Heine and the gang, and the ghosts in the machine. Spoilers for KH2; I don't mean just the opening bits, even if it is about Heine & co.
"You think they'll be okay?"
They'd seen off the hero, for better or for worse, and now lingered in the strange room, bereft of purpose but not quite wanting to leave. Driven by the curiosity of children for the unknown, they ran their fingers over the strange, inorganic lines and glowing panels, and their footsteps echoed in staccato rhythms across the metal floor.
The rooms under the mansion were unlike anything they'd ever seen; no natural light penetrated this far down, but the threads of illumination woven into the walls and floor shimmered with a soft radiance. While Pints fiddled with the panel and its unfamiliar glyphs, Heine and Olette explored further, into the wide, empty room with its tapestry of emerald and turquoise, and the halls beyond holding their iridescent cradles.
They understood that something important had happened here, but didn't know what, and so their voices were low, as if by consensus unwilling to break the solemnity of the grand mystery. And if the shadows around their feet were a little thicker than usual, the children simply dismissed it as a trick of the light and paid them no heed.
Beneath their reflections, across a space that lacked form and substance, the shadows moved. They had no voices with which to speak, but through the linked paths of memory they whispered to one another in silence.
/See? I told you so/, said one, gleefully.
Another sighed. Okay, okay, you were right. He's tougher than I'd have given him credit for. Happy?
He's surrounded by friends/, said the third. /Friends from the Light, the Darkness, and even the Void.
And us! The boy who had been named Heine clapped his hands together for emphasis.
The smallest of the shadows stuck her tongue out at him. Do you think he'll be alright?
Are you kidding? I'm gonna whack him good if he isn't!
/Besides, the king and the mummy-looking guy are in there too. They might help/, added pints.
What, that obnoxious creep? I want a chance to go at him in a Struggle tournament. I'd show him who's boss then. Bastard. heine tried to kick the remnants of the console, but his foot passed clean through the wreckage.
/But he made us, too/, said olette quietly, into the silence.
That one caught heine off-balance. After several unsuccessful attempts at speech, he gave up, and muttered, yeah, I guess he did.
She drifted over to the portal, gliding a transparent hand over the darkness. We've come this far, I want to see how it ends.
We can't, you know that. That's not our world out there.
I hate it when he's right, but I have to agree with Pints this time. It's not our story anymore, it's theirs. Heine flattened himself against the floor and put his ear to the cool metal. I think I can hear them. Hey, you know, I bet if I focused real hard I can see Olette's pa- ow!
And then heine was sitting up, rubbing the back of his head that had suddenly connected with a shadowy elbow.
Do you think they'll know? She asked. Wistfully, because she already knew the answer.
Nah. They won't.
But that's not the point, is it?
Guess it's time, then?
olette noded, and pulled out the ghost of a pastel blue popsicle, winking at her friends.
One more for the road?
Soothed by the familiarity of the years that had never been, they faded back into the darkness between zeroes and ones.
He looked up, to find Olette peering down worriedly at him from her perch on the console. Rapidly blinking to clear eyes that were suddenly cloudy, he straightened and brought his vision back into focus. "Sorry, I must've spaced out for a minute."
"You're hopeless," sighed Heine. There was something slightly constrained about his movements, an almost solemn air that had not been evident a few moments ago, as he bounced around the on the balls of his feet and poked at the strangely iridescent walls.
"Maybe I am," replied Pints, with good-natured cheer. He looked down at the blinking password on the panel. Sea salt ice, sweet and salty like honeysuckle and tears. And maybe next summer, we'll go to the sea.