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Fanfiction ► Kingdom Hearts: Keys to the Kingdom Series



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TelaryCri

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Chapter III: Thick As Thieves, pt. 6
Azlyn is still full of energy, so Sora suggests a little more exploration of the Forty Thieves’ hideout. He figures it’s as good a chance as any to get the knight to open up about her and Telary’s troubles.

“What would you turn into gold first?” Azlyn asks, jumping from rock to rock. “I’d go with the Gummi ship, personally. Just think how awesome that would be, riding around in a gold spaceship!”

Sensing his opening, Sora takes a deep breath before replying with, “I wonder if Tel would like that. He’s so fussy about that thing, y’know?”

Azlyn snorts, flipping up into a handstand. “No kidding.” She does a few push-ups. “He’s like that with everything else too, of course.”

Sora nods. “And, uh, has that been bothering you lately? The fussing, or whatever?”

Raising one eyebrow, Azlyn pushes up and flips backwards, landing on her feet. She glares down at her friend. “What is this, couple’s therapy?” she asks, an unmistakable edge in her voice. “You tryin’ to shrink me, Sora?”

The Keybearer rolls his eyes, leaning back against the stone wall. “Gee, Az, you don’t have to jump all over me, okay? I just…” He looks away for a moment. When he turns back, his eyes are undeniably wet. “I hate to see you and Tel fighting like you have been okay? It isn’t right, Az. You two are supposed to be…” His arms flail, searching for the words. Eventually he just gives up, sliding down the wall into a sitting position.

“It has gotten worse, hasn’t it?” Azlyn leaps off her rock, joining Sora by the wall. She hunches over, drawing her knees close to her chest. “It’s been like this for a while now. About the last month.”

“What happened?”

“That’s just it.” The knight shoots up, pacing forward quickly. “As far as I can tell, nothing happened!”

Sora nods. “Okay… But, maybe you, like, didn’t even know. Tel’s a sensitive guy. Maybe something with the wedding…?”

Azlyn scoffs, dramatically increasing her pacing speed. “The wedding, right. Don’t even get me started on that! Every time we’re together, that’s all he wants to talk about. Him and Queen Minnie and the king and, and, basically the whole freaking world has been put on hold to focus on this tedious bullshit about, like, place settings or whatever!”

Sora just looks up at her, blinking. “That, uh, that seemed like a sore subject.”

She nods. “Sure is. And Telary’s the worst about it, y’know. Even when we’re all alone, he only wants to know what I think about the wedding.”

“So… You don’t care?”

“Of course I care!” Azlyn yelps, stopping on a dime and turning to Sora with a look that could send a Heartless scurrying. Seeing the effect her exclamation has on the Keybearer, she relaxes herself a bit. “I care about being married to Tel, though. Not all this fancy crap. If the big ceremony and junk wasn’t so important to him, I’d have already grabbed him and ran off. Just the two of us.” She gets a strange look on her face, wistful but with an odd undertone.

“Uh, Az?”

The look disappears, replaced by something Sora rarely sees on his friend: apprehension.

“There, uh, well there might be something else,” she says after a moment, her voice shaking. “But it’s, uh… Well I don’t have a problem with it but, y’know, for you it could be a little uncomfortable.”

This conversation just continues to throw the Keybearer. Azlyn’s never been one to care much about other’s discomfort. For her to find a subject uncomfortable is more than a little scary. But this could be the key, so…

“Azlyn,” he says plainly, “you and me are sitting here talking about your feelings. It definitely doesn’t get more uncomfortable than that.”

She nods, laughing a little. “Okay, fine then.” She drops down to all fours, leaning in very closely. “We haven’t done it in like three months.”

Well, whaddya know. This is uncomfortable.

“It’s not like the Gummi ship, where it was just us,” she continues.

Sora balks. “Um, I was on that ship too ya know!”

The knight shrugs. “Yeah, well whatever. The point is, Disney Castle is so not the place for lovin’.”

Sora nods. He can imagine, actually. Not that he wants to, but he can.

“You two did, uh, enjoy that,” Sora says after another minute of processing. “Remember I had to put those sticky-notes down on places you couldn’t…”

“Those were rules enough for me!” Azlyn blurts. She settles back on her haunches, thinking. “Of course, that’s it!”

“What’s ‘it’?”

“I know how to solve all our problems!” the knight declares, pushing herself up and into a joyous back-handspring. “This is a vacation, after all! Oh, that’s incredible. Maybe you should give this counseling thing a shot for real. Universe is safe, but there are always gonna be couples in trouble.”

Sora laughs, puffing up a little. “I am pretty great at this, aren’t I?”

Azlyn rolls her eyes fondly. “Sure thing.” She pauses, a look that Sora knows as her ‘idea face’ popping up suddenly. She looks at him, as sincere as he’s ever seen her. “That, uh, there’s another thing.” The pacing starts up again. “This is gonna sound kinda weird, ‘cause of how I just talked about how I hate all this ceremony stuff, but…”

Sora stands up, going over to his friend and putting himself in her path. Thankfully, she stops before they collide. “Anything you need Azlyn. We’re friends, after all.”

“Friends!” Azlyn blurts, pointing at Sora. “Yes, we’re friends, exactly. And there’s this thing, a totally dumb thing, of course. But, y’know. The bride and groom like, I guess, have people stand up with ‘em and stuff. The groom has one, and then the bride does too. A special person, one each. So, I don’t have a lotta friends I can ask, y’know, basically just you and Tel, and I’m marrying Tel, so… So I need you to stand up with me. Be the, uh, whatchamacallit.”

For a long moment Sora is completely lost. He takes a moment to mentally sort out his friend’s speech. When he arrives at its probable point, a small part of him starts wishing they could go back to talking about Azlyn and Telary’s intimacy problems.

“Azlyn,” he says, trying his best to keep his voice steady. It doesn’t really work. “Did you just ask me to be your Maid of Honor?”
 

KingdomKey

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Oh my god, this is hysterical. xD THAT'S ALL THIS IS ABOUT?! Oh my gosh, oh my goodness. I... I need a minute to breathe! Sora, you really fell into that one. It'd make more sense if Kairi were the maid of honor instead of Sora, cause there has to be a best man. Of course, I wouldn't be shocked if Sora were asked later by Telary to be his best man, unless Kairi gets asked first? Anyways, oh my god, this is ridiculous. In a weird way, I can understand the uh, tension of not getting physical putting a person down, but c'mon, if you don't want a big fancy wedding, then just say so! Compromise! Negotiate! Azlyn, you should tell Telary how you feel! Hands down my favorite chapter right now. Sora makes a good therapist. XD <3
 

TelaryCri

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I guess you're right, but do you really think Azlyn wouldn't just LOVE to have a great running joke like Sora being her bridesmaid that she can milk forever and ever? And I'll give you an exclusive: there's one last layer yet to be revealed in Azlyn and Telary's problem.
 
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KingdomKey

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I guess you're right, but do you really think Azlyn wouldn't just LOVE to have a great running joke like Sora being her bridesmaid that she can milk forever and ever? And I'll give you an exclusive: there's one last layer yet to be revealed in Azlyn and Telary's problem.

Sora as a bridesmaid forever and ever would be hysterical. Just thinking about it cracks me up. xD Nooooo! The horror! I was afraid this was too easy of a problem to solve between Azlyn and Telary! </3 My munny is on them disagreeing about where to live after they're married. And I can't imagine Azlyn being pregnant after three months of nothing. lol. Unless she doesn't know it. o.o ​Otherwise, maybe Telary wants to save that for after their married, but that seems like an odd thing to do now. Anyways, I can't think of what the other problem could be.
 

TelaryCri

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Chapter IV: Father and Son, pt. 1
They leave for Agrabah in the morning. The sun is rising, lighting up the ocean’s shore in a way that immediately reminds Sora of Destiny Islands. If things had gone according to plan, he’d be back there right now. He doesn’t mind though. As wonderful as it had been to get back to his old, simple life, it can wait another day. In fact, an adventure with Aladdin was just what he needed to break up the monotony.

“No, there’s absolutely no way!” Cassim declares, drawing Sora out of his contemplations. The King of Thieves stands, arms crossed, before the hovering Carpet. His glare is sharp and disapproving. “You’re liable to fall off that thing and break your neck!”

“C’mon, Dad!” Aladdin protests, hopping on Carpet and doing a few fancy flying tricks. “Carpet is great transportation. I trust it with my life!”

“Well I don’t!” Cassim shoots back, scowling at the sight of his son’s aerial tomfoolery. “We’ll go on horseback.” He turns away, stalking over to his great black mare. He gives it a fond little pet. “Horses were good enough for my father, and for his father before him! And they’ve certainly proven good enough for me!”

“In my day,” Azlyn mocks in an exaggerated old-man accent, “we had to walk through the desert twice every day to get to school. Uphill! Both ways!”

“In the snow!” Sora chimes in. Cassim casts a perturbed look their way, and both offworlders quickly clam up.

“Fine.” Carpet returns to the ground, depositing Aladdin before a brown-furred horse. Before mounting, the groom-to-be gives his friend an apologetic look. “Don’t worry, Carpet. He’ll come around.”

“Azlyn and I’ll ride you!” Sora assures the aeronautical rug. Carpet seems to perk up, sweeping forward to buck the pair on its back.

With all transportation considerations settled, the group takes off. As they ride along the cliff, a trio of mismatched figures stalks the shore below.

“They’re off,” Gilgamesh reports, one hand to his ear.

“Good,” Pete says with an agreeable nod. He turns to Sa'luk. “Alright, buddy boy. Let’s go say hi to your ol’ pals, hm?”

The burly thief steps up to the shore, raising his hand and uttering the magic words to open his former gang’s hidden hideaway.

“I don’t see why we’re wasting time with this,” Gilgamesh grumbles as the mountain begins rumbling.

Pete rolls his eyes. “A little lesson in villainy, new guy.” A vicious smile lights up the fat cat’s jowly face. “It’s never a bad idea to pick up a few minions where ya can.”

The quartet take off, sprinting across the opened ocean pathway with a squadron of Heartless on their heels. Hungry Heartless, eager for a meal.

KH-KH-KH

“Got any fours?” Kairi asks, looking up from the cards in her hands. Telary sits across from her, examining his own assortment.

“Yeah,” he says after a moment, drawing out the requested card and handing it over. She takes it, smiling as she places her pair of fours in a pile.

It’s nice, sitting out in the palace gardens together. Playing cards may not be the most stimulating activity, but at least there’s no feelings of awkwardness or tension. A breezy activity for a breezy day.

Besides, it really helps keep off any lingering worries about Sora and Azlyn.

Suddenly galloping can be heard, though that sound is quickly overcome by the noise of the massive palace gates pulling open. Smiling, the redheads rise from the table they’d been sitting at and make their way to the garden’s main path.

Aladdin and his father ride together on their thundering brown steeds, Sora and Azlyn flying above on Carpet. Sora cheerfully waves to the pair, hopping off the flying rug as Al and his father pull their horses to a stop.

“Hey guys,” Sora cheerfully greets them, immediately going to Kairi and putting an arm around her.

Azlyn hops off Carpet and makes a beeline for Telary. Before the wizard can say anything, she leaps up to deliver a scorching hot kiss to his lips. It lasts for several seconds, until everyone’s kind of uncomfortable.

“Uh, you’re back!” Kairi happily declares as Azlyn pulls away and gives her fiancée a wink. The Princess of Heart looks to the older man she recognizes from the Oracle’s picture. “You must be Aladdin’s father.”

“Indeed I am, young lady,” he replies with a small bow. “Cassim, at your service.”

“It’s very nice to meet you, sir,” Telary says, one eye still on Azlyn. The knight keeps grinning at him in a way he can’t quite decipher. “We’ve heard a lot… Well actually we’ve heard nothing about you!”

“I see things are going well around here,” Aladdin says, noting the new wedding pavilion standing tall above the palace gardens (though it still looks miniature next to the palace itself).

“Better than well, Al!” says the familiar voice of Genie. The big blue lug comes flying in, grinning like the loon he is. “Things are spectacular!” Looking around quickly, he leans in closer to the group. “And you don’t have to worry about security, ‘cause I got it covered! This place is locked up tighter than a debutante’s tuchus! Cameras, lasers, armed guards, vicious attack dogs, we’ve got it all my friend! No lowlifes this time.” He considers something for a second. “Well, other than the parrot.”

Iago squawks indignantly from his perch on Cassim’s shoulder.

“That’s, uh, great Genie,” Aladdin says with a forced smile. He gestures over to his father. “Now, I’d like you to meet…”

“I’d just like to see that King of Thieves try anything this time!” Genie continues, poofing into a musclebound giant in a green tank top and camo pants. “That scumbag gets within an inch of your wedding, and it’s-” He quickly adopts an Austrian accent “-hasta la vista, baby!”

“Uh, Genie,” Sora says, glancing nervously at Aladdin’s father. “There’s something you should…”

“I almost wish he’d try a stunt like that again!” It seems that Genie has well and truly latched onto this tangent. “I’ll turn him into a flea! A tiny harmless little flea! Then I’ll put that flea in a box…”

“Genie!” Aladdin, Sora, and Azlyn all shout at once. Finally, the big blue lug seems to snap out of his rant.

