After leaving Neverland, Buffy set the auto-pilot on the ship, and hurried to the weapon space. The group only had to restock their supply of potions and medicines, since they each already carried their weapon of choice. Once their packs were restocked, the small blonde jumped back into her seat, and gunned the engine -knocking everyone back a few feet as the ship sped up. This was is, they were heading towards the final battle, or battles, no one knew how many battles there would be -but all knew they would not stop until the Heartless were gone.
Not an hour later the ship hovered over the world, setting the teleporter, and turning on the ship's self-defense; the group teleported down. Once they appeared; the group glanced around, only to see Beast standing on the large platform where the dark twins had taken the Keyblades. Nodding to the others, Willow began hopping from one small platform to another, until she reached the one Beast was standing on. The Beast watched as the bigger group jumped up to meet him before turning with a bewildered look on his furry face, "What happened?" Willow asked as she landed behind him.
"I just appeared out here when I started back to see Belle." The Beast said shaking his head, he was very confused.
"You going back?" Faith asked as she stepped beside him as she stared at the huge castle, and felt a chill run down her spine. The feeling of darkness wasn't as strong, but it was still there, turning she saw that the others could feel it too -and could only hope that Tara or the princesses could feel it as strongly.
Princess Tara felt tears fill her eyes as she looked at the castle, her and princess Faith's castle. What had the Heartless done to it? "It's okay, we'll get your castle back." Willow number three wrapped her arms around her lover, and gently squeezed, "Those damn Heartless won't keep it."
"Damn right." Buffy number three said as she pulled princess Faith into an embrace.
"Let's go." Goofy said readying his shield, he wasn't going to be caught off guard by the enemy.
Beast lead the way, and this time he was not going to be mysteriously transported back outside, he would avoid going to the left, no, this time he would stay right. "This way." he said as they entered the castle, the two princesses feeling the sickness in their gut at the difference the Heartless had made in their one time home. As they entered the library, Beast pulled Buffy toward the right, "No, if you go that way you'll only end up back outside." he then pointed to the stairs, "That's where we want to go."
"Okay." The Al Bhed nodded, and was thankful, she did not want to be teleported back outside and have to trek all the way back.
"Belle!" The Beast shouted as he stepped on to the second floor, and saw the young woman in her yellow dress.
"Oh, Beast!" Belle cried and hurried over, and embraced the furry man. With a slight blush, Belle kissed the once prince on his lips. The others watched as the couple spoke for a few minutes before the princess of heart turned to them, "You've come to seal the keyhole, right?" she asked and saw the girls nod, "Please be careful. The darkness is raging deep inside, we've been holding it back, but we're growing weak and won't be able to hold out much longer."
Tara bowed to the young woman, "We will take care of it, don't worry." she said and raised up, she let her eyes meet with those of Donald, Goofy, Buffy, Faith, and finally her wife, "Are you ready?"
"Yes." They nodded, "Let's get this done." Willow took Tara's hand and intertwined their fingers.
The ex-dark twins looked at each other, "We're going too," They said and turned to Clay, "Take care of our girls, will ya?"
Clay nodded, "I will." she knew she wouldn't want her lover going into the darkness to fight. Sure they had all been in tight spots before, but she knew no one but the Keyblade masters, the king's servants, and possibly the once dark twins could withstand being near the darkness.
The princesses were worried, although they knew their lovers could take care of themselves, and knew the others wouldn't let anything happen to them -they still couldn't help but worry they would never see them again, "Be careful." Princess Tara told her lover, and heard Princess Faith repeat those words to her own lover. "Please watch over them."
"We will, don't worry." Tara told her counterpart, and nodded to the others, "Let's do this."
Beast and Belle, Clay and her group, and the princesses all watched the Keyblade masters disappear through the door with Donald, Goofy and the twins. All prayed for a safe return.
The group of eight followed the same path as before to reach the chapel, thankful that no Heartless had appeared to fight them. Inside they saw the other princesses standing near the center of the room, each looked pale, and ready to leave. If a person was to just look in on them, they would think nothing was wrong, but it was. The darkness was being held at bay just from the princesses being there. They were using their own pure hearts to stop the darkness from taking over, and destroying everything.
"We've been waiting for you, Keyblade masters." Cinderella spoke as the group approached.
"Where'd Ansem go?" Faith looked around the room, the only ones there were her group, and the princesses of heart.
The blonde haired princess cut her eye toward Aurora, and sighed, "When the keyhole appeared; the darkness poured out of it, and it swallowed Ansem...he disappeared." Aurora let her eyes rest on the large door.
Cinderella took a deep breath, the darkness was beginning to wear her down, "Once the door opened a flood f darkness hasn't stopped trying to force it's way out. We're working together to hold it back."
