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Air for free
If I sink to the darkest depths
Will you be there for me?
To hold my hand while I hold my breath
Cause I don't wanna go

-Relient K, Air for Free

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He had lived a long life.

He had also lived a short life.

Was he in the present, the past, or the future? Young, or Old?

His steps led him far and wide to far off places. He had befriended Pirate and Princess both. Angered Kings and saved the people with the help of a Thief. Demi-gods had fought beside him, and Dark Faeries had despised him.

He found himself clothed in a special coat that hid his features from the sight of others, that also protected him from the dangers that arose in traveling through the many Lanes that lie Between All.

Abruptly he found himself in a humble town, it was humid and uncomfortable as if in the beginning of summer, but something had pulled at his Heart. A Chain of his Memory that had not been plucked in what seemed like both yesterday as well as an eternity ago.

He wandered the town until he finally came upon what had brought him here. The sight of a lone pup, abandoned. A pale shade of yellow he knew would darken with age.

Pluto

He remembered his friend. He smiled and understood.

Pup in hand, he made his way In-Between once more.

The pup grew and trotted by his side, ever the faithful companion. Once full-grown and trained on how to carefully walk the Paths, a Collar of Green was placed upon him, and a spell of protection and wards against ailments placed upon it.

He smiled pleased, even though he knew it was time to say goodbye, there would still be next time.

Now Pluto, you be good to King Mickey and Queen Minnie, ok?

A happy woof was the response he hoped for and expected.

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He had been in the care of the Reluctant King for a rather long time. Of course, his owners felt time differently than he did, but then again, this world seemed to simply keep them ‘as they were,’ for “age” had no place here. His days were pleasant and fulfilling. The Queen ruled her people well, and her husband ruled alongside her as her strength and her Knight.

Though not of royal blood, his humble beginnings as a boatboy fed into his desire for fulfilling adventure.

One day in the depths of night a familiar portal opened. He became immediately alert with ear poised.

A figure appeared and his scent immediately was recognized. His original master grinned, all canines showing in the night as he hushed him while getting down on one knee. A hand motion to Stay was commanded and Pluto immediately sat at attention. He tried to hold back his joy at seeing his master, but could not help the grin that took over his muzzle as he panted in joy.

Good boy, Pluto. I’ve got a special letter for King Mickey, can you deliver it for me?

Pluto nodded, unable to contain himself he stood and turned himself in a circle before sitting once more.

His master chuckled softly. A few scritches behind the ears just so where he loved it, and the letter was placed before him.

Careful of the parchment, he softly took it with his mouth and placed it at the front of his bed before doing another spin and laying down once more, panting at his master happily.

The cloaked figure nodded, smiling at his long-time companion, “ Until next time Pluto… “ He stood, another portal of the Lanes opening once more as he left with a wisp into silence.

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Queen Minnie was petting his head in melancholy, staring out at her vast kingdom. “Pluto… did I ever tell you how I met Mickey?”

He cocked his head with an ear up in noted interest.

She smiled at him, “Sometimes it feels like it happened in another life, or maybe… another story would be more like it. You see, while I was still a princess I was tasked to get three Musketeers to protect me from those who would seek to harm me…”

She would spend days retelling the stories of lives she dreamed, moments she had lived, adventures she had imagined.

Simple times. Difficult times.

It staved off the loneliness of King Mickey’s absence.

Pluto felt the weight of the many lives, dreams, and imaginings they had seemingly lived through. Remembered them as truth even as Minnie spoke in tales. In the end, they and all the others involved would always return here to their World, Disney Town.

It was during one of these nights that his Master appeared, simply coming over to his bed and sitting cross-legged on the floor before petting him, “ Have you been a good boy, Pluto?

Pluto’s ears perked as he nodded, panting happily as he tried to keep from thumping his tail. Minnie’s ears were the sharpest of anyone’s, next to Daisy’s ability to pick up the town gossip. She was also a terribly light sleeper and would immediately check up on him to see what sort of mischief he was up to.

His master smiled with a sigh, giving Pluto some well-deserved affection. “ I think… Mickey is in the middle of training. He, Donald, Goofy, Minnie, and Pete might be sharing our same Dream… The King hasn’t figured out yet how to summon his Keyblade… but I think… he’ll figure it out soon enough. You know the story of The Three Musketeers?”

Pluto nodded, hearing Queen Minnie’s iteration of the tale. “ I have my own story related to that, wanna hear?

He almost couldn’t contain his excitement. His Master didn’t share much, but somehow his instincts allowed him to understand that it was important that he didn’t know, even if he was only a pet. Even a dog like himself could change the paths of those around him for their safety.