“Allow me to introduce…!” Iago declares with a showman’s smile, flapping one wing at Cassim.

Aladdin’s father sticks up his chin haughtily. “The King of Thieves!”

Genie’s jaw drops to the ground with a loud gonk! Suddenly there’s a walkie talkie in his hands, and he begins screaming into it. “Code Red, Code Red! This is not a drill, we have infiltration! Double time, go, go , GO!”

Before anyone can say anything, an alarm starts blaring. Steel security gates fall over all possible entrances, spotlights go up even though it’s day time. Over the palace wall at every possible spot come a legion of Genie’s dressed in law enforcement uniforms. Kairi’s eyes go wide, but Aladdin, Iago, and the original trio just roll theirs in exasperation.

SWAT teams, army commandos, Spartan-IIIs, cowboys, Stormtroopers, the Kingsguard, and the defensive line of the College All-American Football team surround the group with weapons drawn.

“Don’t attempt move, or we’ll be shooting ourselves.”

“Genie!” Aladdin yells frustratedly, pushing through the huge crowd to reach the original Genie, now dressed in the uniform of a four-star general.

“Stay back Al, this guy’s got a rap sheet as long as the wait for Kingdom Hearts III,” Genie cautions his friend. “Well, almost.”

“Genie,” Aladdin says evenly. “This is my dad.”

Genie conjures a huge glass of water, takes a big gulp, and immediately spits it back out again. Iago squawks angrily as the water hits him. Cassim crosses his arms, scowling at the big blue lug.

“Stand down men,” OG Genie orders. “Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.” Immediately the rest of the cavalry disappears in a huge puff of smoke. Genie starts marching forward, fire in his eyes. “If you’re Al’s dad and the King of Thieves, then I’ve got just one question for you!”

“What’s that?” Cassim spits defiantly, chin held high.

“Will ya be havin’ the chicken or the seabass?”

Taken aback by Genie’s sudden change into a waiter, Cassim can only laugh. Everyone else relaxes too, chiming in with their own chuckles.

“This happen often?” Kairi surreptitiously whispers to Sora.

The Keybearer nods. “All the time, oddly enough.”

“Okay, Dad,” Aladdin says, putting an arm around Cassim and leading him up the palace steps. “You should meet Jasmine and…”

“HOLD UP there, Al!” Genie poofs to the top of the stairs, dressed in a crossing guard’s vest and holding a big red STOP sign. “Maybe you wanna rethink meeting the fiancée and father-in-law right away, eh?” He gives Cassim a significant look.

Azlyn grimaces. “He’s right. You don’t the sultan meeting your dad while he’s looking like that.”

Cassim frowns. “What’s wrong with the way I’m dressed?”

“Well, it’s rather a faux pas to wear the same thing twice,” Genie says with a shake of his head.

“Especially if the last time you wore it was when you were robbin’ the place!” Iago squawks.

Aladdin grimaces, looking his father over. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“It’d probably be a bad idea to bring up the fact that your dad is the King of Thieves,” Kairi says.

Cassim shrugs. “Alright. What do you want to do about it?”

“That would be my area!” With a snap, Genie replaces Cassim’s thief wear with a fine robe of midnight blue, studded with gems and gold embroidery.

The (secret) King of Thieves gives himself a good looking-over. “Well, how about that? I feel like the sultan himself in these clothes!”

“You look good,” Sora says with a nod. Kairi agrees as well.

“Have you ever thought of growing a beard, Tel?” Azlyn asks her fiancée, a playful growl in her voice. “You’d look all dignified. Hot and dignified.”

The wizard frowns, blushing a little. “Azlyn, this is hardly the place.”

“Well then,” the knight purrs (freakin’ purrs!), placing a hand around the redhead’s bicep. He moves to follow the others heading into the palace, but she keeps him back. “Let’s find a place, hm?”

Telary just looks down at her, face scrunched up in confusion and an undeniable hint of disgust. “Really Azlyn, I want to make sure Cassim meeting the Sultan goes well.”

“Fine,” Azlyn huff, crossing her arms and pouting. “Let’s go listen to a bunch of old people talk instead of solving our problem.”

“Our prob… What are you talking about?”

“Nevermind. Find out later.” Huffing indignantly, the knight stomps after the others.

Telary just watches her go for a long moment, unsure what to make of the young woman’s behavior.

“Jasmine,” Aladdin is saying as the wizard makes his way into the throne room, “Your Majesty, I’d like you to meet my father.”

Cassim bows deeply. “It is quite an honor to be in your presence, Your Excellences.”

Jasmine opens her mouth, but before she can say anything her father is leaping off his throne, clapping ecstatically.

“The honor is all ours, of course!” The sultan takes both of Aladdin’s father’s hands and gives them vigorous pumps. “And no more of that bowing business. We’re to be in-laws, after all!”

Cassim gently pulls the sultan away and steps up to Jasmine. Smiling brilliantly, he reaches out and gives her hand a single kiss.

“You, my dear princess, are even more beautiful than Aladdin had described,” he says sincerely, ever the charmer.

Jasmine smiles, bowing her head. “I’m so glad to finally meet you. I’ve long imagined what the man who brought Aladdin into this world would be like.” She kisses the old man’s cheek. “You certainly haven’t disappointed.”

Cassim blushes, looking away.

“This is really sweet,” Kairi comments, leaning into Sora.

“Everyone looks so happy,” Aladdin says, mostly to himself. “It’s better than I imagined.”

“Yep,” Iago comments, looking smug. “And all we have to do to keep it going is maintain a great big lie!”

Everyone fixes the parrot with a dirty look.
This is all I have of this chapter (the 3rd to last already, if you can believe it). Might be a while before I get the rest out, just a heads up.
 

KingdomKey

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DISGUST?! TELARY WHAT THE HECK IS YOUR PROBLEM?! (>_<)/ Azlyn was trying- No! No, no, no! Did his feelings change for Azlyn? Is he so freaking absorbed about the damn wedding?! The kiss is now void and meaningless until this is explained! I could get it if Telary wants adventure, but omg I'm so shocked right now. Also laughed at the fourth wall breaking on KH3 from Geine. And the brief mention of the flea and the box, cause Emperors New Groove anyone? <3 At least Genie is easy to come around. Good chapter as usual.

And thanks for the heads up. :) Take your time, cause the wait is always worth it. <3
 

TelaryCri

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Chapter IV: Father And Son, pt. 2
“I’ve realized something,” Gilgamesh says to Pete, a thoughtful look on his face. They, along with Sa'luk and the newly formed legion of Heartless that had once been the Forty Thieves, stand in the midst of the mountain hideaway.

The fat cat turns to his combative partner, frowning. “Oh? And just what is it ya realized? That you’re a big blowhard?”

Gilgamesh scowls. “No. I’ve been going over your proposed plan: Wait for the thief king to steal the Oracle, take it from him when he returns here, and find what it is we’re searching for.”

“Congratulations,” Pete deadpans. “The ol’ memory’s still workin’. Toodle-doo for you!”

“But I’ve realized this,” he says with a frightening intensity. “At no point in time in this plan do I confront the Keybearer.”

Pete chokes on his own spit. “Uh, oh… Well, y’see, the thing about that is…”

“I will not be denied my prize!” Gilgamesh rages. “Your plan is underhanded and cowardly, meant to avoid conflict. But it is conflict I crave! And I shall have it.”

Before Pete can so much as blink, the red-garbed warrior takes a step forward and unleashes a might punch directly to the face.

“But Mommy,” the fat cat slurs, “I don’t want to go to school today!” Having said that, he faints dead away.

Gilgamesh turns to Sa'luk, who had merely stood by and witnessed the short confrontation between his benefactors.

“I am going now to Agrabah to retrieve the Oracle and grapple with the Keyblade wielder,” he announces. “I know we made certain promise to you, and I shall keep them as is honorable. I will also return with the man Cassim, to whom you made do what you wish. Is that sufficient.”

Sa'luk nods once. “Sounds reasonable to me. As long as I get the font of ultimate knowledge and the satisfaction of killing Cassim with my bare hands, I won’t complain.”

“Good,” Gilgamesh says. “I am off then!”

KH-KH-KH

With Genie around, the old adage about “not wasting any time” can be followed up very strictly. The pavilion is prepared, once again transformed into a fabulous wedding chapel. A short discussion between bride and groom had concluded that everyone they felt was needed at their wedding was already in the palace with them. And thus, the show is to go on in half-an-hour.

As far as Azlyn is concerned, that’s more than enough time for what she has in mind.

The knight drags her fiancée into the room by his wrist, not bothering with gentility or subtlety. As soon as the door is closed, he’s thrown up against it.

He yelps, loudly. “Azlyn, what are…?”

She throws herself at him, smashing her lips against his. He continues to mumble, and not in a very pleased tone. Sensing his resistance, the knight practically flings herself backwards.

“I am trying to fix all our problems here!” she yells, curling her hands into fists.

“What are you talking about?” Telary steps towards her, eyes narrowed in utter confusion. “How does jumping me, when we should be preparing for our friends’ wedding, stop us from fighting?”

“That’s what’s got us so upset, isn’t it?” Azlyn shoots back. “I mean, c’mon, it’s been months! Don’t tell me that has nothing to do with us?”

Telary shakes his head, turning away. “I cannot believe that you would think that I was so shallow. That our relationship was so easy to disrupt with some trivial…”

“Trivial?” The knight lashes out frustratedly, striking one of the bedposts and nearly cracking it in half. “If you want to talk about trivial, why don’t we talk about all those stupid meaningless wedding details you’re always obsessing about?”

“What are you saying?”

Azlyn literally growls. “Every little part of our wedding has to be planned to you, all the stupid little…”

“Well,” the wizard scoffs, “forgive me for actually caring about the most important day of our lives! Especially since, apparently, you don’t!”

“That is the dumbest thing you’ve ever said,” Azlyn counters. “I care so much about us being together! For the past months, all I’ve thought about is us taking off, getting married somewhere away from the castle. You just seem to care about some big fancy party!”

Telary pauses, his eyes darting around in his head as if the answer to some desperate question is written somewhere in the room. “Azlyn, you love ‘big fancy’ parties. Every one of your birthday parties has been bigger and grander than the last. You commissioned a thirty-foot high chocolate fountain! And suddenly me wanting a floral print on the napkins is ‘obsessing’? That’s absurd! Something else is obviously…”

“Absurd, am I?” Azlyn interrupts, outraged. “Well, it’s nice to know exactly what you…”

And then Sora comes barreling into the room. “Trouble, guys! Heartless in the palace!”

KH-KH-KH


As quietly as humanly possible, Cassim sneaks down a palace corridor. Iago rests perched on his shoulder, providing navigation. After all, if there’s one room in the palace whose location the parrot has memorized, it’s the royal treasure chamber.

The King of Thieves stops before the gilded double doors that lead into the room. He frowns at them, thinking hard.

“What is the matter with you?” Iago squawks. “We ain’t got much time before the guard patrol comes around. Hurry it up already.”

Cassim sighs. “I know, bird, I know. But, I just can’t help but wonder… Is it really worth it?”

“Of course it’s worth it, ya moron!” Iago flaps in front of his partner’s face, glaring at him stonily. “This is the culmination of your entire life’s work, dummy!”

“I know, I know. But Aladdin…”

“Oh, brother,” Iago whines with an exaggerated eye roll. “Look, if you’re worried about the kid, don’t be! All ya gotta do is nab the stick, stash it, and you can still make it to his dumb wedding without him being the wiser. We take off as soon as the kids are off on the honeymoon, and by the time anyone finds out what we did, it’s easy living with the golden hand.”

That seems to get Cassim’s resolve raised once more. Reaching into his pockets, he pulls out a set of lock picks. For a man with his long career of thievery, getting through the door’s lock is child’s play.

The doors swing open, revealing a room so full of gold and jewels that it could give the Cave of Wonders a run for its munny. But when Cassim enters the room, all of that means as little to him as the disguised rocks the cave’s treasures really are. His eyes are only for the Oracle. It rests on a pedestal in the room’s center, looking as if it’s been waiting for him.

“Finally,” Cassim breathes, stepping forward. With a few quick strides he’s across the room, the staff in his hands. “After all this time…”

“Unhand the rod.”

Startled, convinced that the guards have discovered them, Iago and Cassim’s gazes fly to the door. A tall man stands there, dressed in a red armor and robe that definitely don’t belong to any palace guard. And even if the clothes could convincingly pass, there’s no way the crowd of Bandit Heartless could.

KH-KH-KH

“This way,” Kairi says, confidently pointing down a corridor. She’s trying to lead the group, but every time it seems she’s becoming its head, Sora cuts her off.

“Heartless, are you sure?” Telary asks, running beside Azlyn as if nothing had just happened between them.
His sister nods. “I was going to get ready, and suddenly I just felt it. Jasmine did too. Must be a Princess of Heart thing.”

“Guys!” Aladdin’s voice calls from a connecting hallway. He races down the corridor, smoothly meeting up with the offworlder group. “Jasmine told me there was a Heartless emergency. Genie’s with her, making sure they don’t go after her again.”

Sora shoots a concerned look at Kairi. “He’s right, that might be why they’re here. Maybe you should…”

“Not happening, Sora,” the girl declares fiercely. She waves the Keyblade in her hand. “I can help more here.”