Aurora just slightly nodded her head, and pressed her back against the wall with a sigh, "I cannot forget the look on Ansem's face as the darkness engulfed him." the princess shuttered, and closed her eyes for a moment, once she opened them again; the princess glanced at the door to darkness, "He was smiling. It...Ansem was smiling as he was engulfed in the darkness." tears shown in her eyes, and Cinderella stepped over and wrapped the young woman in her arms.
"Girls, Donald, Goofy, please be careful." Jasmine said as she stepped over with Snow White and Alice, "The darkness is pressing against the barrier, some is escaping, but we're doing our best."
Alice stumbled and caught herself on a pillar, "It's all we can do just to hold the darkness back."
"I don't know how long we can manage even that." Snow White spoke, she could feel the darkness invading the room little by little, "We're counting on you, Keyblade masters. In the meantime, we'll do what we can here."
"Were on our way, just hang on." Tara hurried toward the door to darkness, and looked back, "You all ready?" a round of "Yeah, or yes." was heard, and at all at once the group jumped through the door, and into the Dark Depths.
As the group landed, they found themselves in a darkness covered room; the only light was coming from the multicolored keyhole at the back. Blue, purple, red, green, pick, yellow, gray, black, and orange all swirled around the keyhole, lighting up the room.
THUMP! The ground shook...
"Oh, hellfire!" Faith cursed as a huge Heartless landed in front of them, effectively cutting off the path to the keyhole.
The group could make out the three different colors on the Heartless, dark purple over it's back, light purple in the center, and again with dark purple on each of it's four legs -and four black hooves. The monster was very muscular too, large shoulders leading down to large biceps, and on to large forearms. An inward curving cream colored horn on either side of its massive head, and a single solid black horn in the center. The Heartless symbol on it's chest glowed brightly with an eerie light. It took a step towards the group, shaking the ground, and causing everyone to stumble like they were drunk.
The behemoth roared, sending the girls and two guys into action. Buffy and her twin ran forward, both sliding under the Heartless, and slicing at his underside. Willow and her twin danced around in front of him, slashing his head when he lowered it. Goofy began spinning around, bringing his shield out, and continuously hitting the Heartless' right hind leg. Two Thunder spells, one from Tara and the other from Donald, and a Flame spell from Faith crashed into the behemoth's back.
The behemoth raised up, and quickly fell forward; it's hooves smashing into the ground, and sending a shockwave out. Willow and her twin were thrown back from the force, just as Buffy and her twin. Goofy had, at the moment the behemoth rose into the air, jumped away, avoiding the shockwave. Willow had been closer than her twin, and was knocked into the wall; the sound of her head smacking hard against the sent a chill up her twin's spine. The ex-dark twin crawled over to Willow's unconscious body, and growled when she saw the blood seeping from the redhead's ears, nose and mouth. It had been a hard hit. "She needs healing!" The twin shouted to Tara, and waited until the spell did it's job, and Tara made her way over. Nodding to the blonde; the twin re-entered the fight.
Faith had seen her lover, and the twin fall to the ground, and watched them rise back up before sending a healing spell their way. The dark haired woman then ran forward, leaped into the air, and landed on the behemoth's back. She brought her blade down, cutting a gaping hole in the back, quickly pulled the Keyblade out, and shoved her hand into the wound. "Flare!" she called out, the spell exploded into the wound, burning her hand, and causing the Heartless to fall to the ground, "Kill it now!" she shouted jumping away, and casting a Cure spell on her hand. The angry red burn that covered her hand quickly healing as the twins, Donald and Goofy finished the behemoth off. With a roar the Heartless vanished in an explosion.
No one had had time to get away, and all were thrown back into one of the four walls, and all joined Willow in unconsciousness.
Almost an hour later, Willow awoke to the grinning face of Buffy number two, and groaned, "What the..."
"You battled...something went boom, and we checked it out, and found you and the others unconscious." Buffy number two said helping Willow to stand.
Willow nodded, saw Tara waking, and rushed over to help her. Buffy was helping Faith to stand, and the princesses were helping their lovers. "Look at what those damn things did to our home!" Princess Faith cried out with a curse, very un-princess-like, causing the others to blink.
"We've got to seal that keyhole!" Donald said glancing around the group as Goofy helped him to stand.
Buffy shook her head, "There is no ‘we' to it," she said and raised her Keyblade, "I can feel it, it's calling my blade." the Al Bhed turned and sprinted to the Dark Depths, with her twin on her heels.
"Let her go," Princess Faith said, still fuming about the castle, "I know my Buffy will take care of you Buffy." the princess grinned, and all felt the power of the Keyblade flood the castle as the keyhole was sealed, "See?"
Only a few minutes went by before the two Buffys came back with grins, "You did it!" Clay smiled as she wrapped her arms around her Willow.
"It used to be so peaceful here." Princess Tara sighed and lowered her head.
