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Chapter Five: Time Stops

Sora set Syra down on the floor next to the fireplace where the blanket was laying. She curled up into a ball and murmured under her breath as she fell completely asleep. Sora took the blanket and covered her up. He smiled and she grabbed the blanket and pulled it under her chin.

Khryistal was still standing in the doorway with her mouth wide open, staring at Riku. "How did Syra leave the house? Who's that? What's going on?"

Riku looked up at her and replied before Sora could even open his mouth. "My name is Riku. We don't know how she got out of the house other than she was kidnapped and we stopped her captor, but she got away from us. Syra was fighting against the woman but she wouldn't let her go. Sora distracted her and nearly hit Syra with his Keyblades and I tried to hit the woman. She disappeared shortly after that and we brought Syra back here."

Hayner came down the stairs rubbing his right eye with his right hand and stretching with his left arm. "Khryistal, whatís going..." he stopped short when her saw Sora next to Syra's sleeping form. "Sora? How did you get here?"

"Hey Hayner. We brought Syra back and Khryistal let us in." Sora stood and gestured down at Syra before smiling slightly at Khryistal who was still open mouthed staring at Riku. "Oh, this is Riku. He's my best friend and he helped me save Syra. Khryistal, your mouth is hanging open."

Khryistal snapped her mouth shut and went beet red in the face. She looked down at the floor embarrassed. "Sorry. I think I'm going to go back to bed now. Good night, everyone." she turned and ran up the stairs to her room, still red in the face.

Hayner watched his daughter barrel past him and shook his head. "Kids... You got to love them, though. What I don't understand is, how did she leave the house without one of us knowing it?"

Riku looked at Hayner and answered. "I think she was dragged out of a window. I can smell and taste Darkness and it's pretty strong in your house. But it's not as strong as it must have been."

Hayner looked at him with raised eyebrows and his arms across his chest. "How can you smell and taste Darkness?"

A serious look flitted across Sora and Riku's faces as he replied. "I was once drawn to the dark side and possessed by it for some time when I was fifteen. Sora saved me from the darkness and I was trapped in the dark realm for a while after. When I became free from that place I had to open my heart slightly to the darkness in me, to save Sora. I was in a different form for roughly seven months after that until I returned to my own physical shape. I've been able to use the darkness in me ever since, whenever the need arose, Hayner."

Hayner nodded. "Okay, I can believe you. Do you both need a place to stay tonight? It's past midnight."

The two of them nodded and Syra rolled over in her sleep, mumbling something under her breath that caused her father to laugh quietly. Hayner smiled and went to the landing closet. He pulled out the two remaining blankets and tossed them to Sora and Riku.

Riku caught his blanket and noticed the three other people sleeping on the couch and chair. "Who are those three?"

"Hmm? Oh, they're Misty, Max and Dewey. They helped defend us from the Heartless earlier. I still can't believe Syra and Khryistal both received Keyblades at the same time." Hayner looked over at the sleeping figures as he spoke.

"So that's King Mickey's daughter..." Sora smiled and sat down against the wall next to Syra, watching her sleep. "Thanks, Hayner. I appreciate you helping Syra. I owe you one now."

"Yeah, you do, but still... I donít think you'll need to do that yet. Now get some rest, you both look like you went through hell. If you want anything to eat just go right on ahead and eat whatever you want." Hayner walked back up the stairs as Riku sat down against the wall on Syra's right and closed his eyes.

"Hey Sora, what do you think happened to Teyla and Jaden?"

"I don't know. Syra might but let's let that wait till morning. We all need rest."

"Yeah. See ya in the morning, Sora."

"Likewise."

The two of them fell asleep watching Syra and the other three. Riku fell asleep so he didn't sense the hooded figure standing over Syra, looking down at her with a slight smile playing upon her lips. Syra woke briefly and saw the person watching her but fell instantly back into her slumber thinking that it was all just a dream.

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Parin stood gazing at the ball with Jadis and Corithia. After Parin returned to Jadisí castle, Jadis nearly killed two of her servants when Parin had told her what had transpired in Twilight Town. Jadis had summoned Corithia from Dawn since she was the only one other than herself that knew about Parin.

"How could you have had her then lost her, Parin? We were so close to losing the brat forever." Jadis was pacing back and forth between Parin and Corithia who were on opposite sides of the ball.

"Her father and that traitor to the darkness showed up. They got the better of me and the child had a new ability appear..." Parin was watching Jadis with her green eyes.

Jadis stopped pacing and turned to face Parin. "What do you mean? How can she have another ability?"

"Perhaps she has many, perhaps not many at all. It might be possible that she only has two or three. But I cannot see into the future, so I am not obliged to say." Parin turned her head slightly under the hood to listen to what was being told to her by her superior. "I think that the child will not be able to be destroyed by Syndrome, but maybe... Morgana."

Jadis saw Parin turn her head but saw no one behind her. "What do you mean? Syndrome cannot destroy her?"

"I think vat Parin is saying zat Zyndrome doesn't 'ave enough power to destroy her, am I right Parin?" Corithia floated forward into the light of the orb. She was floating on nothing but air and she was garbed in a deep silver robe that covered her feet. Her hands and face were of a lighter silver and her eyes were a piercing grey. Corithiaís hair was a deep black, making an eerie contrast to her skin.