There’s no time to argue, as they’ve reached the source of the Darkness. Even without Kairi to guide them it would have been incredibly obvious at this point. Nearly a dozen Bandits wait in front of an elaborate door, positioned for guard duty.

The heroic quintet falls on them, but there’s no opportunity for surprise with all of them thundering down the hallway like that. They’re outnumbered, but not outclassed.

Sora immediately takes on two of the creatures at once, swords clashing against Keyblade. Kairi knocks her shoulder into one Bandit, then raises her blade against another. Telary fries one with a fireball, and Azlyn rams one into the wall so hard it dissipates on the spot.

Aladdin, scimitar in hand, is about to go for a Heartless when he hears the sounds of a struggle from inside the open room. It takes a brief second to register that these are the doors to the treasure room, and it’s just after that he recognizes the squawks emanating from within.

Rushing inside, the former street rat is confronted with a sight that at once disgusts and terrifies him. His father, Iago hovering above him, battles against a man in red. It’s good old fashioned fisticuffs for the pair, but Cassim seems outmatched.

“Get away from my dad!” Aladdin yells, rushing for the large intruder.

Gilgamesh turns at the sound of a new voice. He takes in the charging Aladdin, easily thrusting out an arm to knock him to the ground. As the young man falls, he spots his true target. Grinning, Gilgamesh draws out his polearm and stalks towards Sora.

The Keybearer is too busy to notice a new opponent approaching. He turns the Keyblade to slide the Bandit’s sword off, then stabs the creature through its torso. Just as it’s dissipating, he hears the whistling sound of a weapon stabbing through the air. Reacting on pure instinct, he turns and catches the spear’s metal end on his blade.

“Finally!” Gilgamesh roars, shoving harder. Sora does his best to hold on, sliding back a few inches against the floor.

“Uh, do I know you?” Sora asks, utterly confused by this strange man’s yelling. “I’m pretty sure I don’t know you.”

“I am Gilgamesh!” the armored man cries, still sounding utterly triumphant despite not having done much. “The greatest warrior the worlds have ever known. Your blade is mine!”

Sora disengages their lock, stepping back a few feet. “Sure, buddy. Like I never heard that one before!”

The pair break into a duel, up and down the corridor as if in a dance. Kairi knocks back a Luna Bandit, turning to where her boyfriend is locked in single combat. After a quick glance to make sure Azlyn and Telary are doing alright, she rushes after them.

A blast of ice knocks away a Heartless creeping up on Azlyn, allowing the knight enough time to slash through the opponent assaulting her front. Turning, she sees a Soldier creeping up on Telary. With a grunt, she hurls her shield into it. In combat, it seems, not even an intensely emotional fight can break their efficiency.

Aladdin and his father work together in the treasure room, Cassim’s fisticuffs and his son’s sword keeping their enemies at bay.

Out in the corridor, Kairi charges for Gilgamesh’s back, leaping forward with her blade held high. She brings it down on the man’s back, bouncing off the armor protecting it.

Gilgamesh flips his polearm upward, the wooden end rising and smacking into Sora’s chin to send him reeling back. He turns, thrusting towards Kairi. She takes a step back and blocks, quickly disengaging. Gilgamesh thrusts again, but she’s able to smack aside his weapon’s tip.

Gilgamesh furrows his eyebrows, focusing his gaze on the redhead’s Keyblade. “What’s this? Another?”

“That’s right, buddy!” Kairi declares, brandishing her weapon. “Let’s see how you handle…”

“Leave her alone!” Sora calls out from behind Gilgamesh. The warrior turns to see him standing defiantly, Kingdom Key held high. “You’re such a tough guy, come on and try your luck against a real Keyblade wielder!”

“Excuse me?” Kairi scoffs, dropping her combat stance in surprise and frustration.

“Who’s your new friend?” Azlyn asks. She and Telary rush to Kairi’s side, weapons held at the ready. “Can I kick his ass?”

Gilgamesh takes a look around himself, internally flinching. Four-on-one odds are not very good ones, especially when two opponents wield such legendary weapons as Keyblades. The universe’s greatest warrior he may be, but he’s no fool.

“Hiding behind your allies!” the large man scoffs, trying his best to hide the nerves soaking through his every word. “How pitiful!”

“Um…” Sora says, raising an eyebrow. “I’m not trying to…”

“We shall meet again, on a more even battlefield!” Gilgamesh rumbles, summoning up a portal like Pete showed him. “When that day comes… Well, you’ll be pretty sorry, is all I have to say about that!”

With that stunningly underwhelming line, the mysterious warrior takes his leave.

“Any idea what that was all about?” Azlyn asks the group. No one has a good answer for her.

“Are you alright?” Aladdin asks, emerging from the treasure room with Cassim behind him.

“We’re fine,” Sora says with a cheerful nod. He doesn’t notice Kairi’s grim frown, or the several feet of distance Azlyn suddenly puts between her and Telary.

“That is great to hear!” Iago squawks, drawing everyone’s attention to where he’s perched on Cassim’s shoulder. “Good thing everybody’s alright. Well, gotta go!” He flaps into the air, turning to fly away down the hallway. He doesn’t get far before Aladdin grabs him out of the air.

“What were you doing in there?” Aladdin asks his father with narrowed eyes. “And don’t say you ran in when you heard the Heartless attack. You were clearly already inside when they showed up.”

Cassim sighs, hanging his head heavily.

“You were after the oracle again, weren’t you?” Al yells. “Is that why you came here, dad? It is isn’t it? You never cared about my wedding at all!”

“Son…” Cassim begins to say, reaching out to his boy. Aladdin is having none of that, stepping out of the man’s reach. Cassim scowls. “Well, what did you expect, boy? After all, I am the King of Thieves!”

“What?”

The soft, feminine voice draws everyone’s attention. Jasmine stands at the end of the hall, her father and Genie by her side. Also with the princess, unfortunately, is Razoul and a squadron of palace guards.

“Is this true, my lad?” the sultan asks, shocked.

Aladdin sighs deeply. “Yes, Your Highness. I found him and Iago in the treasure room. They were after the Oracle.” He fixes his father with a disgusted look. “That’s all he came here for.”

The guards storm forward without preamble, grabbing Cassim and wrestling him into iron restraints. Iago attempt to flee, but Razoul nabs the bird in one hand.

“It seems our street rat is but one in a long line,” the guard captain scowls. “Shall I take this villain away, Your Highness?”

The sultan still seems quite crestfallen, but manages to get himself together quickly. “The law is clear. Send both of them to the dungeon immediately.”

“Dungeon!” Iago squawks.

“For Life.”

“LIFE!!!” The parrot struggles in Razoul’s grip, but all to no avail. Everyone present can only look on in a mix of sadness and horror.

Sora can’t help but feel some anger as well. He’d had high hopes for Aladdin’s new relationship with his father, and to see it so thoroughly shredded like this, through a deliberate act by Cassim, really gets him upset. To say nothing of Iago, who had supposedly turned over a new feather long ago.

Sighing, Sultan looks to Aladdin. “You may have this chance to say goodbye, my boy. There will not be another.”

Aladdin shakes his head and stalks away. “I’ve got nothing to say to him.”

Razoul and the guards drag Cassim and Iago away, someone clasping irons around the wrists of Aladdin’s father. Iago keeps squawking in protest, until finally someone clamps his beak shut as well. Through it all, the King of Thieves never takes his eyes off the retreating form of his son. For all he knows, this could be the last chance he has.

“Well, this wasn’t how the family reunion was supposed to go,” Genie sighs, floating down a side corridor. Jasmine turns to run after Aladdin, and the sultan takes his leave as well.

“Not a great night, huh?” Sora declares, shaking his head as he turns to his companions. Still mulling over the events of the past few minutes, he fails to notice the tension that permeates the air. “Just who was that crazy guy with the Heartless? Why did he attack the treasure room?”

“Maybe you should have Telary do some digging,” Azlyn says as she stomps up the corridor. “He’s all about asking a million dumb questions today.”

“Wait, I thought…” Sora says, watching her go in bewilderment. That seems a lost cause, especially with Telary walking the other way, so he turns to Kairi. “He said he wanted to take the Keyblade.”

“Then I’ve got nothing to worry about, do I?” Kairi says, her arms crossed tightly. “He’s probably just after the ‘real Keyblade wielder’ anyway, right?”

Sora winces at his girlfriend’s clear accusation. “Kairi, what I said there… I just wanted to take the heat off you! To protect…!”

“I know,” she cuts him off, sighing deeply. “Thank you, Sora, really. How ever could I go on without your constant protection?” Scoffing loudly, she turns to follow Telary.

Sora closes his eyes, groaning. Things are not looking good for Team Keyblade right now.
Yep, the inevitable "everything goes wrong" chapter!
 

KingdomKey

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*sobs in a corner*

Oh my god, this breaks my heart. Everyone is fighting with each other. I'm not sure how I'll handle it. I feel bad for Sora and Azlyn the most, cause neither one are doing so well with their significant others. On top of that, poor Aladdin. Your father does care, but he also wants to complete his life long mission. Something Aladdin may understand someday. Or so I hope. In the meantime, I'm going to wrap myself up in a blanket and pretend Azlyn and Telary are okay. That Sora and Kairi will patch things up. You really know how to stab me in the heart, TelaryCri. xD
 

TelaryCri

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Chapter IV: Father And Son, pt. 3
Sora roams the corridors of Agrabah’s palace alone. Try as he might, he just can’t get the look on Kairi’s face out of his head. He’d really screwed up back there, and he wanted to apologize. But he also knew how Kairi operated. She’d need some more time. At least it seemed that she and Tel had gotten closer. Not much of a silver lining, but at this point he’ll take what he can get. Azlyn and Telary seemed to have not solved their problems yet either, maybe even worsened them. And after two days, there’s still been no wedding.

Looked at from almost any angle, this vacation is turning out to be a real bust.

“Sora.”

The Keybearer nearly jumps out of his skin, emitting a less-than-dignified screech. He turns with Keyblade drawn, only to stop when he finds himself staring Aladdin in the face. His old friend looks quite shocked by what he just witnessed.

“Calm down, Sora!” Aladdin admonishes him. “We don’t need anyone else finding out about this.”

“About what?” Azlyn asks, appearing just as suddenly behind Al as he had behind Sora. The former street rat jumps slightly himself, and Sora can’t help but feel just a bit of satisfaction.

Aladdin sighs. “I guess there won’t be any harm in telling you too. C’mon!”

The offworlders follow him through the palace’s corridors, their journey ending inside the groom-to-be’s room.

“Okay, Aladdin,” Sora says as he closes the door, “tell us what this is about already.”

“I thought you’d guess by now,” Aladdin says, going to a trunk in the corner of the room and rummaging through it. “We’re freeing my father.”

Sora’s eyebrows climb high on his forehead. “We’re gonna what?”

“Jailbreak,” Azlyn says with satisfaction. “Nice. Just the thing after the day I’ve had.”

“Okay, just think about this Aladdin,” Sora says, trying to emulate how Telary sounds when he’s trying to dissuade someone from a bad idea. “I know you want your dad back, but…”

Aladdin scoffs loudly, shaking his head. “No Sora, I don’t want him back. I want him gone!”

The Keybearer stops short. “Huh? What do you mean by that?”

“Bringing him to Agrabah was a huge mistake,” the former street rat declares. “He’s still my father, and I don’t want to see him rot in the dungeon, but…” The young man sighs, his shoulders sagging. “I don’t want him in my life either. And there’s only one way to get him out of it for good.”

Finally, it seems Al has found what he’s been searching for. With something almost like a flourish, he pulls out a long sheet of dark blue cloth. He fiddles with it a bit, adjusting things while Sora and Azlyn watch.

When Aladdin finally turns around, he’s wearing the silk as a cloak, hood and mask included. With the lower half of his face covered and his eyes obscured in shadow, he looks startlingly like the King of Thieves.

“Not bad,” Azlyn says, nodding appreciatively.

Sora sighs, shaking his head. “This is probably a bad idea, but you’re my friend Aladdin. I’ll help however I can. Whatever it takes.”

“I’m glad to hear you say that, Sora,” Aladdin says, a slight shifting of the fabric over his mouth indicating a smile. “Because I’ll need your help to get my dad out.”

Sora nods, already getting a clear idea on his role in the operation.

“Say, Al,” Azlyn says, “you got another one of those cloaks? I don’t fancy getting recognized by that moron Razoul.”

Aladdin shakes his head. “You’re not coming to the dungeon with us, Azlyn.”

The knight frowns. “Why not?”

“Because,” the former street rat explains. “There’s something I need you to get for me.”

KH-KH-KH


“Just like I remember it,” Iago sighs, looking around him and Cassim’s shared cell. Chains hold both he and Cassim tight, long enough to allow both some room to maneuver while still keeping their range of motion limited. Especially Iago, who can only stare up at the barred window high above, wishing for the chance to take flight through it and into the moonlit night. “Bleak, dank, rats hiding in the shadows. Of course, the other times I was here I was with Jafar. We used to come down here all the time and taunt prisoners.”

Cassim glowers at the talkative bird.

The parrot shrugs. “I know, not very nice of us. But hey, those were different times!” He sighs deeply. “Maybe, all things considered, I do deserve this.”

