A/N: This chapter turned out slightly more depressing near the end then I had intended it to be. Blame it on all the rain where I live. I need a health drink...
Chapter 20: Space Ships and Fairy's Tales
The twenty-first century apparently had not been good to Neko technology-wise. She apparently loved cars--often bragging that she owned a Lamborghini Diablo, whatever that meant--but beyond that, technology reacted to her very presence as vinegar reacted to the presence of baking powder, a fact Mia learned not long after leaving London.
She had awakened to a smash, and had gone to investigate to find Neko standing guiltily over a pile of mechanical parts as Cid assured her it wasn’t that important from the pilot’s seat.
“What was it?” Halo had asked Cid as she helped her sister pick up the pieces.
“It was a Fluid Catalytic Cracker,” Cid responded lazily.
“What did it do…?” Mia wondered aloud.
“It made shoes for orphans,” he replied, clearly unconcerned.
Neko made a sound that clearly conveyed the horror she felt.
Halo smiled a little, getting in on the sarcasm. “Nice job breaking it, hero,” she laughed, handing Neko the junk she had helped gather.
Mia felt bad, though. As old as Neko was, she was… gullible. The poor vampire seemed hesitant to even sit down after that.
Time passed slowly in the Shera. The time between London and whatever the next world they were headed to bled together into one endless night--the hours and days bled together. The stars outside and the darkness made Mia tired, but between Neko flitting in and out of the schoolgirl’s room and complaining of boredom and some sort of sick feeling in Mia’s stomach she couldn’t identify, she found sleep impossible.
She had a hard time getting along with the two other girls. Neko chattered incessantly, seemingly about whatever popped into her head, while Halo never talked at all, turning the time Mia spent with her into one long, awkward silence. And none of what anybody said seemed to register. She found herself spending most of her time lying on her bed with nothing to do.
The entire time, Mia felt as if she were floating aimlessly through living. Near the end of the trip, Mia found herself sitting in the co-pilot’s seat, reading the same sentence in a book she didn’t even know the title of again and again without really understanding a word of it, and wondering, for the hundredth time, how and why she got herself into this mess.
Cid had excused himself to avert some impending disaster in the engine room, Neko was thankfully asleep, and Halo was probably pacing the ship’s halls as was her habit at this interval of the cycle.
“It is now 2300,” a calm female voice said in an undertone. “Autopilot predicts you will arrive at your destination in 9 hours. Thank you.”
Mia sighed. That made it eleven at night. She should get to sleep, but… She closed the book and tossed it back onto the control console without interest.
“Um, hello there, ma’am! Are you one of the Keyblade masters?”
Mia jumped fifty feet in the air at the unfamiliar voice, knocking her chair over backwards and screaming before whipping around to be faced with… three fairies.
Each was about the size that a cat would be if it stood on its haunches, all of them female. None of them seemed to be fairies in the typical sense, but that was the only way to describe them.
The foremost one, apparently the one who had spoken, had short brown hair fluffed out at the ends with a beaded, wrapped lock of hair on the right side of her face and an incredibly long wrap in the back. She wore a cute little white lacey tank top with a pink hood, yellow bands around her forearms, a small blue skirt, and a lacey blue overskirt. Her black boots came almost up to her knees.
Her friend on the left behind her had wide green eyes and blond hair tied back in a ponytail and held up with a blue headband. She had a large orange scarf that flapped occasionally as if holding her aloft in the air, a pale yellow tube top and independent sleeves, an orange skirt with bright yellow bows on either side. The white stockings that peeked out from her blue boots came all the way up to her thighs. She was having trouble carrying some sort of spherical mechanical component about the size of a melon.
The final one hovered off further back and to the right, her small bat-like wings flapping laboriously to keep her up. She had short grey hair spiked in almost every conceivable direction, narrow red eyes, and an annoyed expression. Her clothing was almost entirely grey or black--with a black tank top, a tiny black studded poncho, opera gloves, close-fitting shorts fitted with a belt with a skull-shaped buckle, and heavy black boots.
“Oh--Oh, I’m sorry--I’m so, so sorry!” shouted the brown-haired one, bowing again and again and gushing effusive apologies, floating over with a magical glittering sound and dusting Mia off. “Did we scare you? We didn’t mean to! I’m sorry…”
“It’s alright,” Mia said, pressing her hand to her heart. It felt like it was trying to pop out of her chest. “Just don’t do it again.” They looked harmless enough.
“Um, ‘scuze me,” the blond one panted, wrestling with her burden so as not to drop it, “Where’s Cid? This thing’s sooo heavyyyy….” She had a squeaky voice and held the last few words much longer than was necessary.
