AUTHORESS NOTE: I make up the last chapter with this one! I promise you!!! Oh, and this will be a tad bit hard to read unless you read VERY closely. Since I now have TWO, not one, TWO Sakuras in this story, I tried to incorporate their personalities and sometimes just added their last names for you to tell them apart. Really, this chapter I wrote just for the heck of it because I needed something to put in between the last chapter and the one that's going to come after this. If I didn't, then the entire fic would be too rushed, ya know?
Oh, and if you are totally confused, then just e-mail me and I'll try to clarify whatever you're confused on. But seriously, what I make confusing in one chapter, I try to clear it up on the next, ya know? So don't e-mail me when you've only gotten to read to chapter three or whatever and tell me it was confusing when you haven't read the entire thing?
Chapter Thirteen ~ The Final Descendants
It was raining hail the day after Phoenix was buried. The hail soon turned to sleep then to a gentle falling of snow, a major contrast to the melancholy air that was about. Kenji had gone under a slump of depression soon afterwards. He had only become a shadow of his former self.
Atamos suddenly arrived for Phoenix's funeral to pay his respects. After all, he was the mastermind behind the history of Red Blade and Kajimi Kodai: the Twin Swords.
He and Squall were in one of the many "under construction" conference rooms, discussing about the current events. It was mainly Squall asking the questions that only Atamos was able to answer. One of them was the connection between Luna and Phoenix.
"They're able to communicate with one another?" Squall asked incredulously.
Atamos' smile was one that never reached the corner of his lips. "Twins hae a much stronger link with one another than with other members of the same family, especially with those who are magically gifted. Because Phoenix was still alive, Luna used her as a medium between Griever's realm and our world."
"But it didn't work out so well..."
"It did and it didn't. Yet even though both Luna and Phoenix couldn't communicate with our world as easily as Luna had with Phoenix, it's possible that they can talk to Alex and Sakura through dreams. Even you and Rinoa are capable of 'talking' to them."
"Rinoa and me?"
Atamos smiled. "You are their parents after all."
I wonder if that can be possible, Squall thought as he watched the snow fall outside.
What's going on? What's happening?
They did come, didn't they? I'm out of that place?
"...state of comatosis, but she has a strong will to live..."
What are they talking about?
The door closed. Beep...beep...beep...
....Where am I?
Sis, it's time to wake up.
Luna? Is that you?
Protect Alex and the rings for us.
A feeling of cold rushed through her entire body as she slowly stirred. A white flash of light came and she blinked. And blinked again until her eyes were able to focus on the ceiling above her. An unfamiliar ceiling...
Her muscles twitched as she commanded them to, but that was as far as she could move. Her eyes glanced towards the side to find her brother sleeping in a rather uncomfortable position in a chair across from her. She tried calling out to him, but her voice wasn't strong enough to project itself. Somehow, though, Alex stirred, lifting his head. His eyes widened as he met his sister's eyes.
"Sa...Sakura?" He came towards her bed.
"Where am I, Alex?" Sakura asked, a whisper that could barely be heard.
"Garden. Trabia Garden."
Sakura smiled slightly. Finally, after all these years, she was out of the prison that Ultimecia had kept her in while her physical body remained unconscious. Yet even though she was free, there were some consequences.
"How long has it been..." she started to ask.
"A day since they've returned to Griver," Alex answered, knowing what his sister was trying to ask.
Sakura looked away from her brother, "...."
Sakura Leonhart was quite aware what her sisters had done and were planning to do later on. Even though sleeping, her subconscious self witnessed Phoenix and Luna's battle against Alta as an outsider. She wanted to join and help them, but they wouldn't let her. So all she could do was...
"Do you want me to tell them that you're awake?" Alex asked, disrupting her thoughts.
Sakura nodded. It was slight, for her body was getting used to moving again, but it was a nod nonetheless. As Alex left the room, Sakura stared silently at the ceiling, wondering what was in store for the future.
Three figures stood on a cliff, overlooking the area below them.
"Oh, this is going to be rather interesting," Allundia chuckled. Her smoky, pupiless eyes gleamed in delight.
"You should calm down, Allundia," Phaetos told her.
"Oh, Phaetos, don't spoil the moment for me."