It was while I was taking a special test… I went to the Sleeping Worlds, and that’s where I ran into the King during his training…”

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It was the evening of the Dream Festival, held to boost the moral of the people just as much as it was for the Queen. A buzz of excitement rang throughout the World as the next days event would go into full swing.

Yet, Pluto could feel the undertow of Darkness. He had sensed the Lanes Between being opened by a Master.

He had also caught and removed the threat of some strange creatures that had appeared. After the defeat of the first one, the sort of creature it was settled into his mind, Unversed .

Whatever the creature it was, it and its siblings all had strange senses of negative emotions, given forms of their own to act out and harm others to disrupt the Order of the Worlds.

He growled at a twitchy Flood that had backed itself into a corner, and swiftly snapped it up between his jaws. Its death was swift and painless. The lingering loneliness only sent worry through him.

He would protect Queen Minnie and stay by her side, just as he was commanded.

Ah… so it’s about that time…

Pluto stiffened, turning swiftly as his Master’s scent hit him, immediately washing away the strange lingering loneliness. He panted, trotting up to him and sitting down at his feet.

The cloaked individual knelt down, and gave him a thorough bout of affection before sighing. “ Outsiders that look similar to me will probably show up soon. Protect the Queen, and take note of the outsider’s scents, ok?

Pluto nodded with a soft ‘ hhrrough!

His Master smiled, “ I knew I could count on you. ” A final pat on the head before he stood, “ Be safe,

And once again his Master departed.

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Pluto had missed one of the outsiders.

He had caught the lingering scent of one that was pure and Light, as though no darkness dwelt in his heart.

Another scent had lingered, reminding him of the other as well as his master, but bitterly filled with Darkness.

The same scent of Darkness that was upon the Unversed.

He huffed in frustration, silently taking out another one of the odd creatures. A few others lingered around the castle, when they abruptly wisped away.

This caused Pluto’s hair to stand on end, now fully alert.

What could cause such a thing? Had their master appeared to collect them?

Yet, more time passed and it seemed the danger was over.

A strange thrumming was ringing through the Ways Between.

Sadness, loss, victory.

Silence.

Unease lay upon Pluto, leaving his hackles up for several days before King Mickey returned, Keyblade in hand.

Overjoyed that the Queen’s sadness would abate, he ran to his owner and showered him with the love he couldn’t lavish on him during his training. Mickey laughed, “Oh Pluto, missed me, didja boy?!”

He woofed, spinning and demanding more affection before finally letting Queen Minnie have her piece.

Mickey smelled like the one he had missed and the blue haired outsiders, though the scents were stale. Donald and Goofy also carried the stale scents, and gave him pets in greeting at their return.

Their hearts were heavy.

It wouldn’t be until a few nights later that his Master would appear again to explain the lingering sadness.

Ventus has gone to sleep… His heart was lost in the fight with his Darkness, Vanitas.

Pluto cocked his head to the side as if to ask, ‘ and how do you know that?

His master smiled, “ Ventus is safe. Pray for Aqua who wanders the Dark, and Terra who has lost his own Self.

Pluto nodded.

It was what he did for his Owners every day.

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Time passed, and as if none had passed at all King Mickey became a Keyblade Master, and departed their World with Scrooge McDuck on their newly crafted Gummi Ship. Brow creased with sweat and worry the Mouse King came to his faithful pet in the night before he left, “Now Pluto, I need you to do me a big favor.”

Pluto perked and sat at attention. An uneasy grin came and fell from his Owner’s muzzle, “The Worlds are in trouble, buddy. You think you could look after Minnie and the Castle while I’m away?”

Pluto woofed, nodding and thumping his tail. He puffed out his chest to prove his pride and strength.

Mickey smiled, “Gosh, I knew I could count on you!” He gave him a hearty pat on the head, “Oh, right! I’m looking for someone who has a Keyblade, so if you run into someone who has one, you be good to them too, alright?” Pluto nodded in agreement once more, before Mickey took a step back, “See you ‘round, Pluto!”

And it was a mere week later that he snuck himself onto another Gummi Ship beside Donald and Goofy after the short command from his Master.

Fetch!

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While Donald and Goofy hadn’t really been pleased when they discovered Pluto on their Gummi ship alongside them, there wasn’t much they could do about it once they’d gone off-world. However, after a while Donald begrudgingly appreciated the extra mileage of fuel they could get with their ever-smiling canine-companion.

Having a ship that ran on Smiles as its fuel source had its downsides.

After Donald, Goofy, Jimminy, and Pluto landed in Traverse Town, Pluto went his own way while the others were distracted with their mission.

