotions and the tears. I would have been better off without those emotions.”
His long arm wrapped around Roxas’ shoulders, the blonde sagged beneath him and his broke down in hopeless whispers, “I-I don’t like being like this Axel, nineteen years have passed. I won’t ever age, Mum and Dad, Sora and Aaliya, they will all die. I will lose everybody.”
Axel frowned and withdrew his hand from Roxas, “I won’t lie to you Roxas, Immortality is a curse and the deaths of those you love are inevitable. Change will surround you and in a decade or more, the very town will change around you and you will find yourself lost in a time that you are unfamiliar with.”
Axel ran a hand through his fiery red locks and there was a sound of a Silhouette gushing into the room, “Such wise words Axel” a dull, monotonous voice came, “I would never expect such wisdom to come from your lips.”
Zexion manifested next to Axel and Roxas, shielding his eyes from the harsh glare of the sun, “Whether you like it or not Roxas”, he stated “These things will happen, but when you look back on it, at least you can always come back to the fact that you had people who loved you in the past.”
His dark eyes locked with Roxas’, “We cannot remember a time where we had a loving family, we were dumped at a Psychiatric Hospital and tortured, do you think those are pleasant memories to go back to?”
Roxas shook his head and looked back over the terraces, “I would never compare my miseries to everybody else, it’s just…unfair, that’s all.”
Zexion and Axel looked back over the terrace and the surrounding forests, letting the breeze sweep through their hair.
“Do you sense that?” Zexion finally muttered, “The air has gotten dark…”
Not a minute later, a burst of power lit up the whole sky and the empowering feel of dread befell all the Silhouettes.
Aaliya pushed through the crowds clutching some pain relief for her dizzying migraines.
A large crowd had congregated in the Bazaar, mostly teenagers around her age.
Aaliya gulped and tried to make her way around the impeding fight, the chants of ‘fight’ reaching her ears.
Suddenly, her chest rattled and she felt an acrid taste in her mouth. Her legs started to tremble and she found herself walking towards the fight.
She felt the anticipation well up inside her, her muscles clenched and the vile taste started to overwhelm her sense of taste. She began to see red; she dropped her bags and shopping to the sidewalk and moved towards the fight, moving as if she were in a trance.
Two males stood in the middle of the clearing, throwing punches and kicks at each other. Both boys were covered in blood and bruises, their eyes held that savage gleam of hatred and Aaliya’s chest began to tense, relishing the looks of hatred.
“What’s going on?” her conscience screamed at her, “Stop it, what am I doing?”
She pushed through the last line of the crowd, taking steady steps to the duelling duo. They stopped in their punches as she approached them, their battered faces twisting in confusion.
“Why did you stop?”
The voice that escaped her chest was rough and guttural, not Aaliya at all.
The wind swept up dangerously around the crowd in the Bazaar, it began to howl underneath the covers and the crowd looked rather unnerved at the scene unfolding out before them.
“Dude…” a boys with a crooked nose, pointed at her chest and Aaliya looked down, through her foggy mind, she saw blackness seeping out and staining the front of her shirt.
The wind started to increase, the howling reaching almost piercing shrieks and Aaliya felt her mind start to go blank. She was losing consciousness, at the back of her eyes, she caught a glimpse of a man in a long black cloak laughing evilly.
His amber eyes were cruel and his silver hair swept out around him in a wide arc.
This man…this man was evil.
“Hurry up and get her!”
Through the scattering crowd and the buffeting wind, a black shadow suddenly launched down into the centre, denting and crushing the brickwork under the sheer force of the land.
Golden hair became visible and through the swirling shadows, Roxas’ arms reached out and grabbed his sister.
Her face had done a deathly pale of white and her eyes had begun to roll to the back of her head. Xemnas’ power was choking her and Roxas had to fight down the impeding fright that threatened to consume him.
“Aaliya” he choked out, “Aaliya…listen to me! Fight him, get him out.”
He pulled her towards him; her skin was frozen to the touch, sending a violent shiver down Roxas’ spine. Sinking his fangs into his lower lip, Roxas yanked his sister into the shadows and teleported her somewhere else so they weren’t in the middle of the Bazaar.
Roxas fell back against the wall, the light starting to glow through the sleeve of his black cloak. He eyes his sister wearily before there was another rush of shadows and the intense heat rushed through the alley.
Axel appeared next to Aaliya before raising his hand and karate chopping Aaliya at the back of her neck. She instantly crumpled and Roxas found his voice and shouted, “Why did you do that for?” he stared at the Pyro, feeling relief and anger rushing through him.
