Sora felt kinda cruddy. He had failed the Mark of Mastery exam, sure, but, that wasn’t what really bugged him. What did was that he almost became one of Xehanort’s vessels. After all of his talk of how he and Riku could handle anything thrown their way, he went and got himself put in literally the worst situation possible. If it wasn’t for Riku, the King, and, most surprisingly, Lea, Sora might have turned into one of those... things.
He involuntarily shuddered at the thought. Becoming Xehanort didn’t even occur to him as an option before, but now, it was one of his worst fears. Losing control of himself and possibly hurting his friends. Hurting Donald, Goofy, the King, Leon, Yuffie, Cloud, or any of the others.
Hurting Riku or Kairi, Sora thought. That’s part of the reason he left the Tower, just in case there was some fragment, a remnant of Xehanort still lurking within him. Just a tiny bit that might take him over, and put his most precious people in danger. He needed to see if that was the case, he needed to get away from everyone and search within himself for any trace of Xehanort’s Darkness.
He also wanted to see if he could recover his lost powers.
Day began to fade, as night overtook it, and Sora realized he should probably start making camp. After gathering enough firewood, lighting it with a well place fire spell (Really, Keyblades are so useful, he mused), and pitching a decent enough looking tent, Sora began preparing dinner.
Which just so happened to consist of half a bag of cereal, a can of beans that looked (and smelled) like they were past their expiration date, and some warm water from his canteen. That’s definitely one thing he missed, having a wizard to poof you up some good grub, whether it be Donald on the Gummy Ship, or Yen Sid at the Tower.
After a “delicious” meal, he extinguished the fire and made his way to the tent, legs exhausted from his hours of travel. His stomach growled, disagreeing with the food it was trying to digest.
I really regret not grabbing something better from Yen Sid’s before I left, he grumbled internally, before laying down in his sleeping bag and drifting into sleep.
The first thing Sora recognized as he began to wake was the sound of waves. Then, it was the feeling of sinking into beach sand, after that it was the gentle lapping of water at his feet. It was comforting, in a sense. He’d been away from Destiny Islands for less than a week in real time, but in the Realm of Sleep, it had felt closer to a month. A month consisting of watching one of your friends fall into a pit of Oblivion, having your mind screwed with by a time-traveling younger version of your arch-nemesis, and having your heart shattered. So, having the feeling of being at home was a welcome relief, even if it had only been a little amount of time.
Sora’s eyes fluttered open revealing a clear blue sky above. He looked to his side, and saw the bridge leading to the sandbar where he and Riku fought all the time when he was younger. He realized he was actually at Destiny Islands, well, more like a dream version of it, as, having spent the last week in a dream, he recognized the lighter, floaty feeling of being in a dream.
A sudden feeling of dread filled him, his eyes darted to his chest.
No ‘X’, he was still in his regular clothes.
The feeling of dread left as he pushed himself to his feet, stretching as he took in his surroundings. There was the cabin that lead to the bridge he saw earlier, there was the tree house that he, Riku, and Kairi spent many days planning to build the raft in, there, there was the pond that he had fell into one time, much to the amusement of his friends.
And sitting at the edge of that pond was a boy that Sora recognized.
His other, his nobody. Roxas.
Sora crept up to him, trying to approach as quietly as possible. He was unsure why, but, he had the feeling that if he approached suddenly and loudly, as he usually does, Roxas would just disappear. And that couldn’t happen, Sora still had to apologize for all the stuff that Roxas had been put through for his sake.
He set his shoes aside, laying them by Roxas’ discarded pair, and took a seat next to him, gently placing his feet in the pond.
“Hey”, Sora said, testing the waters.
“Hi”, Roxas said, gaze unwavering from the distorted view of his feet.
“Soooo” Sora drawled on, laying back and trying to appear relaxed. In reality, he couldn’t bear to look anywhere in Roxas’ direction, lest he start feeling guilty, which would make talking to him so much harder. “Are you a dream? Or real? Cuz if you’re a dream, I have this really long-winded and sappy speech I’ve been meaning to give you, and I’d really hate to see it wasted.”
“I’m real,” Roxas responsed curtly, but the reality of his words began to sink in, “at least, as real as something like me can be” he added in a dark tone.
“You know, for once, I’m correcting someone else’s grammar” Sora said, flashing a wide smiling, trying to lighten the mood. “It’s ‘someone’. Like I said back in the World That Never Was, you’re your own person, and that’s not changing, regardless of where you are. There, in Twilight Town, or here, in my dream-heart thing”
The corner of Roxas’ lip crept up into a smile. “Thanks, Sora, that made me feel better”
“Y’see! That proves it! You felt something!” Sora exclaimed, sitting up in a hurry. He turned towards Roxas, and planted a finger against his chest, “that proves that you have a heart, you felt something!”
The smile grew, it was still small, still had a hint of sadness in it, but it grew nonetheless.
A silence enveloped the two, a mutual regret between them presenting itself.
“Roxas, do you...want a body?” Sora pushed. He knew it should be impossible, heck, the very fact that Roxas still existed should be impossible. But, a lot of things that were impossible suddenly became possible, like, Nobody’s possessing hearts.
“Of course, I miss... I miss the real world. The one with Axel in it. I miss tasting Sea-Salt Ice Cream, heck, I even miss that virtual Twilight Town I was stuck in.” Sora could tell Roxas was struggling here, trying to hold back tears, more proof of him having a heart, Sora mused.
“I promise I’ll find a way for you to come back, a way where both of us can exist at the same time. Where you can be with Axel as much as you want, and where I can be with Riku and Kairi as much as I want. Until then, We’ll find a compromise.” He turned to Roxas, his hand out, pinky extended.
Roxas repeated the gesture, wrapping his pinky around Sora’s and shaking.
Sora awoke that morning waiting. He had to see if his plan worked. Whenever he was in a Drive Form, he could hear Donald or Goofy’s voices in his head. And since they were in his heart at those times, the same should be true for Roxas. He just needed to listen.
“Sora?” It was faint, but there.