My Brother's Keeper

Epilogue

Villagers gather in the Square chatting and mingling as they wait for the reveal of the lost Prince said to have returned home, though most already believe it's the truth since the matter is not something to joke about.

Girls squeeze and wriggle through one another to get to the front while merchants take advantage of the gathering to sell their wares.

Inside the castle, Sora watches as the dressers prepare Roxas for his coronation.

Sora sits in a velvet red armchair, all dressed in his suit and gloves, leaning on one hand, a foot tapping the floor as he watches.

The seamstresses huddle and giggle, and Sora still waits for Roxas to yell at them to get back, wielding a dagger, but he stays patiently quiet the whole time.

When they step back, Sora's eyes widen.

Roxas turns, his back facing the three-paneled mirror and almost, instinctively folds his hands in front of him.

He wears a sky-blue top with gold epaulettes and black trousers and black leather boots. Medals and a slash cross over his chest, and a cerise green gem with a golden border pinned jut over his heart. His top is lighter than Sora's which is close to a navy-blue.

"You look good." Sora smiles.

"Thank you, but I don't feel like royalty. Should I feel something?" Roxas asks.

Sora shrugs, "I never do."

"Not like it's that difficult to slip by you." Roxas teases.

Then there's a call from down the hall. "Boys! Boys!"

"We're in here mom!" Sora calls back.

Their mother steps in and she gasps, smiling at Roxas.

"Oh my darling boy, look at you!" She whines with joy.

"Look at me, look at you." Roxas returns.

She was breathtakingly beautiful. If there was any other word that could describe her beauty more powerfully, Roxas couldn't think of it.

Their mother's hair, like that of a sorceress, lies curtaining around her head. It draped over the sides of her shoulders in long, coiling tendrils. It's possible she might have bangs, but Roxas can't tell as they're held back with a headband. Her navy blue dress, heavy and flowing, like the inaugural gown of a queen, spilled from either sides of her covered feet while the embellished train fell in gentle folds along the rug. The pleats and endless ripples in the lavish garment gave the illusion of softness, her face the illusion of life. The soft, sweeping lines in her dress and gentle arm movements emphasize her cheerful, sweet disposition and her joy for life. Her large, brown almond-shaped eyes capture the sense of wonder.

"Oh thank you, sweetheart. Now come along boys." She claps her hands. "It's starting."

"Aye, aye my Captain, O' Captain." Sora salutes.

The boys follow their mother down the hallways and to the foyer.

It's only been three weeks since Roxas returned and today is the day the family decided to do his coronation in front of the whole kingdom. The sun nearly touching the horizon as they pass the long tall windows as they hurry down the hall of paintings.

Their father stands by the door waiting, tapping his foot, hands behind his back. "There you are." He says.

He looks to Sora and Roxas and smiles.

"You both look proud." He smiles.

"Feel proud." Sora chirps.

"Feeling sick." Roxas says as he fidgets with his gloves. Sora looks to him and they both see his hands shaking.

"Hey, hey." Sora pulls him aside, but not before both boys brushed kisses with their parents as they head out to the balcony. The citizens cheer. "Hey listen, listen. You'll be fine. Remember what you said to me at the party."

"Knock them dead." They say in unison with a laugh.

Sora gently punches Roxas' arm. "You'll be fine."

And it's all he has time to say before a guard calls him over as their father introduces him.

Roxas waits behind the wall of wood while their father begins his speech. His eyes easily find Axel in the crowd. Demyx. Zexion. Kairi. Riku. Roxas doesn't really pay attention, though he should be since he could be making the speeches soon. But he spends the time replaying everything that's happened in his life.

The good.

The bad.

The ugly.

And worse.

He clutches the hilt of a jeweled rapier in his hand as he feels his father's speech shift into saying how it always pained him to see Sora celebrating his birthday alone.

Roxas' heart rate speeds up. Last minute tears stream down his cheeks as he desperately wishes Axel would be here. To hold him until he has to leave. To see how Roxas has pulled through the harshest times he's ever had to face.

Roxas knows Axel can't come in since the castle is locked off for the preparations of the fireworks.

He hears his father wrap up his speech. His stomach churns. Cloud comes around the corner he says, "It's time, Your Majesty."