Parin nodded and turned back to Jadis. "That is exactly what I mean. I feel that there is more to this girl than two or three strange abilities. There is more to her than that Jadis, much more than that."

Jadis looked at Parin then at Corithia. She gathered her furs about her and strode out of the room without a second look behind her. Corithia followed slowly after leaving Parin behind in the room and closing the door.

Once Parin was alone a voice echoed around the room. "Parin, you told her part of the truth. You shouldn't have done that." The voice didn't show its physical appearance but Parin looked over her shoulder and pulled back her hood.

She was younger than her voice gave away. She had black hair that only reached her shoulders and her green eyes looked over the invisible figure. Upon the right side of her face was a long thin scar the ran from the tip of her ear over the nose then down the side of her neck and below the cloak. Her delicate mouth creased into a smirk.

"I know I did, I meant to. It gives Jadis a feel of what I can do. And that she doesn't know everything she believes she should. It is fun to toy around with people, especially if they don't know that you are the puppeteer controlling their every move." As she said that last part she looked back into the crystal ball and the colorful fog formed the image of Teyla looking out of her balcony at the iced over forest with a confused look on her face.

"You know that Syra will come for her family, right Parin?" The voice spoke quieter and was much closer to her than before.

"Yes, I do. But she will be disappointed. Especially when her sister hurts her, physically and emotionally, when they next meet. I'll take her with me, if Jadis will allow me, to show her that her older twin is able to get by without her." Parin started to laugh and the image shifted to show both Teyla, awake, and Syra, asleep.

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Syra dreamed she was sprawled in the middle of a giant stone table on her elbows. A hooded figure looked down at her with a oddly shaped Keyblade in their hands. A slivery material was around the table creating a thick barrier to keep the people outside it from entering, and also to keep Syra from escaping. The people outside the barrier were calling out to her, trying to talk some sense into her, and she looked at their fearful faces knowing what she was going to have to do.

Syra nodded as she looked into one of the familiar faces and saw hope etched into the person's face, tied up against a pillar. She smiled at the people around her. She was, after all, doing this for one of the people she cared a lot about. She shifted her position to where she was on her knees and she bowed her head slightly, tears starting to form up and well over, dripping down her face and mingling with the freshly fallen rain. She was scared as the Keyblade was thrown to the ground next to her but she picked it up and held it in front of her chest. She smiled once more at the ones she cared so much about.

Everything went black and it became cold. Syra was floating in a pitch black space with nothing around her. Her eyes were half open and unfocused. A single voice ripped through the darkness and her half open eyes opened slightly wider. The voice faded and she sunk back into a state of half awareness, waiting for something to happen to her.

This is hopeless... Nothing will help me... No one will... What is this place..? Where am I..? Who am I..? Why am I here..? It's so cold here... What happened to all of the warmth..? I wish someone would find me...

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Syra sat bolt upright, her heart pounding with sweat and tears dripping down her face and onto her shirt. After a few seconds she opened her eyes to see the sun just starting to rise above the edge of the building. Syra looked around and saw that everyone was asleep. Her father jerked slightly in his sleep and she spun and faced him, sighing with relief.

It all happened after all... She lay back down and waited for someone else to wake up. Closing her eyes while she waited, she thought about the part of the dream she could remember. The cold feeling of everything disappearing, not a single speck of light or warmth in the darkness that held her tightly, caused her to shudder and open her eyes. She look at her father and then at her uncle. She laughed slightly when she saw him.

Riku had fallen over and lay on the floor with his mouth open slightly breathing in and out. His face was pressed against the floor and there was a small puddle of drool just outside his mouth. His eyes were moving back and forth behind the lids rapidly.

A grunt from behind her caused her to start. She flipped over to see Misty stretching and yawning. "What time is it?"

"I don't know but good morning, Misty. You slept through the night, I don't think you even turned over in your sleep." Syra propped herself up on her left elbow and smiled at her.

"Mmm. I hope we can get something to eat soon..." She looked behind Syra at her father and uncle and blinked several times to make sure she wasn't dreaming. "When did they get here?"

"Last night, but it's a long story. Wait until they wake up. I'll tell you with their help." Syra watched as Misty hopped off the chair and jumped over her to sit down at Sora's feet, watching him expectantly.

"This is your dad, right?" she whispered when she was close to him.

"Yeah, it is. They made it, too. I'm still missing my mom, sister and best friend. It's my goal to find them, now that I know what I'm going up against." Syra laid on her back and folded her arms behind her head as she looked up at the ceiling.

After a few minutes there were other groans around the room as Max, Dewey and her uncle woke up and stretched. Riku wiped off the side of his face and shook his head, causing his hair to fall back into its normal place. "Syra, why is she sitting at Sora's feet?" Riku raised his eyebrow as he looked over at Misty.

Syra shrugged and grinned at him. "I bet it'll be a rude awakening for him. Funny, but rude."

"Shh! I think he's waking up." Misty waved her hands at everyone and stared into his face with wide eyes as Sora started to move a little.

