The stars illuminated the night sky as Sora exited the portal and headed towards The Castle of Dreams. It was late and with any luck, everyone would be asleep. That was what Sora wanted, and the sooner he did what he came to do the better. Riku had seeked him out and told him that, Aqua and Ven were safe and at The Castle of Dreams. Sora planned to free Ven’s heart and then disappear. Sora entered the castle, he sneaked quietly up the stairs and into the room where Ven was.
Ven sat up against the wall next to the desk. Sora walked over to him, and knelt in front of him. Prior to arriving at The Castle of Dreams, Sora had used the Keyblade to move Ven’s heart to his crown shaped necklace. As Sora removed the necklace, it started to glow bright gold.
“Soon you’ll be free Ven, and I’ll be gone.” Sora said sadly, as he put the necklace around Ven’s neck.
Ven’s reaction is immediate, he springs to life like a frog, and grabs Sora’s wrist.
Sora stares at Ven completely shocked, he didn’t know what he expected to happen, but it certainly wasn’t this.
“Don’t disappear on me!” Ven says, sternly.
Sora just nods, unable to say anything.
Then, Ven stands up, grabs Sora’s hand and steers him out of the castle. Once they’re outside, Ven leads Sora to the outskirts of the castle, and then there is silence for a while until Sora speaks.
“You’ve been aware this whole time?” Sora says voice tinged with shock to the point of shrieking.
“Yes I have, also I’ve had access to your thoughts from the beginning. I know that, you planned to say something once The Mark of Mastery Exam was over, but then Xehanort happened and you figured it was too big of a risk.” Ven says while reaching out and grabbing Sora’s hands.
“Then, you also know what I hoped would happen when I freed Kairi’s heart.” Sora says.
“Yep, before you panic, trust me, I have absolutely no intention of telling Mickey, Donald, Goofy, or Riku of what was going on in your head that day. I think we can both agree that, it’s just going to make things worse and cause panic.” Ven says.
Sora nods, “So what now? I’m not comfortable with explaining all this to them, and I don’t want to tell you to stay on the sidelines, until it becomes necessary to say something.” Sora explains.
“Neither do I, but the question is: how do we explain this? I can’t just suddenly reappear without explaining what happened to me, and I know I can’t say you helped me, without implying that you knew about me from the start.” Ven says.
There is a tense silence for a while until Ven breaks it.
“Come to think of it, does anyone suspect anything?” Ven asked.
“Naminé might know something, considering the fact she put my memories back together, at the very least, she might know we’re connected, but whether or not she knows what that connection entails I can only guess.” Sora says uncertainly.
Ven nods, “Alright, for the moment, it may be better if you, Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Lea meet me in familiar territory.”
“What about Kairi, Aqua and Riku?” Sora asked.
“Aqua and Riku will be training Kairi, if you leave early enough, no-one will suspect anything is wrong.” Ven replies.
“Okay, where do you want to meet, and how do I say we need to go there?” Sora replies.
“The Olympus Coliseum is where we will meet, and don’t worry with everything that’s happened; I have no doubt that, Yen Sid will say your connection to the Keyblade is incomplete and say you need to travel to fix it.” Ven says.
“You’re the only reason I have the Keyblade, how exactly am I going to fool Yen Sid? Sora asked.
“Like this.” Ven says, as he lets go of one of Sora’s hands and summons his Keyblade. Once he does he guides Sora’s other hand to the Keyblade’s handle.
“In your hand, take this Key. So long as you have the makings, then through this simple act of taking, its wielder you shall one day be. And you will find me, friend - no ocean will contain you then. No more borders around, or below, or above, so long as you champion the ones you love.” Ven says. Once he is done he makes his Keyblade disappear.
“Try to summon a Keyblade now.” Ven says.
Sora does as he’s told and when he does a blue and silver Keyblade appears in his hand.
“I did it; I can’t believe I did it!” Sora says laughing with a huge smile on his face.
“Congratulations Sora, there is one last thing I think you should know before we go our separate ways.” Ven says.
“What is it? Sora asked, as he made his Keyblade disappear.
“Are you insane?! What in the worlds’ made you think it would be better if you disappeared?! Our friends would be worried. I would be worried, and I would stop at nothing until I knew you were safe." Ven states panic and fear evident in his voice.
