Chapter 7: Neverland
The group was sailing in the Gummi Ship, searching for a new World to find and search for the next Keyhole.
As they did, Goofy jumped in his seat after checking the rear-view monitors, "Uh, a big ship is catching up to us." He says.
Just then, a massive pirate ship sails past their port side. James' eyes widen, "I know that ship… it belongs to Captain Hook!" He calls out as he leans on Sora's chair, "Get out of his sight! If he sees us then—"
Just as he said this, the Jolly Roger turns to face the Gummi Ship. "It's going to ram us!" Sora shouts, "Hold on tight!" The Gummi Ship takes evasive action and the group quickly eject and land safely on the deck of the Jolly Roger.
Unfortunately, James and Sora got separated from Donald and Goofy.
As they walked along the deck, Riku's voice rang out, "I didn't think you'd come, Sora." They turn to face him and Sora gasps. Riku smirks, "Good to see you again." He tells him.
Sora looks back at his friend, "Where are Donald and Goofy?" He asks.
Riku's eyes narrow, "Are they that important to you?" He asks offensively, "More important than old friends?"
James eyes the area around him, "No sign of Hook, but we definitely landed in Neverland. He's either chasing Peter somewhere, or Riku took over the ship… Either way, this isn't looking good." He thinks as Riku continues.
"Instead of worrying about them, you should be asking…" He then steps aside and reveals a young girl with short red hair sitting with an expression that shows her to be in a daze.
James and Sora both gasp at the sight, each of them recognizing the young girl, "Kairi!" They both call out.
James looks to Riku, "How long have you had her body? Has it been exposed to any Darkness?" He asks.
Riku smirks, "That's right." He says, seemingly ignoring James, "While you were off goofing around, I finally found her."
Sora rushed towards her, but a hook blocked his path, "Not so fast." Said Captain Hook, "No shenanigans aboard my vessel, boy."
James scowls, "Been a whole decade since last we met, Captain." He says with a sneer.
Hook meets it with a glare of his own, "Aye, and far too brief it was." He replies. Suddenly, the two Keyblade Wielders found themselves surrounded by Heartless.
Sora looks up to his friend, "Riku, why are you siding with the Heartless?" He asks. "You can't trust it! The Heartless will control you!"
Riku smiles, "The Heartless obey me now, Sora. Now I have nothing to fear."
Sora grits his teeth, "You're stupid." He shouts, "Sooner or later they'll swallow your Heart."
Riku scoffs and shakes her head, "Not a chance. My Heart's too strong." He says simply.
"That's not enough to keep them at bay, Riku! It only makes them more determined to take it! Turn away now before it's too late!"
Riku raises his hand, "I've picked up a few other tricks as well. Like this, for instance." Suddenly, a pitch-black version of Sora rose from the ground, startling Sora.
James' eyes widened, "An Anti?" He asks.
"You can go see your friends now." Riku says as a trap door opens beneath them.
James grabbed the floor as he fell, with Hook smirking down at him. James grunts, "You know this won't stop me, Hook!"
The Captain simply huffs, "If the cell doesn't hold you, me new crew certainly will." He then kicks James in the head, causing him to fall.
"Ya don't say?" Goofy comments, having been updated by Sora.
The boy nods, "Yeah, it was definitely Kairi. I've finally found her." He says with a relieved smile.
Goofy smiled back, "All right! Then let's go up and talk to her."
"Yeah!" Sora says happily.
Donald looks up at him, "Sounds great. Okay, but first… how about getting off!" He yells. James simply laughs at the sight from his seated position beside the pile of bodies that was Sora, Donald and Goofy.
Once they got up, Sora looked to James, "You seemed to know that guy with Riku. You met him before?" He asks.
James nods, "Yeah. Captain Hook. We're currently on board his ship, the Jolly Roger. I faced him ten years ago with Aqua when we—" he cut himself off, not expecting he would bring her up.
Sora tilts his head, "Who's Aqua?" He asks curiously.
James turns his head away, "She was my sister. She's gone now. Lost to the Darkness." He shakes his head, "But never mind that. What's important is that we found Kairi's body. We better find her and Riku so we can get them away from the Darkness."
The others nod and start looking for a way out when they hear a voice behind them, "How ya doin' there? Looking for a way out?" They all turned around to see Peter Pan.