Cassim’s anger turns to a sad kind of agreement. “I certainly do. I was never there for my son when he needed me before, and now that I am here, I’ve only caused him grief. Perhaps I should just stay here until I rot.”

“I don’t think so.”

The cell’s occupants look up with open mouths, focusing on two figures crouched outside the window. One figure sinuously slides through the bar’s, leaps off the ledge, grabs a high plank of wood, and gracefully flips down to the floor while his cloak billows out behind him. The other attempts a similar maneuver, but ends up missing the plank and crashing hard into the cell’s stone floor.

Sora quickly springs to his feet, moaning a little. Aladdin hardly pays his friend any mind, stepping into the moonlight and throwing back his hood.

“Al!” Iago cries in pure ecstasy. “You came for me!”

“Son…” Cassim breathes, all other words lost to him.

“There’s only one condition to this rescue,” Aladdin announces coldly. “Once you’re out of the city, you never come back to Agrabah. Ever.”

Cassim hangs his head wearily. “You have my promise on that, son.”

“But I got a poker game on Tuesday!” Iago protests. Al gives him a fierce glare, and the parrot immediately clams up. “Then again, those guys cheat. Who needs ‘em?”

Aladdin nods, and Sora steps forward with Keyblade in hand. A single wave of the blade is all it takes to snap the prisoners’ cuffs open.

“Handy talent you’ve got there,” Cassim comments. Turning to Aladdin, he asks, “So, what’s the rest of your escape plan.”

“Just give me a few minutes, then let Sora lead you out.” The former street rat steps up to the cell door, which Sora quickly unlocks. “I’ll occupy the guards.”

Cassim frowns. “Is this really what you want, boy? If they see you…”

Aladdin snorts, reaching up to throw the cloak’s disguise over his face. Cassim’s stomach can’t help but turn at the sight before him. All dressed up like that, his son looks every bit the King of Thieves.

“Trust me, they won’t.” With one last nod, Aladdin slips off down the torch lit hallway.

KH-KH-KH


Guard duty in Agrabah is a dirty, tiring, thankless job. You’re either cooped up in the cold darkness of the dungeon, or patrolling the hot and dusty city streets; there are thieves and urchins everywhere to chase down; and anymore, that bleeding heart do-gooder Aladdin is likely to just pardon any lawbreaker with a convincing enough sob story.

All of this pales in comparison, of course, to listening to Razoul ramble on and on. Usually the good captain is huffing, puffing, and cursing up a storm (more often than not about Aladdin). But tonight it seems worse, for the blowhard thug is taking the rare opportunity to indulge in his true passion: gloating.

“When the sultan presents me with my award for capturing the King of Thieves,” the captain rambles, primping in a small hanging mirror, “of course I shall remember all the little people who got me where I am today. By little people I mean you.”

The thin guard, Hakim, sighs heavily to his heavyset partner, Fazahl. “Everybody must look little when you’re riding atop that huge ego of his.”

Razoul is hardly fazed by the insult. “Now, now, no sour grapes out of the two of you. After all, it… WHAT?”

The captain’s sudden outburst startles the henchmen duo, who whirl around in time with him. The sight before them draws out gasps of their own: the King of Thieves, dressed the same as he was the day of the palace raid, stands in the corridor.

“How could this be?” Fazahl wheezes, frozen as the man they though their prisoner flees down the hall. “What kind of man could…?”

“He is no man!” Hakim yelps. “He is a demon!”

Razoul bellows, pushing his dimwitted lackeys aside and rushing through the door. “It doesn’t matter if he’s a man or demon or, or, or your Great-Aunt Shirley, he won’t be getting away! Sound the alarm!”

KH-KH-KH


“There he goes! After him!”

Aladdin hardly registers the shout, one of many flung up by the parade of palace and city guards on his trail. He leads them all on a merry chase, unable to keep himself from smiling underneath the mask of his disguise. It’s been a while since he’s felt this rush, the law on his tail and nothing but quick feet and quicker wits to get him away. His life in the palace with Jasmine is wonderful, and he wouldn’t trade anything for it. But the streets, in some small part of his heart, will always feel like home.

With a mighty leap he crosses to another rooftop, three men hot on his trail and just seconds behind. He spares a brief glance at them, turning his head just in time to spot the inevitable “surprise” blockade springing up in front of him. With a small chuckle, he turns on a dime, leaping onto a long tapestry hanging off a high tower.

The former street rat quickly shimmies up the cloth, headed for a high bridge that should provide a perfect escape opportunity. He quickly passes a lower passage, footsteps echoing out from its doorway.

He misses another sound, however: the sound of cloth giving way to a rip. A loud noise echoes through the night, and Aladdin finds himself falling. He manages to turn enough so he lands on the bridge, the impact jolting through his entire body.

He tries to run but isn’t fast enough. A hand secures its grip on the edge of his disguise. Al twists and struggles, trying to get away. Suddenly, he hears another rip, this one closer and louder. His hood flies off, taking the mask with it and exposing his identity to the night air.

And Razoul.

The guard captain gasps at the sight before him. He can hardly believe it, despite his deep and abiding hatred for Princess Jasmine’s fiancée.

“Well, what do we have here?” the brutish man gloats, flinging the cloak over the bridge’s edge. “It seems the fig truly doesn’t far from the tree. I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for this…”

A loud rush of air drowns out Razoul’s words. A figure rises above the bridge’s edge, riding atop the fluttering Carpet. The brute barely has time to gasp before a round metal disc snaps out, smashing into his head and sending him unconscious to the ground.

Aladdin looks up to his savior, half-smiling and half-grimacing. “Nice timing, Azlyn.”

The knight nods, also grim. “Yeah. Just not nice enough.” The sound of more guards hammering up the tower’s stairs echoes through the night. “Hop on.”

Al nods, leaping the few feet over to their transport. He barely has time to settle himself before Carpet zooms off, headed out into the desert.

They find Sora and Cassim, mounted on horseback, just about a mile outside the city. At least one part of the jailbreak plan went properly.

“Everything go smoothly?” Sora inquires.

Aladdin Azlyn share a sad look as they dismount Carpet. “They saw him,” Azlyn states plainly.

Iago quirks a feathery brow. “Uh, wasn’t that kind of the point?”

Cassim shakes his head, closely observing Aladdin’s crestfallen expression. “You mean they got a look at your face, didn’t they?”

Sora and Iago gasp out loud, hands (and wings), flying to their mouths. Azlyn just shakes her head, cursing herself for not coming to Aladdin’s aid faster.

The King of Thieves lets out a sigh, reaching a hand down for his son. “Come on, then. There’s no going back for you now. If we ride quickly, we can be gone before…”

“I’m not leaving,” Aladdin states, plain and simple. The look he gives his father nearly sends the older man rocking off his horse.

“Are you crazy?” Iago squawks, flying in front of his face. “You’re a criminal now!”

“I don’t care!”

For a long moment everyone is still and silent, the only sound that of the wind blowing across the open desert.

“I don’t care,” Aladdin repeats more quietly, looking back over the shoulder at the city. His home, the place where his family is. Where Jasmine is.

“You’re a fool,” Cassim accuses. “The minute they saw your face, your life in Agrabah was over!”

“I may be a fool,” Aladdin shouts, glaring up at his father with daggers in his eyes, “but at least I’m not a coward like you! I’m not going to run away from my responsibilities, the people I love…”

Cassim springs off his horse, marching up to his son with enough force to kick up sand. “I’ve never run away from anything! I did what I did for my family.”

“Then let me do what I have to for mine,” Aladdin sighs. He looks over to Azlyn. “Give it to him.”

Still a bit wary from all the yelling going around, Azlyn slowly reaches down and pulls the Oracle off a strap on her belt. Cassim’s eyes light up at the sight of it, and he reverently takes it into his hands.

“That’s what you’ve wanted all this time, right?” Aladdin asks with so much venom Sora actually winces at the sound of it. “Take it then. Take it and get out of my life. Go find your ultimate treasure. Obviously that’s what you love most in this world.”

Cassim says nothing else, turning away with his cape flapping in the wind. Everyone is silent as he mounts his horse once again.

“Iago,” Aladdin says softly, catching the parrot’s attention. “Go with him.”

The former minion frowns. “Are you sure Al?” His friend nods once. “Okay. If that’s what you want. Good luck kid.”

Iago alights on Cassim’s shoulder. Instantly the King of Thieves snaps at his horse’s rein, the great black stallion rearing back to kick the night air before rushing off. As they set off, Cassim silently swears to himself that he won’t look back.

He breaks his promise just in time to see Aladdin and his friends take off once again for Agrabah.

The thief and his companion ride through the night at top speed, making excellent time to the Forty Thieves’ hideout. The horse is too tired to rush across the parted sea before the mountain’s opening spell runs its course, so Cassim settles for going around to the back entrance.

“Are you sure this is how you wanna play it?” the parrot asks Cassim as they climb the stone staircase. “Because I mean, all ya gotta do is ask the lady a question and we’re off. I ain’t crazy about a forty way split.”

Heading into the hideout’s main room, the King of Thieves frowns severely at the yapping bird. “I could never leave my men out of the spoils.” He sighs heavily. “After all, they’re the only family I have left now.”

“Is that so?”

The voice, rough and gravely, emerges from the shadows and stops Cassim dead in his tracks. He quickly whirls around, gasping at the impossible sight that greets him. Sa'luk stands in the moonlight, grinning smugly at his old rival.

“What the hell?” Iago squawks, zipping over to hide behind Cassim’s head. “I thought Al made fish food outta this guy!”

“I’m afraid I don’t die that easily, Polly,” Sa'luk cracks, his grin turning savage. “Of course, it wasn’t all bad. I even ended up making some new friends.”

A gritty chuckle alerts the trapped duo to another person in the room. Pete stands with his arms crossed, Heartless flanking him on both sides. Gilgamesh stands a few feet away, looking rather cowed after his undignified defeat.

“Good to see you’ve brought the Oracle with you,” Sa'luk says, stepping closer to Cassim. The King of Thieves stands his ground, scowling fiercely. “I believe you have a question for it?”

Cassim frowns. “If you’re so curious, why don’t you ask it?”

“And waste my one question?” Sa'luk chuckles sardonically. “Infinite knowledge might come in handy someday.”

“I guess you’ve got something you’re looking to get answered too, eh Tubby?” Iago quips at Pete. It feels good to pull out some bravado. Sa'luk scares the parrot silly, but no way is the fat cat gonna intimidate him.

Pete nods. “You bet I do, Bird Brain. And I think you’ll appreciate it, too. See, much as an ultimate treasure would trip my trigger, I’m after somethin’ a bit more useful. Something you’re dang familiar with yourself.”

Iago gulps, his mind only reaching one conclusion as to what the fat cat might be referring to. “You… You don’t mean…?”

“Sure do, parrot,” Pete chuckles, his belly shaking. “Once we find his lamp, I’m sure ol’ Jafar’ll be pleased as punch to see ya!”

Iago drops to Cassim’s shoulder, unable to breathe. Terror courses through him at the mere thought of his old master’s return.

“Since our destination is the Vanishing Isle,” Sa'luk says, grabbing Cassim around the arm, “let’s head down to the old boat, eh?”

The party moves quickly to a small fishing boat, not much more than planks and a sail. As soon as they set out into the ocean, Sa'luk uses his gold claws to push Cassim to the prow.

“Go on then,” the brute demands. “Ask!”

Cassim swallows heavily, fear and excitement churning and mixing in his stomach. This is the moment his whole life has been leading to. He hadn’t ever imagined it would involve being held at claw-point, but the King of Thieves supposes life deals you the hand you deserve. With one last look at Iago, a small nod exchanged between the pair, Cassim takes the staff in his hand.

“Oracle!” he declares, voice bold and booming. “Show us the path to the treasures we seek!”

Light explodes from the rod’s green gem, momentarily blinding the villains and sending the Heartless into recoil. When it dims again, the ghostly Oracle floats above the boat.

“You are in luck,” she declares. “The objects you seek have found the same resting place: the Vanishing Isle. Allow me to show you the way.”

The regal spirit waves her hand, a long column of light shooting across the sky and sailing over the horizon. Pete immediately begins barking orders, his Heartless minions proving to be surprisingly competent at sailing.

Sa'luk grabs Cassim and throws him against the mast. He stands over his old rival, leering cruelly.

“You were right back at the hideout, you know,” the brute says. “In an odd way, we are brothers of a sort. Brothers who hate each other, true, but that sort of thing isn’t uncommon.”

Cassim scowls. “If you’re going to kill me, I’d appreciate you dispense with the…”

Sa'luk laughs, cold and sardonic. “Kill you? Why ever would I do that? You deserve to see the treasure you’ve spent your whole life searching for.” The thug leans in, right up in Cassim’s face. “You’re gonna see the Hand real close, I think. After all, I’m going to need something to decorate my hideout when I form the new Forty Thieves.” His grin widens, sadism gleaming on every tooth. “A gold statue would do the trick marvelously, don’t you think?”

Cassim says nothing, turning his head to look back the way the boat had come. He’d figured Sa'luk would keep him around just to gloat, had counted on it in fact. Hopefully, the journey to the Vanishing Isle would give Iago, who slipped away during the Oracle’s light show, plenty of time to round up the cavalry.