Sora flinches and steps back in shock before replying, “Up until what happened during the Mark of Mastery Exam, I thought it was obvious that, the Keyblade didn’t choose me. With everything that’s happened, and considering what the others have told me, I’m starting to believe that, they have no idea of what has happened in the last few years, and as far as I can tell, Xehanort has no idea either.” Sora says.
“Alright, we’re going to discuss this more later, for now let’s split up. I’ll see you soon." Ven says.
“Yeah, I’ll see you soon, Ven.” Sora replies.
Ven was right, the next morning, Sora surprised everyone, by showing up the next morning with a duplicate of his crown necklace, and later on in private Yen Sid had told Sora that, his connection to the Keyblade is incomplete and that he needs to travel to fix it. The minute the conversation was over Sora left the room. With everyone too busy to realize Ven’s body was missing, he went to gather everyone Ven had requested and then headed off to The Olympus Coliseum.
Once The Gummi Ship lands, Sora rushes out to find Ven, before Hercules, Phil, or the others do.
Sora finds Ven in the training hall practicing with his Keyblade.
“Hey,” Sora says, as he walks up to him.
“Hey, everything go okay?” Ven says.
“You were right; nobody suspects anything, the only thing they are curious about is why I brought Lea along.” Sora replies.
“Good,” Ven says with a smile.
“Did you run into Hercules or Phil?” Sora asked.
“No, I’ve kept myself hidden for now. With the way you dashed in here though, I highly doubt it will stay that way.” Ven says.
A few seconds later, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Lea, Hercules, and Phil enter the training hall.
“Ven!” Mickey, Donald Goofy, Lea Hercules, and Phil say, and then they run up and tackle him into a hug.
“I missed you guys too.” Ven says with a laugh as he returns the embrace.
With Sora’s necklace hidden under his shirt, Ven explains how he returned to his body. Ven told everyone that, his heart was kept somewhere safe until his body was freed, then once his body inside The Castle of Dreams his heart found its way back to his body.
Once everyone releases Ven, he is introduced to Sora again, and Ven tells Lea that he looked around and there is a way to give someone their hearts desire with the Keyblade.
“If it’s possible I want to do it, as long as Sora doesn’t get hurt because of it.” Lea says.
“He won’t, I promise.” Ven says.
Ven stands in front of Sora, aims his Keyblade at him, looks at him, and silently with his eyes, asks are you ready?
Sora nods, and then there is a flash of gold light.
When Sora opens his eyes again Roxas and Xion are standing beside him.
Lea looked at Roxas and then at Xion before his eyes widen in recognition and he tackles them into a hug.
While everyone is preoccupied with what is going on in front of them, Ven pulls Sora aside.
“You okay?” Ven asked.
“Yes, and I’m overjoyed that Lea has been reunited with his friends, and don’t worry we will get Terra back, I promise.” Sora replies with his usual smile.
“I know we will. What I want to know is: are we ever going to explain to everyone what our connection is?” Ven says.
“I plan to after we get Terra back.” Sora replies.
“How do you want to do this?” Ven asked.
“I’ve always told myself that, Donald and Goofy would know first. As for everyone else, I don’t know how to explain it to them; I’ve tried to figure out what to say, but the panic and fear takeover when I let myself think about it.” Sora says, fear evident in his voice.
“Okay, I’ll explain things to Mickey, Lea, Aqua, and Terra. Can you handle the rest? Ven says calmly trying to stop Sora from going into a panic attack.
Sora shakes his head and looks down at his lap.
“Okay, we can figure out the details later, and if you want I’ll be there when you tell them. For now, let’s focus on getting Terra back, okay?” Ven says calmly.
Sora nods and calms down after that.
As everyone goes back into The Gummi Ship to head to The Castle of Dreams, Ven starts thinking. Aside from Riku, there were a lot of other people Sora would have to explain their connection to, and if Ven had to guess their reactions are what Sora feared the most, and even with Ven handling some of them, it still made Sora terrified to talk. There were definitely going to be a wide range of reactions when Sora explained to them that, the only reason he could summon the Keyblade was because Ven’s heart was in his body. Ven knew he would have to alter the story in order for people to remain calm and okay with Sora fighting Xehanort. Ven just hoped things worked out in the end.