James smiled, "Good timing Peter. We need to make an escape. Care to help us out?"
Goofy turned to James, "Friend of yours?" He asks.
James nods, "Yeah. Peter Pan. Leader of the Lost Boys and general thorn in Captain Hook's back-side." Donald looks at the lost boy hesitantly.
Peter shrugs, "It'll be my pleasure to help you out, Jim. Where's Aqua? She come with you? Maybe Ven or Terra are here too?"
James grits his teeth, "No. It's just us this time. Look, time is of the essence. We need to find some others that are here too. You help us, you get to show Hook a thing or two. Sound like a plan?"
Peter nods, "Sure, but I'm waiting for someone right now."
"Who?" Sora asks. Just then, a small yellow light circle around Sora before approaching Peter.
"Tinker Bell," he says, "what took you so long? So, you found Wendy?" He asks.
Tinker Bell gives a series of jingles and ringing.
Peter's eyes widen, "Hold on. There was another girl there, too?"
Tinker Bell continued speaking to Peter.
"Are you crazy?" He asks her, "There is no way I'm gonna leave Wendy there!"
Donald smiles, "Aha." He says as he folds his arms, "She must be pretty jealous." He adds with a laugh.
Tinker Bell turns to the duck in a huff, and promptly kicks his bill.
James snickers, "Sensitive subject, Donald. She's too stubborn to admit it." He says before moving his head out of the way to avoid Tinker Bell's assault. She then flew out the view of the door.
Peter scoffed, "Come on, Tink! Open up the door!"
Sora then clears his throat, Kingdom Key in hand, and looking square at Peter Pan.
James chuckles, "We let you out, and help you get to this 'Wendy,' and you help us get Sora's friends. Deal?"
Peter grumbles, "I'm Peter Pan." He says, extending his hand.
"I'm Sora." The boy replies, moving to shake hands with Sora, but Peter withdraws before he can.
"Okay, we're in this together, but only 'til we find Wendy."
James nods, "Deal." He then summons Starlight and opens the door. As they all move to leave, he leans to Sora, "Peter is an acquired taste. You'll get used to him." He tells the boy.
They scurried through the ship and stumbled upon Hook's quarters, where they were ambushed by a small group of Heartless, led by an Anti-Sora.
James summons Starlight, "Leave the look-a-like to me. The rest of you, clear the room of Heartless." They nod and rush into battle. James immediately struck it with his Keyblade, but upon impact, the entire room became encased in Darkness. When it clears, Anti-Sora is nowhere to be found, but glimmering duplicates remained.
With Peter's assistance, the team quickly finished the immediate battle and continued their hunt.
As they walked through one of the lower decks, Goofy looked to Peter, "So, uh, how come you can fly?"
Peter turns back to the group, "Anyone can fly. You wanna try?" He asks. Sora, Donald and Goofy nod their heads as Peter lands in front of them. He whistles and Tinker Bell flies to him, still appearing to angry.
"Aw, haven't you cooled off yet, Tink?" He asks. Her response is to turn away from him, allowing him to grab her by the wings and hover her over the four of them, "Just a little bit of pixie dust." He says, "There. Now you can fly."
Donald attempts to do so, resulting in him falling face first into the floor, and Tinker Bell laughing at him.
James shakes his head, "We can try flying when we get above deck. Until then, let's continue looking for Wendy and Kairi on foot." He says.
Sora nods, "And Riku."
They reach some cabins and see a young girl in a blue night dress sitting in a cabin above them through a type of venting opening.
The girl raises her head, "Peter?" She asks, "Peter Pan?" She hurries over to the venting and looks down to see Peter and the others.
"Wendy!" Peter exclaims.
She looks at him, "Please hurry! The pirates are coming!"
Pan's eyes widen, "What! I'll be right up there! Just hold on!"
Sora looks to the two of them, "Wendy?" He asks.
The girl looks over to the other boy, "Yes?" Sora walks closer, "Is there another girl in there with you?" He asks with hope in his voice.
Wendy looks up at someone the others cannot see, "Oh, why, yes." She replies.
James walks into view as well, "Red hair? Simple, grey necklace around her neck?" He inquires.