His mission was far more simple and easily accomplished, for the scent he had been hoping for was there.

Following his nose, he traveled to a side alley. His heart raced with excitement and as soon as he reached the green keyblade wielder, he licked him, awakening him from his abrupt world travel before woofing at him in excitement.

“Woah!”

Pluto panted happily as the teen looked around woozily, “Where am I…?”

Suddenly he felt a wisp of a Corridor opening and rushed off towards it. Arriving on the other side, he found himself on a new world with a dirt alley. At the end of it he saw Mickey and woofed in joy.

The mouse started before turning, “Pluto!?” He ran circles around his owner as Mickey laughed, “How in the world? Where did you come from?!?”

Pluto sat in front of him, tail thumping the ground as the Mouse King gave him a thorough look-over. “Well, I’m not sure how you got here, but how about you stick with me? I might have something I need your help for, now that I think about it!”

The canine tilted his head in question. Mickey’s smile slid off of his face, his ears drooping a little, “You see, some of my friends have been missing for an awfully long time… and now the world of one of my most trusted friends has fallen. It was completely overrun with Heartless, and the castle was in ruins…”

Pluto, empathizing with the Kings mood, whined in sadness alongside him. Mickey sighed softly, “Well, for now I gotta focus on finding the Key to Darkness!”

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They traveled to many worlds. Worlds fell, and worlds were saved as they made their way. Mickey seemed to be traveling in a haphazard manner that seemed part memory and part instinct. It wasn’t until they found themselves in a lazy town with an unending Twilight that Pluto perked up.

He looked up at the Mouse King and woofed, running circles around him before running off towards the tram tunnels.

Mickey, not expecting such a reaction from his companion was thrown off, “Whoah! Hold on Pluto! Wait up!”

He waited until Mickey was in sight and then continued onwards, making a show of following a trail of sorts before pausing in an empty corner room with a grated border. He waited for Mickey to come beside him before barking once more.

The mouse looked at him confused, “Well? What is it Pluto?”

Pluto barked and suddenly Mickey sensed it . A Flicker of Darkness that wasn’t there a moment ago.

He glanced at Pluto with a suspicious, yet grateful expression, “Is this what I think it is?”

Pluto nodded, suddenly pouncing on him as a way into the Dark Realm opened up behind him and swallowed him whole with a shout.

The portal closed just as quickly as it had opened. Panting, Pluto turned to see his Master waiting with a smile on his face, “ Good boy. Did you smell Aqua? ” His Master held forward a scrap of faded white fabric, and the canine recognized the scent immediately. Nodding he woofed in confirmation.

Good. ” The piece of fabric was put away, “ I’m glad. Hopefully King Mickey will meet with her soon.

She needs all the Light and Hope she can get.

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He stood by this Master’s side on a pathway to a strange and Twisted Castle.

It smelled of those who Should Not Be, Yet Still Were. It smelled of loss, of stale hope, and of the one who was filled only with Light.

His Master sighed, “ Ventus is sleeping here, hidden away by Aqua a long time ago… She changed her World to protect It and Him Both.

Pluto nodded, tilting his head in question.

His Master smiled, “ I need you to guide Sora, Donald, and Goofy here…

He pulled out from his coat a letter with the King’s Seal.

Pluto questioned him again.

A sigh, “ I still have no idea what it says, but if it’s what I suspect… it is simply a blank piece of paper. It is nothing.

Pluto huffed as if to ask, ‘ Then why even try to deliver it?

Because someone really important to me is trapped in that Castle. Those three have to go in for her to even start her own Story…

The canine nodded, understanding.

The letter was put away, “ Let’s go.

And so they returned to the way they came, and slowly desolate ground turned into green fields. The Worlds were Saved, but what had it cost them? His Master paused and pulled the letter out, handing it to Pluto wordlessly.

He took the letter into his mouth and continued on his way down the path, a Corridor opening and closing behind him.

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Riku was wandering when Pluto tracked him down. Overjoyed in catching his Owner’s scent lingering upon the teen, he approached him and demanded affection. “Wha-?!” A shove and Riku landed on his backside, face full of dog. He huffed and laughed lightly to himself, ruffling Pluto’s scruff, “What in the world?”

A woof was the only response he would get.

Getting up Riku looked at Pluto, who watched him expectantly while panting happily. He sighed with a grin, “You gonna come along with me, boy?”

Pluto spun in a circle, ‘ruff!’

Riku nodded, “Alright then.”

