It’s cold. The rain is ice through the fabric of his red and black sweater as he sprints through the dark streets. It’s been a perpetual night and still he’s running, and barely catching his breath. He only finds small reprieves before he’s once more forced to leave the area.
His scent is giving him away.
It’s obvious, but he can’t change it, so he pushes himself to find a way to get far away as fast as he can from the pack of hunting dogs that chase him.
He can’t fight them the way that he hopes. He’s too tired, he needs a potion, but it’s been way too long since he’s had one, or since he’s found one. He shivers as he finds another place to lean against, a cold smooth wall, and he closes his eyes, trying to catch each breath, trying to stop his heart from ripping from his chest, and his lungs from burning.
“I have to find...her...I have to find Kairi,” Sora murmurs to himself. It’s been way too long since the thought manages to rise in his mind. He was so busy running for his life, that everything else fell apart. Even his urges to find Riku, but he knows with a small bit of pride where Riku went.
Kairi isn’t the only one he needs to find. The others went missing about several days ago. And Sora was alone in the abyss, hoping that his light might not end up revealing his location, only for that bit of faith to falter when they found him. Over and over again with their weapons glinting in the light of the streets, rain drops falling from the steel, they gave him empty smiles within their dark hoods, and readied themselves for a battle.
Sora, however, couldn’t go on anymore. He had to run, even if there was a part of him that told him to turn back, to face them, but he was smarter as the days went on since the disaster struck. He had to be smart about this.
And he had to listen to what Riku told him.
His hands set against Sora’s shaking shoulders as their eyes met, one full of rage, the other full of patience. “Sora. You have to run.”
“I’m not doing that,” Sora said, scowling, and unsure of why Riku would suggest such a thing. “I can’t. My friends need me, they need me to be strong for them.”
Riku frowned at him, but his patience stayed firm on his face. “I know, Sora, but this time, you have to listen to me. He’s going to win if we don’t think this through.” Sora hated hearing that from Riku, but there was also the same assurance he’s been hearing since they were young in Riku’s voice. “Kairi is gone, Namine and the others have vanished.” He looked behind him, but there was no sign of fear, not like what was on Sora’s. “Right now. Things are different. If we don’t do this right, the war will be over, and we’ll be on the losing side.”
“What about you?” Sora asked. Finally, all his resolution and stubbornness faded away, and he felt himself sulking at the truth in Riku’s words.
He smiled, “I’ll do what I do best.” His Keyblade appeared in his hand, silver with a black handle. “I’ll give you time.”
Sora wishes and hopes that Riku is fine, and that he’ll see him again sooner than later. Right now, he has his own issues to deal with. The Organization was close behind, and the feeling of their presence makes him shudder, he sucks his breath in and clenches his teeth. He has to calm down, but he can’t.
Thoughts intermingle with the patience of Riku’s voice, and without another thought, Sora’s running down the street once more, away from the wall he was leaned against.
He hasn’t slept much either since it all began. Or maybe when it all ended.
He doesn’t want to come to that conclusion. That everything ended on the battlefield when the light became darkness, and the sight of his friend’s presence vanished before his eyes. Sora thought maybe he could help, that he could bring them back in some way, but he knew now that it was inevitable.
They were wasting time, and Riku could be dead.
It was different. He could feel it, but wasn’t sure how to explain the difference. As if he entered another world, and that world itself got twisted up with the darkness and the light. Unlike the balance of both, this was chaotic. A silent creature watching his movements, speaking in words he couldn’t hear or even understand when he tried to reach out for it.
All Sora could do was run and run and run until he can’t anymore.
He skids on the wet pavement and turns a corner only to see an Organization member at the end of the street. The lights above the person is bright, but falls into a dim yellow as Sora backs away. It’s only one member, and maybe, if Sora is a bit more ambitious, he can kill the Organization member.
Sora summons his Keyblade, and even with his fingers curling around the handle, he senses the weakness in the blade, in himself, that it leaves this fight undesirable before it even begins.
“I’m not scared,” Sora whispers to himself as he walks toward the Organization member, trying his hardest to seem confident even if he doesn’t fully feel it.
The Organization member takes something from within their black coat and pulls out a photo. They throw it to the ground and disappear before Sora, who only finds this utterly confusing. Since he left the graveyard, they’ve been hunting him, bent on killing him, like they possibly killed Riku.
Except this was strange.
Why didn’t they attack him?
Sora glances around and no longer feels the others that were following him. He nervously clears his throat as he walks closer toward the photo that sits on the cement, becoming wet from the rain.