"Phaetos is right about calmin down," Alta spoke. "We can't undermine them, that boy in particular. He has potential of becoming a threat if given the right training."
"Do you REALLY think that little girl will be able to teach him after all you put her through?" Allundia asked rather sarcastically.
Alta smirked, remembering the time after Sakura was awakened once for his fun. "What do you think?"
Allundia laughed. "It's rather impossible, whatever you did to her."
"Five years training mentally is enough," Phaetos countered. "Besides, we can do nothing now, not with Atamos closeby."
Allundia ceased laughing, brushing away a strand of red from her eyes, remembering back to the days when she was younger. "Yes...that is true..."
"I knokw what you are thinking, Allundia, but no matter how many are we, we can never be able to defeat a natural summoner like him. Make that two, if you count the girl," Phaetos pointed out.
"Then what do we tell our Mistress?"
"Nothing. She knows what is going on, so there is no need to tell her."
Lily folded her arms across her chest, leaning against the table and stared back at her boss.
"Let me get this straight, Atamos," she began. "You want ME to fight with the old man's gunblade instead with my fists?"
Atamos could sense Lily's anger behind her well-controlled voice but paid no mind to it. "He did teach you how to use it, didn't he?"
Lily looked out the window. It was still snowing. "...Yeah, he has, but Hyne, Atamos, I haven't fought with something like that in years."
"Then make use of what you had learned."
"But why do you want me to use it? It's not like it's going to change anything..."
"It's going to, Lily. Trust me," Atamos said. "Allundia is someone that I've known for years. Think about the way Allundia fights. You'll find some use with your Hyperion."
Lily's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "You said that you've known Allundia for years. What do you mean by that? You'v enever said anything to us about knowing Allundia."
Atamos smiled sadly. "You can say that the two of us are blood-related. To get straight to the point, Lily, Allundia is my youngest sister."
"Hey, Gene! How much longer until the ship's done?!?" Selphie shouted.
The echoed drilling stopped and Gene slid out form underneath the cockpit, pulling out his goggles. "What was that, Selphie?"
"I said, how much longer until the ship's finished? Squall wants to know."
"Gimme about one more hour," Gene replied as he put back on his goggles. "All I need to do is reconfigure the cockpit system and this baby'll be back in action."
A floating robot appeared behind him. It was small and the color of ruby, but it seemed to have life-like eyes and looked ridiculously like one of those action figure models that you win from the crane games.
"Gene, you mean that the Ragnarok will be able to fly. We don't have enough time to repair the main cannon or the grappling arms," the robot replied.
Gene just waved the robot's explaination aside and slid back underneath the plane. "Forget about what Gilian here said. Tell Squall I'll be done in an hour."
Selphie blinked a few times before registering the information in her head. Was that a talking little robot? How cute!! "Okay, see ya!"
The snow's not going to stop... Sakura thought, looking outside the window.
She heard the click of a door behind her and turned her wheelchair around. She was able to stand, but the doctors and medical trainees wouldn't allow her to until she had regained full strength. This had bothered her a bit, but like the obedient little girl she was before, Sakura obeyed. It wasn't unil she was left alone was when she started to walk around the room. It was at a slow pace, of course, but Sakura gradually started to speed up until she started to dash across the room from place to place.
Normally, one such as Sakura Leonhart wouldn't recover after being in a coma for five years. Even if one did, it would take an even longer time to be able to function almost normally. Being a summoner, however, had its advantages. Sakura was able to heal just as fast as Phoenix had before and recovered even more quickly when using her magic.
Nobody knew this, of course. That is, except for Atamos and Alex, but they were exceptions. So when Rinoa and Quistis entered, Sakura had to quickly sit back down in the wheelchair and pretend to be the patient once again. She smiled sweetly at them as they entered.
"Feeling better, Sakura?" Rinoa asked.
"Yeah. I'm not sure if I can summon up any Guardian Forces, yet..."
"Can you walk?" Quistis asked. She had this feeling that the teenager was hiding something from them.
"A little, but nobody's allowing me to move around. I'm starting to get a little claustrophobic, staying in this room."
Rinoa laughed. "Well, let's take a little walk outside if you want."