“This isn’t over yet,” the King of Thieves swears under his breath, looking up at the trail to his life’s goal. “Not by a long shot.”
 

KingdomKey

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Cassim hanging in their strong. <3 I feel bad for him, cause I think deep down he knows what treasure matters the most to him. And Aladdin, you really know how to stomp on your father's heart. Not that I don't blame you, but still, compromise! Bridge the gap half way! And at least Sora an Azlyn tried to help with the jail break. xD It was a great chapter overall. <3
 

TelaryCri

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Chapter V: The Vanishing Isle, pt. 1
Aladdin stands before the Sultan of Agrabah, his head bowed low in supplication. All his friends wait and watch with bated breath. The only person in the room who seems happy about anything is Razoul, smirking smugly from his place at the sultan’s side.

“I saw it with my own eyes, Your Highness,” the guard captain resorts, nodding in mock solemnity. “The boy was the mastermind of the King of Thieves’ escape. And judging by this blow to my head-” he rubs at the purpling bruise in the center of his forehead “-he had an accomplice.”

“No!” Aladdin protests, shaking his head vigorously.

Sora watches with a gut-churning feeling. He and Azlyn had offered to shoulder some of the blame, but Al was having none of that. As far as he was concerned, Cassim was his responsibility alone.

“Then who struck me?” Razoul spits.

The former street rat sighs. “It was my father.”

The sultan says nothing for a long time, his face scrunched up in anger. “I must say, my boy, this is most disappointing.”

“It is tragic, Your Highness,” Razoul agrees, shaking his head. “But it seems my suspicions about the street rat were correct from the beginning. Like his father before him, he is a criminal at the core.”

“I say, I say, I object sir!”

Sparkles flash around the throne room, transforming it into a trial court. Sultan sits at a high desk, Razoul beside him in the garb of a bailiff. Jasmine sits by the stand with a typewriter in front of her, and behind her the offworlders sit in a jury box. Genie strides into the room, his hair slicked back and wearing a cheap white suit, complete with a bolo tie. He stops next to Aladdin, standing behind a podium. It’s all a bit over the top, but there’s Genie for you.

“I object to these outrageous charges!” Genie continues, his voice heavy with a slow southern drawl. “I object to trial without evidence…” He stops by Razoul giving him a mean look. “And I object to this tertiary character hogging all my word count!” He throws his briefcase at the stunned guard. “Why don’t you take this to a higher court?” The attaché case shoots off like a rocket, pulling Razoul along with it.

“Genie…” Aladdin groans. Hearing familiar chittering, he looks down to see Abu taking stick figure sketches.

“I’d like to plead insanity, Your Honor!” Genie screams in his normal voice, poofing to Al’s side. “Because I am just nuts about this guy!”

“Cut it out, Genie!” Aladdin firmly declares. As he big blue lug returns the room to normal, Aladdin walks up to the sultan with sad eyes. “This is all my fault, Your Majesty. I brought my father here in the first place, I didn’t see who he really was in time.” He sighs deeply. “Maybe it would’ve been better if I’d never known him at all.”

“Don’t say that!” Jasmine says, stepping up to Al’s side. She looks him straight in the eye. “He’s your father, Aladdin. You risked everything for him. I would do the same for my father.”

The sultan winces at that statement, things finally coming into perspective. He shakes his head, softly placing a hand on Aladdin’s arm.

“While your actions were no doubt unlawful,” he says evenly, “it is clear that hat you did… You did out of love. To condemn you for that, well, I simply couldn’t. And furthermore, you returned to take responsibility for your actions. Not many people would have had the courage to do such a thing. So, let’s put this ugly business behind us, shall we?”

Aladdin gives his future father in law a huge smile. As ineffectual and bumbling as the man may seem at times, there’s an undeniable wisdom about him when it comes to many things.

“Does this mean the wedding is back on?” Sora asks as Aladdin and Jasmine embrace each other happily.

“Sure is, Sora,” Al replies with a happy wink.

“HALLELUJAH!!!” A choir made up of robed Genies sings out before disappearing into the original. “Finally, we can get this show on the road! No more distractions, no more attacks, no more…”

“YAAAAARGH!”

“Exactly!” the big blue lug exclaims. “No more YAAAAAAARGH!”

Jasmine frowns. “Wait a minute, isn’t that?”

“Iago!” Telary declares, pointing up to where the red-feathered parrot is streaking through the air towards the palace.

He starts out as a barely identifiable blob of color in the morning sky, quickly growing larger as he approaches. With another scream, he plunges straight downward. Carpet quickly reacts, safely catching the parrot before he can seriously hurt himself.

“What are you doing here, Iago?” Aladdin demands. The parrot is too busy gathering air in huge gulps to answer quickly, giving Al time to come up with his own answer. “My father…?”

“Big trouble!” Iago squawks, any more complicated sentence beyond his capabilities at the moment. “Cassim… Heartless…”

“Heartless?” Sora exclaims. He and the other offworlders step in closer. “Who had Heartless?”

“Was it the man in red?” Telary asks.

Iago nods. “Him, and that big guy who tried to nab Jafar’s lamp last year.”

“Pete!” Azlyn yells venomously.

“Gets worse,” the parrot continues, his breathing under better control now. “That guy Al fought, Sa'luk, he ain’t dead! He nabbed Cassim!”

“Your father’s in trouble, Al!” Sora says.

Aladdin just shrugs. “So? He made his choice. Serves him right, far as I’m concerned.”

“Aladdin!” Jasmine chastises her fiancée. “How can you say that, he’s your father!”

“Not done.” Everyone turns to look at Iago once more. The parrot shivers, his eyes wide and terrified. “Sa'luk just wants the ultimate treasure, but Pete… He, he wants… He wants…”

“What does he want?” Kairi demands.

“Jafar’s lamp!”

“WHAT?” everyone but Kairi simultaneously exclaims.

“How could he possibly get that?” Jasmine asks, horrified. “Genie dropped it into the ocean!”

Iago shrugs, shivering. “Well apparently he’s got great aim, ‘cause the Oracle said that the hand on the lamp are in the same place!”

Telary nods. “That’s actually quite probable. Magical resonance and all that.” Everyone but Genie gives the wizard a funny look. “I’ll uh, explain that one later.”

“What’re we standing around here for, then?” Azlyn demands. “C’mon, we’ve got a universe to save!”

KH-KH-KH

The heroes fly across the ocean, following the very obvious trail of white light the Oracle quite conveniently left behind. Aladdin and Jasmine sit on Carpet, while the offworlders ride in the open-cockpit of Genie, transformed into an old-fashioned aeroplane.

“Okay, Tel,” Azlyn says, turning to look at the wizard, “explain this magical resonance thing, then?”

He nods. “Sure. Okay, so the basic theory is that magical items of a similar nature want to be together.”

“Want?” Kairi asks with a frown.

“Sure,” her brother answers with a shrug. “In the same way that magnets ‘want’ to stick together. Well, not exactly the same, since magnets require opposing poles and magical resonance obviously implies correspondence. Anyway, we’ve been using it for years, even if you didn’t know it. Why do you think we always land in a part of the world near the Keyhole?”

Sora nods thoughtfully. “Huh. I always thought we were just really lucky!”

“Magic lamp in a cave that changes its layout every time someone goes inside,” Azlyn mutters. “Magical hand on an island that never shows up in the same place twice. Seems pretty damn similar to me.”

“Exactly!” Telary declares. “So when Genie poofed to a random part of the ocean, he was naturally drawn to this ‘Vanishing Isle’. It’s not an exact science, obviously, but I guess it worked out in this case. Or didn’t work out, I suppose.”

“There they are!” Jasmine cries out, calling everyone attention to below.

A spotlight shines downs from the heavens, illuminating a very large portion of the ocean. A small ship sits near the edge of the spot, waiting.

“Lucky break,” Aladdin declares with a smirk. “If we go now, while they’re just sitting there…”

The Oracle suddenly appears in the midst of the light, towering twenty feet in the air. Everyone present can only look up at her splendor in silent awe.

“You have arrived.”

With just those three words, she and the spotlight vanish. The second they’re gone, the sea begins to churn and bubble. The small boat is rocked by the growing waves, and after a few moments Pete has to lean over the side and puke his guts out. Sa'luk and Gilgamesh maintain better composure, but even they have to reach out and grab whatever’s closest to keep from falling. Cassim, secured to the mast by a long coil of rope, just watches it all with undisguised glee.

A column of water bursts into the air, revealing a tall, elegant white tower rising from the depths. It continues to climb into the air, other towers joining it within moments. They go ever higher, entire buildings raising themselves to the surface once more, with seawater streaming from every window and opening. From above, the heroes begin to discern a pattern of streets, lined with trees and shrubs and all manner of greenery.

“An entire kingdom!” Kairi declares, unable to contain her awe. It’s a spectacular sight, if not quite comparable to the restoration of the worlds after sealing the Door to Darkness.

“Not the weirdest thing I’ve seen,” Sora notes with a shrug.

Finally, something else breaks free of the water. A wide expanse of some strange brown material no one can immediately identify stretches underneath the buildings and streets. One last thing rises in a burst of water; a massive green turtle’s head pops out of the waves, huge black eyes staring at nothing.

Sora’s mouth drops open a little. “Top ten though, definitely.”
 

KingdomKey

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Sora's comment about seeing weird things made me burst out into laughter. I forgot the place was located on a turtle. Anyways, I'm really happy about the turnout for Aladdin. I would've been upset if they wouldn't let the wedding continue. I mean, c'mon, Aladdin was doing what he thought was right despite his father being greedy. And speaking of being greedy, it's kind of awesome to think how excited his dad is about finally finding the treasure he's been searching for. And I like Genie in this chapter a lot. xD Or Iago being a hero to try to save the universe and stop anything from happening again with Jafar. Loved this chapter. <3
 

TelaryCri

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Chapter V: The Vanishing Isle, pt. 2
The group zips down to a plaza about halfway up the towering city. Everything’s a bit damp, obviously, but for the most part it feels like any other city they’ve visited. A giant bronze statue, depicting an eagle, looms over the square.

“The bad guys probably split up,” Sora says, looking over the troops. “We should too.”

“I’m going after my father,” Aladdin declares. Reaching down to his belt, he plucks Cassim’s dagger from its sheathe.

The Keybearer nods. “Okay, good.” He hesitates a moment, knowing what he has to do but hardly liking it. “I should go with you, leave the others to search for the lamp. With all those Heartless around-” He gives a significant look to Kairi, smiling a little, “-we’ll want one Keyblade wielder per group.”


The redhead smiles back at him.
Her flowery Keyblade is already in hand, and in anticipation of heavy battle she’s wearing knee-length tights underneath her dress. Though Sora still, and probably always will, imagines her as the sweet and gentle girl he’d known growing up, he can’t deny the fierce determination shining in her eyes.

S
ound suddenly bounces up from a staircase leading downward, a familiar basso voice yelling something defiant sounding. Cassim, it has to be!

“
I guess we’re going low,” Sora announces, Aladdin already rushing off after his father. “Just get as high up as you can!”

The Keybearer is about to take off after his friend when a sudden tremor shakes the ground, the entire island vibrating with the force of an avalanche. Sora stumbles, Aladdin only barely stopping him from plummeting down the stairs. As the shaking fades, the giant turtle beneath the city unleashes another keening bellow.


“So,” Telary says, frowning at everyone, “how long exactly do you wanna bet this giant turtle stays topside?”


“
With our luck, not very long,” Azlyn answers with an exasperated shake of her head.

“Genie, see if you can keep the island topside,” Aladdin orders his shapeshifting friend.


The big blue lug gives his best buddy a snappy salute. “
Can do, skipper!” In a flash, he’s gone.

Fairly reassured that the tremors won’t be a problem any longer, Aladdin and Sora charge down the stairs. They rush past another plaza and down a street, a new giant golden eagle statue seeming to appear with every turn. Eventually they reach a dead end, a balcony with an ornately carved white marble railing overlooking
a rolling green hill, another plaza at the bottom. Standing in front of a building that looks basically like a large stone shed, Cassim and Sa'luk appear to be having some sort of disagreement. Heartless flank the two men, looking on to the confrontation hungrily.

Sa'luk snarls something the young men above can’t quite catch, stepping towards the King of Thieves with his golden claw raised. Grimacing tightly, Aladdin leaps from the balcony. Sora follows a moment later, landing just in time to see Al knock Sa'luk to the ground. The burly thief goes flying, knocking into the base a statue and losing consciousness.


Their leader gone, the Heartless fly into a frenzy.
They leap directly for Sora and his allies, their swords flashing in the morning light. The Keybearer quickly blocks a strike, slipping past the Bandit’s guard and running it through. Behind him, Aladdin locks his father’s dagger with another creature’s blade, giving Cassim enough time to attack and subdue it from behind.

An ice crystal as big as a fist slams into the King of Thieves’ back, the first sign of a pair of Fortunetellers descending from above. They begin to fire off more projectiles, but Sora leaps forward and deflects them with two quick swings of his blade. Concentrating, he unleashes a blast of fire. His aim is clever and true, shooting through the gap between the flying Heartless and melting the magical ice orbs they ride on. The creatures fall to the stone street, Aladdin quickly rushing in and putting an end to them.