They traveled, and after a time they reached the world of Twilight. Pluto recognized the lazy town and felt joy swell through his heart. This was a special town that seemed to be completely neutral. It accepted all who wandered through as they were without question.

A World in complete balance.

Riku walked out of the town, and entered the forest that sat on the outer edges. Soon, they were in an old dilapidated mansion. Riku turned to his companion, “Wait here.”

Pluto nodded and sat, waiting for his friend to return.

Time passed, and a door carefully creaked open. Pluto immediately looked towards the source of the sound, and saw a girl in white with blonde hair and blue eyes peeking down at him. She smiled and quietly crept down the stairs and came over to him. She placed her hands on her chest, as if to hold back her excitement, and Pluto fed off her anxiety, panting happily. “You’re one of Sora’s friends…”

Pluto made a soft ‘hrrough!’ as a positive response, and Namine softly giggled to herself. She carefully extended her hands and gently began to pet him. He pushed his head into her hand and even pushed up against her, almost knocking her over as if to say, ‘ you can use some strength! Pets!

She giggled softly again while regaining her balance, giving in to his request and being more firm in her affections.

A few more moments passed before Pluto heard another sound and cocked his head and ear up to listen. At this Namine startled, looking in the same direction. She nodded to herself, giving him one more pat before quickly escaping back up the stairs and returning to her room.

Barely a moment after the door clicked shut Riku returned with a man covered in wrappings of red, “So, the King’s faithful pet has come to visit.”

Pluto huffed, somewhat put off by the man’s demeanor.

The red-cloaked man looked to Riku, “You think this dog can be of use to us with those Nobody ’s?”

Riku nodded, “Pluto has been to several Worlds with the King, so he wouldn’t be afraid. He also wouldn’t be cause for suspicion.”

The older man nodded, handing something to Riku before turning, “I will have to put my faith in your idea. We have already lost a great deal of time.”

“Yessir.” Riku bowed slightly as the man walked away. Turning, he looked down at Pluto before getting down on one knee, “Alright, you think you could do me a favor? I’m going to put something in your collar so we can track you. I’m hoping that with it, we’ll be able to find out more about what’s happened to Sora’s memories, and where they’ve ended up.”

Pluto tilted his head, baffled by this explanation, but agreed to having this mission placed upon him. Riku carefully loosened his collar and placed the tracker on it, before readjusting it back into place. Ensuring it was still comfortable, he nodded and patted Pluto on the head, “Thanks.”

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With a note tucked in his collar, Pluto started on the hunt for...nothing. The details were honestly even baffling to an amazing dog such as himself, but he’d do his best to fulfill the request put before him.

Riku followed carefully from the rooftops, ensuring that the mission was completed.

Suddenly Pluto perked up, catching the scent of melancholy and affection. There was the scent of flame, and fighting heartless.

However, the lingering scent of a certain keyblade cemented his destination. Bounding around a corner he saw two cloaked figures discussing something. It was the shorter of these two that had the distinct scent he was following.

“UWAwahahahahahahahaha!” Xion laughed as Pluto licked her face and showered her with his doggy affection. She was like the memories of carefree days, of young love, and the stress of keeping or losing one’s childlike innocence.

The other man with her huffed, “Don’t get attached Xion.”

A note was plucked from his collar and read, “But.. but Axel! This puppy NEEDS me! Look!” She waved the letter at him.

Axel looked it over and sighed, “Xion, there’s no way we’ll be allowed to keep it. Now, let it go before it gets too hard.”

Xion looked Pluto in the eyes and teared up, “I bet you’d be the greatest puppy anyone could ever have …”

Axel groaned dramatically, “Oh alright , I’ll ask Saix if we can keep him …”

Xion perked up, “Really Axel?!”

Axel shrugged, and muttered something about Saix owing him as Xion squealed in delight and hugged Pluto tight, “Thank you so much!!!”

Riku nodded from the rooftop he was watching from, ‘ Thanks Pluto. Be safe.

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The Castle That Never Was was… Something . Scents were everywhere and nowhere. It was one of the oddest Worlds he had ever come upon, yet he understood why it existed

And why it shouldn’t.

Pluto sat next to Xion, panting in excitement as Saix looked him over, “Fine.”

Axel jolted in shock, “Wh- Seriously?!”

The blue haired man huffed, “I wanted a dog once.”

“Really?” Moving in closer as if in secret, “You actually remember wanting something?”

Saix glared at the red haired man as Xion took this as a cue to look at Pluto and book it, “I gotta introduce you to Roxas! He’ll be so surprised!”

Ushering the pup along, Pluto followed his new friend down the strange hallways and soon stopped in front of a room that carried the scent of “Xion?”

