towerofanimus Epilogue (Part 1 at least)
There was no warning – none at all.
She was always in contact with all of them while working, on some level. Their memories were so closely linked already, and the fact that they now had so many parts of Sora's memories too just made it all the easier. Especially as she tried, bit by bit, piece by piece, to coax those memories out of them. But then when she reached out her powers to the other – the girl, Xion – suddenly something changed. She gasped aloud.
And then Namine was plunged into a maelstrom.
There were memories – so many memories. Years and years worth presented themselves to her. Places and faces, people and events. She saw a man who looked like Axel who ruffled Xion's hair and called her Sweets and a boy with her name and white hair who was always there for her and a woman who showed her what being a mother meant. She saw a princess – a leader – with gold hair, the silver-haired teenager who'd always listened and cared who'd finally kissed her. She saw a young man with hair of red who spoke of things still true, the stranger-turned-friend-turned-uncle whom Xion had trusted with some of her hardest decisions. She saw a tall not-man with green skin who'd taught Xion to hate. She saw a man made of metal and another with a nose like a beak and a young, sad, angry, alone girl, and an equally young boy for whom Xion felt intense pain and loss. Namine saw herself and Riku and Sora, and Roxas and Axel and more.
She saw weddings and parties, games and experiments, dreams and nightmares. She saw a dark elevator shaft and a room with red lights. She saw people in glowing cages, all with a light where their heart should be. She saw a cage of crystal with electricity racing around it. She saw the red-haired man clasping Xion's hands. She saw a graveyard and a beach and a single living tree in a shiny, film-covered world.
She saw memories full of love and pain, of joy and loss, of hope and despair.
She saw, in the far distance, surrounded by a dead metropolis, a Tower reaching up for the sky.
When Namine recovered from the shock, the first thing she did was to force herself to let go of the power she was using, easing herself back into the reality she knew. She opened her eyes to see the boy she'd been trying so hard to help.
“Namine. What has happened?” DiZ's voice interrupted the silence. Of course he had been nearby, watching for any change in her progress.
She hesitated a moment, before replying. “It's Xion. The... girl, that I mentioned before. Something's happened to her.”
DiZ made a soft sibilant noise, impatient as he always was when Namine referred to Xion with a greater degree of humanity than he thought she deserved. However he did not comment aloud, and instead turned to her, his eyes sharp, “And what would that be?”
She could hear it in his voice. The unasked question – would it interfere further with restoring Sora's memory?
She already knew the answer. Yes.
But as to what exactly had happened, and how it would affect that restoration? How it had even come to pass? Namine only had one answer.
“I don't know.”
At last she landed, everything began to settle, as the last image of her home faded. Torn to shreds, laid to rest. Over. She opened her eyes, and found she'd stepped into a memory. The Clock Tower – how it was supposed to be. With the sun shining, the streets full – if not with people than at least the noise of them. Life, color, all had been brought back.
And she couldn't stop crying.
Roxas was, predictably, the first to notice. Both he and Axel were staring at her – Roxas in horror and worry, Axel in pure shock. It was coming back to her now, in bits and pieces; details of what had been happening when she'd left. She knew she should do something, explain. Her behavior wouldn't be making any sense to them. But all she could do was sob.
Thankfully, the need for her to explain was forestalled by a simultaneous yawp of alarm from Axel, a cheerful squeak, and a hand on her shoulder. With nowhere else to truly appear, Suna, Excalibur, Sunny and even Thalassa had all appeared behind her. Xion took one look at the group of them before breaking into a fresh wave of tears.
This time, however, she managed to shake her head at the even more bewildered Axel and Roxas. She turned, gathered Thalassa up, accepted Suna's aid in getting her feet back over the ledge and herself upright again.
“I have to go, I'm sorry,” was all she could choke out.
Years, she'd waited years to come home, to be back. And yet she couldn't face them. She couldn't tell them what happened. She wanted, needed, to just cry for a while. She needed to change her future. There were so many things she wanted and needed to do, and they couldn't be done with Roxas and Axel staring at her with confusion, shock, and expectation.
“Wait!” Roxas called.
“Xion, what's going on here?” Axel's voice – the same voice as her dad's - was taut with suspicion.
The both of their demands combined were enough to make her slow. Suna looked from her to the two others behind them. Xion, for her part, knew she probably owed them something.
“I-I'm sorry,” she said, “I wish... I wish I could explain. But I can't. Not right now. I have to go.”
“You're not thinking of leaving again, are you?”
Xion stopped. She could practically feel Axel's gaze burning into the back of her neck. Her silence was answer enough, however.
“Xion, no!” Roxas yelped, pushing himself back off the ledge and up onto his feet, “I told you, whatever happens, we can work it out. You don't have to go.”
“The Organization won't be so lenient if you keep running away,” Axel added darkly. “And who are these other guys. Where did they even come from?”
Suna piped up for the first time, looking annoyed, “Leave her alone. You have no idea what's just happened.”
Axel raised an eyebrow. “And you do?”
“Who are you?” Roxas added, turning his attention to the stranger.
“Enough!” Xion turned around, breaking Suna's grip on her shoulder. Her hands were balled into fists and her eyes still leaking tears, even as she clenched them shut. “She's right. Something happened. You guys won't believe me if I tell you, especially right now.” She paused, her voice softening, “This isn't how I wanted any of this to go. I'm sorry. But there are things I have to do. I'm not sure... if I meant to leave right after coming back. But... I can't stay here.”
“And what exactly are you trying to do?” Axel replied.
For a moment Xion considered, then decided to go with honesty, “Change the future.”
Something in her words seemed to surprise Axel, or at least give him pause. Roxas, meanwhile, plowed on, “The future? Xion, what are you talking about?”
Looking into the eyes of her first best friend, the one who she was trying to save, Xion could only shake her head. “I... I can't explain now. I'm sorry. I... I promise I will. As soon as I can. Just please... let me do this.”
She could see it. She could see the look in Roxas' face as he prepared to deny everything she said, to ask to come with, to do something to keep her from leaving him behind. She really hadn't thought this through. Everything had gone into restoring the worlds, facing Riki and Ruana. She hadn't really thought about what she would say, what she would do. She'd thrown herself headlong into chaos, not really considering if she was ready.
But she knew one thing for sure. She couldn't let Roxas come with her. Not right now, at the very least.
Not until she'd properly mourned the loss of her home.
She grabbed Suna's hand, taking a step back, tightening her grip on Thalassa with her remaining arm and trusting that Sunny and Excalibur would follow.
And before Roxas could speak, she turned and broke into a run, making a corridor as she moved, closing it as soon as they were inside.
Leaving behind the friends she'd worked so hard to get back to.
Light if she hadn't screwed this all up.