He goes still at the sight of the photo. Recognizing its importance, but at the same time, conflicted of why the Organization member even had it in the first place.
Sora reaches down and picks up the photo.
Roxas stands with his three friends before the Old Mansion in Twilight Town. The one where he lived in during Sora’s time inside the pod to gain back his memories.
“Why did you have this?” Sora asked, glancing around the street, but the Organization member is gone. “And why did you give me it?” He tucked it into his pocket.
There was a lot of strange things that were happening, but this was the strangest. It broke off what he was doing, destroying a part of a routine, but at the same time, building onto a path that was meant to be set when his friends were together. And now? What was he supposed to do.
“Riku…” Sora whispered, trying to think of a possible connection to the photo and the mansion. “Namine...lived there for awhile…” He wasn’t sure of what he would eventually find, but he’d have to figure something out.
Sora checked the streets, but he no longer sensed anyone nearby. He hoped he would have a larger window like this earlier, but at least he has one, and can’t complain. The one thing he did have since the entire the disaster, and his friends vanished, was that he still had the gummi ship.
He makes his way to the hideout, hands shaking and clothes soaked to his skin. He pushes back strands of his hair, he didn’t want it sitting in a place where it was obvious, so he had to hide it in this world. He opened the hatch and crawled inside, finding his way to the front and starting up the ship.
Whoever gave him the photo must want him to go to Twilight Town. Or this could be some kind of trap, or possibly, Riku was there, and even Namine, and Roxas. He hoped someone was there so he didn’t have to linger in the darkness alone.
Sora sniffled, and the ship began to rumble and the lights outside flashed on, and Sora’s heart raced and his breath stalled in his throat at the man outside of the ship. He was familiar with white hair and brown skin, his eyes were golden in the bright light that shined on him, and he didn’t wince as he smiled up at Sora.
He wasn’t stopping him, why?
After all this time chasing after him and trying to kill him, why let him leave?
It was too late to ask questions, Sora wanted to leave this world of darkness, and find a way to locate Riku and the others. As the ship rose, and he steered into the sky, past the atmosphere where the stars grew brighter before him. He put the ship on autopilot and pulled himself out of his seat.
He needed to get out of his clothes and put on new ones. He found a red sweater and black pants. It’ll have to do until his actual clothes get washed and dried. He grabbed a blanket and wrapped himself up as he sat down in the hall of the ship, and closed his eyes. It’ll take awhile to get to Twilight Town, and maybe if he can finally sleep, it’ll be fine.
Sleep drags him down quick, and his body relaxes into the blankets.
And there’s a light, one that’s brighter than most, and it’s hard to see who it is before he finds himself looking at Riku sitting on the beach. He’s resting his arms on his knees, looking toward the sunset as the sky dims above him.
“Riku,” Sora whispers.
His hair is silver and his skin soft, but when he turns to Sora, he’s frowning at him. “Took you long enough, I thought I would be waiting forever for you.”
“I…” Sora slumps his shoulders as he walks toward Riku, “I spent too long in their world.” He sits down beside Riku. “I’m sorry, Riku, but I couldn’t find any of them. I was too tired by the time I left.”
“How long were you there?” Riku asks, watching Sora as he lets his legs stretch out, the sand peeking through his toes. The sand is warm in his dream, and it feels close to home, almost, more like a taste of what he could have if he hadn’t screwed up.
“A few days.”
“How long?” Riku asks.
“Six,” Sora whispers, bringing his legs up and placing his arms on them. “I ran out of potions on the fourth day, and I almost lost two battles by the fifth if they hadn’t slowed down.”
“They wouldn’t have done that.”
“They wouldn’t….” Sora agrees. “I think they were playing with me, knowing I was going to lose, but something strange happened. One of the Organization members gave me a photo of Roxas with Hayner, Pen—”
“An Organization member gave you a photo?” Riku asked, incredulously.
Sora nods. “I’m going to Twilight Town right now.” He looks to Riku and frowns at him. “I thought maybe it was from you...I was thinking of the time when you were pretended to be Ansem, the heartless. But from your reaction, it wasn’t you.”
“No,” Riku said, turning his attention to the horizon, “it wasn’t me. Why would I give you a photo, Sora? I would have left with you, or...at least brought you with me back to the world of light.”
It was strange, but Sora didn’t understand it either.
“I’m going to Twilight Town, if it wasn’t you, it must be someone who wants me to go there.”