She couldn't believe it. She just couldn't. For a long while, Lily just stared at Atamos in utter shock. Her voice tried to form words, but it wouldn't cooperate with her. It wasn't until a few minutes later that Lily was able to speak out:
Atamos wasn't quite surprised that Lily's reacon would be something simliar to what he had expected. He maintained a straight face.
"I told you. My youngest sister."
"There are many explainations, Lily. I'll just give you one: you know that Ultimecia can revive one from the dead, isn't that right?"
Lily nodded, remembering about Sakura's situation.
"Then there you have it," Atamos replied. "She may seem invincible, but I know Allundia's weaknesses as one from the dead."
Lily contemplated a bit. Of course, she wanted to kick Allundia's ass, but...knowing this new information...
"But Atamos, she's your frikin' sister. I can't kill her."
"The both of us severed ties long ago," Atamos reassured. "Besides, she's been a trapped soul for too long."
Lily looked back at Atamos for a while, but he had taken his gaze to the weather outside. For the first time ever since she met the man, she wondered how old Atamos really was.
Alex skidded to a stop, causing the snow behind him to fly up in the air. He breathed heavily and tried to regulate his breathing as he hald his gunblade parallel to the angle of his face. His cold, sapphire eyes observed his two enemies at a distance very carefully.
Damn, that's the LAST time I'm going to blurt out loud that I want to spar with two people for once, he thought.
Alex didn't think that Squall and Seifer would take him seriously on a two on one match. Boy, was he wrong.
What a way to test out my new skills, he mused.
This was the first time that Alex saw Squall and Seifer actually agree on something. Most of the time, he saw the two going against one another in a silent feud. Squall would just brush Seifer's remarks off, but Alex could tell that his father loathed the man.
A flame of light caught his eye, breaking him out of his reverie. He avoided the flames a bit too late as they singed through his shoulder. The pain was only for an instant as the wound healed as immediately as it came. Through the smoke, Alex could see the tip of the Lionheart and barely managed to avoid getting his head sliced off. Metal clashed against metal as the connection came. Squall used this time lapse to swing his gunblade in a follow up attack, but Alex had expected it and disappeared from eyesight to reappear right behind him.
Squall was surprised at the speed that Alex had, totally unexpecting it. Unlike from what he had seen from Luna, who had speed that the human eye couldn't focus on, Alex hada speed that he couldn't even see. He's fast...abnormally fast for his age.
It seemed that Alex and Squall were at a stand still until the smoke faded out. Alex blocked Seifer's attack from behind and began a power struggle. Sparks came out from their gunblades as one tried to get the advantage from the other.
Oh, shit...Alex realized as he sensed Squall getting up from his crouched position.
The last thing Alex had wanted was to get right smack dab in the middle. He wasn't able to block attacks form the front and back at the same time. There's only one solution....
As Squall was approaching at a high speed, Alex did a quick backflip, nearly causing Seifer and Squall to run their weapons into each other. They almost did, actually, as they stopped.
Seifer watched some strands of his hair float down to the snow before standing straight.
"Better what where you're cutting, Puberty Boy," Seifer remarked.
"Same to you, Seifer," Squall neutrally replied as he also stood.
Seifer turned to face his partner and noticed a slight nick on the collar of his shirt. He smirked before turning around to see Alex land softly back on the ground in a distance.
"The kid's good," Seifer said.
"I know," Squall agreed. He's getting a lot better, he silently added.
"Sure, why not."
The duel between Alex against Seifer and Squall hadn't gone unnoticed by the Garden. A rather large group of cadets and SeeD alike made a large circle around them. They were all talking excitedly to one another about the victor of the fight. Rinoa and Quistis had wheeled Sakura in and they eventually found Zell and Irvine.
"Hey, what's going on?" Rinoa asked.
"Alex had asked Seifer and Squall to a handicap duel," Irvine replied without taking his eyes off of the battle. "He was kidding, of course, but they took him rather seriously."
"Squall and Seifer? Together?" Quistis asked incredulously.
"Yeah, I know what you're thinkin'" Zell said. "Those two actually getting along is beyond me."
"Well, I think that they have a mutual understanding of each other," Rinoa explained.
"Hah, go figure."
"There are bets going around of who's going to win. Some say it's Seifer and Squall while others say it's Alex," Irvine said. "What do you think?"