He must see the nervousness on Roxas' face, because he takes Roxas' icy hands in his warm ones. And they just stand there as the King readies the crowd. The roar grows louder, and Roxas' nerves won't calm down. The roar of the crowd flashes him back to the day he invaded the city of Hollow Bastion, flipped the entire kingdom on it's head.

Roxas is suddenly shaking and breathing heavy, Cloud comes close and whispers calming words. Roxas' forehead is moist with sweat. Cloud rubs his back in comforting circular motions, and Roxas tries to calm his breathing.

"I don't know if I can do this." he says.

"You've been through worse." He counters. Roxas looks at him and he softly smiles.

That's as far as he can go without making Roxas even more anxious. Roxas paces back and forth as tries to calm himself down. The King is already doing the introduction. Roxas takes deep breathes and after he's level up with Cloud, they exchange a handshake.

"Knock 'em dead." He says.

Roxas gives him a pat on the shoulder and once his father has the crowd riled up, the doors open.

"And now . . . after years of searching, wishing . . . hoping. I present to you, my subjects. My son, Prince Roxas!"

Roxas take a deep breath and step out into the open.

He walks out as the doors open and the crowd is wild. Citizens have shock on their faces before their mouths switch to smiles and being clapping rapidly. Roxas keeps his head high, his shoulders rigid, but spares a few glances around.

Out on the balcony is a single throne chair, Sora on one side, his parents on the other. They all smile and Roxas returns them, even giggling as the villagers cheer. His father motions him to the front of the chair and Roxas stands tall.

"Today, is the end of the long and grueling chapter. But the start of a new story. Today, my boy becomes a royal. Today, he becomes the face of a new generation. He becomes a son, and a brother."

The crowd cheers as Roxas takes his seat as a priest reads the speech that's traditionally said for the crowning of a new heir. He performs a blessing on Roxas and ensures long life and prosperity. Then the time comes for the official crowning.

A young girl walks up with a crown on a plush pillow. She comes forward with a gold jeweled crown with enough gems to rid the entire kingdom of its poverty. Apart from the spit and polish it's been given, Roxas recognizes something on it. A gem he remembers Axel giving him for his thirteenth birthday. It's a square of blue flawless sapphire, perfectly poised at the center of the crown.

Roxas places his hands in his lap and sit up straight, chin high.

Their father takes the crown and says, "In the name of all that is good and just in this land, I crown you Prince. And welcome you son, I welcome you home."

And with that, he places the gold crown gracefully on Roxas' head.

The crowd goes wild, so loud as if there's an actual roar in the air. Roxas chuckles and smiles.

Sora and Roxas chuckle, and then Sora takes Roxas fist and lifts it to the air. From the crowd, he hears Demyx cheer, "All hale the Princes!"

After two solo rounds, soon the entire crowd joined in. "All hale the Princes! All hale the chief! All hale the Princes!"

There's a hissing, and then fireworks explode into the sky.

The kingdom rejoiced, for their lost prince had returned. At last, Roxas is home, and he finally has a real family. He was a prince worth waiting for. Beloved by all, he and Sora lead the kingdom with all the grace, wisdom and dignity as their parents do.

Atop the mountains, Sora and Tula stand with the wind billowing their hair. Roxas soon walks up next to him on his own horse. Their clothes normal, they each have a sheath of arrows strapped to their waist bows tucked away in leather quiver attached to the saddles.

Sora looks to Roxas, who smiles and laughs. Sora deviously laughs and immediately snaps his reins. Roxas soon follows and the boys run through the woods.

Roxas loads an arrow and shoots at one of the man-made targets they'd set up along a trail. Sora shoots the next, and together the boys take down two targets opposite of one another.

Roxas rolls his head back and howls happily to the world. Sora laughs as Roxas rides ahead. He watches as the sun dances off his spikey hair, rippling like a golden halo. They come to the edge of the cliff side and Sora rides up next to Roxas.

"You know I'm glad you're back." Sora amuses.

"It's good to be back." Roxas chuckles.

"Now I finally have someone to help me prank Tidus." Sora laughs.

He nudges Roxas as he leans forward on the saddle.

"You going to be okay?" he asks Roxas.

Roxas pauses for a moment. Then he turns to Sora, wrapping an arm around his brother's shoulder.

"Yeah, I will."

Everything Roxas has ever held back swarms inside him and feels the presence of the boy who he thought was forever lost.

And he feels the empty pieces of his once shattered life, finally fall back into place.

~FIN~

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