Willow number three wrapped her arms around the princess, "Don't worry, love, once we defeat D'Hoffryn, the palace will be restored."
"Yes, but it also means goodbye to our new friends." Faith number two said as her Buffy nodded.
"Once the worlds are restored, they'll be separate again."
Willow number two sighed as she leaned into her lover, "Everyone will go back to where they came from."
Buffy shrugged, "So," she grinned, "We'll just visit you guys with the ship."
Clay didn't know how to say it, she knew she wasn't that good with words, or even explaining things -but she had to say it, "It's not that simple." she shook her head.
Willow number two, feeling her lover's uneasiness, squeezed her hand and continued for her, "Before all this, you didn't know about the other worlds, right?"
"Because every world was isolated." Faith number two cut in, "There were impassable walls dividing them."
"The Heartless destroyed those walls." Buffy number two said, and then lowered her head, "But if the worlds return, so will the walls."
Clay sighed, and finished, "Which means the ship will be useless."
Willow bowed her head, she didn't want to give up the new friends they had made, even if they were their twins, "So, what you're saying is, we'll never..?"
"We may never meet again, but we'll never forget each other." Clay nodded.
"No matter where we are, our hearts will bring us together again." Willow number two said as she embraced each of the girls.
Buffy number two smirked, "Besides, I couldn't forget you all even if I wanted to."
"Hey!" Buffy shouted, "What's that suppose to mean?" she giggled as the princesses entered the room.
Each of the princesses embraced the girls, and the twins before each of them spoke, "Thank you, girls." Alice smiled, "I think the darkness has begun to weaken."
Jasmine nodded and sighed, "But I can feel a powerful darkness growing somewhere far away."
Aurora stepped beside the sultan's daughter, "It's the heart of the darkness. It must be where D'Hoffryn went."
"Then we'll take the ship and deal with both D'Hoffryn and the Heartless." Tara said as the others agreed.
"A worthy answer," Cinderella bowed, "Keyblade masters."
Snow White followed Cinderella's lead and bowed before the group before speaking, "Once the darkness is gone, all should return to it's original state."
"That's good." Faith sighed, it had been one long journey, but it was almost over.
No one really knew what to say, this would be the last time they saw one another, and it caused everyone's heart's to weep. "Let's go before I start to cry." Buffy sniffed, and once more, the girls, Donald, and Goofy were embraced by the girls. Even the twins, they were embraced by the princesses, and Clay's group, which surprised them. With a kiss to their lovers, the twins stepped beside the group and vanished.
On the ship the group could see a large spiraling ball of darkness off in the distance, and could feel it growing powerful Buffy hopped into the pilot's seat, and moved the ship forward, and into the darkness. It would be the final dimension they saw, where they would put a stop to D'Hoffryn, and the Heartless. It was known as the End of the World. The ship could go no further, so Buffy landed then ship on a large flat rock, and stood from the seat. "This is it, is everyone ready?" Willow asked and saw the others nod, she gave a nod herself, and activated the teleporter.
When they landed the group stood in front of the Gate to the Dark, and saw fragments floating in every direction. "Gawrsh," Goofy stared, "is that all that's left of the worlds taken by the Heartless?" No one said a word, they could only nod. There had to be thousands upon thousands of small, medium, and large chunks of rocks, homes, castles... everything from the worlds, floating in front of them.
Willow turned toward the others, "Those worlds will be restored if we beat D'Hoffryn, right?" She asked and glanced back at the fragments.
"You betcha!" Donald nodded.
"But, if we do beat him, and all these worlds become restored and disconnected, what's gonna happen to this place?" Willow shivered, "And to us?"
Donald blinked, "Well...uh..." he didn't know what to say, he really had no idea what would happen either.
"This is a Heartless world, so maybe it'll just disappear." Goofy said staring off into the distance.
"Huh?!" The entire group's eyes widened.
Goofy grinned, "But no worries. Even if this place goes poof, our hearts ain't goin' nowhere. I'm sure we'll find our pals again. Yup, I just know that we will."
"Yeah," Tara believed it, she did, she knew if she didn't, then she would grab the others and leave, "You're right." she said and took the only path that was connected to the rock they were standing on, down.
Willow's twin glanced around, and shivered, even with the darkness gone from her body, she could still feel it calling to her -and knew her Buffy felt the same, "I wonder where D'Hoffryn went?"
Buffy's twin felt a chill go down her spine as the group moved closer and closer to a pitch black portal, "Dive into the most dangerous place, and we'll find him."
Faith picked up a palm sized rock, and threw it into the black portal, nothing happened, "I guess it's safe enough." she said and approached it, "Wait here, and I'll see."
"No!" Buffy pulled her lover back.
The twins nodded, "She's right, we'll go, you all just wait here." Buffy's twin said and jumped into the portal before anyone could protest, and was quickly followed by Willow's twin a second later.