“I had to do it,” Axel shouted as the wind died down, “You weren’t going to do it Roxas, I saw you hesitating.”
Roxas looked down helplessly as Axel lied Aaliya down to the cold cobblestone, “It wasn’t your sister Rox” Axel said softly, “That was Xemnas coming out there. We were right in saying that she was possessed.”
He looked down the pale face of Aaliya, “I think I have knocked back the force of Xemnas for a while until we can get her to Zexion. I think Aaliya might wake up in a little while.”
“Go get Zexion” Roxas muttered, breaking Axel off. He rubbed his head wearily, pushing tendrils of golden hair away from his forehead.
Axel got to his feet and stared Roxas down, “Are you sure you want to do that?” he asked. “You don’t want to take her back to the Mansion?”
Roxas shook his head, “You go get Zexion and I will take her home. Whether I want to or not, I have to tell Mum and Sora.”
Axel shook his head, “You’re still too weak to cope with long distance Roxas” he sighed, “I can’t leave you.”
“I’m not weak!” Roxas shouted back furiously, getting to his feet and clenching his fists at his sides. His eyes locked with Axel’s, “I’m tired of still being considered weak,” he said, his arms trembling with the anger that was building up. “Stop treating me like a child, I’m going to prove to you that I can handle things myself! I don’t need you hovering around me like a bad smell.”
He flung out his hand pointing down the alley, “Go and get Zexion! I will meet you two back at Mum and Dad’s house.”
Axel frowned shaking his head, but he said no more.
In a spiral of red and black flames, Axel disappeared and Roxas bent down to Aaliya. “I’ll show him,” he hissed, “I don’t want to be looked down upon by the other Silhouettes any longer!” he reached down and hauled Aaliya up.
He propped her onto his back, biting his lip and drawing dark blood as the pain in his chest suddenly ripped through him.
The blood seeped down his lips and down his chin, but the young Silhouette refused to fall down. Instead, he took a painful step forward and walked from the alley and into the miserable streets of Twilight Town.
Roxas was almost at the street intersections leading to the house when Aaliya finally began to stir. Roxas kept his death grip on her, the blood still dripping from his chin as he kept gnawing at his lip. She stirred again and Roxas said softly, “Are you alright?”
“H-Huh?” came her groggy response, “Roxas? W-What happened, why are you giving me a piggy back ride?” Roxas felt her shift and stiffen in the awkward situation she was in. “Something happened” he bit out, trying to hide his laboured breaths. “Axel and I had to come and stop you from hurting people.”
“C-Can you let me down?” came her uncomfortable response, “I can walk on my own legs. I’m not exactly the lightest person in the world.”
Roxas stopped on the sidewalk and let his sister down, Aaliya wiped down her pants, refusing to send her dead brother a glance.
“Am I going to die?” she suddenly asked her voice quiet. “Am I going to end up like you?”
Roxas wiped his bloodstained lip and shook his head, “I won’t allow that to happen” he hissed, “You aren’t going to die Aaliya. Come on, I will get you home and I will explain everything.”
He trudged forward, Aaliya falling into step beside him, it didn’t take her long to realise that he was struggling in moving forward.
He pushed forward, ignoring the concerned glances he was receiving. Then she spoke, “Why are you hurt? I didn’t attack you in my blackout did you?”
“No” Roxas puffed, his face going red from the pain thundering in his chest. “This is what happens when I put distance between Axel and I. It’s our bond, we can’t be away from each other for very long. Axel hates it when I do this on purpose. But I wanted to get you home while he gets Zexion.”
“You can barely walk” Aaliya retorted, “How about we just sit down and wait for Axel to come. Its looks like your about to drop dead.” She shut her mouth of the stupid comment and Roxas shook his head with a wheezed chuckle.
“Don’t worry about it, we’re almost home. I’ve gotten this far haven’t I?”
“Keep this up and I will be the one carrying you the rest of the way home” Aaliya smirked wryly.
They walked down the street and into the Cul-De-Sac with silence hanging between them until they reached the front lawn of the family house.
Aerith, Sora and Olette were standing out the front of the house, all turning with wide, horrified eyes as Aaliya stepped onto the front lawn whereas Roxas collapsed in a heap.
Aerith hung back looking frightened, Sora, however, he raced off the front porch and ran towards the pair as Aaliya dropped down to her knees and shouted Roxas’ name.
Sora fell beside Aaliya, his pale blue eyes scanning the streets. “Where’s Axel?” he asked, turning his attention of his sister.