By now Cassim is on his feet again, the boys rushing to his side to help.


“
You okay, Dad?” Al asks, putting an arm out in case his father falls back down.

The sound of concern and
tenderness in his son’s voice brings a smile to the older man’s face. “I’m alright, son,” he declares with a shrug. For a moment he hesitates, then adds, “Thank you, my boy. For coming to help. I’ve given you no reason to.”

The former street rat shakes his head affectionately. “You’re my father. That’s reason enough.”


“
The treasure is this way,” Cassim says, turning and heading to the stone temple at street’s end. “C’mon, lads. Let’s see this through!”

Aladdin sighs. “Dad, no.
There are more important...”

Noticing Cassim's suddenly surly expression, Sora bumps his shoulder into his friend’s. “It’s okay, Aladdin. That lamp could be anywhere, including in with the Hand. Besides, the others can take care of things just fine.”


“Come along then, lads!” Cassim exclaims, once again marching for the stone building with a wide grin. “The ultimate treasure awaits!”


As Aladdin and his father pry open the huge double doors, Sa'luk’s eyes snap open. It takes a moment for him to get his bearings, his head throbbing. The sound of voices, the King of Thieves and his brat, echo around the building they’ve entered and filter back out.


With those hated sounds echoing in his head, Sa'luk rises to his feet.


KH-KH-KH


“It’s not up here!” Jasmine calls down, standing atop Carpet like a surfer. The flying rug descends, Jafar’s lamp not found atop the eagle statue hanging over this particular plaza.

“It’s not… Aaargh!”


With a series of loud crashes and rustling leaves, Telary falls from the tree he’d climbed up to examine. He thankfully manages to land softly, though his inadvertent cushion hardly thinks so.


“
Watch it!” Azlyn snaps, pushing the redhead off of her. She turns to scowl at him, but one look at his face has the expression shriveling up into concern. “Are you okay, Tel? That was a nasty fall.”

The wizard’s eyebrows raise hopefully. This tender tone is one he hasn’t heard in a while. “Um, I’m fine,” he answers quickly, shrugging. “You know me. Falling off stuff is just, y’know, par for the course.”


Placated enough, Azlyn snaps her gaze over to Iago, scowling at the parrot. “Why didn’t you fly up there to check, you lazy bird!”


“Well excuse me, Princess,” he shoots right back. “With the possibility of Jafar’s comeback hangin’ over my head, you should consider yourselves lucky I ain’t just flown the hell outta here and left ya to him!”


“This may not sound very ‘Keyblade wielder”-y,” Kairi comments with a sigh, backing off from some bushes she’d been inspecting, “but this isn’t gonna work! The place is huge, and it’s just us searching. Pete probably has Heartless all over the place.”


“Iago already did a flyover of the island,” Azlyn reminds her. “He couldn’t see it from the air. This is all we got, much as I hate to admit it.”


Telary frowns thoughtfully. “But it really isn’t, is it?” He looks back and forth between Kairi and Jasmine. “Part of the Princess of Heart package is sensing Darkness, right? I mean, you both knew when the Heartless were attacking the treasure room.”


A smile spreads across Kairi’s face. “Of course! If this Jafar guy is as bad as you all keep saying...”


“And he is,” Iago notes with a shudder.


“Then with a little thought put to it, it shouldn’t be too hard to locate him!”


The Princesses of Heart come together, clasping hands and closing their eyes in concentration. Azlyn and Telary watch, hoping for a positive outcome. The girls’ eyes snap open as one, grimaces on their faces.


“Good and bad news,” Jasmine reports.


“The good news is that Tel was right, we found the lamp,” Kairi adds. “The bad news, of course, is that there are a bunch of Heartless not far from where the lamp is.”


“A race then, eh?” Azlyn declares with a boisterous laugh. “That's the kinda shit I live for!”


Carpet zooms over and the four heroes jump on, taking into the air with Iago close behind. Kairi and Jasmine direct them to land near a huge plaza very high up, the courtyard of the massive fortress atop the island’s hill.


“This is it,” Kairi announces as she hops off, surveying the area with a critical eye. “Sorry we can’t be any more specific.”


“Aww, don’t you worry yourself about that, Missy.”


The group whirls around, Pete and a cohort of Heartless standing across the plaza. The fat cat looks smug as always, his minions at his back giving him the advantage of numbers.


“Ya sure helped me out plenty,” Maleficent's minion continues to gloat. “I knew all we had to do was keep an eye on you hero-types and you’d lead us right where we wanted to be.”


“A strangely clever plan,” Azlyn comments mockingly, drawing her shield off her back. “If you need a minute for your brain to cool back down...”


Suddenly the plaza shakes, the sound of crackling stone filling the air as the huge fortress above weakens. Another loud, plaintive cry echoes all around.


Genie poofs in front the heroic group, looking exhausted and holding a truly enormous fishing pole.


“Everything’s fine!” he assures the group, blatantly ignoring Pete and his Heartless band. “Small setback, minor issue, it’s being fixed!” His report given, the big blue lug pops back out of existence.


“Seems like we got a bit of a time limit on our hands,” Pete grumbles to his troops. In flashes of Darkness, more Bandits and Air Soldiers appear. “Youse check the place for the lamp. The rest ‘a ya, distraction duty.” He points across the way to the heroes. “Go, Heartless, go!”


KH-KH-KH


The shaking tremor throws Sora off balance, and Aladdin only barely manages to keep the boy on his feet. He rights his friend, checking to make sure he’s okay.


Cassim is not so concerned, keeping pace despite the rumbling. The man is on a mission. The mission, to him. The others will keep up, or they won’t. The hallway ends just up ahead, and if the soft glow shining from the next chamber’s entrance is any indication…


“Dad, c’mon!” Aladdin yells, his voice bouncing off the close walls of the small hallway. “If you’re not careful, this place could…Whoa!”


Aladdin stops dead in his tracks, standing at his father’s side and taking in the chamber around him. It’s absolutely cavernous, easily rivaling Agrabah’s throne room. Giant statues of robed men with the heads of eagles rise a hundred feet in the air, a skylight above them letting in the sun.


Everything in this chamber is magnificent in its own right, but the room’s focal point is obvious: high above the trio’s heads floats a giant golden hand, gently spinning in midair.


“That must be it!” Cassim declares, his voice giddy as a schoolboy on the weekend. “The hand is there, we just need to get to higher ground...”


A loud noise cuts the King of Thieves off abruptly, thundering down the hall they’d just come down. Looking over his shoulder, Sora pales as he spots a huge wall of water sweeping its way toward them.


“High ground, right!” the Keybearer agrees. Everyone rushes to the base of the nearest statue, grabbing what handholds they can and scrambling to outpace the ever-rising water.


Halfway up the chamber, yet another tremor rocks the island, and the flood of water suddenly stops. It also vibrates the statue everyone’s climbing, and Sora loses his grip. He drops a few feet, screaming for help until he feels the comfort of a hand around his wrist. Looking up, the Keybearer sees Al smiling down at him. With some help from the former street rat, Sora continues his journey up.


Cassim is already standing atop the statue's head when they arrive, staring at the golden hand platform with tears in his eyes. A statue about twice as tall as a man stands in the middle of the platform, one hand raised as if making a pledge. One golden, gleaming hand.


“Finally,” the King of Thieves breathes, feeling his son’s hand come to rest on his shoulder. “After all these years.” Suddenly, the man frowns. “If only I’d discovered this place much sooner.” Shaking off Aladdin’s hand, he steps back and prepares for a running leap to the platform. “This would have been a lot easier!”


Aladdin holds out a hand in front of his father. “Don’t worry yourself about it, Dad,” he says with a grin. “It’s time you took advantage of having a junior partner!”


The former street rat takes a running leap, vaulting across the gap with an outcry of joyous adrenaline. He catches the edge of the floating hand, pulling himself up. But it seems the platform isn’t quite stable, his weight tipping it to the side. Startled, Aladdin nearly slides straight off before he corrects his grip. Through the whole ordeal, Cassim watches with wild panic and worry encroaching on the corners of his expression.


Finally, Al manages to pull himself up onto the platform. Cautiously, he approaches the statue with the golden hand.


“Careful now!” Cassim calls out with fatherly concern. “Don’t touch the hand!”


Heeding his father’s advice, Aladdin examines the statue in detail. The man is dressed in long robes and an elaborate headdress, fitting for a great king such as Midas. The area around the Hand bears further examination, and Aladdin quickly realizes that the shining appendage is meant to be removed. The bottom of the Hand is a ring of plain wood, with a long handle underneath. With a single gentle twist, Cassim’s son removes the ultimate treasure from its elaborate casing.


“Yeah!” he cries triumphantly, holding the Hand of Midas up to the light streaming in from above. Rearing his arm back, he gives Sora and his father a sly grin. “Catch!”


The Hand goes sailing through the air, turning end over end as it flies. Not willing to risk its ill effects, Cassim holds out his cape as a makeshift net, the Hand landing neatly in the cloth. Instantly, golden sparks surround the fabric, starting at the Hand’s point of impact and spreading, until the entire cape is made of twinkling gold.


“Whoa!” Sora exclaims, his eyes bugging out. It’s a good thing Azlyn isn’t here, he thinks. The girl would have fainted right on the spot.


Still grinning like a loon, Cassim grab’s the Hand’s handle and lifts it high like a blitzball victor displaying his trophy. “The Hand of Midas!”


Just as Sora's about to about to remind everyone that there’s still evil to thwart, Cassim lowers the Hand to the statue’s head. He presses his treasure against it, and just like the cloak, a wave of energy begins transmogrifying the stone. It spreads along the statue like wildfire, but that’s not the end. The wave continues to spread around the chamber, until every last inch of every last surface is solid gold. Even the pool of stagnant water below shines.


Now Sora's really glad Azlyn wasn’t here. For some reason, he suspects her reaction to this would have been decidedly unfamily-friendly.


“Great, we got it!” the Keybearer shouts, pumping his fist in the air. “But this isn’t over yet. We need to go help the others get...”


He doesn’t get the chance to finish his sentence. Aladdin suddenly cries out, a loud thunk resonating through the golden chamber as he hits the floor of the floating hand platform. Looking up, he sees Sa'luk standing over him.


“Nobody’s going anywhere,” the brute sneers, holding up his claws to glitter in the light.
 
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KingdomKey

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I couldn't help but to laugh about the potential outcome of what Azlyn would do in a room full of gold. You know, something about it kind of nags at me. If Cassim's cloak had turned gold then wouldn't it actually be quite heavier? I can't remember if he discarded it towards the end of the movie. Anyways, I really like how Aladdin gave him a hand. lol. I'm getting side tracked by hand puns now. OKAY FOR REALZ, I also liked Pete directing the heartless and Kairi being useful in this chapter. Or Sora letting Kairi split up to help. Made my heart soar for them. <3 Overall, awesome chapter as always.
 

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The problem with updating here as I go is that sometimes I get a completely different idea mid-writing. Excuse the premature posting, I'll fix with what I actually end up using when I get it done.
 
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KingdomKey

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The problem with updating here as I go is that sometimes I get a completely different idea mid-writing. Excuse the premature posting, I'll fix with what I actually end up using when I get it done.

It's okay! I wouldn't worry about premature posting because, this is your thread. So you're allowed to comment on your fic and etc. :) I gotta say it's really cool you get a different idea mid-writing. <3 I'm certainly curious about what this idea could be!
 

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Chapter V: The Vanishing Isle, pt. 3
“Sa'luk!” Cassim roars.

The brutish thug jabs the heel of his hand into Aladdin's chest, sending the boy sprawling to the platform floor.


“I have your whelp, Cassim!” he threatens, placing a foot on Al’s chest and holding out his hand. “Give me the Hand, or I'll cut him to ribbons!” His foot twists, grinding into Aladdin's guts and eliciting a cry from the young man.


Sora steps forward with the Keyblade ready, wondering if he can make a move before Sa'luk can try anything. Cassim holds out his arm though, stopping the boy in his tracks.


“You want the Hand, do you Sa'luk?” the King of Thieves roars, brave and defiant as he rears back his arm. “Go ahead and take it!”


Cassim throws, the Hand of Midas leaving his grip and once again tumbling end over end through the air. Sa'luk’s eyes light up as the artifact approaches, abandoning his dominance over Aladdin to catch his prize. As it finally arcs down, the brute is there to catch it.

Reaching out, Sa'luk nabs the Hand of Midas from thin air. Unfortunately for him, it isn’t the hilt that lands neatly in his hand.

“Finally!” Sa'luk cheers, painfully unaware of the fate he’s just sealed for himself. “The Hand of Midas is mine.” Smirking smugly, he turns to look at Aladdin, who’s just regaining his feet. “And so is your life, you worthless little...” The brute pauses, staring at the odd expression on his soon-to-be victim’s face. It almost looks like… Pity? “What are you staring at...?”


Light explodes in Sa'luk’s hand, golden energy spreading across his skin. Staring down at his hand in shock and disbelief, he can only watch as his body rapidly transforms from flesh to gold. He drops the Hand, his frozen fingers no longer capable of holding on. The change just spreads and spreads, making its way down his body and up his neck, until it reaches his eyes, and Sa'luk can see it no more.