The black haired girl giggled and turned slightly to show Pluto off, “This is our new puppy! I found him after my mission with Axel! Saix is gonna let us keep him!”

Roxas tilted his head confused, but nodded smiling uneasily, “Hey there… buddy.”

Pluto woofed, and pushed against Roxas for affection. The boy couldn’t help but respond to Pluto’s enthusiasm, and began petting him, “He seems pretty well cared for. Are you sure it’s ok?”

Xion nodded enthusiastically, “He had a letter in his collar to please take care of him! So it’s ok!”

Roxas nodded, turning to his friend, “Pluto’s the best.”

Xion blinked, “Huh?”

The blonde blinked, tilting his head, “What?”

“What was it you just called the puppy?”

Roxas paused, trying to think over what he had just said.

But the memory never returned.

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Days passed, and eventually he caught Riku’s scent in the World.

Was his mission over? He had gotten rather attached to Xion and Roxas, and enjoyed Axel’s presence well enough. The denizens of the castle were so very strange in their existence, but the Sea Salt ice cream eating trio seemed to have developed hearts of their own.

Yet, despite that, Roxas and Xion seemed strangely unstable, and their scents ebbed and swayed with hints of Sora’s scent.

There were times where it was so strong it was almost too much, but would suddenly disappear as if it hadn’t been there to begin with. Sometimes he could smell Kairi while by Xion’s side. It was strange, but it simply added to how odd she herself was. Her scent confused him.

With a sad huff, Pluto got off his bed and made his way carefully out of the castle, noting from the kitchen a strange smell of a chicken based dish that was… questionable.

Perhaps it was better that he was leaving without a goodbye.

He made his way through the Dark City, and came to Riku’s side. The silver haired teen nodded and began to walk further away from the Castle. Pluto turned for a moment, sadly saying goodbye with a sigh, and followed behind his companion.

Pluto stayed by Riku’s side for a time until one day he felt a… shift. He perked up and made his way out of the Old Mansion, continuing on to the clocktower. It was around there that the scent of Xi_n dissipated, tears streaming down Roxas’ face.

What had happened?

A hand was placed upon his head to stay him from going over to provide comfort as Roxas gathered himself up in anger and left.

Pluto looked up at his Master and whined in sadness.

He sighed heavily, “ I know. It’s… sad. But it was necessary for their Story to continue. She’ll be back someday, and you’ll remember her name and scent again. It’s time to go.

Pluto cocked his head in confusion.

His Master grinned in a depreciative manner, “ Your journey isn't over just yet.

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He and his Master traveled again, in a predetermined path that seemed to go at a leisurely pace. Something seemed to shift in the Worlds once more, as if links that had been disconnected were suddenly right where they should be once more.

Pluto cocked his head in question, “ Sora’s memories were returned to him, and everyone remembers him again. It was time to wake up.

The dog nodded, continuing on their way down the Lane Between.

The path changed, and Pluto found themselves in The World That Never Was once more. He cocked his head as rain poured down. “ I want you to follow Axel.

Pluto woofed in response.

Protect Kairi.

He nodded and went about trying to catch a whiff of Axel, far out of the sight of the Castle. He felt the shift in atmosphere with the disappearance of X_o_ and Roxas’ light. Axel was… sad.

As sad as someone with an incomplete heart could be. He was also determined, and it had an edge to it that was biting.

He understood the command to protect.

Eventually the rain dissipated, and Axel’s scent strengthened. He lifted his head, catching sight of the red head. He made an attempt to catch up to him, but failed as the Corridor of Darkness faded behind him. He lowered his head, sad and frustrated he’d failed to catch him when he heard footsteps behind him. Perking up he turned and saw Riku fully cloaked, his scent strangely tinged with something… wrong .

The teen lifted his hand and with a flick, opened another Corridor for his canine friend. Pluto woofed in thanks and ran into the Dark, only to come out the other side onto a sunset beach that was anything but peaceful.

Barking in warning he positioned himself next to Kairi, growling at the Dusks that had surrounded her.

“Now now, don’t make this difficult. I’d rather take you unharmed if I can help it.”

Kairi turned to Axel as he walked out of his portal, tossing her arm aside, “And why should I go with you?!”

Axel sighed, “Don’t you wanna see Sora?”

Kairi flinched back as if threatened before leaning forward, “Not if it’s with you!

Another portal opened up behind them, and Pluto guided Kairi to it, running through to escape the danger Axel had presented.

The other side of the path dropped them off in Twilight Town, startling three familiar teens who jumped, shocked that their hideout was being intruded upon.