Aaliya looked hopelessly lost, “Roxas said he had gone back to get Zexion, he carried me all the way here from the Bazaar on his back. Axel hasn’t been here the entire time, he only got worse until the end.
Sora inspected Roxas’ gnawed lip and the sticky blood decorating his face and smeared across his hands and sleeves. “He was fighting it” he muttered, he reached down and grabbed Roxas’ arm. “Come on Bro” he grunted, lifting his brother up and supporting him, “Its right, you got Aaliya home.”
Roxas’ voice was pathetic and small, as Sora supported him, “Yeah? What’s the matter Roxas, what happened?”
“Aaliya…” he choked out, his face going translucent. The black veins pumped underneath his cheeks as he pointed a hand to Aaliya, “H-Had to save her S-Sora.”
“Why did you have to save her” Sora muttered, pulling Roxas over the front lawn, “What did you sense?”
“S-S” Roxas struggled between laboured breaths, he couldn’t even say Sora’s name. “He’s…inside her” he rasped out, “He’s hurting her.”
As Sora pulled Roxas to the porch where Olette and Aerith stood, he asked, “Who’s inside what? Aaliya?”
Roxas nodded before uttering one more word before he began to gurgle blood, “Xem…nas.”
Aerith jumped against the door, shrieking out in shock as Roxas sagged in Sora’s grip. Blood poured from his mouth and splashed on the concrete of the front porch and Sora was instantly coated in his brother’s blood.
“We need to find the other Silhouettes” he stated the obvious, “They shouldn’t…”
Before Sora could finish his sentence there was a gush of wind and a familiar voice came through the congregating shadows.
“Everything will be alright, Sora, let him go.”
Sora let go of Roxas and the shadows reached forward and pulled him to the front lawn. The shadows manifested and Axel held Roxas close to him. His eyes were pained as he stared down at the unconscious blonde, he looked up to the swirling mass of black.
“Get your butt down here and make him better!”
“Okay” came the whine, “You don’t have to be so mean.”
A portion of the swirling black broke away and snaked to Axel and Roxas, it manifested into a solid form and Demyx broke from the shadows. His hands began to glow and Zexion appeared next to Sora.
“Roxas thought he could prove us wrong and venture out by himself!” Zexion explained, he didn’t look very amused. He nodded his head in Aerith’s direction, who was still cowered up next to the door and averted Olette’s shocked gaze.
“Axel came in with the desperate request, where’s the girl?”
Sora looked around and pointed out Aaliya who had venture over to Demyx, Axel and Roxas on the grass.
“So it’s true then?” A voice broke Zexion off, in another swirl of black. The unmistakable pink hair of Marluxia appeared. The fair Silhouette looked to Aaliya in concern and Zexion nodded his head, “We picked it up the first night we were here. Roxas encountered it today, it was definitely Xemnas' power.”
“W-What are you going to do?” came the teary voice of Aerith, “I can’t keep losing my children.” Her glassy eyes with tears unshed, stared at Zexion, “I thought Xemnas was killed.”
“You’ve known all along haven’t you…” The Master Magician stated bluntly, “Nineteen years ago when Xemnas bit and infected you with his darkness? Aaliya was the result.”
“Can you stop talking about it like it is common gossip?” Sora snapped at Zexion, “This is serious, Roxas died fighting him, a Master Silhouette was killed and I lost Riku, Kairi and Namine! Now there’s a chance that I could lose my sister as well?”
The brunette looked helplessly to his Mother, “What do we do Mum? You knew that there was something wrong with her. Is that why she was always so impossible to control? Why she was always getting into fights?”
As the people on the porch argued, the people on the grass were silent.
Demyx sent a sympathetic glance to Aaliya as Sora and his Mother argued with Zexion. Aaliya let a tear slip from her eye and trail down her cheek.
“It’ll be ok” Demyx tried to reassure her, “They’re just trying to figure out a way to help you. Zexion is really good at helping people.”
The Water Mages face only fell when Aaliya only turned her head away, her eyes locking with Axel’s face. The Silhouette seemed to be drained of all colour and it only took a split second for him to suddenly sag.
Aaliya jumped back onto her knees, “What’s the matter with Axel?”
Her exclamation of shock brought about the attention of Aerith and Sora, whose eyes suddenly went wide with shock and concern.
Axel started to sway, before he sputtered. Black blood erupted from his mouth staining the grass and his chin before the Pyro hit the ground with a solid ‘thud.’
Aaliya reached forward and shook the shoulder, “Are you alright?” she exclaimed in horror. But when she got no response, she whirled around to see Sora come running towards them, Zexion hot on his heels.