"It's hard to tell," Zell said rather matter-of-factly. "I mean, sure, Squall and Seifer and good fighters, but we've never actually seen Alex fight before until now. Everything's gonna go all the way to the final strike."
Rinoa giggled. "You've gotten so serious, Zell."
"Hey, this is a good fight! Ya don't know who's going to win."
"Alex is going to win for sure," Sakura said.
The four turned to her. Sakura had said it with so much confidence that they almost believed her.
"How can you be so sure, Sakura?" Quistis asked.
Sakura shook her head as if they couldn't see what she meant.
"I just know," she explained. "Look. It seems that Seifer and Dad are going to use the same attack again. My little brother has this little knack of not making one attack get accomplished twice."
Alex calmly waited for them to go on the offensive. He inwardly smiled as Seifer rushed forward, preparing to execute the Fire Cross. This was something that Alex fell to before. The first time, he was taken by surprise, barely missing and ending up getting burned. Afterwards, he had to quickly avoid the tip of the Lionheart through the smoke. That happened the first time; it was not going to happen again.
As Seifer was about to strike, Alex easily dodged the Hyperion. Seifer was stunned. How...how can he just... Alex quickly pivoted his entire body around to go underneath Seifer's sword arm. Yelling out a battle cry, his Flame Saber connected with the back of Seifer's neck where the skull and the spinal cord attached. Seifer's mouth hung open, his eyes bulging out of his sockets as Alex continued with the swing; he seemed to fly at least 15 feet out and landed face first in the snow.
The crowd was silent, jaws dropping. Sakura made a small smile. He's learning...
Learning, learning indeed. Atamos thought as he and Lily watched from above.
"How the hell...?" Lily trailed off. I didn't know that Alex could do that....how the hell did he get so fast??
Squall's eyes were wide with shock as he gazed at Seifer's still body in the snow. Seifer wasn't dead, he knew for sure, because he had still gripped the handle of the Hyperion tightly, and Alex's blade was dull. Squall didn't mind that Seifer was down (actually, he was pretty amused), but it was the way his "partner" was taken down that disturbed him.
He's going to have one hell of a headache, Squall thought.
His gaze returned to Alex who met it just as equally. In the back of his mind, he wondered how in Hyne's name Alex got better so quickly. He remembered in Balamb Garden's Training Center how Alex had struggled the first few days after his recovery against even the weakest of monsters but then, a week after his recovery, take out a T-Rexaur with such an ease that you wouldn't even remember that he was the one who was admitted out of the Infirmary a week ago. Knowing this, Squall carefully thought over what to execute.
This is going better than I thought, Alex thought. He held his Flame Saber steadily in his hands. There was only one move that he was expecting to see from Squall: the Lion Heart.
"Dang, how long has it been since they've been staring at each other like that?" Zell wondered aloud.
Quistis checked her watch. "Ten minutes or so now."
"How long is it goingto be until they get it going?" Irvine asked.
From her wheelchair, Sakura observed both combatants carefully. She frowned while figuring everything out in her head.
"I'm not sure..." she finally replied. "It's like they both know each other's attacks so well either through studying previously or during the duel. What this is going to depend on is their final attacks. I'm not sure about you guys, but I think they're going to have the same technique."
"Huh? What do you mean, Sakura?" Rinoa asked.
Sakura's brown eyes softened a little, but she didn't dare take her eyes off of the battle. "Our physical special skills all originate from Dad. We each have our own variation of the Renzokuken. Even I do, though I use daggers as a weapon."
"Daggers?" Rinoa asked again. She and the others were rather interested in this new information.
Sakura looked up at them and grinned. "Katanas are too heavy for me, and I've always had an expertise at throwing things. It's just like Alex, but in the exact opposite way. Alex uses a gunblade not because he wanted to be like Dad, but because the katana was too light for him and he kept on breaking them after use. The only thing that all four of us have in common physically is probably the fact that we all know martial arts."
I never knew... Rinoa thought and then looked back at the duel.
Sakura Wolfe sat on top of the auditorium's roof with Kereberos. She had the best view of all from the top, sitting quietly as she listened to her guardian's rants. Inwardly, she grinned and saw the entire battle form above without being notice.d That was something that she liked the most: rarely getting noticed. Being the only person in the entire world to know and use magic without learning or being born by it was a tough job for her to be especially when the whole of Galbadia was looking for you.