“Oh, here, let me,” Mia said softly, taking the component. She felt lost.
“Nya ha!!” the blond laughed. “Thankiiieees!! I was about to pull something! That would have been disaster-iffic…”
“Disaster-iffic isn’t a word,” the grey-haired one grunted, sitting herself down on the dashboard. “Say disastrous, like the rest of the universe.”
The blond haired one turned to her friend, pulled down her bottom eyelid and stuck out her tongue in a challenge.
“Sorry, but… who are you guys?” asked Mia tiredly.
All three looked over.
“I’m glad you asked!!” the blond shouted. “We’re your friendly neighborhood Gullwings!! I’m Rikku!”
“I’m Yuna,” the brunette continued, holding out her tiny hand for Mia to shake.
“Paine,” said the grey-haired one distantly, examining her nails.
It was about this time Neko wandered in, rubbing her visible eye exhaustedly. “Whazzat…?” she yawned as her sister entered behind her, looking just as bewildered.
“Visitors,” Mia explained.
“Do you know where Cid is?” Rikku asked, zooming over to Halo.
The blond man passed into the bridge, smoking his trademark cigarette. “Quit your yakkin’ girlies, I’m here. Damn it, Mia--your shriek could make a bat go deaf!”
Mia eyed the ground. “Sorry.”
“So, whatcha doin’ here, girlies?” Cid continued, ignoring Mia’s clear discomfort to look at Yuna.
Yuna’s eyes lingered on Mia for a moment before turning back to Cid. “Rikku brought you a new something-or-other and Paine needs to bring the newbies up to speed. Leon’s orders!”
“It’s a new Fluid Catalytic Cracker!” Rikku declared. “I’ll help you install it!” She zoomed over, snagged the grapefruit-sized thingy, and zoomed off again.
Cid let out a puff of smoke and snorted. “Help me install it…” he mocked, following her back to the engine room.
“Wasn’t that the thing that made shoes for orphans…?” Neko asked, guiltily twiddling her thumbs. “I’m glad they decided to replace it…”
Paine harrumphed and rose out of her makeshift seat. “So you’re the new ones, huh? Don’t look like much.”
“WHAT?!” Neko roared, suddenly paying attention.
“Paine!” Yuna scolded, looking around from her futile attempt at helping lift Mia’s seat off of the ground.
“They may be Key-Bearers, but they get the same frosty welcome all newbies deserve,” Paine snapped before turning back to Halo and Neko and putting her hands on her hips. “Whatever. Guess they say beggars can’t be choosers--let’s see those Keyblades, then. Come on!”
Halo smiled at her sister. “Just roll with it, Neko… it’s like old Captain Hister.” She held out her hand and, with a small black flash that shot out in either direction, summoned her scythe-like keyblade.
Paine stared at it for a moment. “The Grim Reaper!” she pronounced.
The girls stared blankly.
“That’s the keyblade’s name, idiots.”
Both mouthed ‘oh’. “Ooh!” Neko suddenly shouted, summoning her own. “What about mine? What’s mine called?!”
Paine stared blankly for a moment at the gigantic pair of scissors, but opted not to say anything. “Cutting Edge. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for a--”
“Aren’t you going to tell them about their special abilities?” Yuna reminded Paine gently.
Paine gave Yuna the evils. “They can figure it out themselves--I’ve got something else to do.” And with that, she disappeared in a burst of purple sparkles.
“What a strange person!” Neko yawned before teetering back off to her bunk.
Halo shrugged. “Were you reading that?” she asked, pointing to the book on the dashboard.
Mia shook her head and tossed it to the vampire, who exited the bridge as she flipped it open, leaving Mia and Yuna alone together.
Yuna looked at Mia. “Is something wrong?” she asked pleasantly, landing on the dash.
Mia sighed and stood her chair upright without a word.
Yuna furrowed her brow, seeming to understand. “I… I don’t want to be depressing but… this isn’t a game or a dream. People die. I wish it weren’t true, but it happens. But if you help us, you can stop it. It’ll be hard and it’ll take a long time, but you’ll make it. I know it.”
And she too vanished in a shower of pink light.
Mia sat silently, brooding for a moment.
There was a tinkling sound as Rikku reentered the bridge. “Huh? Where is everybody?” she said, looking around.
“WHAT?! What about me…? JERKS!” Yellow sparkles announced her departure.
And never before had Mia felt so alone.
All she wanted was a furry head in her lap.
She closed her eyes, lay her head down on the dashboard, and burst into the tears that hadn’t come before.
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Keys to the Kingdom
A Kingdom Hearts fanfiction. The fate of the universe lies in the hands of six new teenaged keyblade masters... scared yet?