Riku shook his head, “No, this is a bad idea, Sora,” he reaches out and grabs Sora’s arm, “don’t go to Twilight Town, I don’t know who wanted you to go there, but right now, we can’t just go off the path. I think I found Aqua and Terra, but...it’s strange, the last time we saw them, they were with Ventus. And he wasn’t with them this time.”
“Maybe Ven disappeared like Roxas, Namine, and Kairi.”
“I don’t know,” Riku let go of Sora’s arm, “and if Axel wasn’t in their world, along with the other previous Organization members, then this is a really bad situation we’re in.”
Sora and Riku stayed quiet, thinking over their options.
“I’m going to Twilight Town,” Sora told him, “I’ll be careful, but I also think you should find Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. I haven’t seen them since…” He didn’t like thinking about it, even if it did come up a lot in their conversations.
Riku nodded, “Alright then. Be careful, Sora. The next time you’re in that type of trouble, just get out of it, and meet me at our usual place.”
Sora sighed. There was more he wanted to say, a lot more, because he missed Riku, he missed the company of his friends, and having only himself to speak too was lonely. Except this was how it was going to be if they were going to fix what happened.
As the dream began to fade away, and Riku looked back toward the horizon, Sora reached out to him, but it was already too late.
He woke up.
Sora reached Twilight Town two hours later by finding a worm hole that he could easily get through, at the same time, drinking potions from the storage, and trying to get hyped for his next battle.
Except he couldn’t feel it, not like he did before. He always needed his friends, and having none felt lack luster.
Once he reached Twilight Town, he beamed himself down to the surface of the forest that led to the Old Mansion. He walked toward it, the eeriness of the forest wasn’t as startling as it was in the world he had come from when he was looking for the previous Organization members. He wasn’t even sure if anything was going to scare him anymore.
Sora stepped toward the iron wrought gate and smiled weakly at the Old Mansion that towered over in its hollow reminder of his other self.
This place was familiar in more ways than one as he pushed the gate open and walked to the front door. He stepped inside and looked around. There was only old furniture and silence that made him shudder as he headed for the staircase to his left.
This was Namine’s room.
The bright white walls with the wide window and gossamer curtain made up the room. Including the marble furniture, and the drawings all over the floors and walls.
It was hollow without Namine.
He walked around the room, his hope had dwindled when he opened the door and was greeted by no one. The room was quiet as the rest of the Old Mansion, and the only things left were dust, old cobwebs, and Namine’s drawings she left behind.
He looked through them, all of them a piece of his own memory recorded on white paper and colorful crayons.
There was little time to cry when he was on the run from the Organization that followed behind. Now, he was alone inside the white room, and his own exhaustion found him even with the taste of the sweet potion still on his tongue, he crumpled to the floor and cried.
His tears are warm even if his skin is cold. And he stares at all the drawings he found on the walls and floors, before finding several on the table. He wipes them away from his face, and stares at them, trying to figure out what they meant.
Sora picked them up and added them to the group, but his gaze kept returning to them. It was the world they came from, not Destiny Islands, but the one where everything had fallen apart. There was two direct red lines going through this particular drawing. Another with Kairi’s form becoming a watery substance, but the red line also pushed through it, another with Axel and Ventus lying on the ground, a red line went through it.
“What is this?” he asked himself, trying to figure it out, but he couldn’t. His heart raced as if he knew what it meant, but at the same time, he didn’t. It made no sense. “Namine was here...but when?”
And then he found Roxas.
A drawing of him with no red lines going through it, and he was wearing his organization coat, and was standing with Axel, but this was different from the one Namine had drawn before, because Vanitas stood beside them, and Ventus, along with a strange dark creature that had darkness flowing through it.
“Is this...real?” Sora asked, staring at the drawing before folding it up and tucking it into his pocket. He wanted to tell Riku about this, and he got up from the piles of drawings and headed out the door.
Why would Roxas, Axel, and Ventus be standing alongside Vanitas and a dark creature? Why? It didn’t make any sense, but right now, he wanted to believe that meant Roxas, Axel, and Ventus were okay, that they weren’t affected by whatever happened by the disaster that occurred.
It was good enough for him until he finds them.
Sora heads toward the door of the Old Mansion, and he almost touches the handle when he feels another presence. Something familiar but muffled. He looks throughout the main floor of the Old Mansion and sees no one.
What was that?
He shudders and quickly leaves.