Wendy nods, "Yes, that's her. Do you know her?" She then shakes her head, "Well in any case, she seems to be asleep. She hasn't budged an inch."
James' eyes narrowed, "What do her eyes look like right now? Are they closed?"
Wendy shakes her head, "No, they are open, but they feel so far away. As if she isn't able to move or respond."
James lets out a sigh of relief, "Thank Ava, she's ok. Well, all things considered, at least. The fact that her eyes are open means her body hasn't yet been taken by the Darkness. There's still a chance to stop all this."
Meanwhile, Sora has been calling out to her, "Kairi? Kairi!" But no response comes verbally, however, her fingers twitched slightly, making Sora smile.
Just then, the door to Wendy and Kairi's room opens and Kairi is seen being dragged away. Sora gasps as they hear Wendy make cry out in fear.
"Wendy!" Peter exclaims, "Hey, let's get up there!"
James nods, "No time to waste, move!"
They return to Hook's quarters to see Riku carrying Kairi's unconscious body. "Riku, wait!" Sora exclaims.
James summons Starlight, "Either listen to us, or give us Kairi! We all want the same thing here, Riku!" Riku says nothing as Darkness seeps from the door and Riku steps back into it as Anti-Sora appears in front of them.
It attacks Sora and Riku uses that as a distraction to escape. James doesn't engage Anti-Sora with the others, instead he crashes through the window and climbs up the side of the Jolly Roger to intercept Riku.
The young boy glares at him, "I don't know why you're so obsessed with me, but you better back off!" He yells.
James recalls Starlight, "Riku," he says gently, "tell me, why did you build that raft?" Riku gasps before James continues, "Sora told me. He said the two of you raced to decide who would name it. That you and he have been friends for as long as either of you can remember, and that he trusts you above anyone else. So, tell me, why did you build the raft?"
Riku stared back at the man for a brief moment before answering, "Because the Destiny Islands was such a small place." He said, "There was nothing to discover, nowhere to explore that hadn't already been explored countless times. I wanted to see more. To know what all could be out there beyond that sunset."
James nods, "I know somebody, a friend. He, like yourself, wanted to go see other Worlds. I get it, Riku. But you're playing a dangerous game." He risks a step forward, "You're allowing the Darkness too much access to your Heart. Soon, it'll—"
"Soon it'll be like Kairi's?" Riku interrupts, "Is that what you were going to tell me?"
James shakes his head slowly, "Kairi's Heart has not been taken by the Darkness. Just before the Islands fell to Darkness, her Heart left her body, seeking refuge to weather the storm."
Riku raised an eyebrow, "And you know where it is?" He asks.
James extends his hand, "Come with us. Step away from the Darkness, and help us secure the Light. Only then, can we safely return Kairi's Heart from whence it came."
Riku examines James, as if pondering the offer, before chuckling, "You expect me to believe that?" He says as Darkness starts to swirl around him, "Darkness is the origin of all things, as such, it is the inevitable conclusion to all things as well." His voice starts to shift into a deeper pitch, "Soon, you too shall be engulfed in nothing but Shadows." And then, just like that, he vanished.
Their conversation is interrupted when Sora, Donald, and Goofy rushing on deck from one side, with Hook and Smee coming in from another. As Sora approached, several Heartless appeared beside Smee.
Hook looked about, "Quite a codfish, that Riku, running off with that girl without even saying goodbye."
Sora glares, "Run off where? Tell me, where did he go?" He shouts, clenching Kingdom Key tightly in his hands.
"To the ruins of Hollow Bastion, where Maleficent resides."
James raises an eyebrow, "Hollow Bastion?" He asks aloud.
Hook sneers, "Never you mind that, boy. You won't be going there." He then holds up a small cage with Tinker Bell trapped inside, "Unless you intend to leave your little pixie friend behind?"
With a grunt of defeat, Sora recalls Kingdom Key as James does the same with Starlight. They quickly find themselves surrounded by Heartless, keeping the group at blade point.
Hook strokes his moustache, "Hand over the Keyblades and I'll spare your lives. Be glad I'm merciful, unlike the Heartless. So, which will it be? The Keyblades, or the plank?"
Just then, a faint ticking could be heard just off deck. Hook looks overboard and sees the same Crocodile from when James last visited Neverland.