It seemed like hours passed by, but it was only seconds before the two girls reappeared, only to face an angry Tara, "Don't do that again!" Tara shouted, causing both girls to wince, "Anything could have happened!"
The two girls lowered their heads, "Sorry," they mumbled, "But nothing's in there, only a door." Willow's twin said, and jumped back through the portal.
"Come on." Buffy's twin followed the other, and was followed by the others.
As the group approached a fifteen foot tall black and purple door, Willow stopped, and turned, "Huh?" she glanced at the ceiling.
"What's wrong?" Tara asked suddenly standing guard beside her wife.
Willow cocked her head to the right, and closed her eyes, "Don't you hear something?" she asked, "There!"
"Careful." A soft voice said, "This is the last haven you'll find here. Beyond, there is no light to protect you. But don't be afraid. Your hearts are the mightiest weapons of all. Remember, you are the ones who will open the door to the light."
"I don't hear it." Donald said, he had listened, but had not heard a thing, and the same thing went for everyone else, no one but Willow had heard it.
The redhead sighed, and seemed as if she deflated for just a moment, "Strange, that voice was so familiar." she shrugged, "Maybe it's just my imagination."
On the Farplane, Shiva smiled, and turned away from the pool of water to join the others. She had done all she could in warning Willow that the room they were in was the last safe place before the final battle.
Tara hugged her wife from behind, "You want to rest for a few minutes."
"No," Willow shook her head, "Let's finish this."
With the help of the twins, Faith and Buffy pushed open the huge, and very heavy doors, only to stare at the black, desolate, run down land in front of them. No grass was growing on the ground, and the sky was almost as black as night, but the ocean was blue. It sent a chill down everyone's spines, and caused them to up their guard even more.
"This world has been connected." D'Hoffryn's voice could be heard, "Tied to the darkness...soon to be completely eclipsed. There is so very much to learn." His voice continued as the ocean turned purple. "You understand nothing. A meaningless effort. One who knows nothing can understand nothing."
The group began turning in circles to pinpoint where the voice was coming from, but saw nothing. "Take a look at this tiny place. It now belongs to the darkness."
"Where the hell are you?!" Buffy's twin shouted towards the rocks.
"All worlds being in darkness, and all so end. The heart is no different. Darkness sprouts within it, grows, and consumes it. Such is its nature." D'Hoffryn said smirking as he appeared floating behind the group. "In the end, every heart returns to the darkness whence it came. You see, darkness is the heart's true essence."
"That's not true!" Tara shouted.
"The heart may be weak, and sometimes it may even give in. But I've learned that deep down, there's a light that never goes out!" Willow narrowed her eyes.
D'Hoffryn shook his head as he looked over the group, "So, you have come this far and still you understand nothing." he sighed, almost sadly, "Every light must fade, every heart must return to darkness." he said, and thrust his hands forward, knocking everyone but Willow and Buffy back as a barrier appeared. Tara and Faith, once more, found themselves on one side of a clear barrier, and their lovers on the other.
"Oh, shit!" Buffy's twin groaned as the ground began to shake, "This is not good at all!" she shouted as everyone stared at the ground where a black shadow began to form, and rise up taking shape.
"Meet Darkside!" D'Hoffryn laughed manically and floated down on to a rock, where he sat down to watch, "Kill them." he ordered as Darkside rose to his fullest height.
Immediately the two girls jumped back, and separated, Willow going to the left, and Buffy to the right. Willow cast a Flare spell as she ducked under the giant Heartless' hand, and smirked as Darkside roared in pain from the spell. The huge Heartless roared once more as two blades connected with it's midsection, five, six, seven times apiece. Darkside slammed both fists down, causing a shockwave just as Willow and Buffy landed, and were knocked back into the rocks.
The creature's glowing yellow eyes glared at the two girls as he moved forward, and swiped at them with his right hand. "Protect!" Willow shouted, casting the spell over she and Buffy, and felt the hand make contact with the shield a second later. They both grunted from the impact, and thanked the Fayth that the spell cut the pain by a third. Buffy rolled to her left, quickly stood as she threw a Pineapple mix, and dived even further to the left. Willow had watched the mix fly through the air, rolled on to her stomach, and covered her head. The mix exploded on Darkside's face, knocking him to the ground. Both girls rolled to their feet, and met at the creature's head, where they began pounding with their blades.
With each hit to his head, Darkside growled, and would try to stand, only to be kept down from the force. He could feel his life draining away from the Keyblades, and decided to give the girls what they wanted. With a mighty roar, Darkside slammed his palms on to the ground, and cast an exploding spell -combined with the shockwave from his hands; the girls were once again slammed into the rocks. Laughing could be heard as the girls lost consciousness, and Darkside disappeared.