What Sora doesn’t know is that in the basement of the Old Mansion, through the halls that lead to a computer. The black screens turn on, and the synchronization starts up on a boy wearing a black coat who is slumped in the threshold of the portal.
A press on the key activates the portal, and the boy’s body disappears.
Chapter 2: Plaza
Riku is looking for King Mickey, but he's not sure what he's actually doing.
Sorry for the delay in updates for this fanfiction. I forgot what I was going to write for this fic, and my notes are incredibly vague, it doesn't give me much to go on. I'll figure something out. :D Some chapters will be short...
I hope you enjoy.
Comments and/or Kudo's are appreciated.
After his contact with Sora, Riku had jolted awake in the forest. He didn’t want to worry Sora that he hadn’t truly gotten anywhere besides losing Aqua and Terra. Their trail had gone cold right away and it was difficult to locate them afterwards. His own failure cemented his need to look for them, but Riku knew something strange was going on. He didn’t know of what, but he can feel it every time he enters another world.
It’s as if the air itself shifts, or the buildings are different, the color schemes are inverted of some kind. He can’t put his finger on the differences, but he can feel it. He didn’t want ask Sora any more about the disaster , even if it was still on his mind like an imprint.
Riku got up from the grass and started walking along the dark cobblestone path. He’d have to leave this world and enter another one sooner or later. For some reason or another, he had acquired his ability to enter portals again, and he asked himself if he ever lost it in the first place.
He looked to the night sky and contemplated what he was going to do next. He had to find the others. Riku opened a portal and walked through. He found himself in another world, this one looked more familiar to Traverse Town, except it was darker without the warm lights.
For a second as Riku walked down the street, he had thought he saw movement around the corner. He sprinted to the next street and found no one on the other side. He wasn’t imagining anything, was he?
He checked the other streets, including the alley’s, but found no one, and because of this odd feeling, it seemed to crawl along his skin as he headed toward a plaza. It was too dark to discern anything, and when he drew near, there was a figure in the center, small with round ears.
“Mickey?” Riku said, heart pounding inside his chest. He bounded toward the King, but the darkness only seemed to fool his eyes because there was no one there. He was alone. There was no sign of any heartless either which made this more peculiar than usual.
“What is going on?” he asked himself. He knew he wasn’t imagining things this time, the darkness couldn’t trick him as it did before. He had seen the King, he was right in the center of the plaza where Riku was now standing. He hoped Sora wasn’t having these issues, but if he runs into Organization members, it might get worse for him.
Riku continued his search, only able to see the shadow moving a few times and calling Mickey’s name. No one ever answered, but he tried anyways. He felt farther away instead of getting closer to his goal. Even though he ended up running all over the place, he felt as if the night was never going to end.
Riku panted, leaning against a lamp post and found himself once again at the entrance of the plaza. He wasn’t getting anywhere while chasing shadows, and if anything, it might even be his mind that was messing with him.
“I have to find...Aqua and Terra.” He just didn’t know where they had gone too or what happened when he saw them before he lost sight of the direction they had gone. Now he was chasing shadows like an idiot. He wasn’t even sure where Ventus was, but it was out of the ordinary that this would’ve happened. He thought maybe he’d end up finding Kairi at some point, except…
Kairi disappeared, didn’t she?
And that was another thing. He had these moments, assumptions of some kind that was ingrained in his head as if he already knew what was going on, yet didn’t. He hadn’t seen Kairi, only when she was standing beside Sora before everything had collapsed around them, and he and Sora found themselves trailing after shadows. It felt like a never ending dream, and Riku didn’t want to believe that, not until he knew it was.
If anything, he hoped Sora found her while he searched for the others. It would make more sense that way, but with the Organization hunting Sora, he might even have to intervene in some way to give Sora a lot more time. He just didn’t know when that’ll be. Maybe soon after he searches this place a bit longer, to make sure that no one was here and he wasn’t seeing things in the darkness.
Riku was about to take a step when he noticed another figure in the center of the plaza. This time it wasn’t the King, it was someone else, tall with silver hair. The darkness kept their face shrouded, and they didn’t seem that interested in their surroundings.
“Who...are you?” Riku asked.
“Sora,” the person spoke in a deep voice, unfamiliar to Riku besides the name they spoke.
“What did you just say?” Riku asked, fingers curling at his sides.
“You’re not Sora…”
Why were they looking for Sora anyway’s? He wasn’t in this world, and this person had randomly appeared out of nowhere. Unless he was the one Riku was chasing in the dark.
“Who are you? Tell me how you know Sora!”