“Whoah!”

The girl of the three quickly came over noting Kairi’s shared shock, “Are you alright? How did you get here?”

Kairi looked around, noticing their gateway had already disappeared, “Uh… I’m ok. Who are you three?”

The other girl smiled, allowing the lack of acknowledgement of her second question, “I’m Ollette, and over there are Hayner and Pence.”

Pence quickly approached her, “Hello there! What’s your name?”

“My name’s Kairi.”

The three startled, “Kairi?! Sora was just asking about you!”

She became excited, “You know Sora?!”

The three nodded and quickly bonded, sharing their experience with the wayward teen that had disappeared from her memories for the past year, but never from her heart.

Yet, their tranquility couldn’t last and suddenly another portal opened. Quickly getting on-guard, Hayner and Pence stood abruptly as Axel entered, “You know, I’d rather not do this the hard way…”

He grabbed Kairi’s arm, Pluto staying beside her as she was dragged into the waiting portal, “Hey! Let me go! Let me go!!!

The path Axel took was dizzying, and dropped them off in the Castle, only to be confronted by the Berserker.

“Axel.”

The red head hissed, “Saix.”

“So good of you to bring the girl here. It will make Sora… Angry.”

Axel got on-guard, “I didn’t bring her for you .”

Saix huffed and in a flash, cleaved his Claimore into Axel’s side, tossing him aside like he weighed nothing.

Kairi shrunk back as Pluto stood by her side growling menacingly, unable to do anything as Saix dismissed his weapon and took her by the wrist, “This way, Princess.”

She dragged her heels in despite knowing it would help nothing, “No! Let me go! ” She hit at his arm as Pluto followed alongside her barking and snarling the whole way.

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The cell had nothing for comfort nor to note the passage of time. Eventually, Demyx showed up with a plate of food for them, “Heya Princess!”

Kairi jolted from her slumped position, anger quickly seeping into her as she stood, “Why do you all call me that?!”

Demyx jolted back as if struck, “Uh, sorry. It’s just- you’re a Princess of Heart and all…” he chuckled awkwardly as he motioned to the try in his hands, “Anyways, time to eat up! Dinnertime!”

He placed it at the break in the lower bars for the passage of food, and shoved it in, “I’ll be back in an hour to get the tray, so eat it while it’s hot!” Demyx gave a salute and quickly walked off, humming all the while.

Kairi sighed and took the chance to eat, making sure Pluto got his food also. Once finished, she noted the gaps in between the bars. Studying them for a few breaths she nodded before standing and putting her hands on the bars. Another beat and she tried to carefully put her head through. With a groan she managed it easily enough and breathed a sigh of relief. She looked down at her companion, “I did it Pluto!” He woofed in excitement, and she continued to try and shimmy herself through the bars. Her shoulders, then her torso, yes good. And- oh, her hips wouldn’t go through, ‘ Are you kidding me?!

It was right then that a patrol of Dusks came by. They wiggled and stared at her, coming to the realization that something was not quite right about the prisoner that Demyx had ordered them to look after (while he slacked off).

Kairi panicked, and started to wiggle while half fallen out between the bars.

The Dusks tilted their heads as if to ask, ‘ Companion? Companion, how is it you are stuck?

Kairi wiggled some more, “Can you help me out of the bars?”

The Dusks ran her question over, and nodded, assisting her and allowing Pluto out of the cell, recalling that he was X___’s pet. Kairi wiggled once more, “Thank you!”

The Dusks looked at eachother, twitching in confusion when suddenly a shout came out from behind, “Wh- How did you get out-?!” Demyx found himself punched in the face by the angered Princess. Falling back he held his face with tears in his eyes, “Whoah woah woah! I’m not out to hurt you Princess, but if Saix finds out he’ll-!”

“He’ll what, Demyx?”

The blond squealed as he stood, “Saix!”

The blue haired man glared down at Kairi, “It would be in your best interest to return to your cell, Kairi.”

The redhead took a few steps back, “If I refuse?!”

He sneered, a strange glow seeming to enter his eyes.

Pluto stood in front of her, snarling at the danger Saix presented. A soft sound and a Corridor opened behind them and girl’s voice urgently whispered, “ Quickly!

They turned, Namine with hand extended in help, “Hurry!”

Saix snarled, “Namine!”

Kairi and Pluto joined her as the portal closed, spitting them out in another outer area in the castle. The redhead ran a few steps before allowing herself a steadying breath, leaning forward as the terror of the situation took over. The other girl’s steps came closer, “You alright?”

Kairi took a deep breath and stood, looking at her new companion and nodding, “Yeah. Thank you Namine.”

