Sometimes the portals didn't work in the Cosmo Canyon world. Something about flux, and Liferiver or Lifelake or something of the sort, that meant it wasn't in synch with the rest of the known multiverse, and in those days even a Keyblade didn't do much. Roxas didn't care. It was an okay world to be stuck in for a little while.
People lived in caves and that was interesting, and they had several sentient species, one of which was human -- that was rare. The Pride Lands had several sentient species, but humans? Bah.
One of the funny effects was that depending on the tides of that Liferapids or whatever, you could arrive human, or you could arrive as some kind of wolf-lion hybrid creature. Roxas didn't mind that either, the first time around; his lion-creature shape was a little gangly and full of too-long paws, but he was a teenager, it was to be expected.
He was fine with it until a re-furred wolflion thing started following him around and purring in a strangely tentative, strangely hopeful way. Its attentions made Roxas nervous, but it was its scent that truly disturbed him. Nothing in all the worlds should have made him feel that strange, weightless dizziness. Nothing should have made him feel at all.
He snapped at the wolflionthing, snarled and even tried to keyblade it a few times, but it was incredibly agile and the more Roxas demonstrated his ability and willingness to make fur and blood fly, and the brighter the eyes of the creature shone. And then it started crouching and wriggling its butt in a way that was too ridiculous to tolerate.
"You have to understand him," the old wise man of the village told him softly. "After all, there is no one in this little world he is not related to."
Next time around, Roxas made sure to come during a low tide, so he would be human.
The wolflion beast stared at him with mournful eyes, and howled his loss all day and night as Roxas went about his business.
And then he dropped by Roxas's hotel room, grinned hopefully -- there were a lot of fangs -- and invited him to come see a truly magnificent magical stone he'd just unearthed.
Magical stones he didn't have to shell out money for were always a bonus.
The stone was magnificent indeed. It was also as high as he was. No way he was dragging it anywhere. It was kind of pretty, though, especially with the setting sun glinting off it. He sat on a rock to watch it glow.
The creature -- Nanaki, he'd said -- sat at his side, a bit too close, but the air was starting to cool down and Roxas didn't feel like moving. And his short fur wasn't too bad to his fingers. And that purr was... soothing.
It was less soothing when the beast went "... Roxas..." and then, when he turned to see what it wanted, licked him on the mouth.
Behind them, the sun set on the ochre cliffs, bathing the scenery in red and golden lights that set off fantastic highlights on Roxas's ashen hair and Red's burnished fur. Roxas really didn't give a damn. He just wanted to get the hell out of there.
When he rushed out through the portal the next morning, the old sage had the audacity to add, "Well, at least he wasn't in rut yet."