"Hey, Sakura, what do you think they're going to do next?" Kereberos asked.
Sakura paid no attention to what she was saying. Instead, she was remembering. When Alex had backflipped high up in the air to avoid a two sided attack, he had seen Sakura up on the roof and grinned. She returned the grin with one of her own and waved back, mouthing "Good job" to him.
She and Alex were the best of friends even though he was three years odler than she was and better friends with her older brother, Syan. There were times that Alex wanted to be left alone and she understood that, but most of the time he didn't mind her company. After a while, they could practically read each others' minds.
"Sakura? Sakura!" Kereberos shouted.
Sakura turned to her guardian and grinned. "Oh, I think that they're going to do something cool."
The snow began to fall again and Seifer was coming to. This was Squall's start as he pointed the Lionheart downwards and charged forward into the final attack: the Lion Heart.
Alex was caught by surprise and nearly missed getting flung in the air with the first strike. He blocked the other attacks with consistency, metal clashing against metal in sparks of white, and couldn't find an opening to switch to offensive. As Squall came in for the Lion Heart's final blow, Alex rolled away just in time as snow shot up in the air, covering those around the area with its blanket of white.
Kenji was staring lifelessly back at his own reflection in his katana when he heard the explosion followed by the soft tremor outside. He glanced out the window to see the snow burst in the air and cover his window.
He hadn't eaten nor slept in the past week and a half, too tired to even care. Exhaustion was starting to take over and he had just wanted to end it all when a gentle breeze swept through his room.
The wind whispered in his ears and tossled his hair. The hair on the back of his neck prickled for a second then disappeared. Kenji smiled softly as a katana appeared, glowing a soft blue ember. He sheathed back his own katana and placed it next to the other before going to his bed in a much needed rest.
I can't escape from you no matter what I want to do, can I, Kajimi?
Phoenix's ghostly figure smiled at Kenji's sleeping form before fading back into the darkness.
He was able to avoid the Lion Heart? Squall thought to himself as he tried to control his breathing. Executing the Lion Heart always took a lot of energy away from him and he had still yet to get his body used to that part.
Alex brushed the snow out of his hair and swatted away the misty debris that still lingered around him.
"Phew, too close," he remarked. As the mist cleared, he looked at Squall and grinned. "I was kinda expecting that from you, but damn, I wasn't sure if I could block them all."
Squall stood, arching a curious eyebrow. "Huh?"
Alex went into a very familiar stance that Squall recognized. That's...the Renzokuken stance!
"My turn," Alex said before disappearing.
Squall barely had enough time to block as Alex attacked him with a Renozokuken attack similar to his own. It was a flurry of eight slashes with lightning speed in ten different directions. Or at least he thought it was ten.
After the final blow, Squall attacked one last time to only meet with Alex's Flame Saber. His gunblade was snapped in half as it flew up in the air and landed solidly back in the snow. Avoiding the continuation of Squall's swing, Alex maneuvered himself to duch underneath Squall's arm and stop just before the remainder of his blade met Squall's exposed neck.
The two stared at one another for a long moment before Alex's lips curved into a smile. Squall couldn't help but return it as the two stood up, shaking hadns.
"Good job," Squall said.
"You too," Alex replied.
"Holy...." Zell almost swore.
"Wow..." Rinoa murmured.
Some of the crowd around them cheered, others, like Zell and Rinoa could only mutter short-term words as they walked away.
Seifer rubbed the back of his neck as he managed to stand without wobbling on his legs. He watched the two look alikes as they shook hands with one eye while squinting in pain with the other. Damn, if that gunblade was sharpened...
He really didn't want to think about it.
Sakura Leonhart smiled proudly at her little brother as she approached them. She and him were the last of the family. Ultimecia would be definetely looking for them and taking otu the others in the fastest way possible.
It's all up to us, now, she thought. If we don't stop Ultimecia soon, Time Compression is going to be completed.
She just hoped that along with her physical strength, her sorceress powers would return as well.
AUTHORESS NOTE: See? Made no sense whatsoever, right? It's just a filler chapter and I'll get back to the action soon enough! R&R!!