The white dressed girl smiled, “It’s the least I could do.” She took Kairi’s hand, “We better keep moving so Saix doesn’t catch up to us.” Kairi nodded, grasping the other girl’s hand.

They made their way through the outer paths as Namine’s existence seemed to flicker oddly before they found their way blocked by two Berserker Nobodies, followed by the appearance of their master, Saix, “I’m afraid leaving is simply not an option.” The blue haired man extended a hand out, “I will take you to see Sora.”

Kair took a step back as Saix lowered his hand, “Do you not want that?”

Kair clutched her hand over her chest, “I do , more than anything , but not with you around!” She took her guard, as Namine followed suit and put her hands up to fight beside her.

Saix scoffed, “If I had a heart, this is the part where I would die of laughter.”

A ringing was heard, and Saix turned only to see one of his minions fall. The cloaked perpetrator stood, brandishing his weapon, “ You . Didn’t Roxas take care of you?”

Namine dropped her guard, “You can take it from here, Riku.”

Kairi blinked in shock as she slowly slid out of her guard, “Riku?” She looked between the two in confusion.

At that moment Riku sent away his weapon and fired a Dark Firaga at Saix, the other man blocking and flipping from the attack. Riku then ran over and slammed him by the shoulders into the wall before Saix gave him a sneering grin and fell back into another Corridor. Riku made to follow, but paused at Kairi’s call, “Wait!”

Pluto barked and seemingly guided Riku further away from the Corridor by blocking his way forward. He could smell Riku’s unease and happiness at finally reuniting with his friend.

Kairi stepped over, “Riku, you’re really here?” She pushed back his hood, revealing the change in appearance he had suffered. His odd scent now made sense in Pluto’s mind.

“Kairi…”

The voice was wrong, but the heart was right. Namine came up behind her observing as Kairi took the older teen/man’s hands, “Oh Riku, I missed you!”

Riku turned his head in shame, “I know… sorry.”

She breathed with a smile, gripping his hands more firmly before taking a step back, “You have a lot to answer for mister! Everyone’s been worried sick about you!”

He blinked, “Wha- I’ve just been trying to help Sora!”

She grinned, “And that’s why I’ll forgive you. Now, let’s go!”

Riku looked behind her at Namine. Kairi turned, only to see that her existence seemed to be flickering again, “Namine…?”

The other girl sighed, “I think… it’s time that I go back to you.”

The redhead stood confused, “Huh…?”

Riku sighed, “Namine… is your Nobody, from while you were sleeping in Sora’s heart.”

Kairi blinked, looking between the two, “Oh…” Namine stepped up to her with a sad smile.

“It’s alright. I’m glad I could be of some help.” The blonde extended her hand to her, and as Kairi took it the other girl was engulfed in light and disappeared into her Other. Kairi breathed in shock as she felt Namine’s heart settle inside of her own, placing her hand on her chest with her eyes closed as she felt the new presence within her. She smiled sadly, “You’re safe with me.” Nodding she turned to Riku, “Let’s go.”

Riku nodded, turning towards the nearby doorway.

The door closed, and a hand landed on Pluto’s head, “ Good boy, thank you.

Pluto woofed, panting happily as he looked up at his Master. “ Let’s go.

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Pluto found himself on a new pathway in the Castle, near the top. He looked up at his Master in confusion, ‘ We’re still here?

He nodded, “ I wanted you safe. It was a bit of a commotion and you’ve done a lot. ” He gave him some pets and scritches before they sensed it. “ Xemnas has gone to enact his final plans. ” He sensed a flicker of Namine’s presence, and a Corridor opened. He crouched down to Pluto’s level with a smile, “ You wanna go to the beach, boy?!

Pluto perked up and started panting, “ Fetch!

The canine took off, barking as he ran a figure eight around a shocked King Mickey and Donald before running into the portal. After he found himself on the play island on Destiny Island, Pluto started sniffing about, trying to pick up the scent of ancient magic and sterile Light. He heard Goofy appear on the beach, immediately confused at Pluto’s disappearance, followed by the call of the King and Duck.

He looked back and noticed they hadn’t taken notice of him, so he continued on in his hunt for the weapon Aqua had left behind when the Worlds had fallen. He remembered his Master’s words before he departed, The King once mentioned having met Aqua in the Realm of Darkness, and that they were split up at the remnants of Destiny Island. I later found it on the beach on the Play Island, but the place where it was didn’t make sense. Anyone would have noticed it. ” And so here he was, just the hound to sniff its location out.