When everyone returns, Ven surprises Aqua, the minute she locks eyes with him she runs over hugs him tight.
“I’m so glad you’re back.” Aqua says smiling.
“Me too, Aqua.” Ven says.
Before leaving to rescue Terra a few days later, Roxas and Xion help Ven and Sora alter the story, by telling Ven and Sora that, if Ven’s heart transferred the Keyblade to Sora before he got separated from his body they would believe it.
“Are you sure?” Sora asked.
“Yes, since you’re only telling everything to Donald, Goofy, Mickey, Kairi, Aqua, Terra and Riku. Telling the others a slightly altered story will not make anyone suspicious.” Roxas replies.
“Roxas is right, at their core the stories are basically the same, with only a few minor changes, no-one is going to find anything wrong with this.” Xion says.
“Okay then, let’s head out and save Terra.” Ven says.
“Let’s do this!” Sora says with a smile.
Everyone is able to separate Xehanort from Terra's body and then, bring him to the Keyblade Graveyard and let his mind reenter his body. Once Terra opens his eyes and sees Ven and Aqua he hugs them tightly.
“Welcome back, we missed you.” Ven and Aqua say.
“I’ve missed you too.” Terra says.
Xehanort is dealt with for now but the fight is far from over, but moments like these make the fight worth it.
A few days later, Sora pulls Donald and Goofy aside to tell them everything. He explains them what happened when he was four years old, what he was fighting for all of this time, and why he never told them sooner. The minute Sora is done he goes into a panic attack and falls to the ground.
“I’m so sorry. Please don’t be mad. Sora whimpers.
Donald and Goofy pull him into a hug.
“We’re not mad Sora, promise.” Donald says.
“Yeah, Sora we’re not mad.” Goofy agrees.
Sora falls asleep in their arms, holding both of them like they’ll disappear at any moment.
“Why do you think he kept quiet? Doesn’t he trust us?” Donald asked Goofy quietly.
“Sora does trust us Donald; I just think he was terrified of what we would do if he told us. Besides, remember what happened when he lost the Keyblade to Riku, if anything I think that experience proved his fears right.” Goofy says.
“So, that experience made him reluctant to say anything?" Donald asked.
Goofy nods, “How do we fix this?”
“We show him we won’t abandon him.” Donald replies.
Ven had just finished explaining everything to everyone, aside from Riku.
“Did Sora really think we’d abandon him?” Kairi asked.
“We would have understood.” Mickey says.
“Yeah, and we would’ve found a way to make sure he could still use the Keyblade.” Lea says.
“He is truly a person with a big kind heart to be able to take on this burden.” Aqua says shocked.
“Yes, indeed he is." Terra said.
“The fear consumed him since the first day he had the Keyblade. He never said anything because he was scared.” Roxas said.
“Yeah, and fear makes people do crazy things.” Xion said.
“I know this is going to sound like the two of us are going back on our word, but could someone explain this to Riku?” Ven asked sounding nervous.
“I’ll do it. By the way, where is Sora?” Mickey asked.
“He went to tell Donald and Goofy. The two of us still have a mind-link and after he finished telling Donald and Goofy, the three of them fell asleep. Ven replays.
“Okay, I’ll talk to Riku later.” Mickey says.
Later that day, Donald and Goofy told Mickey about their conversation with Sora and told Mickey what happened. After that, Mickey went to tell Riku what was going on.
“He passed out from a panic attack after he told them everything, is he okay?!” Riku asked worriedly.
“He’s fine Riku.” Mickey replies.
“Can I go see him? Riku asked.
Then, Riku heads off to find Sora.
“Hey,” Riku says.
“Hi,” Sora says.
Riku crosses the room and pulls Sora into a hug.
“We wouldn’t have abandoned you Sora.” Riku says quietly.
“I know that now, but at the time…” Sora replies.
“Everything that was happening was proving you right.” Riku says
“Promise me, you’ll talk to us about these things next time, okay? I don’t want you to feel like you can’t talk to us.” Riku says.
“I promise.” Sora says.
“I don’t think I ever thanked you.” Ven says, a few days later.
“For what?” Sora asked.
“For saving me.” Ven says as he pulls Sora into a hug.
“Anytime Ven." Sora replies.