Aladdin stands frozen, staring up in mute horror at the sight before him: A perfect golden statue of Sa'luk, his expression twisted in horror. The frozen brute teeters back and forth once, then twice. Finally, with a loud scrape of gold on gold, the shining remains of Sa'luk fall backwards off the platform.


Sora’s eyes follow the thing that used to be his enemy, wincing as it splashes into the golden water below and sinks down to its depths. Certainly the man had been his foe, but to lose your life in such a horrendous way… The boy simply shudders to think about it.


Aladdin, quickly regaining his composure, tears the sleeve from his tunic and grabs the hand lying at his feet. He carefully wraps the artifact’s business end in the cloth, which of course rapidly turns to gold. After checking to make sure he hasn’t missed anything, he tucks the Hand away in his pants’ waistband.


The former street rat makes a clean jump back to his father and friend. Just as he lands, though, another tremor shakes the building. Below, the water level begins to rise again.


“We gotta get out of here,” Sora declares.


“We can climb out that skylight,” Aladdin decides.


They scramble to the wall, an ornately carved mural of a man on a throne thankfully providing enough handholds to scramble up to the exit. Aladdin takes the lead, Cassim close behind and Sora bringing up the rear.


“C’mon Dad!” Aladdin encourages his old man. “You can do it!”


“Of course I can do it!” the King of Thieves snaps. “But it would be easier if I didn’t have to deal with this!” Reaching up, he undoes the clasp of his heavy golden cape. It flutters downward, landing in the water with a small splash.


The trio finally scramble out into the sun. Safe, for now.


“That’s one problem taken care of,” Sora declares with a sigh. “Now we just have to...”


The sound of an explosion stops the Keybearer’s speech in its tracks. He rushes to the roof’s edge, looking down towards the source of the sound. Below, small enough to look like scurrying ants, the others are locked in combat with Pete and a band of Heartless.


“We need to get down there!” Sora declares, the others coming up beside him and spotting the battle.


Nodding, Aladdin raises two fingers to his lips and lets out a shrill whistle.


KH-KH-KH


Dimly, Kairi takes notice of Carpet snapping to and zooming upward. Where it’s going or why is lost to her, considering that she has her own problems to deal with at the moment.


She bats away a Bandit’s sword, steps to the side, and lands a powerful hit on its torso. The creature dissipates into shadow, leaving one less combatant on the already crowded battlefield.


Things aren’t looking great for the heroic side of this conflict. There are Heartless everywhere, leaving the good guys without anyone free to search for the lamp. Meanwhile, Shadows and Red Nocturnes are combing through every nook and cranny. If this is a race, they’re firmly in second place.


A bomb about the size of her kneecap rolls towards the redhead, and she barely manages to back away before it explodes and takes her with it. The force of it is still enough to steal her balance though, and she stumbles back a few steps more than she intended.


“Found anything?” Azlyn calls up to Iago. The parrot is doing his best to search for the lamp, Telary using offensive spells to keep flying Heartless off his back.


“Not yet!” Iago calls from within the thick branches of a tree.


“Needle in a haystack!” Azlyn says like a swear, shaking her head.


Carpet flies down, Aladdin, Cassim, and Sora on its back. The trio hop off, quickly assessing the situation.


“Kairi!” Sora cries out, immediately rushing to his girlfriend with Kingdom Key in hand.


It’s really not the smartest move, though. The girl instinctively turns her head at the sound of Sora’s voice, an only too perfect opening for Pete. The fat cat lunges out, snagging the girl’s arm and knocking her Keyblade out of her hand. She struggles, but a quick headbutt puts sends her into a blurry daze.

Azlyn sees it all going down, starting towards the confrontation. But a Shadow springs out of the bushes as she goes on her way, landing on her torso with enough force to knock her back. The knight desperately swats at the little bugger, brushing it off of her as she stumbles right into something in her path. Judging by the yelp it makes, it’s Telary.

The pair go down hard, knocking into a tree branch. For a moment they’re too stunned to do anything but sit together. At some point during the fall, Telary had wrapped his arms around the girl, and at the moment she’s sitting in his lap.
Absent the situation around them, and still in a bit of a daze, Azlyn can’thelp but think it feels nice just sitting together like this. Nothing to discuss, no forced intimacy. Just being together.

She turns her head, looking up into Telary’s face, his eyes. They shine the same as they ever have, maybe a little bit more considering the dizziness. They’re nice eyes. One of the things she loves about him. One of many things.


“I haven’t thought about that in a long time,” she mumbles to herself.


“Huh?” Telary inquires. He can barely hear what she said over the sound of branches ruffling loudly up above.


“What I love about you,” she replies simply. “But, now that I…”


Conk
!


Telary winces as something hits his head, bouncing off with a loud noise. Reacting quickly, Azlyn rears back to avoid getting a similar hit. The small, black object lands on the stone with a metallic noise.


Two guesses what it is.


Sora barely notices the Disney Castle pair’s predicament, too focused on what’s in front of him. His stomach churns just to look at it, especially since it’s partially his fault for distracting the girl.


“Let her go!” he demands.


Pete just laughs at the threat. “I’m the guy holdin’ the cards here, bucko.”


“Sora, we got the…” Telary’s excited cries die down as he realizes the situation he’s just walked into. In his hands, the wizard holds Jafar’s lamp. “Lamp.”


“Well, isn’t this a nice lilcoinky-dink?” the fat cat gloats. “You got something I want, and I got something you want. Maybe a trade’s in order?”


Sora hesitates. All his friends have gathered behind him, waiting on theKeybearer to make the call. But how can a person make such a choice? If Pete has the lamp they’re all well and truly screwed, but letting him keep Kairi…


He focuses his gaze on the girl, hoping that somewhere in her face he’ll find the answer. Surprisingly, he does. In the single wink of one eye.


“I don’t think I like your deal, Pete,” Sora declares firmly. “But I’d still let her go, if I were you.”


Maleficent’s minion shakes his head bemusedly. “You’re all the way over there, squirt, and I got yer girl right here in my hand. What’re you gonna do?”


Sora shrugs. “Nothing. I don’t have to.”


That statement barely has time to confuse Pete before a bright light flashes in his bottom peripheral vision. A moment later, something slams hard into his gut. He stumbles back with a gasp.


Free, Kairi turns and swings her Keyblade again, smashing into Pete’s face and throwing the fat cat down to the plaza floor. She stands above him, her blade’s tip right in his face.


“I don’t know if you’ve heard ‘pal’,” she says mockingly, smirking down at her enemy, “but I’m sort of over that whole ‘hostage’ thing.”


Everyone grins at the statement, and Sora feels like his heart is singing. All in all, it’s an amazingly triumphant moment. And so, it’s only inevitable that hell follows along in its wake.


The island begins to sink in earnest. The ground shudders like never before, not stopping. As everyone stumbles they turn their eyes upward, where the sky is getting farther and farther away as the great turtle holding up the Vanishing Isle retreats to the depths once again.


“We gotta get out of here!” Azlyn calls, holding tight to Jafar’s lamp.


“Can Carpet hold all of us?” Jasmine asks with a worried look around.


“We’re gonna die, we’re gonna die!” Iago mutters to himself. Suddenly, an idea strikes him and he perks up. “Wait a minute, I can fly! Later losers!” The parrot barely gets anywhere before Cassim reaches up a hand and yanks him back down.


“We’re just gonna have to try!” Sora declares.


“Seems like a personal problem,” Pete says from his place on the ground. Underneath him, a dark portal opens that he immediately begins to sink into. With hardly any time left, the heroes grudgingly decide to just let him go.


Everyone piles onto Carpet, the rug clearly growing more strained with each added passenger. But, somehow, it manages to hold on to enough strength to rise into the air with all seven people squeezed onto its back. Not very quickly, but anything that isn’t sinking down into the depths of the ocean is okay by everyone involved.


Then suddenly there’s a dip, Carpet swaying drunkenly. Everyone holds on tight to each other, and it’s clear things can’t last this way for long.


“Where’s Genie when you need him!” Azlyn complains, gripping tightly to Telary and trying her best not to rub up against the lamp in her lap.


“Present!” the big blue lug reports, zipping up out of the ocean and hovering infront of the group. “What's going on, guys?”


“Carpet can’t stay airborne much longer, Genie!” Aladdin states, gesturing pointedly at the faltering flying rug.


“No problemo, Al!” With a flick of his finger, Genie transforms into a biplane once again. “All aboard!”


The offworlders make a transfer over. Once everyone is safe and secure, they take off.


“Well,” Aladdin comments to his father, “you finally did it, Dad. The ultimate treasure is yours!”


Cassim shakes his head, scowling down at the hand of Midas. “No, lad. This thing almost cost me the ultimate treasure. Compared to you, son, it’s nothing but worthless junk.” Straightening up, the King of Thieves rears back his arm.


“Whoa, whoa, whoa there!” Azlyn pipes up. “I know you’re trying to make a moral point here, but...”


“At least consider…” Iago adds in nervously.


With all his might, Cassim hurls the Hand of Midas into the ocean. Sighing, Azlyn and Iago watch it fall.


“Speaking of things hurled into the ocean,” Kairi says, looking down to the black lamp in Telary’s lap, “what are we gonna do with that?”


“I was thinking Gummi ship airlock,” Sora suggests, nodding sagely.


“Nice!” Telary compliments. He leans back, patting Azlyn’s shoulder consolingly. “All in all, not a bad day’s work! I don’t even think we left any loose ends!”


KH-KH-KH


Gilgamesh stands at the prow of the Forty Thieves’ ship, seething as he watches the Keybearer and his compatriots fly away.


Today has not been his day by a long shot. He’d let that stupid tub Pete order him around, distract him from his true goal. And for what, some universal takeover nonsense? Bah, good riddance to him and his jade-skinned mistress.


All told though, the partnership was a beneficial one. Control of the Heartless, dark portals, knowledge of the Keyblade. Everything an aspiring recurring villain could ever want.


So today wasn’t Gilgamesh’s day. No matter. Tomorrow lies just
ahead.
Yeah, so that one was wild. I burned through like four different final scenarios for that last bit. Jafar coming out of his lamp, Gilgamesh jumping Sora, an appearance by the Heartless boss Kurt Zisa... But they all just involved too many moving parts. So, here ya have it!
 

KingdomKey

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Kairi getting that hit on Pete was badass. <3 I'm in love with that scene the most. Okay, that's a lie. Azlyn in Telary's lap for a moment was my favorite part. They're finally getting a little bit more along by circumstances. I'll take it! lol. XD Anyways, it's really sweet and honorable of Cassim to throw the hand away and cherish Al more. And wow, you weren't kidding about the different ways to end this confrontation. And poor Gilgamesh. Maybe next time, buddy. Definitely liked this chapter. :)
 

TelaryCri

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Chapter VI: 'Til Another Arabian Night
Aladdin and Jasmine are getting married tonight. For real.

It’s not the only thing, Telary knows, that’s been postponed far too long. So, while Azlyn is finishing getting ready, he slips a note into the room she’d decided to share with Kairi after all the inter-couple fighting that had been taking place over the last day. Immediately after doing that, he heads off to their meeting spot, specially secured for this very purpose. He hopes it’s enough.


A few minutes later, he hears the doors open. He turns around, his entire body freezing up at the sight before him. Azlyn stands just inside the room, wearing the same blue dress she had been during the Hollow Bastion Restoration Ball. Their first night together.


They’ve come a long way since then, Telary knows. Hopefully they have further to go still. It might all depend on these next few minutes.


“Hi,” he says, starting things off slow.


Azlyn nods. “Um, hey. I read the, uh…”


“I figured.”


Telary steps forward, ignoring the rather awkward silence. Azlyn doesn’t move, just watches as her fiancée comes closer. Finally, the two are standing face-to-face.


“You have to talk to me, Az,” Telary says, running a hand up her bare arm. She shivers a bit at the touch, turning her face away.


“Yeah,” she admits, brushing past Telary and making her way further into the room. He turns, watching her. “I messed up, Telary. I really did.”


He walks after her, putting his hands on her shoulders. “Everybody does, Azlyn. Especially in a marriage. The important thing is that we can put our mistakes in the past.” He takes a deep breath. “But doing that means talking. About what’s really going on.”


Azlyn nods.


“So, what’s this about hating the wedding?” Telary says, letting go of her and leaning back against a stone table. The objects atop it rattle and shake. “It’s gonna be big, loud, and all about you. I really can’t see why you’d object to that.” He pauses a moment, grimacing. “Was that harsh?”


“No,” Azlyn assures him, laying a hand on his shoulder. “And you’re right, I should be majorly excited about all of this! And, y’know, I’m excited about being married to you, and the cake, and wedding gifts. It’s just…” She heaves a great sigh, turning and walking a few feet away. In a small voice that Telary almost doesn’t even hear, she says, “It’s all so… So normal.”


“Normal?”


She nods, pursing her lips apprehensively. “I know, it sounds kinda dumb...”


Telary makes a small noise of protest, firmly shaking his head. “If you’re concerned about it Azlyn, it’s not dumb. What’s important to you is important to me.”


“It just feels like everything I snuck onto the Gummi ship to escape,” she continues. “To me, it’s not a celebration of how much we love each other. Just a big ‘welcome back to boring life’ party. I hate thinking about that life. Every time I do, it’s like the walls are all closing in on me.”