Sora skidded to a halt and fell down beside the Silhouettes as Demyx cried out in horror, “Hang on Axel!”
“What happened?” Aaliya demanded, “He was fine… then he just…” She threw her hand out helplessly to the slumped figure of the red head Silhouette staring at Sora is disbelief. The older brother inspected them before Zexion folded his arms, standing above them.
“You can’t expect for partners to have repercussions when they are separated for so long. It was a foolish act on Roxas’ behalf, he collapsed and Axel had to stay strong. The strain was just too much on his body. Something that we cannot afford in the upcoming months.”
“Well not everyone is strong enough as you want them to be Zexion!” Demyx exclaimed, looking up at the Magician.
“There’s no need to criticise Axel and Roxas’ bond and saying that they are weak! Not everybody can have a strong bond like us alright! Stop trying to belittle them, whether you like it or not, Axel and Roxas are the Leaders and we follow under their rule. We have been Silhouettes for longer but they have kept us out of trouble.”
Zexion rolled his eyes, “I see it as the other way around Demyx. You have to stop being so loyal to others and start being loyal to only yourself. You would only get us killed anyway if you keep thinking those kind of delusional thoughts.”
“Loyal to only myself huh?” Demyx challenged, ignoring the desperate pleas of Aaliya and Sora, “Does that mean that you are only loyal to yourself? Have I ever mattered? Or do you only protect me because you care for your life only? I’m just excess baggage?”
“Hey, Hey” Sora chuckled nervously, trying to break the tension between Zexion and Demyx, “Dem, when did you start to speak big words? I’m not used to seeing you like this…Where is the bubbly Demyx that I knew all those years ago?”
“Not here” Demyx said vehemently, “There is only so much I can take!”
His anger quickly dissipated and the tears came, “So now that I know that all the Silhouettes are a burden on you, even I am?”
Demyx let a soft blue light envelop Axel and Roxas shortly before it seemed to sink into their bodies.
Before Demyx could even speak a word, the red head Silhouette coughed slightly and lifted his head, wiping away a trickle of blood from his mouth.
“He’s always been a prick Demyx, all these years and you still don’t know that?” he struggled to his feet, swaying dangerously before settling his green gaze on Roxas who stirred lightly in the grass before lifting his own head of golden spikes.
“You have gotten stronger Demyx,” Axel wheezed with a small smirk on his face, “Your healing powers have gone through the roof. Guess I can say I’m impressed, except…” he trailed off, earning a small, teary expression from Demyx.
Axel put his hand to his temple, “You have to create a spell where you can get rid of headaches as well.”
Sora helped Roxas sit up, the blonde Silhouette looking up to the clouds that were forming above them. He reached out a gloved hand and let the sunlight dance on his fingertips for a second before looking back to the arguing duo of Demyx and Zexion.
“If you two love birds stop fighting once this decade, can we hurry up and try to stop this person that is coming?”
That earned him a shocked expression from his Mother and both Brother and Sister.
“Coming?...Now?” Demyx looked up to the sky, where the last of the sunlight suddenly disappeared. Sora saw Roxas tense, his eyes narrowing before his black gloved hands shoved him away.
“Sora! Get inside” he shouted hoarsely.
Sora stumbled back when Roxas suddenly went black misty, the blonde launching himself at Aaliya and knocking the girl aside as another jet black stream hit the ground before them.
In a flurry of flames, Axel summoned his Chakrams at the new arrival that had literally exploded on the front lawn of the Strife house.
Zexion summoned his large Lexicon in sweeps of black smoke and after an uncertain and frightened look, Demyx summoned his Sitar and looked on nervously to see what they had to be put up against.
Roxas was shielding Aaliya with his small body, his eyes gleaming maliciously as he stared up at the black figure manifesting in front of him. A short distance away, Sora had his hand clamped over the mouth of his Mother who was crying at the sight of Roxas and Aaliya.
“Who are you?” Roxas demanded, “What do you want with us?” he drew back as a hand emerged from the blackness and a voice chuckled out.
“For a little person your size, you do have quite the attitude on you. You don’t have to get so defensive; I’m only here to drag your little ass back to the Castle.”
The smoke began to dissipate and a figure dressed in black appeared. When everyone saw his features, they had to do a double take, looking at the stranger then to Axel.
This person was tall and lanky, his face drawn and pale with large, crescent moons tattooed down his cheekbones. His long flaming hair was held back in a ponytail, he flicked it aside carelessly as he held out his hand to Roxas.
“Now I suggest you come with me,” he said in a dangerous voice, “And nobody will be killed!”