And find it he did, on the back end of the island, in horrible disrepair. Rust caked it from tip to guard, its magic brittle and broken in its bite. Pluto waded into the waters where it had been deeply entangled in seaweed under a pier, and dunked his head in to bite the shaft. Despite its abandonment, it raged at another touching it, almost ringing as it sent sparks up his teeth that caused his body to become numb. He growled, feeling the healing effects of his collar kick in before he could become too entangled and drown. Finally, he yanked hard enough and set the angry weapon free, dragging it up onto the shore. Dropping it with a huff, he sniffed out the remnants of brine and shook himself to get off the excess water. Pluto glared at the ancient key as it began to settle down, finally free of the damaging environment it had been stuck in for who knew how long.

A hand rest upon his head, “ Thanks. I’m sorry if it hurt you.

Pluto shrugged and snorted, tossing his head in slight annoyance. No task was too large for him, but this was more trouble than usual.

His Master sighed and smiled. Going over, he carefully picked the keyblade up, wary of its brittle state. It burned in his hand for a moment before settling, recognizing his right as a wielder, as well as sensing that this was not the first time the Stranger had held its weight.

Master Keeper

The name whispered through his mind. He nodded, it was time to clean off the poor weapon and strengthen it so that it could return to its rightful place, as a Defender of Light.

Turning to Pluto and nodded, “ Let’s go, buddy. Time to go home. ” The canine perked up at this. “ Queen Minnie is worried about you.

Pluto nudged him, agreeing with the sentiment to return, it had been a little over a year since he’d last been home.

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He’d gotten a rather stern lecture from Queen Minnie when she’d found him in his bed that evening as though he’d never been gone. He allowed her to rant and rave before she wore herself out and with a sigh started to pet him, “I’m glad you’re home safe, Pluto.”

He woofed, his tail thumping in joy to finally be back.

The next day he perked up, ear raised as he heard the signs of a Gummi Ship returning. Getting up from his bed he ran a circle around Queen Minnie before running off to the docks to meet with his owner once more.

Mickey laughed as Pluto enthusiastically greeted everyone before leading them up into the Royal Hall, woofing to let the Queen know everyone was safe and sound.

Welcome Home.

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Pluto .”

The dog snorted awake, blinking blearily at his Master who sat down cross-legged in front of him. “ It’s been a while, sorry I’ve been gone so long.

Pluto shook his head to finish waking up before giving a soft huff and a nudge. His Master laughed breathily before giving him the affection he desired.

I finished fixing up Master Keeper. It’s now Master’s Defender.

Pluto tilted his head in question before the other summoned the ancient keyblade. It carried its age with grace, but looked less for wear now that it had been reforged and cared for. Pluto sniffed it, and the ancient key gave a soft hum of thanks for saving it from its salty prison.

Thank you again, Pluto. We won’t be able to help Aqua without it. Wanna go on a quick trip with me?

At this Pluto perked up as his Master chuckled softly again, “ Just to drop this off where it’s needed… but we can pick up a gift for Queen Minnie in the meantime.

Pluto huffed in agreement before standing and shaking off the last vestiges of sleep as the other stood. He ran around his Master’s legs, ‘ Let’s go let’s go let’s go!!!

His Master smiled and opened a portal, Ancient Keyblade still in hand, “ Alright buddy, to Destiny Islands.

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I didn’t expect this story to hit 24 pages [on Docs] when I started, but I honestly didn’t want to break this up into chapters, so uh… sorry about this monster of a one-shot (As well as my super duper special writing style, lol). Since Pluto doesn’t do anything significant in KH3 other then greet everyone when they return to Disney Castle, I figured finishing it at a point that’s essentially a plothole in the KH/3 timeline would be a good ending point.

Notes-

Pluto’s collar: a reference to Pluto’s KHUX medal, which casts Esuna to heal status ailments.

Pluto’s Master: The theory/question was to ask how Pluto ended up in so many places when he has no special abilities. The pup is a total mystery despite the minimal role he plays, and since we’ve got time shenanigans as well as the latest ReMind trailer to cause further (possible) confusion on who is being spoken of in the start by Chirithy… This came into being at the peak of my hype.

Pluto has extra parts he plays in the Manga, as well as other scenes he’s involved in that isn’t in the games. I mostly paraphrased/went off of memory for a general portion, except when it came to the Days manga, and KH2 near the end where the KH wiki didn’t entirely make sense to me so I had to look up “the movie” and random manga pages on google to find out just what happened there.

Also, thank God for the KH wiki. There was some Nomura info from the Ultimania I wasn’t 100% on/wasn’t aware of, so there’s that too.

Thank you for reading and please review!