His eyes cracked open, then closed and shot open as he shouted. "WHAT IN THE WORLD?!"

Everyone busted out laughing in the living room. Misty fell back laughing so hard. "Hi, Sora. It's nice to meet you finally. My dad told me a lot about you. I'm Misty Mouse."

Sora shook his head and started to laugh along with everyone else in the room. He spotted Syra laughing slightly with sweat still on her brow. "Did you get a good rest, Syra? You look like you had a nightmare judging from all that sweat on your forehead."

Syra looked at her dad and nodded. "Ya, I had a nightmare... And I don't want to talk about it. Thatís how bad it scared me."

"You know, other people were trying to sleep upstairs, right?" Olette came down the stairs stretching out her arms and yawning. "You all are annoying this early in the morning..."

Sora looked over at her and shook his head. "Olette, what are we having for breakfast?"

"I don't know, ask Hayner when he comes down. He won't let me cook anymore, remember?"

"Thatís true, he won't... unless it's for Siefer." Sora busted out laughing but he stopped when Syra and everyone froze in their places, as if time had been stopped.

Sora caught his breath as something grabbed his right arm. He tried to summon Oblivion but felt nothing. Gritting his teeth he swung around and stopped short as his fist was about to connect to a girl with green eyes and black hair with a scar along the right side of her face. "What?! How did you get in here?" Sora pulled against the invisible hand that held him.

"Easy. I stopped time. It isn't all that hard, I've done it before. It's nice to meet you, Sora." a grin spread over her face that creeped Sora out and she started laughing.

Sora gasped and pulled harder against the force that held him to the spot, pulling from the cold darkness that started to form beneath the hand. "You're the person who took Syra last night, aren't you?"

The grin spread wider over her face and she snapped her fingers. Riku, who was in the process of getting up, finished the move and sensed a ball of energy before it hit him and he spun around. "Holy shit!" He looked over at Sora and saw him pulling away form some unseen force. A thick black band was growing along his arm. "Sora, what's going on?"

"I don't know but this stuff is starting to burn and I can't use my Keyblade." Sora pulled harder against the force and cried out as the darkness glowed blood red and began to heat up rapidly. "AUGH! LET ME GO!"

Riku jumped back and hit the wall as the girl cornered him. "Humph. I thought that this would be a challenge. Two of the previous generation's Keyblade masters... How pathetic. I hope the final generation, that is, Syra, Khryistal, Misty and the others, put up a better fight than this..." She stepped forward and snapped her fingers once more. Everything went black and Sora yelled out again in pain.

"Sora! Hold on!" Riku stopped short as a fist connected with his stomach and he fell to the floor completely winded. He slid across the floor when an unseen foot connected with his back and he yelled out in pain.

Sora was still pulling at the hand that held him. The black shadow growing along his arm and down his chest and back grew more and more. He was dropped and he writhed in pain as he landed on his right side. "What the hell is this stuff?!"

Riku slammed into the wall next to where Sora was laying and grunted in pain as a foot stepped down hard directly on his left hand and twisted it.

"I was right, pathetic. We should just take you with us, or throw you into the realm of darkness and close the portal..." the girl laughed. "Anyway, I don't think Jadis will mind having two more pieces to add to her collection."

Sora and Riku tried to find each other's faces in the darkness but they couldn't see anything not even their own noses. Sora sat up and held the right side of his body tightly. He shouted out in pain once more as the darkness spreading along his body heated up rapidly. Riku was lifted by unseen forces and thrown next to Syra. He could see her, she had a smile on her face and she was looking in her father's direction. As a hand reached out and grabbed his leg he grabbed a hold of Syra's wrist, which was flung out to her side.

Three things happened at once, Riku's hold on Syra broke the time seal, Sora yelled out in pain again, and Riku was ripped from Syra's wrist and thrown into the wall. He slid down it, unconscious. Syra looked at her uncle's face before he was pulled away. The look in his eyes said everything they needed to. RUN, TAKE THE OTHERS AND RUN!

She screamed as someone put their arm around her neck. Misty turned and lunged at the girl (Parin, for those who haven't figured it out yet) and tried to tackle her off of Syra. Olette ran back up the stairs to get Khryistal and Hayner. Max and Dewey went immediately to Sora. They tried to pull the darkness away but it started to latch onto their hands every time they pulled at it.

Parin threw Syra away from her. She started laughing as Syra turned around to face her. "What are you gonna do to me, you little brat? Hit me with that key of yours, or use me as a punching bag?"

Syra was starting to become angry for the first time in her life. She looked at her dad and her unconscious uncle. Her right foot slid unconsciously behind her and she brought it forward quickly, releasing the anger in her body as ice erupted from the air around her and she flew at Parin. Parin laughed and stepped to the side, the ice slicing off the tip of her hair and shattering against the wall.

"Now thatís anger. Glad you know the feeling now. Jadis will be wanting me back, so... I better take what I came for and leave." Sora cried out in pain one last time and vanished into thin air along with Riku. "Hmm. I thought Sora was going to be a challenge to capture. I'll be sure to tell your loved ones you love them, Syra. Ta-ta!" With a wave she vanished.

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