He steps closer to her. “That’s why you kept talking about running away.”

She shrugs. “I guess I had this crazy idea that if we started running, we’d never have to stop.”

“But, Azlyn, c’mon. Sure things are gonna slow down. We can’t just live our lives one adventure to the next. But we’ll still have each other.”


“Will we?” She looks at him with the saddest expression he’s ever seen her wear. He opens his mouth to ask for further explanation, but she waves her hand to cut him off. “What if… What if we need that excitement to stay together? What if without adventures and enemies and trials to keep things interesting, we find out that’s all we had? The rush, the danger.”


“Azlyn…”


“We never fought on the Gummi ship, Telary,” she interrupts, teary eyes shining in the room’s candlelight. “When it was about saving the worlds, finding the King, helping Sora, we were so in sync. Things were different the second we got back to the castle, you know they were. And what about after the wedding, huh? No danger, no peril, just you and me. What if we can’t make it work? What if it’s not enough?”


Azlyn turns away, tears falling freely now. Finally, after months of keeping her feelings inside, she’s stated her fears out loud. Telary watches her for a long moment. He’s crying himself, overwhelmed and stunned that he hadn’t been able to figure any of it out on his own. What kind of man is he, to have not seen that the woman he loves was hurting so much?


He goes to her, gently turning her to face him. They look at each other, tear-filled eyes locked together.


“I’m sorry I didn’t see this, Azlyn,” Telary says finally, breaking the silence. “I was just so glad to be back in my routine, so excited about the wedding, I never stopped to think about how things were for you. I’m the one who messed things up. Can you forgive me?”


She nods, just the slightest dip of her chin. Then she kisses him, long and slow. He practically melts into it, pulling her close against him. Her arms come up to wrap around his neck.


“Of course I forgive you,” Azlyn says when they finally pull away. “I should have talked to you too. But planning the wedding made you so happy, I didn’t want to ruin it for you.”


“I want you to understand something, Azlyn,” Telary says, pulling back just a few centimeters. “I love you no matter what’s going on around us. Peril be damned, I love you. More than anything. Nothing can change that.”


She jumps forward, tightly wrapping him back up in her arms. He lets her, burying his face in her hair.


“And I’ll tell you something else,” he continues, his voice muffled against her head. “Our adventures won’t end with the wedding, Azlyn.” Reaching up, he tilts her chin up so their gazes meet once again. “If anything, it’s only the beginning.”


“Oh boy,” Azlyn groans, grinning at her future husband. “This is all leading up to some ‘marriage is our greatest adventure’ line, isn’t it?”


“Is it that obvious?”

Azlyn nods, laughing. “Did Sora help you work on this speech? ‘Cause that sounds like just the kind of sappy…”

“It’s true though,” the wizard interrupts her. “You wanna talk about peril, Azlyn? We almost lost each other over some silly miscommunication. I don’t know about you, but that scared me more than any Organization XIII scheme.”


“Me too,” she agrees. “We’ll just have to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.” They kiss again. Pulling away, she gives the surrounding room a quick inspection. “The only thing I don’t get is, why here? Unless you just thought I’d be at my most relaxed surrounded by gold.”


Telary looks around the Agrabah palace treasure room, until his eyes finally settle on the woman in front of him. He clears his throat, looking sheepish all of the sudden.


“Well,” he begins, nervously coughing once. “You know, you weren’t entirely wrong before. About, um… About not having enough, uh, alone time.”


Azlyn laughs, eyes lighting up as a huge smile spreads across her face. “So this was, what, your way of getting me in the mood?”


“Well, I know how much you like treasure rooms…”


Telary reaches out suddenly to grab her around the waist, picking her up and spinning around before setting her on the table. She opens her mouth to say something, but before she can he cuts her off with a sharp, passionate kiss. Her arms come up again, wrapping around his neck and pulling him down deeper into it.

“I have a feeling, though,” he pants out once they part for air, “that you’re about to like this one a whole lot more.”

KH-KH-KH


Sora stands outside the entrance to the wedding pavilion, hands in the pockets of his suit. He can hear the rest of the groomsmen inside, Cassim ranting about his younger days while Genie makes jokes. He should probably go in, reassure Aladdin that this wedding ceremony is for sure going to go off without a hitch. But there’s something he has to do first.


“Jasmine’s almost ready.”


Kari's voice comes from behind, nearly startling the Keybearer out of his skin. He quickly spins around, finding the redhead giggling behind her hand.


“Sorry,” she apologizes, though it hardly sounds sincere through all the laughter. “What are you standing around out here for? Genie getting on your nerves?”


Sora snorts, grinning. “I don’t know who this Barbra Streisand he keeps talking about is, but I’m pretty sure I never want to hear one of her songs again.” His smirk fades, expression becoming serious as he looks at Kairi. “Actually, I wanted to talk to you. Apologize.”


She nods, taking his hand and leading him a little further away from the commotion of the pavilion.


“It was the wrong thing to say,” he says once they’ve found a secluded enough spot by the gardens’ largest fountain. “That ‘real Keyblade wielder’ thing. I was just trying to…”


“Protect me,” Kairi finishes for him, nodding demurely.


“I don’t like seeing you in danger, Kairi,” he says, taking one of her hands. “I remember when I heard the Organization had their hands on you. All because of our relationship. I never want to feel like that again.”


“Of course not.” She lets go of his hand, taking a step back. “But, c’mon, Sora. There’s no way to guarantee that. If we know anything, it’s that the universe is a dangerous place, especially wherever a Keyblade master goes. And anywhere you go, I’m going with you. That’s just the way it’s going to be from now on. I won’t stay behind anymore, and it’s not like you can just lock me up.” She chuckles. “I mean, you literally can’t!”


Sora can’t help but roll his eyes. “Oh boy, Keyblade humor.” He softens, looking at Kairi with his lower lip between his teeth. “But, you’re right. It just took me a while to really accept it.”


“Have you accepted it now?”


“Sure have.” Reaching up, Sora places an arm around his girl’s shoulders. “You wanna know the moment I really knew I'd gone too far?”


Kairi smirks at him playfully. “What?”


“When I actually, seriously thought for a second that you couldn’t handle Pete.” He grimaces, shaking his head in disgust. “I tell ya Kairi, if that isn’t the definition of ‘stupidly overprotective’, I don’t know what is.”


She laughs, leaning her head against his. “Well, he did manage to get the drop on me for a second there.”


“Because I distracted you.”


She shrugs. “I was actually trying to avoid bringing up that specific point, but since you mentioned it first, yeah.” Shaking her head,she moves to stand in front of him. “Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that I’m no master warrior yet. I’m gonna need some help. Just a little.”


Sora quirks an eyebrow at the girl, shocked and curious. “What are you saying? You wanna be, what, my Keyblade student?”


“In a manner of speaking,” she says with a nod. “I’m not calling you ‘master’ or anything, and at the first sign of any ‘hot for teacher’ jokes I’m running the other way, but… Sure. Telary’s already agreed to give me some magic lessons. You can handle swordplay.”


“And cool lines,” Sora adds with a cheesy grin that sends his girlfriend’s eyes rolling. A moment later, he becomes serious. “Speaking of Telary, do you think him and Az are gonna be okay?”


“Those two are gonna be fine,” Kairi assures him. “A love like that can’t be undone so easy.”


“No,” Sora agrees, taking her hand. “It sure can’t.” Kairi rolls her eyes again, but leans in to kiss Sora anyway. “So, I take it you and Telary have gotten past your awkward phase?"


Kairi nods, beaming ear to ear. “We sure have! I tell ya Sora, this brother-sister thing is really gonna work out. Guess what?”


“What?”


“Since Azlyn’s not loving all the wedding planning,” the redhead announces, “Tel asked me to help him with the details. Can you believe it? Me, planning a royal wedding!”


Sora frowns. “They’re not royalty, Kairi.”

“It’s gonna take place in a castle, Sora,” Kairi says reproachfully. “That's royal enough for me.” A sudden look comes over the Princess of Heart’s face, her grin turning mischievous. “It’s a real honor. Y’know, for a maid like me!”

“So you know about that, then?” The Keybearer sighs, shaking his head in amused frustration. “This is just like Azlyn, you know. To do something really nice and set me up for eternal humiliation all at once.”


“That’s just how I roll,” the knight-in-question’s voice speaks up suddenly. Turning, Kairi and Sora spot Azlyn and Telary walking up to the fountain, arm-in-arm.


“I take it things are better, then?” Sora immediately asks. After all he’s been through with Azlyn and Telary, tact is hardly of great concern.


“Everything is going to be just fine,” Telary assures the Keybearer, planting a quick kiss atop Azlyn's head.


“That’s great news,” Kairi says, beaming at her brother and his fiancée.


“Because it means you still get to play wedding planner?” Sora teases.


“That may be some small part of it,” the girl admits with a sheepish shrug. “But mostly I’m just happy for you two.”


“I get final say on everything though,” Azlyn states firmly, shaking a finger at her wedding planner.


“Including wedding party titles?” Sora sighs.


The knight laughs, smirking. “Oh, hell yeah!”


“Can’t I be Tel’s best man?” the Keybearer suggests, looking at the wizard with sad puppy dog eyes.


“Uh, sorry Sora,” Telary says, rubbing guiltily at the back on his neck.“I kind of already asked Donald. And I can’t go back on that now, he’s so excited.”


“When the King got married, he totally snubbed Ol’ Birdbrain for Captain Goofy,” Azlyn reveals. “The duck’s still super bitter about it.”


A great noise suddenly rises up all around, the calling of a grand trumpet.


“That seems like our cue,” Sora says, helping Kairi up from her seat on the fountain.


The quartet set off across the garden, Kairi and Telary ending up walking ahead of Azlyn and Sora. The redheaded siblings talk amongst themselves the whole way.


“Okay,” Sora says to Azlyn once he’s sure the other pair won’t hear him. “Where?”


The knight gives him a coy look. “Where what?” she asks innocently.

“Please, don’t even try that,” the Keybearer chuckles, shaking his head. “I totally know your ‘just had sex in an inappropriate place’ look. I don’t know what it says about me that I do, but I know it for sure.”

“Treasure room!” Azlyn happily announces.


Sora lets out a soft whistle. “Wow. I’m surprised that whole wing of the palace didn’t just collapse.”


After a few more seconds, Azlyn looks up at him. “You and Kairi are good now too?”


“Great, actually,” he replies with a confident nod. “We’re gonna start doing Keyblade training now. Might need your help, actually. I’ll need someone who won’t go easy on her.”


“Cool.” There’s a thoughtful moment, then, “You sure you don’t wanna wait until after the wedding to start teaching Kairi to kick ass?”


Sora’s face scrunches up in confusion. “Why would I do that?”


“I guess you don’t,” Azlyn admits with a shrug. “Gonna be one hell of a fight for that bouquet though!" For just a moment, the knight becomes serious. "You’re not, y’know, really mad about the Maid of Honor thing, are you? Because, y’know, joking aside… You are my best friend.”


“I know, you goof,” he shoots back, playfully punching at her shoulder. “Besides, you’ve got Kairi in charge of planning a major event for you.” He gives her an evil smirk. “Believe me, that is gonna be revenge enough.”


KH-KH-KH


The wedding pavilion almost seems too big this time. No longer is the large outdoor structure packed with visitors from across the Seven Deserts, dignitaries and political allies. Just a few friends, and two proud fathers.


But, somehow, Jasmine feels more right about walking down the aisle tonight than when she’d been surrounded by hundreds of guests.


Genie weeps openly, comically large tears spurting from his eyes like a fountain. Iago is something of a mess too, if the way he’s clutching to Abu is any indication. Cassim and the sultan’s reactions are more demure, but there’s no doubt that both men’s eyes shine as their children hold hands in front of the altar.


Sora looks on with pride and joy too. And not just for Aladdin and Jasmine, as great and fulfilling as the sight of their union is. Every few seconds, he can’t help but glance down the line of his friends, all standing together as they take in the proceedings.


He never could have predicted the course of the last three days, standing on that beach back home. What was supposed to be a nice, simple weekend had nearly turned deadly. The group had certainly been put to the test, this time perhaps more by internal squabbles than fights with outside forces. But, even after all that, here they are. Standing together, bound to one another by love and friendship.


Before this had all started, he’d thought he was leaving home. But he realizes now that that isn’t the case. As long as his friends are with him, home is sure to come along.


Their lives are hardly average. But, if you ask Sora, there’s no other way he’d rather have it. In fact, he can hardly wait to see what happens the next time they get together.


So salaam worthy friends,


Come back soon, that’s the end,


‘Til another Arabian night!
 

KingdomKey

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;__; <3 THEY MADE UP! I was so blind! I didn't realize that was what was wrong with Azlyn! I feel so dumb now because, it totally makes sense why she'd be worried about 'settling down' when she's all about adventure and escape. This couple. Oh my gosh, I wanna throw them into adventure every chance I get to keep them together. And Sora being the maid of honor still gets me to giggle a bunch. (Okay, I don't really giggle, but it's mostly laughter. xD) And FINALLY, Jasmine an Al are married! Hooray! Hip, hip, hooray! This was so, so good. <3
 
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