Hook gasps in fear, "It's him! The crocodile that took me hand!" His voice began to quiver in fear, "Oh, Smee! He's after me other hand! I can't stay here!" He then hands Tinker Bell to Smee and hurries away, "Smee, you take care of them!"
Sora found himself on the plank, being forced backwards by the Heartless.
James grits his teeth in frustration, "A hostage situation up here, and an angry crocodile down there? What the hell are we supposed to do?!" He thinks. Sora continues backing up until he's at the edge of it. Sora inhales deeply, closes his eyes, and jumps off. A split second before the croc can claim him, Sora immediately takes flight.
Causing just the distraction James needed as his Wayfinder began glowing green, "Wind!" He shouts, casting Aeroga at his feet, knocking all the Heartless away and causing Smee to drop Tinker Bell, allowing her to escape with the help of Peter Pan.
With the tables having been turned, Sora, James and the others make quick work of the Heartless aboard Captain Hook's ship. Once the battle was won, Sora and Peter went up to the door to Captain Hook's quarters.
Peter knocks twice, receiving a shaky response from Hook, "Is that you, Smee? Did you finish them off?" He asks timidly.
Peter struggles to contain his laughter, before pinching his nose and makes himself sound like Smee, "Aye, Captain. They walked the plank, every last one of them."
No sooner than were those words said did Hook storm out of the room. James, Donald and Goofy dropped from the mast to cut off his front, left and right, with Peter and Sora cutting off only remaining route of escape.
James put Starlight to Hook's throat, "Hollow Bastion. Where is it?" Hook sneers, "Blast you! You'll not be getting away with this!"
James rolls his eyes, "Why do I even bother? Peter? Would you mind?"
Pan smirks, "My pleasure!" He then throws Hook overboard, and his screams of terror could be heard loud and clear as he skips across the ocean away from the crocodile.
Afterwards, Sora leans against the ship in despair.
Goofy looks to Donald, "Uh, Kairi couldn't wake up, so maybe she's really lost her—"
Donald cuts him off with a shush.
James approaches Sora and places his hand on Sora's arm, "You ok, half-pint?" He asks.
"I still can't believe it." Sora says quietly before raising his head with a smile on his face, "I really flew. Wait 'til I tell Kairi." He says, shocking the whole group, "I wonder if she'll believe me." He scoffs, "Probably not."
James eyes the boy, "You seem to be taking recent events surprisingly well."
Sora lets out a laugh, "Of course! You told me before that Kairi's safe, right? Well I trust my friends. So, if you say she's safe, then I believe it, James."
The man looks at the boy in awe for a brief moment. Despite how bluntly he treats him, Sora still trusted him that much. James couldn't help but smile, "It's Jim." He says, "All my friends call me Jim."
After that, Peter and Tinker Bell used the Jolly Roger to return Wendy and her brothers to London, allowing Sora to lock the Keyhole in the World. The group returns to the Gummi Ship and begins to leave, "We need to make for this Hollow Bastion right away." James says.
Donald tilts his head, "Ok, but where is it?"
Goofy nods, "Yeah. It's kinda hard to go somewhere, if ya don't know how to get there."
James looks to Sora, "Time for me to give you a lesson in using the Keyblade." Sora smiles and summons Kingdom Key.
James adjusts Sora so that he's facing the front of the ship, "Now, close your eyes and think of Kairi. Find your connection to her in your Heart and take hold of it." Sora does as instructed, closing his eyes and concentrating, causing the tip of Kingdom Key to glow.
James nods, "Good, now, use your thoughts and memories of her. Turn them into a path, and push it outward." He tells him. Kingdom Key fires a beam through the ship and opens a Gate in front of the Gummi Ship.
James smiles, "Perfect. Now we can follow this new lane straight to Hollow Bastion. Let's go!"
(A/N: That's it for this Chapter! Sorry for it being so late. College Move-in was hectic, and I had to get myself a working schedule that accommodates my school schedule. I'm going to be working on chapters every Thursday, and Friday. So, you should, hopefully, be able to expect updates every weekend. This may not always be the case for a variety of reasons. Be it needing to take care of a school assignment, or the chapter is just taking longer than usual to make. Regardless, this is my plan going forward from here. I appreciate your patience, as I always have, and hope you enjoy my stories. Read and Review!)