The person didn’t say anything and in a blink of an eye, he wasn’t there anymore, and Riku glanced around the plaza and found no one else. Was this a dream? It had to be, right? Riku shivered, he didn’t know what was happening, the figure was silver haired, their eyes shrouded, he felt nothing in the air, no strange pressure that came from most Keyblade Wielders.
Riku continued his search throughout the world, calling Mickey’s name, and somewhat hoping to find the person that was searching for Sora. He’d have to tell him the next time they contact one another. And like how Riku felt before about Kairi, this person wasn’t like that. He didn’t know them, there was no strong familiar presence he had gotten from them. He thought it would be relevant because of what happened, but he isn’t so sure anymore.
Riku slowed down and caught his breath, only to feel something strong in the air. This kind of pressure pushed against his shoulders, his senses were alert, and he turned toward where it was coming from as if it were a beacon. Any keyblade wielder would’ve noticed the shift.
“There’s another one here…” And he figured it wasn’t the person he had seen earlier, this was completely different, a strong scent of ice filled the air, it was darkness wafting along the ground like a mist if it weren’t for the presence growing stronger and stronger.
Riku readied himself as the darkness became thick and the footsteps were audible from where he was. The stride of the person was purposeful and when they came into sight, Riku gritted his teeth, heart racing.
“You...what are you doing here?” he asked.
They stopped, black metallic helmet obscuring their face, standing with pride, and even without seeing his face, Riku knew he was grinning at him.
“I should be asking you that.” A keyblade appeared in Vanitas’ hand, and then he pushed himself away from where he stood, and Riku had a split second to summon his blade, and he brought it up to block the incoming attack. Their blades clashed together. Riku was shoved back, barely skidding along the cement while blocking another attack, listening to Vanitas grunt before Riku pushed him back, and he held his keyblade loosely, letting out a humorous chuckle.
“You’re not the one I’m looking for, I was hoping you knew where Ventus was.”
“No idea,” Riku said, gripping the handle of his blade, ready for the next attack if it came, but Vanitas seemed more intent in speaking his aggravation.
“Do you realize how long I’ve been looking for him, and yet I find you in this world, wandering around as if your head is cut off.”
Riku glared, “What is that supposed to mean? Were you watching me?”
“Not too long, but you run in circles way too much, I had to stop you from getting dizzy.”
“How nice of you,” said Riku, “but I don’t need your help.”
“But I need yours, where is Sora, I’m sure he knows where Ventus is.”
“He isn’t looking for Ventus.”
Vanitas scoffed. “What are you looking for, Riku? A way out?”
Riku had no idea what Vanitas was talking about, the pressure between them fought against one another, almost evening out. He had fought Vanitas before, gone up against him, but when...when did that happen?
“I don’t know where Ventus is, but since you’re asking, might want to tell me where King Mickey is?” Riku asked.
“No,” Vanitas waved his keyblade before letting it fall, disappearing before it could hit the ground. “I have no idea where your King is, I’m looking for Ventus inside this world…”
“Why this world?”
“Because he’s here...I know he’s here…” He didn’t sound sure, and Riku was realizing quickly that Vanitas was confused.
“How long have you been here?” Riku asked, “how long have you been looking for him?”
“Too long,” Vanitas said, anger lacing through his words, the tension in his body was too obvious from where Riku stood. “You haven’t been here for long...what makes you think your King is here if Ventus isn’t here either.”
Why were they attracted to this world of darkness? It wasn’t even in the realm of darkness itself, the lights were out, no sign of heartless, no one to attack them but each other.
Is this real?
“I haven’t seen Ventus.”
“You’re lying,” Vanitas said, “you have to be lying.”
“I’m not,” Riku told him. “The last time I seen Ventus is…” A place they weren’t supposed to think of, a place that was covered in an unending blue sky while the wind picked up the dust in a heavy vortex. It was a flicker, an image inside of Riku’s mind, barely plausible, and when he looked to Vanitas, the confusion thickened in the air.
“You’re lying,” Vanitas said, stepping back, “if you won’t tell me, I’ll just have to continue looking, maybe I’ll even find Aqua and Terra. Maybe then...I’ll find Ventus.”
Then he was gone before Riku could tell him to stop, the portal disappeared, and Riku was alone, the pressure gone. He wandered along the sidewalk toward the plaza where he had seen Mickey, when he had spotted the strange person standing in the center, but this time, there was no one, and Riku wasn’t sure what he was doing, or if Vanitas was.
Was he just running in circles?